29 February 2008

tastes just like ambien

I'm not quite sure why I'm torturing you with this meme, other than that I just read Kimberly's brilliant version of it, which somehow persuaded me that mine might be decent by association. My mistake.

On the other hand, if you are in need of a sleep aid, this might be just the thing.

60 Things You Likely Never Wanted To Know About Me

1. What is in the back seat of your car right now?
Let's see. A booster seat. Possibly a few of those ubiquitous papers that the kids bring home from Sunday School, and also crumbs. I rarely venture to the outskirts of my Odyssey's third row seating, so if there's anything else back there, I probably don't want to know about it.

2. When was the last time you threw up?
Good golly, I don't transcribe these things on a calendar. A while ago.

3. What's your favorite curse word?
Dangit. Or dangfunnit. Do those count as curse words?

4. Name 3 people who made you smile today?
See, this does not qualify as a question. It is a something else, like maybe an imperative (though I could be making that up), and the question mark dangling there at the end is really bothering me. Nevertheless. Three people: Micah. Lauren. The Ununcle.

5. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?

6. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Reading to Bee.

7. What will you be doing 3 hours from now?
Reading a novel in bed, deceiving myself that after just one more chapter, really, I'll close the book and sleep.

8. Have you ever been to a strip club?
Um, no.

9. What is the last thing you said aloud?

10. What is the best ice cream flavor?
Chocolate almond.

11. What was the last thing you had to drink?
Agua. In a happy yellow cup.

12. What are you wearing right now?
Sweatshirt, lounge pants, ankle socks.

13. What was the last thing you ate?
Spaghetti with meat sauce and French bread.

14. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
Dude, it's February. Do you see any yard sales in the Midwest in February?

15. When was the last time you ran?
IDK. Last week on the treadmill, I guess.

16. What's the last sporting event you watched?
My son's Upward basketball game.

18. Who is the last person you emailed?
My madre.

19. Ever go camping?
Yes. I LOVE camping, except for the high incidence of spiders and thunderstorms. Plus there was this one time we went camping in Cape May and had to evacuate the campground because a hurricane was approaching. That was particularly memorable.

20. Do you have a tan?
Again, February.

24. Do you drink your soda from a straw?
Not unless it came that way.

25. What did your last IM say?
Well, I IM like, never. And as it's hard for me to recall yesterday's events, I highly doubt I can drum up any sort of recollection of a conversation from two years ago.

26. Are you someone's best friend?
Um, maybe my husband's. It takes me a while to reach that level of intimacy with anyone, and we move enough that I only best-friend someone right around the time we're about to move again.

27. What are you doing tomorrow?
Heading out at the crack of 7:35 to attend the last Upward games of the season. Calling my mum.

28. Where is your mom right now?
Oahu. Waiting for me to call her tomorrow.

29. Look to your left, what do you see?
Pair of couches. Basket of puzzles. Photo albums. Television. Loads of dust.

30. What color is your watch?
I haven't owned a watch for years but since you asked, there was this one time in ninth grade when I had a purple swatch.

31. What do you think of when you think of Australia?
Jorth. Beer. People who say nifty phrases like "Holy Jooley."

32. Would you consider plastic surgery?
Not presently. Ask me in fifteen years when I have lowered my standards.

33. What is your birthstone?
It's blue. Hold on, let me look it up. Blue Topaz.

34. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
Drive through, especially if it's below forty degrees out.

35.How many kids do you want?
Two. Just kidding. Actually, while I am very done with the whole joy of pregnancy, I would love to adopt more children.

36. Do you have a dog?

37. Last person you talked to on the phone?
Some lady who wanted to know how old our windows were. We didn't chat for long.

38. Have you met anyone famous?
Michael Jordan, in an airport. My brothers got his autograph. I was eight or ten or twelve and couldn't have cared less.

39. Any plans today?
Just me and a novel.

40. How many states have you lived in?

41. Ever go to college?

42. Where are you right now?
Living room. I do not remember how that translates in French.

43. Biggest annoyance in your life right now?

44. Last song listened to?
Not That Different (Colin Raye)

46. Are you allergic to anything?
Aspirin, ibuprofen (technically it's a cross-reaction to my aspirin allergy, but whatever). Mold, dust, smoke, pollen, and basically everything in the air from April to October.

47. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
Chunky-heeled boots.

48. Are you jealous of anyone?
Probably, but I'm repressing it.

50. Is anyone jealous of you?
The odds are slim indeed.

51. What time is it?
Well, that depends on where you live. Here it's 10:09 PM.

52. Do any of your friends have children?
Yep, though I also have a fair share of friends who do not.

53. Do you eat healthy?
Absolute: no. Relative: yes.

54. What do you usually do during the day?
Sew. Read. Cook. Scrub. Blog. Photograph. Edit. Take care of the kids, talk to the hubby, sometimes write a bit. Listen to the Bible on CD.

55. Do you hate anyone right now?
Not that I know of.

56. Do you use the word 'hello' daily?
Yeah, probably.

57.What are your feelings on chocolate?

58. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
Thirty-two. I think.

59. Have you ever been to Six Flags?
No, but I have been to Cedar Point which, supposedly, is better. The thing is, I abhor waiting in lines, so I am just not ever going to be crazy about theme parks, as they amount to 13 minutes of riding on rides and 11.46 hours of waiting in lines.

60. How did you get one of your scars?
Just one? Well, my oldest known scar (right beneath my eye) is semi-invisible now; chicken pox was the culprit.

See, that wasn't so bad, was it? Well, okay, right. Goodnight then.


As it appears I have very little aversion to tooting my own horn, allow me to point out that I've remembered to maintain (and even post!) this booklist two months in a row now. Please be duly impressed.

February's books:

PLAN B (Anne Lamott)
BEFORE I DIE (Jenny Downham)
SNAP (Alison McGhee)
WAVES (Sharon Dogar)

Now for the monthly recommendation. While no clear preferent emerged, I did enjoy each of these novels. The most compelling, in my opinion, were SOMEDAY (kind of like a modern-day CATCHER IN THE RYE), LUCAS, and SNAP (which had a young, candid voice reminiscent of BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, minus the magical realism). Also, BEFORE I DIE engendered more tears from my poor little eyeballs (or poor little tear ducts, whatever) than any other book I've encountered in my thirty-one years. Confirm a healthy Kleenex supply before attempting this read.

Happy bookworming, friends.

Click here for January's booklist.

28 February 2008


Kindra and Seth (hubby's youngest sister and her husband), and their darlingest li'l boy are moving to Arizona in just a few days.

Right at this very minute, with the whole tundra thing we have going on outdoors, Arizona is brilliant. I'm in favor of a mass relocation.

Actually, though, they aren't moving for the weather; Seth has accepted a position as a music pastor (and boy is that church lucky to get him). He is all sorts of gifted, and for that matter, they are pretty dang lucky to get Kindra, too.

As they are some of my favoritest people on the planet, I am going to miss them fiercely.

And since I am feeling particularly Irish today, I shall wish them off with a traditional Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

And a more practical Irish blessing, for extra luck:

May the frost never afflict your spuds.
May the outside leaves of your cabbage
always be free from worms.
May the crow never pick your haystack,
and may your donkey always be in foal.

Right. Lovely.

Be safe, guys. We love you.

26 February 2008

self-portrait challenge: blue.4

"only in the winter...
can you have longer, quiet stretches
when you can savor belonging to

~Ruth Stout

Learn more about self portrait tuesday.

24 February 2008

diversions of the feline sort

Ranking fairly high on Elle's burgeoning repertoire of tricks is the Fake Crying Shtick.

Basically, the Fake Crying Shtick (FCS) looks like squinched up eyes and a whole lotta open mouth, sounds like someone saying "Wah" at optimum volume, and feels like I could use a couple of Advil which I am unfortunately allergic to.

Elle has earned herself a designating wailing chair (which is kinda like the wailing wall except pink and not in Jerusalem), where she must sit until she is finished with the current FCS. Usually it takes about two point four seconds. Miraculous, that chair.

So the other night after being tucked into bed, kissed, retucked, and properly watered, Elle launched another FCS because her mother (that'd be me) wouldn't let her have a tea party in bed. I know. The horror.

The episode went like this:




(repeat chorus 800 times)

So down the hall I sat, wondering if I should plunk her in the wailing chair, or if Being Allowed Out of Bed After Bedtime would be considered a reward to her, and also exactly how many of these FCS spells would earn me an early retirement. But before I could settle on a definitive course of action, her tune took an unexpected turn.

Waaaaah! Wa-aaaaaaaaaaaah!



Meow. Meowmeowmeowme-ow.

Meow meow?

Meow meow, meow.

Eventually she meowed herself to sleep, and I telepathically thanked the late Mr. Rogers and Henrietta Pussycat for their calming influence on my youngest child. Though if she starts saying "Speedy delivery!" and "Prince Tuesday, I presume?" we might have to limit her screen time.

20 February 2008




Sometimes it's nice to be on the inside of things.

19 February 2008

self-portrait challenge: blue.3


"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."

~Theodore H. White

Learn more about self-portrait tuesday.

18 February 2008


Now that I have lived through it, I shall bestow upon you all my tale of woe. It goes a little something like this.

Late Tuesday night (of last week), I developed a sore throat. Not just any sore throat, but the Mother Of All Sore Throats.

I had it Wednesday.




Every time I swallowed, I thought I could very well be the first person ever to die of a sore throat. I know you are thinking: what are the odds? But I tell you the odds were excellent. Absurdly excellent.

Sunday had good hours and wretched ones.

Today I'm fine. I have what feels like a normal sore throat, and it's wonderful. I could kiss normal sore throats.

My girls at the Limery offered me tons of home remedies, most of which I had already attempted. I even scoured the internet for medical advice posted by complete strangers who could very well have been the sore-throat-home-remedy equivalent of the Unabomber. But residing in that particular arena of pain, caution was a luxury I could not afford.

So. I tried: lemon and honey tea, lemon and honey cough drops, throat spray (this one mostly just numbed my tongue, which under normal circumstances would have greatly amused me), Tylenol, gargling hot pepper water, gargling apple cider vinegar (acv=el disgusto), hot compresses, zicam, vitamin C, and possibly other stuff that I already forget.

One of them worked.

Oh yes, and um, also I tried other people's prescription pain medication. That might have been the one that worked.

Nevertheless. I am alive. I can swallow with the best of 'em. Let the fanfare commence.

16 February 2008

dental health

When it comes to brushing teeth, our children run the full range of the quality-control spectrum. Bee is old enough to brush fairly well without supervision, although he is known to smirk and goggle his eyes at his brothers in the mirror if a parental unit is not paying attention.

Zee thinks he's done in twenty-five seconds and generally has to be sent back to brush for a second round, with instructions like, "Count to two hundred in your head this time."

Em has the opposite problem: we're readying ourselves for church or the library, and everyone else is standing at the door in boots and coats while he's back in the bathroom, participating in the world's most thorough dental cleaning. Seriously, he sometimes brushes for more than ten minutes.

Then there's Elle, who is happy as long as: 1. it is her turn to brush (versus mine), and 2. she's allowed to admire her brushing form in the mirror.

Sometimes supervising the dental health of this quartet of little people taxes the limits of my mental health, but I suspect I will find the day quiet in an empty sort of way when I have merely my own set of choppers to look after.

15 February 2008

baked goodness

banana chip muffins

3-5 overripe bananas (em calls them "dirty bananas")
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c canola oil
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
2 t baking soda
pinch of salt
1 c mini (or regular) chocolate chips

preheat oven to 375 degrees. grease or line a pair of large-cup muffin tins (yield: 12 muffins) or two regular-cup muffin tins (yield: 24 muffins).

technically, you should sift your dry ingredients, then mix the others and add the dry to the wet.

for those of us who can't be bothered with multiple bowls, mash the bananas, mix with sugar. add oil, then eggs, then vanilla. add the dry ingredients all together (just be sure the baking soda isn't lumpy) and mix well.

stir in chocolate chips. pour into muffin cups (about 2/3rds full). bake large muffins for approx 30 min, regular for less than that (maybe 20-25? sorry, don't really know. just keep checking them).

cool and enjoy with a glass of milk. also good with a smear of peanut butter.


14 February 2008

handmade sentiments

people cards courtesy of elle and em.

fabric heart cards inspired by these at the purl bee.

poem courtesy of ee cummings (whose unorthodox punctuation makes me twitch, but the lyric is loveliness incarnate).

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

--ee cummings

12 February 2008

self-portrait challenge: blue.2

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

--WS Merwin (Separation)

Click here for more self-portrait tuesdays.

11 February 2008

grey socks

Roughly four minutes ago, I slid into a pair of warm knee socks, fresh from the dryer.

Call me persnickety and particular, but I do have my moments of being astoundingly easy to please.

08 February 2008

bloody exculpation

I cut my knee in the shower again today.

You'd think after nineteen years of this shaving business, I'd be a little better at it. But no, once or twice a week I'm sporting bits of toilet paper stuck to my legs like motley feathers.

It's a good thing I have no aspirations of being a leg model. This is mostly because my legs are, well: short. And then they are riddled with scar graffiti from a childhood of scaling trees and chasing brothers and general contact with asphalt and block walls. Not to mention the one time in college intramural soccer when I juked to the left with the ball and this (upperclass, wimpy, curmudgeonly) girl kicked the space where the ball used to be, which was now occupied by my unfortunate shin. And honestly that would've been no biggie except that she then had the gall to drop to the ground clutching her toe as if residing in some alternate reality where her shoe-clad foot could possibly be in more pain than my naked shin.

Apparently I am still harboring some bitterness over this. S'pose I ought to stick some toilet paper forgiveness on my grudge and call it good.

Right. I'll let you know how that goes.

07 February 2008

IOU: Kristin

I've been thinking about Kristin because it was her birthday this week, and she is actually within an arm's length of reaching the big three-oh, as opposed to three years ago when she turned twenty-five and liked to tell everyone she was almost thirty.

I was thinking about how she is warm and funny and has great hair and eyes the color of summer. About how she loves to read and has calf muscles to die for and sometimes snorts when she laughs too hard. How all of this adds up to someone so easy to adore.

I was thinking how just last month, to better the life of a little boy with leukemia, she ran a marathon, which I feel the need to point out is twenty six point two miles all in a row. Dang.

And then I was thinking about how lucky I am to be little old pathological me who grew up without sisters but married into this family; who blinked one day as it sank in that these girls have filled in the spaces, the parts of me I hadn't thought to realize were missing.

06 February 2008

constructing neverland

All four of my little people love to draw.

Growing up, I was the only member of my family who found solace and pleasure in this pursuit. So I love that every one of my children know the particular delight of worlds springing into existence beneath their fingers, flickering to life as they press lead to the blank page.

Bee and Zee work for painstaking hours crafting multi-paged, multi-volumed comic books. The younger two delineate creatures and contraptions that I can only imagine call brightly to them from that mythical place in their minds' eyes.

Hubby doesn't seem aware of it, but he was once a very capable artist; I've seen the evidence in his first grade sketch book. And yet somewhere along the way he lost the passion, the ease, the joy, and now he loathes to construct even the most canonical stick figure.

So I can only grasp a mother's flimsy hope that the wonder of making art will remain kindled in the spirits and fingers of my children.

Live boldly, little ones. Live big.

05 February 2008

self-portrait challenge: blue.1

"Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again."

{L Frank Baum}

Click here for more self-portrait tuesdays.

04 February 2008

flailing around in the dust

I fell off the wagon today.

For breakfast, I polished off a brownie smothered in chocolate buttercream frosting. My tastebuds found the experience exquisite, but now the rest of me is feeling a little sick and moderately ticked off at my brain, for its egregious lapse in judgment.

Luckily, the wagon is circling back to pick me up. Tally-ho.

03 February 2008

mr. sandman is mighty persuasive these days

so there was this one time when i was up at 12:37ish in the after-midnight typing a post and squinting at the screen thinking wouldn't it be nice of me to head down the hall, extricate the contacts plastered to my eyeballs, and get some sleep already.

but then i was remembering how not very long ago i used to think that people who went to bed before 2 AM on a saturday night were Losers instead of Rational. and then i was wondering when exactly did i get to the rational stage, and might there be some prescription for it please?

because this thirty-one-ness? is for the birds. but as i am now typing with my eyes closed, i shall wave my little metaphorical white flag and mosey on down the hall to bed.

good night.

02 February 2008

this too shall pass

In the slushy muck of February, I tend to do a lot of window (screen?) shopping for summery stuff. It's much cheaper than actual shopping and/or therapy, and does wonders for my personal sanity.

Here are a few items I've been ogling lately:

Boden swimsuits: hotchpotch, dotty green.

AE graphic tees.

AliciaBock's fine art photographs: fairyland, ca d'Zan blooms, friday's child.

Aviator sun glasses from Free People: Captain America and Elsa's.

Verbena tunic from Anthropologie.

Abercrombie flip flops (aka slippers for you island folk) (I'm partial to the turquoise stripes).

PinkyPig's little boxy mini pouch and zipper zipper pouch.

And then of course there's Elle, who is sure to liven up even the dreariest mid-winter's day.

Wishing you a sunshiney afternoon. :)

01 February 2008

minor altercations

Yesterday Elle* stomped down the hall calling, "Mommmmmmy!" and from the tone of her voice alone I knew she was telling on someone.

I also knew who that someone had to be, since this was smack in the middle of school hours, leaving only one brother at home to pester his little sister.

"Mommy!" she wailed. "He hurt me. He hurt me on my face."

I did the typical mom-of-multiple-children assessment: no blood, no bruising, no crushed skull. She's fine.

"Oh dear," I said. "What happened?"

"He did it." She turned around to point at Em, who had trailed down the hall behind her and was now peeking around the corner in a semi-repentant sort of way. "That boy right there."

I had to press my lips together to keep from laughing. Apparently if you make Elle mad, you no longer have a name, nor are you related to her. You are that boy right there.

With a small amount of prompting, Em apologized and hugged his sister, and Elle, in her chirping little voice, gave him his name back: "That's okay, [Em]!" Then they scampered away in search of more collaborative mischief.

And I thought to myself, if only I could forgive with that much ease and guilelessness. I suppose I could stand to learn a thing or two from that girl right there.