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.