Monthly Archives: November 2010

Honesty, Not The Best Policy

Today a subject of my church affiliation came up in conversation with a member of a different department. (We were talking about daycare, and how expensive it is. She asked if the church we go to have a school attached to it. I admitted that we currently don’t go to church, and that I feel it is wrong to join a church just to take advantage of the (virtually) free daycare.) The guys in my department all know about my currently unchurched state, but it is not something that is widely known outside of my circle of work friends. For those of you who know where I work, I am sure you can understand why.

I will not lie about my church attendance (or lack thereof) if asked about it. Still, I wonder if my honesty will come back to bite me in the butt, as just about everything else I do does.

And on this appropriately gloomy note, NaBloPoMo is over.

Sad news

I called my OBGYN’s office today, trying to see if I can schedule an appointment. This time, the receptionist was more forthcoming with details. My doctor has cancer, and the prognosis is not good. He is on medical leave until the end of the year, going through chemo. They will know after that if he is coming back or not.

This man delivered my three children into the world, treated me with respect and kindness, made me feel good about myself when I was down. He is not even 50 years old. It seems so unfair that I might never see him alive again. For some reason, the news hit me harder than finding out about the cancer diagnosis of Bill’s two cousins.

I am planning on driving to his office sometime this week, to drop off a card. I hope I will find the right words to say.

I am thankful I did not kill anybody

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Thanksgiving recap:

We are hosting. There are going to be 6 adults and 4 children, total. People are planning to arrive at 1:30 pm.

Wednesday night I feel horrible, and crawl into bed at 7:30 am. The house is thoroughly trashed, but I am too sick to care.

Thursday morning. Bill is supposed to take the kids to his Mom’s, so I can clean in peace. They don’t leave until 10 am. The house is even more trashed than it was on Wednesday night.

11:30 am. The dishwasher is running, and the kitchen counters are clean. I have two diaper boxes of various junk for my efforts.

12:00 pm. Bill calls to let me know his aunt will be running late. Good thing, since by that time only half of the great room is cleaned up.

1:30 pm. I have started washing the kitchen floor. Glad the arrival time has been pushed back!

2:30 pm. Declare house clean. Start peeling potatoes.

3 pm. Company arrives.

The company was good, turkey was good, the stuffing was good, my mashed potatoes were declared a success, and kids returned the house back to its trashed state by next morning.

Don’t Drink and Bake

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Tuesday night did not go as planned. Mel became the latest victim of the plague Xavier has been spreading, so it was just me and the kids. Oh, and my bottle of 24% proof brandy cordial. I was taking a sip here and there while kid-wrangling, and once they were all in bed, I finished my glass, poured another, and decided to bake some cookies. Apparently being slightly inebriated makes me think I can bake. Considering that prior to Tuesday night I have made only two kinds of desserts (apple crisp in the slow cooker OR apple crisp in the oven), you can see that alcohol gave me delusions of competence.

For my first foray into baking, I chose Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies from Baking Bites. Because, you know, a recipe from the oatmeal container is not good enough for us baking goddesses. No, I needed to bake BEST OATMEAL COOKIES EVAR! Cue the ominous music.

Step 1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until mixture is light in color. Hmmm? How do I cream the butter? It sounds vaguely sexual and naughty. Some frantic googling later, it appears a mixer is involved. Except we don’t own one. More frantic googling later, has a solution.

Step 1a. Beat the butter with a wooden spoon… Like how? Just whack it with the flat part? It is not impressed. I end up stabbing butter with the edge of a spoon. Stab stabbity stab. Take another sip of cordial. Stab butter some more. Declare it beaten into submission.

Step 1b. …use the bottom of a fork’s tines to gently mash [butter and sugars] together… Gently? It’s butter and sugar, not Waterford crystal. What’s going to happen? Screw gentle. Mash mash mash. Drink some more cordial. Declare it mashed, though since I can’t judge volumes I have no idea if the mix had doubled in volume or not.

Step 2. Beat in the eggs one at a time. This is where I realize that we have jumbo eggs, and the recipe calls for large. Is jumbo bigger than large, or smaller? Decide not to bother googling, since I am not about to divide raw eggs into fractions.

The rest of the process goes OK. By the time the oats and chocolate chips are stirred in, I can barely move the wooden spoon. Who’d have thought cookie dough is so dense?

Step Whatever. Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet. How do you make a one-inch ball of dough, anyway? I try the ice cream scooper. We have the wrong kind, and the dough clings to it like a lover. Switching to spoon. Anticipating severely deformed cookies.

11 minutes later, the first batch of cookies is out. They have a death grip on the parchment paper, and refuse to let go. I drink more cordial and scrape them off with a metal scraper. This is when Bill comes home from work, and I inform him that baking while drunk-ish was probably a dumb idea.

Surprisingly, the cookies turn out edible. I make a few more batches before the alcohol catches up with me, and I am too tired to stay awake. The remainder of the dough survives three nights in the freezer, and my experiment is officially over as of Friday morning, when I bake the rest of the cookies.

You Are Getting Sleepy….

Today was our parent-teacher meeting at OldestOne’s school. I am always slightly terrified of the meetings (“What if the teachers hate my kid? What if the teachers hate me? What if my kid is an unholy terror? What if I say something stupid? What if Husband says something stupid? What if everything is going horribly wrong?” – you get the idea), and far, they have always went well. Still, I continue to freak out, because deep down I am sure that the day I have no fears about meeting my kids teachers will be the day when the midden hits the windmill (thank you, Terry Pratchett, for this lovely turn of phrase).

OldestOne has been blessed with lovely teachers; this years’ crop is no exception. They are nice, caring, and seem genuinely invested in helping OldestOne achieve his highest potential. They also don’t seem to think that Husband and I are too weird, which we appreciate.

The meeting went well. OldestOne is making good progress in his academic and social skills; he functions best one-on-one or in a small group; we need to work more on getting him to use appropriate tone of voice (he likes to get loud), and on listening and following directions. We also saw the daily schedule in pictures thingie that they use to help OldestOne navigate his day; I am seriously thinking of adapting it for home use with all three kids.

The best part of these meetings are the stories the teachers tell about OldestOne. The winner, from his Special Ed teacher: OldestOne was not listening and following directions, so she was giving him a spiel about it (not for the first time). OldestOne, not in the mood for a lecture, waived his hands in front of her face and intoned, “You are getting sleepy! You are getting sleepy!”

The runner up: Seeing that OldestOne added arms and legs to the different shapes he had to draw.

That Time of the Month

Yup, it’s haircut time for the menfolk!

Armed with my trusty Wahl trimmer with attachments #4 (for the boys) and #6 (for the Husband), I have commenced the shearing.

There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm, but once candy was mentioned as potential reward, MiddleOne and OldestOne started to fight who’ll get to sit on the chair of torture first.

I opted for MiddleOne. He has such fine thin hair, I am not even sure why we bother trying to cut it. Still, he did his best to sit still, and was done in five minutes or so.

OldestOne was next. He has the best hair in our family – thick and fast growing, and it is always noticeable when he gets a cut. Unfortunately, sitting still is not his strong point, but after ten or so minutes, he too was done.

YoungestOne has not been having a good day so far (he boycotted the new coat; was cool to me, cried at every opportunity and made more opportunities to cry), and a haircut was the last straw. He wept through it all, eventually ending up with a mouth full of hair. We felt bad, but the raspberry noises he made trying to clean his tongue very too funny.

After YoungestOne took his injured dignity away, it was Husband’s turn. I am sure he is freaking out inside every time I attack him with a trimmer, but he was a good example to the boys and manfully kept still and silent.

Now if only someone would give me a haircut…

Occasional Cuteness and Other Weekend Musings

This morning, Sergey walked into our bedroom and announced, “Look, shirt pants!” He put his legs into the sleeves of his shirt, making the aforementioned shirt into pants. We were amused.

We ended up splitting kid care this weekend. On Saturday, Bill took care of the kids in the morning, and then I took them to gymnastics while he went to work. At gymnastics, I have managed to acquire extra kids, since we bring bionicles and legos with us, and other mothers gladly let their kids play with mine while they (mothers) relax. I don’t mind (because it keeps my kids entertained, too), but I do find it funny. Our gymnastics have wi-fi, so I could catch up on emails and socializing (yay Facebook for iPod app). Then my friend Rachel got there with her boys, and we got to hang out a bit. After gymnastics, I called my parents on Skype, and they watched the kids being goofy. Mel came over around 4:30, enabling me to do a quick run to the library and a surgical strike to Pick’n’Save for apples and ice cream. I went to the mega-Pick’n’Save, and it’s huge! Took me a while to find my two items ;) Bill got home with the pizza, I made apple crisp, Bill gave the kids a bath, and that was that. We watched an episode of Vampire Diaries, and I was in bed by midnight. Oh, and I managed to do dishes and laundry, too, and take down Halloween window clings upstairs.

Today Bill watched the kids while I had the day to myself. I slept in (as much as one can while being interrupted by screaming children, but still), had lunch and did more dishes, then put Xavier to bed and went to work. My mother-in-law, who was supposed to come over around noon, did not show up until 2:30, and apparently left without putting the kids to bed (which was the plan). I am not surprised, but I am annoyed at how unreliable she is.

I started feeling sick an hour or so after I got to work, so instead of being productive I cleaned up my office. *sigh* Time to go home and go to bed (or possibly throw up). The fun, it never ends.

So not surprised

Today at gymnastics, the boys got pieces of paper with the next class they should take. MiddleIOne moved up a level. OldestOne is staying where he was. I wonder how the new schedule will work out. And I can’t figure out what class MiddleOne will be in, because I have accidentally washed that piece of paper. Somebody please shoot me now.

[updated half an hour later] After checking my jeans pockets and finding absolutely nothing, I had an epiphany and remembered that I used MiddleOne’s class placement piece of paper as a bookmark, in order to not lose it. So now I know that he will be in Tiny Tot, and OldestOne will be in Beginner I. If anybody sees my brain wandering around looking lost, please return it to me. I promise to be nicer to it this time around :-)

The Green-Eyed Monster

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I have been so jealous of other people lately. I know I should be focusing on all the good things I have, but instead all I can see is what I lack.

  • I am jealous that my cousin’s daughter is bilingual (even though I have not put an effort to teach my kids Russian)
  • I am jealous that my friends’ kids can read, and mine cannot (even though I haven’t made an effort to teach them)
  • I am jealous that other people have fulfilling jobs (even though I have not looked for a new job, or tried to improve the one I have)
  • I am jealous that other people are on top of things (even though I opt to waste my time on web surfing and reading books)

I don’t think I like myself very much.

Eau de Vomit

Tonight was our Thursday Group Night with Eric, Shannon, and their kids. Since Thursdays are also Bill’s all-day-meetings-no-idea-when-he-will-get-home day, the responsibility for cooking has fallen onto my shoulders. Are you as afraid as I am? You should be.

I got a pot roast going in the morning, and made apple crisp when the kids and I got home.

While I was making the crisp, Xavier threw up on the couch.

After dinner (pot roast turned out OK, but the meat has given up a lot of water, to the point that the veggies were floating in it), Shannon, Beth, Sergey, and I went to Joanne’s Fabrics so that Shannon could pick out some craft supplies for Thanksgiving turkeys she will be making with Alex this weekend. Sergey had a great time looking at all the cool craft supplies (and asking me to buy them all, to which my standard reply was, “I have no money, I bought a t-shirt today already“).

When we got home, Bill told me that Xavier threw up on the kitchen floor.

We ate the crisp (which turned out really well); Eric, Shannon, Alex, and Beth left; Bill gave the puke-smelling Xavier a bath; now-clean-smelling X came downstairs to get me (because he is refusing falling asleep in his own bed); we got all comfy in the guest bedroom, me with “Raised by Wolves,” him with Rabbit and Horsey.

Half an hour later, Xavier threw up all over the guest bed.

And this brings us up to now. X is asleep on the papasan pillow, hugging Rabbit and Horsey who mostly escaped the puke; Bill is raiding in WoW; and I am waiting for a load of laundry to get done (sheets, pillowcases, and mattress cover) so that I can put the pillows through the wash next…’s Top 100 Romances, November 2007

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All About Romance polls its readers to determine the Top 100 Romances. 2010 poll just closed; in my typical disorganized fashion, I forgot to submit a list, but I can’t wait to see the results. In the meantime, here is the list for 2007. I boldfaced the ones I read (or, in case of Diana Gabaldon, the ones waiting to be read):

  1. Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase (Eur Hist, 1995)
  2. Dreaming of You, Lisa Kleypas (Eur Hist, 1994)
  3. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (Classic, 1813)
  4. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon (Time-Travel, 1991)
  5. Flowers From The Storm, Laura Kinsale (Eur Hist, 1992)
  6. Slightly Dangerous, Mary Balogh (Eur Hist, 2004)
  7. Devil In Winter, Lisa Kleypas (Eur Hist, 2006)
  8. Bet Me, Jennifer Crusie (Contemporary, 2004)
  9. Welcome to Temptation, Jennifer Crusie (Contemporary, 2000)
  10. The Viscount Who Loved Me, Julia Quinn (Eur Hist, 2000)
  11. Lover Awakened, J.R. Ward (Paranomal, 2006)
  12. Mr. Impossible, Loretta Chase (Eur Hist, 2005)
  13. The Duke and I, Julia Quinn (Eur Hist, 2000)
  14. It Had To Be You, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Contemporary, 1994)
  15. Lord Perfect, Loretta Chase (Eur Hist, 2006)
  16. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Julia Quinn (Eur Hist, 2002)
  17. The Bride, Julie Garwood (Medieval, 1989)
  18. Mr. Perfect, Linda Howard (Contemporary, 2000)
  19. Naked In Death, J.D. Robb (Futuristic, 1995)
  20. A Summer To Remember, Mary Balogh (Eur Hist, 2002)
  21. Nobody’s Baby But Mine, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Contemporary, 1997)
  22. Dream Man, Linda Howard (Romantic Suspense, 1995)
  23. The Raven Prince, Elizabeth Hoyt (Eur Hist, 2006)
  24. Paradise, Judith McNaught (Contemporary, 1991)
  25. As You Desire, Connie Brockway (Historical, 1997)
  26. MacKenzie’s Mountain, Linda Howard (Contemporary, 1989)
  27. Dark Lover, J.R. Ward (Paranormal, 2005)
  28. The Secret, Julie Garwood (Medieval, 1992)
  29. Son Of The Morning, Linda Howard (Time-Travel, 1997)
  30. Lover Eternal, J.R. Ward (Paranormal, 2006)
  31. Devil’s Bride, Stephanie Laurens (Eur Hist, 1998)
  32. A Knight in Shining Armor, Jude Deveraux (Time-Travel, 1989)
  33. Heaven, Texas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Contemporary, 1995)
  34. To Have and To Hold, Patricia Gaffney (Eur Hist, 1995)
  35. Almost Heaven, Judith McNaught (Eur Hist, 1990)
  36. Match Me If You Can, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Contemporary, 2005)
  37. The Shadow and The Star, Laura Kinsale (Historical, 1991)
  38. Cry No More, Linda Howard (Contemporary, 2003)
  39. A Kingdom of Dreams, Judith McNaught (Medieval, 1989)
  40. Over the Edge, Suzanne Brockmann (Contemporary, 2001)
  41. Sea Swept, Nora Roberts (Contemporary, 1998)
  42. Ravished, Amanda Quick (Eur Hist, 1992)
  43. Then Came You, Lisa Kleypas (Eur Hist, 1993)
  44. To Die For, Linda Howard (Contemporary, 2005)
  45. Something Wonderful, Judith McNaught (Eur Hist, 1988)
  46. This Heart of Mine, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Contemporary, 2001)
  47. The Serpent Prince, Elizabeth Hoyt (Eur Hist, 2007)
  48. Suddenly You, Lisa Kleypas (Eur Hist, 2001)
  49. The Proposition, Judith Ivory (Eur Hist, 1999)
  50. Honors Splendor, Julie Garwood (Medieval, 1987)
  51. Saving Grace, Julie Garwood (Medieval, 1993)
  52. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (Classic, 1847)
  53. When He Was Wicked, Julia Quinn (Eur Hist, 2004)
  54. Persuasion, Jane Austen (Classic, 1818)
  55. All Through The Night, Connie Brockway (Eur Hist, 1997)
  56. It Happened One Autumn, Lisa Kleypas (Eur Hist, 2005)
  57. Born In Fire, Nora Roberts (Contemporary, 1994)
  58. Thunder and Roses, Mary Jo Putney (Eur Hist, 1993)
  59. Kiss An Angel, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Contemporary, 1996)
  60. Out Of Control, Suzanne Brockmann (Contemporary, 2002)
  61. After The Night, Linda Howard (Contemporary, 1995)
  62. Lady Sophia’s Lover, Lisa Kleypas (Eur Hist, 2002)
  63. The Secret Pearl, Mary Balogh (Eur Hist, 1991)
  64. Once and Always, Judith McNaught (Eur Hist, 1987)
  65. More Than A Mistress, Mary Balogh (Eur Hist, 2000)
  66. Untie My Heart, Judith Ivory (Eur Hist, 2002)
  67. See Jane Score, Rachel Gibson (Contemporary, 2003)
  68. The Rake, Mary Jo Putney (Eur Hist, 1998)
  69. Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon (Time-Travel, 1992)
  70. Perfect, Judith McNaught (Contemporary, 1993)
  71. Whitney, My Love, Judith McNaught (Eur Hist, 1985)
  72. The Duke, Gaelen Foley (Eur Hist, 2000)
  73. One Perfect Rose, Mary Jo Putney (Eur Hist, 1997)
  74. Shattered Rainbows, Mary Jo Putney (Eur Hist, 1996)
  75. The Windflower, Laura London (Historical/Pirate, 1984)
  76. Dream A Little Dream, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Contemporary, 1998)
  77. Frederica, Georgette Heyer (Classic, 1965)
  78. Passion, Lisa Valdez (Eur Hist, 2005)
  79. Voyager, Diana Gabaldon (Time-Travel, 1994)
  80. The Lady’s Tutor, Robin Schone (Eur Hist, 1999)
  81. Morning Glory, Lavyrle Spencer (Amer Hist, 1990)
  82. Worth Any Price, Lisa Kleypas (Eur Hist, 2003)
  83. Winter Garden, Adele Ashworth (Eur Hist, 2000)
  84. My Dearest Enemy, Connie Brockway (Eur Hist, 1998)
  85. Where Dreams Begin, Lisa Kleypas (Eur Hist, 2000)
  86. Devil’s Cub, Georgette Heyer (Classic, 1932)
  87. Gone Too Far, Suzanne Brockmann (Contemporary, 2003)
  88. Anyone But You, Jennifer Crusie (Contemporary, 1996)
  89. For My Lady’s Heart, Laura Kinsale (Medieval, 1993)
  90. Rising Tides, Nora Roberts (Contemporary, 1998)
  91. Lover Revealed, J.R. Ward (Paranormal, 2007)
  92. Open Season, Linda Howard (Contemporary, 2001)
  93. Born In Ice, Nora Roberts (Contemporary, 1996)
  94. Ransom, Julie Garwood (Medieval, 1999)
  95. Venetia, Georgette Heyer (Classic, 1958)
  96. Miss Wonderful, Loretta Chase (Eur Hist, 2004)
  97. Ain’t She Sweet, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Contemporary, 2004)
  98. The Notorious Rake, Mary Balogh (Eur Hist, 1992)
  99. The Prize, Julie Garwood (Medieval, 1991)
  100. Slave To Sensation, Nalini Singh (Paranormal, 2006)