30 November 2007

cacao, literature, and delusions of grandeur

Earlier this week, the hubby took our trio of boys to an animated movie, allowing Elle and me an impromptu girls night at home.

This consisted of:
the stirring of a brownie mix topped with peanut butter
the licking of batter-coated spatulas (and the admiring of our chocolate goatees)
the reading of books in bed (between flannel sheets) while the brownies baked
the reading of more books on the couch while the brownies cooled
the consuming of said brownies (paired with mugs of milk)
the cuddling close to enjoy a Dora movie together.

It's rare that Elle has me all to herself, what with the five thousand kids we have running about this place. We might have to make this whole girls night thing a formal institution. I must confess my worry, however, over how deep a passion for chocolate and literature I've already imprinted on this unsuspecting child, but then again, I turned out okay, didn't I? (Didn't I?)

I did.

On less delusional matters, please scratch all the aforementioned Christmas gift ideas because I totally KNOW WHAT I WANT. So totally that it's all in caps. But first a little background.

Anyone recall the definition of bardolatry? Close your eyes and imagine yourself back in high school English, the nasal drone of your teacher's voice in the background...does that help? no? Me neither.

So a refresher: Noun 1. bardolatry - the idolisation of William Shakespeare

Which got me pondering: just *how* many people would one need groveling at one's feet before an official word was coined just for the adulation of you? A whole heckuva lot is what I'm thinking. How cool would that be?

So see, all I want is my own word. One little word. Nicolatry, nicolisation, whatever. You all figure it out while I float up here on my golden divinity cloud.

28 November 2007

all i want for christmas

The Un-uncle requested that I plant hints in my blog so he'll know what to get me for Christmas. I am {hummer h3} so above {trip to italy} such underhanded tactics {louis vuitton victoria pump, size 34, red}.

Let's give me a little credit here.

I am not, however, above writing out a straight-forward wish list, although I do warn you that this will not prove helpful in the least bit. So here we go.

1. A trash can fairy. Like, you know, the fairy who magically disappears the trash from my cans when they're full. Make that three-fourths full, because trash that burgeons beyond the confines of its can makes me partially insane.

2. In the event that the Piggly Wiggly is fresh out of fairies, I'll settle for a trash can elf, godmother, or David Copperfield.

3, 4, 5, and 6: Dishwasher Fairy, Vacuum Fairy, Weed Fairy, and Toilet Fairy, respectively.

7. Massive lottery win. Which would have to be an Act of God as I do not engage in any sort of lottery playing, unless you count McDonald's Monopoly, in which case I am guilty. Make that Guilty. Capital G.

8. Christmas in Bavaria.

9. A ten-pack of finger rockets. I can't begin to explain the amount of joy these bring to my life.

10. A pony.



{PS Did I mention I've been good this year? Because I have. Really, really good.}

27 November 2007

self-portrait challenge: what i wear (week 4)

or what i don't wear: make-up.



most days my face is happiest in just clean skin. :)

25 November 2007

our weekend




Featuring: the first snow, on Thanksgiving day




Daddy-snuggles, intermittent snacking and small feasts around the table




a healthy dose of board and card games




and a trio of pies (pumpkin, buttermilk cream, pear crumb).




Dad Owens risked life and limb clambering up to the roof to diagnose our chimney troubles. At one point, he says, he stepped from a folding chair to perch at the top of our fence and thought to himself: this might not end well. He also tidied our eaves troughs while he was up there. Seriously swell guy.


We also did a fair amount of missing Kindra&co (hubby's youngest sister&fam, who spent the holiday at her in-laws'). Mom Owens snapped a shot of the homemade butterhorn rolls and sent it to Kindra's phone, which we deemed cruel and unusual and pretty funny.


I even dutifully walked several miles on the treadmill, successfully burning the caloric equivalent of one cranberry. Ah, well.

And now for my favorite time of year. Bring on the Christmas!

22 November 2007

a week of thanksgiving (part 3)

My 37th turkey-hand picture:



One can never have too many turkey-hand pictures. This one is courtesy of the lovely Elle.






I'm grateful for my li'l turkeys. Even the one who refused to be photographed.

Have a good one, my American friends.

20 November 2007

self-portrait challenge: what i wear



What I wear: color.

A half dozen years ago I was morally opposed to color. If you slid open the curtain to my closet, you'd be assaulted by a homogeny of black, grey, and brown, with the occasional navy tossed in just for kicks. I liked classic. I liked anonymity. I was also very unsafe in parking lots where I tended to blend in with the asphault. There were a couple of close calls.

Somewhere between then and now I discovered color. When I wear these stripey knee socks, I take myself far less seriously.

Which is a good thing.




{You can join the self-portrait tuesday folk at flickr.com. More self portraits: http://selfportraitchallenge.net/}

a week of thanksgiving (part 2)

According to a bunch of overeducated people at Yale and Duke and similar bastions of the abstruse, the most powerful words in the English language are: you, save, money, easy, guarantee, health, proven, safety, discovery, new, love, and results.

Yeah, I think they're wrong.

The most powerful word in the English language has just two letters and must be followed by a question mark or it becomes as benign as Popeye sans spinach. And can I just say that canned spinach is disgusting on so many levels, especially when consumed at room temperature.

But back to taking over the world. The most powerful word in the English language, according to me, is this:

So?




Truly, folks. Do not underestimate that monosyllabic pearl. I assure you, nothing derails merit like a well-timed So?.

ie "I can bench 400 pounds with my little finger."
"So?"

"Last night at bedtime, my three-year-old recited the US Presidents in chronological order, alphabetical order, and by height."
"So?"

"You look like a water buffalo in that dress."
"So?"

All this to say that today I'm thankful for words. There's rhythm, beauty, and potency embedded in even the smallest among them. May I wield them with care.

19 November 2007

a week of thanksgiving*

Some days I wake up as Attila the Hun. I crack an angry eyelid as my temples pound and acid surges through my veins. Even my morning breath is fierce.

Usually this means two things have happened, in succession:

1. I went to bed too late. (After 11 equals too late. I'm almost 31, folks.)
2. Certain members of The Progeny thought it a swell idea to carry on and stampede about like buffalo just outside my bedroom door. Gazelle stampedes I can deal with. Cattle's pushing it. Upgrade to buffalo, and I'm The Scourge of God.

Luckily for the survival statistics of The Progeny, I know that at least half of the above equation is my fault. So I usually limit the Attilaness to a Eurasian glare in their general direction on my way to the shower.

Showers cure everything.

I get clean, yes, and shear off that underarm prickle and scrub the nappiness from my hair. Plus, showers persuade me into consciousness with a hot massage and deep breaths of soap-scented water vapor. But mostly, showers wash off all that attitude.

Goodbye Attila, hello Mother Teresa. Well, that might be exaggerating the case. Oprah, then.

So first on the thankful list: a hot shower. My kids don't realize it, but they're very thankful for this one too.



Stay tuned for more gratitude.



*If your week starts on Sunday, good for you. Mine started today.

17 November 2007

007

So I'm sitting here snacking on chocolate and dried cherries, which seriously could be worse, it could be chocolate and butter-flavored Crisco, so let's put it in perspective, folks. The chocolates are Dove Promises, meaning they come dressed in foil with super-secret messages printed on the inside. I feel like an undercover agent when I eat them; it's a lovely rush on an otherwise ordinary Saturday.



The two wrappers sitting beside me (see, I've only eaten two! so far) contain these particular gems of wisdom:

Gem #1 Promise yourself some relaxing holiday moments.

To which I'm thinking, I can promise myself all the bleached sand beaches and strawberry bubble baths I want, but the choice is not really up to me. If someone at Dove could please work on a message that says Promise your mother some relaxing holiday moments, like maybe every other Tuesday from 9-6, and hand a bunch of them to my kids (minus the candy; they only get the candy if they make good on the promise), then maybe we'll be leaning a few degrees in the right direction. Please work on it, will you?


Gem #2 Joy is contagious.

This, of course, prompted the compilation of a mental List of Contagious Things. Which was just too precious to keep to myself, really, so here you go:

1. joy, purportedly
2. cynicism, actually
3. influenza
4. yawning
5. bubonic plague
6. commercial jingle for The Clapper
7. athlete's foot
8. your mama jokes
9. lawn mowing (especially in a subdivision of retirees. one guy revs his mower at 5 am, and the whole neighborhood is weed-whacking by 7. fascinating phenomenon.)
10. also: bad fashion, giggling in church, and chicken pox.

And for all of you who are now singing Clap on (clap clap), Clap off (clap clap)...well, I'm trying to be sorry, but it's still a wee bit funny to me right now. I'll work on it.

16 November 2007

pieces

And now for another edition of Who My Kids Are Today. (Otherwise known as My Memory is Disintegrating so I've Learned to Write These Things Down.)


Elle is a model target of TV advertising. Whenever a commercial hawking something purplish or glittery appears on the screen, she exclaims, "Ooh, Mommy, dat is the one I yuv!" And we still have thirty-eight more advertising days till Christmas. Oh boy.

She has also not yet outgrown the Dictator Stage. "Mommy," she says, pointing to the space on her bed beside her pillow,"you seep by me for yittle bit." And "Where is Date-Danma? I say I want Date-Danma to tum in my house for two minutes. Where IS she?"* So I'm thinking she just needs a small country to run and we'll be good.

Oh, yes. AND. She also has a retractable belly-button, which I'm sure will come in handy for some future MacGyverish moment. Or perhaps earn her a spot on America's Got Talent. What a weird country we live in.

* * *

Em is a happy li'l guy. To him, an ideal day consists of oodles of saimin and Lego Star Wars people.

After we go through the (extensive) bedtime routine each night, he waits till I walk past his room and calls out for another hug and kiss. Just to be extra sure he's loved.

* * *

Zee and Bee are cracking me up these days. It's rather enjoyable to observe their humor ameliorating into something that quite resembles mine. I'm sure this will one day horrify them.

(Conversation in the van between the two)
Zee: "I don't know if I'll like the pumpkin pie at church. Some pumpkin pies I don't like."
Bee: "What? You are a traitor to the pumpkin pie world! I can't believe it! We let you in!"




*yuv=love
seep=sleep
tum=come
date danma=great grandma

13 November 2007

personal syncretism

Is it possible to be a skeptic and a mystic? An optimist and a realist? A pragmatist and a romantic?

Because I think this is me. All of the above, blended together, no beginnings or ends or reasons.

la famille

Most of my mum's side of the family dropped in on Saturday for an early Thanksgiving fete. There was eating, swinging, football spiraling, chasing after dogs and children, analyzing of the officials' calls during the Auburn game, a nap here and there, plus the showing off of some impressive four-square skills.




My cousins and their wives are so good with my children.







Needless to say, the kiddos are now pining after a puppy.




{Apparently my improvised camera-stand wasn't quite level; just tilt your head to the left a few degrees. And try not to notice the lovely poses of those two children up front. Their mother should really do something about them.}







Ah yes, the four-square games. My cousin Kyle would say things like, "My rules are: slams, twists, dirty bombs, 360's, full spikes, inverse tornadoes. And I have no idea what any of that means." An afternoon to remember, indeed.


I am blessed.

09 November 2007

bits of friday randomness

So I have this fireplace, right, but I can't use it because the flue is rusted shut or some such bothersome thing. And I would climb up there to do the unsticking, except for the high probability of crawly things in there, slithering about with their freakishly uneven legs. {Seriously, if their legs could just be one designated length, I'd have a much higher tolerance for them and for our forced cohabitation.}

So anyway, I know normal people would pay a chimney-sweep or flue-fixer or whomever they are, but we are operating on a lean budget, and a fire on my hearth falls altogether outside the realm of "needs." So. If you happen to be good at wriggling up chimneys, I can't pay you, but I will write a really nice post about you. Just throwing that out there.

On other housely matters, I've been tidying mine for the relatives tomorrow. {If you are one of those relatives, this is a very general tidying...sweeping, mopping, vacuuming...so you may want to lower your expectations a bit. Okay, a tiny bit more.

Um, lower.

One more time. There, now we're good.} And while I'm in the tidying mood, I thought I'd clean up around here too. I'm weeding out comatose blogs from my linkage to the right...which basically means that if you haven't posted for several months, your link will disappear. But fear not; if you decide to start blogging again, just holler my way and I'll reappear you. Because I'm, you know, magic like that.

{Exception: if you are related to me, you get to be as comatose as you'd like without losing your link. I figure that anyone who buys me Christmas presents is above weeding.)

And the last bit of randomness: I've been walking about the house humming "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls." Kind of catchy.

Happy weekend! Go forth and be spontaneously odd. Or deliberately odd. Either way.

07 November 2007

sept choses

Megan, Michelle, and Sarah have thoughtfully tagged me for the seven things meme...you know, the one where I tell you seven riveting facts about me. But before you all scurry off to find a happy place, be assured that I will not subject you to the further trauma of my personal weirdness.

I hope you'll find this list a welcome variation--my seven favorite finds du jour. Perhaps they'll become a few of your favorite things as well, and we can all chorus together in our best Julie Andrews voices. Or not. I'm okay either way.

And with a moderate amount of fanfare (callooh! callay!), I present to you my favorite:

1. musical duo
Shane&Shane

2. designer
Small Something
(Check out this holiday outfit and this incredible silk dress.)

3. newcomer to the blogosphere
Sarah of Adventures of a Stinkier Sort

{Amazing photographer, zany sense of humor, and generous to a fault. She sent a whole bunch of us these darling lounge sets. Merci, Sarah!}



4. holiday gift idea
Jodie's soy candles
The Pumpkin Cheesecake is my favorite. Oh, the deliciousness.

5. humanitarian organization
World Vision
They have a gift catalogue well worth checking out.

6. recently discovered blog
Capable of Flying

7. words of the day
perfidious, corpulent, mellifluous
I just love how the syllables move in my mouth.







{If you missed my original responses to similar tags, here's my seven things and six things.}

Frankly (ooh, I love that word today; add it to number 7), I'm only interesting enough to have worthwhile material for this meme about once a decade. So if you feel so inclined, I'm game for a tag in 2017.

06 November 2007

bemoaning and foolish consistency

So I didn't take my camera to St. Louis. We spent Thursday through Monday there, the hubby and I, at a conference for youth workers. The conversation went like this:

me: Think I should bring the camera?
hubby: To St. Louis? What's there to photograph in St. Louis?
me: This is true.

Except that it wasn't quite as true as I'd thought. And as we traversed the streets in search of lunch, I'd frame shots in my head: sunlight glazing stone columns, the spindly defiance of a walnut sapling wending up through concrete. And all the while I bemoaned my camera-less state in pained silence (and, um, sometimes not so silently).

But I shall do what I can. Instead of photos, I offer you a feeble scattering of prose.

Scene A: a street, cobbled and thin, bordered by pubs and cafes and bricked courtyards. Cosied up against a swath of river, bathed in air both brisk and smoky.

Scene B: the park's footpath lined with neatened rows of ash trees, their arching branches weaving a canopy of pressed gold, paper thin and fluttering.

* * *

Added bonus: Things I Learned in St Louis

1. I could have a thing for minty shampoo and thick towels.
2. Giving God unfettered, categorical use of my life means giving him the small minutes of right now.
3. I'm not really into screamo music. It might still grow on me, but the probability is rather lean.
4. The mark of a sure friendship is being able to pick up right where you've left off (that, and not really caring how dumpy I look in a swimsuit).
5. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." and here's the brilliant context for that quote:

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them....

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance)

6. Beauty has a way of showing up in the least likely places. So bring your camera.

01 November 2007

make believe

Wednesday night we attended a costumed fall party at the church, which meant old-fashioned games, cupcakes, steamy cider, s'mores, crafts, and lots of candy.

The original plan was to assemble costumes from items about the house: dress-up scarves and cardboard and belts and pans and sheets and whatnot. The boys were lukewarm on this idea, and kept asking things like, "But how am I going to look like Obi-Wan if you only sew together some sheets?" And I kept replying things like, "Well, see, the idea here is that you will make most of your costume. That's half the fun."

They remained largely unconvinced. Elle's mantra: "I will be a princess with a hat." So there we were.

Luckily for them, a dear friend donated a bunch of outgrown costumes our way, and the fellows had their pick of heroic identities. Em was a Power Ranger, Zee Batman, and Bee started as a Storm Trooper, but later switched out to last year's trusty ninja get-up.

And then there was Elle. See, I stopped in at the local fabric store over the weekend, just to get some elastic, mind you, and I was assaulted by shimmery stuff adorned with gold and pink stars that cried Princess Fabric! and was 50% off. I didn't stand a chance.


So Miss Elle was a Princess with a Hat.





And her brothers were fierce warriors who relished staged swordfights for the camera. (Except for Batman, who was booked up fighting crime and could not spare a picture. He was really cute though.)(Don't tell him I said that. "I'm a super-hero, Mom, I'm not cute!")





















We mustn't be late for the ball.





Do tell those bodyguards to stop all that sword nonsense and get a move on it.




And they lived happily ever after, what with the seven pounds of candy and all.