Friday, December 14, 2007

Ho Ho hopeless

1. Both kids are home with terrible colds today. Henry stayed home yesterday (he and I spent most of the day running errands together during a snow storm), and I decided to give him one more day to recover. Then Lucy woke up stuffy and whiny. Her condition remains unchanged.

2. The online photo place that delivers to Wegmans lost my Christmas pictures. I placed the order on Monday night, and when they still hadn't arrived yesterday I called the store. Someone in Wegman's photo department directed me to the photolab's "Customer Success" department (I'm not kidding, that's really what they called it) where I was informed that my pictures should have arrived in the store at 10 a.m. this morning. But they didn't. And all they could do was offer me 15 free prints and let me place the order again. I declined.

I placed the order through Snapfish and am picking up the prints from Walgreens later today. I didn't do this in the first place because last time I got prints from Snapfish and Wegmans simultaneously the Snapfish ones were hideous.

So, if I you get a hideous picture of my kids (and me and Cary, if you happen to be named LHM) don't blame me!

That is all.

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Now playing: The Affair - Red And White

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Somehow this cheered me, particularly the comments section

This quote is directly from IvyGate (I'm too exhausted to come up with my own post tonight):

"Last night, between 10pm and 3am, the freshmen of the Ezra Stiles college at Yale constructed a massive christmas light penis on the front of Lawrance as a response to the traditional christmas light "JE SUX" written across the front of Farnum, the adjacent dorm. The penis was estimated to be about 100 feet long, and even sported multi-colored, blinking ejaculate. The penis will ostensibly remain on Lawrance through the end of finals (next week)."

I guess I'm glad to have a picture of my former home (I think I can see the light from the room where I lived as a Freshman Counselor about mid-way up the shaft), and glad to know that ES still lives in Lawrence.

I wonder if I will ever post anything about college not lifted directly from IvyGate ... probably not. Which means I am currently leaning against going to my upcoming reunion. If you are still reading this then I would rather just visit you instead.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Emergency Ramones Requisition

Henry declared his new favorite song was "number 19" on an old CMJ sampler that Cary had. It turns out to be a little tune called "Marijuana Motherfucker" by D.O.A.

I never thought I would feel the need to censor my son's musical tastes, but at six years old he has already gotten the best of me. We promptly burned him a Ramones CD (so much better than D.O.A. but with the same high energy that he liked), and made the CMJ sampler disappear. At least now when his teacher asks him his favorite song, he can give an answer that won't fill me with complete dread.

In the interest of full disclosure "Now I wanna sniff some glue" and "Beat on the brat" are not on Henry's copy. Not yet.

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Now playing: The Ramones - now I wanna sniff some glue

Friday, December 07, 2007

When am I gonna get that vacation?

One really good thing did happen yesterday: Lucy wrote her name for the first time.

Otherwise the day was endless.

1. I took Lucy to a playgroup at an overpriced gymnastics play space which she loves, only to find out that I had been told the wrong time and we were two hours late. She cried.

2. I received not one, but two, calls from the school yesterday regarding Henry's behavior. Apparently at one point during a study of Hanukkah he wrote "Merry Christmas" on the back of his paper, got up out of his seat, and tried to walk around the room to show the other students. He refused to go back to his seat on the grounds that he "just wanted to spread holiday cheer."

3. Finally, as I was ready to put Lucy to sleep last night we discovered that Sufi had vomited up two hair balls on her comforter.

Maybe we are turning things around. This morning Henry woke, showered, and dressed himself. Attempted to write out a Googol on a piece of paper while I dressed Lucy. I think there are 100 zeroes. He filled both sides of a piece of paper, so he may be close. He ate breakfast without argument. And got on his coat and shoes on his own without prompting. I rewarded his good behavior by allowing him to take a chunk of a huge icicle from our roof to the bus stop because that is what he begged me for.

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Now playing: Xiu Xiu - Clowne Towne

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Das Boot

Henry has homework everyday day, which I will never accept, because he is only in 1st grade. Some days it takes him 15 minutes, but some days we spend over an hour on the work depending on what got sent home.

On Tuesday he brought home a sheet of paper with a photocopied shoe. All of the directions were in German. After some guessing it was clear he was supposed to color the shoe, cut it out, fold it here and there, and voila, a 3-D shoe. WTF! If it is so important that it is worth sending home, then isn't it important enough to give us some directions?

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Now playing: Feist - When I Was A Young Girl (VV Mix)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Alarmingly funny

Cary and I each have our own clock radios. I suspect this arrangement is fairly common among married folks who don't get up at exactly the same time.

Recently the snooze button on my Sony dream machine (purchased at Brand Names circa 1992) has started to go. This is a problem since the snooze button is about the only part of the dream machine that still gets any use.

But more amusingly, Cary's alarm, which is much newer, just changed ON ITS OWN from a regular beeping sound to a sound that I can only describe as a fakey French police siren. Plus it is really loud. Now every time his alarm goes off I just start laughing. I'm not sure if this is an improvement or not, but I do know that even if I sleep through my own alarm there is no chance I will sleep through his ever again.
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Now playing: Belle and Sebastian - Sleep the Clock Around (Black)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Marching Orders

Lucy has a new funny habit at bedtime. She has started ordering me to leave the house. As soon as I mention it's time to head upstairs she says, "I want you to water your plants and go to the store."

Never mind that my garden plants are all dormant for winter and could really use a good clean up more an a watering.

She's been doing this now for over two weeks. At first she would tell me what to buy: vegetables, ingredients for fruit salad (I blame the Wiggles), or a Pineapple. The day she asked for the pineapple she woke up the next morning demanding to see it. I had to tell her they were all out of pineapple at the store.

If I tell her I have to go finish up the dishes as I am turning out her light (which is usually true) she will scream, "No! Go the store! Water your plants!"

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Now playing: Patrick Wolf - Secret Garden

Sunday, November 25, 2007

In Print

If you want to check out my latest contribution to Venuszine, you'll have to pony up for a copy from your nearest bookseller. The winter issue goes on sale everywhere December first, and my review of the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir is contained it its pages, along with the 2007 Hott list, and a D.I.Y. gift guide.

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Now playing: The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - Aspidistra

Thursday, November 15, 2007

You are all invited for dinner!

It's a happy day in our household because we finally replaced our old kitchen table (given to us free by my in-laws, and purchased circa '73). I guess I owe that jerk from Craigslist a thank you, because if he had sold us his table we never would have ended up with one this nice.
Henry picked out a special meal from foodtv.com for me to cook tonight. We had to wait over a month for the table to arrive because Cary found it in an online shop in Phoenix, but it was definitely worth the wait. Now I just have to get used to hauling out the vinyl tablecloth when the kids want to color or paint -- good thing I saved this one.
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Now playing: Feist - Flight #303

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It was another very long weekend

1. I visited Henry's classroom on Friday afternoon because he was going to read aloud to the class. He did, and it was cute. But I learned from his teacher that he had refused to cooperate during the math testing she needed to do with him, for his report card. Could we stay after school so she could finish up? What else could I say. Thanks, Henry, for keeping me after school. It may have been the first time but I'm sure it won't be the last.

2. We went to the hockey game with some friends on Friday night, which was pretty fun even though the Sabres lost 3-0. I miss Briere. The sitter left Lucy's door open, so Cary closed it. The next morning she was locked in her room. It took me at least twenty minutes to jimmy the mechanism inside that pops the lock because I forgot you have to turn the knob while you are pushing on the thingy inside that releases the lock. Lucy was terrified and she now has trouble sleeping in her bed. We have to go to an auction at her pre-school tonight and my parents have to put her to sleep. I am very afraid for them.

3. Cary took the kids outside to rake on Sunday and I thought I would get a jump on folding the laundry. When I opened the dryer I found a crayon had melted all over the clothes. Thank god it was a dark load. The only thing that got ruined was a pair of Henry's swim trunks. But the inside of my brand new dryer, the one that doesn't eat clothing, and I just paid off two weeks ago, is now covered in blue crayon. Maybe it will serve as a permanent reminder to check the kid's pockets before I start a load of laundry. Probably not.

4. I forgot to mention the "family turkey" that the school sent home for us to decorate as a family. It consisted of two pieces of paper that we had to glue together, and then fill in with whatever we felt like (we chose old bits of wrapping paper). Needless to say I did not force Cary to participate, and Lucy's participation was equal to crying and grabbing for the glue stick. Thanks school, for adding some great togetherness time to my week.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Too wrong to ignore

I don't normally comment on the goings on outside my insular world, but when Cary mentioned that Aquadots were recalled because swallowing even one dot could send a child into a coma because the coating breaks down into a date rape drug, I had to post something. Lucy has been begging me for these, and I have refused on the grounds that I didn't want to chase a million tiny plastic balls around the kitchen.

You can read CNN's take on the story, and just in case you have some in your household, here is the CPSC recall info. According to CPSC, 4.2 million units have already been sold. Yikes.

This Christmas I'm going to get my kids an unpainted hoop and stick.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A nice ending to an endless day

Lucy was watching Dora on TV today when Dora asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I heard Lucy say, "I want to be my Mama!"

At bedtime, I wanted to see if she would repeat the phrase for Cary, so I asked her the same question and got the same answer. She kept repeating, "I want to be you, Mom."

Then she demanded that I sing her an original song about snow before she would go to sleep.

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Now playing: Jens Lekman - Your Arms Around Me

Monday, November 05, 2007

VenusZine rising!


Venus just launched its new website today, and the new site is more user friendly. Pretty soon readers will be able to sign in and comment. Plus a radio station is in the works too. Best of all, for me, it looks like none of my old reviews got deleted. Sweet!

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Now playing: Moonbabies - Cocobelle

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

There's gotta be a pony in here somewhere...

1. Yesterday started off as Henry burst into tears because I removed the "top crust" of his toast, in addition to all other sides. He tried to convince me to make the toast again, but because the bus was coming in precisely 4 minutes he begrudgingly agreed to eat it.

2. Lucy cried for 40 minutes in the afternoon because Henry was using the computer. When I tried to play Chutes and Ladders with her she continued to move her pieces all over the board making free use of the chutes or ladders when it wasn't her turn. When I tried to play Candyland with her she would only move to spaces that were green because she had chosen a green game piece.

3. The dude at the vintage furniture store blew me off for the third time. We bought a Heywood Wakefield Buffet from him on October 13th and he still hasn't delivered it. No wonder his delivery fee is so cheap.

4. After dinner Lucy said her stomach hurt. She had diarrhea.

5. As a result of Lucy being sick were unable to bring ourselves to eat a second slice of the amazing apple caramel pie that he bought on Sunday from Butterwood.

6. And Lucy missed her Halloween party at pre-school today, plus finally a chance to go to her friend Macy's house.


7. The pony in the pile of manure, I mean, our new buffet, was delivered this morning. Here is a picture. Oh, and Henry got his toast with the top crust, so maybe we've turned our luck around.

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Now playing: The Helio Sequence - Just Mary Jane (Calypso)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Loo loo loo I've got some apples, loo loo loo you've got some too...

So I thought my day was off to a good start because Henry didn't fight me when it was time to wake up in the morning. It turns out it was just because he has wet his bed.

Which got me to thinking, if Henry was a South Park character he would definitely be Butters. I say this because his father has yet to teach him to pee standing up without pulling his pants down completely. In first grade this is not an issue because the children have their own bathroom but come next year I don't want my kid standing there at the urinal with his pants around his ankles. Apparently I am the only person in the house that thinks this is of any importance. I suppose I could teach him myself, but is this really necessary when there is already a grown man living here with way more experience in such matters than I will ever have?

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Now playing: Morrissey - I Just Want To See The Boy Happy

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Someone please cheer me up.

I haven't posted because nothing suitably wrong has happened of late, and when I start to consider an anecdote about letting the cat out by mistake, or ordering Henry infant shoes online thinking they were youth size 2 I think about Auntlyh's dear departed dog, Loyd or the fires in San Diego and I don't have much to say.

Anne and I both independently checked in on CJD, our friend in San Diego, and were glad to learn she is fine.

In an effort to cheer myself I am going to try to remember the alternate lyrics to a Kappa song that LHM was mostly, if not fully, responsible for writing for CJD. CJD was a confirmed teatotaller, and didn't like the established version, so we used to sing this one to her in the bar. I think it went a little like this:

She drinks water, apple juice and soda pop
She jogs and jogs and never stops
She's always on the phone a lot
When she does it (ooh) she always has to stop.

We are the ********* girls

(missing a couple lines here) -- anyone remember them?
She never gets the best of them
She likes big, tall Christian men

We are the ********* girls

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Now playing: Nails - 88 Lines About 44 Women

Monday, October 15, 2007

Burnin' Down the House

1. Earlier last week Lucy came down with a fever. Her illness, while not serious, was timed so that Cary felt obligated to stay home from the Of Montreal concert the next night. It was really nice of him to offer to let me go, but since my mom was joining us too I think it was the most obvious decision.

2. I did enjoy the concert, though they failed to play a number of my favorite tracks including Lucy's favorite* and "Cato as a Pun."

3. Then on Saturday after attending both a soccer game and a birthday party Henry came down with the same illness. The only real symptom is a fever of at least 102 and red-rimmed eyes. Lucy was better in 24 hours, but when Henry woke up this morning he still had his fever. So he is home from school for what I hope will only be one day. At the moment they are both cheering in front of a new episode of Go Diego Go, and I am feeling optimistic.

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*For Lucy --Now playing: Of Montreal - The Past is a Grotesque Animal
(aka "The Story Song")

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Front page procrastination

I was just going to check out my suspicion that the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir sounds a bit like the Housemartins when I found this on the NYT homepage. It was so enjoyable that I had to post it immediately, and I think everyone (but DQ in particular) should read it.
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Now playing: The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - This World Has No Place For Me

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Off to a bad start, again.

1. I was exhausted from staying up too late and watching the Bills lose.

2. Then I was trying to empty the coffee from the grinder into the filter this morning. The filter tipped over spilling ground coffee all over the counter, the shelves of the lazy susan below, the freshly mopped floor, and my outfit.

3. Then I realized I had to make up a grocery list right then, because I couldn't go to the store tomorrow, like I had planned. (I forgot I have P.T.).

So to cheer myself up I bought another water bottle -- this one's for me.

P.S. The new Jens Lekman came out today and it's fantastic.
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Now playing: Jens Lekman - Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig

Monday, October 08, 2007

Not a fan of the three day weekend

I remember what three day weekends used to mean: Sunday night was another night to go out. If I decided to work on Monday I got time and half and an extra paid day off.

Now three day weekends just create an additional day when I attempt to entertain my kids without my husband around, there is no US Mail delivery, and Nickelodeon may preempt its normal programming for a Teennick marathon.

Plus I had a migraine today, so I had to skip the gym. And it was about 85 freaking degrees, again.

On the bright side, Henry had a friend over this morning, and he finally found someone besides his sister who is willing to jump around like crazy in his bedroom listening to Devo.

On the brighter side: another Trouser Press entry for Peter Bjorn and John.

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Now playing: Devo - Jocko Homo

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday Drive Gone Wrong

1. Cary suggested we go pick up some apple cider at the Water Mill today. He was sure that he had read in the Amherst Bee that it was open. When we arrived it was closed. We picked up a spare copy of the Bee and confirmed that the hours were yesterday during the Farmer's Market.

2. We decided to stop by Clayton's toys to kill a little time and then drive to Ziggy's for lunch. No less than five minutes after we arrived Lucy peed all over herself.

3. So I gingerly escorted the poor child to the car, and we drove straight home where she refused a bath, so I was forced to give her a shower and attempt not to get too wet myself.

I've got a new review up on Venuszine, finally.

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Now playing: PJ Harvey - White Chalk

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Let me see your big kid underwear

1. My day began with Lucy demanding to see my underwear, so she could make sure that hers matched mine. This is common practice in our house, and when we are unable to coordinate tears ensue. Today was one of those days.

2. Then I dropped her off at pre-school and rushed home to try and crank out a Venus review for which I have no promo copy.

3. When I picked up Lucy we dashed off to Macy's so I could buy some make-up from Clinique, something I rarely do, because they were having one of their give-aways. I got home and found they sold me the wrong stuff, so now I have to return it. I just ordered the stuff I wanted on eBay anyway and figured screw the free stuff, I never use it. Lucy cried the entire time we were in Macy's because she knows a little girl named Macy and she could not understand why we were not at Macy's house.

4. I tried to lure Lucy home by telling her I had a surprise for her. When I showed her the copy of Cookie's Week that I ordered from her book club at school she burst into tears and said, "I wanted toys."

5. In spite of being so tired she could barely eat her lunch she still refused to nap. As soon as I struggled to get her into bed she sat up and screamed for me to release her to downstairs saying her room was "too hot" and she "missed her Henry."

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Now playing: PJ Harvey - The Devil

Monday, October 01, 2007

Distasteful Craigslist Experience

Anyone else have have a really bad time with something on Craigslist?

Here's what just happened to me:

Friday I saw a dining room set in Rochester that I loved. But it had a hutch that Cary said we didn't need, and when he checked in with the guy to see if he would split the set up the guy said no.
Then last night the set was back up, the guy was Mr. Flexible because he didn't realize that the table top was veneer until a buyer told him so. He agreed over the phone to sell us the set, (we were going to take the hutch and donate it -- that was Cary's idea) but since it was 80 miles away we couldn't get it until Saturday. He offered to take less money. So Cary offered him $50 less.

He just wrote me to tell me that he got a full price offer from the first people so he decided to sell it to them and we were out of luck. He noted that we might have changed our minds on Saturday, so oh well.

But here's the thing -- I really wanted this stupid furniture. I felt so good last night, like something was going right, and now, well, I'm left feeling empty, with nothing but some good blog post material.

Now I am left with my same crappy table with the ripped chair, and no idea when I will be able to replace it, plus I am more wary than ever of finding something through Craigslist which is the only way we can really justify the expense.

Update: I am not alone, by all means check out the link LHM left in the comment area.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why I Love Garden Design Magazine

My new issue of Garden Design magazine just arrived with an article detailing how to rip out your lawn, and replace it with non-grass alternatives.

There are a variety of reasons that we will probably never free ourselves from the cycle of mowing, weeding, and fertilizing as much as I would love to, but reading the article reminded me that my distaste for my neighbor's pursuit of the perfect lawn is not completely misplaced.

Much like the last issue that was full of exotic Salvias, there is always something I'm compelled to read about, or dream about. They ran an article on Natural Swimming Pools, the only kind I would ever consider and hence we will never have a pool.

Here are some photos from my garden that I never got around to posting:

From left to right: Kniphofia, Canna, Crocosmia Lucifer

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Now playing: PJ Harvey - Grow Grow Grow

Friday, September 28, 2007

Picture Day

1. It was Henry's wish to have his school picture taken in a white button-down shirt and tie. When he mentioned this to me his wardrobe contained neither. But since I found the request so funny, and think it has such potential to embarrass him in the future, I purchased a tie from Lands End and a shirt from Old Navy.

2. I was rethinking my plan this morning when we tried to get him into his get up. He didn't want to tuck the shirt in. The shirt collar was not made for a tie. He ate breakfast in his bathrobe to keep his clothes clean and ended up covered in fleecy lint.

3. He returned from school with the tie balled up inside his backpack, shirt untucked, but he assured me that his pictures turned out "awesome."

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Now playing: The Hollies - Bus Stop

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Proof that I am only a recovering Type A personality

Two days ago we got a note home from Henry's teacher requesting that all children drink water instead of juice during snack time. Witness my shame spiral:

1. The easiest thing to do would be to purchase small sized bottled water and send it instead of juice. But of course I could not do this.

2. Why not? Because he will take like two sips and waste the rest. Plus I know the bottles won't get recycled at school. I am well aware that the juice boxes weren't getting recycled either but they can't be recycled. The thought of sending in a bottle full of water that would go in the trash made me crazy.

3. I assembled all of the water bottles in our house that could be sent into school with Henry, filled them and proceeded to test them for leaks. None of them passed to my satisfaction. I don't want water getting all over his homework. I can't send the bottle in empty because expecting him to fill it at school would be messier than a juicebox.

4. Yesterday I sent Henry into school with a note saying, "Please let Henry drink from the drinking fountain because he doesn't drink much water. Please let me know if he is too disruptive." You can only imagine what giving Henry carte blanche for the water fountain could mean for the classroom.

5. Last night the teacher called me and said that I could send in flavored water, as long as it isn't sticky. While I know he likes Fruit20 because my mom buys it, I don't want him having Nutrasweet everyday either. Plus the bottles are 11 oz -- way too much for him to drink. (I checked today at the store).

6. So I purchased a new water bottle, the fourth I've bought, that doesn't have a pop-up spout on it, that way Henry can drink from it without making love to the spout (anyone with small children will know what I mean here). This sucker seals completely. It was freaking $13.99, which if it means I don't have to buy juice or water, is still cheap, but my god, that's a lot for a water bottle. I got the blue one in the picture.

Anyone still reading? I think I need to go have a lie down.

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Now playing: Peter Bjorn And John - Firing Blanks (Bonus Track)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Slang

Last night Henry was ready for soccer practice early and wanted to wait for Cary in the van. When I suggested he might be too hot in the car he said, "No worries Mom. This bad boy is always ready to go."

I don't think he was being sarcastic either.

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Now playing: Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks (beyond the wizard's sleeve re-animation)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Who knew violin could actually be enjoyable?

Last night Cary, my mom, and I headed to the venue formerly known as The Church, now, (somewhat comically to me) known as Babeville, to see Andrew Bird. Wow.

He played solo, creating the rhythm section himself by looping violin lines and whistling, then adding guitar and vocals to riff on the album version of his songs. He ran the sounds through two old Victrola-type speakers, one of which spun very fast on command. The effect made it sound like we were in a room full of stringed-instruments. After the second song, when Andrew was saying a brief hello and remarking on the unbelievable acoustics in, er Babeville, a guy yelled out, "This is already the best show I've ever been to." It will be tough to prove him wrong.

PS The picture was taken by a roving photographer at the show. The curious among you can find another of mom and me here.

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Now playing: Andrew Bird - Fake Palindromes

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cure for the Common Cold

Yesterday I pulled myself out of bed to go see Metric. The band played probably 70% new material, all of which was great. Although the show was at the Town Ballroom, and my mom and I got there too late to get one of the six seats in the place, we had a great view of the stage.

I could see the enthusiastic twentysomething negotiating with the security guy to give her a set list. I spotted two other people who pulled the same trick as me, and bought a dress from the H&M girl's department.

Crystal Castles opened. Whatever hipness they may possess was lost on me. Alice, the near anorexic, did nothing but dance and shine blinking lights on the audience. And the other dude's best trick was running his laptop in the near darkness.

But back to Metric. Emily has the market cornered on postpunk t-shirt dressing. She was sporting a Stranglers t-shirt, with shorts and boots when we saw her on Letterman. Last night she was in a Joy Division t-shirt (Unknown Pleasures, but with multi-colored Mountains!) that fit her like a dress. Emily, who is your tailor?

They said they don't even know when the new record is coming out. What a tease!

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Now playing: Metric - Parkdale

Friday, September 21, 2007

Best thing yet I've seen on IvyGate

Here's a tidbit: "For the past week, tons of freshman have been aimlessly wandering Sterling library in search of a secret room where supposedly professors would go to hide from their students..." Click on the link for the whole delightful story.
http://www.ivygateblog.com/blog/2007/09/oh_yale.html

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gotta get me a gun

A glue gun that is! (For the Tootsie Roll Pop Spiders I have been assigned to make for the Halloween Party) You may all laugh now.

Despite negative educational experiences by pals LHM, Mommy at Work, and Anne, I've been doused with some abededarian holy water.

I think I lucked out in the room parent department. My co-room parent is a former elementary school teacher whose home is stocked with supplies from her old classroom, and she showed up with a binder full of ideas. She was as easy-going as a woman toting a binder full of ideas could have been.

Henry's current classroom teacher is as enthusiastic as last year's teacher was curt and dismissive. She has sent home extra books on music and science to give Henry additional stimulation, one of which she seems to have purchased solely on his account.

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Now playing: Jens Lekman - A Postcard To Nina

Saturday, September 15, 2007

When did I stop feeling like Lisa and start feeling more like Marge?


I've been trying to Simpsonize myself for weeks ever since I saw Takka Takka's results on Brooklyn Vegan. What a hassle. But after JSE's results I decided to give it another go.

What I really wanted to do was make this my picture for my blog since when I leave comments the old picture makes it appear as if I have no eyes or teeth. Kind of amusing, but kind of not. Do any tech savvy folks know how I could make this happen? Blogger refused to recognize the .jpg and so did my computer.

As an aside, while I was working on this, Lucy drew all over the back of Henry's neck with a green marker.

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Now playing: Peter Bjorn and John - Sitar Folks

Thursday, September 13, 2007

That's Educational!

1. Lucy loves pre-school. So far I love everything about it too, except the parking situation. I think I may need to re-learn how to parallel park before the year is out. This concerns me greatly.

2. While I am still afraid of the PTA, I agreed to be the one of two room parents for Henry's class today. They were short one volunteer and asked me because I was the only person to check the box that said, "I don't have enough time to be a room parent but I still want to volunteer in the classroom." Lesson learned. But I should not be short of blog material for the rest of the school year. I wish I had LHM's inherent craftiness because I think I will be planning parties for first graders. I am gratefully soliciting suggestions for the Halloween party should the mood strike anyone.

3. Because of a four-day long migraine (which may be over, finally) and some goings on with a friend I feel overwhelmed and behind schedule on everything in my life.

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Now playing: Shout Out Louds - South America

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Rockin' at the Knox post-mortem

1. Overall - an amazing event. They had a few sound problems, particularly during Paolo Nutini, but the planning committee did an unbelievable job -- even the food was decent.

2. The highlight of the night was crowd-related, and happened during Nutini's (zzzz) set. My mom and I were right behind a group of young women in their late teens who, in spite of doing their best impression to look slightly edgy, were still clearly fresh-faced and adorable. When Nutini launched into a cover of Vera Hall's "Trouble so Hard" (a.k.a. Moby's "Natural Blues") three of the girls exchanged ecstatic looks, stood up, and broke out into a fully choreographed dance routine. Best thing ever.



3. The rain sucked. Mom and I got soaked. The wind blew Feist's hat away and the weather almost cut her set short. I would have been really sad if she left the stage without playing "Mushaboom," but fortunately the rain let up and I was not disappointed. (We spent some time with a few happy-go-lucky strangers under a very leaky tarp in between Feist and Elvis. At least two references to March of the Penguins were made.)

4. I can't forget about the local openers. It was the first time I'd seen Mark Norris in about 18 years, (since before Girlpope, I think) and he and the Backpeddlers sounded great. I wish I had been close enough to catch a CD. The between set banter was very charming. The Great Train Robbery brought back girlhood memories of traipsing around to see the only local band my friends actually liked.

5. And then there was Elvis. And his unbelievably awesome piano player, who also played a theremin! Elvis' voice sounded great. I couldn't believe how many people talked during the entire acoustic set. Christ on crack, they just sat through a monsoon, you'd think if they wanted to talk, they'd just go to a bar. He sing-talked his way through "God's comic." Very entertaining. And nearly 5000 people sang the chorus to "Allison."

6. And at the end of the night I got Henry another free poster for his growing collection.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

You know it's time to take a break from the iPod when

you see JOYDIVR on a vanity license plate, as I did this morning, and immediately think, "I guess someone's a big Joy Division fan."

But in the time it took me to pull up closer to peer in at the driver I realized the owner was probably a diver, not a fan of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

1. Henry began first grade today. Unlike his first day of Kindergarten, things went remarkably well. He popped off the bus and said, "I had a great day, Mom. And tomorrow will be another great day of school." This year's teacher seems remarkably well-tempered and eager.

2. I did some housework with only one child nipping at my heels. Hardly bliss, but not torture either.

3. My second Trouser Press entry, on Rilo Kiley, is available. You can read it here.

My pal Mr. Parnell has a knack for creating up lists of dream covers, while I only know one when I hear it:

(For Henry) Peter Bjorn and John - "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I always knew they were better than me.

A classic day with Henry

1. We had to stop by Henry's school to drop off his supplies. He spotted a kid from last year's class and said loudly, "There's Willy, the bad kid." I'm positive Willy's mom heard us. When I asked him in the car what Willy had done that was so bad Henry said, "He said lots of bad words for no reason. And got sent to the Principal's office more times than me!"

2. I had to take Henry to the Pediatrician at the last minute because he got a splinter in his foot on Saturday night and didn't bother to tell me until today. I tried taking it out myself, but it wasn't protruding, so I couldn't get a handle on it.

a. When we arrived at the Doctor's office I was told that we were not allowed to wait in the Well Child waiting area because they were busy with last minute exams before school. So even though Henry was not sick, we had to wait in the Sick Visit waiting area. When I questioned the receptionist about the logic of this she said, "It's really no different than going to a store and being exposed to sick people." (While Henry is practically licking the rocking horse.) Huh? Maybe if the store sells only quinine and snake venom. Then it turned out that someone had spit up on one of the vinyl bench seats. Another Father kindly alerted the receptionist, and covered the offending pool with a tissue, but it stank. When we left half an hour later, after Henry's splinter was removed in nanoseconds, the vomit was still there! If we get the stomach flu I am going to be so pissed.

b. When we were driving home I said to Henry, "Aren't you glad we went to the Doctor? She took your splinter out in no time at all." He replied, "Yeah. Doctors really are better than you, Mom."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Beyond beleaf

After dinner tonight Cary and I discovered to our surprise that Lucy had shoved a piece of maple leaf into Henry's ear. Rather than tell us what had happened Henry decided to try and remove it with a q-tip, driving it even deeper into his ear canal. Cary was eventually able to remove it with tweezers, sparing us all a trip to the ER.

My kids never spare me the details, "Mommy, Henry's bothering me. I want a turn. Lucy took my flashlight." But when it comes to something where he actually should tell on his sister, he tries to handle it himself.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This is just to say

that I have no clever plans to spoof William Carlos Williams, like, say, Kenneth Koch once did.

But I wanted to mention that Lucy got me out of bed at 11:14 p.m. from a deep sleep because she needed a drink of water, and wanted me "to check her to see if she needed medicine." I decided that some benadryl was in order. I wasn't being cruel either. I think she has allergies, and in my sleepy state I was unsure if I could give her Claritin.

Anyway, an hour and fifteen minutes later she is soundly asleep and I am not.

I could post about a variety of things, like the chummy visit I had with the neuro and two Pharmacy interns today, or the bad name that Henry called me when I got frustrated with him for removing all of the batteries from their packaging and scattering them throughout the junk drawer, or how I briefly considered giving up coffee because of its potential effect on my headaches. But I think I should just try to go to sleep.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Good pine trees make good fences

Our next door neighbors must have tired of the gaping hole left along the property line where the October storm destroyed their fledgling lilac bushes because they just hired a local nursery company to plant three full-grown Blue Spruce trees in their place.

Either that or they can't stand the sight of us.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More Dumb Things

1. I devoted a great deal of time fulfilling the requirements of Henry's school supply list this year. I knew that his elementary school had a program where they buy the supplies for you, but details were sketchy, so I didn't sign up. Today as I was weeding through his Kindergarten papers, deciding what we would save, and what we could part with, I found the flier regarding the "School supplying school supplies program." All of the instructions, including a detailed list of what they would buy for me were there -- all I had to do was flip over the page. I hope they do it next year. I'm totally signing up. We went to four stores looking for plastic folders with three prongs in red, blue, yellow, green and purple.

2. On the way home from PT today the brake light and two other nasty little indicator lights went on. After consulting the manual which said something like, "get your car to the dealer immediately, and don't forget your check book, you fool!" we headed out to get the van checked out. $90 later, we learned that it was just a "random computer glitch." Oh well, I needed my oil changed anyway.

Tomorrow is another day. Another day where more things can go wrong!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

All things Anne

My friend ECK just had a baby, and from her lovely online photos I learned that anne is Turkish for mother. (She married a Turk. While her photo captions are delightful she doesn't usually pepper them with random linguistic trivia.)

In further celebration of my good friend, Anne, here are two songs by St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, that I have enjoyed of late.

St. Vincent -- "Marry Me"
(It's the title track to her new CD, and I couldn't resist the tie in).

St. Vincent -- "Jesus Saves I Spend"
(Anne, you need to start your own blog, and this is what you should call it!)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Advice to my favorite anonymous commenter

who is not really anonymous, she just doesn't have an account.

Yay, more wedding-related stuff from me, the person whose own wedding kinda just passed her by. (I heard the food was good).

Anyway, here is my plea to Anne, when she does decide to tie the knot someday. Please, don't do this.

If you're too lazy to click on the link, it's just a bunch of references to people using an iPod as the sole source of musical entertainment at their wedding. I cannot believe I am advocating spending any more money when weddings are out of control, but please, please if you can't afford a band, at least shell out for a DJ, and preferably one that won't introduce you as "Mr. and Mrs. Blahbityblah" and have you both run through the entranceway while your guests applaud.

PS: I promise this will be my final wedding-related post. It'll be back to the standards for me: migraines, music, and my crazy kids.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hooray, Hooray.

Another odd, wedding-related tidbit.

The new Rilo Kiley video for "Silver Lining" -- just to show it's not all happy endings...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Adding insult to near injury

1. I spent yesterday morning at the park with my kids, catching up with a friend and her little daughter who were visiting from out of town. On our way out, while I was busy rinsing sand out of Lucy's mouth at the restroom sink Henry took it upon himself to pick up the hose that was available to clean up with, and (possibly accidentally) hit a grown man square in the chest with a full stream of water. The man took it better than I did.

2. Over the last two weeks both kids had a cold, which I caught. My symptoms were pretty mild until we returned from Toronto and I woke up Sunday morning with my left eyelid crusted shut. By Monday I decided I had a sinus infection. A quick trip to the doctor confirmed that I did, and I had given myself pinkeye.

3. I went to pick up the prescriptions from Target, and as I was paying for them at 5:02 p.m., the pharmacist realized that the Physician's Assistant had failed to tell me how many times a day to take the eye drops. So I had to wait while they paged my Dr. (the office closed at 5:00). This took 30 additional minutes. My mom had the kids, but I felt bad that I took an even bigger chunk out of her afternoon.

4. I came home to find that our modem had died.

5. This morning Lucy and I set out to replace the modem. After I installed it I still couldn't get reliable internet service. It turns out that we were also experiencing sporadic service outages in my neighborhood. What are the chances. But as I type all seems to be well. Sweet elixir of 1s and 0s, I cannot live without you!

6. Our day was capped off by the sound of shattering glass, just as we were corralling the kids upstairs for bed. It turns out the light bulb above our sink just fell and broke into a million pieces for no apparent reason. Thank god I had finished doing the dishes or it would have fallen directly on my head.

7. Plus I had a piece of writing rejected from a magazine that would have sent me a paycheck. Oh well. At least they cared enough to say they weren't interested.

Monday, August 13, 2007

No Blood No Beer: Go Thermal or Make Love Alone

Way back when, long before the internet made music criticism accessible at hyperspeed, I spent a great deal of time reading the Trouser Press, reading those entries marked by the book's editor [iar] with particular interest. It was meaningful then, educating me about bands like the Virgin Prunes (trivial, but what a name!) or helping me decide which Cocteau Twins LP I should spend my limited income on.

But the site has new meaning for me today since I have recently completed an entry on the Thermals, one of my favorite bands. I had help and encouragement from some great friends with eagle eyes, and yet I don't think I have ever troubled over 800 words so much in my life. (Update: forgot to link to it directly -- find it here.)

And, there's another Venuszine review up too, right over here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Secretly Canadian

We just returned from spending a couple of days in Toronto, and while our trip was much more enjoyable than last year, there were still a number of remarkable things that went wrong:

1. Henry coughed his way through the entire first day of the trip. It was tolerable but noisy on the car trip up. Then on the harbor boat tour (just us and bus load of senior citizens) it was unbearable because they all kept looking at us like we had dragged along Typhoid Mary. I could just explain, "He gets like this at the end of a cold when he has post nasal drip" to everyone within ear shot. At Terroni's (for pizza), it was so noisy at least no one could hear him. But the worst came at King's Noodle in Chinatown for dinner when the cough became, um, productive. As I escorted him to the ladies room for the second time we encountered, to our surprise, another man -- dressed in striped pants and a flowered shirt no less -- washing his hands in the sink. The man said calmly, "I'm almost done, just give me a minute." So that's what we did.

2. The next day Henry was much, much better. We headed to the Toronto Zoo. Soon after our arrival Lucy started to whimper and cry. Since both kids are recovering from colds we initially thought she might still be a little sick. Two hours later I discovered she had sunscreen in her eye. After a not so quick trip to the first aid tent she was like a new child, and our little vacation could begin in earnest now that it was half-way over.

3. I think we did all enjoy ourselves, particularly Henry, who cried real tears, with his lip a quiver, when it was time check out of the hotel. In particular Henry was fond of the bunk beds where he and Lucy slept during our stay. And I found Toronto to be pretty much everything I want in a big city: a good music scene, incredible gardens, nonchalant diversity, and good beer. Though I wasn't crying when we left I think I might be secretly Canadian.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Not my favorite way to start the day...

1. Henry has done it again. Last night he puked in his sleep. Although this time he woke me up at 4:20 a.m. to clean up the mess instead of waiting until morning. The poor child coughed until he vomited, and unfortunately his dinner was poorly chosen to begin with. Because Cary is not working this week we are doing some things to pretend we're on vacation, like going out for BBQ on a Monday night. Henry ordered "pizza logs" at One-Eyed Jacks. I expected a child-sized French bread Pizza, but instead they were more of a nasty cross between Geno's Pizza rolls and an egg roll. Not so pleasant to look at going down, and worse to clean up in the morning.

2. Not to be outdone, Lucy awoke with her face caked in dried blood. Her new bedding, only decent pair of PJs, and her beloved Mommy Kitty were also covered. I am not sure how, but she even had some on her feet.

3. After spending my morning cleaning the carpets and the bedding, I was heading out to the grocery store when I discovered last night's doggy bag still sitting in the front seat of the van. The smell alone made me nauseous as I dropped it into the trash and drove away with the windows open.

4. Then when I went to retrieve Henry's waterproof mattress pad cover from the dryer it was ripped beyond repair, so now I will be going back out before night fall to buy a new one, and laundering it before I can put his bed back together.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

See a Let's French video before the band's inevitable demise...

Check out the first and only video from my brother-in-law Randy's band -- that's "Coco Randy" to Lucy. Too bad the band's members are scattering to four different countries come September.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pieces of Crap and the Children who Love Them

1. When my children returned from their visit to my mother-in-law's today each of them was clutching a cheap personal fan that she purchased at a dollar store. She keeps a drawer full of prizes that the kids can choose from as they are leaving, and one disadvantage of not bringing them home myself is losing veto power over the prize. Henry's broke coming out of the package, so we never had to try and install its batteries. Lucy's was missing, so I thought it was left behind. 1 fan + 2 kids = a very long afternoon.

2. Henry and I discovered the second fan in the garage during Lucy's nap. I made good on my promise to install batteries, and actually let him use it. This was no mean feat considering the wires were falling out and the switches had to be put back in by hand. It worked for about three minutes and then the fan blade broke off leaving several shards of plastic behind. Then I had to convince him that it was necessary to remove the batteries, otherwise someone was bound to get hurt. "But I'll just use the light!" he protested. (No kidding, this thing claimed to be a light, a fan, and a pen!)

3. Later as we were getting Lucy up from her nap he informed me that the pen portion of Lucy's fan no longer worked.

This is why I always encourage them to choose the crayons from the prize drawer.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bad Mama Files 2

1. Maybe this is more like lazy mama files, but I let Henry skip soccer tonight because it is 93 degrees and at least as humid here. He spent the day fighting with me over every little thing, and I couldn't bear to watch him get all sweaty on the field after 30 seconds, and then flatly refuse to participate.

2. I had another caterpillar, but I let him go. But I learned from my previous caterpillar to butterfly experience and gave this one some water. However, caterpillars poop a lot, and in captivity all that poop, mixed with water in a pickle jar gets disgusting pretty quickly. I didn't let the caterpillar go because of unsanitary conditions though; he just seemed so unhappy. After three of four days of eagerly devouring maple leaves the little guy just spent time near the air holes on the lid and refused to eat. But you can be sure that when I released him that I picked a spot far away from the garden.

3. I am shipping the kids to my mother-in-law's for the morning on Friday even though I don't have any major reason to do so. I just need a break from the constant bickering.

I thought only Kim Mitchell and the Tragically Hip played Buffalo

There's so much good music on the docket in the next three months!

I've already mentioned the Elvis Costello/Feist double bill and Of Montreal. Got our tickets and our babysitting lined up.

But in less than two weeks Cary and I have tickets for Band of Horses at the Tralf. Cary played Everything All the Time to death and sang it around the house constantly. To this day if a song from that record comes up on the iPod, Lucy will ask, "Daddy singing?" I am less excited about this particular show, but since they have a new record coming out this fall I can hope they will play some new material. Wonder what they'll close out the show with? I know I'll be ready for "The Funeral."

But, also, in addition to that, Cary, my Mom, and me all have tickets to see Andrew Bird play in Asbury Hall at The Church. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, without fact checking, that the venue was an old church that Ani DiFranco and Righteous Babe records saved from demolition. While I am no fan of Ani's music, (sorry, Auntlyh, but you already knew this) she still did a good thing for the area by saving the space. Plus it gave Hallwalls a permanent home too.

As if this was not enough, Metric is coming. I can hardly contain my excitement. My mom and I are both big fans. And as she said, "It's going to be their Grow Up and Blow Away Tour!" (Our favorite album). The show is at the Town Ballroom, my least favorite local venue (you guessed it -- no seats) but I don't think tickets have gone on sale yet.

Oh, and I've got another review up on Venuszine.com. You can read it here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Magic Position

I've had a migraine for seven days straight. A new personal best! One of the things that helps when the drugs don't is hanging out in what I've come to refer to as The Magic Position. I stole the name from Patrick Wolf. I don't really like his song, but appropriating for my own purpose amuses me.
The Magic Position's real name is the Static Back position, and I got it out of a book by Pete Egoscue. I would post a picture of what it looks like, but then it wouldn't really be magic anymore, would it?

Patrick Wolf - "The Magic Position"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm already looking forward to Autumn

And no it's not because I can't stand stand the heat.

According to Pitchfork, Of Montreal is scheduled to play a show at The Tralf on October 10!

One of my favorite bands, in Buffalo's only semi-historic venue (with seats!). What could be better.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Brother the Robot

1. Coming off a night of brutal insomnia. The last time I looked at the clock it was 1:45 a.m.

2. When Lucy woke up, she trotted off to the potty like a good little girl, but she spotted something she wanted out of the trashcan. She stood up so abruptly that the potty chair stuck to her legs. Pee was everywhere. (I didn't actually let her get what she wanted from the trash either --used dental floss!)

3. Before we even left the house Henry and Lucy were locked in the throes of a vicious argument over whether or not Henry was a robot. The more Henry denied it, the more tenaciously Lucy insisted it must be true.

Fortunately for me coffee, the gym, and the half price perennial sale at my favorite local garden center can fix practically anything.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Two points about better music


1. This year's Rockin' at the Knox bill is truly appealing. Now I just have to start scheming so I have proper babysitting. If my kids were just a tiny bit older I would bring them along -- Lucy digs those Feist videos with all the people dancing.

If you are unfamiliar with the premise of Rockin' at the Knox, once a year for the last three years there is an outdoor concert on the grounds of Buffalo's amazing art museum. Previous bills included Wilco and Blondie.

2. I have another review up on Venuszine. You can read it here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New dumb things

1. I left the water running on the hose that runs from inside the garage. I rest the sprayer on top of a storage unit where I keep gardening gloves, tools, plant food etc. As I was rushing Henry off to soccer yesterday I noticed that area seemed wet. The hose had flooded the entire area. I made time to turn to hose off, and curse. But I haven't made time to clean up the gardening debris that's sitting in a huge puddle. Not too sure when I am going to get around to it either. But I completely forgot about it until today when I went to water my plants again. How long will it take to evaporate?

2. I am incapable of buying a week's worth of groceries, or keeping appropriate staples on hand, but that doesn't stop me from trying. I ran out to the Italian grocery for meatballs earlier in the day, but didn't discover that I didn't have any Spaghetti sauce (or the constituents to make it) until the water was boiling for the pasta and the meatballs were browning. Since Cary is still recovering from having a wisdom tooth removed (and was sleeping at the time) I had to take both kids with me back to the same grocery -- Henry was already in his pajamas -- and buy some sauce. But I was rewarded for my efforts because Lucy ate a meatball!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Two points about bad music

1. Let me be the last person on Earth to weigh in on Live Earth. Cary had the bright idea of recording it on TiVo. We sped through two different largish chunks of recordings of bad, bad performances in under two hours. Billy Corgan looks like he just escaped from a cult. I did enjoy seeing who had been exiled to play at the smaller stages, like Snoop Dog in Munich, and Lenny Kravitz in Rio. And Cary and I were both perplexed about the Police-John Mayer-Kanye West performance of "Message in the Bottle." It didn't quite translate from the planning committee's vision into another "We are the World Moment."

2. Another review up on Venuszine. Check it out here.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

At least it wasn't a dead cricket

I found a hunk of wood in my salad today. Actually it was more like a wood chip. I thought it was a crouton until I realized that I hadn't put croutons in the salad. Unfortunately this was the third lunchtime salad I had made from this particular bag of lettuce. But I think the worst part was that I felt obliged to throw out my lunch when I really wanted to keep eating. What harm could a wood chip do? It's not like the time we lived in Watertown and our next door neighbor found a dead cricket in her bag of salad. That made the nightly news.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bad Mama Files

A new blog featurette where I reveal a questionable parenting decision
(It's like the Rockford Files, but without the ex-cons and the Firebird...)

Last weekend I discovered a caterpillar clinging to my Helenium. I had visions of the entire plant being devoured by morning. So I decided that instead of disposing of the insect it would be fun to put it into a jar and watch it turn into a butterfly. Needless to say everything I know about this process comes from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Henry and Lucy were excited by the prospect, so we found an old salsa jar, and some maple leaves. Cary said, "If you want it to turn into a Butterfly you need a stick." So we added a stick. I dutifully pounded some holes in the top with a nail and waited for the childhood memories to take hold.

After a couple of days we added some more leaves, and Henry and I agreed that the caterpillar looked bigger to us. It had definitely eaten some of the maple leaves. We managed to keep Lucy from shaking the jar like a snow globe. So far so good.

But by yesterday I noticed that its size had shrunk considerably. It had a dark sticky spot on its side. Preparation for the chrysalis? Nope. It needed water desperately. By the time I figured this out it lay at the bottom of the jar. I added some water, and man did the poor little shrinking caterpillar drink. When it climbed up back onto one of the maple leaves I held out a sliver of hope. Half an hour later it was shriveled on the floor of its jar, a dessicated hairy spiral.

I didn't know exactly how to handle it with the kids. Henry still hasn't asked to see it but we're having friends over for dinner so I felt compelled to dispose of the remains. Lucy asked to see it this morning and it turns out that she enjoyed the dead caterpillar just as much as the living one. I said to her, "Honey, the caterpillar isn't ever going to turn into a butterfly." "OK," she replied, and danced off to grab a toy pony.

So if I see another caterpillar, am I going to try it again? Probably. Maybe with some instructions this time. I really want to see a newly hatched butterfly.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

You see there's nothing that's behind me; I'm already a has been.

Henry's at camp. Lucy's asleep. It's the perfect time to do some writing, only I don't have any to do. Which leaves only housework.

Here's a favorite track from my high school years that sums it up.

The Buzzcocks - "Boredom"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I Broke My Crown

1. The kittens finally have names my dad can remember. Kitten number one is now Teddy, and kitten number two remains Twoey. My mom has suggested that she might name them Tedric and Toulouse, but use the other names all the time. If that happens I don't think anyone but the Vet's office will know about it.

2. It looks like my Croscosmia Lucifer is going to bloom for the first time ever. This is the third year I have had it but the deer ate it, and it has taken awhile to bounce back. One of my Canna Lillies also has a very large unopened bloom on it. If either of these plants look good at some point I will post pictures. I am sure you are all waiting expectantly.

3. Most of Cary's family got together yesterday. His parents, 6 (out of 8) siblings, 5 spouses/boyfriends, and 15 (out of 17) grandkids. Nothing went wrong; it was really fun. My kids had a great time with their cousins. The cupcakes that were intended for dessert were gone by 3:30.

My father-in-law staged a wine tasting that included some red wine from India. We all concluded it was horrible! Not even safe to add to your curry.

Although at one point Lucy tripped and fell. My father-in-law started reciting Jack and Jill to her while my Mother-in-law went to grab a band aid. Now she will look at me gravely at random intervals and say, "Mommy, I broke my crown."

Friday, June 29, 2007

I just want to chew gum

It was the kind of summer day I always thought I would have with my kids ...

1. Henry wanted to learn how to blow bubbles with gum. We were at Target, so I tried to get some traditional Hubba Bubba or Bubble Yum. The closest thing I could find was Hersheys chocolate flavored Hubba Bubba. Even humble chewing gum is a boutique market.

Henry couldn't wait to pop the first piece in his mouth. I said he needed to chew it until it got soft. A gob of chocolatey spit escaped his mouth -- it was a big piece of gum! I suggested he sit down at the kitchen table. I told him to flatten it into a circle. More spit escaped. I got my own piece (sour apple Trident) to demonstrate. See, it's flat in my mouth. Now poke your tongue into the flat circle. He gave it his best shot and out popped the gum. I demonstrated blowing a bubble. Wow, you're good, mom. He tried again. Giggled. Out popped the gum again, an unflattened slobbery mess. And so ends lesson one of what will probably be a life long struggle for our dear Henry.

2. Lucy peed in her pants while I pushed her on the swings at the playground. I was not too upset; I can only imagine the act of swinging stresses the bladder.

3. When we arrived home she insisted on wearing the rain boots that I had purchased for her (on sale) for the rest of the day. I have to admit that they almost looked cute with her denim mini skirt and her Threadless kids T.

Here's a track to celebrate Henry's oral spazziness and Lucy's questionable fashion sense:
Annie -- Chewing Gum (Headman Vocal Remix)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cabin Fever

The children and I have cabin fever, something not usually seen in these parts in the summer, but with temps in the high 80s, and Henry's behavior in public pools remaining untrustworthy, we are forced to stay inside.

Henry eats his way through the day. I can't tell if he's bored, having a growth spurt, or reacting to withdrawal from the hidden calories in the school lunches.

Lucy punches, pokes, and otherwise annoys him any way she can. A summers worth of time out awaits.

Once they go to sleep at night I spend the rest of the evening saving my poor plants from complete dessication. I am a slave to the garden hose.

I have another review up on Venuszine. You can read it here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Found at the end of our driveway yesterday

One bright orange can of malt liquor, empty and imploded, as it had been shotgunned.

One water bottle which its owner had used as a make shift spittoon.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Overheard in our household today

Me to Lucy: "Put your underwear back on and stop spitting on me."

Henry to me: "I ate all of my lunch. Now I can have my chocolate caramel cookie bar."
(Referring to the Twix bar he got from a birthday party that he had been begging me for since 9 a.m. which had completely melted from being handled by his sweaty little fingers.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Updates on the last post and the last year

1. Just like Auntlyh, I have now been blogging for a year (thanks for the reminder) but stuff has been going wrong for a whole lot longer. Just thought I would mention a few highlights that predated and led to the inception of the blog:
* The summer day that the entire basement filled with bees.
# The day that I learned from the furnace cleaning man that the previous owners used to house at least 250 guinea pigs in our basement.
$ The six long months we spent potty training Henry.
! The time in January when Henry locked me out of the house when I was ten months pregnant and not wearing a coat.

Sweet, sweet memories.

2. A few clarifications about the last post. Because LHM and Auntlyh both seem curious, here is a picture of the grill:
As gas grills go it really isn't all that big, but compared to the last grill I purchased (a Smokey Joe), it seems huge. I purchased the Smokey Joe at Ann and Hope in Boston in 1994, and I must have brought it back to my apartment in Brookline on an MBTA bus because I don't think I could have ridden with it on my bike.

Kitten number one is no longer "Sugar Ray" because my dad can't remember that either. He is in some sort of name limbo between "Puffy" and "Stubby" and my mom is trying to tell me that she has settled on his name being "Sugarpuff," but she will call him "Puffy." I am find this incredibly funny, but feel sorry for the cat. And I am not going to call him anything at this point.

I also wanted to clarify why we were trying to get Henry into a gifted and talented program in Kindergarten. We aren't crazy parents. Other kids in the Henry's school who are a tiny bit ahead of him academically are in the program, or are getting to go read with the first grade class while he languishes because his teacher doesn't give a shit. I don't care how his reading needs get met at school so long as they get met.

Plus we have friends whose kid is in another school, same district, who is in the program and has gotten to do fun things like put on plays in a small group setting. Something that would be great for Henry, or any bright kid. I also think ANY parent wants what is best for their kid and hopes the teacher does too. Sadly I have yet to find this to be true in any of Henry's classroom settings. We chose to live in the suburbs for their supposedly good schools and I have been nothing but unhappy with them this entire year. And then I have to listen to the school tell me how great they are.

Having said that __ ending my rant __ Cary felt the letter from the gifted programming specialist was less of a brush off, than I did. And Henry's teacher is nasty, but she didn't give some kids gifts and not others. She also didn't bother to help us figure out where they were from or choose to explain any of this to Henry.

3. If anyone is still reading, I have a new review on Venuszine.com, and you can read it here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wrongest day in recent memory

1. We were due to arrive at Henry's classroom half an hour early to listen to him read from his journals and "book box" before taking them home. I forgot to set the alarm. We arrived on time but barely. Henry had very little interest in reading these books to me since none of them were ever very challenging for him. He did point out that his coloring has gotten much better since September. Lucy was extremely interested in sticking her face directly in front of mine while I tried to pay attention to Henry.

2. Unfortunately a few people in the room were leaving with gifts. Henry became obsessed with the location of his gift. He concluded that he had to read his entire book box to receive the gift. Declared he didn't want the gift. I still don't know what the story was, but there was no gift. The teacher, in her ever unhelpful way told him only, "I don't have a gift for you, Henry." At that point he started to cry inconsolably, just as everyone was starting to leave, of course. And Lucy continued to stick her face in mine, "What's wrong Henry, Mommy?" Then I noticed Henry's friend B was crying too. I did my best to calm Henry down rather unsuccessfully. When I left both boys were still crying, B silently, Henry rather loudly, and I heard the teacher mutter aloud, "Well, we could get started now if everyone would stop crying." She is retiring in three days to teach pre-school. I wish her all the best.

3. If that wasn't bad enough we got the package we had sent to the gifted programming specialist back with the glibbest, most unhelpful note. We wrote a letter asking if Henry could be considered for language arts programming for next year because he is reading second grade books with no help and third grade books with a little help at home, while in school it is all monosyllabic nonsense. I do not harbor any illusion that my son is a genius, but his teacher this year has done nothing to nurture him. The gifted programming specialist wrote back that there is nothing she can do because he is at grade level in his class room. Christ on crack! That's why we wrote the note in the first place. I am so tired of this school.

4. And then, I went to pick up our grill. A huge thunderstorm broke out. Did I mention that it hasn't rained more than a drop in months? I had to back the minivan up 40 feet and wait while three very helpful guys placed the grill (which is HUGE) inside. The thing barely fit. At one point they were giving the kids large pieces of metal to hold. Then Henry had to get out twice so we could move up his seat. He was standing on his book box (of course I hadn't taken it out of the car yet) asking me if I could get his umbrella. Both of us got soaking wet.

5. And now I have to rethink tonight's dinner: hot dogs and hamburgers.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gone Wrong Miscellany

1. Kitten Update: Mo has now been officially re-christened Twoey after I admitted to my mom that my dad and I were referring to him as Twoey in private.

2. I have had migraines three out of the last four days. So, not surprisingly I have been extremely distracted by the white noise inside my own head. I now have an appointment with the M.D. neuro as opposed to the P.A. that I usually see since I no longer think that my treatment is going the way I would like. Hopefully by early July I will have some answers. But I will do just about anything to avoid another transfusion and the drugs that followed it. At least now I know.

3. Cary and I spent the weekend trying to buy a grill. Normally such an inane domestic purchase would not be worth blogging about but we are so hopelessly inept, even at shopping for something like a grill, that even though our hand-me-down grill has been broken for a year, and we have been planning to buy a grill for over a month, it still took us more than 24 hours to choose a stupid grill. We have concluded that we like getting household items given to us for free (duh) not just because its cheap but because we have so much trouble making a decision. This is why most of our furniture used to belong to someone else, and some is held together with bungee cords. It's much easier than picking out something new. Thank god they put it together for us.

4. I spent a portion of the afternoon spraying homemade insecticidal soap (rubbing alcohol, dishsoap, and water) on much of my garden because I have a pretty serious four lined plant bug infestation. It is more of an annoyance than anything else, but they were all over my asters, which were struggling as it is. Hopefully they will still bloom this fall.

5. This is the last week of Kindergarten.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What Went Wrong: The Kitten Edition

Last week my parents adopted two male Ragdoll kittens after losing their cat Jezzie to cancer earlier last month. We adopted Jezzie from the SPCA when I was in high school and Ethan was about Henry's age. I think she was just shy of her nineteenth birthday. Unfortunately I don't have any digital pictures of her, but she was an affectionate cat who practically never caused my parents a minute of worry (except for the time she spent the night outside under the deck), but I digress. I just feel a little sad plastering the entry with these kitten pictures without saying a few words about Jezzie first.
















I had trouble getting a good picture of the kitten on the left because he never stops moving, but not as much trouble as my parents have had giving these cats names! As I type supposedly the kitten on the left is Sug (short for Sugar Ray) and the kitten on the right is Mo (short for nuthin'). My mom was originally going to call Mo Moby, but that didn't seem right. I liked it for the 1990s silly pop-rock connotations. Then she was going to name him Balboa, since Sug is named after Sugar Ray Leonard (my parents don't even like boxing, but the name suits him). But my dad couldn't remember the names. He kept calling the kitten on the left Stubby and the kitten on the right Twoey because Stubby has a stubby body and we got Twoey second. Yeah. And you thought stuff went wrong at my house.

My mom won't leave the house yet because the Mo cries when he is in his room (my old room), and she can't leave them to their own devices yet for fear they will scuffle. So today I got to stay with them for an hour or so. Kitten sitting beats the pants off chasing my kids around, that's for sure.

My mom hasn't had a decent night's sleep in a week, and when we are on the phone, I hear her yelling, "No. Stop that! Oh, I gotta go." It is as if she has created an animal bizarro world where kittens are infants but neither of my parents is truly up for the pace of caring for an infant for too long (neither am I, really), so I hope things settle down soon. We miss you, Jezzie.