Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Catching up

Going to have to write this in stages, since it's almost the end of naptime, and I have to make dinner early so we can go out and get cavities.

So about the time we went to the beach (beginning of September), I realized that somebody had flipped Liza's switch from "clingy and sensitive" to "bordering on normal." It was a shock, since she'd been at her previous setting since birth, and it took some getting used to.

I took her to the first day of preschool, and she was all, "I'll see you around noon, mother, although I may be a little late - Luke and I might stop after school and get a glass of milk." No tears, no velcro-baby, nothing. True, there was only one other kid there, and it was only for an hour, but I was so relieved. Hurrah! May the massive productivity one morning a week commence!

We stayed at my parents' house for a week, and she was all, "I love this room, I love this new bed, I think I'll eat whatever Grandma fixes for me and not even try to play in the cat litter." Huh?

I took her to story time at the library, and there were 10 other kids and their mothers in there too, and she had a history of complete screaming meltdowns at the thought that someone might want to read to her and sing songs with her. This time, though, the first class went smoothly, and she got an ovation for her overly-loud rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

She met the kids of some folks I had met through an online mothers' group, and they played nicely, and Liza was even trying to jolly along the kids who were more shy than her. More shy than her? Wait, that's never happened before.

About the time I noticed her changed behaviour and started gloating about it, somebody flipped the switch back, of course. We were back to "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOOOOOOOL! I WANT TO STAY HERE WITH YOUUUUUUUUUUU!" And, "But I want that cow, and he said no! I will now have a complete screaming meltdown at the library, and you will have to carry me out of the library kicking and screaming and throwing things, at which point I will continue to scream in the car for 15 minutes, because I want that cow!"

Bedtimes started creeping later again, and she started giving up naps occasionally, and things generally went to crap. You wouldn't believe the things we had to do to brush her teeth or comb her hair. Once again, it's a good thing she's cute, because otherwise she'd have been on the first bus out of here.

After a few days of "well, maybe she'll get better again," I resigned myself to switching back to velcro baby mode, including lots of coersion and bribery and warnings of exactly what to expect from new (and not so new) situations. After two weeks of teary preschool classtimes, culminating in a third week when I thought she was going to throw up, she was so upset about going, I went back to the beginning and sat in on the class with her. I stayed for an hour, then made up an excuse to leave for the rest of the class. She stopped crying after the first 15 minutes we were there, and while she wasn't exactly participating in all the activities, she was at least happy to play by herself with some of the toys.

The next week I once again got the "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOOOOOOOOOL" business at breakfast, and I explained to her that she didn't have to stay, but we needed to drop off the treat bags Miss Donna was going to use at the Halloween party. That at least got her in the door, and I only had to stay for 30 minutes or so. Today I had to physically carry her into the room, but she was fine once we got there, especially once she found out there would be trick-or-treat time a little later, and I left after 15 minutes and she barely noticed. So I think we're making progress, albeit slowly.

The good news is that she's back to being a bit more outgoing again, and I think I know why. We noticed that her bottom molars have finally broken through - I'm guessing that the recent setback to velcro mode was a teething thing. No sign of the upper molars yet, so I guess we get to go through this at least once more in the coming months.

I think Liza is always going to be a little more tentative than some kids her age, which is fine with me. I'd rather have a child that thinks things over and checks out the situation before deciding to join in. I think more impulsive kids probably end up in the emergency room more often, whereas mine won't let go of my hand in the parking lot because "Oh no! Maybe car! Liza might get bumped by car. Ouch! Mommy sad. Liza sad."

Of course, this is also the kid who finally learned how to jump into our arms in the pool without holding our hands and then demonstrated for her father that evening by jumping face-first off of the fourth step on our family room stairs. And when she got her wind back, she brushed herself off and tried to do it again, because obviously she'd done something wrong.

Keep those suggestions rolling in!

Aw, crud. I just realized that NaBloPoMo starts tomorrow, and I haven't finished my list of potential topics. Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions so far ... keep those ideas rolling in!

It looks like I may be away from my computer for most of Friday and/or Saturday. I'll do my best not to let the funeral interfere with my blogging, especially in the first three days of the month (!), but I'm sure you'll understand if I have to backdate a post or two. Right?

In the meantime, it's not too late to sign up to participate in NaBloPoMo - just visit to sign up. And if you don't have a blog yourself, you could get in the spirit of things and show your support for those of us who do by commenting every day :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm not sure ...

... but I think Asha posted my pumpkin hack sometime this weekend. Hmm, let's take a look at the site stats, shall we?

Guess so :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Really cute Liza video

... but you have to go to my other blog to see it:

because it's craft-related. Bwahahahahaha - my evil plan to drive traffic to my other blog is working!

Hey, Ya! Charlie Brown Version

Hee! Bet you Liza's going to love this when I show it to her tomorrow

Saturday, October 27, 2007

More fun with the sitemeter

Continuing my plan for blogosphere domination, I'm now the third AND fourth results if you search for "i'm about to kick somebody's ass" on Google. Hurrah! Maybe if we all pull together and a bunch of people link to my posts, I can hit #1 :)

Oh, and howdy, Parenthackers! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, and stick around for a while. I'm bound to say something interesting eventually!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Congratulations to the contest winner!

Congratulations to fellow etsy seller idiomsyncrasies, the winner of the first Show Cleveland Some Love! contest, which ended at noon today.

If you participated in the contest but didn't win the main prize, watch your e-mail for a consolation offer from the participating shops.

Thanks to everyone for participating ... now, get out there and buy all the stuff you bookmarked when you were browsing through the shops for the contest!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My current favorite place on the planet

It's the intersection of two rivers in Olmsted Falls ... take the nature path from the library, go under the covered bridge, and there's access to the rocks right where the trail takes a hard right to switch from following the small river to the large river.

Sorry the video is shaky - it was cold, and I was tripod-less. My broadcast journalism teacher would be horrified. TFB :)

I'm gonna try it this year

Well, this year I finally remembered about National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo to those of us in the know) BEFORE it started, so I'm gonna give it a whirl. Basically, all I have to do to participate is post something - anything - every day during the month of November. I could post something to the effect of "I think paper clips are stupid," every day and it would count. But being the geek that I am, I'm compiling a list of possible topics, since every time I need to think of one I can never remember the awesome one I had while driving 70 miles an hour down the highway the day before.
So if you've got any topics you'd like me to cover, leave a message in the comments section. I'll use as many as I think have the potential to be interesting or funny. No, I won't be posting about Darfur - there are plenty of other places you can go for that sort of blogging. But if you want to know my favorite flavors of Tasty Kakes, let me know!
Oh, and I may start a blogroll of fellow participants, so if you're participating, let me know and I'll include you. Gotta spread the NaBloPoMo love around, you know!
And if there's anyone left on the planet who doesn't understand what's written in the badge above, it's paying homage to, where people put funny sayings with bad grammar and spelling over funny pictures of cats. Sounds lame, but is really trendy right now.

Baby news

Frequent Mind Flush commenter MLF hasn't been around quite so much recently, with good reason ... he and his wife had their third child earlier this month!

Welcome to the blogosphere, Esther!

And yes, I did title the post with an eye toward getting my mother-in-law's hopes up. Face it, Susie - I'm serious about the only child thing. Only way I'm going through this again would involve changing my name to Mary and wearing celestial blue robes all the time.

Have you taken the pledge yet?

Well, we're a week away from the madness called Holiday Shopping Season, and I'm here with two suggestions on how to make it simpler this year:
  1. Make them something. Yes, you can. Trust me, if you can sew a straight seam on a sewing machine, or manage to sew a button on by hand, or even make a basic knit stitch, there's something you can make for just about anybody on your list. See those patterns over on the left side of my blog? Anybody could make those, even people who flunked out of home ec and get a rash when words like "seam allowance" and "purl" come up in conversation.
  2. Buy handmade. Sure, you can go to the mall, wade through crowds of people, find out that the size you need isn't available, go online, find out that the size isn't available there, and end up getting the person a gift card that they'll lose or forget who gave it to them. Or, you could go online to someplace like, where everything you see is in stock and hand-crafted, and you can pick out a thoughtful and unique gift for pretty much everyone on your list. The first place to visit, of course, is :)

I'll be the first to admit that for the past few years I've been more interested in getting my shopping DONE than in getting it done right. But this year I've taken the pledge, and I'm going to try to stick to it. Okay, my father-in-law may be getting more gift certificates for ammunition from a local store instead of some artsy t-shirt he'd never wear, but I think I can find something for darn near everyone else.

So check it out, and if you're with me on this, take the pledge at And pass the word along to your friends, family, and coworkers - make it a great holiday for them, and for the crafters and artists they'll be helping to support. I'll be posting updates to let you know how my shopping is going - feel free to do the same in the comments section of the posts. Thanks, and happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You're running out of time...

... to enter the Show Cleveland Some Love! contest at . Entries will be accepted until midnight on Friday, Oct. 26th. So if you want a shot at winning a $65 credit to use at any participating Cleveland etsy shop, get a move on!

(and buy lots of stuff while you're checking out the shops in order to enter!)

Oh, how I need this

As if I don't already have 15 bags to carry my craft projects around in. But it's so coooooool .... And I do have a birthday coming up (HINT HINT)

Monday, October 22, 2007

From the garden - fall round-up

It took them long enough - the FIRST of the red peppers ...

Still haven't harvested any of these yet ... but I think they're finally almost ready:

Still going strong:

We dug out and prepared a second 4' square for next year, which I think I will designate as the "mostly herb" garden. It's in a shadier spot, and I think that will hurt the herbs less than it will the yields on my tomatoes and whatever else I put in. Maybe it will get enough sun in the spring that I can throw in some salad crops before the leaves come out. I wasn't able to find any manure for sale at Home Depot when I was working in the amendments to the soil, so I have to remember to double up on it this spring when I turn it over again.
New things I'm thinking about planting for next spring:
  • peas
  • lettuce or spinach (probably spinach)
  • zucchini (with a barbed-wire fence around it to keep out the deer and groundhogs and raccoons)
  • rhubarb (although I'm not sure I want to devote that much room to a pie filling)
  • cherry tomatos
  • more onions, staggered in planting time (maybe try for some green onions?)
  • maybe some radishes? Not a lot, just a few to see how they do.
  • maybe some carrots? I know that garden-grown ones are really ugly, but I remember them tasting pretty good.
  • maybe a Japanese eggplant
Things I'll skip next year:
  • corn - I don't have the room to plant enough to get it fully pollenated
  • broccoli - it takes too much room for one head of so-so stuff, and it attracts caterpillars
  • cucumbers - they're fun to watch, but I don't like them enough to use them up fast enough
  • zucchini, if I don't come up with some way to protect it. Pest magnet, those things are.
So, we've probably got another few weeks I can baby along what's left in the garden, and then it will be time for the mass purge and returning to the soil. I'll pitch the tomato stalks and whatever the deer have left me of the zucchini plants, since they seem to have some sort of white powdery mildew on them, and I don't want to put that back into the soil. But the rest I think I'll have Jason run over with the lawn mower, then I'll turn it back into the garden as my own cheapo compost. Worst case, when I turn over the garden in the spring I can pull out any big chunks that are left.
So that's it! Thanks for sticking with me for a whole summer of posts. It's been fun for me to have an excuse to have to wander back there regularly. Hopefully the wealth of veggie photos haven't scared away too many potential readers!

Easiest. Pumpkin. Ever.

So easy, even a toddler can do most of it (2 1/2 year old Liza picked out most of the pieces, although I made her put them in roughly the right places. Usually her potatoes end up sniffing through their armpits and growing hair on their feet.)

Step 1: Buy a pumpkin. You don't want a huge one, lest is dwarf the size of your Mr. Potato Head pieces.
Step 2: Decide where you want the body parts to go, and press the posts firmly into the pumpkin so that you make a dent in the skin (the posts aren't stiff enough to actually penetrate the skin).
Step 3: Use a small screwdriver, awl, or ice pick to poke holes at each dent. Each hole should be a little smaller than the actual post, so the pieces won't fall out.
Step 4: Insert pieces into the holes.
Step 5: Wash the ice pick, and any pieces that get pumpkin guts on them.
This craft was inspired by the Mr. Potato Head pumpkin pieces you can buy to make various characters (ninja, pirate, etc.). But why would I spend $10 on more Mr. Potato pieces when I've got a billion of them at home? I'm guessing the official pumpkin pieces are a larger scale than the potato pieces, and they might be pointier and stiffer so you can skip the awl ... but I have to admit, taking an icepick to the eyeballs of my pumpkin was a good way to let off steam this morning :)

Color possibilities for the kitchen

I'm leaning toward 6484 or 6485, I think the designer is leaning toward 6477, 6478, or 6479. Since we'll be knocking out the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and there's already no wall between the dining room and living room, this color is going to have to go in the kitchen, dining room, living room, and up the hall outside our bedrooms. So we'd better like it, is what I'm saying.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Boo at the Zoo

It was a beautiful autumn evening ...

And a certain fairy princess was ready for her first "Boo at the Zoo."

We've been at the zoo for five minutes, and already she's lost the wand. Good thing we have three more at home.
"I'm a beauuuuuuuutiful faiwy pwincesssssssss!"

Look! The lions are actually moving! (note the use of temporary, "I don't care if they get broken" wings, necessitated by the 40-mph winds that day that would have caused liftoff with the bigger wings on loan from a friend)

There are certain downsides to the costume ...

Liza's favorite parts of the night were watching the cellists at the Wolf Wilderness lodge, and getting up the nerve to dance at the Monster Mash. Here she is, checking out the crowd with Daddy.

Here she is with "Blue Ghost," which is what she calls anything vaguely ghostlike, thanks to a blue ghost-shaped nightlight that was pressed into service as her official sleep guardian back when she was refusing to go to sleep before 11pm. This guy's a little bigger.

busy, busy

What happens when you get fed up with the three trees that are annoying to try to mow around and a large plastic castle that has to be moved every time you mow so that you don't kill the grass?

Somebody pass the Tylenol, because my back and one butt cheek muscle are in a world of hurt. And I still have to strip off all the sod on the back half of the new bed (Gretchen sobs quietly).

Oh, and remember the Cabinet of Mature Content?

One coat of stain, almost a whole can of stainable wood filler, a lot of swearing, and fifteen cans of spraypaint later, I've got a new cutting table and fabric storage cabinet for my sewing room.

See all the gold details? That finish comes from a metallic gold paint pen, just like the ones we all used to color on our book covers in junior high school. Oh, the smell will take you back. I couldn't believe it covered over the black in one coat. I've got two extra ones that I need to return to Home Depot before I find something else to color in. That was fun!

See, Joy? I told you I could make your dresser pretty again!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Did you know?

If you search for "how to turn a bathtub into a couch" on google, I'm the first result?

And if you search for "I'm about to kick somebody's ass" on ATT/Yahoo, I'm number 6.;_ylt=A0geu5TqihlHaXQBfVJXNyoA?p=%22i%27m+about+to+kick+somebody%27s+ass%22&y=Search&fr=yfp-t-471

Great, now that song's going to be stuck in my head for a week. Everybody sing along now ... And watch the Ze Frank shows on that page, too - I had forgotten. Oh, how could I forget you, Ze? You're on my list of five, you know.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Back to the kitchen with you, woman!

After much agonizing and "no, you make the decision," "no, you make the decision," we've changed our minds about which contractor we'll be using. After we both agreed on the mid-range price company, we both 'fessed up that we actually wanted the high-end kitchen design company to do the work, but for various reasons thought we "should" pick the other guys. So now we're going with the expensive folks, who paradoxically seem the most willing to tell me, "You totally can't afford that on your budget." I think we've managed to impress upon our designer that we really, really like our budget, and she's willing to work with us to find ways to get a nice kitchen for that amount. It's not going to have solid gold sinks and marble countertops, but that's not really our style, anyway.

This is at the top of my mind today because I had an initial design consultation with the company this morning, where we sat down for two solid hours picking out sinks, counters, faucets, knobs, paint possibilities, etc. Meanwhile, Liza was sitting in a chair the whole time, mostly behaving herself while watching videos and only occasionally interrupting our discussion to snot all over everything or throw Corian samples at the glass wall. Yes, I know I owe her for this one.

I've been a bit stalled on the kitchen design/decision making process, I think partly because I was worried that the compromises we were going to have to make to stay within our budget were going to lead to a kitchen that I wasn't going to be happy with. I can live with an unhappy kitchen, I just don't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get it. We're in kind of a weird situation because we actually have more money than we want to spend on the kitchen, so it's not like we can say, "Well, we can't do that, because the bank won't give us more money." No, we're just trying not to over-improve the house buy installing a kitchen that's worth 25% of the total value of the house, and we're trying to keep a nice cushion in case we suddenly need to replace a car (or replace a furnace ... or visit Antarctica for Chrismas). So we have a budget that we know we should stick to, but there's nobody to police us except ourselves.
Anyway, I think the design dam broke this morning, because all of the sudden I was able to figure out what I wanted and we managed to find it in things that should hopefully fall in our budget. And when we got all of the decisions made (they're still open to change, if budget or taste requires, but these are what our initial estimate will be based on), I was really happy with the result.
I've been having a hard time finding an inspiration for the kitchen design - you know, something I can plunk down and say, okay, all of our colors are coming out of this piece of fabric, or this painting, or whatever. I've been pulling photos out of magazines and brochures, but all of them tended to be "I like the floor" or "I like the backsplash," not "I love this whole kitchen." The closest I had to a design inspiration was, I like transparent glass tiles, and I want slate in the entryway of the house and maybe we can carry it into the kitchen, too.

After I finished redoing our guest room, I found a bag of "sea glass" in the floral section at Michael's, and I picked it up for possible future use in a vase or candle holder in the room. But as I weeded through the photos of kitchens I liked, I kept finding pictures of white cabinets and various blues for the walls and counters. Bingo - informal beach cottage it is.

(not my photos - I got it from somebody's ebay listing, but the colors are about right)


One of the reasons we chose to go with this design company is because, after initially expressing some doubt that we could get the kitchen we wanted with our budget, the designer called me several days later to ask if I had thought about using Ikea cabinets. They had used Ikea cabinets in another remodel, and she was impressed with both their style and their low price. I was impressed that she had heard of Ikea. None of the other contractors we talked to had even heard of them, much less worked with them, and most said they would not be willing to use cabinets from an unknown source. I was also impressed to find that she was still thinking about our situation a few days after a brief "get to know the company" discussion. I was so impressed, actually, that I shoved the kid in the car and drove to Pittsburgh that day to take a look at the cabinets in person.

I had briefly checked out Ikea's cabinets on previous visits, but this time I was able to spend a little more time checking out the construction and the features, as well as checking out the door styles in person. I know that Ikea stuff has sort of a reputation as being "first apartment" furniture, but the stuff wears like iron - my parents are still using an armoire they bought for me in high school, a piece that has been moved to two apartments in the US, three houses in the US, and one apartment in Japan. And we're still using two sets of bookcases we bought for our first apartment back in 1995. So I have no doubt that the Ikea kitchen stuff will last as well as whatever we could afford from Home Depot ... that stuff is all made of particle board and plywood, anyway, they just have solid wood doors - and so do some of the Ikea styles.

I found three or four door styles that I liked, I picked up their kitchen planning guides and price list, and when I got home I downloaded their online kitchen planner. I've been playing around with it on and off, using it to try out layouts of cabinets and appliances. Since the cabinet boxes are standard sizes, even if we don't go with Ikea it's nice to be able to look at 3D renderings of a design to see if it's hideous or stupid. Plus, the program adds up all of the pieces you've got in the design, and you can immediately see the price difference if you take out a cabinet or swap a set of drawers for a door with shelves. And, hey - a whole kitchen chock full of cabinets for about $3500? One-third the price of the Home Depot quote we got. Of course, that doesn't include some of the nifty interior fittings, which have to be purchased separately, but I don't think we'll have more than a couple hundred dollars of Rationell stuff, if that much. Oh, and one more benefit - some styles of Ikea cabinets are in stock, and the rest can be ordered within two weeks. Compared with the 6-8 week lead time for conventional cabinets, Ikea's looking better all the time.


So now that we've decided on the contractor, we've pretty much settled on which door style we want from Ikea - the humorously named "Lidingo" which I can't convince my computer to umlaut on the final "o." Every time I have to say it, I have to fight back the urge to start talking about how dingoes ate my baby. Must - not - quote - Seinfeld ...

Anyway, it's basically a white raised-panel door - very conventional looking, and not at all the super-sleek minimalist style a lot of people associate with Ikea. You can see photos of somebody's finished Dingo Kitchen at

And yes, I chose similar cup pulls for the drawers, with coordinating round knobs with a raised spiral on the front for the doors. Relatively boring chrome faucet with a lever handle and an integrated sprayer (where the head of the regular faucet is on a hose and can pull out to be a sprayer, rather than the sprayer being a separate item). There's nothing wrong with it, and it's several hundred dollars cheaper than the ones I'm more partial too, so this might be one of the areas where I'm willing to compromise. Oh, and we'll be ditching the cover plate at the bottom and mounting in a single hole.

We're getting pricing on a nifty sink they have in their showroom - it's some sort of quartz blend something or other that doesn't stain, and best of all, doesn't show the least little bit of water spots when it dries. I don't know the name, or I'd post photos of that, too. But the decision I'm most excited about is the counters - I loooooove the Corian that we picked out.

That's "Aqua," in case anyone wants to find it at their local retailer. Love, love, love this. We may not actually be able to afford Corian, but there are so many millions of colors of laminate, I'm sure we can find something similar if we have to economize here. But in the meantime, I'm going to bed with a smile on my face thinking of my lovely white cabinets with my lovely aqua counters ...

I'll post a rough sketch of the current best guestimate as to the cabinet arrangement soon ... and wait until I tell you about our plan for tiling the backsplash. Oh, it's cool ... and I think I get to use my glass tiles! Not many of them (at $60 for a square foot of 1" squares, there's a good reason to ration them), but they'll be there!

In summary - love the designer, love the decisions so far, would like to wake up tomorrow and find the work all done and ready to move in. Please?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Go Fug Yourself

Title is not my fault: it's the name of the website. Which I love, because it contains proof that celebrities are idiots when it comes to dressing for fancy occasions, and it contains prose such as:

"If only the rest of you didn't look so bedraggled, like your car broke down and you had to walk thirty blocks to the event in really painful shoes, and now you FINALLY made it and you're EXHAUSTED and SWEATY and you chewed off all your lip gloss trying to hail a cab and oh my god, yes, fine, it's true, this dress WAS made from a window treatment, but it was a very SUBTLE and CLASSIC window treatment, so shut up and take the picture already."
from this post

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Look! I got a treasury!

Since I'm the boss of the treasury, I can't be in it, but it's worth a look anyway ... we've got a diverse bunch of crafts in our contest, don't we?

Note to self

When your daughter finally starts showing an interest in "mothering" her dolls, and is really excited to see the stroller and high chair that have been in the attic for months, and is pretending to feed the baby and rock the baby and walk the baby around the family room, and you leave the room for a minute to go to the bathroom, and suddenly you realize that things have become veeeery quiet in the family room, you're likely to encounter this when you go downstairs:"Liza share stickers with baby!"
I'm sure the baby would tell you how much she appreciates that, if only you hadn't smothered her with the stickers. Dude, at least leave one nostril open, okay?

Anyone have a good suggestion on how to store craft supplies so that I can reach them easily, but Liza the Sticker-Happy, Scissor-Learning Toddler can't? Because the clear plastic drawers aren't cutting it, and we're out of upper-level storage in every room in the house. I don't really want to have to go up into the attic every time she wants a glue stick, but my furniture is starting to suffer from the nonstop sticker assault.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh, the laughter! It rang out through the halls of the household like the clamor of bells on Sunday morning!

Read through the comments. Oh, my. It's good to know I'm among my kind, here on the internet.

And I still say, it's not my fault if she mispronounces "dang."

It was almost worth ...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Shameless self-promotion time (again)

A group of Cleveland crafters (including me!) have banded together to publicize our etsy shops. And what better way to drive traffic to our sites than a contest?
Click on the logo above to go to the homepage for our group. There you'll find instructions on how to enter to win a $65 credit to use at any of our stores (or split between several). Basically, you visit our etsy stores (links are provided) and poke around until you find where we've each listed our favorite place in Cleveland. Fill in the form, and voila! You're entered.
It is, of course, advisable to take a look at what each store has for sale, since that's sort of the point of this exercise (at least as far as we're concerned). There's some really cool stuff out there - jewelry, home decor, purses and bags, hats and scarves, baby gifts, etc. Think of it as a painless way to get an early start on your holiday shopping.
And since most of our stores are selling stuff pretty regularly, if you see something you have to have, go ahead and buy it now - you never know when some sneaky person will come and buy the thing you bookmarked to come back to later. Trust me, if you win the contest, you'll find plenty of things to spend the money on!
Thanks for your support, and make sure you list as the place you heard about the contest (we're vying for bragging rights about who sends the most traffic to the contest, and I'm determined to win!).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Now back to our regularly-scheduled programming

(Ladies), you know how when you put on mascara, your mouth involuntarily opens wide to stretch out your face so that you have more room to maneuver? Apparently the same move is necessary for improved hand control when learning to use scissors.
Poor kid wants to cut with scissors all day, and I swear, her mouth is going to get stuck like that. It's sort of disturbing - she's not talking or crying or yawning or breathing through her mouth, just concentrating so hard that she loses control of her jaw.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Too much information alert

So last week I had to visit the doctor to clear up a recurring yeast infection, or, as I like to call it, crotch rot. Nothing says fun like having a pelvic exam with your doctor-phobic two-year-old in the room, during her normal lunch time. I didn't hear a peep out of her the whole time, praise be to Barney and the portable DVD player.

(See that - half of my readers just clicked away in disgust, and Jason passed out on the floor of the conference center in Shreveport from acute embarassment after the first sentence. Hi, honey! It's 48F in our bedroom because I forgot to close the window today, and I'm killing time until it warms up enough so I can't see my breath. How's things down south?)

Anyway ... after giving me the prescriptions for the anti-fungal pill and the antibiotic gel, which in combination should pretty much napalm anything living below my waist (as well as some stuff above it), my doctor says as he's leaving the room: "And if this still doesn't take care of it, you'll need to come back in, and make sure you schedule the appointment to have a fasting blood sugar test done, because you might have diabetes."

Well thank you, Dr. Positive Thinking. Remember, this is the guy who told me I might have brain tumors because I get screaming headaches at the same time every month. Very nice guy, just a little eager to suggest I have life-threatening illnesses.

So today I finally got around to looking up diabetes and yeast infections on the internet. I love the internet - you find the most interesting things there. For instance, once you weed through all of the sites sponsored by major medical institutions, drug companies, and college health centers, you end up with a bunch of rant-filled sites that offer natural alternatives to the OTC and prescriptions solutions for crotch rot.

Out of curiousity I poked around a few, and I found that there are apparently quite a few women (or wimmin, or womyn, depending on which site you visit) who have the following thought: "I don't trust the independently-tested, quality-controlled, governmentally regulated remedies for this problem. I think I'll douche with yogurt instead."


My personal favorite was gentian violet, which I had heard of as a natural solution to thrush problems and yeasty diaper rash in infants. Hmmm, take a pill that costs $8 at the pharmacy, or repeatedly paint my private parts with some chemical that stains everything it touches bright purple. Tough decision. And did I mention that it's "paint my private parts - inside and out"? According to the directions, a speculum is required to reach those tricky areas, like your cervix ... darn, I think my speculum got lost in the move.

Oh, and for anyone who landed at this page because they searched for "yeast infection," you have my sympathy. Please be aware that I spent less on the copay for my doctor visit and two prescriptions than I did for the OTC treatments that didn't work. Next time, I'm heading straight for Dr. Doom and Gloom and getting the napalm right away.

Have you looked at my site meter recently?

Hooray, me!

Things I wish I'd said

[I don't trust] a woman who doesn't own a glue gun.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Can't you just imagine the conversation that led to this?

"So, boss, I've got the next big thing, really. It's a new version of 'Peter and the Wolf.' Yes, I know there are about 14 million of them out there already. Yes, I know that Patrick Stewart has already released a version. This one's a winner - we're going to have Dame Edna Everage narrate it!"

Yeah. Australian cross-dresser narrates Peter and the Wolf in a screeching falsetto. Sounds like a winner to me.

And yet ... it's strangely compelling. I crack up every time we learn that the grandfather is played by "the basooooooooooewwwwwwwwn," and Liza isn't as scared of this version as she was of the two minutes of the Jean-Luc version we managed to hear before she started screaming "Scary! Scary!" and foaming at the mouth. I'm not sure we'll be bootlegging a copy, and I know we won't be paying $9 for it new, but if we ever get the kid an MP3 player, I might download it for her. Just so I can hear about the "oooooooouuuuuu-bowwwwwwww" some more, don't you know.

PS - since I mentioned Jean-Luc, I have to add this ... URANUS! Sorry, only Jason will get that, but it makes me giggle.

Tooting my own horn

I'm loving this quilt. Too bad I put it in the shop ... maybe nobody will buy it, and I can keep it all for myself! Or maybe somebody will buy it, and I can use the money to make an even better quilt for myself! Or to buy a really cool necklace from one of the other cleveys ...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Strike up the band

Last week the local preschool PTA parents' group had an outing to the high school marching band practice, where the kids were allowed to bring toy instruments and march along with the big kids for a few minutes.

Liza had seen the marching band practice at my old high school when we were visiting my parents a few weeks ago, and she was really excited to go and do this ... right up until we got in there among the kids and started marching, at which point she totally freaked out and we spent the rest of the time on the sidelines being attacked by gigantic mosquitos.
With Liza velcroed to my legs, I had a good view of the action:

Which isn't to say Liza didn't enjoy it. She just wanted to get her groove on from very, very far away.

Our friends Sybil and Penelope came over to watch the band with us, and afterwards we gave Liza's wagon the official two-toddler test around the block.

I swear, it sounded like there was a high school girls' slumber party going on back there in the wagon, with all the giggling and munching and smacking on the head with cymbals (followed by hysterical laughter). Penelope is talking a lot more now, so she occasionally manages to get a word in edgewise when Liza takes a breath. It was cute beyond words, even if we did have to brave the mosquitos and the dark to do it.

Unreasonably excited

So etsy has these things called treasuries, where members can call out items they think are cool, or fit a theme, or whatever. There's only a fixed number of them active at one time, and it's very competitive to get one once they're open, so it's kind of a rare thing to appear in one.

Wahoo! My first treasury appearance, and it's my favorite item in my shop right now! Yay, Lori!

Friday, October 05, 2007

And the winner is ...

In case anyone missed my oh-so-subtle mention of it, Wednesday was Delurk Day, and I offered a prize for the best story related to the DMV and driving. Thanks to everyone who participated - the stories were great, as were the details about some of the newer readers. I hope everyone will stick around for a while - I'm generally not QUITE so pushy!

As for the contest, I was torn between Deborah's attempts to edit the written test while taking it, and mrsdillydally's drive-into-the-garage-door fiasco ... and then I read Leta's comment. First of all, attempting to renew your license with a 6-week-old infant in tow probably would have won on its own (gah, can you imagine the photo, with no sleep and all the baby weight there and no time to take a shower, much less put on makeup?), but the finding out you could go to jail? Oh, too much.

Leta, you're our winner. I'll contact you through your blog so you can pick out a prize. Congratulations! And warn us if you're ever driving in Ohio, okay?

Local charity could use some donations, if you're in the area

Cut and pasted from a local mom's chat group:
Did you know that a child in our foster care system moves an average of 7 times? And over 80% of these children are handed a black plastic bag to pack all of their belongings into to make this move.

This year CABOR (Cleveland Area Board of Realtors) has chosen to join with Suitcases for Kids to help bring some dignity to foster kids. Started by a ten year-old in North Carolina and joined by 4-Hers and Scouts across America, this has become a national organization. To learn more about the organization, see

Because I feel that this is a worthy project that many of us can participate in with virtually no cost to ourselves, I thought I would get the word out. The other day I was at the home of one of my sellers getting some paperwork signed and they were then going to take out the trash. I took a few ficus trees from them and they jokingly offered me 3 suitcases! Many of us, or our parents, have old suitcases with no wheels or 20 suitcases and only 4 people in the family. Why not donate them?

My office is a drop off location - 1240 N. Abbe Rd. in Elyria across the street from LCCC or give me a call. I would be happy to come pick them up from you.
Rachel TanzilliR
ealtor, Residential Specialist
Realty One Real Living, #1 in Ohio

Ordinarily we don't have anything to contribute to these sorts of "stuff" drives, but we've got a couple of suitcases that haven't seen the light of day since we returned from Japan, so it looks like I'll be heading out to Elyria next week.

The perils of dining with a toddler

Liza loves the local Japanese restaurant, so when the event we were supposed to go to at the nature center was full, we decided to take her to a hibachi table for the first time. We've avoided them up until now because tables with giant frying surfaces in the center weren't the best idea when she was long on arms and short on impulse control. She's gotten to the point now where, given proper warnings about bodily harm to be suffered, and reminders in the proper tone of voice, she can be (mostly) counted on to avoid self-immolation and/or third degree burns.

All Liza will eat at the restaurant right now is the tofu I strain out of a bowl of miso soup. By the time we strained tofu out of my soup, Jason's soup, and her soup, we ended up with a very narrow table filled with bowls of miso broth (and one very full child).

Liza has recently decided that green onions are evil, which is surprising considering her earlier love of them. But now when she sees one in her bowl of tofu, she picks it out with her fingers and attempts to put it in my bowl. You can probably see where this is going, right?

Tonight at dinner she reached for my bowl, overbalanced in the booster seat and caught herself on the edge of my bowl of soup. Which was full of about 10 ounces of hot miso soup. Which ended up in my lap.

Two large and very unabsorbent restaurant napkins later, I got to sit through the rest of dinner with miso soaked into my shorts, shirt, and underwear, as well as pooled in my sandals. When we left the restaurant I realized that I had green onion pieces stuck to the fronts of my legs. And until I got a chance to change, I smelled strongly of miso (Jason won't let me insert my joke here ... just use your imagination).

This is not the first time I've gotten to hang out with unpleasant stuff soaked into my pants ... don't ask me to tell you about the time I found out the bags airplane headphones come in weren't designed to hold vomit after all, or how somebody (I honestly don't remember if it was Jason or me, which means it was probably me) bumped half a can of Sprite into my lap at the beginning of the flight to Puerto Rico on the first day of our honeymoon. Nothing says "tropical vacation" like a lap full of sticky, lemon-lime-scented water.

Plugging myself

My sisters in all things Cleveland, crafty, and etsy are banding together to have a contest!

The contest will run from Friday, October 12th through Friday, October 26th. People entering the contest will need to look in the profiles of Cleveland etsy members to see what place each shop loves in Cleveland. Fill in a quick form, and you're entered to win a shopping spree at any of the participating stores!

The site isn't up yet, so I can't link to it, but mark your calendars - this one should be fun!

In the meantime, you can get a jump on the contest by visiting my etsy site and noting what place I specifically mention in my shop profile. Oh, and as long as you're there anyway, buy something ;) Remember to mention that you're here from Mind Flush, and I'll upgrade you to priority mail shipping for free!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Plugging other bloggers

Visit fellow blogger Angie for a list of the top diaper and formula deals of the week, as well as a roundup of ridiculously good internet coupons for Kohl's, The Children's Place, Amazon, etc.

It's 9:37 pm, do you know where your audience is?

I've had 36 visits, and 4 comments. Ahem.

Remember, lurkers - today's your day to shine!

Today is the day of Schmutzie's great delurk, when all lurkers are encouraged to step up and say something in the comments section. Encouraged - that's the right word for "forced against their will, with threats of really boring future posts if you don't", right?

So, for the tongue-tied among us, I'll give you an optional topic. Since I had SOOOOOO much fun at the BMV this morning, let's all discuss our worst BMV or driving horror stories, shall we? Like the time you got pulled over on your way to a date, opened the glove compartment to get your registration, and a big box of condoms fell out on the floor ... or the time you rolled your car into a ditch and looked over to see your prom date hanging by her seatbelt ... or the time you ran over a cat while taking your driving test ... or the really bad breath the lady at the BMV counter has, you know, that sort of thing.

Best story will win something I haven't gotten around to posting in my etsy shop - all comments will be judged first thing tomorrow morning, so start typing, crew!

Things you need to register your car in Ohio

1. Your title and current registration.
2. Your social security card and current driver's license.
3. A full tank of gas.
4. A bucketful of patience.
5. Someplace to dump your toddler.

So after stopping at the bank to get my Kentucky title out of the safety deposit box, I show up at the BMV today to get Ohio plates for my car. I go inside, find out I have to get an "out of state vehicle inspection" (which means the clerk goes and checks the VIN and mileage on the car to make sure it's not stolen), then get an emissions test, then take the emissions test and the inspection receipt to the title bureau to get the title. Then once I have the title, I can come back to the license bureau and get it registered and get plates.

There's a title bureau right next door to the license bureau ... which conveniently has a completely different schedule from the license bureau and was closed today. So I drove over to the next town over (about 15 miles) where the title office was actually open on a Wednesday, then drove to the town beyond that for the emissions test, then drove back to the license bureau, stopping off at the bank for the second time today so that I could get my Social Security card out of my safety deposit box.

After standing in line for the fourth time (this time with a toddler in tow, since by then I had picked her up from preschool), I am now the proud owner of a piece of paper that says they'll mail me my plates. Woohoo! I'm almost legal!

Next up - taking the written driver's test for the third time in twelve years, which I can only do at either of two license bureaus that are each about 20 miles from the one that's near my house. Anyone want to quiz me on when to stop for a school bus, or what the speed is in a residential area within an incorporated zone? Because I'm ready to rock this test's world, let me tell you.

I figure by the time I'm actually done with this mess, I'll have put at least 100 miles on my car. My god, the suckiness of this system is just not to be believed. And here I thought Kentucky was bad, since I had to walk back and forth between two offices that were a couple blocks apart. Sheesh!

Interesting side note - the clerks at the title office in North Ridgeville are named Jean, Jean G., Caren, and Karen. Um, okay.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Is it just me?

or is the video for this product kind of disturbing? (link for video is in bottom right corner of main window)

I don't know about you, but if my tea starts to move, it's going down the garbage disposal. Plus, the finished "bouquet" looked like something my cat hacked up. Nothing says "love" like Hairball Tea.

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

I'm putting all the new readers on notice ...

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

I'm participating in Schmutzie's great delurk on Wednesday, October 3rd. So start limbering up your fingers ... I get an average of 33 hits a day, so I'd better see at least 25 comments on Wednesday's post! Or else ... I don't know what, maybe I'll write another 14-page essay on my mental health and force you to read it out loud or something.

And no, MLF, it doesn't count if you just post 25 separate comments. As lovely as that would be, it wouldn't help me beat the lurkers out of the bushes.

Apple pickin' time

Um, no