Showing posts from November, 2009


I got to play with some friends today (one friend related by marriage and the other by blood). Both of these friends brought other friends along with them for playdates with friends of mine that I keep in the house. Mike's Jen came with Mimi and Violet and Jessie came with Bon. Mimi played with Fake Child and Bon played with my kids.

Jen, Jessie, and I sat upstairs at the table and crafted and talked (and ate treats).

Picture recap

Mimi hugs her foot
Jenny is SO EXCITED to be here
So Jen was sitting on my couch and fingering an afghan sent to me by a different Jen. Something poked her. She found this many pins in the afghan. And this is in addition to the four I found previously. Jenni in Florida: that old lady must be wondering what happened to all her pins.
Here Violet demonstrates the proper rolling-over technique
Jessie and Jen get started. Each of us picked a Halloween (yes, Halloween) craft for which we bought the supplies for three sets. Jen did countdown blocks, Jessie…

One last Halloween blast

It's craft day! Jen and Jessie are coming over to play! And we realize that it's nearly Thanksgiving and Christmas is close at hand, but there was a request to make Halloween decorations because certain people have found a disturbing lack of pumpkins in their personal decoration cache. And I can always use more Halloween stuff. (Note to self: get another Rubbermaid container. The two boxes I have already are full)

A problem that is not really a problem

My freezer is full. Both freezers are full (the one that sits atop my fridge and the giant one in the garage).


I can't fit even a small tub of Dulce de Leche Haagen Daz (for Jim) in either one. I have had to curtail the rest of the squash bun baking because SERIOUSLY I cannot fit one more roll in the freezer. GAH!

This calls for drastic measures. We might have to actually EAT the stuff in the freezers.

Mustering up my "can-do" attitude

I was going to title this post "Coping with stress and other fairy tales" but I'm trying not to be whiny.

I have stuff to do today. I also have stuff I hope I can do today. For lack of anything better to blog about, here is a selection of things I have told myself I should do and hope to do:

1. Make my bed-HA! I've done it already!
2. Exercise-my excuse for not having it done already is that Other Jim was using the computer this morning (yes, he is not yet in school today. Don't ask and keep your judgment to yourself, thanks) and since the exercise equipment (aka stationary bike and TV and DVD player) are in the same room, I chose not to bounce my flab around while he was in the same room, which would only serve to make OJ flee from the room and not finish what he was doing.
3. Cook squash for more squash buns-HA! Did that alrea--oh cripes. Forgot to take it out of the oven. brb.
4. Make more squash buns. (I need more hours in my day! Anyone have any spare hou…

Wolf Ridge report from field reporter Matt

And Matt is back. He had a great time and he took quite a few pictures. I can't begin to tell you everything he learned and shared with me. He remembered all kinds of exciting facts about geology, Ojibway heritage, and wildlife in general. He got to go rock climbing and he had fun on the ropes course. He trod the "Stairs of Doom" and survived.

Some pictures:

Here he is with his friend Colin as they are about to dig into an "owl pellet" (aka owl vomit) to figure out what the owl has been eating.
His owl pellet had two rodents and a part of a mole. Here Matt reconstructs one of the skeletons from the bones in the owl pellet.
A deer Matt saw in the mist
A horned owl during the raptor demonstration
A porcupine brought into the class "Animal Signs"
A nifty picture of the misty forest. Matt says he thinks he was taking a picture of a bird but we can't pick it out.
A happy Matt waits for his turn on the ropes course.
And away he goes! He said he was the …

Waiting by the phone

I'm stuck at home by the phone waiting for a boy to show up.

You'd think I was a teeny-bopper.

The boy in question is, of course, Matt. I'm waiting for the phone call from a chaperone who will tell me the approximate time the buses will arrive at the elementary school. Then over a hundred fifth graders will spill out of the buses, jabbering and chattering, necks craned as they look for parents, waving as they spot their matches.

The house has been quiet this week without the youngest around, trying to make sure his voice is heard. And one very rare event--the solar eclipse of sibling events--Hayley and Jimmy actually conversed with each other without argument or finger-pointing. All because one little boy was away.

Family dynamics change as circumstances change. Jimmy and Paul used to be best buddies in Legoland. Now they have their own interests. Katie and Jimmy used to play Barbies and Dinosaurs. Paul used to sit in a large purple Rubbermaid container with Hayl…

My marriage is legal

My marriage can buy alcohol now. Not that it will though; it's a good marriage and it does what it's told, and it has been told not to frequent bars.

Jim and I have been married 21 years today. I don't think we've ever had a rocky period, except for that one time early on (sometime in July 1989) when he got mad at me for freaking out over being pregnant (with Katie), which I probably deserved. I thought he was going to divorce me for two whole hours. Although if you asked him (not in my presence) he might say we HAVE had a rocky period (go ask him and then tell me what he said. No I'm not 14, why do you ask?). He's never mentioned not liking me so I'm guessing that he's been ok with "us" for these 21 years.

He DID have cold feet before we were married though. I sincerely hope that he doesn't regret taking action on those cold feet. And that's why we keep lots of blankets on the couch downstairs--no cold feet.

That Was Then feature

Real life surround sound

First concert of the year last night. Paul, as a member of the marching band, played his french horn. I like the indoor marching band concerts because the kids don't sit on the stage. For the first half of the concert, just the drums and brass are on the stage. The rest of the players line the aisles, surrounding the audience. I like to sit in the middle so I get the full effect.

Speaking of where I sat, I try every concert to sit in a place where I have a full view of whichever child is playing. And every single time, I end up sitting in a seat where the director BLOCKS MY VIEW OF MY CHILD! EVERY TIME. Last night was no exception. In my defense, I thought Paul was going to be on the left side of the stage. But he was not. And I sat about three seats diagonally back of where the drum majors and the director stood so my view of Paul was blocked. (I tried to keep my head banging in frustration to the beat of the music so that I wouldn't be too obvious or detract from …

25% fewer children, 90% less loudness

Matt's gone. He boarded a bus bound for northern MN for five days of environmental learning, cafeteria food, dorm living, and enough fifth graders to take over an island nation.

He's been so excited to go to Wolf Ridge for ages because he's witnessed every single one of his siblings go, and heard their tales of excitement and adventure when they got back. When Katie went, she took along some trepidations regarding certain activities because she had no older siblings to tell her what it was REALLY like. Matt has had the luxury of hearing from four siblings the best (and worst) of Wolf Ridge and is not at all afraid to go. He was chomping at the bit and he was so excited to leave me that he almost forgot to give me a parka-lined hug.

I am glad that this is the last Wolf Ridge trip in the family. I am tired of enduring the fundraisers, as are, I'm sure, the neighbors, who have been nothing but gracious during the endless parade of Evans' beggars marching up and dow…

Pick one: A B C D

WARNING: Shameless self-congratulation and giddy joy ahead! Read no further if you don't like reading about happy things. If you like reading strangely sad things, check out this website instead.



Just waiting for all the nay-sayers and rain-on-my-paraders to click over to something else.



No, I'm not pregnant. Other people are, and I am happy for them. But I will not be dipping my feet into the gene pool anymore.


Although, if through some miracle I were to become pregnant, I guess I could live with it.


As long as I got to name it Louisa if it was a girl. Kevin for a boy. Or possibly Mal. Too bad I've already named the cat Tom Servo. Cuz that would be an awesome name for a kid.


But no baby.


No million dollars either. (Oh well)


K, are all the naysayers and party poopers gone? Have all the people who roll their eyes when I post something new left?

OK. Here is my (possibly braggiferous) news:

HIST 414 Scottish Family History project grade: A

Ten things I noticed while looking at good art

Jim and I went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts yesterday to see the pieces on loan from the Louvre. This is probably as close as I'm going to get to the famous museum.

1. I picked out pieces from all the eras I've studied so far in my two humanities classes. I got a kick out of seeing examples for real and being able to pinpoint a time period and sometimes even a general European place from whence the artist came.
2. Even art museum tour guides can be really funny. Even OLD art museum tour guides can be funny. I wanted to be a part of one of the tours just so I could follow this old tour guide with unruly white hair and pants hitched up to his chest and a loosely knitted woolen vest, and listen to his love of art that showed in his exuberant story-telling.
3. This painting by Georges La Tour made me laugh. I love the lady's facial expression--her eyes look so far off to the side. You can just tell she's a part of the cheat going on.For some reason she reminds m…

Veteran's Day

To all the servicemen and servicewomen in various parts of the world: A big hug and thank you! You are doing something that most of the rest of us, for various reasons, usually back away from doing. You put your life where your beliefs are and actively chose to be the protectors of national freedom. Now whether or not our country's leaders have used the armed forces wisely is not something I will debate. Regardless of that ongoing debate, I respect those who have chosen to enter the military. And I want to thank their families too. I have seen their sacrifices up close. Fake child's father is in the middle of a deployment to a far away place and I have seen the worry on FC's mother's face in and out these past months. So thank you, veterans, for being there for the country!

(And thank you also for your sacrifice so the people who make up holidays would make one up for the veterans so that Jim could get a day off work in his cube so he could come look at good art …

And the heavens opened and choirs of angels were singing hallelujahs and pumping their fists in the air

For several months now, we have had a problem with our computer. We would try to access a webpage and, for a nanosecond, the page would materialize on the screen. But then a search page would pop up listing websites selling things. And the things this page was offering was totally unrelated to what we were originally trying to locate. Certain pages on some websites were totally inaccessible because of this pop-up website.

This morning, I was on amazon dot com wishing for things, and I couldn't even do a simple search within amazon because of this ask dot com thingie that kept me from my destination page. I wanted to claw my computer's eyes out.

So I've spent the morning troubleshooting. And this is after several weeks of googling for remedies. A few weeks ago, following one such method recommended by a search query, I tried messing around with the control panel and accessibility features, but succeeded only in blocking necessary websites (smartmusic dot com and anoth…

Pictures from a Sunday afternoon

This is a test of the emergency post-filler system. If this were an actual emergency, I'd be rambling on about hangnails, grocery shopping, spider stories, or something equally irrelevant rather than posting a few pictures sans comment.

But there is so much more to research!

I just wanted to report that I have nearly finished my Scottish History research project!!! All I have to do is attach some neatly printed tabs to the page dividers and send the binder off to my professor.

You know, I say this about nearly every class I finish, but I think this has to be my favorite class so far. The research I did was personal in nature and connected me in a very real way to my Scottish heritage. I probably didn't turn up anything that hadn't already been done, but letting others do the work was not going to connect me to my ancestors. And as for the work that had already been done, I have proof of what has been done in the way of photocopies of old parochial registers and civil records, proof which I haven't ever seen before.

Oh, I dearly loved scrolling through the Rathen Old Parochial Register microfilm! I am willing to wager that I'm related to most of the names listed in it. I envision myself someday sitting down with the Rathen OPR and going…

Why Purell is my new best friend

Normally I think nothing of walking around licking doorknobs and rubbing my face on the counter, and I encourage my children to do the same, even going so far as to serve dinner to them off the dirty floor.


Not really.

Normally, I don't do much in the way of barricading myself from bacteria or viruses, except I do wash my hands before preparing food and after using the bathroom. But Matt has the flu--probably just the generic flu, not the one you can't get from pigs--and I found myself, yesterday, going around with a Lysol wipe and disinfecting most Matt-high surfaces in the house. And I've been using hand sanitizer every time I bring Matt a drink. I've also been using it on the thermometer after every time he takes his temperature.

Yes, Matt takes his own temperature. He didn't even tell me he was sick on Wednesday morning until he had rock-solid proof. He didn't whine or moan, he just said, "Mom, I felt hot when I woke up so I took my temperat…

They might be AWESOME

Jim and I had a dinner date planned for tonight (speaking in past tense. It's still tonight, but the date is over and I'm in the retelling mode so it's past tense). When he got home at 4:30, he proposed a change in plans. Rather than doing what we had planned, he wondered if perhaps I wanted to go to First Avenue to see They Might Be Giants?


DUH! You should have seen my dance of glee and joy and excitement! I am SO GLAD I didn't have to babysit this evening!

I've never been to First Avenue nightclub--and I've lived here how many years?

Then the insecurity started to set in. I'm a housewife! I'm over, uh, thirty! I'm not thin and my wardrobe lacks panache and something called "style." My hair had already pretty much gone to bed and could not be roused to do anything but droop listlessly over my ears. I don't go clubbing ever. I don't know the rules of going to a nightclub! But I pummeled my insecurity into the back of …

Moving dreams and Hayley

I wonder what it means when you have moving dreams? (Moving as in leaving one house to live in another) The apartment we moved to (yes, an apartment) was huge. The master bedroom went on for ages and had all these great built-in bookshelves and a wall of windows to look out over a scenic view. There were hidden passages and nooks and crannies and red velvet curtains. Then we moved in and the staircase was flimsy and collapsed and the tv reception we found out to be a mirrored reflection off the lobby tv sent through a crazy maze of mirrors and a hole in the door. Might it mean that what I want (bigger things) might actually be not what is best for me? Might it mean I'm trying to take control over too much and life is falling apart? Might it mean don't ever move or your husband will hurt himself on a collapsed staircase? Might it mean that I need to go to bed earlier so I don't fall asleep on the couch and have vivid dreams? Oh, who knows what it means. I just wok…

Ten things as we launch into November (ACK!)

1. I love fall/autumn. I love driving through a rainstorm of yellow leaves. I love seeing nature hide well-manicured lawns with them and cover streets with them. I spent a little time raking this year only because Fake Child wanted to play outside and jump into a pile of leaves.
2. I remembered my own children doing the same thing, squealing with delight. At the time it seemed like they were taking forever to grow up. But forever turned into yesterday, last year, and several years ago. Now they play frisbee outside in the cold and rain, they go running, they hide in their room and draw anime, they build Lego monuments to Star Wars. And they move away and call home to ask what can they do to help a roommate with sinister, unnamed health issues.
3. I got most of my Halloween decorations boxed up. It's sad to put all that orange and black away. I don't really know why I like Halloween so much. Maybe it's the contrast of light and dark. I love the way the light shines …