Saturday, May 30, 2009

Procrastination Station (yeah I know that's dumb)

Two things first:

You know that Advil PM commercial that starts with that guy saying, "I'm gonna do another one of my sleep studies"? Anyone else see anything creepy about that? Let's analyze a few of the words in that sentence, shall we?

"Another" combined with "studieS". This suggests that more than one study has previously taken place. Yet, however many there have been, they haven't been quite enough. Another one is needed, you see. Or, perhaps creepier, simply wanted.

"My". Ooooh this is the really creepy part. This suggests that these frequent, dare I say habitual or compulsive, studies are not sponsored or endorsed by any recognized medical, scientific or otherwise official organization. This guy is conducting his own sleep studies.

The next screen shot shows a man and woman in a tent on cots under sleeping bags or blankets labelled Advil PM and Some Other Product Not Advil PM. Obviously, the one with the Advil blanket (I believe it's the woman, if memory serves, because heaven forbid we see a man being right and a woman being wrong on television) is already half asleep and smiling blissfully while the other (the stupid, foolish, how-does-he-even-tie-his-shoes-without-his-intelligent-sexy-strong-altogether-stupendous-woman's-help male,) who has had the misfortune of choosing another non-Advil product, is tossing and turning in obvious discomfort.

I find this creepy, as well. This very independent and highly inappropriate study has to take place in a tent. Most likely in a dark, secluded, isolated location deep in the woods. So no one can hear the screams.

Can you imagine being approached by this man? Hey there, I'm doing a sleep study. How about we go into the woods, you take this pill I give you and lie down on a cot in a tent and then I'll study you? I've done this more times than I can count but I just can't seem to get enough of studying sleeping people in tents in the woods!

I think, for the good of humanity, this commercial should be taken off the air.

That was the first thing. Second thing: I have no costume photos to share. Mom and I did manage to acquire all the necessary materials for constructing a genie costume, but for all the money we spent, I may as well have bought or rented one. I think Mom got a little carried away by visions of grandeur. But then, I went right along with her so I can't blame her. She didn't force my wallet out of my hand.

See, the second thing was much shorter than the first. And now I can move on.

Ever have this happen to you? You wake up, rested and refreshed after sleeping in on a Saturday morning with your head full of plans for the gorgeous day ahead of you? You decide you are finally going to tackle those cleaning projects that have been nagging at you? Throw open the windows, catch up on laundry, hanging everything you can out on the line in the clean, fresh sunshine, scour the tub, clean behind the toilets, clean out the pantry, pull everything off the counters and clean every inch, you get the idea? Then you go downstairs looking for baking soda and white vinegar (even though you could swear you bought enough to have a box and bottle of each in each bathroom) where your sweet little boy asks you to make him some breakfast? So you start to make breakfast when your daughter, who is at school for play practice, calls to tell you she forgot her lunch and needs you to bring it to her? So you make a run to the store (because you were so busy running all over the place for costume materials for self-same daughter to wear in self-same play that you didn't have time to do the grocery shopping), drop off lunch and come home to find your husband leaving to do an extra job so there is some extra money for all those birthdays and anniversaries coming up which means you have to accomplish all those cleaning tasks yourself? But you just shake it off and decide you're perfectly capable of cleaning things alone? So you go through the house, opening windows to prepare for the cleaning blitz ahead but are interrupted by your son who needs you to log into the filter program on the computer so he can play games safely while his sister is away and not hogging the computer? And while you're in the kitchen (where the computer is) you decide you really should get the dishwasher unloaded so you can re-load it and clear the counter space and make things look a lot better, you know get a jump-start on things? And one thing leads to another and next thing you know three hours have gone by, you've gotten nothing done and don't know where to start and you find yourself avoiding the problem by blogging about it?

Nah, me either.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Costume Drama

This could be dangerous. I'm just sitting here typing without purpose. Free associating almost. But, hey, not all posts can be masterpieces, can they?

I have a wickedly busy day ahead today. It's the time of year. I almost hate it. I can't hate it completely because there's only three weeks of school left and I hate the kids being in school more than I hate this time of year so my time-of-year hatred is only an almost hatred. But it's still going to take a lot out of me so I am trying to budget my time very, very carefully (which is why I am going upstairs to take a very carefully thought-out and calculated nap in about 5 minutes).

Redheaded Snippet is in her school's play again. This year it's Aladdin Jr and she's the off-her-nut genie. So, today, Mom and I are running all over South Jersey to come up with all the fancy tidbits we'll need to piece together her costume. We had some harrowing moments in Walmart last night on our first scouting mission for the project. You can imagine: three opinionated women (Redheaded Snippet was with us) each with their own vision for the costume trying to come to somewhat of an agreement on what this thing will look like after a minimal amount of time and money. At one point, I actually grasped Redheaded Snippet (whose eyes were moist from frustration) by the shoulders, looked deep into her eyes and said, "How many of these costumes have your Grandmother and I done for you? Have we EVER let you down?" She was still unable to trust us completely. She's an independent one. Don't know where she gets that from.

Well, we managed to come to somewhat of a plan. We are no longer planning on making her blue. Not her clothes blue, her skin blue. She had her heart set on being blue. But, sadly for her, that idea was eliminated after much discussion. I don't know where on earth I would find the right quality makeup and in the amounts we would need. I'm sure I'd have to go to Philly. I don't think we'd have the time we'd need to get her all blued up, especially for the during-school-hours matinee when she has to do her own makeup. And, I'm pretty sure she would look kind of sickly when painted blue. You know how our eyes and mouths tend to look when surrounded by an inhuman color like that: corpse-like or rabid.

Instead, we're leaving her skin lily-white and making her costume a brilliant shimmering blue. With silver accents. Snippet insists on silver accents, NOT gold. I don't know, whatever, we can work with that. For added interest, we're going to make use of this long braid of hair my mother once bought at a yard sale years ago in a flash of inspiration. We all thought she was nuts at the time, but she said she felt by the pricking of her thumbs that it would come in very handy. And she was right. So far, we've used it in at least three costumes. It's about the same color as Snippet's hair so we're going to make a headpiece and attach the braid to it, wind it around in a smallish bun on top of her head and let it hang down her back. I think it will act drama and distinction to the ensemble.

I've been imagining her prancing around on stage with a long ostrich or peacock plume in her hand and we've agreed she needs to be coated in body glitter, but that's about all I've got. I'm feeling a little behind on this costume. In years past the ideas have come to me pretty strongly and quickly, but I don't really seem to know what to do for this one.

Since I'm talking about them, how about we visit costumes past? In 6th grade, it was Cinderella and Redheaded Snippet was an ugly stepsister. She needed a garish, ugly, loud ball gown. So we went to Goodwill and found this:

You can't tell so much in the photo, but it was very sparkly. You also can't tell in the photo but it smelled very strongly of old lady (peppermints, liniment and Jean Nate').

We did this to it:

Reserved a few of these to put in her hair later:

Paired it with a matching blue skirt (also found at Goodwill) to which Lobelia had kindly and quickly attached a few layers of lavender tulle:

And topped it with these sparkly blue/purple/green shoes:

And voila! That's one ugly stepsister!

Last year, it was Annie Jr. and Redheaded Snippet was Miss Hannigan. We had a tremendous amount of fun with this costume. She actually needed two. We found almost everything at Goodwill. Here she is in her lounge wear: fuchsia pajama pants, cream shift and flowered robe used as a Kimono:

I did her make-up, put her hair in a chignon and attempted a finger wave:

We added a big ring, some dragon-lady fingernails and a cigarette holder Mom had in her costume stash (from when her church group played a live version of Clue) complete with a fake cigarette lovingly and hand-made by Daria.

Completing the effect was a fuchsia turban Daria had bought Mom for Christmas as a joke several years ago. I think she's ready for her close up:

The other costume needed very little added to it. We found this dress exactly as you see it here at Goodwill, minus the beads, of cours. Here, Mom is preparing to hem and cut out the front so Redheaded Snippet's rolled-down stockings and rouged knees would be visible.

The stockings, a pair of my Grandmom's old shoes, and a big flower over her ear were all this dress needed to be perfect! Don't you think she looked smashing?

This next one wasn't for a school play, but it did require a trip to Goodwill. Redheaded Snippet and her friends participated in an annual talent show at school and tied for first place. They lip synced and danced to the song from the Six Flags commercials so, of course, Redheaded Snippet was that crazy old man:

Probably our easiest costume to date, this one just required a black jacket and dress pants (from Goodwill's Menswear section), red suspenders, red bow tie, black glasses and bald cap. The suspenders came from Walmart and The Viking was kind enough to go find the bald cap and make the bow tie from a red ribbon we had lying around the house. Even Dad got in on the action this time! The bald cap looked goofy at close range, but from the stage it looked perfect!

So, can you see the kind of pressure I'm under? Everyone expects her to have a great costume and I'm just not feeling it yet. When I asked her director for some, um, direction on what her costume should look like she said, "I'm not telling you anything! I don't want to get in the way of your creative process at all! I can't wait to see what you come up with this year!" High praise, indeed, but that means I gotta get my rear in gear.

Hopefully today's plunderings of dollar and fabric stores will yield hearty booty. I don't know why I went pirate all of a sudden. But I think that's my cue to go get that nap.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

So, it's Memorial Day, are you out back eating hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad? Or maybe you do the more sophisticated thing and you grill marinated chicken and salmon and maybe even swordfish skewers or something (I wouldn't know; I'm not sophisticated).

We're not doing anything. The end of May is already churning into a maelstrom of activity that is only going to take us thundering into an even more unbelievably busy June so we are taking down time where we can. At least I am. The Viking has been finding ways to keep busy as he always has. And I am seeing to it that the basics of housekeeping continue (laundry, meals and dishes). Otherwise, we are taking it easy.

I tell you what, I wouldn't mind sitting on a breezy but shady porch beside a big ice chest full of watermelon, corn-on-the-cob, lemonade and beer flipping my way though a large pile of semi-trashy magazines (you know, the kind you only buy for plane trips), watching the kids play on a tire swing and spraying each other with the hose. But I don't really feel like being the one to go out and buy and prepare all the fruit, veg, drinks and ice necessary and I certainly don't feel like having to clean up after it all. We've been so busy around here that no one has had any time to clean anything up except me and I'm getting sick of it! Little Mom Vent there, sorry!

Redheaded Snippet slept over her BFF's house last night so I'm sure they are having fun swimming, eating, playing video games and talking about boys. Man-Cub is with The Viking buying food for our newest additions to the household, Lemon-Lime and Forest, so named because of their greenish hues.

Yes, they're frogs, real, live, slimy, erratically jumpy frogs. The menfolk found them while helping clean out a friend's pool and the friend was only too happy to allow Man-Cub to take them home (I can only imagine why). Man-Cub is ecstatic about them, being practically reduced to tears of happiness several times last night. I, for one, am less than ecstatic, but am counting my blessings they're not snakes or rats. Sure, they have to be fed live crickets (I told The Viking so help me if any of those get out I am moving out and not coming back until all are accounted for, dead or alive) and I'm pretty sure they've been mating and we're going to be witnesses to The Glorious Amphibian Dawn and a hostile household takeover of plague proportions, but one look at my Man-Cub's face when he presented them told me that shrieking, "GET THOSE VILE CREATURES OUT OF MY HOUSE" was not an option.

In other, much less squicky news (let's move on, shall we?), it being Memorial Day, The Viking had some festivities in which to participate this morning. There are always services at the local cemeteries and the VFW and the fire department always takes part.

There they are. The Viking is the one fourth from the left, just to the left of the emblem on the engine.

And, oh me oh my, there he is in his uniform, up close and personal. Doesn't he look just dishy? Every year I forget about the Memorial Day festivities and every year he surprises me by walking in the room wearing his uniform. And it always takes my breath away.

Right. Well, I've got other projects in various stages of progress that I need to tend to. I'm making a pillow for a friend's birthday and have to mend my duvet a la Leila, a project for which I need either my mother's or Lobelia's help as I cannot sew nor do I have a sewing machine. Hopefully, I will remember to take photos during the creative process so I can share later.

But for now, have a thankful Memorial Day, remembering all those who fought and died to give us the freedom we so often take for granted.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mention, mention, mention...the word has lost all meaning.

Have I mentioned Redheaded Snippet plays field hockey? I suspect I may have. It's true, she does. And she doesn't just play it, she plays it. In blistering heat, driving rain, cheek-chapping cold, with sprains, strains or snot running down her lip, she plays hockey. She has actually played in all those conditions, by the way. Don't tell her I told you about the snot.

So, I may have mentioned we have a field hockey player in the family. But have I mentioned she's been fortunate to be a part of USA Field Hockey's Futures training program these past 5 months? I may have mentioned that, too. She tried out in September, was accepted, and has been training hard every other Sunday (sometimes at infernal hours of the morning) since January.

So, did I mentioned that this past Sunday was the Regional Tournament? Every player enrolled in the Futures program gets to participate in the Regional Tournament. Each team plays four games and there are 10 "judges" that simply sit in the center of the field and watch the players. No one keeps score. They just watch you play. Each girl is judged according to her individual performance. And at the end of the Tournament, a select few players are chosen to represent the region in the National Tournament in June.

I don't think I mentioned that Mom and Dad went with The Viking, Man-Cub and me to take in the goings-on at the Regional Tournament. It was ridiculously (or redonkulously-as Man-Cub would say) cold. We were cold, starving and more than a little bored most of the time because there was at least an hour between each of Redheaded Snippet's games. And the place was crawling with field hockey players, and coaches and moms and dads and it was all very intimidating. Most of these people are like professional hockey parents. At least they seem like it. They have exactly the right layers of clothing, the hats and windbreakers with field hockey logos on them. They have comfy captains chairs or stadium seats and stadium blankets and many had coolers and thermoses and some even brought enough food to feed an army.

I probably don't have to mention that we had three captains chairs, two of which are falling apart and one of which we found somewhere and whose owner we could not locate (it's got some Nascar emblem on it so it embarrasses me a little to use it, but it was free), a tote bag with only a jacket, umbrella and towel in it (in case it rained) and a grocery store bag with a few measly food items in it. Clearly, we had never done this before. Amateurs.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I haven't mentioned that we found out yesterday that only 22 girls were selected to represent the region (which is our entire state) down at Nationals. And guess what else we found out?

It certainly bears could see this coming, right? Redheaded Snippet is one of them! I was so excited when I found out I'm afraid I started hootin' and hollerin' and I'm not even a hootin' and hollerin' kind of girl.

Need I mention that it seems she must be really good and it's not just me saying it because I'm her mother? We're just so proud of her and she's so very excited!

Just wanted to make sure I mentioned it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Under Construction

Ok, so maybe the website isn't under construction, or even the web page, but the posts certainly are. I'm not being idle, I'm composing (or is it decomposing?) The weeks have been brutally packed and busy, but I am still here. I'm working on some doozies! Okay, not really, but I'm working on a few ho-hums for you. Aren't you just frothing with anticipation?

That is all. For now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers' Day

Do you know about me and Mothers' Day? If you remember me and Valentine's Day, you've about got it. My feelings are similar. I find Mothers' Day to be very meh. Yes, that's a word. I insist it's a word.

Anyway, several years ago while standing in the checkout line with a monstrous stress headache paying over $30 for a veritable pile of Mothers' Day cards, half of which I had to select carefully so as to not outright lie to the person opening the card, I realized Mothers' Day was the dumbest thing ever. The day had become one of obligation, stress, obligation, guilt, headaches and more obligation. Every generation of mothers in our families seemed to have a different idea of how Mothers' Day should be celebrated. And no one really knew whose wishes should take precedence but everyone wanted their own to be the ones. They should call it Guilt and Power Struggle Day. As the lowly Third Generation Mother, I was usually left to do whatever decision had been reached as a result of the Second Generation Mothers' and First Generation Mothers' battles to the death. This left The Viking very frustrated. He would ask me the entire week before Mothers' Day, "What do you want to do on Sunday," and I would just laugh sardonically and say, "You know we'll be doing whatever our Grandmothers want to do!" I never got to do what I wanted and The Viking never got to give me the Mothers' Day he wanted. And whatever it was we did, it never satisfied anyone. Both Mothers and Grandmothers wanted us with them on Mothers' Day. But they live at least 2 hours from each other so that was impossible. No matter what we did, we were giving someone the ammunition with which to plug us full of leaden guilt. What a terrible Holiday.

And, of course, there were several Mothers' Days that were wracked with all kinds of emotional pain. The first Mothers' Day after you lose a child is absolutely horrific. The sixth Mothers' Day since you started struggling with infertility is a nightmare. You go to church and all the other Moms have their flowers and bonnets and pins and corsages on and they look so happy with all their living children in tow. Everyone everywhere is wishing women a Happy Mothers' Day. That's all you hear in the air, "Happy Mothers' Day to you!" "Thank you! And Happy Mothers' Day to you, too!" The service is Mothers' Day-themed. The sermon is about Mothers. And at some point, the Pastor asks all the Mothers to stand for applause. Some Pastors want to know the oldest Mother in the room, then the youngest, then the Mother with the most children. And they usually get a flower handed to them in front of everyone. And if you've just buried a child, or miscarried a child, or have been trying desperately to have a child with no success, it's excruciatingly painful. I haven't been to church on Mothers' Day since 1999. One year, my cousin's infant son's funeral was on Mothers' Day in the afternoon. That was a Mothers' Day for the books.

Thankfully, several years ago (somewhere midst all the painful MDs due to the losses of children), my Mom and I conspired together to do away with Mothers' Day. We both confessed we hated it and found it to be so very stupid. It was such a liberating moment! And ever since, MD has been much more palatable.

Now, don't get me wrong...I love homemade cards from my kids and half-cooked or burnt breakfasts in bed. I love that the kids want to spend a day doing things for me. I love that The Viking wants to pamper me on Mothers' Day. But I don't expect a single thing. Anything they do is fine by me. And they usually do a great job and I am always pleasantly surprised.

Yesterday, I slept in because Redheaded Snippet had field hockey from 10-1 and The Viking offered to take her because it was Mothers' Day. Of course, Man-Cub woke me up asking if I could come downstairs and make him breakfast, but it turned out to be a ruse to get me to come downstairs so he could make me some cinnamon toast! When I came downstairs I found that entire level of the house sparkling clean! Things had been dusted, swept, vacuumed, everything! My favorite tablecloth was on the dining room table with a white pitcher full of fresh-cut flowers from the yard in the center. On the kitchen island was a note propped up in front of my favorite teapot covered with the wool cozy Lobelia made me. The note said,

"Happy Stinkin' Mothers' Day! Haha, I hope today is a day of rest and relaxation for you! I don't know if you can notice (because the downstairs was mostly clean from last night [we had had company]) but I tried to clean/wipe/scour everything downstairs! I hope you enjoy everything! I love you! P.S. There's bread pudding being kept warm in the oven and tea on the island."

A peek in the oven indeed revealed a warm, fresh batch of bread pudding and the tea in the cozied teapot was still warm! It was wonderful! I savored my toast, pudding and tea and then Man-Cub extended a most generous invitation to play Lego Indiana Jones with him. He knows I love this game but he doesn't usually like to play with me because I like to actually play while he likes to just run around and punch people apart.

After The Viking and Redheaded Snippet got back (they had had a bit of a tournament and her team had won--YAY) we got cleaned up, made a few Mothers' Day calls and then headed out to one of my favorite towns which is home to one of my favorite shops, The English Gardener. I know I've mentioned this place before. The store is smaller than my bedroom and packed to the gills with delightful imports from The UK. I get my decaf Typhoo tea there and usually pick up a treat for the kids before I leave. Well, The Viking was determined that I should have something from the store but I wouldn't let him get me the beautiful but $40 red teapot I've been craving for years. I settled instead on a fresh pack of Typhoo and a lovely little book entitled Celtic Tea With Friends.

I've flipped through most of it already and I'm really enjoying it! I plan to pore through it slowly and carefully with a hot, strong cuppa (of course) after the children are in bed at night. I finally have a recipe for Scotch Eggs, Hurrah!

After ransacking that tiny shop (the happy shopkeeper gave me a free small bar of lavender soap--I'm sure as an incentive to just leave), we walked through town enjoying the sights, smells and sunshine. We wandered into Her Sport for some navy blue knee socks and pre-wrap Redheaded Snippet needed for her field hockey regional tournament next week. She drooled over the sticks and other gear they had but we managed to get out of there after spending only $10!

We went to dinner at a Chinese Restaurant The Viking and I used to go to all the time when we used to live in an apartment near there. We had some fun reminiscing and enjoyed some good food (even if I did have to eat what I'm afraid were fish eggs for the first time in my life--I put on a brave face because Man-Cub had ordered the same thing and he was gauging my reaction very carefully).

After dinner, we decided to answer the call of duty and met my parents at EGOD's with key lime pie and Mothers' Day cards in hand. It was quick and painless and really made EGOD's day. Of course, there was the usual scrambling to keep the kids from eating anything except what we brought (I saw Rolaids sitting, unwrapped, in her candy dishes), and she did say something about her shirt exposing her breasts, but other than that, it was uneventful.

So, as Mothers' Days go, it wasn't bad. In fact, it was rather enjoyable, right down to the very end when The Viking packed Man-Cub's lunch for me and gave me a foot rub. Almost makes me not hate Mothers' Day!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Rant, rant, rant

I know, I know, it's been over a week, what on earth am I thinking not blogging for that long? Or whatever.

I've lost my mojo. Again. This seems to be chronic with me. Only this time it's not just my bloggy mojo I've lost. I've lost it in the kitchen, too. I was doing so great, making everything homemade, almost completely from scratch (my dad had the nerve to tut-tut at me when I admitted the noodles in my otherwise "from scratch" lasagne were not homemade) and providing my family with tasty, wholesome, nutritious meals every day.

And then, not to blame it him at all but, The Viking joined Weight Watchers. This knocked the wind out of me, I have to tell you. I had been contemplating joining WW for some time. I had been working myself up to it and has just about talked myself into spending the money and taking the time to do it when The Viking came home from work one day and gleefully announced he'd joined at work a week before!

Whaaaa....??? Wait, that was supposed to be me! The money allocated for WW was supposed to go toward my weight loss plan, not his! I was finally going to stop putting myself last and justify spending money on myself and not on sports for the kids or new plants for the house or new sheets for the beds. And he took it! Don't worry, we've discussed this very amiably and sorted it all out and we're good. But that's what happened.

He's been bringing home his materials and I've been trying to do WW vicariously through him but it's not going all that well. Apparently, I have several obstacles to overcome which could very well explain why I look the way I do.

1. I love food. Is that wrong? I have had a very hard time admitting that because GLUTTON keeps ringing through my head. It's one of the seven deadly sins, you know, though considered one of the lesser of the seven. But I love it. Good food, prepared well, with good ingredients is a top pleasure of mine. It's important to me. I cannot stand eating the same thing all the time. I cannot, for example, eat salad twice a day every day. I cannot subsist on drinks from a can as a meal. I can't make powder a large portion of my diet. The Viking went through a few weeks where he was drinking Slim Fast a few times a day, SLIM FAST! THAT is not a diet, that is a punishment! He's also eating salads all the time and it's driving me a bit mad.

2. Related to this: I can't stand things that have been manufactured or messed with. Now, I can enjoy a bag of Cheetos, sleeve of Oreos, or pouch of french fries like the next girl, but in general, give me butter, whole milk, sugar, real cheese, fresh bread, a joint of meat and fresh fruits and vegetables! You can keep your margarine, soy butter, skim/soy/rice milk, artificial sweeteners, low-fat cheese food, white sandwich bread, canned meat product and fruit snacks! The Viking showed me a recipe for an omelet that called for egg whites, low-fat cheese and cooking spray. It made me want to cry. It sounded like prison food. And he's brought all kinds of food substitutes into the house. Like Splenda. And sugar-free pudding and yogurt. Gag me.

3. I had finally learned to cook. FINALLY. And I had gotten good at it. A large portion of my life revolved around our menu: planning it, procuring the goods necessary for it, preparing it and serving it. The Viking was so very appreciative. He would come home in anticipation of what I would be serving each night. He would sit down at the dining room table with delight on his face. He would dive in with gusto and savor each dish (okay, maybe not when I tried another meatloaf, but most of the time). He would sigh after dinner and praise my efforts. He would brag to other men about the good cook he had at home. And I loved it. I felt like I was successfully meeting one of my husband's vital needs. And now, he's picking over his food, even abstaining from some of the things I'm making. I made burgers (a family favorite). He went and made some tilapia for himself to eat instead. I took that very personally, though he insists I shouldn't. Several times I have had dinner almost ready and he has come in and put together a salad to supplement the meal. I didn't like the idea that my meal needed supplementation. I bit the bullet and served Mediterranean Veggie Sandwiches (a la Panera) for dinner one night. They were dang good. But later, I heard The Viking tell Redheaded Snippet she was hungry because we hadn't really had a meal that night. Say what now?

4. I hate being hot and I hate sweating. Hate it! I hate it almost more than anything! And you cannot exercise to any good purpose without getting sweaty. So this is a major problem and quite possibly the biggest reason I have the appearance I do. And The Viking is now running three miles a day. I know, I know, it's good for him! And I'm glad he's getting healthier so he's with us longer, I am! But he's getting home from work at 6:30 and then going right out and running. And then he's so sweaty and gross he has to take a shower before we eat. So dinner is even later and time with us is even less and I hate that. He is also trying to get me to with him and doesn't understand that I have a meal to prepare and would rather eat glass than run anywhere.

So, I sit down to prepare meals and I don't know what to do anymore. It was hard enough to prepare things that the kids wouldn't go into convulsions over, would fit within our budget, that I had the time to make (depending on games, practices, church, etc), would be tasty and what I thought was healthy. Now I have to plan dinner an hour later (which is a problem when you've got piano lessons at 7:30 two nights a week) and try to plan around what The Viking will eat now. He wants fish and fresh veggie salads all the time. I hate fish as much as I hate sweating. And if I have to eat more salad I'm going to wind up throwing it against the wall. I made shrimp scampi the other night in an attempt to compromise in the seafood arena. The Viking commented that it still wasn't all that healthy for you, despite being seafood.

I put my foot down last night and bought steak for dinner. It's been so long since we've had it and it's finally nice enough to fire up the grill and Wegman's had strip steak on sale. It was the perfect storm. The Viking cooked it to a turn and we boiled some potatoes and steamed some peas and it was a decent, relatively healthy meal. Even The Viking loved it. But he complained the rest of the night about having to run extra today and gaining back 5 of the 20 lbs he's lost. I wanted to throw his box of Splenda at him.

Otherwise, I have no weekly menu made. I am at a loss as to what to prepare. I had just gotten into a groove and now it's worthless. All the plates I was spinning have crashed to the floor and I don't know where to start in picking up the pieces. And I suspect I just might be being a huge, snotty-nosed baby about this. But this is what I do when faced with change. It's not very effective, but it's what I do.

Add to that trying to decide if we need to move sometime in the next 4 months and you've got one very stressed-out Pippa. I probably don't have to tell you that the moving idea is still a secret from the children. Redheaded Snippet would be most traumatized if she knew we were even entertaining the notion, let alone if she knew just how seriously we're considering it. I can't go into details here and now, but it's definitely a distinct possibility at this point. And I can hardly think about it without feeling the desperate need to lose myself in some escapist behavior (like online jigsaw puzzles at

I know there are no photos to accompany this long rant and I know it probably isn't a very well-thought out or organized post, but this is what I'm chewing on and it's all I've got at the moment. It was this or wait another week in hopes the the storm clouds in my brain clear.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Blargh, just blargh.

Alack, Alas, our computer woes continue with relentless force! For THREE weeks we suffered in silent boredom with neither Internet nor phone service. The Viking couldn't figure out what was wrong. Comcast couldn't figure out what was wrong. The power at the street was too high and was zapping into the house and blasting virtual holes all through our modem and our poor, defenseless computer was just shutting down in surrender each and every time we tried to log on. But no one knew why this was happening. Thankfully, all our calls to the house were diverted directly to The Viking's cell phone (such a week he had, fielding calls from everyone ranging from EGOD, concerned the children were dying from Swine Flu, to telemarketers, offering great rates on credit cards and mortgage refinancing--AS IF). Not-so-thankfully, this resulted in us maxing out and in fact exceeding our cell phone minutes this month. now we have a monthly bill to pay for service three quarters of which we didn't even get to use and overage charges on our cell phone bill.

And just when we thought the computer was "back" it started being pissy again, no doubt in retaliation for all the havoc wreaked on it in the past month, taking forever to start up, running only parts of our Internet filter software and downright refusing to work at all unless in safe mode. I know, it's been through a lot and isn't taking any chances any more. But it's driving me batty! And Redheaded Snippet may never recover.

In the mean time, we've had family come and go, friends come and go, 3 days of 90 degree-plus-weather come and THANKFULLY go, rain and more rain, and now there are 5 confirmed cases of Swine Flu in our area. Yippee! I'm not all that worried; we're not rushing out to get our ultra-chic masks or anything, but the word, "pandemic", does tend to give one pause, does it not? They say it's because of its propensity to spread rapidly, not its severity, but still. I'm a mother. I have small(ish) children. And EGOD is convinced she heard the news say it had attacked the town next to ours. It hasn't, but that hasn't stopped her from calling us frantically.

Guess it was actually a good thing the phone wasn't working and all calls went to The Viking's cell phone! Hee hee hee, ha ha ha!

Ok, I don't have time for all this folderol. I've been a very bad wife/mother this week and I must make recompense. I was off my cooking game for some reason, making "cheat" meals, ruining another meatloaf (I tell ya...), throwing in the towel and begging The Viking to just run to the corner Chinese food place last night, it hasn't been pretty. I also don't think I've done any laundry this week with the exception of the load of towels I left on the line to dry, get re-washed in the soaking rain next morning and dry yet again that afternoon. In my defense, I wasn't feeling very perky (I won't bore-or disgust-you with the details), but all I accomplished was finishing all the Story levels and finding most of the Treasure Chests and Parcels in Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures on the Wii. True, Man-Cub and I were able to spend lots of happy hours together, bonding over our shared delight in this clever and most entertaining game. But, I have a lot to make up for. So I'm drawing up a menu and grocery list and heading out to the store to procure the necessary items in order to wow my family into forgetting all about this week. I think a nice pork tenderloin, some shepherd's pie and a dozen tacos (among other things) oughta do it. Hmmm...better throw in a can of cinnamon rolls or a box of Little Debbie's Oatmeal Creme Pies for good measure.

Right, so I'm off to find ways to manipulate my family. Wish me luck!