Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jack Reacher Parody

One of my secret delights is Lee Child's series of books about Jack Reacher, a former military policeman who drifts around the country solving crimes and punishing the wicked.  The 15th book, Worth Dying For, just came out last week and I have tunneled through it.  I've read all 15 books, some of them twice, and at this point I know Jack Reacher as well as my own brother.

  • He is 6'5", same height as my husband.
  • He loves coffee.
  • He also likes pretty ladies.
  • He's an expert shot with a rifle.
  • There are lots of things he would like to tell you about the design and manufacture of firearms.
  • He can sleep literally anywhere.
  • He thinks it is rarely not a good idea to head butt someone.
  • He doesn't have a cell phone, and in fact is slightly confused by some of our newfangled technologies.
  • He likes to travel by bus.
  • He carries no luggage.  Each book gives us a scene of Reacher buying new clothes and stuffing the old ones in the store trashcan.  My dad theorizes that he rinses out his underwear in motel bathrooms, but this has not been made clear.

Juliet posted about Reacher last week and it reminded me of my love for these books.  My sister also wrote about him last year, and her review wound up as a blurb on the author's website.  It is odd, really, that we three peace-loving, refined ladies love these books so much.  I can't account for it.  Any of you guys fans?  As Juliet says, they are like Hardy Boys for grown-ups, just about that unrealistic and formulaic.  But the formula is so, so pleasurable to the initiated, which is the point of a formula, I guess.

My favorite is The Enemy, followed by The Persuader, then Killing Floor, I think. Y'all?

Jack Reacher CRIES OUT for parody, so I wrote one, inspired by the question of what would happen if Reacher came to my world.  You can read it here if you are into it.  Or you don't have to.  No big whoop.

Oh, and listen up any malefactors out there.  If you pass this story off as your own, Reacher will find you and break your knee with a kick from one of his stout English shoes, each of which, as we learn in The Hard Way, weighs two pounds.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Help, They Want Me To Do Face Painting, UPDATE

Y'all.  Hank's preschool is having a little Halloween carnival, or you know, Fall Festival, on Thursday morning. They have a costume parade and there are bounce houses, stuff like that.  Back in September I signed up to help out.

Friday they sent home a little info sheet about the festival, telling us the times for each age group, and it had my volunteer assignment handwritten across the sheet:

Face painting.

I am scared. Hold me.  Seriously, this is not among my skills.  I can barely put on my own eye makeup. Okay, actually I can't really do that well at all.  I don't know why they assigned me face painting, but like they say in sorority rush, I think my star would shine brighter in another house.  Like leading the kids through a close-reading of a sonnet.  Do you think they might like that?  Kids love iambic pentameter.

Is this, like, a thing that just anyone can do?  Because when it comes to art, I am just anyone.  I did a quick google search for "OMG how do I make the cheek pictures OH NOES" and it looks like there are a good many how-to's out there, but they seem a lot above my level.

So tell me, have you done this?  Can you think of any web resources for it?  Will you come do it for me?

You know who would do a great job at this? Matt would.  I might try to sweet talk him into it. I'd go and sit by him and hold the paints.

In case the sweet talking doesn't work out, y'all let me know if you have any intel about this.    

Edited to add: Matt is going to do it!  Matt is going to do it!  I asked him sweetly and he said he would. I tell you, I got a brand new pair of roller skates, he's got a brand new key. Yes!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Busy Bee

Emma and Laura

Laura had a big day on Saturday.  In the morning I took her to a tryout for a year-round swim team at a local competitive swim club. And she got on, yay! I was confused about why she wasn't acting happier while the coach was talking to us, and then she told me that when the coach said, "I want to offer her a spot on our Gold Team," Laura heard, "I want to offer her a spot on her old team."  So I was standing there all happy and Laura was all, "What's the big deal?" and I'm like, "Brighten up and say thank you! Geez!"

But then she figured out what was going on, and she was happy, and I am proud of her. I hope it will really develop her swimming.  It will be a big time commitment though: 6 practices over the course every two-week period, but we get to choose which days to go.

Then I drove her across town to an ice-skating party.  She just had time to dry out, which was good because it was freezing in that place. She skated for two hours while Mama ran errands and sat in Starbucks, then when I went back to get her, she wanted to stay and skate 'til the end of the session with the birthday girl, but I didn't want to wait in that icebox. So I asked the birthday mom (the Secret Rules Mom from the other day) if she would drop Laura at our house after the party.  She said, "Sure, okay, your house isn't that far out of our way." Yes, I know it's not, OH MY GOD.

Then, THEN, Laura's school chorus was performing the US and Canadian national anthems at the Gwinnett Gladiators game, so Pretty Neighbor and I saddled up and took the girls to their big hockey début.  Funny, we go for months and years without entering an ice rink, and then our business takes us to two in one day.

Hockey Blimp


They thoroughly enjoyed their moment in the spotlight, and the game was fun. I have never seen hockey played, so I was into it.  There was a fight.  And then between periods there was a pie-eating contest.  Then I had a couple of beers at Pretty Neighbor's house, then I was totally beat.  And all I'd done was drive Laura around, I don't know where she gets all her pep.

The next morning Laura said, "If I could live every part of yesterday over again, I would do it."  I said, "Me too, I loved watching you try out for the swim team." And she said, "My favorite part was at the hockey game when I got that large popcorn."

So, yep, a big day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oh, How Nice for Him

My neighbor Conspiracy Guy's daughters come to my house every day.  They are 6 and 4 and I call them the Foster Children.  They usually show up in the afternoon and stay until I'm ready to feed my children supper.  I am of two minds about this.  On one hand, I like having them around, because Hank loves to play with them and it means less of me sitting on the floor playing Legos.  On the other hand, they do require looking after, and they are not the most charming, lovable children.  I'm sorry but it's the truth, bless their hearts.

Now that their dad is home schooling them, they do not miss a day coming over.  The other afternoon they came in and I said, "Hey girls, what have y'all been up to today?"  The older one said, "Doing school, and waiting for it to be 4 o'clock."

I said, "Why, what happens at 4 o'clock?"

She said, "It's when Daddy says we can come over here. Or sometimes it's 3."

So we're on the official schedule.

Just now, the girls and Hank were playing a loud game in the living room and I said, "Hey, if you want to be that noisy you need to play outside, or, hey, I know!  At the girls' house!"  The older girl said, "We can't because Daddy's on the phone and then he's going to sleep."

How awesome for him. 

Actually, there have been many, many times where they have mentioned their dad being asleep during the day.  Sometimes it's that they need to stay out of the house, but sometimes they're trying to get Hank to go play with them over there while Daddy naps. Uh, no.

So I sort of just want some reciprocity.  In my uncharitable moments (which are many), I think, "Wow, it must be great to have me living so close by."  It must be lovely for him to have a couple of child-free hours every day.  But I wouldn't feel at ease with Hank being in his care for an equivalent amount of time.  Also, it's like these girls are on little rubber bands.  If I send them home and it's not actually dark, they are back in about fifteen minutes.  Or I'll see them just wandering around outside.

It's not that I think anything bad is going on over there, I just don't think there's much of anything at all going on over there.  Conspiracy Guy seems like a sadsack who has never been that into the stay-at-home dad thing.  And why is he so tired during the day?

Odd.  I mean, we are way past the normal limit-setting negotiations that you undertake in normal social life with non-odd people.  It's all complicated by the fact that in other ways, like helping us with our trees, he's a good neighbor.

That is all. I just needed to work through a snitty moment.  Thank you for your attention.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Guess It Would Depend on How Much They'd Had To Drink

Like a lot of preschool-age kids, Hank substitutes the /w/ sound for /r/ in many words.  So he says:

Wichard Scawwy book

And my favorite, a spell in the Harry Potter game:


I'm not in the least worried about it, as I know that kids can take until age 7 or so to get their articulations sorted out. This website says that a four year-old should be "100% intelligible even if they continue to have articulation errors," and he is, so no big.  Laura had the /f/ and /th/ substitution into Kindergarten, I think.

But I don't even correct him.  I relish it when he says, "Not a pwoblem," or "Wock n' woll, baby!" I mourn for the early childhood speech patterns as they go away.  Do you feel that way?  I remember this with Laura too.  I think that my interest in words combines with my sentimental streak to get me kind of fixated on my children's language use.  I track their assimilation into adult patterns of speech with the mingled fascination and regret of an anthropologist watching a lost Amazonian tribe as they put on Reeboks and take up smoking. 

I have actually shushed people for correcting the kids.  I never want Hank to figure out that the grocery store is not called "Plublix."

So the other day Hank called out to me, "Hey Mom, could a team of winos bash down a wall?"  That made me pause, confused.  It wasn't so much the idea of winos suddenly turning violent that was confusing, it was the idea that they would get organized into a team or stay together long enough to accomplish such a difficult feat.

Then I realized he was watching the old cartoon movie of Robin Hood. In which the king's guards are rhinos.  Rhinos, ah.  Yes, they could do it I think.  Winos, probably not.

I am mourning the passing of this stage of his development even while it's right here in front of me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spray Paint Some Pumpkins, Check.

spray painted pumpkins 2
Well, that's done.  Blammo! You're either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you're not.

The other day I found three wonky pumpkins that were not lovely in their orange skin, but that I thought would be fun to paint.  Last year I painted one and really liked it until it exploded in revenge

hank with pumpkins

Hank painted the one on the left (not the one he is pointing to).  I didn't hand him a can of spray paint, obviously, but I had a little bit of that seafoamish latex paint left in a can from when Amy painted a table of mine, so I set him up and gave him a little brush.  He went to town.  If you want a pumpkin with lots of visible brushwork and a layered, impasto feeling, Hank is your man.  It is not the most suitable color in itself, but I thought it might set off the other green.

I let Laura spray the pumpkin on the right, it is Krylon's Ivy Leaf in gloss.  Too glossy, I think.  I did the middle one in my trusty Krylon Ivory Satin.

spray painted pumpkins

I think they are a cute trio, but as of this writing, they are still sitting on the back porch.  I kind of already have my whole front porch tableau in place, and I went with a terra cotta pumpkin on the dining table, so I'm not sure where I'm going to shoehorn these in.  Rest assured, though, I will find a place. 

I am totally conflicted about my owl. On the one hand, I love the monochromatic look that would be achieved by painting it, and it is a little dinged up (and a lot of look) in its current state.  On the other hand, like several of you commented, I think it might look flat and dead when painted, and the orange eyes would look weird on the white owl, but really blank if I painted them too.  You know?  Aargh!  I'm looking for the right lamp shade, so I think I might see how it looks with a new shade/new wiring before getting to the paint stage.

Anyway, decorative gourd season is on!  Seriously do us both a favor and read that so I don't have to link it in every post from now 'til the New Year.


Monday, October 18, 2010

I Have Hair Now, Sorta

laura and me with cake
This is my hair now.  It covers my head and you can't really see any scalp, so I am calling it a look.  In the last couple of weeks I've gradually stopped wearing a wig or a hat or anything.  One day I just woke up and no longer thought I looked like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.

me with cake

I'm going for Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby.  Do you see it?  Squint your eyes. 

Before she has the devil baby.  Squint more.

Okay I'm not there yet, but in a few weeks maybe.

The Hamiltons brought over a cake for my no-more-radiation-a-bration.

fudgie the whale

Fudgie the Whale!  I was surprised and touched.  They said that "Way to Get Irradiated!" was too long to write on there, but this was nice too.  Fudgie is one delicious whale.

Oh, and I am on the Twitter now!  @SuburbanMatron.  I have no idea what I'm doing on there or what it's for, but it's fun, with the twootling around.  Look for me and tell me your handle so I can follow you.  Seriously, I need people to follow, I keep checking on there to see if anyone is saying anything new.

I'm what you call a late adopter.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Growing up in Pensacola, Florida, that's how I and everyone around me pronounced "Friday." Sundee, Mundy, Tuesdee, Winnzdee, Thursdy, Fridee, Sat-ur-day-uh.  The days of the week. Although I guess some people say Satterdee.  Sounds great to me.

I also pronounced Florida "Flarda."  I guess I still do when my guard is down.

All this is to say that I hope you're havin' a nice Fridee.

I had my last radiation treatment today. A-W-S-O-M-E-B-A-L-L-S.

I started celebrating yesterdee.  I happened to be going down there alone, so I sat in the coffee shop eating grits and reading Catching Fire on my iPhone.  Then after treatment, I got a pedicure before I had to pick up Hank.

The polish I picked was OPI's London Bridge is Falling Brown. It's a little brown.  But the lady who did the pedi was the one with the really strong hands, and I swear to you, she pushes on this place on the bottom of my right foot and it is the only lesbian experience I have ever had.

Then, today, Matt drove me down there.  The therapists gave me a little dove pin and thanked me for letting them take care of me. Sweet.  Then we just came home and Pretty Neighbor had brought me some balloons and a loaf of banana bread. Double sweet.

And I am not finished celebrating.  I can't decide if we're talking a champagne thing or more a Fudgie the Whale thing.  Or both?

Just now I was lying on my dining room bench admiring my Halloween decorations.  Ooh, at the grocery store today they had buy-two-get-one-free pumpkins, and the only ones they had left were kinda scratch-and-dent. But I am going to spray paint those babies. Oh yes I am.

This brings you entirely up to date.  Now the kids are upstairs having their nightly wrestle with Matt and I have a glass of chianti.  I am sure that there's a "House Hunters" waiting for me to watch it.

Hot, hot, hot action.  You?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

That Does Not Sound Like A Party to Me

A couple of nights ago I got an email from my Frenemy Neighbor:
Would you and Laura like to attend a Miss America beauty party hosted by P and I? After the party for the girls, we will have an anti-aging demo and video for the Moms while the girls play. We are thinking about Sunday afternoon in two weeks. 
Oof.  Reader, do you have a policy on these parties where the hostess wants you to buy stuff?  I have heard people say they enjoy those Pampered Chef parties, for example, and I guess if a close friend had a party, I would go.  But the invites that come my way from the broader circle of my acquaintances, like people on the tennis team or Laura's classmates' moms, I just ignore.

My first thought on getting this email, after "CRAP NO," was, "How am I going to get out of this?"  This beauty product stuff is part of her multi-level marketing thing.  She and her husband have been big into it all the time we've lived here.  But go to her house and watch a video about beauty products?  All couched as some kind of mothers and daughters thing?  I would rather take a beating.

She has invited me to marketing junk before but it was always when I was genuinely out of town.  Once she invited Normal Neighbor and me to some kind of beauty "expo" she was putting on up at the clubhouse, a party that had a cover charge of five bucks.

I wouldn't kid you about something like this. 

So I was envisioning being unable to come up with an excuse and then going and being miserable.  I slumped into Matt's office, slumped into a chair, and slumped around with the slumping. 

He said, "You should not go to that.  And you do not owe her an excuse.  You do not have that kind of relationship."

Then I let it sit for a day, while I thought about what to tell her.  I didn't want to say that I had a time conflict because I feared she would change the time to accommodate me.  So I wrote back:
This isn't going to work for us.  Our weekends are so crazy this month, and it's not really my kind of thing anyway.  But thank you for thinking of me!
There, that wasn't so hard.  And there was no push back from her, I felt relieved.  And "it's not really my kind of thing" is the absolute truth.  No weasely excuses needed.  Being an adult has its moments.

Then, Laura and I were walking past a beauty supply store and she said, "P's mom took us in there with her one day while she bought a spray can of something called 'Stiff Beauty.'"

I allowed myself a single guffaw. 

Laura must have realized she had a laugh line on her hands, because later she told Matt that story.  He made a noise that was kind of like a chuckle, only it had some snorting in it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Last Week of Radiation Treatments

Friends, if you need anything from the Radiation Oncology Department, now is the time to ask me to get it for you.  I can offer you various ancient magazines, salves and ointments, or perhaps you would like a stack of folded hospital gowns?  One size fits all, and they are cool and breathable.

Friday is my last radiation treatment.  Praisallujah!  Can I get a what what?  It's number 28, at long last.  That means 28 times of:  making that forty-minute commute; writing my name on the slip of paper at check-in; putting my clothes in a metal locker; remembering to put on my little patient bracelet; bounding into the treatment room so as not to appear frail; being scooched into place on the table by the therapists (Omega once told me, "You line up good"); watching the machine move into position; holding still, or breathing, or zoning out; hopping up again; remembering to be friendly; getting my clothes; stuffing my gown in a hamper in the dressing room; and scrubbing my hands on the way out. 

Today I actually paused and looked around the dressing room and took in all the artwork and the inspirational/motivational posters.  I thought, "I really hope that after this week I never see this room again."  It's a good place, though, and they are good people.

What am I going to do with all my free time next week?

The really tricky part of this whole course of radiation was to not shop my way up and down the boulevard as I went to and from treatment.  As I mentioned before, because of Hank's school schedule, I have had time to kill on both ends, and my route takes me through some prime shopping.  It would have been easy to lose myself in retail therapy.  And there was some of that.  As a direct result of my radiation commute, I acquired:

  • seven pairs of Victoria's Secret panties.  They don't work for me so they're going to my sister.  "Cheekster" style, wha?
  • Two J.Crew tees and two tanks
  • A salad set from Pottery Barn (but it was a wedding gift!)
  • A sunbrella bolster pillow from Pottery Barn (yes, known issue, the pillows are a problem)
  • Several old Cake songs (from iTunes)
  • Unabridged audio Pride And Prejudice (also iTunes)
  • Gazillion Old Navy tank tops when they went down to like a dollar
  • Two-buck Chuck from Trader Joes
  • Two Scarpetta books from bargain table at B&N
  • Numerous little-girl gift closet (Christmas?) items from B&N clearance
  • Coffees too numerous to count 
  • I might be forgetting some TJ Maxx flotsam in here somewhere

Now, stuff I bought myself not on my route but nonetheless as a direct result of feeling like I'm undergoing radiation and therefore "need a present":
  • Frye "Jane" boots in vintage brown
So that's not too bad.  I was prevented from shopping more by all the reading I did in the mornings at coffee shops.  Nice times.  And let's talk about what I didn't buy, you know?  Namely:
  • The black leather and embroidery Isabella Fiore hobo at TJ Maxx last week.  It was $250, instead of $500.  Which is still $250.  It was gorgeous, beautifully finished, and not too much hardware.  I carried it around for a while (I practice catch-and-release shopping sometimes).  Then I put it back.  Then I picked it up.  Then I thought of two things: 1) that is the amount of money it is going to cost to get our broken shingles fixed; and 2) I could start carrying the Isabella Fiore purse that I ALREADY HAVE.  Then I put it back.  Since I left it there I've only thought about it a dozen times or so.   
Okay, most bullet-pointed post ever?  Bottom line is, last week of radiation.  And I hope you are all feeling fine too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

No, How About YOU Come Get The Kids?

When other moms do not obey the secret rules that govern our tribe, it makes me have to send snippy text messages to my sister and then compose blog posts about it.  And then nobody wins.

The other day, Laura had plans to play at a friend's house and then have her for a sleepover at our house.  This girl is new in school this year, having moved down from the north part of the county.  She is very sweet and Laura is in love with her.  New Friend's mom was going to pick Laura up and take her to their place for a couple of hours, then I was going to retrieve both girls in the early evening for the sleepover portion.

That morning, the mom left me a voice mail explaining that she had to go, unexpectedly, and do something at work, so she couldn't come get Laura to play, and that they still wanted to have Laura over, but that her husband "isn't good with directions" and couldn't come get her.  I texted the mom and said I would drop Laura off.

Yes, you're saying, there are too many parts of this plan.  I should have canceled the non-sleepover portion, but Laura really wanted to visit her friend's house, and we got carried away.

So Hank and I drive Laura over to her bud's house and I make polite chit chat with the dad.  He says his wife will be home any minute, and I think, "Great, so she can drive the girls over later."  Because in my mind, my doing the drop-off meant that we would swap places and she would bring them for the sleepover portion of the evening.

You see,  most everyone I know obeys the commandment: Thou Shalt Share the Labor of Child Transportation.  We never talk about it, but everyone spends so much time shuttling kids around, you try and minimize the driving for your fellow moms when you can, and you expect the favor will be returned to you.  You automatically divide up the transportation when organizing playdates that require driving, you rotate collecting kids from after-school activities, etc.  Fine.

The way this works out though, since it's the South, is that we can't be exactly frank about it all the time, in a "You do this and I'll do that" way.  To be in truly top-notch compliance with the unwritten code, you have to volunteer to do all the driving and act like you want to and you don't mind, in fact you would enjoy it.  Then you count on the other woman's good breeding to rescue you, because she will insist that no, she wouldn't dream of your doing that, and she'll just swing by your house on the way to somewhere and it is not a problem at all.  So it gets divided evenly, but only because you both practically begged each other to get to do all the driving yourself.

Yes, it seems indirect and complicated, but I know women who excel at this maneuver and have turned it into a form of beautiful theater.  The mom of Hank's carpool buddy and I once performed an impromptu play entitled, I Beg of You To Inconvenience Me, It Is No Inconvenience, I Promise.  It concerned one trip home from preschool, and it was acted out over two phone calls while we were in separate vehicles on a rainy highway.  Oh my, the protestations! The highs and lows of emotion!  She is a true artist.  When it was over, we both felt the satisfaction of a job well done.

Of course, with close friends, you can dispense with some of the ceremony.  I can call Normal Neighbor or Pretty Neighbor and be like, "I'm lying on my dining room bench and I have no intention of moving.  Can you get Laura from chorus when you get your kid?" But with new friends and acquaintances?  This throwing-yourself-on-the-grenade-of-child-transport is required.

Which brings me back to Laura's new friend.  So Hank and I take Laura over there and then we run our errands and doodle around purchasing pumpkins and when we get back home, I am tired.  The radiation treatment isn't slowing me down much, but it does some.  And I think the daily car trips to go get treatment have made me a little, um, sensitive to driving.  As it rolled towards the time when I'd said the sleepover could begin, I thought, "Surely other mom is going to volunteer to bring the girls over?"  I decided I would text her to jog her into action.  So I said:
I better come get those girls. Are they about ready?
By which I meant, why don't you drive the girls over here?  And to which she was supposed to respond, "I'll run them over there."  But what she actually responded was:
Yes they r playing outside.
Uh oh.  She missed her line.  Now what?  I try a more direct approach:
Okay, Hank and I will saddle up. 
Now, that meant, "Okay, I have a four year-old who I have to load up and bring with me and we haven't been home all that long and I'm tired and also I'm not sure my daughter can be friends with your daughter because it's too hard to turn left into your subdivision and you have no small children so could you please get into the car?"  Could I have been any clearer?  But that message was not clear to her, because she did not respond at all.

Then, Reader, I felt annoyed.  I am not proud because it was not a lovely emotion.  I am breaking the code by confessing it here to you.  But I texted my sister:
I am in a text-message game of chicken with another mom over kid drop off.  She is not getting the hint.  She's breaking a secret rule!
Then I waited about five minutes and then Hank and I really did saddle up and go over there.  I was fuming slightly the whole way.  Hank and I stepped into their foyer to wait while the friend got her stuff, and that's when the mom told me that their son was also having a sleepover, so they would have a child-free night, how wonderful!

Then I was truly annoyed and envious, and feeling like a super, robo King Kamehameha bitch on top of it.

Then I took all the kids and went home and we had a perfectly lovely evening.

I should say that the little girl is a doll and the mom is a nice lady.  I'm sure I will come to like her.  But, you know, the secret rules.  The secret rules!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Owl Lamp: Do You See The Potential?

Up in North Carolina, when we come down from the mountain house, we have to take our garbage to the dump. Or the "recycle center," as we call it.  Some things that are left there, like bottles and cans, do indeed go on to be recycled into other useful objects.  And some things that are left there get recycled into something that lives in my basement.

Owl Lamp

Owl Lamp

A trip down to the recycle center is a happy time because the recycle center is home to the Swap Hut.  The Swap Hut is, yes, a hut, made out of corrugated metal with a big open doorway and a little sign that says, "Swap Hut."  People leave stuff in there, stuff you can take FOR FREE. O Hut of wonders! When we drive through the gates of the recycle center, my eyes sweep greedily over the shadowy doorway of the Swap Hut, looking, perhaps, for some discarded Thonet chairs, a Dansk teak ice bucket, or other premium junk.  Could happen.

(My love for the Swap Hut has become a family joke.  What's not funny is that one time Matt wouldn't let me cram a distressed wicker rocking chair into the back of our van, just because the chair's seat was busted out and it had a lot of spiderwebs on it. I still mourn.)

Now, the owl lamp. What do you think?  Imagine it spray painted ivory satin?  Obviously it needs to be rewired, but I have a kit for it.  And it needs a new shade, maybe a squatty drum shade in white? Or linen colored?

Over at Copy Cat Chic, Reichel just did a post about owl lamps that reminded me of this baby.  It is huge--too big for any of the furniture in our living room--but I was thinking maybe it would go on top of Hank's chest of drawers.  I guess I would mask the eyes when I paint it and leave them orange? OR, I could just clean the lamp off, rewire it, and leave it as is. I like the pretty way their eyes are outlined in black paint, even though the whole thing is somewhat dinged up.  But it reminds me of the Mama Owl and Baby Bill in Owl Babies"I want my mama," said Bill! Love that book.

So do you see potential here?  Or is it all wrong?  Too 2009?  Too 1974?  Or is it so, so right?

And oh, I just remembered!  This owl lamp wasn't even in the Swap Hut.  It was actually in a dumpster.  One of those walk-in dumpsters that people carry big things into.  So I guess it wasn't an according-to-Hoyle swap, but just something someone was throwing away.  Shame!

Lemme know.
I love you,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Suburban Matron on Ohdeedoh Today

Y'all!  I am featured today on Ohdeedoh, the parenting section of the Apartment Therapy megablog.  Beth Callaghan, who writes for them, in addition to her blog Remarkably Domestic, sent me some great questions to ponder and respond to, and then she did a truly sweet profile of Suburban Matron.  It was so much fun to do, and  she is the best blog friend a girl could have.  Go over there and have a look! And if a bunch of us leave comments, maybe Beth will win the pink cadillac, or be elected Homecoming Queen! Or something good, which she definitely deserves.

I have mentioned this before, but if you are not familiar with her blog, Beth is crafting her way through the Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts, from A to Z.  She is, I believe, working her way through "F" for "Foliage" right now (or is it "B" for "Botanical"?)  She's done about 30 crafts and documented the labor involved, always ending with a "Was it worth it?" section.  I expected this project to be interesting, but I did not expect it to turn into such an exposé.  Many of the items on Martha's supply lists, it turns out, are practically Unobtainium and cannot be tracked down by a normal person without a staff of minions. Her latest project had her harvesting seaweed.  

Y'all, when one of the steps in a project is "Harvest seaweed," that is a sign that I'm going to be doing something else.  But it makes for great reading.  And I'm not just saying that because Beth has now catapulted me to fame. But I AM famous now, RIGHT?  

Go check me out!

Air kisses, 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Self Improvement is Our Watchword

I do this thing, and I've done it for years, maybe most of my life.  I will finish your sentence for you.  Not that I interrupt you and jump on your story, in fact I never supply more than a phrase.  But when you are talking and I am listening and you reach a moment when you pause, looking for just the right synonym or a choice verb, I open my mouth and supply it.

Now, did I know what you were going to say?  No, but apparently I think I know how your sentence should end. I do this to Matt all the time. It's a normal conversational mode for us.  I do it to the kids.  I do it to friends and acquaintances.  It's like a part of listening for me.  Matt gracefully accepts it, or at least he's never seemed to mind.  I am such a talker that even his talking has two voice parts.

The problem is, I think, that when I do it I'm closing down some shades of meaning that were available in that person's sentence, and I channel him into other meanings, which he accepts and move on, but did the word we went with really capture what was in his head in all its potential richness?  This is what worries me. I like to squeeze the most possible semantic juice out of a conversation, and I don't want to, like, jump in there and overly disambiguate, ya know?

Yes, you know.

Excessive Disambiguation: A Problem Plaguing Our Streets.

I think I need to quit doing that.  But I don't know if I can change, Reader.

Or is this just known as Being Married?  Being Married and Mouthy?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How To Make A Feather Wreath: The Return

Feather Wreath

Yes, this is happening. The time is now: make your own feather wreath, honey!  I posted about this two Octobers ago, and I thought it was due for a revisit as I just got out my Halloween decorations last night.

I'm of two minds. I do know that it's only October 3, and I think the Halloween-Industrial Complex tries to make us buy things earlier and earlier every year. It's like a junior Christmas for shopping.  I walked into Pottery Barn and a sign said, "Halloween: A Season of Decorating," and I was like, "Oh, it's a whole season now?"  But then there's this other part of me that spent like fifty bucks on pumpkins and mums this weekend.


So yes, if you are into it, get a straw wreath form, like this:

For our wreath, Laura and I used a 15" form.  We just left the plastic wrap on so little bits of straw wouldn't stick through.

Get some floral pins, like these:

Then get some feather boas.  We used 3 of the 6 foot boas to cover our wreath.  You want good coverage.  Pin one end of a boa to the wreath and start wrappin'.  Go all the way around and around, pinning at the start and end of each boa.  Enjoy the fluffiness.

Add a little bauble if you want. We put an orange ball in there.  I went looking for just such a Halloween-ish bauble, thinking they wouldn't have Christmas-style hanging ornaments for Halloween.  Boy was that wrong.  There so totally ARE black and orange hanging ornaments.  Turns out, people around these parts are having Halloween Trees now.  A Polly Perfect friend of mine over in Fancy Land has a huge one that she made out of what is essentially a giant grapevine cone.  It has hanging ornaments and black birds on it.  But this woman is crazy nuts for Halloween.  She was worried that her HOA would write her a dunning letter about the gravestones she put along her front sidewalk on September 15.  As she said, "But it's just a small graveyard."  See?  A season of decorating.

Black Feather Wreath

If I had to critique my own feather wreath effort, I would say that the wreath is maybe a little too fluffy.  It looks more like a circle than an actual wreath, because the feathers fill up the hole in the middle.  Probably some further experimentation with wreath sizes and boa fluff levels would lead to a more refined product.  I dunno, it gets the mood across.

All the supplies cost just under twenty bucks, which is about half what these are going for.  And now I'm seeing feather wreaths everywhere, ever since I STARTED THIS WHOLE TREND two years ago.  Not really. Maybe.

I'll leave you with Hank loving on a pumpkin.


Happy Early October! Are you buying into the whole Season of Decorating thing? If so, feather that mother up!  And naturally, take pics and come tell us where we can look at them.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Spotlight on Normal Neighbor

What are my neighbors up to?  I have been a little out of touch because my new part-time job is driving down to the perimeter to get radiation treatments, but today I had lots of time with Normal Neighbor.  We met for lunch, just the two of us, then later, as it happened, she reconvened our intermittent program of happy hours on her back deck.  This is the first week it's been pleasant enough to be out there; we didn't do it all summer because it was too dern hot.  Yes, "dern."  D-E-R-N.  Anyway, so it was Normal Neighbor and me and both of the K(C)athies and drinks.  Now I am totally caught up with Normal Neighbor.  Here are the gleanings:

She has already been up to Burt's Pumpkin Farm, out in Dahlonega, to get the huge pumpkin for her front sidewalk.  She went on a weekday afternoon, right after the school bus came, to beat the crowds of pumpkin seekers, 'cause that place is like Epcot Center this time of year.  I had to marvel at her on-top-of-it-ness.

In addition to the best pumpkins, there is a nudist colony/resort in Dahlonega.  I had to marvel again at this bit of info, because this is not the kind of thing that Normal Neighbor is usually up on.  Hmm.  Apparently it is quite a destination for naturist folks from all over these United States.

Normal Neighbor has not read the Twilight books but is planning to.

She made us a little appetizer pizza using a pie crust.  She pressed the crust into a pie plate, put two cups of mozzarella on it, then put on sliced roma tomatoes, garlic, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Normal Neighbor knows all the best lady snacks.  Why haven't I ever made that?        

She met her husband in a bar.  She noted at that meeting that his pants were hemmed with duct tape.

Normal Neighbor is the captain of our tennis team.  It is driving her crazy and killing her love of tennis, she reports.  I find it hard to believe, but everyone calls her to complain to her about the people she pairs them with for matches, and to blame their losses on their partners.  We agreed that this sniping and griping is tacky beyond words.  She said, "I still like those girls but they have become, like, almost bitches."  

So that's all I have.  Now it's like you were there too.

Happy Friday y'all!