Saturday, December 31, 2005

Defiant Socks

As requested by Running2Ks, my defiant socks.

They are made of warm, machine washable, knitted silk. My grandma sent them to me last birthday. I love them.

9:01 PM, New Year's Eve

I'm the only one awake in the house. The only noise is that of my computer keyboard. Muffin Man's classical lullabye CD stopped playing about a half-hour ago and the dryer stopped 2 minutes ago (Wait a sec while I change loads. Done.)

I owe you folks some pictures:

Here's our tree as it looked a week ago.

Here's Muffin Man opening Madagascar from BigSister and her family.

We've watched it three times already. And as you can see behind him, he got lots of other presents as well. He's a very happy boy.

I hope you all have a happy and healthy New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2005

He likes it! He likes it!

Muffin Man went to visit PNP this morning and stayed through lunch. I'm happy to report that he:

Went to art class (I'll post the picture later)
Went to Spanish Class
Went to Gym (BIG BEACH BALL!)
Ate all his apples and carrots and had two bites of the sloppy joe
Enjoyed himself thoroughly and can't wait to go back!


Most of this was with no parent in view of Muffin Man. MM could be seen on the closed circut tv (viewed on a flat-screen monitor the size of Wyoming) in the lobby.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I have so many aunts and uncles that I'd insult about 20 people if I said that one or the other was my favorite, but just between you and me, Uncle-Tandem-Bicycle is my favorite.

He's the one who gave gift certificates for Haagen Daz for all occasions. He's the one who had great toys and would get down on the floor with me and play. He's the one who biked across country, through Europe, up the east coast.

He and Aunt-Tandem-Bicycle adopted my cousin Sweet-and-Shy from Russia last year. I can't think of anyone more cut out to be parents than these wonderful people. Seeing them with their daughter, the three of them so glowing and happy, makes me get all choked up.

And he's also the one who taught me to sing "Herman the Hanukah Candle" instead of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" so I wouldn't offend elderly conservative aunties and uncles during candle-lighting time.

For all of you on this fourth night of Hanukah, here are the words:

Herman the Hanukah Candle
had a very shiny light
and if you ever saw it
you would even say it's bright.
All of the other candles
used to laugh and call him names
they never let poor Herman
join in any Hanukah games

Then one rainy Hanukah night,
the rabbi came to say,
"Herman with your light so bright
won't you be my shamash* tonight?"
Then how the candles loved him
And they shouted out with glee
"Herman the Hanukah candle
you'll go down in history!"

* the candle that's in the middle of the traditional menorah. On all menorahs it's placed on a higher spot than the rest. You light it first and then light the other candles with its flame.

CD recommendation

Christine Lavin has a holiday CD that I received for Christmas. Half the songs on the album have grabbed hold of me and won't let go, and I've forced others to listen to them too. This is some of the prettiest a capella music I've ever heard. Highlights include "Dona Nobis Pacem" and "Tacobel Canon" (beautiful and tasty!), and "A New Year's Round".

The CD also includes two stories I'm probably not going to listen to again, and 5 songs that are good, but not great. But the other 7 songs, those songs are being played over and over. So peaceful, so glorious.

How nice is PNP?

PNP is beyond anything I've ever seen.

* It has 4 full-time directors (as opposed to last daycare which went through 7 directors in less than 4 years)
* Included in the price are daily half-hour sessions in music, computers, art, library-time, and movement with their own dedicated rooms and teachers.
* There's an indoor gym for inclement weather.
* There's an outdoor water-play area with sprinkler installations for summertime play.
* Not one of the toys was broken.
* The front desk is always staffed.
* You can't get into the place without being buzzed in or getting your fingerprint scanned (no more codes that don't change often enough/are changed without letting parents know what the damned code is).
* You can't get OUT of the place without pushing a button that's out of most kids' reach (no more kids escaping and running loose in the parking lot - and yes, that really happened at the old place).
* All of the kids looked happy.
* The director who showed us around knew the name of EVERY kid she saw (as opposed to the newest director at the old place who consistently mis-said Muffin Man's name - if his name were Larry, she'd have called him Barry or Jerry).

And did I mention that all the kids looked happy?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Jane! Jane! Stop this crazy thing!

*Muffin Man's new bed arrives January 3rd (a week from tomorrow)
*Posh New Place (the daycare designed by Disney) called and he can start January 4th.
*Mr. Spock will be abroad on business for three weeks starting January 7th.

I'm having an asthma attack.

It's here!

My Holiday of Your Choice Gift Extraveganza present arrived yesterday all the way from Canada. It jingles!!! I can't wait to open it. January 14th is sooooooo far away!

That's my boy

The day before Christmas we went over to Uncle-He's-Younger-Than-Mr-Spock and Aunt-She's-Two-Years-Older-Than-Me's house to celebrate and shmooze. Muffin Man had a good time playing with his cousins (really, my cousins but they're 8 (adopted daughter of different aunt and uncle), 7, 5 and 3) and their cousins (5, 3, and 10 months)

Sometime during the afternoon, TellsDonaldDuckStories, Uncle-He's-Younger-Than-Mr-Spock, 7-year-old cousin, Aunt-She's-Two-Years-Older-Than-Me's brother and brother in law all started up a touch football game. Muffin Man watched for a while and then joined in, the only one of the three three-year-old boys to want to play with the "Big Boys".

The first time Muffin Man got pushed down, he ran crying to me. I asked him if he was hurt, he answered "No, but they PUSHED me!!!"

"You're playing football, sweetie. Pushing is okay in football. It's not okay other times, but it's okay in football." He stopped crying immediately, hopped off my lap and went back into the game.

The day AFTER Christmas, we went to pick out a big boy bed for him (a gift from my MIL). He looked at all the choices and ran straight to a dark walnut sleigh bed. "I like THIS one!" He shouted. "IT'S PINK!!!!" And indeed, it had a pink comforter and pink pillows shaped like hearts.

Unfortunately, it did not have extra storage underneath or in the headboard, which is something I'd like him to have. So Mr. Spock looked at the other choices and we tried to guide Muffin Man over to a more practical choice. "NO! I want the PINK ONE!!!"

Suddenly, I had a flash of inspiration. I pulled the pink comforter and pillows off the sleigh bed and put them on the captain's bed. "What do you think, now? Do you like this one?"

"Yes! This one! This one!"

So my little manly football player is going to have a little manly captain's bed with cubbies and drawers and pink sheets with pink heart-shaped pillows.

That's my boy.

Monday, December 26, 2005


Alton Brown is a god.

Truly. His method of cooking Prime Rib makes, bar none, the best piece of cow flesh I've ever eaten.

And I was not alone in this assessment. My mother, my stepfather and Mr. Spock all passed out from the glory that was this perfect standing rib roast.

Wegman's gets kudos, too. Their meat department surpasses all others.

And the rest of Christmas went well too.

Pictures to come later.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The tree is decorated, the presents wrapped...

QuiltsAlot is reading aloud to Muffin Man. He is in his jammies, brushed and washed and ready for bed.

We put out grain for the reindeer and cookies for Santa. All that's left is the stockings and Santa does that!

Merry Christmas to you all and Happy Hanukah too. And big hugs. Lots of them. Especially for Phantom Scribbler.

Friday, December 23, 2005

All done except the tinsel.

*Buy a few more presents - All done!
*Wrap about 20 packages
*Ship one or two things
*Change the sheets in the guest and put clean towels in the guest bath
*Clean house
*Decorate. Seriously. The tree isn't up yet. Good: my parents want to do this with us. Can wait for Saturday.
*Shop for food for the weekend


Words to live by.

Or at least, I live by them.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

...and shorter

*Buy a few more presents - Just one left!
*Wrap about 20 packages - Still only five wrapped.
*Ship one or two things - Whew. Hopefully my present for the Winter Holiday of Your Choice Gifty Extravaganza will show up where it's supposed to be on time.
*Change the sheets in the guest roomMake sure I have clean sheets for the more-comfortable fold-out couch downstairs and clean towels in the guest bath (Hi Mom!)
*Clean house
*Decorate. Seriously. The tree isn't up yet. Good: my parents want to do this with us. Can wait for Saturday.
*Shop for food for the weekend - Aside from the Roast Beast we're having potato latkes and braised brussells sprouts. Now I need to figure out what we're going to eat the rest of the weekend and go shopping. Also we need vodka and lime. Tonic we've got, as well as the other beverages our guests like best. Oh! Can't forget bagels! Though TellsDonaldDuckStories often likes to take the trip to go out and get them so that he can also get a copy of the NYT and an espresso.

Happy Birthday!

To three of my favorite on-line people:

Purple Kangaroo turns 29 today, Chloe is three, and Frances is TWO!

And here is a birthday card for all of you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Can you tell me what time it is?

"Mommy? Is it morning?"

answer: 6:30 AM. That's my good boy.

And yes, I sent him back to wash his hands.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Meme of the senses (as seen at R2Ks)

Favorite Sound(s): My son laughing. The sound of small waves lapping at the shore of a lake or pond.

Favorite Colour(s): That blue that they use to make those fancy bottles of water. The chocolate brown of my son's eyes.

Favorite Image: My son snuggling with my husband.

Favorite Tactile Sensation(s): The feeling of flannel against my skin. Hugs and kisses from my boys.

Favorite Scent(s): The top of Muffin Man's head. Good things cooking in the kitchen

Well the list is getting a bit shorter

*Buy a few more presents - Two more to go.
*Wrap about 20 packages - I've gotten 5 wrapped.
*Ship one or two things - Whew. Hopefully my present for the Winter Holiday of Your Choice Gifty Extravaganza will show up where it's supposed to be on time.
*Change the sheets in the guest room and the towels in the guest bath (Hi Mom!)
*Clean house
*Decorate. Seriously. The tree isn't up yet.
*Shop for food for the weekend - Aside from the Roast Beast we're having potato latkes and braised brussells sprouts. Now I need to figure out what we're going to eat the rest of the weekend and go shopping. Also we need vodka and lime. Tonic we've got, as well as the other beverages our guests like best. Oh! Can't forget bagels! Though TellsDonaldDuckStories often likes to take the trip to go out and get them so that he can also get a copy of the NYT and an espresso.

Monday, December 19, 2005

As promised

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Muffin Man at his new computer, playing Tt(F)TE: "Trouble on the Tracks".

He is so happy, he can't wait for it to be turned on in the mornings.

Check out his cool robe, a hand-me-down from his cousins. LL Bean, y'all.

Attention: New maturity alert!

At about 5:45, Muffin Man came in and wanted to snuggle and I brought him back to his own room (after asking if he needed to go potty and him saying, "no") (our rule is everyone in their own bed until after 6:30). And then at 6:30 he came back in, went straight into the bathroom, pee'd, flushed, turned out the light and went back into his own room WITHOUT ANY ASSISTANCE FROM ME. He didn't even know I was awake. Granted, he didn't wash his hands, but I'm not asking for miracles here.

At 7:00, he came back in and we worked on our respective computers (did I tell you that Mr. Spock set up a computer for Muffin Man? He did. Pictures to follow) for 20 minutes and then got dressed and dropped him off at school (perfectly happy) and got me to work (counting down to my last day!)

Sometime over the next week I must:

*Buy a few more presents
*Wrap about 20 packages
*Ship one or two things
*Change the sheets in the guest room and the towels in the guest bath (Hi Mom!)
*Clean house
*Decorate. Seriously. The tree isn't up yet.
*Shop for food for the weekend (Roast beast. I placed the order yesterday at Wegman's)

What I did this past weekend:
*Went to a party at church (I made the ham.) Had a great time.
*Went Christmas shopping with Muffin Man.
*Made and painted bread dough figures with Muffin Man (pictures to follow)
*Went shopping at Wegman's (all three of us. We LOVE Wegman's)
*Ordered stuff from Amazon.

I'm trying not to feel stressed about all the stuff I wanted to do this past weekend (see top list) that I didn't do. Time just ran out on me.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
This is a picture of the day Muffin Man saw a wild turkey while visiting TellsDonaldDuckStories and QuiltsAlot at their house in the country. It was drawn nearly a month after the event.

Must have made an impression, eh?


Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Muffin Man makes an occasional foray into multi-media. This is sparkly paint on newsprint paper with foam flowers.

It is a flower made of flowers.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Well, that's a relief

Muffin Man and I walked into Miss G.'s classroom this morning, his fourth day at his new school. I took off his coat and, as I turned to hang it up, he ran to Miss G. yelling, "I'm wearing my watch!"

He barely wanted to take the time to give me kisses and push me out.

I guess you could say he's settled in.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Muffin Man's World has Changed

Muffin Man started at a new daycare yesterday.

He'd been at his old one since he was 10 weeks old. His first teacher, Miss A., was so special. His second-to-last teacher there, Miss M., was also really wonderful. Other teachers who are no longer there made his every day a joy.

But there's the rub. Those teachers are no longer there. Miss M. is leaving soon too. Miss A. was making noises about not liking where the center is going.

The problem is they've had 5 directors in the time we've been there. And the current director is going on maternity leave next month. And her replacement isn't getting along with the teachers. And she's constantly forgetting the kids' names. The place is starting to come unglued and we're not willing to put MM through that again (the last time it happened, they lost two-thirds of their teachers and had to close the toddler room for lack of staff. MM was dividing his days amoung the crawling babies and the rambunctious two's and three's - a blended class also due to lack of staff.)

So we've moved MM to a different center. And it was hard on him yesterday, but today he came home really happy. Talking about the silly songs his teacher, Miss G., sang and the sign-language movements she did with the song (he particularly liked her rendition of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer")

And we're loving the "what I did today" reports she sent home yesterday and today. They're very detailed (mostly xeroxed, but with hand-written notes specifically about our son) and very cheerful with snowflakes and snowmen in the margins. His old school wasn't too big on daily reports. Except in the very young classes.

There are other things about this new center we're not liking so much, but we've got him on a waiting list at Posh New Place (daycare designed by D1sn3y! Not really, but that's how it looks.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

The horror, the horror!

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
This picture was taken Christmas morning a looooooooong time ago. I couldn't find any pictures of this perm that didn't show my face....

Please note that not only do I have the typical late-eighties spiral perm, I also have BANGS. Can you say, "poodle"? Or perhaps, "Portugese Water Dog" or maybe "Puli"?

I thought I looked Mahvelous.


I can't go see Corndog play tonight because I'm still sick.

I am soooooooooo bummed. Sigh.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The essay I wrote for Nearby U.

We spend time together almost everyday: Josephine, Margaret, Frances, Georgette, Dana, Jane, and I. One-on-one, we share lunch or that quiet time after my son Muffin Man is in bed. Every time I see them, I experience something new. There are others I have lunch with, or spend those quiet hours with, but Josephine and the others are my core-group of companions. We take trips together. We meet on visits to the doctor’s office. Often, one will go with me when I get the oil changed in my car.

Aside from Frances, they are a different set of friends from those I had when I was young. Back then it was Frances, Laura, Lucy, Paula, Noel, and Agatha. They rode the subway to school with me. I sat with them at lunch and recess. My fifth grade teacher actually had to limit my time with them, because my other friends were feeling left out.

In bed at night I used to hide under the blankets with a flashlight just to steal one more half-hour with one or another of them. My mom learned pretty quickly to come and check on me often. "Lights out, Little Miss Mystery Mommy. Put the book away. It’ll still be there in the morning."

Joesephine Tey, Margaret Maron, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Georgette Heyer, Dana Stabenow, Jane Austen. Such wonderful writing, such fascinating worlds: The United Kingdom during the Regency Era, the Victorian Era, and between the World Wars; Our own present-day heartland, cities, and wilderness. I fall in love with the places as much as the people. And when I come back from reading or re-reading one of their books, I get a new appreciation for my own small world, seeing it through fresh eyes.

More than any one person, these authors have influenced who I am and what my morals are. From Laura Ingalls Wilder I learned to be grateful for what I had - how could I complain when she had subsisted on hand-ground whole-wheat bread for an entire winter, twisting hay into sticks for the fire? From Noel Streatfeild I learned about how war affects children and that even children can help their families earn enough money to keep afloat. Paula Danziger taught me to face disappointment with humour and that my family’s odd arrangement of four parents and joint custody might not be so unusual after all. Agatha Christie (and before her, the authors of "Nancy Drew") taught me to pay attention to the littlest details. And that "humour" is spelled with two u’s.

I said that these authors are my companions, but really it’s their books that have been my friends. Their books have taught me and nurtured me, comforted me and helped me to grieve. Beloved old familiar books, intriguing newly discovered books. Used books that smell of pipe tobacco. New books with shiny fresh covers. Library books, reluctantly returned. Memoirs, mysteries, science-fiction, histories - how delightful just to read, and laugh, or weep. And now that I’m a mother - with a young son who needs me rested every morning - how strangely sweet it is to say to myself sometimes, "Lights out, Mystery Mommy. Put the book away. It’ll still be there in the morning."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Sometimes we argue over whose son Muffin Man really is.

"Yours." I say, when he's being extra silly.
"What do mean? He's totally yours!"

There is no doubt tonight, however, over whose kid he really is. Upon checking on him 2 hours after tucking in and lights out, this is what we found.

Light on.
Sleeping on top of the covers.
Face down on a book.


*There continues to be some disagreement about this.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Snow in Northern Virginia

Always such a joy. My normally 15 minute commute took 45 minutes at 4:00 PM. I'm so glad that I'm not still working at my old job. Tonight the temps are supposed to dip and the snow is supposed to keep falling. By tomorrow morning the roads are going to be a complete mess.

You'd think people would slow down and give more follow distance when the weather's like this, wouldn't you? But no...that'd mean admitting that it's actually! snowing!

Why the heck isn't it Wednesday yet?

My cubicle is f-f-f-f-freezing. Seriously.

I'm wearing my coat and g-g-g-gloves (difficult to type, but I'm making do) and my scarf and I'm starting to lose feeling in my t-t-t-t-toes (encased in winter boots)

And for once, it's not just me - the men I work with are complaining too. You know it's cold when the men start complaining!!!

Gotta get back to work. B-b-b-bye!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Big day here

I got some good news (early, I was not expecting to hear for another two weeks!), I'm going back to college!!!

I'll be entering as a full-time undergraduate at Nearby University!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Muffin Man on his "new special bike!" Look at him pedalling like a big boy.

We need to get some reflectors for him, but other than that, he's good to go. He loves it!

About me - gift thingy

If I could get away with it, I'd steal Alton Brown's Good Eats kitchen, because damn it, it should be mine.

I sometimes buy Simple Living magazine, because I lust after the cover art.

If you came over to my house to play and broke my ________________ crayon, I'd be a little bit mad at you forever. Um....doesn't apply to me. To my way of thinking, now I have two!

The colour institutional green should only be used in fungal remedy packaging or if human waste were to be redesigned.

The colour blue that they use in the glass for that expensive bottled water makes my heart feel like it is full of happy kittens frolicking in a sunny, grassy meadow.

Japanese Anime makes me break out in gooberous pustules (or else I just don't like it, but I'm too nice to say it.)

I might get sick or die if I touch or ingest cilantro, or look at Tremors, that horrible movie.

Pokemon gives me the heebie jeebies and I might need to seek therapy if I even think about it further.

I love the feel of LL Bean flannel-lined jeans so much I have a primitive urge to stick some down my pants. Oops! Already there!

No one should have to watch me eat lobster, because really If I were eating some in private, I'd be quite a pig about it. Ummmmmm.

I would rather chew tinfoil and shave my head with a cheese grater than eat gefillte fish.

I DO follow recipes because otherwise I leave important things out, but I do improvise once I know one pretty well.

For Marla, "White Shoulders" perfume will always smell like her laid-out dead grandmother. I feel that way about tea roses.

If I could, I'd perfume my own farts and those of my loved ones with the scent of chocolate.

I have TOO MANY/TOO MUCH OF computers in the house, and not enough clothes to wear on cold weekends. I mean seriously, I've got 3 casual shirts and 2 pairs of non-business pants.

Gadgets are for EVERYBODY!

When people have kind, sweet and nice things about me, they're usually talking about Muffin Man.

I can't be upset if people dis me about my driving, because it's true.

If I could have any talent in the world, I'd choose musical ability and use it to make people happy.

You are given an hour and twenty dollars to spend in one of these places, childfree. Choose one, or write your own:

A flea market, where you might find neat treasures and still have enough left over for some home made baked goods from that nice granny's table.

A picturesque pub, where a couple of great drinks and a nice tip might lead to some interesting conversations.

A craft show, because you really need to find a few more things made from twigs and yarn.

A gourmet food store, because food for the tummy is food for the soul.

A fancy and expensive boutique, because you'd rather have one lipstick from a great place than ten lipsticks from a dollar store.

Wherever! Whatever! Just give the twenty dollars to whomever's caring for the offspring so you can have more time to yourself!

And here's the last chance to make sure that you're not going to get a "Jelly of the Month" club membership when you're expecting your bonus for a swimming pool:

It is important to me that the items chosen for me are at least a little silly.
(Examples: respect my Wal-Mart boycott, are vegan, aren't made by child or sweatshop labour, can be stuffed down my pants)


If I could suggest that you read only one post from my archives, this would be it: Poop-Warning Contains Graphic Descriptions of Grossness

If I were to name the Holiday of my choice for this exchange, it would be: Christmas, even though I'm culturally Jewish, I'm Christmas's biggest fan. (Please feel free to make one up - but this is your chance to say "Um, I'm Jewish but that doesn't mean give me dreidels!" or "More Santa decorations please - I only have thirty-seven now." or "Winter and gifts yes; religious denominations, no - if only all cards could be like those politically correct corporate holiday wishes!" if you want to.)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

We're back!!

Thanksgiving was great. We had a lovely time with BigSister and her family, and MakesBooksForGrandkids and SingsLullabyes.

Muffin Man and his cousins watched Chicken Run (Wednesday), The Incredibles, and two Wallace and Gromit shorts (Thursday). The grownups all talked and ate and had a generally good time.

And MM was such a good boy on the trip that we bought him a bicycle as a reward. Now we just need to assemble it!

Hope you all had a lovely holiday as well.

Flower boy

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Muffin Man was inspired by a flower his cousin drew that was on the refridgerator at his Brooklyn grandparents house. I particularly like the stripey bumblebees.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Aaaaannndddd, we're off!

Sorry posting's been so light. It'll remain quiet here for the next few days while we travel to NYC to visit with SingsLullabyes, MakesBooksForGrandkids, and BigSister and her family. Be back posting Friday night!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rocket to the Rainbow

Rocket to the Rainbow
Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
More Muffin Man art. I asked him whose face is in the window of the rocket - "Wallace!" he said. He is a big fan of A Grand Day Out.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Comedy Meme

As first seen at Phantom's, from the Rough Guide to Comedy Movies. The ones I've seen are in bold.

I think I need to explain that, aside from Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, I hate watching Woody Allen act in movies (love his stand-up though!). Somehow he just grates on me like fingernails on a chalkboard. So I haven't marked any of his movies on this list. But I loved Alice, mostly because he let someone else play him.

Also, I'm disappointed that Young Frankenstein and The Twelve Chairs are not on this list. And Where is The Princess Bride?

* Airplane!
* All About Eve (but I own it, how weird is that? I'm gonna have to get on the ball.)
* Amelie
* Annie Hall
* The Apartment
* Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
* Blazing Saddles
* Bringing Up Baby
* Broadcast News
* Caddyshack
* Le diner de con
* Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
* Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
* Duck Soup
* Ferris Bueller's Day Off
* Four Weddings and a Funeral
* The General
* Ghostbusters
* The Gold Rush
* Good Morning Vietnam
* The Graduate
* Groundhog Day (I can't believe Phantom hasn't seen this.)
* A Hard Day's Night
* His Girl Friday
* Kind Hearts and Coronets
* The Lady Killers
* Local Hero
* Manhattan
* M*A*S*H
* Monty Python's Life of Brian
* National Lampoon's Animal House
* The Odd Couple
* The Producers
* Raising Arizona
* Roxanne
* Rushmore
* Shaun of the Dead
* A Shot in the Dark
* Some Like it Hot (One of my all-time favorite movies. "...Like Jello on springs. I'm telling you it's a whole different sex!")
* Strictly Ballroom
* Sullivan's Travels
* There's Something About Mary
* This is Spinal Tap
* To Be or Not to Be
* Tootsie
* Toy Story
* Les vacances de M. Hulot
* When Harry Met Sally...
* Withnail and I

It's all about the birthstory.

I've heard some good ones, and told a good one, but I think Finslippy has us all beat.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The day I realized I am no longer cool.

Phantom Scribbler said in a comment to the post below that she is not cool enough. I beg to differ. She continues to be cool and I, after hitting my peak of coolness in college - what with the RHPS and the being on the radio - swiftly fell into a slough of uncool quicksand. This is the story of the day I realized that I no longer had even a modicum of coolness left to me.

It was five years ago. Perhaps almost to the day...I'll have to check. We heard that RHPS was going to be shown at a nearby college campus. It was going to start at the traditional time, so we planned to have a late supper and then go join the masses of costumed Washingtonians. Under my shirt, I was wearing a sparkly boustier for old-time's sake.

We went to an Indian restaurant. The food was good. We ate and talked. At about 10:00PM we left. We got into the car. We sat there. We looked at each other.

"Home?" I asked.

He agreed. We were asleep by the time the first tickets were being taken. All coolness stripped from me. Gone.

One year later, I was 6 months pregnant with Muffin Man.

Five years later, I'm wondering how old MM will be the first time he sees it. And will he be horrified or impressed that I used to be one of the insane obsessed weirdoes people who get up on stage and do the whole thing by heart? Will I ever tell him that I've seen it over a hundred times?

Will I ever let him see pictures of me with a spiral perm?

Monday, November 14, 2005

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

God said, "Let there be LIPS."
And there were.
And the lips were big
And the lips were red
And the lips sang...

Michael Renney was ill the day the earth stood still and he told us where we stand (On our feet!)
And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear. Claude Raines was the Invisible Man (Out of sight!)
Then something went wrong for Faye Wray and King Kong they got caught in a cellular jam (Yay Jam!)
And then a mystic race, It Came From (Where?) Outer Space and this is how the message ran

Science fiction, double feature
Doctor X has built a creature
See androids fighting Brad and Janet
Anne Frances stars in Forbidden Planet
Oh oh oh oh oh
At the late night double feature picture show.

Yes...yes, my friends, it's true. I played Janet, I played Magenta, I played Columbia, and I played Frank. I did Frank very well, but I didn't really fit the costume...but you should have seen my "Sweet Transvestite", it was truly something to behold.

Ah, bright college days, eh? And do you know, 16 years later I can still recite the whole. flipping. movie.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The smell of wet apples still hanging on the trees

Ten years ago yesterday, he asked me and I nearly knocked him over in my eagerness to accept.

Last night Muffin Man slept over at my sister-in-law's house and we celebrated. Dinner out. Breakfast out. Exploring old-town Herndon. Kvelling over our son and the outcome of the election.

I would say "yes" again in a New York minute.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

More on Muffin Man the Artist

Mr. Spock

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
This is from several months ago and also had a sample of Muffin Man's handwriting and spelling. Muffin Man first wrote his own name to sign this picture.

Please note the glasses. I'd like to say that Mr. Spock does have hair, even if this portrait makes him look bald.


Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Not a perfect likeness, but she does have long hair. In terms of skills, please note the ears and fingers.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Our guy won!

Dave Poisson wins against Republican incumbent Dick Black. Yay!!!

I can't tell you how stunning this is. Loudoun has traditionally been a Republican stronghold. That a Democrat has handily won this county is...well, I hope it points to a shift towards the center.

If there is an election where you are...

And all Virginians, this means you...then

Go and vote.

I took Muffin Man to the polls with me this morning and we voted for Kaine, Poisson, Byrne, and Deeds. Also, we voted Yes on all the bond issues.

MM was fascinated by the cool scan-tron ballot. And he loved getting a sticker for watching mommy exercise her franchise.

If you are able to vote (registered, and legally of age) and don't go, then I say to you "PTHHHHHP!" There are people all over the world fighting and dying for a right that you are throwing away. Here in the US there are millions of people who are either disenfranchised or are facing huge hurdles to be able to vote. So get off your duff and act like a citizen.

Don't like any of the candidates? Aren't up on the issues? That's no excuse. Write in for someone who doesn't make you puke. Educate yourself.


This has been a public service announcement brought to you by Bloggers Against Self-Disenfranchisement.

Three years to the week.

That I got rid of my Medela.

And I just leaked through my tank top. Thank the fashion gods for suit jackets.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Muffin Man the Artist


Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Muffin Man's conception of a cat.

I think this adequately explains why I think he is an artistic genious.


Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
I've talked before about the miracle that are stickers. They can be used as rewards for everything from dry nights to good behaviour at grown-up functions to...well, you name it.

Here is an early picture of Muffin Man's use of stickers as part of an on-going art-work. We call it "Sticker Door" and in just a few short months, it has overflowed onto the drawers of this dresser.

Stuck in the middle there is a clue about who we're voting for in tomorrow's election. If there is an election where you are tomorrow, go out and vote. APL, Corndog, genevieve and Angie - since you are all Virginia residents, this definitely applies to you!

Clip Art

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Muffin Man loves playing with these plastic paper clips that came with a kit of stuff to build paper airplanes. One day he decided that these clips would look lovely in Mommy's hair and so he spent about 15 minutes decorating me with them. Unfortunately, Mr. Spock wasn't home, so we don't have a record of MM's handiwork, but pictured here is my recreation of his art in his hair.

Monday Shoe Blogging

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
These are my favorite boots, they have four inch heels and make me feel tall and slender. I wear them with pants that are two inches too long for me that I am too lazy to hem.

Muffin Man agrees that I look great in them and decided to see what they could do for him.

Here he is, modelling the world's best boots.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Captain Pumpkinsword

Captain Pumpkin Sword
Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.

Here is Muffin Man after a hard evening's work trick-or-treating.

He went as Captain Feathersword, with a concert-bought hat and sword (which he decided against carrying, in favor of his pumpkin bucket o' candy and his pumkin flashlight, hence the title of this post). The rest of his costume is made up of blue pants, white shirt (both courtesy The Gap) and a red quilted vest complete with yellow electrician's tape cut to resemble the Captain's Magic Buttons (he's got half-a-dozen).

This was only MM's second year trick-or-treating, but he was already leaving us behind at the curb and going off by himself to ring the door bell and shout "Trick-or-Treat!!!!" loudly enough for us to hear from the mail-boxes at the end of the drive-ways. I got so choaked up, my little boy is not so little anymore. After a few houses, I actually left him with his dad and went back to the house to greet the other neighborhood children.

When MM got tired, he came back to help give out candy, two to a customer. He took his job so seriously!!!

Halloween is definitely one of his top two favorite holidays!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Where the hell have I been?

I've been working on a post in my head about Muffin Man's experience of Halloween, but I wanted to add pictures and haven't gotten around to downloading them. And then work was hectic and my allergies are KICKING MY ASS. I'm on a new course of the good prescription stuff so I should be back to normal soon. That over-the-counter stuff (you know, the one in the blue box, rhymes with Raritan) is worthless. Like taking sugar pills. Seriously.

Maybe tomorrow? I can't say for sure. What I can say is I am still here and am keeping up with all your blogs, but just not keeping up much with my own.

Big hugs to you all and I'll update soon.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I'm back!

Muffin Man and I drove up to High Falls, NY to visit QuiltsAlot and TellsDonaldDuckStories.

It was a pretty good drive up, 5.5 hours not counting stops. When we got there, my parents bore MM off, not to be cared for by me again until the drive back (aside from the whole sharing a bed with me thing, but that doesn't count. He was sleeping.)

Saturday was thoroughly about the G-Rated entertainment. After a good breakfast and a good running around outside in the cold air, and freeing a bird that got stuck in the screened-in porch (the storm had ripped some of the screens off), we drove into New Paltz and saw a fabulous puppet show.

It was the Fairy Circus, performed by the Tanglewood Marionettes. Super-duper fantastic, guaranteed stunner. MM was entranced. He was laughing so infectiously at some points that a little 15-month-0ld laughed, just to hear him.

After that, we had some lunch. And after THAT, we went to see Wallace and Gromit at the movie theatre. Muffin Man's first time in a real theatre, as opposed to our living room. He loved it. He had to sit on my lap for a few scary bits. But he ate up the whole experience like popcorn. Which he had plenty of as well.

And today he ran around outside, freed another bird and cuddled with his grandparents. And then we drove home, got back by 5:30 and so to bed...

It was a good weekend, but I'm glad to be back.

Apple Pigs

Apple Pigs
Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
This is a book from my childhood that I wanted to find for Phantom Scribbler, because of her loving post about apples.

I'm going to post a few samplings from the book here...this is from the actual copy I read as a child. My neice and nephew had it and sent it to Muffin Man.


Plenty of apples,
delicious to eat,
juicy and crunchy,
crisp and sweet.

The more we ate
the more they grew.
We began to wonder
what to do.

We ate apples for breakfast,
sliced on toast.
We ate apples on Sunday,
baked with the roast.

Apples for dinner,
apples for tea -
too many apples,
we all agreed...

We packed them in baskets,
in boxes, in trunks.
We stuffed them in cupboards
and up in the bunks....

The more we ate
the more they grew.
At last I knew
what we must do.

The sign we hung
said, "Apple Feast!
Come man, come bird,
Come wooly beast."

...Apple fritters,
apple custard
Father made.

Apple strudel,
apples dried,
apple pigs were
Mother's pride.

As for me,
I love to bake.
I started off
with apple cake.

Then toffee apples,
hung up high,
apple-pan dowdy,
and Dutch apple pie...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Childhood Friend

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
LoveThoseFreckles was one of my best friends of childhood. Our moms were friends and our dads were friends. Her parents got divorced at about the same time mine did. Even though we went to different schools and different summer camps our close friendship lasted until around high school. After that, we drifted apart. But I still have loving feelings toward her and am always glad to hear news.

So it was with great happiness that I heard this weekend that she's pregnant with twins.

LoveThoseFreckles, I'm thrilled for you. I hope that your children bring you as much joy as Muffin Man has brought me.

I will love you always.

Is it just me or is Typepad off the air?


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Less than I thought, actually.

You Are 40% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Henry the Octopus

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
As drawn by Muffin Man.

Please note that he has the proper number of legs.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Muffin Man Goes to Burger King.


Well, yeah, kid. That's why Mommy brought you here.

Wait until he finds out that they have a new movie out. Shhhhhhhhh, I still haven't told him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Picture Book Meme (as seen at RaisingWEG)

RaisingWEG got this list from the NY Public Library. She has the ones she's read to her kids in bold, so I'll do that too. I'm going to put the ones I've read on my own in italics. I'm pleased that they included so many great ones and disappointed by some gaps.
  1. Abuela by Arthur Dorros
  2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  3. Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric A. Kimmel
  4. Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty
  5. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  6. The Bossy Gallito: A Traditional Cuban Folk Tale, retold by Lucia M. Gonzalez; illustrated by Lulu Delacre
  7. Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban; illustrated by Lillian Hoban
  8. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.; illustrated by Eric Carle
  9. Bruno Munari's ABC by Bruno Munari
  10. Buz by Richard Egielski
  11. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
  12. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss; illustrated by Crockett Johnson
  13. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
  14. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault; illustrated by Lois Ehlert
  15. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  16. Come Along, Daisy! by Jane Simmons
  17. Corduroy by Don Freeman
  18. Curious George by H.A. Rey
  19. Dinosaur Roar! by Paul and Henrietta Stickland
  20. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
  21. Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
  22. Fire Truck by Peter Sís
  23. Freight Train by Donald Crews
  24. Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
  25. The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
  26. George and Martha by James Marshall
  27. Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
  28. Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack
  29. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  30. Goodnight Moon by Margaret W. Brown; illustrated by Clement Hurd
  31. Gossie by Dunrea Olivier
  32. Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
  33. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  34. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion; illustrated by Margaret Graham
  35. Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D. B. Johnson
  36. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
  37. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen
  38. I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy
  39. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura J. Numeroff; illustrated by Felicity Bond
  40. It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folktale, retold and illustrated by Margot Zemach
  41. John Henry by Julius Lester; illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
  42. Julius by Angela Johnson; illustrated by Dav Pilkey
  43. Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
  44. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
  45. The Line-Up Book by Russo Marisabina
  46. The Little Red Hen: An Old Story by Margot Zemach
  47. Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story by Ed Young
  48. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
  49. Mabela the Clever by Margaret Read MacDonald
  50. Machines at Work by Byron Barton
  51. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  52. Maisy Goes Swimming by Lucy Cousins (but we have read lots of others.)
  53. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  54. Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Flemings
  55. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
  56. Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh
  57. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia L. Burton
  58. Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág
  59. Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard and James Marshall
  60. Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Birmingham
  61. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale retold and illustrated by John Steptoe
  62. Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
  63. My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann
  64. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  65. No, David! By David Shannon
  66. Off to School, Baby Duck! by Amy Hest
  67. Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth
  68. Olivia by Ian Falconer
  69. Owen by Kevin Henkes
  70. Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me by Eric Carle
  71. Pierre: A Cautionary Tale by Maurice Sendak
  72. The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg
  73. Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault, illustrated by Fred Marcellino
  74. The Random House Book of Mother Goose: A Treasury of 386 Timeless Nursery Rhymes by Arnold Lobel (no, but we have others.)
  75. Round Trip by Ann Jonas
  76. Rumpelstiltskin, retold and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
  77. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  78. Spots, Feathers and Curly Tails by Nancy Tafuri
  79. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  80. The Stray Dog by Simont Marc
  81. Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
  82. Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  83. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  84. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  85. Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
  86. Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
  87. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback (My sister went with his son, Jason. My first crush.)
  88. The Three Bears by Paul Galdone
  89. Trashy Town by Andrea Griffing Zimmerman
  90. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs By A. Wolf by John Scieszka
  91. Tuesday by David Wiesner
  92. Uptown by Collier Bryan
  93. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  94. The Wheels on the Bus, adapted and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
  95. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  96. Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
  97. Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
  98. The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kaska
  99. Yoko by Rosemary Wells (no, but again, plenty of others.)
  100. Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa, retold and illustrated by Gerald McDermott

Isn't it strange how different we all are?

Yesterday I went to pick up Muffin Man from daycare and saw another mom and her son as they were coming out. Her son only recently moved up to the toddler room. He's about 22 months. She's carrying him.

Me: "Oh my goodness, how he's grown!"
Her: "Yes, and he's walking so well too."
Him: (Stretches out arms for me to take him)
Me: "Can I?"
Her: "Sure!" (I do)

People. This boy is heavy.

Me: "Holy Guacamole! What a big boy you are!"
Her: "35 pounds."
Me: "Wow!"
Her: "Your son is getting so tall."
Me: "Yes, I'm living vicariously through my tall son."

People. My son is 2 years older, 1 and a half feet taller and 5 pounds lighter than her son. And her son isn't FAT, he's dense. I swear, she's feeding him lead weights or something. But he's awfully cute.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Good weekend

Friday Night: Ladies Night Out. Made food for the next month.

Saturday: Got gas ($2.59/gal! twenty cents cheaper than all the others! Why? No clue.) Got lunch. Went to a Moon Bounce.

Sunday: Brunch. Target (new stools for Muffin Man, he loves them.) Nap. Swings and Slides. Bath.

All-in-all, a very cozy weekend. How was yours?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Muffin Man-ia

New game:

Scene: Muffin Man's bedroom two nights ago. MM is half-way to pajamas, out of all clothes except his snazzy Nemo Underwear. He is lying on his back on the floor. I am kneeling nearby.

MM: "Mommy, tell me what 'P' starts with."
Me: "You want words that start with 'P'?"
MM: "Yeah!"
Me: "Well...'P' is for pig, and puppy, and pillow." (I kiss his tummy, he laughs). "'P' is for pen, and pencil, and paint." (another kiss, more laughter)
MM: "And 'P' is for pet! And pink! And...PUPPY!" (I kiss his forehead, he laughs)
Me: "That's right. And 'P' is for purple, and...umm...potty."
Me: "No, tushy starts with 'T'."
MM: "Oh, okay."
Me: "And 'P' is for pinky" (I kiss it) "And pinkie toe" (I kiss it) "and...Pajamas."

At this point MM is laughing so hard we can't go on. I can't wait to see what other letters he's interested in.

For the rain it raineth every day.

I'm starting to grow moss.

A very bedraggled squirrel - tail wet and spikey - looked at me today with such a forlorn expression on its face. The geese outside the office building where I work go about their business with a grim determination.

Muffin Man looks outside during a pause in the drizzle, "LOOK! IT'S NOT RAINING!"
"You have to bring your raincoat anyway."

What is it about drivers of grey cars that they refuse to turn on their headlights in rain and dusk?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sound the "All Clear"

Test results came back normal. I'm absolutely fine. I've got to see the cardiologist annually from now on, but that's so that we can be pro-active what with the family history and all. He wants me to have a blood test to find out if we should be a little more aggressive about medication, but he thinks there's no reason to be concerned about my health at all, except for the family history.


Saturday, October 08, 2005


Muffin Man can read!

Well, not really. But he knows STOP, FOOD, POOL, MOMMY, DADDY, his own name, and our last name.

He can read them and he can write them all except MOMMY and DADDY.

It made reading Max's Ride really exciting!!!

Friday, October 07, 2005


Thank you for surviving your heart attack. Thank you for going on a diet. Thank you for quitting smoking. Thank you for taking care of yourself. Thank you for having a terrific cardiologist. Thank you for getting that triple bypass seven years ago. Thank you for taking your diet even more seriously. Thank you for swimming everyday and working out. Thank you for being so healthy and working so hard to stay that way.

I love you. I'm grateful that you are in my life and that you are in my son's life.

I wish I could have met your father. I wish I could have known your mother longer. I'm so glad that you have not followed in their footsteps.

You inspire me.


As some of you may know, last week I had a little scare. Yesterday, I went to get a nuclear stress test and the good news is, my EKG and blood pressure are fine while running up an incline. I won't know how the pictures came out until next Wednesday, but I'm not too concerned.

I'm glad to report that the folks who performed the test thought I did very well.

In the room with the treadmill was a defibrillator. I asked, "How often do you use that thing?"
"Never been used," they said. "But we have called the stretcher guys to bring people directly to the hospital."
"You're kidding"
"Nope, once it was a nice young lady, 'bout your age. A nutritionist. Great shape. We checked her right into Cardiac Care."

So, any day you take a stress test and don't end up in the hospital is a very good one.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Pissed off

I am sitting here steaming mad at myself because I've done it again. I've gnawed on my fingers so badly that two of them are bleeding. One of them looks hideous (bleeding in two places), the other isn't so bad. A third bled yesterday, but is better today. A fourth is healing pretty well from last Thursday.

On the other hand, my nails are looking good. I'm still keeping my teeth off them.

Aaaaaghhh! I'm gnawing as I type! Stop it!!!! Just stop!

I want to stop this. What kind of a role-model am I for Muffin Man if I can't break this horrid, ugly, disgusting habit?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

As seen at Phantom Scribbler's - UPDATED!

UPDATE: I just finished reading A Day No Pigs Would Die. A three-hanky read if ever there were one. Woof. If you haven't read it, do so. It's short and moves quickly. I do see why some squeamish, prudish people might want to ban it, but phooey on them.

The Banned Books Meme.

Bold the ones you've read. Did you all know that Judy Blume is the most banned author?

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel (yes, even the newest one. And like PS, my mom gave me the first three after she'd read them and yes, I was too young for the first two.)
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak (and I read it to my son often)
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) (well, one of them anyway.)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney (no, but I saw the tv movie.)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell (how does this one get banned? betting? what?)
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Seeing BigSister!

BigSister is flying in today on business. I'm picking her up at the airport and whisking her off to lunch at Sweetwater's. After, I'll drop her back at the airport so she can catch a cab to her hotel in time to meet Important People for drinks. She'll be here until Thursday and this lunch is the only time she has free.

I'm so looking forward to seeing her! The next time I get to see her will probably be Thanksgiving.

Friday, September 23, 2005

This weekend...

I probably won't be posting much due to:

SingsLullabyes and MakesBooksForGrandkids are coming for a visit. They'll be here tonight and will leave Sunday. I'm looking forward to a good visit.

While they're here to look after Muffin Man, we're having a yard sale tomorrow. For sale are Muffin Man's stroller, booster seat & Pack-n-Play (with bassinet and changing table accessories), lots of clothes, kitchen items, lawn items, and books. Also a chair with ottoman that my better half brought into the marriage. I can't wait to get this stuff out of our garage. We would sell the three plastic potties, but MM is currently using them as stools to reach the sinks in our bathrooms. (Note to self: buy better step-stools)

So I'll catch you all Sunday night or Monday. Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Numbers 37 and 38 below indicate that I've been sad and angry lately. I want to let you all know that I am sad about Katrina and all the people who are homeless and angry at our dear President. I hope that Rita spares everything and everyone in Texas except for his ranch in Crawford.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

100 things (as seen EVERYWHERE)

1. I am 36.
2. I learned to drive when I was 27.
3. The NYT interviewed me for an article about people who learn to drive as adults.
4. I still can't drive stick.
5. I will try to make time to learn.
6. Our other car is a Jeep. Manual transmission. I'm an idiot for not having taken the time to learn how to drive our other car.
7. I admit that I planned ahead last week so that I could fill up my gas-guzzling mini-van at the cheapest place. I was near empty the day before and got 3 gallons at the expensive place to tide me over.
8. If anyone comes out with a hybrid mini-van whose pedals I can reach without having to turn off the airbag, I'm gonna buy it the next day.
9. In Brooklyn, garbage disposals are rare. After 7 years, I still get a kick out of using ours.
10. If I'm channel surfing and I come across "When Harry Met Sally" I'll stop and watch the whole thing.
11. Even if it's cut with commercials.
12. Even though I own the DVD.
13. It's changed for me since 9/11, though. I get choked up when they part ways for the first time in Washington Square, because you can see the Towers framed in the arch.
14. I refuse to watch any new series on the Sci-Fi channel.
15. Especially if they look like I'll get hooked on them.
16. Ask me why. Go ahead. Ask me.
17. Favorite shows that have been prematurely axed (not just by the Sci-Fi channel): Far Scape, Invisible Man, Joan of Arcadia, The Tick (animated), Samurai Jack, Nero Wolfe...the list goes on and on.
18. Everything I know about racing, I learned from Dick Francis.
19. Everything I know about Alaska, I learned from Dana Stabenow.
20. Everything I know about the French and Indian War, I learned from Lois Lenski.
21. Everything I know about London during the Blitz, I learned from Noel Streatfeild.
22. I have a complete set of Howard the Duck comics (issues 1 through 33 inclusive.)
23. I'd rather see the OB/GYN than the dentist.
24. I'd rather see the dentist than watch another episode of The Doodlebops.
25. I have lots of favorite foods.
26. Two of my favorites are liver and sushi.
27. The only foods I really don't like are cilantro and green peppers.
28. I do like roasted red peppers.
29. I loved IHOP's potato pancakes. They just recently took them off the menu. Sigh.
30. On the other hand, they're really not on my diet.
31. Just last week I got down to my marriage weight.
32. My goal is to get down to my still-working-at-the-bookstore weight.
33. I'm not sure if that's realistic.
34. But I'm sure as hell gonna try.
35. Even if I don't get there, I'll have reached other goals (Eating better: more veggies, more water. Getting more exercise). And they are good on their own.
36. I've been really motivated to get healthier this year because, when he was my age, MakesBooksForGrandkids had a heart attack. I'm completely grateful that he is so healthy now.
37. When I'm feeling sad or angry, I bury my nose in Muffin Man's hair and take a good sniff. It always has the power to make me feel better.
38. I've been sniffing his hair quite a bit the last few weeks.
39. My Amazon wish list is 3 pages long.
40. I feel guilty about that.
41. It was longer, but I made a new wish list just for things I want for Muffin Man.
42. All my parents are great about buying stuff for me off the wish list.
43. I feel guilty about that too.
44. Three of my four parents had birthdays in the last month.
45. Two of them on the same day.
46. I was going to blog about the simultaneous birthdays, but I hadn't blogged about the other birthday and so I didn't.
47. Because I felt guilty.
48. This is obviously something I need to work on.
49. I actually feel guilty less often than I used to.
50. I used to be on the radio in college at two different radio stations. 16 years later, I can still recite their phone numbers.
51. Those were truly my all-time-favorite jobs.
52. But they didn't pay. Anything.
53. My all-time-favorite paying job was working at the bookstore.
54. But it didn't pay. Much.
55. One of my best friends from high school died in a fire 9 years ago.
56. I miss him.
57. I can still recite his parents phone number. I should give them a call.
58. I can tell you the address of every house I've lived in since I was 5.
59. And most of their phone numbers.
60. Without looking them up.
61. But I don't remember names all that well.
62. Including step-cousins and step-step-cousins, I have 27 first cousins.
63. The oldest is 50 something, the youngest is 3. The newest is 8. (Adopted from Russia)
64. I share a birthday with the newest one.
65. All the cousins on my mom's side of the family were born on the 18th of their birth month. Me, my sister, my cousin in France and my new cousin.
66. I love the smell of the city after a summer rain
67. But the smell of the country after a summer rain is even better.
68. My favorite diet-breaking food is a Big Mac. Mmmmmmm....
69. All my favorite breakfasts include eggs.
70. I invented a breakfast sandwich I call the Jewish Egg McMuffin. Take an english muffin or a bialy if you've got one. Toast it. Fry up an egg. Schmear the toasted muffin or bialy with chive cheese, add some smoked white fish, pop on the egg and top with the other half of muffin or bialy. Have lots of napkins handy. So delicious. But not at all kosher.
71. I love to cook, but I haven't done much of it lately.
72. I think Alton Brown is terrific.
73. Rachel Ray annoys me. Keep your hands still for a minute! But I like her $40 A Day show.
74. All my favorite tv shows have a considerable amount of snark.
75. Chef! is a great example of the kind of show I like.
76. If you haven't seen Chef!, all I can say is, I pity you.
77. I haven't seen a movie in a theatre since the first X-Men. I think. Was that after the first Harry Potter?
78. It's not the ticket prices, or even the concession prices, it's the commercials and the talking.
79. That said, the Coke commercial with Dave Chappelle was pretty good.
80. I do the NYT crossword puzzle on-line most days. I spend $20/year for the privilege.
81. I play way too much Spider Solitaire.
82. My husband and I are pretty evenly matched at Scrabble.
83. We play all our games strictly "Top of the Box".
84. Except "Man Bites Dog", we added a few poker variations to that.
85. Hearing my son laugh can make me giddy with happiness.
86. I love watching him become an independent boy, but I miss my little baby.
87. He made his own toast the other day, butter and all. I wanted to cry.
88. Christmas is my favorite holiday.
89. Yes, I'm Jewish. You wanna make something of it?
90. Both my sets of parents were totally into Christmas. Trees, carols, the works.
91. Thanksgiving's good too.
92. But, let's face it, Christmas wins because of the fabulous music, the pretty lights, and the whole idea of it. Peace. Good will. Love your neighbor.
93. We could use a bit more of that.
94. I bite my fingers, not my fingernails.
95. I hate that I do this and have often tried to stop.
96. I used to bite my fingernails too, but I finally stopped that. So there's hope.
98. I sucked my thumb until I was nine. At nine, I finally lost my last lovey (I called it a "Silkie") and stopped the thumb-sucking cold-turkey.
99. My teeth look great. Never had braces.
100. My favorite shopping experiences are Wegman's, Nordstrom's, and Pretty much in that order.

As seen at ProfGrrrrl's

1. Go into your archive. (Blogger dashboard)
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to). Got it.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to). Got it.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. Got it.

It's the shortest (non-dialog) sentence in the whole piece. The one just before it is a doozy.

It had.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Behold! The power of stickers.

Muffin Man woke up dry this morning but wanted a diaper on to go pee. "Go in the potty", say I.
"Well, alright. I'll go and get you a diaper, but you know, you don't get stickers for staying dry all night if you pee in a diaper. It just doesn't count unless you go in the potty."
"Okay, I'm going to get one. It's too bad you won't be getting any stickers this morning."

By the time I got back, he'd gone running to the bathroom and went in the toilet.

Stickers. Where would we be without them?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My Fair Baby (With lyrics writing help from Genevieve)

My son was dry all night
Yes, he was dry all night
Although he woke at four

We went to pee
And then he asked me
To sleep upon his floor

I told him, "No."
And as I rose to go
He kissed me and hugged me tight.

I only know, when he,
said "OK, good night, mommy",
I got to sleep sleep sleeeep

* Thanks Genevieve!! I was stuck for this last verse and you wrote it for me.

And I still owe you a prize from before. Two prizes now. Thanks again!!!

And then he slept through until 7:30. That's my boy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Well, two out of three....

I neglected to tell you folks that Muffin Man went diaperless to bed the last three nights. The first two nights he was DRY ALL NIGHT. Last night, not so much. He was so upset when he woke himself up in a wet bed a little before 7:00 this morning (please note, 7:00!!! No 4:00 visits two nights running! Can I hear a "Hallelujah!"?) I got him out of his wet pjs and stripped the bed and popped everything in the wash and told him all the while that it's okay, everybody wets the bed sometimes.

He wasn't buying it.

Oh well.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Some housekeeping notes

Every so often I find a new blog, or a new blogger finds me and I wait until I have a bunch of new ones and then I add them to my list at the right.

At the same time, I go through the list and I grit my teeth and I remove links to blogs that haven't updated in a while.

This is one of those times. I've added several new friends and said sad goodbyes to others. If you are a blogger that I've removed, start posting again and let me know!!!! (And if I've over-looked adding anybody, please let me know.)

Yet...I am also feeling smug.

Scrivener is talking about carpooling which makes me ask, did I or did I not pick a great time to cut my commute by two-thirds?

I am a weinie.

Yesterday morning: 4:18. I am awakened by the sound of Muffin Man's bedroom door opening. I wait. He appears next to me. "Mommy? Can I sleep with you?" I was tired. I didn't want to wake up enough to take him back to bed. I let him crawl in with us.

This morning: 4:25. I am awakened by the sound of Muffin Man's bedroom door opening. I wait. He appears next to me. "Mommy? Can I sleep with you?". This time, I am slightly more alert. I do not want this to be a nightly occurance. I say no.
"But I want you to sleep with me!" I bring him back to bed. He asks me again to sleep with him. I am too tired to get into a big thing with him. I bring blankets and pillows into his room and sleep on the floor next to his bed. He is in his own bed. A slight improvement, but still, not what I am aiming for. He cries in his sleep around 5:30, an obvious nightmare. I shush him and he seems comforted, he stops calling out. I am glad at that moment that I'm in his room, but still, it's not what I am aiming for.

What am I aiming for? I want what we had before our trip to Tampa. Him in his bed, me in mine and everybody sleeping all the way through the night. If there is another 4 AM visit tomorrow morning, I hope I will be able to wake up enough to move toward my goal.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Blame it on Andrea this time.

Andrea has a post about a song which reminded me of this song, though I've been reminded of this song for the last couple of weeks anyway. I first heard it at a Four Bitchin' Babes concert (Christine Lavin, Sally Fingerett, Megon McDonough, and Patty Larkin) and I wept along with everyone else. Here are the lyrics, and as Andrea says, have a hanky handy.

Home Is Where The Heart Is
© 1990 Sally Fingerett
On our corner, there's this nice man, his name is Mark, he's always smiling
He's got this mom who comes on Wed. in the evening with soup so steaming
He shares his house with his friend Martin, They're not brothers, they're not cousins
My little girl wonders all about these men, I take hold of her hand, I begin.

Home is where the heart is
No matter how the heart lives
Inside your heart where love is
That's where you've got to make yourself
At home.

Through the yard live Deb and Tricia, with their drills and ladders and their room addition
My kid yells over are you having a baby, they wink and smile and say, "Someday maybe"
Through their doors go kids and mommies, funny how you don't see the daddies go in.
My little girl wonders 'bout the house with no men, I take hold of her hand, I begin

Home is where the heart is......CHORUS

'Round the corner, here comes Martin, he's alone now, he tries smilin'
He roams around his well-stocked kitchen, he knows that fate will soon be comin'
My little girl wonders where will he live,
I take hold of her hand and I begin

Home is where the heart is.....CHORUS

Martin sits and waits with his window open, his house is empty his heart is broken
We bring him toys and water colors, he loves to hear my little baby's stories.
She's the gift I share, she's his companion, she's the string on the kite
She guides him up into the wind.....into the wind
My little girl wonders who will care for him, We take hold of his hand, we begin, let's begin now

Home is where the heart is.....CHORUS

Oven-Fried Coconut Chicken

It's from Cooking Light. If any of you folks have qualms about registering (it's free to register, say you're a newstand buyer and fill out the form), I'll e-mail the recipe to you.

Absolutely delicious.

Missing you.

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Jury Duty

Jury duty in Brooklyn, NY is a biannual three day marathon of bench-sitting. We sit in an auditorium the size of a high school gymnasium, about four hundred people sitting on rows and rows of benches. These are no ordinary benches. They are pews with hard wooden seats, eight inches wide. Just wide enough to cut the circulation to your knees by the time you’ve sat in them for an hour.

Despite the discomfort of sitting on the benches of doom for 8 hours a day, three days in a row, I always enjoyed serving jury duty. I would bring a few books and my knitting and would luxuriate in getting re-acquainted with my old friends Josephine Tey, Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Reginald Hill. Nothing like reading a good, old-fashioned mystery when waiting to be empanelled for a jury in Brooklyn.

I hear that post-9/11, jurors are not allowed to bring their knitting anymore. I suppose the knitting needles must be considered lethal weapons. I’m saddened especially because disasters like 9/11 and Katrina are often the catalyst many people need to start knitting. Making order out of chaos. Creation out of destruction. Plus, making warm things for people to wear is so satisfying.

The last time I served jury duty was 1997. Between jobs, going to school at night, I had time free and hoped I’d be picked for a jury. I was empanelled for a case against a drug dealer. When it came to be my turn for voir dire, the conversation went like this:

Q: “Have you ever been the victim of a crime?”A: “Yes, I was home during a push-in robbery when I was 10, and held-up twice at gunpoint while working
Q: “Wow. Anyone else in your family ever been the victim of a crime?”
A: “Aside from car thefts and burglaries when no one was home, no. I’m the crime magnet in the family.” (Laughter) I could see the lawyer for the defense decide not to take me.
Q: “Are you an attorney, related to an attorney or work for an attorney?”
A: “I’m working part-time as an office manager for [insert name of Big Time Defense Lawyer].” (There went the prosecution’s vote).
After I answered a few more questions and the rest of the pool were questioned, we were sent out into the hall to wait. No benches here, just a few radiators and one chair they brought out for the ubiquitous grandmotherly lady with the high blood-pressure. We waited. And waited. And took bets on who they’d pick. Everyone but me thought they’d choose me. I knew they wouldn’t. I was right.

Here in Ashburn, my jury duty consisted of one phone call the night before I was due to serve. It was Memorial Day weekend and I was in "Group 1" on the notice they sent me. I called the number, they said "Group One is not needed. If you are in Group One, you have completed your service." Hmpfff. I was disappointed. I was looking forward to spending some quality time with Reginald.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Skull, by popular demand

Lo these many years ago, I was working retail in a mall. I worked one of those kiosks in the main corridors of the mall and at night we had to put up these stupid awnings to cover the kiosk. One night my co-worker didn't show up to help me and, as I may have already said one or two times, I'm pretty short. The awnings attached at the top of the kiosk. The kiosk is about 7' tall.

I stood on a wobbly stool to attach the awnings.

The wobbly stool slipped out from under my feet.

I landed head-first on the concrete floor.

I took a cab home. Went to bed. Woke up the next morning needing to throw up and feeling very dizzy. Went to the doctor (in a cab). Got checked. They found I couldn't focus my eyes (not uncommon for me, I have a lazy eye) and said, "You've won an MRI!" I was fine, just a bit concussed.

So yes, VERY, VERY, VERY stupid. STUPID.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Alphabet Meme (seen everywhere, but this one copied from Pink Cupcake (see "N"))

A - Accent. I was the only person in my linguistics class in college that my teacher couldn't place. "Somewhere in the east, probably mid-atlantic." was the best he came up with. "wud it help ya if I tawkt like dis?" I asked. "BROOKLYN? How'd you manage to escape without an accent?"
Just lucky I guess.
B - Bra Size. 36 DD.
C - Chore you hate. Cleaning. Like most of you.
D - Dad's name. MakesBooksForGrandkids.
E - Essential make-up. Sunscreen.
F - Favourite Perfume. None. NONE.
G - Gold or Silver? Used to be silver, now it's gold.
H - Hometown. BROOKLYN!!!
I - Insomnia. No.
J - Job Title. Software developer.
L - Living Arrangements. Co-habiting with husband and son in a somewhat walkable sub-division.
M - Mom's birthplace. BROOKLYN!
N - Favourite Noldo I have no idea what this is. Does anyone else know??
O - Overnight Hospital Stay. Muffin Man's birth. Arrived Friday, left Monday.
P - Phobia. Small high spaces. And tsunamis.
Q - Favourite Quote."I'm monitoring the culture!"
R - Religious affiliation. Culturally Jewish. Spiritually, somewhat Quaker, mostly agnostic.
S - Siblings. One older sister. My tooth fairy.
T - Time I get up. 6:30. My alarm consists of a door creaking open, little feet padding down the hall and a smiling face peeking in at the door.
U - Unnatural hair colours. Never.
V - Vegetable you refuse to eat. Does cilantro count?
W - Worst habit. Nail biting. Actually, cuticle biting. I'm finally leaving the nails alone, but I'm having trouble with the cuticles.
X - X-rays you've had. Teeth, wrists (only sprains), foot (small broken bone), nose (broken in summer camp), lungs (whooping cough), neck/spine (car accident), skull (I did something incredibly stupid)
Y - Yummy foods you make. Oven-fried coconut chicken, spicy ginger peanut chicken, spaghetti sauce, salmon-salad sandwiches.
Z - Zodiac sign. Pisces.

And about Busch Gardens

I loved Busch Gardens. They have a great little kids area (all adults must be accompanied by a child, you must be UNDER this height to go on this ride). Muffin Man had a ball. A serious, grin-all-over-the-face, laughing out loud great time.

AND....ALL THE SINKS AND SOAP-DISPENSERS ARE HANDICAPPED-ACCESSIBLE!!! Which means that they are also accessible by a completely potty-trained, independence-demanding three-year-old.'s all a little less huge than Disney. No big costumed characters running around. We'll do Disney in a few years, but I'm glad we had this opportunity to do something a bit smaller.

A shout out to a local moving company

From an e-mail I received today:

J&K Moving & Storage is generously providing its trucks, facilities and manpower to collect, palletize and ship donations to the victims of Hurricane Katrina...a collection truck [will be] onsite at Capital Community Church from Wednesday through Sunday morning this week. After Sunday, everything collected will be added to a larger shipment and delivered directly to people in need ASAP.

The types of items that can be utilized by the hurricane victims include:

  • Water
  • Drinks (no powdered drinks)
  • Non perishable food
  • Blankets & Pillows
  • Clothing
  • Toys & games for kids
  • Toiletries
  • Tools, etc. (you probably have a good idea as to what people need)

If you have anything you can donate, please drop it off at Capital Community Church on 20430 Ashburn Village Blvd. When traveling toward Rt. 7 on AVB, the church is on the right after you pass the sports pavilion. If you drop off during the weekdays, you can leave donations in the church lobby. In the evenings and on the weekend, you can take your donations directly to the truck as volunteers will be helping to load.

If you have any questions, you can call...the church at 703-858-3864 ext. 200

Hooray for J&K, you can be sure we'll call them first the next time we need to move. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a web page, or I'd link to them.