Tuesday, March 31, 2009
No. I can't wait because tomorrow... tomorrow I get to plant my seeds! In my new big garden!
[cue gospel choir singing "Oh Happy Day"]
I have the rows all ready to go. I have the seeds anxiously awaiting some soil. I have dirt under my nails. And I have a song in my heart.
There will be snow peas, and Swiss chard, and carrots, and Easter egg radishes! And later there will be tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers and melons and pumpkins... and herbs, lots of herbs! (I hope this all works out.)
And after I finished preparing the garden today, I planted my rhubarb and raspberries. I still have the blueberries to plant, maybe also tomorrow.
And while my grubby hands were patting the soil around the rhubarb, the estimate came in the mail for the fence. The cheapest one costs $500 less than the one in the middle, and the most expensive costs 3x what the cheapest one does. So I think I'll go with the cheapest-- the split rail fence. Not just to save $500, but because the slightly more expensive model would have to be painted every year or two, and that sounds like more trouble than it's worth.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
"My pants are my plate!"
1. I am something you wear, with holes and made out of cloth. What am I?
Guesses: t-shirt, mask, pants
Correct answer: a pair of socks (Jeremy wins)
Is this a hint that I need to do more mending? I hope not.
2. I have wheels. You ride on me. What am I?
Guesses: A shirt (Dorian, apparently stuck on the first riddle), a car, a "wheel boat" (Dorian), a trike, a "wheel boarder" (Sebastian somehow understood that Dorian meant a lawnmower)
Correct answer: a bike (Jeremy is 2 for 2)
3. I heat up your room. I am a machine. I have a screen. What am I?
Guesses: a space heater, the vent in the floor, the furnace, the sun, the window, the TV
Correct answer: a thermostat
No one got this right, and Sebastian needed clarification on the actual function of the thermostat.
4. I do not like water. I am boiling. What am I?
Guesses: maple syrup, the sun, a fire
Correct answer: flames
Again, Sebastian needed a little clarification, but Jeremy did figure out what he was going for.
5. I hate cold. I hide from big things. What am I?
Guesses: Mama: "Quinn" Sebastian: "It's very small." Mama: [again, with feeling] "Quinn"
Correct answer: a mouse
I'm not sure how I got that one, but I did.
Final score: Hott Mama 1, Cool Daddy 3
The paper is numbered, optimistically, up to 23. We'll see what the riddler comes up with next...
Friday, March 27, 2009
I freak out, but don't scream, if it's the Moderately-Stressed Dream where things are falling on my head, such as spiders, kites, fabric, or sticks. The Slightly-Stressed Dream involves driving my car at a fairly slow speed but being unable to stop because the brakes aren't working. I spend the dream trying to swerve to a stop or trying to find a convenient crash location. Clearly, my dreams do not require a fancy dictionary to decipher.
The worst part is that I had the Super-Stressed Dream over the stupid shit going on with the PTA. It's not even anything important! Certainly not worth straining my vocal cords over. Especially not when Jimbama is coming for the weekend and there will surely be lots of RockBand.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This is what we have resorted to, people? Madoff's pyramid scheme goes under, so I guess it's high time to go back to the good ol' days of pannin' the river all day and hittin' the saloon/brothel all night. Why not? There's plenty of cheap housing available.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Hott Mama: Hi. We are looking to put in a fence on our corner lot. Would it be possible to have you come out to do an estimate?
Fence Man: Ayup. Are you apt to be home of an evening?
As a matter of fact, I am. And I am definitely willing to be home to meet with someone who talks like that! So he told me he'd come by one evening this week, but he'd call to let me know when. (I thought this was particularly gracious of him considering our roof man calls at 7am to let you know he's on his way. Or doesn't call at all and just starts removing my chimney.)
Either evening is earlier than I believe it to be, or he was feeling the economic crunch, or something, but he called this afternoon to ask if he could stop by before 3. He has come (well, his son did), he has measured (again, the son) and now I get to eagerly await the $5 million dollar estimate. As we all know, it will be worth it.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Well, now I've met a new crazy who is chockful of information he is more than happy to share with me. After a rousing game of "soccer" yesterday, the boys were playing on the ice pile next to the porch while I dug in the garden. I can't help it. The spring fever has me in its deadly grippe. Suddenly, I hear a voice announce something about "little daredevils" and turn to see a guy I can only vaguely describe as a Caucasian male, 16-30, wearing a hat and child-size backpack. We'll call him "Shaun"-- mostly because that is what he later told us his name was.
I sort of smirk and go back to my digging, but he continues to lurk around at the end of my walk, finally asking if I am working on a garden and offering me "tips to grow the perfect garden." I politely demure, and again go back to digging, avoiding the lingering snow piles. At this point, he seems to have gotten the point and walks across the street to the corner where he removes a red lighter from his pocket, drops it in the gutter, and kicks it down the sewer grate. I shake my head, jam the shovel into the dirt, and hear him yell, "Hey! You know your ball is way over here?" "Yes, thank you." The ball was about 5 feet from the sidewalk, still in our yard, minding its own pink swirly business.
I turn my back, dig, and hear the sound of the ball being kicked and hitting the telephone pole support wires in the corner of our yard. I look up to see him running back from the street to put the ball back pretty much where he found it. "I'm putting your ball back here because it blew into the street." I sigh and tell the kids they have 5 minutes left until we go inside, hoping against hope that they will stay where they are and not engage this man-boy in any way.
Ha! They of course hear the 5 minute warning as an invitation to run around the front of the house to roll around on a different ice pile right where the sidewalk should be. I kick the dirt clods off the shovel, lean it against the house, and go around the corner to see Shaun now lingering near the snow. "Dorian, please move away from the street," I call just as he rolls off the snow into the road. Shaun picks him up and deposits him back on the snow and gives the kids various warnings about the many dangers of snow and ice while Dorian yelps excitedly, "The man helped me up, Mama!" and Sebastian says, "Thanks for the advice, sir." "You can call me 'Shaun'-- 'sir' is my father's name."
Then, he starts asking the kids their names. "Where did you get the name 'Dorian'?" I don't know why I said it, because it isn't even true, but I mentioned The Picture of Dorian Gray. He surprises me by asking if my Dorian is two-faced, thereby displaying some knowledge of the story. I told him not yet and gave the kids the one minute warning. Then he asks if I know why Dorian Gray was inhuman. "Why's that?" His answer involved a voodoo woman, among other things, immediately shattering my briefly high opinion of him.
I inform the children the time has come to go inside, and after a cheery goodbye, Shaun vanished as mysteriously as he appeared.
Friday, March 20, 2009
We had our parent teacher conference today and finally got our answer about math lab, among other things. The good news is that Sebastian has improved quite a bit in his social skills and is having fewer outbursts and resolving conflicts more effectively. He also is following in Uncle Jamie's footsteps and will probably be entered in the spelling club as a second grader even though it usually starts at 3rd grade. The regular old, neither good nor bad news concerning his math skills is that he is "average". At this point in the conversation, I got a little feisty (what else is new?) and said that he is able to answer math questions at home that have led me to believe that he is advanced. Then I was accused (correctly) of being an overachiever and (incorrectly) of trying to push Sebastian by doing math at home. I had to explain myself, that these were just real world scenarios where math has come up, because, frankly, I have less important things (RockBand) to do than math drills. So, where it stands is that he is highly skilled in computation, but his organizational skills leave a lot to be desired. And the reason he was so "far ahead" of the other math lab students is that he was going with a remedial group for the social skills experience. (I swear this is not how it was presented to me at the beginning of the year, but what can you do?)
Here's where the bad gene combo strikes. Add one stubborn, know-it-all mother who never liked to show her work (except for her weird obsession with geometry proofs) to one doodling father and you get Sebastian.
A sample of his math work goes like this: "Rosa and Max are picking apples. Rosa picks 3 apples and Max picks 4 apples. How many apples did they pick in all? Show your work." In the large blank square below, Sebastian would draw an entire orchard of apple trees, Rosa in a full outfit with woven basket full of 3 apples with stems and leaves, Max in a full outfit with his own woven basket with 4 detailed apples (worms and all), and then somewhere hidden is the number 7. This is what would generously be described as creative, but disorganized. Was this the fastest, most efficient way to come to the conclusion? Certainly not. Because of this, he needs to continue with the first grade math to strengthen his organizational skills, and that is fine.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
What physical torment would it take to get you to watch a show?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Yesterday, disregarding the 3 inches of snow still covering my garden, I dragged Dorian to the Agway to buy a cultivator and some seeds before we went to pick Sebastian up at 4:30 from his after school program. It was the last day of the session and he was excited. We finish our shopping, I with my veggies and Dorian with his handful of flower seed packets, and get in the car at 4:10 to drive the 5 minutes to school. As I pull onto the highway, I think to myself, "I hope that kid didn't get himself on the bus today."
I walk in the lobby, and Tim, the director, interrupts his conversation to come over to me. "Oh my goodness, we almost lost Sebastian today! I had to go from bus to bus, calling his name, but he didn't answer... and then I spotted the moose hat." Now, instead of being annoyed that it is the only hat he is willing to wear, I need to be thankful or this story would have turned out a little differently. Thanks to Tim's sharp eyes, Sebastian was taken off the bus and to his classroom and not left to get off at his bus stop to find no Mama, Hott or otherwise. Apparently, he was so wrapped up in making plans with Flapdoodle's son to put on a play and build a mind reading machine, that both of them got on the bus when neither of them should have.
Crisis averted. And if you are now wondering how big a crisis it really would have been for him to ride the bus home to an empty house, let me just clue you in. When Jeremy came home and I told him what his son had done, we decided a chat with Sebastian about what to do in that situation was long overdue. So, we asked him, "Sebastian, what would you have done if you had ridden the bus all the way home and Mama wasn't at the bus stop or at home?"
"I would have walked to Daddy's work so he could drive me home and let me in."
Daddy's work is at least a 2 mile walk past the Drop In Center and the crazy lady's house, up the Main Street, across a bridge over the West River to where there is no sidewalk in strip mall central, and finally into an industrial park. The boy has initiative for certain. Common sense? Not so much.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Me: [totally psyched that this is now even an option, (Spring!) but thinking about the pizza dough rising in the kitchen] Umm... let me think. I'm making pizza... let me see what time it is...
S: Ooo! I have an idea! Oh, no... I guess that wouldn't work.
M: Tell me what it is and then we can see what would work about it. That's how we can compromise.
S: No. I just think it wouldn't work.
M: Just tell me!
S: Well, I was thinking that you could just go ahead and make dinner and I could go for a ride by myself.
We do not even let him walk home from the bus stop alone, and he wants to ride his bike alone. In the street. The same bike that he has to be constantly reminded to ride on the side and not in the middle of the road.
M: You're right. That will not be happening. But I just remembered that Daddy will be a little late, so if I go punch down the dough now, we have time for a ride.
M: This will give you another chance to practice the rules of riding your bike, so one day you can ride alone.
I punch down the dough, haul out the bike and helmet and Dorian's trike, and off we go. Multiple reminders to move over and we have made it around the neighborhood with 2 blocks left until we are home. Dorian and I are lagging behind. Sebastian approaches the "busy" cross street, looks both ways, and crosses without waiting for us.
Yeah, he will not be riding alone any time soon. At least he got the "look both ways" part right.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thus, Det. HM was on the case. Yet another case which would require much legwork, yet offer no remuneration.
Det. HM's first stop was with the 1st grade teacher, Mrs. S. Perhaps the young pupil was just confused and thought that he wasn't allowed to go, but really it was just cancelled due to February break and the 2 hour school delay. But no, word from Mrs. S was that he was no longer going. Her reason? "Well, you know, it's really his verbal skills that are very advanced, but Ms. C [his regular math teacher] thinks his math skills are pretty average."
Det. HM was not satisfied with this answer considering:
- The child was doing 2nd grade math last year.
- He can do multiplication and division in his head with some accuracy. (Not a 1st grade skill.)
- They supposedly created this particular math lab group because he was advanced.
- In math, he got a score of 4 (consistently exceeds expectations) on his report card.
Luckily, Det. HM entered the classroom the following morning to find Ms. A of the infamous math lab talking to Mrs. S. The young pupil approached the healthy snack preparing detective and said, "As soon as Ms. A is finished talking, I'm going to ask her why she has deleted me from the group."
Her response was that she was glad he had enjoyed it, but it was time to give some other kids a turn. This would have been reasonably acceptable except that after the boy left to go to the library, she informed Det. HM that, in fact, the child was "too far ahead of the rest of the group and it was becoming too much of a social experience for him."
So, whom do we believe? And why would you create a class for an advanced child, add some kids who aren't able to keep up, and then remove the one for whom it was created to provide a more stimulating math experience?
Det. HM was left with more questions than answers. Will Friday's parent-teacher conference shed any light on the situation?
Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of "The Mystery in the Math Lab!"
Friday, March 13, 2009
The "girls" were making chocolates for Hef's birthday. And not just any old chocolates either-- chocolates made from molds of one's breasts, one's butt, and one's (obviously shaved) Mons pubis. The girls were shown having the casts made, then painting melted chocolate in the molds. Finally the chocolates themselves were shown. Much blurring occurred.
What was blurred?
- The girls' actual body parts during the casting process.
- The offending portions of the molds.
- The milk chocolate asshole one girl was painting on her white chocolate butt.
- Later, a large foam sporting-event-style hand Hef was using to flip the bird. (Don't ask.)
What was not blurred?
The chocolate version of the one girl's labia. They censored the mold of the labia, but not the chocolate rendering thereof.
What have I learned? Algiform mold of labia: Bad. Chocolate labia: Good.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Having the lyrics written out has been an enlightening experience. I have learned that:
- "Come out and play (Keep 'em separated)" is about gang warfare.
- "Pretend that we're dead" is about not letting capitalist pigs walk all over you (or something).
- some songs are just gibberish.
- "Aqualung" is about a dirty old man.
- there is a reason why those old Time/Life commercials only played certain, brief portions of the songs in their collections. (See: Aqualung which only had the line "Sitting on a park bench")
But none of those things blew my mind. No, it was my husband disabusing me of the notion that 2 of the songs were sung by women. First, it was "Lazy Eye" by the Silversun Pickups. "That is not a man!" I said repeatedly. I absolutely flat out refused to believe him, mystical turtle that he is and possessor of far more music knowledge than I will ever have. "Look them up," he says. So, I did an image search and pronounced indignantly, "See! There's a girl! She must sing this. She must." Well, not quite:
So, I clearly lost on that one, although when I watch him sing, it still seems wrong with a capital R.
Next came that old classic "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac. This song was made for me in this game.* Guaranteed 100% every time. Or at least 99%. Either way, I was sure it must be Stevie Nicks singing. Wrong-o:
Obviously, Lindsay Buckingham singing about Stevie Nicks. Whoops. What do I know? Only that I sing like a man, I guess. A very effeminate man.
* "My Own Worst Enemy" and "Eye of the Tiger" are also tailored to my abilities. Some of the others, not so much.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I am going to tell you about the awesome book we've been reading. We have always read a lot in this house, by ourselves, together, quietly and aloud. Even Dorian is almost doing it by himself. Soon. But lately both kids have really been willing and able to enjoy longer chapter books read aloud. We all loved Matilda, everyone but me liked Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator*, and it was time to move on from Mr. Dahl.
Now we are reading a book Jeremy scored from a co-worker. It is Dominic by William Steig and it is totally awesome. I practically beg to read it to them and they never turn me down. The only problem is Jeremy needs to listen too, so we have to wait for him to come home. Anyway, it is about a dog named Dominic who decides to make his way in the world. He meets an alligator-witch, has run-ins with the Doomsday Gang and inherits a bunch of treasure... And we're only halfway through the book!
The only trouble I have with it is that it is full of what, in my family, we call "book words." You know, the sort of words that you read on a page, and you understand what they mean, but saying them aloud gets your tongue all twisted. My big one used to be "bougainvillea" and Jamie had a pronunciation of "archipelago" that still makes me giggle. So far in Dominic I have stumbled over both "adroit" and "reconnoiter" both of which have that French "oi" which I don't want to say all Trebekesque and ridiculously, but neither do I want to mispronounce. Looking it up in the dictionary didn't really help either.
*There was some seriously racist stuff that was really difficult for me to speak aloud. And that book was all over the place. Not his most cohesive work.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
You know what else we have? Buds. Little buds emerging from the millions of bulbs Dorian and I planted last fall. I found 20 little red ones and one big green one. The red ones might be tulips and the green one is probably one of Dorian's "purple puffballs." (I should probably have made some sort of notes about where I planted things, but it might not have been so exciting that way.)
We also have had open windows! Fresh air in the house! And some spring cleaning! The workshop is finally sort of organized and, at a minimum, it is possible to walk across the floor which is a huge improvement. The whole house was vacuumed yesterday morning, and then the dining room a second time after a styrofoam fight the boys had. (I'm the one who lost.)
I don't care if it does get cold again. It was just nice to get the cobwebs out of our heads and corners and let a little sunshine in.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Woman: So... wait. That's rated R?
W: Well... what does that mean exactly? What age is that for?
C: You mean, what does the rating mean?
W: Yeah. Why would it be rated R? For, like, language or something?
C: Well, it's probably for partial nudity and language.
W: But, you know, is it appropriate for 15 year olds? What is it about, anyway?
C: Well, it's called Zach and Miri Make a Porno. So, it's about two friends who decide to, you know, make a porno.
W: But is it like Scary Movie?
Clerk #2: It's more of a dramatic comedy.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Anyway, the only real connection here is that I bet Nic Sheff wears shoes, and at one point in the book he can't find one of his shoes, so there is the tenuous relationship for you.
Back in January, I read David Sheff's Beautiful Boy and you may recall my freaking out about kids and drug use. Well, last week I read his son Nic's account of his drug use in his book Tweak. His book was not as well written. The beginning felt rushed and, as I think is the case with a lot of young addicts, he comes off as very self-involved* and pretentious. But I was willing to look past all that to experience a bit of a rarity. It is not often that we are given the opportunity to hear both sides of a particular story through two memoirs. I also admit to loving a sordid story, so I was not about to pass this one up-- I just needed a little distance.
As I said, I read the father's version first, which I think was preferable because it gave me the chance to fill in the blanks later of what Nic was doing between those eagerly anticipated/dreaded phone calls to his dad. And I have to say that it must have been really hard for his father to read his son's story. His dad spent so much time worrying that he would get a call that his son was dead, but, in my opinion, what was really happening was far worse. I am not necessarily saying that I would rather my child were dead than a drug addict, but I would almost rather that than find out that he was prostituting himself for drug money, stealing from loved ones and having to dig stool pellets out of his body with his fingers because he had degraded himself so much.
Let us hope this does not happen in my house.
*Yes, I am aware this is a memoir I'm talking about.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Miss Lydia's hat, modelled by Sebastian. It's the same old pixie hat pattern that I think I could do in my sleep, only fancied up with some flowers and leaves. I got to use up some of my many scraps of Lamb's Pride, so that was good. And I also got to try out some of the little embellishments in an awesome book my mom gave me, so that was also good.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Read the article about 30 lbs of pot seized a town or two away if you must, but the comments (as well as the commenter's names) are priceless.
Stress Relief for Commuters
Tactics for dealing with the stresses and strains of the daily commute were explored by British researchers at Nottingham Trent University. The 2007 study revealed that the problems that most vexed commuters were: lack of space, loud music, delays, and obnoxious smells. Researchers also identified the following coping strategies:
- 1 .................. sing or talk to yourself
- 2 ..................... plan the day ahead
- 3 ..............work on laptop, write, read
- 4 ................emotion-focused coping†
- 5 ........................ seek counseling
- 6 ............listen to audio book or music
- 7 ............... chew gum, snack, or chat
- 8 .................smoke, or drink alcohol
- 9 ....................... meditate or pray
† vent anger or look at attractive commuters
Is it just me, or would acting on half of those things only make the commute 10 times worse for everyone around you? Talking to yourself, venting your anger, leering at people, taking a swig from your brown bag-wrapped 40, getting your Cheeto dust everywhere... sounds like someone I'd be thrilled to share a train with.
The most vexing option is clearly the second half of #8 which, last I checked, was not allowed on public transportation, and is certainly illegal when driving your own car. Perhaps it is aimed more at the carpool passenger.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Anyway, I went to see Revolutionary Road which I have been a total failure at obtaining a written copy of at the library or used book store. The library is ordering a copy for someone else, so I have to wait. Which is totally fine.
I enjoyed the movie and managed, amazingly, to not get too sucked into the whole disaffected housewife thing. If we still lived in Outlet Town, I guarantee I'd be bawling right now. But we don't and I'm not. Not that I didn't find the film to be moving, it just didn't make me feel like moving.
Anyway, after the movie ended and the credits started to roll, the women behind me stood up to leave.
Woman #1: That was just weird. And here I've been waiting weeks to see this movie. And it was just... weird.
Woman #2: It just makes you thankful you're normal.
Because being unhappy with your lot in life and having dreams, however unrealistic, is totally abnormal and ridiculous, right?