31 December 2008

hopes float

Last year on this day I said:

And we hope in 2008 that:

  • I'll get a job - check
  • The other house will sell - nope, but it is rented
  • We will add another Clumber to the family and I will get back to doing fun dog things - half and half -- we added a rescue Clumber and I tried judging dogs, but we continue to wait patiently for a new show dog
  • Our kids will continue to thrive and make us laugh more than cry - check
  • The smallest kid will sleep better, learn to walk, wean, and grow a little more slowly - check
All in all, we did well with our list.

I also looked back on my post of December 30, 2007. I bemoaned the problem of napping children. Not that napping children are a problem, but that having one kid napping nearly all the time certainly cramps one's style. Back then, Eleanor was taking two naps a day and Oliver was napping once a day, smack in between her naps. Perhaps the most significant change this year is that the kids nap at the same time now. On weekends, we can actually plan to do something as a family. And the adults have about 2 kid-free hours in the afternoons. Totally life-changing.

30 December 2008

second prize is three days in Philadelphia

As Blog365 winds down, I'm looking ahead to January and to taking a break from blogging. I'm also taking a break from everything else and going to a dog show. Chances are excellent that trip will provide some blog fodder. There's usually a train wreck or two that could prove worthy.

My blogging plan for 2009 is simple. Don't suck.  I got through Blog365 by setting the bar low, even for me. That wasn't a lot of fun for readers, and wasn't much fun for me either. On a typical night, 10pm would roll around and I would remember I needed to blog. I would fire up Blogger and see what happened. Frequently an idea would come, one that would benefit from some percolation, and I would hit the publish button whether the idea was fully developed or not. In 2009 there will be no reason to hit publish if I don't want to. There will be no blog before its time.

29 December 2008

even more rambling than usual

So with just three posts left in blog365 I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm pretty sure it's not an oncoming train. Still, I'm rambling more like someone who hasn't slept in 362 days, not someone who has blogged that many consecutive days. (I really did more than that. This is post number 429 for the year.)

Coughing continues. Eleanor is sounding less bark-y, but she coughed most of the day and is again having some trouble sleeping. We'll be off to the doc in the morning.

Also in the morning I'll be taking Oliver to Gymkhana camp. I wasn't sure he would like it. Silly me. He had his shoes and sock off and was gone before I had finished filling out the last of the paperwork. (They use scary words on the consent form, like "paralysis"  and "death". I tend to struggle with those, and glaze over a bit.) We knew two of his friends would be there, but there were two more we had not heard were coming. He isn't terribly forthcoming about what went on, but he had fun and wants to go back tomorrow.

While O was off doing whatever and E was hanging with CD, I cleared out his closet and rearranged his bookshelves and toy storage. It was oddly therapeutic, so much so that as soon as both kids were down for naps I attacked the shelves in the kitchen and hall closet that have become the dumping grounds for a lot of junk. They are now organized, on the verge of scary. I should probably take a few pictures since this is not likely to last (but we are going to try very, very hard).

Pity our trash guys tomorrow morning. After all the purging we've been doing, there are many more bags of trash than usual, a ceiling fan, and a dead plug-in cooler. I may be eating all the chocolate that isn't nailed down but I feel lighter anyway. My closet gets cleared tomorrow, then on to the guest bedroom. I might even get my summer clothes put somewhere I can't see them.

28 December 2008

E is not O

Eleanor seems to think I have forgotten she is not her brother. She's been telling me this in a wide variety of ways since I was just a few weeks pregnant, but has decided to redouble her efforts tonight anyway, just in case. My two pregnancies could not have been more different. Oliver's was easy as pie. With Eleanor I was nauseous most of the time, had sciatica, lost vision in one eye for a few minutes, and made multiple trips to triage.  With Oliver, once I was obviously pregnant, I looked like I swallowed a basketball. With Eleanor, I looked pregnant by the time I was 10 weeks along and gained weight everywhere. Oliver's was a tough delivery. Eleanor's was easy. Oliver didn't sleep for the first year. Eleanor was a great sleeper. And on and on and on. They really could not be more different.

Today's strategy...coughing. Sounds croup-y, but since Oliver never had croup I am not entirely sure what it sounds like. I saw The Nanny Diaries but my memory is fuzzy. It's not really barky, but it's not like Eleanor's "normal" cough either. She didn't nap this afternoon due to the coughing (and a poop, but we're used to that happening mid-nap and she generally goes back to sleep after clean up). Tonight she's not sleeping, again due to the cough. I just got the humidifier going, something we haven't used since before she was born. We'll try the steamy bathroom approach if she doesn't settle soon.

As I've been typing, she has stopped coughing, at least for a few minutes. And as soon as I typed that last sentence, she coughed again. She wouldn't want me getting complacent or anything.

27 December 2008

purging feels good

The purging of the house continues. We did a bit more in the basement today, before turning our attention to the kitchen. We went through every cupboard and drawer, and I'm pleased to say we now have some space on a few shelves and homes for all that needed one. We got rid of a lot, or we will have by tomorrow. I posted some items on Freecycle and all were claimed within half an hour. One item was gone in 90 seconds. If you haven't tried Freecycle, check it out. I'll be placing a few things on Craig's list, like our Kelty backpack carrier and the pack n play, but for stuff that isn't worth the effort, Freecycle it is.

Some other baby stuff will go on Freepeats starting tomorrow. I have bottles out the wazoo and none had very much use, especially by Eleanor.

The basement is looking great too, with many empty shelves and some re-purposed shelves above the washer and dryer. I see a useful family room in our future. 

I think we head upstairs tomorrow. I'm not sure where to start, as it is all daunting, but I will start somewhere.  

26 December 2008

you can tell the nerds early

You don't need to have painted the quadratic equation on your bedroom wall for me to spot a future geek. Oliver is learning to use his new Leapster, under CD's watchful eye.

As you can see, Oliver recovered from whatever plague he had yesterday. He woke up early this morning, hungry and thirsty, and with no sign of fever. He was more than ready to open a few presents. (lots of pictures from the festivities are at Flickr)

All the presents were a hit with the kids. They especially liked the microwave and mixer, and the talking tool box. Oliver was especially peeved that we didn't take him outside to play t-ball but it was too cold. And when it got warmer it also started to rain. Maybe tomorrow, when the high is supposed to be in the 60s. We might even break out the chalk Critter Prints and Spiro the Chalktopus toys. Fresh air is top of our list for tomorrow.

We have found a way to amuse ourselves while the kids are napping too. A grand household purge is happening, starting with our basement storage. It's a big set of dominos. Once the storage room is sorted, we can move on to the family room, also in the basement. Then we can move upstairs to the office, that needs to be cleaned out before the new windows arrive. And on and on. We still have nine days left.

25 December 2008


Today was not the Christmas any of us had in mind. Oliver woke up miserable, with a temp over 104. Motrin brings it down but he just wanted to curl up on the couch with mum or dad and watch Cars and Finding Nemo. He isn't interested in food and only will drink under protest. He gets sick rarely, and I don't recall him ever having a temp this high, so he just has no idea how to handle feeling crappy.

Despite a living room filled with presents, neither kid showed any interest. Eleanor didn't even look at the play kitchen until late afternoon. We got through the stockings but the presents remain under tree. Maybe we will get to them tomorrow, if we are not at the doctor with Oliver.

24 December 2008

Santa brought us a play kitchen

I had this crazy idea a while back, one I originally saw on a blog (fancy that!), to build a play kitchen for the kids. Both of them are drawn to the play kitchens in their respective classrooms. I procured nearly all the pieces and thought it would something fun for CD and I to build together. I seem to have forgotten that the man works alone. 

In any case, the kids are going to have a way cool play kitchen tomorrow. Come back and see it with the bow removed!

23 December 2008

a few things left to do

I'm a little behind. This isn't the whole list, just the top ten, including a few of my usual digressions.

  1. I haven't wrapped anything yet.
  2. I haven't made the gingerbread cookie dough either.
  3. Wow! I keep hearing people say Mike Tomlin looks like Omar Epps. I just figured out who that is. Yeah, there's a resemblance.
  4. I still have a few Christmas cards to address.
  5. The list of things to accomplish during naptime over the next twelve days is long.
  6. I still haven't located the only thing CD asked me to get him for Christmas, lens cleaner for his camera lenses. I keep thinking a camera store is going to appear before my eyes. This may require more effort.
  7. One string of lights on my pre-lit tree has given up the ghost. The non-replaceable light seems to be burnt out. Lovely.
  8. The new panarello for my espresso machine finally arrived. I can't figure out how to install it.
  9. I still need to deliver peppermint bark to the neighbors.
  10. I should probably check the fridge for the salad supplies I need to take to a playdate tomorrow morning.

22 December 2008

it was for money?

I interrupt our regularly scheduled coverage of the 24 days of Christmas (CD opened a glass penguin ornament that looks a lot like the one I opened yesterday) to bring you a newsflash. I WIN. And I win money. This part was a revelation to me when email from the commissioner arrived yesterday. I somehow missed the money part. No idea how. Suddenly I was either sending ten bucks to someone, or receiving payments from others. Thanks to Aaron Rodgers, FFB will support my Starbucks habit for another month or two.  Congrats to my worthy opponent on a stellar rookie season. She won more games than I did and this last one was no gimme, not by a longshot.

Now I just need to stick with my promise of never doing FFB again if I won. I'm far too competitive and obsessive, and that's not generally a pretty combination. But if an invitation from a certain yinz league came my way I doubt I could resist. I'm weak, weak I tell you.

21 December 2008

seriously, ANYTHING can be a hat

Eleanor and her love of hats are making yet another appearance today. In this photo she has just helped me open my ornament in the 24 days of Christmas and has decided to turn the box into a hat. She's also having a little iChat with Aunt Suzy. 

The hat is practical as well as stylish. It has ear flaps for winter and a neck flap to keep that pesky sunburn at bay.

Head over to Flickr to see the beautiful glass penguin ornament that came in the box. I keep saying I'm going to do a second tree with just penguin ornaments. We really have more than enough to pull it off. I think a second tree might just qualify us for a little Christmas Crazy. Maybe.

20 December 2008


The 24 days of Christmas turned its attention to ornaments for the tree yesterday with a beautiful and fragile ball and glove ornament for Oliver. Tonight it was Eleanor's turn and Aunt Suzy found a very appropriate "chubby santa". Since I started hanging up the Christmas cards Eleanor has become interested in Santa (and snowmen too, equally).

All the photos of Eleanor with the ornament involve tears. The notion of "delicate" was entirely lost on her, but she recovered quickly.

I am hoping there will be no mysteries about ornament ownership later on. They can always refer back here to settle any disputes.

19 December 2008

nom nom nom

My boss shared Wilbur Buds with us at our holiday party on Wednesday. Wilbur's is an interesting story. I look forward to taking the kids to the factory in Lititz, PA someday.

the home stretch

Just six days left in the 24 days of Christmas. The last six boxes all look the same and I was warned their contents are fragile. Oliver was first tonight and found a baseball and glove for the Christmas tree. Glass. While he said he thought the baseball was for throwing he didn't actually throw it. I managed to get it on the tree before any damage was one. There seems to be room for the next five on the higher branches. The ornaments will make great keepsakes, and with any luck they will survive until Oliver has his own tree. In 30 or 40 years. I probably won't be ready until then.

18 December 2008


Sorry for the lack of photographic evidence tonight. I was too busy trying to figure out how to properly adjust my MacBook so Aunt Suzy could witness local events. Oh how I long for the old iSight cameras that clipped on and were nicely adjustable. What the heck am I going to do at Christmas? But I digress...

It was the dogs' turn for a present tonight and Oliver was sure they needed lots of help. Bubba slept through the whole thing but Penguin was sniffing around. Still, she wasn't interested enough to dive in so Oliver happily did the honors. He's such a helpful boy.

In lieu of photos from tonight, I offer an interesting comparison: Oliver and Eleanor pictured at the same age, or as close to it as possible. In this case, both kids are about 19 months old. Eleanor is significantly bigger but both know how to enjoy themselves.

17 December 2008


Eleanor's turn on day 17 of the 24 days of Christmas. She is such a bookworm that all the new books are a huge hit with her. She about jumped out of her jacket on the bus this morning when the dad who rides with his 4 year old daughter sat down next to us and took out a book. They usually sit across the aisle and she tries to see the books he reads. Today she had no trouble seeing and hearing.

At school she will frequently get a book and look for a teacher sitting on the floor. She then backs into them, sits on their lap, and waits. She rarely waits long.

16 December 2008

can you ever have enough?

Another day, another Skippyjon Jones book. Kind of appropriate, since Oliver has been in the doghouse a bit himself. He had to have a "sit down and think" at school each of the last two days. This is the first time since school started in September and in both cases it was due to not being a good listener and doing as he was told. The teachers tell me not to worry....it's December....all the kids are having issues....blah blah blah. He's acting up at home too, and spending a lot of time on the quiet stair. It really is the season, I suppose. And I'm way too much of a hardass. Bah humbug.

15 December 2008


CD opened chocolate tonight. Really good chocolate. Really good photos? Not so much. What little photo mojo I had has left the building.

I therefore present a little gift from me, Big Papi, and the rest of the Red Sox to you. Pay no attention to the cheesy menorah and tree. 

14 December 2008


We're back to photos to document the 24 days of Christmas. It was my turn tonight, though when Oliver heard that he decided we needed some "teamwork" and we should be partners. He has just started doing things with a partner at school so this isn't too surprising.

Oliver's psychic abilities were found to be faulty tonight. He saw the wrapped present and predicted it was Steeler socks. Um, no. How about McVitie's Rich Tea biscuits? I'm a lot happier than I look in the picture. Nom Nom Nom. No tea required.

13 December 2008

he's psychic

As predicted by Oliver yesterday, Eleanor opened a lovely pair of Steeler socks tonight. Oliver would like them to wear their matching Steeler shirts and socks tomorrow when we go to Music Together. Oliver can wear his, but I would like Miss E to go with something a bit more festive. She's so darn cute in her red stripes, especially when she's dancing. Besides, she isn't yet expressing a preference with her clothes. I plan to enjoy that as long as possible. There will be plenty of time for us to argue over fashion later.

Unfortunately, Oliver was my photographer tonight as Eleanor opened her gift while sitting in my lap. As I am utterly clueless on downloading pics from Oliver's camera, I will have to come back and add one tomorrow, or whenever CD downloads them.

12 December 2008

day 12, the video edition

It's day 12 of the 24 days of Christmas. Due to the nasty weather in the northeast, Aunt Suzy experienced an untimely power outage so she was unable to join us for the present opening activities. At the time I didn't know why she suddenly logged out but I made an educated guess and shot a little video. The quality isn't stupendous but my little point and shoot camera does the best it can.

He was not coached in who the Steelers are playing this week, or anything else. You can hear CD, Eleanor, and me in the background, and the music was not added. It was part of our dining experience. I will come up with a prize in the gift card realm for the first person who identifies the music correctly in the comments. 

11 December 2008

pizza face, jaffa cakes, jingle all the way

CD opened the jaffa cakes in the 24 days of christmas today. Oliver immediately appropriated them. The boy has excellent taste in cookies.

In the background, there on my laptop screen, you can catch a glimpse of Aunt Suzy. We were on live chat so she could see the present opening. I hope the resolution was such that she was spared seeing Oliver with a mouthful of green beans. [Yes. Green Beans. You know. The betchtuble. Not that other thing.]

catching up on penguins

This is what I opened yesterday in the 24 days of christmas. They will nicely replace a pair of penguin socks I recently wore out. And the scarves are so darn cute. Thanks Aunt Suzy!

10 December 2008

bacon gets a little christmas crazy

I'm taking a little break from the 24 days of Christmas today but I'll catch you all up tomorrow. It's time for Wednesday Bacon!

And if you'd like to ornament your bacon, check out this article, courtesy of Nerdette. Bacon + sweet = nom nom nom

Just one of the many reasons I still love the pacific northwest.


Aunt Suzy is up to her usual tricks. She's elfed the family again.

Please, leave a comment telling her to get her own blog so I don't have to post this stuff myself!

09 December 2008

slam dunk

Day nine of the 24 days of Christmas brought another book and CD from Aunt Suzy. Little Quack's New Friend was definitely a slam dunk for both kids. We had to read it twice after dinner. As usual, there are a few more pics on Flickr.

Eleanor had another sort of slam today, in the "backpack to the head" variety. We were on a crowded bus this morning and, as usual, there were students who seem to have no sense of how large their backpacks are and no concern for what might be in the path of said backpack. Eleanor didn't cry. She just kept patting the spot on her head and saying, "bump, bump." The culprit stood next to us for more than 10 minutes yet couldn't manage to apologize.

I must be getting old and crotchety. Get off my lawn.

08 December 2008

until he shouted out with glee

Good heavens....more Skippyjon Jones in the house. Thank goodness these books are coming with CDs or my head would explode. How many days do we have left? (16, for those keeping score at home.)

Speaking of exploding...moments after I took this photo there was an accidental collision, many tears, and a smidgen of blood. This is the first real crash between Oliver and Eleanor. It's a good thing CD and I were both here to comfort them. Of course, I had Oliver and he wanted his dad, and Eleanor wanted her mum. Good times!

Finally, we had one of those classic little boy moments this morning. It happened where all the great conversations are happening lately, in the bathroom. Oliver had just gotten himself seated and, ahem, arranged, when we had the following exchange:

Oliver: My penis is little.
Me: Okay. (not wanting to guide the conversation in any way)
Oliver: Mum, sometimes it's big and sometimes it's little.
Me: Do you know why that happens?
Oliver: I don't know.

He then started telling me not to cover up Elmo when I got the diaper I just removed ready to throw away because, "Elmo doesn't like that."

It really loses something in the translation. The tone of his voice when he said, "I don't know" was priceless, a moment I wish I had on tape.

07 December 2008

only looks like a vibrator

Penguin and Bubba received the oddly phallic "furminator" as their gift today in our 24 days of Christmas. I tried to get Pen interested in helping to open the gift, thinking it was treats and would therefore smell good. I should have just listened to Oliver when he told me Penguin and Bubba don't know how to open presents so he would do it for them.

I think the motivation for this gift was likely the pile o' hair Aunt Suzy removed from Bubba during her visit. Don't blame me if the poor guy is bald by the end of the week.

06 December 2008

anything can be a hat

It was Eleanor's turn again in the 24 days of Christmas. She looked briefly at the book she opened (The Tale of Pip and Squeak), but was fascinated with the wrapping paper. As she often does with her plate or just about anything else she holds, the paper became a hat. A little later in the evening I removed her sweatshirt and it too became a hat. It was also a jaunty little scarf/wrap for a bit, but I failed to capture it.

05 December 2008

skippito bandito

Today's gift in the 24 days of Christmas went to Oliver. It was the book, Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones and accompaning CD with the story read by the author. As it happens, the author lives in a town I once lived in, just a block from one of my co-workers, whose husband also happens to be an author. He even wrote the screenplay for Minority Report. But I digress....

I have a lot of trouble reading Skippyjon Jones books. They make me feel like I need to practice in advance. I can't do the accent and generally feel pretty incompetent and silly when I read them. Oliver thinks it's a riot, no matter how much I mess up. That's unconditional love.

04 December 2008


It was CD's turn for a present today in the 24 Days of Christmas. Suzy sent one of his favorites, Twiglets. Oliver called them "Piglets" the first time he tried them, but they are a favorite of his too. Eleanor tried one and seemed to like it too.

In other news, it is Bubba's birthday today and he is 13 years old. That makes him the oldest Clumber to live with us. Chewy made it nearly to 13 but missed by just a few months. He started as a foster dog last January but we flunked that little exercise and he never left. Though his IBD prevented any sort of gastronomic celebration, the kids sang "Happy Birthday" to our completely deaf old guy anyway.

03 December 2008

penguin socks

It was my turn to partake of the 24 days of Christmas and my gift was penguin socks. I have a pretty large collection of penguins and socks are a significant part of it.

Thanks, Aunt Suzy!

Oliver seems to be enjoying all aspects of this exercise. This morning he wanted to look at the calendar to see who would get a present. He's learning about calendars, and about sharing the fun. Good stuff all around.

02 December 2008


Day 2 of the 24 days of Christmas was a present for Eleanor, Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy. As you can see, this made her very happy. [More photos on Flickr.]

Aunt Suzy, architect of this 24 days thing, has this book in her bag when she takes her dog Maggie to her public library. Maggie is a READ dog, and once a week, children read to her. The local paper recently did an article about them.

01 December 2008

and so it begins

Our 24 days of Christmas, courtesy of Aunt Suzy, began today with Oliver opening the first gift. It was a Curious George book with CD (great for long car trips) and he loved it.

I'll be documenting each gift daily, and all the photos will be collected in the 24 Days of Christmas set on Flickr.

Also fitting with the title, Oliver tried a new trick tonight. He tried to convince me that CD approved something when that was not the case at all. Don't let that innocent face fool you.

30 November 2008

the end

It's the end of NaBloPoMo, or NaBloSucMo as I have taken to calling it. (And the internet heaves a collective sigh of relief.) I would feel better if I didn't have 31 days of Blog365 remaining, but it still feels good. This is the third year I've done the NaBlo thing and I don't think I will do it next year. Next year I'm turning my focus to quality rather than quantity. I'll try to post every day but I'm not going to blog just for that reason. As you have no doubt noticed, I frequently have nothing to say. I'm thankful for adorable and photogenic kids on those days.

29 November 2008

24 days of Christmas, or why I don't have to worry about surviving Blog365 anymore

My sister Suzy has a long history of extreme generosity, yet she still manages to surprise me regularly. A large box from Suzy arrived on Wednesday. I opened it and saw it was filled with wrapped presents. Thinking I should probably leave it as she had packed it until Christmas, I closed it again. Fortunately, I told Suzy I had done this when I let her know the package arrived. She said no, open it, look at the tags. I found each package had a name and number, and found a calendar at the bottom of the box. The calendar was titled "24 days of Daboo Christmas" and, not surprisingly, begins and ends with Oliver.

So the first 24 days of December will feature a daily photo of someone in the house, or possibly the dogs as they were included too, opening a present. I may have other things to say, of course, but I can  now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm reasonably sure it is not an oncoming train. Thanks Suzy!

28 November 2008


Oliver and I had a perfectly delightful hour this afternoon, one of those "nothing special" hours that I need to write about so I can preserve it forever. He was more than a little peeved when I took Eleanor to Trader Joe's this morning. I decided a post-nap outing was in order, and I'm fortunate that the kid is ALWAYS up for a little Starbucks with his mum. 

We have no less than four possible Starbucks locations nearby. I let him choose first, but said if parking was a problem we would have to try another one. No arguments from Oliver. We were indeed foiled at first, but tried a second location and had better luck. Oliver totally did not mind the parking garage, the "evelator", or being trusted to remember where we parked. 

Though he had hot chocolate on Wednesday and liked it, he opted for cold milk today. Our chosen Starbucks was packed but we found a place to sit, a couple of armless squishy chairs pushed together and the size of a loveseat, right in front of the fireplace. Oliver snuggled right up with his milk and "long cookie" (aka biscotti), and told me he was the best date. I could only agree. He has told me before that he's "amazing and adorbable" and that one is right on the money, too. We had a nice little chat and he even asked for "more cuddles", telling me "I have more cuddles in my tummy." At which point I melted into a puddle of goo.

27 November 2008

I told you so

Since I can't say "I told you so" out loud in my house right now, I will do it here. Against my better judgement, I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner that was pretty close to being complete. My audience? CD, Oliver, and Eleanor. Though I hoped to find a few refugees at some point over the previous month, that was a big fat FAIL. I warned CD that the kids were unlikely to be interested in this fare but he was unconvinced. 

So today I prepared a 5 pound turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce. And Christmas pudding. (More about that later.) And as expected, the kids wanted no part of it. Oliver begged for a carrot and ate the one I gave him. He ate a few bites of turkey, telling us it was really chicken, and refused everything else. Eleanor just fussed the whole time. I finally cut up an apple for her, and Oliver wanted some too. Despite being promised some time with a new Dora game on Daddy's "bacooter" this weekend if he ate a good dinner, Oliver remained unmoved.

The only thing I was truly interested in making for Thanksgiving was pumpkin pie. When the meal was discussed CD requested we have the Christmas pudding leftover from last year.  It was pretty good, especially since we waited until the kids were in bed before eating it.

26 November 2008


Since I had a big fat FAIL on Wednesday Bacon last week, despite making a promise the week before (double FAIL), I offer two bacon items today.

First, thanks to my sister Suzy, "pull tie, get bacon". Not sure how I feel about its "silky" 100% polyester goodness but if I thought it would get me some bacon, I would definitely give it a tug.

And second, some late political news, Bacon defeats Fries, quite handily. This does not come as a surprise to me. It's easy to mess up fries. Bacon? Not so much.

[photo courtesy of Flickr]

25 November 2008

big hair

This is what big hair looks like when you're 19 months old.

Fantabulous (and reversible!) dress courtesy of Karen at The Rocking Pony.

24 November 2008

thanksgiving for a slacker wanna-be

For some bizarre reason, CD likes Thanksgiving. For a guy from across the pond, he's quite enamored of the whole turkey thing. This is perhaps because I handle the cooking and most of the clean-up around here. Maybe it's something else. I really don't know.

Two years ago, when we were getting ready to haul ourselves to the UK, when I was pregnant and Oliver was 19 months old, I was let off the hook. This year I made my feelings plain, that it's silly to cook a full Thanksgiving feast for two adults and two kids under 4. In his usual subtle fashion, CD made his feelings plain too. Turkey. Brussels sprouts. You know. He need not ask for stuffing, as I would eat that daily without complaint.

I did manage one small concession. We are having a turkey breast, not a whole turkey. We are also having the aforementioned Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, at least one kind of stuffing, and cranberry orange sauce which may or may not be chutney from a jar.

Where I have been let off the hook is with dessert. I was thinking of making a pumpkin pie but CD suggested we break out that extra Christmas pudding we bought last year. I think it has enough booze in it to be well-preserved. Foiled, the one time I consider not slacking. 

At least there will be stuffing. And turkey sandwiches. I'll be shocked if the kids eat any of it so there should be plenty of leftovers.

23 November 2008

only the beginning indeed

As I said earlier in the week, "boogers" really is only the beginning, and starting to get just the slightest bit stale. Fortunately, Oliver has come up with a replacement. Enter "poopy head" to our household vocabulary. I tried ignoring it completely for a while. When that didn't work, we had a very long talk this morning about how this phrase, like "shut up" which we successfully squashed recently, is something that is not nice to say. Alas, the results were entirely different. There's still a whole lot of "poopy head" flying around.

Worried that he would start shouting "poopy head!" in the middle of the theatre this afternoon, I let CD take him to see The Velveteen Rabbit. Apparently, that went without incident.

22 November 2008

shortbread hearts

I heart Ina Garten. A very funny someone was asking yesterday that her readers fess up to a girl crush. Nevermind Beyonce. Ina might be it for me. She never steers me wrong. As much as I enjoyed meeting Sara Foster last summer, I'd willingly give a kidney to cook with Ina.

Ina claims the recipe makes 24 heart cookies. (She also made these in a breakfast show...another reason to lurve her.) I made a double batch and got 90, but I rolled the dough thinner than she says and used a smaller cookie cutter. I also dipped one half of some of the hearts in chocolate. The chocolate wasn't setting up properly so I put the cookies in the fridge. They stopped being shiny though. I'm sure I missed a step with the chocolate, but I was improvising.  No one complained at the BurghMom's cookie swap.

Though Paula Deen takes all the heat on Food Network for her liberal use of butter, these babies take three quarters of a pound per batch. And they're worth every bit.

Now I'm going to go put the cookie swap spoils into the freezer, before a total cookie coma sets in.

21 November 2008

coult it be? another carl?

This Carl is surely no connection to the original Carl, but I had to take a pic and give a shout out to the Anglophile Football Fanatic, who is doing a very good thing this month. Just paying her a visit will help, and there's a couple more days left in her week of giving away loot.

20 November 2008

it was supposed to be funny

This is the first thing I hung in my cube when I moved in today. The students were immediately suspicious when we put them up near their studio computers. They were sure two of their classmates had been busted. Not what we had planned at all, but a nice bonus.

19 November 2008

cheerio nekkit boogers

As previously reported, Oliver discovered running around the playground and yelling "nekkid" gets quite a rise out of teachers and classmates alike. One of his teacher's valiant attempt at redirection has caused the phrase to morph into "cheerio nekkit". He still has no idea what naked means, though the different answers have stopped. He says it means "outside" consistently now. Tonight at his school's book fair the twin girls in his classroom were shopping when one of them started in with the, "nekkit nekkit nekkit" thing. I fessed up to her mom that she had my son to thank for that. When I mentioned Oliver has no idea what it means she said her kids know and have probably told him! I guess it just hasn't sunk in yet.

Somehow, it has all morphed again. One day last week he stated emphatically, "I am boogers!" at pickup time. I mostly succeeded in not bursting out laughing (since I'm just a 12 year old boy inside) but now he likes to say "cheerio nekkit boogers" with a giggle, just to see how I will react. And he still seems to think he IS boogers on occasion. (Don't we all?)

Yes, I know this is only the beginning. Now that we have boogers, farts (known at our house as "a bit of wind") are surely on the horizon, followed by who knows what else. Can't wait.

18 November 2008

what about the self-united husbands?

The schizophrenic snow in the 'burgh the last couple of days has been pretty wild. Sun, whiteout, rinse, repeat. This photo, courtesy of a really interesting iPhone camera bug, captures well how we're feeling now that we've lost our PittGirl. Cold and entirely out of sorts.

I was going to link to all the other bloggers who put it far better than I can but Woy beat me to it. My favorites are Jim Lokay and UncleCrappy but you really should read them all.

So many of the 'burgh faithful, not to mention several dozen self-united husbands, join me in mourning today. Godspeed, PittGirl.

17 November 2008

cold feet

Eleanor has been a champion sleeper for a while, only occasionally having a few days or a week here and there when she wakes up in the night. We've been in one of those phases. If I go in a vicious cycle begins. She will not let me put her back in the crib. She will let CD, but not me. I am better off just leaving her to work it out on her own. She gets back to sleep a lot sooner if I do, painful as it is to listen to her scream. With CD away again, I was worried about what might happen last night.

Since it is suddenly cold again, and she'd just had a bath, I thought it might be time to try the Sleep Sack again. We used it last winter when she was a baby but she's bigger now and has been sleeping with a regular blanket, one that is never covering her when she wakes up. It seemed like a reasonable strategy.

I hesitate to say this out loud but it appears to have worked. She slept a little more than 12 hours and didn't make a peep the whole time. The only problem is the two sleep sacks I have are 18-24 month sized, 25-35 pounds. They fit, but probably won't make it past December. I hope they make the fleecy ones in bigger sizes.

go win free stuff

The lovely Holly has put together a lovely giveaway on her lovely blog. It's a double win. She's donating all of her ad revenue for November to her favorite charity, Food For the Poor, a very cool thing to do, especially this time of year. And just for leaving a comment, you get entered in her daily giveaways that start TODAY and go on all week.

I had a wee hand in today's prizes, so head on over and check 'em out. I hope you win!

16 November 2008

I have buttons and he knows how to use them

Oliver is a great kid. A little too great for his own good sometimes. He's smart and funny and charming as all get out. He can be exasperating, frustrating and downright obnoxious. As his Mum, I get to see all sides of him, including the charmer he can be at school and the holy terror he can be at home. [Note I said "can be." That was on purpose.] Knowing how great he can be makes the times when he's out of control all the more frustrating.

CD is off to yet another geekfest this week so I will get to see a bit more of the brat than I would like. I try to remember it's tough to be 3, especially when half of your world up and leaves. I try to be more patient when he starts pushing my many buttons and I inch closer to the edge. I try. And try. And don't always succeed. 

Today was a tough one. We took CD to the airport, went to Music Together, and spent the rest of the day at home. It was cold and snowy and we didn't want to go outside. In retrospect, a short walk around the neighborhood would have been a good idea. If they don't sleep through the night I will know I made a mistake.

5 more sleeps.

15 November 2008

no dead horses were beaten

Board meetings...gotta love 'em. They are, I suppose, a necessary evil. I have been forced to endure gleefully attending them for years. I have come to love those that happen via conference call. It's a fine time to catch up on old emails and drink heavily IM with other bored board members. At least the side conversations are quieter on conference calls!

But what really burns me up is the 5-10 minutes of actual content per hour due to the need for people to make their particular point eleventy seven times before shutting the hell up about it. They must think very little of their fellow board members if they think they need to say exactly the same thing over and over before anyone will understand. Really, I got it the first time, thanks. I get that you're peeved or angry or just feel very very passionately about the point you are making but YOU.MADE.IT. We're all gonna move on so we don't sprout roots out of our chairs. mmmkay?

14 November 2008

homework? at my age?

Instead of being a good little blogger, crafting a post worthy of my readers, I watched Casino Royale tonight, because that's what you do the night before going to see the movie that starts moments after Casino Royale ends. I'm thinking this was a good thing. Though the jury in my head remains out on Daniel Craig, I had thoroughly forgotten most of the plot and absolutely all of the details.

A bit more about Daniel Craig.... I know I'm supposed to swoon for him, and he does have rather nice eyes, but I'm just not there yet. He's not Bond for me. I'm a Sean Connery/Pierce Brosnan girl. Craig reminds me of a guy who would be more at home in a Brooklyn bar than Monte Carlo or Scotland. But I'm willing to give him another chance.

And in the realm of random Bond trivia, I happen to know the producer's ex-boyfriend

13 November 2008

gimme an S!

It's sad really. Only the 13th and I'm already begging for help with NaBloSucMo. Fortunately, Uncle Crappy has come to my rescue. This meme is simple. I commented on his post so he gave me a letter, "S" to be precise. I am to list 10 things I love that start with my letter. Then I assign a letter to anyone who asks for one in the comments, thus continuing the cycle. See, it's simple! 

So here's my list:

1. Spawn
My kids have to top the list. Oliver and Eleanor are the best things ever.
2. Spouse
That would be CD. Also the best, and co-producer of the aforementioned spawn. 
3. Suzy
She's my sister. She also loves the spawn and spouse. And doesn't think I'm evil. Most of the time, anyway.
4. Spaniels
I have to admit there are some spaniels I like more than others. Clumbers and Sussex top the list. I'm fond of Welsh springers too. When I'm old and unable to chase those, maybe I'll have a Cavalier King Charles.
5. Shopping
Yeah, I'm a shopping junkie. On-line, catalog, brick & mortar, doesn't matter to me. It's all good. And the only thing that makes it better is also an "s", sale! And let's not forget free shipping.
6. Starbucks
Tall skinny hazelnut latte, please. Or maybe just a doppio. And a tall skim chai. Throw in a salted caramel hot chocolate while you're at it.
7. Shoes
I worked in a shoe store in high school and I'm still not over it. It's probably a good thing I can't wear heels, as that eliminates most women's shoes from eligibility for a spot in my closet.
8. Scones
Other than Harrod's, the scones I make are the best I've ever had. Now I just have to find the time to make them once in a while. 
9. Speed
I like to go fast. I miss having a little car that could handle like my white VW Golf and some twisty mountain roads to drive around. It's probably why I like flying too, especially take off.
It's an "s", honest. And I like it. But I don't suppose that's enough to get entered in TrannyHead's contest.

So now it's your turn. Just ask and I'll throw a letter your way.

12 November 2008

that toddling town

Now that Chicago has been declared center of the universe, and not just because it is the home of NapWarden (designer of this here blog) and the future location of BlogHer 09, it seems appropriate to highlight Chicago's contributions to the bacon frenzy.

Courtesy of Clumber, I bring you deep-fried bacon and an all-you-can-eat bacon bar. I hear arteries slamming shut all over the place.

Coming next week: pull my tie

11 November 2008

walks, shoots, and leaves

It's Neighborhood Walk day here in the 'burgh so I'm joining the RustBelt Bloggers in documenting my neighborhood. I live in the Point Breeze section of town and I stayed very close to home for my photos. I walked down my street, down the adjacent street, and landed at my bus stop. It's not easy to take pictures with an energetic 18 month old who thinks running in the street kicking leaves is way too much fun.

Though my neighborhood is well within the city limits, it can sometimes feel a world away. I know when I pull off the main road onto my little street, it's like I am not in a city at all. That's one of the beautiful things about Pittsburgh. It's a collection of smallish neighborhoods, loaded with character, rather than one big homogeneous urban mess.

I could argue there are more than a few messes around here, but I'll save that for another day. Head on over to Flickr for more from my morning walk to the bus stop.

10 November 2008

buy ammo

Dexter, Michigan is kind of cute. There are some old Victorian homes, with sedate color schemes. and an adorable little three-block downtown. As I got lost Saturday afternoon while trying to find some cold medicine for a friend, I noticed a distinct lack of Obama signs. Driving further out of town I started seeing a few McCain-Palin signs. Then I drove past a house with a series of at least five plywood-and-spraypaint signs, advising everyone to stock up on ammo because "socialists are thieves". I should have stopped and taken a photo or two but I didn't, for fairly obvious reasons.

Yes, I was going in the wrong direction entirely.

09 November 2008

she ate until she exploded

Before getting to the food, I must offer a brief public service announcement. If you are heading to Ann Arbor do not, I repeat DO NOT, consider staying at the Courtyard by Marriott even for half a second. There are lots of other choices and I strongly suggest you explore them. I arrived late Friday night with a reservation. I was told I would have to change rooms for my second night. Ugh. But okay. I can live with that. Then it was so freakin' loud I didn't get to sleep until 1am, only to be awakened around 6:30am with a wake-up call I didn't order. Despite telling the person on the other end of the line that no, I'm not Julie and no, I don't want to be awake now, they called AGAIN!!! When I got back after dinner, in a really good mood, I was put in another room that was kind of nice. I left the fans on to drown out the noise and got to sleep. All was well, until 6:30am when the TV spontaneously turned on. I could not find an alarm "feature" on the damn thing so I have no idea what caused it to do that. So consider yourself warned. I used to like Marriott properties but I doubt I will ever stay in one again.

In better Ann Arbor news, I managed to squeeze in TWO trips to Zingerman's Roadshow today. First for breakfast, when I got my free doughnut, a burrito and coffee, and asked that they save some bread for me. I planned to pass through on my way out of town around 5pm. Plans changed slightly and I got out of there at 2:30pm (enabling me to get home just in time to see the kids off to bed), fetching my bread and a sandwich that will have to be lunch tomorrow since I didn't stop at all on the drive home. On the other hand, I may not be hungry again by then. Maybe Tuesday.

08 November 2008


I've been a fan of Zingerman's since 1989, when I walked into their deli and saw an entire wall of olive oil. That image had stayed with me nearly 20 years. The funny thing is I've never gone back to the deli. My relationship with them has mostly been via mail order, though when I finally went back to Ann Arbor last year I was close enough to the Roadhouse to grab lunch there one day. Their mail order business makes Christmas shopping so easy. 

A return visit to the Roadhouse was what I was most looking forward to on my latest trip to Ann Arbor, and it did not disappoint. Knowing how busy it can be, and expecting it to be insane on a Saturday night, I used OpenTable to make my reservation. (If you aren't using OpenTable, go check it out! It's free, easy, and entirely worthwhile.)

Dinner turned out great. My companion was the judge for the agility trial. Our trial chair wasn't feeling well so I hunted down some meds for her and sent her to the hotel. (She was lucky....not staying at mine!) I have no trouble talking dogs for a couple of hours and I thought he would like the Roadhouse. I was right! My bacon and blue burger was just this side of raw but very tasty. And the sweet potato fries live up to their billing. The best find was the wine. I was thrilled to find a red from L'Ecole No. 41 by the glass. "Recess Red" might have to replace Big House Red in my life. L'Ecole was my favorite winery when I lived in Walla Walla but it's not a big or widely-known winery so I love finding it.

The very sweet waitress gave me coupons for free doughnuts at the Roadshow tomorrow morning. The Roadshow is an Airstream in the parking lot that functions as a drive-thru. Irresistible. 

07 November 2008

and she was

Thanks to a wide variety of strange radio stations, ranging from classical organ to BBC world service to Talking Heads to, I know I will regret admitting this in public, Delilah, none lasting more than 20 minutes, I have arrived in Ann Arbor. It's a lovely little 290 mile trip, across Ohio, in the rain, in a rental car. The minivan has spoilt me forever. I now feel like my butt is dragging across the pavement in normal cars. But I digress....

The hotel appears to have been overrun with 13 year old water polo players, and some other very LOUD teenagers who do not appear to have the water polo thing going on. And to make me feel oh so warm and fuzzy, the hotel folks said they could give me the room I reserved but I would have to move out of it tomorrow (after I get oh, maybe 5 hours of sleep after my 5 hours of driving) because someone asked for that room specifically. Oh, puhleeze. Room XXX at the Courtyard in Ann Arbor is really all that? They are giving me extra points for my trouble but at the rate I'm going I'll never have enough for a free room night anyway.

To top it all off, the internet connection feels like someone poured molasses in it. Can I go home now? Where's the wine?

06 November 2008


Kids never get sick when you need them to. Last year I was scheduled to spend a weekend in November in Ann Arbor, watching an agility trial. I managed to convince the chair to "replace" me. I didn't want to go. Our local hunt test was the same weekend and I messed up when I scheduled myself to be in two places at once. So when they asked me to do the agility thing this year I felt guilty about bailing last year and said I would do it. 

Now the weekend has arrived and I spent the last 48 hours hoping one of the kids would get sick so I could stay home. But no. They are both fine so I have a rental car and a hotel room reserved (and a little reservation at The Roadhouse for dinner on Saturday), and a lovely 300 mile drive tomorrow night after work. And a splitting headache, just as a little bonus. 

So I'm off to bed early tonight. For safety reasons. I'd like to get to Ann Arbor in one piece tomorrow.

05 November 2008

bacon and dreams

Wednesday Bacon is frequently about stuff I want to eat, not necessarily stuff I have tried already, especially now that it is NaBloSucMo time again. Bacon-wrapped cornish hens, the bacon cinnamon rolls, various bacon and chocolate combinations.

This week is no different. It seems one can get pig parts delivered in Pittsburgh. The other stuff sounds interesting, but the famed Farmer Joe's pig gets high praise. I am looking forward to hearing how Jennifer's half of a half of a pig turns out.

04 November 2008


One of Eleanor's teachers played with her hair today. It was cuter when we picked her up but she still looks a bit like Pebbles, hours later. I have some great hair clips for her but she tends to remove them. She liked this. I guess I need to search for more accessories.

It was a big day for language, especially names. This morning she said "Ol-ver", which is exactly the way Oliver said his name for a few months. She also said "Violet", the middle name of one of her classmates, a child who uses her full four syllable first name plus middle name. It's a mouthful any way you slice it.

And to cap things off tonight, Eleanor said her own name for the very first time!!!

03 November 2008

RC everything

CD and I had dinner at Richard Chen last night. It lived up to what we had heard. Expensive. And good. And expensive. We had a 20% off coupon and I still had sticker shock when I caught a glimpse of the check. The food was good. A definite step up from our usual delivered Chinese food but not four times better, or even three times better if I take the wine off our bill. I seriously doubt they will be around a year from now. Pittsburgh will support reasonably priced good food, but this is over-priced and not in the best location for a place with one strike against it. Prove me wrong, Pittsburgh. I dare you.

The food really was pretty good. CD and I shared a duck salad and potstickers. Both were done well. I probably could have eaten the duck salad alone and been perfectly happy. We also had mongolian beef and chili prawns. The beef was a little boring for me, but I had just a bite. The prawns were by far the best I have ever had. The spice level was just right and all the flavors very well-balanced.

I totally didn't get the "RC" cocktails. They were all numbered, as in RC #1, RC #2, etc. Four were sold out so I didn't even bother reading further. And the RC salad was sold out too. What's with the RC stuff and most of it being sold out? RC to me is a crappy cola drink (Royal Crown, I think) with an odd after-taste that is cheaper than Coke. Something to avoid, not order. We went with an okay Washington Syrah called "Basketcase" instead.

02 November 2008

third dog

There really isn't a third dog in there. This is just what Suzy took out of Bubba tonight. And people wonder why there are tumbleweeds in my house.

As expected, the Capitol Steps show was amazing. As much as I am looking forward to the end of this election season, it sure is giving them great material to work with. I have no doubt that the next batch of leaders will give them plenty of fodder too. Along with death and taxes, that's something we can count on.

01 November 2008

nano nano

Welcome to year three of NaBloPoMo! As usual, I have no posts in the bank. And as usual, it's late at night and I'm reaching. So far, so good!

Fortunately, we have a lot going on tomorrow and plenty of potential blog fodder. It should be enough to get me to Wednesday Bacon.

In the morning we've got Music Together. Aunt Suzy will go along to "moosic", as she has done on other visits.

While the kids are napping Aunt Suzy and I will head to IKEA to fetch supplies to make this play kitchen. CD and I will do the final assembly as a Christmas present. Shhhhh! Don't tell! 

CD and I will take advantage of the free babysitting and go to Capitol Steps. With just two days to go before the election, it should be a great performance. It's the only part of this election stuff that I am looking forward to.

Lastly, there's dinner. We are going to give Richard Chen a try. Word on the street is it is really really good, and really really expensive. Those two things are typically the kiss of death around here. We'd better go before the restaurant does.

31 October 2008

sharks and spiders

Photo courtesy of CD. We had a great Halloween. Both kids were in good spirits and adorable costumes, and we had lots of help from Aunt Suzy to make our Halloween a festive one. She decorated the house and helped kid-wrangle during trick or treating. She also looked mah-velous in her spider jeans.

Two more photos are on Flickr.

30 October 2008

five more days and counting

I've always found politics kind of fun, and I started young. The summer of the Watergate hearings was an unusually rainy one in Maine, so I watched them. There wasn't anything else to do. I was seven years old. By the time I was 12 I had read both volumes of Nixon's memoirs. Though I started out planning to study music, I ended up a political science major in college. I couldn't wait to vote in my first presidential election, way back in 1984.

Today? I cannot wait for the upcoming election to be over. If only these things could be nasty, brutish, and SHORT! I planned a wedding in eleven weeks. Surely presidential campaigns need not be much longer than that.

I love voting. Since I had children I have always taken a kid with me to the polls. It's good practice for the kids and the polls workers, typically older ladies, seem to be nicer to me when I have kid along for the ride. 

This year marks the first time I have ever seriously considered not voting. From the time Hillary Clinton conceded until John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, I was pretty sure I would stay home on election day. The Palin choice pushed me over the edge to Obama. Even if McCain had chosen someone remotely reasonable, I probably would have landed in this place eventually. He just hastened the process. I probably should thank him. Well, perhaps not.

I have seen some folks on twitter wonder what we will all have to talk about on November 5. I really don't care, as long as it isn't presidential politics. Anything else will be a welcome relief.

29 October 2008

bacon-wrapped dog food

The recipe for bacon wrapped cornish hens from A Year of Crockpotting is appealing on so many levels that I want to go to the store and get the ingredients right now. If I thought there was any hope of finding a replacement glass lid to my crockpot on that shopping trip that's what I would be doing instead of just telling you about the recipe.

Cornish hens are a favorite of mine. And they used to be a favorite of the dogs, until Penguin developed an allergy to chicken. See, we give raw food to the dogs at our house. Raw meat, raw bones, the whole nine yards. (You feed your dogs BONES, Kim? What are you thinking?? Don't you know chicken bones are dangerous? Here's the story:  Cooked poultry bones can be deadly. Raw are a-okay.) I used to drive many hours to Eberly Poultry two or three times a year and get a couple hundred pound of turkey necks, chicken backs and cornish hens. The hens were always the best. They were "split for the grill" in the summer and we humans often dipped into the dog food for dinner. Half a hen was a perfect balance of muscle meat, organ meat and bone for the dogs, or a nice meal for CD or me. Whole hens could be cut in the back and pierced with two wooden skewers making an X to stay flat on the grill too.

Then Penguin's chicken allergy reared its ugly head and there hasn't been a cornish hen in the house since. I think that was an error on my part, one that I will have to remedy soon.

28 October 2008

NaBloPoke me in the eye with a sharp stick

After two years of doing NaBloPoMo, and surviving reasonably well, Blog365 seemed like the next logical step. Hey, I love a challenge. Okay, maybe not so much, but it didn't seem all that daunting when I started.

Here it is, day 301, and I'm still going. Just 64 more days. Piece of cake. A little thing like NaBlo really shouldn't be freaking me out, right? Right. Once again, I keep thinking I should have a few posts in the tank, just in case, yet only twice in the past 10 months have I queued up a post in advance. The odds my doing anything differently this year are somewhere between slim and none.

So what do you think? Should YOU do NaBloPoMo? Absolutely! In the words of Annie Savoy, "Total exhaustion can be spiritually fabulous."

27 October 2008

better late than never (I hope)

Eons ago, as in August 1, Jenn tagged me for a meme. Jenn was one of my freshman roommates, someone who saw me at my absolute worst, so it probably won't surprise her to discover I still suck. 

The Rules: Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to each of the “named” people’s blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you’ve been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. They, in turn, answer the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was freaking the hell out! Well, the actual freak out was Nov 6 but I was well on my way 10 years ago today. CD and I had our first date a few weeks before and I was at the point of trying to sabotage the whole damn thing. I had not figured out he was "the one" yet. I was very conflicted and in general, being an idiot. It was all in my head, of course, and I'm very lucky he didn't run screaming in the other direction.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today?

Prepare notes for plot monitors meeting today
Prepare agenda for advisory committee meeting tomorrow
Go grocery shopping
Tidy up -- the boss is coming for dinner tomorrow
Put out ALL the recycling (there's a ton since CD didn't do it two weeks ago when I was away)

3. Snacks I enjoy:
dark chocolate in just about any form, McVitie's digestive biscuits, 

4. Places I’ve lived:
Maine, Massachusetts (twice), Pennsylvania (Swarthmore), Washington, Pennyslvania (Pittsburgh)

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Stop working and blog the way I would if I had more time to devote to research and writing! Sock away enough for the kids' education and our old age (including a substantial travel fund and maybe enough for a vacation property), pay off the houses and finish the remaining house projects, add a second car. Share the wealth with the family and close friends who have meant so much to us. Donate a substantial amount to the Clumber Spaniel Health Foundation. Donate enough to my alma mater to build a new non-pink building and establish a technology endowment that ensures the infrastructure and staff can keep current with the state of the art. The rest would go to medical and environmental research.

Now I’m supposed to tag 5 more people. Since I know how much you all love that, I am going to ask that you consider yourself tagged and leave a comment here when you do the meme. I am going to encourage Tara to pick this up and start blogging again. You have been missed!

Thanks Jenn. I was at a total loss on what to blog today. 

26 October 2008

if you take a 3 year old to the theatre

Oliver and I had never been to a performance of the Pittsburgh International Children's Theatre until today. I think it is now safe to say Oliver enjoys musical theatre. He sat on my lap, mesmerized except for applauding at all the right times, for the entire show. It didn't hurt that the troupe presented seven stories in 50 minutes, so nothing dragged on for very long. Even if there had been a dud (there wasn't) it would have been over quickly.

The only hiccup in an otherwise perfect mother-son outing was running into Oliver's buddy Jonah. Seeing Jonah was great. Seeing Jonah head for the "patron" section of the theatre was not so great, seeing as we did not fork over the $100 donation to be patrons and therefore had to sit with the riff-raff. That is until 5 minutes to show time when they let the riff-raff move into the many empty rows of patron seating. By then we were settled and the seats near Jonah were taken anyway. Fortunately, we can upgrade even though we bought tickets for the whole series of performances. That's a smart non-profit for you.

Anyway, the performance was "If You Give a Pig a Pancake(and other stories)". Oliver has read If You Give a Moose a Muffinand If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but all of these stories were new to him, and to me too. He really wanted to stop by the book sale table on our way out but they didn't have one of his favorites from the show (Diary of a Worm) and the line was long so we kept going. I liked The Paper Bag Princess, and really hope Eleanor likes it too since she's probably getting it for Christmas.

Oliver really surprised me, both by being a great theatre companion and by not asking to leave part way through. I once took a five year old to his first movie theatre experience and it didn't last 10 minutes. It seems the child had never seen a live action movie, with real people. He had previously only seen animated movies, a tidbit his parents failed to share with me. It's a good thing this went well since we bought the whole series. Next month? The Velveteen Rabbit!