Thursday, April 30, 2009


Ah, the work in progress. The tile installation went ahead this morning while I was away helping a friend. The contractors had yet to arrive when it was already past time for me to be gone, so I sketched the desired tile layout and left the drawing with my mister.
He phoned later to inform me that there could be an additional cost for the detail work. *sigh* At the agreed upon price for the work, it would be beyond foolish to quibble over a reasonable increase in the amount charged. The installer fortunately decided that the original discussion had included the possibility of the detail work, and he agreed to the price previously discussed.
Once the tile work is completed, the glass guy can measure for the new shower door and peepshow-proof windows. And I can go pick out a soothing, neutral shade of paint to replace the mauve that preceded this repair and update. Now that the plumbing and rebuilding is finished, and the pretty parts are starting to show up this project is gaining some appeal!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Eesh. The bad bathroom remains a bane. While the shower was out of commission for two years, we still used every other aspect of the bathroom. Not so much in the past week or so. The blinds are off the windows, and everyone across the creek with nothing better to do than spy on us at our ablutions can see right into our restroom. While it remains unlikely that the sight of my mister or I in our jammies drooling toothpaste into the sink is likely to draw all eyes, there is a distinct lack of privacy especially in hours when it is dark outside causing the well lit interior of our home to shine like a beacon.
The tile contractor failed to appear Monday morning as expected. It seemed likely that the guys would be unable to work with the rain, but yesterday was not so wet and they still stayed away. I phoned in the afternoon only to discover that somewhere along the way, there was a failure to understand that we needed to call the tile guys back after the plumber installed the new fixtures. (That happened Saturday, but the tile guys were not omniscient.)Hopefully, the tile contractor will be back today so the tile can be attached to the shower and tub surround instead of sitting around in piles. Because the glass guy won't be able to measure for the shower glass or the frosted glass for the windows until the tile is installed. And the frosted glass is the key to privacy.
Our youngest daughter informed us when she was about three that the dog was looking at her when she changed into her swimsuit. She was highly offended because the critter in question was a boy dog. In her exact words, "He looks at me, and he is thinking "Ooh-La-La!" when he sees me naked!" It is possible. Buster (if he thinks at all) is likely a monosyllabic sort of thinker. It's unlikely that our neighbors are any more interested in our bathroom activities than the dog was in Erin's changing clothes, but there is a similarity between her concerns and those of the mister and I in regard to the possibility of unintentionally giving someone an eyeful.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Asked how my mister makes me feel loved, I was flummoxed. Especially when asked in a group setting at church. Yipes. The first thought to pop into my head was, and I kid you not--- "Delicate Flower". Despite a sometimes prickly exterior, the mister refers to me as, ahem, "Delicate Flower". It's both hilarious and utterly charming, and it is this very sort of goofy charm coupled with good manners that really speaks to me. The doors opened. The reminder to our teen son and his buddies that, "There are ladies present," when they get a little rowdy or their language becomes especially colorful. And the silly pet name that really ought to make me cringe, but instead makes me laugh.
While there are those who would claim that my mister marginalizes me by carrying my suitcase, protecting my, er... delicate sensibilities, or opening doors for me, the reality is that he knows full well that I am capable of looking after myself and have likely said worse than the young teens can come up with at their worst. There is a tenderness in all that special treatment. Something that not only implies a vulnerability, but which actually allows it. Vulnerability that will not be taken advantage of or mocked, but protected and nurtured. And that is beyond precious.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


A pair of photographs serve to remind me of "What Not to Do" when it comes to weight maintenance. The first dates back to the early nineties when I earned part of the exorbitant price of my prom dress by doing some work for a local formal wear shop. At 5'8" I weighed in at about 105 pounds. "Skinny" is an understatement. My mother did warn me that one day my metabolism would turn on me.
And turn on me with a vengeance. The "fat" picture was taken the week I stepped onto a scale reading 242 pounds and discovered that size 24 pants were a bit snug. Followed by the week our son's doctor told us he was becoming dangerously obese while looking at me rather pointedly. No longer able to deny that what went up really needed to come down in the wake of the Boy's weight issue, and recognizing that it might be time to shed the "baby weight" (since the baby was in elementary school), our family began a long summer program of changing our eating habits and exercising together. There was no "magic bullet" to make us thin. No pills, procedures, creams, machines, or tricks. We simply consumed fewer calories and expended more energy. And it worked.
The fat picture remains on the fridge, but the skinny picture has been added to keep both extremes in perspective.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Love Letters

Middle Child is twelve. The last of her tween years is now numbered in months. That seems short, but will likely feel far shorter on the other side. Time passes more quickly in the rear view mirror than seems possible when one looks out over the sometimes long stretches of road ahead. Those first months certainly felt endless as the series of ten p.m. and four a.m. feedings made every night's rest just short of satisfying. Yet they are far behind in the blink of a mother's eye.
Kate's baby book features an addition that she holds especially dear. In the pages (acid and lignin free!) of her album (archival quality!) a series of notes were penned (photo-safe ink!) to cross the gulf of time and speak to her from the perspective of a mother utterly captivated by the tiny new daughter who was unlikely to remember the words whispered and cooed to her in those late nights and early mornings. Not likely to win any awards, the words are hand-written. They flow through the thoughts of young motherhood, across the small milestones that mark a little one's development, and they are treasured by a girl verging on the first bloom of womanhood. Those words intended to communicate the love of a mother for her infant have bridged the widening gap between a mother and her increasingly independent tween.
And the daughter has requested more of such simple declarations. Which she will have--- written secretly in the coming months in a lovely journal. And presented on her thirteenth birthday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bad Girls

Huh. The Challenge to weigh down is at a great time around here. It covers the spread from Spring Break (convenience foods that kids like) across two kids' birthdays, our 15th Anniversary, Easter, Mother's Day, and even an unlooked for post-Memorial Service gathering. In our household, food is part of our celebrations in a big way. It plays a key role in how we tend to comfort ourselves and others. And that makes this particular eight weeks fit for the title of Challenge.
It is working. The, ahem, overhangs have slimmed enough to fit nicely into my jeans instead of bulging over the sides. T-shirts that fit closely fail to showcase the unsightly side humps more fitting for the back of a camel than the back end of this Mama. Except. There are certain issues that are more apparent as the eye watches for signs of weight loss. Issues common to women who have born children, had significant weight gain and loss, and/or simply reached a certain age. The Girls have gone south. Waaaaay south. Who knew a B cup could kiss one's belly button hello?! *sigh*
I think bra shopping is third on my list of shopping trip yucks. It comes in narrowly behind swimsuits and jeans. The beauty of it all? There will be no swimsuit shopping this year at least. Last year's will fit just fine. Because last year's suits had minor alterations to address the issues with the Girls that were already apparent in a bathing suit a year ago, but have only now surfaced in street clothes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Morning at the Museum

The day has arrived. The Pleasant Suburban Elementary Second Graders are pleased to present the 2009 Living History Museum from 9:00-10:00 a.m. in the cafetorium. Our own Miss Erin will be portraying Sacagawea today. There was tremendous excitement when Sacagawea's baby was delivered the night before last. Good that the little bundle of joy arrived in time for the display. Without the baby, "Sacagawea" would have looked just like "Pocahontas". Personally, I am still singing a "Hallelujah!" chorus over the loaner costume.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Yesterday was the day most likely to blow the weigh-down challenge, and it would have been disappointing now that I am within seven pounds of the final goal. The desire for cheesecake grew strong. The nice people at Philly were certainly willing to help me out by providing a whole tub of ready-to-eat cheesecake filling in my grocer's dairy aisle. The aisle between the Good Girl sugar-free 60 calorie pudding cups and the registers. Uh-oh. It's not helpful when one's skinny substitute is located in close proximity to the ultimate no-no. I wanted to run to the market for a six-pack of sweet, creamy goodness, but it was increasingly likely that I would heed the siren song of the Philly Tub o' Calories.
My friend Lisa and her husband John were dropping by with coupons for middle daughters' ice skating party and to deliver Sacagawea's "baby" (more on that tomorrow). I asked if they would save me from myself. They kindly agreed to prevent dietary disaster by swinging into our local megamart to bring me my choice of cinnamon rice pudding or dark chocolate pudding cups. Whew. They arrived, with the new addition to Sacagawea's costume, coupons for the ice rink, pudding (!), and a lovely bunch of tulips. No wonder I am always glad to see them turn up on the doorstep!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tired Mama

It's not even fully light out yet, but I'm facing the bottom of the coffee pot already. Since the lovies no longer feel the urge to go to sleep at bedtime, it seemed reasonable to bump back wake-up times. If one is inclined to stay up two hours after bedtime, then surely one will be delighted to be awakened an hour early. Oh, yes, quite reasonable.
In addition to the difficulty getting Certain People to go to sleep despite Mama's need for rest, those same Certain People have been leaving the house looking suspiciously like a designated disaster area because they are in a rush to get out the door on weekdays. Guess what the extra time is for?
The added hour of wakefulness should allow for all sorts of good things to happen. One more load of laundry can run and be put away in the bedroom that is restored to order before all the little darlings set out for school. The toothpaste scum in the sink? Washed away--- and by the very people who left it there! There are certainly other benefits to be had, but the general idea is likely clear without further examples.
Not everyone is entirely pleased with today's alternative wake-up time. Or the first-thing-in-the-morning opportunities to get a little jump on the daily chores. And it has hardly solved the Tired Mama situation. Of course, once the darlings are all off to school there will be an opportunity for Mama to take a little nap at some point. And that sounds like a singularly pleasant idea. Perhaps a tad more coffee is in order.

Friday, April 17, 2009


This week and the next both had fairly full squares across the calendar pages. Then the emergencies and unexpected came. Overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the to-do list's ever-increasing length, serious consideration was given to, "Assume the fetal position and rock." Wednesday saw a couple of cancellations that freed up the time to get a little ahead on the large amount of food that was needed for a meal to be delivered to our friend Elaine's family during their bereavement.
Except that the family members were planning a day trip on Thursday, and one member had a special meal they wished to prepare for the rest of the clan. And the prior meal deliveries were very generous. So. We'll be eating chicken seasoned with rosemary, oregano, and basil for a few days. It's lovely chicken. Tender and juicy in last night's alfredo pasta with red peppers and peas. Sure to make a yummy sandwich for Saturday lunch, and possibly turn up as "baked chicken parmesan" with a tomato sauce for another dinner. All to the good, because today had the most harried schedule so far this week.
Today the mister was headed in to work as soon as all the kids were off to school. He also requested my accompaniment on a lunchtime shopping trip in preparation for an imminent business trip (totally unplanned as of one week before his departure). The Boy was to compete in the Special Olympics Track and Field Meet today. Little Bit had Field Day at Pleasant Suburban Elementary. Middle Child was pushing to either go to the middle school girls' overnight retreat or spend the night with the friend whose mother lets them play in a construction site. I badly needed to meet up with my accountability partner after this week. Except.
How I love that word. An exception made with a forecast storm warning has bought the most priceless gift: solitude. Field Day is now in May. Special Olympics is next week. Middle Child is grounded. (Okay, that wasn't the rain.) My accountability partner opted for cancellation today. (Also not the rain.) And I am home alone for a couple of hours with the next few hot meals to be served around here already prepared. (Doubly glad considering the lack of pleasure to be had in lugging groceries through rain.) I think this morning was meant for a brief visit to twelfth century England and Normandy through the pages of a book while snuggled in a favorite blanket as the room darkens outside of my lamplight with the coming storm.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Yesterday, the mister and I attended the Memorial Service to celebrate our friend Elaine's life. Elaine was fifty-two years young, but I am thankful that she has gained freedom from just the sort of loss that those of us who will miss her are experiencing. In the service, there was an opportunity to share memories of Elaine. During that time, I chose to sit quietly and appreciate the words others.
Today, there is a need to offer a bit of tribute to Elaine, whose passing we have just marked, and to my "Mammy" whose birthday I observe today (despite the nine years since she went to be with the Lord).
These two ladies each had a tendency to let one know exactly what was on their minds--- whether one wanted to hear it or not. And there was never a question of their love, because each one took the opportunities available to express it. Neither lived a long enough life for those who knew them, but both lived full lives. And both expected to claim Eternal Life.
Elaine demonstrated that, even if one might not have as many resources as some others, there is never too little to give abundantly those who have need. She kept an eye out for those needs, and took opportunities to share her kindness with all who would accept her ministrations. Offering help, rather than waiting to be asked, is a lesson engraved on my heart and mind in some part because of her generosity. And that generosity of spirit is paid forward as those for whom Elaine cared, care for others.
Mammy taught me to dream, create, and see both beauty and potential. Mammy painted, sketched, sewed, wrote, and generally dabbled in all things crafty or artistic. She was both a pack rat born of the Great Depression, and a religious recycler who consistently found ways to reuse or repurpose the odds and ends she collected. She was a great communicator by letter, by phone, in person, and even by e-mail (which she fully expected to function as IM). Today there is a joy and gratefulness in recognizing the many ways mentioned above, and so many more not put into type, in which these two dear ladies poured their care into me, into many others' lives.
Today, I will read When I am an old woman I shall wear purple... again because she Mammy loved it. And it describes her rather well. And I shall wear purple regardless of my age in memory of two precious ladies today.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Change of Plans

My regular Wednesday mornings include walking with a friend followed by a trip to a market one suburb over to take advantage of "double ad day" with another. (We get the specials featured in the prior and coming weeks' ad by going in the middle of the week.) Oddly, not one, but both the usual partners in crime cancelled at the last minute today. Not an altogether bad thing; although, I will miss seeing them today. It does explain where I am going to find a few extra hours in the day though.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Nearly... as in close, but no dice. Almost, but not quite. I nearly had to make an Indian costume. The daughter who was making demands was beginning to regret them as I began to describe a Disneyfied, glitter-coated costume. (I don't know or care about Sacajawea's unlikely access to the sparkly stuff while traipsing about with Lewis and Clark. Glitter would've improved my attitude about the unwelcome project.) Hee. Then Little Missy's ballet teacher came to her rescue with a Facebook post offering a Tiger Lily costume. Ah, the irony of being off the hook thanks to "Peter Pan".
Despite the humor found in the costume scenario, "nearly" is sometimes quite enough. During the last ten minutes of my first-thing-in-the-morning walk with the mister, my friend tried calling both the home and cell phones. While I nearly missed her predawn calls, she answered mine with the news that her husband was in a car accident. She had few details that were not alarming, but knew they needed prayer. She headed to the hospital to join her husband while prayer requests went out.
Her Mister was released just over an hour later from the hospital with only minor injuries. The car was a total loss. It turned out that three cars were involved in the incident caused by a driver running a red light, but no one was greatly injured. The damage to the couple's vehicle and the lack thereof to the husband certainly reminds us why we pray!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Costume Mistress

Recently I commented on another blog that I am not so much a costume person. The Martha Stewart of dress-up, I am not. Pleasant Suburban Elementary has this thing. It's a "Living History Museum" made up of eight-year-olds spouting well-rehearsed speeches dressed up as their historical figures while standing in front of a hand-drawn, colored, painted, etc. backdrop of paper in the cafetorium.
Our eldest child was Abe Lincoln (or an Amish guy) at another school's version of this shindig that was all about U.S. Presidents. He even had a Mini-Me Abe made from a Pringles can. Those cans and costumes were what one would reasonably expect from elementary aged children. This was not the case when Middle Child was Tara Lipinski (No, I do not know what qualifies Tara Lipinski as a historical figure over other individuals. And that is hardly the point anyway.) She was very upset when her parents refused to purchase an ice-skating dress and real ice skates for her use as a living Ice Skating Barbie. We put together a home-made costume that was fairly cute, and it served it's purpose as an illustration for her well-researched and well-delivered speech about the modern marvel of a real-life ice princess. We're experienced parents, and it's not like this is rocket science.
Except that Youngest Daughter is Sacagawea. And we discovered after making Middle Child's simple costume that apparently all the other parents at the girls' school actually do buy or make crazy, fancy, detailed costumes for this thing. The feelings of our daughter, and of her parents (if I am entirely honest) as we walked through the room filled with childish exhibitionism, is probably akin to that of a poor relative at a Kennedy family reunion. Still, I suggested that Youngest Daughter could have a costume made from grocery sacks according to the time-honored tradition of childhood "indian costumes". And we can make a doozy of a costume from grocery bags, thank-you-very-much.
Except the child turned my offer down flat. And her Daddy said that I could probably make her a costume without it being a complete nightmare. I asked him if he understood just how expensive it would be to make such a costume as the theoretically simple design he was suggesting. I fumed, and he was quiet. The daughter kept supplying hopefulness and hugs.
I agreed to check around, and even phoned a friend whose daughter had an amazing indian princess costume a few years ago for Halloween. Of course, the daughter no longer has her one-time costume. So I will be headed off to shop for the makings of a Sacagawea dress and borrowing a friend's sewing machine to produce a passable indian dress.

Friday, April 10, 2009


My in-laws drove in today to visit. They came bearing an assortment of gifts for the children. The gift that garnered the most initial excitement was a trio of kites. The children immediately put together the butterfly, ladybug, and jet plane kites and headed down to the park on the corner.
We've had incredibly windy days for the past week or two around here. The wind died down almost as soon as the children reached the open grassy area with their grandparents and Mama in tow. (It figures.) Still, there were just enough little gusts to help get the bits of fabric stretched over the frames to lift off and occasionally catch a breeze that would lift them overhead as twine was hurriedly rolled out to allow greater heights to be reached. The teen grew bored and wandered down by the pond to throw
but the girls and their adult counterparts were entertained right
up until dinner time.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Okay, perhaps clarification should be made about the so-called Breakfast of Champions. There is a sweet tooth that whispers to me throughout the week. I try to hush it up with Good-Girl Sugar-free Popsicles. Over the weekend the sugar jones grows more insistent, and loud enough to drown out my popsicles. By Sunday night, I'm dreaming of cheesecake. At which point Monday morning arrives, and the first thing I do to kick off the new week is toss down a ho-ho, some cookies, a little ice cream, or a pound cake to meet my weekly ration of sweet treat.
Whatever junk slides down ye olde gullet is carefully documented. For example, five Thin Mints pack 200 calories into the deceptively slender chocolaty wafers. The Rice Krispy Treat? 90 calories. At which point the whole "earning my food" kicks in so I can walk off the calories. Not to say that this sorts of breaking of fasts would be recommended. Or even entirely habitual. The Monday between the cookies and the crisped rice goody was unremarkable with it's fairly standard breakfast of yogurt, fruit, and a slice of whole-wheat, sugar-free bread. Either way, I am pretty sure some commercial or print ad has told me that women who eat breakfast are more successful when it comes to managing their weight.
Rationalization at its finest. Oh, yeah.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


My fat cells are on the run. Well, they are not exactly fleeing so much as shrinking. (Shrinkage is bad in knits, but quite lovely in one's thighs and those unpleasant overhangs.) According to the scale today I am officially eight pounds lighter than I was just weeks ago. Which is good because my immunologist was mighty happy to see how I had "maintained my weight" for the past year with only a three pound variation. Ahem. Hee. Welllllll... She was very concerned about the coughing fit that followed that statement. I assured her that the cough was not one of the symptoms for which I was in to see her, and I mentioned that I had to get back on track with my exercise program over the past couple of months. After that bit of fudging, I am doubly determined to keep moving.
My girls have a rather unique view of exercise. A week or so ago, I asked Miss Middle Child to go walking with me after school. She looked at me, then down at herself, then cut her eyes back to my face. In an entirely earnest voice she asked me if I really thought she needed to "buy her food calories". Heh?
The daughters (yes, the daughters plural) have been indoctrinated around here to believe that exercise is for one of two purposes. Either one is challenging themselves physically to push past some limit (traipsing three miles with a cane out of sheer willfulness) or one is "earning" food.
While I am a fan of the link between exercise as the best method to manage one's weight, I am slightly alarmed by the theory that exercise is a means to eat junk food. (That's really what she meant.) I suspect this idea to be based on my Monday penchant for Breakfasts of Champions. One week that meant a Rice Krispy treat, and this week it was Girl Scout Thin Mints. Or the reality that I will walk two miles before rewarding myself with a 100 calorie treat (with calories to spare!). While this works for the overall maintenance of me, it's hardly what I want to be teaching my girls.

Kreative Kudos

Awww, thanks Kathy! Having not received any sort of previous bloggy kudos, I must admit to being rather pleased to receive the "merit badge" below:

The instructions upon receipt were:

  1. List seven things you love.
  2. Pass the award along to seven friends whose blogs you love.

Okie-dokie... seven things I love:

  1. My Savior
  2. My Mister and our offspring
  3. "A-ha!" moments
  4. Turning up the music so I can sing as loud as I want without listening to myself.
  5. Grace
  6. Laughter
  7. Questions

And just seven of the bloggy peeps who make my little world ever brighter:

  1. Leanne at Tired Mama
  2. Melissa at Green Girl in Wisconsin
  3. Trace at chaotony
  4. Laura at World is Our Classroom
  5. Cate at Birdroppings
  6. Fanny at This isn't what I ordered.
  7. Boybarian Dad at, well, boybarian photo

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Middle Child has returned from her trip to see Les Miserables proclaiming the show her very favorite ever. I don't see any reason to point out to her that it is the only professional theatrical production she has ever seen. Plenty of people who have seen other shows claim that one, and one of these days she will likely have another opportunity to expand her experience further. In the meantime, I'm just impressed that she who (prior to last weekend) had limited her musical tastes to the likes of HSM and Radio Disney is beginning to branch out a bit. Between the music introduced in her band classes at school, her parents' sometimes exotic musical tastes, and the varieties of music played at church there is hope for her to develop her own preferences beyond those of the general middle school population.

Update: Bowling Ball Head has progressed to a full-blown bacterial infection. So we add the extended course of antibiotics which will clear up the infection, but will disagree with one's delicate digestive flora and fauna. Hello, yogurt and probiotics! Flunked labs resulted in the wee hope of a lab error, but a referral from one specialist to another. Bad body. Behave already!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Swelled Head

Oh, yuck. I am sick. Woke up with a head that felt suspiciously like a bowling ball this morning. And a headache that feels like somebody is drilling holes in said bowling ball. That is singularly unlovely. My everything else is aching right along with the head. More yuck. I was supposed to go visit the immunologist next Thursday after flunking some labs, but I think perhaps tomorrow is looking good. The office opens at 8:30, and I will happily run right over whenever there is an opening in the schedule. For now, I am just going back to bed. Ugh.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Attitude Adjustment

This morning we went out from house to house to distribute glossy paper door hangers. We are not fond of said door hangers when found on our own front stoop, but our church has joined in to spread the word about I AM SECOND. Volunteers were needed, so here we serve despite our personal feelings of dislike for the assorted flyers, coupons, and ads that get hung on the front door. I figure it is worthwhile to offer people the web address for I AM SECOND whether they choose to visit our church or not during the series of messages that tie into the site's vignettes. In the days when we avoided places of religious observation, such a site would have perhaps attracted at least a random visit. If even a few of the recipients of our morning's efforts visit our church, visit any church, or check out the web site, the time was well spent.
Concerned that the task at hand might have neither purpose nor fruit, I nevertheless chose to approach each house with my small offering. Toward the end of the first neighborhood, I stood at a front door of an obviously empty house for a moment before deciding not to place a hanger on that door where it was unlikely anyone would find it soon. As I turned to walk toward the next house, a woman in sweats and a pony tail burst from the house just next door to the empty home. She ran down her driveway shouting at me and waving the door hanger so recently left with a desire to offer her hope. Uh-oh. Angry Lady informed me that she had a church home and I had better take that door hanger back. (I took it. And said, "Thank you.") Angry Lady was apparently not only offended by my offer of an alternate church, but furious in her belief that I had perhaps left such at the vacant home next door. (Yeah, that would be the one where I opted not to leave one.) She was howling down the moon, standing in the middle of the street, and pointing at the empty house as I took a couple of slow steps backward and decided the same sort of quite voice used for dealing with a hormonal twelve-year-old was in order. "Ma'am? If you would look, you will see that I did not place a door hanger on the empty house's door. Since I did not leave one there, I cannot remove it." At this point, my mister had noticed the commotion from the opposite cul-de-sac and observed the exchange between AL and I. She turned and huffed back across the street toward her house having addressed the various offenses which drew her from her den.
Wanting nothing more than to flee, I instead forced myself to finish the two houses remaining on the cul-de-sac. I caught my mister up on exactly what all the flap was about as we walked away from the neighborhood. We both wondered what church AL attends--- and just what in the world happened to get her morning off to such a rotten start. And I made very sure that there was a sincere smile on my face and a cheerful greeting for each person we encountered thereafter.

Friday, April 3, 2009


The coffee pot is making a bad sound. A sound suspiciously similar to a kid with an empty cup and a straw. Uh-oh. Or not. Turns out the disturbing sound is none other than the second pot of the morning brewing. This lack of recognition on my part is clearly indicative of who brews the morning java around here. And the need for a second pot is equally indicative of the sort of week we are having as well. Thankful is the Mama who wakes to hot, freshly ground coffee before having to confront the almighty to-do list.
Today is a busier-than-usual Friday between a tile guy coming to repair a busted hall bathroom shower surround, and preparations for tomorrow's activities. Middle Child is leaving for a weekend trip to Houston with a friend's family to take in "Les Miserables" tomorrow night and the Space Center on Sunday. The rest of the family will be well occupied with our church's assorted activities to care for our community. Church groups will be fanning out to pursue projects and assist people all over the city in a huge variety of ways. The mister and I with the eldest and youngest offspring in tow will be walking to place "I am second. " door hangers on our neighbors' homes first thing in the morning. Don will also be playing bass at an Easter Egg hunt downtown sponsored by our church's Worship & Arts department in the afternoon. I will be shuttling the mister to the egg hunt location, the boy to a birthday party, and then keeping our charming youngest daughter occupied until our guys are ready to be picked up. Tomorrow is likely a second pot sort of day, too.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bad Hair Day

Middle Child was crying yesterday in the car on the ride to school because she had hair trauma. She wanted her bangs to lay flat on her head while the sides and back had a mildly bouffant retro look. Except that she kept sticking the bobby pins at the back of her head which caused the hair on top to pouf rather than lay smooth. There was whining accompanied by tears. I tried to help by doing exactly what she asked, but then she undid it. There was a good twenty minute period of time devoted to the child's bobby pin drama. I, rather unhelpfully, offered to shave her head. My patience exhausted, I sent the tearful child to the car with her hair less-than-perfect and then shouted at her to "Just get in already!" when she dragged her feet along the way. It was something of a relief to drop the big kids curbside at Pleasant Suburban Middle School with the hope that they would walk quickly enough to reach their classrooms on time.
The irony of the early-morning hair issues really struck home a couple of hours later. The middle school nurse phoned to inform us (again) of Pleasant Suburb ISD's policy on lice. This was necessary information since our daughter's entirely uncooperative hair was very mildly infested. (Like there's any difference in the amount of washing, combing, and fumigating involved with a single critter vs. a zillion of the nasty little creatures?!) Needless to say, Miss Katie's bad hair day did end up causing her to miss class. And I was doubly tempted to shave her head. Except that I suspect she'd look like one of those mildly disturbing hairless cats.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You're Kidding

Last April, I started asking the people at Evil Empire Insurance (EEI) to please fix a wee glitch in their claims tracking system. The uh-oh was failing to actually add up the dollars our family was paying out for my health care. There were an awful lot of those dollars going out, but none going into the tally that would eventually trigger the stop loss after enough thousands fled from our pocket into the outstretched palms of assorted in-network providers. Today, we finally heard that our claims have been resolved, and the providers are being paid by EEI. This means we can expect to see some of those free-flowing dollars make a u-turn and fly home to Mama.
Unless the representative from EEI was just having her April Fool's Day ha-ha at my expense. I do hope that this time I will have the last laugh. Today has otherwise been far from amusing with an infusion and both daughters home with Pestilence and Lice: Round II. While I refrain from looking up for fear it will rain up my nose, there is a tremendous sense of relief in finally resolving the insurance uh-oh and having all the linens freshly laundered.


Hmmm. Can putting plastic in the microwave give one cancer? Just wondering. It seems like my e-mail spamming contacts sent a message on the topic a few zillion times, but those messages are so often a load of hooey that a girl can scarcely count them as a credible source. My concern stems from a desire to make meal prep healthy, easy, and minimally messy. The latest whatzit to catch my culinary attention is a total convenience item. And one always pays for convenience.
The creative geniuses at Zip-loc have made the loveliest little steamer bags. Just pop the munchings and crunchings into the bag, dial up the cook time on the microwave, and enjoy freshly steamed goodies. This is rapidly becoming the cooking method of choice for veggies because I can simply slip a sprig of rosemary from the yard into the baggie with my spuds, sprinkle sweet potatoes with a bit of cinnamon, or mix peppers and cumin with squash to produce easy side dishes steeped in flavor without drowning in fat and calories. The "Hmmm..." comes from the use and toss bags. I suspect there exists a reusable microwave steamer, but I have thus far been too lazy to google such a thing.