Friday, May 29, 2009


A little tired.

Sprinting in slow motion.

Trying to teach my son some self-control by using time-out methods. He is currently screaming about not being able to reach his flip flop. The lonely sandal is sitting on the floor by the window a few feet away from him. He is insisting he can not reach it!!!! His sister has decided to take pity on him because his maniacal screaming was interrupting her PBS Kids show. My children; they have such grace.

I lost my tape gun yesterday. My mom lent me hers so I could get packing again, but seriously. A lost tape gun is detrimental to one's mental health when getting ready to move.

Putting in recess lighting in the new house today. Which is an old house. Just new to us. With lots of weeds in the flower beds.

But at least we are proud owners of a brand new trimmer, as well as a lawn mower.

Well, off to get things done. Hopefully.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Little Prayer For, yes, A Kitchen

I have spent some time praying about this remodel. (I almost called it a "little remodel" but, um, it's an entire kitchen, so that's not really little, is it.) Mostly I have been praying that things will please fall into place. Because they could really drag on if they don't. And this is a small thing, as far as spiritual things go, but you know what? I've learned that Heavenly Father is willing to help me wherever I let him, even with kitchen remodels.

Three things that were particularly vexing me were: moving the vent for the range, moving a vent on the floor, and moving a gas line. I needed all three moved because I have decided that I do not like a stove next to a refrigerator. Actually, strike that. I never had to decide it, I have always instinctively known. Blame it on my inner interior decorator and architect.

If your range is next to your refrigerator that is just fine. I don't like you any less. I just wanted mine parted, and with that parting came some work. But that is what home ownership is all about, right? So they say. I've dived in.

But this morning, after a lovely Memorial Day (complete with a BBQ, and the annual family whiffle ball game), I got a call saying someone was coming to check out the vents I needed moved. And he did more than just check them out, he moved them. Jack. He is a nice guy. And now my vents are moved. He will move the gas pipe on Monday. Bless him. I told him he was an answer to my prayers. And he was.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In Which I Become A Remodeling & Design Blog

We bought a house. We did. An actual house. We now own a house. And owe a considerable amount of moolah to the bank. But it's done and good, and we have gone and torn out the kitchen.

Because once you purchase a house, the next step is to utterly change it, right?

Actually, most of the house will stay the same, with a few improvements, but the kitchen is going to be brand new. Woot!

Although slightly overwhelmed is the current default emotion, I am also excited.

Below is the BEFORE picture.

Here is the DURING picture. We knocked down the soffit or bulkhead, or whatever you want to call it. I'm putting in cabinets that go up to the top of the ceiling. And moving the range, etc., etc.

The gross yellow stuff on the walls is old glue from a laminate back splash. Ugly, ugly, very ugly it was. So I'm going to do something different. Maybe subway tile. Kind of as an ode to New York City.

In any case, if I am sparse on posting it's because I'm trying to move and put in a new kitchen and weed out huge dandelions from my front yard. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

9 years

Ben and I were sitting next to each other watching our oldest twirling around the floor in her dance class. It was the last class before the performance and parents are invited to watch. I really love my daughters' teachers; they love the kids, they love dance, they respect the body. My oldest daughter's teacher is the mother-in-law of one of my former school mates.

I leaned over to Ben and was going to say "That's Noelle's mother-in-law" as if he knew who Noelle was. But he doesn't. We didn't go to high school together. Which is a good thing. We joke that if my parent's had known each other in high school they would have never married. I think the same could be said about Ben and me. I was still growing into myself in high school and wasn't quite me yet. Oh, there were flickers of me around the edges, but I needed a few more life experiences and so on.

The point of this post is that while we didn't know each other until college, I felt like he would know that trivial information from my past. I went to school with Noelle. Here is her mother-in-law. He doesn't know that. But I'm glad I feel like he might. We've been married 9 years today. Nine years isn't forever yet, but I can see that it's long enough to make the part of my past I had without him seem a little odd for him not being there at least hovering in the wings.

And so here's to many more years, decidedly together. Happy Anniversary, Ben. I love you.

Ben's recreation of a Doonsbury comic strip which he did shortly after we were married. I have a fondness for Doonsbury, as well as a fondness for Ben: this helps explain why. Who wouldn't fall for something like that?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Small Entomologists

My oldest is off to school. My other children are in the backyard, looking for rolypolys to scoop up and place in a bed of grass in a small plastic wagon.

They did this yesterday morning as well. I wonder if those little bugs know that on most mornings they will be collected, evaluated, held captive for awhile, and then released -if not inadvertently killed- into the wild.

There are apparently criteria for deciding whether the bug is child or adult (size), male or female (color), and probable family relations etc., etc. I do not pretend to understand it all.

I enjoy the running chatter from my small ones as they gently pick up one small roly after another. By the number of bugs collected in any given sitting, I have come to realize that we are most certainly outnumbered by the little bugs so I hope my children do not cause a rebellion among them.

We would be doomed for sure.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Don't Try To Be Efficient

Last week on Tuesday I looked at the clock and burst into action. It was impressive; Spring in fast forward. Me, bursting, into action. I hopped in the shower, showered in record time, dressed, dressed my baby, dressed my son, got my daughter all gussied up in her dancing clothes, threw everyone into the car and drove like a wild lady to dance class.

I promptly dropped my daughter off and then went to the grocery store for groceries (!) congratulating myself on being so efficient in such a short amount of time. My son loves the carts that are cars. You know, the kids get into the car part and you put your food, etc., in the cart part. Oliver LOVES this. He straps on his invisible seat belt and then takes out his invisible keys from his pocket. He puts the invisible keys into the invisible ignition, pulls the gear shift down so he can Drive, and then he turns the wheel. Only at this point am I allowed to move the cart forward. If I try to do it any earlier Oliver screeches loudly. Because everybody knows that in order to drive a car all of those things must be done.

After this time filling ritual I headed down the first isle when to my horror the time suddenly came to my mind through the clock that is NPR. Meaning, I realized that The Diane Rehm show was still on, and not Radio West which meant that I HAD DROPPED MY DAUGHTER OFF TO DANCE CLASS AN HOUR EARLY.

I ran to the van, pulled the kids out of the car, buckled them in, drove fiercely to the Women's Center where the dance class is held trying to decide if I was feeling mortified about everything. Being mortified is Not my default position. It just isn't worth the energy. I felt some extra color coming to my cheeks as I waited at the stoplight, but it was very faint. Sigh.

I did embarrass my daughter who opted not to stay in the early dance class (taught by the same teacher) and then couldn't bear to return to her actual dance class. But that was that. We all survived. But this Tuesday I am keeping a close eye on the clock. I took a long bath this morning instead of a hurried shower. I have no ambitions other than getting my daughter to dance class any earlier or later than necessary.

I am not on the ball this morning and my world will be better for it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


And so life tries to return to normal.

After several grueling weeks of staying at work reading papers, writing papers, grading projects, writing papers and writing papers Ben was home on Tuesday, before 2 a.m. He was actually home at lunch time, the class he was teaching over, and the paper he was finishing due at noon and emailed off to the professor.

He brought home a rotisserie chicken and lots of red roses in celebration. Then took the girls to the Bean Museum (which, incidentally is not a museum about beans, it is a museum named after Monte L. Bean) and then cooked dinner while I took Oliver to Old Navy for some flip flops and to Lowes to look at counter tops.

And then horrid, horrid hay fever overtook me and I have not stopped sneezing since. And I am not happy about that. Also the flip flips I purchased for me were a size too small and so I have to return them. And I can't type the word flip flop without thinking of John Kerry. Thanks a lot 2004 Presidential Campaign.

So here I am, trying to be judicious in my use of Kleenex. Both my small one's have colds and are down for "a rest" because the word nap makes them crackle with fear and trepidation. The house is not sparkling clean, but it's adequate. Ben gets home at a good time today. I am going to grab a book of poetry and read it while cursing at the pollen.

So Says William Stafford

Yellow Cars

Some of the cars are yellow, that go

by. Those you look at, so glimmering

when light glances at their passing.

Think of that hope: "Someone will

like me, maybe." The tan ones

don't care, the blue ones have made

a mistake, the white haven't tried.

But the yellow -- you turn your head:

hope lasts a long time when you're happy.

~ William Stafford

image here

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This One's a Classic

How, I wonder each time I listen to Disney movie previews, can a movie that has not yet been released be a classic already?

Not only are all these new movies apparently born into the same category as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but their story lines are also assumed right away to be, yes, classics. Disney apparently wants no claim to originality, which is good, because most of the time, they aren't original. But really. I certainly don't think of Hercules as a classic, except where the Odyssey is concerned and we all know The Odyssey has been around long enough to warrant the title of classic.

Even The Little Mermaid: Return to the Sea is a "classic." Except there the voice-over man, throwing caution to the Disney wind says "...In a story unlike any other..." and goes on to tell a story about a daughter yearning to find some place beyond the boundaries her parents have set for her, who disobeys, finds herself tangled in some problems, gets some cute animal sidekicks, and is rescued and her disobedience vindicated. No. That story does not sound familiar at all. Not at all.

What I'm saying is that Disney People, You Are Not Fooling Me! I know a classic when I see it. I roll my eyes at your previews. And despite your attempts to indoctrinate my children into watching second-rate stories that are riding on the Hunchback of Notre Dame (the book is a classic; the movie: a farce) and, help us, Jennifer Love Hewitt lending her voice to one of the characters in a sequel and telling us that for sure! we will want this movie in our home to watch over and over again, you shall not prevail.

No matter how many classics you manage to produce this year.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oh, yes. And May the 4th Be With You

Apparently it's Star Wars Day. And it's cracking me up. Really, I love Star Wars. Even if I think George Lucas is a little odd. So I say to you "May the Force be with you." Or as one can say today "May the 4th be with you." See. You're cracking up a little bit right now, too.

Some Lists, Some Reasons, And A Super Hero Fantasy

Fertilizer/Weed Killer



Heavy Cream, maybe

* * * * *

My bathroom

My sorry, sorry bedroom

The kitchen

* * * * *

Odd dreams

Sick baby

Morning showing up WAY TOO SOON

* * * * *

Overly demanding 5 year-old

Overly demanding 3 year-old

Sick baby

* * * * *
And the Answers to these Random Lists Are:

What I need to pick up at the store today. What I need to get cleaned today. Why I didn't sleep so well last night. Why I plan on going into Spring hibernation any minute now.

But oh wait. If I hibernate I won't get the other things done.

Curses. Foiled again!

* * * * *

Yesterday while driving up to my parents for Sunday dinner we passed a young man, shirt off, tanned torso, standing around like he knew something. Next to him was a girl. Well, young woman, but oh-so-young-looking, with a rounding belly. Her hands hanging down by her growing stomach and in his hand, a cigarette.

I had a vision in my head of flying over there as fast as I could and knocking that guy to the ground, snatching the offending cigarette from his hand, grounding it into the concrete and growling "hey, NO SMOKING IN FRONT OF PREGNANT WOMEN." And then flying off leaving him shaken and changed for life.

It would be nice sometimes to be a super hero.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Thought On Four Words

Humility. Gratitude. Compassion. Forgiveness.

As we run up against the harshness of the world we can become disillusioned about a good many things. But if we will cultivate in ourselves and pray for a spirit of generosity, we will make it through difficulty and come out on the other side being more able to see clearly the beauty available to us on this earth.

The morning sun shining on dew-kissed grass sparkling as tiny gems, and this, despite the weeds.