Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day Two of Summer Vacation...

...and we've already come to blows.
I'm just adding this entry to drive Redheaded Snippet crazy. She's sitting next to me, asking me every 9 seconds if I'm finished yet. I wasn't going to update just now, preferring to wait until later, like after I've drugged the children and bungeed them to their beds and can snuggle up on the couch with the laptop, a pot of tea and the latest episode of Mystery! on PBS, but she's getting just a touch...oppressive. So, I'm making her suffer a little by blogging right in front of her. I really wish you could hear her sighing. She is quite gifted at it. And I am rather gifted at being passive-aggressive, no?

Well. Things have taken an ugly turn. First she violated my personal space most grievously by leaning on my arm in such a way as to prevent me from typing correctly without great effort and then violently wrenched my wrist in an effort to render one of my typing hands immobile. This will never do. Where's that cattle prod?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Last Weekend

Ah, the weekend: a time of rest, relaxation, recouperation; a time to catch one's breath, clear one's head, soak one's aching feet. Or, alternately, a time to run around trying to accomplish all the things you were too busy to do during the week thereby making yourself thoroughly crazed and exhausted, not to mention completely unprepared or equipped to greet the new week ahead.

Which kind have you had?

This weekend is a significant one. This is the last weekend before school is out for the summer. The last weekend of having to scurry around on Sunday night getting school clothes and school books and lunch supplies ready, having to get whiny children to finish their homework, get showered or bathed and into bed early. The last weekend of dreading the long, busy week ahead.

This weekend we went to dinner with new friends. Their daughter is Redheaded Snippet's best friend and we've seen them a lot in town, at school functions, hockey games, that sort of thing. We've been wanting to invite them over or go to dinner with them for a while and it all just came together this weekend. We had so much fun! I really hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Late Friday night, Daria came over and we watched an Agatha Christie movie she had rented, The Mirror Crack'd. It was wonderfully cheesy, with an all-star cast and gave us a lot of material for mocking. It was terribly fun.

Saturday, The Viking and I sang in a wedding at our church, but we were home by 3:00 and the rest of the day was spent lolling around, doing nothing and resting our tired bodies and minds. We swam, watched movies, fought over time on the laptop, it was lovely.

And now, today, Fathers' Day. Redheaded Snippet surprised us this morning by bringing her dad breakfast in bed. She got up early and made him toast, coffee, and an omelet. That's right, an omelet. I taught her how to make one a few weeks ago and The Viking was very pleasantly surprised that she knew how to make one, and such a tasty one! She was so cute and pleased with herself, as well she should.

Speaking of teaching her to cook, I recently announced to my Snippet that this summer will mark the commencement of her Domestic Engineering Training. At some point she's going to need to know how to run her household, whether that consists of just her and a roommate or a husband, 17 children and several herds and flocks of animals. She's going to be 13 in a few weeks so she's plenty old enough to start learning. No one ever taught me how to manage my home and I struggled terribly to learn how as I was doing it. I don't want that for her. I want her to be able to take care of herself and whatever family she may have before she needs to.

We're going to cover everything:

Meal Planning









Household Marketing

Let me tell you, she looked at me like I was nuts when I broke the news to her, but I hope someday she will appreciate the torture I'm going to put her through. I also hopes she appreciates the torture I put myself through finding and posting all those silly photos!

So, this afternoon, The Viking made pho, a luscious Southeast Asian soup that's his favorite food right now. I made a basket of sticky rice to go with it and we all had quite the festive Fathers' Day luncheon. Then The Viking and the kids went to the park while I cleaned the kitchen and baked a cake.

It was just a store-brand mix, but it was butter cake and I whipped up a pint of cream to frost it with and it turned out to be quite yummy! It tasted like wedding cake. More than half of it is still sitting there in the kitchen, seductively calling my name with its smooth, silky, siren song. A hot cup of tea would be perfect with another piece!

Alright, it's bedtime and tonmorrow is the very last Monday of the 2007-2008 school year. I still have laundry to finish and a lunch to pack--one of only three left this year!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pretty Fingers and Toes

So, let's see...what did I do today? Yes, it has come to this; boring little reports on what I did during any given day. Gah. But this is what happens when housewives get bored (despite what the tv wants you to believe happens when housewives get bored).

Where was I? Oh yes, boring you I actually had some fun. But first, a small bit about yesterday. Yesterday, I had my mom give me an instant French manicure. I have a wedding to sing in this weekend and I would like to put forth the appearance of professionalism. So, in addition to learning my music real good, I've decided I must be well-groomed and ladylike. Hence, the manicure. Le French manicure. A little side note to the side note, I used to, a few years back, go every 2-3 weeks to a little hole-in-the-wall salon and get acrylics. I was meticulous about my nails, it was kind of my thing. Secretly, I figured if I was going to be fat, I was at least going to have fabulous nails to offset it. Unfortunately, several years of that wrecked my natural nails but good. And the budget tightened. So the oh-so-lovely but ravaging acrylics had to go. Sigh. Anyway, I now keep my natural nails nicely manicured, but only to the point of looking neat and trim, not very fabulous. But not anymore! Looky!

Now, I'll thank you to keep in mind those aren't my actual for-real nails. My camera is still missing and my computer still comatose. All I can do is search Google for images that most closely resemble what I want share. It's kind of weird, but I kind of like it. It's like an enhanced version of my life. And, yes, that's rather pathetic.

Those hands, oddly enough, look almost like mine. The rings are different, of course; I don't wear thumb rings and rarely take off my wedding and engagement rings, but the fingers are similar and the nails are a perfect match! Maybe this unknown woman is my hand twin! But enough.

This afternoon, after what is quickly becoming a daily necessity due to my seemingly incurable insomnia, my morning nap, I got myself gussied up and ventured forth to get a pedicure so's my toes could match my fingers. Salons kind of intimidate me, especially the ones with Asian women who I just know are talking mockingly about me right in my face because they know I can't understand them. But I had a gift certificate from Christmas and with all the flip-flops I've been wearing lately, and the need to look polished and professional for the wedding, I decided to brave it. So now my feet look less like this:

and more like this:

Again, not my feet, but close enough. See? Pretty! And my feet and legs feel so silky soft and smooth! The massage chair was a little treacherous, and I blundered my way through the entire process, from not wearing the right pants (I was scolded and told I should have worn shorts) and not knowing when to dunk my feet, to not having a clue how much to tip the poor girl sentenced to de-gunk my gnarly feet. I think I may have tipped her a ridiculous amount. I asked her how much was typical and plunked down the amount she said. She probably recognized a good thing when she saw it and robbed me blind. But considering what she had to go through to get her tip and considering I had a gift certificate and didn't have to pay anything for the actual pedi, I really don't care.

After the pedi, I dragged Redheaded Snippet into the kitchen to help me get an early dinner prepared before I had to dash out to meet The Viking at wedding rehearsal. After using up sickening amounts of time and gas getting to the church, I was dismayed to find there really was no point in us being at the rehearsal at all. Nothing seemed to get accomplished, we had to interrupt the pastor and wedding coordinator to get all our cues, and we still had to stay after everyone else had left for the rehearsal dinner to work out all the kinks with the sound equipment. What a frustrating night.

And now I can't sleep. Everyone else lies in slumber deep and I languish on the couch watching bad tv and trying to rype coherently. See why I'm napping all my mornings away? I think I'm going to brew a nice, hot cuppa, make some crunchy cinnamon toast, and see if I can't get my fevered brain to grind to a slow enough halt for me to sleep.

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary to me!

Only a little time for a quick post tonight. I'm trying to make a more concentrated effort to keep up with this blog a little better. Dharma has been updating hers almost every day and if she can do it, I should be able to. You see, I haven't mentioned this yet, but Dharma is going to have a baby and is feeling mighty poorly right about now. That's right! She's pregnant! And as she's only about 6 weeks along, she's feeling nauseated an awful lot. But she's still keeping up with her blog and has inspired me to try and do the same. I may not have a toddler and day-to-day nausea to deal with, but I do have a broken computer and limited access to the Internet as my own challenges.

Today was our 14th Wedding Anniversary. We celebrated first by dissolving helplessly into puddles at Man-Cub's penultimate baseball game. Why anyone would expect 7-year-old boys to tear around in 100 degrees of baking-hot sun and 70% humidity without dropping like flies is beyond me, but they did. We managed to find a shady spot to spectate from, but still, it was icky.

After the game, we dumped the kids off at my mother's, then headed into Philly for dinner. We went to Marrakesh, a Moroccan place down an alley off of South Street. We sat on low, softly-carpeted, cushioned benches, had our hands washed with warm, rose-scented water (secretly my favorite part), and ate dish after dish of exotic, delicious food with our fingers. They actually washed our hands twice with the rosewater and now I'm thinking of finding ways to use it around the house. On our way out of the restaurant, we were gratified to see the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees and thunderstorms were brewing. Hopefully, this horrid heatwave is over.

So, I'm off to bed. I have to try and get some sleep tonight. I haven't been sleeping well and it's really disrupting my daily schedule. I'm behind on laundry and chores and really need to get myself a manicure, pedicure and some new clothes. I have a wedding to sing in this weekend and I'd like to look somewhat professional so's I can fool 'em all. Besides, with my feet showing so much in this hot weather, it'd be nice if they didn't look like Frodo Baggins'.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Oh the Photos I'd Share if Only I Could!

Isn't it true you don't know what you've got till it's gone? Our digital camera (which I dubbed Lucille on our trip to England, I forget exactly why except that I was jealous and exasperated because of The Viking's obvious preference for gazing into her eyes rather than mine) has gone mysteriously missing and don't you know I am overwhelmed by sudden and desperate needs to photograph things now that I don't have access to her? So we're going to have use our imagination a bit while I show you the photos I would have taken if I could.

First, the climbing rose next to the gazebo. Now, keep in mind, the above photo is not actually my rose-covered gazebo, of course, but it was the closest to it I could find. This year the roses have blazed out into gorgeous bloom. They look exactly as I imagined when I planted the 12-inch-tall vine with one scrawny rose on it. I had bought it from a sweet old man who was moving into a nursing home and selling seeds, cuttings and suckers from his garden so his beloved plants would be able to survive, thrive and bring joy to others in his absence. I brought it home, set in on the ground next to the kitchen stairs and promptly forgot all about it. For an entire year. Until the darn thing caught my eye the next Spring by producing a fresh, stubborn rose. Shocked, I planted it. And it took. And thrived exactly as its previous owner had hoped. And now there are lovely, palest pink, fluttery roses climbing all over one side of the gazebo. Almost exactly like that photo up there.

I don't know who this woman is, but her costume is almost as good as Redheaded Snippet's. She was absolutely brilliant as Miss Hannigan. I watched her on that stage thinking half-fearfully, "She's going to wind up in Hollywood in a few years!" I really hope she doesn't, but I think she could. She's a natural actress, is gorgeous, funny and can sing. But then, I am her mother and could be just a tiny bit biased. See? If only I could post a few actual photos!

Others I'd like to share? My mother, my aunt and I all presented Redheaded Snippet with flowers after the play and I have them arranged on the dining room table in the largest vase we own. Yes, the above photo is a work of Monet's (or is it Manet?) and, as such, is much more splendid than the actual vase of flowers standing in the dining room, but it's pretty darn close. It's amazing how many flowers $20 can buy at Produce Junction.

And then there's Man-Cub's new Summer haircut. The Viking went to get himself shorn today and Man-Cub decided, on the spur of the moment, to get himself a very cool buzz. He did this last year on the very first hot day of the season. So he looks quite adorable (but don't tell him I said that, he hates when I use that word to describe him. Instead tell him I said it makes him look macho. No, wait, nevermind).

Hopefully, that dang camera will turn up. I don't know what I'm going to do if The Viking winds up with a valid excuse for purchasing a new one. He was already starting to hint at needing a new one. Hmmm...maybe he's hidden it on purpose for that very reason...

Anyway, my only other news is that Thursday was my birthday. I'm 36 now, even closer to 40, which, for some odd reason, is freaking me out a little. I guess that's normal, but I never expected it to matter to me. My actual birthday was very busy, with school stuff and Redheaded Snippet having to attend her field hockey clinic that night, so we postponed most of our festivities until the next day. I did get to enjoy a most capital luncheon with Daria, our aunt and a family friend at one of my favorite restaurants, The Mulberry Tea Room, with lapsang souchong tea, dainty cucumber-and-watercress sandwiches and that most delectable of desserts, sticky toffee pudding (or "that titty pudding" as my aunt later called it). It was heaven.

Yesterday, the day of officially declared birthday activities, The Viking let me sleep in while he got the children off to school, arranged for my mom to pick them up from school, took a half-day off from work and took me shopping. We have never done that before. He took me first to Ulta where I thought I was just getting the makeup I had run out of and discovered I can't live without, Bare Minerals. Instead, he urged me to pick up several eye shadows, applicator brushes, blush and lipliner I've had my eye on in addition to the all-important foundation.

If I've never before offered an unsolicited plug for Bare Minerals (I have not been compensated by Bare Escentuals in any way) let me do so now. The stuff is absolutely fabulous. I have problem skin, have had it since my teens, and have spent countless dollars on different varieties of foundation, cream, liquid, powder, liquid to powder, cream to powder, pancake, specially formulated for scars, expensive, inexpensive, you name it. No matter what I used, it never covered adequately, it caked, it ran, it sweated off, it made me break out and it was never the right shade as I am extremely fair but with an olive undertone to my skin. Bare Minerals covers everything, does not wipe off, flake, cake or run. It doesn't sweat off and does not transfer to people's lapels when I hug them (I'm rather short). It doesn't make me break out, it lasts all day long, it matches my skin tone (I use the lightest one, fair, and I don't have to use a separate concealer. I. Love. This. Stuff.

After following me patiently around Ulta, The Viking spotted a young floozy with a large, frosty-looking Starbucks drink flouncing by and asked if I fancied a latte or something. So we went into the grocery store nearby which has a Starbucks counter inside. While trying to decide on a Frappucino, we remembered the sushi counter. I ran and picked up some sushi while The Viking ordered me the most sinful drink ever to associate itself with coffee and we sat in the grocery store cafe' and had lunch. We had a good laugh at ourselves, enjoying sushi and Starbucks in a grocery store, but the important thing is we had fun.

As we walked out of the cafe' I thought the day's fun was over, but The Viking announced he was taking me to my favorite store ever, Home Goods. I know I've mentioned this place before, but I love it there! It's like a rummage sale in a store. The Viking had never been there before, but knew I loved it and wanted me to pick out a non-stick omelet pan or skillet (he knows I've been wanting one). We had a blast in there; The Viking loved it as much as I did! We didn't find the 12-inch skillet I wanted, but we grabbed a 10-inch one to hold us over for a while.

By that time, it was time for Man-Cub's baseball game, so we decided to divide and conquer. I took him to the game while The Viking stayed home with Redheaded Snippet to tidy the house and make plans for dinner so I didn't have to. After the game, The Viking informed me that Redheaded Snippet would be attending a cast party and Daria would be staying with Man-Cub while he and I went to a wonderful little Indian restaurant in the neighboring town. After a perfect meal accompanied by a bottle of one of our favorite wines The Viking had brought along, we went home so the children could give me their presents. I got a tray of Ferrer Rocher chocolates and a box of Ghirardelli chocolates from Man-Cub (he picked them out himself), and a wire whisk, wooden spoon, rubber scrapers (in colors coordinating with our kitchen), chop-and-scoop utensil, and set of steak knives from Redheaded Snippet. All things I needed and wanted. I was so touched by their thoughtfulness. Then we changed and went out to see a late showing of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was a little fantastical, but fun. It was great seeing good old Indy again and the kids got a kick out of being allowed to be out and about until midnight. It was, truly, a most fun and delightful birthday!

Since then, we've been keeping busy trying to stay cool which is extremely difficult when it's 95 degrees with 72% humidity! It's like walking into a brick wall whenever you step outdoors. The kids spent the day in the pool, but I chose to remain sequestered in the frigid interior of my airily conditioned house where I will remain until this wretched heat wave is over. Which probably won't be until September 14th, but I'm okay with that.

Well, it's off to bed for me. I have a busy day tomorrow, taking Redheaded Snippet to the orthodontist, catching up on laundry, grocery shopping, stripping the beds, and my mom gave me a gift card for my birthday so I just might get to do some more shopping! Yay for birthday money!

Righto, Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ugh! What's That Smell?!

So, has anyone else experienced the joys of living with the delightful aroma of sewer gas wafting through the house?

That's right. Feel free to shudder. It's disgusting. Apparently, there is a leak somewhere in the powder room wall. I don't know the particulars of the size or location of the leak, but, fortunately, The Viking does. He's going to have to tear open the wall (maybe even two walls) and he seems to be facing the task with a mixture of dread and excitement. He likes tearing walls open. He just does. Demolition, to any degree, is always fun. For him. But he can't be sure of what he's going to find inside that wall and that has him feeling a bit trepidatious. I'm more than a bit trepidatious, I'm all over trepidatious! But if we have to tear holes in the walls to get rid of that terrible smell, I'm on board!

Oh, the smell! Oh, the odor! I keep walking downstairs and thinking, "Ugh, who funked up the bathroom?" And then I remember this is not one of those everyday, run-of-the-mill bathroom odors that may irritate for a few moments and then, accommodatingly, dissipate. Oh, no, this is a stench that lingers. There's no getting rid of it. Not without tearing into the walls! I would describe the smell for you, but I think you can well imagine what sewer gas smells like. I'm going to describe it to you anyway. It smells like poo. Only rotten. Rotten poo. Say it with me, "Ugh!"

Enough about corroding crap. We're coming down the home stretch school-wise. I believe we have 13 days left. Yes, we get out late here in South Jersey. I don't know why. And our school, in particular, always gets out later than any other school in the area. I don't know why. But we're down to 13 days and I just cannot wait. We're going to sleeeeep innnnnnn like crazy around here!

Redheaded Snippet's school play is tomorrow night so we've been back to Costume Central-Goodwill-and working hard to put together a fantastic costume for her. The play is Annie and my Snippet is playing Mrs. Hannigan. I did get some photos of the costumes in progress, but we've been having computer issues--did I mention that?-and I can't upload any photos right now. But she gets to wear two pretty kick-ass costumes. She makes her entrance wearing frighteningly fuchsia satin pajama pants, a garish satin kimono, my grandmother's clear plastic boudoir slippers, a fuchsia turban and holding a cigarette holder. Then she changes into a fugly '30's style dress with a pair of my other grandmother's shoes, 4 ropes of pearls and metallic beads, and her hair up in a loose chignon with a finger wave and a huge peony behind her ear. I did the best I could with the finger wave with the limited amount of time I had and did her makeup with Clara Bow lips, dark eyes and a nice big beauty mark on her cheek. She looked very Norma Desmond. She looked smashing. I will do my best to get lots and lots of photos tomorrow night to share.

So, as I mentioned, we're having computer problems. Something is seriously wrong with ours. The Viking thinks it's the video card or something or whatever? Whatever it is, it won't let the computer work right! I can only steal a few minutes on The Viking's laptop each night and don't have access to all my files, programs and photos so it's been very frustrating. I'm really hoping he can fix all our household problems this weekend. I don't know how much longer I can roll around this smelly house with no computer to break the monotony of all my housewifely duties! Heh heh, I said doodies. Gah, can you believe me? You'd think I'd have had enough with the smell I've been marinating in for the past two days, but my immaturity overtakes me once again!

As for my case of the Blues, it was a bad one, but it did pass. I'm still not sure what the problem was, except that it was that time of the month and I was pretty stressed out and don't typically deal with stress very well. Strike that. Actually, the truth is that I typically deal with stress by eating and I'm trying very hard not to do that anymore because I am tired of looking like a beached whale and am trying to lose weight sensibly and permanently, so when stressful things come along, I'm kind of helpless. Maybe I should start smoking. I'm kidding! No, I know smoking is serious and something we should never joke about. I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. Maybe it's stress. Anyway...

I had a good cry all over The Viking's chest and Daria came over and bade me bake scones and partake of good British tea with her and then everyone let me mope around the house all day Sunday and return to my senses all on my own. I am surrounded by very understanding, very kind, very gracious people who go out of their way to help and support me. I don't deserve them.

So, no matter what the calendar says, Summer is here. Like an over-bearing relative whose visit you're dreading but just can't avoid, she's shown up on the doorstep, early, with no regard for the possibility that we just might not be ready for her yet. She's made herself very comfortable with her dusty feet on the coffee table and her ill-tempered cats shedding all over the place and her constant helpful hints about the correct way to prepare every meal you serve her and has no intention of going anywhere until someone tells her to her face she just has to leave. And you know that won't be until September. Sigh. It's going to be 90 degrees with 70% humidity on Friday. Stupid, Great-Aunt Summer.

Well, that's enough for me tonight. I have family coming in tomorrow to see Redheaded Snippet's play, I have to make sure all of her costume things are ready for tomorrow night, not to mention packing lunch for Man-Cub, tidying things up and making sure everyone has clean clothes. So, it's off to the salt mines once again!