Monday, December 22, 2008

Because we don't have the sense we were born with

Conversation this morning:

Me: The vet appointment went great. Samson is over two pounds now. The vet says all the puppies got snapped up pretty quickly. There's only one left and she might go get him if he doesn't get adopted before Christmas.

The Scientist: There's still one left? Which one?

M: The one I almost brought home. The big one.

TS: Well, that SUCKS. His brothers, sisters and his mother have all been adopted and he's still sitting there, three weeks later?!

M: Yup. She thinks it's because he's so much bigger than the rest and just got overlooked for not being tiny and cute. But, he is cute. Just not as tiny.

TS: Well, this isn't worth a damn. I'm going to shower and put my contacts in. We're going to get him. Call who needs to be called and tell them we'll be there in 30.

And we were.

Samson and Jonah seem to be adjusting well to being back together. Their new matching stockings are hanging on the fireplace and they are loving every second of beating each other up. Typical boys. Like we need more testosterone around here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thought for the day

It really doesn't much matter what you wear if your shoes are patent leather, rust and brown leopard spotted ballet flats. You can have on all manner of crap and get away with it if you're going to finish the outfit off with that sort of cuteness.

Which is why I bought them. At the Ann Taylor outlet. On major sale. Major...

Monday, December 15, 2008


Thanks, Di, for the SOS reply. I have you on speed dial!!
I'm currently sipping gingerale and feeling as though disaster may be averted. No one has thrown up in 18 hours. Everyone is eating dinner and at least mildly hungry. Fingers are crossed...

A HUGE pointsetta plant arrived today from the vet's office with a sympathy card attached. You don't get customer service like that very often.

Say It Isn't So

Fact 1 (F1)- The Scientist left this morning and will be gone until Friday

F2- Red Fish threw up Saturday.

F3- I mistakenly chalked F2 up to too much orange juice.

F4- One Fish threw up several times last night.

F5- Turns out, it wasn't the OJ.

F6- I'm going dooooooooown. And the liferaft appears to be on a boat himself in the middle of the ocean.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

RIP Hooper

Our old friend is gone. Courage sucks but somehow we managed to summon enough of it last night to give one last gift to our dear friend. We debated and agonized and cried and planned and looked for any way out. There was none. The Scientist said that Hoop D would tell him. By the time he got home from work yesterday, we both knew that he was doing just that in any way he could. He had stopped walking the day before and never regained either the ability or desire. His eyes pleaded with us and apologized to us and we knew we owed him something we just didn't want to give.

We loved on him and rubbed all over him and lay on the floor with him in the office. He was much more calm and peaceful than we were. I tried in vain to summon whatever I had so that his last memory of me wouldn't be anxiety and grief. He looked at me with glassy eyes, as if to say, "I did a good job, didn't I?" Oh, yes, dear friend, you did.

In the end, he went to sleep in our arms and seemed to breath one final sigh of relief and thanks.
No regrets. No guilt. Just grief, and heaps of it.

Somewhere, right about now, my Rosie Posie isn't believing her eyes or her dumb luck. She is probably demanding to speak to the management and is hissing, "How'd YOU get in here?!" Keep it civil until we get there, guys. We'll be the ones carrying the fribee and the tennis ball. See you then....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Call David Letterman

There is a church I pass every day of my life (several times each day, actually). The sign out front in big huge, bold letters says:

As longest their is testing there will be prayer in school.

I'm well aware of where I live and the educational challenges that come with the territory. But honestly! Hasn't a single member pointed this out (perhaps someone who passed high school freshman English?). The sign has been up at least a week. I might call tomorrow. If they are having trouble attracting visitors to their services, I might be able to be of assistance.

I'm not kidding. You can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Smoke Alarm Theory

Stop going to the mailbox. My Christmas card isn't coming.

Mostly, this is because of my Smoke Alarm Theory. I believe that the only reason we do Christmas cards is that we need a time during the year when we know we'll finally sit down and catch up with everyone. We send an updated picture, dash of a quick note or agonize over an extremely censored Christmas letter. Just like replacing the battery in the smoke detectors when you change your clocks twice a year. Is there something magical about the batteries if you remember to do it when the clocks change instead of some other time? Of course not. You're just supposed to do it when the clocks change so that you'll remember.

In the same way, there is nothing more wonderful about getting a Christmas letter than, say, an Easter letter. Or a Happy New Year letter. Or, as the case may be in this household, a Mardi Gras letter. We just do holiday letters so that 1) people will know how much we are wishing them a happy holiday and 2) we will make sure to at least touch base with our not-so-nearest and possibly dearest once a year.

And who the heck decided that the best time to do this was during the all-time busiest season of the year, for crying out loud?!

So, as of right now, I'm officially wishing everyone a VERY, VERY Merry Christmas. There. That's done. No one needs to wonder any more whether I wish they will have a good holiday season. I do. Desperately.

I'm also thinking that you would feel pretty bad if you knew that the bajillion of hours I will spend trying to get the fishies to take a decent Christmas picture, writing the letter, hunting down the envelopes and buying a stamp to send your letter took time away from my children, huh? It could also take precious time away from my wine-in-front-of-the-Christmas-tree-time, too, but that is a minor detail. Cards are stressful and I defy you to tell me differently. What we need during this season is LESS STRESSFUL activities and I'm starting the trend NOW.

I am a big fan of the catching up once a year. That is important. So, I am transferring this card-sending to Mardi Gras this year. Mardi Gras is a big ol' festival of parades and ridiculously needless days off from school with nothing to do and I figure that this is The Perfect time to send cards. Besides nothing says original like a holiday card featuring the Fishies in jester caps and beads, now does it?

You can start waiting by the mailbox again in February. But take a break until then. It will be worth the wait. Promise.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Tale of a Tree

Here's my favorite Christmas decoration this year and here's the story behind it:

Christmas 1998. The Scientist and I were engaged and were excited to be spending our first Christmas together. With a great deal of trepidation, I agreed to spend Christmas with his family. It wasn't that I didn't want to. We had agreed that we would switch off years with our families for holidays and there was no reason not to start with his. I even liked his family well enough but really didn't know them that well since they lived two states away. I had only been in the same room with his mother a handful of times. I had also never spent a holiday away from my family.

The other rub was a big one. The Scientist's nephew (soon to be mine too) was three and in the winter of 1998 was fighting for his life. He had an extremely aggressive form of childhood cancer and had been given a 30% chance of surviving. All my interactions with the family up to this point had been (understandably) against the backdrop of The Cancer. Although it wasn't said aloud, we knew that we were being strongly encouraged to spend the holiday there because this might be the last one he'd have. I wish I could tell you that I was gracious enough and mature enough and big enough to waltz into this situation knowing exactly what to do, but I can't. I was 25 and I was scared to death.

A week before we were to depart for Virginia, another rub entered the mix. My seemingly very healthy and vibrant maternal grandmother had a stroke. My mother, father and sister had planned to spend the holiday with my other grandparents. My paternal grandfather had Alzheimers and my grandmother needed all the help she could get. I was putting on my big girl panties and dealing with the fact that everyone would be there but me. But, with her mother's stroke, my mother changed her Christmas plan and headed north to be with her ailing mother and her siblings for Christmas. She had no choice. My grandmother was hospitalized and her rehabilitation and housing after she was released had to be decided. If she made it out of the hospital at all.

I cried daily in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I have already admitted that I wasn't nearly as gracious or mature as I would have liked to be, so I might as well go ahead and admit that as much as I had already grown to love my nephew, I was just the tiniest little bit resentful of The Scientist's family for having a crisis that trumped my own personal crisis. I don't care how bad the stroke is or how severe the Alzheimers, chilhood cancer trumps it every time. Even I could see that. But I didn't have to like it. The Scientist understood how much this sucked for me. We were also united in our belief that we should never spend the holidays apart if there was any possible way around it. So, we headed north to Virginia.

After about 10000 hours and one icestorm later (we took turns using a screwdriver to chip the ice off the headlights) we arrived in Virginia. Knowing what I know now, there was nothing at all unusual about the room I was assigned to sleep in. But, up until this point in my life, I had never seen such hospitality or decadence in someone's house and all laid out for a guest. We would have given his mother heart failure if we had assumed to sleep in the same room (not officially married yet and all). My room was exactly what I would have dreamed of. Feather pillows (and zillions of them). Oodles of fine quality bedding, all piled up and waiting to be snuggled under. Soft lighting. A stack of magazines and books by the bed. A bench waiting for my suitcase. And... a little Christmas tree in the corner that was decorated completely with tigers and purple and orange glass balls.

She had me at the Clemson Tree. The base of the little tree was even tiger striped.

With her only grandson at death's door, my mother-in-law had taken the time to put that one little touch into my room that let me know that this room was especially for me and that it mattered that I was there. To say that she never had a good relationship with her own mother-in-law would be the understatement of the year. I "got" that she was really making an effort and was trying so, so hard and that she knew what awful, uncomfortable position I was in. Now, the Scientist did surely go to Clemson but he couldn't give a tiger's behind about having a Christmas tree decorated in tigers and purple. That was something just for me. I look back on that Christmas as the point at which I truly joined his family. It was wonderful and magical and a Christmas custom made for a three year old little boy. And that sort of fun is good for any soul.

A few years later, she asked me if I wanted her to save the Tiger Tree. Duh. I finally got The Tree when we were up there this summer. I think she was amused that I wanted it as much as I did. She would also be horrified if I got all weepy and emotional and huggy on her and told her all of this. So, I kept my mouth shut and just shoved it into the back of the van. It is in our dining room now and is heavy with every single Clemson ornament we own. The original tigers and purple and orange balls are still there too. The Scientist said he can't even tell it's a tree.

My grandmother recovered partially from her stroke. She moved into assisted living and lived there until 2000. She danced (with lots of assistance) at our wedding and laughed into the phone the morning I called her from my hospital bed and told her that her first great-grandchild had been born. She died two months after that. She never saw One Fish in person. But she knew. And that was what was important.

My paternal grandfather passed away in February of 1999. Christmas of 1998 was my sister's last visit with him. His passing gave my paternal grandmother the gift of being able to be at our wedding. Red Fish is named for him.

My nephew beat the odds and I can honestly say that he is the only 13 year old I know who is always a pleasure to be around. He was the ring bearer in our wedding and was so cute that Clemsongirl proposed to him on the spot. He refused by saying, "But, I'm only four!" Now, he drives his parents crazy and has no recollection of the two years that turned his family upside down. Praise God.

And that, as they say, is the rest of the story.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Christmas Ass

The Scientist is eccentric. And that is to say the least. I would give details, but then you might meet him someday and laugh when you did just remembering what you know and it would be bad and he'd be all mad at me for telling you that he used to always wear two pairs of socks and all sorts of other things. He gets "ahold" of an idea and just can't drop it. Even when good, solid evidence points to the fact that He.Is.Wrong. Or misguided. Or about to make a bad choice. Or is unlike everyone else in the free world. No matter. It's sort of endearing and gives me lots to chuckle at. And he is quite brilliant and very, very funny, so it all sort of evens out.

My mother in law and I have long wondered if this eccentricity trait has been passed on to any of the Fishies. They really get a little from both sides (thanks, Mom). We've started to suspected that Two Fish may be "touched." I got confirmation yesterday. The boy just does things "different," for sure...

The church Christmas pageant is coming up. Each Sunday School class is assigned a number of roles. The preschoolers are all sheep and angels. The 4th and 5th graders are the narrators and so on and so on. Two Fish has been quite concerned about this as there was a rumor that perhaps the preschoolers would be sheep, angels OR shepherds. Because he wasn't feeling the sheep and he sure as hell wasn't feeling the angels. He is sort of an angel- in that he is such a good kid- but he is old enough not to be caught dead in a halo and fairy wings bought from the clearance bin after Halloween. He was really hoping the shepherd rumor was true. It wasn't.

I thought it probably wasn't. I was almost positive and warned him about this. "You're probably going to have to be a sheep," I'd say. "Well, I don't want to be a sheep."

"How about an angel then?"

"No way."

"Well then, you'll probably be a sheep."

Even The Scientist, who bans all things dramatic as a rule, backed me on this. "All your buddies will be sheep too, Bud. I had to do it. Everyone has to do it. Just do it."

"Well, I just hope I'm not a sheep..."

This conversation has repeated several times over the past few weeks. And I knew what was coming. Two Fish had a fuzzy brown "dress" thing with his name on it and might as well be practicing up on his best "baaa." He was going to be a sheep.

So, yesterday, after our usual fruit-basket-turnover/Chinese firedrill method of getting everyone where they needed to be, One Fish and I met Two Fish at the first pageant rehearsal at church. I was prepared. I tried not to meet his eyes when we walked in. The room was packed with half the children in the world, all trying on robes and headpieces and fuzzy get-ups and Two Fish was right in the middle of it.

He did spot me after just a few seconds, though. Almost as though he had been watching for me. And he was... beaming.

"Mom!!!!! I don't have to be a sheep!!!!!"

I was pretty sure this was because he'd already thrown himself onto the floor in a full-blown conniption fit and some sucker had given in and agreed to let him hand out programs and I was going to have to kill them. Before I could ask, a giant greyish brown onesie looking thing was thrust at me along with at baby-bonnet type headdress that had what looked like two huge pink carrots sticking out of the top.


Sure a-damn-nough there was one donkey costume that no one had probably ever agreed to wear in the history of Christmas pageants and my son spied it and begged it for his own. The play director could not have been more pleased that she hadn't even had to beg anyone to wear the giant grey onesie with mule ears for a headpiece- she had someone step up and beg for it. She'd hit the pageant jackpot, if you will.

An hour later, the first run though was in progress. The animals were lined up at the back, waiting to be led in by the older shepherd children. Away in a Manger is being played on the organ and dozens of children sweetly accompany it in song. The shepherds lead in the precious little children, all sweetly muttering, "Baaaaa, baaaaa" as they look for their mothers in the pews.

And Two Fish is bringing up the rear, head held high, bellowing, "EEEEEE-AWWWWWW, EEEEEE-AWWWWWW."

Two Fish is the Christmas ass. And if you think I'm not pulling these pictures out at the rehearsal dinner, you're crazy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


He's here! The Tiniest Puppy in the World. Which is why we named him Samson. Because it's just funny. He's six weeks old. Too young, really, to be away from his mama, but since she had already been adopted out, we figured there wasn't any reason to leave him sitting with all the other strays who were carrying God only knows what. So, he's here and One Fish is in love. Two Fish likes him just fine but isn't going to win any parenting awards anytime soon. Red Fish is traumatized and may need therapy. He backs away, shrieking like a little girl when the puppy approaches him.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Even Jesus Liked a Good Olive

I've heard that heaven is a very busy place. At least that's what my Sunday school teacher says. Busy, busy, busy with everyone given the job they're best suited for and will best use their spiritual gifts. Well, if that's true, I can't wait. Because I know that when I get to heaven, I'm going to be in charge of a specialty food store and deli. And be able to sing with a voice that someone other than just my children will love. But, I digress.

I cannot open a store in this life for a lot of reasons. Mostly, I'm too lazy to be a shop owner. I'm also too OCD (in my own, strange, non-neat little way) and would work myself to death. I also hate finances and I've heard that being a small business owner requires one to deal at least occasionally with money and bills and other unmentionables. I am pretty sure, though, that in heaven there won't be any bills and I think that if God gives me the job of providing all of us with good creme fraiche and decent olives, he will also provide me with some good help so that I don't work myself to a frazzle. I don't think there is anything heavenly about working oneself to a frazzle, after all.

I really think that any place at all can benefit from a specialty food store. We have a few here. A cheese shop (which I am more enthusiastic about than is really normal) and a family run Cajun deli/market which is one of my favorite places in the world. We also have a delightful Asian market with produce and all sorts of things in the refrigerated section. Some of these things are wonderful and some are nothing I would ever consider cooking in this lifetime. We don't have a really wonderful grocery store, but we do have these three shops which make one feel a bit better about the general culinary taste of the population here.

There are some people who just don't have my taste in food. OK, to be honest, I don't think they have good taste in food at all. I know this is a strange revelation coming from me, who just several posts ago admitted that I like marshmallow peeps. I did admit that I knew this was not normal and so it isn't something I tell lots of people. The Scientist has some sort of low-brow taste in food sometimes. I'd give you examples, but then I might offend the type of person who prefers iceberg lettuce. And I hate to be offensive (recent posts not withstanding).

As my mother has always said, there is no accounting for taste. Lucky for you and me, I have wonderful taste in food (heehee) and the following recipe is a good example.

I have been making this for awhile and is perfect for this time of year. Pumpkin Bread Pudding. I can't even remember where I got the recipe, but in the interest of full disclosure, know that I don't come up with recipes. I only pass judgment on existing ones. Don't cheat yourself by eating this for dessert. Eat it for breakfast- we do.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 loaf raisin bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

zest from one small orange

1 can evaporated milk

15 oz. solid pumpkin

1/2 plus 3 T. sugar, divided

3 eggs

1 1/2 T pumpkin pie spice

1/4 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat evaporated milk until hot.

In separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, 1/2 c. sugar, eggs, spice and zest. Gradually mix in hot milk.

Place 1/2 of bread cubes over bottom of baking dish. Pour half of pumpkin mixture over bread cubes. Repeat with rest of bread cubes and rest of pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and rest of sugar.

Bake 25-30 min. Can be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (even I don't do ice cream for breakfast though. I do have some standards).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No Excuses, But...

I'm catching some flack for not posting in awhile. It all boils down to two reasons:

1) Red Fish is cutting molars- all four at one time. This is apparently a very long process and requires lots of unhappiness, screaming, and demands for 100% of my time. We're on week number 2 and things may be getting a bit better but I hesitate to jinx myself. In the midst of it, he has developed a diaper rash from hades because all of my children (aka, the whitest children on the planet) have skin that breaks out when anything at all disturbs it's delicate balance. For him, this may or may not have been the 100 lbs. of grapes I let him eat the other day because it was keeping him quiet and happy for the first time in...well, two weeks.

2) We're getting a puppy. I wanted you to have to squint to see that because it is strictly on the DL. It is time and I probably need a whole post devoted to my thought process on this (hint- it did not involve a small amount of rationalization and OCD behavior). The Scientist and I are going to see the puppies this weekend (sans fishies of course because of the whole DL thing). The mother is a red, long haired dachshund and the father is... well, who the heck knows. The mother was dropped off at the shelter with her "boyfriend" who is a Pekinese but it became pretty clear after the babies were born that the old boy had been stepped out on a bit- or at least one all important time. The vets think the babies are probably half Shitzu or something close to it. They are black and white and might be the cutest things ever. Cuter than a guinea pig, I can almost guarantee it.

FYI- Spell check doesn't do well with dog breeds. Hasn't heard of most of them apparently. So, apologies to the Pekinese and Shitzu enthusiasts out there for mutilating the spelling of their favorite dog breed. I don't have time to get the dictionary right now. The Dog Whisperer is about to start.

Friday, November 7, 2008

They're Called Adult Britches. Put Them On.

There is a blogging topic that has been nagging me lately. Summed up, it is:
Stay Married, For Crying Out Loud.

The Scientist and I are experiencing a rash of divorce in the lives of our friends (and I know some of them are reading this and yes, I AM talking about you). To be quite frank, most of the divorces are stupid. Yep- the S word. Stupid, stupid, stupid. There are certainly some very valid reasons for deciding to toss your marriage vows out the window. I probably don't need to list them. But, for clarification and for the edification of anyone reading who may not be clear, let me list a few of the not-so-good reasons for thinking about getting the Big D.

1) It's too hard. Really?! Well, no shiot, Sherlock. Labor hurts and marriage can get hard. This is not breaking news. Everyone thinks it's hard sometimes. Did you really go into this expecting a Lifetime movie? Well, go get some money back from whoever did your premarital counseling because you got ripped off. Get over it. You made a promise. Put your adult britches on and keep the promise.

2) This is a newsflash to some people, apparently, so I'll put it in boldface. Most married people do not have sex three times a day. Most married people with children do not have sex even every day. Sex is not a reason to get a divorce unless, of course, the issue is sex with someone not sharing the marital bed in question. These problems can be fixed. See a doctor, get some counseling, read a book and/or look into some lubricant. Sexual issues are not reason enough to leave a spouse. Fix the problem and move on. Know that these things wax and wane, but are fixable problems (you did notice my enormous restraint in not saying "come and go," right?).

3) We're not "in love" anymore. Seriously? Are people serious when they say this?! As a very, very wise woman said recently, love is a choice. Love is not something magical that hits you like a bolt of lightening if you're lucky. Love is an action verb. You can choose to make dinner. You can choose to pull yourself out of a slump for the sake of your children. You can choose to love the one you made your vows to. No one just gets lucky and marries someone perfect. You have to wake up every day and decide that (contrary to lots and lots and lots of evidence) the one you're married to is perfect. Choose it.

4) It will be better for the children if we separate. Unless there is some sort of abuse going on, this is a lie that someone tells themself to justify a selfish decision. No it won't. Making the choice that your children will grow up in a house lacking a unified parental team is serious business. It changes them. It irreparably alters their future and the future of their children. They can still grow up to be loving, useful adults and parents who are a blessing to those around them. But, they'll have to work so much harder to get the pieces back that they could have had in childhood.

As I said, there are several really good reasons to divorce. There are even times when it would be irresponsible and perhaps criminal not to leave. I'm not talking about any of these situations. I'm talking about run-of-the-mill divorce because someone can't keep the promises they made or just don't feel like it anymore or can't take the trouble to work hard for something that is worth it.

Divorce sucks and in the interest of full disclosure let me add that The Scientist is a re-tread. So is my father. I know why these men are no longer in their first marriages but it's past the point of mattering now. I am obviously glad both of them moved on to second wives. One divorce led to my existence. The other divorce led to the existence of my marriage and the birth of my children. So, I'm not completely against divorce when it is truly unavoidable. It just makes me sad when it can be avoided and isn't. And my heart hurts for those friends of ours who are divorcing because of decisions others have made and which they have no control over.

I'm sure I'm not paraphrasing this perfectly, but Billy Graham's wife was once asked if she and Billy had ever fallen out of love with each other. "Oh, yes!" she replied. "Just not at the same time."

Hang in there, folks. It's worth it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

As Promised

Awhile back I resolved to learn to cook a wide variety of foods that were good for me and my family. Here is one I've come up with. Homemade apple sauce and feta roasted tomatoes to follow (gotta perfect the ingredient measurements).

Pumpkin seeds are high in protein (and fat, but since it's a seed, it's got to be the "good fat," right?). They are also high in zink, potassium and fiber. I'm calling them a health food!

No tally on the sodium content of these, but I'll tell you right now... it's high. So, cut the salt if you're sensitive to salt (Mom). The Scientist says he's going to go find some more pumpkins today and dig the seeds out of them so I'll make him some more of these!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 1/2 cups rinsed and clean pumpkin seeds
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (reduce if you're not "spicy people")
1 t. black pepper
2 T. maple syrup (the real stuff)
1/2 t. paprika

Preheat oven to 400. Toss pumpkin seeds with remaining ingredients. Roast 15-20 min. or until seeds are beginning to brown.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No Title Needed

It's confirmed. There have been rumors for weeks, no, years, actually. We have all been hoping. Praying, to be more accurate. We have speculted, gossiped and spread rumors about it. This morning, the paper published it in black and white and it is better than any of us could have imagined.

We are getting a Target.

I'll let that sink in for a moment...

If you live near one (or three), you are still trying to understand how someone lives in a place without one. If you are like me and you live in one of the three remaining places in the free world without one, you're trying to figure out right now how you can get here before opening day (Fall 2009, if you're interested).

In addition and in the same location we are also getting a Michael's, a Kohl's and a Marshall's. There are other stores being added that have The Scientist all wound up but that I don't give a hoot about. Best Buy among them. Who cares, as long as a Target is front and center?

No, it is not going to be a Supertarget. This is actually a blessing because if it was, it would be overwhelming for us all and we probably would have needed pharmaceutical help to handle the excitement. Baby steps, please...

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The Bee Hive tagged me awhile back and I'm just now tagging it forward.

Seven Strange Facts About Me

1) I love marshmallow peeps. I know this is not normal.

2) I gave birth to my two older children sans epidural. The first was 9lbs. 6oz., the next was 10lbs. 6oz. Yes, it was by choice. Yes, I tried something a little different the third time around.
No comments on this one, please. I am still dealing with the PTSD. Kidding. Kind of...

3) I was accepted into the Peace Corp after college and even assigned to a continent. It is a long process.

4) I cringe when I hear people say that "so and so is someone THAT" instead of "so and so is someone WHO." Major pet peeve.

5) I have no depth perception.

6) I used to own a ball python. His name was Jake the Snake. Beat that on the weird scale...

7) I have tried for years to sew and I can't. Bottom line.

I'm tagging:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's a Good Thing He's Cute

Two Fish needs to watch his step. He's treading on thin ice this week.

Yesterday he informed me that he has decided NOT to be the lion or the tin man for Halloween. This is a problem since One Fish has The Most Darling Dorothy costume and will tote a Toto stuffed animal and a decorative scarecrow in the wagon. Red Fish and Two Fish are supposed to complete the ensemble cast by being the tin man and the lion. I agreed to be the wicked witch only if they are good between now and then. This is big since I do not dress up. Ever. The last time I dressed up for Halloween it was as a pregnant girlscout (obviously pre-Scientist and definitely pre-baby). It was to go to a rockin' bar party in Five Points. Nothing since then, though.

But, now he says that he has decided against this plan. Instead he's going to be either one of the flying monkeys from the movie or... Gene Simmons.

Then, today, I pick him up from preschool, in my not-pulled-together-mommy-costume with several ingredients on my shirt from morning cooking projects necessary for this week to end well and he says...

"Hey! Mommy, I thought you said you were going to change out of your jammies before you picked me up!"

He needs to watch it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stop the Madness

The madness is going to stop. I am going to learn to feed my chilren's mother well balanced and nutritious meals and not just feed her the scraps off their plates if it kills me (and it probably won't). If whole grains are important for them to eat, then surely they are important for me to eat too. I will stop looking at the price tags of the best, most nutritious, least processed foods and weighing in my head whether or not it is "worth it." It is.

I will stop considering diet soda one of the major food groups.

I will start to think of my daily vitamin as essential to our family's well-being.

I will stop getting on the scale and raising my eyebrows. I might just throw the scale away. Who cares what I weigh as long as I feel good?

I will foster my love of cooking. I will drink red wine while I'm going it.

I will buy exotic, fresh ingredients at the grocery and learn to use them. Doesn't it seem appropriate to get all Euro and just say "at the market" or "at the grocery" when talking about exotic, fresh ingredients instead of "I'll buy exotic fresh ingredients at Walmart?" Walmart and exotic don't seem to go together. At all.

I will cook vegetables I love and will learn to cook them well. I will discover new ones I didn't even know I liked. Or that existed, for that matter. I will eat lots of them. I will encourage my family to do the same.

This fish tank is getting an upgrade...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

He Says, She Says

He says:

"I had Columbus day off. She came in about 8AM, arms flapping, going on about something that didn't seem to have an immediate point. 'Just give me the short version', I said. 'Do you want to me take Two Fish to school or what'? Turns out, that's all she needed me to do. I got going (much earlier than I had planned) and took him to school, glad I could help her out this morning."

She says:

"Wild morning on Columbus day. As usual, the fishy's schedules conflicted and I had to get warm pigs in a blanket up to One Fish's school at exactly the same time I needed to be dropping off Two Fish at preschool. Just being a little late to either wasn't a viable option in this instance.

I could have brought the pigs in a blanket early to the school, but I was notsomuch being the planner this particular morning and realized too late in the game that I was not going to be able to pull it off.

Luckily He was off on Columbus Day. I wake him and explain my scheduling issue. Perhaps I gave too many details. But, if I was going to be yanked out of bed on my morning off, I'd want to know exactly what the deal was, wouldn't you? 'Just give me the short version,' he grouches, 'Are you saying you need me to take Two Fish to school?'

Yes, Einstein. That would be helpful.

So, he gets his rear in gear, motivates Two Fish to do the same, and 10 minutes later, they are out the door.

Mere moments after they leave, I, too, am out the door. Red Fish on one hip, basket of pigs-in-a-blanket with seasonal linen handtowel tucked around them in the other hand. Dangling from one finger is a bag with the "trinkets" I was to bring for One Fish to pass out to the other "super readers" in her class. Another finger held the lunchbox she forgot.

I schlep myself out the door with just enough time to get the appropriate items to the appropriate classes at the appropriate time. Upon my arrival in the driveway, I find...

No Van In The Driveway.

He has taken the $%^# van. He HAS TAKEN THE #$%^ VAN!! With my keys. With my cell phone. With my pocketbook and wallet.

I call him on his cell-phone. It rings on the kitchen counter. I call him on my cell phone. He answers.

'You are killing me here!'

'Whaaaahhhh...??? Whadidoo? You said take him to school. I'm taking him to school, right?'

Fast forward 5 minutes...
Red Fish is cozy in his big red wagon. I am pulling said wagon up to the school (in the interest of full disclosure, I must note that it isn't really very far).

We both have a pig in a blanket in each hand.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

(Almost) wordless Wednesday

One Fish's actual birthday and birthday cake.

Yes, I made it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I bet it was one of those TEENAGERS

So, I'm on my way to snag Two Fish from school today. It's pick-up time in town and the soccer mommies are out in force. I pull up next to one about to turn down the road with one of our three elementary schools on it. She's in character. Low-maintenance Mommy-do, big sunglasses, cell phone to ear and carseat in the backseat of the wagon. A somewhat dirty wagon. Not terrible, but obviously a wagon that spends its free time in a driveway surrounded by very fertile trees. You know that's what pollen is, right? Tree sex parts? Judging from the back windshield of our soccer mommy's car, the trees near her house were very, very sexy. And she's just oblivious to it all, scooting over to get the kiddos from school in the tree-sex mobile. How do I know she was oblivious, you ask?

Well, because into all that pollen on the back windshield, someone had written in big letters with their finger:

" I wish my girlfriend was this dirty."

Bless her heart...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And the winner is...

My brother-in-law, for coming up with the most amusing commentary on our nation's current financial crisis.

"I've never been so happy to have all our assets tied up in handbags and shoes."

Hee hee hee. My sister has good taste (in more ways than one).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Darned Expensive Kids

Two Fish has pulled a fast one. He has gone from size 4/5T, last year at this time, directly to a 6. This poses a problem since all the clothes I bought "ahead" aren't so much working. Darn! And it's still hot out, so I can't just go buy fall things. He still needs some shorts to get us through to the next season of the year, which is Christmas. Our seasons are: summer, Christmas, Mardi Gras and summer again. Darn, again!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Olivia Continues to Demonstrate Her Rockin'-ness

So, y'all know that the investigator in Two Fish's case isn't really named Olivia, right? I just call her that because her real title and last name are far too long to write out each time, and in my mind she's just like Olivia on Law and Order Special Victims Unit. All-business and ready to kick some bad guy arse. And young and trendy to boot.

Two Fish had his interview yesterday. He did great! After some last minute nerves, he warmed up to the interviewer and went in and talked his head off. "His interview was consistent with the report" which is what they were looking for. The very short version of the tons of new info I got yesterday is:

1) They have him for 5-10 years PER COUNT of voyeurism. They think they can get him on multiple counts. He'll take a plea bargain, most likely. Olivia's boss says that if he is offered 10 years, he should take it and feel quite lucky.

2) After the investigative part of the case is over, they'll determine if they can get him on child pornography too. If they think they can, they'll hand that over to the feds. And that will probably go to trial. Both investigators I talked to said that they think they've got him on child porn. Because he didn't just look. He took pictures too. The plus there is that then he'd get serious, hard core time. The minus is that it would go to trial (probably) and we may have to testify. Two Fish's name would definitely come out and his taped interview would probably be used. They wouldn't let me watch the interview yesterday in case they needed to call me as a witness in a federal trial.

3) They really don't think he downloaded or sent any pictures from his phone. They were strickly for his purposes (I know, try not to gag...). Two Fish can't really be identified in the picts, if you didn't know what you were looking for or what time the picts were taken. Mr. Big Man (Olivia's boss- we'll call him Mr. Big) says that in his experience, the guy has a classic pedophile personality. Meek, timid around adults. Not the sharpest tool in the shed from what I'm gathering. He preys on children because he is powerless in the adult world. Ewwww. I've got the shivers.

That's it in a nutshell.

Being the Soccer Mom

Finally, the season is here! I love soccer season. The chill in the air (although I'm going to have to imagine it today). The tired kids at the end of the day. The sportsmanship. The triumphs. The comraderie. The Nalgene water bottles filled with screwdrivers for the mommies. Kidding. Kind of.

I'm definitely bringing a chair this morning. It is the season opening and some genius decided that the best idea ever would be to have every single child enrolled in YMCA soccer on the field at the same time for a group practice. So, I'll be the one kicked back in the corner watching the maddness unfold in front of me, with an expression of quiet bemusement on my face.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

May I Suggest?

I almost used this time/space to post the yummilicious recipe for bruschetta chicken that we enjoyed tonight and that the unsuspecting families of supper swap will enjoy in the next month. But, I am leaning toward suggesting something a little more inspiring than chicken. No matter how inspiring it's bubbly goodness was. It was still chicken, after all.

I love traditions. Especially quirky holiday traditions. And nothing makes me happier than to realize that I'm on to something so good that it might warrant a Tradition. The two older fishies and I just finished reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (where the heck is the underline button?)

I read the book years ago and thought it was hilarious. We saw the play last year in our community theater and this year One Fish has decided she wants to audition for the angel choir. So, we decided to read the book again before the audition date.

Wow, wow, wow. The children were riveted by it. Two Fish begged for more chapters each night. This is a book that begs to be read aloud and reads easily. As with many books originally intended for children, it is best read with lots of expression and voice changes for the characters.

I actually got choked up reading the last few pages of the book. Here is one excerp:
" When Imogene asked me what the pageant was about, I told her it was about Jesus, but that was just part of it. It was about a new baby, and his mother and father who were in a lot of trouble- no money, no place to go, no doctor, nobody they knew. And then, arriving from the East (like my uncle from New Jersey) some rich friends.
"But Imogene, I guess, didn't see it that way. Christmas just came over her all at once, like a case of chills and fever. And so she was crying, and walking into the furniture."

The children and I have decided that we will read it every Christmas season. Sort of like the family tradition I grew up with of reading the Christmas Carol (the Charles Dickens one) aloud every holiday season. This tradition has pretty much had a failure to launch in this household because of The Scientist's insistence that there are few things he won't do for me, but that at the top of the short list is: "Sit around like a dork reading Charles Dickens aloud to one another." Marriage is full of compromise and if this is the biggest concession I ever have to make, then I will have gotten off easy indeed.

But, I think that Barbara Robinson (author) is a little differen from Dickens. I'm already looking forward to starting the first of the seven chapters a week before Christmas and to sobbing through the last page or two on Christmas eve.

Quick Pervert Update

Two Fish hasn't had his "interview" yet. It's later this week. In the meantime, Olivia says that they have a warrant to search his computers. Plural? What young cashier has more than one computer? Freak. It will take awhile to do this, but they already have the computers in their posession. He couldn't do anything about it even if they hadn't seized them because he's still in the clink. The slammer. The caboose. His bond was set at a half million dollars. He's not going anywhere.

Apparently the good ol' boys around here don't cotton to perverts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Being a Girl

Thanks for all the input on the guinea pig issue! Looks like a majority of you thought that I had either lost my mind for even considering getting One Fish a guinea pig, or think that they are fine but stink to high heaven. I sort of think I lost my mind momentarily too and am not into letting anything (else) that stinks into my house.

So, no pets for One Fish this birthday.

She had a terrible morning yesterday. She hit Two Fish (somewhat justified, I'm sure) but still...I have to have some standards around here. She moped around feeling sorry for herself and bemoaning the fact that "no one" loved her as she thought was evidenced by the fact that she faced some consequences for her heinous crime. She's such a giiiiiiirrrrrrl. But, then it was time for church and after a few outfits that were inappropriate (jeans and a long sleeve turtleneck?!), she emerged wearing a new outfit that was actually purchased for next spring season. I said not a word (somewhat to her surprise, I think).

I am a girl, after all, and I know very well how much difference it can make in one's day to wear a brand new sassy outfit. And sassy she was. Mood and attitude improved very quickly and soon she was hugging her brother again and singing my praises for being such a rockin' Sunday School teacher. And doing that girly walk with purse swinging that is only possible when you know that you look good and your shoes, bag, and hair accessories match. You know the one I'm talking about.

So, I think the year has arrived that I can get One Fish clothes for her birthday and actually have her excited about it. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that some cutie outfits with accessories to match may be just the ticket to happiness for our oldest fishy.

And sooooooo much easier to care for than a guinea pig, I'm thinking...

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm not your friend. I'm your mother.

That's usually the kind of mommy I am. Pleeeeeease don't ask me to play pretend. Or dress-up. Or color. I'll hook you up with the activities all day long, but I really do want to go about my day and get things done. Not play Barbies or army men. I rationalize this poor attitude by telling myself that the original mommies- the ones who hunted and gathered and later tended farms and stuff did not play Barbies or army men either. Nor did they play dress-up because they were too busy stitching together real clothes and doing other things like making sure everyone was still living at the end of the day. And civilization grew up just fine, didn't it? Even with generation after generation of mommies who didn't fingerpaint.

But, I needed to get outside today, so we went on an adventure. I love adventures!! I won't play pretend, but I can get all behind an adventure. We went to find a "famous" tree in our area (exciting already, no?). It did take some looking, but finally we (and the little girl next door) were successful. And how cool is this tree?

Of course the late hour provided us with beautiful light in the little clearing in the woods where the tree is located. I was actually a little disappointed that it didn't have more branches that they could climb up and use to scale the tree, but they were completely into climbing along the big extended branches. They stretched all the way to the ground! It was great! The light was great for photos too!

The pumpkin one is thrown in there just because. And to point out that the hair is cool, but with it comes the skin that even breaks out when the poor child eats an APPLE, for heaven's sake. Check out the lower lip and chin. Ewww...
PS-What the heck is up with the picture arrangement on this page? I can't figure out how to arrange it so that you get anything other than a spontaneous case of ADD looking at it. And the cutie, cute B&W picture of One and Red that is all caddywhompus (heck yes, that's a word!)? That one really ticks me off because it's my favorite and I can't get it turned around! Arrgghh!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Presbyterian

I just got back from a Sunday School meeting which was held in my Sunday School room, coincidentally enough. In the Presbyterian Center. On the church grounds. With wine and cheese. Two bottles. Which we drank out of big, red, cheap plastic cups while we ate cheese, grapes, strawberries and white bread with lots of unhealthy sugars in it and no fiber at all. While we talked about which mission projects and family activities to do this semester.

Life is good.

E-mail me if you need directions to the next one.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Olivia" Is My Dream Girl

** If you are a new reader, please read posts titled " Life would be much more delightful without perverts," "Insert Song from CHIPS here," and "Go, Olivia, Go." Then this one will make much more sense.

Olivia came through for us. She called tonight. Here's what she had for me:

1) AN ARREST HAS BEEN MADE!!! Praise God! I had given up hope and had found some peace with it. They needed a confession or another witness in order to seize his phone. I thought neither was likely.

2) The Pervert had "priors." In other words, he was "in the system."

3) The other potential witness was not able to "contribute to the case." I love the language.

4) It didn't really matter if they had another witness or not. The Pervert confessed. He confessed!

5) When Olivia told me that he confessed I actually laughed out loud and said, "What a MORON!" I immediately qualified my outburst by saying that I was soooo glad that he was a moron, but that I really couldn't believe it. She said, "Well, and I am trained to do this. I do this for a living..." Oh, yeah. Well, that too...

6) There are multiple "other victims who cannot be identified."

7) It is not known whether any pictures were downloaded anywhere from his cell phone. The techies picking his phone apart as we speak are trying to figure it out.

8) They need Two Fish (hereafter referred to as The Hero) on tape. If the charges stick (and our girl Liv is determined that they will), he could get 5 years for voyeurism. They need Two Fish in order to make them stick. I told her to just tell us when and where. We have an appointment. Two Fish will be delighted to finally get to tell his side of the story to someone important.

We will discuss my current and sudden anger and rage at The Pervert in a later post. Or not. At least it looks as though we are going to get some closure on this.


Who wouldn't love this little face? Two Fish announced this morning that it was "cold." In truth, it was actually about 75 degrees, but since our average temperature is about a bajillion degrees, I guess 75 does feel chilly to him. He demanded "winter" clothes. So, we pulled out the long shorts. He picked out his own clothes and decided he looked so good that his picture needed to be taken. I am never one to argue with a child who WANTS to be photographed! I am a sucker for a brown haired, brown eyed little boy with some freckles! Actually, I'm a sucker for the red headed ones too, as it turns out! Oh, I do love my little boyfriends...
Thanks to everyone who weighed in with suggestions for me on outfitting the fishies for the holidays. Judging from the captive audience style selection session I had with the fishies in front of the computer, the winner is Chez Ami. Kudos to the anonymous poster who came up with that one.
Just to add to Two Fish's adorableness (heck yes, that is a word!), he was picked up after school for a playdate and I will not see his handsome little face until 3:30. Then on to Kung Fu, then home for dinner and then to bed. Tired. Exhausted, is actually my guess. I firmly believe that an easy 7 PM bedtime is the mark of a good day. I know you agree.

Monday, September 15, 2008


That's what I am with finding Christmas outfits for the fishies. I am all about the "matchy-matchy" as they call it. Two Fish must have just a shirt to match his siblings. No matchy-matchy pants for him because they are usually patterned and elastic waisted. He says they look like a bathrobe. Go figure. It's just not worth the argument. One Fish is probably a little easier, but she will be 8 by then and is completely over smocking (can't say as I blame her, considering how much of it she's put up with over the years). I'd love to go a little casual so that they can (will) wear them other than just a few times to church and performances. For instance, how cute is this? But, there's no little boys option, let alone a baby boy option. I could even deal with this for the holidays. How cute and preppy! But, the options for the older kids aren't wonderful. The jumper is a little young for One Fish and I'd like to see anyone try to get Two Fish into those pants or, God forbid, the vest.

I need inspiration!

PS: I.Do.Not.Sew.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good, good stuff

Red Fish is having some sleep issues. My guess is that they are somehow related to the fact that he is about to walk (we think?). For some reason, being about to reach a big ol' milestone like that messed up schedules and eating and all sorts of other stuff for the other two fishies. Brain capacity met, or something like that. Once they up and did the deed, everything sort of cleared up. Or so I'm hoping for Red Fish.

In the meantime, he is waking up at 5:15 every morning. I don't protest too terribly much because it was an uncomfortably short time ago that he was waking at 12, 2:30 AND 5:15. So, rock on with the solo 5:15 wake-up call, little man. But, the result of this is that he is ready for a nap at 7:30 AM (weird, right?) and another right after lunch. So, by 6:00 PM, he is really nothing but baggage. Heavy, inconsolable, baggage.

I just got him into the crib. He still nurses at night before bed. He was still a little warm from his warm bath and his longsleeved cotton onesie that had little sheep on it smelled like lavender. His hair was just starting to dry and was all curly and mussed on top and smelled like clean baby. He was so tired that he was heavy and limp and molded into my arms as soon as I started to rock him. In the dark, I could see his little eyelids fluttering. His little hand feels my arm while he nurses, but moves slower and slower as the minutes tick by. Every now and then his foot comes up toward my face and his rubbing hand touches it. Periodically, he leans his head back and stretches out completely and sighs and then melts right back into my arms again and resumes nursing. Sighs! How darling! When I know he is almost asleep, I stand up and moved him to the crib. He didn't even move after I put him down. Except for his little hand that still rubbed the sheet a little just as it had rubbed my arm.

That, ladies, is good, good, good stuff. Take you through a few more days, kind of stuff. Change the ickiest of the diapers that The Scientist gags at, kind of stuff. Totally worth it. Every bit worth it.

Please, Lord, help me to remember evenings like this when he has hair on his face and his feet and armpits stink to high heaven.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Please Help

One Fish wants a guinea pig for her birthday.

She's not begging. She's not pleading. Mostly because she knows it won't work and the chances of me allowing another animal with legs (read- another creature who can poop or pee in my house) into this house are slim to none. But, that really just makes me want to get her one all the more. She has been saying for years that she really wants a pet she can "pick up." Is this the time?

Or, is this just a knee jerk reaction because we're now missing Rosie's four little legs around here? Or, is 8 years old enough to take responsibility for cleaning and feeding a very small creature? Do they smell? Do I know anyone who would know? Am I crazy?

The Scientist will let just about anything that breathes and isn't human in this house. Sucker. And he doesn't know why I'm even asking his opinion on this (or yours, for that matter). He says I'll just end up doing what the heck I want anyway.

The problem is that I really don't think I know what I want in this instance. Vote in the poll and help me out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Menu" Night

I just told the two older fishies that I had a "menu" for tonight's meal. Column A is main dishes, Column B is veggies (choose two), Column C starches and Column D desserts. Basically, it is "eat up what is in the fridge, freezer and cupboard night" in the old fishtank, but what do they care?

The rub is that whoever does the best job getting their stuff picked up in the next hour gets to choose the meal for the family. They start with 100 points and at the end of the hour one point is deleted for each thing I find that is out of place or not picked up. Bonus points for anything considered above and beyond. Points deleted for any whining or crying.

I have just realized that the peace reigning in my house at the moment will be completely overshadowed by the screaming tantrum Two Fish will surely pitch if he works this hard for one hour, only to discover that his sister beat him. I may have to ammend the rules. Whoever wins gets to pick the three items of their choice and second place gets to pick the other two?

I've got to make sure that this works out for me because my house is H-E-A-V-E-N right now. Anyone getting Family Fun realizes that I have totally modified this from idea in the current magazine, but aren't the most sane mommies just the best idea theives?

Edited to add: I did indeed amend the rules. Predictably, Two Fish came in second, but he did work his little distractable, five year old tail off. So, I let him pick ONE menu item of his choice and let him pick it before his sister chose hers. This seemed to appease him, while still allowing her to bask in her glory. When I announced that "if they were good" tomorrow, we could do this again for tomorrow's meal, except do it for the playroom, Two Fish was ecstatic and said to his sister "Bring it ON!" Whatever works...

The B is BACK

I'm 100%, baby. I knew all I needed was an extreme amount of ginger ale and a good night sleep and I'd be back. My family doesn't quite know what to do and the dog is cowering outside. I think he can see the gleam in my eye that only ever leads to a bath for him. Both older fishies made a few noises this morning first thing about staying home again. The speed with which my feet hit the floor and the coffee was being brewed must have convinced them that it would all be to no avail. After seeing my initial flurry of activity in the kitchen (you should have seen what it looked like after over 24 hours of no mommy), they dressed and brushed without complaint.

My kitchen is sparkling and I am working on a tremendous activity for today. Not sure what it is yet, but I've got to come up with something good. It would be a crying shame to waste this kind of energy on laundry. I'm sure I'll sneak in a call to Olivia at some point.

Many thanks for the well-wishes. Watch out world- the B is back!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

No News

I always say that if someone is going to be sick in our house, it better not be me. When it rains it pours. I started puking (thanks for the gift from preschool, Two Fish!) at midnight and One Fish joined me around 3AM.

The Scientist has taken the day off given that I have no fluids left in my body. He evidently doubts how well I'll be able to mother when I seem to be having a challenge sitting upright.

I have no news about The Pervert. If Olivia calls, you'll be the first to know.

Ohhh. How sad that this is my 100th post! Ick!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Go, Olivia, Go!

I just talked to "Olivia" (not her real name, but read the previous posts and you'll know who I mean). Here's what we know today:

1) She has agreed to take my calls whenever I call, even upon my disclosure that I may be calling twice a day. I gave her permission to only take my calls once/day if she has other important stuff to do (like catch bad guys). She can put me on a MWF schedule if need be. I won't be offended.

2) There was another employee in the bathroom at the time of the incident.

3) On the surface this seems creepy, but it could be a blessing. Based upon when the other person entered the restroom, it does not appear that he was in on anything. He could also be a witness.

4) We need prayers that he is a witness since "Olivia" needs either a witness or a confession in order to prove anything.

5) She knows exactly where to find "the bad guy" and the potential witness. They will be contacted today. I assume the potential witness will be contacted first.

6) This thing will be very hard to prove since it took place in a private restroom and the only report is from a five year old (she didn't say the five year old part, but I infered).

7) Without some other evidence (like another witness) they don't have enough right now to get the cell phone or any other hardware that may be involved.

8) She is actually happy with how well pieces are falling into place and hopes to call me to report an arrest today. She is evidently more optimistic than I am.

9) I think the guy has been fired and other stores have already been notified. Duh.

10) If he isn't arrested, I will be disclosing a first name and detailed description to anyone I know!

So, pray that this potential witness is actually that. As "Olivia" said, "I would hope that if I were in a restroom and saw someone climbing over a stall, I would notice." But, if he did notice, why didn't he say anything? I am hoping for a miracle, but not expecting one.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Insert song from CHIPS here

The report has been filed. The police were here for an hour and a half. One guy showed up and spent the first five minutes questioning me and why I didn't call this in yesterday (Hello?!? Have you ever tried to get a complete story from a five year old?). Finally, I got him to listen to me long enough to get my whole story out. Snap, the notebook closes. Swish, the magic folder opens. Slap, the official police report form lands on my dining room table. We had made a breakthrough.

An hour later, his sergeant has been called. We have a case number. A detective arrived at my house. She could have been from central casting for Law and Order. Tall, gorgeous, tight but tasteful clothing, sweet as pie and on her way to view security video at The Store a short 30 minutes after entering our home. When the police officer let her in, I heard him say to her, "Very nice family. Easy to work with." Ahhhh. It was good to hear that I was no longer the suspicious wacky mom.

There is no doubt in their minds that criminal activity took place. If nothing else, there is a voyeur on the loose! Who but a "weirdy" (as Two Fish would say) would peek over bathroom stalls at little kids? And with a cell phone in hand? I smell a pervert (and more importantly, so do the police.)

This saga is going to take me right over the top of the 100 post goal, I can tell.

PS- for anyone concerned with my lack of mention of Two Fish's mental health, I will simply say that the most upset he's been through this whole thing is when he realized that he wasn't going to get to tell the police his side of the story. Apparently, the only law enforcement who questions kids are investigators trained to talk to children. So they don't inadvertently put any ideas in their heads or anything.

Life would be much more delightful without perverts

So, this post should generate some comments.

Yesterday at a large chain store I don't want to name but that sells just about anything under the sun and which is the only place in town to get...well, anything, I was confronted with a struggle I am often confronted with. Do you let the five year old little boy go into the boy's restroom by himself, or do you make him go into the ladies with you? Yesterday, I succumbed to exhaustion and hubris and compromised. I let him go in, but lurked just outside the door. I did see one guy go in, but he was an employee. I thought nothing of it. Soon, Two Fish came out.

The story he relayed to me will be enough to ensure that you never let your fishies visit the male restroom alone until they are either old enough to drink legally or have a black belt in something dangerous-sounding. Whatever comes first.

Two Fish went into a stall to do his business. There are urinals in there, but I think he's more comfortable in a stall because it offers some privacy and looks much more like his comforts of home. He tells me that he was "going" and looked up to find a man hanging over the TOP of the stall, with his arm and cell-phone dangling down and pointed at his crotch! Two Fish has never made up anything kooky like this before. He also delivered this story immediately upon coming out of the restroom while he huddled against me and cast his eyes around as if to see if he could see the weirdo. He also tells me that he "knows" the man took a picture. Now really, there is no way he could know this for sure. I asked him if he saw a picture of himself on the phone or if he heard a click or saw a flash. He couldn't say for sure. But, he does take camera-phone pictures with The Scientists phone, so he might actually be better suited than, say, my grandmother, to determine if a picture was taken. But, he is five...

As he is telling me this story, the employee I saw go in appeared at the water fountain beside us. He cut into our conversation and began asking questions of Two Fish. Does he take martial arts (he was in his kung fu outfit) and a few other questions and comments I couldn't identify because, quite frankly, he was acting very strange and was hard to understand. When he walked away, I asked Two Fish if he was the man. He answered an emphatic, "No."

We went over to check out and 5 minutes later, as we were paying, a manager came through and asked our cashier where "[insert weird waterfountain man's name here]" was. Our cashier looked puzzled and said that he left to go to the restroom, but he hadn't seen him since and that maybe he decided to go on break instead. It registered dimly with me then that this was the same man who talked to us at the waterfountain and who I'd blown off because I thought he was weird and because he was interupting a very important conversation between my son and me. I had seen his nametag with that name, I was sure of it.

That night (last night) after dinner, One and Two Fish were talking amongst themselves. I was eavesdropping (sort of. I was washing dishes and could hear them). A minute later, One Fish summons me and announces that Two Fish has something he needs to tell me. He admits that weird waterfountain man was the one who looked at him in the stall and then ducked back down when he saw him glance up, but that he hadn't wanted to tell me because he was afraid I would go over right then to talk to the man (oh, how he does know his mama well...).

All the pieces start to fall into place. Two Fish has never waivered in his insistence that the man took a picture of him. He has demonstrated to me with props how the man leaned over the stall, where his hands were, how he was holding the phone, etc. He even said that it is fine with him if he doesn't go into the men's bathroom anymore by himself. Poor little guy even asked for some Purell after we got home because he said he hadn't even washed his hands when he was finished. He said he just looked to see if the bad man had a gun and then ran out. A gun?! But then I realized that in his little five year old mind, taking a picture of someone in the bathroom was so wrong that this might just be the kind of person who would also have a gun!

The Scientist has called the police. I'll let you know what happens.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Five to Go...

I have five posts to go before I hit 100! It really doesn't seem like I've had that much to say (and many may argue that I haven't).

My mom is gone. Which means that I actually have to parent and keep house again. Damn.

We took her to the airport this morning at 4:45. Absurd, I know. I have evidently been living right because so far none of the fishies has fallen to the ground in a feet kicking tantrum, managed to take a nap or stabbed a sibling in the eye. All possibilities after going to bed at 10 and waking up at 4:45. The nap thing sounds counterintuitive, but in another strange twist of child-rearing logic, if a child of mine takes a one hour nap to make up for missing 4 hours of sleep the night before, said child will not be able to fall asleep that night until 3 hours past their regular bedtime. It's got to be the new math- I know it's confusing.

Since I haven't had to referee too many arguments today, I have kicked some serious tail in the kitchen. Why do I not have a meat-eating husband to take advantage of my kitchen genius? We're having: Yummy Crockpot Chicken (recipe to follow- no idea what it's called but you need to do it PRONTO. Trust me...), fried okra (no, of course I didn't get it from a bag. Or Walmart), collard greens (yes, of course I know the fishes won't be touching them. But I will), lima beans (because they will touch those), watermelon, pumpkin pie (where else but here can you eat watermelon and pumpkin pie in the same meal? It seems sort of wrong, doesn't it?).

Here's the recipe for the chicken yumminess. You're just going to have to trust me here because it's going to sound too odd for words:

Into a crockpot, dump a can of jellied cranberry sauce (you know, the nasty kind that slides out of the can and still holds its shape?) into a crockpot. Sprinkle a packet of dry onion soup mix over that. Add poultry of your choice. I use chicken breasts or a turkey breast. Add some big ol' chunks of carrot if your family is into that sort of thing. We have a few who are and a few who aren't. Turn that puppy on and let her go. Stir it every now and then just to get the juices over the chicken. You'll think it looks too soupy. It isn't.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Since my mom is here, I've been very busy not cleaning, not caring for my own children, not making snacks for the children and not doing anything very productive in general. Except cooking for my children lest we starve. Mom eats like a freak. Mom, you know it's true. Wheat germ mixed with soymilk does not a lunch make. But, maybe that's just me.

I'm struggling with blog fodder. But, I am a sucker for these e-mail forwards:

1. What time did you get up this morning? Red Fish got up at 5:45. Jerk.

2. Diamonds or pearls? Seriously, let me be in a position at some point in my life to be THAT picky...

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Does an IMAX at the children's museum count?

4. What is your favorite TV show? Numbers

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Leftovers

6. What food do you dislike? Strange and unidentifiable meat items

7. Favorite sandwich? Name it. I could live on them...

8. Favorite item of clothing? Flip flops. Almost any and almost all.

9. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Greece, for no apparent reason. It just sounds good. And, I identify with that bookish girl on Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Because I'm a dork like that.

10. Where would you retire to? A little slice of heaven called Clemson...

11. What was your most recent memorable birthday? My 30th rocked. Unfortunately, it was 5 birthdays ago...

12. Favorite sport to watch? Clemson football

13. Are you a morning person or a night person? Morning!

14. What is your shoe size? "In any good shoe I wear a 7, but an 8 feels so good, I usually buy a 9"

15. Pets? Sob...sob...gasp...sob...

16. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? The Scientist did indeed get the raise. Thanks for the good mojo on that, ladies!

17. What is your favorite candy? dark chocolate anything. The good stuff too...

18. What is your favorite flower? Whatever gets brought to my door in the vase or box

19. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? The day The Scientist returns

20. What are you listening to right now? Disney Channel Games. Unfortunately.

21. What was the last thing you ate? Get a load of this: A black bean, cheese, artichoke heart quesadilla on a ww tortilla.

22. Do you wish on stars? Uhhh... why wouldn't you?

23. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Navy blue for no other reason than that it is a great color

24. How is the weather right now? too hot for September, I'll tell you that

25. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? My sister

26. Favorite soft drink? Iced coffee or Diet Orange Soda.

27. Real hair color? Yes, always and forever.

28. What was your favorite toy as a child? I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world...

29. When was the last time you cried? Last night because I'm a big ol' sap

30. What is under your bed? A collapsed air mattress and my old violin

31. What did you do last night? Went to a Sunday School teachers meeting

32. What are you afraid of? Cockroaches and something happening to my children

33. Salty or sweet? salty

34. Favorite day of the week? Mondays

35. How many towns have you lived in? 7

36. Do you make friends easily? Yes

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Am I Strong Enough?

Today begs only one question:

Am I strong enough to resist the temptation to watch the new 90210 on the CW tonight?

Probably not.

Certainly not.

Oh, the heck with it. Bust out the popcorn and the grunge wear. Kelly and Brenda are back.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

After a partial night of sleep sponsored in part by the makers of Lortab (at least for me, everyone else was either too young or two stoic to partake in Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals), we are grieving but beginning to recover and heal.

The children are doing surprisingly well considering that they have lost a member of our household they do not know life without. One Fish grieved immediately and seemed to know for sure that she was gone even before The Scientist and I did. Two Fish had to take it all in and had to see and witness every step of the process. It took him a time of quiet observation of our grieving before he cried. Then he cried a lot and was done. We wrapped her sweet body in a favorite blanket and kissed her goodbye. He then asked: "So how long is it going to take her to get to heaven from here?" Oh, with such sincerity. We told him the truth- that she is already there, scoping out the best swimming holes and walking trails and waiting for the day that she can show us around the new digs.

On a lighter note, Mom comes today. My to-do list reads:

1) Clean kids bathroom
2) Put out fresh towels
3) Supervise childrens room cleaning
4) drink double caffeine to make up for poor night of sleep
5) double check Mom's food request list
6) Change sheets on bed
7) obsessively check hurricane tracker online
8) pick kitchen cabinet to straighten
9) straighten computer desk
10) find an excuse, reason, etc. to get out of the house alone so as to go to downtown Art Walk

So far, we can cross off #s 5, 8, 10. Progress is being made on #s 4 and 7.

Friday, August 29, 2008

RIP Rosie Posie

Oh, how my heart aches to even write the title to this post. My little dog left us today after almost 13 years. She and I met The Scientist together. She gave her stamp of approval before I did. She was my first baby and then she had all three of our babies crawl, pull, tug, push and otherwise violate her space and she never snapped or growled once. At the same time, she would have graduated magna cum laude from disobedience school- if there were such a thing. But, she was sweet, loving to a fault and...mine.

Now she is gone, blessedly in her sleep. Despite her recent heart troubles and breathing troubles, she never seemed to slow down (or cease her quest for table food). She wasn't the one we thought would go first and we are all quite in shock, frankly. We always joked that if there were a nuclear war, she and the cockroaches would rise again from the ashes. She had the body of a cocker spaniel (albeit a "big boned" one) but had the spirit and heart of a scrappy, junkyard dog. We loved her for it.

Rosie, my sweet girl, goodbye. You are loved.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You don't know what you've got until...

This is sort of a random post, but one that is blog-worthy, I think. Someone told me the other day that getting older was hell. They were concerned about their body and the fact that they weren't the hard-body they once were (and never would be again, let's face it). Here's what I think:

There is a picture of me taken on a beach in the Caribbean during the summer of 1997. I was still about 7 months away from meeting The Scientist. Current Boyfriend and I were on a "break" so that I could flit off to the Caribbean for the summer and study marine science (ha). I am seated on the beach in a bikini. It was royal blue and had small yellow and white daisy flowery things on it. From the cute print to the way it came up just high enough but not too high on the belly, it was darling. My toes are cute because my feet were so tan and my toes were freshly painted (Summer. Caribbean.) My girlfriends and I are lined up like birds on a wire with our legs bent at the knees and our chests thrown out. I'm sure that was to show off our boobs that didn't need underwire to stay where they were supposed to be.

I have never been more tan in my life. My legs were as thin as they were ever going to get and were lean from swimming and tons of running and walking on the beach. We were all thinner than usual because the food was awful and we'd been there awhile by the time the photo was taken.

Long story short- this picture captures me-maxed out. It was as good as it was ever going to get. And do you know that I remember exactly what I was thinking the moment the picture was taken?

"Oh, God. Not a picture in a bathing suit. I'm so embarrassed. I'm soooo FAT!"

Oh, sister. If I only knew that three short years later I would be spending the summer hot, miserable and 8 months pregnant. And that the picture, on that beach, that summer, with that body...was the best it was ever going to be.

And I didn't even get it. In fact, I was embarrassed by it. I didn't appreciate what I had one little iota. And, if I didn't appreciate that tanned, lean, perky body when I had it, then I ask you, what was the point? The other thing it makes you wonder is if I'll be 60, looking back at the body I have today and wondering why I didn't appreciate it when I had it. Hard to believe, I know. But, possible all the same.

So to flash forward to the body I have now....
It's not tan and that is by design. It's not perky. At all. It's also not toned. At all. But, my stomach is flatter than I could have hoped for after having three children. Flabby, yes. But I don't look pregnant when I'm not. My thighs have always been a "problem" area. But, if one no longer wears bikini's (or bathing suits for that matter) it's not much of a "problem" is it? The boobs have actually surpassed their previous impressive cup size of D. But now the DD seems to stand for Double Droopy. But, isn't that why God created Victoria's Secret? These seem like fixable problems.

The arms jiggle and the feet are a good bit wider than they started out, but who looks at feet? And since my arms usually hold a baby now, few people look at the arms, just the cutie in them. I don't wear belts because belts tend to look better on people who have a defined waist and not just a quick dip inbetween the hips and the boobs. But, really. With tunic tops in the way they are, this hardly seems like a problem.

Most importantly, that tanned and toned girl on the beach that day had no respect for what her body was capable of. She had no idea what miraculous things her body could do. The body I have traded the old one in for isn't toned and doesn't look as good in clothes (or naked, for that matter), but it grew and nourished three lives. And did it brilliantly, if I do say so myself. It also managed the miracle of birthing all three little bodies. These feats don't come without their fair share of battle scars and stretch marks.

This body version 2.0 is so much more capable than the first version was. This new version knows how to give piggy back rides and I'm sure the large hips are only there so that a baby has somewhere to rest his bottom. And the aching back that will seemingly never recover? Well, that's only from doing more rocking and dancing and holding of babies than any woman should be lucky enough to do. The Scientist doesn't care that this new body doesn't look a thing like the one he married. He loves it anyway. So, why shouldn't I?

So, if I could go back and talk to that tanned and toned girl on the beach that day, I'd tell her to appreciate those toned legs and the arms that don't jiggle. And that the boobs really don't make her look as fat as she thinks they do. But, I'd also tell her that if she just can't- if she just can't get past it and learn to love her body then just wait...

In a few years, we'll trade it in for a better one.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I know what I know...

Here's the deal:
I have three children. One has a September birthday (One Fish). She also happens to be the only girl. The other two are boys and both have August birthdays. The school cutoff in our state is September 1.

One Fish started preschool "early" although she was almost three. Technically, she didn't make the cutoff by a few weeks to enter as a three year old. But, due to a fortunate (for us) turn of events, some students had to move, there was an overabundance of boys next on the waiting list and too many boys already in the class and presto-chango, they made an exception for One Fish. She proceeded to spend four wonderous, discovery filled and enriching years at our Montessori school. She also started first grade as ready as one could possibly be to be thrust into the world of public education.

Two Fish and Red Fish wouldn't be so lucky, if it were up to anyone but their parents, it would seem. Actually, I seem to have gotten the grandparents on board too, but the rest of the world (save you sweet commenters to the contrary) seems to think I'm crazy. Even his preschool director who thinks that I'm caught up in a "trend." I realize that whether or not to "hold back" (I'll take issue with that phrase in just a minute) is a polarizing one. I'd almost rather discuss politics than bring up the topic with anyone other than my nearest and dearest. But, it keeps coming up and coming up and coming up. So, for anyone still wondering and cocking their head in confusion over why Two Fish isn't starting kindergarten this year, here's my reasoning so you don't feel the need to quiz me in hushed tones the next time I see you:

1) If he had been born two weeks after his due date (ala One Fish) I wouldn't be writing this blog entry.

2) One Fish missed the cutoff by about three weeks and I didn't hear anyone begging to push her ahead a grade, now did I?

3) For anyone who really thinks we're being negligent by not allowing him to start kindergarten, please know that I will be happy to turn his deprived little self over to you as soon as he is 17. You can send the 17 year old to college to go through fraternity rush. Let me know how it works out for you. PS- He'll only have had his drivers license for a year. Just so you know...

4) Holding him back from WHAT, I ask you? Holding him back from an hour of homework every night as a five year old? Holding him back from 20 minutes of outside play per day versus several hours? Holding him back from taking the periodic nap that he likes to take sometimes in the afternoon (when no one is looking, of course)? I prefer to think of it as pushing him to be a little boy for one more year.

5) After hours of research, the best reason I could find for not waiting a year for kindergarten was that it gave a disadvantage to the children who's families couldn't afford to keep them out of public school for one more year. Well, I hate it for them.

6) I know, I know, I know. You're not supposed to compare your children. But the world will- for the rest of their little lives. So, why would I let One Fish start first grade as an almost 7 year old and let the boys start first grade as almost 6 year olds and then expect similar academic results?

7) We are not particularly tall people. Truth be known, we have a very strong short gene that runs through The Scientist's family. He is 5ft. 8 on a good day and towers over all other people in his family. So, in a few years, when Two Fish has been pushed into starting kindergarten earlier than we think he should, we could have a teenager who is short for his (young) age, somewhat immature compared to his classmates, is the only one who can't drive yet...and needs a date to the prom. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the stuff therapy bills are made of.

Please, please, know that I cannot count the children I know who entered kindergarten as the youngest and have even thrived because of it. I have talked with mothers who have said that they thought about postponing kindergarten but then looked at their child and knew in their hearts that their child needed to go. And looking at their children, I'm sure they made the right call. I've also talked with lots of parents who did postpone for year and never regretted it for a second. I don't think twice about the decision other people make for their children. I cannot put my finger on why I know that Two Fish needs to wait a year. The preschool director thinks I'm nuts. He is sounding out words already, so we aren't behind academically. He is Mr. Popular on the playground and we're not having any problems with playing well with others. He's not short (so far). So, I can't tell you why I know in my heart of hearts that we've made the right call.

I just know what I know.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

(Not so) Quick Updates

The cakes did not completely do me in. I know I haven't posted in forever (and three days). But, I have good excuses, really. No snarky comments from you military wives out there, but I've been just keeping my head above water what with The Scientist gone and all. See, we're not really a family set up for one parent to be gone. Other than the fact that I'm the mommy and I'm a master "handler" of things, of course. Other than that, life runs much more smoothly when both of us are here. Much more expensively when both of us are here too, but that's a post for another day.

In lieu of a real post, I'll just give some updates:

1) One Fish got into The Gifted Program. I did indeed refuse to see her IQ score which I'm sure put a big F for Freak on my Mommy File. But, as I told them: An IQ score never got you into college, got you a scholarship or got you a job, did it? With three children, one of them is going to be lower than the others (and someone will be higher) and do you really want all that in your head?

2) Red Fish needs to learn how to freakin' walk already...

3) I need a part-time job. Really, really part-time. Just enough to bring in about $500/month. Or The Scientist needs a raise. One or the other. I'm really rooting for The Scientist here, obviously.

4)Two Fish is going through a "phase." No going anywhere or to anyone's house without me. This is sad since it's really limiting his end of summer fun because he won't go on playdates or sleepovers. More importantly, my life would be soooooo much easier if he would just get over it.

5) The Scientist is gone but will be back for a few nights in about a week and a half. Then he'll be gone for a month.

6) My mom is coming in a few weeks. Please, please, please hurry up. I need reinforcement.

7) Our German Shepherd Dog is not doing well. Did you know that GSs are the only dog with the word "Dog" in their official title? He has the doggie vesion of MS. I haven't posted about this because, quite frankly, it is just too awful to write about. He is The Scientist's dog and he was a puppy when we met. To say they are bonded doesn't even begin to cover it. The Time is coming (and is actually upon us) and we all know it, but talk about it as little as possible. I think The Scientist is almost happy to be gone because it is an escape from reality where this is concerned. The other side of him knows that he is missing some of the last days of his beloved friend. Being a pet owner is such a gift, but at times like this you are reminded that it is a tremendous responsibility as well.

8) The dentist says we can hold off on setting up the orthodontic funds for the time being. Everyone has to get a break sometime, right?

9) Two Fish starts school Friday. He'll be with the fours in the Montessori school. I know- he just turned five. That discussion means I have blog fodder for tomorrow. Stay tuned to read my gripes about interfering people who think I'm crazy for deciding not to send my barely five year old to kindergarten.