Monday, December 31, 2007

12 ibuprofen

  • 11 sugar highs
  • 10 broken ornaments
  • 9 games of bingo
  • 8 veiled threats
  • 7 seconds to myself
  • 6 glasses of wine
  • 5 plush puppies
  • 4 hours of sleep
  • 3 sparkly lip glosses
  • 2 princess dresses
  • and a christmas afternoon meltdoooooown

Thursday, December 27, 2007

holee buckets

suddenly 8 stitches in my baby's head doesn't seem s'bad after hearing about the 2-year-old who drove a screwdriver through her eye socket and into her brain

and will recover just fine. 

and any talk of christmas miracles would be redundant at this point.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

it's a christmas miracle!

when you move, you expect to lose or misplace a few items, at least for a while. i had pretty much accounted for all of our possessions since our move in july except for...a bra. how do you lose a bra?! just one, not the whole undergarment collection, which would make more sense.

anyway, i've torn this place apart in search of the elusive bra, because 1) it bugged me that i couldn't find it and 2) last year i finally invested in some decent stuff. no more $9 at target; i actually went to nordstrom, got fitted (ugh - still just as bad at 40 as it was at 14), and bought 4 calvin klein petite bras (note to bra makers: hello?! you're just now discovering petites? those of us who are 5'2" and born without shoulders thank you, i guess, you slackers).

i actually LIKE these bras, something i didn't think possible. they fit. the straps stay put. at the end of the day, i don't often feel the need to tear them from my body. and the biggest pisser of all was that i lost 1 of the 2 front-close ones. grrrrrrr.

and happened. 

i was rooting through an old diaper bag, thinking my pregnant sister-in-law might want it. and there it was: my bra, tucked in the front pouch. i sang a little song of joy that we had finally been reunited (and that my husband's brother and his wife had not been the ones to discover it).

now here's really the weird thing: the bra was the only thing in there. so it's not like i used the diaper bag for packing up a bunch of stuff when we moved. maybe one of the kidlets put it in there? maybe i am insane and stashed it there for some "it-made-perfect-sense-at-the-time" reason?

or maybe – just maybe – there really is a santa claus.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

tin cup, piece of horehound candy, shiny penny

if memory serves, that's what laura ingalls wilder received one year for christmas, and she was thrilled to pieces. hard to even draw a comparison between that and the tonnage of loot my kids got today. and our holidays are fairly restrained, given the tales i hear from others! 

ye gods.

the ramones best-of disc that the handsome man gave me does rock, though. and now, as the children flame out and pass out, i, too, want to be sedated.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

someone's tired and her name is mommy

a partial list of items my toddler requested in her efforts to stall bedtime tonight:
  • a bottle
  • a diaper change
  • a snack
  • a sucker
  • jewelry
  • elmo
  • yellow bear
  • brown bear
  • blankie
  • daddy

fisher-price, nasa is holding on line 1

let me preface this by saying that fisher-price toys are wonderful:  sturdy, cute, safe and fun.

they are, however, packaged so securely that it is almost impossible to free them from their bonds. i have found through painful experience that i must build considerable "unfetter the toys and swear" time into my holiday wrapping, or else christmas morning will be consumed by unfettering and very, very quiet swearing.

honestly, where does fisher-price think it is shipping these toys – into orbit? the stuff on the mars rover was not restrained as well as the fire truck i spent this morning extricating from cardboard, tape, domed plastic covers, and those damned plastic-coated wire ties that are put around every available protrusion.

perhaps fisher-price could start a sideline business consulting for space agencies, or maybe sex toy manufacturers. bondage will never be so secure, or so cute!

no, wait, don't, stop!

know what's even more fun than having your 2-year-old get stitches in her head? trying to keep her from busting them open until they heal. don't run! don't jump! don't spin, gallop, dance, chase, flop, move, blink! 

keely asked me yesterday, "why you always say 'no?'" i said, "because that's my job." 

and i deserve a big, fat bonus!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

oh, there's no place like children's hospital for the holidays

what is it with my people and their skulls? my brother cracked his forehead open with great regularity as a child; he even developed a kind of rhythm: left side, right side, left side, right side.

not surprisingly, he passed the melon-smashing gene down to his progeny (ha ha). but somehow the dna jumped the genetic fence and also firmly implanted itself in both of MY children (wtf?!).

may i present the latest evidence? last night as i was pulling out of the driveway to go work, the handsome man came tearing through the snow in his socks shouting that thing two had just gashed her head. off we flew to the er to get 8 stitches in her tiny skull. and unlike her uncle david, she favored the path right down the middle of her forehead. grow some hair, kid - you'll need the bangs now more than ever.

fortunately, we knew the drill from the time thing one sliced her skull open when she was 2. thing one's cut was on the back of her head, so they sewed her up while she sat suctioned to a baby einstein dvd. not so with thing two; since she could see them a-comin' at her, she had to be immobilized and strapped to a board. 2-year-olds enjoy that. i'm already looking forward to her getting the stitches out on monday. (and yes, that will be christmas eve. because of course it would have to be christmas eve.)

again, what is it with my family and their noggins? why are my children's heads irresistibly drawn to every door frame they encounter? i've traced the tendency through my brother back to my mom, who falls on and crashes into things with pretty good frequency. and apparently her mother, my grandmother, once closed the garage door ON HER HEAD while bidding my grandfather goodbye as he drove to work.

i take after my father's clan: cautious, fear-based people who sustain few injuries. not exactly the most fun way to live compared to the head-long, woo-hoo, leap-first-look-second crowd, but i can say that i am intact after nearly 43 years on the planet, whereas i believe my brother still has a metal support rod or two in his body.

anyway. thing two seems no worse for wear today, bounding around the house as usual (no running!  NO RUNNING!). once again, my compliments to children's hospital in minneapolis, the best place to take sick or injured kiddies (we've been there on several occasions, each taking about a year off of my life). and big, big love to pegga for rushing over to stay with thing one while we took thing two to the hospital - i wish i had a thousand martha stewart magazines and a bushel of dried hydrangeas for you, my friend!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

math was never my strong suit

if each of my knees is 42 years old, is that why i feel like i'm about 80 when i wake up in the morning?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

do you hear what i hear?

silence. blessed, blessed silence. my in-laws and thing two are on their way to pick up thing one from preschool so i can attend a christmas party. but before i leave, i've had 15 - count 'em, 15! - minutes of absolute quiet in my own house. i can almost hear myself think again.

Monday, December 17, 2007

it's on!

i love my new neighbors. looooooove them. because every night, this is what they display right across the street. and every night, my kids are as enthralled as if it were the first time.

and the magic starts at 5 p.m., right when the little buggers are really starting to get to me.

it was the same at halloween - the lawn of largesse. for thanksgiving, there was an enormous turkey with a top hat (albeit in their backyard - shy, perhaps?).

but nothing yet has rivaled this extravangza. really, how could anything compete with a train driven by santa and featuring a penguin that pops up and down in the caboose?

oh, and the display sings, too. frank and lon, i LOVE you guys!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

oh my word

i think i just invented some new holiday cheer:  kahlua and milk...and egg nog

try some. now.

Friday, December 14, 2007


angelina jolie's got nothing on my girls. we are ALL about the lips here, thanks to the barbie make-up set thing one and thing two just received from the ladies at the company where i used to work. it's lip gloss-a-go-go in the kitchen right now.

and - oh dear god - they are painting each other's nails...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

times my children woke me up last night

  • 11:42 p.m.
  • 1:30 a.m.
  • 2:21 a.m.
  • 4:29 a.m.
  • and sometime after 6 a.m. (too tired to lift my head and see exactly)

i'd say that's about an average night.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

we are descended from idiots

and by we, i mean all us folks in the extreme northern climes. what the HELL were our ancestors thinking when they stopped their covered wagons?

ancestor: "golly, i'd like to live here, where the temperatures fall below zero, in a sod house heated by a fire, having to walk through a blizzard hanging onto a rope just to find the john and relieve myself. super!"

if i had lived through just one winter with no central heat and no polar fleece, i would have been on the first stagecoach to albuquerque. i remember re-reading the laura ingalls wilder books as an adult and being struck not by the fun of making maple syrup snow candy and getting a shiny penny for christmas, but by the homesteader whose wife tried to knife him in the middle of the night for bringing her to such a godforsaken place. that would soooo have been me.

clearly, the demented genes were passed on to me in full force, because i still live here. in fact, asshole that i am, i keep moving further into the igloo: from detroit to chicago to minneapolis. perhaps i've frozen my synapses as well as my butt off.

at least i can take comfort in the fact that there are people dumber than me, viz: the dad who drops his kid off every day at preschool BY BIKE. even today, when it's 5 degrees outside. poor little boy was encased in some sort of yellow rubber suit that looked like a dishwashing glove on steroids, topped off with face mask, boots and – of course – bike helmet. because we need to be safe when we're FREEZING TO DEATH.

Monday, December 10, 2007

shots for tots

thank you, thank you to everyone who made our annual "shots for tots" coffee morning so much fun!  

and no, we don't give the kids booze.  or shoot them.  what we do is ply our guests with coffee laced with their choice of holiday cheer (kaluha, anyone? bailey's? scotch?) and a bunch o' baked goods.  we get to see our friends, family and neighbors, and they get to see each other.  

and folks bring new, unwrapped toys, which we gather up and drop off at toys for tots.  we got a major haul this year, and my girls were quite enamored of the ginormous stuffed leopard a certain lovely and kickass realtor brought. we did manage to pry it from their sticky little clutches, though. ho, ho, ho!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

oh do you know the muffin top, the muffin top, the muffin top?

ugh.  can no longer ignore truth - have eaten myself into quite the muffin top since halloween. bulgy belly over top of jeans soooo not pretty.

too bad my mother-in-law sent over pinwheels and russian teacakes today.  self-restraint or sweat pants?  self-restraint?  sweat pants?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

atwitter about glitter

i know it's pretty, sparkly, magical fun when you're four. but when you're forty-two, it becomes the devil's own gimcrackery. and it's everywhere in my house, leaping off of preschool art projects, christmas decorations, and the myriad toys we've received courtesy of the disney princess cartel.

stop the madness, teachers and grandparents everywhere! i beg you, stop the madness!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

it's beginning to taste a lot like christmas

now that i've found a vegan gingerbread cookie recipe. i must send linky love to the post-punk kitchen and isa, goddess of cupcakes; thanks to her, my baby just decorated and devoured cookies, like i did as a child (and 10 minutes ago).

of course, my kitchen now looks like the wonka factory after some drunken oompa-loompa holiday party, but it was worth it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

i blog, therefore i think

the best part of starting a blog has been that it allows me to actually think my thoughts. doing the mom thing means there's not a whole lot of time for that. which is quite a shock to the system after the self-absorbed single years (me!), the courting, getting married and being absorbed by our luv years (him!), and the first pregnancy (me again!).

now my thoughts are mainly about the kidlets, and rightly so. but it's nice to carve a few minutes out of a day to think about other things, too, or at least to process what i am thinking about the kids/the mommying (hard to do when you're making dinner with a crying 2-year-old clinging to your legs).

and, like pretty much every blog post i've written, this one just got interrupted: this time by a warm, pink, snuggly bundle of questions waking up. adios.

Monday, December 3, 2007

soy sorry

i have tried to get on the non-dairy boat, really i have. because of allergy baby, i have embraced soy milk. (it's good, really! except for drinking.) i like soy yogurt. and soy ice cream from izzy's in st. paul is un-freaking-believably good.

but i am sorry: soy cheese is nasty. naaaaaasty.

fortunately, allergy baby has not had real cheese, only had the soy stuff, so she doesn't know what she's missing. if she outgrows her dairy allergy and finds out what cheese (milk, ice cream, butter) really taste like, she's going to be pissed.

oh, eff - the smoke alarm is going off again! effing soy cheese pizza!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

working in a coal mine, going down down down

i am sick of smug parenting (and since when did parenting become a verb?) magazines, books and newspaper articles with smug 40-something mommies rhapsodizing about how they're so glad they waited until they were "financially secure" before they popped out their kidlets.

i, too, am an old broad: 42 at last count. my husband is slightly younger, but still over the 4-0 marker. we are not smug (well, about our financial situation, anyway).

we're not in dire straits by any means, or else i would not be a stay-at-home-mom-slash-freelance-writer-and-editor. but from where i sit today, it seems as though we're probably going to have to work until we die (whee! hi, honey!). right now, we're facing the early stage, chicken-and-egg conundrum common to many families: we moved from a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom mortgage to a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom mortgage because we need more room for the kids...right at the same time i took a powder from the work force to stay home with the kids.

when the kids are both in school, i'll be able to work more to pay for the unholy expenses of child rearing i see my friends grappling with: camps, sports, etc.

and then, when we hit our 60's, we'll pack the girls off to college.

so i don't quite know who these financially secure 40ish new mommies and daddies are. frankly, i don't know a whole lot of parents of any age for whom money is not at least a niggling concern, if not cause for a full-blown panic attack. we're all gonna be working til we die.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

sweetening the pot

ok, it's been suggested that i add an inducement to the offer of two female offspring: maybe some free computer troubleshooting by the handsome man, or gratis editing work by yours truly. perhaps a small cash payment would generate some interest?

like i said, make me an offer. it's too cold to put them in a cardboard box on the curb with a sign saying "free." (though the thought might have crossed my mind once. or twice.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

free to a good home

two females, ages 2 and 4. different litters, but same sire and dam. yellow coats, blue eyes, excellent teeth. sweet dispositions, except for sporadic fits of temper and hysteria.

have had all their shots.

good around children except each other. partially housebroken.

any offer considered.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


that's doo-doo day, of course. total? $10,690. sure glad i had that $30 off coupon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

coolest gift idea ever

ok, maybe that's pushing it a bit, but this is pretty cool.  

heifer international allows you to donate animals that provide sustainable sources of food and income – such as cows, llamas, chickens, etc. – to families in need around the world.  each recipient family promises to give one of its animal's offspring to a neighbor in need to create what heifer calls "a living chain of giving."

i just ordered the buzz about bees for my twin goddaughters' birthday (kath, if you're reading this, don't tell them!  you will get an email on the actual day.).  the recipient family will get bees, a hive, and training in beekeeping.  the family will be able to sell the beeswax and honey, and the bees will help pollinate plants in the area which could increase fruit and vegetable yields.  ok, i'm back to thinking this really is the coolest gift ever.

Friday, November 23, 2007

toys r us ROCKS IT OUT

ok, i know i've said toys r us is the seventh circle of hell, and i stand by that – for the physical stores.

but i'm exempting from that designation as of today, when my friend, manager jeff (jeff!), turned in a true customer service r us performance. i won't go into boring details or enumerate any gentle threats i may have made. suffice it to say that jeff stretched the definition of leeway on their return policy farther than i'd hoped.

so find a comfy chair and buy those holiday gifts online, people! because who wants to look for parking in the seventh circle of hell?

note to self

toothpaste tubes and diaper rash cream tubes look dangerously similar.

i'm just sayin'.

thankful for socks

a big round of applause for my mother-in-law, who really got on the food allergy boat this thanksgiving. she made the sweet potatoes with margarine instead of butter and the mashed 'tatoes with margarine and soy milk, though she was leery of how they would taste (fantastic). the turkey and gravy were butterless, as were the brussels sprouts cooked in bacon drippings (heart-healthy!). and my contribution had a mere four ingredients: cranberries, sugar, water, and orange peel.

so of course, thing two sobbed throughout the meal, clinging to the handsome man and refusing to eat anything except a popsicle. sheesh. how was i to know she'd freak out if we woke her up from her nap? she never had before. and she never will again, because i'm not going near her if she's sleeping!

while thing two wailed, thing one stood up and announced, "my diaper is up my butt!" kudos to my mil for not spitting her stuffing across the table as she howled at that declaration. i told thing one to meet me in the bathroom while i went to retrieve her undies from the dryer (there have been a few incidents in the past several days, hence the scarcity of panties).

as i walked into the bathroom, i felt a warm squooshing under foot. yep: turd alert. thing one had taken full advantage of the diaper, and i had ground her leavings into my mil's extremely shaggy bathroom rug. the rug and my socks were immediately dispatched to the washing machine, thing one was dispatched back to the table with a stern warning about sitting on the potty, and i dispatched another glass of beaujolais.

and made sure she didn't see me snickering, because it was pretty damn funny.

let us now give thanks for thick polar fleece socks.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

actually, it's gray and we have our first layer of snow on the ground. but, as i told the roto rooter guy who kept saying, "you're taking this awfully well!" no one is sick, no one is hurt. today we get to stuff ourselves silly with delicious food we did not make. we have heat, we have clothes, we have wireless internet. it's all good in the 'hood.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

jenny and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

when my brother and i were kids, one of his favorite books was alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. in it, alexander is subjected to all sorts of tribulations and indignities ("my bath was too hot, i got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and i had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. i hate my railroad-train pajamas.")

i know that my woes are minor compared to, say, the situation in darfur. but i'm not in darfur; i'm in minneapolis, where today i have:
  • plunged the toilet,
  • washed dishes in pails,
  • picked up my toddler after she fell onto the gravel and cut her head,
  • played about 27,000 games of go fish,
  • gone to the grocery store the evening before thanksgiving with two small children, where they didn't have what i needed,
  • broken up umpteen fights and cleaned up as many spills, and
  • almost strangled myself when the cord to my cell phone headset got caught in the steering wheel (safety first!).
i think i'll move to australia.

just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water

i've discovered a flaw in the "if it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down" advice i received yesterday: if enough yellow and t.p. have accumulated, then the brown won't go down.

nothing more fun than hunting for the plunger at 8:30 in the morning. and i thought i couldn't get any sexier.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

merry christmas! shitter's full!

nothing like having the main sewer line out of your house fail.


we fixed this same problem in our old house to the tune of $2,700. and now that we've been in our new house four months - CRACK! - lightening has struck a second time.

"you're the only person i know who has had the main line crap out in two houses!" my friend exclaimed. apparently, i have bad sewer juju. and just in time for the holidays! because nothing says festive like a week with no water. that's right, a week. our "timing" (as the roto rooter guy said) is unfortunate due to the four-day turkey day weekend approaching. yes, i always time the poop geysers in my basement to coincide with major work stoppages.

so no laundry. no dishwasher. no showers, no baths. we can flush maybe twice a day, he figures. "if it's mellow, let it yellow; if it's brown, flush it down," he added with a smile as he left. yeeeesh. i could have lived my whole life without hearing that phrase, thank you.

and of course, the washing machine, dishwasher and tub were all full when this happened, because we have dirty little children who dirty our home with gusto. so i slapped on my ma ingalls bonnet and washed dishes in pails of water, then tossed the water outside, and drained the washing machine into buckets and lugged them out, too. i feel very, very sorry that ma did not have ibuprofen. or booze. (who knows? maybe she nipped on the side. god, i hope so.)

on monday, the heavy equipment comes to decimate my yard to the tune of $4 large or more, which is great because it's not like there are any major expenses in december or anything. until then, we'll be spending A LOT of time at my in-laws, who are lovely, lovely, gracious people with running water.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ina garten of hellish delights

one of the more delicious ironies about my situation as the mother of a child with multiple food allergies is that i haaaaate cooking. ditto grocery shopping. hate, hate, hate it. have i mentioned that i hate it? i hate it.

i hate cook books, too. those smug contessas with their 18 kinds of fresh herbs and homemade soup stock and "just simmer until it reduces by half" incantations. the only thing simmering is my systolic number.

i hate the melting and the flaming and the charring. and that's just my utensils. did you know that plastic spoons burn really fast? really fast.

it seems like i cannot make a pass through the kitchen without setting an oven mitt afire or a smoke detector howling. i spill worse than exxon. i knock things over. i drop things. i curse (quietly, very quietly).

even when i follow the freaking recipe, something goes wrong: in tonight's case, the recipe itself was wrong, but i didn't clue into that until after i'd made the stupid pot of soup. eff, eff, eff!

and as much as i'd like to throw in the kitchen towel, i can't, because my baby has to have foods that are safe for her to eat. which in many cases means from scratch so i can control the ingredients. so even though i would commit several felonies to have a fat lorenzo's pizza delivered to my abode (oh, fatties, i hardly knew ye!), back i go to slave over my hot stove...after i disconnect the smoke detector.

Friday, November 16, 2007

can't get no respect

milk allergy is the rodney dangerfield of food allergies: it can be just as dangerous as a peanut allergy, but most folks don't seem to know that. witness my friend whose son is anaphylactic to milk: people think she means lactose intolerant. no, she means HIS THROAT COULD CLOSE UP AND HE COULD DIE if he eats or drinks anything with even the tiniest amount of milk products in it.'s story on milk allergy is depressing, but maybe helpful in a perverse way. perhaps people will stop offering my toddler goldfish crackers. perhaps more schools will have milk-free tables, like the peanut-free tables cropping up everywhere (which my kid also needs. and we'll have a side of egg-free table, too. maybe she can eat lunch by herself in the janitor's closet when she starts school.).

Thursday, November 15, 2007



- noun

1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter.

random house forgot to add:

3. the person who, when her friend (who shall remain nameless), calls up and says, "i'm on my way to help judge cheerleading tryouts and i'm afraid i might fart – can i swing by and pick up some emergency tooter pills!?" responds, "sure."

memo to self: call hallmark. they've missed a very critical niche market.


thing one's preschool celebrated thanksgiving today. having considerably more history under my belt than she does, and having worked the past 15 or so years with indian tribes, the preschool version of thanksgiving was kind of a giggle.

each kid in her class listed what he or she is thankful for inside the tail feathers of a ginormous turkey. i learned that thing one is thankful for:

  • my daddy and mommy
  • my baby keely
  • my house
  • my car
  • my kitty that owen gave me (thanks owen! your birthday gift still rocks it out.)

some of the other classes made paper pilgrims' hats that looked pretty realistic and feather headdresses that were a little this side of historically correct. thing one's class made necklaces out of brightly painted pasta tubes (meant perhaps to evoke the stories of trading acreage for beads? "all this land from the large muscle room to the train tables..."). and then the whole school tucked into a thanksgiving feast of blueberry muffins, grapes, and cheese cubes. (did i mention the name of the school is mayflower? for real.)

it was a nice reminder that tradition is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. parade floats and cool whip are my two favorite parts of thanksgiving. now josie's getting to build her own holiday memories on a foundation of hand turkeys and glitter. and cheese cubes. gobble, gobble ya'll.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

i've taken up drinking part 2

so i think i scared hell out of some poor woman this morning. thing two and i were at story time at a kids' bookstore while thing one was in preschool. after the stories ended, i chatted with the woman next to me. she was disastrously pregnant and leafing through a "you're a big sister!" book while her daughter played. she said she is due in 3 weeks and her kids will be 2 years apart. i allowed has how thing one and thing two have the not-quite-2-year spread between them. she asked if i had any advice, and without thinking i blurted out, "take up drinking!"

the poor thing looked a little stunned, and another mom with 2 little kids laughed so hard she snorted.

remember: think, then speak. think, speak.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

i've taken up drinking

and i recommend it to anyone with small children, especially around the turn-to-shit hour(s) preceding dinner.

the nice mommy cosmo
  • 1 to 1-1/4 oz fresh lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
  • 1-1/4 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz cranberry juice

shake over ice in a cocktail shaker. sip. smile.

sometimes you just have to make fun of your eye-patch-wearing toddler, if only to keep your sanity whilst trying to keep said patch on said toddler's eye (she loathes it).

thanks to my husband, the handsome man, for suggesting the website name. if i were more tech savvy and less tired, i might even create the site. until now, enjoy here.

fun size

as i contemplate (eat) the leftover halloween candy, i wonder who the marketing genius is responsible for "fun size." it's not a puny offering, it' size! i think when people say i'm short, from now on i'll say, "oh no, i'm fun size!"

reminds me of when my 8 oz yogurts mutated into 6 oz yogurts in 8 oz cups. the spin on that, according to the breathless copy on the package, was that it now had more room for me to personalize my yogurt with my favorite mix-ins!

sometimes i think marketing is designed to fun-sized our brains.

Monday, November 12, 2007

peaceable kingdom

that's the name of the color we painted our living room, dining room, and foyer this weekend. it's a light green-khaki-gray-brownish shade, what my friend peggy calls a discovery color because it seems to change with changes in the light, the view, maybe even one's mood.

my mood right now is appropriately peaceful as i sit in my peaceable kingdom. there's something about fresh paint that feels so hopeful: everything is clean, shiny and new, and anything seems possible. familiar surroundings reveal overlooked charms and flaws, like they're sure now that they can trust you with their secrets.

Friday, November 9, 2007

nessie and yeti

you hear these stories about outrageous creatures. do they exist? are they figments of people's fevered imaginations?

i was skeptical. then i met nessie and yeti.

those aren't their real names, but they might as well have been for the goggle-eyed reaction they provoked in me. nessie, yeti and i were part of a group that toured a local elementary school this week (minneapolis is beeeeg into school choice, which translates into school research for minneapolis parents).

the school seems wonderful. i got warm fuzzies from the teachers and staff i met, from the classrooms loaded with colorful projects and flooded with light from enormous windows, from the two gyms, the full-scale theater (this is a K-5 school, remember), the outdoor prairie "classroom," etc., etc. nice place. kids doing well. happy campers all around.

but nessie and yeti were not impressed. what they were was all sniffy about how their daughter already knew her shapes and colors from preschool, thank you very much, and how she would be dragged down by other five-year-olds who still need to be taught such matters. they were all sniffy about the fact that kindergarteners didn't do homework. (to me this seemed like a GOOD thing.) they were sniffy about test scores and about which way the school population was "trending." they buttonholed the principal to get her personal assurance that the school was truly strong in academics (like the woman was going to say, "oh, no, we don't actually give a shit if they learn how to read"?)

what made nessie and yeti especially interesting to me was that i had just finished a book called perfect madness: motherhood in the age of anxiety. the book is heavy on stories of freakishly competitive parents exhausting themselves and their offspring in the quest for the perfect preschool/after-school activities resume/violin teacher/life.

as i read i thought, oh please – people aren't really like that, at least not here in the midwest (the author is very clear that she's writing about the east coast world she lives in). i just threw my 4-year-old her first real birthday party and there were no ponies or angst. josie picked out her own outfit: a pink velour gymnastics unitard shot through with silver thread, topped off with the birthday crown she made in preschool that is roughly the size of the pope's hat. some kids played the games i set up, one played in our playhouse out back, another played in my girls' closet, and one clung to her mother. we ate cupcakes. we smacked a pinata. (an aside to pinata makers: elmo? for real? you think an elmo pinata is a good idea? my kids would have lost their TINY LITTLE MINDS if we'd smacked elmo until his head popped off and candy came out.) i had a cosmo and other parents had beers. i realized later, looking at the photos, that i'd forgotten to put on shoes. no one cried, no one got put on time out, everyone had fun, and everyone got the hell out of my house after 1-1/2 hours.

but i bet nessie will anguish over her spawn's birthday parties as much as the woman in perfect madness who felt "immense stress" about not having "the perfect 'mother of the birthday boy' sweater to throw on over my jeans so that i looked chic yet casual." and that will not be nearly so much fun as having a pink drink and picking skittles off the ground.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

child 2.0

it's really too bad there aren't upgrades for children. i'd love a newer version that has some of the bugs (not listening, taunting the sibling, looking me dead in the eye and doing EXACTLY what i just said not to do) worked out. if steve jobs can figure this out, he really is a genius.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

the itchy bitchy fighter

i'm glad my 2-year-old is enjoying our weekly music class, but i'm hoping her pronunciation of the plight of the sized-challenged arachnid will improve.

until then, the itchy bitchy fighter will keep going up the spout again.

whole paycheck

let me preface this by saying i am very grateful places like whole foods exist so i can buy the milk-, egg- and peanut-free foods my daughter needs. we just got back from picking up "cheeze" slices for sandwiches and snacking, bricks of "cheeze" and grated "cheeze" for cooking, frozen pizza, donut holes (new!), and mini chocolate chip, double chocolate, and oatmeal raisin cookies.


it's hard to have the hipster cashier hand you one bag of groceries and say, "that'll be $92.27 please."

i think i need to go lie down now...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the mini apple

i've been trying for years to convince friends and family that minneapolis is a great place to live, and in fact better than other cold places i've lived (there have been several).

but you all haven't stampeded here. (yet, i like to tell myself.)

so if you won't listen to me, perhaps you'll listen to yahoo!, which has named minneapolis the most affordable place to live well.

and there's a lovely house for sale right across the street from us...

kickass meatloaf

never in my life did i think i'd make meatloaf, much less pronounce it kickass. but i did, and i do, so i must share the loves.

thanks wendy for this recipe which you gave me umpteen years ago and which i finally made.

tuscan meatloaf
  • 1/2 c onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for sauteing onions and greasing pan
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground veal (i found all three meats conveniently packaged as "meatloaf mix")
  • 3 eggs (for you allergic folks, i substituted 2 T tomato paste and 1 T ener-g egg replacer; flaxmeal is another option)
  • 1/2 c milk or soy milk
  • 1 T garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c white fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 t ground fennel seed
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 T fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 T whole grain mustard
  • 3/4 c bread crumbs (i used panko)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 t hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 2 t pepper
  • 1/2 T fresh sage, chopped, plus 3-4 leaves for garnish
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9"x4" (or similar size) loaf pan with olive oil.
  2. over a low flame, saute onions in 1 T olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. combine all ingredients in a large and mix by hand.
  4. press mixture into pan and lay sage leaves on top.
  5. bake for about 1-1/2 hours, or until meatloaf pulls away from pan edges and meat thermometer registers at least 160 degrees.
super yummy with mashed taters and wilted spinach!

i'm old

so, i just discovered zac efron. this is teen america's latest heartthrob?! this is what girls want – a boy who looks AND primps like a girl? icky.

though, in fairness, i did come of age in the leif garrett-shawn cassidy-andy gibb era, when gurly men with long feathered hair were all the rage. (maybe we wanted their hair. maybe girls today want zac's flawless "mancake" makeup complexion.)

and personally, i had a mad crush on robin william as mork from ork (nanu, baby!), and, later in life, al gore.

oh, al.


we have two new supertargets in town and a new downtown library. all three are fabu except...the hand dryers.

they all have the xcelerator, which will not only dry your skin but potentially peel it right off. the other day, it dried my hands so vigorously i could SEE THE SKIN ON MY HANDS FLAPPING AND RIPPLING. i didn't know i had enough excess flesh on that part of my body to ripple, nor did i really want to. it looked like i was pulling some g's on reentry from the moon, not cleaning up after restocking on charmin.

again, ewwwwwwwww.

Monday, November 5, 2007

white rain

saw the first white rain of the season this morning. tiny, round, stinging white rain balls.

white rain. that's what i'm choosing to believe. la la la la la...

here's a fun site

the consumer product safety commission's list of recalled toys.

why did i read this ENTIRE LIST? because some of the moms at preschool were saying how more toys had been recalled since the first round of thomas the tank engine woes, which claimed our red james engine and his coal tender. (ignorance sometimes is bliss; i'm so glad we haven't hooked our tv up since we moved.)

it's amazing what's lurking out there to injure, maim or kill kiddies. easy bake ovens. teddy bears. wooden armadillos. (who buys a wooden armadillo, anyway? there is a market for such items?!)

how did any of us make it to adulthood with our dangerous playthings, firecrackers, helmet-less bike rides, and car trips flopping around in the back of station wagons sucking down fumes from the open rear windows? now it's all barren cribs and ventilated mattresses and GOD FORBID YOU PUT A BLANKET ON YOUR BABY, YOU FIEND. i personally cut sliced hot dogs into quarters AND PEELED OFF THE EDGES for two years.

there's safe, and then there's nutty-making safe. but for the love of god, stay away from armadillos.

one more kiss

and one more hug for pegga, the woman who keeps me from unraveling and makes me laugh to the point of choking.

see, you're on my blog.

ycrmt, good lookin'

Sunday, November 4, 2007

i'm too sexy for my sweatpants

because what's more glamorous – after a day of leaf raking, gutter cleaning, sheet changing, and toilet plunging – than discovering at 8:30 at night that your basement drain is backing up and you need to call roto rooter?

friggin' tree roots.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peeeanut in the halloween loot

the human body is a weird, weird contraption.

its intricacy is beyond comprehension. i'm so glad pregnancy is a self-propelled phenomenon; if someone had handed me all the parts and told me to assemble my kids, i shudder to think what i would have produced.

and yet so very much can go wrong with our carcasses. bunions. migraines. melanoma. and, the bugaboo of the moment, food allergies.

ladies and gentlemen, i give you that scourge of the planet, the striker of fear in parents' hearts, the lord of all evil, the legume-that-shall-not-be named...the peanut.

this was my first halloween with a food-allergic trick-or-treater. keely is just two, so last year her only experience with the holiday was protesting when i stuffed her in a costume for a photo op. but this year was a whole nuther ball of worms, as my former boss used to say. the kid GETS IT, thanks to her older sister. "i want candy corn in my mouth!" she opined mid-afternoon on the sainted day. "i love, love, love candy!"

let the games begin.

we actually had our first candy-grab earlier in the day, when the nice man at the gas station tried to give her a hershey bar as i paid for my unleaded. "oh, thank you, but no - she has food allergies," i said with a sunny it's-totally-not-a-big-deal-smile. fortunately, keely was too busy groping the beef jerky to notice.

and she didn't clue in when i swiped her loot pumpkin after she, josie and daddy returned from hitting up the neighbors for sweets. i quickly emptied out the contraband (basically everything - with egg, milk and peanut allergies, keely can not have anything chocolately or nutty) and substituted the skittles, smarties and other corn-syrup-based concoctions she is allowed.

but it ain't always going to be this easy, folks. she is going to be pissed as hell next year when my trick is to take her treats. if we're lucky, she might outgrow the milk and egg allergies, but peanut is one that usually sticks, and her numbers are off-the-chart high. so i've joined the growing legion of parents armed with food-label-reading cards and epipens and vegan "cookies" (i use that word veeeery loosely). for some reason, our numbers are exploding - food-allergic kids even made the cover of newsweek ("fear and allergies in the lunchroom") last week.

there are many theories as to why food allergies are on the rise, but on a nuts and bolts level (awful, strained pun), it means we get up close and personal with every parent's sickest fear: that our kid might die. so we dance as hard as we can. i try to remember to read every food label, every time. i police playgroups and parks for rogue goldfish crackers. and i gave my thigh a dinner-plate sized bruise practicing with the epipen that contains the adrenaline which could save keely in case of a throat-closing, blood-pressure-crashing allergic reaction (swing, jab! swing, jab!).

perhaps it's time to fight fear with funny. dark, sick humor is better than no humor, right? maybe next year, instead of being a ladybug, keely can debut a new costume: mr.-grim-peanut-reaper. a monocle, a top hat, a black robe, and a scythe: yep, that should do it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

a loaf of duck bread, a sippy cup, and thou

this is why i've stopped trying to make so-called nice meals for my children:

we just returned from a lovely stroll around a nearby lake, where unfortunately we didn't see any ducks to feed. i told my girls i was going to make dinner (roast chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots with brown sugar glaze), and josie responded by saying eagerly, "can we eat the duck bread?"

you mean the old, stale, frozen, thawed, nasty duck bread that has been bouncing around in the jogging stroller for the last hour?

"yes!" big smile from her.

"mmmm!" added keely.


things my children have argued about recently

this list is in no way comprehensive:

  • who is four and who is two (the two-year-old does this to push her sister's buttons);
  • who gets genevieve tonight, the fictional dog in the story madeline's rescue (not a stuffed genevieve, mind you. a purely imaginary one.);
  • who gets to go down the stairs first;
  • who gets to push the buttons on the washer and dryer;
  • who is bigger than a penguin (a tangent from a discussion of some memorable christmas decorations last year); and
  • who likes candy more (please. mom does, you amateurs.).

everything is a toy

there is nothing funnier than watching little kids get a gift. my four-year-old just received the movie jungle book in the mail for her birthday. (mom's psyched because it was one of my favorites as a child). both girls are excited about the gift. they are excited about the ribbon, which is now being sported by a dress-up doll. they are excited about the packing envelope, which josie disemboweled to get at the bubble-wrap liner so they could stomp on it.

one of the nice things about having kids is that you get a second chance to appreciate how great bubble wrap feels between your toes. i'm off to jump.

i am not an intellectual

maybe it's because i spend my days doing brain-busting tasks like, oh, say, practically autoclaving my two-year-old's hands and trimming her nails to the point of declawing after i discover she's shoved her paw down her poopy diaper.

but even when i worked full-time in an office whipping off press releases, legislative talking points, speeches or strategic plans, my head was not filled with deep thoughts. i tend more toward people magazine or how much i weigh today or what's on sale at target.

it's not that i don't think about darfur, or global warming, or the presidential election. it's that there are SO FREAKING MANY important things to care about that i feel as though i can't possibly understand even a fraction of them. local referendums. lead in toys. iran's nuclear ambitions. breast self-exams. i feel my brain start to race and then freeze up.

so i revert to what's comforting: i can has cheezburger? is like nursery food for my cerebellum, applesauce for my synapses.

are these excuses? rationalizations? unavoidable truths in a world with far too much information for the average person to sort through on an average day? i dunno. but i do know halle berry looks fabulous pregnant.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

back to me

even though i haven't had time to write (mom visiting, daughter's birthday party), just having a blog has made me notice my thoughts more, and i think it's even prompted me to have a few non-kid related thoughts, too. (unfortunately, it's done nothing for my short-term memory, so i have no idea what those thoughts were.) but maybe this will be a way for me to reclaim at least part of my brain for myself.

Monday, October 15, 2007

the circle of toes, er, life

so it's 20 years after college. i'm a 42-year-old stay-at-home mom of two kidlets, ages just 2 and almost 4. the only time i've ever been away overnight was when i was in the hospital having the second kidlet.

i agreed to a long weekend spa reunion with my college roommates, then spent the next month fantasizing ways i could get out of it (somebody coming down with the flu figured prominently in my imaginings). local pals threatened to down me with a tranq gun like a rhino and stuff me on the plane, so, deciding that was unseemly, i dragged my sorry self to detroit.

and i'm not sorry any more.

what i am is grateful to four good friends who helped reawaken the me that was dormant inside the mommy. the two decades, five graduate degrees, five husbands, eight children, and mess of career changes, states, countries, and homes that we have under our colleective belt have not diminished our ability to entertain, encourage, inspire, comfort and love each other. they were once the reason i tried vegetarianism (liked it), frat parties (hated them), and courses like problems of race that were waaaay outside my french and art history double major.

and now they are the reason i feel a surge of energy to get a mom-and-kid yoga dvd, read about our food supply, and exfoliate. and blog.

so thank you kathy, lisa helen and janet. i love you guys.