Monday, September 29, 2008

Kicking my own behind

Ambition: nil
Things I have done that really need doing: none
Things I have to do: many
Result: stress
Solution: get off my lazy butt and get some stuff done and quit whining about it already!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We don't need no stinkin' black pudding!

Sorry I haven't written in a few days, but I was baking. I made bread, waffles, pretzels and more bread. I also made cheese, which turned out a lot like mozzerella but without quite the same smooth-melting properties. Today, for a change, maybe I'll make pancakes. If I make enough waffles and pancakes and then freeze them, the kids can heat them up in the mornings while I'm groggily dealing with my magnetic pillow and Child Six. Sure, pancakes and waffles are only PART of a nutritious breakfast, but even if I was in a state to be cooking up a farmhand's breakfast, half the kids won't eat meat and the other half don't like eggs. I supppose I could do an English breakfast and fry up some bread, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms and bacon (for the meat lovers), but get serious: Is this ever going to happen on a weekday?

And NIX on the black pudding. No way are my kids eating congealed pig's blood in sausage form early in the morning, even if they are in trouble for not getting their chores done.

Anyway, thanks to those of you who contributed ideas for posts. Expect to see those soon. Gotta go. I got bakin' to do!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The dining room carpet came out today, and the floors are paint-speckled and have some other interesting problems. Wheee! Husband is dead tired after all that work. I took Child Six out of the house to prevent any injuries to his little self. We went to the park and to a discount store to look around until we got the all-clear to come back home.

I was going to make something to use up the swiss chard in the fridge but I can't find the recipe I had for it. Not to worry, though. When I answered the kids' questions about what dinner would consist of, Husband said sarcastically, "Mmmmm! Sounds good." The word "chard" doesn't conjure up good images, I suppose, if you don't know if you like it or not.

Chard, chard, chard.

It starts sounding strange when you say it over and over.

Rhymes for "chard:" lard, pard, tard, guard, bard, card, hard, yard, shard, pumpkin.

No, pumpkin doesn't technically rhyme but I was thinking about making pumpkin soup and it erupted from my stream of consciousness.

Look, I know this posting is silly but what are ya gonna do? Write a comment with your topic of choice and I will make a post out of it. Then you have vested interest in reading this. Maybe I WON'T write about chard and pumpkins. One can always hope.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm No Axe Murderer

A few days ago, I saw a guy wearing a see-through backpack. I was struck, when I saw all the jumbled, packed-in contents, how it takes a certain amount of chutzpa to walk around with your life on view to the general public like that. I stopped myself from really studying the contents too closely, feeling, I suppose, a little embarrassed to be given so willingly so much information about someone I didn't or most likely wouldn't ever know. Still, a see-through backpack invites inspection, and had I been in a situation where I had nothing else to occupy myself, such as a bus ride, where we were momentarily trapped together in a small space, I would probably have looked more closely and made some personal observations as to what his life may be like and what kind of person he might be. Maybe I would have struck up a conversation and asked what it was that made him purchase or use the clear backpack.

The irony is that I do the same thing -- all we bloggers do -- to a certain extent. Just as Backpack Man has control over what he displays in his backpack, so do I have control over what I put into my little musings. We don't, however, control what other people think of these things -- what observations, conclusions or assumptions others make as they filter our words through their own life experience. It never would have occured to me to use a see-through backpack. I would always have felt uncomfortable with that level of openness to complete strangers, and even if I had bought one in some fit of...whimsy? would most likely sit unused in the back of a closet somewhere.

Yet here I sit, typing the words of this experience and my thoughts into the vast cloud of bits and bytes that I visualize lurking in some nebulous realm, until someone chooses to pull them into their computer and read them, making their own observations and drawing their own conclusions about me. I'm fairly certain that no one would conclude that I'm an axe murderer (which I'm not), and that's pretty much all I was worried about.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Question of the Bookcases: RESOLVED

The question burning in your minds is this, if I get my ESP vibes correctly here:

How did you end up with the bookcases when it seemed that all was lost?

Well, gentle readers, it is a tribute to what a well-placed complaint can do. Husband, irate at the sheer jerkiness of the guy in charge, wrote a letter to the president of the school and explained the situation rationally and eloquently. That letter caused a flurry of memos? emails? phone calls? to Jerk's boss, who emailed Husband and apologized. Then he offered the use of a school truck to take the bookcases to our house for us on a day of our choosing. While I was there last Thursday, Jerk, who actually was very nice in the end, showed up with a bunch of strapping young college guys, and they quickly and efficiently (and against all laws of physics) loaded 12 massive bookcases into their delivery truck and then drove it here, where they reversed the process into our driveway. I bought them pizza, as they'd missed lunch in the process, and I hope no bridges were burned and angry feelings were soothed all around (not by the pizza alone. That would have been too easy). My brother and dad helped out as much as they could, but had we done it alone we would probably still be there in that quiet, unused library, struggling. I can not stress enough how large these bookcases are. If you're ever in a college library, look at the bookcases. That's what I'm talking about.

That was the first action in our Refurbish the House Plan (RtHP).

The second action was to remove the carpet in the living room (soon to be the library/music room). The previous owners must have decided against the time it took to lay a few drop cloths while they painted the walls and ceilings because there are splotches and tracks of paint all over an otherwise perfectly gorgeous hardwood floor. What, was the pink (mauve) carpet so fashionable that it would last through the ages, a testament to good taste, never to be removed because of its sheer beauty?

"Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce!"

The obvious third action will involve removal of the paint from the floor. I'm sure you're on the edge of your seats about that. I'll let you know how it goes, maybe through a script for a musical comedy I will write about it. Picture it: Sanding! or, maybe, The Music of Large Equipment in Small Spaces. It's gonna be big.

Note: if you said the above quotation with an outrageous Aussie accent, you get 200 points. Click here to see the tasteless but terribly funny Monty Python sketch, "Bruces."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Arte y Pico

So here's the deal with the award. My friend, The Father of Five, was awarded the Arte y Pico, an award for blogs that are inspiring in some way to the award giver. There are certain rules associated with it, to wit:

"Created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creativity and their talents, and for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium. When you receive this award it is considered a “special honor.” Once you have received this award, you are to pass it on to 5 others. What a wonderful way to show some love and appreciation to your fellow bloggers! The rules for passing this honor on are: Pick 5 blogs that you would like to award this honor to. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award from Arte Y Pico."

That leaves me with the job of awarding the Arte y Pico to five other blogs. In no particular order, the Arte y Pico goes to...

Life According to Allyson I met Allyson at the park during the summer while our kids lunched on nutritionally deficient foodstuffs provided by the school district to all children under 18. When she barely knew me she lent me a maternity swimsuit because I couldn't find one, and the ones I did find sported indecently plunging necklines (as if pregnant women feel a real need to show off large swathes of chest to go with the huge bellies). I mentioned that I'd just started blogging and asked if she had a blog. I've been following hers ever since. I love reading her creative, funny, and family centered postings, along with the comments from her multitude of witty and supportive family and friends. She's moved now, so I won't see her at the park anymore, and I will have to read her blog to get the news on her family.

Vikings vs Pancakes I was idly looking at blogs from people's blogrolls, and thought this one had a very interesting name. Lo and behold, I found a real gem. As I read all the back-posts I couldn't stop laughing at David S.'s sincerely charming deadpan humor. One of my favorite posts is "Jesus" , and I also went and checked out (and read!) a book by Solzhenitsyn after reading some excerpts David S. shared. I don't know the author personally, but whenever I hum "Foux du Fafa" I can't help but think of him.

Our Life on Pause This one is written by the wife of the author of Vikings vs Pancakes, and, again, I don't know the author personally. What I like about Mrs. S.'s blog is that it's about the daily life of her and her family, well written and full of her observations. I feel a strong interest in this little family, probably because I can relate so well to their experiences, but I wouldn't want her to think I think we're best friends or anything because I read her blog. I'm not creepy like that (stalking just takes up so much time). I love the background for her blog, too.

Punishment: Earth This guy (alien?), Flibbet Cranklewisp, sounds like the dictionary's definition of "self-confidence." He's only written three posts but now I have to find out what happens to him and what his experiences on our world will entail. I hope this award will encourage him to write more, but I wonder if he'll send this award to anyone else? He seems to think he's God's gift to humankind...or some kind of people, anyway.

Out In The Country and Lovin' It This is written by one of my friends who moved away from the city and...well, I think the title says it all. She has mouth-watering photos of her garden produce, which always makes me want to run to the internet and start hunting for houses out there. She also has a son serving a mission in Canada, so it's fun to see how he's getting along in the very cold North. Plus, when the music starts, you feel just a little more country yourself.

Although I've used my five awards, I would like to mention two other blogs I like to read.

How To Bore Friends and Influence No One He's got skillz.

The Willy Happy Bunch Written by a friend, but password protected.

Now that that's done, I can go on with my own little essays on life. Thank you for writing your own blogs. While I don't believe we should live life vicariously through other people, reading others' thoughts and experiences is a way we can all be more tolerant and compassionate with all of our brothers and sisters on Earth. I love that every person is unique. How fun is that?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Birthday Greetings

This is quick, as it's been a long day and I'm at the very end of it. I will address the awards thing tomorrow when I have a little more time.

I just wanted to say Happy Birthday! to my brother, who is the fifth child of six in my family. He's been around off and on for a while as he has been getting through his schooling and working, so he's become a pretty regular fixture. That's a really good thing. He's a great guy. When he was little (he's ten years younger than I) he used to think I knew everything and was constantly asking me difficult questions. I was flattered but a little flustered with that kind of responsibility. He's always been inquisitive and intelligent. He's also great to have around when you want a good laugh.

The above photo shows 2nd Brother's (I have three) depth of awareness to social issues, and this photograph is a subtle condemnation of the way women are portrayed in the media. You can't see it? Look around you. It's everywhere. Speak out, like my brother. Photograph your anger.
Just kidding. As any idiot can tell, it's really about the evils of smoking.

Here's a few things about him: he plays classical guitar very well and it's an absolute pleasure to hear him play; he's very intelligent but not at all pretentious; he's great to have a good, solid conversation with and make jokes with at the same time; my kids love him to death because he's a loving uncle to them (although he does make them do their chores, which they find a little irritating but which I love); he's compassionate and kind; he's a great writer and I hope to someday read a book he's written and had published; he's close to the spirit and tries to do the things he's prompted by the spirit to do.

He's a great man. Today hasn't been the most fun birthday he's ever had, either. First of all, having your birthday on Sept. 11 is a little bit of a trial these days, though he came before the horrible events of another 9/11. Child Five asked if all the flags that were out were because of his uncle's birthday.

Secondly, he spent a large part of his day today fetching and carrying 12 very large bookcases with my dad and me. He and Husband also stuffed them (literally) into the garage, which now looks like a library run amok. Although my parents took him out to dinner we didn't have a party for him (that will come on Sunday when more of the family can be here) and there were no wild celebrations.

2nd Brother, I love you. You are a great example for me and my children. I wish you all the happiness in the world. I hope this next year will be the year you look back on and say it was one of the best of your life. Happy birthday.
And the real story of the picture is that he was in a long photo shoot and had to come up with new poses. Life is tough as a model journalist.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome back. WAAAAAH!

Yes, we're back from Nauvoo. The wedding was lovely. The bride was beautiful (I mean, really! She is gorgeous. And she's a great person, too. My brother-in-law is lucky!). The Nauvoo temple was a wonderful place to be. What a splendid building. And no kids with us. Heaven.

I did mention the kids were not with us, right? And then I said, "Heaven." Remember that part?

My parents watched the kids while we were gone, and they seemed to behave pretty well for them. The kids, I mean. Behaved. My mom did all the grandma things like making cookies and cooking fabulous dinners designed to make small children say "YAY!"

Then we came home.

Child Six, who apparently did just fine and went to bed with no problems while I was gone, didn't stop screaming for two days after the initial joy that I was back. Mainly it was because he didn't appreciate being weaned. Heck, had I not been so adamant about the weaning thing, I would have nursed him just for the relief of it, both to my ears and to my...well, 'nuf said. He's finally adjusting, poor thing. Boys are much harder to wean, I think. They really find a great deal more comfort in it than even baby girls.

The rest of the kids are fighting as per the norm (the norm is that they fight when they're bored or angry about something and want someone to take it out on, much like adults, really). Status quo. Today Child Four called Five a "peckerface," and I sat her down and informed her what that really meant. She was properly abashed and apologized. She really likes to experiment with words she hears at school, so she and I have had frequent discussions about the true meanings of what sound like funny names to call people. Later, she came to me in tears and admitted that she had again been angry with Five and had called him a "jerk." She felt really bad. I don't have nearly the problem with "jerk" that I do with "peckerface," but I can't let her go around calling everyone names. We had another talk.

Child Three gave me a kiss good-night and did a little chest thump with her fist and held out two fingers and her thumb. "Word," she said. Well, I don't worry about the whole socialization thing with them going to public school. It seems they're getting quite the education.

I have just started a cleanse for thirty days. It was absolutely necessary. Even on vacation I got no real rest. I would sleep and wake up more tired than when I went to bed, which has been going on for a while. Anemia, I think. When I forget to take my iron I start dragging around like a zombie on sleeping pills. I am just grateful I don't have a craving for human flesh.

I won an award for my blog! I will post more about this tomorrow. Also, remember those bookcases I was lamenting about not getting due to crappy service? More on those tomorrow, too. And it's good news!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fashion Flashback

Okay, you 80's children, this is the post you've been waiting for. Shanna and I had a long, involved discussion about fashion trends from our youth and I thought you'd appreciate a list of

Things You Used to Wear

1.We all pinned our jeans legs with safety pins so they were really skinny.

2. Then we either wore leggings over them or (in my town) two different colored neon socks (as if we were trying to prevent ticks from getting to us. Actually, where I came from, that wasn't a bad idea).

3. Big brooches at the necks of our button-down shirts.

4. Collars UP!

5. Vests

6. Shirts with suit jackets. The jacket's sleeves had to be rolled up to the forearms.

7. Big, chunky bead necklaces that you tied in a knot. Variation: swing the necklace around to hang down your back.

8. Your dad's button-down shirt with a huge belt at the hips.

9. Acid-washed jeans.

10. Ripped jeans. Do you remember your parents refusing to buy you jeans that were pre-ripped? "I'm not buying jeans for $25 that are already torn!"

11. Wearing boxers under your ripped jeans to keep from exposing your real underwear.

12. Wearing boxers as shorts (girls only).

13. Sweatshirts with a cut-off collar, worn inside out and backward over a tank top, Flashdance style.

14. Aquanet. 'Nuf said.

15. Sideways ponytails.

16. Huge bows and dangly stuff in your hair.

17. Speaking of dangly stuff: roach clips with feathers.

18. Earrings that didn't match. That went on forever.

19. Parachute pants!

20. A military buzz cut for guys, which was quickly replaced with the Mullet (or "hockey hair" if you lived in the North.).

21. Chinos

22. Bomber jackets made of thin material as well as leather. See: Ralph Maccio

23. Permed hair for boys and girls.

24. Asymmetrical hair styles for girls.

25. Neon mesh vests.

26. Fingerless lace gloves.

27. Skirts with leggings.

28. Drop-waist dresses (Laura Ashley) worn with combat boots.

29. Moon boots

30. Jean jackets with buttons on them.

31. Beaded safety pins on your shoelaces, preferable given to you by friends.

32. Bandannas

33. Combs in your back pocket. Variation: picks in your pocket or hair.

34. Black sunglasses with neon earpieces.

35. Friendship bracelets (only they didn't have the color connotations that they did in the early millenium)

36. Duffel vests, aka: sleeveless coats or body warmers. Think Back to the Future, when someone asks Marty McFly if he is a sailor because he's wearing one.

37. Stretch jeans

38. Fashion boots with tassels

If you think of any others, leave a comment. Doesn't this take you back to those days when big hair moved solidly in the wind?