Monday, December 31, 2007
I will be assembling way too many appetizers for my small clan, but we will all get a bite of what we want, so I'm OK with that.
Nothing says New Year's Eve like a good Mariachi festival. Or something. Escondido is full of them today, so party on.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
On a regular basis, I am amused by how the children interpret this. When a toy of Nate's broke last week, he sagely nodded at me and said, "That's planned obsolescence, Mom. I wish it weren't. I don't like it when my toys break so I have to buy more." Indeed Nate, neither do I!
Today, Ellie and I went to Wal Mart for our yearly purchase of wrapping paper and boxes, and a few items for the birthday drawer. Ellie bought some gum. She unwrapped a piece and said, "What does it tell us that they have a picture of a person throwing wrappers away right on the wrapper? I mean, that's them just telling us to consume!"
Or, it could be them telling us not to litter. Either way. . .
Friday, December 28, 2007
As I'm exiting the freeway and yielding (as the signage required) to traffic in the lane I was entering, I was suddenly met with a loud thunk and jostle. My first thought? "Woo Hoo! Some idiot just bought me a new bumper!" As potential mother of the year, my second thought was, "I hope Nate's OK!" And of course he was. The impact was only 15 or 20 mph.
I hopped out of the car and went to look at my bumper, at which point the guy who hit me- who is still sitting in his truck- yells, "Get me your insurance information." I immediately want to strangle him, but say, "Sure. Get me yours."
And then he says, "Do you have insurance?"
"Dude, you hit me. Do you have insurance?"
"Lady, you have to give me all of your information"
"I never said I wouldn't, but you hit me. So clearly, you need to have insurance and a driver's license. I'm going to need that" (There were quite a few more choice words from him here, but I will leave them out)
And then, just as I'm trying to figure out why the guy is being a jerk (especially since the damage to my van was pretty minor and the damage to his bumper looked non-existent), he has the nerve to say, "You don't even know that it's my fault. I mean you aren't supposed to stop when you yield. I'm not saying it's my fault."
"Are you kidding me? I'm not supposed to yield to traffic in the lane even though there's a yield sign? And, I never stopped. You hit me. You ran into me as I was following traffic signs."
At this point, it's clear that I need to have a little muscle because the jerk is planning to take all of the information and then claim I backed into him or something. Unbelievable. And wouldn't you know that karma loved me for a second time and a traffic incident truck pulled up right behind me. He noted the guy screaming at me and called CHP to come file a report. As I was pulling away after all of the necessities were done, the guy was being arrested. Driving Under the Influence, I believe. I love Karma!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Me: k, sent you both breakdowns, monthly and for the entire year all at once. Go ahead and choose which billing format you want.
Client: thanks sorry for the delay- they were filling a guys cube here with packing peanuts
Me: naturally. and who can resist that? I, of course, would be the one doing the filling. I prefer ducks though. So much messier than peanuts and harder to catch.
Client: ha - well thats what you get for taking vacation time
Me: absolutely. only the dedicated deserve a chair and computer when they return
(Client then asked for 23 different things, truncated to keep from boring you to tears)
Me: Sure, I can do that. BRB, I'm just going to catch a few ducks to mail to you.
Just after that, he disappeared again. However, he missed the humor when I told him I could let him go shrink wrap a co-worker to a desk and I would finish up his proposal with him later.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
At any rate, here are a few photos of our holiday. And trust me, the food is coming out for New Year's Eve. Anyone wanna come play Quelf?
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Anyway, my kids are cute because Rebi and Ellie are baking cinnamon rolls- without bickering. Tyler stayed up late last night and pretty much cleaned the entire house. Who knew he could do that? And none too soon as he is now on the couch with me, running a monster fever.
Evan is doing the touch up collection of clutter (and only minimally fighting with everyone else) and Nate is happily ignoring us all, sipping hot chocolate and eating more Christmas goodies. Watching him is making me even more nauseous. UGH.
Maybe Christmas can come on Wednesday instead of tomorrow. . .
Silly me, I forgot the presents for the dogs and cat. The kids are pretty appalled. They are also hyper and crazy and fighting with each other, so even a nightmare trip to Wal Mart is better than staying home.
I will be sure to post a few pics tomorrow.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
We've received everything from cinnamon rolls to hot chocolate, candles, caramel, jam, candy and cookies. Everything has been delicious. And Weight Watchers is also thrilled, as I will need to sign up the entire family, except for Dave. Generously, someone who shall remain nameless gave him the best gift of all, the stomach flu. Very thoughtful. Beautifully kind. Otherwise, he might have eaten the treats before I stuffed them in my own pie hole. So, a heartfelt thank you to all. My waistline appreciates the kindness.
I am still toying with the idea of putting a little effort out to show my love and appreciation for others this year, but don't hold your breath. Dave, on the other hand, has a gift that keeps on giving and I'm positive he's willing to share.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
and tell me how you really feel. You can leave a name so I can pester you as to WHY you feel that way about me the next time I see you, or you are welcome to remain anonymous. I can worry myself to sleep every night with or without full disclosure.
Thanks Katz. I was a little short on angst in my life.
Crap! I forgot the cookies for the piano recital!
Feel free to stop by and witness the Christmas miracle. But don't expect too much. The slave labor around here is really not of the best quality!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
So, I don't buy a lot of non-useful items- certainly not much in the way of furniture, decorations, matching dishes, or DVD's. Mostly everything we buy is books, clothes, toys. And, the volume of paper that comes in the mail and home from the school is beyond my capabilities to deal with.
However, even with all of this internal conflict, I haven't really been able to put into words why I feel the way I do or why I want to change things, aside from getting clutter under control. So, this movie came through on a mailing list I'm on and it helped put a few things into words for me. And the kids agreed it is something we can work on.
Please know, the video is 20 minutes long. The part of it that we needed to hear was under the tab labeled consumption, and you could just watch that part if you wanted to. Also, the video is quite liberal, with a healthy dose of politics thrown in. We had to ignore that. We also had to discuss-as a family- how some issues have been over simplified, some have been exaggerated and at least one fact was wrong. But, the message remains the same. We need to be more intelligent and purposeful about our consumption. Let me know what you think, and in the meantime we will keep you posted on how the battle goes to get our lives under control here.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Once Upon a Time, about 3 months ago,
L: “I’ve been meaning to ask you, which name do you prefer for your son?” (and I’m trying to remember which of the 3 she means and why)
Me: You mean
L: Oh, so he normally goes by
Me: Well, yeah. He goes by
L: So is his name Tyler Timothy, or Timothy Tyler?
Me: Umm, neither. His name is Tyler Scott (more puzzled look, now bordering on concerned)
L: So he’s been telling me to call him Timothy for no reason?
I felt bad for laughing, but at that point a giggle escaped me and it all clicked in place. He has been messing with her brain for three months!
Once Upon a Time, there was a boy named
And do you know what Timothy pulled tonight? He convinced me to take him to a local pizza place for a going away party for his friend that is moving. Except after playing a few video games, it was pretty obvious the “friend” wasn’t really coming.
Egg Nog? Bleck, gag, cough, hurl. GROSS!! Hot Chocolate? maybe if I'm REALLY cold.
Perched next to stockings- which still are not hung
Definitely Both, I love variety
Are you kidding me? I already have enough trouble!
Wait, we're supposed to get that stuff out BEFORE Christmas? Darn it!
Umm, if we eat pie for breakfast, does that count as dessert?
My Grandpa and Grandma Snyder (who were quite poor) showing up with trinkets for each of us and then playing Monopoly all day. The gifts were so out of character for them, it was a very memorable treat.
What, you mean that he has no sense of direction? Well, I learned all about Rudolph in Kindergarten, so I guess I was 5. . .
Only if there's a boring one and lots of other gifts under the tree. Don't get your hopes up this year, kids!
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
This year? Pre-lit fake tree with lots of candy canes. Extraordinarily tacky, but very very easy. . .
Please reference my reaction to Egg Nog. Then multiply exponentially.
When I forget I'm old and arthritic, yes. Really? Probably not so much anymore
A sapphire ring. I LOVED it, but it was the wrong size and I returned it but never got another one. Mom, why didn't that get replaced, exactly?
Watching kids' eyes light up when they get just exactly what they wanted
I don't believe I've expressed my love for pie. . .
I'm not very good at repetitive behaviors
Giving, for sure. Especially gag gifts.
O Holy Night by Michael Ballam. Michael Crawford also does an awesome version
Peppermint only, and only one or two.
A few- not nearly as many as I would own if I had anywhere to display them.
See Elizabeth? I really do love you. That was proof.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
OK, it's been happening for a few months, but officially, boys think Rebi is cute. I'm not fond.
Yesterday, as I was driving some child somewhere, I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed that someone had written in the dirt on my rear window. That is a normal occurrence, so I wasn't worried. At the stop light, I peered more closely and realized it said, "I (heart) Re. . ." and then appeared to be hastily swiped out at the end. My heart skipped a beat. Certainly, none of her siblings took credit. We narrowed it down to a couple of boys who walk past our house after school. One has a "confirmed" crush on her and the other probably wrote it to tease his friend.
But that is not all. If only that were all.
Rebi was officially asked on her first date for a formal dance her high school is planning. Thank goodness she was able to politely decline, complete with giggles. I, on the other hand, was only able to scream in horror.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
A) diametrically opposed to housework or
B) not strict enough with my kids or
C) a total slob
And really, it's a little of all of those combined with not enough hours in the day.
For work, I sell online advertising to companies like Intel, Adobe, MTV, Rockstar Games, Electronic Arts, LucasArts, etc. I mostly like it, although it would be nice if that was the only thing my job required. However, this post is not about how over worked and underpaid I am. I will save that for another day.
When running ads for large companies, such as Intel and Adobe, I often deal with "middle men", known as media buyers. After nearly 5 years of dealing with them, it is pretty clear that there is one quality required to become a media buyer, and that is stupidity. Honestly. In 4+ years, there has been one buyer who always knows what she needs, when she needs it, and how to get that from us. ONE. Let's just say I am totally confident that if our homeschooling efforts are a disaster, my children are employable in the Media Buyers marketplace.
So, currently I am engaged in negotiations for a $20,000 contract. We would love to get that, but in reality, we will probably see $2-3,ooo from them and the time I have put into this will make me want to gnash my teeth. I just wanted to share some highlights of this particular experience.
Email from Monday: Hi Melissa- Our client wants to spend $20,000 in one month in February. We need all quotes tomorrow.
Email from Tuesday: I can't accept this quote. It has to be on our special form (which was not attached, even to this email)
Email from Tuesday evening: Can you please get this form back to me? (still not attached even though I asked for it twice)
Email from Wednesday: I don't understand the numbers you have on this form. Can I call you?
This is funny because I entered numbers in the way SHE asked for them on the form. I didn't make up my own form. I finally got their little piece of paper and filled it out exactly how they wanted it. I even asked Rebi to look at it and tell me if it was confusing, and no. She was able to figure it out with no prior knowledge of the campaign.
So, now I am mired on a phone call which will not end and she is repeating the same things back to me. She can probably hear me typing in the back ground even. "mmm hmmm. yep. That is correct. mm hmm. yes, that's what it says in column 3. Yes, right there under cost to your client. yes. exactly how the form is set up. by you. yep."
It's looking more and more like one of those days. Do you think she will notice if I start cleaning my kitchen?!
P.S. She has just asked me to redo the entire quote to represent a U.S. only campaign. Let the gnashing of teeth begin.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Being the Christmas season, I thought I’d share a little story. It happened a few years ago, to a person who shall remain nameless to protect her privacy. From here on, I’ll just refer to her as Grandma.
This friend lived on a farm and raised goats and other livestock. No one told this friend that domesticating a deer was a bad idea. In addition, no one told Grandma that a deer masquerading as a dog would become viscous and violent with no provocation. You see, Grandma had met this pet and this pet had been nice to her. Who would have guessed Bambi could go bad?
Grandma got out of her car, quite possibly even whistling. Now, you should know that Grandma is spry. She exercises, she skies, and she still has the tough farm girl muscles she developed in her youth. However, she was a bit surprised when she saw the deer rushing towards her. Some of us might run. Some of us might scream. Not Grandma. She stood her ground and put her best negotiating tactics into play. She talked to the deer soothingly, she made no sudden movements, she breathed evenly. Maybe it understood her and maybe it didn’t, but that killer deer didn’t break its stride. Suddenly, it skidded to a stop directly in front of her, raised up on its hind legs, and clip-clopped Grandma right on the head- a couple of sharp raps.
Grandma, having raised 4 teenagers, was no stranger to aggressive animals. Dizzy but undaunted, she popped her arm forward and punched that deer right up side the head. Don’t think she didn’t. Of course, that just made the deer angrier. It reared again and clip-clopped her on the side of the face and arm. What did Grandma do? In true pioneer fashion, she gave it a clear, “On no you di-in’t” and snaked out another solid punch to the side of its head. The deer snorted, backed off a little and wheeled around for another go. Grandma took a breath, squared up, and ran like hell for the car. She made it, but with just hairs to spare.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I know it's silly of me to be so excited, but writing is a HUGE challenge for him. Even with all of the spelling mistakes, we have a beginning, middle, and end. And hukd on fonikz werkd for him. . .
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Normally, I do not answer the door to these types, as I would rather ignore them than be outright rude. And usually, outright rude is the only thing that gets them off the doorstep. Tonight was no exception.
Being blessed with 5 kids and a candy stand, I am blessed with 5 children who run to answer the door. So, I am also blessed to talk to all and sundry, even those I would choose not to of my own free will.
He did his little song and dance, and then when I asked him what he was selling, he pulled out the magazines. I wasted no time in telling him no thank you, but of course 3 kids were out on the front step, so there was no way I could shut the door in his face. He tried again. I told him no again. I felt like I was polite.
Next thing I know, he was up in my face, saying, "Why you gotta do me like that?"
Say what? By saying no to magazines, I am waging a personal war against him? I am personally hoping and in fact encouraging him to fail?
But of course, he didn't stop there. "I'm just trying to feed my kids," he said. I agreed that was a worthy goal (and you all know I would have loaded him down with food and clothes if he had said he was in need) , but if he can't take no for an answer, he should consider changing careers. Then, he got ugly. And tried to guilt trip me some more. I don't really enjoy that. In fact, I hate being guilt tripped. So I replied,
"Don't think for one second that you get to knock on my door, try to sell me things I don't want and don't need, then try and give me a guilt trip to get your way. I didn't invite you here and it is my right to refuse your products, without this kind of manipulation. I'm not buying your magazines, and I'm not putting up with your attitude. You can remove yourself from my property right now. " He stood there, ready to let expletives fly. Before he could take a full breath, I said, "Move it. NOW."
Once he started walking, and all of my kids were back inside, I started to shut the door. As it swung closed, I heard him yell, "Thanks for not helping!"
He's welcome. He's so very welcome.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Until this year.
This year, they didn't ship everything from their warehouse, but a few things came directly from vendors. Of course, those vendors stamp their names all over them, so it is no secret that I ordered a game or two. Unfortunately, it was supposed to be a secret. Until Christmas morning, ifyaknowwhatimean.
So today, another box showed up.
Dave: "What is it?"
Me: "Oh, you know, Christmas presents with the entire contents of the box printed on the outside so that everyone knows what I got them."
Nate: "Are those the presents you hide and then pretend are from Santa? Because you know I don't believe in him."
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
This is of no importance, but if I never come out, I wanted to be sure there was a record of when I went in.
In case I am arrested for anything while there, please tell the officers I was NICE to people on my last visit. After all, I helped the handicapped lady. . .
Mom: Ellie, grab your ID and drop it in your backpack, just in case you need it.
Ellie: What will I need it for?
Mom: Probably nothing, but grab it just in case
Ellie: Will I need it to get on the plane?
Mom: Well, no. But, lots of places ask for ID, so pack it just in case.
Ellie: Will I need it to get off the plane?
Mom: No, Sweetie. Can you please just put it in your bag?
Ellie: Well, are there other places we're going where I might need it?
Mom: OK, I have answered the same question several times now. Again, I do not think you will need it, but you might, so please get it in your bag and stop asking me why.
Ellie wanders off to get her ID, I sigh in relief.
An hour later, at the gas station near our house:
Ellie: Mom! I don't know where I put my ID
Mom: That's OK sweetie, you really won't need it.
Ellie: But if I won't need it, why did you make me pack it?
Mom: (proud of myself for not reaching across the seat and strangling her) Ellie, do you know what "Just in Case" means?
Ellie: Who's Justin Case and what does he have to do with my ID?
Monday, December 3, 2007
Finally, after much thought and contemplation (and a little feeling of being left out since fear is so en vogue now). I have finally found my fear:
Cold or cold things- Frigophobia.
Cold: extreme, ice or frost- Cryophobia.
Cold- Cheimaphobia, Cheimatophobia, Psychrophobia or Psychropophobia.
I don't know which one is most accurate, but I packed my own blanket to go to Utah. I have wool socks, thermal socks, thermal shirts (yes, more than one), thermal pants (and no, I did not sneak those out of the lady's cart at Wal Mart, although I was tempted to), a coat, mittens- 3 pair, hand warmers, and a cap which I will never wear, but have it just in case.
Finally, a paranoia to call my own. Yay!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Aside: The only reason I needed to go to WalMart at 1pm on a Saturday in December is to get a few items for Ellie and I to take to Utah. Things like thick down parkas, wool hats, gloves and socks. . . all the important stuff.
We navigated to the one rack which held winter clothes and I immediately started digging through the boxes and boxes of Thermal underwear. Oh wait. I'm lying. There was one box, which was mighty slim pickens, and another lady already had her claws on size large thermal bottoms. Turns out it was the last one. And she was clearly a size medium. Clearly. Not only that, but I am nowhere close to the XL's that Ellie kept insisting I should buy anyway.
At this point, I decided those new caffeinated mints were looking pretty appealing, in an entire can sort of way. So, we attempted to navigate towards the candy aisle and food section. After 10 mints, I was feeling a little better about sticking out the shopping trip. Until, of course, we got trapped in the oatmeal aisle. Comical really, in a watching grass grow kind of way. I was pulling oatmeal off the shelf when a little old lady speed racer blocked me in with her motorized cart. I turned to go the other way, annoyed at the liberties the handicapped will take, only to find a 6'8" lumberjack staring at the cheerios. And of course, with 19 choices in Cheerios now, it was one tough decision. I refrained from putting one of each in his cart and asking him to make his decision at check out, but only because I figured this was the day I would end up in line behind him.
And we stood there.
Eventually, Speed Racer managed to do a 95 point turn in her cart, and I only had to lift the front wheel once to unstick her from the freezer door which someone had opened just as she was backing up, and we were FREE! Only to be stuck again at the end of the aisle by a compelling debate between father and son as to whether Frosted Cheerios could be considered healthy or not. Quite in my element, I walked them through the nutrition guide on the plain vs the frosted and as they reached for the multi-grain, managed to nudge their cart just enough to escape past them.
So, we headed for the pain reliever aisle and I chewed 3 aspirin, chased by 10 more mints. According to the packaging, 6 of them are equal to a cup of coffee, and I can unequivocally say, I would never survive on one cup a day. If I were a coffee drinker. I'm just saying.
After over an hour in the store and without my original list, I called WalMart quits, but only after sniffing 25 different deodorants and finally settling on the exact same one I have crumbling on my bathroom counter.
So, we spent another 20 minutes making our way to the front of the store and the 3,333 people in line ahead of us. Of course, being WalMart, every register was open, and the checkers were both friendly and competent. OK, I'm lying again. So, we went to the end of the line- somewhere back in the electronics department- where we were serenaded with one bad rendition of the Guns-n-Roses Guitar Hero song after another. And another. And another.
Eventually, as my hair turned gray and fell out in clumps, and my ears began to ring and then drip blood, the registers became visible. My eagle eye noticed check out lane 10 had a checker, but the light was off and no one was at it. To my well-trained eye, it was obvious that this checker was preparing to open her line. Quietly, I hissed to Rebi and Ellie to go look at gum and stand squarely in front of her checkstand so that as soon as her light went on, I could swoop over and take cuts in front of at least 14 people who were legitimately in line ahead of me. I believe there should be rewards for being observant.
And we stood there.
Rebi and Ellie debated the merits of Trident vs Orbit, whether or not Freedent really did stick to dentures, and how Bubblicious hoped to regain the market share swiped by Hubba Bubba and their gum-inside-a-gum flavors. Finally, the checker punched a couple of more buttons and. . . left. Dejectedly, the girls came back.
Rebi: I guess she's closed
Me: I know. Didn't you hear me whimper?
Rebi: That was you? I thought it was the baby in front of us.
And we stood there.
I ate 10 more mints and chewed 3 more aspirin. Whoever says caffeine and aspirin are a bad idea have clearly never tried it. Clearly.
At long last, the end of the conveyor belt was open and it was our privilege to place things upon it and then hand over wads of cash. My last item was starting to slide towards the register when I heard a voice talking to the man behind me. "Sir, I'm open on 10 now, if you'd like to move over"
Rebi clamped a hand over my mouth to stifle the scream. Thank goodness, as the mints had kicked in and I was much louder than I anticipated. And shakier. And I was crying, just a little.
We wheeled our cart full of bags -with one item each in them- into fresh air. As we were exiting, we overhead a couple coming into the store. They were young. And naive. And she said to him (in her bright and crystal clear voice, swinging her flaxen hair) "Don't you just love WalMart?"
It was then that I crushed the mints and snorted them, because I had already decided I had no choice but to go to Costco.
P.S. Remind me to tell you about the lady spewing chunks all over the Costco bathroom. True story. Would I make this up?
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I have told the children that if we can get rid of 75% of the stuff in our entire house, I will buy them a Wii. This is not a small undertaking. In the past 2 years, we have done little more than get rid of clothes which are obviously too small. On occasion, a bunch of toys have gone to DI.
So, we work 20-30 minutes per day and we all work together. Everything to be donated goes in the living room. I am hoping to fill it.
Once the house is decluttered and a little better organized, we will have a new goal. The goal for 2008 is to not buy anything that is not 100% necessary. No clearance rack shirts, unless there is a specific need. No new shoes just because they're cute. No new plates, towels, electronics, etc. We're trying to simplify to a huge degree. We are also hoping to break our consumerism cycle. AND as a bonus, maybe the house will stay marginally decluttered.
Wish us luck!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
2.) In spite of a hectic schedule with lots of overlapping events today, I managed to make it to everywhere I had to be and get the kids to everywhere they had to be.
It's the small victories in life.
"Rather than write a series of books or give a bunch of boring speeches, Elijah invited 450 Baal prophets to a contest, where both sides would set up an animal sacrifice. Whichever God could rain down fire on its sacrifice would be the one everybody worshiped.
It's brilliant in its simplicity, and we're surprised religious debates were ever carried out any other way after that. You can raise all the intellectual challenges you want about faith and the origins of the universe, but at the end of the day, you have to worship the god who can set you on fire. It's common sense."
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I wanted to spend the entire day cooking only to have things turn out weird. It's true, just weird.
Where should I start? The apple pie was delicious, but we ate it yesterday morning, so that doesn't count. The pumpkin pies we ate this morning also turned out very good, as did the banana cream and the chocolate cream. The cherry was a different matter. The crust on it was weird. I have no idea how I screwed it up, but I succeeded. It didn't brown, was exceptionally sticky and hard to roll out, but then was dry and didn't hold together after it had cooked. Tasted OK, just an odd texture.
The potatoes were mealy, so I had to send Dave to the store at 2pm for more. I just cannot do Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. And the weird thing about that is I haven't been able to ruin potatoes in at least 5 years. Who knows what I did wrong on those. The second batch was delicious. I ate many.
I knew I was in trouble with the turkey when I got it out last night and the giblets and neck were still frozen inside. The outside fridge doesn't hold it's temperature so it was too cold to thaw it all the way. No problem, I adjusted dinner for 4 instead of 2. Plenty of time to thaw it in the sink! Thank goodness, it turned out fine. It was really juicy too. Maybe the water bath paid off! :)
The first batch of rolls was heavy and yeasty. Too little rise time. They still got gobbled up, but before I knew how heavy they were, I started another batch to be sure we had enough rolls for sandwiches tomorrow. There are 24 left over, so that should get us through Sunday quite nicely!
The sweet potatoes were probably the weirdest of all. Every single one of the kids ate them. Not only that, Dave ate them too. In the past 13 years I have lived with him, I have never seen him do more than choke down a bite of sweet potatoes, and only if the person who made them is watching. Apparently, that new recipe I tried is a keeper.
At any rate, it was not a relaxing day, but I was extremely glad I hadn't tried to cook things for people besides our family. I would have been totally stressed out, rather than just a little grumpy from my lack of cooking karma.
The kids had a rousing game of Charades after dinner. I wish I had remembered to get a camera out at any point today!
And, it's quite relaxing now.
Hope everyone else is also enjoying their post-gluttony stupor.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
4 Pumpkin (we'll see Rebi, we'll see)
2 Banana Cream
1 Chocolate Cream
I believe that is 10, just like in years past. Break out the Mountain Dew, I'm going in!
Here are some tips for perfect pie crust:
Monday, November 19, 2007
When all of the kids were little and we traveled a lot, we were constantly peppered with the typical "Wheeeeen will we geeeeeet there?" "How much loooooooonger?" "Are we close yet? Huh? Are we? Are we close?" and every other imaginable way to ask, "Can I get out of this stupid car seat and run around again yet?!?!"
In a fit of inspiration, either Dave or I answered with, "about an hour". I think we were 10 minutes from our destination, so we got a few minutes of peace and then lots of excitement when they arrived much sooner than they thought. Somehow, "about an hour" stuck. "How much longer?" "About an hour." "When will we get there?" "About an hour." "Are we almost there?" "About an hour." You get the picture. It didn't take long for them to catch on and try to get around it, but for the most part, they just stopped asking because they were so sick of getting the same (or nearly the same- "about 60 miles") answer every single time they asked.
That is, everyone except for Nate. He just can't stand getting the same answer every time. Rather than stop asking, he asks in every creative way possible. "Are you sure we're going the right way?" "Are we almost to a bathroom?" "Are we stopping for gas soon?" "Can I unbuckle yet?" And really, on and on and on. I had no idea there were so many ways to ask when a trip would end. Then again, we all know about his complete inability to sit still. Long car trips really must be something close to torture for the poor kid. Not just sitting, but buckled into one position for hours! The horror!
Sorry. Back to the story. The whole point of this is that tonight, he got me.
"Mom, is it our exit next?"
"No Nate, not for awhile yet."
"I know it's not about an hour mom. The sign said 13 miles." (say this in a very condescending way because mom is not very bright)
"But Nate, there's lot's of traffic."
"But you're driving fast, not slow."
"So when do you think we'll be home, Nate?"
"About 5:17" (it was 5:02 on the clock).
We pulled into the driveway at 5:18. "See mom? I told you it wasn't about an hour."
Looks like he has worn out another one of my coping techniques. Luckily, I can apparently just make up algebra problems for him to figure out, thus allowing him to calculate the distance and stay occupied for a few minutes of each and every agonizing trip we take from this point forward. Lucky kid. How many 6 year olds can brag about being trapped in a car seat against their will AND tortured with algebra at the same time?
Kids they think they are safe with see a slice of the real child and turn on them, citing their weirdness, pointing out that they are a step behind or ahead of everyone else's drummer. How do you parent that? How do you wipe the tears when you know they face a lifetime of being odd, different, off kilter? How do you give them a thick enough skin to ignore all of the crap and dance their dance and just not worry what other tunes are playing? After spending a life of trying yourself to to fit in and never finding purchase, how do you teach them it's OK to be unique?
I'll probably erase this after I get some sleep.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
At the recommendation of a friend, I have started a brief study of Islam. I haven't put a lot of effort in, just reading while waiting for kids to get done in piano, or right before bedtime. It is quite possible that in all of the reading I've done in my life, this is some of the most difficult. I find that the Arabic words are nearly nonsensical to me, just from lack of experience. In addition, there are so very many different factions of Islam and so many different regimes influenced or caused by Islam, I have a hard time keeping them straight.
However, I am fascinated by the history of the religion itself, specifically the account of Muhammad and how he received the revelation which is now the Quran, or in American, the Koran. Many of the fundamental, early beliefs are similar to mine: the worship of one god, the Only God, according to Islam. Muslims wear white on their pilgrimage to Mecca in order to symbolize equality of all man. They are supposed to treat all Muslims as equals, with no distinction between orphans, beggars or rich men. Muhammad himself lived a very austere life style. The word Islam means "surrender" as in "to surrender to the will of the One God". In early Islam, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony, respecting each others' religions.
Anyway, I'm only 1/2 way through the books I'm reading and I expect that there is a lot more information than I can do justice to. If anyone else in interested in learning more about Islam, I think "Islam A Concise Introduction" by Neal Robinson is probably the most accessible. I just stepped into our library and checked a bunch of books out, so there are likely even better references if you were to check on Amazon.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
This morning, I happened on a blog which is linked to from another friend's blog and encountered this awesome quote:
That will now be my answer every time my children ask me why they can't do/have/try something. I can see it getting lots and lots of use.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
#3- I have helped make and detonate several incendiary devices. For fear my FBI agent friend reads this, I promise this was long long ago and all statutes of limitations are up.
#4- I do not mind cooking for 30-40 people, unless it all has to be hot at once. Then, I am a disaster. Dave hates it when I cook for loads of people. He's the one that cleans the kitchen after me. I am quite possibly the world's messiest cook.
#5- I have a house key for some friends of ours so that Ellie can watch their dog over Thanksgiving. I am now putting all of my mental energy into a prank that will be funny, but not annoying when they return home tired from travel. Feel free to chime in with ideas.
Jenne, KA, Christina, Naomi, Emily and Cari R- Consider yourself tagged. And I will be checking. . .
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
And if you venture to the "Girl You Know it's True" video, check out those wicked awesome shoulder pads. I mean, it was a fashion that just would not die. And yes, I wore shoulder pads and leggings and fluffy hair. Yes I did.
No Rebi, there are no existing pictures. I have burned them all. For your sake, I have burned them so that Dad can't show them to your first date, thereby ensuring he will never date you again. . .
I also am a HUGE fan of Primus:
I have seen them live several times- a total blast even in the pouring sleet of Oct 1996- and was also able to Les Claypool perform with a different band at an Intel party a couple of years ago. He is totally amazing on the guitar.
These pictures are just more proof that God is a God of miracles and those miracles extend to modern day. A silly thing to pray for maybe, but we are proud of ourselves for taking our complete lack of expertise and making something nice. . .
Monday, November 12, 2007
Our church has an active youth group, which I am fortunate to work with on a weekly basis. On Tuesday, we are staging our end of year event which highlights specific things the girls have learned and projects they have completed. It's a big deal.
The current president of this organization is an incredible woman who can do everything from baking her own bread to sewing beautifully without a pattern, and everything both crafty and practical in between. At one point in her life, she decorated and arranged flowers for weddings. So, when we made our plans to have bouquets for the girls and various tablecloths, drapings and arrangements, we were really excited at how fabulous it would all be. Then, Cathy had to leave town for an unexpected emergency. Imagine my surprise when I ended up on the hook for 23 bouquets. By tomorrow. Wait! I've never once in my life arranged flowers. And, the flowers aren't supposed to be here until 10:30 am tomorrow. So, in full panic mode, about 7pm I went to Costco and purchased a variety of things in order to make as many bouquets as it took to get them right.
I have never missed my sister Marnie more than I missed her as I walked out of Costco with all of the supplies and zero clue as to what I was going to do with them. Marnie can take anything and make it beautiful. She did all of the flowers for my wedding, all of the centerpieces, baked and decorated the cake, and on and on and on. She whips up displays and centerpieces the way I whip up brownies and cupcakes (which could explain the clothing size differences, but I will leave that for another blog). I learned two things tonight.
1) Prayers are answered. The above picture is my first attempt at the flowers and I am fully convinced I was channeling Marnie in order to do that, so thanks sis!
2) I never thanked Marnie enough for the awesome job she did. I had no idea what it really takes to make beautiful things appear like magic. So, THANK YOU!
(P.S. If those flowers look hideous, that is in no way Marnie's fault and someone needs to call and tell me ASAP!)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The girls and I spent yesterday in downtown San Diego, on the beautiful (and very steep) USD campus for the annual Sally Ride Science Festival.
I wasn't really sure what we were going to get out of it, but I hoped for something to spark some interest in the girls. Rebi has had an especially hard time finding anything to dive into as far as continued learning goes.
Imagine my surprise at how excited she was after her computer game programming class. I mean, there is a certain programmer who lives in the house. How is it possible that she never knew how quickly one can program simple games? It makes one wonder.
At any rate, if you have girls and there is a Sally Ride Science festival coming to your area, I highly recommend it. We learned about molecular biology, earthquakes and geology, how to find the density of chocolate, computer programming, a little oceanography, heard from a veterinarian and made 2 different types of rockets. It was great. The girls are already begging for next year.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
OK, that was weird.
So, the stall opens and they come out. And thankfully, went right to the sink to wash hands. I couldn't help but notice that the mom was quite tall and morbidly obese. No judgment here, I just had to move past her, so it couldn't be missed. The daughter was a different matter. I don't think she could have been older than 3, and with big brown eyes and sudsy hands, she turned to her mother and said, "Momma, why are you so very fat?"
Awkward for all involved.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
If anyone has recipes they love that they want me to post, just send them to my email.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
First of all, there's all of the pressure. Every year needs the perfect gift for each kid. I didn't set this expectation. I guess society did, but in spite of my best efforts I cannot shake the feeling that Christmas should be special and magical.
Of course it should.
Which was really easy when they all loved the same things and a $5 Barbie under the tree was the most magical experience ever. It was even still OK when Legos were their favorite toy and we then spent 6 months cursing them when finding them with a bare foot. Christmas has been great at any point in the past 10 years when I have been able to get rid of loads of crap in the months leading up to this delightful magical day. But this year, I just don't have it in me.
I am just having real issues with what to get the kids for Christmas. We have toys and clothes and shoes coming out of our ears. There is enough paper in this house to warm a large family for years, should they choose to burn it. We do not need live animals, electronics, video games, or stuffed animals. We have all of those in abundance.
I can't spend enough money to take a great trip or even a not-so-great one for that matter. Last year, I was so evil, I wrapped a bunch of giftcards for them, except I put "To Mom, Love Rebi" and on down the line so that the cards were all mine to dole out as I wanted.
So, suggestions needed. What do you give the kids who want everything which is expensive, need nothing of value and store junk?
Saturday, November 3, 2007
(beware, they are up and down a lot due to server traffic)
I really wanted to this year, but I just can't put 50,000 words on paper in November. I have hopes of forcing myself to write a novel in January, but without anyone to be accountable to I will probably stall out. So, I'm passing the torch to Rebi for now. My turn will come, just not for a few more years.
Rebi has decided she is going to write 40,000 words by the end of November. If you're 12 or under, you get to choose your word count. Here is a sample of her writing:
I take a deep breath of the crisp air. I step into the forest and start running. The wind plays with my long blond hair and tickles my ears. I feel the cool ground beneath my bare feet as they dance across the ground. I hear the noises of the animals in the trees. They scurry away as I come by. I see a crow fly up into the air, its dark body a silhouette against the light morning sky. I step over a rock in my path and keep going. I don't know where I'm going. I just run for enjoyment. It's my routine every morning I go out and run until I'm worn out, but today I feel like something special is about to happen.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
2) Should you step on a toothpick and a piece of it breaks off in your foot, it is not a good idea to wait several months before consulting a doctor.
3)The cost of removing aforementioned piece of toothpick stands to run into the thousands of dollars.
4) Should you get to the point of surgical removal of toothpick, be sure your insurance pays more than 50-60% of any claim.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Somehow, I managed to not get a picture of Tyler, even though he has worn his costume 4 or 5 times now.
Halloween was a free-for-all, as always. Dave took everyone trick-or treating while Tyler and I took Shari and her kids to the airport ( we were not at all happy to see them leave. Come back soon! In fact, when I told Ty I had a headache, he told me- with big weepy eyes- that he had a "crying ache" because he missed Marshall so much already). I returned home to a phone call that Dave had lost a couple of kids, so I grabbed Ty, threw part of his costume on him, and drug him around to search for the lost ones.
We finally all met up at a friend's house, where there was a giant blow up pumpkin, which the kids were having a blast rolling around in. The fun ended around 9:30, and all of the kids came running to greet me. It was then that we realized (from the hideous stench) that the entire park they had been running, rolling, and crawling around in had been recently and freshly fertilized with manure. I seriously had to hang my head out the window the entire way home. They had poop on their clothes, in their hair, covering their feet. . .How does one roll around in manure and not smell it???
And Rebi wants me to be sure to tell everyone that she was not rolling or crawling in anything. She does admit to running through it, but she swears she had shoes on (mine, of course and they are very covered in poop as well).