Thursday, April 29, 2010

Celebrating her birthday in style

She's five now, can you believe it? Yeah, me neither. Less than 10 years left until I can send her away to boarding school!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Well, that went well

"Do you remember Bill from when we go to Mom-Mom's house for Thanksgiving or Easter?"
Of course! He's the old guy who tries to give me high fives.
"That's right, he's your great-grandmother's husband, the guy she married after your great-grandfather died a long time ago. Remember how Bill has seemed sort of sick the last few times we've seen him? Well, this weekend his body got too sick to keep working, and he died."
So now great-mom-mom can marry somebody else!
"Well, I guess she could if she wanted to. But right now, it's okay to feel a little sad, because we're going to miss Bill. But even though Bill's body is dead, his soul is up in heaven with God, and that should make us feel sort of happy. Because in heaven, nobody's sick or sad or hurting, so Bill is probably really happy to be there."
But what if Bill feels sad?
"Well, in heaven nobody feels sad. I think it's sort of a rule up there. Maybe if you start to feel sad, God finds something to make you happy again."
So if Bill feels sad, God can find somebody to give him a high five, and then he'll feel better.
"Sure, sounds good to me."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Revisionist lyrics

Listening to Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, we heard a version of "Toyland" by Dan Wilson. Liza misheard the lyrics, and she was convinced they were singing about "toilet." Once she'd said that, I was unable to hear anything else, and frankly, it improves the lyrics. Tell me you don't agree:

Toyland, toyland
little girl and boy land
when you dwell within it
you are ever happy there!

Childhood toyland
mystical merry toyland
once you pass it's borders
you can never return again! ( not again! )


Childhood toyland ( Toyland! )
mystical merry toyland
once you pass it's borders
you can never return again!

( Toyland! ) Toyland ( Toyland! ) toyland
( Toyland! ) Toyland!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Your assignment

Liza has to decorate a cardboard letter "z" with pictures of things that start with z. We're doing random google image searches, but could use some extra ideas of things that 5-year-olds might actually recognize. Leave your suggestions in the comments, please. This over-achieving parent thanks you!

What we have so far:
zebra mussels
And, since we're in Cleveland, Zeeeee!!!! *

*He's been one of my favorites ever since I saw him at an Indian restaurant, where he had to basically fold himself in thirds to sit in a folding chair while waiting for his takeout order. I swear, his kneecap was at my mid-thigh level. Dude is biiiiiiiiig. And I'll bet more of Liza's classmates can identify him than can identify Zeus (or a zither, for that matter).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Damn, she photographs nicely

And for once, I'm not talking about the kid.

Shawls are usually so jammed up on the needles that it's next to impossible to see the pattern develop as I'm knitting, so blocking a shawl is almost always a delightful surprise. This was even better than most. Half an hour ago it looked like a big purple snotrag, but a quick soak and a bit of tugging revealed this beauty - behold, my Morpork Pi shawl designed by MMario:


Now that's a rather impressive use of 3 1/2 skeins of sock yarn, wouldn't you say?

Closeup of the pattern near the edge:

Closeup of the center section:

While washing dishes

Me: Did you know that if we had our Wii hooked up to a highspeed internet connection, we could stream Netflix movies on it?

Jason: Do all the people in the movies have giant heads and stumpy little bodies?

Congratulations are in order

Congratulations to my parents, who, after years of putting up with the old equipment, have finally committed to buying a new stove and oven. You can't imagine my shock when my mother casually mentioned today that their cooktop was sitting on the floor in the kitchen and the double oven was next in line for the wrecking ball. Of course, she was calling to ask for recommendations on new stoves because they sort of removed the old stuff before they bought replacements, but it can't take that long to get a new stove, right?

The old appliances were a thorn in their side from virtually the moment they bought the house, but until today they managed to limp along without replacing them.

Since 1985.

Wow. I'm not sure if that proves their thrift, ingenuity, or lack of common sense, but I'm sure it says something.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I present a quick multiple-choice question.

Which of the following choices did not apply to my parents' kitchen?
  1. It made my 12th birthday party more memorable by having an oven door fall off in my mother's hand when she was checking on the pizza inside.
  2. It lit once lit up the house like the Fourth of July when one of the heating elements arc-welded itself to the floor of the oven.
  3. It baby-proofed itself by requiring you to push in and turn two obscure knobs by at least a certain amount in order to turn on the oven, and even then sometimes it would shut itself off.
  4. It possessed an oven that was never actually at the temperature you set it to - on a good day, you were lucky to be off by only 25F.
  5. It had a stove burner that was so warped that pans would wobble and or spin when you used it.
  6. It necessitated conversations like, "No, don't use that burner, it takes forever to heat up. Use that one, but remember that it gets much hotter than whatever you set it to."
  7. It hasn't had two working ovens and a working broiler in at least 10 years.

Answer: None of the above.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simple pleasures

There's something so cheerful about the sudden influx of summer toys into the yard, their gaudy plastic colors such a contrast against the greening grass. You can follow the progress of our days by the trail of gardening gloves, picnic blankets, rakes, balance beams, and bubble wands in our wake.

You can also follow the progress of our garden cleanup, now that a radio program and a bit of pointed conversation has turned Liza into a Composting Fanatic (thanks, Dee!). A myriad of crunchy-leaved trails snake from the gardens to our newly begun compost pile, and a half-dozen slightly traumatized worms are trying to recover from their overly enthusiastic transport and settle into their spacious new home.

There's a trail inside the house, as well, in the dusty footprints near the back door, the pile of rocks that have been brought inside to be "studied on," and the mountain of unwashed laundry that teeters inside our closet.

She bolts outside each morning as soon as I stumble downstairs - usually she remembers to change out of her pajamas first. She swings and swings and swings, coming inside only when the realization finally hits that it's 40F outside and she's wearing leggings and a t-shirt.

At the end of the day, we both smell of sunshine and Coppertone, dirt and roly-poly bugs, grass stains and band-aids. And that is good.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Never heard of that before

Last weekend we went to the zoo for my training walk, and Jason and Liza cruised the exhibits while I walked circles around them (literally - I'd do a circle through the Northern Trek area while they were checking out the polar bears, and wander around the top of the hill while they were on the playground near the primate house, etc.). I ended up going past every exhibit several times, which let me see some behaviors I'd never seen before.

Heck, I managed to find an animal I'd never seen before. Before watching "Madagascar" I'd never heard of a "foosa," the lion-like things that keep trying to eat the lemurs. I'd never seen one in a zoo, either, so I sort of assumed that they were made up to add interest to the plot.

So imagine my surprise when I rounded the corner on the tiny Madagascar exhibit in the primate house and found that there was a fossa on exhibit right across from the lemurs. Score! I was even more surprised when I saw what the thing was doing:

I've heard of a "lazy eye," but I've never seen any animal with a leg that's so lazy it won't even get on the exercise wheel. I think it probably is harder for the fossa to do this than it would be to just get on and run like a normal animal. But it's definitely funnier this way.

Training walk at the Botanical Garden, part 2

The botanical garden may not be huge, but they manage to make the most of the space. Lots of impact in a little place:

The benefit of having to walk around the gardens multiple times to get in my mileage: there's no excuse to not visit little places tucked away under the main path.
waterfall garden

And while I was walking, Jason and Liza were spending some quality time with the butterflies.
Butterfly perch

All in all, I enjoyed using the garden for my training, although next time I think I'll do it on a day when I don't have to do quite so many miles!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Training walk at the Botanical Garden, part 1

The Wisteria-fu, it is strong in this one:

Aww, shucks!
Aww, shucks

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another great way to waste time

Live streaming of MST3K, 24/7. Oh, my goodness. Now I have something to watch when Jason goes out of town on business trips!


Boy, I sure am getting a lot of nothing done now that the weather is (at least sporadically) better. Liza has been spending hours and hours outside, but since she's on the trampoline next door or hanging from our trapeze by her knees (don't ask), I have to keep at least part of an eye on her most of the time. And we don't have a whole lot to do in the backyard, at least not until it dries out back there, so I've been picking up sticks, swinging on my porch swing, and getting some mindless knitting done. Not so much blogging, though, although I do have tons to write about. Just don't have it mentally organized yet ... so hang in there, there will be a ton of stuff coming, if ever I dig myself out from the mess in the house (and convince my daughter to come inside and just watch a freaking movie for goodness sake).

In the meantime, look who has developed a sudden love of ordering things for herself at the counter at fast-food restaurants:

I really have to restrain myself to keep from cackling, "Go get me another diet Coke, slave!" Kid is finally useful for something - who would have thunk it?

Best sandwich I've made recently

Layer, in order:
  • naan-like flatbread, heated for 15 seconds in the microwave to make it softer
  • drizzle of parmesan ranch salad dressing
  • three really thin slices of deli turkey
  • three pieces of green head lettuce, stalky parts removed
  • half a fistful of alfalfa sprouts
  • about a tablespoon of sunflower seeds

... all squished down a bit and folded up into a sort of taco-like shape that dropped remarkably little stuff on my plate. Nom nom nom, indeed!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My daughter has exquisite taste

This is the yarn she picked for her birthday socks. Not only does it match absolutely everything in her wardrobe, it's also the exact same color I was planning to use, anyway. I can't wait to finish my current Endless Shawl of Damn Dark Delaware Yarn so I can get started. I've only got two weeks to turn out two tiny socks for my (almost) five-year-old.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Dear Management:

I'm writing to inform you of what I believe to be an error in your planning of the weather for this week, which is in mid-April, in case you weren't paying attention. Last week it was balmy, Sunday was lovely, and Tuesday was so warm I had to do my training walk in shorts. The cats have been staking out their turn in the sunniest spots in the living room, trading off whenever one of them gets so hot they're in danger of spontaneous combustion. The daffodils and hyacinths are blooming, my tulips are about to open, and all in all, it's been a wonderful spring so far.

Now I can understand how you may be confused about what the weather is supposed to be like around here, what with a USDA projected "last frost" date in May and a population that insists on hauling out the tank tops and shorts whenever the temperature rises above freezing for more than ten minutes. You make it hot, people complain that we've skipped spring and gone straight to summer. You make it cold, and all the magnolia blossoms go all brown and nasty-looking. You make it warm, and my husband starts grousing about having to cut the grass already. You make it cold, and my daughter (who happens to be the weather watcher for her preschool class this week) just about pees herself with happiness when she spots the snow.

Yes, I said snow. See why I think that there may have been a miscommunication when you ordered up the weather today? Because I'm pretty sure that nobody around here asked for a cold, grey, drizzly, flurrying 35F to end our week.

Perhaps the timing is meant to be ironic? It can't be coincidence that I finally put away all of my turtlenecks and sent my wool sweaters to the cleaners yesterday, and now it's snowing. All of the kid's warm clothes are put away, too, so we're going with the "layered hobo" look for school today, thank you very much, Mr. Unexpected Cold Front. But don't think you caught us out completely, dude - the plastic may be down from the windows, but the flannel sheets are still on the beds, and the portable heater won't leave our family room until at least July. And I haven't even started most of our seeds yet, much less started to think about hardening them off outside, so you haven't managed to ruin our garden. Yet.

For the sanity of all of us in northeast Ohio, please turn the thermostat back up to at least 65F, and ditch that weird overcast green light we're getting today. Some of us are really, really in need of some vitamin D ... and all those tank tops and shorts look kind of scary on people who are so goosebumpy you can't even see their spray tans.



Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Having a camera phone is dangerous sometimes

But it's extremely handy when you're walking forever and ever and see things you'd like to photograph but are too lazy to drag along a 2-pound camera on your training walks. So excuse the craptastic resolution, and marvel instead at some of the things I've stumbled across recently:

Monday, April 05, 2010

Flippin' gymnast

Mantra of the playground today: "Look what I can do!"

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Can you guess what she's been listening to at bedtime?

She saw me writing limericks and wanted to write a poem of her own, and this is what she came up with. At least it was easier for me to help her spell than, "In Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire hurricanes hardly happen. "

Happy Easter!

Yesterday I took a loooooong training walk in the Metropark, and I was delighted to see that the wildflowers are starting to make an appearance. Acres and acres of forest were carpeted in the most vibrant green, with tons of little yellow daisy-like flowers on top. And then I'd walk around a bend in the trail, and the forest floor was completely barren - no leaves, no flowers, no nothing. Keep walking, and I'd get to large clumps of lily-of-the-valley plants, which weren't blooming yet but had lots of foliage. Some places had daffodils peeking out from behind trees, and there were even a few violets along the edges of the trail.

I believe it's safe to say that spring has officially sprung in Cleveland.