Showing posts from February, 2009

Saturday evening chuckles

I was sitting at the computer, minding my own business, when I saw this commotion out of the corner of my eyes. (and FYI, the first second or two of the video is dark. That's the lighting in the room, not your computer or video quality problems).

Yes, they are playing Wii (specifically Mario and Sonic Olympic Games). I just thought seeing them all move like this was giggle-worthy. I knew getting a Wii would be worth it, if just for the sight of kids looking silly when they play the games. The girl between Jimmy and Paul is a "friend" of Jimmy's, named Annabelle.

And then, there is this little story from this evening:

Paul, in the middle of texting a friend, turned to me and asked, "Can you sphere something?"

"What?" I said.

"Can you sphere something? Like can you sphere 6?"

Good gravy, child, speak sense, I thought. "I don't get it. What do you mean, 'sphere 6?'"

"Well, you can cube a number; so can you also sp…

Happy birthday to Jim a day early because I'll be too busy tomorrow to post a celebratory birthday post

Tomorrow we celebrate Jim's birthday!

I promised a picture of him as a kid and voila, here are two:See? He's always been a happy person!

I'm posting this one because I had one of these running around my house for a few years. It was not the same year, but it seems to be the same make and model:Seriously, for any of you who knew Jimmy at age 3-4 (that would be my son, not my husband), DOES THIS NOT LOOK JUST LIKE JIMMY (again, the son, not the husband)??? I half expect that after this picture was taken, that shirt was shredded by a pair of Jimmy Scissorhands. But husband Jim probably never did anything like cutting up his own shirt sewed lovingly for him by his Auntie Jenni with his Grandma Olsen's knitting scissors. Son Jimmy did, though (sadly, the slight modifications I made to this particular make and model of Boy Child resulted in some naughty tendencies).

I'd insert fun stories about Jim from his childhood, but I was not an eyewitness to any of those storie…

Sun after a snow storm

The sun is shining on 6+ inches of beautiful new snow. All around me, folks are complaining about the neverending winter here. And I think to myself (I would never disagree out loud because I don't do disagreement, unless I am at odds with children under my direction) "But it's only February! It's supposed to be winter in Minnesota. It's supposed to snow. It's supposed to be cold. If it were April, I'd be complaining too, but April is still a March away." And I look out the window at all the sparkly, pretty, cushiony, covering-the-brown snow.

The sucky thing about the snow is that I have to help someone move today. It's a divorce move, therefore a sad one for me. I have a hard time with divorces, first of all because I want to know WHY. And WHY is usually (heck, ALWAYS) none of my (insert swear word gerund here) business. I want to explore what went wrong, why people came to the divorce conclusion. I want to know so that I can avoid that…

Ten things to do to avoid doing what you really should be doing

1. Make a list of things you really should do. Decorate it with little doodles and smiley faces. Poke holes in the paper in little wave patterns. Fold it into a little origami tree and place it on your calendar.
2. Relearn to crochet via youtube.
3. Worry about the whereabouts of the spider you spotted in the bathroom last night and didn't kill.
4. Scrutinize the paint job in the hall and discover that the painter (previous houseowner) painted over daddy-longlegs legs, hair, and dust when he painted.
5. Formulate a convincing argument listing the pros of repainting the hall to present to the painting-weary husband.
6. Watch the house being built across the street.
7. Examine all the carpeting in the house for cat vomit because you know the cat ate half a Barbie dress and eventually it's gotta come up.
8. Determine which child gets to clean up the aforementioned vomit by a complicated logarithm involving who cleaned up after a messy cat accident last time, who gets home from schoo…

The Mighty Mississippi reduced to frosting

Matt is a Cub Scout (although not for much longer--he turns 11 in October and he'll be a full-fledged boy scout then). This month's pack meeting was the Blue and Gold dinner. The boys were given the assignment to decorate a cake by themselves with the theme Beautiful America. Matt chose to memorialize Lake Itasca--headwaters of the Mississippi River. We visited the lake two and a half years ago, and Matt likes to recall running around in the river where it's only a few feet wide and a foot deep. Here are a few pictures for your reference:

Yes, I made the icing and colored it. I gave direction and made a few suggestions regarding the design. But he did the decorating himself.

Here he is pouring on the crushed graham cracker sand. You can see the lake area (the big blob of blue on the left side of the cake) and the river coming out of it.
And here Matt pipes on the grass icing with the special grass piping tip. He was excited to use my special cake decorating stuff.
And h…

Something Paul didn't tell me

This morning I decided to do some actual housework before plopping myself down in front of the computer. Mostly I just put laundry away. I grabbed a pile of boys clothing from the family room, and grumbled all the way to the boys' room--why can't they put their clothes away? Is it so hard to pick up a pile of clothing and trot it back to the bedroom and stick the clothes in a drawer? Sigh. (and then I remonstrate myself for my failure to live up to these expectations).

So I walked this pile of clothing to the boys' bedroom and put the clothes in front of Paul's dresser, which is sort of hidden behind his bed. It's in a little alcove formed by his bed and the wall and not visible from the doorway, which is about all the farther into the room that I venture. But I happened to look at the wall above his dresser and noticed a new plaque hanging on the wall:
(I took it off the wall to photograph it)

I have never seen this before. It's a tiny little plaque, only…

Pictures of concerts

After several weeks with no events worth blogging about, I get to post about two band concerts.

Last night (Friday) Hayley was a part of the 6th grade band that played at the high school basketball game. Fortunately, this concert allows the parents to get up close and personal during the playing of music so I was able to get a good picture of Hayley playing her (my) clarinet. The band did a fine job!

Then today, Paul spent all day in Mankato at the South Central Minnesota Band Director's Association 9th and 10th grade Honor Band recital. They learned three songs in five hours and put on a good performance. Paul says it was weird because the director didn't direct like Mr. K does (Paul's band director at school). Jim and I drove down for the concert.
Then I got a picture of the five participants from our high school after the concert.L to R: Andrew D, Paul, Katie M, Charlie B, and Max N. As you can see, the guys from PL have all lettered in something (they look like th…

Happiness is...

having pizza delivered by the cutest guy in the world

tipping the cute pizza guy a brownie

being smooched by the cute pizza delivery guy

getting an extra hour and a half of sleep after the fake child was dropped off at 6 a.m.

having a fake child who sleeps two and a half hours after getting dropped off

children who get themselves ready for school (OH HOW I LOOKED FORWARD TO THIS DAY back when I had five children under the age of 9)

children who remember to feed the cats and scoop the litter box without me having to tell them

hearing my sister talk about her students. Seriously, "Would you jump off a trampoline for a cheezy weel?" still makes me laugh. Yes, I would jump off a trampoline for a cheezy weel! And I don't know (and neither does my sister) how long the lag time is between actual death (by murder) and ability to appear as a ghost at a dinner party.

listening to Katie tell me about whose signature cards she got to approve at her bank

a perpetually clean living room (w…

What I made last night for dinner

I made Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (only I used turkey, not chicken).


Some cut up cooked birdie meat that has been "leftovered" in the fridge for a while and is threatening to not finish being eatenSome cooked black beans that you made ages ago, plopped into the freezer, and forgot you had until this morningSome grated cheese because everything tastes good with cheese
Some old, frozen, cooked rice of indeterminate flavor (I could tell it wasn't the usual regular rice. It was probably basmati rice or something like that)a scoop of sour cream plus a small scraping from the side of the sour cream containera *blop or two or three or four of green taco sauce (and no, that is NOT red taco sauce that has gone moldy)
the remaining tortillas from several opened bags in the fridgesome salsa that will never get eaten unless you buy more chips and you don't want to buy more chips because the bag will sit OPEN on the counter for days as kids and husband graze on it

These feet were made for walkin' (and stompin' and slippin' and trippin')

I finally got out of the house for a walk yesterday. Exercising inside (in my basement) got really boring and I have been DYING to get out and walk for an hour.

The temperature was probably in the mid 20s and it was sunny--a good day to walk (a good day for winter, anyway). I probably looked like a maroon Michelin tire man (my parka is maroon) but I wanted to get outside so much that I didn't care that I looked extra pudgy or that my hair hates being confined in a headband so it goes gonzo on me and makes me look like I'd styled my hair with a handheld mixer.

Windburn is a problem for me, especially in cold weather, so I applied a liberal layer of Blistex to my cheeks (it works! Except then my hair sticks to my face). I grabbed Flossie the iPod, who has also been dying to get out of the house, and we went for a lovely hour-long walk.

I aired out my brain with fresh (but brisk) air; my brain had been getting cobwebby and a bit musty. Sunshine is a known fixer of unsolvable pr…

On edge

One evening in college I wasted time by standing pennies on their edges on my desk. This took quite a while and required a steady hand and a steady floor. Then I took pictures. I really should have been studying.

I'm a master at doing frivolous and useless tasks when more important things need to be done. The end result looks cool, but doesn't really accomplish anything.

Blogging is a lot like standing pennies on their edges. I should be doing other things but here I am, chattering on and on and wasting time. I won't quit though. I do need some fun in my life. I feel a lot like a penny on its edge, just waiting for the slight jiggle that will knock me over.

The kids are home today, thanks to this country's need for presidents combined with a penchant for giving postal carriers, government workers (including many teachers), and some bank employees a day to rest from their weary labors every so often. So I will get nothing done today because I have a hard time usi…

Valentine Ten Things (high concentration of sap and mush present in this post)

This is my Valentine. I would have superimposed little hearts all over his picture and edited out my eyeball and bit of frown that are still in the picture but I'm no good at photoshopping. And I don't have Photoshop. So pretend that there are all sorts of little lovey-dovey doodles around his face with a couple of lip prints on his cheeks and neck.

He has been my Valentine 21 years in a row now and shows no sign of wanting to be replaced. Nor am I looking for a replacement Valentine.

Why is he my permanent Valentine?

1. He does dishes. Seriously, does that not rock? That should be the ten things RIGHT THERE.
2. His placidness has tempered (somewhat) my propensity for blowing things out of proportion and getting depressed, uptight, angry, scared, worried, or flighty.
3. Whenever I call him up while he is on his way home from work to tell him that my day was such that I did not make dinner, he never tells me that I should just have prepared better, organized myself more, or …

Friday the 13th

The test results were benign!

And I have no energy or will to write about anything else today.

It's Thursday

Yep, that's how inspired I am to write today. All I can think of is that today is Thursday. I'll have to do a ten things list to get my brain out of fuzzy mode.

1. I might have to fold laundry today. Or is that in the "strenuous housework" category (which I can't do 'til tomorrow)?
2. Speaking of strenuous housework, the house across the street is gone. The foundation is still there, but there is nothing else. It's like the neighborhood is missing a tooth.
3. Last night I asked Matt what he did at Scouts and he said "We baked meat." Translation: We built a campfire and cooked ground beef for tacos over it.
4. Valentine's day is two days away and I won't be doing our annual valentine's treasure hunt this year. I am sad and ashamed. Hayley and Matt will be disappointed. Jimmy and Paul probably won't care. I do have the candy for it, but in all the business of the last two weeks coupled with the need to get my Creative Wr…


If you ever have to get a biopsy, I highly recommend a stereotactic needle core biopsy. And lidocaine....lots of lovely lidocaine. The machine looked scary, and I felt like I was a vehicle getting its oil changed, but the worst part wasn't the cutting device, it was having to lie still for half an hour. I wasn't supposed to move my head, arms, torso, or legs. That was really annoying. Otherwise, I was intrigued by all the science-y stuff, especially the x-ray-like images they took at every stage of the procedure.

My incision is only about a quarter of an inch long and very innocuous-looking. I've got ice packs to prevent swelling, but I feel just fine. I'm not supposed to do any heavy lifting, aerobics, tennis (have to cancel the tennis lesson), weight-lifting, or extreme knitting (har) for two days.

Time to relax!

Results Friday.

Something to be proud of

This week is Snoball week at the high school. During lunch, the people in charge of Snoball week activities sponsored a Hostess Snoball-eating contest and awarded tickets to the Snoball dance to he or she who could eat a two-pack of Snoballs the fastest (one winner in each lunch period).

Not only did Jimmy win in his lunch, but he apparently set the school record with 41 seconds.

Yay. He is quite pleased with himself. If only they had a varsity Snoball-eating team at school! He'd be team captain and probably go to state.

I am so NOT surprised. Whenever the planets align in perfect formation and we are able to sit down to dinner as a whole (but Katie-less) family, I notice that in the time it takes for me to lift my first forkful of food to my mouth, Jimmy has licked his plate clean and is on his way to put it in the sink.

Today I face the knife. It's biopsy time, folks.

It was a very pleasant prairie

Last weekend.

But first: I can still the lingering odor of Fresh White Musk. We still haven't gotten an admission from the guilty party.

OK. On to pictures.

Despite a bit of an age difference (Hayley and Matt are 11 and 10 and Annie and Mimi are 5 and 4), the cousins had good time playing together.
On Saturday, we ate at a miniscule diner called Frank's where the space was in short supply but the wait was long. I took this picture from the counter where Mike and I sat. We were in very close quarters. And you can see the kids and Jen and Grandma were sitting in "a different room" because I had to take the picture through a window. The menu featured items like "Garbage Lid Breakfast" and "Half Garbage Lid." It was very quaint. But enjoyable. I got a kick out of watching the exhaust fan pull smoke out of a very large hole in the wall. And I was close enough to the grill action to read every one's orders as they were hung up for the "…


Our house stinks. It reeks. You can almost see the haze of smell in the house.

I planned to post a little about the weekend getaway, but that will have to wait until tomorrow, because somehow, our upstairs has been coated with a pervasive aroma of Body Fantasy Fresh White Musk.

Last night when I got home, the house smelled like it always has--like nothing (you might disagree, but I smell nothing when I walk in my house, unless someone has burned the broccoli, and usually that someone is me).

I dumped my duffle on my floor, promised to unload it later, and tromped downstairs to sit on the couch with Jim to watch the Grammy awards (double Yay for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss! Someone I like actually won!). A little while later, I went back upstairs for a reason I don't remember.

The whole upper floor was awash in the smell. It was worst in the bathroom. My eyes actually stung. We found no evidence of a spill and none of the children admitted to spraying anything. We couldn&…

Lack of excitement

The house across the street is being torn down, at least the top half of it. I kept an eye on it all day yesterday as the crew threw pieces of burnt wood and roof pieces into the two giant dumpsters in the yard. I even snuck a few pictures (which, out of concern that it would be too morbid, I'm not going to post. Or it's because I don't have the time).

I could make a metaphor out of the house going down, but I don't have the time for it today. I'm taking a weekend off with Matt and Hayley and my mom. We are going to visit the Hawleyfocuses! Jen, I'm bringing your little lost watch.

I haven't updated much about Jimmy lately. He works, he goes to school, he complains about school (although he is excited for Chemistry with Mr. V next trimester. Mr. V apparently likes to blow stuff up in class. Mr. V is also a bagpiper who lives in our neighborhood and I've told him that ANYTIME he wants to play his pipes in the park right across the street, I'm …

bio... the b... the... the bios... the... b... the bibopsy

So what movie is that from? Jenni, you can't guess cuz we already discussed it.

Guess what I get to do? I get to have a biopsy!





Did I freak you all out? :D

In all seriousness, it is nothing. Really. I just have a few microscopic dots in my left breast that need to be looked at. I have some microcalcifications, which are normal, and then a cluster of itty bitty teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini spots that are slightly different. I saw the pictures and to me, these OTHER dots look just like the microcalcifications, but what do I know? The doctor didn't act concerned; she just said, "they look a little different and I want to see what they are and these are your options: biopsy, MRI, or nuclear imaging." (Um, no thanks on that last option. I do not want to be my husband's nightlight) No mention was made of the big C word, and the doctor didn't even furrow her brow or look serious. She didn't pat my han…

Shouldn't seeing be at the top of your to-do list?

The above is a (probably somewhat mangled) Brian Regan quote from one of his comedy routines about prescription eyewear.

I'm not wearing my glasses. Or my contacts. So I can't see very well this morning, which might be a good thing. I won't scare myself in the mirror or I won't get all up in someone's grill about their nonstandard usage (I used to say "bad grammar" until I took the Modern American Usage class and was shown the higher-educated way of saying it, which leaves out the business of calling someone WRONG) in print because I can't read it. (On the other hand, I can't read what I am currently typing either, so if I miss any ugly usage or spelling errors, I claim fuzzy seeing as my excuse.

Why am I not wearing glasses this morning? Because it's "one of those days." I don't think I'll get around to exercising today either. I have a whole host of things to accomplish, and since I won't be able to get all of it d…

Temptation in a cup

Or "One Little Way to Pack on the Big Pounds."

I give you Cake in a Mug.
I'm very hungry right now.

More Paul

Paul had a band concert last night. Since it was his first concert in this band (the Wind Ensemble) I insisted on taking a picture. Here he is with his French horn and his thoughts.
And here he is sitting in the band. It was odd not to have Katie there in the front row with the other flutes.
The band played well and I could hear the horns (although not Paul individually) in every song.

Mother-knows-best moment before the concert:
After dinner Paul went to his room to get dressed, and then came out and said he was ready to go. I had seen him ironing a button-up dress shirt and he had it on. But he was also wearing jeans. I did the "frowny-eyebrows" at him and said, "Don't you think you should be wearing dress pants?"

"Uh, no. Isn't this ok?"

"No. Katie always dressed up for concerts. Everyone did."

So he went back into his room and got his dress pants off a hanger. He came out with them NOT on and said, "I'll bring them just in…

Stop and Go

This child (who understandably wants to remain nameless and to keep his identity a secret with those cheap glasses) wants to start driving asap. He told me that he wants to practice even before taking driver's ed (he's eligible for it this July). He said, and I quote, "I want to get used to how far down to press the go pedal and the stop pedal."

He's never going to drive if I can help it.