Saturday, December 26, 2009

best. christmas. ever.





when you're 6 and 4 and you get a dollhouse and plasma cars and bean bag chairs and a tea set and fairy wings and uno and blocksandlegosandbooksandartsuppliesandSOMUCHMORE.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

things i never thought i'd need to say, installment no. 632

"don't put that phone antenna up your nose!"
"get out of the fireplace!"

erp

on the first day of christmas vacation, my tummy found for me:
  • 12 holiday m&ms
  • 11 pastel mints
  • 10 white chocolate chips
  • 9 shakes of sprinkles
  • 8 slurps of caffeine
  • 7 licks of peppermint
  • 6 nibbles of batter
  • 5 fingersful of frosting
  • 4 broken cookie bits
  • 3 hershey's kisses
  • 2 giant gumdrops
  • and a fat slice of gingerbread hoooooouse
back to weight watchers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

the plight of the second born

i love my babies without limits. but after an afternoon of hearing thing one boss thing two around, i can't wait until the day when little bit tells her big sister to stick it up her ass.

and dave, once again: i'm sorry.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

god, i'm old

i have discovered that i really, really like all-bran. the taste of it. plain, no sugar.

sad, isn't it?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

it's hard to be a hipster in minnesota

metal facial piercings + minus 5 degree temperatures = ow ow ow!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

dead man snowboarding

my husband, god love him, is a cheerful, optimistic sort. still not sure what he's doing with me.

this morning, we woke up to the start of the minneapolis winter: 9 degrees, multiple inches of snow, and a nasty gale whipping it all to a balmy -23 windchill.

and the handsome man says to me, "at least it's pretty."

well. i try to be temperate and respectful in my conversations with the spouse, but really - don't poke the bear. i yelped, "pretty? yeah, like a frozen wasteland of DEATH is pretty!"

"gee, good morning to you, too, mrs. chekhov," he responded.

now i must go get blind drunk until april.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

my poor little heathen children reprise

thing two is getting quite an education at her lutheran preschool. sort of.

she's stopped singing "cheesus loves me" in favor of "jesus loves me." but apparently, the way she knows cheesus/jesus loves her is the "pieble tells me so."

oh well. at least i'll be warm in hell.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

i only hope the other children don't throw rocks at her during recess

it's thing two's turn to take snacks in to preschool today. other kids have recently brought in cheese puffs, fruit leathers, even skittles.

my kid? my kid wants to bring in cucumbers and carrots.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

definitive proof that the internet has jumped the shark

i have been invited by my banana to "party with potassium" at eatachiquita.com.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

my poor little heathen children

thing one crawled into bed with us at 6:30 this morning and triumphantly announced that she had figured out why christmas is called christmas:
"it's because the ice on the ground is crystals, and we miss seeing santa because we're asleep!"
works for me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

dear merriam-webster

for your consideration, the latest words coined by my offspring:

hicksterical (hik-ster-i-kəl) adjective – extremely amusing to country folks
"that hay ride was really hicksterical!"

imprising (im-priz-iŋ) adjective – simultaneously impressive and surprising
"look, i can jump over all my halloween candy! isn't that imprising?"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

there's a new sheriff in town part deux

and indeed, the folks i called the cops on as suspected drug dealers are, in fact, my new neighbors. they move in the day before thanksgiving.

time to dust off the ol' muffin tins for a more neighborly welcome.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

there's a new sheriff in town, and her name is crazy

we live in a pretty tranquil part of minneapolis, but my overprotective-mother/irish-worrying-heritage/dead-in-a-ditch mentality still gets the better of me.

viz: i recently read in our neighborhood newsletter about mobile drug dealing and how to respond if you think you see it. info duly highlighted (yes) and posted on fridge.

then this morning, as thing two and i went about our morning routine, i noticed a car stop in front of my house, drive off, and return a few minutes later to park. a gal hopped out, then hopped back in. hmmm.

about five minutes later, another car pulls up and parks. crime fighter jenny leaps into action. with my bed head and binoculars, i stand at my window accumulating all the relevant data (makes, models, plate numbers), then call 911.

within seven minutes, there were two squad cars on my street, and an officer shepherd was on the phone with me: "we see the vehicles, ma'am." (there were three cars now.)

unfortunately, also within those seven minutes i realized that the cars belonged to people who were LOOKING AT THE HOUSE FOR SALE NEXT DOOR and their realtor. heh heh.

i babbled something to officer shepherd along the lines of: "oh my god i am so embarrassed it never occurred to me someone might be looking at the house before eight in the morning my neighbors are in their 80's and frail they never leave the house this early i have little kids and i just want the neighborhood to be safe i am so sorry!"

officer shepherd assured me i had done the right thing and that it never hurts to call. unless maybe you're calling the cops on the future nice young couple next door. (they were there for 2-1/2 hours and i saw a ladder, which makes me think they have made an offer and were doing the inspection. good thing i didn't send for the swat team.)

well, i'm off to fight more crime. jenny vee: keeping the neighborhood safe from...potential neighbors.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

i've never been so glad that cheetos exist

as the apotheosis of michael pollan and the whole foods movement continues, i just read an article that published recipes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. "lessons from an older american diet," it said.

lessons like...
calf head soup

dress the head and boil until done, remove the bones from the meat, take all the meat from the upper part of the head and chop fine, and put it into the soup, with chopped potatoes and carrots, chives, pepper, salt, parsley, sweet margery, and a little butter. stir a little flour and milk together to thicken the soup. make a hash of the meat from the under jaw. take the brains from the head, beat up eggs as for an omelet, turn this over the brains after seasoning with salt and pepper. melt some butter and turn on. set it in the oven to cook slowly. skin and slice the tongue; put into a saucepan, with butter, pepper, and salt. stew dry.
oh dear sweet fancy moses. i want to go mainline some polysyllabic chemicals right now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

could i be any more of a hausfrau?

here's a rundown of my morning plans:
  • weight watchers
  • target
  • the liquor store

Monday, October 19, 2009

who says cocktails aren't for children?

looking for a great drink, and an even better reason to drink it? if you're in the twin cities, come to uptown's bar abilene on wednesday, november 18. from 6-9 p.m., it will be "margaritas for a cause" night, with $3 from every margarita sold going to benefit children with cmv.

what's cmv, you ask? so did i.

cmv, or cytomegalovirus, is one of those beasties that lives inside most of us by the time we're adults. it doesn't really do much, unless you're a woman who is exposed for the first time during pregnancy; then it can cause severe permanent disabilities in your unborn baby. by "severe" i mean brain malformations, seizures, feeding problems, deafness and blindness. congenital cmv is one of the leading causes of cerebral palsy, and second only to down syndrome in causing mental retardation.

how, then, does cmv fly so under the radar? i was the most paranoid freakazoid alive during my pregnancies, and cmv is the most common virus transmitted to unborn kids, yet in all my relentless reading, i never learned about it. most moms i've asked were similarly unaware, including my friend jodi, who first heard about it when she and her daughter avery were diagnosed with it.

so let's raise a big ol' margarita glass (or two) to raise money for fighting this thing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

got a hot date with a stripper

i hate wallpaper. hate, hate, hate it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

things i never thought i'd need to say, installment no. 471

  • don't lick the railing at the post office
  • don't put exposed scissor blades in your mouth
  • flush (day after day after month after year)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

except it's october 10.

fuck me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

what fresh hell is this?

chutes and ladders with a cheating almost 6-year-old and a flighty 4-year-old.

flighty won, much to cheater's vexation.

Friday, September 25, 2009

oh, those nutty madcap lutherans

dropping thing two off at preschool, i noticed a flyer for an upcoming church stewardship event. in addition to the usual what, where, when info, it included this enticing come-on:
youth projects!
dvd!
meatballs!
oh, and everything garrison keillor says about lutherans and norwegians is true.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

information is beautiful

my new favorite web site, information is beautiful, puts difficult issues into clear visual images, like this:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the lord works in mysterious ways. or maybe not so mysterious.

thing two attends preschool in a church near our house. as i was walking her in today, i saw an elegant older woman in a snazzy silver suv coming through the parking lot. the lot has big yellow posts at the end of each row of parking spaces, and as this woman rounded one of the poles, she scraped the entire side of her suv along it. we're talking a yellow striped dent two feet high and five feet long.

i felt so bad for her. then, when i came back to my car, i noticed a bumper sticker on the suv. it said:
REPUBLICANS: because not everyone can be on welfare
and then i didn't feel bad at all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

sibling revelry


my brother just sent my daughters matching skirts for their birthdays.

musical skirts.

musical skirts that play the macarena OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

i should have beat him up less when we were kids. or maybe more.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

let's do the time warp again

and who stole my other baby and replaced her with a preschooler?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

time warp

ok, who stole my baby and left this huge kindergartener in her place?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

just call me ma ingalls

here's what the girlies and i have been up to lately:
  • making our own paper
  • visiting an apple orchard and then making pies and applesauce
  • cross stitching
  • making button rings
but i absolutely draw the line at blowing up any pig bladders.

Monday, August 24, 2009

remind me again why smacking them went out of style?

[scene: the kitchen, lunchtime]

enter mom, to make sandwiches

[moments later]

enter things one and two, to fight under mom's feet
mom: "ladies, get out of the kitchen while i'm making lunch!"
the things exit; then, seconds later, thing two reappears
thing two: "mommy, will you help me draw a picture of you, and then help me write, 'you're ugly – i don't like you' on it?"
[end scene]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

ewwww

behold kfc's new "sandwich," the double down:


bacon, cheese, more bacon, another kind of cheese, and (but of course) secret sauce between two pieces of BREADED, FRIED CHICKEN!

jesus christ. too bad it comes with potato wedges and a coke instead of a defibrillator.

famous last words

dad, to wife and kids, on entering target:
"remember, we're just here to look at shelving."
right. sure. uh huh.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

this is why children aren't good spies

during a game of crazy 8's...
thing two: i got an 8!

me: honey, you're not supposed to tell people what you've got.

thing two: i'm not; i'm telling myself, loudly.

thing one: i've got a secret card, but i'm not telling what it is!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

lazy, hazy and certainly crazy

summer may be ending, but the warm memories will stay with me. things like:

the pool bag

remember going to the pool or beach when you were single and/or childless? throw on suit, apply some sunscreen, grab a towel and a drink, and in 5 minutes you were out the door.

today, going to the pool or beach requires only slightly less planning than the invasion of normandy. my bag contains:
  • 3 towels
  • 3 cover-ups
  • 3 sets of waterproof mesh beach shoes
  • 3 different types of sunscreen (kryptonite-strength cream for first application, spray for later reaps, and gooey face stick to keep it out of delicate eyes)
  • goggles
  • pool membership cards
  • approximately 1,746 water toys
  • giant inflatable floatie rings
  • sand buckets and shovels
  • beach blanket
  • life jackets so the girls can bob "by myself!"
  • cell phone (in case of emergencies, and the need to bitch to someone)
  • epipens (ditto, except for the bitching)
  • band aids for the inevitable falls and scrapes
  • snacks, oh so many snacks
  • water bottles, with ice cubes, puhlease
  • picnic lunch complete with napkins, hand wipes and utensils
  • and, if i remember, perhaps a crossword or a trashy magazine at which to sneak the briefest of looks
the awkward beach guy

during one of our recent invasion-of-normandy forays to the beach, we sat near the life guards' chair, where a gaggle of guards gathered throughout the afternoon (too many for duty; i think they were just hanging out together).

non-guard friends also began showing up, including one young man who seated himself next to a bronzed beach beauty and began this exchange:
"hey, brianna."
"hey [seemingly struggling to remember name]...there. how are you?"
"oh, just trying to get a sick tan before i go back to school." (note: he was so white he practically fluoresced.)
"oh."
"yeah, i go to nyu. yeah, i'm going to be graduating this year."
"mmm."
the construsement park

by jove, i think i've got it:

amusement park rides + construction equipment = the hottest new summer entertainment

just think of it: kids (and husbands and grandfathers) would clamor to ride up and down in the bucket of a backhoe, or slide down the rising bed of a dump truck, or spin around in a concrete mixer.

and yes, i had to ask the handsome man the actual names of some of that equipment ("that diggy thing [scooping hand motion]" is not a technical term). you'd think all my years of forced reeducation would have produced some result by now, but no.

addendum, tuesday, august 18: bulldozer bumper cars!

Friday, August 14, 2009

my secret ingredient? antennae!

in yesterday's farm box we got a big bunch of basil. i took it out of the fridge this morning to make pesto, and when i was picking the leaves off the stems, i found a chilled, confused, sluggish ladybug who had tagged along for the ride.

i took her outside, where the girls were enchanted with the new visitor and made much of her before she flew off.

i went back inside to rinse all the leaves. when i dumped them in the strainer, i found lady's compatriot, who had not survived the journey. oops.

think i'll keep that discovery to myself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

but sadly, we didn't get any cheese curds

been saving now for over a year

let’s pack the kids, get outta here

we’ll leave behind our troubles for a week.
we’ll borrow the pop-up from phyllis and steve

just tell the boss I gotta leave

be the best week of our lives as I can tell.
we’ll take our dream vacation in the dells.

we've been back from our best week for over a week, and i only just now have the energy to form words about it. for 8 days, we whirled around in the vortex that is the wisconsin dells, what roadside america calls one of the country's most over-the-top tourism meccas with
"a steamy, miles-long strip of motels, tourist traps, and quirky attractions ... [that] seems like a ravenous snake, swallowing tourists whole, digesting their lump of vacation energy and disposable income slowly over the course of several days."
that's pretty much exactly what it felt like.

we’ll see the robot world and the water show

go anywhere you wanna go

circus world museum in baraboo.
we’ll play mini-golf at the jellystone

and we’ll finally see that house of foam

and if the kids wanna buy a t-shirt what the hell.
it’s our dream vacation in the dells.

here's a partial list of what we did:
how we missed the museum of historic torture devices, i'll never know, dammit.

and at night when the kids is all asleep

then off to the lounge for a nightcap we can sneak.
i know our lives they ain’t the stuff of dreams

but for one full week we can live like kings and queens.
so let’s board the dogs, lock the door

we’ll roll down interstate 94

be the best week of our lives I can tell.
we’ll take our dream vacation in the dells.

– "dream vacation" by the gear daddies

Thursday, July 30, 2009

amazing grace

mother's little helper.

that's what i've got this summer. her name is grace, and she lives up to it. for 2 hours on thursday afternoons, i can cook, clean or *gasp* read without interruption. the girls are in heaven; they worship grace. (in fact, today thing one said, "it doesn't seem like grace is here for 2 hours because we have so much fun - it seems like it's hardly even one hour!)

and here's a key difference between an 11-year-old baby sitter and a 44-year-old matron: the 11-year-old will suggest playing freeze tag.

Monday, July 27, 2009

oink

so it appears that what i've been parked on my ass with for 2+ weeks may have been the flu (whether h1n1 or something else, who knows). super.

but at least that makes all the napping and whining seem much more legitimate.

not that you asked

but others have: with so many kids being diagnosed with food allergies, what are some tips of the trade for parents, either those just discovering they have allergic kids or those who come in contact with them through schools, sports teams, etc.?

so here is a list of my top 10...
  1. It will get better. Not the allergies, necessarily, but your ability to deal with them. You’ll figure out what foods you can buy, what meals you can prepare, and how to deal with restaurants, play dates, school and other situations.
  2. Carry meds. If your child has been prescribed an EpiPen auto-injector, carry it everywhere, and teach anyone who cares for your child how to use it. Many parents also carry convenient one-dose squirt packets of Benadryl for mild reactions.
  3. Check out FAAN. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network offers lots of helpful information for free, and if you join, you can sign up for e-mail alerts when foods are recalled for undeclared allergens.
  4. Get wallet cards for shopping. FAAN sells credit card sized “cheat sheets” that list all the names common allergens go by (caseinates, anyone?). They are extremely handy for grocery shopping, and for checking foods at other people’s houses.
  5. Always check ingredients. Every time, even if it’s a product you’ve bought before. Manufacturers sometimes change ingredients, or use slightly different ingredients in different sized packages.
  6. No nuts means NO nuts. If your child is allergic to peanuts, avoid tree nuts and vice versa; there can be cross-contamination between different kinds of nuts.
  7. Be assertive. I’ve told my mother-in-law to stop bringing over brownies, asked moms at music class to put away their kids’ peanut butter crackers, and made restaurant staff miserable with requests.
  8. Educate your kids so they can advocate for themselves. My daughters – the one with food allergies and the one without – can tell people what’s ok to eat and what’s off limits, and they check with me if there is any question. They're 3 and 5 - it's never too early.
  9. Google is your friend. Looking for an online support group of other moms of kids with food allergies? Searching for a recipe for non-dairy cream of mushroom soup? Want to order your kid a medical alert bracelet? So much of dealing with food allergies is feeling like you have a handle on the situation. Don’t just freak out – freak out, then search the web.
  10. Don’t forget about the mama (or dada). Chances are this whole food allergy thing is much harder on you right now than your child, especially if he or she is too little to really understand what is going on. Try to find ways to relieve your stress. I’ve found that exercise, Zoloft and Cosmopolitans work wonders.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

my new hero

"women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. it is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex."

- jane eyre, charlotte brontë, 1847

i am insufferable, and so can you!

i cannot believe how smug and self-righteous my food has gotten.

according to the manufacturers, i am a superior, enlightened being because i eat their superior, enlightened products. here's stonyfield yogurt: "this quart container helps save money and the earth. you get more yogurt per dollar and less packaging per serving."

well, ok, i suppose that's true. and i get chicago soydairy's view: "our goal is to make delicious cruelty-free food products with taste and texture similar to their animal-based counterparts."

but then there's garden burger: "we believe in healthy eating and great-tasting foods, gardens, respect for all living things, moms and dads, independence, veggies, education, healthy kids, a good earth, and happy people. we aspire to make the best-tasting vegetarian foods, always with real good ingredients. and we promise to always treat our vegetables and whole grains with dignity and respect."

dignity and respect for carrots. carrots.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

and i hate listening to myself on voice mail, too

what i like to think i sound like when i'm sick:



what i actually sound like when i'm sick:


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

add crème fraîche for $2

yesterday the girls whipped up a delightful concoction of berries stripped from our front bushes, old grass clippings, dirt, and dead flowers from the window box. josie presented it to me with a flourish and said, "it's strawberries and rhubarb with lemongrass and sweet flavors!"

goddam, that sounds like an $8 dessert to me. the pr/spin force is strong in that one...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

customers who bought this item also bought the "my first autopsy kit"


perfect for the budding forensic examiner on your gift list! the crime lab tech set, for ages 3+.

because we wouldn't want kids under 3 to receive something inappropriate, now would we?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

things my children have argued about recently

  • who would turn on and off a pretend carousel (aka the dining room table pedestal legs)
  • who rightfully had possession of an empty box
  • who did not get a chance to lick whom (eww)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

love means never having to clean up a dead bunny

forget flowers and chocolates and sweet nothings. here is what real love means: being late for work so you can clean up "roughly one-third" of a rabbit so your children don't find it and your wife doesn't have to deal with it.

thank you, handsome man.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

great galloping gherkins!

just picked up our weekly farm share box to discover an 18 inch cucumber.

and yes, i measured it.

wonder if vivid entertainment has considered a joint venture with an organic farm?

Monday, July 6, 2009

my apologies

to kale, for ever maligning it. now that i've figured out how to cook it, it's good. so is chard! who knew? this may be the year i finally use everything from our farm share. (except the beets. eeeww.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ok, now i'm really going to have nightmares

and not from reading all those vampire books - they barely register on the scary-o-meter compared to this.

Monday, June 22, 2009

land of the ends

just returned from our second day at the pool - not the free baby ones around the city, but the honest-to-god big pool you have to pay money to join.

it's in a kind of ritzy suburb right outside the city, and the clientele is an interesting mix. seems to be divided equally into:
  1. moms who look like moms (i include myself in this group)
  2. moms who look like buff-madonna armed-weight lifting-pilates freaks
  3. nannies
it's pretty easy to discern the flavor, even in cases that might initially be confusing. for example: bikini-clad lovely. is she a) smooth and firm, with no ring on her finger but at least one through her navel/nose/other body part, and a phone perpetually attached to her ear? nanny. or is she b) desperately firm but with that baggy-saggy elephant skin, a big ol' wedding ring, and an eagle eye on her precious? buff mommy.

the mommy-mommies like me wear the complete lands end catalogue of "modest" bathing suits, heavily armored confections with skirts practically down to our pudgy knees and tops that cover our swaying midriffs. the buff mommies wear the lands end bikinis that showcase their hard work and hard edges, but still have a whiff of sensible about them. and the nannies, regardless of their shape or condition, wear teensy little bits of cloth and string in lurid colors that say things like "peace" or "bad girl."

i'll bet if you put 20 of them in a police line-up and just showed me their behinds (and in some cases, it really is most of their actual behinds showing), i could tell you who's who within a minute.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

once bitten

i just read new moon, the second book in the twilight (cheesy, immensely popular teen aged vampire) series.

in one day.

it's 563 pages.

it's cheese, but it's good cheese.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

things my children have argued about today

  • who would use the checkered beach towel at the pool (note: we do own more than one beach towel).
  • who would throw away a desiccated noodle i found under the coffee table.
  • after snapping said noodle apart during their tussling, they argued about who now had more pieces to throw away.

Monday, June 8, 2009

things my children have argued about today

  • whether or not child a would stand aside as child b ran across the couch cushions.
  • who would retrieve the spare keys from the plumber.
  • possession of a plastic hanger (note: we do own more than one plastic hanger).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

various and sundry

item the first - reality cooking show

after hearing my mil bemoan how easy cooking on tv looks (well, duh), i came up with an idea for a real woman's cooking show: mom with weeping toddler clinging to her leg, rampaging preschooler breaking things in another room, and at least one major ingredient that is missing/frozen/spoiled. that i would watch.

item the second - dumbest product ever

candle jewelry.

because candles are so homely we need to gussy them up?

item the third - make way for dumb asses

so we noticed a duck in our backyard pacing along our fence. turns out her 8 ducklings were on the other side in our neighbor's yard, pacing right in step with mama and quacking frantically. apparently mama had a) somehow gotten separated from her babies and b) forgotten she could fly, because this went on for a while. we tried putting a stool by the fence for her to hop from (no go), the handsome man tried to grab her (very funny, but no go), and finally i suggested he stick a shovel under her butt and flip her over the fence (liftoff!).

mama then takes off through the neighbors' yard, trailing ducklings behind her. 7 ducklings. oops. so i go off in hot pursuit of mom to keep a bead on her while the handsome man scoops up lil fluffy. by the time he caught up with mama, she had crossed several yards and a road and was heading for a nearby lake. after he returned the babe, he noticed another duckling had flipped over on its back, turtle-like, and was stuck. so he flipped that guy over and made sure he caught up with mama.

we are less than confident that the whole family made it to the lake.

item the fourth - i continue to embrace the womanly art of cross stitch





Monday, June 1, 2009

why do you hate the baby? installment no. 784

so the religious freaks (rude) at the girls' swim lessons had their third baby. he joins big sisters phoenicia and eden. his name? obadiah.

Friday, May 29, 2009

crabby old lady is crabby about...

target.

my beloved target has decided to repackage its own brand of household and personal care items, ditching its bullseye logo in favor of an arrow and the words "up and up" accompanied by a proliferation of images.

because it's not like the company had any equity in the bullseye logo. it's not like customers deliberately sought out products with the logo. and it's not like said customers will be some pissed when they spend 10 minutes hunting for the damn target sunscreen before realizing they've been staring at its new incarnation. no, that's won't happen.

oh wait...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

things i never thought i'd need to say, installment no. 312

"don't lick your dresser!"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

this is why i'm still trying to get the beds made at 10 a.m.

so far this morning, thing one has scraped her leg on a door, hurt herself getting into a chair to work on the computer, and - just now - fallen out of a tree on her head. that last injury took substantially more clean-up time than usual (washing all the scrapes on her legs, combing the twigs and leaves out of her hair), so i'm kinda behind on my hausfrau duties.

and i need a cocktail.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

make way for octuplets

is anybody else vaguely disappointed that octomom didn't name her babies jack, kack, lack, mack, nack, ouack, pack, and quack?

Monday, May 18, 2009

i am easily amused

i amuse myself

i have embraced the womanly art of cross stitch. here is my first attempt, which now hangs in my kitchen.

others amuse me

bumper sticker seen in the preschool parking lot:
a foreskin is NOT a birth defect
target amuses me

today's tally of target clothing items on my body: 5 (shoes, socks, cargo pants, underwear, sweatshirt).

today's tally of non-target clothing items on my body: 2 ("meh" t-shirt, bra).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the wicked witch of the upper midwest

it's melting! it's meeeeeelting!

for once, a soy cheese that actually acts and looks like cheese on pizza. i can't/won't vouch for the taste, but thing two ate her entire piece so i'll take that as a thumbs up.

thank you, teese, from me and my flying monkey.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

no. no, no, no. and no.

ok, i've been to graduate school (twice). i know how hard academic appointments are to come by.

but i still think it must have been a tough sell to convince today's minnesota public radio commentator, barbara brown taylor, to accept the harry r. butman chair in religion and philosophy at piedmont college in georgia.

many thanks to julie for alerting me to this story, and i'm glad you didn't drive off the road when you heard it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

the four seasons

as seen through adults' eyes:
  • shoveling
  • weeding
  • mowing
  • raking
as seen through children's eyes:
  • snow!
  • mud!
  • swimming!
  • leaf piles!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"i have hay in my pants!"

another successful preschool field trip to the farm.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

o blessed art thou, mars incorporated

some days, the only thing standing between me and some serious jail time is a bag of m&m's.

bad performance art

otherwise known as two 5-year-olds and a 3-year-old making up "knock, knock" jokes. a sample:
knock, knock!

who's there?

apple fridge!

apple fridge who?

apple fridge slimy banana hair!
(all dissolve in helpless laughter.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

another one for the baby book

ah, the milestones...

first smile.

first tooth.

first step.

first medical alert bracelet in case of a life-threatening allergic reaction.

good times.

another sign of the end times

seen on a big orange road sign at a construction site:
resticted access
oh, eally?

(i need to start carrying a sharpie marker wherever i go.)

the ill-logic of motherhood

this morning, thing two told me that her imaginary friends couldn't join her for a parade because they were playing games.

and i found myself feeling pissed at the imaginary friends for slighting my kid.

Friday, May 1, 2009

may day

three sure signs of spring:
  1. the rabbits have decapitated all my tulips.
  2. the black, fossilized snow mountain that was mounded up in the mall parking lot has finally melted.
  3. there is a layer of sediment in the tub after i bathe my children.
i heart spring.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

just the two of us

it happens so rarely that we get time together, just us.

me and the new york times sunday crossword.

ahhh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

the best part about vegan baking

no eggs = eat as much raw cookie dough as you like.

Monday, April 20, 2009

things my children have argued about today

  • who gets to brush her teeth first
  • who gets to hand whom a stuffed bunny
  • why they are not speaking to each other (this took a surprising amount of time, given the subject)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

paging merriam-webster

some newly coined words, courtesy of my peeps:

squir•mish [skwurm-mish] noun - a distressing or embarrassing conflict with someone: "boy, my neighbor and i got into a real squirmish about his loud music."

al•loud•ded [uh-loud-did] adjective/adverb - highly vocal grant of permission: "mommy, we told that kitty it's not allouded in our yard!"

cut•e•ful [kyoot-uh-fuhl] adjective - cute and beautiful: "look at my cuteful hat!"

the klutz doesn't fall far from the family tree

i'm always riding my mother about the injuries she sustains. she, her mother when she was alive, and my brother all share an ability to hurt themselves frequently and in odd, even spectacular ways (falling into a swimming pool, closing a garage door on the head, trying to get a pop bottle from a soda machine, driving a motorcycle into a wall). yet they are/were oddly coordinated, too: gramma was a dancer, dave excelled at every sport he ever tried, and my mom has great large and small motor skills.

i, on the other hand, am uncoordinated but cautious. this has allowed me to avoid the stitches, surgeries, broken bones, sprains, strains and knocked out teeth that they have racked up. plus i got to take a pretty smarmy tone about their injuries.

and now i owe them all an apology.

because yesterday, while with my girls at gymnastics, i strode off a raised mat before realizing it was a sloped, sort of isosceles triangle-shaped mat. my ankle buckled and rolled with a dreadful cruuuuuuuuuching noise, and i went down like a tranqued rhino where i stayed, pale and nauseous, for several minutes until my friend discovered me.

so, many advil and bags of frozen veggies (they make great ice packs) later, i am here to say, "i'm sorry for making fun of you, you big klutzes."

Friday, April 17, 2009

hard sell, minnesota style

seen emblazoned in two-foot-high letters on a shipping truck:

bushel boy
probably the best tomato in minnesota

because we wouldn't want our produce to get the big head, dontcha know? oh, ya.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

things i wouldn't think i would need to tell my children, but apparently i do

  • don't lick the counter at the library
  • don't spit at cats
  • don't put a train with battery-powered wheels in your hair

my new hero

is susan boyle.

here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luRmM1J1sfg

(can't embed it, unfortunately.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

earnest white people

i have just come from a meeting of preschool church folks. ye gods. so many earnest white people.

i think that will be the name of my next imaginary band: earnest white people. i'll play bass.

Monday, April 6, 2009

i may have just had an aneurysm

an hour.

that's how long i just played candyland with my kids. an hour.

and most of that was consumed by one game, one interminable game where we kept getting stuck in cherry pitfalls or being sent back to the peppermint stick forest.

it ended, as it had to, with me snapping, thing one sulking, and thing two happily oblivious.

my eye is actually twitching.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

wallpaper removal, day three

sartre said, "hell is other people."

i say, "hell is stripping wallpaper."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

wallpaper removal, day two

i'd like to believe that the person who invented wallpaper is in hell right now.

stripping wallpaper.

Friday, March 27, 2009

a family of strippers

my mom is in town, so what kinds of exciting activities are we engaging in? shopping? dining out?

no, we're stripping wallpaper. lots and lots of wallpaper.

because that's the kind of fun, sexy people we are.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

why do you hate the baby? installment no. 476 - reality check

that's the kid's name:  reality.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

march madness

thing two is sick. again.

i am sick. again.

my friends' kids are sick. again.

my in-laws (aka the babysitters) are sick. again.

i hate march. again.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

still with the haiku

oh no, not again.
my children hand off illness
like a race baton.

mother of the year, that's me

i taught thing one how to scrape the oreo filling off the cookie part with her teeth. she is thrilled with her new skillz.

i am ready to be measured for my sash and tiara now.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

the flashing lights! the swirly colors! the 7-foot-tall skating rodents!

bad lsd trip? no, disney on ice!

probably about the same amount of long-term brain damage, though.

must lie down in quiet, dark room.

(many thanks to andrea and henry for inviting us to be their guests - the girls absolutely loved it.)

idiots

people, no one is more eager for spring than moi. but i think you're pushing it just a tad, perhaps out of hope, perhaps because some of your higher functioning circuits have frozen.

so let me help you out. it is too cold to wear shorts if:
  • you wear your knee-length down coat over them.
  • you stop during your jog to make a snowball.
  • you live anywhere in minnesota.
there. go put on some long underwear and wait it out, just like the rest of us.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

weirdos

it's saturday morning, so my people are glued to the tv, of course.

are they watching clifford the big red dog? sesame street? curious george?

of course not. they're watching cooking shows again. today they're learning how to make lemon-herb chicken, roasted tomatoes, and cream cheese brownies.

weirdos.

(the pear and red wine sorbet was really delicious, though.)

and a postscript on sunday:  today, thing one watched the pbs pledge drive. now that's a testament to the power of the glowing box.

Friday, March 6, 2009

and now, another haiku

hacking, yakking coughs,
icky, sticky, thicky phlegm.
i am sick of sick.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

and a-one, and a-two

even a classic can stand updating some time, right? (remember how well that new coke thing went?) so here are some of the old standard songs, revised for modern mamas and their kidlets:
  • what kind of fool am i...to let my kids paint in the house?
  • don't be cruel...or you're going on time out.
  • it's now or never...so get in that bathtub.
  • when fools rush in...they smack their heads on the door frame.
  • fly me to the moon...or florida.
  • at last...mr. rogers is on.
  • ain't misbehavin'...right this second. but wait.
  • i enjoy being a girl...and showing everyone proof.
  • singin' in the rain...without a coat, hat, boots or umbrella.
  • a boy named sue...no, he just has long hair.
  • he was really sayin' somethin'...but i couldn't hear daddy over the sound of you two fighting.
  • she's a lady...and yes, i can see that she's fat. shhh!

how is this even possible?

i am the only person i know who can gain weight during a stomach bug.

perhaps because the only energy i have expended during the past two days has been in the playing of approximately 5,427 games of go fish, old maid, and crazy eights.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

shutting down

ah, march. that time of year when my brain and my body completely disintegrate.

not only do i lose my tiny little mind after nearly half a year of winter, but my carcass shows the strain. dry, bloody nose. finger tips that are cracking open and bleeding. feet that are beyond disgusting.

and now, thing one and i have both come down with some sort of bug that bestows killer headaches, fever, and intestinal...episodes. oh, and she's barfing.

so i've shut the machinery down as best i can, as least as far as our digestive tracts go:  we're both on the saltines-jello-flat sprite meal plan. 

march:  coming in like a lion, as usual. a lion that has eviscerated me and is now feasting on my entrails.

Monday, March 2, 2009

and now, a haiku

hail ibuprofen!
soother of fiery children.
ibu, i love you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

in today's medical news

Study says: Moderate alcohol consumption increases cancer risk.

I say: Moderate alcohol consumption reduces filicide risk.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

wake up - dinner's ready!

it's 10 a.m., and dinner is cooking. tonight i'm debuting easy pork ragu, because any recipe that starts with the word easy is a recipe for me.

indifferent is probably the kindest term that can be applied to my cooking, and this fit the bill:  brown meat, then dump in a crock pot with some other stuff and fuhgeddabodit. i'm loving me some crock pot these days, having recently rediscovered the hand-me-down one i got years ago from a friend (hint for carbon-dating:  it's harvest gold).

maybe this pork thingie will be tasty, maybe not. all i know is i'll be able to put it in front of my people and call my part done.

kwizine at its finest.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

why do you hate the baby? installment no. 317

took things one and two to a kids' event today. one of the girls there was named...precious.

and her brother's name? gift.

precious and gift. 

why do you hate the babies?

the boob tube, with a light raspberry vinaigrette

we finally got television at our house last month, after living here for a year and a half. no cable, but we do get the regular broadcast channels. 

the girls are fascinated.

thing one barely remembers "live tv," and thing two has no memory of it at all and is very put out that we can't pause it so she can go potty. when the handsome man first fired the tv up a few weeks ago, he turned on pbs. it was antiques road show, and the girls were mesmerized and wouldn't let him change the channel.

today, he went to put on a bob the builder dvd for them, but before he could the girls saw some cooking show on pbs and again were suctioned to the screen. i believe they're learning how to make a lamb stew with wilted spinach and a red wine and pear sorbet right now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

you know you're in minnesota when

you look around at the kids in your preschooler's music class and realize that there are:
  • 3 brunets
  • 1 redhead
  • and 10 blonds. and of them, 4 are towheads.
ba-dum-bum psssh.

(and yes, people here really do sound like the extras in fargo. oh, yah.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

the slashers

that's the cool marketing term i want applied to me and all my friends who are stay-at-home-moms/freelance whatevers. mommy-slash-writer. mommy-slash-counselor. mommy-slash-consultant. mommy-slash-tutor. mommy-slash-caterer.

the slashers. i bet we could get some really cool t-shirts made up.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

no braids, no dolls

when she eventually goes completely loopy, my friend peggy has one simple request for her caretakers:  "please don't put braids in my hair or dolls in my arms."

i think i'd better pin those instructions to my own shirt right now.

the other day, i received a check for my freelance work. i only bill once a month, so, while it was not a huge some of money, neither was it insubstantial. i endorsed it while i was doing my usual lakshmi impression:  paying bills-helping with spelling-making snacks-helping string beads-sorting mail-folding laundry-answering the phone-helping people pee.

the next morning, after i dropped thing one off at school with the requisite boots, snow pants, hat, and show-and-tell item, i got ready to head to the bank. "i should just make sure that check is in my wallet," i thought.

the check was not in my wallet. 

the check was also not in:
  • my backpack
  • any pockets of any of my pants
  • any pockets of any of my coats
  • the recycling (which i sorted)
  • the trash (which i went through with rubber gloves)
  • the tax documents i had been collecting for our accountant
  • miscellaneous papers to be filed
  • miscellaneous papers to be shredded
  • stuff that had already been shredded
  • our office desk drawers
  • my husband's dresser drawers
  • my armoire
  • the wet clothes sitting in the washing machine
  • the dry clothes sitting in the dryer
finally, after tossing the house for nearly an hour, i called the handsome man for help. "you gave me the phone bill this morning to mail," he said. "should i open the envelope and look in there?" 

yes, i said, you should. 

and lo, there was the check i'd written for the phone company ($30), and a little extra ($800) i'd thrown in by mistake.

i've reminded the handsome man:  no braids, no dolls.

p.s. and you just know the phone company would have cashed it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

dr. jenkyll and mrs. wyde

here's the most interesting thing about "the change of life" so far:  the personality rupture created by the upheaval of hormones. i don't need no stinkin' potion to mutate from good to evil; it happens (semi) regularly all by itself as i ride the waves of womanlynesshood.

viz:

dr. jenkyll:  "i got up at 6 a.m. and exercised, then ate many vegetables today!"
mrs. wyde:  "cheese tortellini!"

dr. jenkyll:  "i'm going to take more care of my appearance - perfume, mascara, cute necklace."
mrs. wyde:  "oh shit, it's 3 p.m. - i guess i'd better shower."

dr. jenkyll:  "i made my family a tasty, nutritious meal and plated it beautifully."
mrs. wyde:  "hot dog for breakfast? sure kid, whatever."

Monday, January 19, 2009

answer: five

question:  what is the number of games of candyland a grown woman can play before she begins to entertain felonious thoughts?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there

you know it's going to be a long winter when you wake up and realize you were dreaming about asking your doctor to up your dosage of antidepressants.

Friday, January 16, 2009

uncle

it's official:  i give up.

another double-digit-below-zero day. another day spent gazing blankly at the frozen wasteland out my window. 

we didn't get out of bed until 9.

we had gummy bears and tings (think cheetos without the cheese) for breakfast.

my living room is now a blanket fort.

we're all still in our jammies and have no plans for getting dressed (yesterday it finally happened at 5 pm, but only because we had to go to a school open house).

the beds are unmade.

baskets of unfolded laundry are sitting around.

mary poppins is playing (again).

and i'm trolling the internet, looking for blogs of people who are crabbier than me (fortunately, there are plenty – thank you all).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

sometimes, it does pay to get involved

hey minnesotans, did you know you can make a donation to your favorite political party or state-level candidate and get your money back?

it's minnesota law:  individuals can contribute up to $50 a year, and married couples up to $100 a year, and be reimbursed through the political contribution refund program. 

when you give to the democratic party (or the evil empire) or a candidate, you'll get a receipt. send the receipt in with this form any time; you don't have to wait until you file your taxes.

et voilà! you really can get something – like a little piece of democracy – for nothing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

murphy's law

– noun 
the facetious proposition that if something can go wrong, it will.

example:  when the handsome man takes the girls to the hardware store, who gets licked IN THE EYE by the owner's friendly doggie?  not the handsome man. not thing one. no, it would of course be thing two, miss allergy 2009. so now her eye is red, puffy and watery, she's all stuffed up, and  it took me and the handsome man working together to hold her down so we could rinse out the eye.

and the best part? right now, they're on their way BACK to the hardware store because the handsome man left the 20 cent plastic wedges that precipitated this whole chain of events on the counter.

Friday, January 2, 2009

grapefruit: the poodles of the citrus world

my kids eat like supermodels. some days all they want is cucumbers, tomatoes or grapefruit.

grapefruit, i've discovered, are high-maintenance little pissers. cut in half. take the curved knife and free each half from its peel. cut each stoooopid section out of its pithy confines. dump sections into a bowl, then wrestle out those that don't want to make the journey. 

it takes longer to prep a grapefruit than it does to eat it. too much fluffing and buffing and coaxing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

the q&a session will now begin

i think thing two will take 8 a.m. classes in college, because her thirst for knowledge is greatest first thing in the morning, before caffeine has rendered me capable of speech. 

here is an excerpt from this morning's pre-dawn barrage of questions:
  • what's inside your neck?
  • when will i be 16?
  • why don't we wear bathrobes to bed?
  • is there enough ice cream left for me to have an ice cream cone?
  • where is my ankle bone?