Friday, October 30, 2009

Again with the doctors and whining!

OK, I promise this will be my last medical update. Unless it's not, but whatever:

The tall boy got a clean bill of health from the surgeon and the pulmonologist this week, which of course is fantastic on many levels. As far as he is concerned is this is terrific because it means he can start working out with the lacrosse team after Christmas.

One might think that a doctor who had just removed a section of his patient's lung would make frowny faces at the patient if that patient said, "My goal is to get well enough to run around on a field and get whacked in the chest repeatedly with lots of very big sticks." One would be wrong.

The oldest girl got her glamour cast removed and has graduated to a brace -- or is it called a splint? And is there a difference? And do you care? Don't answer that.

As you can see from the photo, she did end up painting it for the Homecoming dance -- black craft paint, with silver glitter spray-painted over it. It rocked.

But in the "bummer" category, the youngest girl is down for the count. It does not appear to be swinish in nature, but she sure doesn't feel good. The sleeping bags are her brother's contribution before he left for school -- because as far as he knows we own no blankets? I'm puzzled.

Good thing the sunny girl has a cat to guard her. And a guitar, because that's how we roll.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here's what I love:

This painting:

Everything about it calms and centers me -- the beautiful little girls so intent on their task, the quality of the light (approaching dusk contrasted with the glow of the lanterns), the overgrown garden . . . . This painting makes me happy.

Image credit:
John Singer Sargent: "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose," 1886/Tate Gallery, London

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Silly Haiku Wednesday

Welcome to the weekly poetry slam! Jenn's theme is
I've been thinking about Halloween ever since the grocery store started selling witchy napkins and trick 'r treat tchotchkes back in July. Now that it's finally here, I can get all eloquent and poetic:

My urchins have been
trick-or-treating since way back --
this is our last year.

The tall boy always
wanted to be Neil Armstrong --
a great role model!

My iPod urchin
and her headphones friend were a
smash hit in the 'hood.

Cleopatra girl
loves ancient Egypt -- but dang!
The wig was itchy!

Image credits:
Puking Pumpkin, iPod Urchin, Cleopatra Girl: Dan Wolfe, 2007

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Apparently I can eliminate '70s disco queen from my list of career options.

It's not for me. And here's how I know (even though in the shower I sounded a-w-e-s-o-m-e singing "Super Trouper." I'm so serious.) --

It's the shoes. They are a complete, red, glittery deal-breaker for someone who made it through the swingin' party without injury (I even danced in those things, people!), only to break my toe Monday morning during the high-risk "breakfast for the kids" maneuver. Not kidding -- I heard it snap and it's purple.

. . . . and it's the false eyelashes, which felt a little bit like I was just s-o-o-o sleepy I couldn't keep my eyes open.

tangent: As it turns out, Coleen and I were fully clothed when this picture was taken by the fabulous neighbor.

And it's a little bit about the fact that I am poochy in places that "70s disco queens" are not poochy. Hello, peri-menopause, you bitch. Love the jello shots, though!

Other people at the party were very clever with the costume ideas . . .

A cougar and a cougar hunter. She runs triathlons on a regular basis -- AND competes in Irish dance competitions all over the mid-Atlantic region. In case you weren't feeling inadequate.

"Clever" points for the Upper and Lower G.I. Get it?

We did get extra credit for showing up as a group in all our glamour -- it's hard to deny.

I just don't think I'm cut out to be a dancing queen, no matter how many times Meryl Streep begs me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hometown homecoming parade

Every year, the Homecoming parade winds its way through our neighborhood as it heads toward the high school; this has become one of the highlights of the fall season for my urchins and me. I love this parade, which has not changed one bit since I marched in it escorting the senior class float in 1979 (Class of '80! GO, MIGHTY VIKINGS!!).

tangent: You may have noticed from an earlier post that my high school urchins go to a different high school; our county offers the opportunity to attend "specialty programs" at magnet schools, and my urchins go to a school that specializes in international studies and languages -- which is terrific for me because instead of kicking them out the door so they can ride a bus for a minute and a half (people, we can hear the neighborhood high school band practicing from our house), I get to haul their asses thirty minutes across town every morning. I'm not bitter.

The Mighty Viking Marching Band, the floats and the fire trucks all line up a block away from our house. Families gather on the curb, and kids bring their Halloween buckets and bags because e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e throws candy to the spectators!

I love seeing everyone respond as the American flag passes by at the beginning of the parade; the kids seem to be the first one to jump to their feet.

The cheerleaders ride on top of the fire trucks -- lucky!

All the local politicians show up for this parade -- their last chance for an informal, no-pressure, patriotic community event before the election next month. Woe unto the county supervisor or candidate for delegate who runs out of candy or stickers -- we voters have long memories!

The Army Jr. R.O.T.C. units do a great job singing jodies and marching to the cadence. The drill team always stops and performs about halfway through -- fabulous!

Here's the amazing marching band drum major, who does all this tricky marching/conducting/dancing -- and does it backwards! I offer this in place of what should have been a picture of the Homecoming court, but I saw my oldest girl's best friend marching with the crew team and she and I got excited and we were hugging each other, and then the homecoming court had passed us by along with the crew team, and she had to run to catch up.

It's that kind of parade.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh, dear . . . .

These, my people, are the boots I am scheduled to wear tonight to a costume party. Can I just say "HELP!"

I do love a pair of red shoes, and have mercy, but Coleen, the fabulous neighbor, and I (along with our willing-to-go-along-with-the-fun spouses) are going as Donna and the Dynamos from Mamma Mia! The party will be slammin' -- it always is. And we are guaranteed to have just the swellest of times -- although I do worry that our hostess will not forgive us for tracking the gold glitter through her home; when I picked the boots up to show them off to the urchins, the glitter just rained down.

But I have a reputation for being a little, shall we say, clumsy in the walking department. These boots are going to put me in the hospital.

Stay tuned!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Snapshot: Glamour Girls

Coleen and I (along with our true pal, Sheri) went to the United Kingdom back in 2001, and had just the best time ever!

And really, after touring Cardiff Castle, getting chased by peacocks (don't ask), and buying an authentic Viking helmet in a junk shop antique store, everyone should go back to a lighthouse, and relax on a waterbed -- with a freshly-made spinach and cucumber masque that they got for free because the fabulous LUSH store had to pitch all of its fresh products at the end of the day.

Don't you think?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It happened at Walmart. Seriously.

OK, so I have been known to enter Walmart under duress --

-- like the time Coleen sent me squealing out of the parking lot of the Brownie Encampment she was running so that I could fetch more crucial but dwindling camping supplies, by which I mean glitter and Mod-Podge.

Or the time my procrastinating tall boy was in the midst of printing the final draft and graphs and charts for the all-important Science Fair project (fifth grade but I still suffer from the PTSD), and the printer died, and my husband is a computer genius but like an evil genius in that he has very specific notions of what is an acceptable printer, and I can just tell you they don't sell it at Walmart. Oh -- and it was two o'clock in the morning.

But I really don't like to venture into Walmart, although I love a sweatshop-produced bargain as much as the next patriot on a budget. And where else are you going to find throw pillows, tires, Fruit of the Loom underwear, diamond earrings, Tide, and bacon all under the same roof? This is what makes America great, people -- but I have a hard time with the . . . how shall I say this? . . . trailer trash element.

Come on, now -- don't pretend you are unaware of those about whom I speak (dig my crazy good grammar used to show you how un-trailer-trashy I am, although you should have seen my wild-eyed, pajama-clad tear through the electronics section at 2:00 a.m. looking for a printer -- any printer). And let's be clear -- it's not about anyone's socio-economic situation, because frankly, who hasn't been kicked upside the head financially speaking during the past year?

It's really about a subtle, "I don't know you, and thus I don't care about you" attitude that I just see way more at Walmart than anywhere else. We've all read horrible stories about fisticuffs breaking out over a Wii, --

-- or folks who are shall we say inappropriately dressed for an outing, --

-- or people using just the most amazingly vulgar language as they correct their childrens' misbehavior -- or as they ignore that misbehavior. It's the stinkeye that patrons of different ethnicities offer each other instead of an "excuse me!" or a "please -- go ahead with your one item." I do find it troubling.

So because I rag on Walmart way too much, I felt that I needed to tell you what I saw this morning, as I left with my emergency craft paint. You know how Walmart has those people who sit at the door and say good-bye, and check your packages and monitor the alarm? Well, today the lady at the door was a woman who has worked at our Walmart since it opened fifteen years ago. She was really old then -- so goodness knows how old she is now. She's a classic blue-haired lady -- she could be my grandmother.

As I was leaving, a younger (thirty-five-ish?) black man came up to her, took both her hands in his, and very gently kissed her on the forehead. Then he continued out the door with his cart. She looked after him, a little dazed, and said, "Bye, now!" I wish I had a picture.

I just love the people at Walmart!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Silly Haiku Wednesday

It's time for another poetry slam -- and this week Jenn's theme is very timely: SEASONS.

Leaves change and my heart
sinks a tiny little bit.
I don't like the fall.

Nothing makes my day
Like these happy, happy words:
"Schools closed due to snow!"

As the weather warms,
I hope (knowing better) that
I can make things grow.

Summer! Now there's a
season I can get behind!
Give me sun and heat!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things that make my day

Check these out! --

New red shoes!
How can I keep from singing when I'm rockin' the fun red loafers? I mean to say -- gosh!

A new red washing machine!
And how sad is it that a washing machine can make my day? In my defense let me say that:

1) Our washer blew up while the tall boy was in the hospital. Under normal circumstances I would have been all angsty about a new washer purchase less than a year before a college tuition bill kicks us in the head, but that "removing part of my little boy's lung" scenario kind of used up all of my angst for this month.

2) As much as I have enjoyed spending time at the Spin Cycle (get it? <-- catchy laundromat humor?) with the Telemundo ladies, the whole "load all of the family's laundry into the back of the minivan and haul it across town and spend forty bucks in quarters to wash it and dry it AND not get to watch All My Children in English" gig was getting a little old.

3) This washer is red, people!

This bright and cheerful gift from MJ!

It never fails to lift my spirits to receive such a treat! MJ is as nice as pie -- and I really, really like pie. Check back here later today, to see who else is a pie-like friend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New and Sassy

So I've been looking for a new 'do . . .

. . . because last summer Coleen and I saw Mamma Mia and decided to channel our inner Meryl Streep by growing our hair long. We didn't take into consideration that to get this carefree, "I don't care about my lovely, lovely tresses" look . . . .

. . . a whole lot of time-consuming, "these curlers hurt my teeth" nonsense would have to take place. And I can't speak for Coleen, but I personally spent a lot of time striving for a Streepian vibe . . .

. . . but I turned up in too many photos looking a lot like these ladies, who I am sure are very nice people -- but have mercy with the hair. When I didn't look like a polygamist, . . .

. . . I trended toward a Michelle Duggar look, which seems to work well for her (it clearly works really, really well for her husband). But I don't want nineteen children, my people, so this hair style is not for me.

So I went to see the fabulous Lynda Lee, and check it out! Now I have a sassy 'do that is easy and fun -- Coleen will just have to be Meryl Streep all by herself.

Image Credits:
Meryl Streep: Peter Mountain
Polygamous wives: Wendy Gragg/
Waco Tribune, 2008
Michelle Duggar: Scott Enlow/TLC

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Silly Haiku Wednesday

Jenn's at it again.
This week's theme is passion!
Quel plaisir! But first:

Check out this award!
A gift from Jenn at this blog --
She has made my day!

Now -- I'll pass it on
to a housewife just like me
(except funnier).

My passion is books.
They teach me, move me, slay me
I'm carried away!

Hated him for years.
Avoided his gaze -- it burned.
Then I married him.

Oh, that you would kiss
me with the kisses of your mouth --
your love: sweet as wine.

-- Solomon 1: 2

Image credit:
Robert Doisneau: Le baiser de l'hotel de ville (1950)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stuff you didn't even know you were wondering about . . . .

Just to bring you up to speed on some of the goings-on I have reported earlier . . . . all of this is totally in random order because that's how my brain works.

1. So -- the oldest girl chose a Homecoming dress:

Although both on this blog and in person most adults voted for either dress #4 . . .

. . . or dress # 6 . . .

. . . she had her heart set on dress #3. In a completely surprising turn of events, her father did NOT have a coronary when he saw a picture of the dress. Instead, he merely commented, "she's not five years old any more, is she?" So -- dress #3 it is. Now, on to shoes and jewelry.

2. In related news, the orthopedist who set her broken wrist thrilled the oldest girl when he informed her that her fresh fiberglass cast can be painted with acrylic paint. She is contemplating either silver, or black with a very tasteful dusting of glitter. So that will totally complete the Homecoming ensemble. [Terrible photo due to the whip-fast hands of the quasi-sexy doctor. Little crush here -- just being honest.]

3. The tall boy is on the road to recovery. I cannot thank you enough for all of your support, prayers, and good wishes -- please, keep 'em coming! And as a Catholic Christian, can I just say "thank you, thank you!" to anyone who so much as killed a chicken in her backyard on his behalf? I should post a sign: "ALL PRAYERS WELCOME HERE."

Now he has to regain his strength, wean himself from the Vicodin, follow up with his pulmonologist, and -- the scariest part -- make up all of the school work he has missed. He's plotting how best to milk his infirmity without actually missing out on anything fun. For example: making up ten days worth of Calculus homework -- entirely too taxing for his poor, poor lung. Going to play practice (he was cast in the lead in the fall play): good exercise for the lung -- all that projecting, you know.

And here's an exercise he hates, hate, hates. He has to blow on the doodad, or suck on the doodad, or something, until it measures 3500 whatevers on the little measuring cup thingie on the side. It's hard and a little emotionally stressful, since he feels he should be able to accomplish this easily -- and he can't. Remembering that he is seventeen years old, and that everything in his life thus far has come easily to him, my heart breaks just a little bit every time he struggles with this.

4. And my youngest urchin continues to shine her sunshiny smile on all of us. She is a free spirit like I only wish I could be -- and I hope that middle school doesn't suck the joy out of her. So far -- she is kicking middle school's ass!