Sunday, December 30, 2007

More Cowbell

Rock Band is very popular here. Yesterday there was a group: As I expected, Ernest was asked to sing, Frank played guitar, his friend (I'll call him Unicycle because he rides one) drummed. Ernest sounded really good! My favorite was "Don't Fear the Reaper." The singer gets to do the cowbell by tapping on the mike.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shaken, not Stirred

Here's a way to get your anti-oxidants...

Oprah's Pomegranate Martini

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
2 oz Absolut Citron vodka
1 oz Cointreau
cup of ice

Shake ingredients in a shaker and pour in chilled Martini glasses.

Tasty, even when shaken in Tupperware and served in a wine glass.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Rock Band is in the Bulding

Frank is setting up his Rock Band video game. I am still asking, "Why did you need this game?," because he and Ernest can play the real instruments. I think Ernest will be forced to sing, because he doesn't want to set up the drums. Apparently there is no bass. Those evil bassophobic game developers.

We're going to leave the room for a while while they get organized.

P.S. Later... drums have been set up. They both like the drums. Now we hear a constant tap tap tap.

Pie

I forgot to post this earlier, but it is important.

Ernest made the pumpkin pie himself. Completely by himself. (At Thanksgiving he had a LITTLE help.) I am quite impressed. Kudos to Ernest.

Ninjas Strike Again!

It's beginning to look (a little) like Christmas

After watching A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and a Charlie Brown Christmas, I feel a little more holiday-like. Today I'm going to take a nap, then start cooking:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

That damn man-cold!

So I've had "it", or several "its" since November 30. I like to say that Ozzy made me sick. Cold, cough, laryngytis, and now it feels like it's starting all over again, and I STILL can't talk. AAAAaaarrrrrggggghhhh! I have two vocal ranges: a whisper or a really bass voice which scares both my own children and the ones at school!


I barely got Christmas pulled together for my own family. No cards or letters, they will wait till New Years.


We took a trip to the big town today, most importantly to see Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp Johnny Depp Johnny Depp) and also to buy a ham.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Party

Here we are, all dolled up for the Handy Husband's Christmas party last night.

His company spares no expense and hosts a really good Christmas party. Good food: "eclectic California cuisine." Good door prizes: many gift certificates, several iPods, and 2 iPhones. (The HH won an iPod shuffle and 50 free songs.) Good alcohol: Lots of it. Greeters at the door handed out margaritas and mojitos. And there were 2 bars. Good band: The HH made me promise I wouldn't make him dance, but two of his friends nagged shamed him into it, so he danced with me once. My cute shoes weren't too good for dancing (wedgies with non-skid soles). But they looked good.




Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thank You, Gentle Knight

My Handy Husband went on a quest today, into the dark soulless void of Costco, to acquire a gift for one of our spawn. He was successful in his hunt and brought the gift home, secretly sequestering it in his private vault. I was in another part of our castle, and when I came into our great hall I found a lovely offering from my knight in shining armor:

Unsolicited, Unhinted-For Flowers!!!

And so we must have a little ZepTribute here... to my sweet knight, just reverse the gender:

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.

When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

Kind woman, I give you my all,

Kind woman, nothing more.

Little drops of rain whisper of the pain,

tears of loves lost in the days gone by.

My love is strong, with you there is no wrong,

together we shall go until we die. My, my, my.
An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look... see.
And so today, my world it smiles,
your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
Thanks to you it will be done,
for you to me are the only one.

Happiness, no more be sad, happiness....I'm glad.

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.

When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

Centerpiece, number 2

"The Centerpiece" may become a new feature on my blog.

Drumsticks appeared on the table this week, courtesy of Frank and stage band. Then Ernest wanted more cowbell. So I told him where to find one.


Our cowbell does not sound as good as this one...

By the way, Blue Oyster Cult was my first rock concert! With the Handy Husband, who was the Handy Boyfriend back then. This was years before Don't Fear the Reaper.

Man Cold Update

(I had the "woman cold" since the 30th). I caught the "man cold" on the 4th. Today is the 12th and I still have it. The cough, the loss of voice. I sound "like a man, bay-bee!"

Frank has the cough. His voice is already so deep, it hasn't affected it any. Ernest is OK. The Handy Husband thinks he is getting it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Man Cold

For those of us suffering from colds this week.... Here's a man cold.



Actually, my husband's been really sympathetic today. But this is still funny. I need to netflix this show: Man Stroke Woman from the BBC.

P.S. days later... We watched the DVD and it was great!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Frequently Mistaken For...

CAT--One hell of a nice animal, frequently mistaken for a meatloaf. - B. Kliban




Here's our version. How to tell a cat from a throw pillow.



This might help.



Centerpiece

One of the kids very carefully placed our centerpiece on the table the other night...




Perhaps we watch a little too much TV? At least we sit at the table most of the time.

When I grew up with my mother and aunt, they never wanted to sit at the table. They usually ate in the living room and I ate in my own room. (My aunt ate everything out of a scummy plastic bowl. We called it her dog bowl.)

After I left for college, they put a couch in the kitchen instead of the table.

So I think I'm pretty functional after all.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Back from Oz

We saw Ozzy Osbourne last night. I can report that he was able to speak reasonably coherently and could walk a semi-straight line. When he came out on stage, I thought "I bet he's got only an hour of performance in him." Well, his show lasted an hour and 20 minutes but 20 minutes of it was an interminable (def. #2) guitar solo. (Some woman liked it enough to flash her breasts at him, which the whole arena saw on the big screen TV. Twice.) So I was spot on!

His voice is shot, he wasn't miked properly, his songs were oddly arranged, he didn't sing Iron man, and he is an attention wh*re. "Do you want to hear another song? Let me f***ing hear you." Over and over. Hey, maybe you can't hear the audience because 1) you are deaf and 2) they don't care that much? And he didn't think that much of the audience. First he tossed a couple of buckets of water on the front rows, then he got off on spraying them with foam. Again and again. I don't think his roadies liked it. One guy had to come out every time and wipe off the TelePrompter in front of his mike.

What did I like? The guitarist's black UtiliKilt. Maybe it was custom made, it was fuller and more ragged. And the opening video montage, which put Ozzy into scenes from movies and TV. As Cap'n Jack Sparrow, he bit the head off a parrot. And he said he was donating the night's proceeds to Sharon's cancer foundation.

And surprisingly, what I liked the best was his opener Rob Zombie.

Well, there was a chick singing first. A group called In This Moment. She wore white kneesocks and a fluffy little girl dress. I think the HH liked that. She screamed a lot, but not as good as Jada Pinkett Smith in Wicked Wisdom. And Jada can stick her tongue out really really far.

Then there was Rob Zombie. I can't watch his movies, but I would definitely see him in concert again. Alone. Without Ozzy.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pardon His French

Ernest is looking at the calender. "What's gar-BAHJ?" he asked. "GAR-bage," I answered. "I love your French accent," I said.

Friday, November 23, 2007

You've Been Ninjad

These ninjas periodically appear in our town, running around handing out candy to people. Then they go eat sushi.
There must not be a lot to do here!
Two of them showed up at our door on Halloween. Ernest didn't understand why they weren't saying trick or treat. I whispered, "I think they're trying to give YOU candy."
P.S. Frank's in the tree.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A is for Apple, Pi is for Pie

Thanksgiving preparations are underway.


Tonight I made the apple pie. While the apples are homegrown from our own front yard, I confess that the crust is Pillsbury. (Ernest disagrees with me on using a ready made crust, so I made him responsible for making the pumpkin pie crust from scratch.) He also made the vent holes: the pi symbol, in case it's not clear. That's what you get from a math whiz. He's also wearing Frank's old t-shirt:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I feel really mean when...

...I make Ernest stop petting the cat because it's time to brush his teeth. But c'mon, he would pet the cat forever. Sometimes he multi-tasks and pets the cat while brushing his teeth. I hope he doesn't mix up his hands and get cat fur in his mouth.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Mo Ho Ho Ho

From the news today: "Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday. Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead, the Daily Telegraph reported."



Ridiculous!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I've got it too...

...(said feebly)...at least I managed to reach the kitchen sink... It made cleanup easier. I shall be wearing a path between bed and bath today. B'lieve I'll drive Ernest to school in my pajamas. Isn't that tacky! I should make him walk but it's band day so besides his heavy backpack he has the saxophone too. Groan...

Monday, November 12, 2007

First Illness of the School Year, or Don't Read This if You Can't Deal With Vomit

Last school year I had 3 colds the first 4 weeks of school. I took Airborne after that, and had two colds the rest of the year, which were only half as severe. Is that evidence that it works?

This year I have been less vigilant with the Airborne. I just haven't seen that many snuffly noses.

Until last week. I must be prepared. There were many upset stomachs, diarrhea, vomiting, and fevers last week. I washed my hands. Compulsively. All the time. So far I'm OK. And back on the Airborne.

On Saturday night, my own Ernest came into the TV room just before bedtime saying, "I upchucked." This is the child who never vomits.

(A footnote... Frank, the older brother, had a really strong gag reflex as a toddler, and would vomit if anything tickled or choked his throat. A lot. I had a constant dialog with his daycare directors, saying: "was he eating? then he just gagged on something, he's not sick." I got used to being spewed on. A lot. Mostly on my nice black wool blazer.)

(On the other hand, Ernest, the younger brother, has only vomited 3 times in his entire life. I think the prior time he was 4 years old; he had an outpatient surgery to remove a bump on his neck (I was told it was a lymph node but it was only an impacted hair follicle!) and the pain reliever made him nauseous.)

So if Ernest's vomiting, he's sick. I cleaned up the bathroom floor (TWICE). Ernest can't go to his loft bed if he's going to be sick all night. So I sent the HH to the guest room and settled Ernest with a bucket on the side of my bed closest to the bathroom. Smart move with the bucket. There were at least 3-4 more incidents before his tummeh calmed down at 3:45 in the morning.

So we've been zombehs, once again.

(Excuse the lolcat talk, we find it funneh.)

I'm still sleepeh.

Roger Waters and the Trucker Fight

Enter the wayback machine to June 15th, 2007. "School's Out for Summer." Except that Frank is supposed to be in Concert Band for graduation day. Sorry school, we are going on a "family trip." Generally, our quote unquote family trips are to concerts 2-4 hours away.

Frank is a big fan of Pink Floyd.

So this trip was to see Roger Waters, at the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater (why do I read that as Anteater?) So much easier and locatable to think of it as Irvine Meadows.

Remembering that the drive to and from Irvine sucks, we got motel rooms just south in Laguna Hills. Lots of traffic, checked in, went straight to the concert, ate yuckyburgers, and settled in for...wait for it... a REALLY GREAT SHOW! Totally worth the long (3.5 hour) drive. First half, Pink Floyd and RW hits, lots of The Wall. They launched a giant pig balloon (Animals). We heard rumors that the pig balloon launched at the previous night's Hollywood Bowl show landed on a freeway somewhere. Loved the pig. Watched it fly away, far far away. Second half...the complete Dark Side of the Moon. Yes, many smelly cigarettes surrounded us. But we don't do things like that. Anymore.

Then, there was the one hour wait to get out of the parking lot. We backed out of our space, then sat there for one solid hour before traffic began to move. This is the worst parking lot of any concert venue I've ever been to. Consistently.

So after we were out of the parking lot we were glad to drive only 5 minutes to the motel. The next morning, we ate breakfast and went home. The three hour drive stretched to FIVE F---ING HOURS due to multiple traffic accidents.

Just south of Summerland, in another accident backup, a small semi truck apparently got fed up and passed us and others on the right hand shoulder. He cut, slowly, across traffic into the left lane and tried to drive on the left shoulder too. Another bigger truck got pissed and cut him off, totally blocking the left lane traffic. The driver of the bigger truck got out, hauled the small truck driver out of his cab, and totally started whaling on him. Pow, pow, fists were flying. We saw all of this while stuck in traffic. Two other cars stopped behind the two trucks; the drivers got out to join the fracas. We were close to a freeway exit and I begged, just get out of here...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Concert Notes

It's been fun blogging about concerts. There will be more.

Frank has made some interesting comments, which I shall relate:

When your children smell a funny smell during a concert, what do you say? Do you admit you know what pot smells like? (Ernest has always had a very sensitive sense of smell and notices strange odors... I think we told him they were funny cigarettes.) We smell the most "funny smells" at the local concerts, not the far away big places. (Run your mouse over that sentence, because I worked hard on it.)

As we were reminiscing the other night, I asked Frank, "Did you smell pot at the Korn concert in Bakersfield?" He said, "No, it was mostly body odor." Eeeww.

And then I was wondering how many concerts we had gone to this year. Frank said, "Just check my t-shirt drawer." He has Alice Cooper, Korn, Rush, and Roger Waters. (He's missing a Pretenders/Stray Cats shirt. Too 80s? )

Handy Husband and I went to a few concerts without kids: Harry Connick Jr. for my birthday, Norah Jones (Ernest was there but fell asleep), and Bruce of course.

We DAMN the White Stripes for cancelling their September 19th (Frank's birthday) concert. Due to anxiety? I'll show you anxiety!!

Stay tuned for Roger Waters and the Trucker Fight!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Here's One for the Dads

My cousin just sent me a big batch of photos from our late grandmother's collection. I found a beautiful companion photo to the one of us with our moms. Here we are with our daddies! It's dated "4 months, Sept. 18, 19--." No need to advertise how old we are.


A reminder, I'm the fat baby, on the left this time. My poor daddy looks a little stressed. "What do I do with this thing?" I bet I pooped on his hand right at that moment! I've got that look on my face. My uncle Jim looks a little happier. Maybe my cousin has better timing!

Uncle Jim is so tall, 6'6" I think. I remember visiting and being swept up and then my head touched the ceiling. And he is a great storyteller. There was one story about someone named Smallsill, and he would whistle through his teeth every time he said the Ss. I begged for that story every time I visited.

My dad is very brilliant. When I was 6 I was obsessed with tickling his feet. He told me, "I'm only ticklish on Sundays." I mentally scratched my head, wondering if that was true. I tested him, many times (sorry, Daddy!). He was totally consistent. Monday through Saturday, he would sit there with no reaction. Sunday he would laugh like he couldn't stand it. Methinks he was a good actor! Thanks for giving me so much fun on Sunday mornings!

Kudos to two great fathers.

Bruce

I am such a packrat. And usually I can find anything I look for. So I am really irritated because I have been searching for days for 1)my 1982 ticket stub for Bruce Springsteen at the L.A. Sports arena, and 2) my t-shirt from the same show, and I can't find them! I thought it would be fun to scan the 2 tickets together but alas, it's not to be.

On to Bruuuuuuuce. Last Tuesday. It took 4 hours for what should have been a 2 hour 20 minute drive. Good thing it was just me and the handy husband. The kids would have been freaking over the drive.

Big buck$ for the tickets, 20 buck$ for parking, 20 for food, 20 for a bottle of wine (thank goodness there was wine, but no glass allowed so they poured it into a big gulp cup), 40 for a T-shirt. Good thing I had twentied-up at the bank before I left.

And the Sports Arena? Kind of a poor relation in the large L.A. venue family. Built in 1959, a little run down but supposedly earthquake safe. It does have a large multi level parking structure.

Tickets said 7:30, so there was waiting, waiting. But once Bruce and the E-Street gang started playing at 8:40? The drive time, the cost, the tackiness.. It didn't matter. The Boss was back:

Men in black hoods carry out a coffin and set it on the ground. Is this Sweeney Todd?

A hand rises from the coffin, grasping a guitar. "Happy Halloween, Los Angeles!"

And they blast into Radio Nowhere, one of the best Springsteen songs ever. "This is radio nowhere. Is there anybody alive out there?" And the house lights came up and the crowd of 15,000(?) went wild. And you hear this sound like booing, but you know it's not. It's "bruuuucing." Bruuuuce, Bruuuuuce, Bruuuuuuuce.

"I just want to hear some rhythm. I want a thousand guitars. I want pounding drums. I want a million different voices speaking in tongues...I just want to hear you swoon." (And that sums up the whole show!)

Oh, my god, why did it take me 25 years to see him again?

And Patti, his wife? She's really hot and you should listen to her album too. I think she wore black thigh high boots but I couldn't really see. (Old eyes, and faraway seats.) Or maybe I am thinking of Chrissie Hynde. That's another blog.

It was a short show for Springsteen, only about 2 hours and 15 minutes. And I was too far away to throw any panties. Not that I would have, but... *

The drive back wasn't so bad, except that the only way to get on the freeway was in the wrong direction, and we were stuck in a walled off carpool lane for about 5 miles, before we could turn around. We got home around 2 a.m. and were zombies the next day.

Speaking of zombies, we're seeing Ozzy Osborne on November 30th.

*The only times I've been within panty throwing distance was at Donny Osmond and Weird Al Yankovic. And for them you just don't. That would be creepy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Alice Cooper

People are just so surprised about me sometimes. The gals at work (I'll call them Wisegal and Miss Spunky) were totally blown away to hear that I saw Alice Cooper and Bruce Springsteen in the same week. (Next month we're going to Ozzy Osborne, but that will be another story.) They started calling me a Banger Sister.

I had a really nice comment from a fellow blogger about Alice, so this is for you, Bunny Bunster. I've loved Alice Cooper since 1975. Welcome to My Nightmare. Apparently, other kids at my high school did too, because in 1976 this guy painted a mural of Alice on the wall of the yearbook room:

We ran wild on the yearbook staff that year. But the powers-that-be painted over it the next year. I never saw Alice in concert back then.

A few years ago we started taking our kids to concerts, starting with Weird Al and moving up to Van Halen, Aerosmith, etc. Gotta introduce them to good music. The HH and I started talking about groups we'd like to see. "I'm sorry I never got to see Alice Cooper, " said I. Lo and behold, Alice is still touring. Every year. Nearby. So we've seen him FOUR count it FOUR times, twice at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles and twice at the Ventura Theater slightly closer to us. He does the greatest show!

Wake Up Kitty

This totally reminds me of our cat:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

If the shoe fits...



The Handy Husband has discovered that his new shoes don't fit in his car. Well, it is a tiny car:

The left side of the shoe rubs the brake pedal when he steps on the gas. Can't have that. Either he will adjust the pedals or adjust the shoe (get out the x-acto knife!)


Viddy Well, O My Brothers



The malchick Frank viddied real horrorshow in his Alex costume. Too bad he didn't take his otchkies off for the picture. He wore eyelashes at school but they were long gone by the time I got a picture.
He wore the costume to Monday's taco night. One of his friends said, "He looks like one of those hippies sitting in a Starbucks sipping latte and writing his novel." Writing? Frank?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Preparations


Strange things appear in the refrigerator around Halloween.


Homecoming

Frank has played the saxophone since sixth grade. This is the first year he hasn't been in Concert Band, due to a scheduling conflict with AP Calculus BC. So he signed up for Stage Band. Twice a week they noodle around on guitars, bass etc, and twice a week they do drumline.

Frank avoided percussion before this. In sixth grade, he broke his arm and the cast got in the way of of a saxophone key. This was the week before the 4th of July parade. His teacher said he could play percussion, but he wasn't interested. Six years later...here he is with a drum in Friday's homecoming parade.
Speaking of homecoming, as I posted earlier, the Handy Husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary on September 24th. However, we'd been going steady since the fall of 1977. So I could date our "original" anniversary around the Homecoming dance. How about 30 on the 30th!?!?!
(I'm irritated this isn't displaying like it looks when I preview it. I can do better layouts then this. I was yearbook editor, for ___'s sake!)

Worth his Weight in Gold



Museum ticket: around $20.

Ernest's weight in gold: $769,824.

Our trip to New York: priceless.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's Alarming

The Handy Husband sets his alarm for 6 am, and usually hits the snooze button a couple times. He's pretty quick on the draw, so if I'm lucky I don't hear it (because it's "Mark & Brian" and I just don't groove to their show. Sorry, Amanda). Then I gradually wake up while he is in the shower. Frank's alarm is set for 6:50. He has it across the room from him, so he has to get up to turn it off. A wise idea. Frank uses our shower, so I am usually awake by then. My alarm is set for 7:00, just in case. Then I have to get up to make lunches. Ernest is supposed to have an alarm set for 7:30 but it never goes off correctly, so the MommyClock wakes him up.

Here is the amusing anecdote... This morning, a radio show is blasting out, the HH is fumbling with his clock and the darn thing is not turning off. As I approach consciousness I realize that I am hearing the KTYD morning show. That's my alarm. Oh, the chagrin. I had reset it for a nap the day before, and when I set it back I did it wrong.

I also managed to screw up a DVD recorder on Tuesday. I used to be able to set up VCR timers with ease, especially during Ernest's Gilligan's Island phase, but this DVD thingie just hasn't clicked with me. (It doesn't help that I have only used it 3 times...averaging once ever 6 months or so.)

Ernest Experiments

Finding an empty plastic film canister on the pantry floor, Ernest felt a strong desire to perform rocketry experiments right now:

1. Baking soda/vinegar foamed up too fast to launch the rocket.
2. Alka seltzer/water (the classic rocket formula): foamed up more
3. Alka seltzer/vinegar foamed up faster than the classic formula, and flew the rocket
higher. He plans to use this formula from now on.

Ernest has also experimented launching different items in his trebuchet. (Don't worry, we have a large back yard.) These are in order of greatest distance achieved.

1. rock
2. water balloon
3. apple
4. pinecone
5. walnut

(Inside joke: This is the "trebuchet" font.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Au Revoir, Caro
























My favorite aunt, Carolyn, passed away last month.

I loved her.
My mother loved her sister-in-law, and called her Caro. I have photos of both of them: this is the first picture I found of the two of them together with their daughters, who were born 5 days apart.
Carolyn, on the left, is smiling delightedly at her daughter, Lynne. Lynne and her beautiful long legs grew up to be a ballet dancer.
My mother Connie is not quite smiling at her daughter, me (the chubby one). I grew up to be a belly dancer. She didn't love me any less, she just wasn't good at smiling!
My mother was great at putting notes on the backs of pictures. This one says, "4 months old." So this would be September, 1960. I recognize the couch, and the leopard blanket (I still have that blanket...is that why I am so into animal prints?)
I had two aunts on mother's side, but I have always had a special feeling for my father's sister, an emotional connection with her. She made me feel like a part of the family, not a visitor, every time I was at her house. She included me in everything her family did. One summer my father and my step-mother Mary Ellen (a great stepmother) went on a trip for a week or two. I was totally included as a child in Carolyn's family. She and her two daughters were going to a mother/daughter excercise or dance class; when they took me along, my aunt made sure to be my partner. She made me feel a welcome part of her family. And she made the greatest orange juice in the whole wide world.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Peer Pressure

For many weeks, Frank has gone out at 6:30 Monday night to all-you-can-eat Taco Night at a local restaurant. This has become a big thing with his friends. They have had theme nights this month.

The first Monday in October was a Halloween costume. ??? Frank is putting together a really great costume but it wasn't ready, so he took his old Devo costume (WHIP IT GOOD). He missed the next night because we were out of town. Last week was Tetris night: dress as a solid color block. Frank was blue.

This week: Taco Knights. You get it. Only, Frank wasn't home. He was out with his girlfriend. He got around 6 calls asking if he would be there. We referred them to "his*" cell phone (*that's another story). And peer pressure worked: about 6:50 he showed up at home to put on his knight costume. This was his take on the Black Knight from Monty Python's Holy Grail. Only he left the detachable arm at home. And he borrowed Ernest's sword.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hammerjack

We were out of town last weekend, and up early the two weekends before.

So I was looking forward to sleeping late this Saturday morning...curling up in the tempur-pedic bed with the cat on my feet... enjoying my sleep. But at 7:45 this morning, RAT-A-TAT-A-TAT... Our neighbor began jackhammering his patio. The men of the house seemed to sleep through it but I couldn't. So I got up early and read a book.

(Ernest says he was already awake watching TV. Frank says he slept till 9. The Handy Husband says he woke up, but fell back asleep until 10. Lucky dogs.)

The word "jackhammer" makes me remember one of the cute things Ernest did when he was little. He flip-flopped compound words. So jackhammer became hammerjack, Tower Pizza Restaurant became Pizza Tower, and his favorite flower became dragonsnap. I wish I could remember more of them.

P.S. on Sunday. I didn't sleep well last night (too much spicy curry? or the vampire movie?) and then the jackhammer started at 8:50. Thankfully a little later, but....I guess I won't get to sleep in until next Saturday. And then we will be out late that night -- Alice Cooper at the Ventura Theater! I think I'll be a zombie for Halloween. I'm starting to feel like one.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Talkies

I was glad I remembered to pick up the walkie talkie yesterday. You hear funny things.

(My quotes are not exact.)

"Office Ladies? There's a dead squirrel hung on the fence of the athletic field." She goes on about how gross it is and disturbing for the kids. "Can someone get rid of it?"

Wisegal and I are cracking up because this is so bizarre. She grabs the walkie-talkie and says "Can someone save it for me? I need something for dinner."

After a pause, one of the office ladies carefully says, "We don't know how fresh it is. The nurse left her stethoscope here, do you want to go up and check on its condition?" You could tell she was struggling not to laugh.

Turns out, there was no squirrel at all. It was a board stuck in the fence.

I have to rant here...

I have to rant here.

Starbucks is recalling 250,000 children's cups because, if the cup is dropped, the decoration on the cup can break off "and leave small parts or sharp exposed edges that can pose a choking or laceration hazard to young children." If the cups fall and break, why not just throw them away? Stuff breaks all the time.

Does everything have to pass a drop test? If I drop my wine glass and it breaks, should it be recalled because it poses a laceration hazard to me? My new sharp knives (Calphalon brand) have posed a huge laceration hazard to us in the last 3 weeks. Maybe I can sue Calphalon for the cost of band-aids? (Go listen to the Weird Al Song, "I'll Sue Ya!")

I try to own up to my mistakes. When I mix up children's names (frequently) I apologize. They constantly call me the wrong name and I let it go, but gosh, if you call them the wrong name once they call you on it. Sometimes I just remind them how many times they also call me two or three different wrong names. (I like it best when they call me the name of someone younger and cuter!) And what happened to polite manners? I consistently say "please" when I ask them to do things, and "thank you" when they respond. It's exceedingly rare when I get the same politeness back.

I tried to show responsiblity and character the other day when I was asked, "Where's your walkie-talkie?" "I'm sorry, but I forgot it in the hall." (Could have blamed it on the other person, but I didn't. ) "Oh, you're not in trouble, Ernest just needs his music folder!" Phew, big relief.... My last words: "Hey, I didn't know I was allowed to get personal calls on the walkie-talkie!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A second obsession...

The first was books. The second is the crossword puzzle in the newspaper.

The main reason I get the paper is for the crossword. (Ernest uses it for current events every couple weeks.) It is more satisfying to "do it" on paper than on the internet. The news...eh...I would like to see more local news in that paper, because I have already seen/heard the national news on the internet/TV.

When my mother was alive and could still see to read, she would start the crossword. I would visit her in the afternoon and finish the puzzle. I can ALWAYS finish the daily puzzles in our semi-local paper. I don't think I'm that smart, I think they are easy puzzles.

The paper also prints an NY Times puzzle on Sundays. I wish I had a word check on that one.

Land of the Rising Sun

At least I didn't title this "Turning Japanese."

Frank and Ernest are applying for next year's trip, "Discover the Land of the Rising Sun." Fourteen days in Japan! Tokyo, Hakone, Gitu, Hiroshima, Kyoto. Including highlights such as Mt. Fuji, bullet train, japanese bath, cormorant fishing (I did not know, but this is an "ancient graceful act"), a home stay, and much more.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dyson My Darling

I've had only one husband but I've owned 4 vacuums in my life.

#1 The oldest vacuum is a 50' or 60's canister, which belonged to my great uncle. It follows you around like a little aqua space ship from the Jetsons. Although I don't actually use it (my mother did), I keep it for the kitch value.

#2 was the old workhorse, a Singer. Who knew Singer made vacuums? I didn't until I worked for Singer one summer during college. And how many college students buy a vacuum? Well, I had a nasty shag rug to keep clean and I got an employee discount. It lasted over 20 years before it started making funny noises. It was hard to find bags for it. I usually had to drive 20-30 miles to the nearest Mart-type store to find them.

#3 Tired of searching for bags, and cutting bags open to retrieve the sucked up Lego pieces, I decided to get a bagless vac. With a choice of 2 at Costco, I got the Eureka. Eh. Meh. I have been able to find all the Lego pieces before I empty the canister. But it is SO heavy and the suction isn't great and now it is making funny noises too. So like a desperate housewife I always had my eye out for something else...

#4: I've been dreaming of the Dyson Ball for a while. But the price! I think it was $599 the last time I was at BB&B. Then I found woot.com. They sell one thing a day. The first day it was a camera. What the heck, I thought, I'll just check it out tomorrow to see what they have. On the second day there it was, my Dyson, my Dream. For less than half the price (refurbished, but who cares). It arrived yesterday.

Folks, I must shout it out to the world: "I'm in love with Dyson." Boy can it suck! And dumps out so easily and cleanly. Ernest put it together for me and vacuumed the living room twice before I even got my hands on it! It drives like a Ferrari. Oops, in this household it drives like a Lotus.

Breakfast Will Never Be the Same

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

He is the Kiltman

This is the picture I intended to post first on my blog, but the duct tape glove distracted me.

I have Frank's permission to post this with his face visible. He thinks no one reads this. There might be someone....

I originally saved this picture as "Kiltenstein." But he's not a monster, he's a human being. He's also a superhero, so I renamed him "Kiltman."

"I am the Kiltman, they are the Kiltmen, I am the walrus, Goo goo g' joob!"

(I'm afraid of overusing quotation marks, so I hope I am using them properly.)

He left off the sporran in this picture. But he wore the whole regalia to school the next day. I made him take spare clothes. He was glad, because there were some flippages attempted at nutrition break. So he changed.

Thanks to Sportkilt! And most especially to his MorFar who has proudly worn a kilt for many years as a Scottish dance instructor even though he's not genetically a scot. Thanks for setting a good example ("Hey, don't worry! Your grandpa wears a kilt!"). We're pleased that the HH indroduced some good scots blood into the family!

Duct Tape Son

Frank was bored during Physics today. (Since he took Physics last year, he is TAing this year.) Apparently someone else was bored too. So they made a duct tape glove over his hand.
Maybe by the end of the year I will have an entire duct tape son, to stand in for Frank if/when he goes away to college next year. It would be durable and would never have to shower. I could put a wig on it if I missed his hair. But even though Frank doesn't talk a lot, I would miss his sense of humor. So the duct tape son would need some kind of sound-bite system. Frank is also taking a computer class...he has all year to figure it out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

24 on the 24th

The Handy Husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary yesterday!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Sox

Our cat is old. Handy Husband brought her home 16 years ago, a stray kitten that had been sniffing around the dumpster at his office. She weighed one pound. We never knew her exact birthday, so we let her share Frank's, which is coming up this week. She was the lowly third cat for many years, banished outside with the others when the second cat was peeing everywhere.

But she outlasted them, and as the only cat has become a welcome fixture at the foot of our bed every night. She used to lie on the HH's nice wool sweaters, but I put a stop to that. Sorry kitty, dry cleaning is expensive. Now she shreds up a lovely old towel. Many nights she slinks up to where our hands lie, and nuzzles and purrs until we rouse enough to pet her.

Ernest has appointed himself the cat caretaker. His morning routine (eat breakfast, brush teeth, etc.) is not complete without petting the cat. He has also assumed responsibility for putting the nutritional supplements on her food, for her arthritis. Ernest has tried different combinations to determine that she likes the tuna/chicken flavored powdered supplement, but hates the fish oil.

So in honor of the cat's birthday, here is one of Ernest's favorite YouTube videos:


Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Escaped the Bullet

Remember when I confessed to buying reading glasses...well, I have deflected the bullet for a little while. I saw the optometrist and got new contacts which help enough with the close vision that those little old reading glasses have been put away. For now.

Elf Vomit Update

The house across the street is on the market again, "marked down" from 750K to 675K. The elf vomit is gone. It's amazing what fresh paint and carpet will do.

Monday, September 10, 2007

He is 16...going on 17...

I don't talk about Frank as much as I do Ernest... he's definitely quieter, but equally interesting. Frank is nearing his 17th birthday. A month ago I told him he could have a cell phone for his birthday. He's probably the last of his friends to get a phone. We send a shared phone with him when he goes out, but he doesn't have one of his own. Anyway, I said: pick out your own phone and plan and I'll pay a "reasonable" amount. Well, Frank is the opposite of pro-active. So he still doesn't have a phone. And I am searching for a substitute birthday present.

Today he reminded me he wanted a kilt. This has been discussed before. He has Scottish heritage on both sides of his dad's family, and on mine my dad has been a Scottish dance instructor. He wanted a kilt from a family clan, and we found connections to Muir and Dundee. But those aren't mass produced tartans and it's many hundreds of dollars to get one woven. So the kilt issue was on the back burner until today. We found a "sport" kilt (not wool) for a reasonable price...he picked the Braveheart, with a sporran.

Anticipating the picture of him in a kilt, I'm going to have to learn how to post pictures on this blog.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In which I confess to one of my obsessions...

From a news article today: "One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven." They quoted a woman who had read 70.

I wish they'd polled me. In the last year, I read over 200 books. I'm not kidding. I've keep a list because I was tired of checking out books at the library only to discover I had read them before. Thanks to the internet, I can look up best sellers and new releases, then request them from the library. I still buy a few books, like Harry Potter, of course. (Speaking of Harry Potter, Ernest was the first person in our small town to get Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But he hasn't finished it yet. Inconceivable.)

This may be why I do so little else!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Stiff Upper Lip, Mum

Frank is in England, Ernest is in France. Frank is in the country on a homestay. Ernest just finished a day at Disneyland Paris. Frank will arrive in London on the 5th, Ernest on the 8th. I am terribly a little bit worried about London due to the car bombs incidents there. But I know their tour organization is vigilant about keeping the students safe.

So I must keep that proverbial stiff upper lip. It fluttered a little after I left Ernest. The last photo I took was the back of his head, with his hair glorious hair, at the top of an escalator.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ernestly yours...

Ernest has been busy since school ended. He spent 4.5 days at Science Camp... I picked him up Friday, then we went out to dinner with HH and saw Norah Jones at the SBBowl . Some of her music relaxed Ernest after his long week and he fell asleep.

Sat he had a P2P meeting. Then 6+ hours at a birthday party (video games and Chinese food).

Sunday, WoW time in the morning; a visit from cousin Michelle and family with her new dog, Basil, in the afternoon.

Monday (today), we headed south to shop for his trip (he is leaving Thursday). We were lucky at K-Mart and found a suitcase with 360 degree swivelling wheels. (There's no spell check. How many L's in swivelling???? I'm anal about spelling.)

I had a little teary moment after I left 16-year-old Frank at the airport. How bad will it be when I leave 11-year-old-Ernest? Sometimes he seems like a wise old man in a boy's body, but he is still my baby. My sweetie pie.

Frankly departed

Yes, Frank had to cut his hair. (But not enough for Locks of Love.) I think he was happy to have an excuse to do so. He reinvented himself the day after when he dressed for school. Instead of the black T-shirt and black jeans, he wore a white T, blue jeans, and plaid flannel (Cobain-ish) long sleeve shirt. He said some friends didn't recognize him. Others did. He eventually went back to black.

Now Frank has a girlfriend. Was it the haircut? The world may never know. I met her once last week... They sat on the couch together. He had his arm around her but he still had both hands on the video game controller. Multi-tasking. She wore black too. She seemed nice...

I seemed nice to my mo-in-law 29 years ago. I still am. She told me so.

Anyway, we will have a learning curve when Frank gets back...* balance the girlfriend time with the family time. I know I did not balance... It was so much nicer to hang out at the boyfriend's** house. The first time I went there, he had the whole family sanding the bondo on his MG. My house was just... stuffy, smelly (like old people), annoying. I hope it's not so bad for Frank. He seems well-adjusted and reasonably happy.

*He'll need a cell phone. He's one of the few juniors who doesn't have one. But he hardly ever calls anyone. Any he doesn't talk! But if he is driving to the girlfriend's house 20 miles away, he need a phone so I can track him down.

**The boyfriend since 1977 Star Wars has been the Handy Husband since 1983.

Frank left for France on Wednesday. He'll be back [speak that in Arnoldian] on July 8th. He left a message yesterday. "I'm in France. I saw the Louvre. Bye." Truly, there were a few more words but that was the gist.

Try the Whine

Where have I been? I don't know. For months I have felt isolated, depressed, and have not wanted to talk, or write, or blog. Does anyone read me anyway? Whine, whine, whine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

10-12 inches

Frank (the 16-year-old) has to get a hair cut, to meet the dress code for his trip. I'm sad. I've enjoyed watching his hair grow this year. The HH nags every once in a while, and I say "don't you remember when you had long hair???" Frank's hair is not quite long enough to donate to Locks of Love. Well, it is 10-12 inches long from the roots, but then he would be completely shorn. I don't think I want a skinhead child. Been there, done that, when he was in second grade.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Blissful Cooperation

Surprisingly, I had a nice spring vacation with my family. "The FAM" as my German opera friend says. (Give me a pseudonym and I will talk about you too!) On vacations a few years ago, the kids (currently 16 and 10) would bicker and battle and I would regret ever having planned a family trip. Things changed last year: We spent a week in New York, saw 4 Broadway shows (Spamalot, Odd Couple, Pajama Game, , Lion King). And museum(s) and Top of the Rock and Empire State Building and ... on and on. It was great. We didn't have to do kid-centric things, except that Ernest and I did ride the Ferris Wheel in ToysRUs at Times Square.

Anyway, Frank and Ernest have been getting along really well lately. Sharing time on World of Warcraft (yes, I caved in and got it but Frank agreed to do certain chores to "pay" for it). Sharing Frank's Xbox 360 in the living room. Agreeing on which video game to rent from GameFly.

This year our Fam took a short (3-day) vacation, stayed on the Queen Mary. Ernest loved exploring the ship, especially at night when we looked for ghosts--didn't see any except for the special effects show down in the bowels of the ship. We also visited the Aquarium of the Pacific and the harbor around Long Beach. The Handy Hubby was really interested in the preparations for the Long Beach Grand Prix. Lots of concrete barriers, chain link fences, and stacks of tires. (Oh, that's why the next weekend was unavailable on the QM hotel reservations! Now I get it.)

Mortality

I've had few words this month. I had raging PMS half a cycle ago. Desperate depression combined with work stress. I wrote an angry raging blog but common sense made me delete it the next morning.

But my recent angst pales in comparison to the news I got last night.

One of my best friends, a Rose Sister, a Sovereign Friend, who grew up across the street from my husband, just had surgery for colon cancer. She is only 46 (my age.)

I'm not a praying person, but for maybe the third time in life (once for my son, mysteriously ill for 2 months; a second time for another Rose Sister with a [thankfully] benign liver tumor; and now for this dear friend, I am praying: please let her be all right.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Elf Vomit

There's a house for sale across the street. We were lookie-loos on Sunday afternoon and walked in to a paralyzing cotton candy aqua blue. Other rooms were cotton candy pink, c. c. lavender, and then I either had a seizure or mentally blocked out the last color. I described this to my brilliant niece (who needs to blog some more but she just got a promotion so she is too busy) and she summarized the color scheme as "Elf Vomit." (Googling "Elf Vomit" only leads to disgusting Christmas decorations, but hopefully we can start a new thing here.) I think the sellers would not have had to reduce the price 40K if they had only painted everything a neutral color. Of course, there still were the multiple mirrors in the living room and dining room, the different 70's colored carpets in every room, and the funky additions.

We would love to buy a fixer-upper in the neighborhood, but this was too much fixing for the price. My departed mom's house looked better, even before the Handy Husband remodeled it. Since she never did much to it, she didn't mess it up too much.

The funky addition on my mom's house was a family room, added sometime before she bought it in 1970. The prior owners apparently did not care about codes: the studs were 24" apart and there was no insulation. And no record of the addition. The county assessor grandfathered it during the probate process. The HH fixed all the problems. My mom's house is now a new house in an old skin, and we will probably retire there.

Our own house had a funky addition: our bedroom. The original owner was into salvaged material. Some things in the bedroom are really cool: redwood paneling from a church in Lompoc, stained glass from a Stanford mansion (OK, I was told the glass came from a Stanford mansion and I have no proof or provenance, but it's still a good story), and a good luck horseshoe. It has strangely shaped closets and cupboards, tucked into nooks and crannies.

A confession: One cupboard has been screwed shut with a drywall screw because it contains a collection of adult videos we acquired from my late uncle's basement. Why did the HH resort to such a drastic containment? Hiding it from the kids? Or temptation?

The HH added his own salvaged material to the house (3/4" pine flooring from a high school in Arizona), repaired what was rotten (the pine deck outside,) and remodeled what needed it (kitchen and master bath.) Kudos to the Handy Husband.

There was some point to the end of this blog, but I inadvertently deleted it last night. Something about ugly wallpaper. I could go on for hours about that. So I won't.

The moral of this post must be: don't allow elf vomit in your house, or at least cover it up when you leave.

Friday, March 09, 2007

ISFJ

You Are An ISFJ
The Nurturer: You have a strong need to belong, and you are very loyal. A good listener, you excel at helping others in practical ways. In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music. You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

I took the Myers/Briggs personality thingie more than 10 years ago. I still have the same personality type. This blurb is totally me. Although there may be other facets to my personality....

The Mommy Guilt Post

Admit it. You all have it, all the moms who are reading this. It's Mommy Guilt. You have that niggling fear in the back of your mind, but you push it aside. Then days or weeks or months later it craps on you. And you realize you were RIGHT! You should "trust your feelings, Luke." Except Luke's NOT A MOM!

Remember my nightmares about "Ernest" going to camp? (No Ernest movie jokes, please.) Because six years ago "Frank" came home from camp and was sick for two months. That Mommy Guilt was because I couldn't ever find out what was wrong. Two months of Mommy Guilt is too long.

Now, my sweetiepie Ernest has had a cold for a while. I lost track of how long. This morning he descended the stairs and said, "Mom, my chest is growling." WTF???? I put my good right ear to his left lung and heard this disgusting growling wheezy chunky slushy noise inside. I looked at the calendar and realized he had had this cold/cough/ickiness for a whole month. MOMMY GUILT!!! (Backstory: A girl in my second grade class just returned after a bout of pneumonia.) I kept my cool and called the doctor's office. A recording. A recording. Again a recording. Another recording. Twenty minutes after they were supposed to open, I got a human voice and made an appointment.

Ernest's chest wasn't growling etc. by the time he got to the doctor's office. But it was nasty enough to get antibiotics...see prior post for that ordeal.

Reflecting, I really didn't see any serious symptoms until this morning. But you can't stop the Mommy Guilt. (Although in my defense, today was the first time Ernest said anything that made me worry!)

76 Cents a Minute

I hate, I mean... tolerate insurance companies. (Why can't I do that cool crossing out font I see on other blogs?) I can say that. I worked for an insurance company for 15 years. We were pretty good. There was always a live person on the phone who could solve your problem. Of course, we were only a life insurance company. Each policy would have one claim, the ultimate claim. Baby, don't fear the reaper.

HH (Handy Husband)'s company just changed health insurance providers, effective 3/1. He filled out the paperwork early last week. Of course Murphy's Law went into effect and I had to take "Ernest" to the doctor. (The Mommy Guilt post will have to come later.) We have no insurance cards yet, all we got was an e-mail with the group number.

I spent 20 minutes at the doctor's office while they updated their new computer system, before they could see Ernest. I took him home, then spent an hour and a half at Rite Aid trying to get the prescription. Let me emphasize it was not Rite Aid's fault.

There was no record of us with Blue Cross. The prescription had to be relabeled, so they asked me to return in 15 minutes. There is NO cell phone signal in that store, so I ran another errand and called my HH. His HR person was out sick, so we didn't think we could resolve this until Monday. I decided to pay the $209.99 price because Ernest needed his antibiotic now. It was still not ready. I waited longer, I paid the $209.99, then they took it away from me. What was going on? I waited some more. Eventually, someone told me they were talking to Blue Cross and the insurance agent. Did I have any more shopping to do? No. I sat in their waiting room and watched my feet swell. I chatted with two co-workers waiting for prescriptions. I read a Men's Health Magazine because that's all there was. I watched a child play with the blood pressure machine. Eventually they called my name. They had gotten the insurance info and now I only had to pay $141.68. A savings of $68.31. Or, 76 cents for every minute I sat there. At work I only make 15 cents a minute. Comparatively, I guess it was worth it. My feet didn't think so. They would have gladly paid $68.31 to go home and take their shoes off.

What happened while I waited with no cell phone signal is that HH's HR person was monitoring her e-mails from home, she immediately contacted their insurance agent who called HH, insurance agent called Rite Aid, other calls ensued, but no one could call me because there was no signal!, and Rite Aid got the information (at least for Ernest) that they needed. A lot of scrambling, so 90 minutes isn't to bad to accomplish a minor insurance miracle of getting a person into the insurance company's computer system.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Today I Bit the Bullet

Today I bit the bullet, swallowed my pride, sucked it up, went the whole nine yards, jumped the shark... and bought reading glasses. I talked the talk, but can I walk the walk? I'm struggling with them. My brilliant young son Ernest says, "It might be that your brain just doesn't want to accept that you have to wear reading glasses." He's totally right. They do make things clearer, but I'm still in denial.

Vandalism

There was an unusual round of vandalism in our small town neighborhood Friday night. Ernest and I were out of town; this is what I learned when we got home. Someone went around our neighborhood puncturing car tires. Handy Husband discovered this in the morning when the police came a-knockin' on our door. Many cars were hit. A dog-walking neighbor reported to the police that a number of teenagers had been hanging out at an empty house in the next block.

Only our truck was in the street, and it needed new tires anyway. HH had fortuitously parked the sports car (which just got new tires a few months ago) in the driveway. HH was talking to the next door neighbor yesterday, and learned that his next-door neighbors had been robbed a while ago, and their next-door neighbor had a peeper in the backyard. What happened to my nice safe neighborhood where nothing has happened for 19 years? We've never had any disturbances before.

Where Have I Been?

I have no idea. I was in such a funk the week before Ernest left for camp...worrying about that, work, snoring husband, nightmares, insomnia, and I can't even remember what else.

Ernest came back from camp with nothing worse than a cold. A three-week cold. Handy Husband caught it too, which made his snoring even worse. I've been taking Airborne and vitamin C and haven't caught it yet.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Semi-Empty Nest Syndrome

Younger son "Ernest" is off for 3.5 days at Science Camp. Smalltownmom has been on tenterhooks the last week. When older son "Frank" went to Science Camp six years ago, he was sick for two months after he got back. Tested for mono, twice, both negative. Tested for other things too. But his symptoms most closely resembled mono.. so I think that's what it was... Two months of intense stress. I have been reliving that in nightmares this last week. So I sent "Ernest" with lots of hand cleaner and wipes, even though they won't do much good and I am not normally germophobic.

Can't wait to see him Thursday at noon!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Two things fixed

The plumbing issues have all been fixed. Handy Husband (I do love that name!) replaced the faucet last weekend. We used to have a really expensive german faucet because we were german plumbing snobs. Now it's a home depot price pfister. Well, phister still sounds german. I am half german, it is OK if I like german faucets.

We never resolved the DVD issue, but "Frank" did get the computer to school.

And most importantly, I now have a coffeemaker with a timer. Now all I have to do is remember to fill it the night before.

But I have just realized there is a Frank and Ernest comic strip. Not a really good strip. (I looked at two weeks worth.) So now what can I call my sons?????

Monday, January 22, 2007

My Second Kiss

When I'm bored I start clicking the next blog button. Today I came across two women talking about their first kiss: Metro Mama and Sunshine Scribe. My first kiss was a nice thank you after a Sadie Hawkins dance.

It's my second kiss that rocked my world.

Let's enter the Way-Back machine, to the fall of 1977. This cute boy, who I'd been crushing on since 6th grade, asked me to a barbecue and I turned him down. Then I felt bad about it and called him up (brave shy me) and invited him to go see Star Wars. There was no theater in our small town then, so we had to drive 40 miles. Partway through the movie the projector broke down.

Then he made his move. We kissed in the dark theater until the film started again. And the earth moved. And there were fireworks. And history was made. And he's been my Handy Husband for many years. A happy ending. How rare is that?

This was a Princess Bride kiss: “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.” OK, maybe this one wasn't so pure. But it changed my life.

Theremin

Some time ago we saw a documentary on theremins. This unusual instrument fascinated the Younger Son (I could also call him Curious George) and he has wanted one ever since. For Christmas, he got his wish and received a theremin kit. Last weekend Handy Husband, the electronics whiz, borrowed a soldering iron from work and they put it together. Anyone need sci-fi sound effects? It can also meow like a cat.

To hear what a beautifully played theremin really sounds like, check out http://www.peterpringle.com/pg1.html.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pseudonyms

Blog names.

Some bloggers have really great pseudonyms for their family:

Drunken Housewife and her Sober Husband
The Twat
Petite's Tadpole
Mooselet's Hermit, Teen, and Tween

Now, I like the sound of Handy Husband, because he really is one. I was toying with Frank and Ernest for the kids, because the older one is pretty frank, and the younger one is earnest. I've also called them Alphadog, Betadog, and Gammadog. But I don't think they would like being called dogs on a regular basis. Or I could use their real names...I don't think I'm going to write anything incriminating. Maybe embarassing.

Maybe my one regular reader can weigh in here...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Things Come in Threes

Three has always been my favorite number. But sometimes misfortunes come in threes.

1) We've been having a cold spell, down to 18 at night. Warnings about pipes freezing, which we did not heed. Sunday morning, no water. It thawed out around 10, just as we decided to go out to breakfast. Monday morning, leaking water under the sink. Possibly unrelated to the freeze. Handy Husband replaced a waterline, then noticed that the faucet hose was also leaking. Time for a trip to the nearest Home Depot for a new faucet. 20 miles away. Yes, I truly am a small town mom. Hey, that's three things already.

2) Senior Son and a friend worked all weekend on a history project, a film featuring stop-motion animated army men. Everything worked, they burned the DVD, played it and it stopped 2/3 way through. Many burnt DVDs later, we could not solve the problem. It took hours to load the program and various files on the new laptop, so he could take the laptop to school the next day.

3) The third and worst thing that happened is that the coffeemaker died. Fortunately I had a backup, a cheapo model from our "guest suite." Life without coffee is unimaginable. I told Younger Son (have to think of a better blog name for him) he could take it apart. He likes to tinker. But it was held together with a strange screw: not flat, not phillips, not even allen wrench. The slot was triangular. So I let him bash it apart with a mallet instead. He had great fun, and is now an expert on how coffeemakers work.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Words I Never Thought I'd Hear

Yesterday my 16-year-old was playing Geometry Wars and said, "This is gonna make my eyes bleed if I play it too much." What? Did I hear right? A teenager worrying about playing video games too much? (This from the guy who went to two all-night LAN parties during vacation.) I couldn't watch it for very long. So here's the loving mother statement: I'm glad he has some common sense. One of the many things I admire about him.