Sunday, May 30, 2010

Feeling a little sentimental

Memorial Day weekend always makes me a little verklempt.  You see, it was four years ago this weekend that this little thing ...

... worked past her many difficulties getting mobile and finally got a move on.

Memorial Day weekend 2007 was when Liza had her first run-in with the fountain in the children's garden:

Last year we took her back to the garden - again - on Memorial Day weekend, and again with the fountain encounters ...

So it was only fitting that we drag her back for another encore this year, this time with a kid who is almost exactly the age Liza was when she first saw the fountain:

While we were there, my butterfly-obsessed kid had to stop by the glass house in time for the release - just like last year.

And then today we visited our former neighbors for their annual party, complete with the "runts vs. 'rents" kickball game, which we had to move to an actual field this year because some of the runts are strong enough to actually kick the ball past second base.

This was the first year that I wasn't too hot, too tired, or too tied up with kid duties to participate, and I actually had a really good time.  The fact that I scored a run and caught somebody out on a fly ball didn't hurt, either.  We're going to have to be careful next year - after a previous record 35-2 parental win, this year we called the game after 9 innings with the score tied at 14 all.  We were generous with the scoring - dude, we totally could have gotten the 2-year-old out instead of letting him score twice - but they're gaining on us.

Even in 2006, it wasn't a Memorial Day party without a trip to the pool ...

And that's still true today.

So now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go hum "Sunrise, Sunset" to myself while rocking quietly in a corner.  Ta!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Best Buds

Preschool graduation was on Thursday, and we celebrated by going out to dinner with some friends before the ceremony.  The girls were all gussied up and in a good mood ...
They looked a bit more shopworn after sitting around in the un-air-conditioned church for more than an hour, so I'm glad we took so many pictures beforehand.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Well, that's, um, kinda cool in an icky way

After walking my 18 miles for training yesterday - booyah, baby! - I discovered that it's possible to get a blister on the bottom of my pinkie toe that is so big it actually spurts a fountain of serum for several seconds when I try to drain it, and then continues to dribble sporadically on the floor for more than a day.

I went to bed last night with a piece of toilet paper tied to my toe like a tourniquet - it looked like one of those old cartoons of somebody with a piece of cloth tied around their jaw to help with a toothache.

I wasn't able to find the toilet-paper-iquet when I woke up this morning, so goodness knows where it's gone.  Dissolved in a flood of serum, I suppose, or else it will turn up as some sort of a disgusting blob next time I wash the sheets.

Better go drink some more water so I don't get dehydrated from all the seepage ...

Argh! The horror!

Forget Pumpkinhead ... the real menace around here is ...

Run away!  Run away!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


When I read one of the comments on the last Toenail post, I realized that I have nail polish the exact same color as the bruised toe.  And so, The Toenail (which is unpainted so I can keep an eye on it) is now camouflaged.

And every time I think about it, instead of "camouflage" I hear "sabotage," which reminds me of the Beastie Boys song that Jason likes to play on Rock Band, and then I have to go and headbang for a while.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Let the trail of sand and rocks begin ... here!

It was "beach day" at preschool today, and since the girls were in their beachy attire anyway, we decided to surprise them with a trip to the real beach.  It went over well, judging by the number of cheese-its consumed and the volume of sand that came home in the car with us.

Baby's first legal document

On Liza's 5th birthday I took her over to get her very own library card.  She's so excited, you'd think it was a Porche.  Or a butterfly.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I had to bodily remove her from the car because she was so entranced in this book that she wouldn't stop reading long enough to get out under her own steam.  Then I set up the hammock and she retired there, cup of Trix in hand, and I didn't hear a peep from her for an hour.  It would be totally charming, except the book she's reading is The Adventures of Captain Underpants. It's about two fourth-graders who write their own comic strip, play pranks on their fellow students, and hypnotize their principal into believing he's the titular hero.  Not sure this is a good influence on the kiddo ... although it does make for a blessedly peaceful afternoon around here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why? Why would he think that was a good idea?

The Toenail has been doing much better recently, especially since I was converted to the wonders of soaking injuries in Epsom salt.  Turns out those old timers knew what they were talking about, at least when it comes to foot pain.  Honest to god, the first time I soaked the still-swollen, achy Toenail for 15 minutes, it immediately cut my pain level in half.  I did the same thing again the next day, and not only did The Toenail no longer hurt, but the ache I get in my big toe joint was gone, too.  Wicked cool!

That was a week or so ago, and now that things aren't swollen anymore, the parade of colors in The Toenail has stopped.  It hasn't fallen off yet, or even loosened, but I figured I'd better ask the doctor about it while I was there getting my prescriptions refilled today anyway.

My doctor is a bit, um, eccentric sometimes.  Ask Jason about how he and the doctor used to play with the leftover liquid nitrogen when Jason was getting some warts frozen off - good times, good times.

Me:  So, it's still on there, and it's not like it got bad enough that I broke down and bought one of those little drills to relieve the pressure, but I still thought I should have you look at it.
Dr:  No, you don't want to do that.  They actually sell those drills?  You don't need one of those.  All you have to do is heat up the end of a paper clip in a candle and burn a hole through the nail.  You don't need a fancy drill for that.

And while he's saying this, he's poking around at the toenail, and trying to actively lift the thing off.  My precious toenail, the one I might sort of NEED IF I'M GOING TO WALK 18 MILES THIS SATURDAY FOR TRAINING.

Me:  Gah!  Are you crazy?  Dude, don't do that!  I want it to stay on as long as possible!
Dr: It's totally going to fall off anyway.
Me:  No!  Look, it's still pink around part of it!**  Maybe it will hang in there!  Besides, everything I saw online said I should leave the old nail in place as long as I could so the new nail wouldn't grow in all crooked and stuff.
Dr: Psht.  Nails don't grow in crooked.  What else did the internet tell you?

The internet told me that there are 50,000 hits when you search for "runner toenail grow in crooked," and close to 200,000 if you change it to the past tense.  Also, it just told me not to look at the wikipedia entry for ingrown toenails on a full stomach ... blargh.

**Lovely photo of my injury after the jump to protect all you squeamish weenies out there ... you have to click on the title of the post in order to see the part after the jump (I think).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Geez, nobody guessed my new project is "mushroom farmer?"

Ha!  Just kidding!  I leave all fungus propagation to the professionals.

In reality, I'm working on a new blog, (Sort Of) Sustainable Summer.  It's me rambling about my attempts to feed my family this summer using mostly locally- and/or organically-grown foods.  I'll be collecting and sharing my resources, both national and local, and talking about how I'm weaning my kid off string cheese and V-Fusion and onto real food.  When I find good recipes - ones that even my non-locavore friends will eat - I'll pass them along, and hopefully all our lives will be tastier as a result.

The project is just starting right now - I'm about done with the research, and I'm almost ready to pack away all of my processed "food" items and start eating better ... just as soon as I get back from vacation in early June.  Because if you look at our handy made-just-this-morning harvest calendar, you'll notice that May is pretty darn sparse on local produce when you live in the snow belt.

And since I don't have a pantry full of local produce I "put up" last summer - and I do have a pantry full of crap we bought and probably should eat up - we'll take baby steps until June.

So pop on over to the new blog and check it out.  You won't find much in the way of ranting or proselytizing, but hopefully you'll find it interesting.  And if it makes you think about your food in new ways, well, then that's a good thing.

Also - cute pictures on farms and stuff!  Just wait until we go visit the lady who raises chickens down at the end of our street ...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


G: "Okay, now that we've got the granola bars in the oven, I'm going to wash up the dishes."
L (in a very upbeat, cheerful tone of voice): "I think what I'd like to do now is go sulk in my room for a while."
G: "Have fun with that.  I'll let you know when it's time to cut 'em up."

The granola bar recipe is from Buns In My Oven and can be found here.  We're using up a bunch of leftover Easter candy, so our bars will be studded with chopped up Hollow Chocolate Bunny and some pastel-coated Reese's Pieces, among other things.  I figure I'll go for the healthy stuff once The Big Sekrit Project starts.

Note to self: Probably need to discuss the definition of "sulk" with her again, as it does not mean "hang out by myself and read because I'm in such a good mood."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm Lost

We only managed to complete one sentence between the two of us during our entire conversation regarding tonight's episode of Lost:

J - So wait, he released original sin when he went down the ...
G - No, it wouldn't have been original sin, because isn't that the whole thing with eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good ...
J - But Cain - wait, was that his name ...
G - I was just hoping that Blondie had slaughtered the village, so we'd know HE was the bad guy, and ... well ...
J - Somebody online said they thought the guy in black was helping people get off the island, but the only way to get off is to die, but he can't actually kill anybody directly, because ... wait, no, he just killed his mother, so ...
G - Yeah, but that was before he was the smoke monster, so maybe now he ... wait, the smoke monster has killed lots of people, so maybe it's supposed to be a metaphor for ... um ...
J - Eh, fuck if I know what's going on.

I believe that's about the most concise description of the plot of the entire series I've ever heard - "Fuck if I know what's going on."  Me neither, brother.  Me neither.

Ooooh, this is cool

I really need to stop wasting  my time reading books and spend more time watching videos online, because otherwise I'll miss things like this:

Friday, May 07, 2010

Signs I've got a new project brewing

  • The waist-high pile of library books I've got by my desk, each filled with Post-In notes and dog-eared pages.
  • The overall level of clutter in the house has risen to Orange Alert status, which involves me telling Liza she's not allowed to have any friends over to visit until she helps me clean some of the junk up. So she's playing at the friend down the street's house instead. When we hit Red Alert, Jason's head explodes.
  • The notebook littered with half-coherent ramblings I write down at midnight when the computer's off but my brain isn't.
  • An unfortunate tendency to use my friends' innocent comments or observations as a jumping-off point for the Lecture of the Day.
  • Most exciting gift I've gotten recently: two bales of straw, leftover from a friend's Halloween decorations. Seriously, I'm psyched about them, and have many plans.
  • I asked a friend if she would mind if I showed up at her horse barn with a 5-gallon bucket to steal some used bedding.
  • I know how to spell "agrarian entrepreneurialism," not that I'd want to do it on an hourly basis or anything.
  • A growing file of ideas, observations, plans, suggestions, recipes, questions, and quotes.
  • New recipes on our menu for the past few weeks. Lots and lots of new recipes.
Anyone want to guess what I'm planning for?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Wow, I wish I didn't know this

Know what happens if you wear your regular size shoes for long-distance training in warm weather? Your feet swell and don't fit in the shoes anymore when you're, oh, 14 miles from the end of your training. And you end up with Runner's Toe. Which improves in size, coloration, and overall suckiness day by day, until buying one of these starts looking like a reasonable idea.

(lack of embedded photo in my post - you're welcome, you pansies)

I'd start laying odds on whether I get to keep the nail or not, but I'm supposed to walk a total of 32 miles (in my new ginormous shoes) this weekend, so I'd say the chances of it hanging on are slim to none. If it falls off, I'm totally keeping it and wearing it as a good luck charm during the actual walk in July ... either that, or making some Regretsy-worthy jewelry out of it. Oooh, maybe I could make the jewelry and auction it off to help finish raising my funds for the walk? Now that's a great idea!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Three-way tie

Option 1: That she picked A Light in the Attic as her next book for me to read to her at bedtime.
Option 2: That she can read most of the poems in the book on her own, and she actually understands a good portion of them.
Option 3: That she's up there finishing the last 100 pages of the book right now by flashlight because I got tired of reading after 50 pages or so.

So which is the reason I'm most proud right now? I really can't decide.

Sometimes she comes up with good ideas

Yesterday at lunch Liza practically begged me to go to the Botanical Garden. Never mind that we were just there two days before, or that it was already halfway through the day, or that we'd have to drive home through rush hour traffic downtown in order to make an appointment at our house ... she wanted to go. Now.

And then she went outside and played on the swings for an hour, despite my repeated reminders that we needed to leave soon if she actually wanted to go to the garden.

Finally at 1:15 I managed to convince her to leave, and by dint of hitting all the lights right, we managed to make it to the garden just in time for the butterfly release. It was worth the trip:
Yes, she has four butterflies on that hand, and eventually got another on her left hand, for a total of five butterflies at once. That big dude there is a Blue Morpho, not that you can tell because he's all camouflaged when he closes his wings. He was apparently all tired and shagged out, because he stayed on Liza's hand for half an hour. Do you have any idea how boring it is to stand around quietly so the butterfly doesn't get startled ... for half an hour? Luckily, I had my camera with me, and no other kids to keep an eye on this time around.

Mr. Morpho was even kind enough to let me get some macro shots of his wings, which was fun. Wish I could have gotten some with his wings open, but in some ways, the camo side is even cooler:

After all that standing around with insects on her arms, it was hard to convince her to take a swing through the "adult" gardens on the way to the children's garden, but somehow I managed it. And I got one of my favorite shots of her, ever:

Wish you could hear us both humming the theme to Jurassic Park while we took the picture - because head-high ferns just scream "dinosaur country" to both of us, even if only one of us has actually seen the entire movie :)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Whatever it takes

A week or two ago, Liza started to get harder and harder to put to bed. Normally we read to her, turned on some music and snuggle in bed with her for a few songs, and then left while she was still groggy and she fell asleep on her own. But shortly before her birthday Liza began fighting the process, wriggling around like a fish on a hook while we snuggled, then sneaking out of bed and coming downstairs multiple times. Never mind that she can't get to sleep because she won't sit still for more than 3 seconds, and the light is on, and she's got 75 copies of My Big Backyard strewn all over her bed. It's enough to make me think that our old joke about needing a "sleep hammer" wasn't so far off.

Finally I told her that now that she's 5, she's old enough to put herself to bed. We'll read to her, and turn on her music, and maybe tell her a story while she lays there, but once we leave, she's on her own. She can get up and read, play in her room, whatever - as long as she does it quietly, and stays in her room, and puts herself to bed when she's done. Arguments that she can't do that were met with calm reminders that she already HAD done it for several nights, when she fell asleep in the middle of her pile of magazines with a flashlight in one hand and a bunny in the other. Arguments that she wasn't tired were met with a story that explains why she's having such a hard time relaxing ...

Inside your brain is a little guy whose job it is to keep you awake. He's very small, and he's got a sword to keep the Sleepies from getting in your brain. The guy is pretty funny - he's not wearing any clothes except for a pair of underwear, and sometimes a cape, and he likes to dance to Elvis music.

The Sleepies are pretty funny, too. They're tiny purple fluffy sheep that can fly and smell really, really good. There are a lot of them, and all they want to do is come and take a nap in your brain, but the guy with the sword won't let them, so they have to be tricky.

So one of the Sleepies reaches into his wool and pulls out a radio, and when he turns it on, Elvis music starts to play. This makes the guy with the sword want to dance, so he ends up dancing around with his sword, waving it around to keep the Sleepies back. But he can't fight the music for long, and ends up doing some really fancy dance moves, and when his attention is on the dance, some of the Sleepies sneak through.

All of that dancing makes the guy with the sword kind of tired, so he has to take a break, and he leans over and rests a little on his sword ... and some more Sleepies sneak through. Then he gets up and dances some more, which makes him more tired, and he has to sit down and rest a bit ... and some more Sleepies get through.

Finally, there's only one Sleepie left, and it's the head Sleepie. He looks at the guy with the sword, and he says, "You've been doing a good job, but you look really tired. I think it's time for you to take a rest." And the guy agrees, and he lays down and snuggles with his sword, and the Sleepie walks past him up and joins all the other Sleepies in Liza's head. And all of the Sleepies lay down and take a nap together, which makes Liza feel very sleepy, and she can finally rest.

Of course, it's better in live performance, what with the silly dance moves and Sleepies sneaking up her pajamas and into her head and everything. I'm thinking it's got movie potential ... Tom Hanks as the guy with the sword, Shaun the Sheep as the head Sleepie ... it could be box office gold, I tell you.

In the meantime, now that Liza has acted as editor by reading over my shoulder while I type, I think I'd better finish this up. After all, we have a guy with a sword and some flying purple sheep that smell really good to draw up to illustrate our story ....

Monday, May 03, 2010

Night Court

Looks like I've liked "Data" (aka Brent Spiner) for longer than I thought ... wonder if they have this series on DVD at the library?

Our little innovator

Name: Double Dutch
Inventor: unknown
Requirements: Two people swing on a swing set with identical periods and amplitudes on their swings. When the paths match up so that they're both going forward and backward at exactly the same time, one of the swingers yells "Double Dutch!"

Name: Double Dutch Notches Riding on a Skateboard a Few Minutes Later
Inventor: Liza
Requirements: Two people swing on a swing set, and other than that, heck if I know, other than it involves screaming "Double Dutch Notches Riding on a Skateboard a Few Minutes Later!" regularly at the top of your lungs.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Thank goodness the rain held off

Welcome to my birthday party at the Cleveland Botanical Garden!

First, we will run around like maniacs on the lawn.

I will be very lucky, and find FIVE four-leaf clovers.

Then we will have cupcakes, both chocolate and vanilla.

And we will open presents and show off our butterfly t-shirts.

We'll hunt for butterflies to identify ...

... and flowers to sniff.

We might have a few close encounters ...

... of the really cute kind.

There should be time to do some construction work.

We might even get to do some riding.

So here's looking forward to some good, clean fun!

And oh, yeah - the flowers will be almost as pretty as me!