Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday's bag of grab

Charming course name I came across today: Illumination Engineering I. I think I'd like to engineer some illumination.Oh and that reminds me, I found a recommendation for this book explaining electricity (written for ages 6 to 9). I've reserved it at the library. I still have hope that I will learn to understand electricity before I die.

Ahead of me at the dept. store checkout line on Christmas Eve morning was a woman buying among other things a fondue set and a "golf courses of the world" calendar. I'm still wondering, is she just not that into xmas? Or was she buying gifts for people she doesn't like?

For Christmas I gave myself a haircut from the really good cutter I used to go to. I've been going to the old lady beauty shop (cheap!) for a while now. But for a treat, I was ready for a better cut. And my hair is now even and the layers are really good. But what I want to know is, why can't my hair cutter make me look hotter? I just want a little more oomph and I keep thinking the hair will help. I guess when I see her at the end of January I won't beat around the bush: Sexy! Make with the sexy hair! Yup, that'll work.

My mother in law is taking the girls to see the Princess and the Frog right now. The 1:30p showing sold out so they had to go to the next one. I think it's sweet that so many people want to go to a G rated movie. I wish there were more of them. I wish Ponyo had come to our town's movie theaters.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cat on Lap

I was watching Zing yesterday when we opened the door and the snow started sticking. She stuck her head out but would not step foot on the white stuff. I resisted the urge to toss her out in it to enjoy her consternation. Today she was more adventurous and leaped lightly out to see what was what. But aside from that short venture, she has been mostly a sleepy cat. She seems to have dialed down for the cold dark days.

We've had a warm cosy little Christmas day. The prezzies were nice and the girls played with their new loot all day long. No squabbling with each other (I'll overlook that one brief upset after dinner), which was a gift in itself. The turkey didn't thaw in time so it was pork chops for dinner. Before that, Nod got stuck looking for an open grocery store to buy a replacement slab of meat. He's from Texas and he still doesn't understand some of the local parochialisms (Christmas late afternoon = grocery stores closed). He found a good samaritan with a tow rope and got his car going again. Earlier in the day he took the kids out to sled. But they only took one slide each before deciding it was too windy and bitter. I was happy with my decision to stay home. Perhaps I'll take a snowy walk tomorrow morning. I think I'll be ready to stick my nose outside the house by then. Right now I'm happy to have Zing snoozing on my lap.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


This may be my favorite holiday. Not Christmas Day but Christmas Eve. I took the day off work to be with the kids and to enjoy the quiet. It wasn't very quiet but I've been smiling all day. Our rain turned to sleet and then finally to fluffy snowflakes when we left church. This blizzard is a special delivery. Snow falling when I don't have to drive anywhere -- perfect!

Peace and the flicker of joy to all of us.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


If you have trouble getting out of the warm bed on a chilly dark morning, I have a solution. First have two children. Next have the children wake up at the same time. Have the first one wake up with a wet bed and the second one with a bloody nose. Much mopping and soothing later you will be fully awake and ready to start your day!

Lexi started a fever and sore throat yesterday so we called in to get her antibiotics. I brought her into the office yesterday afternoon after the rec center program was done. My cringe of shame is better after apologizing to my coworkers for exposing them.

Lexi has had two doses so far and was quite chipper this morning even after the bloody nose. At the breakfast table she sneezed and then was wiping up, "I got snot on my sleeve," she announced. "Better than blood!" was her conclusion.

Right now my throat is prickly and my head is starting to feel weird so I figure I'm the next to fall. What a germy season we've had so far. But the pressure is off and I'm looking forward to holidaying whether germy or no.

May you feel a sweet glow this Christmas and not have to clean up very many body fluids at all. Twinkling lights in the darkness, cookies and presents for all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yule and Covet

Various clever and greedy bloggers have listed their ultimate fantasy I-don't-actually-expect-to-get-it-but-I-want! Christmas wish lists. And I will join them by wishing for:

Theatre tickets (often) and time to go.

A standing haircut appointment with a fabulous cutter, every 6 weeks.

One more hot slutty affair before having kids. My current bod is functional and I do love it. But I find the wrinkly belly offputting when plotting seduction. And time marches on. So just a jump back nine years and one (or three!) breathless pounces.

My own small apartment or cottage. In a well kept older apartment bldg or near a stand of trees. Very small, very easy to clean. Mine.

A horse and buggy. A groom and stable to keep him in of course. I’ll go driving on spring afternoons. And currycomb Dobbin when I’m feeling pensive.

Housewife status so I could walk the kids to school and pick them up every day. And volunteer there.


The last reference to school brings me back to reality with a thump. My state's budget was $6 Billion. They had to cut a billion from it. They did and class sizes are larger this year at our elementary school. The state government expects to have to cut more than $350 million more. And more than half of Kansas state spending is for education. I'm appalled and frightened that my kids aren't going to get the fabulous retro public school education that is one of the central reasons that we are in this American bellybutton state.


Since you asked, here is my approach to getting things done at the very end of the day. Tuck in time for the kids and I am rubbing my eyes and staggering with fatigue. If Katy calls me back to soothe away night fears or get her a drink of water, I have to make a concerted effort not to be brusque. It’s hard to be called back just after I’ve hung up my responsible adult hat for the night. Luckily she is almost always quickly settled. Lexi is even quicker to go to sleep. I know I am lucky that my children go to sleep quickly and sleep soundly. There are periods when I have to get up in the nights with them but it could be so much worse. And I would be so much more resentful and groggy.

But I am just averagely resentful and groggy and I go downstairs and get to do something I actually want to do, rather than *have* to do. Usually it’s eat a treat and read some novel or watch something. And then it’s time to do some chores (dishwashing, making lunches, laundry) or if I'm utterly done in, I decide to bag it and do my ablutions before turning in. If there are no desperate repercussions that will result from not doing chores then I say to myself, I just won’t do any tonight. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow. But then I might see one thing that would make my morning easier (wash one pot so I can cook oatmeal in the morning, for example) and if I do that then suddenly it’s easier to do a few more things. Hm, that pot was quick and I already have a soapy scrubber, I could just do two more bowls and clear this half of the sink.

So that’s my strategy for getting things done when I’m tired. 1) State that I will *not* do anything. 2) Compromise on doing *just one* thing. 3) Feel a sense of accomplishment and energy and realize that it won’t hurt to do some more. Then it’s important to remember to stop. If I keep going and get a full-on energy burst happening then it gets too late and I get too awake and suffering follows the next day. Ambition is to be kept tightly reined in.


I've just had to stop reading a mystery novel that is all series package, with not much good writing inside. Murder in the Marais by Cara Black. She's written a series of novels each set in a different Parisian neighborhood. But one quarter through the first one I think it will be my last. Her handling of the French setting and characters written about in English isn't very deft. Then our protagonist dressed up in black leather and spiky hair and drew nazi "tattoos" on herself with marker in order to crash a neo-Nazi meeting. Unconvincing! I was almost rooting for the neo-Nazi's to beat her up. Last night I realized that a certain passage of dialogue between the private detective and her police contact reminded me of the voice actors for low budget Japanese anime. Too much exposition! Delivered in a gruff but personality-less American accent! Such a good attractive idea, a series of mysteries set in the districts of Paris. But I will steer you to Fred Vargas for the Parisian mystery vibe with plenty of urban village atmo, great characters with distinct voices, and a satisfying melancholic tang.


Looking at rental listings has started to put the fear in me about moving. The uncertainty and impermanence of residence is haunting me a little.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For the record

The small picture is of our idyllic xmas tree cutting trip two years ago. It was so full of wintry delight that I could hardly believe it. We have had some picture perfect family moments here in the midwest.

The header picture is our cat Zing, acquired in August. She is resting up for another round of house galloping.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Small and one eared

Surprising things our family doctor told me this morning: 1) Katy may not be any taller than 4' 11" as an adult.2) It could take three months before I have 'normal' hearing in my right ear.

I wonder about the first assertion. I thought our genetic hash would have given her a very  middle sized kit. We've got some tall folks on both our mothers' sides and shorter/middlesized folks on both our dads' sides. And surely growth spurts are unpredictable? Not according to Dr. M's charts. Well, Katy's always been our Petite Firecracker with buckets of personality and drive. I'm sure she'll make an impact even if she's the opposite of towering.

The ear news disappoints me only a bit. The good part is that it is fixing itself. Very slowly and carefully; stopping for tea breaks and periodic audits. I found that attending church service with one ear is somewhat unsatisfying. I could hear the sermon and was glad to take communion. But singing was dodgy and the sound of the organ and choir was too much and too muddy.

The kids enjoyed Christmas pageant practice. Katy will reprise her Donkey role and Lexi is moving over to Angel this year. They have been extremely charming, practicing their carols. I wish they wouldn't squabble over the lyrics sheet we brought home. But I suppose siblings must always compete for scarce resources. Speaking of resources, I volunteered to bring snacks for the next rehearsal. I'll try to figure out something easy and neither too sugary nor too healthy.

Turkey carcase goes in the trash tonight. It was tasty and I took most of the meat off. I will this moment refuse any guilt for not making stock of the bones. We may do it again for xmas and I can soupify at that time if I am so moved. Unrelated to turkey leftovers, tonight I am thinking about this recipe. And maybe some roast sweet potatoes and reg'lar potatoes. I am also planning to go grocery shopping and exchange something at WalMart tonight. I wonder how much of that will actually get done...

We tried and failed to get a holiday family picture taken. It got put off because I was stricken. Then I had an idea about propping the children up and taking a picture on the couch. But to remind myself -- outside is always better than inside for these things. Yesterday's pix on the couch were funny but not anything I can agree to share. We'll have to send out some bare cards. Maybe we can get a snap of us by new year's.

Just read a post by Eileen in Chile about the personality change that learning a new language and culture imposes. So nicely put.