Sunday, November 30, 2008
Also? Today is the 30th of November, which means that I've completed NaBloPoMo two years running. Go, me!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
It's basically a hugely elaborate chastity belt -- poor Chris Brown
probably had to spend half an hour helping her peel them off after the show,
possibly while she held onto a doorframe as he pulled as hard as he could in the
opposite direction and tried to grease the wheels with hand lotion and saliva.
And if that weren't a deterrent enough to anyone invading her personal space,
her spiky bodice -- the sides of which appear to be barfing chains -- is
something I imagine strippers wore in Mordor. It's very overdone and freaky, and
I can't BELIEVE she was willing to put up with chains thwacking against her
Precious every time she moved.
Guess what we got for Christmas ...
Friday, November 28, 2008
Brant would order Liza around and she would ignore him, so he would go off and pester someone else to do it. Liza would ask Brant to do something, and he would ignore her, so she would pester him incessantly until he gave in and did whatever she wanted. And both of them tend to be a little rougher than they should be, but Liza was giving as good as she was getting, so I just let them have at it.
Brant actually played with Liza much more nicely than I would have predicted, making sure she got thrown the football once in a while and playing along with her weird versions of games some of the time. She was happy to play the admiring younger kid, oohing and ahhing as he climbed trees and showed off his tractor-climbing prowess. I have a feeling I'm going to be peeling her off of our lawn mower and ornamental trees for the next few weeks ... but it was good to see them having fun.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I, meanwhile, got to eat dinner while sitting at a table and having a conversation that didn't have to be shouted over a sniveling child. I helped clear the table without dragging along the weight of a child velcroed to my leg. I sat with other mothers and crocheted while we talked, for goodness sake.
She gave everyone at least two hugs and kisses before she would leave today, and I think she would have smuggled a couple cousins home with her if she hadn't been too tired to think of it.
Really, really not used to this.
Really, really glad we've finally gotten here.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
One of the sons? boyfriends? sitting with them had very short, dark, curly hair, and despite his very light-colored skin, Liza decided he looked exactly like Barack Obama. I bet he would have really appreciated that, if I hadn't shushed her before she screamed it at the top of her lungs.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
By last night I could no longer feel my right-hand ring or pinkie fingers. I might have been pushing myself a leeetle too hard.
But I only have 1 1/2 more socks to go before Thursday! Um, yay?
In happier news, my MIL has a new cat who is still young enough to appreciate the joys of a preschooler with a long piece of string and an abiding interest in playing with cats. Poor cat is going to have lost a pound or two of weight, just from dealing with Little Miss HEER KITTEH COME PLAY WITH ME KITTEH COME OUT FROM UNDER THE TABLE KITTEH OH ISN'T THE KITTEH CUTE COME CHASE THE STRING KITTEH KITTEH KITTEH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go brave Wal-Mart and Target and Toys R Us and Michaels to finish up my Christmas shopping and help with my MILs.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
I was approaching a traffic light and braked when it turned yellow, in plenty of time to stop with only light brake pressure ... only I didn't. Aside from that ominous ABS chattering, I got bupkis for stopping power. Pretty soon I was standing on the brakes and muttering wordless prayers that the people in the cross traffic lanes would notice that - hey! She's not actually slowing down! - and maybe keep from ramming into my daughter's car seat.
Luckily, I was "stopping" while sliding straight ahead, not at some weird angle, and the people in the cross traffic were polite enough to not even honk at me as I slid by. Maybe the look of panic on my face was enough to stay their honker hands. In any case, major bullets were dodged, and the rest of the trip home was uneventful.
For the past two days, though, I've been reliving the moment and trying to figure out what I would have done if the other traffic hadn't noticed my predicament. I've decided that I probably should have started honking like a maniac to let them know there was a problem, although that probably would have backfired and made them think that the people behind them were getting antsy so they should pull out right into the side of my car.
I think we all need a new feature on our cars. I'm calling mine the "OhHolyHellTheCarWon'tStopPleaseDearGodDon'tLetThemPullIntoMyLaneBecauseWe'dAllEndUpDeadAndItWouldBeMyFaultKindOfAndThatWouldReallySuckSoPleasePleasePleaseStayWhereYouAreAndPreventMyCertainDeathFromAStupidWeatherConditionFuckFuckFuck" button. Pushing it would turn on a revolving light on all sides of the car and a recording of a primeval scream. I think the button should be near the "emergency flashers" button on the dashboard, and the icon should show somebody screaming and waving his arms over his head. I'd like mine to be acid green.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I love these fabrics, which I purchased something like eight years ago when I was first getting into quilting. They were made by a small company in Alaska which appears to have gone out of business (or at least dropped off the Internets) since then, which is a shame. Because eventually I'm going to run out of fabric, probably before I run out of bowl ideas.
They're available in my etsy shop, of course, and would make - ahem - excellent holiday gifts. I'll have some in a purply-navy colorway coming in the weeks ahead, too, and possibly some other shapes, so let me know if there's something specific you're looking for.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The recipe that made me (and Jason, who ate even more than I did) a convert:
Turnips in Mustard Sauce, from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- about 3 pounds white turnips, rutabaga, or a combination, peeled and quartered
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
- Place the oil in a large, deep skillet that can later be covered and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the turnips, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the turnips begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the stock, cover, and simmer until the turnips are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the turnips to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Mix the cornstarch into the mustard and stir the mixture into the pan juices. Cook over low heat until lightly thickened, a minute or two longer. Pour the sauce over the turnips, garnish, and serve.
We served these with the pork roast (which is from the same cookbook), and they were really good together.
Just be warned - gaseous turnip eruptions can be deadly.
Monday, November 17, 2008
But could you just make an f-ing decision and stick with it already?
It was sunny and 45F when I dropped Liza off at preschool at noon. My neighbor was raking leaves (again) with no hat, no gloves, and her coat unzipped. The cats were basking in the front window.
Now?I'm going to have to dig out Liza's snowsuit and gloves before I pick her up in 10 minutes.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
- Slept until almost 10am. This cold is kicking my ass, and I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity to shirk my parenting duties while Jason is at home. Because tomorrow he'll be gone all day and I'll be stuck with Snotty McWhineypants and my own hacking cough. It'll be a blast!
- Raked leaves in a snowstorm. Whee.
- Walked with Liza while she rode her Big Wheel around the block in a snowstorm. It wasn't even snowing when we started, and the wind was at our backs all the way down our street, but we turned the corner and it was like someone dropped us in Alaska. By the time she got so cold she had to have a tantrum and be carried the rest of the way home (fun), the front of my coat was entirely coated in snow, and her sneakers were soaked through. She was a trouper right up until we got 2/3rds of the way around, though, and I think if she'd had snow boots and better mittens ... and maybe a snowmobile helmet ... she'd have done fine. As it was, it was a great way to introduce her to the idea of the microwave-heated rice pack. She played with it for an hour after her feet thawed out.
- Knit socks while my daughter used her desk as a pretend computer. You can tell we've been watching too much PBS when she is pretending to type and saying things like, "Okay, now we go online to pbskids dot org. There's lots of games there. Okay, I pick web site 51 ... and ... ENTER!" Then she started spouting off the web address for the local public radio station, and I decided it might be time to listen to kid music during dinner prep from now on.
- Took Liza to the mall for lunch and some shopping. The mall was packed - economic slowdown my ass - and she was very good about staying with me and walking the whole time. The mall was in full-on Christmas mode, lacking only a man in a fat suit and beard to complete the illusion that It's Not Actually Six Weeks Before The Holidays. It was so persuasive I was tempted to buy stuff for people we have sworn we're not buying for this year. I managed to resist. We ate, bought her some new snowboots and gloves (see point #3), got her a sample of lotion to use at bedtime, rode the escalator in JC Penney, and got her out of the Disney store with no tears or tantrums. I'd call that a success, wouldn't you?
- Made banana bread while listening to a Beastie Boys CD. Coughed. A lot.
- Realized that after making the banana bread, I no longer had enough eggs to make brownies.
- Sent Jason to the convenience store to get eggs because I've been wanting to make brownies for like a week now.
- Coughed. And made brownies.
- Ate nothing but banana bread and brownies for dinner. That's a balanced meal, right?
- Finished most of our Christmas shopping online. Go, etsy and Amazon! I've got a couple gift cards to grab from the grocery store, and I'm D-O-N-E done. Because, you know, there's only six weeks until the holiday.
- Took cold medicine that is doing absolutely nothing for my postnasal drip and cough, but will nevertheless keep me wired until 1am as a side effect. Stupid cold medicine. On the positive side of things, I'll bet I can have my mother-in-law's sock done by then if I get off the computer and start working.
- Did I mention the coughing? Gahhhhh.
ETA: It's 1am, the sock is done, and I'm still wired. Must. Not. Start. Another. Sock.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Um, yeah, that worked well for me.
We almost made it, but the cold (and afghan, and warm lap-cat) was too much for her.
Of course, she woke up coughing and gagging on her own phlegm before I even managed to get the photo downloaded and this post started, so we could be in for another long night.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Please make me this funny sometime in my life.
Also, is there some way to get Crystal Light out of my keyboard? Because this page was too much for me.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"Intimate Solutions for The Next Stage In Your Life."
Apparently Granny now requires "8 levels of rotation and vibration" plus a "soft gel-filled head with a rotating pearl-filled shaft."
Really, don't we all?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
But you know what helps? Knowing that I'm not alone. Knowing that there are at least 24 other people in the world who read that post and identified with it enough to leave a comment for her.
Know what else helps? Talking with the mothers of my daughter's dance classmates, trading horror stories about what each has been up to (or NOT up to), a one-upsmanship contest you don't really want to win. The ones with slightly older kids give me a preview of the joy and hell that's yet to come, and the ones with slightly younger kids reassure me that every kid in the world becomes evil at approximately the same ages. This is really the first time I've had the chance to do this - after three and a half years I finally have a kid who happily trots through the door to a class and lets me sit outside and knit for 55 minutes straight while yapping with other moms. Let's hear it for commiseration!
Last night my Simple Abundance meditation was about "grace." There's a lot tied up in that word, but the way I understood it for me was the ability to make it through the day with the fewest unhappy moments. Not always getting everything I want when I want, and being okay with that. Not exactly compromising, just being willing to be flexible.
On my good days, that's exactly the kind of parent I am. Kid doesn't want to get dressed? Not a problem, stay in your pajamas for an extra five minutes, then race me upstairs and we'll see who can get dressed fastest. Work on the computer only when she's asleep or at school, pay attention when she asks for it as many times as she asks for it, set aside the housework or the bills or the Lazy Mama stuff until she's entertaining herself. Accept every twist and turn of the day with grace and graciousness. Bend over backwards to work around the NO! and the whines and whatever other ugly habits she has this week. Get everyone to go on a hike to look at fall leaves and experience not one minute of whining from anyone of any age.
On the bad days, well, it would really be best if I had a babysitter. Yell at the kid when she won't get dressed (or eat, or brush her teeth, or let me comb her hair, or put on her shoes). Forget cajoling - the groceries aren't going to buy themselves and I am sick of asking her over and over to get out to the car. No, I will not wipe her bottom one more time, she's almost four and can do it perfectly well herself. The cat hair has reached crisis levels, the credit card company is going to get grumpy with us if I don't pay bills soon, and by god I have packages that have to get in the mail TODAY, so by god she'd better just sit there and watch another Sesame Street while I get some stuff done. Fume and complain and moan when things don't go as planned. Develop stress headache and barricade self in sewing room after dinner, hoping funk will be solved by application of fabric sizing fumes from my stash. By her bedtime she's lost all privileges, so no books or computer or songs before bed, thanks to her lack of cooperation and my unwillingness to jolly her along throughout the day.
Luckily, I'm not at the bad end of the spectrum more than one or two days a month, and I've learned how to recognize the symptoms and head off the worst of it before ill-advised things leave my mouth. And Liza has learned that I'm very serious when I tell her that the day is going to go very badly for her if she doesn't start doing what I tell her to do.
Starting today, I'm making a conscious effort to live my life with more grace. I want to be the fun, flexible mom, not the shrill harpy who yells to have everything her way. I have written "GRACE" on my wrist, in the place I've used for a reminder board since I was in elementary school and needed to remember to bring in homework or gym shorts or whatever. Hopefully, seeing it there will help bring me back to the center when I start to get all crabby.
In the meantime, this is what my floating place looks like - peaceful and serene and beautiful and empty.
And there's an old friend there, too.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Also, a disturbing number of people have found my blog recently by googling a variation of "mommy's trombone." Um, is there a euphemism I don't know about? Because I was careful to keep the word "rusty" completely out of that post.
"Okay, see these words I wrote? They say "Elizabeth Virginia Woods." Now, what is your nickname? What do we normally call you?"
"Elizabeth Virginia Woods!"
"No, I mean, what do I call you when I tell you I love you?"
I would like to go on record that I have never, not once, called her that, and neither has Jason. I've called her lots of other things, both printable and not, but that's not one of them.
Where she gets this stuff, I'll never know.
(and yes, this is an obligatory NaBloPoMo "I have to post even when I have nothing to say" post, probably the first of many this month)
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Jason took this photo, and what I especially love about it is how he captured our neighbor's yard up in the upper right corner. This guy is REALLY serious about his lawn, and we joke around that he has some sort of laser defense system in place because he NEVER gets leaves in his yard. We actually managed to get our yard less leafy than the neighbor's a few weeks ago, and Jason wanted to take a picture, because it was the first time in almost two years that our yard was more pristine than his. But the neighbor mowed before I could find the camera.
Anyway, the good news is that while our yard looked like the Metroparks had exploded back there, the trees are looking almost done, at least in parts of the yard.
The other good news? While Jason mowed up 14 garbage bags of leaves (no, not kidding ... did I mention that on Thursday I took out two trashcans and four paper garbage bags of leaves, in addition to the seven plastic bags Jason mowed up last weekend? There's a reason we don't mulch ... it would be knee-deep by now) ... ahem, anyway, while Jason mowed, the birthday girl had other plans.
It's been a while since she's fallen asleep on me ...
May 14, 2005
Well, maybe not that long, but I get bonus points for digging up a pre-blog photo, right?
Friday, November 07, 2008
"Holy shit! Liza, come here, quick! You've got to see this! There's a deer in the front yard!" - Jason, about three minutes ago.
Way you can tell I'm a blogger? My first thought as I bolted down the stairs was, "Shit, the camera's hooked up to the computer downloading pictures." It's not real unless I take pictures and blog about it, you know.
For the record, it was a young buck with a small rack - maybe 3 or 4 points on each side? And it definitely should not be wandering around our neighborhood at 1pm, no matter how overcast it is.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
It's not tragic, but it is annoying. Most of the leaves aren't even from "my" trees, but rather have drifted over from my neighbor's heavily forested backyard. She's got 20 mature oak trees in the backyard of a lot that's about 1/4 acre. It's a lot to look after, especially on her own. She does a pretty neat job of it, though.
I love that her yard looks like it was invaded by gigantic mutant moles. And that after hours of raking, you can still barely see her grass.
My one consolation: Liza was incredibly good during most of the raking session, entertaining herself and "helping" occasionally. There was a bit more leaf-throwing than I would have liked, and less useful raking that I had hoped for, but dang, she was cute.
Oh, and despite the fact that my daughter is prone to going outside virtually naked even when there's snow on the ground, today this outfit was weather-appropriate. It was something like 68F when we were raking ... after not much work I was wishing I hadn't packed up all of my shorts for the winter. There's something just fundamentally wrong about raking leaves in a t-shirt and still being too hot.
And in case you were wondering, it took me two tries to spell "Sisyphus" correctly when I googled it for the link.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
We're quite the sight, especially since we haven't removed the annoying clicker from the Big Wheel, so not only does it rumble along, it clicks loudly enough that you can't hold a conversation within 15 feet of her.
Gonna make us the most popular family on the block, that Big Wheel.
Glossolalia = speaking in tongues
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Turns out, John has already said it. He used a touch more newborn-in-the-house-sleep-deprivation-induced cursing than I probably would have left in after editing, but the sentiment is the same.
Also, election night is the one time every four years when my husband gives his inner political science major (true!) free reign. I can tell it's going to be "knit socks while trying not to look at Wolf Blitzer's eyebrows" night in front of the tv for me. If only I had a book on tape that was something other than Nate the Great, I'd hide in our bedroom until the REAL results were in, not the kind they're giving us now.
"With only 4% of the precincts reporting, we're going to call Virginia for Senator Obama." Say whaaa? Apparently no one in the media has learned from past mistakes.
Monday, November 03, 2008
The past few days I've been trying to explain to her about the election, what it is and what it means. Trying to reduce national politics to a level a 3-year-old can understand is, um, interesting. Add to that the fact that Liza has been on a kick where she wants us to describe the appearance of every single person we mention in a conversation, and you end up with a pretty interesting explanation. And when you add in this week's tic - "Tell me more!" - and my relative lack of knowledge about the candidates, and it gets downright strange.
"Well, there are two guys who want to be president, and every grown-up in the country gets to help pick which one gets the job. Each of them believes the government should do different things, so we're supposed to vote for the person whose ideas are closest to what we believe. One of the guys is named John McCain, and he's got light skin and white hair, and he looks kind of old. The other guy is named Barack Obama, and he's got dark skin and short dark hair, and he looks kind of young."
"Tell me more!"
"Um .... Oh, and Obama's ears stick out kinda funny, too."
"Which one is going to win?"
"We won't know until after the election. Heck, we may not even know then."
This morning we spent half an hour looking at election stuff online - she wanted to see pictures of the candidates, and then we looked at pictures of their wives ("Michelle has a pretty blue dress!"), and shots from the debates, and way too many pictures of Joe the Plumber. We looked at a chart that showed trends in predicted election results over the past few months, and we talked about how one line was sort of going up and one was sort of going down, and the higher the line was the more likely that person was to win.
How much of this she understands, I don't know. She asks relatively intelligent questions about what we talk about, so I have to think she's getting at least part of it. I think mainly she's just pissed that she has to miss school tomorrow because of the election ... can't let democracy get in the way of Play-Doh and snacktime, you know.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
This is, of course, a very timely and important topic here in The Biggest And Most Important Swing State In The History Of Elections, where polls have the main two candidates in a statistical dead heat (or at least they did last time I looked at the front page of the paper).
The advertising blitz is just astounding. I have honestly never seen anything like it, and it's not like this is the first election I've seen in the state. I haven't even gotten the worst of it, since I hardly ever listen to commercial radio or watch anything other than the Discovery Channel. But when Jason's mother was visiting we watched some daytime television and the nightly news, and my god, the volume of advertisements was incredible. Not just for the presidential election, of course - there were probably more ads for and against ballot issues than there were for actual candidates. I swear I can recite the ads against the casino by heart, and that was after only a week of exposure.
Every day there's a whole mess of political ads in the mailbox, and the phone calls and door-to-door visits are getting ludicrously common. I swear, the Obama campaign has so much money to spend on ads that I wouldn't be too surprised to see a stack of 50s in my mailbox tomorrow with a "Vote for Change" sticker on the band. My favorite has to be the poor Democratic canvasser who was going around on Halloween night. By the time she got to our house, it was so dark she had a hard time seeing her clipboard, so I took pity on her and gave her one of the glowsticks from our goodie bags so she could see what she was doing. Shame I couldn't answer her questions about who Jason voted for ... he was so undecided about the presidential race that I think he flipped a coin before sealing the envelope on his absentee ballot.
At this point all of the advertising and signs and mailings and last-minute revelations are falling on deaf ears, anyway, since Jason and I both filed absentee ballots this year. Originally Jason was supposed to be out of town on business on election day, and the thought of standing in line for two hours with a 3-year-old so that I can vote is just too depressing for words, so the absentee ballots were a great option. They went in the mail early last week, so the time for us to be swayed is long past.
Jason is sort of the Model Citizen, using a week of his free time in the evenings researching all the candidates on the ballot, reading their responses to the newspaper's questions, etc. He votes based on how well each candidate agree with his views, which is what you're supposed to do, right? My only quibble is that if a candidate doesn't answer the questions, Jason refuses to vote for them ... even if they are running unopposed and have no real need to persuade voters with their responses. Seems a bit arbitrary after all that other research, but hey - that's his right.
I, on the other hand, am the reason there's an electoral college. I vote based on whether the party to which a candidate belongs agrees with me on the one or two issues I actually care about. I figure that the chances of any of the other issues actually making a difference in my life is so small, I don't really care what the candidates believe about them. For races where the candidates don't have a party affiliation (we've got lots of elected judges around here ... like a whole page of the ballot worth), I vote for the woman. If there isn't a woman in the race, I don't vote on that position at all.
Arbitrary? Heck, yes. Uninformed? Heck, yes. I guess I'm so jaded about the chances of any of the candidates actually making much of a difference that I just don't really care who gets elected. But on the positive side of things, it makes election season soooo much easier when you don't actually have to listen to all the crap the politicians and advertisers hand out and can just get on with watching Time Warp. People who actually care about this stuff have it so much harder than I do. Wheeeee!
Saturday, November 01, 2008
I'm sure I'll think of something to say at some point, but for now, here's the kid and her haul of Halloween candy:
Suffice it to say, we measured it in pounds. After she went to bed the "Candy Fairy" confiscated about 2/3rds of the candy (to "give to kids who couldn't go trick-or-treating", and she replaced it with a Tinkerbelle video Liza will enjoy more than the candy), and she still has enough to last her beyond Christmas. She got good stuff, too - like a dozen fun-size Snickers, half a dozen Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, etc. Jason and I will enjoy the stuff we confiscated :)
I'll update this later when blogger is less wonky.