Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The body count rises

The lost toenail count is up to three. School starts tomorrow. I'm looking at today as my last day before my life changes completely. My kids are looking at it as just another day to aggravate the crap out of each other and whine until mommy explodes. Perspective, eh?

Monday, September 7, 2009

August...August...come in August...

I just realized that I posted nothing at all during the rest of my trip to France as well as the entire month of August. Oops. The rest of France was fabulous...better than fabulous maybe. spectacular. The food. The sights. Time with my sister. It was all wonderful, except that I really missed my little munchkins. And Benny. And the feet...well, the feet didn't get a whole lot better. I could gross you out with details of blood blisters, calluses, and blisters UNDER toenails, but instead I'll just tell you that I am currently missing two toenails completely, three more are black and blue in part or whole, and the bottom of my left foot sports a lovely design of somewhat concentric circles on both heel and ball, where layers of skin have peeled off. It's frighteningly disgusting.
I will post some more France stories when I can. Right now I am trying to eek every last drop out of summer before my older goes off to big kid school. I am lingering somewhere between shock that the last five and a half years have gone by so quickly, to excitement for her since I know she cannot wait, to melancholy that she will be gone all day. (That last one is easily remedied by letting her spend more than fifteen minutes with her sister, at which point one hits another, blah blah blah, and I threaten to lock them both out of the house.) I will do my darnedest to update on Thursday....the day when school officially starts. If for no other reason than to post a photo of my beautiful girl looking impossibly adorable in her uniform.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Random weirdness

Forgive my long stretches on non-blogging. I think of you, little blog, all the time. But I can't seem to find the time to sit and type all of my introspective, irrelevant commentary. Today, though, was a veritable invitation to blog.
The girls and I had a busy day planned: a trip to the gym so I could work out, lunch with our friend Carly and her older and very helpful children (Helen has a crush on a certain tween stinkin cute!), and then a return to the gym for swimming at our awesome, way cool "aquatics center" (indoor: lazy river, splash playground, big ole water slide, leisure pool, lap pool, hot tub).
By the time we met for lunch, I was beginning to feel like I was on the periphery of a Twilight Zone episode. We had to make a last minute unplanned trip to target after Helen decided today, the day I forgot her backpack of spare clothes, would be an excellent dsay to wet her pants. On the way out of the Target parking lot, we saw the obligatory homeless man with the cardboard sign. Usually it's something about being hungry and I usually ignore it cuz I'm a chicken and I don;t want to make nay eye contact. But today I read his plea, and I think I figured out what his problem is. See, he's 170 years old, and people probably think he's a ghost. Ghosts don;t need food, no? Yup. His sign proclaimed "Disabled Civil War Veteran" Hmmm.....sigh. Please don't judge me for laughing. I I don't think I've ever claimed to have an ounce of sensitivity. Or tact.
As I continued on my 4 minute trip form Target to the restaurant, I passed a man in the Office M*x parking lot. He appeared to be an employee in a food service establishment, as he was dressed in black clothing and apron, and he was parallel to the ground, feet on the curb, doing push ups. "I'll be back to take your drink order after my office supply store parking lot calisthenics." But by far the weirdest event of the day occurred prior to these, after my exercise class. I proceeded to the locker room to take a shower. I approached the sink to wash my hands, only to be greeted by the smell of meatballs coming from the crockpot that was plugged in and resting on the counter between two sinks. In the locker room. Of the gym. Seriously. If there was a pot luck in the locker room, no one told me abut it. And I dared not taste any of the meatballs, simmering away in the locker room. So. frickin. weird.
Lunch was good, but swimming not so much, as we were ushered out of the INDOOR pool five minutes after we got in becasue of a thunderstorm. (Note that it takes me longer than five minutes to get myself and two small children into swimsuits.) We were attempting to wait it out when the place went dark. Blackout at the gym. So we left. Strange day...indeed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How do you say blister in French?

My sister walks a tremendus amount. Ten, twelve miles a day. I can't quite keep up with that. If you know me IRL, you know that I recently sffered a debilitating bout of tendinitis in both knees. It was literally crippling. I was cawling up the stairs in my house, sending my 5 year old to the mailbox, and spending the large majority of my time on the couch because it felt like someone was ripping my tendons to shreds every time I tried to walk. I was on a nearly constant regimen of icing, I received four cottisone injections and got PT for the three weeks leading up to my trip. So with that in mind, I'm lucky I'm walking. But it isn't the knees that are kilimg me. It's the blisters. We walked abut 4.5 miles yesterday, and 6.5 today. A lot of walking for someone who has recently spent so much time not walking at all. I think I have bad socks, because the blisters are on the balls and heels of my feet. My sis went out tonight and got me some blister band-aids, but if they don't help, I may rest a little tomorrow. We've had a fabulous time. I know when people think of Paris museums, they immediately think Louvre, or maybe d'Orsay. Haven't made it there yet (well we strolled the gardens behind the Louvre lat night, but we didn't go in) but today we wnt to the Rodin museum. totally amazing. i think I realy enjoy the three-dimensionality of sculpture, and so many of his sculptures tell a story. It was fascinating. I took a lot of pictures, but I don't have my camera software so I 'll have to post them when I get home. I also got momentarily trapped in a pitch black bathroom. And I had no idea how to scream for help in French. I einvisoned dying a slow dark death in there, but managed to free myself by pulling the door instead of pushing (brilliant!) But aparently the lights are on a timer, and the bathroom was in a toilet closet of sorts, so there was NO light. When I finally burst outof there, I cried "THe lights went out!" But the FRENCH wooman at the sink couldn't understand me, so she asked me a question, in French, adn I couldn't understand her. I just stood there smiling. An when she finally mase a little room a the sink, I turned it on and she exclaimed "Oh!" So apparently she was asking me how to turn on the sink. Hmmm. I'm quite sure she stil had no idea what I said.
We aren't eating oursleve sick or anything, but we hav enjoyed some yummy stuff. My lunch today was a small quihe champignon (mushroms). Man was that tasty. Light for quiche anbd just all around good. We had ice cream, and I had to have a flavor I knew I couldn't get, so praline pignon it was. (Praline pine nut) Mmmmm.
Sis needs to get on here, so au revoir!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Well, here I am in Paris. I am not out soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of Paris at the moment because my sister and I are here in this apartment waiting for someone from the Parisian utility service to comeread the meter. I kid you not. It's like being home kinda, except the only person I can understand is my sister. I feel like I suffer from the mostt major of cognitive deficits. And I'm afraid to talk to anyone in French for fear I'll say the wrong thng, so I've been whispering things like "silvous plait and "bonjour." Cuz really, I don't know too much more than that. I did pipe up with a hearty "merci!" when we were handed the bag from the patisserie that contained our deicious pate sandwich. mmmmm. A lttle baguette with pate, lettuce and some tiny pickles. Heaven. And this delicious sweet bread sprinkled wth sea salt. mmmm again Sis is only giving the meter guy another 15 minutes and then we're taking off. In the rain...again...just like home. Except for the Eiffel Tower and all the French. Au revoir!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Nine....that would be the number of stitches in my poor baby's beautiful face. It would also be the approximate number of years shaved off my life this past Tuesday.
Ruthie, Helen and the little boy I watch, R, were all out in the front yard. Ruthie went inside to wash her hands. A couple of minutes later I hear her crying as she is coming back out and calling to me "Mommy, I hurt myself." I couldn't immediately see her from where I was standing, so I walked over towards the front door and saw my baby running down the porch steps, crying, with blood pouring down her sweet face in at least four different directions. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it looked like she was filming a scene for a horror movie. It was hard to tell, but it looked like it was coming from someplace on her forehead. I scooped her up (and admittedly, in a bit of momentary insanity, wondered if I should carry her facing outwards because there was so.much.blood. but I faced her inward toward me so I could see her.) I ran to my neighbors, mostly to deposit the other two children there and decide what I next needed to do. My neighbor took one look at us and all.that. blood. and called 911. I got a towel from her daughter and put pressure on the wound, which I could now tell was definitely on her forehead, and sat on my neighbor's stoop to wait for the emergency responders while I comforted my poor little daughter. We live own the hill from a fire station, so they arrived rather quickly with a truck and their ambulance. Ruthie and I were both calm, so they easily assessed her, applied some gauze and tape to keep the bleeding down, and put us in an ambulance. Ruthie waited in hte ambulance calmmly and patiently while I ran inot hte huse to get my phone and my wallet. Everyone who was there was amazed by how calm she was. Another neighbor later told me me she thought Ruthie and I were both really brave. That made my cry a little. We spent about four hours at the hospital with three other five year olds, all of whom also had head or facial lacerations. Ruthie was a model patient. She never flinched when they irrigated her wound, and she never flinched when they made each of those nine stiches in her pretty little face. I can't say the same for me. I maintained my composure (I'm good in the midst of a crisis, though I always reserve the right to fall apart later) but I felt my heart stop each and every time that needle pierced her skin to take another stitch.
I kept her home from school the next day, and by dinner time, I could feel myself beginning to unreavel. We went to a low-key dinner picnic for Benny's work, and the whole time we were there all I wanted was to leave. It seemed there were so many sharp edges looming there, and every time one of my girls came within a foot of one, I panicked and just wanted to go home. The feeling was exactly the feeling I had after we lost our first baby, and I wanted to be nowhere except the safety of my own home. I guess it was probably a minor anxiety attack. I actually cried on the way home from the picnic, no doubt a release of pent up anxiety. And also the picture. The one that is birned on my brain. The one of sweet little Ruthie running toward me, her face covered in multiple rivers of blood. I thought after two NICU babies, I could handle any medical emergency when it came to my kids. How wrong I was.
Four days later I'm slightly calmer but still nervous about the edges that are everywhere all of a sudden. And we're still finding blood in places. My neighbor kindly cleaned up the puddles by the front door after we left in the ambulance. I found some above the doorknob on Wednesday. The front porch is almost all clean thanks to the rain. Benny found some streaks on the front door today.
I find myself wanting to hold her and hug her even more than usual. And I'm so proud of her for being so brave. She really is a trooper.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Parlez vous anglais?

I can say's a start.

My sister leaves tonight. Me? Thirty-six days. I just got the address where we'll be staying. It's in the Theater District of Paris. And it is a seven minute walk to here:

Knowing where I'll be staying make sit much more relevant, and exciting, to peruse the travel books.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Je ne comprend pas

I don't even know if that is grammatically correct. I haven't taken French in 22 years. I thought I could "brush up" on some French and be okay while away. Ha! I reserved a few books from the library with French phrases, etc. They're not in yet. A friend of mine at the gym recommended this site for free daily French lessons. I was psyched! Ha! The lessons are auditory....the hardest way for me to learn...I need to see stuff in print. I listened a bit and understood that I was listening to something about North Korea, and maybe a boner and a cheese infant. I guess I should just learn to say "I don't speak French" "Where's the bathroom?" and "Have you seen my sister?....she's American and speaks French slightly better than me."

Monday, June 1, 2009


This is so not helping with that irrational (or is it now?) fear that my plane would go down somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic and leave my children motherless. Benny says it actually decreases the odds that something like that will happen on my flight over...or back. Yeah, he's probably right but for now...sigh.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Can you take it?? post just disappeared. I'm sure my sideways typing caused me to hit some combination of keys that completely obliterated the full paragraph I had written. Whatever.
Anyway, can you take two posts in one day?? Before the Paris business, I intended to tell you all about my fabulous trip to Price Chopper, and how I managed to get my grocery bill chopped (haha) from $178.59 to $39.67. Between sales, rain checks, coupons and bottle slips, I saved $138.92. Benny says the bottle slips don't really count, but they do. Because they are counted into the total of my other receipts when I pay that 5 cents per can initially. Like when I went the other day and spent$44.31 when my original bill was $97.63 (which I was moderately inpressed with until this morning), $3 of that $44.31 was bottle deposits paid. So it counts.
Anyway, here's what I got...

(1) box Kashi waffles
(4) boxes Kashi Heart to Heart cereal
(5) boxes Frosted Mini-Wheats (or as Helen calls them, Weenie Wheats)
(1) 6 pk. Italian rolls from yummy local bakery
(1) loaf Italian wheat bread from same yummy local bakery
(2) boxes Wheat Thins
(2) bottles All Small & Mighty HE detergent
(4) bags Halls cough drops
(10) containers Dannon yogurt
(1) dozen bakery bagels
(3) half gallons chocolate milk
(2) boxes Betty Crocker Brownie mix
(6) bottles Mr. Clean all-purpose cleaner
(2) 2-pks. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
(4) 2-pks. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Duo
(1) qt. strawberries
(2) jars bread n butter pickles
(1) jar tomato bruschetta
(1) 10 0z. pkg. mushrooms
(1) 12 0z. package Portabella mushroom Grillers
(1) 2 ltr. bottle Diet Dr. Pepper
(1) container Cottonelle wipes for Kids
2.6 lb. Granny Smith apples
1 lb. bay scallops
1 lb. shrimp
All for $39.67

I think I'm framing my receipt. Maybe my fabulous savings were what convinced Benny that Paris was doable.


Pardon the foul internet language in the title of this post, but I am so friggin excited I cannot contain myself. Remember this? Well, I kinda gave up on that, cause I developed this insane fear of dying on an overseas flight crash. Then I read this book again, and the bug started creeping in. So I brought it up to Benny. Cause he knows what the $ situation is much better than I do. (But on aside, I got my $178 grocery bill down to $39 with coupons and rainchecks and bottle slips.) And....he said we can sweing it. I'm going to Paris baby!! Details to come later. Passport to be yesterday. Or tomorrow at least. Off to pedal away on my bike in the lovely sunshine and dream of Paris. And find a really good crash course in French since I haven't taken a French class in 20 plus years.
And Kitty, I'll eat lots of Brie for you.
Au revoir!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dear Mom, Dear God

Dear Mom,
Remember all those days when I was a kid and I would follow you around while you were trying to do stuff (which was probably every day). And I would talk incessantly. I could tell that after a while you weren't really listening anymore. I thought maybe you didn't want to hear what I had to say anymore. Well, I just wanted t tell you that I'm sorry. Because I live with a little girl who looks suspiciously like I did 34 years ago, and she follows me around and talks non-stop. Even when she can't follow me around she talks non-stop. When I'm buckling her into her booster seat in he car, and we're in a big hurry, which we are 99% of the time, she starts telling me stories that have far too many details. And I have to tell her to stop so I can shut the van door and get into the driver's seat, and then she can resume her talking. Except sometimes, when I'm really distracted, I forget to tell her to stop a minute and I just shut the door in her face. And I can still hear the din of her voice through the car door. Or like right now, when I'm trying to type this post really quickly, and she is just going on and on and on and on about the 73 clown pictures she's been drawing over the last twenty minutes and how she's going to bring them with her wherever she goes so that, on the off-chance she runs into a clown somewhere, she can give him one of her pictures (coloring used to be a quiet activity). And I don't even realize she's asked me a question and is waiting for an answer, and I kinda feel like a schmuck for not answering her. And I suddenly realize my mother wasn't ignoring me. She just had other things to think about and was trying really hard to preserve her sanity. Like me right about now. And her head probably felt like mine does a lot of the time. Kind of like it's going to explode because the constant chatter of a five year old sometimes sounds an awful lot like a swarm of bees has taken up residence in your brain. But at least I know where she is. That other one...the one who looks like Benny. She just silently plots against us.
And I know you're probably laughing because I still talk a lot, and you also always told me that you wished I'd have one just like me. Congratulations. I did.
So anyway, I'm sorry I didn't stop talking all those years. And one question: how long after she moves out will the buzzing stop? Will I miss it?
P.S. I guess it didn't help that her middle name happens to also be the name of the person in Benny's family who also never stops talking. (And she has halitosis, too.) So we can share the blame. Except that I picked that name (aslo his mother's name) so maybe it really is all my fault. Please spare my daughter from the halitosis.

Dear God,
Thank you for bestowing the gift of these beautiful children on me. And thank you for watching over them when they were so new and fragile. When I said I couldn't wait to hear Ruthie's voice when she was a baby, I did not realize that I actually had to specify that it was okay if she didn't use it every second that she was awake. So when my head explodes into thousands of miniscule pieces, please make sure that my daughters knew I loved them. And make sure it isn't too hard to clean up the mess.
Thank you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

She's mad at me again

Helen got in trouble this afternoon. she won't stay out of my room. She empties out my nightstand drawers, hides things of Benny's and mine. All in all, she's a sneaky little shit. So when I took Ruthie and the little boy I watch outside, Helen has to sit on the steps. No playing. I couldn't see her from every spot in the front of the house, but I 'd go to check on her every once in a while. The last time I checked I found this:
She was fully clothed when we came outside. I hope she grows out of this before junior high.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Timing is everything

This kid has some amazing timing with things. I'm one for dates anyway. Dates and phone numbers. Those are things that my head is clogged with. Since Ruthie's arrival, that kid has had a knack for landing significant events on days that already have some pretty significant meaning.
On March 5, 1994, at a party in Albany, NY, somewhere around 2 0r 3 in the morning, I took a big risk and it paid off...I asked Benny out. Yup, I'm a modern woman that way (::snort::) Fast forward 10 years to March 5, 2oo4. At 3:44 a.m., Ruthie was born. That's right....ten years to the day, nearly to the hour, from when I asked her father out, our little daughter made her grand entrance.
On October 16, 2002, we received the sad and devastating news that our first little baby's heart had stopped beating. Thought that baby was just the size of a bean, it was ours, and I'll never forget that day. Five years later, on October 26, 2007, little Ruthie started school for the very firs time. A much happier thing to balance out the sadness.
On April 20, 2004, we were finally able to take our little girl, then 47 days old, home from the hopsital. Her first breath of fresh air, her first glimpse of sunshine, and our first night at home as a new family. Fast foward five years again, to April 20, 2009, and that little baby girl loses her first tooth.
Weird how things happen, huh?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oh where, oh where?

Have I been? Kitty was wondering if I was no longer posting because it was no longer Lent. While that is a good's not the case. The real story is that I am STILL FRIGGIN SICK. And just when I think I'm over the hump, the snot returns. Actually, the big problem now is that I keep coughing. And coughing. And coughing. It's keeping me up at night. And it sucks. And I'm tired. So while I desperately want to post about my fabulous lunch with Carly, and other fun stuff, I really do not have the brain power to form a well-written sentence. But in the interim, I have stumbled upon a fabulous book by one of my favoritest writers of all time, Joyce Carol Oates. She has a newly published collection of short stories entitled "Dear Husband" which I am too lazy to link to. But if you are looking for reading material in the absence of my deep and thoughtful posts, read that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Top ten titles for this post

10. Those children aren't mine
9. Dear Neighbors, Excuse my screaming five year old in the driveway
8. And I really wanted another one of these?
7. I hate school vacations: the pre-k years
6. Why three year olds should learn to do laundry (or alternately: it isn't cute to wet your pants on purpose).
5. NY mother goes missing...please don't look for me
4. I never should have given up drinking
3. Does anyone have a do you light this thing?
2. Foreign adoption may have been a better bet

and finally...

1. Where the fuck is that last Cadbury creme egg?

Monday, April 13, 2009

From Poltergeist to Dateline

Dead on....
I love Dateline, but Keith Morrison gives me the creeps big time. He reminds me of the weird old half dead guy from one of the Poltergeist movies...the one who shows up on the porch and walks around singing and freaking people out. Benny found this for me:

So what?

Are you ready for some...

BIG NEWS!!! (that's a link, folks)

Really....does ANYBODY care?
I sensed a hint of "whatever" from Matt and Meredith when the promos were announced. My feelings exactly.

Easter Moday

I'm sick. Nasty head cold. But I really shouldn't complain, It's the first bad cold I've had since I had my tonsils taken out ten months ago. The relentless congestion in my head is preventing me from coming up with anything witty this morning.
We had a great Easter...we're exhausted....looking forward to a lazy day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mother of the Year

I've been MIA the last couple of days. I have been busier than I'd like to be....getting ready for the bunny, visiting with old friends who are in town, making bread for Easter dinner, making these just because I'm nuts. We're leaving town tomorrow for Easter. And I'm pretty sure my five year old has not stopped talking in at least 72 hours. That constant chatter makes me head spin.
But it's not just you, my loyal readers, who have been neglected. Dinner this evening in our house was two hard-boiled eggs and a ring pop for Ruthie, and Cheerios and M & Ms for Helen. Benny was on his own, and I had some Strawberry sour straws leftover from the cupcake project.
Hopefully while we're away I'll collect some fun stories to tell you, but I can't promise anything.
In case I don't get to it tomorrow, Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What's in a name?

A bonus post today...just becasue I'm curious. The addition of a new baby to our extended family, as well as the same in a friend's family, has led me to wondering how people go about picking a name for their child(ren). It's a hard thing to do....the poor kid will be stuck with it his/her entire life.
Here's my process:
First, nothing trendy.
Boys' names are easier for me. I tend to go for more traditional names, and I like quite a few biblical names (not Moses or Cesar, but the stuff that would also fall into traditional) I think a boy's aname should have a certain degree of stregnth behind it, KWIM? Our boy name was always Andrew. It's Benny's middle name and it is a classic. While I try to steer away from top ten names, I didn't mind if it was top ten but not trendy. Andrew fit that. Other favorites were Adam and Noah (though Noah was starting to get kinda popular).
Girls were harder. In both cases I wanted a name that was maybe a little old-fashioned and not popular, but also had a bit of strength. Also, a name thatI hadn't encountered as a classroom teacher was good. I tend to love Gaelic names, but they're generally hard to pronounce and Benny isn't the biggest fan of them, so while I used a Gaelic name for Helen's real name, we Americanized the spelling, and it's a name that also occurs in other cultures. I fact, by changing the spelling I think we actually made Helen's real name Russian. But I still tell people it's Irish. Ruthie's real name was chosen just becasue it's a beautiful old-fashioned, strong name that I happen to love. Of course, now it's getting more popular and it's just pissing me off. I also loved Sadie and Charlotte but they were vetoed by Benny.
Middle names were picked because we wanted to honor certain relatives.
In the case of either gender, three things were of vital importance. The first was that the name be a strong name that could carry the child through life. A name that's cute wehen she's four might sound pretty stupid when she's 40. And also, it needed to sound good with our last name. And by that I mean just the first and last name together need to sound good, and the whole first-middle-last need to sound good. And it had to be a name I really loved. Nothing I was "settling" on.
So what was your process? Even if you don't usually comment, I want to hear from you! I'm really curious about this! Did you want a nickname? If you have more than one, did you care if they "went together"? Tel me, tell me!

Make me an offer I can't refuse...

So things are getting ugly here in our house. Helen is increasingly unhappy with the crackdown. And I believe we've been threatened. We're having a horrible time getting her to stay in her bed at night, and then gettingh er to STAY ASLEEP!!! (Isn't the statute of limitations over for regular and repeated night waking...she's three for God's sake!) So anyway, Beenny and I have each gotten up repeatedly over the last few nights to try to figure out what is wrong with Helen, who refuses to speak to us. She just whines. And not in that "I'm hurting" or "I'm scared" kinda way. Rather it is that "I am just waking up and whining to PISS YOU OFF" kinda way. And piss me off it does. Things here at about 12:30 last night were way ugly. I am not happy when I am awoken, especially by a whining three year old who woke me up for no good reason. When I put her to bed, I reminded her that she needed to stay in bed, and she needed to sleep and not wake Mommy and Daddy up. She understood that and agreed. But she got up anyway. And I told her to go back to bed, but I didn't go upstairs. Lately she's been stealthing around upstairs, making her way to our room where she doesn't belong and doing other things she should not. be. doing. She had been told to stay out of our room, after we found lotion smeared on our new bedspread, my earplugs missing, and tissues scattered around the rug. The other day I found some black foam strips on the bathroom sink. I assumed Benny was embarking on some sort of project and left them there. Later, when i asked him about them, he didn't know what I was talking about. We eventually figured out that they were striops that he had put on the door frame of Helen's door to keep the door from banging. Helen has decided to remove them from the door frame and left them int he bathroom for us. We told her they were helping to keep her door quiet and she needed to leave them there, and Benny adhered them to the door frame again. Last night, after Helen had finally gone to sleep, I went to go into our room and was stopped in the doorway by the foam strips, pulled from the doorway of Helen's door again, and placed on the threshold of our bedroom. Like some kind of warning to us. "Take things back to the way they were...or else." I am taking great comfort in knowing that Helen is nowhere near strong enough to lift the head of a horse.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I caved

Anyone who knows me well knows I detest character clothing. Perhaps this is a remnant of my days working in day care: I recall a little girl coming in and proudly showing off her Pocahontas sneakers. Before the movie was even released. I was so disgusted by this (and other examples of flagrant over marketing to young children) that I swore I would not dress my children in character clothing. Actually, I make the exception at underwear and pajamas, which I guess means that maybe some of my issue is about the fact that I think a lot of the stuff is ugly (do I need to take a picture of the shiny brown Disney Princess hand-me-down tracksuit with the rainbow stripes to prove my point?). And poorly made. (Does not bode well for my consignment selling). Either way, Helen was NOT getting the Dora swimsuit she has persistently requested each and every time we have been to Target in the last month. Well, yesterday we went shoe shopping. More specifically, Easter dress shoes for Ruthie and summer sandals for both. We went to Payless first, where I accidentally bought Ruthie a par of Hannah Montana boots on clearance. I'm sure you're wondering how someone accidentally purchases a pair of boots. Well, they were on clearance, in the size I anticipate her to be next year, and they are kinda cute. So I picked them up out of the box and said "Look, honey, do you like these?" at which point she looked at the box and screamed "Hannah Montana!" Oops. I hadn't looked at the box....just the boots. And the big kicker here is that we don't watch Hannah Montana. I know there is nothing offensive about the show, but I don't need my pre-schooler looking to teenagers as role models just yet. KWIM? So anyway, we got the boots. They don't actually say HM on them anywhere, so I can live with that. I do beleive I saw Benny roll his eyes when Ruthie arrived home toting an enormous HM box.
On to Target for sandals. I found a pair for Helen immediately. She didn't want them. Because she wanted the Princess sandals and the Princess shoes and the Dora sneakers and the Dora sandals and the Dora crocs. Sigh. After trying desperately and unsuccessfully to divert her attention to the sandals that were pretty and white and had NO FRICKIN CHARACTERS on them, she steered me back over to the character shoe section, where she found a lovely (note the sarcasm here) pair of strappy pastel metallic sandals.

See the Dora on the bottom there. Dora brand. She tried them on and I almost let her get them, but then I regained consciousness. Then she found these:

And of course my first instinct was to scream "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHILD HAVE YOU NO DIGNITY?!!" But I fought that, and tried instead to gently dissuade her. Helen will not be dissuaded, gently or otherwise. I realized pretty soon that she was never going to forget the fact that she wanted these shoes. And I could either be badgered every day for the next 15 years until she moves out of my house, or I could buy her the damned shoes and hope that nobody noticed she was wearing Dora crocs. Which is what I did. But they're hot pink. And they have a huge Dora head on them. And in case they don't notice, Helen points them out to everyone she meets. "Look at my Dora shoes."
But as a mom who shares my view on character clothes noted today, Helen stared at her shoes the whole way down the path at the front of Ruthie's school. So I guess that, in the end, buying her those shoes was okay.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Gloves are OFF....and my hands hurt. (not literally, folks)

Okay, here's the thing....Helen is one of those kids who will make you laugh 23 hours out of the day. She says things that you don't expect out of a little, tiny person...she does things that are just frickin hilarious. But she can border on obnoxious. And I've been around little kids long enough to know that if you keep laughing a them when they're three and hilarious and a little precocious, they keep it up. Even when they turn seven, and no longer so tiny and adorable, and they are now full-blown snots. And so it was with a heaving sigh that I announced that we needed to crack down on Helen before she became one of these incorrigible snots. So last night, when I put her to bed, I told her in no uncertain terms that if she got out of her bed, I would be closing her bedroom door. She got out of bed. Twice. So I closed her bedroom door. And so the all-out screaming and kicking the door tantrum began. Benny wasn't home, so I was flying solo on this one. I had wanted nothing more than to put my children to bed and curl up on the couch for the series finale of ER. Thank God for tiVo, because the pause button got a lot of action last night. I went up and down the stairs, putting Helen back in her room and shutting the door, again and again, for two hours. And then Benny came home and put her to be and left her door open. And by the time I realized it, she was out cold. Thanks Buddy. Two hours of my life down the drain. He thought the point was to get her to fall asleep. That was NOT the point. The point was to let her know that Mommy said what Mommy meant. So now she knows: Mommy might mean what she says, but that doesn't mean Daddy will do something else. Helen's exhaustion, coupled with my exhasution and a downright depressing day in terms of weather, did nothing to improve my mood this morning, and made the day seem endless. And since Benny is getting home late tonight, I have fed the chldren. After he gets home, while he puts them to bed, I will run out and pick up our movie, already reserved courtesy of Red Box, And then I'll make this. And we'll curl up on the couch with a nice big bowl if this. And THAT should make it all better.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Home on the Range

Funny that my friend Carly should mention Pioneer Woman in her blog the other day. I have become a recent and huge fan and had every intention of mentioning her here as well. I guess great minds do think alike.
Pioneer Woman was mentioned quite some time ago on a message board I frequent. I added her to my Goggle Reader, but didn't really check things out. Probably because at that point I was completely addicted to Hatchlings and if someone posted more than twice in a day, I marked their posts as read without even looking. And PW...well, she had four or five posts some days. Too many for me...or so I thought. But one day not too long ago, I decided to give her a closer look. And I loved what I saw. She has amazing photography, funny anecdotes about life on the ranch, and awesome giveaways. But best is her recipe section! She has four children so I know that her recipes cannot be too labor intensive, or off the wall. And they all look so yummy (thanks in no small part to her amazing photography). She'll take you through step by step with pictures and amusing commentary, and then link you to a printable version. Last night, I made Chicken Scallopine and it was YUMMY!!! And not too hard to make. Ruthie gobbled up every drop of the mushroomy sauce and begged for more. (Don't even ask about Helen...really.....just don't.) I get agita each week just thinking about what to make for dinner. It's not that I'm that awful a cook, I just don't want to get in a rut, and I suck at planing ahead. So why bother to cook at all? (Or would that in itself be consdered a rut?) But PW has actually made me excited about making dinner!! Woohoo! So if you haven't checked her out, I urge you to enrich your life by adding her to your feeds. You won't be sorry. And me? I'm searching her archives for a fabulous seafood dish for tomorrow night. Benny will be coming home late and we're going to have a nice grown-up dinner after Frick and Frack go to bed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Smarty pants

I was asked to participate in a panel at the hospital where I volunteer each week. The same hospital where Ruthie and Helen received their care as premature newborns. It is a panel discussing medical decision making for premature babies, and I am asked to participate as a parent. I am honored to be a member of this panel, and I welcome any opportunity to better the experience of a family in the NICU. That said, I believe I am screwed. The panel meets next week. I was asked a couple of months ago to participate and the person who asked me had only been given a general description, so that was all the info I had. Until today. I was emailed an article for perusal before this panel meets. I opened the attachment, and that is the precise moment when I realized that I was screwed.
I was really excited to know I had, essentially, homework. I was gearing myself up for a night on the couch with a highlighter and some little post-it notes, so that I could note relevant material and provide meaningful contributions to this panel. That is soooo not what is going to happen.
You see, I have spent the last five years as a stay-at-home mom. My reading material has varied over these last five years. I have always been an avid reader and motherhood hasn't changed that, but my reading material has become more diverse, and has come to overwhelmingly include passages such as "Look what I found in the park in the dark, I will take him home, I will call him Clark." The material that was emailed to me today, well, one sentence begins "In bivariable analyses as well as analyses adjusted for the center and the factors described above..." Um, okay. That does not rhyme, making it significantly harder for me to understand. And I think a few of those words exceed the syllable limit for my comprehension level.
I know that at one point, say when I was in graduate school eons ago, I probably would have know instantly what that meant. And chances are that if I sat long enough IN SILENCE, I would again know what that meant. And therein lies the problem. When in hell am I going to find an hour during the next week when I can sit in my house IN SILENCE? Evening does not count because by the time my children go to bed at night, I am generally bordering on minimally functional. And really, in order for my house to be silent, it needs to be EMP. T. Except, of course, for me. I will be sure to update you during the week to let you know what kind of progress I have made (i.e. whether or not Cliff Notes are available for this particular article.)
In the meantime, I am sitting here waiting for Benny to arrive home with the final ingredient in our dinner, which I plan to write about tomorrow. So dinner prep has been done, but not the actual cooking yet. But I keep smelling food-something as I sit here typing. I was a bit confused at first until I realized that I just vacuumed the rug which was infested with popcorn from the little party Benny and the girls had last night, and the vacuum is sitting next to me. Mmmm....the smell of stale, vacuumed snacks. Does it get better than this?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So friggin tired

Okay, I got a ton accomplished today and yesterday...all the stuff in red is done:

1. Strip beds
2. Remake beds
3. Do laundry
4. Finish adding playground reviews to MCOT website
5. Start adding restaurant reviews to MCOT website
6. Add April calendar to MCOT website
7. Add newsletter archives to MCOT website
8. Think about adding recipes to MCOT website, but laugh instead
9. Fold girls’ laundry
10. Clean kitchen
11. Straighten living room
12. Mail updated auto bill payment to Internets
13. call March of Dimes and find out why, for the second year in a row, I HAVE BEEN KICKED OFF MY OWN TEAM…y’know….the one that I FORMED!!!
14. Edit March for babies homepage and add team members (after they make me captain of my own team again)
15. Call place that will take furniture donations (i.e. beg them to haul away tables and boxspring that are preventing Project Garage Purge from commencing)
16. More things that I cannot remember

And number 16 was a WHOLE bunch of things which I am too tired to list here.
but after a boatload of figuring crap out, the website is live...woot!
There's till work to be's ongoing...and I'm sure some glitches will surface over the next couple of days, but the bulk of the work is done.

So maybe I can post about more interesting things tomorrow. But right to bed!

Monday, March 30, 2009

To Do List

I have a suffocating to do list today. Well, suffocating if you are surviving on about 3 hours of sleep and all you want to do is curl up in a ball on the couch. And were it not for the little neighbor boy I watch, who is quietly doing his homework, I may well be doing just that. Both of my own children are sleeping. (scratch that....I think I hear Helen crying.)

Well, it now looks like the motivation I have mustered up may be derailed by crying toddler.
so quickly...
my list...

1. Strip beds
2. Remake beds
3. Do laundry
4. Finish adding playground reviews to MCOT website
5. Start adding restaurant reviews to MCOT website
6. Add April calendar to MCOT website
7. Add newsletter archives to MCOT website
8. Think about adding recipes to MCOT website, but laugh instead
9. Fold girls’ laundry
10. Clean kitchen
11. Straighten living room
12. Mail updated auto bill payment to Internets
13. call March of Dimes and find out why, for the second year in a row, I HAVE BEEN KICKED OFF MY OWN TEAM…y’know….the one that I FORMED!!!
14. Edit March for babies homepage and add team members (after they make me captain of my own team again)
15. Call place that will take furniture donations (i.e. beg them to haul away tables and boxspring that are preventing Project Garage Purge from commencing)
16. More things that I cannot remember

Items number 1 and #12 are done, and #2 is 2/3 completed, item #3 is under way. (Yes, I know it’s 3 pm, but I had to bring Ruthie to school, go to the gym, take a shower, pick Ruthie up from school, feed the children, get them to bed, and eat my lunch, with a few instances of disciplining unruly children thrown in for good measure).
I’ll check back later to give you an update…(as if you reeeeaaalllly care, right?)
And now, my two children are awake, which renders the previously quiet neighbor boy not so quiet anymore. This all makes completion of tasks much harder. ::sigh::

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A little movie...2009 version

Sick this weekend. Chills, fever, sweats, digestive trouble and complete exhaustion. So I almost skipped posting today too, but thought I'd post this as well. Most of you have seen it before, but the end is different I update pictures every year.

If you want to walk with us, you can sign up here.

If you want to sponsor us, you can do that here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Short Memory

I have ten moms and a baker's dozen of kids (not including my own) coming over for our book club discussion and lunch. I do not have enough room for all these people. I really expected about 2/3 of that number, at most. I am on my knees praying to the gods of sunshine that they dry out my yard and warm up the air by 11:30. Originally, I wasn't even going to attend this month's book club, since I'd read the book before and hated it. But now, not only am I hosting the discussion, I read the damned book again, if only to have a more specific and valid argument about why I hated it. (I originally read it about 4 years ago, and remembered little, except that it sucked.)
There seems to be a pattern developing here. Remember this post? And this year for Helen's birthday, I decided to forgo our usual party and just have a few of our MOMS club friends over for cookie decorating. That turned into about the same amount of people as today. And it took me about 3 hours to clean up the toys alone. I swore I would never do it again, yet here we are a mere six or weeks the same boat.
At least this time I had the sense to proclaim it a potluck lunch...and we're using paper plates. Now if only I could find where Benny hid the plastic cups.

(Carly, I think I can hear you laughing from across the river...feel free to stop by.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

As I was enjoying some of them with my soup one day...

Yesterday, Benny received two coupons in the mail for free bags of Wise potato chips. (I will be saving these for the next BOGO sale somewhere.) He received these coupons because of this:

Wise Consumer Affairs Department

228 Raseley Street

Berwick, PA 18603-4533

To Whom It May Concern:

First, let me state that I am a longtime customer, consumer and fan of Wise snack foods. I have been purchasing your products and enjoying them for as long as I can remember. Your Owl mascot is one of the most welcome and recognizable symbols in the snack food aisle and I continue to look to it as a reassurance of quality and good taste.

That makes the following discovery all the more distressing.

I recently purchased two 8 ounce bags of your Wise Ridgies All Natural Ridged Potato Chips. As I was enjoying some of them with my soup one day, I started to read the back of the bag. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me as I read “No dip? They’re also great right out the bag.” I had to reread it three times to make sure that I had seen what I thought I had seen.

Did I just read the phrase “…right out the bag” ? Yes, I did.

I hope I do not need to point out that this phrasing is grammatically incorrect. The correct phrase would be “They’re also great right out of the bag.” The “of” is definitely needed. “Of” is a preposition, a word that shows the relation between a substantive (a word or group of words functioning as a noun) and a verb, an adjective, or another substantive. In this sentence “of” serves as a bridge and its omission creates an awkward and erroneous phrasing. This phrasing is no more correct than saying “My car ran out gas.” or “I put the dog out the house.”

An alternate tack would be to say “They’re also great right from the bag.”, but that is a different story.

In these days of illiteracy and grammatical shortcuts it is especially important for respected companies to set a proper example of correct usage of the English language.

Please reply to this letter as soon as you can and inform me of the steps you intend to take to phase this packaging off of the shelves.

Thank you.



I'm too lazy to type out the entire reply, but this was worth noting:

I have notified our Marketing department of your concerns and you will be glad to know we will be correcting the sentence to include "of". We would like to apologize for the disappointment and inconvenience this situation has caused you.

I don't believe you need any commentary from me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Separated at Birth?

Adam Lambert

Jason Bateman

Benny doesn't see you?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Five is the new thirteen

Must be, because the drama and mood swings I saw from my five year old today were something I wasn't quite expecting until closer to adolescence. The child had the audacity to stick her tongue out at me and run away, into the maze of McDonald's playland tunnels. The engineers behind this playplace are truly my friends because, unlike most of their counterparts, these tunnels can actually be navigated by an adult. I captured Ruthie with little effort. She refused to put on her coat or her shoes, so she walked to the car wearing neither in the 35 degree weather. She screamed at the top of her lungs that she was cold. But I refused to be swayed by the horrified looks of the drive-thru patrons as they stared in disbelief at the pitiful, neglected child. Lucky for her it wasn't as windy as yesterday.
After a nap and a relatively peaceful late afternoon and early evening, (during which a favorite toy was confiscated for a week) the drama began again with the disapproval of tonight's dinner offerings. After carrying Ruthie to the the steps to cool off, where the screaming continued, I left her fate in the capable hands of Benny, since I was completely spent. This from having navigated the day's dramatics without beating her, or even raising my voice. Kudos to me If only I was drinker. I'd toast myself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Could be nowhere

What to blog about today?? I really have no idea. I had several thoughts running through my head throughout the morning, when I wasn't home. And it figures....they've all escaped me. So we'll see where this post goes....could be nowhere.

I've been reading a lot of really sad blogs today, since we got home. I don't know why I do this. I seem drawn to them. I'm a big fan of Uppercase Woman. It's author, Cecily, lost her twin sons at 22 weeks, over four years ago. It's a community that's pretty tight in the blogging world, mothers who have lost their children. I've found a few through links on her site. So I've taken to following a couple of them. I feel a sort of kinship with them, having lost a baby myself. But I feel like I don't really belong there, because my baby was lost much earlier than most of these mothers. Like posting about the baby I lost wouldn't quite count.

I remember vividly the emotional pain of miscarrying and how completely desperate I felt. It is always defined as a loss, and it is, in more ways then just the actual loss of a child. My baby was lost, and all of my dreams for that baby, but I was lost too. I had no purpose that I could define, except maybe "not a mother". I wanted no part in this life anymore, only the comfort of my husband's arms. I remember thinking I would never, ever be able to dig my way out of the pain I was in. Thinking I would never ever feel joy again in any meaningful capacity. But I did, and I do, and I have no idea how I came to this. I think it really wasn't until Ruthie was born, and really until she came home, that I began to see a light. I remember my thoughts as I was delivering her. At the very moment I was pushing her fragile body out of mine, I thought that if she didn't make it, I would never ever do this again. By "this" I meant try to have another baby. I knew that if she didn't survive, I would be plunging into a depth of grief from which there was no foreseeable escape. I was sure of it. And I dangled there on the edge, white knuckles and all, until she came home. Even after that, I was sure something would go wrong with her. I'd walk over to the lip of that tremendous abyss and peer in, even though I didn't want to. But it seemed as if the moment I was no longer vigilant, it would sneak up on would suck me the little girl in Poltergeist, sucked into that TV.
Even after Ruthie seemed more stable in the NICU, I just couldn't shake it. I'd watch her cry and remember how sure I was that our first baby had felt some kind of pain, and that as the mother of that baby, I had failed. Failed to save him, failed to comfort him when he needed me most. I had this horribly haunting thought for a long long time after the miscarriage that my baby died alone and in pain, with the knowledge that I, his mother, wasn't there. So to watch poor Ruthie, hooked up to all kinds of machinery, crying her feeble cry, sometimes audible, sometimes obscured by machinery, was agony. To stand helplessly next to her bed, was nearly unbearable to me. I remember crying myself and a nurse saying "Oh, honey they all cry." I wanted to scream at that nurse. I wanted to beat my fists against her chest and yell "Yes, maybe they do, but that is MY baby, and I am supposed to be the one who comforts her. And she can smell me and hear me, and she knows that I'm here and that I'm not helping her. And I am finding it really hard to live with that. And I am being suffocated by the guilt of failing her. Not keeping her safely inside of me for as long as she was supposed to be there. I didn't fail those other babies that are crying. I failed her. So when she cries, it's my heart that's crushing itself in my chest. My knees are the ones that go weak. And I am sure I can never make it up to her. " But I said none of that. I shook my head and said "I know."
So where am I going with this? I'm not sure, but I feel like I am minimizing the pain of those mothers who have lost their babies, by comparing it to the pain of my miscarriage, or God forbid, the pain of having a sick child who lived. Their babies, whose faces they saw, whose still bodies they held. I wish there were something I could say to help them, but I know that I can't. My pain is different. My baby that died will always be "the baby that I lost." I don't know if it was a boy or a girl. It never had a name. I never saw its hazy profile in an ultrasound picture. I never bought that baby a homecoming outfit. So maybe over time it's been easier for me to let the pain go. Without those things, I didn't have the same dreams. I had dreams for that baby, for sure, but they were so much more vague. It didn't feel like that 6 years ago though.
I had always felt a bit of regret that I didn't know the baby's gender. Now, I think, I'm grateful for it. It might have made me dream more, and that would have been more that I needed to let go of. More that I had lost. I have no doubt that the year following the miscarriage, when our efforts at conceiving again repeatedly failed us, plunged me further into despair and was the hardest year of my life. Harder than my year in rehab. It changed me, as really difficult things tend to do. At first I didn't like who I had become, but I felt that letting go if it would mean abandoning my baby. Disowning him. Failing him again. And I read about these mothers, and sometimes fathers, who blog about the child they've lost. And they talk about how they've changed. I get it a little. But I don't get it all. Because they have more dreams they'd imagined coming true. They had names for their babies. Names that, if they hear them when some other mother called her little girl or boy, break their hearts all over again. Babies who would be just the ages of theirs. I am at peace with how I've changed, because in the end I think it's served me well. The pain of the miscarriage, and the pain of my daughters' births, has opened some doors for me that I never would have seen. But I don't know if that's how it works when your baby is born still at 36 weeks, or dies when she is 6 weeks old. When she has a name, and a face and you have so many, many more dreams than I'd ever dared to dream. And so I don't want to assume that I know what they're going through. Yes, I lost a child. But in a different way. I guess you could say that about every loss.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Night Out

I'm headed out for the evening. My ride is picking me up in about 20 minutes and I am not yet dressed, contacts not in, teeth not brushed, makeup not refreshed, but I didn't want to miss two days in a row here. That would leave me no leeway for the rest of the week. I'm going to a reunion of former officers for the Student Association at my alma mater. Not necessarily a whooping hollering kind of good time, but it is a night out with food, possibly people I haven't seen in a long time (which could go either way) and NO KIDS!!! (No husband either. My friend from college is picking me up, which is good because I hate to go to events like this and walk in alone. I have a crippling fear of not recognizing anyone and standing there like a fool, unable to find whomever it is I am supposed to be meeting. Silly. But real. I will go way far out of my way to pick someone up so I don't have to arrive anywhere alone.
So I am excited to be going out. But exhausted. Benny's snoring kept me up a good part of the night. He has those throat strips but wasn't able to remember if he'd taken one. He claims he didn't get any sleep because I kept nudging him. THAT'S BECAUSE YOU KEPT SNORING, DUMBASS. If he "forgets" his snore thingy tonight, he is invited to sleep on the couch.
On a side note, Helen is under my computer chair eating M & Ms off the sloor....that were dropped there two days ago. That will probably be her dinner. And y'know...I don't care. Cuz I'm pretty much considering myself off duty.
Okay, seven minutes til ride arrives....gotta go.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Alexis Falls From Grace"

That headline has appeared in many places today. Bet they all thought they were being so cute. Last night, little Alexis Grace was eliminated from American Idol. She sang a mellower-than-she-usually-is version of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." I liked it. Benny didn't. He didn't think there was enough power in her fourth "Jolene" whenever she sang that part. I actually appreciated a weaker final "Jolene." It evoked a beat-down kind of desperation. It wasn't good enough to get the votes or to get saved by the ju7dges, so she's gone. I liked her, and I'll miss her, but I never thought she would win. You can listen to her here, but there isn't much to watch.

I decided to check out some covers on the song on iTunes and found this one by Mindy Smith ...I had never heard of her. I really, really like it. Enough to have downloaded it:

Seeing as Dolly herself is in the video, and that's her singing on the chorus towards the end, I'd bet she approved of this cover. But I wonder what she thought of Strawberry Switchblade's version:

Or this one by The White Stripes:

I've only recently started paying any attention to The White Stripes. They're intense. I kinda like em.

If you're a sucker for the original "Jolene", here's that for you:

Got a fave? I wanna hear!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I got a brand new pair of rollerskates...

I was going to post about my exciting trip to traffic court today (caught in a speed trap back in January) but when I got home I found my new toy in the mailbox!!!

My obsolete mini handed down form my niece, has been having battery problems for a couple of months now. I thought long and hard about buying a new one before I finally decided I really should or I'd never get any spring cleaning done. A twenty minute charge wasn't going to help me gut the basement at all.
Of course, that was the easy part, because then there was the whole issue of which color to get.

The girls, naturally, picked pink. I vetoed that one. I've grown to love pink, but not for my iPod, and that pink reminds me way too much of a bridesmaids dress I wore in the early nineties. I thought about purple...and red...and orange....and blue... but finally narrowed it down to yellow or green. The yellow didn't look nearly as nice in the store as it did on the webiste, so green it was. I got a pretty good deal with web discounts, free shipping, etc., and free earbuds to boot. And can I tell you.....I LOVE THIS IPOD!! It sounds great and has all kinds of cool stuff my other one didn't have (of course, that one was way old, but it served its purpose.) I love the Genius playlist feature that's been availaible in iTunes for a while now. And I love that I can shake to shuffle. In all honestly, just having a video screen is making me giddy. Now, it's not a's only a Nano and I only got 8G, but that is way more than enough to make me happy.
And just to amuse myself, I downloaded Tweeter and the Monkey Man. So if you see me out and about and you think I'm ignoring you, I probably just haven't yet been able to tear those earbuds from my ears.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

RuPaul's toothbrush

Helen loves Cinderella. Well, really she loves all Disney princesses, despite my best efforts early on to keep the Disney princesses out of our house. I failed miserably, thanks to whomever gave Ruthie the Disney princess baseball cap when Helen was born. So now, we embrace the princesses in all their unrealistically proportioned, glittering glory. Recently, thanks to a combination of coupons and a really good sale, I was able to score several power toothbrushes for FREE, including two featuring Disney princesses. This is Helen's toothbrush:

And a lovely side view. Look at that profile!

Are you ready for your close-up?
We like to refer to this ambiguous little gem as "Cinderfella"

Monday, March 16, 2009

In a league of its own

So, today I knew it was time to write, but I really had nothing pertinent to tell you (unless you care that I passed Friday's kidney stone). So I checked out Uppercase Woman, and Cecily wants to hear about our first cars. Yay! Something to blog about!
My first car was a beaut. My parents bought it for me just before I started my senior year in high school (1986), since I had finished almost all of my requirements and got out at 1 p.m. every day, after typing class and Death and Dying (yes, I did indeed take a class called Death and Dying, and it was really quite fascinating). I needed to get home, so this was it.
Let me preface my description of my car by telling you that I grew up in Westchester County and went to a private Catholic girls' school. A lot of my classmates were rich kids. And some were really stinkin rich. It was not the least bit uncommon for seniors and sometimes juniors, to show up driving Daddy's Benz, or some other car I will never be able to afford. One classmate was actually given a brand new Porsche for her 16th birthday, so she drove that baby to school. And then, there was my car. My Car.
Well, my car was in a completely different league. MY car cost $200. Total. My parents bought it from friends of theirs. It was a lovely gray 1976 Dodge Aspen with burgundy interior. It had a fabulous AM radio and a propensity to overheat if it idled for more than about 90 seconds. And since the two juniors I picked up every moring were never on time, my car was always overheating. The floor was rusted out between the gas and brake pedals, so my right foot was always wet when it rained. So was my shoulder, because there was a leak somewhere in the top of the passenger side door. There were holes rusted in the trunk, so if you stored anything back there, it had to be bigger than the holes or it would no longer be there the next time you opened the trunk. But this was my favorite feature: if you failed to lock the rear passenger side door, it would swing open every time your made a left hand turn. It was really and truly a gem of a car. My parents sold it right after I left for college and my understanding is that it burst into flames on the highway shortly thereafter Poor little car.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blog thievery

Sounds like some thing a pirate would do.
Alas, I am linking you to another blog today. It's a blog post from a local "celebrity" blog. I'll not say how we know her, or who those people are. Just in case you have no idea.
I swear I don't know these people.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Parlez vous francais? Non

So I'm trying to figure out how to get to France this summer. There are two reasons I want to go. My sister will be there for the summer, which is the common denominator for both reasons. First, she plans to bring my father with her. He's dead. So she'll be bringing his ashes. He passed away suddenly in 2004, and for the last 4 1/2 years, his cremated remains have spent the majority of their time in Sis's closet or my basement. We won't give them to our brother because of the very high likelihood that his wife would throw them away. She is a neat freak. We never purchased an urn or anything. Really, we had no clue AT ALL what we were supposed to do when he died. My parents divorced years ago, and it was left to his historically underachieving and irreverent offspring to find him a final resting place. We had him cremated because we had no idea what else to do with him and had to make a quick decision. I've felt guilty about him being in my basement, but I did bring him up for the 2008 Super Bowl to see the last quarter of a TOTALLY FANTASTIC GAME (won by his fave team, the NY Giants, in case you were living under a rock that year). And I don't even really like football. But I digress.
My dad was a huge cycling fan and my sis's idea was that, since she'll be in France anyway, she'll scatter some of his ashes on the route when the Tour de France is in Paris. Totally brilliant idea (thought that same feeling may not be shared by the cyclists or spectators who would run the risk of inhaling the bone fragments of my deceased pere...that's french for dad...I think.). I'd really like to be there for that (the scattering, not the inhaling), but I have no money. Sigh. Benny tells me to stop shaving my armpits becasue that's the closest I'm getting to France anytime soon. Fermez la bouche, buddy.
But the other, more pressing reason I want to go to France is because my sister is spending the ENTIRE summer living with a French family doing God knows what in a country where the primary language spoken is one she has consistently proven herself inept at speaking and understanding. My sister SUCKS at French. She's failed graduate level French a couple of times I believe, primarily becasue she couldn't pass the final exam. And this semester she tried to audit the class and I think they asked her not to come back. So she is under the potentially catrastrophic impression that completely inmmersing herself in French language will make her a natural. Too f'ing funny.
I'm not sure this poor host family has any idea that she is so lacking when it comes to basic communication in French. Seriously, it'll be like having a five foot four inch infant in their house. She might need to resort to crying when she is hungry. Or maybe she should just practice her pictionary skills. That's universal right? So I just want to be there to watch all this because I would find it really, really funny. I means seriously funny. Funny enough that instead of underwear, I would pack Depends because I think I would be wetting myself on a regular basis. It would be like a weeklong overseas comedy show. And I know my sister well enough to know that my hysteria over her lack of fluency would produce equivalent fits of hysteria in her as well. We would be like two mentally ill Americans walking around in Paris, doubled over and crying, possibly curled up in the fetal positon at the base of the Eiffel Tower. That would do so much to improve foreign relations, because they love us already. And honestly, think of the blog posts. Just think of it!! So to all of you readers who want to spend the summer reading hilarious posts about two noncommuniucative American tourists in France, consider donating cash or frequent flier miles, in the interest of entertainment. For now, I'm going to set up a lemonade stand. In the 30 degree weather. Au revoir!