Saturday, February 28, 2009

We Are Trying to Be A Big Boy But We Are Not That Into It

*Progress Update Below*

I am tired of changing the diapers of a two-and-a-half year old. So yesterday at Target I picked up these.

Hank was sitting in the buggy, and I handed him the package. "Look!" I said. His face grew serious and intent. The image of Thomas was very appealing, but he sensed trouble. I said, "These are big boy underwear! You can wear them instead of a diaper, and go peepee in the potty!" I radiated joy in his direction.

"Can we open these?" he asked.

"No, we'll open them at home and wear them. Do you want to do that?"

"No," he said.

We took them home anyway. As he played, I opened the package and spread the undies out on the table. I held up a pair and said, "Look, Hank! Let's take off your diaper and put on these Thomas underwear!"

He paused and looked at me. "Those are evil and bad," he said.


"Those are evil and bad."

I let the point drop for the moment. Evil and bad? Where does he get this? But today he is wearing the evil and bad underpants, and has peed in the potty once, for which he was given a little Smartie candy. I'm thinking of them as potty pills. When I broach the issue of perhaps doing a number two in the toilet, he is deeply offended. When I follow him to one of his number two spots, like the book room--it's nice, quiet, and booklined in there--he yells at me to go away.

I guess if I were ensconced in the bathroom doing my business, and a much larger person burst in and suggested a change of venue, I'd be pretty ticked too. So we'll start small. My only issue is remembering to call them underwear and not panties, because I don't think dudes call their undergarments "panties," right?

Progress Update: Today, Sunday, Hank did a numero dos in the potty. Praisallujah! And Laura is the one who got him to do it. They were heading upstairs in the course of some game they were playing, and Hank was freeballing in the hopes that it would remind him to use the potty. I said, "Laura, be sure you listen for any potty murmurings." And Hank said, "I need to go poop!" Laura raced him to their bathroom, and Lo! Candy was handed out all around.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Five Wrong Things That Happened in Spin Class

At the risk of sounding like the Princess and the Pea, this week in cycle class was sub-optimal.

1) On Monday the air conditioner was broken in the cycle studio. I had never realized that the room was being cooled artificially--I just thought, you know, it's winter. But coming into the room was like entering a sauna. And after the workout got going. . .oh my. I almost slid off the bike. I was very close to pulling off my tee shirt and letting everyone admire my new sports bra. It is dark in there, after all.

2) Except when it isn't dark. On Wednesday, the teacher kept the lights on. Apparently someone at LA Fitness passed out and fell off her bike during class. I was like, "That's a whole different gym!" It's hard for me to imagine that I'm leading the peloton when I can clearly see all the people in the rows ahead of me. Wah! Turns out we're all just riding and riding and not going anywhere.

3) On two big screens at the front of the room, they show videos of bike races to get us in the mood. On Monday, the teacher accidentally queued up the "Breakaways and Crashes" episode. Yikes! Piles and piles of bikes and French and Italian men. And road rash. We watched it anyway.

4) The back of the t-shirt of the woman in front of me said, "If you can read this, the Bitch just passed you." I basically hate clothing with actual words on it, but this was even worse. Vulgar without even being a tiny bit clever. Dumb. Dude, some of us have delicate sensibilities. Am I a fussbudget here? (Probably.)

5) While riding, I did a quick mental calculation. Three days a week, I take Hank with me to Lifetime Fitness, and then afterwards, I get him a kiddie smoothie or milkshake in the cafe there. It started as a reward/bribe for going to the gym childcare. Now it's just a pleasant routine. So that costs $2.68 a pop, or roughly $8 a week. That's $32 a month for a 4-week month, or $416 a year, if we keep it up. For child smoothies. I almost fell off my bike and skidded into the huge pile of French and Italian men.

I guess this is what that guy who wrote The Automatic Millionaire calls "the latte factor." Those little expenditures do add up. It just started so innocently, our gym milkshake habit. But maybe I need to cut back. It is a nice time for the two of us. I'm still cooling down, and he's been liberated from childcare, and we sit at a little cafe table and chat. Maybe I could skip a day here and there?

The moral is, if there's a tiny thing you spend money on on a regular basis, don't ever pause and add up how much it all costs over time. Because you'll just freak yourself out. No doubt I'll be getting a contract to write a book on personal finance soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream

Here are the reasons we moved from California to Atlanta:

1) Close to family.
2) Cheaper houses.
3) Chick-fil-A is here.

Not a week goes by that I don't favor Chick-fil-A with my business. We love them. And I am not even mad that they are closed on Sunday, because of God. What's more, around these parts, customer service is already way better than in some parts of the country (yes, I'm looking at you, Cali) but at Chick-fil-A, it's extra SUPER nice. One guy at my local Chick-fil-A used to work at my local Target. He was a stone-cold jerk at Target. Such a jerk that even my little children noticed he was a jerk. Now he serves up chicken sandwiches, and he is sweet as pie. Magical. It's the culture at that place. The God-fearing and sullen-teen asskicking culture.

And now I have another reason to love them. As usual, when I discover something life-changing, like the thing with the foil, I suspect that everyone may already know this. But here it is: When you get a kid's meal at Chick-fil-A, your child can take the little book that comes with the meal, if it's still in its wrapper, and exchange if for a free ice cream cone. It's a kid-sized cone, and they will put it in a cup for your toddler, who only wants "ice cream juice." There. Bam. Free kid ice cream majorly Works for Me!

This isn't posted anywhere, that I can tell. It's like a secret that I suddenly just discovered. If you live out of the range of Chick-fil-A, I am truly sorry that this knowledge will not be of help to you. But maybe this is a good time to examine the direction your life is taking? I know you may have a full and wonderful thing going where you are. But I am saving you a seat in the play place, and if you hurry we can split my kid's waffle fries.

And am I troubled by the transaction of exchanging a book, and all the enrichment it promises, for a dessert? Do I think it's a bad economy to model for my children? That would be a nope!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wall to Wall Appreciation

What does Teacher Appreciation week look like in your kid's school? I need an idea or two. When we last spoke of this, my co-room mom was too discouraged to help plan, so I need to get this underway. Our school's TA week is March 9-13. What happens each day is basically up to the room moms, with only one schoolwide event. On Wednesday of that week, the teachers all go to a special lunch just for them, while parent volunteers take their classes to and from lunch and keep them busy for an hour or so. Also that day, some parents send in desserts for the luncheon. The OTHER four days that week, in years past, parents have also provided lunches for the teacher. Nothing fancy--like somebody swings by Chick-fil-A and brings a bag to school. Or sometimes breakfast.

The other thing, usually, is that each day has a theme. Children bring things in according to the theme. Like,

Flower Day: each child brings in one cut flower to put in a vase on the teacher's desk.

Handmade Card Day

And the other ideas the PTA rep had weren't that great. I don't want it to be a situation where every day, moms have to send in stuff they bought, even if Ms S did let us know that she likes candles and picture frames. (Really? Because I assumed teachers were drowing in candles and picture frames.) Except, I may do one idea that Jan had. She emailed me in spite of her discouragement. I share it with you now:

Becky, have you sent out anything regarding teacher appreciation week yet? If not, I was thinking of an idea for one of the days. Since Ms. S won a cruise maybe one day’s theme could be “Von Voyage”. The kids could bring things like a book, sunscreen, beach bag, cute luggage tags, earplugs, travel journal, disposable underwater camera, etc. Don’t feel like you have to use this idea, I was just looking at my mom’s pictures from a cruise they took and had the idea.

Then she favored me with an emoticon.
This is me not making a joke about the fact that she said "Von Voyage." Probably a typo.

So I think Jan's Von Voyage idea is cute, and would be very timely, since Ms. S did just win a cruise. But I need at least one more idea for a goody day, and if it didn't involve buying things, that would be good. I guess we could go with a candy and treat basket? Any thoughts?

The other thing I'm not sure about is, does a mom need to be present every day to be the master of ceremonies? Like, to collect all of the kids' homemade cards and present them to the teacher? Or, you know, put the goodies in a basket? I think that last year, the class room mom basically slept on a cot in the corner of the classroom. But I don't do that. So I need to figure that out. That is all from room mom land. Please send along your ideas, or send liquor. Or balloon bouquets.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spring, Sproing

I saw a bunch of white asparagus at the store this weekend, and I thought, "Yup, spring is coming." Then I thought of a time, a few years ago, when I was in Paris visiting the Musée d'Orsay, and I saw this picture.

Manet painted this single asparagus spear in 1880. The story is that some friend of Proust's, a guy named Ephrussi, bought Manet's painting of a whole bunch of asparagus, and paid him more than he had been asking for it. As a thank you, Manet painted this one more spear for him. Aw! Giving each other pictures of asparagus spears, it's what dudes do.

Anyway, when I was looking at this painting I was in the company of a very smart professor of literature, a funny, older guy and a real bon viveur. He exclaimed at how beautiful the asparagus was, and I said something like, "Really? Because to me it looks so wilted! Given how phallic asparagus is, and its associations with fertility and the rites of spring all over Europe, don't you think that by painting this one solitary asparagus spear in this way, Manet is showing a little anxiety about his masculinity, or even casting aspersions on the masculinity of his patron? Manet was almost fifty at this point. Maybe he was worried about his potency, you know? And the way the asparagus is partly off the edge of the table, it's like it's been dropped there and forgotten. It's killing me! I mean, it doesn't look beautiful or delicious, it looks slightly diseased and limp and sad!" Yes, I sounded basically that insufferable.

The professor chuckled, looked at me, and said, "Becky, you need to read less and eat more."

Good advice.

So that was my grocery shopping/art appreciation moment for the weekend. Spring is coming, though it's cold as a witch's tit here today. How are y'all? Any signs of spring where you are?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Darned Festive: A Cupcake Stand

Laura's class celebrates birthdays once a month, and L's birthday is coming up soon, so today another mom of a birthday girl and I brought treats up to school in the afternoon. I volunteered to bring cupcakes, and the other mom brought drinks, plates, and napkins. The problem is that this school has a rule that no homemade treats can be brought in, if the whole class is going to eat them. I guess this is an anti-allergy measure. But it results in so-so storebought cakes and cookies being served. I'm unthrilled about this, not just because I think we could make them better at home, but because the presentation is not that nice, you know? I guess I tend to harp on the presentation thing, but those plastic store boxes, with the sticky barcode labels, are a buzzkill to me. Yes, I should probably just relax and yes, second graders probably don't notice, but I ask you, couldn't our stars shine just a little bit brighter? Yes they could.

So I've done different things with the whole school-party situation, but this week I found these Wilton cupcake stands at Michael's.

This is the small stand, it holds 13 cupcakes. There's a medium one (23 cupcakes) and a large stand (38 cupcakes, good Lord). The little one was on sale for $7.99. I thought this was a good, flexible size, because you could use it to serve muffins on for your family or a small group--you don't have to make two dozen of something to use it, or to have forlorn, empty tiers like you might with the big stand. It would make a cute centerpiece too.

I got two of the small stands and loaded them with cupcakes for the class. It was very cheery-looking, and the kids seemed to like choosing their cupcakes off the stands. The Target cupcakes had a little more zing, this way. I'm sure the other mom was cursing her Capri Suns and wishing she'd properly decanted them, perhaps into cut glass punch cups. I kid!

I'm trying to think of more things I could put on those tiers, besides baked goods. Votive candles? Mini cheeseburgers? Hey, I could go get a bunch at Krystal and fancy 'em up. Cocktails and mini burgers at my house!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Co-Room Mom is Discouraged

Last weekend I got an email from Jan, my co-room mom. After a few hiccups in our room-momming operations, I thought things were going fine. We had a class Christmas party, our auction basket was lovely, and parent volunteers have been in the classroom every week. Then I got this email:

Subj: Teacher Appreciation Week

Hi Becky, could you handle this? After organizing the last minute
Valentine’s Day craft and trying to figure out the reader and centers schedule I need a break from room mom stuff. It was discouraging to try to make the volunteer list and have many parents upset because they didn’t get all the days they wanted, etc. Thanks!

Then she favored me with an emoticon.

So of course I emailed her back and said, don't worry about it, I'll handle it, I'm sorry you're discouraged, cheer up camper, etc. I offered to take over the volunteer schedule. She hasn't replied to me. But I was a little surprised by her email. I'm not sure what she is talking about when she says that parents were upset because they didn't get the days they wanted. I'm thinking maybe it's that lots of moms want to come in and read to the class, and would do it several times if they could, when there really aren't enough Fridays for people to do it more than a couple of times. I find it hard to believe people would complain about this in an unpleasant way, and Jan should have told them to stuff it if they did.

When I got this email, I harrumphed and read it aloud. Our friend Jane said, "That sounds like a room mom signing off." I think that's probably right. And I love how Jan complains about the "last minute Valentine's Day craft." The story there is, Tuesday of last week, she came up to me at the 2nd grade performance of Seussical: The Musical, and said, "Did we want for me to do a craft on Friday? Because I can." I said, "Well, I think the class is just doing a Valentine exchange, with no parents, but I'm sure that would be fun." And she said, "Okay, I'll do it, I've got the supplies." But apparently the craft was the straw that broke the camel's back. And I should have said, "Noooo, don't do it! It's too much!"

Yes, I'm kind of bitching out about this, I guess, even though it's not that big a deal. But I'm thinking that if I were a medical doctor, I would prescribe Jan a shot of Toughen-Up. That is all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits: In Which I Break the Law, Maybe? But I Also Read.

1) So last week we took delivery of a giant TV. Or I don't know how giant it would seem to some of you, but our old TV was from the previous century. And this one is 46 inches big, and it does all the high definition business and it has an awesome dynamic contrast thingie and a lot of megahertz, and it is lemony fresh. Whatever, it's gorgeous. So I've been introduced to the wonderful world of high-definition viewing. Which is like SEEING instead of squinting through a keyhole. Almost anything is interesting to watch in high def, I've discovered. Like that wildlife show where the old guy picks up random rocks and finds very educational lizards underneath. I'm not a fan of that show, but it's wonderful in HD, even if now I can see that the guy needs to shave his neck better. And speaking of lizards, hasten over to Amy's and read about her close brush with lizard-dom.

2) The giant TV inspired me to get wily. Last night I went onto the internets and downloaded the torrent files of the new episodes of "Big Love." (Lord that's a great show. But paying for premium channels is not our way.) Then, THEN, not content to watch my pirate booty on my tiny laptop screen, I hooked my computer up to Giant TV. Matt produced just the cable I needed from his big cache of cables, and I fiddled with various buttons and settings until I could see Bill Paxton and all the sister-wives in free, glorious hugeness. I crowed triumphantly--I felt myself to be the beneficiary of a vast system of cleverness and invention. The moment reminded me of the scene in Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, when the fragile and pampered Nicole goes shopping in Paris, buying everything in sight:

Nicole was the product of much ingenuity and toil. For her sake trains began their run at Chicago and traversed the round belly of the continent to California; chicle factories fumed and link belts grew link by link in factories; men mixed toothpaste in vats and drew mouthwash out of copper hogsheads; girls canned tomatoes quickly in August or worked rudely at the Five-and-Tens on Christmas Eve; Indians toiled on Brazilian coffee plantations and dreamers were muscled out of patent rights in new tractors—these were some of the people who gave a tithe to Nicole, and as the whole system swayed and thundered onward it lent a feverish bloom to such processes of hers as wholesale buying, like the flush of a fireman’s face holding his post before a spreading fire.

Yep, that's how I felt when I got my ill-gotten HBO show download to display correctly on my giant TV. Yes, all you Am Lit scholars who are reading this blog, I'm ignoring the part of the passage a little later where it says Nicole "contained within her the seeds of her own doom," or some such. It harshes my mellow. A great passage and a justly famous one. I can't quit you, Fitzgerald.

3) Other literary moments on the web today include Jamie at I Suwannee, a blog I just discovered and am really enjoying. She's halfway through Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and not sure she wants to finish it. Because of the lacerating despair that comes from reading it. If you've read it or started to read it, go over there and weigh in.

4) And also Keely is passing judgment on Twilight today, and speaking of Keely, boy am I going to submit this post to her random Tuesday. Go check it out. Her feeling about the books is, "Meh." I basically agree, but I do it in more words, below. Here's an excerpted email exchange I had with my friend Brenda about the books. I cite her words completely without permission.

Me: Write and tell me how you are liking Twilight. For me it was constant ambivalence between marveling at how well Meyer knows her target reader, and feeling angered and grossed out by the sexual politics of it all, i.e., male violence is a fact, and constant threat, and that threat is even a normal part of a relationship. Also, the girl is made to adopt a sexually passive role (and is punished and shunned when she deviates). Remember the part in the first book where she starts to kiss him back? It ain't good. I really think no woman under the age of 26 should be allowed to read these.

Brenda: I kind of expected to be sucked in, because so many people whose opinions I trust love it. I admit I read it fast enough. You just eat it up like a can of pringles. I think I'd let my teen or even pre-teen read it. I had no problem there. But I had no interest in continuing to book 3. If it were right in front of me I might, but maybe not. I got pretty tired of it mid-book-2. I thought it was funny that she worked Wuthering Heights into the book, because I felt the same way about her characters as I did those: you knuckleheads deserve the misery you're determined to create for your stupid selves.

I didn't hate it. I have no problem with bad writing. I'm certainly not reading highbrow stuff these days. I enjoyed the "let's see what this person does with the idea of vampires" kind of like I enjoyed Time Traveler's Wife because I enjoyed seeing how she treated the idea of time travel. What rules do they create for their version of vampires/time travel? But once those rules were established and the characters didn't really develop further, I lost interest.

I saw a teenage goth-girl the other day with "Edward Cullen" written up her arm, like a big tattoo. I AM fascinated by that. What is it that they like so much?

Me: The can of pringles comparison is very apt for Twilight. You eat them almost without noticing, but it's not like you feel great about yourself while you're doing it. The teen girl fixation on Edward is one thing, and I agree that the adult-woman fixation on him is another. I understand the roots of the former, but not of the latter. To me, the doctor/father of the Cullen family is WAAAY hotter. But I guess that's our station in life.

As far as the young girls go, Stephen King just gave an interview and kind of characterized Twilight the right way, I think.

He says that the books are appealing because they show a lot of the thrill of sexual desire without overt sex. Like Edward touches her arm and she feels all flushed, and as King says, that's a "shorthand" for stuff that girls don't want to deal with or don't know about yet. The romance between Edward and Bella gives girls a safe way to imagine their own desire.

And for the older crowd, I think it has something to do with the amazing, fantastical way that this totally ordinary girl is magically delicious to this urbane, worldly connoisseur (literally). Like, a lot of thirty-something moms who feel all frumped-out dream of being told that they are the most magically enchanting creature on the planet. Or something.

So what I forgot to say to Brenda is that the books, even with the terrible, horrible, no-good sexual politics, are kind of hot. That is all. Probably only my mom is still reading. Thanks for scrolling, Mom!

And go check out Keely's random round-up!


Monday, February 16, 2009


On Friday night we were on our way up to the mountain house for the long weekend, and I turned to Matt and said, "Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, you know." This seemed like new and surprising information to him.

So I asked, "Did you remember to pack my present?"

And he said, "Sweetie, I'm always packing your present."

Then he whooped and high-fived himself. He's such a hopeless romantic.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Anybody get anything sweet? Flowers, candy, other tokens of affection?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Neighbors at Dusk: A Play in One Act

The scene: early evening in a suburban cul-de-sac, just as the streetlights are flickering on. Children are playing, stretching out the last outdoor minutes of an unseasonably warm day. The world is turning in its usual way, and all is calm and peaceful in the gloaming.

Mindy, my next-door neighbor, comes out of her front door looking worried. I am standing in the street with Hank wrapped around my legs.

Mindy: I need to ask you something, Rebecca. [She always calls me 'Rebecca.'] Remember last week when Percy started barking late at night?

Me: Yes, I'm so sorry about that. We let her out one last time before bed, and something made her go crazy. Matt went out with a flashlight, but he couldn't tell what she was barking at.

Mindy: Well what do you think she saw?

Me: I don't know. It sounded like a bigger deal than a rabbit. Maybe a coyote or a deer?

Mindy: You think it was a coyote?

Me: Or maybe a deer. I don't know.

Mindy: Maybe. . . .[looks troubled.]

Me: What's wrong?

Mindy: Well, something really important to me was stolen from my backyard that night, and I thought maybe Percy saw.

Me: Really?!? What?

Mindy: I had a stained-glass suncatcher with a dragonfly on it. My husband gave it to me right before he died.

Me: [I have a sinking feeling as she speaks.] Mindy, it's in my backyard. I just noticed it. I'm so sorry, maybe Laura and her friends picked it up while they were playing. [I feel terrible. My dog barks at night and my kids are thieves.]

Mindy: Oh thank goodness! I was so sad!

Me: I will speak to Laura about this. The way our yards are, I think she thinks all that space back there is her territory. I'm sorry. Let's walk back there and get it. [Our lots adjoin and are semi-wild. Laura roams all over the place, scavenging bits of things from the woods. And also our neighbor's flower bed, apparently.]

We start across her lawn to a little path that leads to our backyard. Just at this moment, Danica, aka Rebel Yelling Mom, speeds into Mindy's driveway and spills out of her car. [These two drive to each other's houses, even though it is 100 feet from Mindy's driveway to Danica's. Only Conspiracy Guy's house is between them.]

Danica: Hey Rebecca! [She too always calls me that.] I need your email to invite you to my jewelry trunk show.

Me: Great! [I'm thinking, I can't believe I just blogged about this and you're inviting me to a trunk show again. I tell her my email address.]

Danica: Can you spell that?

Me: [spelling]

Danica: What about the last part?


Danica: Yeah.

Me: It's G-M-A-I-L dot C-O-M.

Danica: I'll just have to call you and get it.

Me: Okay.

Danica: [holding up a little plastic cup] Mindy, can I borrow. . .

Mindy: Do you need cooking oil again?

Danica: [grins]

Mindy: Go on, it's in the pantry.

Danica leaves and Mindy, Hank and I walk to my backyard and retrieve her suncatcher. I apologize some more, and we walk down the hill into her yard and put the suncatcher back where it goes. I apologize some more and she is very gracious.

Mindy: Well, I better get in the house, because my supper is all ready in the kitchen, and if Danica's alone with it, she might take some of it.

Me: [laughing] Oh really?

Mindy: Yes, really. One time she took a whole dish of twice-baked potatoes. She snuck them to her car and took them home.

Me: !!!

Mindy: But you know, it's no big deal. At least she's not making herself throw up all the time anymore.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stay Little Valentine

That's the Valentine card Hank would design if he had computer privileges. This is fun: You can do your own little Valentine images at ObamiconMe, the site that lets you make Shepherd Fairey-esque posters, in the style of the Obama "Hope" image. Remember those?

If you haven't gotten a card in the mail to a far-flung friend, why not make a little picture of her, or of the two of you together, and email it? Definitely cuter than those noisemaking ecards. Just one matron's opinion.

Edited to add: Laura saw this post and felt slighted that there wasn't a picture of her, so here she is.

Monday, February 9, 2009

In Case You Haven't Moved On With Your Lives

Because I sure haven't. I've been monitoring the whole Orla Kiely for Target situation. You may recall my recent disappointment that it wasn't all in stores when we were told to expect. About a million other people felt the same way that day. Gosh, you think you know a superstore.

Anyway, RED ALERT: a lot of the dishes are available online now, I think this started yesterday. Click that link or just search for "orla kiely." It comes up with a list of 31 items. It isn't everything--none of the textiles or placemats and coasters are there. But the two-tier serving tray is there, as is the brown earthenware pitcher. Totally adorb. Those stoneware canisters with the wooden lids? Already sold out online. So git while the gittin' is good. The pitcher, the two-tier tray, and the rectangular melamine tray will be scarce, I think. I just bought several things from that list, some to keep and some to give as gifts. Kind of a lot of things, really. Oh Orla, I wish I could quit you. No I don't.

The only drawback, besides that you have to pay for shipping, is that the website says, "Ships in 2 to 6 weeks." Good grief. I can't figure out what is going on with this stuff. Some of it will only be in stores, some of it is only online. And there are some scattered reports from around the country of people having all of it, the whole line, stocked in their stores already. Click on my earlier posts to see the product pics, if you haven't yet. I still hold out hope that my store will have some canisters, as well as the table linens, on the February 15 date that was publicized.

In other news, thanks for your good wishes about Laura. She is much improved today, though still limping. This morning she was still in a lot of pain, so we kept her home, and being home from school has miraculously speeded the healing process, as it often does in children. I think that the National Institutes of Health needs to study this phenomenon. Tomorrow night, the second grade is putting on Seussical: The Musical, and I think she'll be ready and able to get up on the risers. From the musical:

"Oh the thinks you can think!
Oh the thinks you can think!
If you're willing to try!
Think invisible ink,
Or a Gink with a stink,
Or a stair to the sky!"

If you getcha some Orla Kiely, come tell me what you got. Because I like to shop vicariously.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm Blogrollin', Yo

Now that I have these three capacious blog columns, I finally got around to adding a list of the blogs I like to check in on. Look over there, down to the right. If you don't see yourself on there, and you would like too, please lemme know. If I left you off, it is not a snub. Probably I was just about to add you when Hank screamed, "Mama, I'M A PIRATE WOBOT!" about two inches from my ear. Or if you ARE there and you don't want your name associated with this blog, let me know that too, but gently!

I am thinking, wow, that's a long list. Do I really read all those blogs? Yes, I do. And I've wanted to add a blogroll for a long time, because I like how it collects everything in one place and puts the most recently-updated at the top. I am weird in that I know how to use Google Reader, and even have a ton of blogs added to my subscriptions, but I still go around to people's blogs one by one, by hand. (By hand? I don't know. The old fashioned way?) So some of those folks over there are my friends, some are my brick-and-mortar friends, and some of them don't know I'm alive. That's okay.

I had time to sit and do this, because Laura seems to be an invalid today. It is mysterious. We had a very active Saturday, riding bikes at the park, kicking a ball around, playing and cartweeling, you name it. She had no complaints. Then last night, she complained that her leg hurt--kind of everything above her knee, it seems. I suspected that it might be a case of drama-titis, brought on by impending bedtime. But this morning, she didn't want to put any weight on it. I think it is a pulled muscle, from the way it has progressed. When she's stretched out on the couch, she is fine. It only hurts when she tries to use it. Matt carried her downstairs this morning, and she hasn't stirred from the sunroom couch. I guess if she doesn't start to perk up, I'll take her to the doctor.

So all that is to say, there's a blogroll! Enjoy your Sundays, friends.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Had Not Considered That

Laura and I were debating her wardrobe choices for today. I was trying to steer her towards Valentine-themed apparel, because Gymboree, Inc. has put a chip in my brain, and I just respond to their instructions. Laura was was resisting.

Laura: You know why I don't like the color red?

Me: No, why?

Laura: Because it attracts bulls.

So, Reader, as Valentine's Day approaches, be on the lookout.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Slacker Dip

Last night I glanced at my blog stats and noticed that somebody was, at that very instant, perusing the posts under my "food" tag. In that moment I felt inadequate, and like I was letting that somebody down. It's rare that you know the exact moment you are disappointing someone, when she's miles and miles away and you've never met her. Thanks, Sitemeter! Or I assume she was disappointed, because I'm not such a wiz in the kitch. I do feed my family, and they seem to like it, but I don't really enjoy cooking, and I'm not an innovator.

I am all about doing something easy, but that makes it look like I care. (I do care!) So in the tradition of my Slacker Fudge, I offer you this Slacker Dip, for when you need to bring a little snack to someone's house, and you don't want to walk in with a tub of Heluva Good. Sure, you could just mix a tub of sour cream with a packet of French onion soup mix. But why not fancy it up a little?

Here's the whole trick: Use a pack of cream cheese instead of sour cream. (Somehow, this makes the magic happen.) About ten minutes before you have to leave your house, take a brick of cream cheese (not the super huge pack), put it in a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle on a packet of onion soup mix. Blend it in with a fork, mashing the cream cheese as you go. Blend well. The texture will be somewhat stiff, but dippable with crackers or something sturdy, and it will soften up on the way to your destination.

Then put it into a cute dish. And stick in a little spreader if you have one. Presentation is everything, as all Slacker cooks everywhere know. I have this little boat-shaped dip bowl, with a giant fish-shaped chip bowl.

How is such a little boat going to land that fish? I don't know! See? Cute! I brought this cream cheese dip to a thing at a friend's house, and everyone was like, "Landsakes! That dip is DIVINE!" And they scraped the bottom of the boat with their fingers.

Dude, it Works for Me. If you have another two-ingredient dip thang you do, please share it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Friends, I am worn out from having someone else adjust my template to a three-column layout this afternoon. I mean, I worked her fingers to the bone! Whew! So I'm just going to offer you a few links. Actually, it was the amazing Lyndsay of Banners By Lyndsay who gave me a new, wider layout. She is great to work with, and I think the three columns are very slimming. I'm still fiddling with the header. I do love my yellow bird, but tonight Matt asked me, "What's the iconography of the birdcage?" Like, maybe this is my subtle way of telling the world that I feel like I'm in a cage, a cage of domesticity? I reassured him that I would not be so subtle and indirect as to use my blog header to deliver that message--I would custom-order some of those little Valentine heart candies with words on them for him, maybe some that said, "Free Me," or "2 Smart 2 Do Ur Laundry." So I guess I've got to ponder the whole iconography question. But hey, here are some lolz.

1) 13 Horrifying Images from the New Teen Vogue. You have just got to be reading Jezebel.

2) Pride and Prejudice, Facebook style. A sample:

Elizabeth Bennet promises never to dance with Mr. Darcy.
Fitzwilliam Darcy became a fan of Fine Eyes.
Caroline Bingley is all astonishment.
Lydia Bennet became a fan of Officers.
Kitty Bennet became a fan of Officers.

3) And everyone's fixation with sea salt. Explained, finally, by Stuff White People Like. A sample:

"When white people think about regular salt, all they can think about is sodium
and poor health. When they think about Sea Salt they think about
France. So it’s no surprise that it has become so popular."

I hope this post finds you all well. This has been Day #4,985 of my captivity. Ha! Lolz.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thwarted. Denied. Stymied.

Update: The word on the street is that everybody had this same experience yesterday, only finding the Orla Kiely storage boxes and none of the dishes. The indefatigable Holly at Decor8 has discovered that the rollout date for the dishes and stuff is now February 15, and in fact, Target has updated their website to say this. So they'll probably get all the Valentine's stuff off the endcaps and replace it with the Orla Kiely. So I'm back down to DefCon 2.

We just arrived back in Atlanta from a weekend at the mountain house, with my parents in tow. Mom and Dad had been up in North Carolina for all of January, so Mom and I had two important items of business: to watch the first episodes of "Lost," which I'd tivo'd for her, and to go to Target to check out the Orla Kiely stuff. It's not like I'm obsessed or anything. I just didn't want to miss out on the lovely things.

So we walk in to Target and beeline straight to the housewares section. I don't see anything new anywhere. They still had the endcap with the storage boxes, but nothing else. No dishes, nothing in the table linens, nothing. So I nabbed a passing red-shirted employee. I asked him whether they had stocked the Orla Kiely, and he said no, but that it would probably happen "within the week." I gathered my thoughts and asked a pointed question. "Huh?" I said. He said, "We're kind of behind because of the holidays." I was like, "You mean like, the Christmas holidays that were over a month ago?" And he was like, "I'm going to walk through the little swinging doors that say 'Associates Only' now."

So I whipped out my handy iPhone. iPhone! And I got the number of the Target down the road. I spoke to the operator. She had no idea what I was talking about but got someone from Housewares. By then I could only croak, "Kiely. . .Kiely. . ." She told me to hang on, then she came back and said, "No, I don't see anything new over there." And I said, "Well maybe this week?" And she said, "Um, uh huh!" So they're behind too, apparently. Nobody seemed to feel any sense of urgency about this. Kiely! Kiely!

Did any of you go to Target today? Any sign of the stuff? My mom led me gently from the store, and only a trip through T. J. Maxx really took the edge off the pain. I now feel that my SuperTarget is not so super, but is in fact SlackerTarget. So we'll see.

It was still a nice-enough day.