While You Were Sleeping

Take a good long look at this face.


This, you see, is the face of evil. Don’t let her adorableness fool you. She is quite diabolical. I cleaned the playroom last night. Then I went to bed. When I woke up, I sent Emily off to school and grabbed the Dyson to finish the cleaning job. Imagine my surprise when I found black and red tempera paint all over the white carpet. It was mostly dry, with some especially thick spots still sporting some offensive stickiness. And next to it, crumpled up on the floor, the dress Neve was wearing at bedtime, also covered in paint. But you know what? As much as the implication of her wandering around in the night unsupervised disturbed me, I didn’t have time to wallow in my horror, since I was expecting company. So I made sure there were no more wet areas and got to vacuuming. I also figured I’d put on a Disney dvd for the kids, but when I went to insert the disc into the player, I couldn’t find it. All I could think was, why had Paul moved the vcr and dvd player? And where???? Well……I found them in a broken heap on the floor behind the tv. I guess in an effort to try and reach them, the mini terror must have pushed them off the top of the tv altogether (never mind that she has been told time and again to ask for help rather than attempt it herself).

Now skip ahead to this evening. (Yes we made it through the day without further disheartening discoveries or instances of evil). Emily, having finished both her homework and her dinner headed up to her room to grab her pink purse that she keeps her little toys in. I heard her screaming Neve’s name before she began stomping down the stairs demanding to know where her purse was. But cute little Neve, who was snuggling me sweetly on the couch, professed her innocence up and down. And since she’d had company much of the day (and I’d locked Emily’s door to boot) I believed her. Emily, however, wasn’t buying it. So I went to look for it. Guess what? A cursory glance of Neve’s closet yielded not only Emily’s purse, but some of my makeup as well!!!  And what was little Neve’s defense?

“I said I didn’t do it  today.”

So let me close out with the one thing keeping me sane , grounded, and from pulling my hair out.  The picture of cuteness.


Retch Inducing

On the one hand it’s nice when you can more or less trust your kid to make her own sandwich for lunch.  On the other, it’s kinda gross when that sandwich consists of 1 slice of American cheese on wheat bread slathered with mayo and ketchup.  And it’s also hard to endure the lip smacking and the “MMMM you have got to try this!!!!!”

I Should Have Known

I should have known disaster was waiting for me.  There’s the low level migraine that’s been plaguing me since I woke up this morning (no doubt due to the impending storm, which hasn’t stopped it from being violently sunny in the house and killing my eyes.)

There’s the fact that I got in a shower and time to make a decent lunch.

Then not only did the mail come early, but they delivered it to my door, on account of the box that came.  This was really my biggest clue, since that box had parts for the steam cleaner (you see where this is going???)

Then Oona allowed me to clean up the kitchen and vacuum!  I was marveling at the happiness I felt at having a vacuum that did such a great job getting the house clean.  I was feeling giddy at how nicely it was coming together today.  I was actually getting the place clean!   And the candles from Yankee were doing a fab job as well.  My day was looking up.  I could start a fire, relax with my babies and some knitting and enjoy a decent level of cleanliness for once.  You know they say pride goeth before the fall,  but what about the combination of relief, disbelief and contentment?  Does that goeth before the discovery of a fresh steaming rank pile of dog poop on your nicely vacuumed living room rug?


My kids had a blast this past weekend playing with their grandparents, visiting from up north. My Hungarian Goulash was successful on Saturday and I got rewarded for my efforts. You see, on Sunday morning my living room looked like this:


which resulted in a far better outcome than I could have possibly imagined from my poorly built home. By Sunday evening I was relaxing by this:


Doesn’t it look great? Who’d a thunk a gas fireplace could look so real? And it put out a nice heat and didn’t smell like burning propane. How psyched am I????

AND I had some knitting time this weekend so I worked for a bit on what I’ve been referring to as “Maddie’s Emo Socks”. The yarn is to die for, from Blue Moon Fiber Arts (Socks That Rock in colorway Hardrock); it’s soft and black and grey and pink and fuschia. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s been knitting up pretty quickly and I’ve been having a blast with it. I’m using the basic sock recipe from Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Knitting Rules.


Hopefully I’ll have a bit of time this week to work on them. (No, we are NOT mentioning the eleventy other projects I have begun and need to work on).

Valentine’s Day Has Passed and My Blonde is Showing

Valentine’s Day around these parts means Chinese food. Every February 14th for almost 12 years now there’s been Chinese food. Usually take – out, always yummy. Emily used this year as an opportunity to try crab and lobster, in the form of seafood soup. She loved it so much she asked if she could eat it for dinner every night from now on.

The next night was not as yummy or healthy. I was expecting the in – laws for dinner so I thawed a huge amount of stew beef to make a Hungarian Goulash. I had planned on serving it with a nice salad and Italian bread. Then it became apparent that they weren’t going to arrive in time for dinner, and I had nothing else at the ready. So it was off to McDonald’s so I could save myself the effort to cook and clean up the kitchen. The older girls wanted chicken nuggets……so when I pulled up to the drive thru I ordered chicken nuggets. Or at least I’d swear I did. But Emily heard “cheeseburger”, and so did the nice lady at the window. And I can’t say truthfully that this is the first time this has happened to me. My blonde has been showing a lot lately. I swear I’ve said or heard something but everyone else around me says otherwise. Either it’s a well organized plot to convince me I am senile, or I truly am losing it.

So anyway I handed my two girls their happy meals and as I am driving away it becomes clear that these meals are actually not happy because they are the wrong damn thing. I apologize and tell them I’ll somehow make it up to them. Emily assures me it’s ok; she’ll enjoy her fries and chocolate milk and have a snack of some sort when we get home. This sounded reasonable. I agreed to her terms. Then I asked Neve if that sounded ok to her. No. It was most definitely not ok.

“I want you to turn around right now and get me my chicken nuggets”.

That’s my Neve.

No, I did not turn around. I don’t let her boss me around. Much.

Disturbing Trends

There’s 2 trends I’ve noticed lately that are bugging me.  The first is something probably only parents would notice, or people who regularly are tuned into kids’ programming, because I’m talking about commercials that air during these times.  They’re selling anything from fast food to toys, though I think the fast food companies are by far the largest offenders.  And no, I don’t object to fast food commercials per se, but I dislike that lately the set up seems to be smart alecky kids who treat their dumb – as – hammers parents with disdain and thinly veiled contempt (have you seen the commercial where the kids say “You don’t know Snoopy” ?  I want to put them snotty, self satisfied kids in a serious time out).  What’s up with that?  And the fact that it bothers me…..does that mean I am getting old and unhip???

The second thing that bugs me just might make the case for me being unhip.  Marcia blogged about this at Halloween, and I found it still relevant last week.  She mentioned how Halloween has become nothing more than an excuse for every female to unleash their inner streetwalker.  I agree.  What’s sad is that I tried to save myself some time in the Susan B Anthony costume making thing by going to a costume store in town to see of they had anything I could adjust to work for Emily.  Unfortunately, they did not.  Now, if she were a boy, I could have gotten any number of costumes for her – pioneer, pilgrim, cowboy, doctor, pirate, fireman, army guy, colonial boy……you name it.  But the selection for girls?  Well unless you want to be a sexy little tramp, forget it.  The only non – trashy costumes they had for little girls were various animals.  What gives?   I guess since it’s a university town they are catering to the “sorostitutes”*……….but still.  It doesn’t make me feel any better to think that my daughters will go off to college and dress like “Naughty Nurse” or “Vixen Vamp”.  For now I’ll have to suck it up and keep making stuff for them myself…..and hope my girls end up a touch more sophisticated than that.

*Sorostitute:  I saw a lot of these when I was driving transit buses at the university.  I had some late night runs, which is when they generally come out.  Right around 11 to 11:30 pm, after a few hours of total quiet on the streets and around the campus, masses of barely dressed, highly perfumed and made up girls would materialize out of their dorms and apartments for the attempt to gain entry into a bar or frat party.  Their banter was generally inane and shallow.  I may have yelled at a drunken herd of them  riding on my bus once.  

Courage Makes Us Look Bad

It’s another crappy and miserable winter day. It’s been sleeting and raining for about the last 24 hours and it just makes everything feel all cold and damp. If I had a real fireplace I’d build a nice warm fire. Instead, I have a useless fake fireplace. Okay, so it’s actually a gas fireplace but my feeling about these is that they’re pretty much useless. They give off less heat, don’t crackle pleasantly, and well, I don’t like that sooty, burning propane smell. So we never hooked it up. Sigh. It’s the one thing I would change in this house if I had the money.

But I don’t want to linger on that today. I’ve been thinking about the way families have their own languages that only they truly understand. Special words or phrases that have a meaning no outsider would get. The ability to communicate with my family comes down to one thing: tv. I know, rots their brains, whatever. But we keep each other greatly amused with our shared favorite lines and expressions. The flavor du jour is a toss up between “Stupid dog! You made me look bad!” and “No it is gum I smellllllllllll”. The former is from Courage The Cowardly Dog, and the latter is Chowder. We’ve been watching a lot of both those shows lately. I even overheard Neve singing Chowder’s I’m Not Your Boyfriend” song the other day. But the best is “Radda Radda”. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never seen it, but it’s the only thing Chowder’s Schnitzel can say. And it can dispel the tension in any room in a matter of seconds. Kids fighting? “Radda radda radda radda!” and suddenly it’s all giggles.

I’m not sure of this will become a permanent fixture in our language or not. It’s got a lot of competition. There’s Simpsons (It tastes like burning; This both sucks AND blows; Me so hungee; I’m old, the only thing I don’t hate is Matlock; I’m cold and there are wolves after me………………….the list goes on and on), there’s Futurama (This isn’t Yemeni, it’s Sulawesi; Tell the robot devil I’m coming; I never thought I’d die this way, but I always kind of hoped) there’s Spongebob (You’re spendin’ all me hard earned cash!) and so on.

There’s always room for new stuff, which is the best part. It’s all about us having our common interests and adding to our family “glue”. We genuinely have fun talking to each other this way, and we can share any number of memories together with the turn of a phrase which, more than likely doesn’t have anything to do with that particular memory. I wonder if they’ll remember when they’re adults why we started saying “Tiny ugly germs!” when they don’t wash their hands, or who started the Party in my tummy. But really, it won’t matter.

Windy Weekend

Truly my existence is all about the germs. And the trips to the doctor. And the yucky medicines. Emily has strep throat. Hopefully, hopefully I won’t get it. Usually I get it if I talk to someone on the phone who has it. All you have to do is say strep, and I’ll get it. But she gets to go back to school tomorrow, which is good because she has to give a report on Susan B. Anthony. I spent Saturday making her costume for it.


It’s a good thing I managed to finish it all Saturday (thanks to Maddie for all the help!) because we were without power Sunday (which also means no water since we have a well). And I am feeling a bit of scratchiness in my throat now which I am trying to will away.

And on a secondary note, congrats to my sis and her buddy for their 2nd place win in the school’s talent show. Awesome job!

Recovery Mode

The weather has been a bit warmer around here and that has put me in panic mode knitting – wise.  So much wool to finish working up before summer!  Summer is for knitting lighter items like socks, and I still have sweaters to do.  I haven’t even cast on little Mac’s sweater.  That will probably not be worn until next year.  Good thing I got enough wool to knit up a size (always thinking ahead……….ha!)  Actually this summer I may tough it out and keep working on the thicker stuff so it will actually be done in time for cold weather.  Imagine that!

Speaking of little Mac, she recovered nicely from having her ear tube removed, though she took a nap of her own free will yesterday, which told us that she had not completely gotten back to normal.  She would never ever willingly take a nap.  But despite it all she’s having a good week.  Her papa stayed home after her procedure and she’s gotten lots of cuddles.  It’s been good for me, too – I’ve had house work help!!!   AND, even better, he’s been taking Emily to the bus stop in the morning.  This means that my coffee consumption is down from “slightly less than a lethal dose” to a mere “total addict junkie”.    It also helped having him around when Pippa, at around 10:30 last night, decided to leave a big stinky pee puddle on the white carpet at the top of the stairs.  The baby had fallen asleep during Lost (a not to be missed show around these parts) and we were in the process of turning off all the lights and heading up.  Just as we were preparing to open the front door to let her out one last time for the night she bounded up the stairs, headed for her doggie bed in our room.  Except that she made that nasty detour on her way and caused Paul to have to break out the louder – than – bombs steam cleaner to take care of it.   Oh well.  Just more proof that if my house were to be 100% clean at any time the universe would surely implode.   But life goes on, and hopefully so will the knitting.  I’ve barely made any progress on the socks I’ve cast on using Austerman Step wool, which I am loving so far, except that using size 1 needles means it is taking FOREVER.  sushi-chew.jpg

Did I also mention that Sushi likes to chew on my smaller sized wooden needles?

PS: Don’t judge my wrinkly tablecloth – it got dried in the dryer by parties who shall remain nameless and no longer fits my ginormous table.  And as a side note, who knew that buying a new tablecloth in that size (70 x 108) would be so difficult/frustrating/stressful/expensive????????  Apparently I am too picky when choosing such a huge piece of fabric that takes up a large amount of space in the very center of my house.