Monday, March 31, 2008

Moving On


Yes, I honestly am that grumpy often! And yes the ice-cream man came back yesterday evening and yes I did make sarcastic and (very funny! Really!) irritated comments until that 8-bar refrain faded away into the distance.

Now you're really sorry for my children aren't you?

I have no segue here so we'll just leap into the real topic.

Child 2 and I were trying to impose some order on the sun-room last week. The sun room is one of those areas of the house that expresses that damn law of entropy - you know, the law that says the universe is constantly moving into chaos? That any system (say, a linen closet or a craft closet) will inevitably go from ordered to disordered. The fact that it's a law of the universe explains why it's never anyone's fault that the folded towels have become unfolded, the boxed up art supplies have spread themselves over the shelf and the hot glue gun is once again sitting on the kitchen counter with a dribble of solidified glue sticking to the surface.

I won't even try to point the finger at Child 3 who likes to go into the sun-room and listen to its i-pod while it spins in the office chair we don't have room for anywhere else and casually rummages through the storage boxes we have out there. Surely it's not its fault that there was a fine dusting of pictures, papers, beloved but outgrown toys and other important items over every surface of the room?

So Child 2 and I waded in and began grimly fighting a force of the universe - meaning we sort of stuffed everything into a box that more or less fit the description until we both got fed up and just shoved the rest out of sight.

While doing so I came across a small plastic booklet labeled "Photographs."

When Kirk and I got married we didn't have a professional photographer. Actually, we didn't have a caterer, a professional dressmaker or anything else either but that's not the point. What we did have was someone - I don't know who... my mother? racing around now and then and desperately snapping a picture here and there. Which means that just about every picture I have shows Kirk looking grim and me with my mouth open... well, except for the one with my sister where it looks like we're having this really, really special and touching sisterly moment together before I leave and really she's saying, "okay, now gimme my necklace back!"

There are only about eight pictures in the book but it was fun to come across it because now when I get emails that ask, "were you really nineteen when you got married?" I can say, yes, yes I was:

Note: Kirk however was a creaking old man of 21.

Friday, March 28, 2008


It must be spring because we officially turned the furnace thermostat to zero (it was at 61 because, you know 60 would be COLD and 62 is just too wild and crazy hedonistic), the sprinklers were reprogrammed and yesterday the ice-cream man came out of hibernation and began once more trolling for sugar-fiends through the streets.

I listened to the 8 bars of tinkly, Doppler-shifted music as it cruised mournfully up our street, over a block, down the next, up again for about two hours - fading now and then but always present. And first I wondered why there haven't been any famous cases of ice-cream van drivers turning sociopathic mass-murderer. Then I decided that the sociopathic tendencies were clearly already expressed simply by being an ice-cream van driver with an 8 bar musical kiddy-lure. Then I thought of the real question as that refrain continued to drill through my brain:

Why haven't there been any famous cases of mass murderers OF ice cream van drivers?

Now, would that go under "hobbies" or "public service" on a CV?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Sounds of Silence

Children 1 and 3 are out of town this week.

I do love them so.

But they are out of town.

As in far, faaaaar away from here.

Which means that even if I listen hard, even if I put a cup to the wall and lean my ear up against it, even if I slow down my own darn heartbeat because it's interfering with my ability to hear, even then?

I can't hear Child 3 at all.

Child 3 has a talent for noise.

Commonly heard phrases in our house:

"Child 3! PLEASE no more percussion"

"That includes thumping your belly"

"And your sibling"

"And ME! Get off 3!"

"And no nose flute either"

"Child 3, are you quite sure you don't need to go outside and take a nice, long run?"

A week or so ago Child 3 took a cardboard box, a strip of steel flashing, a plank of wood, a rope and some hot glue and created The Childolin. Because what was missing in Child 3's life was something it could grab up at a moment's notice and shout, "hey! Guess what song I'm playing! It's Diary of Jane! On the Childolin! Listen again!" [note: I will post a picture of the Childolin but it will have to wait because darn old Child 1 selfishly took its digital camera with it on the trip]

So having packed Child 3 up (and double checked its toothbrush AND its ID that took 3 days to find) I sent it and its sibling off on Monday with many loving little words of farewell and a song in my heart.

And for the last three days it has been blissfully, remarkably quiet.

Golly, I kind of miss It.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Celebrating Fertility Symbols and Sugar Rushes

So Easter might have snuck up on me a little.

Yes, there have been aisles of sickly pastel in Target for the past month and a half. Yes there might have been one or two HUNDRED different "baskets" - including one made out of Elmo's head that I'll tell you right now will be worth at least $5000 in therapy when some poor kid stops suppressing that particular memory. Yes there were stacks of bunny and chickie related books with a large display of "special store brand" rabbits right at check out. But I still found myself last Friday going, "wait, Easter? That Easter?? THIS Sunday???"

So I found myself in the pushing, elbowing crowd with all the other parents who celebrate various holidays by following the sacred traditions of procrastination and panic. I did hear one mother, nearly in tears, desperately asking someone where. the. damn. plastic. eggs. were. I smiled at her in sympathy and neatly snagged the last bag of Reese's eggs by reaching between two grandmother types and over the woman who was sitting on the floor painstakingly comparing the attractions of Starburst jelly beans vs. Brachs. I don't bother with that sort of care and bother. I just make sure I have enough tooth-rotting sucrose to make a decent show but not so much that I would have to spend more than two hours packaging it.

Because we have this tradition at our house.

So this year's hiding places included:

Buried in the sugar bin
Taped to the underside of the clunky old television
Nestled inside the second of the Russian Dictator Stacking Dolls (Breshnev)
Stuck to the corner of the ceiling behind the sofit
Stuffed down the center of the paper towels (which Child 3 dislodged by giving the roll a violent whip, sending the small packet of jelly beans whizzing past Child 1's ear and adding to Child's complicated relationship with flying beans)


slid into the battery compartment of the largest flashlight.

By the time we were on these the Children were pathetically begging for a hint so I told them finding this one would be "illuminating."

Child 2 shrieked "LIGHTBULB!!!" sounding a little like a hysterical chicken.

Naturally we shouted Lightbulb! at each other at random moments for the rest of the day.

Oh, and we never did find one wad of jelly beans. That's traditional too.

Monday, March 17, 2008


"I am a fork!" Child 1 announced this weekend.

I'd like to tell you there was a long and logical lead up (oooh! alliteration!) to this moment but no, actually it was a short and entirely ridiculous lead up. Which comes as no surprise to anyone who knows us.

And it wasn't enough to declare Its association with common cutlery, no. Child 1 immediately began agitating for fork rights and making random declarations of fork unity.

Child 2 naturally refused to be a fork. Since this is the Don't Touch Me Child we responded by declaring it a spoon - simply waiting to be cuddled. There was a certain amount of outrage, and possibly a little rebellious shouting of, "I'm a knife! a KNIFE!!" but Child 1 and I were not to be denied.

This left however the difficult problem of Child 3. Child 1 wasn't entirely sure Child 3 was worthy of forkishness and Child 2 was selfishly hogging both spoons AND knives with its stubborn refusal to accept its essential lovability. I resolved it though and declared Child 3 an egg slicer.* Child 3 was delighted.

Then we all did the fork dance of victory and finished our pasta.

*Anyone who has read Terry Pratchett will understand this, but for those who haven't, the egg slicer is the thing that everyone has but no one remembers buying. Also it's the thing that always gets caught in the drawer and causes the incarnation of the goddess Annoia. Since Child 3 is ubiquitous, has ridiculously long limbs that certainly give the impression they are about to get caught in things, and is probably the most committed acolyte in the spread of the cult of Annoia we felt it was a reasonable designation.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Anyone got a Flux Capacitor?


Sorry about the sporadic posting. We recently had a staff member resign and because of the way hiring is done here we couldn't even advertise to fill the position until nearly a month had gone by. Actually, we still don't have an ad out for it which means we'll be a staff member down for another month probably (hopefully not much more). So a few of us have been spending part of our time covering for this position - which in my case means being away from my computer and therefore not being able to do my core job. At the same time I've just had my job responsibilities doubled.

Aaaaaaand I'm also doing a soups-to-nuts complete redesign of the main website I'm responsible for.

All of which means a leetle stress, and very little time or energy for writing blogger posts. However according to the Children I make very amusing Marge Simpson noises so there's an upside to it all I suppose.

Also I did just finish a first draft of a poster that looks pretty darn cool (my horn! I am blowing it! Wooot! Wooot!) and will hopefully be approved by the director today which will be one slim file removed from my towering pile of Very Important Things To Do Immediately and At Once.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Child 1 - Now with photos!

Child 1, bless it, was our training child, the one we made all of our mistakes on - at least in theory. Actually it spoiled us rotten by being a remarkably easy and pleasant kid, something we falsely attributed to our mad parenting skilz.

This year it has startled me by suddenly becoming a creative and accomplished artist. It is taking ceramics, and has been steadily filling up a shelf with a variety of pots and bowls. They are very nice pots and bowls of course, and I like them a great deal but they pale in comparison with the sculpture Child has been doing.

There is the charming and insouciant frog I got for Christmas, the small decorated bust it gave me for my birthday, and the impressionistic mermaid that belongs to Child 2 now.

I realize I could be suspected of bias when I report that the stuff Child has been making is, quite simply, brilliant, but this weekend my intelligent opinion was fully confirmed. Child won first place in a city-wide juried art show for area high schools.

As always Child, you amaze me.

Happy birthday.

Images (more to come)

Isn't that the coolest frog?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Multiple Bloginality

I was thinking lately about the list of blogs I regularly read and I realized I have a small issue with multiple personality. IE:

I regularly click over from A Year Off directly to Want Not. Why? Well, I got to Want Not by reading Mir's other blog, Woulda Coulda Shoulda and to A Year Off by following Chris from Notes From The Trenches. So what if one is all about the fabulous, fabulous bargains that are to be had on the net while the other journals Chris's efforts to not purchase anything unnecessary during the year?

Then there are the three infertile blogs I read - not because I'm infertile but because of one of those linked from a link from a suggestion from a recommendation. The writing is good so I find myself following Tertia, Julia and Julie.

I regularly read French Laundry At Home (and then have to take a brisk walk during lunch just to work off the feeling of digital heaviness from all the cream and butter), David Lebovitz and Chubby Hubby and then head right over to see what is happening at A Lard Off My Mind without suffering so much as virtual whiplash from the change of pace.

I sent my father a link to a blog discussing research into the author's family (among other things my father is a certified professional genealogist) and he asked, in some bemusement, where in the heck I came across the blog. Well, you see someone sent me a link to a house blog and they had a link to another and that ended up at this place where...

I read some blogs that cannot be categorized (like Emily at Wheels On The Bus. Is she a Mommy blogger? a Memoir Blogger? I dunno, I just like to read) and some that are easily pigeonholed like Go Fug Yourself (where I can be amused by mockery of people I generally don't know exist!) or Pajiba (note to Mother and others easily offended! There are bad, bad words used on that site, and often very rude analogies).

Someone told me the other day that I can know what sort of person I am by looking at the list of blogs I read.

I guess I'm a bargain hunting, anti-consumerist, gourmet hedonistic, nutritionally conscientious, pop-culture obsessed voyeur.

Yup, about sums it up.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Love Hurts

I spent the weekend throwing jelly beans at the Children.

Well, not the whole weekend. Just an hour or so on Sunday afternoon.

It's how I justify giving them sugared snacks! Yes, I say to them, yes you may have tooth-rotting, nutritionally vacuous, improbably colored bits-o-sugar! You just have to be able to duck really fast as well.

Child 2 is boring. It sits close enough that I have to toss rather than throw and the jelly beans more often than not simply rolled down into its bowl. Also, Child 2 says thank you, each and every time, regardless of whether I was trying to land the jelly bean in its ear or not. That takes all the fun out of it.

Child 3 stoically ignores me but uses its mind-numbingly long arms to sweep the jelly beans into its jelly bean collection area. Child 3 would be a complete wash except the beans made a satisfying and amusing "tok" sound when they hit the top of its head.

Child 1 though, Child 1 makes it all worth while. For the first few beans it simply went wild eyed and waved frantically at the beans as they whizzed past its nose. Then it tried to go all calm and patient and pretended to read its book - a ploy that failed utterly because it kept twitching when I rattled the bean container. That became amusing in itself because I could make the noise and then do a sort of false-throwing motion and Child 1 would hurl its book down and assume a defensive ninja posture (what?? We don't have a dog to torment.) After a while, naturally, it got wise to this and stopped reacting. Which is when I nailed it good and proper.

It's all part of my parenting theory - the one that says you know you're going to scar your children so you better make sure a good time is had by all in the process.

Oh, and it's not a bad idea to get a blog post out of it too.