Sunday, December 25, 2005

Gifts I might actually want (or, a moment of selfish wallowing)

Not a collector. Not a "thing" person. HATE to shop. Despise knicknacks of almost every sort.
But hey, here's a hint for the gift-buying universe that these are things that I would actually be extremely happy to get:

Gift cards to Walmart, Target, KMart, PayLess, Lands' End, Giant, Food Lion, Wawa, Staples or Sheetz. Honest, I swear, a piece of plastic that gives me free toilet paper and socks for the boys when they need them is a fabu gift.

Writer's Market 2006--or whatever year is most current.

Stuff I need for work and school, like lined paper, post-it notes, #2 pencils, steno notebooks and those big pink erasers.

A roll of postage stamps.

Photo splits--those 2-sided tape things for scrapbooking.

Strongly scented candles.

Cut flowers.

And my all-time favorite, having someone pay for the carpet shampooer dudes to come by.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tai Shaaaaaan!

We had tickets for the first day of the baby panda's debut. The car wouldn't start at first, but we made it. Not only is that panda the most adorable being on the planet, we made the Washington Post's web site--they interviewed us, and put a hidden microphone on Joe.

We also collected our share of panda freebies. If we had access to a Whole Foods Market, those macaroons would be a dietary staple.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ooh! Shiny nails!

After nearly 30 years of nail envy, this weekend I splurged on gel nails in honor of Hubby's office Christmas party. A very nice Vietnamese guy named Kenny hooked me up. I am tickled pink, can't stop looking at them, and Hubby even kinda likes them. However.

Ya know how women with those long dragon nails seem to go out of their way to protect them? Using the sides of their hands to fumble things to stay prissy, when a simple no-holds-barred, full-frontal use of the hands would get the job done faster and better? I learned, over the past 72 hours, that they are not being insufferable glamour hogs. No, these nails just make it impossible to use your hands the way God intended. The discomfort of the first 24 hours has passed, and I am learning how to function. But I still can't decide if I'm fabulous, or just crippled.

Snow day!

The public schools were closed today, and Hubby declared a snow day. The winter gear is taking over the living room, hot cocoa is flowing, and I even baked a batch of cookies and sent some next door before my neighbor could gift us this year. Son #3 made this charming snowman, too. All is right with the world.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Some people just make you love 'em

And today I drove about three and a half hours to see one of those people, for less time than I spent on the road. Do I regret it? Not for one second. When you find a Nancy, you're a lucky chick. Every time I see her, I feel like I've just been handed a giant gift.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The words I've waited 11 years to say

We have Thai takeout!

After 11 years in the Happy Boondocks, we finally have a Thai restaurant within a 10 minute drive of the house. We've been there several times in the past couple weeks. At some point, I assume the urge to hug the proprietor or break into song ("kit ngun, ja dai ngun, kit tong, ja dai tong") will fade. But not yet.

My lips are burning and life is complete.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

And I made it, mostly.

We are back from Thanksgiving. I kept to a "don't speak unless spoken to" policy, which worked well. When I saw my 16 year old nephew beating the tar out of his 9 year old brother, I didn't intervene. When my sister in law told us how 3 of her siblings are on the wagon together, I murmered platitudes about how good it is they have each other for support. When my brother in law joked that my kids would never learn about drugs & alcohol if we homeschool them through high school, I joked back that SOMEONE in the family would be able to give them the info...and no one seemed to mind.

Then again...

We had been shuttling my nephew around in our car. On the last day there, he noticed a lego figure on the floor and turned to Son #4:

"I'm going to have to ask you to turn out all your pockets."

While sweet, innocent S#4 did, I told the nephew that there were a LOT of ways to deal with people without treating them that way. And that we have legos, just like he does. That those legos might be ours, or might be his, and might even have fallen out of his own pocket.

Then, naturally, I told Son #4 that he never, under any circumstances, has to turn out his pockets to prove he is not a thief.

To give him credit, the nephew did seem to understand my point and take it to heart. But holy crap on a cracker, I could have spit nails.

So did I do ok? Please? I hope so.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving with the in-laws

This year, I will not mention that I saw the Salvadoran restaurant employees bringing the entire meal in the door, or my mother in law cramming the fully-cooked restaurant turkey into her microwave oven.

I will not ask my brother-in-law if he brought his girlfriend--the girlfriend his kids aren't supposed to know about.

I will not suggest that my nephew has a poorly chosen name, or that my other nephew had no choice but to turn out badly, considering what a crappy upbringing he received.

I will not contradict my mother in law when she talks about what a great mom she was to my husband.

I will not ask why they didn't make the unbelievable carrots.

I will not say "there's no way I am buying that for your daughter for Christmas", even if I am horrified and amazed at the request.

I will not think evil thoughts, because darn if those thoughts don't just leap out of my mouth.

For the first time in living memory, I will shut up and eat, or drink, or whatever it is I have to do to not say something truly horrendous. By all that is holy, I swear I will write it all down, instead, and publish it in a book and make godawful amounts of money off of it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

There's something to be said for NOT knowing where you stand

The other day, in a moment of motherly squishyheadedness, I looked up at my two oldest sons and realized how fast they're growing up. I tousled the hair of Son #1 and said, "You two are getting so big and old. Will you take care of me when I'm old?"

His response?

"Can't Son #2 do that?"

So I turned to Son #2, and told him of my question and his brother's response. Son #2 hugged and kissed me and said, "Sure, Mom, of course I'll take care of you. After all, I do everything else around this house, anyway."

Times like these, I have mixed feelings about raising a houseful of smartalecks.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


The Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales hitch team are in town for Veterans' Day weekend. After much pestering on my part, we took the boys to see them today. Gotta love the Clydesdales.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Furniture polish: the universal symbol

Last night, I was so hurt and angry because of The Shatstorm in my online group, I stayed up cleaning until 3am. Woke up for our biweekly salamander study timeslot and was at it again. When my friend came by to join us for the trip to Salamanderama, she took one look at the furniture polish in my hand and said:

"Oh, no, Christine, what happened?"

Furniture polish: the universal symbol of fury cleaning.

Today I bought my third pack of cigarettes, ever

Today I received some nasty emails from a group I'm in. The whole thing seemed so strange and vaguely accusatory and out of the blue. I was furious, couldn't stop thinking about it. Finally realized that the couple of times I've felt like this (way back in college, years ago), the Marlboro Man has come to the rescue. I smoked my single cigarette, and felt better. Talked to a couple of friends about it, and felt better. Came home and, like a fool, looked at my email again, to discover that the root of this whole mess is that some unnamed people have the suspicion that I am stealing from the group, and have been discussing this with other members of the group.

Now that I know that the whole thing is built on the idea that I am a thief, I am angry again. Thank God I didn't throw the pack away.

And THANK YOU, to the friends who reassured me tonight that I am not at fault here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


The best part of our Time Magazine subscription is laughing at the letters. The November 14th, 2005 edition has a classic. Scroll down to "A Quiet Revenge?",9171,1126726-3,00.html

The thing this intellectual giant doesn't realize is that avian flu is not spreading in the chicken factories of Maryland's Eastern Shore. It's not spreading among de-beaked hordes of chickens, crammed into tiny cages. It's spreading in countries where people live with their birds, and the birds get to hop around the yard, visited by migratory wild birds and young children who like to pet them. In other words, these chickens are living at least as comfortably as the chicken sellers themselves.

Congratulations, PETA, on convincing yet another person that thinking isn't as important as parroting the party line.

Haha, I said "parrot".

Monday, November 07, 2005

Who's dumber? The jury's still out...

Today Son #1 saw the dog out in the yard. He used that time-honored dog-fooling trick to get him back inside--he waved the leash and offered him a walk. Completely unaware that he's already outside, the dog always runs for the leash. We are superior. Our dog is clearly an idiot.

Then, the dog got out again. A second time, the leash trick got him back in the house.

And again, he appeared in the yard. He was successfullly leashed a third time. At this point, we finally thought to check the garage door. Which was, in fact, open.

my weekend off

Hubby took the sons camping for the weekend. I stayed home to read, watch trashy television, and organize the toys.

You'd think I could get more done in 48 hours, or even better that I could think of something fun to do out of the house, but somehow I have forgotten what people do when unencumbered by the whole maternal thing. I called Hubby in desperate, bored loneliness, halfway through their trip.

On Monday morning, I still have a heap of stuff to do. Now I understand how people can win the Lotto and 2 years later still be broke.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

You can always count on Howie for a laugh

I caught a bit of this on TV while wolfing down my pre-trick-or-treating dinner. Howard Dean clearly has been told that people like less government, so he will find a way to call the Dems the party that leaves people to live their lives without excess governmental interference. At least Chris Matthews noticed...

Monday, October 31, 2005

candy muggers!

This year my sons invited friends to trick-or-treat with us. Near the end of the evening, my oldest two split off, to walk the only girl in the group home. On the way, some kid ran up, knocked my 12-year-old to the ground, and stole his bag of candy.

My oldest son gave chase for a while, but realized just in time that if he caught the two kids, it would be two against one. They came home, but not before a girl who witnessed the whole thing offered my candyless son a bag of candy to make up for his losses.

As I type, my husband is visiting the home of the mugger, with the three kids. Holy crap on a cracker!

crazy math text word problem kids

Maybe if you're a math wiz this isn't a problem; every time I read a word problem with one of these crazy names, it shorts out my brain...
Julissa runs a marathon? Robill threw 42 rocks? Monifa raked leaves? Thank you, Saxon Math, for making Earth math accessible to the alien population.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

screening the media

Not even 8:00 a.m., and already I've done something that seems like a total waste of time. Since the boys are sick, they did not scamper out to the driveway to get to the newspaper comics before me. While #4 Son tossed his waffles on the living room couch and rug, and #3 Son made his breakfast cheeseburger, I lounged over the paper.

The Washington Times has a new comic, "Bliss", which the boys and I enjoyed yesterday. Today, however, it made me pitch the whole comics section. Man checks into a hotel, and the desk manager asks "Do you need extra keys, or are you going to stay in all night watching porn?"

Can I say it? I am tired of having to screen every damn piece of media that enters my house.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So what AM I supposed to make a priority, anyway?

Today we were still getting over a cold. 3 of the boys are still pretty wiped out, so we didn't do school. Instead, I told them to rest and eat chicken soup. I did some work, some housework, an interview, and shopped for Halloween costume junk. After they all went to bed, I made these awesome bloodshot eyeball devilled eggs for my husband's office Halloween luncheon tomorrow.

Cool, fun to make, and he'll be pleased, but at this point in the day I wonder...what did I do today that was worth doing? How much of it was a total waste of time?

Talked to a friend tonight about how she'll be shuttling kids to the local high school for the next 18 years, nonstop. Is that a waste of time? Or is it just an important part of being a mom, for her, right now? Is it possible for me to tell the difference in my own life? Or are the things that I think are important just getting in the way of my being a good mom & wife? Heck if I know.