Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Preparations

Strange things appear in the refrigerator around Halloween.


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 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 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


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


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 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 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.