Saturday, July 26, 2008

Refrigerator Blues

Yesterday I was getting ready to drive to the airport to pick up Ernest. I wanted to leave earlier than I originally planned (but that's another post) so I needed a quick breakfast. Scrambled eggs, I thought. That's fast AND nutritious. So I grabbed an egg...and said what the some other word that is not family friendly heck? The egg was hot. HOT. The whole fridge was hot and the temperature display was off. But the freezer was fine.

As I always do in a moment of crisis, I called the handy husband for his opinion. Because he always has good advice. And then I avoid the "well, you should have done this..." conversation that usually happens if I don't call. The Handy advice was, "Unplug it for 5 minutes."

Done, and the display started working again and said 71 degrees. Room temperature. And I had to leave the house right that minute or I wouldn't make it to the airport on time. So Frank agreed to check the fridge periodically to see if it started to cool down again, and if it didn't the Handy Husband would call for repairs.

And it did cool down again ...

What the frickety-frack happened? Maybe it was left ajar overnight just enough that the light stayed on? Who knows? When I got home I threw out milk, eggs, chicken, mayo, yogurt, whipped cream, batter blaster, leftovers...anything I thought would kill us. I did keep the condiments on the lower shelves, and the things in the bins, as they were still cool to the touch.

I wish I could find a song called "Refrigerator Blues." Anyone want to write some lyrics?

This seems the opportune time to post a picture of the fridge, like many other bloggers have done. So here's mine. It's a lot emptier now!

  • See the HonestAde Cranberry Lemonade on the top shelf? My kids are addicted to it.
  • Me, I like Perrier mixed with a splash of Pomegranate juice (next to the milk).
  • How many different kinds of salad dressing do we have????
  • The industrial size maple syrup from Costco is almost empty. (The kids make their own pancakes.)
  • There are those yummy Rainier cherries.
  • GASP, is that some Pace picante sauce hiding behind the Perrier? Someone won't like that.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ernest's Back

Ernest is back from Japan! Yay! I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


My son'll come home
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
I''ll see my son!

Just thinkin' about
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck a day
That's gray,
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,

My son'll come home
So I gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
Ernest's only
A day away!

(I told you I had it bad.)

15 Seconds of Fame

I found this on How About Orange. Make your own museum masterpiece. How's this?

Ernest on the London Eye. He's blocking the view of Big Ben. It's there. Trust me.

There's his 15 seconds of fame. Because I seriously doubt you're going to look at it for the whole Warhol-coined 15 minutes. I got my 15 seconds this morning, with a lovely award from Jen on the Edge.

Now, I'm your prototypical bloggy wallflower. People pass around these awards like chain letters but do I get one? So thank you, Jen, for letting me join the club! Now what am I supposed to do with it? I think pass it on to 7 people. But who? How can I decide? Jen was smart, she did it geographically. But she gave it to a number of my favorite bloggers.

So I'm going to pass it on to the first 7 people who see it and don't have a bloggy award of their own. Leave a comment and it's yours!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ernest Called Tonight!

I had one call after Ernest arrived in Japan on Sunday the 13th at around 1 a.m. (thanks to his friend Ern's phone, or more correctly -- thanks to Ern's mom for getting Ern the international cell phone).

It's been a weekandahalfplus. And I am jonesing for him. I miss him. So bad. I haven't talked/blogged about it because I'm embarassed that I miss him so much. But he's my baby. He's always been a delightful and stressless child. (His childbirth was way more painful more difficult than his brother's, so maybe his good karma is making up for that????)

It's been easier to let Frank grow up because I still had Ernest. But with Ernest gone too? The nest feels very empty. And I'm rearranging the nest at the same time, so I look at his stuff but he's not here...

And that's starting to sound like a mom version of a Santana song:

Well, let me tell you about the way he looked
The way he acted, the curl of his hair
His voice is deep and cool
His eyes are clear and bright
But he’s not here...

It wasn't so bad last year. His trip and his brother's overlapped, and the HH and I went away for a weekend in the middle... and it just seemed shorter.

Ernest couldn't find the rechargeable batteries for his camera. So he took my camera, and left his. I like his camera. Especially when I found some pictures on it. Here he is last year at Stonehenge.
Stonehenge? How cool freaking awesome is that? There are other great photos but... they can wait.

Anyway, where the heck was I? Oh yeah. The phone rang a few minutes ago. And it was him. He wanted permission to buy a sword. Well, I told him before he left he could get a sword if the shipping was reasonable. But he called anyway -- (12:30 p.m. lunchtime where he is. Where the heck is he??? Kyoto?) -- to ask permission.

Isn't that the nicest, bestest child in the universe? So I'm jonesing for Friday, when I drive 2.5 hours (without traffic issues) to pick him up. And he's probably not. Jonesing for me, that is. And that's OK. It has to be.

"If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were. " -- Kahlil Gibran

Longing for the return...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Trading Clean Sweep Spaces, Episode 1

I may have mentioned, we are eventually moving Frank into the room over the garage. We are also moving Ernest into a bigger room in the house. And moving the sewing room and guest room into smaller rooms.

That involves a lot of purging for me, which I am not good at. But it feels good when I eventually do it. I threw away recycled a huge pile of magazines. I'd been saving them for recipes and craft ideas. I said to myself, "Self, you know you're never going to go through all these. Just bite the bullet." So I did. I'm going to have to do the same with my fabric stash.

We moved Ernest's loft bed last week, while he was gone. It is going to be an awesome room. He will be able to sit up in bed for the first time, and have an extra bed for sleepovers. I had to pack up all his toys, and man, does he have a lot of stuff. That boy is a bigger pack rat than me. When he was little, he insisted on keeping all the packaging the toys came in. At least he's outgrown that.

Once I lost him in his room. Just kidding, but it made a cute picture:

This was about 5 years ago.

I'm going to Clean Sweep it...i.e. only put back about half his stuff, and see what he says. He already agreed to donate several boxes of Lego.

Nephew McQueen helped me move all the sewing stuff out of the room, so I could clean the carpet. Then he helped move Ernest's stuff back in. I paid him with a TV set we don't need anymore. I think McQueen is going to help again today. This time I could pay him off in toy cars, except that he probably doesn't need any more.

The Husband's New Crush

He has a new love. Some Italian Temptress named Pagani Zonda.

Did you hear what the man said when he started her up? "Mmmmm, dirty!" (That's at about 1:52 if you want to skip the talk and go straight to the action.) And at the end, "I've got to earn more money." Because she only costs 400,000 pounds. That's $800,839 at today's exchange rate.

That's one high maintenance woman. So the HH won't be bringing her home during in our lifetimes. But I'll let him look. She'll be his Secret Girlfriend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Life with Batman

Batman's been a fixture in my life for.... like forever...

In second grade in 1967, my best friend and I played Batgirl and Robinette. I was Batgirl! Probably the one time in my life I got top billing. (And I take credit for inventing the name Robinette, but if she wants the credit she can have it.... Just kidding Susie, if you are reading this you know I love you.)

I loved the TV show. We got a color TV in 1970 and I watched Batman anytime I could. BOW BAM WHAP SMACK KABLOOEY!!! And Alfred. How could Batman have survived without Alfred?

A Batman Movie was filmed near me.

Tim Burton's films were twisted in his own special way.

Around 1992, my small son became obsessed OBSESSED I TELL YOU with Batman the animated series. He wore only Batman t-shirts for a whole year. It made laundry difficult. He would cry by the dryer while his shirt tumbled. (Yes, I assure all of you who have 2 year olds that he REALLY HAS grown into a normal person. )

And I read an "adult" story, I think it was called Batman Mon Amour. Not for children, it was a different spin on the Batman/Robin relationship. "And like all good superheros, he came in the nick of time."

Val Kilmer... meh. I love him but Joel Schumacher made the movies too cartoony.

George Clooney has freely admitted he killed the Batman series, but the stake was driven before he got there. As a humorous batman, I loved him... He had the best voice. Even though Robin's costume got a bigger "package."

I loved the new start in Batman Begins, but not the Liam Neeson part. More Gary Oldman would have been good. He is one of those great actors who disappear into a role. And Michael Caine as Alfred? I've died and gone to heaven.

Christian Bale is serious and fierce. And better than the other batmen, except when he had to talk a lot at the end and I thought the deep fake batman growl got ridiculous at that point.

And there's Aaron Ekhart. And Heath Ledger, another amazing actor who can disappear in the role. When you watch Jack Nicholson's Joker, you see Nicholson. With Ledger's Joker, you see a....


Go see. But don't take young children. It's fierce and violent. There are disturbing images. Ernest is out of the country but I'll take him when he gets back because he can deal with it. McQueen's mother is waiting for the DVD. Every child is different and you know your child.

I sent my son a text message

Some of you think this is an ordinary, everyday occurrence. But I don't "do" text messages.

I'm a QWERTY kind of gal. I excelled at typing in high school, and got my first real job without any experience except that I could type 60 WPM. I am one with my keyboard. I can amaze second graders while typing without looking. Back in the day we called that "touch typing."

So a text message on a cell phone, where you have to tap 1-3 times depending on the letter??? It's a technique I have been reluctant to learn.

But since we are relocating Frank to the Fonzie Apartment, I can't just yell upstairs that "DINNER'S READY!"

Instead I sent him a text message. And he didn't get it. I feel so pathetic. Fortunately, he felt it was dinner time and showed up anyway.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I love Musicals

EW put out a list of their top 25 musicals. You can see it here. I have seen every one except #17 (a Busby Berkely compilation disc). Yes, I am a musical junkie.

Here's the top 5:

  1. The Wizard of Oz
  2. West Side Story
  3. Singin' in the Rain
  4. Cabaret
  5. Mary Poppins

I love them all. I've been indulging while Ernest has been gone. I'm catching up on some Julie Andrews musicals I've missed. I just had Star! and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Darling Lili is in the Netflix queue. Also there were a couple on my shelf I hadn't watched yet: Bells are Ringing and Take Me Out to the Ballgame (in a set from Costco). When the weather eased, I watched On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Because they used some of the songs in Wall-E (which I haven't seen yet), I had to see Hello, Dolly again. Plus the ones I watched when I had the flu.

I'm going to see Mamma Mia on Monday.

If you like musicals, tell me one of your favorites! (Bunny, please comment, even though I know which one yours is!)

A Staycation

Yes, we're having one of those. It's not because of the economy, it's because:
  • I'm sick of driving
  • I like our Tempurpedic bed
  • Our room is quiet
  • There are tons of good restaurants in our area
  • People pay good money to come here on their vacations
  • The weather is lovely this weekend.

We went out to dinner last night: the HH had rack of lamb, I had meatloaf. Delicious meatloaf. At home the HH made homemade vanilla ice cream, which we topped with raspberries and peaches from the farmer's market.

I don't recommend the panini place we lunched today (go here instead). On the way home we made reservations for another dinner out tonight. In between the eating out, the Handy Husband has washed cars and I have been rearranging things in the house, so we haven't totally wasted the weekend.

Plans for tomorrow include seeing The Dark Knight and hopefully another dinner out. Maybe here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Franks's got a job, starting Monday as a go-fer in his dad's office. Except that they spell it gopher, which makes me picture him digging nasty little holes all over the place like the fellow that is tunneling under my front gate.

My first job was as a motel maid. Looking back, it wasn't that bad. I worked from 9 until whenever we were done, on weekends and holidays. Other classmates worked there too, so we could talk while making beds and cleaning toilets. There weren't many perks, except for getting free Cokes from the machine. There was nothing better than an icy Coke in a glass bottle. Howver, it may have ruined me because I've hated housecleaning my entire adult life! Although, I could have gotten that from my mother.

The Handy Husband's first job was picking up golf balls. Then he was a paperboy. Our paperboy. I was too shy to talk to him when he came around collecting. I would give him his $2.85 and he would give me a tiny square receipt. That was the extent of our relationship for many years.

[Update re the HH: My M-I-L says, "He especially liked picking up golf balls because he also got to drive and park the golf carts. Driving; one addiction he never outgrew."]

So tell me, what was your first job?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ernest's Itinerary

Kinkaku-Ji Temple, the "Golden Pavilion." Photo by Frank

July 12. Leave USA.

July 13. Arrive in Japan.

July 14-15. Tokyo. Imperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, Oriental Bazaar. Anime. Nakamise shopping arcade.

July 16. Hakone. Scenic Drive to Mt. Fuji, hiking, aerial cable car ride, Onsen (hot springs bath).

July 17-18. Gifu. Drive through the "Japanese Alps." Stay at a traditional Japanese Inn. Old fashioned town of Takayama. Visit the only surviving "jinya" (shogun's headquarters).

July 19-21 Ishikawa. Visit Shirakawago. Meet your home stay family and enjoy local activities.

July 22. Take the Bullet train to Hiroshima. Visit Peace Memorial Park.

July 23-24. Kyoto. Visit Itsukushima Shrine and Himeji Castle, the Gold Pavilion, Nijo Castle, a tea ceremony.

July 25. Return to the USA. Arrive in the US 3 hours before he departed Japan.

(Frank's intinerary was very similar, except that he started in Kyoto and ended in Tokyo.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ernest Embarks

Bye, mom!

This was the view from our hotel the night before.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I Take it Back!!!

I take it back: Birds do use Ernest's birdbath!

The ironic thing is just as I took this picture, the cat came in the house. Good timing, Mr./Ms. Bird.

I have gotten a surprising number of people googling "why birds don't use the birdbath" and arriving on that other post.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Return from Japan

Frank got back on Sunday. I snuck his camera out of his room this morning so I could finally look at his pictures. It's after 1:30 pm and he is still sleeping. Jet lag or the usual teen-age need to sleep late? (UPDATE: He got up at 2 and said it was jet lag.)

Anyway, here are some pictures. Since he's still sleeping, I don't have much explanation for them.

Paper cranes.

A gate.

The beautiful home where he stayed.

A happy lunch.

Posing on Mt. Fuji.

An unusual store.

Tokyo at night.

He really enjoyed the home stay. I hope to get him to dictate a little synopsis that I can post later.

Ernest leaves on Saturday.

Monday, July 07, 2008


My Handy Husband and I have been looking at area rugs and carpet for a while now. Our small living room rug has begun to wear out. I bought it in 1995, along with some furniture, with a severance pay. The furniture has held up pretty well, but due to the boys and man who have played and relaxed on the rug for close to 13 years, the lush shag has given way to a bare crewcut on certain areas.

I was vaccuuming it one day and wondering while the pile didn't pick up, and it was because IT WAS ALL WORN OFF BY THEIR FEET.

Even though the HH and I both have similar visions of what we like, it's hard to find things that fit our vision. We saw a rug we liked in a catalog, but it was $999. Ouch.

So I walked into a floor model sale the other day and saw something, not as brightly colored, but reasonable: an Andy Warhol $499 rug for $99. The HH liked it too, so we bought it. It is 8x8 square, not the rectangle shown:

The square shape fits well in the room and I love the way it looks, but the blackness of it requires my Darling Dyson to come out of hiding more often. Like EVERY OTHER day.

Meh. For the price, if I decide I hate it I can put it in Frank's apartment. But I'm thinking my nephews McQueen and Mr. Thomas will think those stripes make great Hot Wheels tracks!

And carpet?? For Frank's apartment we are thinking of Flor.

Jen on the Edge has some great Flor in her living room, and great plans for Flor in her new house (I think it is Fonda del Sol?)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fish Tales

My previous post was pretty fishy.

So here's another fish picture. I scanned this slide a few days's my dad with a bunch of fish. When? Maybe 1948. It wasn't dated, but it was with some other slides dated that year.
So Dad, nice fish! Where were you and these fish? If it's 1948, I think you are about 22 here? You have a great beard. I think Frank inherited your great beard genes.
Love, your daughter.

Otter News

One of the perks of volunteering at the zoo is the chance to go “backstage” with the animals. Ernest quivered with excitement when he announced that he would get to feed the otters! The big event happened yesterday. In Ernest’s own words:

First we went to the animal kitchen and we cut off the fish heads.
[He starts singing:]
Fish heads, Fish heads
Rolly polly Fish heads
Fish heads, Fish heads
Eat them up, Yummm
And then we cut the fishes in half. We took the fishes to the otter exhibit and we took turns throwing the fish to the otters, Merry and Pippin. Merry should be considered legally blind because we threw a fish right in front of him and he looked and looked and couldn’t find it. Pippin is larger and has a bigger white spot on his chin. Merry is smaller and has a smaller white spot. They are both males.
[I asked him what the animal kitchen looked like.]
The animal kitchen looks like a regular kitchen but it has raw fish in it.
[How often do the otters eat?]
cat food when they wake up
5 fish during morning feeding
5 fish during afternoon feeding
cat food at night
[How big were the fish?]
They were really small fish.
[He moves his fingers around to show me. I estimate 5”.]
That’s without the head.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Go hang a salami; I'm a lasagna hog!

If you have tweens, I highly recommend taking them to a Weird Al concert. Because he's funny. And his band is great. And you'll all have a great time. And generally because the audience is family oriented, or nerds, no one is smoking those funny cigarettes.

I have great respect for a man who can make a song out of palindromes:

Wobbling Through the Weekend

Last Thursday morning I woke up and I could barely walk. Somehow, in my sleep, I strained something in my ankle* on the right side of the Achilles tendon. What was I doing in my sleep? That's what I want to know.

So I limped around all weekend, taking Ernest to various activities.

  • Saturday I doddered to see Get Smart.
  • Sunday I hobbled around the Bigger Town while Ernest was at his summer program at the zoo.
  • Sunday night I bobbled in line as we took Ernest and McQueen to a Weird Al concert.
  • Yesterday I wobbled around a mall while Ernest and Ern played laser tag.

Today was the first day I could walk somewhat normally.

*Now, a friend told me that ankles represent flexibility and the ability to move forward. I'm not at all flexible physically, but mentally? I'm pretty flexible or adaptable. A former boss, who was notorious for RARELY giving 5's (excellent) on our performance appraisals, always gave me 5's for being flexible.