Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cashier in training

Over Thanksgiving we got a chance to play with Jason's old Fisher Price cash register, which still has all of the original plastic coins that came with it. Liza only had to be shown what to do once, then she was all about making change and ringing up sales.

Monster creation, step one: Stickers and crayons

Little Miss Fine Motor Skills was introduced to the wonders of stickers yesterday. Given the lukewarm reception that other art supplies have received, I wasn't expecting much. Ha. Let's just say, if she and the stickers were consenting adults, they'd be smoking cigarettes and eating breakfast by now.She made those stickers her bitch, I'll tell you that. Peeled them off the sheet, stuck them to the page, peeled them off the page, stuck them to her clothes. Peeled them off her clothes, stuck them to the floor. Peeled them off the floor, stuck them to her hand. And the furniture. And me. And these were regular, cheapo, nonrepositionable, rips-when-I-try-to-peel-them-up stickers. She's got mad skills with her fingernails.

And somewhere in there she managed to scribble all over the hardwood floor with blue crayon. Thank god for Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser. It took longer to give Liza the guilt trip about scribbling inappropriately than it did to clean up the scribble, which I think somewhat blunted the effectiveness of said guilt trip. Next time I think I need to scrub fruitlessly with a wet paper towel until she looks suitably chastened, then call in Mr. Clean.

So freaking wrong

There's just something so fundamentally wrong about baking Christmas cookies and trying to put the garland on the bannister while wearing shorts:

And it's supposed to snow tomorrow ... stupid freaky Kentucky weather. I'm dreaming of a Christmas which is cold enough to actually wear a sweater without sweating.

Advent calendar complete!

Check out my craft blog, , for details and photos.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So funny it made me spit out my Caffeine Free Diet Dr. Pepper

I won't violate copyright laws and reproduce the strip here, even though I know a lot of you won't bother to follow the link. Trust me, it's worth the click, if only for the line "Sweet jumping Kiwis, my pet gerbil could make better business decisions than that one!" I'm hoping Jason makes that panel his screensaver on his office computer :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving photos

are available at

My personal favorites are the ones where Liza is scared to death of a baby chicken her grandfather brought in for her to see. Nothing like being spooked by something the size of a baseball that does nothing but poop on the floor ....

I knew it would come some day

... my daughter is doing exactly the same thing Dooce's daughter did at the same age ...

From , when Leta was about 17 months old:

The morning we left Leta, never a very happy morning bee, was waking the dead with her early morning moaning and wailing. I had to finish packing and showering and undertake the ever laborious blowing dry of my hair — I’m seriously on the verge of shaving it all off. Jon couldn’t get Leta to stop banging her head on the highchair and decided to give up, but I had an idea. I brought the thrashing ogre to the bathroom with me, set her in the sink and handed her a box of medium-sized tampons. She shut up instantly.

I was able to get dressed and put on my make-up while she pondered the wonder that is female hygiene products, and then I set her on the floor while I blew my hair dry. Mid bang blow-out my mother showed up, peeked around the door of the bathroom and SHRIEKED. Leta had opened at least seven tampons and had three in her mouth, the cotton absorber expanding in her saliva.

“LETA IS EATING TAMPONS!” My mother didn’t know whether to laugh or call the police.

“Is she choking?” I asked her.

“No, but — “

“And, more importantly, is she screaming? I DIDN‘T THINK SO.”

I left feeling quite proud at my parenting skills, knowing that at least once in my life I had shown my mother that she had raised a responsible and innovative daughter. WHO’S IN CHARGE NOW, HUH? THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT.


Here's my daughter, thinking, "Was this where Mom told me to stick it?"

She had more luck getting it in there once she pulled off the wrapper and pulled out the little pusher tube thingee ... just the right size for aural insertion. Good thing I'm fast, or I'd have had a lot of explaining to do at the emergency room.

Selective Blindness

I have come to the realization that pretty much everyone suffers from Selective Blindness - that is, we have so much information coming at us that we have to screen some of it out to keep from going nuts noticing every detail. I've read somewhere that this is actually a protective mechanism that our brains have developed to help us focus on what's actually important ... if our ancestors went around noticing the movement of every blade of grass, they would have gotten eaten by some large carnivorous animal pretty quickly. While this information screening is unconscious, and therefore not our fault, it does at times keep us from noticing some wonderful things.

Case in point: I went to college in a small town surrounded on all sides by the Appalachian Mountains. It was possible to look out my dorm room window and see wave after wave of ridges rolling off into the distance. The mountains were misty blue, or dappled in fall colors, or the peculiar yellow-green that meant there was pollen covering every surface in town.

But 90% of the time, I would look out the window and see ... the dorm across the quad (if I even bothered to look out the window at all). I remember maybe half a dozen times when I looked out the window to see if it was raining (the answer was almost always yes ... they didn't call it Bleaksburg for nothing), and my eyes would drift up a little bit and the sight of the mountains would take my breath away. I had been too busy with classes, and research, and my friends, and whatever else was going on to just LOOK at what was around me.

I think that Selective Blindness is also at the root of a phenomenon that I used to experience at the end of every vacation. I would walk in the front door of my house/apartment/dorm room and everything just seemed wrong. It felt like someone had come into my house and moved everything - knicknacks, furniture, walls - about 1/16th of an inch away from where it was when I left. Rooms seemed smaller, or more dirty, or less gracious. Even our cats looked different than I remembered.

But the last few times we've come home from vacation, nothing has seemed out of place. The cats aren't skinnier, the walls haven't moved, and if the house is dirtier, it's from the cat hair that's accumulated in our absence.

I don't think this is due to some sort of improvement in my Blindness ... actually, I think it's gotten worse. I spend so much time chasing after things - chores, writing, Liza - that I don't have time to mark an image in my head to compare against what I see when I get home. I've taken Selective Blindness to the next level, adding a metaphorical blindfold to the metaphorical blinders I was already wearing.

In some ways, this is a good thing - the feeling of displacement I used to experience at the end of vacations was unsettling, and it would take hours before I felt like I was truly home. But I wonder what else I am missing by being in motion all the time.

On our way home from Thanksgiving I purposely left my craft project in the suitcase so that I could take a nap in the car on the way to the airport. The nap never materialized because there was just so much going on outside the car window. First there was a field where the heavy morning dew had covered the spiderwebs draped over clumps of weeds, leaving a carpet of sparkling lace in place of the normal sight of mown crops and roadside litter. Then I noticed that the light coming from behind us was hitting the dew on some of the fields just right, creating a moving band of rainbow in each field. Jason and I had an actual conversation, one where there was a repeated back-and-forth exchange of ideas instead of "So, whose turn is it to change the stinky britches?" During our flight I saw rainbows where the sunlight reflected off the body of our plane, and in the airport I took the time to show Liza how she could see into the cockpit of a plane pulled up to the gate ... the pilot waved to us as they pushed back from the terminal. None of this would have happened if I had been trying to finish another crocheted animal or cross stitched advent calendar marker.

Would I be happier if I slowed down to experience all the beauty and joy that I'm undoubtedly ignoring in order to get more things done faster? Or would I find out that I've been mostly overlooking negative things (like the level of grunge on the floor in my shower) and end up being both grumpy and unproductive?

I have no idea, but I'm going to try to find out. I've got a busy week planned, culminating in a party for my play group buddies on Saturday. By then I have to have the house cleaned and decorated, food made, etc. Add to that my ambitions to get a little writing done, and all the laundry and grocery shopping I have to do since we were on vacation, and this week's going to be a bear.

But after 3 or 4 pm on Saturday, I'm done. No more decorating, precious little shopping or wrapping or cooking unless I really feel like it. I'm going to take my daughter to see a Christmas tree farm, and we're going to see how much colored sugar we can spread around on the floor of the kitchen while decorating sugar cookies. I'm going to put her in her fancy dress and get her photo taken with Santa ... and if she screams her way through it, I won't treat it as a tragedy. I'm going to let Liza have her way unless she wants to do something dangerous or downright stupid, and I'll do it with a smile on my face if it kills me. And I'll have my eyes open, looking for sparkling veils on the weeds, rainbows in the sky, and people to waving to my daughter.

Yet another good kid video - only this time, not my kid!

Video of a baby laughing hysterically. I mean, total guffaws and belly laughs out of a kid who's less than a year old. Possibly edited together, the laughing sounds so fake, but who cares - it's still cute.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Snot Wars, Episode II - Revenge of the Snot

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope all of your turkey was moist, your weather was dry, and your gatherings well-lubricated. And that there's less snot in your family than there is in mine.

Well, Liza is mostly cured, with two days left to go on the course of antibiotics she started last week. I think tomorrow I'll take the pillow out from under the head of her mattress so she stops slipping downhill in her sleep.

I have to admit that while the zinc and Zicam routine didn't stop the cold in its tracks the way I had hoped, it did probably reduce the severity of the symptoms, and almost definitely reduced the duration of suffering. I'm still having occasional coughing fits, but otherwise feel fine. There were a couple of crappy days there in the middle, but this cold has been much more manageable than any of my other recent illnesses.

Jason was diagnosed on Monday with bronchitis, given a Z-pack of antibiotics and a nasty-tasting OTC cough suppressant/expectorant/kill all the other cold symptoms solution. The Z-pack ran out last night, the OTC cold medicine ran out today, and Jason isn't better. His doctor told him to come back on Monday if he wasn't feeling better by the time we got home, and he'd run some chest x-rays to make sure that Jason doesn't have pneumonia. Personally, with how wiped out Jason has been this week, and how nasty his cough sounds, I'm going to do everything short of dragging him bodily to the emergency room to get him in to see somebody tomorrow, even though we're out of our normal provider network right now. Pneumonia isn't something you let linger any longer than necessary, lest it send you to the ICU for a week (see Ellen's recent posts of her experience on blog).

Jason is balking about going to get x-rays here, although he has agreed to call his doctor tomorrow to at least schedule an appointment for Monday. I'm off to look for the doctor's phone number online ...

Disturbing thing I heard today

"Come on, honey, let Pop-Pop's horsey nibble the corn off your cob."

Apparently this involves some sort of leg tickling game, but it just sounds WRONG.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mama, this white stuff wasn't here yesterday

I don't know which is cuter, the hat, the coat, or the kid. Tie, I guess?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I have been sick during every vacation and family trip for the last, oh, three or four years. Colds, headaches that won't go away, pregnancy malaise - you name it, it's felled me at least once in recent memory. I have a feeling that Liza's grandparents think I'm faking in order to get a break from childcare, but hopefully the mucous helped convince them otherwise.

Thursday I started to feel a tickle in my throat at bedtime, the tickle that means I have stuff dripping down the back of my throat, and it's only a matter of time before I have to wear the box of tissues in a side holster and sleep propped up at a 45-degree angle. It is, of course, only a few days before we fly to Jason's family's house for Thanksgiving. Yet another vacation where I'm doomed to snot and foul moods.

But this time I have decided to fight back. Fueled by comments posted on one of the blogs I read regularly ( - yay! Ellen is posting again!), I have decided to throw every possible potential fix at this cold, in hopes of warding it off, or at least reducing its severity so I don't sit around in a foul-tempered coma for most of my trip.

Friday I started my mother's patented "gargle hot salt water and spray your throat with Chloraseptic a few times a day" routine.

Saturday I went out and got some Cold-Eeze lozenges and some of the Zicam nasal swabs, and I've been using those in combination with my mother's routine all day yesterday and today. I've been sucking down herbal tea with lemon, and keeping the humidifiers cranked up, and trying to get some rest (except last night when I stayed up late to finish the sweater). I've been irrigating my nose in the shower (don't ask), and washing my hands like I've got OCD. Today I even split a can of Double Noodle Chicken Soup with Liza, that's how desperate I am.

Sunday - Throat's still scratchy, stuff is still dripping and draining and making it hard to sleep. Zinc lozenges don't taste particularly bad, but they take FOREVER to dissolve, and you're not supposed to chew them, so just about the time I finish one it's time to start on the next one. The Zicam swabs aren't too bad - much less nasty than when I used to get impentigo as a kid and had to have gooey antibiotic smeared inside my nose. I have no idea what they're supposed to be doing, but at least I feel like I'm doing something official and medicinal.

I'll keep you updated on whether I manage to kick this sucker before we leave for the holidays. Unlikely, but even if I manage to keep it to low-grade sickness for the length of my trip, I'll be happy.

UPDATE: Sunday night sucked, with the draining and the coughing and the stuffyness and the sleeplessness. I think all these remedies are full of shit. Monday morning and I feel marginally better, although still with the sore throat and drippy everything. Still doing the Zicam and zinc, still gargling and Chlorasepticing when I remember to, still relatively miserable. I broke down and got some Benadryl Allergy Sinus, which so far hasn't done squat to help with any of my symptoms. I remember the good old days, when I'd take a Dayquil and could actually feel my cold symptoms get better within half an hour or so. But now one Dayquil keeps me wired for half a week, as does anything that actually helps dry up my nose. Stupid drug sensitivities. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got another bowl of chicken soup with my name on it.


Meanwhile, Jason has the hellacious cough that even the "I think this might be a controlled substance" prescription cough suppressant can't shut up, and Liza's taking antibiotics to try to fend off whatever's been making her snotty for four weeks and has given her the beginnings of a sinus infection and an ear infection. I hope my in-laws' immune systems are ready for us, because we're dragging an entire laboratory full of nasties home with us.

New photo of me and my latest project

I started this sweater on Thursday. Of this week. Crochet Rocks! The pattern sizing, however, leaves a little to be desired. I could have used about an extra 2" vertically in the torso, and a little lower neckline, and maybe 2" extra all the way around so that I don't feel like people across the room can see my pulse through my sweater. Fitted? Yes. Flattering? Maybe in a "Christina Aguillera before she went and recorded a bunch of standards" way. I'll let you know if I ever get brave enough to wear this in public.
Still, it's more attractive than the only other sweater I have made for myself. I crocheted The Sack when we lived in Cleveland ... if you ever stumble on it at our local Goodwill store, you'll be able to recognize it as the one where the sleeves were 4" too long, Jason could have fit in it with me, the collar was barely big enough to squeeze my noggin through, and it was ugly brown/black boucle yarn. The only upside to that sweater was that wearing it was like sitting in a sweatlodge, which came in handy when gaming at our former neighbors' chilly house. I won't be using this new sweater for that purpose, although I'm sure my former neighbor would like it if I made one for his wife :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Must not buy anything more to decorate Liza's room

.... but these are so cute! Alphabet cards that feature hardware and tools ... who'd a thunk it? Lizzy Rockwell, apparently. If you like them, you can find them online at:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Miracles R Us

Sunday night Liza woke up screaming in the middle of the night because not only was she entering week 4 of her cold ("Hello, I'm the Ambassador from the Land of Snot and Phlegm, pleased to meet you. You might not want to shake my hand.") and choking to death on her own phlegm, but her teeth were hurting and apparently invisible demons were sticking her with pins and the babies were starving in Africa ... that sort of screaming. After liberal doses of pretty much every OTC drug I could find in our bathroom without turning on the light (hmmm, could be Benadryl, could be vaginal suppositories ... what the heck!), I finally managed to get her to drift off into sorta-sleep. She was still startling awake every five minutes, looking around wildly, then falling asleep again, but at least she was quiet. After a while the startling stopped, and I looked down, and not only was she dreaming, she was talking in her sleep. Whole freakin' sentences, with inflections, and appropriate gestures. She's not any more coherent when she's asleep than when she's awake, but it's nice to know that she's got the patter down well enough to handle it while semi-conscious.

And today, after dragging my daughter in her Benadryl-induced coma to the library for story time, we got some food and attempted to eat lunch. As usual when she's teething, she wouldn't eat, although she did manage to choke down a few bites of an oatmeal raisin cookies in between attempting to burrow into the wooden tabletop. And as I'm sitting there watching her attempt to pass out in a vertical position, not only does the Benadryl haze lift (which it was scheduled to do about that time, according to the dosage instructions), but I swear to god, she healed herself. It was like one of those Claritin commercials where the fog lifts and you can see everything clearly ... this huge sheet of snot and phlegm and coughing and whining and throwing things and not sleeping and being generally miserable and evil just ... went away. Five minutes later, as we were changing her diaper and reading stories prior to naptime, she was as perky and non-sniffly and non-whiny as if the past three days hadn't happened. She went down for a nap with no problem (and no drugs), woke up two hours later as happy as a clam, and even ate a snack, for god's sake. I took her to run errands ... in the afternoon ... before dinner ... which is normally about as much fun as oral surgery. She was an angel, getting in and out of the car on command, not whining, and even walking nicely in the parking lot, holding my hand and not rolling around in the huge puddles.

If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is. Somewhere out there a nun has missed out on her chance at sainthood, because my daughter snagged the miracle first. You go, girl!

Product recommendation

Liza is the last child on a couple of hand-me-down lists, and consequently she has more toys than most preschools possess. We recently got a package in the mail that included the Playskool Air-tivity Ball Popper, and let me tell you, it's a hit. Not only does it involve balls (or BAHHHHHHHHHHH! as Liza likes to say while jumping up and down excitedly) and have goofy music, but more importantly for parent sanity, there's an on/off switch. As far as I'm concerned, there's a special place in Hell for people who invent, manufacture, market, or buy battery-powered children's toys that don't have off switches.

Anyway, basically you put the balls in, they go around a track, and a stream of air pops them out the top, where they do the whole thing all over again. In reality, most of the time the balls bounce badly when they come out the top, necessitating chasing them all over the room and occasionally using a yardstick to fish them out from behind appliances (Liza thinks that's the best part). Left to her own devices, Liza would happily sit there and play with this thing until either she starved herself to death, or she ran out of balls because they were all stuck behind the oven. We have to use a timer and put it away where she can't see it after 10 minutes or so, she likes it that much.

If you've got an infant or toddler in the family, you should stick one of these on your shopping list. Better include the yardstick, too.

Monday, November 13, 2006

But mom, it's dark out here!

It's 70 degrees in November, dammit - you'll take a walk if I tell you to take a walk!

Sunset on our street

Proof that I have the best friend, ever

For the record, being the best friend ever requires sending me a birthday package that contains:
  • Apricot Ginger chutney
  • Poppycock Just the Nuts
  • Trader Joe's Bits o' Brownies
  • Trader Joe's chocolate covered pretzels (milk and dark)
  • Mexican vanilla that's so authentic it's misspelled as "vainilla"
  • Homemade crabapple jelly is optional

This is the kind of mother I want to be

Not the kind with three kids, the kind who lets her kid sit in the middle of a huge puddle and doesn't worry about ruining clothes or catching a cold. Laid back, I guess. I'm trying, Liza - really I am. As long as you don't try this in one of your Hannas, you'll be fine.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Talk to the hand ... er, mitten

New video up on YouTube - Liza is entranced with her new mittens, and her ability to take them off, and she wants to tell the world all about it. Check it out:

Oh, and in case you don't have time to watch the video, here's a still:

Yes, I'm aware that the mittens are both too small and thumbless. That's what I get for trying a free pattern from the Internet. Stupid Internet.

Signs ...

... That the soup, delicious as it was, probably could have used a little more stock:

... That two years is probably too long to wait to change the water filter in our refridgerator (this is what came out of the old filter when I changed it today):

... That Zach, ancient as he is (Happy belated 9th birthday, buddy!) is still as limber as a kitten:

... That Sybil will never read my blog again:

... That Liza has a future in Argentinian tango dancing, as soon as they replace the roses with cat toys:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Open Letter to Air Wick

Sent to the company this afternoon via their web site:

Yesterday I purchased an Evergreen Essence Decosphere. Within an hour of opening the package, the Evergreen Essence smell had pretty much permeated my whole house, so congratulations on making the decosphere so effective.

I'd be really pleased with how quickly the scent spread, if it smelled ANYTHING AT ALL LIKE AN EVERGREEN TREE. Given the marketing and packaging of this product, I was hoping for something that would smell at least sort of like a Christmas tree. Instead, my entire house now smells like an airplane bathroom, and I do not mean that in a positive way. When my husband returned from work yesterday, he wanted to know why our house smelled like a urinal cake. This is NOT the effect I was hoping for when I spent $4 on the decosphere.

I am not sure how you decided that this scent was a) similar to an evergreen tree, or b) appropriate for holiday use, but you've got it wrong on both counts.

The Decosphere is now sealed in two plastic bags, and it is still stinking up my desk area. It's hitting the trash as soon as I send this message, and I pity the poor trash guys who have to deal with it next week.

I know it's too late for this season, but please, please, please - for next year, think about renaming this scent, or at least not marketing it in a way that makes it seem like you're getting something Christmas-y. Because I for one was extremely disappointed with this product, and I'm guessing there are many other people who feel the same way.

So be forewarned - that little green glass ball is evil. Evil, evil, evil. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a urinal-cake-scented-birthday to celebrate. Humph.

Update - the customer service people at Airwick responded the following day, and supposedly they're sending me a coupon that will give me any of their products for free. Wonder if they've got anything that doesn't smell like a public restroom?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Finally, she eats

Well, we've finally found a vegetable Liza likes almost as much as still-frozen peas. The only problem is, that vegetable is green onions.

Picture this - I'm fixing dinner, and I've got a pile of chopped scallions on the cutting board. Liza can see them from her vantage point on the floor, and starts saying "Pea! Pea! Peeeeeea!" Since this is pretty much the only word she says that doesn't sound like "Bahhhh!" we know immediately that she has mistaken the stuff on the cutting board for peas. Several minutes of "No, that isn't a pea," later, I break down and use the tried-and-true strategy "Fine, if you're so sure they're peas, why don't you just eat one and be disgusted."

So I hand her one of the small pieces of the green stem, and she wolfs it down like it was, well, a frozen pea. And then she attempts to grab all of the rest of the scallions from the counter. We fed her half a dozen more pieces before giving in and letter her stuff fistfuls of them into her mouth. She ate so many that I had to get a few extra onions out of the fridge to have enough for my recipe ... and when I cut off a 4" long piece of onion greens and handed it to her, Liza ate the whole thing. Twice.

J - "Gahhh! Don't give her that much! We don't know what it will do to her when it comes out the other end!"
G - "How exactly are we going to tell if it has dire diaper consequences? She's already got a raging case of Baboon Butt ** from the whole teething thing."
J - "Oh, right. Nevermind."

I'm starting to think that onions and chili are all the kid can taste, thanks to the raging runny nose and irritating cough she's had for, oh, TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT. But hey, at least we've found something she'll eat. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to google recipes that call for as many scallions as I can cram into one dish. Oooh, maybe she'll like leeks, too ...

** This link takes you to a graphic but not too disgusting photo of a moderate case of yeasty diaper rash. It's pretty close to what Liza's got right now, and yes, we're treating it. I was going to post the nastiest photo I could find, but I didn't want to get sued by people wanting to get reimbursed for the charges to clean vomit out of their keyboards. Nasty, nasty, nasty - google it and see for yourself. How anyone could let their kid's genitals get that messed up is beyond my comprehension.

Mercury transit

In honor of my birthday, the planet Mercury will be passing in front of the sun tomorrow, and its transit will be visible from the US. Of course, Mercury is only 1/194th the size of the sun, and you'll burn your eyes out before you manage to see it without special gear, so it's a bit of a non-event as far as being able to go outside and take a gander at the spectacle. There are, however, plenty of websites that will offer near-real-time webcasts of the event. Here's a link to one:

Some of the transit facts from the NYTimes article:
Mercury's five-hour trek starts at 2:12 p.m. EST. People in Western time zones of the United States should be able to see the entire trip.
The last ''transit of Mercury,'' as it's called, was in 2003. These events occur about 13 times a century, with the next one happening in 2016, according to
That's more frequent than the transit of Venus, which happens in pairs, roughly twice in each century. (The next one is 2012).
Because of the timing of this year's transit of Mercury, it will be visible in North and South America, Australia and Asia, but not in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India, where it will be nighttime.

Monday, November 06, 2006

19th post of the day

Just a quick note to say that I'm trying something new and spinning off all of my craft talk to a separate blog, Lazy Mama Speaks. Yeah, I know - what craft talk? That's just it - it's not getting done, so maybe a new location will help spur me to write about it more. I'm hoping to use the new blog to keep folks abreast of new projects I'm working on, etc. It's going to be a little more professional than Mind Flush, and there won't be hardly any kid photos in it at all. But if you're interested in my business, check out the new blog at .

Mind Flush will continue to offer the same mix of way too many kid pictures, uninteresting commentary about my town, and, in the near future, a list of 147 reasons why my parents have too much stuff.

Way too funny

Check out this site for one of the funniest wedding songs I've ever heard. Kylie-Ann, this one's for you!


Looking outside my front window just now I noticed one of the reasons I don't mind paying my property taxes in this town - we have ridiculously good trash service. Not only can we leave pretty much anything ... appliances, yard waste, probably even dead bodies if they were properly labeled ... out for the trash, but they come around every week during the fall to get rid of the leaves. It's taking a crew of five city workers to vacuum up the huge pile of leaves I dumped on the sidewalk this weekend. I really need one of those vacuums - they just took care of a pile of leaves about 40 feet long and between knee- and waist-deep, in about a minute. Just think how much fun that would be to play with in my backyard! Of course, an occasional squirrel might get sacrificed to the Great Gods of Leaf Sucking, but that's a small price to pay for a spotless yard, right?

Oh, and here's my favorite of the shots from Longwood Gardens last week. This variety of chrysanthemum was so white it was almost blue ... except for these two, which apparently didn't get the memo instructing them how to dress this year.

I just love this shot, and I have just set it as the wallpaper on my computer. It's the first time in about a year that Liza hasn't held the place of honor on my desktop. Step aside, sweetie - mama's feeling artsy!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, that isn't a honeybee on the flower. According to the signs in the conservatory, it's some sort of non-stinging wasp that happens to pollinate flowers just as well as bees, only without the pesky risk of anaphilactic shock. Who'd a thunk it?

Plug for an artist on etsy

I recently bought a whole boatload of original art from emi, an artist I found on She does small (5"x5") cartoon-y pictures, mostly ink and watercolor. It's a ridiculously good bargain at $4 a pop for original art. And I found some inexpensive 5x5 frames that should be perfect, so everyone's getting framed, original art for Christmas!

If you're looking for small art, or for small gifts, check out her site on etsy:

And if you're a nosey parker and want to know what I bought, you can find it partway down this page, everything from the green-eyed cat to the killer whale. I've contacted her about doing a commission for me of a couple of vehicles for some little boys I know, and I'm currently trying very hard not to buy this to go with some of the stuff I already bought someone for Christmas.

Love, love, love her stuff. Must ... not ... keep ... all ... 10 ... paintings ... for ... myself ...

Here we go again

The summer after we moved into this house, our neighbors across the street began the process of finishing their basement and putting an addition on their house. Because their basement had some water issues (unlike mine, which should be labeled on local maps as a flood plain), they did the all-out waterproofing job on it ... excavating a trench around the house, putting in new drainage around the walls, coating the outside of the walls with waterproof stuff, etc. I'd say the waterproofing alone probably set them back 20 or 30 thousand dollars.

Because of weather delays, a project that kept hitting snags and unexpected problems (such as, hooking their drainage up to an existing line made sewage back up into their next door neighbors' bathtubs. Oops.), a project that just kept getting bigger (ooh, let's add a two car garage while we've got everything torn up!), and various contractor issues, their remodeling went on for TWO YEARS.

Two years of them having a 10-foot-deep hole somewhere in their yard. Months of having an 8-foot-high pile of gravel in their front yard. Two years of me having to drive around excavators, dump trucks, flatbed trucks, slate delivery trucks, etc. to get out of my driveway. Two years of their three kids tracking every bit of dirt in the world into their house, necessitating several months of floor refinishing once the project was done. Not that it bothered US - every morning I'd guess which equipment would be parked in front of their house. We should have started a neighborhood pool to predict when they would be done, but I don't think any of us would have guessed it would go on that long.

Anyway, when I went to drop Liza off at preschool this morning, there was a backhoe parked in front of another neighbor's house. Backhoes never mean good things, at least in this neighborhood. Either they're next on the list of "houses that really need to have their sewer lines replaced," or they're starting some fairly large construction/demolition project. It will be interesting to see which it turns out to be. Now where's the pool sheet I drew up? I've got my eye on a completion date of summer 2007, whatever the project is.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Longwood Gardens

With Jason out of town AGAIN, Liza and I flew out to visit my parents for the week. We'll be heading home tomorrow, but I thought I'd go ahead and post the link to our photos from our trip on Tuesday to Longwood Gardens. Liza wasn't so interested in the Chrysanthemum Festival, except the parts that had gravel. Loved the gravel. And in case that link doesn't work, here are a couple of my favorites:
Liza enjoys her grandparents' attention

One of the statues in the conservatory, designed to look like an origami crane.

One of the coming attractions in the Children's Garden, which is being renovated. Who could resist coming back in a few months to visit the spitting animal sculptures?

Halloween was a complete washout, with much screaming, crying, not sleeping until the wee hours of the morning, snot running down faces, etc. More on that when I get home to a computer that doesn't do funny things if I try to type in the non-HTML mode. If I see another carat, I'm going to scream.