Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Settling In...Sort Of...

You can't really tell in the picture of the kitchen-in-progress that I posted below, but I've already kinda-sorta started settling in.

Many many years ago Claudia, mother of my heart, gave me this beautiful sculpture she'd created. It's something I've always loved and is one of my most treasured material possessions. When Husband installed the shelves that will hang over the sink next to the window, I couldn't bear to look at them all empty, so I moved the sculpture from her spot in the entertainment cabinet to the bottom shelf in the kitchen.

I'm looking forward to being able to see her every time I go to the sink.

Picture Requests

My last post generated two requests for pictures. Here they are:

Claudia, here's the kitchen as it appears on Tuesday, February 28th, at 8:30 in the morning.

The sink came out on Sunday, and now Husband is working on measuring for the holes that need to be cut in the new sink cabinet to accommodate the plumbing.

I have no idea when the counter guy is coming to measure - I'm hoping it's SOON because I keep breaking dishes trying to wash them in the bathtub (I have a lovely cut on the instep of my foot from the coffee cup I broke in the shower yesterday). The cabinet that's in behind the step stool doesn't belong there - it will go to the right of the dishwasher after it's installed.

Vanx, this is the picture from the cookbook where I got (and then modified) the recipe for my babycakes. Thanks for asking!

And, because I promised more snow pictures but didn't deliver, here's PunkinPie being helpful during the blizzard two weeks ago:

...and here she is again, being not-quite-so-helpful...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Oh, How I MISS It!!!

I spent the better part of yesterday at WeedWoman's house in the boonies. Just to give you an idea of the relative isolation, one of the "tourist" spots in her general area is (and I'm not making this up here) a STOVE MUSEUM. I'm thinking we'll have to go at some point, just to say we did.

Anyway, she met me at a grocery store on my way up and we did a fair bit of shopping, then continuted on to her place where I proceeded to cook for her and her husband. I haven't been able to really cook - with all the necessary pots and pans, ingredients actually IN the kitchen, refrigerator in the same room as the stove - since before October. It was WONDERFUL.

I put together a particularly good beef stew that made the house smell heavenly. It simmered for most of the afternoon; we ate after Mr. WW and PunkinPie finished watching the Pirates of the Caribbean, then we had some absolutely yummy babycakes (one of my signature creations) for dessert.

I fear this little burst of culinary creativity is going to make Husband's life less pleasant in the immediate short term, though, as I am even more eager to get my own kitchen put together and functional.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sending Susanna Some Love...

Kizz is experiencing some really important and exciting professional stuff right now. While this is really GOOD stuff, it's also a little unnerving and maybe even scary.

I don't know how much it helps, but I'm up here sending lots of good energy her way. She's fun and talented and wants so badly to be able to support herself doing what she loves, and I take every opportunity I have to support her. Since I can't be there in person this weekend to cheer her on, I'm thinking good thoughts of her and sending as much love her way as I can.

Care to join me?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

So I was watching speed skating last night (I kind of dig speed skating),and it seems there's some sort of childish, petulant blood-feud going on between two of the members of the USA speed skating team.

The world's opinion of us is low enough as it is. Honestly. Go ahead and act like babies, but please, for the love of God, don't do it on INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Frozen Peas

Dear Wayfarer:

These are for you, Sweetie. Feel better soon!


Monday, February 20, 2006

This is Going On My Christmas List...

I kid you not, folks: A Bacon of the Month Club!!

Who knew such wonderfulness even existed?!

Sunday, February 19, 2006


So, this weekend marks the start of the girls' vacation.

This is usually the week we get on a 727 and fly to Florida. We take off in the morning, land around lunchtime, head to the McDonald's just outside the airport. After lunch we drive to wherever our apartment is for the trip, then make a trek to the grocery store.

This is where the fun begins.

We decide which days we're going to eat out on the way to the market, then buy enough to make up whatever meals we're going to eat at home.

We buy the staples - milk, bread, eggs, Ovaltine, peanut butter and jelly and butter - and then go nuts. The girls get to eat whatever junk cereal they want - Mommy relinquishes her veto power over their choices on vacation. They can buy whatever exotic fruit they want - they usually pick coconuts - and can get a bunch of snacks, too. Pretzels, peanuts, M&Ms, juice boxes (and I don't insist, as I do at home, that the juice boxes be real juice - they can have HiC on vacation).

Well, we're not going anywhere this year. All our extra money is tied up in addition-building. Yesterday, though, we went to the grocery store and, in honor of vacation week, we bought a bunch of extra stuff. I made some chocolate pudding last night. I bought honey mustard and onion pretzel bits (YUM!). We didn't get a coconut, but we did get some tangelos.

Today's lunch offering? Peanut butter and fluff sandwiches and Cheez Doodles. Not a damned bit of nutrition on the plate. Just as a vacation lunch should be.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Plight of the iPod-less

So, the other day, I was coming home from a class when the battery in my new iPod fizzled out (note to self - buy a damned car charger!!).

Have you seen Jerry Maguire? Remember the scene where Jerry is driving back from the Cushman's after having just sealed their deal, and he's in the mood to sing? Not just any song will do, though, and he scans around until he finds an appropriate Tom Petty tune? Well, I was feeling a little like Jerry Maguire that day. I hadn't sealed any deals or anything, I was just coming back from a class, but I was in a particular mood and wanted to sing.

Anyway, with my iPod in a coma, I had to resort to listening to the radio (oh the HORROR!). I wasn't in the mood for NPR, junkie that I am notwithstanding, so I set my tuner to a quasi-local station and listened for a while. When the song was over, the D.J. came on the air and started some inane babbling for which I have zero patience, so I flipped over to the other station that's preset into my tuner and listened to the end of that song. It seems these two stations are on very similar schedules, though, because as soon as that song finished, the tirade of chatter and commercials commenced.

Frustrated, I hit the scan button on my radio and made a full loop around the dial. Here's a bit of what I got:

One REM song (It's the End of the World as We Know It)

Two (yes, TWO) Queen songs. I stopped to sing with one (Fat Bottomed Girls) and, when that was over and I hit the scan again, I found Killer Queen. Go figure.

Kodachrome from Paul Simon. I stopped to sing with this one, too. I love the line in the beginning that says "If I look back on all the crap I learned in high school / it's a wonder I can think at all." I know, I know, I TEACH high school. Sue me.

FAR more country and western than suited my taste. You'd think we live in Wyoming and not in New England. (shudder)

A couple of offerings of very heavy rock. I recognized one by the voice of the lead singer - I think I have something they did on the Daredevil soundtrack - but I couldn't identify the song.

Only one station offering hip-hop, rappy sort of stuff. I'm guessing that all the extra bandwidth was taken up by the country whiners before hip-hop came to these shores.

Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer. Loved that video.

Two offerings by Maroon 5. Funny story - my husband, his best friend (who I'll write more about later) and I went to a Maroon 5 concert at my university a couple of years ago. I swear to GOD that we were the oldest people there who weren't escorting teenagers to the show. It was almost embarrassing.

In the course of about half an hour, I had made about three trips around the dial, stopping to listen to songs that I like. It was an interesting trip - I got to hear some stuff that I don't have on my iTunes or my iPod (Kodachrome - I should invest in that one) and it inspired me to come home and rip my Rhythm of the Saints CD into my iTunes.

Here's a question that has been burning in my brain for a few days now, and I'm looking for anyone who can give me a reasonably plausible answer. Why is it that, at literally ANY given moment, I have music in my head? How does it get in there? How do the songs change? Seriously - the other day, I got Billy Joel's "Movin' Out" stuck in my head. I was humming, singing, and hearing it inside my head for DAYS. Does this happen to anyone else, or is it just my own personal psychosis? Any ideas?

Oh, and by the way, the current internal selection is another offering from Mr. Joel: Don't Ask Me Why from his Greatest Hits CD. I haven't heard it in years, it's not on my iPod, but there it is, in an endless loop in my head. I'm going to go burn it to iTunes now...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

These are the People Running Our Country

I'm just beside myself.

But wait! It gets BETTER!! Go here and read the article. Note the sublime eloquence of Cheney's spokeswoman. Yessir!

Just when I think I couldn't be more embarrassed to be an American...

The View From Inside a Snowglobe

Okay, so I need to start by saying that my photographs do not do justice to what I'm seeing outside my window, just so you know.

I remember, sometime in the deep dark of last night (this morning) hearing the strangely comforting "shhhhhhhhh" of snow blowing against our bedroom window, combined with the random notes of the wind chime on the front porch, so I knew the storm had begun.

When I woke up (around six-fifteen or so), there wasn't much snow on the ground, but it was blowing around pretty well and there had been no plows on our road (as a matter of fact, the first one I've seen all morning JUST went by, and it's ten o'clock now).

Have you ever heard the story about the blind men describing an elephant? Each man is at a different part of the animal, so each forms a view of the creature in his mind that is only part of the truth? It's a lot like that with this storm, it seems. If one sits in my living room and turns left to look south, one sees heavy snow pouring out of the sky and blowing in straight diagonal lines toward the west. If one turns right and looks out the back kitchen windows, one sees big, fluffy flakes gently swirling and twisting toward the ground, in no particular hurry to get there. It's quite something to see the same weather behaving so differently not more than sixty feet away.

The weather people are saying that we're just now entering the really serious phase of the storm, though the snowfall amounts still vary widely depending on which channel we're watching. None of us has any plans to go anywhere, though, and the power (knock wood) is still on.

I'll update again before dinner.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I Love it When the Weather Channel Ladies Use the Word...


Remember, a week or so ago, when I posted an entry about how eerily warm it's been in my area lately? Remember how I said I was waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, according to the Weather Channel ladies (and the incessant ache in my left hip), that shoe is on it's way down right now and should hit the ground sometime after midnight.

Depending on who I listen to, my town is going to get either 10 inches or a foot and a half. Everyone's agreeing that there are going to be stupid winds, and whatever snow we get will be blowing around and generally creating impossible driving conditions (and making shoveling the driveway an exercise in futility).

I'm secretly hoping that the snow starts soon enough to prevent me from going to work tomorrow morning. I hate sliding around on the roads only to arrive to one or two others brave (stupid?) enough to venture out for a step class. I'm also hoping, though not quite as ardently, for a snow day on Monday. My small people are tired and have been fighting off various forms of cold and ickiness, and we could really use a couple of good, solid do-nothing days.

If I still have power tomorrow, I'll upload some pictures.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I LOVE My Life!

So, here's the scene. I'm in the living room with school papers strewn all around me on the couch while I attempt to corral them into some sort of coherent order. PunkinPie, my eldest daughter (who's eight, it's important to remember) comes over and picks up a random sheet, which happens to have the "to be or not to be" soliloquy printed on it. She reads (aloud) to about "slings and arrows" when she abruptly drops the page and runs to her room.

Not that this is exceptionally odd behavior for her, but still.

Anyway, she returns about two minutes later with the Calvin and Hobbes There's Treasure Everywhere book. She flips furiously through the pages until she finds what she's looking for; a Sunday comic that depicts a pile of green nastiness that's supposed to be Calvin's dinner which suddenly bursts into the famous monologue. Calvin watches the scene with such expressions on his face! Finally, though, the goo breaks into the chorus of "Feelings" and, well, that's just too much for poor Calvin. The final frame is his mother removing the now empty plate and Calvin begging not to have that dinner again.

Can I reemphasize that my daughter is EIGHT?!

I am going to see if there's a way for my husband to record the kid reading the comic so I can bring it into my freshman English class so they can see that this stuff really DOES connect to stuff outside of school. And to see that an eight year old has the capacity to at least hold the recognition of the Bard's work in her head.

And so can they.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Cat and the Kitchen

I'm going to give you a double-update here, in the interest of efficiency. I'm on my way out the door to run some errands and I don't have time for a long narrative.

**The Small One is doing well. He's been home for a while now and enduring quite nicely all the extra attention he gets from us, though he's grown VERY suspicious of me when I'm offering some extra bit of yumminess - cheese or chicken broth or milk - because he's catching on that, before he gets to partake in the treat, he must endure my prying his jaws open and stuffing two pills down his little throat. He's begun avoiding me. Anyway, he goes in for a follow-up on Friday to make sure everything's still working the way it's supposed to. Here's hoping

**You haven't seen any new pictures of the kitchen because any picture I take now will look much like the one I took a week ago. There's been some fussing and fidgeting with the wall behind a couple of the cabinets, though, so it looks like we've taken one step back, but I'm still okay with it. I'm hoping to encourage some progress this afternoon, and a whole lot this weekend. I'm gunning for floor cabinets and an appointment with a counter-measurer-guy by the end of the month.

That's it for now. Gotta go....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Here's Hoping THIS is True!

My offering for today:

Ready for the pace of life to pick up -- considerably? Good, because opportunities for growth are going to come your way in fast and furious style, and you, of all signs, won't want to miss out on a single one. Of course, opportunities won't get you anywhere if you don't know what you're doing -- but you do. Congratulations. It's called being in the right place at the right time -- with the right qualifications.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Goodbye, Grampa

Al Lewis died yesterday. I am of the generation that grew up with the Munsters (and Adam 12 and Good Times and Chico and the Man and... can you tell the television was a primary companion in my formative years?). I'm feeling an odd sense of loss.

I saw an episode of the Munsters on TVland the other day and was immediately sucked in. It's not really all that funny, at least, not to my 37 year old self. My inner child delighted in it, though, and I have to say that grown up I am now had an almost sublime appreciation for Grampa's sarcasm.

As a little girl, I thought that the show was all about Herman. His bumbling innocence always got him into trouble, and it was up to Grampa and Lily to figure out how to rescue him. Of course, Grampa always did everything he had to to make things "right", but he never did it without first rolling his eyes and wondering out loud why Lily married such an oaf. Even when he was practically at wits' end, though, it was obvious that his family was most important to him, and that's why I loved him.

The Munsters taught me a lot about diversity, maybe even more than Good Times or Sanford and Son or All In The Family. The Munsters didn't have a cultural history of oppression to carry like the Evans family or the Jeffersons did. They weren't different because of the color of their skin (be it green or off-grey); they were different because they were different. They took the lovely Marilyn in as a charity case - poor baby, just LOOK at her; it's the least we can do to give the poor wretch a loving home. They were surprised when people went screaming from the theatre when they arrived in their modified hearse. It was all wonderfully concieved and enthusiastically acted, and I loved it.

So, goodbye, Grampa. There is a generation of thirty-somethings who are noting your passing and wishing you Godspeed.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

An Incessant Buzzing

I can't decide if this thinking belongs on this site or on my work site. I'm thinking I'll put the more personal thinking here, and the English teacher thinking there and call it even.

I just finished reading Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees. I’m almost at a loss for words.

I have a pretty good imagination and can follow along with the best of them. I can create scenes in my head, I can hear characters’ voices, I can sometimes even see into a character’s inner life, the one the author doesn’t quite reveal. I occasionally play a game with myself where I’ll cast a movie of the book I’m reading and I get to decide who plays the leads and who would be the perfect choice for that side character who is a lot more complex and important than we might give them credit for being. I have learned how to read in a very active and engaged way because I’ve had so much good practice in doing just that.

My point is that, because of all my practice, I’m slightly jaded when it comes to reading. I don’t often get “lost” in books; I’m only rarely struck by the depth or enormity or power of a piece of writing. This book is one of perhaps three I can call to immediate memory that sucked me in and refused to let me go.

I find language completely engrossing when it’s crafted and manipulated in such a way that I actually FEEL, in a deep, visceral way, what a character is feeling, and the writing in this book almost made me gasp at its power. Right around page 238, I was surprised to find tears in my eyes. Actual, real tears. Never before has a book had that kind of effect on me (though Stephen King’s The Shining gave me the creeps for about a week after I finished it).

Monk Kidd’s novel spoke to places within me that I usually keep bundled up, that I don’t allow myself or anyone else regular access to. I could feel Lily’s struggle, because I endured a similar one myself and continue to deal with the consequences of it even now, and the act of reading this book let a few things slip from under the doors I keep locked. I’m currently deep in the act of processing and synthesizing and thinking, both about Lily’s story and my own. It is very gratifying, difficult work.

I found myself in the strange, oxymoronic position of wanting desperately to find out what happens next and dreading the turn of every page because it meant that I was that much closer to the end of a story I didn’t want to end. I know for certain that the after-effects of reading this astounding work will be with me at least for the near future.

It was an unexpected stop on my lifelong path to be whole.

It's Just Not RIGHT!

As I sit here writing, it is 44 degrees fahrenheit. It's also February 4th, people. In New England.

In NORMAL winters, we'd be hunkered down in an effort to keep from turning to pink blocks of ice right about now.

The furnace would be cycling on almost constantly (and I'd be stressing about the gas bill).

There would be frostbite advisories on the news and in the crawl across the Weather Channel.

Notices would be sent home from school telling parents not to allow their children to wait for the bus for more than a few minutes, because more than a few minutes in the negative temperatures would surely result in damage to little noses, lips and earlobes.

Many minivans would be seen idling at bus stops, loaded to near-bursting with schoolchildren, acting as heated shelters while the occupants waited for the bus.

We would hit the garage door button in the morning and wonder whether the door would respond, or if it had frozen itself to the driveway overnight.

We would all be dressed in layers - thick socks, flannel-lined jeans, tee shirts under long sleeves under polarfleece. Getting ready to go out would involve boots and mittens and hats and scarves and plenty of Blistex on lips and the tender underside of noses.

But it's 44 degrees out right now. Nope - check that - it just climbed to 45. It feels wrong. For as much as I hate winter in general and am loving the mild weather, I can't help but feel something akin to dread. Will there be another 'shoe' to drop? Will we be buried in snow in March? I find the whole phenomenon slightly disarming, disturbing.

I'm thinking the "global warming" people are right.

Home Again, Home Again!

The Small One is back home, and might I add that we're all silly-happy about it, though perhaps none more so than he. Though he's not thrilled about the twice-daily pills, I'm pretty sure the milk or chicken broth I use to lure him into my orbit are brightening his days, and he's seeming more and more like himself all the time. I have to bring him for a follow-up check next Friday to make sure that everything is flowing just as it should.

Thank you all for your good energy and wishes. I am certain that it helps, and I am grateful.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Coming Home

I called the vet's office this afternoon to check up on the Small One. He's ready to come home, but can't be released until after I speak with a doctor. There won't be a vet back in the office until five, so we're going to go get him tonight.

It will be good to have him back. It's silly how much I've missed him.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Husband called me at work this afternoon at lunch time. He had come home to eat and arrived to a message on the machine from the vet, who told us that Small had a blockage and was in "pretty bad shape" when he was brought in last night (she told Husband last night that if we'd waited until this morning to bring him in, he may not have survived). They've inserted a catheter and he's doing better now, though there were a lot of crystals and blood in his urine. They're going to keep him overnight and at least 24 hours after the catheter is removed, just to be sure everything is flowing the way it should.

I've called and left a message for the doctor for an update, but that's the message she left this morning. I'll let you know if she tells me anything different when she calls back.

I'm so glad it's not an infection. After what happened to him a couple of years ago, I'm not sure his kidneys could take it.

I'll still gratefully take whatever good energy you want to send our way, just in case.