Saturday, February 28, 2009
The day after the first "kick in your dick" incident, he managed to say both "bong" and "boff" that morning. Obviously not as cringe-worthy as "dick", especially since neither was used correctly, but still not exactly what I want to hear out of his mouth.
Jeremy just informed me that recently Dorian has been trying to self-correct his potty mouth around his dad because Daddy has a much lower potty mouth tolerance than Mama. Apparently he has been saying things like, "I like to eat poo---h bear. I like Pooh Bear."
He also announced the other day that he would like to try to pee in his own mouth. That might be hard as he informed me that his "penis disappeared" while he was wandering around naked yesterday.
Then tonight he decided to top everything off with a new addition to the rhyming assault game. "Bang in your wang" garnered the Stifled Snicker of the Day award. My wang seems to be the top of my head. You know, my head head. 'Cause I don't have the other kind.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Not just any old bird either. A titmouse. Or as my father-in-law would say, a TM. He also would ask me every time I saw him when the kids were little(r) whether I was still "BFing." Apparently, a man who can swear with impunity in front of my children cannot use the words "tit" or "breast" without embarrassing himself.
Anyway, in honor of our first winged guest, Dorian and I made granola for the first time. If you'd like to try it, it's very simple, so here's what we did:
Mix 3 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (we did pecans), 1/4 cup sesame seeds, and 1/4 cup flax seeds in a big bowl. While preheating the oven to 325 degrees, warm 1/3 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey, or a combo) in a small pan over low heat. Pour syrup over oat mixture and toss until well coated. Spread in an even layer on baking sheet(s) and bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.
Pretty easy and pretty tasty.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The reason I know I love it here (and by here, I mean the SE corner of VT) is that several times every season I am practically brought to tears by how beautiful it is here and how lucky I feel to witness this beauty every day. Today was one of those days-- at least at the beginning of my trip. Driving along the West River which was partially shrouded by snow and ice, with the overblown intensity of the New Pornographers on the stereo and a hot cup of decaf in the cup holder, I was feeling pretty blissful. It is a pretty picturesque drive, that route 30.
Things started to change somewhere after Stratton. I was not only entering a literal valley, but a figurative one as well. Our time on the other side of the state was not my best. And the closer I got to the outlet town where we used to live, the more unpleasant memories came flooding back. Reminders of the truly heinous people I worked with at the bank were crowding my brain. Visions of fur-bedecked tourists clogged my view, despite the fact that there were none in actual sight. And pangs of the alienation I endured at the hands of a certain woman with heavy-handed makeup besieged me as we left town to continue north to my friend's town at the edge of nowhere.
We had a wonderful visit with our friends and I'm not sorry I went. But I think I understand why fate has intervened so many times in the last year or so that I have tried to plan trips in that direction. Every trip has been stymied by an illness or an important appointment or something and it has become a bit of a joke. Now, though, I realize that it has been life trying to protect my delicate little psyche from itself.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
A big bowl full of snow, snow which I had to try to forget is made of space dust*, a Styrofoam cup full of hot maple syrup, a plain doughnut, and a dill pickle spear. Stick with me. It will make sense in a minute. You bring your pile of seemingly random foodstuffs to a table, ignore the fact that your toes are freezing and that holding a plastic fork while wearing insulated gloves is almost impossible, and get set up. The plan is to pour some of your syrup on the snow. This syrup has been boiling or a while, so when it hits the snow, most of it turns into a taffy-like goo. This you scoop up with your fork and eat while trying not to let the wind whip your hair into your mouth. (I failed at this and have the sticky hair to prove it.) You alternate bites of maple-y snow with bites of doughnut and pickle. The pickle part seems totally ridiculous until you try it. Trust me, it makes both the syrup and the pickle taste even better than normal.
So that was an exciting sugar rush, after which we did a little sledding while waiting for the candy chase and the sky divers. What else would you top off a bowl of sugar coated snow with but candy? My brother-in-law can attest to the sheer insanity of a bunch of bundled up children chasing after candy that is practically frozen into the snow. He was lucky enough to attend the Easter version of this 2 years ago. On the word "go" the kids tore off after bags of Tootsie Rolls, one girl even leaving a boot behind in the mad rush.
Then came the big excitement. A large red "X" was laid out in the outfield of the softball diamond while the snow blind multitudes scanned the sky for the plane bearing 2 skydivers. Jeremy decides to wonder aloud about how terrible it would be if one of their parachutes didn't open. I said, "That's why they always have a backup." He presses on about what would happen if they both failed. The plane drops the warning flag, which sails slowly toward the highway, well off course from the softball field. It's a windy day, they obviously need to test where to jump, much murmuring in the crowd.
The plane makes a second pass and the first guy jumps out somewhere over the pool where he should be blown back to the field. Shortly thereafter, the second guy jumps. Oohs and aahs. Suddenly, everyone realizes that the first jumper is heading toward the road very fast. He pulls a cord and the parachute dips quickly, and he is caught in a tree. A collective gasp. Sebastian starts running across the field with many of the onlookers. I have to chase him down. The second guy lands to minimal fanfare exactly on the X.
A full 45 minutes later, with 3 police cars, an ambulance, 2 ladder trucks from the fire department and a cherry picker, and they still didn't have the guy down yet. When we left, he was standing on a transformer on a telephone pole.
Christine and I both blamed Jeremy for thinking about there being a tragedy, but he refuses to take responsibility.
* It's true. When I did my snowflake nature program for the kids, I learned that every snowflake starts with a piece of dust, whether it's dirt or volcanic ash or dust from outer space. Also, the largest snowflake ever recorded was 15 inches across! You'd only need a couple of those for sugar on snow.
Friday, February 20, 2009
We made the best of it. Miss Lydia and her mom, Christine, came over to keep us company. Christine and I almost broke our faces squinting in the sun being reflected off the increasingly drippy snow in the yard. The kids "washed" our cars by throwing snowballs at them or cutting out the middle man and just rubbing their damp gloves in the accumulated salt and grime.
After they left, I received a call from the Flapper reminding us that the matinee of the high school's production of Once Upon a Mattress would be starting at 4 if we would like to go. I figured, what the hell? It will totally throw off dinner and could potentially be more painful than the all-white production of Ain't Misbehavin' I saw in a small town in Maine lo some 18 years ago, but we'll give it a shot. It was definitely not the worst thing I've ever seen, and, in fact, I think the slapstick element was perfect for high school students who have the propensity to overact anyway. Prince Dauntless sounded exactly like Paul Lynde which added an interesting element to his song about loving someone named Fred. I was surprised how much the kids enjoyed it, and Dorian only asked to go home 4 or 5 times, so their first theater experience was a success. And Sebastian got plenty of practice using the folding seat as a jungle gym to prepare himself for next week's trip to the dollar kids' movies in town.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The first incident happened a week or so ago in the evening. We have a little game where we gently assault each other while rhyming.
Me: (kicking Sebastian's rear) Boot in your toot!
Sebastian: (karate chopping my head) Chop on your mop!
M: Whack on your back!
S: Punch in your lunch!
Dorian hears the commotion, runs in the room and kicks me in the hip.
Dorian: Kick in your dick!
M: .... (Totally dumbfounded, I decide to ignore it.)
D: Kick in your dick!
Apparently the ignoring strategy worked as he hasn't used that maneuver since.
And last night at dinner, we witnessed this conversation between the boys:
D: Guess what, Sebastian?
D: Today I drank some chocolate MILF.
(cue snickering parents)
D: I mean chocolate MILK, not chocolate MILF!
S: You said "chocolate MILF"! Heh heh heh.
We are now living with Beavis and Butthead.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Tuesdays always include:
- All School Sing-- avoidable, but fun.
- Little Peoples-- also avoidable, it could happen on Wednesday, but the total terror girl goes on Wednesday and I like Dorian so I don't want to torture him.
- Meeting Christine for coffee-- part and parcel with Little Peoples, therefore avoidable, but why would I want to?
- After School Program-- foolishness, I really should have signed him up for Thursdays.
Once a month, Tuesdays include:
- PTA meeting-- arguably avoidable, definitely a coincidence since it used to be Mondays or Wednesdays.
- Nature Program-- avoidable, but fun, and I once thought it was foolishness but it really wasn't, and also a coincidence that Tuesday is the one afternoon the teacher has time for it.
So what this means is that if I choose to go to All School Sing, then I could potentially be at school 4 times in one day if the PTA and nature program fall on the same Tuesday. That is exactly what happened last month. And I had food poisoning.
Today, I had All School Sing, then Literacy Breakfast in Sebastian's class, straight to Little Peoples, run to coffee shop, gab and sip, pick up Dorian, head home for quick bite to eat and a practice puppet show, off to school to do nature program, help the sub get the kids ready for dismissal, head home, complain to Jeremy for 20 minutes before he heads back to pick Sebastian up from the After School Program. Chaos!
Other than the PTA, I am happy about all the Tuesday events. I just wish I could spread the love around my week a little more.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Anyway, have you seen those crazy Cheetos commercials? They encourage you to join the "Orange Underground" by passive-aggressively using greasy, neon orange "cheese" snacks.
Annoying, talkative mom at soccer practice? Wipe your cheesy hands on her sweater.
Don't feel like working today? Stuff yourself full of spicy MSG until your eyes water and the boss sends you home.
Obnoxiously loud cell phone user at the sidewalk cafe? Throw some Cheetos under her chair and see what happens.
All of this is creepily instigated by Chester "the Molester" Cheetah. Bizarre, to be sure. I think they are trying to be the new BK.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
But now the source of the virus itself is in my home. Oh, yes. RockBand2 arrived at our house Friday evening and has infected both of the "responsible" adults.
The good news: It does not appear to wake up/keep up the children.
The bad news: Belting out "Livin' on a Prayer" is doing nothing to help my sore throat from my real sickness.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Well, it would have been better if I hadn't been woken up by the children screaming at each other. But so far:
- We had heart shaped cherry pancakes for breakfast. (I had to make them from scratch, but still.)
- There were fabulous homemade valentines from my 3 guys, including a pop-up one and a flip-o-rama one.
- There was a box of See's chocolates, which are the absolute best chocolates in the whole wide world.
- I was serenaded by my guys who sang 3 of my favorite songs.
- Dorian named his bumblebee "Honeyhive" at Sebastian's suggestion.
- Sebastian said he "couldn't imagine anything better" than the mittens I knit for him. (and he's got quite an imagination, that kid.)
- And Jeremy liked his gift which I painted for him. (It's a tropical stinkbug. Tres romantique, non?)
- Add to that the gift that keeps on giving, RockBand 2, and it has been an awesome day.
Now for some grocery shopping before Quinn comes to babysit so Jeremy and I can gorge ourselves on Indian food.
Friday, February 13, 2009
At the dinner table:
Sebastian: (apropos of nothing) You know what? People can be mutts, too.
Me: (Dreading what is surely coming next) Hmm?
S: You know... like if they have one white parent and one parent with black skin.
M: You are never allowed to call a person a mutt!
An overreaction, perhaps. A lengthy discussion followed regarding the fact that he also would be a "mutt" due to his French-Canadian, Irish, British, Eastern European, etc. heritage, but that it was an unpleasant term to use about a person.
Tuesday, picking Sebastian up from his after school program:
Me: (Noticing a fancy sequined scarf a girl is holding) Wow! That is very sparkly!
Girl: (Who happens to be black) It's just a scarf. A Hannah Montana scarf.
M: Well, it's very cool.
Dorian: (Gleefully) Mama, my skin is white!
The rational part of me recognizes that they are just making observations no different than "my shirt is red" or "the sky is blue" or that they are just trying to make sense of a new word and how it could be applied to something other than, say, dogs. (Wait until they learn that Daddy has also been "neutered".)
The irrational part of me, however, wants to scream "We're not racist!" and run from the room, dragging my blond-haired, blue-eyed boy behind me.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Coming soon: Jeremy's Valentine. But we don't want to spoil the surprise, now do we?
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I don't know if it is something about this area, or if it is a problem across this country and the world, but both parent groups I have belonged to have been totally lame.
My children's education is important to me, and most of you know that I intended to homeschool Sebastian this year until he made other plans. Rather than tell him he couldn't go to school, I signed him up and have dedicated myself to making sure it is a good place for him to be. I cut up countless carrot sticks for healthy snack, I perform puppet shows involving talking snowflakes, I bake goodies I wish I could eat instead of donating to the never-ending bake sales, and I attend some of the most pointless meetings on earth.
Other than the officers of the group and the principal and assistant principal, how many parents do you think attended last night's meeting? Bear in mind that there are over 400 students at this school. I don't know how many different families they come from, but I would have thought (back before I had any real experience with these things, you know, when I was living in fantasy land) that a quarter of the families would be interested in bettering the school through dialogue and planning. Let's imagine, factoring in siblings and such, that there would be about 75 people. Ha!
Last night, there were 3.5 parents, including me. The half is for the man who arrived at the beginning with a child playing a noisy hand held game, but left before it was over. So, to recap, out of well over 300 families and numerous staff, they managed to attract 4 people... but couldn't even hold their entire audience.
Their theory? That 7pm is poor timing for a meeting. Contrarian that I am, I pointed out that they said they get a great turn out for their movie nights that start at what time? 7pm. I told them that it wasn't the timing keeping people away. The entire goddamn agenda was a list of upcoming opportunities for us to harass everyone we know, and some we don't, for money. People make time for the things they want to do. And no one wants to sit and listen to a laundry list of poorly planned events that will require even more of your time in the near future.
What I imagine a PTA should be is a group of caring parents and devoted teachers getting together on a semi-regular basis to discuss topics of substance that actually affect the students. Topics like bullying, homework, standardized testing, nutrition, self-esteem, physical fitness... Not bullshit like, "We need 5 more volunteers for Friday's movie night which I haven't even bothered to email people about." (Not a direct quote)
The only reason I really attend anymore (because at this point you are probably wondering why I don't just stop going, and believe me, I ask myself this question all the time) is to hear what the principal has to say. I think he has a lot of interesting information, and it is clear that he really cares about the kids and the school, and I think it is a real shame that his forum is so shoddily run and poorly attended.
Update: I do not mean to imply with this post that the hundreds of other parents at the school do not care as much as I do about their children's educations, only that they are so much smarter than I am since they obviously can see that this is NOT the way to show you care.
Monday, February 9, 2009
My first mistake was asking Dorian if we should go there first or the gym first. (Stupid question.) We go into the gym only to find that no one we know is there, so we may as well have gone to the post office first. Instead I am forced to suffer through the bizarre spectacle of a mother feeling the need to show off her belly (I'm assuming she was proud of how skinny she is) by running along one of the walls while wearing low rise jeans and a half shirt and having her husband throw a ball at her so she could jump and dodge it. She might as well have been screaming "Look at me!" like all the other children there.
We prepare to leave and I use "the facilities" but Dorian claims not to need to pee, so we head across the street. Of course there is a line and of course the person at the head of the line has no less than 10 padded envelopes to be weighed. This was Dorian's cue to announce how much he wanted to go home. Impeccable timing that kid has. I tell him how patient he needs to be while I am impatiently scouting the potential postage needs of the other 4 people ahead of me and trying to remember how much time is left on my parking meter. (None.) Therefore, Dorian must announce now that he needs to pee. I drag him around the building and ask one of the guys if there is a restroom. "Across the street at the rec center," he replies. Oh, what a card! I tell Dorian he will just have to wait, wondering if this will cause me more stress than leaving and coming back would, and then I see that yet another person would be ahead of me and the line has not moved.
After letting Dorian pee in the parking lot in front of the car because I didn't want to carry my box back up another flight of stairs and because he deserved to have to pee in the cold, we set off for the other post office. Usually there is a super nice guy named Pete who is quick and friendly and makes me wonder where the term "go postal" ever came from. Not today. Today there was a woman who, while friendly, was not so quick and who saw fit to answer the phone twice even though she had 3 people in line. The woman ahead of me finally gets to hand over her box, which is not taped closed, and right before she pays she yells, "Wait!" For chrissakes, people. Can't we get through one simple transaction? She reaches into the box, shuffles the contents around and pulls out... her car keys.
Two minutes later, little Lincoln's sweater and all the other most miniature clothing I had left were on their way to him 2 hours north. It probably would have been much less traumatic to have delivered them myself.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Before, I would cut while hunched over the cutting mat on the floor, or stand at the table, also relatively hunched. It should come as no surprise that my cuts were not straight, but were pretty hunched themselves. So today I had the genius idea to stand at the kitchen counter instead. It's the right height, and while it didn't solve all my problems, it did make a big difference.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
What does a couch say?
[When leaving] "I'm Subaru Outback."
You know. Instead of "I'm Audi 5000." Nothing like a joke based on outdated slang. I think I can get it to catch on in Vermont, though. Seriously-- every other car around here is one. And 3 of my friends' Subarus are white. And so are they. And 2 of them are named Christine. And one of them has a best friend named Christine.
I'll stop rambling now.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Every once in a while, this disappointment wells up again, resulting in tears. I reassure him and remind him of all the other wonderful mittens he is fortunate to have, but the sting of this loss is strong. (I'd be lying if I said it didn't please me that he feels sad both because he loved them and because he knows how hard I worked on them.)
Most recently, he was reminded when I asked him what color pixie hat he wanted. The first response was, "Maybe dark red so that every time I wear it, I can remember my beautiful red mittens that I... [prolonged sobbing]." I was happy he decided on yellow so we could avoid having a breakdown every time he wore his hat. And yesterday he came home from school and spotted Dorian's pair on the kitchen counter and got a little too excited that I had made him another pair.
Well, won't he be pleased when he sees these next Saturday:
I think the boy has suffered enough.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Listmaker has identical twin boys on the way. Identical. Twin. Boys. What this means is he has two more penises to deal with soon and needs to decide what to do with them.
My 8 loyal readers are parents, grandparents, and baby-free, so there should be a variety of experiences to draw from in answering the question of whether or not to circumcise.
I am staunchly against it. I am not ashamed to admit that my boys are intact. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
If you'd like to read it, Listmaker has outlined some of the points involved in the decision making process in his post and has received some interesting responses. (Full disclosure: 3 of those came from this house.)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
What this means is that when I shovel the driveway, I uncover the sidewalk and then have to shovel a further 4 feet out to the street. While this makes more room for an extra car to park, it is also a back breaker.
This morning I heard the siren song of large trucks backing up, so I went to the window to investigate. For several minutes I watched as a grader drove back and forth up the street, eventually leaving a trail of snow slightly off center. I wasn't sure how the snow was supposed to get into a dump truck that way. I assumed they would push it into a big pile and then use an excavator to pick it up and dump it in the truck.
I know this picture isn't great, but here's what they actually do: That big bulldozer thingie, instead of having a scooper on the front, has a giant version of a snow blower called a SnoGo. The snow blower machinery is as tall as the dump truck (and is obstructed in the photo). The arm that aims the snow being thrown hooks over, sort of like after a basketball player shoots, or the way a fey man holds his hand. Then the dump truck drives slightly ahead of the big snow blower and the snow blows in as they drive down the street.
It's the little things...
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Although I am pleased with the (almost) finished product, I feel a little guilty giving this thing to a baby. At the risk of sounding like a total New Age hippie-dip, I have knitted a lot of bad energy into this sweater. (This is where you have to ignore my obnoxious earlier post about knitting love into every stitch. My hyperbole got the better of me, I guess.) I am tempted to finish it and then burn it in the yard. I hated every minute of knitting with that yarn. I had to knit on needles 3 sizes too small and still had to do math to get the pieces to the right size because my gauge was so far off. And I have spoiled myself lately with cushy, elastic wool yarn, so knitting with some unforgiving cotton was misery. It made my hands hurt. The finished fabric looks and feels nice, but the process was unpleasant.
Even so, I think it makes a handsome baby jacket, and the pattern itself was fine. I would just ever ever never never use that goddamn yarn again. Never. Ever. Not ever.
Monday, February 2, 2009
And I'm afraid we're going to have to say "no", but I feel kind of bad about it. I mostly feel bad because I was certainly one of the farmer's biggest supporters. It was her first year, I thought she was doing a fine job, but some people were giving her grief. I was perpetually reassuring her or telling her how happy we were to get such wonderful food and how excited we were for the new things we were trying. I really did enjoy the experience.
Then we bought our house. And now I have room for a big garden. I won't need all of her vegetables if everything goes according to plan and I have my own. Not to mention that my biggest draw toward that particular farm were the fruits. But they have announced that there will be no peaches, plums or cherries because of how cold January was.
And that's not the only thing that has changed for the worse. Eggs will no longer be included in the share. The discount for members buying extra items has dropped from 15% to 10%. And there isn't going to be the in-town pickup option this year.
So, I think I'm going to have to pass this time around. I'm still committed to buying from them. I will happily frequent their PYO berries and apples. But I'm going to try to strike out on my own this year.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I would like to say that if anyone asks me to knit anything for them or for anyone else they know, they will not be receiving anything knitted by me ever again. Ever. I am a busy woman. I think a lot of my busyness is pretty selfless. I don't have to volunteer at school, nor do I have to make a million baby hats. But I do. I do it because I like to be helpful and because I like to make other people happy.
But lately, I've been unhappy. And one of the reasons for this is that people are frigging greedy and driving me nuts. I know I should take it as a compliment that people want me to make them things. But if I want to make a hat for my cousin's baby, I will. If I want to knit you a Xmas present, I will. But if you ask me to, not only does it make me feel guilty that I don't have the time to give you the kindness you seem to want, but it makes me feel pressured to come up with something and it makes me mad. Especially since some of the requests come from people who have lost or destroyed or never thanked me for the things I have made for them in the past.
I view my knitting as not only my craft, but my art. Every blessed thing I come up with for someone is born of some sort of inspiration. Whether it is a beautiful yarn that reminds me of the recipient, or is a pattern that screams their name, the projects I come up with on my own are expressions of my love and my art. You don't have to like them, but you should know that every stitch comes from my heart. (Well, technically my fingers, but you get the gist.)
So when I hear that you want a new hat or a new scarf or think I should make something for someone I haven't spoken to in 2 years, it annoys me. It makes me feel like what I have already done isn't good enough. Or it makes me feel like I should be your personal accessory stylist instead of spreading the love around.
So here are your choices:
- Ask me for something and get crossed off my list. (If you don't like my work, choose this one.)
- Don't ask for anything and know that if you are patient, you'll get something eventually.
- Ask me how to knit and I will teach you how to make your very own awesomeness.
- Thank me genuinely for what I have given you, treat it with care, and know that you are much more likely to receive things in the future.
I love you all... but I put enough pressure on myself and I don't need y'all adding to it. Thank you for your patience and understanding.