Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Picture Post: Perfect

There were more silly pictures than not. That said, the darling duo looked pretty snazzy. That's not really what caught my eye, though. I love their silliness, and their sweetness. They are both rone to occasional nervousness that strikes when one or both of them find a situation where he/she is suddenly uncertain of what to do. One such moment arrived when, in the midst of the picture-taking, Middle Child and Perfect exchanged flowers. The corsage was on an elastic band that fit around our girl's wrist. (Thank God. One can imagine how easily pinning a corsage on a strapless dress might go awry.) Unfortunately, Perfect's boutenierre came with no such thing. The mister stepped in to help the kids figure out how to pin the rose on Perfect's shirt rather than on his person. Middle Child and Perfect had no trouble imagining the results had she forged ahead to Do It Herself.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Picture Post: Tested

Middle Child and Perfect submitted to a half hour of wandering around the Village Friday night in search of locations for their Winter Formal photos. We unanimously agreed that pictures would be taken a half hour earlier the following evening to capture more daylight. They were silly, and it was fun to just watch them goofing around.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Picture Post: Sample

Just one little picture tonight, but more to follow with the silliness of the test shots and the sweetness of the darling duo heading off for their big night out.
Middle Child and Perfect at the Village

Friday, January 27, 2012


Unexpected * July 13, 2008
  Sometimes things crop up unexpectedly. This sunflower blooming in a field of brick and stone caught my eye years ago as the mister and I explored an area being built to replicate a European village. The first shops were open and few homes inhabited, but much remained unfinished. In the years since the photo was taken, the Village has become a popular site for photographers shooting portrait sessions.

Tomorrow night, Perfect and Middle Child, dressed in their formal finery, will be photographed by their beaming parents in the Village. In preparation, tonight will find us snapping test shots at the site. Perfect and Middle Child may be hoping this effort will yield a shorter session of parental photography before they head off to enjoy their much-anticipated evening.
The Chapel at the Village near sunset

In the midst of planning the final details for this weekend's Winter Formal, a phone call came that was no more expected than the sunflower sprouting from that jumble of stone in the Village. The Boy was calling to say he returns home in two weeks. The unlooked-for news comes as a shock. Having just made it through our third Christmas without him, we are unprepared for his nearly unheralded restoration.

Even while executing this weekend's plans, the family must prepare for the return of our prodigal son... again. The sense of anticipation that characterized his previous homecoming and our family's short-lived reunion is tempered by trepidation over his abrupt secondary departure a year ago. One can only hope that this time will be different, and that he will choose to bloom and grow here among us rather than uprooting himself and leaving us broken.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I arrived at the school to pick up Skater Girl before dismissal for a doctor's visit, and duly presented my driver's license to prove she was mine. The secretary called down to the classroom. As I stood waiting, it seemed like the secretary was staring. I tried ignoring her. Finally, she said, "You look like an actress..." *sigh* Here we go. I waited for her to decide which actress she was seeing in my apparently common features.

There are several different names that come up after the initial, "You look like someone..." I waited while she continued her examination. Naming off little factoids while seeking to come up with the actress's name, the secretary mentioned that, "...the one I'm thinking of dated the guy who is with Angelina Jolie." Ah, yes. Of course. Only one of the most likely names has been linked to Brad Pitt. I suggested that perhaps she meant, "Juliette Lewis?" She grinned and clapped. I'm never quite sure whether to be concerned or flattered by these comparisons. My usual response is to feel awkward and hope for the subject to change.

Her final question was a new one though. She asked if my husband looked like Brad Pitt. The answer to that was, "To my eyes, absolutely." Thankfully, my kid turned up so I could end the conversation with a hasty exit.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Middle Child and I are planning to try our hands at quilting. My great-grandmas, grandma, and mom have all successfully created heirloom quality quilts. Middle Child has recently discovered a talent for hand stitching in her Technical Theatre class, and this seems like a fun project for us to take on together. My Mom (a.k.a. Grandma) is sending us a care package of supplies to encourage our new hobby.

Today, I ended up with a crochet hook and a skein of yarn because I'm in the mood to make a blanket now. (And it sounds like there's going to be a lot of preparation before quilting produces anything blanket-like.) By the time the kids were out of school, I had a nice start. Middle Child had some questions about my blankie-to-be.

She: "What are you doing?"
Me: "Making a blanket."
She:  "I thought we were making a quilt."
Me: "We are, but we can't start until the Care Package of quilting goodies from Grandma gets here."
She: "Grandma's bringing the quilt stuff Thursday."
Me: "I want a blanket, not patience."
She: "Are you sure that's a blanket?"
Me: "Uhmmm... maybe. Or it might be a belt."

Eyeing the variegated yarn with a raised eyebrow, She asks: "Would you wear that?"
Mirroring her expression, I can only respond, "No. Not even if one of my kids made it."

Friday, January 20, 2012


There is a tendency for a crush on some unattainable adult to be the first experiment in the development of interest in the opposite sex. Personally, I was going to marry John Taylor who played bass guitar for the band Duran Duran when I was in third grade. Way Pre-Perfect, Middle Child was all about teen heartthrob Jesse McCarthy. In a similar vein, one of Skater Girl's best friends intends to one day marry Taylor Lautner of Twilight and Shark Boy and Lava Girl fame. (With the exception of Katie Holmes, this sort of thing rarely works out.)  In solidarity, the girls have formed the Taylor Lautner Club. (This news nearly caused Middle Child and I to suffer convulsions laughing after finally losing the battle to keep a straight face following the revelation of the new club.) The mooning over Mr. Lautner will allow the girls an opportunity to try out their feelings about boys and romance without actually having to deal with a boyfriend- and all that entails. It also means our living room is now the site of repeated screenings of his generally crummy movies and lots of pre-teen swooning.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Picture Project

Despite the bad run with photos over the past week, I'm jumping on board with Green Girl to participate in Jen on the edge's photo challenge. The idea is to post unapologetic photos of oneself. My challenge is to avoid photoshopping the things I see first and like least. It's also proven surprisingly difficult to find pictures of just me. So, without further fuss, here we go:

Holiday Party with the Mister
With Spitfire in Honduras

Taking pictures at the rink

Relaxing Christmas morning

Shooting still more pictures

Hair Stylist is in my job description

I'm scared of heights. This was a major leap of faith.


Snow Day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Picture Imperfect

With a book in my purse to encourage patience, I gathered the required documentation and headed over to join the line that extended outside the building housing the driver's license office. Three hours and many chapters later, I was taking the worst picture ever. That unflattering photo is going to haunt me for the next twelve years, but at least online renewal is available next time.
I'm on a roll with bad pictures this week. I sent the Mister a picture of Middle Child in a fancy-schmancy party dress seeking approval of an option for the Winter Formal. He was concerned that she did not like it because she was making an awful face. Before taking another shot, I explained to her that Daddies do not enjoy buying pretty dresses for daughters making ugly faces. The next picture was better, but still bad enough that it cannot be displayed without incurring the displeasure of Middle Child.
Though forbidden to show those initial pictures to anyone, I was asked to text a photo of the dress to Perfect's mother. (Perfect will wait until the night of the dance for the big reveal.) This was intended as a guide to help Perfect choose a shirt and tie. The combination of paint and lighting in the room where the picture was taken caused Middle Child's dress to appear orange and gold with a greenish skirt. At least Middle Child was able to clarify that the colors are actually silver and exactly the same shade of blue that Perfect used for the border of the puzzle invitation and the ribbon he tied around the jar that housed it.
Today is not the day for a Picture Post, but there will certainly be one next week after Perfect and Middle Child head off for their much-anticipated night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Rumor: Local High School #2 has no bathroom doors.
Truth: LHS #2 has no bathroom doors.

Rumor: LHS #2 has no restroom doors because students were practicing extracurricular activities behind the semi-privacy afforded by those doors.
Truth: Isn't the rumor bad enough?

Rumor: LHS #2 has fifteen pregnant freshman girls.
Truth: LHS #2 has thirteen pregnant freshman girls.

The above have been big topics in Pleasant Suburb lately. Perfect attends LHS #2, and he is pretty sure all the other schools make fun of the lack of doors on the restrooms. (He's also pretty sure the other schools have restroom doors. Middle Child confirms that restrooms at LHS #3, where she attends, have doors.) The lack of doors and the rapidly expanding waistlines of all those very young girls are a Hot Topic at lunch tables, dinner tables, and a couple of round table discussions as well.

It's a recipe for trouble: hormones + the invincibility of youth + questionable judgment. The result is thirteen very young mothers-to-be + rampant gossip + the mantra, "My [son or daughter] would never..." The problem is that, clearly, a large number of daughters (and obviously sons) certainly did, and now we're all talking about it.

At our house, we're talking about how those girls might be feeling. We're talking about the higher risks associated with teen births. We're talking about how one's future becomes complicated by an unplanned pregnancy at any age, and the choices those girls will have to make. We're talking about the joy that can come with motherhood with the stability of marriage and family. It's not The Talk, but a series of conversations that have been stirred up anew as Middle Child develops her perspective.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Picture Post: Solved

Ah. Perfect may actually be, well, perfect. He left Middle Child with a gift tonight after coming over to watch a movie. She opened the gift bag to find a glass jar tied with a ribbon. She was momentarily puzzled by the contents. Until she realized the appropriateness of that feeling.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


In one of those, "Are you kidding?!" moments, Perfect asked Middle Child if she would rather go to the Winter Formal or Broomball. (The youth group's annual late-night broomball session is the same night as the dance.) This was an excellent opportunity for her to exercise a bit of self-restraint and not shriek, "YES! YES! YES! I have just been waiting for you to ask!" She was not only restrained, but avoided any indication that she was dying to get all dolled up to spend a whole night dancing with Perfect. He tried expressing that he would not want her to feel like she, "...had to get all prettied up if she didn't want to," attend the Winter Formal in an effort to get her to indicate a preference for one activity over the other. She responded with the reprehensibly unhelpful willingness to do whichever activity suited him.

She does not even like broomball. Oh, and she has decided that she does not like the shredded mullet dress, either.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tidbits: Expiration

  • I cleaned out the fridge. "There are starving children in Africa/China..." ran through my head as a wrinkled bell pepper, fuzzy grapes, and a bottle of French Salad Dressing (Best By AUG0811) were revealed hiding out in the nether regions of the fridge. At least there were several items discovered approaching the toss date that have been moved up on the mental priority list for use.
  • A letter from the Department of Public Safety states that my driver's license must be presented at the local DPS for renewal. Oh.but.no. Pleasant Suburb's DPS is legendary for the inefficiency of its staff and the length of the line to conduct any sort of business. Avoiding that office is one of the reasons my big kids do not drive. I'm not sure that I intend to continue driving if it means going to the DPS.
  • Perfect has not yet asked Middle Child to the Winter Formal. Despite the back-up dress in the closet, there is still time to order the pretty, pretty princess dress online (Now Sale-priced!) if an invitation is issued by Friday. After that, we'll just be waiting to take back the shredded mullet dress within the 30-day window for returns if the dance is not added to Middle Child's calendar.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tidbits: Round and Round

  • One of the shredded mullet dresses is hanging in the coat closet (with the tags and the receipt good for return within 30 days attached) just in case an invitation to the Winter Formal comes too late for delivery of a poufy dress (plus time for potential alterations) found online. I refuse to order a special occasion dress only to find myself standing in line at the post office to return it if not needed.
  • Perfect will have an opportunity to ask Middle Child to the Winter Formal today. They will be skating in circles around the rink occasionally holding hands. (He has a tendency to drop her hand like a hot potato under parental scrutiny.)
  • Skater Girl will be spinning and working on increasing her jump rotation in the middle of the rink with one coach at 4:15 and practicing foot work with another at 5:00. Finally, at 6:15 she participates in a group class.
  • Two and a half hours is a long time to huddle on metal benches alongside a hunk of ice. The time is well spent by serving double duty as chaperone to one daughter and cheering section for the other.To the embarrassment of the offspring, I've taken to carrying a fleece blanket to wrap around myself in an effort to avoid hypothermia.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Middle Child came home from a church youth retreat this Fall gushing about a boy. She vacillated between yearning, despair, and giddy admiration in the way of teenage girls. He was *sigh* Perfect. He met her parents. She met his parents. Middle Child wandered around smiling. Except when she giggled or sighed at a text message. The families sat together at Sunday service and made small talk afterward. There was a movie date with his parents and ice skating with us.

Perfect's school has a Winter Formal in three weeks, but he has not yet asked her to attend. The process of finding a dress is lengthy enough that we started yesterday just in case. The first two shops yielded one dress that was strangely reminiscent of Princess Leia from Star Wars and two "High-Low" dresses with handkerchief hemlines. Both of the last two were dress equivalents of a mullet (short in front, long in back) that had been through a shredder. None of these were what she really hoped to find. The perfect dress our (apparently reformed) tomboy is hunting will feature a fitted bodice with sparklies all over it and a foofy tulle skirt. Seriously.

Friday, January 6, 2012


The Pantry Cleanse has been crushed. (It was the dogs--- they ran out of food.) BFF relieved the sting of defeat by meeting me at the Market for coffee before careening through the aisles armed with our shopping carts, opinions, and a host of mental price points and nutritional information. Important findings from the shopping expedition include:
  •  "New Zealand Fresh" scented Mr. Clean, "... smells like Europe!" (BFF was in England, Italy, and Germany on two separate trips this year, so she would know such things.)
  • Be sure to soak the corn tortillas before assembling enchiladas. (That's an advanced step. It can only be attempted after one remembers to pick up the tortillas.)
  • It doesn't matter how healthy it is if the kids won't eat it.
  • There's a certain shame in admitting that Skater Girl's morning often starts with Pop Tarts.
In other news, Skater Girl's illustration depicting the Creep Factor in the third person Point of View will be forwarded to a group of 5th Grade teachers. It will offer them the POV of their students. The post will also likely give them a laugh while allowing the opportunity to rethink the way certain lessons are stated.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Skater Girl's 5th Grade class has been talking about point of view. The class, who have been steeped in Stranger Danger warnings from a very early age, found the whole idea of third person point of view disturbing. I failed to understand why they were concerned even after the teacher's example story of a family eating dinner that included the parents and children for first person and an observer for third person was related. Skater Girl literally drew me a picture as an explanation:
Point of View Illustration By Skater Girl

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I need to go to the grocer. In the spirit of enabling myself, the decision to attempt one of those pantry cleansings where one makes meals with the items already stocked has been made. The idea is intended to maintain a coupon queen's stockpile, prevent items from exceeding expiration dates, and allow one to shop according to sales. It can also stretch groceries until pay day. Such a brilliant idea can be turned as easily to procrastination as thrift.
To that end, I've taken stock of what's on hand. Staring into the refrigerator and freezer, the obvious answer to, "What's for dinner?" was a glass of wine and a bowl of ice cream. Suspicious that the mister might question the nutritional benefits (and legality as the lovies are all quite underage for alcohol consumption) of this plan, a pork roast was shifted from freezer to fridge to defrost for tomorrow. Pasta, cheese, herbs, and vegetables that can serve as a meatless meal between Skater Girl's lesson, Middle Child's youth group, and the mister's band rehearsal make a busy evening easy. With rice, beans, and assorted staples, it's likely that a grocery trip can be put off for the remainder of the week at least.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


My phone believes it is plugged in to a set of headphones. This belief is false. As a result, no sound can be heard out of the phone unless it's set on speaker or headphones actually are plugged into the jack. (This is bad when a doctors office calls... twice.) Powering the phone down and then turning it back on did nothing to restore sound.
Online solutions suggested repeatedly plugging and unplugging headphones until regular sound was restored. That one failed. Another option was to blow into the hole until any dust or debris activating the headphone option was cleared. Nope. Canned air might have supplied more dust-busting power, but at that point it was beyond either the mister's or my patience to try yet another fix for the Dumbest Phone Error Ever.
Fortunately, repairs are covered through May, and I have an appointment at the Apple store to have a bonafied Genius deal with this problem. The appointment will result in either a fix or, in what would be a truly ludicrous moment, the replacement of the phone. It's been backed up just in case something goes horribly wrong causing the contacts, calendar, etc. to evaporate. Or in case of a replacement. Either way, this goofy malfunction needs to be fixed because I. cannot. function. without. my. phone.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Up All Night

Follow-Up Note to Self:
  • The New Year's Day that follows Christmas on a Sunday will also fall on Sunday. So much for Promiseland--- welcome to Zombieland.
  • Kids who nap away the first afternoon of the New Year may be up well after bedtime. In fact, post-nap wakefulness can lead to parental interference with teenage technology use at 2:00 a.m. despite reiteration of the expectations that texting and facebook cease at an earlier hour.
Note to Teenage Daughter:
  • Causing your mother to be fully awake in the wee hours for something other than illness, blood, fire, or flood is likely to end badly.
  • Texting a lengthy goodnight to the swoon-inspiring boy after being apprehended out of compliance with household expectations will not improve your mother's mood.