Friday, June 30, 2006

Er Eh Duh

Muffin Man (looking at a balloon from a nearby eatery): "Er...Eh...Duh. Erehduh. RED! It says RED Mommy!"

My big boy read a word all by himself!

And right after it, he said this: " Erahbin. ROBIN!"

He's starting to READ!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I love my new swimsuit

It's a Land's End tankini. The top actually fits, which is practically a miracle. And the bottom is skirted so I'm not playing tug-of-war. And I can swim in it! Though I admit it took me a few minutes to get used to the feel of the skirt.

BTW, the virtual model on the Land's End web site is pretty cool, but they are unable to translate what she's wearing into bathing suit sizes yet, so somewhat limited in utility.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My big boy

I went to pick him up at school today. "Swimming lessons!" I said, and immediately he jumped up and followed me into the bathroom to pee and then get his swim trunks on. After only three lessons, he's got the routine down pat.

Hop into the car, say "Hi!" to Daddy. Drive to the (indoor! Beach entrance!) pool nearby. It's raining of course, so I let him and Mr. Spock out at the door and find a parking spot. I go in to find the lesson in progress: blowing bubbles, submerging completely, jumping into the pool like bunnies, kicking while holding onto a dayglo green noodle.

Lesson over, change, go to Panera for dinner (meh), go to Bob Evans for dessert (meh), drive home. POURING RAIN. Deluge. Buckets. "No talking." I say, holding onto the steering wheel for dear life.

I bypass our usual exit because the road I often take was closed last night due to flooding, I'm guessing it will be again. I take the slightly-longer-but-less-likely-to-be-under-water route. I pull into our drive way and look at Mr. Spock. It's still pouring. Sheeting really. He looks at Muffin Man and nudges me to look too. Muffin Man is sound asleep.

Sound. Asleep. In the back seat. He hasn't done that in a really, really long time.

Mr. Spock and I sit and watch our little man sleep and wait for the rain to stop or at least slack off. We notice how the rain makes weird shadows on our shirts. It looks like snake skin or a really cool lava lamp.

Finally it slacks off. I run to unlock our front door and turn off the alarm. Mr. Spock releases MM from his car seat and carries him indoors. He's still sleeping.

Mr. Spock slips off MM's sandals and puts him in bed. Covers tucked up to his chin.

Two hours later I check in on him. He hasn't moved.*

My sweet baby. My big boy. My little man.

*Oh dear. He hasn't peed since 5:45. I'd better get a change of sheets ready.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Things I love about Wegman's

Ah, Wegman's. My favorite "date" place. During this short respite between Summer Session A and Summer Session C, Mr. Spock and I have been heading there after dropping off Muffin Man at Posh Place (formerly Posh New Place, but after 6 months of attendance I think we have to drop the "new").

When we arrive a smidge after 8 AM, the parking lot is nearly empty. We go inside and choose a pastry or two from their patisserie (I generally choose their pain au chocolate, which is actually a traditional size (ie: it doesn't look like it's intended to serve three) and is truly delicious. Then we go over to their coffee counter and get some really good coffee. Two coffees and two pastries ring up to $5.88 with tax. And they're better than Starbucks.

Then we carry our goodies upstairs to their seating area and schmooze away a quiet half-hour.

After the last bit of chocolatey goodness has been consumed, we return downstairs to browse their fish counter (their soft-shelled crabs are still wiggling when you buy them), and their meat counter (I told you about their prime rib, right?), and their vegetable market (organic bananas! black truffles! bagged baby carrots!) and their gourmet frozen foods, and their wines, and their cheeses....

And they also sell regular grocery stuff.

And they have prepared yummy foods.

And they have a play area for potty-trained kids ages 3 and up. With better security than the old daycare we used to send Muffin Man to.

And their bathrooms are clean and pleasant.

And did I mention that most of their stuff is cheaper than Nearby Regular Grocery?

So, that's where I'm spending my early mornings this week. Heaven.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Blogger meet-up. Now with fewer Muppets!

Commenter Extraordinaire Genevieve, her son - BoyWhoBegsMomToBlog, Mr. Spock, Muffin Man and I all met up at the National Museum of American History today. My family would have been on time, except we couldn't find a place to park and so we were circling the area for half an hour, a task made more difficult because of the National Barbecue Battle that was going on.

Anywhooooo, we went to the museum to see the Muppets! Exhibit! and we were so excited! And then we saw them. And it was 5 glass cases with a total of about 15 muppets. Seriously. However, they do have the first-ever Kermit. And he's pretty cool.

But hanging with Genevieve and her son was lots of fun. Muffin Man ADORES BoyWhoBegsMomToBlog and wants to be him when he grows up. BWBMTB is six. That is a Very Big Boy. After the museum (and a donut) we all went for Tex-Mex food and chattered about the world. And we plotted how to get Phantom Scribbler and family down here for a real-life pixie party.

And then we came home and put MM straight into bed. Not even the Very Loud Thunderstorm we're having tonight will be able to keep that boy awake.

In other news, Muffin Man is taking swimming lessons and doing rather well at blowing bubbles and putting his whole face in the water. Next up, learning to kick and float.

Also, I will not have to take IT 103, as I passed that test (Thanks Mr. Spock for helping me study). Wouldn't you think that 10 years spent as a computer programmer should have gotten me out of the class without having to take a silly test?

Thanks, y'all, for the nice comments on the Dean's List post. If you'd asked me a few years ago, I'd never have guessed that I'd be doing so well in school.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Quick Lost post...

We just finished watching the 8th episode (so we've finished the first two discs of Season One) and I just wanna ask y'all:

Sawyer - top pick for the Gilligan/Dr. Smith Award, right?

Almost done

Linguistics final - done!
Linguistics paper - done! done! done!
Psychology final - done!

IT exam for credit - studying for the exam on Saturday. I need to get at least a C to get credit and not have to take the frelling class.

Talk to you all later!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fizzy brain, so here's a list:

My list of the best children's literature, in no particular order.

A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy all by Frances Hodgsen Burnett
Anne of Green Gables (and most of the other books by L.M. Montgomery)
Little Women
Jane Eyre (what? you don't think of this as Kid's Lit.? She's nine when the book begins!)
The Borrowers
All the Harry Potter books
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
All-of-a-Kind-Family (the whole series)
Five Children and It
Half Magic
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Shoes Books by Noel Streatfeild (all of 'em. Heck, anything she wrote. Don't ask questions, just go to and buy them all.
All of Paula Danziger's books - but my favorite is The Pistachio Prescription.
Nancy Drew (the earlier, the better)
Judy Blume, natch. But I think my favorite is Then Again, Maybe I Won't.
All of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Indian Captive and Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
Everything ever written by E.L. Konigsberg.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - and the rest of the series.
S.E. Hinton's stuff.
The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown, and Beauty all by Robin McKinley
Eva, and King and Joker by Peter Dickinson (he's married to Robin McKinley)
Dragonsinger, Dragonsong & Dragondrums by Anne McCaffery
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Diary of Anne Frank
4.50 From Paddington (also known as What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!) by Agatha Christie
The Boggart
Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck (his other books are good too!)
Happy Endings Are All Alike (older readers - contains some hard themes like rape).
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
The Windmill Summer

Younger Readers:
Maurice Sendak. Who needs to say more? Anything he writes or illustrates is worth reading.
Lyle, Lyle the Crocodile (the whole series)
When Ira Sleeps Over
Katy No-pocket
Blueberries for Sal
One Morning in Maine
Make Way for Ducklings
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
The Snowy Day
Goodnight Moon
The Going to Bed Book
Peter's Chair
Many Moons
If you can find them, One Eighth of a Muffin and Apple Pigs are excellent.
Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom.
Anything Dr. Seuss.

Well, that's it for tonight. I know I left some fantastic ones out. I'll worry about it later.

Do you like my hat?

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
My hat, my sun glasses, my boy.

Check out the dimple!


Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Even my camera phone can't hide how happy he was with this face paint.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Free Gone to good home: UPDATED

Children's footwear

1 pr. Sandals, Navy, size 7.5-8 (European size 24) - Jacadi
1 pr. Sandals, Brown, size 8.5 - Payless Smartfit
1 pr. Sandals, Spiderman, size 9 - Payless
1 pr. Slippers, Navy and Green plaid, size M (7/8) - LL Bean?

If you are in the Northern Virginia area and you want any of these let me know in the comments. The cleaning ladies took them for their grandkids.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What? Already?

Y'all remember that I started my first Summer session of school back there at the end of May? Well, I've got one more class day and then it's finals. Finals!

Woof. That went fast.

Most interesting items so far: Definitely phonemes.
z --> s/C[-voice]__#
z --> ez/C[+affricate]__#
Thus z, s, & ez are all allophones of the same phoneme. Cool, right? means that when we are speaking and pluralize a word, such as dog or nose we make a z sound at the end. The z sound is almost universal except for words that end in an unvoiced consonant such as cat or mop where we use the s sound. Words that end in an affricate such as church or fish get an ez sound added to them.

What's truly interesting about this both phonetically and morphologically is that you don't have to teach children these rules, they just absorb them. And they know that the rules are there because they over generalize them (gooses, childs, foots). Not to mention goed and comed.

Really very cool.

The second half of Summer classes (Social Psychology and Recent American Fiction) starts July 5.

I won't be around much this week due to studying for a CLEP exam I'm taking a week from tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


So my mom calls me up the other night. "I've got a message here on my machine from someone calling for you from your old university. Do you want his name and number?"

"Sure." Hmmmm. I don't recognize this name. But the last name is the same as my old English teacher, maybe it's about him?

So I call the number and this guy answers, and slurs the name my mom gave me.

Right then, I should have hung up.

But did I? No. That would be rude.

"Hi." I said, "My mom called me with this number. I used to go to Old University. My name is Liz?"

What followed was really sad. It's this guy who I have really no memory of. He's drunk. And what he remembers about me is my height and my...shape. Specifically the shape and size of my rack as it was then. Which was quite large for someone of my height. Even larger now, but let's not tell him that. And did I mention he's drunk? Eighteen-year-old-boy-at-first-frat-party kind of drunk. And I couldn't place his name, or his description of his long-ago self. Or anything else about him.

"I'm truly sorry. I really don't remember you. It was 19 years ago. I'm very flattered that you remembered me, but I can't recall you at all. Goodbye"


Monday, June 12, 2006

Really liking Lost

Truly. 4 paws up as The Bears would say.

So far it's quite odd. Sort of Myst meets Jurassic Park meets Castaway. Lots of mystery and intrigue.

I can't wait to see what happens next!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

As seen at Angry Pregnant Lawyer's


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

(Though, of course my real favorite is Inigo Montoya.)

She also has a quiz up about which RHPS character one might be. As y'all know, I'm Janet...and Columbia...and Magenta...and Frank.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Political stuff

Y'know, I hardly ever talk politics here. Partly because I talk politics quite often IRL, and partly because there are so many other people who do it: Bitch PhD does it rather well, as does Phantom Scribbler, and lots of other folks to the right here --->

But there's a primary coming up in a few days here in Virginia and two pretty good candidates are goin' head-to-head for the chance to run against George ("Health Care Crises? What Health Care Crises?") Allen.

I think both Webb & Miller are good, strong, electable candidates. I'd be fine with either of them in the Senate, but I'm voting for Miller in the primary and here's why:

While both Webb and Miller agree on many, many topics, Miller has been a strong Democrat forever and will help bring the Democratic faithful to the polls which we need desperately if we're going to defeat the homophobic, bigoted, and misguided amendment to the Virginia constitution that's on the ballot in November. The Amendment not only would ban same-sex marriage (disgusting enough on its own), it also would ban any contract that bestows the privileges of marriage: so if your Aunt Laura wants you to have her Health Care Proxy, it probably wouldn't be legal. If you want to form a company in partnership with your friend Josh, and you set it up so that each of you has survivorship rights in the company, no can do. Many lawyers say that it could void most contracts and Wills.

Webb used to be in Reagan's cabinet. He voted for Bush against Gore and for Allen the last time around. He'd probably get the votes of moderate Republicans and maybe the Independents, but he's unlikely to get core Democrats motivated and seriously unlikely to get highly Liberal folks out for him. And they're the ones we need to defeat that Amendment.

I like Webb. I think he's a good man. He's been against the invasion of Iraq since before the invasion. That's great. But...He voted for Bush 6 years ago. Back then we all knew certain facts about Bush: he was against gay marriage, he was for lowering taxes for the wealthy, he was for cutting services, he was for conservative (aka anti-choice) judges, he was for prayer in schools, he spoke at Liberty College. Does any of that sound like a platform a Democrat should vote for? And yet he did. Six years ago.

I am close to several people who have made that conversion: people who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal who voted for the Republicans (and for Bush against Gore) because they saw them as the party of fiscal responsibility and didn't see the creeping social conservatism fostered by the religious fundamentalists. Those folks are now the hardest of hard-core democrats because their social values are under siege. And I hope that Webb is one of these. I do. But I fear he may not be. And I wonder if others share that fear and may not be motivated to go out and vote in November when we need them.

With Miller, we know what we're going to get. A strong Democrat who's going to push to fund education and health care. He'll back Warner for President and he'll push to bring the troops home. If we get enough Democrats like him voted in, they might even impeach Bush, wouldn't that be a hoot?

So, on Tuesday, I'm voting for Miller.

But if Webb wins that'll be okay too.

Either way, I'm voting against Allen and the Amendment in November.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I am the number one search result for "mmr tetanus shot arm hurts"!

I'm so proud.

My brain is frozen

One of our local radio stations has an "eclectic lunch" every day. And every day has a different theme; on Tuesday, it was songs about the devil (06/06/06).

A few days ago, it was a theme inspired by the National Spelling Bee and all the songs had to do with spelling. The eclectic lunch started at noon, which is just when I had to go into my Linguistics class, so I have no idea what songs were played.

For the life of me I can't come up with an hours worth of music for this theme, can you?

So far, I've got:
  • Gloria
  • Respect
  • Saturday Night (Bay City Rollers)
  • Lola
  • I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am
  • Rocking in the USA

Any more? What am I missing?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

So far so good.

As I said to Mrs. Coulter, it looks like there might be some excellent opportunities for snark in that there television show.

I can't remember why we didn't catch on to Lost in first run, I think it may have conflicted with one or another of our televised addictions. But that's okay, 'cause we're in the summer doldrums so we can catch up!

The images of the downed aircraft were disturbing and I'm wondering how they discussed that at Di$n3y.

Next episode on Thursday. We're rationing 'em to two a week.

I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there...

Mr. Spock and I are about to watch the first episode of the first season of Lost.

I hope one of you wrote this

In Gene Weingarten's chat today, there was a discussion of shopping cart shame. I seriously hope one of you was the one who started the discussion with the mention of the "'til menopause box of tampax".

I snorted and nearly fell out of my chair laughing.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

We have brownies!

Cooks Illustrated. Delicious. Fudgy. Excellent glossy top crust. Non-cake-like brownie consistency.

2 oz unsweetened chocolate (chopped)
5 oz semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate chips (chopped)
8 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter (diced)
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 & 1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

1 8x8 pan, sprayed with PAM or equivilent and then lined with two pieces of tinfoil cross wise to each other.
1 sauce pan.
1 heat-proof bowl.
1 medium mixing bowl.
1 wooden spoon.
1 large whisk.

Preheat oven to 350.

In the saucepan bring some water to a simmer and then place the heat-proof bowl over the saucepan and in the bowl, melt both kinds of chopped chocolate along with the butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and whisk briskly until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In the medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking briskly. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined (IMPORTANT, DO NOT OVER MIX.)

Pour batter into prepared 8x8 pan, making sure the batter gets into the corners. Shake the pan a bit to make a smooth surface. Bake for 35 minutes.

Cool on a rack for 2 hours. Cut out 1 inch slices as needed, don't cut slices until you are about to eat them (to prevent them drying out). Cover the remainder with plastic wrap.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Thursday night I felt like I'd been pummelled in the kidneys. I had been an uber-bitch to my son. I felt like shit.

Friday morning, blood draw for cholesterol, breakfast with Mr. Spock, get to Nearby College for my Linguistics class and...

On my way to the classroom I feel queasy and weak, so I go to the bathroom and find that I have had a good reason for my testy, crabby, crampy behavior.

The tidal wave has hit once again. Mystery Mommy is on the rag.

Now normally, I know when it's due. I pay attention to these things. Truly. But for some reason this month I let it totally blind-side me.

And, of course, it's worse than usual. Cramping. Nausea. Headaches. Bitchiness. Quick temper. Sensitive sense of smell so I feel stinky too. And the constant damp, gooey feeling (even with a tampon!) is just squicky.

When I'm prepped for it, it's less of a drain. I usually dose up on some ibuprophen for a couple of days before, and stock up with the chocolate. The squick factor is less when I'm prepped, because I have a tampon with me - this time I had to buy a pad from the dispenser at school and even though I've showered since, I still feel sticky. And if it were just about the old blood and gunk, it wouldn't bother me. Why in the world does it also have to drain every ounce of energy AND make me hurt AND turn me into the Holy Hag from Hell?

I hate me like this. I feel like the World's Worst Mother and the World's Worst Wife.

A point in my favor: I made a killer batch of Baked Shells (formerly known as Baked Ziti) last night and we had leftovers.

A point against: I ate the last brownie...and didn't share.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bands I haven't listened to in years...

& yet can come into the middle of a song and sing every word in perfect time:

Hall & Oates ("Kiss on My List", yesterday while going to school)
Nena ("99 Red Balloons", yesterday coming home from school)
Aha ("Take on Me", this morning on my way to meet Mr. Spock for breakfast)
Peter Schilling ("Major Tom", a few days ago)

So what is it about this week that the local radio stations are all playing these songs from my very distant youth? And what is it about me that I STILL know all the words?