Friday, November 30, 2007


We do have some odd ones at our house. Conversations I mean. Not people. Okay, maybe we have both.

J.T. and I have written the Santa Letter. He has asked for a Star Wars Lego Star Destroyer, (which means I will be picking little bits out of the soles of my feet for the foreseeable future)Barricade and/or Brawl (Transformer toys), and a Sponge Bob video game. He says this video game is called "Sponge Bob Honesty II". Rob told him he didn't know if that was a real video game. J.T. said: "Yes it is! It's rated E for everyone." He has also created an imaginary toy he wants Santa to make for him. We're thinking of an excuse for that one. We may need the full month to come up with something. Santa ran out of parts? We didn't get our order in on time??

I did ask Abby what she wanted to ask Santa to bring her, but we didn't get very far. She wants an animal rabbit (not happening... unless it's stuffed), candy corn, blue candy (?), and..... wait for it..... butterbeans. For you non-southerners, butterbeans are small lima beans. We cook them in salted water with black pepper and a ham hock for seasoning. Abby loves them. How I'm going to work that into her stocking...., ugh.

Of course my darling Rob would have to be included in a post about odd conversations. Not that you're odd dear. I am forever asking he and J.T. to turn down the music, or turn down the TV. Very fuddy duddy of me, I know. Rob swears he's going to have that printed on my tombstone: "Turn it down!" I said that very thing tonight, followed by: "So what are you going to put on my tombstone?" Rob: "Ding, dong...."


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

O Christmas Tree, Funky Christmas Tree

The tree is up, the lights have been strung, the candy canes and ornaments are hung. At least until Abby decides to rearrange things to her satisfaction. The candy canes are actually disappearing pretty quickly.

Our tree is no vision of serene white lights, red ribbons, or gold balls. There is no theme. The decorations are not evenly spread about. Bing Crosby isn't playing softly in the background. Our stockings don't match and there are no names embroidered neatly across the tops.

We have Scooby Doo mingling with hand-made ornaments. Yes, we even have some of the salt dough ones that the kids hand-painted at school. We have silver balls and blue ones dusted with glitter. Abby has rubbed much of that off. The lights are multi-colored and wink on and off.

My kids only know Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town!" Abby's stocking has a snowman and J.T.'s a Santa, Rob's has a Christmas tree on it and is lime green. Mine is another snowman. Nothing matches, some of our ornaments are getting a bit tatty and the kids are constantly moving the decorations about. The tree will eventually lean once they've put the ornaments in a big lump on one side, one string of lights will blink off permanently and there won't be one solitary candy cane left. But it's our funky tree and it suits us.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Thankful Day, Anxious Days

Thursday was the U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday. My family: parents, sister, brother and families, cousins and grandmother, gathered at my house for a huge meal. We gorged ourselves on turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes, fruit compote, macaroni and cheese, pecan pie, banana pudding and pound cake. We indeed are thankful for a good year, a fine family and good fortune this year.

But we have anxious days ahead. This beautiful woman (on the left, shown here with her younger sister) has been diagnosed with malignant breast cancer. I will be going with her to the oncologist on Monday morning at 10:30. Tuesday is a meeting with the surgeon who will perform a masectomy and remove lymph nodes for testing as early as this week.

She is a fighter. She has lost a child. She moved in with my grandmother (her mother-in-law) to help take care of her as she was dying from Parkinson's disease. She volunteers at the Library, takes friends to doctor's appointments and makes everyone in her life feel loved and special. She is an adored mother and grandmother. She is the beloved daughter of an 89 year old mother. She loves to read, do jigsaw puzzles and cannot sew, garden or cook. Her closets are organized and her towels have to be folded a certain way. She hates clutter and likes to keep decorating to a minimum. She graduated from university in three years, married at 21, raised four children, taught school for 20 years and retired from teaching four years ago. She served as a mentor and friend to her colleagues, superiors and training teachers. She has stayed up late working on science projects and spent probably years of her life shuttling children from football practice to baton practice and band tryouts. She has been present for the birth of every grandchild save two (who were born in another country). She is more than anyone could ever ask for in a daughter, wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend. She is kind, even to former daughter-in-laws and absolutely adores her grandchildren. Soon, she will be a survivor. We love her very much. She is my mother. My Friend.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


The key to harmony is: separate seats. We put Abby in the middle and J.T. in the back. It also helps if at least one of them is sleeping. With this arrangement we hear much less of the following:

"She hit me!"
"He hit me first!"
"Well she started it!"
"J.T. took my toy!"
"Abby is throwing things at me!"

And they hear less of this:

"I said Stop!"
"Don't make me stop the car!"
"Why can't you BE QUIET!!" (ironically said very loudly)
"Please. Please. Please. Stop."
"(insert various muttered ugly words here)"

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I may have mentioned in my profile that I love virtually all types of music with little exception. You will NOT however, find Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys on my iPod. Because truly, that's not music. It is manufactured, hyped crap.

What is on my iPod? The new one Rob bought me for Christmas and then asked if I wanted to wait until Christmas to open it. Right. Ms. Impatient isn't into waiting. So the ipod is open and in use. You will find the following eclectic selections on my tiny silver rectangle of musical genius....

Jackson Browne's "Lawyers in Love" .... just for fun. What song lampoons 80's excess better than this? And who can resist a good "ooooooooooo sh la la oooooooooooo" and a lyric like: "The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them, like Russians will."

"Whisper Your Name" by Harry Connick, Jr. Who is my second choice behind Rob for perfect man. The man has an absolutely lovely New Orleans accent, a beautiful smile and he can actually play the piano in true brilliant jazz fashion. Did you know that some singers actually have musical talent? I know.... shocking. I am fascinated with music that explores culture and Jazz is so full of life, experience and heritage.

A little 60's nod with "These Boots Are Made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra. Love the guitar funk in this one. And a song with go go boots.... what more can I say.

"Ribbons Undone" by Tori Amos. Such a beautiful song. A celebration of daughters. I relate to it on many levels.... as a daughter and as a mother. For me it just invokes some wonderful timeless imagery of innocence and love.

Soon to be added: AC/DC's Thunderstruck (to make the household chores more bearable) and Pavarotti (because his voice is divine), Ella Fitzgerald's version of Baby It's Cold Outside and Johnny Cash singing Folsom Prison Blues. Did I mention I have eclectic music tastes?

What are uListening to on your iPod?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars video

Suits my mood at the moment. Very melancholy and yuck. Hormonal plus a head cold and the beginnings of an ear infection. The kids have been grumpy with each other, the dishwasher is acting up and Christmas Shopping is around the corner (can you say gift cards?) and I hate shopping period. To quote my favorite book character, Alexander: "It is a horrible, no good, very bad day." Can I get some chocolate now? And perhaps a glass of wine? Would you just lay with me Rob and forget the world (and the children fighting outside the door)?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Everything In Its Place

Rob, the organizer has whipped our pantry into shape. The following photos show our food items neatly organized by boxes, cans, vegetables, puddings, baking items, etc. The non-perishable items (paper goods, trashliners, lightbulbs, etc.) are on the end and the drinks have their very own shelves. It truly is a work of art. In case you couldn't tell I like diet coke. Really, really like diet coke.

Speaking of art. This is what my wee ones do while I'm blogging. Sigh. Which is why I usually blog while they were are sleeping.

And why does showing you my pantry and its contents feel a bit like letting you look through my underwear drawer?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Word Verfication Blunders

Many of my favorite bloggers use word verification for their comment boxes. So here is my confession: I never get the word verification right the first time. Shame-faced I am to admit it, but sometimes I have to go through the process THREE times.

You people know I'm not artistic. Sometimes the q's (oh Tracey don't hate me because of my apostrophe abuse.... I can't remember how to do letters) look like a's and the i's look like lower-case l's and I can't tell if it is a u or a v, an h or an n!? The especially curvy ones make me nervous. I just know it will take me 2 minutes to get it right.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Few of My Least Favorite Things

1. Sick Children. Sick children on Medicine. Sick children in my bed. Sick children whining for more juice and some crackers.

2. People who don't say excuse me when they burp. I was waiting on a sandwich order for a working lunch meeting today and a man in the restaurant let out the biggest burp.... and acted like nothing had happened! Disgusting. I shot him a very evil eye.

3. Laundry. Do the clothes multiply in the dirty clothes basket? And why do the socks disappear? And why is the laundry basket never, ever empty?

4. Jeans. Trying to squeeze my er, curvaceous (I'm trying to be kind to me) butt into mine. Because I refuse to buy a bigger size. Hey, I'm just bloated.

5. Toy ads. Notice how the capitalist geniuses that run toy companies are blitzing us with advertisements for toys our children simply must have this year with 41 shopping days left (as the little, prominently displayed sign at our mega-store reminded me). I've seriously thought of filling my childrens' stockings with cans and sticks. They seem to play with them much more than any of their store-bought toys.

6. PMS. I hate it when men blame things on a wife/significant other's PMS. But I have serious PMS issues. I descend into a black pit of grumpy, irrational, chocolate-eating, sadness that makes me seem like I have multiple personalities. Last year, J.T.'s low reading score had me sobbing when it came on "hormone day". The year before we got a "needs improvement" message about his handwriting on hormone day. I cried all the way to work. If someone dares to cross me on hormone day, things are going to get real ugly, real fast. I have no patience and no empathy on hormone day. Rob's morning email for me today began this way: "Good Morning Grumpybutt." It could not be more appropriate.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Whodunit

What do this:


and This:

have in common?

If you guessed this:

You win. You won't be getting anything most would think valuable. Just a cautionary tale about leaving 3 year olds alone with toilet paper, goldfish and rice.

If your 3 year old appears with a worried look on her little face and says: "Come quick. It spilled." Please, by all means, do as instructed. You are likely to find your paper-stuffed toilet overflowing. Do you have a plunger handy? No. You'll have to send the hubby next door to borrow one.

If you notice the family-size box of goldfish missing, by all means conduct a fish hunt until you find it. Odds are good that its contents will no longer be inside it. No, they are most likely to be spread or piled on the carpet. By the time you find them they will have been crunched and squished and ground into the floor. There seems to be a correlation between the length of time since you last vacuumed and when this activity takes place. The more recently you have vacuumed, the greater the quantity and scope of the mess.

Metallic sorts of tinkling sounds coming from your pantry. Please investigate promptly. You may discover a three year old sitting on the floor with the rice container. She will be making lovely artistic patterns on the floor. Note that rice is difficult to see on a light colored tile.

Three year olds who engage in these activities are always apologetic. They will pull out every weapon in the "cute" arsenal and use it against you. It may be a funny confession or a teary I'm sorry. Aunty I may just pay the shipping and handling and send her to you. She is evil, after all.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Another MeMe

This one snagged from Kirsty. The rules: List one fact, word or tidbit that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your first or middle name. You can theme it to your blog or make it general.

M - Motion. I sometimes feel like I am in constant motion. Laundry, lunchboxes, baths, homework, supper, dishes, and work. My head even seems to be spinning when I lay down at night. I think motion and Mom might actually be symonyms.

E - Empathy. Sometimes I have too much of it. I cry when they show sappy commercials on TV and I went through a whole box of tissues while watching Steel Magnolias. I even get embarrassed for the people who make fools of themselves on call-in shows!

L - Literature. Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I get so engrossed in stories that Rob has to call my name several times before I realize he's trying to get my attention.

I - Indecisive. I can spend a long, long time making up my mind. And even then, I'm nervous I haven't made the best choice. Given a dollar and free range of the candy aisle was not a good thing for me. The merits of each piece of sugary delight were weighed carefully until I was finally forced (Just pick one now and let's go!) to make a choice.

N - Nearsighted. I'm blind as the proverbial bat. I wear contacts, but my vision is only about 50 points away from legally blind. A true Mr. Magoo. I cannot see even very large things like cars from a distance of more than 200 feet or so. And the lenses of my glasses have to be compressed. Otherwise they are very heavy and uncomfortable. I feel very vulnerable if I don't have my contacts in and I can't find my glasses.

D - Discombobulated. Just because I like the way it sounds. I love words. Some I love because of what they mean, others, just because they sound lovely and unique. But this word does describe me sometimes. It means: to throw into a state of confusion. Shut up Rob.

A - Adored. Rob adores me and I him. And I can't tell you how much that means to me. Or how it makes the good days brighter and the bad days bearable. Or how much he makes me laugh with his sarcastic wit. I think my kids adore me, even when they are mad with me. I do make their lunches after all. And I have Santa's phone number with me at all times.

Wouldn't this be good for your nablopo thingmajiggity Aunty?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Who's the Boss?!

I don't think it is me. At least not based on this conversation.

Me: "Abby, can you help me put away the washcloths?"
Abby: "I don't feel I need to."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit!

Or, Abby paints with, you guessed it, butter!

The artist is branching out in her search for unique mediums for her art. Saturday was the pinnacle. I, suffering from an injured foot, was in the den with my foot propped up on pillows, resting. Not realizing until way too late that Abby was very quiet. And that the sounds of playdoh smushing and squishing had ceased. And certainly not remembering that I had left a stick of butter softening in a bowl to make tea cakes later. Once it dawned on me that the Artist was being unusually quiet (we've discussed this before, quiet is NOT a good thing when it comes to Abby), I called for her. Trying to leave my sore foot in place. She appears with fingers coated in what I thought was yogurt.

Me: "Abby, do you have yogurt on your hands?"

Abby: "No I don't. It's the stuff you make the cookies with."

Me: "BUTTER! You've got the Butter!

It wasn't pretty. You'll just have to live with my descriptions of a butter covered fridge, butter painted stove and cookie sheet and big blobs of the stuff all over the floor. I didn't take pictures. This is an art form I do not wish to encourage. So now, in addition to hiding crayons, petroleum jelly, pudding, markers, pencils, Sharpies, glue and soap.... we have to hide the butter.

So Aunty, if you're interested in a french fry trade....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Let's Make a Deal!

As Stomper has reminded us. Christmas is only seven weeks away. J.T. wants the typical boy things for Christmas: Star Wars Lego Star Destroyer, video games, etc. But Abby.... she's asking for something special. This was our conversation on the way to the Recycling Center today.

Abby: "Can I get a real baby?"

Me: "No!!"

Abby: "Oh." Pause. "How 'bout some french fries then?"

Me: "Sounds like a deal."

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