Wednesday, January 31, 2007


At 9:07 pm February 1, 2002, (just the day before yesterday! really!), he was 5 minutes old and he looked like this:

Now, he's a big boy:

Writing, almost reading, having adventures, painting, swimming, trying to skate, helping me cook, riding his bike, making jokes, eating like there's no tomorrow, wiping his own butt, playing computer games, dancing, using his words, jumping, laughing, whining, being silly, having (strong) opinions, snuggling, being his own special, loving and loveable, self.

It all goes so fast. Zoom! And then he's five.

Happy birthday, sweet boy. I love you so much. You make me very happy.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bragging (corrected)

Muffin Man has been spending some of his free time at school working on worksheets that his teacher printed out and has for kids to use like a coloring book if they want. Today's sheet has 4 pictures on it. Muffin Man has labelled each picture. At some point, I will scan the whole sheet, but I'm having issues with the scanner tonight.

The first picture is of a household appliance. It is labelled, "FREJ".
The next is of a thermos and a box with a handle on it. The label says, "LUSH".
The third is of a partly opened dresser. He has clearly written "TROR". Correction: he wrote, "JROR".
The last is of an item commonly found in grocery stores. He calls it a "KORT".

His teacher swears he asked for no help and she only knew about it when he asked her to put it in his folder when he was done.

I'm so proud!

Friday, January 26, 2007

School report

Thank you all so much for your recipes! Keep 'em coming!

School looks good this semester. I've got an interview today with my service placement, and that will wrap up this introductory week.

I'm going to have a ton of work to do, so my blogging may be light, but I'll be visiting and commenting at your sites. And I will definitely be whining. Oh, how I will be whining. "My baaaackpaaaack is sooooooo heavy" snivel. whine. moan.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Asking for some help

Dear bloggy friends,

My schedule this semester is somewhat crazy. Tuesdays and Thursdays I'll be out of the house early and coming home during rush hour. Mondays and Wednesdays and all day Fridays, I'll probably be doing work at a community service organization nearby (for my Psychology in the Community class, I have to do 10 hours of service a week.) I've got some food frozen and ready to go, but I'm pretty sure that won't last the whole semester.

So...I need ideas. Do any of you have crockpot recipes that will take no more than 10 - 15 minutes in the morning and can cook all day? Howsabout lunches that don't need refridgeration? Favorite quick-and-easy meals that go beyond hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and mac-and-cheese?

Thank you!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cue the Twilight Zone music!

Y'all remember my sister, right? Lives in the Frozen North? Well, she doesn't have satellite and she can't get cable and there's a big tall mountain between her and the television station, so she gets no reception either. So for presents, I send her son (10-year-old LovesScienceFiction) and daughter (13-year-old BeautifulNieceWhoLooksLikeHerMotherOnlyTaller) DVDs of shows I think they'll like. Some we record (the Olympics and whatnot) and some we buy (like the first season of Joan of Arcadia and The Gilmore Girls). Well, the Gilmore Girls was a big hit with the whole family, so we sent the second season, and the third.

Today BigSister called me. They couldn't wait for BNWLLHMOT's birthday, so they started renting the fourth season and the rental guy told them a piece of "what a small world" trivia....

They live in the town that is featured in the opening montage!


You remember how I said that we had some of my low white bookshelves in the guest room because my desk was where they used to be?

Not anymore!

Here are my bookshelves all together again. MS had the truly inspired idea of putting my desk in the middle of the bump-out under the sky-lights. Sooooo much better!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Number one!

Google has me as the number one search result for:

"life is pain anyone who says otherwise" and "Aggggghhh"

Very, very odd.

My bookshelves

It might surprise you to know that I have a lot of books. One might say I really have a lot of books. Although, I have less than I did and will occasionally cull out (less worthy books) or loan out or give away one or two favorites of mine, just so that I can introduce old friends to new friends, as it were.

Downstairs in the barrister bookshelves are the nice books, the ones that look good together and the first editions (mostly signed).

Up in the guest room is one full bookcase of short story collections (so that guests have something to read, but don't need to make a commitment). Also in the guest room are two small bookshelves filled with paperbacks, sorted alphabetically by author (A through Heyer).

Heyer continues in the bookshelves that surround me as I type this (the desk I use displaced the two bookshelves that are now in the guest room), and then goes through to Margaret Yorke. Over near the bed are more hard covers and some assorted goodies that really should be put back in their proper places.

Except for the barrister bookshelves and the short story shelves, all the bookcases are over stuffed. Books are lined up, spines out and then there are piles on top of those books, in front of those books and on top of the shelves themselves.

Most of the books are mysteries, quite a few are science-fiction/fantasy/alternate Earth (generally w/ vampires), and a growing contingent are in the Heyer dimension going towards Chick Lit.

I love books, not just the words in them - though that's huge - but the smell of them. The feel of the covers, that paper-y sensation when I turn the pages, the quiet shwush of the paper rubbing against itself and my fingertips. The wonderful anticipation of starting a new book, a new chapter, a new page. The mingled satisfaction and sadness of finishing a really good one - knowing I can re-read it.

The rationale behind what I gave my giftee for WHOYCBE (Winter Holiday of Your Choice Blog Extravaganza)

My giftee was Art Sweet, whom I was very glad to get to know. Now that this is over, I can link to her - Hi Art Sweet!!!

Art Sweet is a diabetic. She's adopting a baby from Guatemala. She likes chocolate, coffee, vanilla scents, flannel sheets and clothes warm from the dryer. She loves to sit in front of the fire. She like children's books and beautiful, useful handmade things. Hates hot pink, GWB and his cronies, won't eat cashews. She is a photographer, and is finally owning up to it.

So, since I couldn't evict GWB from the White House, here's how I shopped for Art Sweet:

First, I picked up MM from school. We went to the mall and he claimed he was hungry, so we stopped and had some pizza. Then I offered him a deal. No whining or complaining while I shopped, and I'd get him a present too.

First off, chocolate. We went down to Godiva's and got a little box with 2 truffles in it for a tiny bit of indulgence without having to check blood sugars too much.

Next, vanilla. We went to the body shop, but I didn't find anything there that really sang to me, so we went to a candle shop and found a vanilla cupcake candle with a lovely triangle candle holder.

Coffee? We went hunting for good coffee and a pretty cup, but it was no dice.

Pretty, useful, homemade? I had intended to knit a pair of mittens and time got away from me. I really regret that. Art Sweet, honey, IOU a pair of mittens, okay?

Photographer...photographer...Picture frame? I hunted but couldn't find just the right thing for when she brings Guatebaby home with her.

Flannel sheets...didn't fit the budget, but I found an oversized fleece throw that was like buttuh. Sooooo cozy and soft.

Children's books. Now, as you know. I'm a fan of children's books. I'm a big, big fan of Frances Hodgsen Burnett (y'know, A Secret Garden. A Little Princess. Little Lord Fauntleroy). Not so well known is the fact that FHB also wrote books for adults, some of which have only just now come back into print. I sent along The Making of a Marchioness.

So the box I sent is a recipe for a cozy night by the fire: A box of chocolates, a vanilla candle, a fleecy throw, and a good book. I hope that it helps occupy your time until Guatebaby arrives, Art Sweet!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How to find a new author

  1. Buy tickets on Amtrak for the 1020 AM train to NYC.
  2. Deliberately decide NOT to pack a book for the train ride as your active almost 5-year-old will need entertaining.
  3. Arrive at Union Station at 1015. Miss the train. Change the tickets for the 1125.
  4. Mail a package to Syracuse from the station's post office.
  5. Buy snacks and beverages at Au Bon Pain. Eat.
  6. Get in line for the train.
  7. Get on board early (passengers travelling with children! Sweet!)
  8. Listen to your nearly 5-year-old son when he points out that someone has left a book on a nearby seat.
  9. Note that this is the first stop for this train and that you are the first passengers in this car.
  10. Decide that the book is abandoned and needs a good home.
  11. When your not-quite-five-year-old son decides he doesn't want you to watch him color, because you're "breathing on him", start reading the book.
  12. Continue reading the book whenever your son who's just a smidge less than five is not wanting you to play "Simon Says" with him.
  13. Get off the train in Penn Station in NYC.
  14. Find parents who have graciously offered a ride to their home in Brooklyn.
  15. Talk with parents while your son plays with Lego.
  16. Go to your grandparent's house for dinner (chinese food), show off Hula skills.
  17. Return to parents' home.
  18. Read book while son is tucked into bed by his grandma.
  19. Talk with parents.
  20. Go to bed, read book by nightlight.
  21. Finish book.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

WHOYCBE!!! Flowers and candy and a lovely school supplies!

Here is the note that I got from my Secret Santa...still a secret! Who can it be?

Look at what she gave me! Flowers (on a diary, a calendar and a lovely little mirror) and candy (two kinds of chocolate!) and a valentine (hand painted on canvas!) and brand-new pencils and a darling eensy hole punch and a sweet little stapler and multi-colored paperclips and pretty post-it page markers and snowy tissues.

Here's the valentine.

The chocolates are milk chocolate Droste pastilles and this wonderful chocolate bar:

Isn't that the greatest?

I love my presents, thank you so, so, so much!!!!!!!! I can't wait to use the school supplies (I love having new school supplies for the new semester) and I'm eating a pastille as we speak...mmm...

Thanks again!

I'm not posting the gift I gave yet, since she hasn't actually received it (but it's at her local post office! I checked! It arrived yesterday.) In any case, the pictures I took were fuzzy (a certain young person left a big fingerprint on the lens, so I'll just be talking rationale.

Monday, January 15, 2007

World's Worst Mother

We went to NYC for the weekend, just MM and me. I packed toys and coloring books and crayons and magic markers and shirts and socks and pants and toiletries and presents for people we were visiting and

forgot to pack any underwear for my son. I packed them for me, but not for him.

Consequently, he now has Lightning McQueen on his butt.

True fact: if you want to buy underwear for a 4-year-old boy in Park Slope, Brooklyn, you are SOL. We had to head over to Burlington Coat Factiory in Chelsea.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm a bad, bad blogger

Not much to write about, I've been working on a database. MM had a nuclear meltdown tonight over swedish meatballs. He was so exhausted, poor guy. But he hit MS on the way to bed, and so he lost story-time.

I'm hopeful that he will wake up in a better mood tomorrow.

Meanwhile, why don't y'all put in requests for something for me to write about? I'm about out of ideas at the moment.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Things I learned today

  • Rented ice skates are truly ugly.
  • Once around an ice rink is an extraordinarily long distance when you are trying to teach someone how to ice skate.
  • I am NOT qualified to teach anyone how to ice skate.
  • Despite the fact that I suck as a teacher, Muffin Man thinks ice skating is a hoot, and wants to go again. He fell several times but laughed each time and was able to get back up again pretty quickly.

I ache all over. Mom, I'm so grateful to you for teaching me how to skate. Now, could you teach me how to teach MM?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tales of a sunny Saturday

Muffin Man and I went on an excursion this morning on our neighborhood bike path, enjoying the weather (sunny, 68 degrees F). Him on his bicycle, me walking. Him in his pjs (at first I told him "no", but then I thought "WWMD?*" and I let him). Me in ripped jeans and an aloha shirt. We went in a direction we seldom go, away from the closest of the several playgrounds.

On our way out he rode s l o w l y. I kept saying, "I'm walking! You're riding! You should be way ahead of me! Pedal! Pedal! Pedal!" He kept saying, "I'm going too fast, Mama!"

As we moseyed along, we said hello to everyone we met and he pet every dog he saw (with permission of the owners). He complained it was "too hard" to pedal and wanted me to push. I told him he was welcome to walk, but he'd have to push his bicycle, so he just kept pedaling s l o w l y. And then we got to the first of the further-away playgrounds. SWINGS! SLIDES! RUNNING!

"Do you want to go to the next playground?" Zoom! On to his bicycle! Helmet on! Pedalling!

At the next playground, there was a worshipful 2-year-old named Max who though MM was a god. He mimicked MM's every move, and MM was really really very nice to him, slowing down for him and being very gentle. When Max left, MM ran around furiously for a few minutes and then...zoom! on to his bicycle! helmet on! pedalling for home.

I had to run to catch up the all the way home.

And MM stayed in his pyjamas the whole day.

I hope it's as warm and sunny tomorrow.

*What Would Moxie Do?

Friday, January 05, 2007

If you resolve to put away the laundry...

Ala Jo(e), If you resolve to put away the might find you have to clear out your dresser first. And the closet. Which is full of stuff that doesn't belong in closets.

I have summer clothes, and winter clothes, and business clothes, and clothes that need to go to the dry cleaners, and clothes that need ironing, and clothes that I last wore before I was a mommy.

I have sandals, and boots, and shoes that need repairing, and shoes that I last wore before I was a mommy.

I have boxes of wool and cotton yarns and knitting needles I haven't touched since before I was a mommy.

I have birthday presents, and toy prizes, and toys and cozy baby blankets that are beyond repair (but which can't be thrown out while MM is around or he'll throw a hissy fit) which never would have been in my closet before I was a mommy.

I need to borrow your daughter, Jo(e). I'm never gonna be able to keep this resolution without her.

last lines of '06

As seen at Quinn's, the last sentence of the last post of each month of 2006 (with a bit of cheating if the last sentence was too dull to put up there on it's own). Some of these make no sense out of context, I mean take a peek at July:

January: And the winner is....

February: And, like Phantom, there's at least one state out there I'm never going to visit.

March: Does anyone else have the theme song from "Little Einsteins" stuck in their heads? I'm trying to get it out by humming the theme from "Higgly Town Heroes" but it's not working.Well, that's it. See you all later!

April: And now APL and AB are off back home and MM is having quiet time.

May: It was a big hit.

June: He's starting to READ!

July: A change purse.

August: He didn't want his blanket to cover them (but we tucked him up anyway after he'd gone to sleep).

September: She was born somewhat prematurely on Wednesday and, though her prognosis is good (weighing in at 6 lb 3 oz), she's in the NICU while her lungs mature.

October: Please go take a look.

November: Also, not to forget, The Barenaked Ladies have an excellent holiday CD with an original Hanukah song on it.

December: My New Year's Resolution: To put away the laundry. (Chest of) Drawers! What are they good for? Absolutely nothing. I said drawers! Huh, good God y'all.
May you all have a happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year.

Quick update on some of this: My little cousin is doing well and I've just realized I've still not met her. And I have a Jo(e)esque post coming up about my New Year's resolution. MM is pretty much at the same point he was in June on the reading front.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

This post brought to you by El Nino and a cancellation

My sister is in town! She arrived Tuesday evening for a 4-day conference and meeting extravaganza. "No time for a visit this time," she said glumly when I spoke to her New Year's Day.
"Call me if you get a cancellation," I said. "It's flu season, surely one of your appointments will cancel."
"That's right! You're on vacation!"
"Yep! I can come into town at a moment's notice!"

And that's exactly what happened. By 9:00 this morning, she knew she had a couple of hours free at 3:30. I hopped into the car, drove to the metro, and ran right to her.

We ate outdoors. With our coats off. In short-sleeved shirts. In January. The weather monkeys say it's not global warming, just El Nino and the jet stream and enjoy it while it lasts. Well, we enjoyed every last bit of it. Especially BigSister, who lives in the frozen north. Up a steep dirt road. That is covered in snow 5 months of the year and mud 2 months. (Hey! Do you know what they do in the frozen north for the summer? No, what? If it falls on a weekend, they have a picnic!) But they sure do have purty leaves.

And after we talked and ate and talked some more and admired the weather and commented on the machine gun-wielding secret service agents in the motorcade that had gone by while BigSister was waiting for me, I popped her into a taxi and sent her off to her next appointment.

And then I bought a book for the train ride back. The latest in the Deborah Knott series. It's excellent. I nearly missed my stop!

And then played with MM and I ate some excellent beef stroganoff (MS made it using the last of the leftover prime rib) and then it was MM's bedtime. And then I finished the book. I'm not gonna give the plot away, y'all, but you really must read Margaret Maron if you haven't read her already. I know I've talked to you about her before. Here's a good place to start. Or here. Or here.

So truly an excellent day.

Tomorrow MM starts in Jr. Kindegarten!! He just got promoted from Pre-K. He's going to have a locker and everything. He's pretty psyched.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Muffin Man...

...Picked up his stool, carried it to the cabinet near the sink, climbed up, opened the cabinet that holds the drinking glasses, got one of his plastic tumblers, closed the cabinet door, climbed down, carried his tumbler to the fridge, opened the fridge, got out the jug of filtered water (only 1/3 full), handed his tumbler to me, said, "Would you please hold this while I pour?", poured the water, put the jug away in the fridge, returned his stool to its home, retrieved his glass of water from me, drank it, and put the tumbler in the sink.

...Put out dessert plates for everyone after dinner tonight, brought out the cake, went and got a butter knife and started to cut the cake (we stopped him, but excellent try, kiddo!)

Where the heck has my baby gone?

(Said as he's running by at the speed of light)"...I want more cake!" (running by again) "I love sweet, sugary things!" (The grown-ups laugh and I remark, doing my best Slim Pickins, "I think you've had enough.")