Showing posts from December, 2008

Shallower than the kiddie pool

I don't get introspective here on my blog. Normally, cyberspace is where people bare their souls to complete strangers for attention and comments like "ur awsum srsly!" But I try not to. I am only interested in introspection as far as it's related to moving furniture around and trying to decipher things Paul says (like yesterday when he said, "Hey mom, you know that song 'Hometown California?'"* The dog knows I died laughing. What dog, you ask? Nevermind).

Why don't I get deep on this blog? Because I'm not deep. I am 5 foot 4 inches; how deep can I be? I'll never be poetic--my poetic attempts are limited to odes to oatmeal and random rhyme schemes (I also favor alliteration, but not very often). I can't describe a scene of tear-jerking nostalgia or love in language chosen to rip your heart out with pangs of desire for bygone days and teddybears and childhood. (and I mix metaphors) I much prefer yammering on about band conc…

The end of an era

Jim had the day off work yesterday. Guess what he did?

That's right, kids, he added a third shelf to the closet and filled up the sewing room! I took stuff out of boxes and bags and put it all in place. I now declare The Great Room switch officially DONE!

Except I need a few more folding chairs, curtains, another cabinet, maybe some cupboards on the wall (no we are NOT moving the ones from Hayley's room upstairs. I need MORE cupboards!).

I have decided to move all of fake child's toys to this room so that I can sometimes reclaim my living room as a normal non-toy-infested space when fake child isn't here. She was a little miffed about that yesterday, but she'll get used to it. She won't play in here, but the toys will be stored in here on a shelf right by the door and next to the serger's table.

Weaver: I'll take the box! The box!

Kuni: You took the box? Let's see what's in the box! (Pause while Hiro-san opens the box) Nothing! Absolutely nothing! STUPID! You're so STU-PIIIIIIIIIIID!

That is my blog today. NOTHING is in the blog.

Although you all are not stupid.

I'm in a funk, although not the kind of funk where those of you who have my phone number need to call it to see if I'm ok, though. I'm fine. I just haven't showered or brushed my teeth and it's 11 a.m. It's the kind of funk a person sinks into when they read only bad news in the paper. Or when that person hears of a potential vehicle repair bill that threatens to break into quadruple digits. Or hears bad things about people. Or any number of things that make a person wonder "What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks happened???"

Hmmm. What will get me out of a funk? Random pictures maybe? Random pictures of ME? Random pictures of me as a teenager?

Yes, I think that will help. But does it help if one of the p…

The Black Hole days

The first couple of days after Christmas are black hole days. All matter, energy, time, and motivation are sucked into a vortex of "I don't want to do anything." I didn't have to babysit yesterday, so yesterday is a strange melange of memories involving shuffling around the house looking for something to stare at.

And that is why I didn't blog yesterday and why today's entry is so lame.

Wii wish you a merry Christmas!

Someone called my husband and asked when I was going to post Christmas pictures on my blog. And I promised that I would put some up as soon as my nails were dry (I got two colors of nail polish in my stocking! Jim knew just what colors to get!). So now my nails are dry and I need to fulfill my promise.

But buckle up because there are lots of pictures. Don't worry--if you say "Forget this, I'm not looking at all her holiday pictures," I won't be offended. You only have to look if you really want to.

The first set of pictures is from Christmas Eve.

Mom likes to entertain. Here she amuses all by busting out her moves with the dancing man. Owen had fun playing the harmonica.
Matt did a headstand for more than ten seconds. I didn't know he could do this.
Sidney helps Sophie do double duty with a harmonica while Sophie also operates the dancing man.
Now on to Christmas morning.

Jimmy gets the tomtom he wanted. Believe it or not, this is his "I am extremel…

Dashing through the snow, in a two-door pickup truck...

This post has nothing to do with trucks or snow. I just liked that "two-door pickup truck" fit so well into the song cadence of Jingle Bells.

I have lots to do today and no time to sit at the computer and type up blog posts. And yet, here I sit, staring at the empty box of "tell the world (or the 8 or so family members and friends who are curious enough to check out the blog) what you think or did or like."

So here is my list of things to do today.
1. Bake cardamom bread. I had schedule to do that on Monday, but I had also scheduled myself to run errands that day as well, and if I had done BOTH, the world would have imploded and every body would have died horrible, painful, and even itchy deaths. So I decided to save the world from certain agony of not being able to reach the itchiest part of the back where you can't quite reach it to scratch at it. And death.
2. Bake molasses cookies. That was scheduled for yesterday, but I did four kinds of cookies yesterd…

Joy to the world, the sewing room is painted!

Let the sewing room receive her stuff!

Oof, it's 6:20 in the a. of m. I'm not going to try to rewrite a whole Christmas carol around the finishing of the painting of the sewing room (enough gerunds for you?) at this early hour (I'm only up because fake child arrived at 6:10 and is at present sleeping in my bed).

So Jim finished the room. Again, I would have helped but someone had to procure groceries for the family and, in doing so, had to fight crowds and wait in line for long periods of time. Bleagh. Who had the harder time, I ask you? He painted at a leisurely pace, with no one to bother him, and music he likes played in the background. I had to constantly herd a small child around and say no to requests for cookies, toys, candy, snacks, treats, sugar, more toys, and chocolate both from the fake child and from my infantile brain. And I had to brave the below zero temps and park in a crowded lot and jostle and maneuver in a crowded store and wait in line til my ears…

On the third day before Christmas my true love gave to me...

A promise that the sewing room would be all painted today.

Doesn't really fit in the rhythm scheme of the song, but I don't care BECAUSE THE ROOM IS GOING TO BE PAINTED! I'd help (yes, really) but I have to babysit and go grocery shopping and take Hayley to buy her present for Matt. And Jim likes to paint anyway. At least when he has nothing else to do (he took the day off work). He got out his "painting CDs" so he can have music while he paints.

Today's nativity picture is a pillow I stitched several years ago. It's part of a four pillow set, the other ones aren't part of a nativity scene though. I love the sheep's legs. And yes, the color is painted on with craft paint.

Yesterday=no church meetings. So I knitted this. If I add some yellow french knots in the middle, I'll have a poinsettia dishcloth! The hard part of this cloth was keeping the yarn on the needles at the end. The double pointed needles I used were nearly too short and …

I'm dreaming of a warm Christmas

Actually, not really. I like this weather, except church was canceled. Normally, I wouldn't mind church cancellation, but since this is the Sunday before Christmas, I was looking forward to hearing the congregation sing a couple of my favorite hymns nice and loud while I play (and literally pull out all the stops. Except the organ I use doesn't have pull-out stops, it has switch stops, sigh).

Christmas plans are all set, Christmas presents are all bought (except for Hayley's present for Matt and a couple of gift cards), Christmas cookie dough is being made. I have dough in the fridge for three kinds of cookies--molasses, chocolate pinwheel, and Andes mint. Today maybe I'll do the oatmeal dough for the Hershey bar cookies. Pretty soon my fridge will be completely filled with cookie dough, with no room for stuff like milk and eggs. Oh well, Christmas is not a time for eggs and milk, it's a time for COOKIES! And cardamom bread, which I will make Monday.

Guess wh…


I loved watching hockey as a teenager. Then I moved to a hockey-less place for a while. When I came back to MN, there was no hockey. When MN finally got a new hockey team, they priced the seats out of a regular working Josephine's price range so I haven't paid much attention to hockey in recent years. But last night I to a Wild game with a friend who had an extra ticket and I was reminded that I still love to watch hockey. I love the non-stop action, I love the fist-fights (and there were at least four of them last night), and I love watching opponents being checked into the boards. One Wild player checked a Calgary player into the boards last night and flipped him on his back. It was AWESOME.

I'd prefer watching the North Stars--North Stars memorabilia brings an acid reflux-like surge of nostalgia--but I'll settle for the Wild (and yes, I'll gladly hate the Dallas Stars for being the former North Stars).

Sadly, the Wild lost in overtime, but I got to be a t…

Deck the blog with festive photos, fa la la la la, la la la la

I should make up new words to old Christmas songs that reflect the new cyber world. But I have other things to do today. I suppose I could just list some titles, though.

"O Come all ye Bloggers"
"O Christmas Flair, O Christmas Flair" (for all you facebook Flair application fans)
"Joy to Youtube!"
New first line to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" could be "You better not troll, you better not flame.."
"Frosty the LOLcat"

OK, time to think of your own. Comment with your list of updated Christmas carol titles.

On to my promised display.

This first picture is a tradition. Every year, I put the kids' pictures on an ornament. I have a family ornament from every year since Katie was a baby. This year's ornament (which I have not yet made) will be the first to actually show a decrease in number of children. Matt says he's kind of looking forward to eventually being the only one on the 2016 and 2017 ornaments. And then I g…

Correction ink in a blog

You might (or might not) remember a few posts ago I shared a list of things I have learned. Well, I have to amend one of them.

Specifically #4, wherein I stated (and I quote): 4. Children don't mind being told that they aren't going to win or that they aren't the best at something. "Mom, I entered a contest!" "Wonderful for you. I hope you do your best, but you do realize that you probably aren't going to win, right?" I've said it before, I bring reality to life, not dreams. Pessimistic and mean, you think? Shrug.

I am not amending the statements that I am pessimistic and mean and that I tell my children they are probably not going to be world-class anythings. I have to amend the statement "You probably aren't going to win."

New statement: "You probably aren't going to win. Unless you are me, and then you (I) just might win something."

In my childhood, I won two contests. In first grade, I won a coloring contest spo…

Posting while eating blueberries at the computer

Aldi's sells the best blueberries. (And strawberries) I'm eating a little cup of blueberries right now. Plain, no cream or sugar on them. They look like little blue Christmas ornaments, and I'll wager they are tastier.

I must air out several pictures taken recently--they tend to get musty if stored in the computer without a good airing out in public cyberview.

Dec. 6 was Sadie Hawkins at the high school and Jimmy was invited to go. I didn't know that for Sadie Hawkins, the tradition is that the girl gets to not only ask the guy, but gets to pick matching outfits (I was always too scared to ask a guy anything other than "What did you get for #26 in the math homework?" and even then it was more to show the guy that I got the answer right. So I never went to Sadie Hawkins dances). So Jimmy's date picked out T-shirts for them to wear but you see that Jimmy did not want me to take a picture of him with the T-shirt on. In case you can't tell, it's…


Yes. It is cold.

My temperature ratings system:

80+ degrees--sweltering
70-80 degrees--a bit warm
60-70 degrees--beautiful
50-60 degrees--perfect
40-50 degrees--nice
30-40 degrees--refreshing
20-30 degrees--a bit of a chill
10-20 degrees--brisk
0-10 degrees--I could do with a hat and maybe mittens
less than 0 degrees--OK, I'll admit it's cold

The high today is predicted to be -3. And the kids still went to school. Matt is the first (and only) child who does not need to prove his macho-ness by going outside with the least amount of covering as possible. He likes to be warm so he happily gets his snowpants, parka, hat, mittens, and boots to go to school. I'm still trying to get my big boys to wear hats.

Of course on the coldest day in ten months (according to the TV news) I have a multitude of errands to run. Bank, groceries, personal visit, and a children's choir concert tonight. I'll be bundling up.

Jim is home today--he has plans to work on the new sewing room today. …

An account of the day

Things I did on my 41st birthday

1. Chose not to exercise
2. Practiced piano. The fingers do not care about birthdays. They threatened to forget every single chord of the Children's Choir Christmas repertoire if I didn't take them for a ride across the ivories.
3. Went to lunch at PF Chang's and ate a scrumptious shrimp dish and devoured a flourless chocolate dome for dessert.
4. Needlepunched
5. Sauteed mushrooms for a dinner I was not going to prepare.
6. Browned a pound of ground beef for the dinner I was not going to prepare.
7. Talked on the phone several times
8. Played Battleship with Matt and kept forgetting to finish the job of sinking his ships.
9. Watched two AWFUL shows. One was the movie "Practical Magic," a mess of a movie that couldn't decide what it wanted to be--horror, romance, Divine Mumbo-Jumbo of the Ya Ya Sisterhood (which also starred Sandra Bullock) knock-off, or kitty litter. The other one was a truly abysmal offering of Christmas cartoon…

Laughter is the Best Medicine (but Claritin for my dust allergy comes in a close second)

Brian Regan is hilarious. Jim took me to see him at the Orpheum theater last night (per my request) and we had a great time. Brian was in fine form last night, even drawing laughs when he admitted he couldn't remember the words to his steroids joke. He paced the stage with pent up energy, and gave his full body to his art. (I sound like a newspaper reviewer) I thought briefly about listing the jokes he told, but a) they'd be less funny in this medium, b) I probably wouldn't remember them correctly, and c) I can't remember all of them. But I do remember being unable to breathe (in a good way) when he did his British accented scientist in the African jungle holding an imaginary pipe (he had to tell us he was holding a pipe). Then his British scientist, upon being told there were 125,000 gorillas over the next hill, escapes on a pogo stick.

I burned at least a thousand calories laughing last night. I coughed all the way home and this morning I woke myself up with …


Not much in the way of blogging today because....

I'm addressing Christmas cards! Yes, I'm back on the Christmas-card-sending wagon, after taking last year off (and crying about it once. I'm such a stupidhead!).

If you would like to receive a Christmas card from me, but aren't sure that I have your address, please email me at uglyoldbat at hotmail dot com*. Yes, some of you have my AOL address--I'm so cool that I have TWO email accounts! Either that or I'm an information packrat--I can't throw away old email addresses. I got razzed about having an AOL account recently (the guilty party knows who she is), but I just can't give it up! So many of my sign-in info for websites involves my AOL account and I DON'T FEEL LIKE CHANGING THEM ALL OVER.

Don't be afraid to ask for a card! I love sending mail and I bought more than enough stamps to handle the load of envelopes.

Tra-la-la-la-la (I guess considering the season, that should be FA-la-la-la-la)!…

Stuff I have loved lately

Black Adder season 3
A Bit of Fry and Laurie
House (the Fox TV show)
Jeeves and Wooster

All four of the above TV show DVDs feature various incarnations of Hugh Laurie. Hard to believe that the goofy and stupid Prince Regent in Black Adder season 3 is the mean-spirited and never-smiling genius doctor in House (with a flawless American accent). It almost puts me in mind to watch Stuart Little the movie. He plays the dad.

I feel the same way towards Rowan Atkinson; I find it hard to believe that the snide bird Zazu in Lion King is the same person who played the malicious and irritable dimwit Black Adder, and is also the same person who plays the rarely-speaking buffoon Mr. Bean. He also does a nice turn as a nervous clergyman in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Other things I have enjoyed lately:
Hayley's band concert
Knitting up a dishcloth from a very confusing and incorrect pattern--I had to rework it myself
Ham and lentil soup
A mix of Cheerios and Rice Krispies cereals in the morning


The squidger of Life is playing Tiddlywinks with my brain cells. Ting! There goes another brain cell skittering off under the couch after a particularly enthusiastic tiddle! The scattering, squoping, and gromping of my wink-y brain cells has left me little gray matter with which to compose an interesting post. So I shall talk about the cats.

The cats keep getting into the little fake trees I set up on the entertainment center in the basement. Yesterday I found a little ornament bulb shattered to pieces, presumably by a feline's canines. I will have to move the display upstairs.

Both cats like to sleep under the Christmas tree. Magic shook the tree when we first set it up, but after a good verbal thrashing, he hasn't done it in my presence again.

OK I've talked about the cats.

Weather? OK how about that? Weather talk is so ingrained in the average Minnesotan's set of social customs that I can have very few brain cells and still be able to carry on a lengthy discussi…

I'm getting really good at being humble.

I walked into church yesterday 15 minutes early, ready for a spiritual uplift and glad in the knowledge that I had no responsibilities for any of the meetings. How often does THAT happen in the LDS church?

Bet you can guess what happened...

Yep, the regular organist's car was dead and could I fill in at the last minute? Of course, I'd love to. (sigh--there went my favorite thing about December--SINGING the hymns and at full-throated glory with my plain alto voice that sometimes cracks for no reason so I cough to pretend that my larynx had an itch). Oh well, the next best thing to singing Christmas hymns is playing them. But I couldn't play the first song (Once in David's Royal City) so I said there'd be a switch. No problem, says the bishopric member. I told him that the other two songs would be fine. I could play both of them just dandy. Right.

It's very difficult to play cold. Luckily I had spent the morning on the piano, unluckily, I had been playing …

Bumping into people

Remember that mysterious ability of my mother's that I told you about last week? It happened to her again.

This time, she came with me to Hayley and Matt's children's choir concert in Lakeville in a hallway mall (seriously, this place is called a MALL and it consists of A HALL. One other hall Ts off of it, but it's really more of a corridor or aisle between walls). Anyway, no sooner did we find where we were supposed to sing, but someone in a very nice leather coat came flying over, hollering, "KATHY!" arms spread wide, blonde hair waving behind her. She caught mom up in a hug and said in typical Minnesota accent, "It's so goo-ood to seeee youuu-uh!" Turns out my mother knows the MAYOR of the city of Lakeville. My eyes rolled so far down the hall/mall, that I had to go chase them down. I just can't take her anywhere.

We used Aunt Roady to help us get to the hall/mall because last year going to the same place we got hopelessly lost. Mothe…

News of the Castle

Welcome to the Shoebox Castle News blog.

Fashion Corner
Unfortunately, no pretty shoes were purchased today or yesterday. Big ugly boy boots (Princess had to borrow boots from whichever boy the boots currently fit) were worn by the princess as she took the fake child out to make snow angels in the yard (fake child made them. Shoebox Princess feared that if she fell back to make a snow angel that her pants would get all wet, and a princess simply cannot have wet jeans)

Alerts for the Shoebox Castle area
Another 16 year old has been given a driver's license. For your information, the teenager drives a white sedan, wears a blue fleece jacket, and looks like this:His parents were reported to be very proud, yet at the same time, "a bit worried about him driving by himself," to quote the mother. The young man replied that his mother's worries were groundless and he smiled as he drove off to his job in a neighboring town by himself.

Chicken pox has been reported in the…

Thin blanket of snow

This post is by request from my husband. Yes, he asked me if I would take a picture of his truck and post it where his dad could see it.
There. Little Red now knows what it is like to be covered with snow. See the icicles hanging down? Poor Red must be cold, being so newly transplanted from the Golden State. But she didn't complain. She's a trooper.

Jim is staying home from work today, using up his vacation days that won't roll over to the new year. His plans are to possibly tape in the new sewing room to prep for painting. Those walls, being the walls of the former sleeping area of three boys, are in need of cleaning up. You can actually SEE the history of pretty much every cold, stuffed nose, sick stomach for 6 years (that's how old the old paint job is) and every picture that Matt cherished enough to tape onto the walls.

The Christmas tree is up, lit, and decorated. A few of my decorations are up around the house, but I think I'm missing a box or two. …

Making a list, checking it twice

I've got stuff I gotta do today. Lots of stuff.

1. Finish putting away the two Thanksgiving decorations I had out. (Technically, the cornucopia could count for as many as 10 or 12 decorations)
2. Put away the laundry that has been sprawling around my family room floor and making it difficult to walk around the basement.
3. Write some more on my short story. I have GOT to make this a higher priority so I can finish it.
4. Practice piano for the Children's Choir concert.
5. Take a picture of Little Red Rider in the Hood with 5 inches of snow on it. (Yes, we had some snow overnight)
6. Bug Katie about a picture.
7. Make my bed.
8. Go shopping for cocoa because WE ARE OUT OF HOT COCOA MIX! Darn kids don't tell me when we are getting low so when I want some hot cocoa, there is NOTHING TO MAKE IT WITH! I refuse to end up like my mother, drinking plain hot water and pretending to like it.
9. Knit (I gotta put some enjoyable things on my list. I've learned "yo" in knit…

Who put the "fun" in "funeral?"

My mother has this amazing mysterious ability to meet people she knows in random places. Usually, I can't go anywhere with her without her bumping into someone she knows--someone from the town she grew up in, or from her former job, or friends of family (usually it's friends of Aunt Dorothy).

Last night, it happened to me. I have inherited my mother's ability to bump into people I know. And somehow I managed not to shy away from the ability by hiding in the coat closet.

Jim and I went to the wake for Aunt Dorothy's husband, Tom (the funeral is tomorrow and I can't go). I had nice conversations with some of my several dozens of cousins, and as I was chatting with one of them, a lady walked into the church where we were for the wake. She looked strikingly familiar. It just had to be my high school band teacher's wife (or ex-wife. I knew there was a divorce in recent history--my mom keeps me informed of these things. I don't know how she knew this--oh no…