Sunday, November 30, 2008

Box countdown and other uninteresting bits

I'm down to 78 total boxes. Woo Hoo! If you had any idea how painful and slow this unpacking has been, you'd be doing cartwheels for me. Of course, I still have that 78 to get through. Any guesses as to how long it'll take?

I've lost yet another toenail to the running gods. Interestingly, this one didn't turn black first. Instead it gave up the ghost (ie went white and died) without any warning. On the plus side, I've gotten really good at removing them myself and this one had the added bonus of complete family gross-out factor since I did it while watching a Christmas special with D. and the kids.

My in-laws are headed home and I'm in clean-up mode, especially since the next guest is arriving in the spare room tomorrow (my grandmother). I think I must not be a very hospitable person but I can only take other people for a very few days before I just want them to leave. Other people mess with my ingrained habits by requiring me to be sociable and all. And that's a serious strain on my good humor. Yes, I know, I have very little good humor to speak of so visitors are treading on thin ice the minute they arrive. I don't know whether to chalk it up to being a brat or to being introverted. The latter sounds ever so much nicer, doesn't it? Plus, then it's a personality trait I have no control over and somehow that makes it more palatable. At any rate, I've been holed-up in the basement alone ever since they left, ostensibly to unpack but really to escape all need for civility, even towards my own family.

Friday, November 28, 2008

No travelogue but...

Since we didn't travel for the holiday this year, I can't write up one of my famous travelogues, but apparently it's not the traveling that causes barfing, it's simply holidays. There's nothing quite like being up to your arms in soapy dirty dishes when your child comes to you, holding her hands out, and says, "I was coughing and I barfed on the stairs." Apparently she tried to catch it as it happened (won't she be a good mom someday? Already trying to catch the elusive vomit!) and it was dripping from her hands and arms. So I left the dishes to scrub the stairs. ::sigh:: I'm trying not to take personally the fact that she urped up my first-ever turkey dinner. After all, it couldn't possibly be my cooking, right?! On the plus side, hosting the holiday at our house meant that we actually used our good china for the first time. We were given 14 place settings of it as wedding presents and it took us 13 years to use them. Could be that we are officially grown-ups now with all the adult-type stuff going on here lately (get your mind out of the gutter!).

Thursday, November 27, 2008


The meal is still cooking, which means I haven't given anyone food poisoning yet. I got up this morning and headed out to the Turkey Trot (8K), which I ran in a slightly slow but reasonably respectable 9 minutes a mile dead on. When I parked for the race, I purposely chose to park in the Barnes and Noble paking lot because I have yet to get lost around books and I do tend to have directional issues. I hung around with my former Team in Training teammates and coaches for a while after the race and before heading back to the car, asked them to point me in the direction of the Bojangles where packet pick-up had been. I figured once I got there, I was good to go because B&N is almost within sight of it. Well, I miscalculated slightly. The entertaining thing is not that I got lost, because I am wont to do that all the time. It's that I am clearly magnetically attracted to bookstores because I ended up in Borders' parking lot instead of B&N. Had I had a wallet with me, I could have done some serious damage. LOL! I wandered around a bit and once I got away from the gravitational pull of Borders, I did manage to find B&N and head home to stuff the turkey and pop it in the oven. I didn't get a shower until all of the food was cooking so I told everyone that nothing should need salt given that I was seasoning it all with my sweat. Something tells me I won't be allowed to host Thanksgiving next year. Bwahahaha!

Oh, and for those who care about my poor feet, even this mere 5 miles left me with blisters on the bottom of both small toes. Clearly I am not designed to be on my feet for more than 6 seconds a day. I wonder if anyone would be interested in carrying around my sedan chair (as I balloon to a billion pounds from lack of exercise). Actually, I wonder where you can even find a sedan chair anymore.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The day so far...

We had a lovely breakfast with the E. family. The kids played hard and were very disappointed that they had to leave for the rest of their Thanksgiving journey (both because they get along great with the E. kids and because they knew that we would be cleaning like demons once they left). We unpacked a slew of boxes (actual count will have to wait until after the holiday, by which time I hope to have even more unpacked). We've organized the basement playroom almost entirely. My sis-in-law will have more than enough space to throw down a mattress and sleep in there. I went to pick-up my race packet and as I was pulling out, I discovered that my ratty children had been in the back of the van, where I have all the Christmas presents I have bought thus far stored. (They didn't get the back completely shut and the blanket I had carefully covered everything with was runkled around and no longer neatly tucked.) I went to packet pick-up in a bad mood only to discover that the t-shirt for this race is quite possibly the ugliest (grotesque actually comes to mind) I've ever gotten. Truly hideous. So many cute things to do with turkeys (it's the Turkey Trot) and they have to make the shirt creepy. I come home and have my sneaky children lie to me about getting into the trunk. I'm now contemplating returning all of their presents. Just think how much money we'll get back!!! I didn't scream at them. But I did work them like dogs, assigning chores right and left that they had no choice but to do for fear that that one fuss would be the one to send me over the edge. The laundry is in so everyone will have fresh sheets tonight when they get here. And now D. and I have moved all the book boxes that were in the bathroom out so that everyone can actually shower as well. Such service we supply. ::snort:: The K. bed and breakfast is the place to stay! Well, maybe only if you don't mind cold cereal for breakfast because I'm too pooped out from making sure there were all those other amenities like open beds and a cleared out bathroom to offer to make something.

Tomorrow ought to be a blast. Running a race and cooking my first ever Thanksgiving (I've avoided it successfully for 13 years but I guess the streak is over) dinner. With luck, fewer people will get salmonella than don't. And if a relaxing hospital stay is offered to those suffering, I might be first to sign-up. Salmonella's not the one that *always* kills you, is it?

I have to admit

that I actually bought pre-chopped celery and onion for my stuffing tomorrow. My excuse is that I am running in the Turkey Trot tomorrow morning and won't have time to do all the prep work needed to eat at a reasonable hour with the race too. In reality, I'm just lazy.

Unpacking redux

7 boxes down yesterday in a mere 3 hours (just imagine how long that means it's going to take me to finish! ::sigh::). And I've moved a lot of stuff into the storage area so that it's quite possible that C. will actually have floor space in which to lay out a mattress. Good thing since everyone descends on us today! My favorite unpacking discovery yesterday? A 3/4 deflated balloon. That joins the empty soda can, the wad of plastic store bags, and the light switch pull string on my list of all time most ridiculous things to have moved (this time). Maybe they were using the balloon as cushioning. Or maybe they were just dumb as a box o' rocks. Back to the salt mines this morning!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Unpacking update

I feel like I should have a box countdown on here (not that it would be updated very frequently!) so here's today's tally: 108 boxes left to unpack in the house. The vast majority of these are book boxes but they are stacked in inconvenient places so must be dealt with. At least they no longer block the bed in the guest bedroom. Now I just have to drag them out of the guest bathroom so my in-laws can shower while they are here. ::sigh:: Hopefully I can drop this number fairly significantly in the next week or so. Then again, I am a professional procrastinator and not even the thought of company has inspired me to get with the program and get it all unpacked.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas shopping

I don't know if we can afford the turkey for Thanksgiving now, but I'm almost finished with my Christmas shopping for the kids in the family (including the niece and nephew, one of whom also has a December birthday). Talk about a serious drain on the wallet! As the kids get older, they want smaller, more expensive stuff. The older two are getting one gift each from us given the price of what they've asked for while the smaller kiddo (also the only believer left in the crew) is getting about four for the same cost. Now I just have to think about the adults and stocking stuff for everyone. Any suggestions for stocking goodies for a 6th grade boy and a 1st grade boy gratefully accepted. Why is it that girls are so much easier on the stocking front? R. is getting some of the gawdiest, ugliest socks on the planet and she'll love them. The only thing I can think of for the boys that they might like as much as her socks would be mud and twigs and that would just get the stockings irreparably dirty so not an option.

Eclectic or schizophrenic?

I frequently check out other peoples' bookshelves for little clues into their psyches but I never really considered what mine might say about me. As I continue to load my books into LibraryThing, it turns out that my library says I am completely random. I've just finished adding all of my romance novels (yes, I admit to my formerly guilty pleasure--and the kitschier the cover, the happier they make me, as if I'm thumbing my nose at academia) but then I added the newest book we're going to read for bookclub and the combination/proximity of the bodice ripping of "Deception" and the staid history of "River of Doubt" about Theodore Roosevelt pretty much sums up my reading schizophrenia. In the interest of fairness, I am not thrilled about the latter but I think that's more a mood thing than anything. Winter tends to find me reading books that end happily. Everybody needs some joy in life when they have to be wearing twelve million layers just to stay warm. Plus, the kinds of books I read this time of year do tend to warm you up in their own special way. ;-) I rarely consider the strangeness of my collection but as I continue to add books (and I still have 70 book boxes to go at about 70 books per box), it's fascinating to see what a wild eclecticness I've managed to acquire.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A milestone of sorts

Last night the Y had one of its monthly middle school fun nights. Thinking that he'd probably say no, I asked W. if he'd like to go. He said yes and was terribly excited, after all, they have a very cool game room for kids 7 and up. While he was there, we planned to go out to dinner with some neighbors and then come home and watch football wih them. So it was time to go and my sweet guy comes downstairs to tell me he and D. are waiting for me when I notice that his hair is not only combed, but it has been wetted down so he's all dapper and ready to go. I asked him about it and he got embarrassed so I dropped it. We dropped R. and T. at the neighbors and picked them up. I asked their 8th grade daughter and her friend, who have been to one of these evenings if they thought W. would like it (they are at the bus stop with him). They seemed fairly doubtful, which made me a bit apprehensive but he was so gung-ho that I wasn't going to say anything. We took him to the Y and when we dropped him off (we weren't allowed to come in, thank-you very much because we are *so* embarrassing), T. teasingly told him not to pick up too many girls. I think he actually blushed. We grown-ups went on our way and had a nice evening. W. did call once to check-in. We actually think he was just tickled beyond tickled to have my cell phone with him and wanted an excuse to use it. D. eventually went and picked W. up and brought him back to the football gathering. I asked how it was and he was flying high. He'd had a fabulous time despite the fact that two of his "mortal enemies" from school were there. He also confided in a whisper that what Mrs. P. had teased him about had happened because there were two girls there who liked him. Telling me this made his absolutely giddy and pink with embarrassment (unlike his younger brother, the self-declared and matter-of-fact Casanova of M.R. Elementary School). I'm so pleased he enjoyed himself, had the courage to go without any friends, and got a good taste of growing up. In my head he's still the little peanut who liked to eat dog food, climbed into his sister's car seat to be with her, and charmed his preschool teachers with his enormous vocabulary. But I guess he's growing up. Of course, once he was back with us, he scooted off to play Legos with his little brother and sister. So he's still sort of half child and half pre-teen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

News flash

I ate so much candy, I don't feel good. I didn't think there was a limit to how much I could eat without ill effects. But there is, and it was a surprisingly small amount. I must be getting sick.

Random musings

Studies show that people are more likely to overeat following a swimming workout than any other kind of workout. Is that related to goldfish eating until they explode? No wonder I'm so at home in the water.

I like the smell of my new shampoo. It's a sort of lime-coconut thing. The bad news is that it makes me crave Thai food and I've even considered gnawing on my hair at non-mealtimes (as if it would be ok to gnaw on it at actual mealtimes).

I signed up for another race today. I feel more apprehension about it than I have about almost any race besides the very first one I ever ran. Why is that? I have nothing to prove to anyone, especially for an 8K.

I am completely swamped and uninspired to pick up my filthy, dirty house. And I suspect that it's vaguely Marie Antoinette-ish to think I should just hire someone else to clean it because that will help the economy. Apathy as political statement; no, I swear I'm not a part of the slacker generation.

I haven't even started Christmas shopping but I have bought my kids outfits for the Christmas picture. Of course, they won't let the clothing ever grace their bodies again after the picture has been taken, but somehow I still consider it money well spent. Then again, they owe me a picture in decent clothes that I like given the obnoxious cost of *each* of the gifts they have on their lists. Cell phones, laptops, iPods, Bakugon sets, a bike, etc. Have you ever seen such confident greed? They are going to be so disappointed on Christmas! (But at least I'll have gotten my picture long before then. )

I can't settle into a book right now, which is a truly tragic reflection of my state of mind. The number of books I've started and set aside on the bedside table just keeps growing and growing.

Why is the upstairs in my house freezing cold? It has its own thermostat, which is set at a reasonable temp and yet it is definitely bone-chillingly cold up there. Here's where I display that clearly less than stellar science ed-you-kay-shun again and confess to thinking that I remember heat was supposed to rise. Perhaps this only holds true in intro classes! But if the main floor is pleasantly toasty (we just discount the chilly basement altogether), why is the upstairs frost-bite territory?

How is it that I gained weight and a pair of mostly lycra running pants looks worse on the chub but still slides down my butt until I've worked up a sweat that plasters them to the aforementioned chub? I'm sure the sight of me reaching down and yanking up my drawers is a really pretty one for all drivers in the neighborhood. Apologies offered.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


A human pretzel I am not so perhaps yoga sounds like a strange place to find me. But after a tight and cold run this morning, I decided to join some neighbors at their beginner's yoga class. The legs can always use some stretching, right? And heaven knows that my balance could use a refresher course. I did take yoga well over a year ago so at least I knew what I was getting into. What I'd forgotten (or never learned) would fill a book though. First, I forgot that yoga is done barefoot. And I've previously established here just how gross my feet look right now (and probably for the foreseeable future since I haven't exactly given up running). Seems everyone else gets pedicures. Just what is the problem with looking at gnarled stumps, I ask you? ::wicked grin:: Then, because I didn't want to be the dork who showed up with things all wrong, I didn't take my own mat. Never doing that again! Do I want my nose touching a mat someone else's bare feet (no matter how pretty) have been touching? Most assuredly not!!! Just the thought of my face anywhere close to feet, strange feet, skeeves me out. So we poked through class and I think I did fairly well although I noticed that every time I raised my head out of proper alignment so I could check out what the instructor (or failing her, the woman in the front row who seemed to know what she was doing) was doing, we were instantly re-directed to turn our gaze somewhere where I couldn't see squat. Then we got the whole gentle conversation about yoga not being a competition so it didn't matter what our neighbor was doing. Shoot! I really was only trying to figure out what pose I was supposed to be in, but if I'm being honest, I guess I have to say that competition did cross my mind once or twice. Okay, maybe a lot more than that. So sue me. Anyway, finished up class and have to admit I was a tad disappointed that I wasn't too shaky and sweaty afterwards. Maybe I could do more than beginner. I so rock. Moving up after only one class. Oh wait, there's that competition thing again. And I had to chuckle over two things. One, after class, T., one of my neighbors, told me I have really good core strength. I exercised good self-restraint and didn't laugh. I don't even have a core. I just have a bowl of pudding. The second thing was imagining my mom doing her yoga class this summer in jeans and sneakers. Actually, this one has the potential to work me up to howling with laughter if I think about it too much. (Sorry to throw you under the bus mom.) Jeans and sneakers. ::giggle, snort:: So anyway, I'll probably go back, if for nothing else besides the final pose, which is really just hanging out on your back with nothing to think about besides breathing. We could all use some of that down time in our lives.

Running in the cold...

Is like a long, slow strip-tease. Yes, I realize I live in the south and it is perfectly balmy compared to my friends still in northern climes (you don't fool me though, we were running inside on the treadmill by this time last year. So there!). But it's cold for here and since I've tried to rapidly assimilate myself, I am calling it cold. And it was chilly (wind chill counts, you know) enough today to require long sleeves and long pants and a wind breaker to run in. I probably could have done with gloves too but I neglected to dig those out. But I digress; back to the strip-tease. As already stated, I started my run with long pants, long sleeves, and a windbreaker. My hands were carefully tucked up into my sleeves and the wrist openings firmly clutched closed in my frozen fingers, GPS signal for the watch be damned. The iPod earbuds kept me from inner ear cold aches so that was good. But as I ran, I started to warm up, which is, of course, at least one reason to run (I assume that the effort to warm me up is also somehow making my metabolism gear up--and don't even think of disabusing me of that notion!!!). At mile one, my hands let go of the sleeves and even poked out into the cold. Between mile one and two, I partially unzipped the windbreaker. Between three and four, I completely unzipped. Between five and six, had I not worried that I'd trip trying to wrestle the thing off and tie it around my waist, I would have taken it off completely. The neighbors were surely grateful that my run was only 5 miles today. Thursday I might go 6 miles. The mind boggles thinking of what would come off next!

Bleach and chemistry

I realize that I was an English major, not a chemistry major but my understanding of bleach is that it is supposed to leach the color (or in this case, stains) out of things. Am I mistaken in this understanding? I fail to see how the white cotton t-shirt that W. *must* wear as a part of his gym uniform could possibly go through a wash load with half a bottle of bleach (I don't like to leave things to chance) and yet still come out looking yellow and gross. Now I do realize that as a 6th grade boy, he has developed sweat glands that could possibly qualify him as a toxic waste dump, environmental hazard, or even a WMD if he swings those underarms around ill-advisedly. But (and it's a big one), the entire shirt is yellowed, not just under the arms. Okay, so he frequently (read always) forgets to put his gym uniform in the wash after wearing it so it goes days before I remember to insist it needs complete disinfection. But shouldn't a half bottle of bleach take at least some of the yellow away, even as it eats holes through the fibers? Apparently not.

And now thinking of it, I wonder where the back-up uniform I paid for is? W. claims he's never received it. Guess I have to track that down, right after I find the winter coat W. has also lost already.

Oh, and speaking of chemistry, R. was in her bathroom mixing up potions again, despite being grounded for the results last time. This time she was mixing water, Elmer's and body lotion with glitter. Again, the excuse for this was that she was bored. Given the smell of this latest potion and the fact that she was putting it all into the water squirt bottle for her hair, I am leaning towards thinking she was creating a shellac-type hair product and she's actually used it in her hair for dance. How else is she keeping those frizzy curls up in a slick bun without my help? A for ingenuity. F for creating yet another mess mom has to figure out how to chip off the bathroom sink. Maybe I should sic her on the bleach problem. She's either going to be a chemist when she grows up or she's going to be the unibomber. Growing up in our family, I know which one I think she's more likely to be but I'll let you all figure it out when they show the sketch of her on the news.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Behavioural conference

It wasn't as bad as it could have been. W.'s teachers all seem to genuinely like him. They think he is incredibly smart (one even tossed out the word brilliant but like the high and low scores in ice skating, I think we have to discount that). They truly want to help him overcome his freak-outs (no one was unkind enough to use the word tantrum, but that is what they are). But none of them know how; nor do we. Final analysis: he's incredibly hard on himself, is incapable of calming down in the moment, and should probably see a therapist. ::sigh:: As D. and I walked out, we realized that we are to blame for the troubles this child is having. When D. was young, if it didn't interest him, he put no effort into it. And I'm a perfectionist. Mush the two of us together and you get W. and with that genetic heritage it's no wonder he loses it completely. A therapist is going to have a field day with this boy-child of mine.

Oh, and for the record, I managed to make it through the conference without crying. If I can hit a milestone like that, surely anything is possible!

Today at the Y...

Warning! This post contains some completely disgusting stuff. Since you've been warned, you can't hold me responsible for mental anguish suffered as a result of your own overactive imagination.

Despite feeling weak as a kitten after yesterday's horrific migraine, I decided that I needed to go swim and do the short Ab Attack class I've sort of added to my Monday schedule semi-permanently. So after dawdling at the bus stop, I did indeed head off to the Y. Today I ended up in the slow lane, partly because when I first arrived, there was a guy who was clearly a *real* swimmer, and not out of shape and splashing along like me, doing an *actual* workout in the fast lane. I decided to leave him to it and popped into the slow lane. Because of the water jets in this lane, detritus tends to collect to the right of "t" in the middle of the lane instead of being washed into the gutters and run through the filters. Gross as this is, at least it's on the bottom and likely to stay there. It was the hair ball the size of a large rodent wafting through the water that almost did me in today. The fact that it was swimming along faster than I was, was also disheartening. But I got in a decent length workout, even if it was pitifully slow.

I went to change for the 10 minute ab class after my swim and discovered just how sadly out of shape I am. Now I realize that putting clothing of any sort on a wet body is tough, but when you have to struggle for a good two minutes (and I'm not exaggerating) in order to wrestle the sports bra on your body, it's a sign. Either you are the flabbiest, most spaghetti-armed, out of shape loser on the planet or the weight you've gained has all settled smack into your chest. Or both! And neither option is a pleasing one for me. Once I did finally wriggle myself into the workout clothes, I felt the need to reassert myself. So I pulled my grossest toenail off. See, I warned you it was a bad visual post! Since my feet were easily the most hideous at the Team in Training alumni gathering this weekend, I thought it was time to do something about it. And I don't like other people touching my feet so a real podiatrist was out. But after 45 minutes in the pool, the toenail was nice and pliable and it came off without any pain. Now I just have to figure out how to get rid of the black, callused growth that was under it.

Toenail-less, I headed to Ab Attack where was I was a total wuss and couldn't even do cruches for 4 minutes straight. Pitiful! And the number of bits that hurt were impressive. My wrist protested holding up my entire body weight during plank (never mind how it felt about hover). My one thigh muscle, which bothered me in the pool doing backstroke (how weird is that?), was still low-grade annoying. And my abs, well, it goes without saying that they were on strike. So all in all, a totally successful class. NOT!

Now I just have to channel the toenail ripper-off-er during the conference for W. instead of the wimpy, weepy, marshmallow mom. I suspect that if I blurt out, "I peeled off my own toenail," they will instantly understand from whence many (all?) of W.'s problems come.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


If you're a migraine sufferer, you already know the list of symptoms that accompany this most fun of all headaches. If you're not, they can (but don't have to) include light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, painful throbbing behind only one eye, heightened sense of smell, aversion to heat, nausea, and so on. If you're lucky like me, all of these hit you like a ton of bricks. But, if you're like me, you are too stupid to put life on hold and get rid of the migraine before you go about your day. Sometimes, if you do what I don't and climb back into bed, you can catch the migraine while minor amounts of drugs will take care of it and before it blows up in your head, completely debilitating you. Like I said, though, I don't tend to do this so I'm at the mercy of my own stupidity and have to pray hard that massive amounts of powerful drugs will knock out the now raging pounding going on in my head.

The good news? Massive amounts of drugs did work today although I still feel weak as a kitten from them and I'm headed back to bed in mere minutes. The bad news? I had a wing-ding of a time getting to this point because, well, today I decided that going to a movie with R. was a good plan, throbbing head be d@mned! Every choice I made snowballed into something worse and I could kick myself for it (or I could if I wasn't afraid that the throbbing would come back if I did).

We went to see Madagascar 2 with a neighbor and her daughters. I didn't drive myself. Good for the environment, very bad for the suffering. Thinking that perhaps some caffeine would help the head, I got a medium (but have you seen the size of a medium soda at the movies lately? Sheesh! The Titanic could sink in that cup) soda and a medium popcorn (also stupidly oversized). We went into the movie and settled in. My head felt marginally better when the lights went down but then the Dolby Surround sound or whatever system they use assaulted my ears. Now I generally think I am going deaf but when I have a migraine, I can hear a pin drop three states away so why I thought getting my eardrums root canaled at a theater was a good idea is beyond me. I am also severely light sensitive as well so even though I viewed the previews from behind closed eyelids (and I do mean viewed since they were so bright as to burn through my lids) my head started pounding harder. Concentrate on drinking soda and hope that caffeine infusion will calm head. Suck, suck, suck. Stomach is starting to roil. Better have some popcorn to absorb some of the extra acid. Chew, chew, chew. Suck, suck, suck. Completely miss major chunks of the movie while breathing slowly and deliberately and trying to convince tummy to stop the somersaults. Upon realizing that the nausea was rising and my efforts at mind over matter were failing miserably (you can recognize this stage easily because even swallowing your own spit makes your gag reflex kick-in), I excused myself down the row and sprinted to the bathroom. There is very little worse than throwing-up in a public bathroom. And popcorn hurts on the return trip. So I swabbed myself down (I was clammy and sweaty all at once) and returned to the movie. Now normally throwing up helps the migraine subside but no such luck today. It just made things hurt more. The light and sound from the movie pulsed brighter and echoed louder and I squirmed up and down in my seat trying to find a position that kept the continuing nausea at bay. Blessed relief when the movie was over. But then my neighbor wanted a refill on her popcorn and we stood by the refreshment stand for that. By then, my sense of smell had sharpened accutely and I started to sweat with the effort of not vomiting right there as the smell of stale popcorn and whatever that yellow brick of fat they pop it in is called swirled around me. We finally get outside the theater into the cold air and Q. says she's forgotten her jacket inside. I would have cried but that would have made my head pound harder, plus the cold air was helping miniscule amounts. We get in the car and since T. is from Texas, the cold is killing her and the heat is jacked way up in the car. We made it a whole 5 minutes before I had to beg her to turn it off. As a fellow migraine sufferer, she totally understood though (thank heaven) and even turned the air on for me. This is probably the only thing that kept me from asking her to pull off the road to be sick again (or maybe mind over matter works briefly in certain cases). But I had to bolt out of the car as soon as we got home, without even a thank-you for driving. I made it into the house, ran past D., who had just gotten home from a business trip, and promptly rid my stomach of the few remnants left in it. And actually, a book I just read described what happens physiologically when you throw-up (I know, I know, I read strange stuff) so I also cleared the upper portion of the small intestine too. Even so, I choked down a massive dose of meds on a wing and a prayer that it would stay down and headed to bed. I've been up for an hour now, ate a small dinner, and think I'll crawl back into my blessedly dark and quiet room now.

For those of you who don't get migraines, aren't you glad?!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I went to the pool again today since it's raining appallingly and my thigh muscles are still killing me from the bright idea I had to try some speed work during my short and painful run the other day. Plus I'm still committed to the whole cross-training idea too (give me at least another week to become less than enchanted). So I trot off to the pool in an completely inappropriate bathing suit since the only one I own not designed for sitting *beside* the pool and soaking up the sun was in the washing machine (only half way through its cycle). So we've established that I look stupid with a sun worshipper suit, cap and goggles on. I get to the pool and my inner swimming snob comes out. Water aerobics has commandeered most of the pool (no surprise) and there's one guy in the slow lane and one guy in the fast lane. They are both swimming like drunks weaving down a sidewalk and neither one is particularly fast. So I hop into the fast lane (I still have delusions of grandeur from my previous swimming career--plus the slow lane is right next to the wall and you get hit with the jets) and the guy moves over to make room for me. Luckily slow lane guy gets out and I slide over there instead so I can have a lane to myself. I poke my way through my own workout, noting as I do that fast lane guy is at least faster than my breast stroke, which if you knew me in my swimming days you'll know is still not a great recommendation for his being in the fast lane. But he doesn't hang around too much longer and when he leaves, I slide over into the fast lane (also an optimistic designation for me at this point) to avoid the wall jets. Being in the fast lane gives me a good view of the lower halves of all the older folks doing water aerobics. This is not a pretty sight (and lest you think I'm being mean, my own jiggles would make me a rather unappealing sight in the same situation) and I spend as much of my swim as possible breathing and looking toward the empty lane instead of at the wiggles and jiggles of the portly, lily white, over 60 crowd. The one time I forget exactly why I am looking the other direction, I look back towards the class and am horrified to see something glutinous and opaque making its way undulating and amoeba-like through the waves the class has generated. ::gag:: That, combined with the 5 100 IM's I barely managed to pull off convinced me that swimming was over for the day. I will note that I did a total of 1500 yards and didn't cheat even one stroke on the butterfly legs of the IM's. And finally, thank the good heaven for chlorine because I don't know what the thing in the water was, nor do I want to know. As long as it wasn't carrying some communicable disease, and thanks to the chlorine it most likely wasn't, I might even find my way back to the pool again--but not for a few days so the filters can deal with whatever it was!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Personal hygiene

I fear puberty. But I think this new obsession with personal hygiene is a good thing and probably attributable to that same scary freight train. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the oldest boy child came downstairs this morning and asked if he could take a morning shower. This is the same child who never throws his nasty gym uniform in the wash. And the child who, less than a month ago, whined about being forced to shower before bed after playing outside all afternoon. And the same child who seemed to have a serious allergy to his comb. And the same child who had to be badgered to brush his teeth. Hallelujah! There's hope. (And hopefully this means there's hope for them all eventually!!!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bad idea

Never try to shut the rear of a minivan when your 11 year old has put his bike in there. Handlebars and rear windshields do not go together well. And glass shatters in spectacular patterns. ::sigh::

Duplicate titles

Do publishers rename books from country to country simply to get suckers like me to buy more than one copy of the same book? If so, it's working. ::grumble, grumble:: While LibraryThing is very cool (I'm whitreidtan over there) and I am having fun cataloging my library, it also notes when you have duplicates of a book, even if the title is misleadingly different. This is of no concern for books like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland since I have one lovely leather edition that my dad gave to me when I was small but also a paperback version that also contains Through the Looking Glass. So in my own head, these are two different books. But while entering books today (and I even broke down and got the bar code scanner--too fun), I ran across a book I have in British and American editions. The former is called Lions and Liquorice while the latter is Vanity and Vexation. Color me grumpy that they are the same book. And I was *always* guaranteed to buy both because they are re-workings of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, my biggest book downfall. Which one to let go? Which one? I like the American cover better but the British one is just somehow inherently cooler (as well as original). Decisions...


Just in case they find my sad, lifeless body in a slump by the fridge and can't determine the cause of death, someone step in and tell them it was because of leftovers. Yes, as the mom, I am obligated to finish (or at least try) the leftovers of all the meals I've made that no one else will touch. But if my children don't start eating more than a bite or two of each thing, I'm going to have to have more lunches like today's, which included a chicken soup that was originally very good (today it smelled a little off) and tomatoes growing their own penicillin (fancy knife-work got rid of the most egregious mold). Food experts will be pleased to note that I did throw the remainder of the soup away after my lunch was over because it would likely have been able to animate itself and cook me a whole new lunch all on its own by tomorrow. And the worst tomatoes are gone so unless the three remaining go rogue by tomorrow, I'm done with my weekly mold quota. Thank heavens! When in my kitchen and faced with leftovers, you have to trust in antibodies because expiration dates are for sissies. :-)

Small fry journals

Every mom should be the subject of he children's school journal at least once over the years they are required to keep one, right? I remember the sole time I made an appearance in W.'s. It was when he was in kindergarten right after a particularly bad weekend. His entry said "I don't like it when my mom yells." It was, of course, not spelled this well, but still, the sentiment just warms the little cockles of your heart, doesn't it? R. must not have found me terribly objectionable since I can't recall her writing about me in her school journal. Hers tended to be more about her friends and her weekend excursions than about my temper (although I have seen "I hate her" recently written in her diary after I punish her for some misdemeanor or other). Yes, I read her diary. And I have no qualms about it either. So there! And now I've made my debut in the youngest's school journal as well. October's came home on Monday and in reading through it this morning, I see T. wrote of me: "my mom Did a vare long ras She neid to tak a icE Bath." Interesting to see what all makes an impression on kids. W. thinks (thought) I'm a yeller. (I am.) R. thinks I'm hateful. (I don't think I am but what do I know?) And T. will always remember me sitting in a bathtub full of ice water. (Odd but less psychologically damaging than the older two's impressions, I suspect.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

October determination list

Yes, I am nerdy enough to make a monthly determination list of all the books I want to read each month. I pretty much never accomplish the whole thing but I do like trying. Last month I listed 12 books I wanted to read over the month. I read 10 of them and an additional 6 that weren't on my list. Of the two I didn't read, I did start one of them (War and Peace) so it's still in progress and is on the November list (here's hoping I finish it this month). The other one is still buried in one of the book boxes but I do hope to find it and read it this month too--or it gets punted to December's list and being the anal-retentive that I am, I hate having books span more than two months of my lists. You're probably laughing at my quirky eccentricity already (and that is the official way I refer to it because freakish OCDness seems so very negative) but in case anyone is interested, here's the final October determination list:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (still in progress)
Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore
Strange Encounters by Daniel Botkin
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
Grendel by John Gardner (didn't read--didn't even start)
A Not Entirely Benign Procedure by Perri Klass
Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
All the Wrong Men and One Perfect Boy by Spike Gillespie
All This Belongs to Me by Ad Hudler
Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

additionally read:
A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters by Julian Barnes
Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway
Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
Honku by Aaron Naparstek
Five Men Who Broke My Heart by Susan Shapiro
Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella

So far November is not going all that swimmingly as per the list. There are 11 titles. I've finished 2. I've read 4 books not on the list and I'm in the middle (or beginning) of 4 more that are on the list but two of them are beasts: War and Peace leftover from last month and The Far Pavilions, which was idiotically tacked onto November when I optimistically thought I'd be finished with W&P (which I'm not terribly engaged by yet so not reaching for at every moment). Oh, and in addition to reading all these books, I'm still working on unpacking the basement and thinking about running a race on Thanksgiving. Overschedule myself? Who me?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Adventures in underwear

Getting new bedroom furniture meant that I had to finally excavate the drawers in the old dresser before hauling it to the garage for Good Will. This turned out to be fairly entertaining, especially in the ole underwear drawer. For starters, I have more nylons and such than any one person should ever have (and some of them have never been opened). They must all be left over from high school when my mom was in charge of my dressed-up self because I *never* wear them now, even at my dressiest. I flat out refuse. Then I came across the mountain ranges of underwear that I had long forgotten. I found an enormous maternity pair, which we briefly considered running up the flag pole and using as a flag. When I stopped laughing and waving them about, they went into the picth pile. Also finding their way into the pitch pile were the too numerous to count pairs with elastic that had died a grisly death. You know it's time to retire the undies when you pull at the waist and hear the crunching sound of oomphless elastic and notice that the waist no longer goes back to its original size. Shame on some of those pairs because they were cute. Then again, they were from high school, the last time I myself was cute. I found about 5 pairs of brand new underwear, tags still on them, as well. I vaguely remember buying them btu have no recollection of why I didn't wear them. The good news is that these will save me from having to buy stuff to wear to the gym so I'm presentable in the locker room. The funniest find of all was the bright red, lace thong that was a gag gift from my college roommate. D. wanted me to save that one, despite the fact that I don't think I've ever worn it (just trying it on made me wiggle around like I had a permanent wedgie) so since the elastic was still decent--which begs the question of how old the stuff with bad elastic was--I kept it. But I promise to never wear it with the uncomfortably low-rise jeans I seem to have bought by mistake. How's that for a mental picture you didn't need?!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Do they know I heard them?

T. started crying in the next room. W. said, "Don't cry. Don't cry. I didn't do it one purpose." R. chimed in with, "Don't cry. I'll play with you if you don't cry." Then she followed it with an explanation of why they'd get in trouble and be grounded if he cries and tells. Perhaps I should go and see what is going on now that R. is threatening to mess up T.'s room if he tells me. Hmmmmm. Methinks it is rough (and unfair) being the youngest in this family!

New furniture

Is there anything more satisfying than changing the entire way a room looks? After 13 years of marriage, we finally bought ourselves a bedroom suite. It's not all in the room yet because we are still moving the old stuff out but I am tickled in ways I can't even explain. The room looks totally different (not that that's a surprise considering we were still working off of the furniture I used growing up, hand me downs from my in-laws, and a few pieces of Wal-Mart specials). A former total hodge-podge now looks like grown-ups live in our room. Sure hope we don't have to live up to the new look! (Especially since I'm being a baby about the nasty paper cut I got cutting open the cardboard protecting all the lovely furniture.)

My kid? But he's just a baby!

I went to the monthly Bunko game the other night and ran smack up against more proof that my children are aging at a rapid pace. I saw a neighbor who I hadn't seen since we moved in. She and her 7th grade daughter (who is my height) and several of her daughter's friends (also all tall) all came over to bring us a sinfully delicious chocolate cake to welcome us to the neighborhood. We were talking about that and I mentioned how fabulous the cake was, not having remembered the horde of girls on my doorstep. She, however, was laughing about W. coming to the door, seeing the gaggle of girls and backing away calling for me. Apparently, when they all went back to her house, one of the girls mentioned W. and said, "He's cute!" When C. told me this, my first thought was, of course he's cute. We've always known he's a beautiful child. Then I realized this wasn't a mom kind of comment but a girl only a year older than he is kind of comment. Suddenly my baby is old enough to considered cute. (She did also say he needed to grow an inch, but...) If he's getting old, I'm getting old. And I. Will. Not. Allow. This! Is it bad to be glad he's immature and innocent and probably years from this?

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Soccer season is over! Can you hear the hallelujah chorus singing? Onwards to basketball. ::sigh::

Friday, November 7, 2008

Home again, home again

R. is home from her three day long field trip to Williamsburg, VA. I did the same field trip when I was in 7th grade so she has been looking forward to it and gloating that she got to do it so much younger than I did. I knew she'd have a good time although she was alternately thrilled and apprehensive about going without me (given my aversion to other people's children for extended periods of time, I didn't choose to chaperone).

So on Wed. morning at an appallingly early hour, I schlepped her and her things to the school. Somehow I was the only mom there still in her pj's (and some of them had hair and make-up done--I may never fit in here!!!). Luckily R. loves me even though I'm not a fashion plate, although I fully expect this to become a bone of contention as she heads into her teens in the next few years. I drugged her up with Dramamine (she's the orignial car-sick kid) and sent her on her way. After that, she was on her own. Apparently she had nightmares after the "haunted" Williamsburg tour (no surprise to me) and spent the night coughing. She enjoyed walking around the following day and said the woodworking was the most interesting. But her souvenir from the trip? Candy and a book. Now I know she's my kid! She was sweet enough to get her brothers each some candy and some Ghiradelli chocolate for me (she must have heard me talk about the Ghiradelli mile in the marathon). Sweet kid. :-) But that night she spent the night alternating between coughing and vomitting. How badly do I feel for her chaperone?! I wasn't called about it though so when I saw her get off the bus smiling tonight, I asked about the pillowcase-less pillow. Her answer was that it was in her bag. I was so focused on making sure she didn't get sick on the return trip (her chaperone had contraband Dramamine for her) that it never occurred to me to question why the pillowcase was in her bag and not on her pillow. Yup, she barfed all over it. Ironically, when the buses were delayed getting home tonight, I was crossing fingers that it wasn't because R. had been sick, causing everyone to have to stop while she was swabbed down. I can't decide if what happened is better or worse. I'd say only three girls know she was throwing up all night but if I remember girls that age, the entire grade knew about it within moments of them meeting up for breakfast the next morning.

I didn't go on the trip and yet I still have to wash nasty puke-y stuff. Ain't parenthood grand?! But I'm glad Barfing Betty is home and glad she feels fine now. Now to get flowers or something to apologize to K. for having to deal with my sick kid all night.

Things I learned

Not having graced a gym or pool for so very long, I had to re-learn some of the things I used to know (and found out a truth about my underwear).

1. If you are not living a sheltered life and participating on a team that has assigned lockers, you will need to bring your own toiletries and things like a brush. Since I've never had to cart this stuff with me, being spoiled and having my own locker full of it, this meant I had nothing necessary yesterday.

2. Foaming body soap from the shower dispenser might be fine on the body, but it leaves quite a bit to be desired in the hair. Shampoo is clearly one of those "bring 'em yourself toiletries."

3. Your face will clench up and feel all tight after a long time in the pool. While this is ostensibly a good thing for wrinkle elimination, it reminded me that I am old and leaching all moisture from my face is a bad thing in the long term. (Moisturizer is another of those toiletries.)

4. People you don't know persist in talking to you while you are changing in the locker room. Maybe it's just me, but unless I'm flashing back to 15 years ago when I was surrounded by friends in the locker room, I have no desire to linger there and even less desire to chat with perfect strangers while standing in my underwear. This brings me to my final point.

5. If people other than my husband are going to be seeing my underwear, it's probably time to retire the tatty stuff I've been wearing since college. Yes, exercise-inspired underwear shopping. Not my idea of fun but the alternative is to continue to wear the holey, dingy bits I already have and that thought is almost enough to keep me from exercising entirely!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

W. and grades update

My children have been testing me lately to see if I am serious about the consequences I've determined should accompany any and all of their poor choices. Trash the basement? No tv or computer for a month. Check! Eat candy all over the house and stash wrappers to hide evidence? All halloween candy gets donated to the local hopital's children's wing. Check! Don't pull up your grades? Be confined to doing homework of mom's choosing (home-schooling on steroids since he'd also still have to attend school in addition to my lessons). Thank the good heavens that I haven't been tested on this one. I am happy (well, happiness is relative since I know W. is far smarter than his grades show and that means he spent the first 3/4 of the grading period not working to his potential) to say that he's pulled all grades to C and above as of the end of October. With any luck, one or two of those might morph into A's and B's by the time all quarter grades are recorded. So I don't have to make him the world's most miserable 6th grader ever although he is going to be annoyed to find that I'm still going to have a conference with his teaching team to suggest that they don't cut him any slack and let them know my philosophy on my children's schooling (ie: he needs to learn accountability without us lowering expectations given his wily but under-worked brain).

Cross-training or new and improved ways to kick your own butt

I'm sitting here with jello-y arms, smelling a familiar scent on my skin. No, it's not the scent of sweat, with which I have indeed become very intimate these past months, it's the scent of chlorine oozing from my pores. This is what I smelled like constantly through 15 years of competitive swimming. But I have treated pools and swimming as if they had some communicable disease for the past 15 years. Nice symmetry there, eh? 15 years of daily swimming and 15 years of avoidance (with only minor one day here or there lapses). Today, though, I made the commitment to getting back in the water. I not only need to give my decrepit joints a break, but I realized that my running felt significantly better when I was cross-training, as opposed to only running. So, in the spirit of overkill, I'm considering joining the Y's master's program (they only practice twice a week for an hour) to make sure I have directed practices. I'm looking to see which spinning class I can join since I thoroughly enjoyed that when I did it last year. And I've joined a new running group that meets twice a week to keep me in that as well since I think I mostly committed to a half marathon in a couple of months, suggested I'd run another full marathon next year sometime, and said I'd look into yet another half marathon next spring. Loads of running, master's swimming, and a spinning class. Anyone else smell a triathlon coming on? Honest to goodness, I should probably have my head examined, especially given how sluggish and sloppy I felt during today's 1100 yards. It should all keep me busy though and it's cheaper than happy pills, right?!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reading list

This is probably of no interest to anyone but me but in cataloging my books on LibraryThing, I have found some interesting bits tucked into old books. Just today I found several receipts, my dad's business card, W.'s kindergarten teacher's card, and most fascinating of all: the recommended summer reading lists from my high school years. I still haven't read some of the books on them and they were compiled in 86 and 87! The list for 9th and 10th grade suggests:

Act One by Moss Hart
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Marie Remarque
All the President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
All Things Great and Small by James Herriot
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie Jr.
Blackberry Winter by Margaret Mead
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
Burr by Gore Vidal
Canoeing With the Cree by Eric Sevareid
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Children of Sanchez by Oscar Lewis
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Forest People by Colin Turnbull
Ginats in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Phillip Hallie
Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
1984 by George Orwell
Nobody Ever Died of Old Age by Sharon Curtin
The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler
Turning Points by Ellen Goodman
The Odyssey by Homer
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
Rabbit Run by John Updike
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Small Is Beautiful: Economies as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
The Source by James Michener
A Time to Die by Tom Wicker
Walden II by B.F. Skinner
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner
Zelda by Nancy Milford
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

Shoo-eee. Quite the heavy-weight list there. I won't bore my three readers with listing the 11th and 12th grade list since it is longer but it is every bit as impressive and loaded with great American thinkers/writers from the end of the last century as this list. I think I used to be smarter and better read than I am now that the old memory has failed me and the brain has melted into a fluff-reading pile of marshmallow.

Election rant

I came home from voting to discover that the dog had peed on the couch. As I mentioned elsewhere, I suspect that she was voting that I stay home more. After all, my job description is stay-at-home mom. Then again, why should I be any more faithful to my job than our elected officials have been to their jobs for the past 18 (or more) months? I mean, we elected them to do their jobs, not to campaign, but I see very little evidence of them having done much beyond campaigning these past long, very long, months. And I have to wonder if we are the only country who cheerfully and enthusiastically (well, these adverbs don't describe me, practically ever, but you get the point) go to the polls to elect or re-elect folks who have shamefully neglected the jobs they have been paid for and not done almost as frequently, and in some cases more frequently, than they have performed their jobs. Yes, I am bitter but I'm not really a nut job. I just wonder what other job in the world allows and often rewards this sort of neglect. I'd say I'd like a job like that but really, I have more integrity than that and I highly suspect that's one of the largest problems in American politics these days.

On a lighter note, I not only waited in line for an hour to cast a vote for the slightly lesser evil of two job-slacking choices but I managed to have to deal with a woman who was so old she'd forgotten alphabetical order since she spent an obscene amount of time looking for my registration on a page on which my name couldn't possibly be listed unless it was transliterated into Cyrillic or some other alphabet not currently in use here in the good ole US of A. Once she did indeed locate me (and the fact that *zero* bits of identification are required to vote in NC is more than a little scary) and I moved into yet another line--good thing I took War and Peace with me to read while killing time--I got to be the one who caused the discovery of the sad demise of one of the voting machines. I did eventually get moved to a working machine, voted, and headed home. So I think the only thing I really accomplished today was reading several chapters further in W&P. Sad when elections consistently only leave a cynical and bitter taste in your mouth.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Rescue Book Challenge

As a true book addict, I have books in my tbr (that's "to be read" for those of you not up on bookish, web inspired abbreviations) pile that have been languishing there since the dawn of time. Okay, maybe not that long but certainly since I was in college, which was only just moments past the dawn of time--just ask my kids--and it's about time I managed to read these books or admit defeat (Never!). So when I stumbled across this reading challenge: The Rescue Book Challenge , I couldn't resist. As per the rules, I will be challenging myself to read books that never seem to make it to the top of the stack. I'm going for 4 books during the coming year. I figure that's hard enough given how many years I've been avoiding these already. In any case, my options will be taken from this list:

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Eve's Ransom by George Gissing
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Billy Budd and Other Tales by Herman Melville
Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon
The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
Eyestone by D.R. MacDonald
Stories of the Old South edited by Ben Forkner and Patrick Samway
Beloved-Infidel by Sheilah Graham
The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
Equal Affections by David Leavitt
A Season in the West by Piers Paul Read
The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker
Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
New Stories From the South edited by Shannon Ravenel

If you have any suggestions about which books on this list I should definitely try to read over the coming year, feel free to weigh-in with your opinion.

Late, lamented privacy

Do children have radar for when parents are shedding clothes? (And this refers to both salacious-type moments but also the harmless-in-the-shower moments.)

Corollary to that, why does the dog think that the moment I sit on the toilet is the ideal moment for me to play catch with her?

Privacy, a thing of the past.

Parent-teacher conferences

Is it only the formerly good students who feel great trepidation when having to attend parent-teacher conferences for their children? Or is it just me? I always feel as if I'm being called on the carpet for some wrong-doing even when the bulk (or truly even all) of the conference is positive and my children are lauded. Perhaps the fact that I know (and acknowledge) their short-comings better than anyone is the sticking point. But I inevitably feel anxious about this rite of fall. This year wasn't helped by the fact that R. never did give me the information about when my conference with her teacher was scheduled. Apparently it was *last* Tuesday. Oops! So now not only did I have to worry about R.'s inability to spell her way out of a paperbag and her newly acquired habit of neglecting to write down important homework (who needs to learn vocabulary words, anyway?) but I had to go in groveling over the missed appointment and wondering if I have any credibility left with the teacher. So now I'm the mom who sends back xerox sheets with misspellings clearly noted but can't be bothered to make an appointment set three weeks prior. Do I sound like the kind of parent you want in your classroom or what?! Luckily R.'s teacher is forgiving, seems to like R. a lot (called her a model student), and has a sense of humor. But I'm still mortified.

From that debacle, I headed to T.'s classroom. Before the conference even started, the assistant told me that T. is a congenial child who is polite and that she enjoys working with him (she reads with him). The child who is destined to inherit the world strikes again! Of course, then I had the actual conference with his teacher, who is very nice but quite strict and very by the book. She asked where he went to school last year as his handwriting isn't up to par like the children who had kindy here. I still maintain that the fact that he's a 6 year old boy contributes to the craptacular writing at least as much as the lack of emphasis on neatness last year. And she forewarned me that it won't be too long before the children will be graded on spelling. Given his genetics, I expect this to be a long and painful process. I'd guess that her mentioning it means she already knows this to be the case as well. But generally he's doing well and is where he should be (with the exception of his handwriting).

So all that pre-conference angst on my part for no apparent reason. I probably should have saved it *all* for the conference I need to schedule with the team of teachers who have to deal with W. on a daily basis! Talk about anxiety-inspiring!!!

In which the author discovers that chocolate is bad

My sneaky children were not content to pilfer candy from the gigantic bowl on the counter in the kitchen. Oh no, they had to smuggle some of it up to their room, completely forgetting that the dog has a marvelously wonderful sense of smell coupled with no sense of self-preservation since her wonderful people tend to keep her safe from all harm. Result: all Halloween candy is being bagged up and given to the dance studio where there is a child doing a community service project (donating candy to a local hospital's children's wing). I can't risk yet another doggie projectile vomiting episode in my bedroom. Good thing the comforter is already ruined and the carpet came clean or I'd be skinning my children. As it is, I already contemplated making them sit at the kitchen table and eat candy until *they* barfed but I came to my senses before I commited myself to cleaning yet more yuck (which was of greater concern than the fact that forcing them to eat candy ad nauseum--literally--is probably child abuse).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or treating

Trick or treating is for the young and not tired (ie not me). And adult trick or treating after kid trick or treating is exhausting! Plus I'd prefer the candy to pretending I'm in college again. Damn I'm old! (And still tired.)

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