Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Home again

Had a blast at Great Wolf Lodge for the most part.  Mayhem had some seriously whiny & sulky moments that were a bit much. He didn't want to do anything, go anywhere, just sit in the room. Then he'd ask how long we were staying & pitch a fit that we were leaving the next day because he wanted to stay longer. Sorry, kid but you can sulk around a bedroom at home for free. Other than those moments though, we had a lot of fun. I have 208 photos taken at a good distance, with low lighting, to prove it! Havoc completed 3 MagiQuest adventures and went several times on the boggie board. Mayhem collected the final runes he needed to start doing MagiQuest adventures and spent a lot of time running around the tree fort.  I went up a great many stairs, a great many times, lugging a single or double innertube each time. My friend Mel and I were on an exercise mission - THIGHS OF STEEL!  DH did a lot of boogie boarding and chasing Mayhem around the treehouse

So now I am home, with 3 loads of laundry to do and a kitchen that is mysteriously full of crumbs when it had been wiped down & swept before we left. Despite bringing my computer with me and logging on Sunday night & yesterday afternoon, I have about 200 emails, I am behind about 150 Entrecard drops, need to read about 1000 posts in the SkinnyJeans forum, about 75 threads on SSDs forum, a huge number on Raverly, god only knows how many posts in my blog reader and I haven't even looked at the mom blog boards I visit.  I'm seriously considering marking everything read and starting clean. Maybe reading stuff from today and marking the rest read.... I'll probably end up skimming everything... I did read my Twitter DMs, responses and about 40 of the most recent Tweets, so do I feel I am caught up somewhere at least.

Weekly Winners will contain many heavily altered photos of Great Wolf Lodge and *gasp* probably no dinosaurs.  They did not come with us.


I think I know where the crumbs in the kitchen may have come from.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekly Winners Sept 22-28

This tree is up the road a little from our house.


Havoc finds swinging has gotten a bit stale so he goes looking for a new challenge


New Legos. I can now pretend Harrison Ford is in my house *sigh*


Looks like the bracheasuar missed breakfast


We made fall sugar cookies. Dinos are not much good at that so we had to keep them away. They were not happy.


They are guarding the cooling the cookies 'so nothing happens to them'. Would you trust them?


I crocheted this guy one night this week for a friend as a charm to keep the bad energy away


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scrapbook Saturday

Scrapbook Saturday


lifeisgood1 playlaughgrow1

babydad1This is my dad when he was about 6-8 months old. Today is his 70th birthday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ah vacation, but so much packing!

We're going on a 3 day vacation this weekend.  We're headed to Great Wolf Lodge which is an indoor water park & theme hotel.  They also have a great game called MagicQuest to suck up your time when you want a break from swimming.  This will be our third visit in a year.

Havoc wanted to go there last year for his birthday, so we did. Then we went in March because they offered us a great deal and this time we are again going for Havoc's birthday (even though it is 10 days away, this was the cheaper of the weekends available). Having done this a couple of times now I am far better at knowing what to bring.

2 suits each, because nothing is worse than putting on a cold clammy suit you took off 2 hours ago when you came back to the room for lunch or a break.

Clothespins. They have a line in the bathroom but no pins.

Several pairs of sweats or other comfy pants to lounge around the room in because inevitably someone will drop a wet suit on them rendering them unwearable.

Pajamas. They do an interactive story time at 8pm for the kids & everyone shows up in their pajamas for it. Except our kids, who sleep in their underwear generally, or random t shirts. They do have pajamas & do wear them from time to time, but not often enough that I always remember to pack them if we are only gone a couple nights.

Extra towels, because no matter how many they give you in the room or in the park, you will never have enough if you leave the park more than once in the day. Especially if you have people like me along, who insist on having a DRY towel, not a damp towel, when they get out of the shower. We generally are in and out of the park 3 times a time taking breaks for lunch, snack, MagiQuest, etc.

Food & drink - MY GOD their food is expensive!!! We brought nothing but some juice for the kids the first time we went. I was floored by the amount we spent on food.  The food is good but I'm never overjoyed to spend $8-9 on a sandwich. Buffets are wasted on my picky eaters and the cost of a soda & a bag of chips is ridiculous. Last time we brought cereal, drinks, stuff to make PB&Js, fruit and snacks. There is a fridge in the room. There is a Pizza Hut in the place so we had that one night rather than the buffet and the next night we went out to iHop. This time I remembered they sell Pepsi products & bought some bottles of it and Apple juice that we can refill in our rooms with our stuff because no outside food & beverages are allowed in the water park & who can tell if that is Coke & not Pepsi in that Pepsi bottle.

Comfy clothes & shoes for running around the place on MagiQuest. The boys can't read well enough yet & aren't really old enough to be let off on their own & the game takes you all over 2 wings and 2 floors of the hotel, many many times.

An assortment of excuses for why we are not going into the arcade, should the path from our room to the park take up past it. An arcade is money down the drain with a 4 & 5 year old. They want to play all the racing games but can't & only last 10 seconds on the ones they can manage. Last time we went we managed to avoid going near the arcade at all & the boys never asked about it.

Both laptops.  DH is on his all evening long after the kids are in bed & I never got a turn without a lot of gumbling.  They have free wifi in the rooms!

Portable DVD player & movies. Mostly for the drive up and back which is almost 3 hours, but usually there is a movie break in the afternoon of the second day.

We'll be gone 2 nights. My car will be just as crammed with stuff (due to the food mostly) as it is when we go for 10 days to visit my folks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Memes & Awards Oh My!

Kat at Mother Fonker tagged me with a meme. 6 quirky things about me

1.I over explain things to the kids when it is a subject I know a lot about. They asked why cave people & Native Americans wore animal skins and not T-shirts and I explained that they lacked the knowledge of the fiber art technology necessary to spin and weave plant products in sufficient quantities to warmly clothe themselves completely. Using those exact words, to my 4 and 5 year old. DH said "They only had animals available to make clothes from". yeah. what he said

2. I use lots of quotes from 80's Britcoms in my everyday speech. Fortunately the vast majority of my friends have seen the shows.

3. If I am not quoting Britcoms, I am quoting Douglas Adams

4. I have 4 tattoos. Got my first one when I was 33.

5. I can't relax in my living room if things aren't all put away. At least stuffed in bins out of sight.

6. I can read a book and crochet at the same time.

Tara at Tara's View of the World and Juliana at Juliana's Site both gave me the Proximidade Award

This is a Portugese award, Proximidade means vicinity or neighborhood, this is the original translated blurb

"They all are charmed with the blogs, where in the majority of its aims are to show the marvels and to do friendship; there are persons who are not interested when we give them a prize and then they help to cut these bows; do we want that they are cut or that they propagate? Then let’s try to give more attention to them! So with this prize we must deliver it to 8 bloggers that in turn must make the same thing and put this text."

I'm supposed to pass it on to 8 other bloggers

Nikki at http://mymanycoloreddays2.blogspot.com/
Tracy at http://tracyducar.blogspot.com/
Traci at http://www.scraplifescrap.blogspot.com/
Becca at http://beccab04.blogspot.com/
Lauren at http://laurengrier.blogspot.com/
Crystal at http://crystalbellasstuff.blogspot.com/
Col at http://brodony0123.blogspot.com/
Chels at http://myscraproom85.blogspot.com/

I got this great award from Christy at Motherhood-Unscripted

I'm supposed to pass it on to 7 other bloggers

Becky at http://www.mommywantsvodka.com/
Jen at http://cheaperthantherapyjen.blogspot.com/
Rachel at http://followinginmyshoes.blogspot.com/
Karen at http://3garnetsn2sapphires.blogspot.com/
Elizabeth at http://jogginginplace.blogspot.com/
Miss Fussy Pants at http://www.fussypants.com/
Elizabeth at http://www.threechannels.com/

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mabon or the Autumn Equinox

Yesterday was the Equinox, called Mabon amongst the Wiccan & some pagans. It is a day of balance, the second of the three harvest festivals & often called the Witches Thanksgiving. The leaves dropping their leaves & going into their long winter sleep is a sign to start drawing inward ourselves, to change our focus from the wide world to the world of our home or to our own inner world. Now would be a good time to start that study course you have been putting off. As the light begins diminishing until Yule, now is the time to work on diminishing the things in your life that are not working for you. I'm working on diminishing my hair trigger annoyance & my shouting. I am also working on lessening my spending. Once I have those under control, I will work on increasing my patience & my income come Imbolc (Feb 2)

Little boys don't really get the personal working part of the holiday just yet. We instead just focus on nature. It's been warm here & the trees are still very green. They are having a hard time settling down for their winter sleep. We decided to read them bedtime stories for Mabon and Havoc suggested they needed warm blankets, so we mulched around them as well. We divided the yard into 4 areas and I sat and read in each area while Havoc went from tree to tree to make sure they could all hear me. Then we sprinkled mulch around them and told them good night. (for the spring equinox we go around with drums and things waking them up). Mayhem went inside to watch Cyberchase but Havoc and I went an gathered some black walnuts. I explained to him hold the walnut and make a wish for something he wanted to change about himself. We talked about things that could be changed and ways to phrase it and how to ask the Divine to help you make the change. Once we had our wished thought out we sat holding the nuts and asking Her/Him's aid & blessing. Then we buried the nuts. While they are changing underground waiting for spring to come to life, the changes we asked for are slowly changing us inside.

I would have liked to have a more Mabon-ish meal - Chicken & Parsnips braised in apple cider, but the little boys howled about that. They'd had odd or unfamiliar meals 2 nights in a row and wanted pizza. So we had chicken topped pesto pizza and apple juice for dinner.

I think I may make apple walnut bread today just to get it out of my system.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bragging on my fab crochet skillz

That'd be sarcasm, BTW

I finished the amigurumi octopus for Havoc. He chose the rainbow colored yarn for it.


I've been experimenting with how to create different shape effects with amigurumi and I created a bunch of mushrooms while doing it.


Then I decided to focus on making something for a friend to keep the bad energy away and I made this traffic cone


Then I got my hands on some googly eyes and the mushrooms gained some personality.


The traffic cone became an angry traffic cone


I think he is just the cutest thing ever.

The traffic cone came about as a result of 2 things. First I was going to make a witches hat for a little crochet person I had made recently (There is no photo of said person because it seems to have vanished & I am pretty annoyed about that because I never wrote the pattern down & now have to start over) The problem is I really didn't want to do all those close stitches in black (3sc in a circle, then 4sc, then 5 sc, etc - pain in the butt in black yarn & I am over black yarn from the penguin). The other thing was a friend of mine was joking that she calls traffic cones buried safety witches. (witchy humor). Last night those 2 thoughts met in my mind and decided to make a traffic cone & try & square off the rounded hat brim corners. Then I glued on the googly eyes. Cute but it needed something. This traffic cone is a gift for a friend who is dealing with some negative stuff in her life & I figured what better to keep unwanted things away than an angry traffic cone. So I was sitting here thinking I was pretty clever typing this up when it occurred to me I had seen crochet traffic cones before. I googled it and sure enough - Alicia did it first. Hers don't appear to be angry & have different eyes, but it is the same idea. Hers are stuffed & mine isn't but I think the next one I make will use her idea of sewing it to a crocheted square. I wish I had remembered this before I started experimenting with creating a cone on my own. Would have saved me a bunch of time. But I was googling crochet witches hat and not traffic cone.

I'm thinking of selling the mushrooms & the traffic cones on Etsy, along with the little bags that I make.


I'm saving up to buy a D40 camera & every little bit helps, plus I have a huge stock of yarn already so the set up costs were covered long ago. I just need a name. I like The Magical Mushroom or something to that effect but I haven't had time to go out & see what is already & use. Any suggestions would be appreciated

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekly Winners Sept 14-20

I have a mixed bag this week

The view from our driveway


Roadside weed flower


The killer vine weed. I am highly allergic to it, which is why it has taken over the veggie garden.


In honor of Talk Like A Pirate Day there was some digging for buried treasure


Look! The loch ness monster!


I think the dinos get bored during the day with the boys in school.I find them in the oddest places.

"Oh hai! We can haz muffinz plz?"


Things don't look good for teddy


I finally finished the octopus I have been working on for Havoc. He chose a variegated rainbow yarn.


For more weekly winners visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Scrapbook Saturday

Scrapbook Saturday

My layouts this week


created with Tell Me a Story by Traci Reed & Heather Roselli at Sweet Shoppe Designs


one of my Learn Something New layouts, created with Scary Moon Cat by Lauren Grier at SSD


another Learn Something New layout,created with Winter Chic by Shabby Princess at ShabbyPrincess.com

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dear Lego company

Could you do a size somewhere between the duplo and the regular legos please. Or make Indiana Jones Duplos?

And by the way, pressing those little single peg legos together ALWAYS pinches my fingers.

k' thx'


Havoc got an Indian Jones Lego set for being 'good' today. (Don't ask me to define good, I have no idea why he has it, unless good means not actually knocking displays over while tearing around the wal mart. I'm tired, my shoulder hurts & I was pretty much numb from the overwhelming volume of noise. I suspect Havoc got the Legos because he was marginally better than Mayhem & that is 'good' enough) Anyway for whatever reason Havoc ended up with the Indiana Jones set of 2 motorcycles from Last Crusade, which is the only IJ Lego set near his age. Most of them are 8-12. I had to put it together but he's been able to put it back together so it's good.

They are watching Last Crusade now & playing with the legos.  My ears are ringing with the near silence

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Caught Unprepared

Mayhem comes home with a package from school. In it is a blank construction paper banner and some instructions. How cute! Preschool homework! The note says "Your child should draw or cut from magazines pictures of their favorite things. Please let them use the scissors themselves." "This should be a lot of fun" I say to Mayhem and set about finding scissors and glue. Then I look around and I realize something - there is nothing for Mayhem to cut out. We get 2 magazines in our house. The first is Cook's Illustrated, which is illustrated only with black & white photos of food and cooking implements. Mayhem is the anti-foodie, so CI won't work. The other is NRA Magazine. 


I look around hoping to find an old issue of Real Simple or Rachel Ray Magazine. I pick them up randomly at the store. But no, apparently I have been decluttering effectively lately. The only thing I find is a year old copy of a sci fi mag with Dr Who on the cover and the kid's not getting near that with his scissors.

We had a few days for this project so I looked around the magazine section when I went to the store the next day. Vogue. Mademoiselle, other magazines with articles about how to improve your sex life & look better in bed. Not really appropriate. Guns & Ammo. Hunting & Fishing. Got that covered already, thanks. 28 magazines aimed at teen girls, all featuring the Jonas Brothers on the cover. Also not really appropriate. 9 different football magazines. Not really useful as Mayhem doesn't care about sports yet. Numerous quilting, crocheting, knitting and scrapbooking magazines. Well, they interest *me* but I'm not seeing anything that would interest Mayhem. Racing magazines! Car magazines! Monster truck magazines! Hey, these might work! Oh...wait...there is a scantily clad woman draped over every single vehicle in every one of these magazines. Maybe when he is 14.

Where are the toy catalogs when you need them?!?! It's September. Shouldn't I be receiving Christmas toy catalogs by now?!?!  Oh wait, maybe I have and tossed them in the trash. Damn me and my decluttering anyway.

I ended up showing him the photos I have taken so far for my 365 Project,, letting him choose what he wants, printing them out in small size and letting him cut them out.

I'm not much into these sorts of crafts. I'm not that sort of craft person and I really suck with scissors. 

Seriously, I can't cut a straight line. Even a short one.

I haven't let Mayhem touch scissors since the curtain incident 8 months ago, except PlayDoh ones, so he really has no clue how to use them. He was two handed snipping at the paper, creating lots of fringe but not cutting out any thing. It was driving me nuts to see this. But the teacher stressed letting them do all of it and just guiding them, so I sat on my hands and watched. I eventually justified taking the scissors off of him and repositioning them in his hand. This helped him cut better, but of course he's cutting at weird angles, chopping of photo parts and getting upset about it. I'm upset about it too.  I wanted to shout STOP GOOFING OFF AND PAY ATTENTION!!! But I had to stifle that and tell him it was ok, it was a collage & he'd be gluing lots of things on top of others and then sit back and watch him DO IT AGAIN!

When it came time to color it I gave him crayons because I knew my nerves weren't up to seeing him MIX THE PAINT COLORS together.

I basically spend the entire time sitting there watching him thinking


I have no idea where this impulse comes from. I am not an interventionist parent in any other realm, but paint & scissors bring it out intently & it's always been a struggle for me to sit back and let them make all the paint brown.

This was Mayhem's first school project.He glued pictures on top of the coloring he did, "So they are a surprise."


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

word cloud

Click to see full sized. I can't figure out how to get that to appear here.

Muffins seem to feature highly. Which might explain why my pants are too tight....

No time to blog today. I'm making a photo book for my dad's 70th birthday. It's the 26th so I am already screwed on shipping time but if I can get it completed today I can at least say it will arrive 'any day now' when I call him.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I've been baking

I made cupcakes Saturday and muffins yesterday. The cupcakes were for a pot luck party my bunco group was having. The muffins were for the family.

I ate several of both batches.

The cupcakes were cheesecake brownie cupcakes. I used the recipe for Mrs Field's Cheesecake Brownie Cups found here at RecipeZaar.com. However, I am not sure what it is with me & measuring, but I ended up with 16 cupcakes instead of 12. They were very well received.

I had 2 bananas that needed to be used yesterday so I made muffins. I was going to make peanut butter banana muffins, in the hopes of tempting Mayhem to actually eat a muffin rather than just demand to make them. But he'd gone on a PB&J spree over the weekend & there was insufficient peanut butter remaining. I decided to replace it with Nutella. Chocolate, bananas, hazelnuts...yum!

Nutella Banana muffins

Preheat oven to 400 and prepare 12-18 muffin cups. (recipe claims 12, I made 18)

In a large bowl mix together

2 cups flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tblsp baking powder

1/4 teas salt

In a smaller bowl mix until well combined

1/2c Nutella

2 tblsp oil

2 eggs

3/4 c warmish milk

2 medium bananas mashed (or pureed like I did)

This will take some time if you do it by hand. The Nutella and the milk & the eggs do not want to combine, but they will if you keep at it. I don't own a hand blender so I stuck it out with a whisk.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. This will be a thick but liquid batter. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or so. Test with a toothpick.

These are very good banana muffins with a chocolate & nut background flavor. If you want a chocolate & nut muffin with a banana flavor I suggest omitting one banana and increasing your Nutella by a couple of tablespoons. And you can add some mini chocolate chips as well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fear of Deer

We live in a rural area. There are a lot of cattle farms and a lot of wooded acres around. Even the subdivisions that exist must, by county law, have no less than 3 acres per plot. Most average over 7 and market themselves as 'estates'. So there is a lot of room for wild animals to roam and roam they do.

Unfortunately that roaming involves crossing roads and deer don't seem to get the 'look both ways first' rule of road crossing. They just merrily leap out from the undergrowth and trot right across the road without thought of oncoming cars. This is very unnerving if you are driving the oncoming car. It's even more unnerving if you are driving a 7 year old car that has already had 2 front end collisions that ought to have totaled the car, but mysteriously didn't, and you are fairly sure you will not get away with it a third time. Oh, and you are in no position to take on a car payment right now thankyouverymuch.

I spend this time of year driving in fear of deer. Keep you eyes on the road? Oh hell no. Keep you eyes on the tree lined side of the road. That is where the danger lies. I drive on roads full of bends and slight rises where anything could be waiting just out of sight. The slight rise was what hid the large broken tree branch that cause my second collision in 2006. That branch hadn't been there 30 minutes earlier when I came though & it was not a windy day. Nor was there a tree of appropriate size anywhere in the area. I was going the regulation 35MPH when I came over the rise, saw the branch and WHAM! there went my bumper into my radiator which pushed itself into my engine which shift back into the air conditioner and did all hell's worth of damage to the frame and the underside of the car.

My insurance company gave serious thought to calling the car totaled, given it's age, the amount of damage & the fact that this was the second time the frame had been bent to hell (the first time was in 2002 when a large tarp wrapped bundle fell off the back of a semi right in front of me, in the middle of traffic on the interstate, with no where to swerve to & anyway I'd have caught the tire & probably have flipped the car had I tried. The semi didn't even notice anything happened & never stopped). But when I mentioned that the car had a new transmission, which would have to be reimbursed by the insurance company, I guess that tipped their calculations because the car was fixed.

I am 99.9% certain that hitting a deer would be end game for the car though. I think my insurance company wouldn't even bother sending an adjuster & would just mail me a check. That check would be for about $1200, which is not going to go far for a new car.

I've had deer leaping up in front of my fairly regularly for a few weeks now and they just stop there in the middle of the road and look at me like "What the hell is YOUR problem?" and wait while a couple more join them and just when I think it is safe to go again I notice another one off to the side - dithering, walking back & forth to the road line, side to side along it. I know if I start driving it'll leap right out in front of me but I can't just sit there forever while it makes up it's mind. The deer around here are totally unfazed by car horns so you can't startle them into moving.

A huge buck jumped out in front of me this morning. I'd just come around a bend & rise (lovely combo a quarter mile from my house) when suddenly out of the bushes came Super Deer leaping up into the air. I was seriously concerned he'd land hooves first on the hood he was so high in the air.  I screeched to a stop inches from him and he looked at me with that "what the hell?" look and leapt away.

He was so big and leapt so high I was looking for his mask and cape. Faster than a speeding Miata, able to leap SUVs in a single bound, it's Super Deer!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekly Winners Sept 7-13

My weekly winners this week are all taken from my Project 365-Boys Play that I have been working on this year.

We decided to paint the boys' room this week. Word must have gone out about it because while DH & I were moving the furniture around, these guys showed up:



They had their own equipment so we hired them but soon there problems.

They seemed to have issues with the spackle



I'm fairly certain some child labor laws were being broken



That doesn't look like painters' tape to me



Watching paint dry. We're not paying them by the hour are we?P9070063-2

5 days later (3 days longer than planned) the room was finished P9120008a      

For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Scrapbook Saturday

Scrapbook Saturday

Some layouts I did this week


This was done with Heart of Fall by Traci Reed & Kay Miller at Sweet Shoppe Designs


This was made with Mischief & Mayhem by Heather Roselli, also at SSD. This was for the Learn Something New class I am taking


This was done with Bestest of Friends- Boys by Eva Kipler at SSD

Friday, September 12, 2008

My stack of books

This is the current stack of books on my nightstand

P9120003 (2)

The ones with paper sticking out are the ones I am reading currently. The rest are waiting their turn.

I am currently reading

The Provincial Lady in London by E M Delafield, which is a humorous semi-fictional journal first published in 1933. This is a reread for me. I've read the entire 5 book series a few times & always enjoy it.

For Keeps edited by Victoria Zackheim, which is a collection of essays written by women about growing older, their bodies and learning to accept these things. I've borrowed it from the library and they want it back Monday so I need to focus on it this weekend.

Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, which is a very good parenting book about remaining calm & being all zen with your kids. I'm rereading it for the 3rd time because I'm having issues with equanimity thing lately.

Daughter of York by Anne Easter Smith, which is historic fiction about Princess Margaret of York, sister to Edward IV and Richard III. I just started it yesterday & it seems pretty good so far.

The Saucier's Apprentice by Bob Spitz, which is memoir of his travels & classes at various cooking schools in Europe. I've been reading this book for over a month now, which is unusual for me. I'm not finding the narrator very likeable, nor do I have much fondness for anyone else he encounters. But I don't dislike the book, I think I'm just having a hard time getting into it.

I am waiting to read

Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson, which is a collection of ideas for celebrations relating to various Goddess festivals. I need to look through it for ideas for Mabon on the 22nd.

The Provincial Lady in America by EM Delafield, which is the next book in the series

The Reavers by George MacDonald Fraser, which is hysterically funny historical fiction by the man who does the Flashman books. At least I am assuming it is hysterically funny based on the quick browse through I gave it in the library yesterday and the Flashman books I have read

Stealing Athena by Karen Essex, which is historic fiction featuring the Greek courtesan Aspasia and Mary, the Duchess of Elgin, linked together by the Elgin Marbles

The First Queen of England by Linda Porter, which is non-fiction about Mary Tudor. I haven't read much that is very sympathetic to Bloody Mary, as she is known, so this should be interesting

One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen, which is memoir of the year his family spent traveling around the world. It has been sitting at the bottom of the TBR pile since mid-June. It's original due date was June 26. I want to read it. I just find other things I want to read *more*.

So, if I am behind on visiting blogs, or commenting on layouts, or I haven't called you in a while, you know why. Sorry about that. I've kinda got a bad book jones going on.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

No towers knocked down today

This is the first time since 2001 I am not watching towers being knocked down. It was all over the news in 2001 and 2002 . You couldn't avoid it and I didn't try. I had an 11 month old in 2003. His favorite game was have me build towers from our soft blocks so he could knock them down. That is what I spent Sept 11 2003 doing. Sept 11 2004 was spent overseeing a game where Havoc built towers of blocks for Mayhem to knock over. We moved operations to the sand box for 2005 and 2006. They were Legos in 2007. It's not that my kids have some weird affinity for building towers on Sept 11. They were building towers and knocking them over with regularity for months before and after. It just...on that one day...it stood out. I couldn't watch them without thinking about it. Twin towers made of sand ceasing to exist with a deliberate sideswipe of a little hand.

It hurt to watch and remember. It hurt that the connection existed to be made. My little toddlers, playing toddler games that I couldn't watch without thinking of death & destruction.

"Why are you crying Mommy?"

"it's ok sweetie. It's complicated. Mommy is ok."

I couldn't tell them. They wouldn't understand. They would only get that something bad happened once and mommy was upset thinking about it. That would upset them and scare them & I didn't want that. Every year this rolls around and I think I should explain. I should tell them what it meant to me and to others. But I can't tell them about the terrible things human beings are capable of doing without also telling them about the wonderful things human beings are capable of doing.  I don't want them to be afraid. I want them to have hope. Problem is, I feel a bit short in the 'wonderful things' category. Yes there were those very brave people on that plane and those wonderful police & firefighters. But I don't want to tell them a story where everybody dies. I want to tell them the world is a better place now. That is is over and done and they don't need to be afraid. But I can't Because it isn't.

I was born in 1967 while this country was being torn apart with race riots in major cities and protests against the war in Vietnam escalated as the did the war itself.  Less than a year after my birth Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. I'm sure my parents were hoping the issues would all be over & done with and the world a better place by the time I was old enough to understand. Better? Possibly. Over and done with? No. I don't think so.

It's been 40 years since those days and there is no closure to them yet & I don't really think there can be. When people believe in something that strongly on either side, they don't let go. When they hate you, really hate you, just for existing, they don't stop. There is nothing you can do to make them stop, because they hate and fear you that much. I have to acknowledge that won't likely be a happy ending to the story of 9/11 that I can tell to my children.

Havoc is 6 now, Mayhem 5.  They don't build & knock down towers much any more, so today I'll be spared making a new association. But maybe today is the day I will start to tell them the story.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I just wanted a few

Just a few. All I wanted was to make some breakfast burritos. I needed maybe 6 corn tortillas. Small ones, but knowing how these things go package wise, I accepted I'd probably end up with 12 large ones or 15 small ones & make enchiladas for dinner one night. HA! I was determined to get corn tortillas, not flour. I like corn better, especially for breakfast burritos.

I run into Food Lion & scan the 'international food aisle' for tortillas. They only have taco shells and flour tortillas, so I head back to the refrigerated section. There I find corn tortillas. Except....they only come in bags of 100. Yeah 100 tortillas, when I need maybe 6. There are slots for bags of 36 tortillas and bags of 15 large sized tortillas, but the slots are empty. It's 100 tortillas or no tortillas. The boys were very into having breakfast burritos and the boys rarely get excited about food that isn't cheese pizza, so I was feeling pressure about the burritos. I stood there in the refrigerated aisle and tried to come up with things to do with 94 corn tortillas. Enchiladas, of course. Quesedillas. Steak & veggie fajitas.  That's maybe 15 tortillas. Wrappers for BBQ pork sandwiches.  That lasagna thing Alton Brown made, that used a lot of tortillas. I could cut some into triangles & fry or bake them for nachos. We could do breakfast burritos twice in one week. That's maybe 50 tortillas.  I could cut them up and blend them to mush. I'm fairly sure Alton Brown did that, and use them like polenta & serve with ragu. Maybe I could layer them with cheese & top them and call them pizza? I'm sure I stood there a good 5 minutes pondering all the tortilla recipes I have heard of (I'm Irish & German, tortillas are a rarity in my life). Finally I decided I could use at least 70 of them & given the cost, that would be ok.  Then I saw the sign.  BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!  Yeah. 200 tortillas, when I need maybe 6. 

I don't know how it is at your Food Lion, but the checkers at ours will not let you leave without your BOGO. Saying "that's ok, really, 100 tortillas is way more than I need anyway" will not stop them from sending someone back to get you your free bag. They don't seem to get the idea that you might not want free food to which you are entitled. If you stand there & try to insist that you don't want it, life will grind to a halt while you are stared at by checkers, baggers and fellow customers in blank incomprehensibility. She doesn't want the BOGO? Why is she buying the item if she doesn't want the BOGO?  How can you not want a BOGO? I have this problem all the time with soda products. I want a 12pack of Coke & one of Sprite for a cookout we're having, but the deal is buy 2 get 2 free. but I don't want 24 extra cans of soda in my house. I will drink them if they are in my house. I don't not need the calories of 24 extra cans of soda (and I can't stand diet so it's the caloried stuff or nothing). I can't not drink them. I know this about myself. So I just don't buy them. But you can't not get BOGOs. I can usually solve the problem when it is soda or something like chips or cookies.  The store is always collecting goods for the food bank and I just drop my unwanted BOGO soda into the collection box. Corn tortillas are perishable & they don't collect perishable items at the box.

There are now 192 corn tortillas in my fridge (the boys at more burritos than I thought they would).  This is the 2 week menu

Roast chicken, with tortillas instead of flat bread

Chicken enchiladas

Quesidillas with various fillings & salad

Tortilla lasagna

Grilled Steak

Steak Fajitas

soft tacos

Tortilla pizza

BBQ pork wraps, with tortillas

Roast pork loin

Soup - TBD
Coq au Vin

Spaghetti & meatballs.

Monday, September 08, 2008

One thing leads to another

We decided it was time to paint the boys room this weekend.  We've lived here 11 years now & apart from slapping some moon & stars decals on the walls & hanging a couple dragon posters, we've done nothing to their room. I'm not the sort of person who goes in for creating nurseries.  To me, they have a short life span & then the child who lives in them expresses their negative opinion on Baby Bugs & Company and the whole thing has to be redone. (a friend of mine's 2.5 year old is regularly peeling the Winnie the Pooh decals off the wall because 'they keep looking at me') I'd rather save the money I'd spend on doing up a nursery and then use it decorating the room for the 5-7 year old to his tastes. The boys have each selected a color & we'll be doing 2 walls in a flame red and 2 walls in a blue gray. They haven't said much about decor - no preference for sports or a cars theme yet. They'll be getting bunk beds and new bedding in a couple months and I suspect when they pick out sheets then a theme will emerge.

Saturday we went looking for our power rollers & other supplies.  The search for the roller heads led to the discovery of a significant leak in a pipe over the electrical box. Another 24 hours or so and the damp would have soaked through to the box. Why is a water pipe T joint almost directly over the electrical box?  We've added that to the long long long list of things we have to ask the hippies who built this house (probably while high) should we ever meet them.

We have drop ceilings, so to repair the leak DH had to remove a bunch of them and get up into a part of the ceiling no one has disturbed since the house was inspected before we bought it in 1997.  OH MY GOD THE DUST!! Dust everywhere, dust coming down like rain on a summer's day. The dust triggered my almost dormant allergies, which, after a humongous sneezing fit and a long hot shower, settled into my eyes.  Burning, itchy, watery eyes. When I woke up Sunday morning my left eye was swollen and caked shut.

The eye problem led to my cleaning out all my bathroom cabinets. Almost every single thing of medicine in my cabinets was expired, some had been expired since January 2006. Fortunately the Visine AC is still good for a couple of months.

Cleaning out my cabinets led me to discover I have the world's largest collection of barely used hair supplies.  Bottles and bottles and tubes and pumps and jars, all of stuff I have used once on twice on my hair & not cared for the result enough to use again. Hundreds of dollars of hair care product. Wasted.

The knowledge of all that money wasted led me to sit down with the budget and rework the amounts to better reflect just how we spend money.  After realizing that we barely manage to watch 2 movies every 6 weeks with Netflix, I canceled the account.

So you could say that we no longer rent movies as a direct result of painting the boys' room.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Weekly Winners - Aug 31 to Sept 6

Signs that summer is over.

Abandoned toys.


Fall chores


Back to school

1st day derek-5

Taking down the pool


These guys are not quite ready to let go though


See more weekly winners at Lotus at Sarcastic Mom