Tuesday, January 31, 2006

26/52 ABC *A*

26/52-ABC's. *A* 1/31/2006
I found this from sparkli, who took it from aya. Play along!

Photos for the first fortnight, all with A.

A is for...

ANTS! (yeah, like what ELSE is on my mind?)

Admit it. You want to have these guys seething all over YOUR floors, too.

A is also for....


And last, but not least.

A is for.... ATHLETE and ACROBAT

Come on, folks. Play along! It'll be fun.

I'm off to find my photos for the second fortnight. B. Ooh. Don't you just want to jump in and post B-photos?

Eek. How could I forget?

A is also for ACCORDION! (And bonus points for getting ANGELINA Ballerina in the photo, too!)

Monday, January 30, 2006


Reprieve 1/30/2006
Skip actually sat down and practiced his piano lessons without any fuss or complaint this afternoon, after school.

I think he's trying to earn more Run! Escape! time. (heh. I just love saying that instead of "runescape". Thanks for the intro to it)

Anyways, he took a small break, so he could eat half a fresh chewy baguette that I'd bought at Mollie Stone's today, and then went back to practicing The Wild Horseman, or whatever that Schumann piece is that he's working on. A few minutes later, he stopped abruptly, and came and sat down beside me.

"I'd say you just earned yourself 10 minutes of Run-Escape, Skip" I said, goodnaturedly, hoping to remind him that his game-time was tied in to his practice/homework time. He didn't scowl, like he would've if he'd been in a pouting mood. But he didn't grin, either.

He just looked pained.

"Mom, my stomach hurts like knives on the inside" he said. "I can't sit up, or stand straight."

Uh oh. I looked at the clock. 15 minutes before I need to be driving the carpool to Ragazzi. SO not good timing.

"You want to try some Tums?" I asked. Maybe it's just gas, eh? He took the Tums with good nature, and even feebly tried to engage me with talk about how he really likes the green ones best now. But he looked suddenly all washed out. Not "I'll fake a stomach illness, and get out of going to rehearsal", or "I'll look like death, and then she'll let me play on the computer all night while I 'recover'" sort of things. I'd recognize those, I think, having been a master of that in my own youth.

I sent him to the big green chair to curl up for a while, and he just languished there. He didn't even ask for the TV to be on. Nate did, though, and when I said "No, Skip's resting", I got no "hey! I'm getting better, I could watch TV" response.

He's now gone up to his room. Poor kid.

I phoned the other carpool folks. Couldn't reach one, and the other one said "OH! I meant to phone you. Matt's got a previous engagement with some sports play-off." So I wouldn't have had to drive him, anyways. But the other family... I just got their answering machine. I was worried.

And then, just now, I've remembered that last week they said that they'd drive their own son in, because he was getting some extra help from one of the conductors. Woot! I wouldn't have been driving him, either. So it's OK if Skip just lazes around and recuperates from whatever it is that's attacking his innards.

If I had to guess, I'd say it was the half-baguette. The thing was fresh, and chewy, and delicious, but WHO eats a whole loaf of bread, and walks away without any effects?

Truth be told, I'm pretty happy about things. I was sort of dreading going out tonight. I just want to stay home. My house is mostly clean, still, left-over from last night's big Gung Hai Fat Choy thingy. I'll have to write about that. It was an adventure. Oh, and I've got pictures.

The deep fryer was a huge hit, too. The prawn crackers were wonderful, and I've had such nicely-cooked crab rangoons. I'd say the investment was worth it.

Oh, and my one friend made this Cantonese boiled chicken thing with ginger and green onions...? I think I died and went to heaven. I could eat that every day.

I think I just might.

Hmm. Strange sounds coming from upstairs. If I had to guess, I'd say that Kelly is trying to be a nurse to Skip, who is wanting none of it, and Nate is serenading the sick one with a... um... slide whistle.

Time to intervene.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Crab Rangoons

Crab Rangoons 1/30/2006
Here's basically what we (well, mostly Ken... with some help from the young-uns in assembly) do. I just googled 'vic's crab rangoons', and took the first thing, modifying it the way we've ended up coming to do it, more times than not. It's kind of fluid. Just keep equal volumes of crab and cheese, and you're golden. This'll use up the majority of a package of wonton wrappers.

½ lb Fresh crabmeat, drained and chopped (ok, that's ideal, but I use canned more often than not)
½ lb Cream cheese, room temperature (here, we use an 8oz tub of Mascarpone. Get it at Trader Joe's and pay 1/2 what you'd pay for it in any other grocery store)
½ tsp Worchestershire sauce

Garlic cloves, minced

1 Package of the medium (square) wonton wrappers
Egg yolk

Oil for deep frying

Sweet chili sauce and/or plum sauce. To dip.

Combine crabmeat with cream cheese, Wooster and garlic in medium bowl and blend to a paste. Place teaspoonful on each won ton. Moisten 2 adjacent edges of wrapper with egg yolk and fold over gently to seal. (Try to get the air out of the innards, or they blow up a bit when they hit the oil, leaking out all their precious crab into the oil, never to be seen again). Heat oil in wok, deep fryer or electric skillet to 375 degrees. Add won tons in batches and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with dipping sauces.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I guess they didn't get the memo

I guess they didn't get the memo 1/28/2006
Today's the big day.

Kelly's Awesome Birthday Bash!

I've got a list as long as my arm. So of course, last night, I stayed up until an unearthly hour, sitting on the couch, with the TV droning in the background, playing Paint By Numbers on the laptop. And then Kelly climbed into bed with us around 2. I can't remember if she was scared, thirsty, or just too excited about today to sleep well. And I know she went back to her room, because she wasn't in bed when Nate came in at 7 to tell me it was day and that he couldn't get his socks to 'be smooth'. But Nate was in bed with us at 7:30 when Skip came calling to see if he could play on the computer. I was awake enough then to say that life didn't start in this house until after 8am. SO he was back at 8:01am, asking again. I sent him down to get breakfast for himself and Nate (who gladly forgot about his un-smooth socks and toodled off after Skip), and then come back and ask again. And when he came back to ask again, I told him to get dressed first, and then ask again. And when he got dressed and came back, I told him to get all his dirty clothes out of his room into a pile in the hallway, and THEN come ask again... and by then I was awake, and reluctantly left the confines of my warm soft bed.

Good grief, morning came early.

I got all caught up on my reading, though. Nobody updated after 2am last night. Go figure...

And then I thought I'd be a good wife, and make coffee for Ken.

Get the coffee out of the freezer.

Open the new coffee maker (the old one finally breathed its last, and has been consigned to the deep. (That'd be the garage, where Squeaky had already pooped on it, before meeting HER demise). It's one of those fancy-pants metal insulated carafe thingies. All sleek and black. Woot. So I filled the reservoir with water, and scooped the fragrant grounds into the filter, and got ready to hit "start", when I noticed movement.

Good grief!


(You'll notice how I said AN ant. As in ONE ant. A single, solitary life.)

I guess she didn't get the memo that all ants had to go into hiding because Jim was going to bring his supervisor with him if the ants came marching again.

I flicked that sucker off the rim of the filter with a mighty wave of my omnipotent (to ants) finger.

And then I saw more movement.

Double eek. Another ant!

I pulled the filter out, and there were THREE more of those suckers inside the filter holder. Cheeky little creatures.

And then I noticed there was an ant on the outside of the insulated carafe. The brushed aluminum carafe. How dare it leave footprints!

I pulled out the carafe, to flick that little cretin down the drain, and that's when I shrieked like a girl.

Honestly, the carafe was SEETHING with ants. They'd all taken refuge INSIDE the carafe the last time Jim came with his Spray Bomb of Death, and were hunkered down in there like good little kids in a bomb shelter during the cold war.

100 ants would be an underestimate.

And to think I came THIS close to just flicking that ONE ant, and turning the coffee maker on.


The coffee would've been full-bodied. That's for sure.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Squeaky was a girl

Squeaky was a girl 1/27/2006
Jim has been and gone.

What a man.

Alas, when he was extracting Squeaky from the trap and putting the carcass in the zip-lock bag, I said "boy or girl?" and the answer was "girl."

Eek, now I've got all these thoughts of a little mouse nest somewhere in one of our boxes of STUFF, all lined with softness and fluff, with four little naked babies huddled together, waiting for mom to come home from her adventures.

And you know THAT is going to smell, come summer.

10% off One Full Day of Shopping

Jim will be by between 12:30 and 2:00 this afternoon to ferry Squeaky to his final rest.

in nomine patri, et squeaky, et spiritu sANTi, amen.

Apparently I sing too much in Latin these days. That joke came out WAY too easily.

Nate's invited to a birthday party on the weekend.

Kelly's been invited to come along, as Nate's buddy has a big sister in the same grade as Kelly (just not in the same class at school, but they play together on the playground).

That'll be THREE parties for Kelly this weekend. Her own birthday bash on Saturday, Nate's buddy's party Sunday early afternoon, and Kelly's classmate's big birthday shindig at a Party Zone Sunday night.

Oh, and did I mention that we're hosting a big Gung Hay Fat Choi party at our house Sunday night? Nice planning on my part there.

Yeah. Start the whirlwind social schedule early, why don't we?

So much birthday present-itude and goody-bag shopping needs to be done before tomorrow.

Cue the Magical Target One Day Discount Card music.

Oh, and don't forget to take Skip to sc:hool for 7:40's band rehearsal. And it's Whacky Socks day, too, so Kelly wants to wear a dress.

Made 2 trips to school before 8:15, as a result. One, earlier for Skip's band rehearsal, and one later, once kids were allowed on campus at 8:15 to drop of Kelly. (Yes, even though Skip's required to be there at 7:40, there isn't playground supervision, and the big signs everywhere say 'No children on campus before 8:10'. I haven't figured out what's up with that dichotomy.)

Then straight to Target to use my coupon (for the first time today?)

Snagged a couple of Take-Along Thomas thingies for Nate's buddy's birthday party. Hooray for clearance toys. Oh, and what gift is complete without a book? Got a nice copy of One Fish, Two Fish to go along with it.

Got another book. Not gonna talk about it. It's a 'surprise' for someone. Heh.

And paint me with sucker paint, I went in the small appliance aisle, and laid eyes on a real, honest-to-goodness deep fryer. We've been using our electric frying pan just far too long. It's always treading on the fine edge of 'danger, Will Robinson', and I wonder if one of these days I'll burn down the house, and then I had to think that "woot! it's on sale, AND I can use my 10% off coupon..."

Yeah. I went in looking for a small gift, and zip-lock bags for the kids' lunches, and I came away with a truckload of stuff.

Oh good grief. Nate just came up to me complaining that his NEW trousers were broken...

Broken? Oh no they weren't.

He'd taken a pair of kiddie scissors to them, and cut a big giant V in the thigh of one leg.

He's now having a nice long time-out, sitting on his bed. Grrrrrr!

Did I mention that Squeaky is going away for good today?

And there's not an ant to be found in my kitchen.

Well, not a LIVING ant to be found. There are these sorry little shrivelled carcasses EVERYWHERE.

I could be cleaning them up, instead of farting around online.


I've decided that I'm not knitting as much as usual because the brass needles that I borrowed from my mother are completely frictionless surfaces, and I'm freaked that I'm gonna drop the angora yarn right off them, and will be unable to pick up all the lace-like stitches.

Time to find some nice wooden ones to replace them. Maybe shorter ones, too. The brass ones are almost as long as my arm.

Yeah. That's why I've been a non-knitting sloth.

The black currant Frutips pastilles are all gone, today.

It's time to head off to the oriental market and stock up again.

I've gotta get shrimp chips to deep fry for Sunday, anyways. And some more wonton wrappers for the rangoons and soup.

And now I'm hungry from all that food talk.

Oh wait. I forgot to have breakfast. That might be why.

Jeepers, this entry was all over the place.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Snap! 1/26/2006
I'll be giving Jim The Ant Killer (and Mouse Despatcher) a call in the morning.

Seems he was barely out of the subdivision before little Squeaky decided to do the rounds in the garage.


Fortunately, I wasn't around when the trap snapped. Or if I was, nobody heard it.

Good thing. Kelly had a little girlfriend over for a play-date. I'd have hated to explain the carnage, should the girls have been the unfortunate ones that found the remains.

When I came home just now from Kelly's gymnastics class, we came in through the garage. Just as a lark, I glanced over to where one of the traps had been set.

I nearly shrieked with surprise when I saw two little bulging beady eyes staring back at me. Seems the snap-trap hit Squeaky on the neck and nearly pushed his eyes out of his head.

I think I'll let Jim handle that one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Presidential Puppeteering

Presidential Puppeteering 1/26/2006
I went into school today, to take pictures of Skip's classmates with their puppets, and to sit in on a couple of presentations.

I wish I could've sat in on ALL the presentations. I'm so hopelessly uninformed on American History, and just the few reports that I did get to see were so informative.

(even if twelve of the twenty-eight kids had paper bag puppets, but I'm not going there.)

Of course, I was scrambling around like a headless chicken. We woke up to another massive influx of ants in the kitchen. I swear, I've never seen them so bad (well, except for the one time that it was raining, and this massive colony decided to bring in all their gooey white grubs and set up a nursery under the kitchen sink. THAT was grosser) I'd called Jim The Ant Killer, and he was going to come at 10, so I wanted the kitchen to be as clean as possible (but not ant-free), so I was cleaning up stuff that I SHOULD have cleaned up last night, but was a lazy slob and watched Bones and CSI:NY instead.

Then, suddenly I realized that it was Puppet Presentation Time, so I hustled Nate into the car, and raced to school. Only about 5 minutes late, I race into the classroom just as Miss Heck is giving Last Minute Instructions.

I pull out my camera, turn it on, and...

[no card]

flashes on the view-screen.

Dur! I'd left the memory stick on the laptop on the kitchen counter. Again I say, DUR!

With a brief apology and a smile to the teacher and class, I headed home on a 12 minute round-trip errand.

I got back into class with my camera poised, and I'd only missed ONE presentation.

Oh, whose presentation did I miss?

Why, Skip's, of course.

Argh. Oh well, I'm sure he did OK.

[my one little bit of passive-aggressive naughtiness: I had Skip change his presentation a little bit at the end. You know, because his puppet DIDN'T HAVE HANDS... so I took a chocolate coin (penny) left over from Christmas stockings, and affixed a safety pin on the back, turning it into a brooch, which I then pinned onto the 'Department of the Treasury Seal' on the puppet. I was never happy with how that seal turned out anyways... And then I had Skip end his presentation with: "I also established the National Bank, and that is why you see my face on the Five Dollar Bill... and also on this penny. Which you will notice I am carrying. As a symbol of my presidency. To fulfill the requirements of the assignment" Yeah. I don't know if he actually said that last sentence, but I know he did up to there. I left the last one at his discretion, telling him that it might be worth an extra point on his mark.]

So the teacher suggested a short break while everyone "modelled" their president. There were some really nice ones, but I've GOT to say, the most creative one (and probably the most well-finished one as well, though I'm probably more to blame for that bit) was Skip's. While I was photographing, she came over to me, and said that Skip had done a very good job, with good diction, projection, and lots of good information. Unfortunately, all I could squeak out was "I hope the puppet was adequate." as I still am fragile about the whole situation, and was worried I might just erupt into tears in front of the whole class.

Anyways. *waves it away*

I took photos of everyone's but one kid. He said his president was in his backpack and he wasn't prepared to model yet. I wonder if he even did one. If I get better at schmaltzing with pictures online, I may put up a collage of puppets in a future entry.

Then, Nate and I sat down quietly in the front on the floor, and sat through six presentations. I really learned a lot. And I was quite impressed with how some kids carried themselves. The ones that I would've thought were going to bomb? Very confident and articulate. Most impressive. I took more photos, and nobody seemed to notice or mind.

Then we raced home for 10am.

Jim was there right on time. Johnny on the spot with his Aerosol Cannister of Doom.

He says he's never seen ants as bad as we have them, and if I call him again, he's going to bring a supervisor to talk about other options.


Oh, and he set a half dozen traps for the mouse in the garage. All I have to do, if a trap gets sprung, is call him, and he'll come out and "deal with the results". Heh. I asked if I could just put the 'results' in a baggie and toss it, or if he wanted the traps back. "ooh. you're braver than most" he replied.

The upshot of his visit is that the house is remarkably cleaner than it was at seven this morning.

I wonder how long it'll stay clean.

Kelly has a play date over right now.

I've been very lax about supervising. They've just been playing make-believe in her room for the last hour. I kind of like that entertainment.

Skip is trying to negotiate for 3 hours of Runescape a day.

Heh. Foolish mortal!

Right now, Ken's got the firewall set up so that it doesn't recognize runescape.com, and when we try to go there, you get a pop=up window "that document contains no data". Ken's kind of miffed at Skip that he lied about his age to get an account there. I think Skip will be lucky if the firewall turns runescape.com back on for more than an hour a day.

But you didn't hear it from me.

Oh golly, these things are addictive:

I opened a new tube of the black currant pastilles last night, and the thing's nearly empty.

Surprisingly, I don't really feel hungry for supper yet.
When is a puppet not a puppet? 1/25/2006
When is a puppet not a puppet?

Apparently when it's made out of money.

Allow me to blow off some steam. This may be disjointed, and, at some point, I'll probably privatize (or delete) it, because I just don't like how I am right now.

I went to school to get the kids at noon today.

Actually I went in a little earlier. I do a little one-on-one helping in Kelly's class on Wednesday mornings, after I come back from my guitar gig at the Ladies Bible Study. (sheesh, You'd think that after being all worshippy and spiritual, I'd have handled the crap that hit the fan a bit better. Oh well. Live and learn.)

Anyways... I race into Kelly's class to do the one-on-one stuff, and it seems like Every. Single. Kid. wanted help today. Usually it's 2 or 3 out of the 17 kids. Today, it was ELEVEN!

Needless to say, I was racing to get it all done by the 12:30 bell.

Just finished the last boy when the bell rang. Go me!

I got Nate and Kelly out of there, and we went to wait for Skip. Usually, we'll get over to Skip's class, and he'll be out on the tether-ball court, or shooting hoops (while wearing his backpack. Don't know why. Quirky is his middle name, I guess). But Skip wasn't to be found.

I peeked my head into Skip's class to find an empty class.

Empty except for Skip and his teacher. He was standing in front of her desk, and I walked into the room, I caught the tail end of what she was saying...

"I'm sorry, but a talking five dollar bill is NOT a puppet."


I stayed quiet, because hey, I wasn't there from the beginning, and don't know what'd happened before. All I could tell was that Skip has that hunted look in his eyes. You know, the one that boys get when they're deathly afraid that they're about to break down into tears and there's no place for them to hide. The look that can break a mother's heart from fifty paces.

Yeah. That look.

The teacher continued. "I wish you'd come to speak with me sooner, but the presentations are tomorrow, and you've left things too late to change..."

Wait. A. Minute!

I couldn't let it go any farther. He had done ANYTHING but leave things to the last minute. So I stepped in.

"What seems to be the problem here, Skip?"

Skip looked at me. Speechless. I knew it was bad. He couldn't even squeak out a single sound. I looked at the teacher.

"What's wrong with his puppet, Miss Heck?"

"Well, Skip tells me that he's got a talking five dollar bill, but that's not a president. And the assignment sheet said "make a puppet of your president", so we were talking about what he might be able to do as a make-up for that..."

"Oh? What's wrong with a talking five dollar bill? I thought it was quite creative, and if you'll look AT THE SHEET THAT YOU ASSIGNED TO THE KIDS, you'll see that the ONLY thing that you've underlined AND written in ALL CAPS is this little phrase here... "be creative". I don't see how talking money is NOT creative..."

"Well, he needed to make a puppet that can talk in the first person..."

"You did know that Lincoln is on the Five Dollar Bill, right? Because that's what Skip has made here. He's got a giant five dollar bill."

"Well, he needs to have made the entire body of the president..."

"Really??? I didn't see that bit on the sheet that you sent home. Was there another sheet?"

"No, but money doesn't really talk..."

"Egads, neither does a brown paper sack with a photocopy of a president's face glued to the flap."

Honestly, at this point, *I* was nearly in tears.

"Well, the president needs to be able to HOLD something that represesnts his presidency, and unless your talking money has hands, how are you going to hold something?"

Please. Give. Me. A. Break. A paper bag with a face glued to the flap doesn't have HANDS either. I tried another tack.

"Miss Heck. I was here last year. I saw what the fifth graders made, and quite frankly, the fact that my son found a picture of a five dollar bill online, saved that image, blew it up, printed it, pasted it up into a single entity, taped it to a window, cut fabric to fit it, traced around the pertinent bits of said dollar, sewed BY MACHINE AND BY HAND that drawing into a puppet, STUFFED said puppet with foam sheets, and built it so that his hand cound fit inside it, to make the president's face move? THAT has GOT to count for something more than what was given a passing grade last year. Because if you just wanted him to glue a drawing of Abe's face to a lunch bag, I'm sure we could just do that, and be done with it."

I do believe at this point, actual steam was coming from my ears.

(And, if I might add, I think Skip had started to grin.)

"OH! He actually MADE the money? Because I thought he was just going to hold up a five dollar bill, and pretend it was talking..."


Perhaps it was a good thing that I'd just come from a nice worshipful time in church, because at that point, I probably would've committed grave bodily harm, and maybe even said a bad word or two.

I think I need to go and talk to her some more. I am now worried more than ever about what's been happening in the classroom. I'm not there. I don't see what goes on. And Skip shuts up like a clam when I ask him about school. I'm freaked out now that this treatment of him is the norm.

What would've happened had I NOT accidentally happened upon him getting this grilling? Usually, I just wait in the car. I'm sure it was the hand of God that sent me into that classroom this afternoon.

When we got home, Skip asked if he needed to do anything else on his project.

"Nope, my dear. I'm finishing it for you. And I want you to know that *I* am proud of the work you did on it, even if your teacher doesn't understand. And I also want you to know that teachers usually only want what is best for you. And they're there for you. But today, I think Miss Heck really dropped the ball. You did a GREAT job on your puppet, and she just doesn't have a clue. She handled things badly, but I don't want you to dwell on that. Tomorrow, you and Abe are going to knock them dead."

And I shook his hand, and sent him outside to shoot hoops.

When is a sock not a sock?

When is a sock not a sock? 1/25/2006
When is a sock not a sock?

When it's a latrine for the MICE THAT HAVE MOVED INTO THE GARAGE!!!!!

I went into the garage last night, and noticed that Kelly had left her favourite red pom-pom socks in a bowl on the (fortunately SEALED) rubbermaid container of second-string yarn.

Except that the red pompom socks had a bunch of black specks on it. Are they nyger seeds, fallen out of the giant bag that I dip into to feed the goldfinches in the front yard? Why no. that'd be too nice. They were a zillion and seventy two mouse turds.

Someone shoot me now.

First it was the ant plague.

Now it's mice.

I swear, the streets will be flowing with blood soon, and a giant cockroach will be riding on the white horse of the apocalypse.

And the ants are worse than ever. Joy. If I were able to be home long enough at a stretch, I'd call Jim to get his Syringe of Death over here, but I don't have two consecutive hours during the business day right now. Maybe I'll just have to cancel some stuff, and sit around so he can dispatch the ants AND the mice in one mighty blow from his chemical-laden fist.

Oh man. I was supposed to be working in Kelly's class right now.

Truly, I need to be put out to pasture.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday Shenanigans

Saturday Shenanigans 1/21/2006
OK, I've already written about the money-making, puppet extravaganza. I will move on.

But can I just say that I thought the most hilarious bit was that Skip fully thinks that the BIG deal about "what if Abe Lincoln was never president" is that someone else would be on the penny?

Yes. I said I was moving on.

Nate was up in the MIDDLE of the night. I thought my head was going to explode as I went to go get him and help him get to the potty.

This is why 42 year old women should not have babies. I swear, I could NOT do it if we suddenly had a newborn in our house. I'd have to be put away.

But... I got up. And took him to the potty. He's been in underpants for 2 weeks at night, now, and, knock on wood, hasn't woken up in wet pants or sheets yet.

And just... JUST as I was crashing back into bed, imagining that it must be 2am at the LATEST...

My alarm went off.

Oh man, I think I cried just a little bit at that.

Mega errands were run by moi.

Ken got a signed copy of Jimmy Carter's latest book this week. (yes, another perk of New Hip Company. Retired presidents just pop on by for an afternoon of chatting) It's Dad's birthday on Monday, and Ken is HOPING that he can get the book to his dad in time for the birthday festivities. So me being the Good Wife, trucked down to the post office and stood in line to mail it. Just me and eleventy thousand of my closest friends.

While I was out, I snagged goodies for the treat bags for Kelly's party next weekend. I think the girlies will not be disappointed by the swag.

Oh, and I had to get iron-on fusible fabric binding, to get Skip's Lincoln puppet finished. And while I was in Joann's, I just HAD to look around. Egads, someone stop me. At least I stood my ground, and never got a basket or a cart. That would've been the death of me. As it was, I still spent nearly $30. All for a $1.99 roll or Steam-a-seam.

And could I take this moment to shake a virtual fist at all the idiots that were out driving around in the rain today? Sheesh, nobody. And I mean NOBODY knew how to park, or how to act like an adult in the parking lots. And where did ALL those people come from? Yikes.

A quick stop at Petsmart on the way home. Gentle's in desperate need of a cage-cleaning. Ooh. Look at all the cool modular cages that we could have instead! Her aquarium DOES have a nasty crack along one wall. And it really doesn't have great ventillation.

OoH! A purple one.


Oh well. Let's call it a late birthday present.

I got home, and thought I'd go up and set up the new cage in Kelly's room.

I walked into her room, and, just as I was cleaning off her dresser for the new cage, Kelly said "look! This book has ants all over it!"

Ants? Did someone say ANTS?


And that was the beginning of a 3 hour room deep-cleaning and re-arranging. I found exactly ONE open candy on her bedside table. And it was SEETHING with ants. I bet I vacuumed up a pound of ants. OK, maybe not quite that many. But I found lines, and lines, and LINES of the little suckers. They were EVERYWHERE on the carpet, and all along the baseboards, and coming up through a crack in the closet.


But now, Kelly's room is all rearranged, and better organized, and while she wasn't looking, I cleared out a bunch of stuff she really doesn't need any more. Stuffed animals that have no real emotional tie to her, and could move on to new homes, that sort of thing.

And did I get Gentle's new cage set up?


That goes onto tomorrow afternoon's list.

The RE-cordion continues to be a huge attraction.

Skip's getting quite good on it.

I wish he'd spend as much time on his new Schumann piece, though. Maybe if I let him play THAT on the accordion...

This week, I'm going to throw away/give away/otherwise divest myself of one hundred pounds of excess stuff.

You read it here first.

I will take pictures. You'll see.

Skip Makes Money

Skip Makes Money 1/21/2006
Skip's had this President Report hanging over his head since before Christmas.

I do believe I ranted on about it ruining our weekend last weekend. (well, ok, it didn't ruin the weekend. My sinus infection seemed to be doing that all by itself)

Anyways, this weekend is the LAST weekend before the infernal thing is done. Due on Thursday.

So it was time to get down to biz.

The report consists of three parts. A written report. A "puppet". And an oral presentation, given BY the puppet.

I saw the puppets from last year. Mostly of the paper lunch sack variety. At first, Skip and I talked about making something out of clay, seeing as Lincoln is on Mount Rushmore. I was envisioning something like Buster from Between The Lions. Yeah. Me with my grandiose ideas.

And then Skip started writing his report, and his conclusion about "What would be different if your president had not been elected?" would be?... and I quote:

"Someone else's head would be on the penny and the five dollar bill."

And the internal wheels were in motion. Wouldn't it be SO much easier to make a penny puppet? Or a dollar bill puppet? No clay to futz with. No drying time. No sculpting required... All I'd need would be foam and fabric. And that would mean going to my favourite fabric store...

Carved. In. Stone.

Did Skip have a say in it? Well, let's just say he THINKS he decided on the money-puppet.

So today was designated a Money Making Day.

First, he helped dad blow up an image of the bill to the size he needed. Then he taped it to the window, and taped a piece of money-colored fabric over top. Then the "art" began.

He signed his own name as "Treasurer of the United States"

Then, once all the drawing was done, I did a little finishing of the edges, and iron-fused it to a pillowcase-type thing that Skip and I had made last night while watching Reptiles on TV.

To finish it off, Skip hand-sewed the edge shut, after filling the pillowcase with two pieces of 1-inch foam.

He's a regular Betsy Ross, there.

And le voila! The finished product.

(yeah, yeah, like you didn't know his name wasn't really Skip)

His hand goes up through a break in the sewing right under Abe's tie.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Thankyou Notes (repost)

Thankyou note 1/20/2006
My folks sent Kelly a little parcel in the mail.

It arrived today. Just in time.

Inside the mailing envelope was a pad of paper with kitties on it, and a small box containing a silver necklace.

Kelly was tickled pink. Her first "real made out of something expensive" jewelry, and a note pad just like the one Nonie (my mom) has in her own kitchen. So of course, she sat down right away and wrote a thankyou note.

Dear Nonie
Thank yoU
for The Kitty
Shitt, and The Reall shlver necklace
and a card

Um, I think that was supposed to be 'kitty sheets'

I think her grandmother will understand.

She did write the note on one of the kitty shits, after all.


Kellymas 1/20/2006
First, some pictures from Kellymas Eve:

She decided she wanted to open her "Far Away Gift" for Kellymas. It was something that one of my lovely OD faves had sent.

(notice the clever covering of the sending and receiving addresses? that's what you do when you don't have Photoshop)

Ooh! Look! It's wrapped on the INSIDE, too! (and as a side note, this was the only gift she got that was wrapped in actual "birthday" paper. All our gifts are wrapped in recycled Christmas/Hanukkah paper. What? It's blue and white. My younger kids wouldn't have a clue that it's actually for something else... and oh, the sale price you can get it for!)

Ooh! The delight. Her set is complete.

It's Prince Aidan, and he quickly comes out of his package, so he can fly away with Princess Anika on Princess Brietta before she gets turned back into a girl.

A most successful evening.

And then the birthday present bash this morning.

Ken slept through his alarm (not surprisingly. He was up until who knows how late, reading the new Tad Williams book), so he stuck around for an early present-opening.

And there was much to open;

But of everything that was opened (sparing you the play-by-play, and the interminable photos of children in a sea of ripped paper), the biggest hit was...

The "recordion"

Kelly opened it early on, and by the end of the gifts, Skip had figured out how to play Happy Birthday on it.


And then quickly off to school in her new sweater

Which is where I need to be in eleven minutes. And the beaver tail dough is still kneading in the mixer. I'll be making those this afternoon to bring in to share with her class.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Kellymas Eve

Kellymas Eve 1/19/2006
So, tonight is Kellymas Eve.

Kelly was talking about opening her presents at breakfast tomorrow morning, while I was taking the kids to supper tonight, and Skip started asking if she was REALLY going to be six by breakfast. Actually, no. She wasn't born until 4:45pm, so, technically, she should have to wait until almost supper to open her presents.

This thrilled Skip in a sick little way, let me tell you. He was born at 1:57am, so by breakfast, he's already WELL into his birthday-day, and he made a point of saying that he ALWAYS waits until he's REALLY the age before he opens his presents.

Yeah. It's a little hard to beat the clock on that one, buddy.

Poor Kelly, I thought she was going to burst into tears right there in the car. (Didn't help that she was already fragile, as I'd been nearly 20 minutes late to pick her up at school after my 'date' with Jim the Ant Killer earlier in the afternoon).

So I came up with the idea of Kellymas Eve.

You know, like Christmas Eve.

And in OUR house, kids get to open ONE gift on Christmas Eve, after supper, as a little foretaste of what's to come the next morning.

This would be good for Kelly, as Ken leaves at the crack of oh-dark-thirty to leave for work in the mornings, and he would miss out on the present-opening carnage otherwise. This way, we let her open something tonight, and then she MIGHT be able to wait until supper on Birthday Day.

I foresee a Natemas Eve in July, and next year, a Skipmas Eve.

I think it's a pretty good tradition.

Of course, if I was a good teach-them-a-lesson-in-character sort of mom, they'd only be getting one birthday gift, and the whole idea would be moot.

Yeah. Like that'll ever happen.

Ken had a meeting late today, so I took the kids out for pizza before taking Skip to Youth Group.

Pizza was a big hit (all the kids cheered, so you know you've got a winner), and I even managed to pry a few quarters from my tight fist, so the kids could play a few rounds of quarter-driven games at the pizza place.

On the way home from dropping Skip and Laura (daughter of neighbour-friends who go to our church) at youth group, Kelly says "How long until we get home?"

I'm thinking she's anxious to start looking at the wrapped pile of gifts, so I tease "Oh, we'll be home in plenty of time for you to look at the gifts. But remember. You can only look with your eyes until tomorrow. No touching until your actual Birthday."

"No, mom." she whines, "I don't care about that. I need to go potty."

"Oh. We'll be home soon. All that fruit punch you drank at the pizza place is catching up with you, isn't it?"

"Not piddle, mom!" she sighs, and I can hear the eye-roll without even looking back. "I don't need to pee. I've gotta make manure."


The Cupboards are Bare

The cupboards are bare 1/19/2006
Yes. The cupboards are bare.

But only because they're FULL OF ANTS!!!!!

And this time, it means WAR, because they've gotten into the dry-goods pantry beside the fridge. Never before have they ventured that far into the food. Oh, I can laugh off their little forays into the Lucky Charms. I mean, who wouldn't be lured by the sugary goodness of breakfast cereal? And the little lines across the kitchen floor? They're almost a conversation piece these days. But now? Now, they've gotten into the oats, and the potatos, and the rice (fortunately, still hermetically sealed in the 'fresh from Japan' bags, but still, that was was a close call!), and the syrup.

Oh, my precious corn syrups. All three colours, dispatched to the trashy deep, covered in a thick layer of ants. And the organic honey from the orchard down the street from my folks' place in BC... buh-bye.

And two sizes of ants, now?

Yes. They've brought their cousins, it seems.

And it's time for me to call Jim...

He'll be here between 12:30 and 2:00.

What a man!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Where's the camera (repost)

Where's the camera 1/18/2006
I know I took photos of Skip opening his birthday swag on Sunday morning.

Since then?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Too bad, though.

Yesterday morning. being the closest school day to Skip's actual birthday, he was allowed/encouraged/etc to bring goodies in to class at the end of the day as a bit of a special day celebration.

What did he want to bring in?

Hey! Why don't we MAKE Beaver Tails in the classroom as a special treat? Next year, it'll be Middle School, and I doubt that kids get as much leeway in doing fun, unexpected stuff during school hours, so sure, why not. I cleared it with the teacher, and all was set in motion for me to be able to bring in a frying pan, oil, dough, and (did nobody read the bits about boiling oil and kids not going together well?) deep fry beaver tails for the kids.


The dough needed to be made a few hours ahead of time, and so, when I woke up yesterday, actually feeling life-like at 5:55am (though still unable to breathe through my nose), I took advantage of my wakefulness, and the house's sleepfulness, and went downstairs to get the dough going.

I had proofed the dough, and was sitting down to do another of those infernal Paint By Numbers (oh, why did I ever click on the "archive of unsolved puzzles' page????) when I realized that not only could I not breathe through my nose, but the right side of my nose seemed to be blocked by something very solid that a mere nose-blow wasn't going to deal with.

J-jumping. Look away now.

You've been warned.

(No, there's not a picture. She's just squeamish, and has heard this story before.)

I reached up, not having yet looked in the mirror, so not knowing if there really was something growing out of my nose or not, and noticed something crusty and hard in my right nostril. A flick with the kleenex wasn't dislodging it, so I grabbed that bad boy and pulled.

I kid you not, it was like the entire contents of my head came out through my right nostril. An exact semi-plaster cast of my right maxillary sinus. I believe the term for the form is 'dendritic' because that creature branched with the best of them. I'm surprised that my nostril doesn't bear stretch-marks from birthin' that creature. It was easily as big as my THUMB!

Of course, after I dispatched it to the deep with a girly little shriek, I thought "Oh poop. I should've taken a picture of that!"

Kelly had her final gymnastics class with the Tuesday Crowd. Next week she moves up to the Grade School Girls class.

They did a little gymnastics presentation. Seven little Nadia Komenechis (or however you spell that last name) all prancing around, tumbling, and balancing on the high beam.

There was even a medal presentation. Of course they all got the gold.

And then Kelly twirled with her medal on, and cracked Gina right in the eye. Nothing like a big purple welt with a blood blister center to make a girl look good for the cameras.

So maybe it was a good thing that I did NOT have my camera yesterday.

Making the Beaver Tails yesterday afternoon, by the way, went off without a hitch. Except that Nate was distracted by something, twirled around, fell backwards over a chair, and bonked his head on the linoleum with a sickening "doink!" sound.

He immediately raised a gumball-sized goose-egg on the back of his head, and I behaved like a horrible mother, hugging him for barely 10 seconds before I sat him down on the floor, crooned "Now, didn't I tell you you shouldn't have been farting around?" and then went back to rolling dough for the tails. Hey. I was on a tight schedule.

The kids were quite impressed to see the things made before their eyes, and maybe, even a little bit more impressed to see Skip was the one wrangling the tongs over the vat of hot oil. We made close to forty tails, all tallied, and I bet if we'd made twenty more they would've gone.

So maybe I *should* have had the camera with me after all.

As if one boink on his head wasn't enough, Nate had to take a tumble at home while I was off at gymnastics with Kelly. I was on the phone with Ken when I hear him say "Yeah, I just wondered... wait... Skip...? Skip! Stop. Nate! No...NO! No Nate...." and then that same "doink" sound in the background followed by a sudden silence and then the "Waaaaaaaah!"

When I came home an hour later, all was well, but Nate was cradled in Ken's lap with a big ice pack on the back of his head.

And he had TWO big lumps on the back of his head.

Now THAT is what I should've taken a picture of.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Snot 1/16/2006
My goodness.

I slept much of yesterday. Woke up in a fog, with a cheekbone that felt like it was on fire. Dragged downstairs to watch/photograph Skip open his birthday swag. Sent Ken off to church early to band practice, then got the kids ready to go.

And then I did something I've never done. I took the kids to church and dropped them off at the door.

Yeah. I wasn't going to spread the bugs that were swirling around my head. I don't want ANYONE to have this joy.

Limped home, and tidied up in a bit of a fog. When I was dropping off the kids, Ken caught up with me, and asked if having a Games Night (because it was Skip's birthday, AND not a school night, what with MLK day being today). Egads! I don't mind having folks over, but the house was a sick-room sty, in desperate need of an intervention. So I moved stuff around a bit. All the while draining out my right nostril.

Yeah. You wanted to know that.

When Ken came home with the kids, I'd just taken some Comtrex, and said "How about if I just lie down for a half hour to get these meds to kick in, and then we can have lunch..."

Four Hours Later.

I vaguely remember the doorbell ringing.

Lovely friends, knowing I was sick, showed up with bags of ready-to-eat supper stuff. Ken didn't have the heart to tell them that we were taking Skip out to his favourite restaurant that night, so he just accepted with grace, and they went on their way. They're smart enough folks to not want to step foot inside a sick house.

(I'm eating the vittles for lunch right now. Very yummy)

So then, time marches on, and TWO more hours pass, with me dozing fitfully.

Off to Narita, Skip's favourite sushi place for his birthday supper. Honestly, I thought I was going to have to turn right around and head home, my sinuses were giving me such grief. I'm such a pansy. But then the second dose of Comtrex kicked in, and I was able to contribute to a (hopefully) fun Eleventh Birthday Supper.

And if I thought I'd have problems falling asleep after all that day-sleeping? Nope.

in fact, when Nate woke up at 6:45 this morning, I really thought the world was ending. Didn't I *JUST* go to sleep?

Never mind the fact that when I lifted my hand to my face, it was met with a seething green amorphous blob of yellow-green that was escaping from my right nostril. Oh yeah. I should've taken a picture.

At least I don't feel like my cheekbone is about to explode any more.