Monday, December 28, 2009

Overheard During Our Trip to Kentucky

My son speaks: "Sissy, you just said your bladder is full, but do you really have a bladder?"
My daughter answers: "Duh!"
My son speaks again: "But you're a girl! Girls don't have bladders, do they?"
(The mother makes no attempt whatsoever to avoid laughing at her 10 year old son.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Planning at its Best

How is it that just two days ago I was done shopping, had a menu planned, and expected to have nothing to do on Christmas Eve other than attend church?
How is it that I now have more shopping to do, nothing in the house for dinner, and not a single gift wrapped?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


May the excitement of this season be kept alive in the promise of the new year.
Merry Christmas to all.

Checkered, Caution and family

Monday, December 21, 2009

Where Did Time Go?

They made the long journey back to Michigan for her grandmother's funeral this past week-end. At some point during that ordeal, the snow was falling romantically over a frozen lake, and the moment was just right.

She accepted his proposal of marriage, and now we have a reason to go to Texas in a year or so to see Checkered's niece begin the next stage of her life with her oh, so sweet groom-to-be.

We won't mind that trip one bit.

The Beauty of a Woman's Mind

I sat next to an acquaintance last week at a scout meeting. We've never talked much, although we have served on the same committee for the past six months. But when has the lack of a friendship stopped women from talking?

During that hour and a half meeting, she and I:
discussed her hysterectomy,
actively participated in the meeting,
sang Christmas carols,
discussed her children,
discussed my children,
made tie/fleece blankets to donate to a shelter,
learned about each other's jobs,
shared our opinions of certain teachers,
interacted with several other families,
discussed roller coaster libidos, and
took our scouts to visit with Santa.
she made a brief presentation
and she may have learned as much about me as I did about her.

It was a very fulfilling night, and it made me once again appreciate the amazing
multi-tasking mind of women.

P.S. When I Googled "female symbols" why did I get images of butt-lifts?

Friday, December 18, 2009

FF: Discombobulated

~She was very sick and we were rushing to get to the clinic when she brushed her teeth. My poor girl, who may have been without her contacts, brushed with Desitin. Diaper rash ointment in the mouth is not a good thing.

~And so we begin yet another week of:
Mommy's Idea
I do love Friday Fragments so much that I am considering blogging only on Fridays. Seriously.

~The other day, as windchills dipped below zero, someone asked me why we all continued to live in Michigan. I replied that we were here because we still had jobs. The woman froze and glared at me. It was such an odd reaction to something I never intended as bragging.

~The unnatural affection I feel for the new Walmart by my house is a bit unsettling.

~Men need to stop wearing clogs and crocs. Right now.

~Men also need to stop wearing slippers to my classes.

~I love the students I worked with this term who were always agreeable and thought English class wasn't as bad as they had feared. Godspeed to you all (or most of you, anyway.)

~In yet another rush to get out the door one day, I was slightly annoyed when my 7 year old continued to ask for his sunglasses. In my most lecture-ific voice, I reminded him that if he put his sunglasses away like I do, he would know exactly where they were. "Now, get in the car! You'll have to go without your sunglasses today!!" Still he remained rooted to one spot. "But, Mommy, why are YOU wearing MY sunglasses?" And so I was.

~A friend from my college days lives in Maine. He noticed on Facebook that my son's tie was crooked and he reached all the way through the Internet to Michigan to fix that tie. I am amazed!

~And finally, my youngest boy has not been able to complete any writing assignments at school for quite some time and we are on a long journey to understand and to diagnose this and some other Asperger-like symptoms. However, this same sweet child wrote us a story one night in his bed and then wrapped it and put it under the tree all by himself. It was truly a labor of love and should be about the most precious gift I've ever received.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Procrastinating ... Again

It is not only the season of baking, shopping, and menu planning, but it's the season of final exams. As I work my way through the last 60 essays and 120 quizzes (because I NEVER get behind in my grading) I thought you might enjoy a quiz or two.

2. Just so you know, I'm Rudolph. The glowing nose will take some getting used to.

Which Christmas Character Are You?


OK, so maybe you won't go down in history for having a glowing nose or being heckled by the reindeer gang (thank goodness), but like your Christmas counterpart, you're a good friend who'll stick with the people you love through thick and thin.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

Quizzes and Personality Tests

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Outdoing Myself at Decorating

The same spirit which motivated me to unpack my 16 year old wedding gifts last summer has now motivated me once again. If this keeps happening, there is no telling what the future of my basement looks like.

When we were first united in wedded bliss, my parents gave us several pieces of the Department 56 New England Village series. During those same years, Checkered's mom gave us a few pieces of the Dickens Village series. Then his dad and stepmother gave us a few more pieces.

Our true delight in receiving those gifts in no way influenced our decision to carefully pack away every single one of those pieces for a time when:

~we would have room to display them properly,
~we would not have babies or toddlers who would delight in destroying exploring each piece ,
~we would have a complete collection to display.

Once in a grand while, I would accidentally see one of those boxes and think, "Just a few more years and I'll be able to open it!" It did seem tragic that at the rate I was going, I would be ready to open the boxes and display the pieces about the same time we would need to liquedate our belongings and move into assisted living.

Enter peer pressure and perhaps an admission of my languishing basement-kept villages. Alas, I now have a small New England Village living on the landing of my stairs. The bright orange utility cord running up the wall can be, if you squint just right, a vertical power line. It's those small touches that make my decorating so very special.

We can't wait until another 16 years passes so I can unpack the Dickens Village which remains safely packed away in the basement. Just a little something to look forward to in 2025.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Putting in my Audience Time

It is the season of music here. Not only has Checkered been listening to Christmas music since November 1, but this is the week of plays and recitals. Sunday was the Christmas play at church where two of our boys did some acting. See the leukemia/hope shirt? Checkered made that. He's a mighty talented guy!

This boy made us proud just by being in front of a crowd - a very difficult challenge for him. He never sang a single word or did the hand motions, but he stood there up there the entire time, and that was wonderful.

Last night was a vocal recital. Our daughter did admirably when the accompaniment track played for her was NOT the track she had used in rehearsal. Our son? Well, he enjoys the spotlight.

Tonight is the high school choir concert, and then we're done until January when the kids' musicals begin.

Honestly, I think the entertainment value has been amazing.

Monday, December 14, 2009


"What in the world am I looking at?" you say. Well, look closer!

Oh, yes. I am done being a student!!! And by the end of the week, my own students' grades will be submitted and I am going to read a book! Preferably, it will be a book that makes me smile or even laugh, that has a touch of love and is maybe even sexy, and has a happy ending.

Now, would you please tell me what the title of that book is so that I can get to the library ASAP?

Friday, December 11, 2009

We Didn't Plan it this Way, but ...

Happy 1st decade, sweet boy, and welcome to double digits!! We love everything about you: your gifted mind, your sensitive heart, your passion for the arts. We think it's pretty neat that you were born on our anniversary, and if you're sure that you want to have your birthday dinner at Taco Bell tonight, well ... we're okay with that, too :)
Happy 1.6 decades to us, Checkered. I would not have missed these years with you for anything. Love you forever !
(But why did it take 16 years for me to learn that husbands don't love Christmas sweaters?)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Child #3 Speaks

To celebrate Child #3's first decade, I've allowed him to take over the blog for today. In his words:
This is a story for my cousins - especially Julia and Fuzzy.

A Very Strange Day

One day I was up on my loft bed trying to take a nap when I heard, "Muchacho!" I looked down and saw a ... cabbage? Now wait one darn second, I thought, cabbage isn't supposed to talk!
It only took a second, but that crazy thing jumped right onto my bed and rammed my stomach. I could NOT believe that talking cabbage was beating me up. I tried as hard as I could stop the malevolent cabbage, but it continued to beat me up.
I had no choice. I grabbed the top of it and threw it off the bed. What happened next was very weird. It exploded.
Suddenly, my room got dark. I looked outside and saw tens and thousands of cabbages. All of them were chanting, "Mu - cha - cho! Mu - cha - cho!"
It was horrible. People were tied up with tape around their mouths and bandannas covered their eyes. I wondered, "Am I the only survivor left?" A chill went down my spine. Then I heard a loud crashing noise and looked downstairs only to see cabbages pouring in the door.
"NO! NO! NOOOOOOO!" I screamed.
That was when I woke up, rolled over, and saw ... a cabbage next to me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Playing at Being Cerebral

My husband and I love Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum. When it was announced that a Lego display was coming, we knew what we had to do. For Checkered and me, what we had to do was find a day where no one had any other time obligation. What our daughter knew she had to do was find something, anything to do that didn't include being dragged through the museum and village AGAIN. For our boys, it meant begging and hounding and planning until their parents actually agreed to go.

We walked in and found this glorious Lego display of downtown Detroit. It was detailed and had moving components. It was so wonderful that we couldn't wait to find the actual exhibit. When we did, we were disappointed. There were a few smaller but detailed castles, but overall, a mighty weak display.

Fortunately, we found a pretty tree.

My son's favorite "hippy" van.

And my favorite mode of transportation.

The boys agreed: the Lego exhibit at the Henry Ford wasn't worth the visit.

During the day, I learned that my vest was insufficient protection against the weather, and chivalrous Checkered gave me his jacket. That was a very sweet and sexy move. Too bad the pockets turned my fingers yellow - even if the photo didn't capture the color so well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What's Good About Christmas?

Today's Tuesday meme is 10 great things about Christmas.

  • work goes away for a few days, but we know (hope) we have jobs to return to afterward
  • my parents will be here!!
  • my children's moods and behavior are exceptionally lovely
  • lots of fires to sit by and warm-up
  • new recipes to try
  • board games
  • hugs from most every friend I see
  • the music
  • the joy my children have in giving to me
  • the way my child insists that we start the day by singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.

Now, what have I left out? Any ideas, SITStas?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Drowning in Pharmaceuticals

Sometimes it doesn't matter how pretty or smart or creative you are. If you have asthma and it collides with bronchitis, life gets pretty yucky for a few days.
Feel better quickly, sweet girl.

Friday, December 4, 2009

FF: All Over the Place with this Post

Friday Fragments?

My daughter's choir is performing at the Detroit Opera House today. I deeply regret not spending the $75 to be there. She balked at the idea of holding a little recorder for me. Go figure.

Why would a doctor rely on a one-page survey to diagnose and allow that survey to override social evidence? Why don't any of these doctors want to hear what the teacher with her 25 years of experience and two years with my child has to say?

Checkered loves those new dark blues, purples, and greens so popular in Christmas colors. They evoke something dear from his childhood. The only thing he remembers in that color is a bowl of dark blue bulbs. But, boy, what a strong emotional reaction when he sees those colors.

Guess what color lights are on our tree this year...?

I wonder what will take my own kids back to their childhoods when they're grown.

Last Sunday during church, my 12 year old got my wedding ring stuck on his finger. After spending the first two sermon points getting the ring off, he gave it to my youngest son who ... yes, who put it on HIS middle finger where it got really stuck. I really am not sure what the sermon was about.

That same younger son told me he doesn't believe now. I worried that he meant Santa, but then was stricken with guilt and wondered if he meant God. What he meant was Rudolf because a red nose really couldn't help someone see in the fog now, could it?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Good Life

Her master says there are very clear parameters governing where Pepper may and may not be.

The other people who live in the house are a bit more indulgent.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Commuting with my Girl

6:36 am and we're late. She tells me as we fly through the neighborhood that her throat is raw and she might throw up. I glance her way and lovingly say, "But you can't get sick; your ortho appointments have taken all your absences."

With one eye on teen-agers dressed entirely in black and walking down the middle of the darkened street and the other eye on the bus that might already be at the stop and a third eye checking to see if her prophecy of throwing up has been fulfilled, I add, "Besides that, I have a mammogram today so I won't be home most of the morning."

"A what?" she begins, "Oh... ewwww. Why do you always have to talk about stuff like that?! It's 6.30 in the morning. You're sick!" And the car door slams shut.

Pondering her question during my drive back home, I decide that I "always have to talk about stuff like that" because:

I am a woman
I am of a certain age
I enjoy her reaction.

Now, the decision is what to discuss tomorrow morning. Gyn visits or colonoscopies?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What I'm Not Getting This Year

The meme theme today is 10 things I want but will never buy for myself. How to do this without sounding entire self-indulgent?

How about:

world peace

the end of poverty

a cure for all things...?

Okay, fine. I will get a bit more honest. The real list starts now.

a Kindle or some such thing

new furniture for the family room


tickets to somewhere sunny and tropical

dinner that doesn't involve WW or ground turkey, beans, or high fiber


a little nip and tuck

a new floor for the kitchen

someone to finish my botched bathroom remodel


a really fast boat.

What's on your non-list this year?