Monday, December 27, 2010

Things We Did

New England. You might have heard it's a little wintry around these parts lately.

Sarah stuck it out outdoors in the wind and snow for ten whole minutes before giving it up as a bad idea.

What to do now? She's four, we're stuck inside all day, the roads are too grody to drive on. So we:

Made an oil lamp

Swam indoors

Played dress up (aka "Fashion Closet")

(As fashion-y as that closet gets)

And made rainbows with a flashlight and a pitcher of water.
(Sarah taught me. You shine a light through water, you get rainbows!)

There was also some fort-making, paper-cutting, sick-doll-tending, and Wii yoga-ing. Her cousins better show up tomorrow. I am tapped.

Friday, December 24, 2010

And I'm Feelin' Good: a list

Cookies: baked and delivered.

Gifts: wrapped and under the tree.

Stockings: stuffed to the point of bursting.

Advent calendar: done, and only totally bailed on one activity (sorry, Blue, no homemade dog treats for you).

Family and friends: awesome. Always.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is It So Very Wrong To Cheat At An Advent Calendar?

So. Yeah. The advent calendar. It's so far off the rails I can't even begin to describe. Where were we. Day 15? 

Day 15: Should have been Make Cookies. FAIL.

Day 16: Should have been Give Cookies to Friends. FAIL.

Day 17: Christmas book (Merry Christmas, Strega Nona): SUCCESS!

Day 18: Watch Christmas movie in new jammies: SUCCESS! (Are we seeing a pattern yet? I am at a complete loss if I have to actively do something to make an activity happen, but if we get to sit on our fannies? Got it covered. Amply.)

Day 19: Sing carols: FAIL. So, I'm choosing to pretend that I planned on making gingerbread houses with the neighborhood kids as one of the activities. (One of the older neighbor kids and her friends supervise the little kids and help them decorate their houses. It's totally adorable.)

(If there's a photo, it must have happened the way I said it did, right? Future me will forget this was not the plan, anyway.)

Day 21: Make a snowman: FAIL. But Sarah did spontaneously make snow angels yesterday, so I'm just going to go ahead and slot that in for today. (There's not enough snow for a snowman, and it's too dry to pack. It totally would have failed anyway. For reals. Really.)

Tomorrow's supposed to be a bubble bath. I think I can manage it. Bubble stuff? Check. Dirty kid? Check. Bath tub? Check! Can we do it? YES WE CAN!

And, to show that I don't completely suck, I finally started baking today, and we might even eventually get around to giving cookies to our friends. Really! Maybe even before the actual holiday! Dare to dream.

(They look much better in real life. Less yellow, for one [I have GOT to do something about the lighting around here. Geez]. Also, the internet needs to invent scratch-and-sniff screens, because the snickerdoodles smell awesome.)

Four to go, people. I'm reasonably confident it can be done.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In Lieu of the Real Activity

Skreeeech! That would be the sound of the advent calendar going off the rails.

Today was supposed to be cookie-making day. Um, yeah. Not so much. We had to go grocery shopping first (ingredients being handy to the cookie-making process), and then Sarah wouldn't eat lunch, and then she wound up taking an almost two hour nap, and then suddenly it was dinner time.

So to make up for lost time I tried making some meringues after I put Sarah to bed tonight, but the whites wouldn't whip up into anything but thickish mounds, and none of it was working. Now Sarah's all pumped up to make cookies tomorrow, but we have to get the house ready for Tom's big work Christmas party, and it just ain't happening. Not this week. No cookies here. Sorry, kid.

But! I have been making stuff involving cookie cutters, just none of it edible.

(The photos aren't great, for which I apologize. All the light in this house in the evening is yellow. So it goes.)

Sarah's not going to be placated with felt, but at least something cookie-related was made around here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advent-ageous (See What I Did There?)

I had this crazy notion that for this month I'd post all the advent activities I lined up for Sarah. Maybe not daily but, you know, often-ish. So I posted the first two, and now suddenly it's December 14th. Heh. Also, I haven't photographed everything. Oops. At least I'm mostly done with the Christmas shopping.

In the interests of catching you all up on what I'm sure is just scintillating material, here in one excruciatingly large post are the first two weeks of advent, minus Days 1 and 2:

Day 3: Toys for Tots donation (undocumented, but we totally did it. S picked out a Polly Pocket set, and really really wanted it for herself, but bravely put it in the box outside the store. She also picked out gifts for some of her friends and got nothing for herself. Because Christmas is about giving, damn it.)

Day 4: Wagon ride!

That's not us. We went earlier, with one of Sarah's BFFs. They loved it. And the horses didn't even poop! Win!

Day 5: New Christmas book: Jan Brett's The Twelve Days of Christmas (Also undocumented. It's a beautiful book, but all of Jan Brett's stuff is gorgeous. The detail in the margins never fails to delight us.)

Day 6: Toy (I didn't do many of these, but I just happened to have some random little things around so... This day it was pirate-themed Silly Bandz. Sarah was excited for the two minutes it took to open and catalogue the package. I have no idea where they've ended up. THANK GOD I BOTHERED.)

Day 7: Game Night!

Day 8: Put up Sarah's tree

Sarah has her own fabulously fake tree in her bedroom. She gets to pick out new ornaments every year to add to it; this year we found a set of wooden mini ornaments (isn't the soldier cute? he's maybe an inch and a half tall).

Day 9: Make ornaments!

1 c. cinnamon, 1/2 c. white glue, 1/4 c. applesauce. Mix, roll, cut and let dry for 24 hours. Then decorate to your heart's content.

These were supposed to be attached to gifts, but I love them and am keeping them. I'm a terrible person. But I'm going to make other ornaments for the presents, so no one's losing out. (Don't tell me otherwise; I don't wanna hear it.)

This guy's my favorite. Sarah did the whole thing except the eye. Could you just eat him up? (Except don't. Glue. Yuck.) 

Day... um. 10? Paint nails in Christmas-y colors. (No photo here, either, but I was painting the nails of three squirmy four year olds. I'm only human, people.)

Day 11: Get tree

Day 12: Decorate!

Pretty, right? (That's not the tree skirt, though. That's just an old sheet for under the tree skirt to wrap around the tree before we take it out after Christmas. I'm clever like that.) It looked like that for three whole hours before it crashed. Yay! Only lost a handful of the standard glass-ball variety of ornaments, although I have found a couple pieces in the tree. We are all about the holiday safety here. (Um, kidding. Mostly. I mean, I really did find some pieces, but this all happened after Sarah was safely in bed, and now the tree is shard-free. also, she almost never chews on the tree, so no worries, right? [Still kidding. Please don't call Social Services.])

Day 13: Toy (A stinky little Strawberry Shortcake doll thing. I don't know where it came from.)

Day 14: Christmas movie! Sarah was home sick from school today (she's fine now, and no, it had nothing to do with the broken ornaments) so this was particularly serendipitous. Mickey Rooney's crazed ho-ho-ho in Santa Claus is Comin' To Town does not improve when played on a loop all day, for those wondering.

Aaaaand, done. To think I've never considered myself a Christmas-y person.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Slightly Obsessed

So, I'm ever-so-slightly obsessed with yo-yos. Fabric ones.

I started making them on the car ride down to Thanksgiving (seven hours to kill each way, dudes; I had to do something). Aren't they cute? I had all this Christmas-y fabric around that I wasn't going to use for anything (don't ask where it came from, because I don't know -- craft supplies just seem to turn up here. Maybe we're on a migratory path or something), and my friend Sarah had shown me this summer how to make yo-yos with handy-dandy yo-yo makers, so, I mean, duh.

There's something incredibly satisfying about little hand-sewn projects. It's soothingly repetitive the way stockinette knitting is, but not as mind-numbingly dull. I think... wow. I think after many years of knitting, and a good few years of crochet, I just might be turning out to be a sewer. Sew-er. Sewist. Person who sews. (There must be a better word for this.)

This week (Tuesday, if you're curious. During Glee, if you're wanting precision), I finally stopped making the little cuties, and started sewing them together into a long, long string. I'm not halfway through the pile and have about fifteen feet so far. Evergreen garlands on the stair railing will be swathed in garlands of kitschy Christmas yo-yos. Ho yo-yo! (Sorry.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Something Is All Around

I couldn't get away from the holidays this year even if I wanted to.

Monday, Sarah and I were on our way home from feeding our friends' cat, and what did we see as we crossed the State House lawn?

Then came yesterday, Advent Day 1:

Today, Advent Day 2:
breakfast for dinner

And the capper? On our way home from running errands, we happened past the State House (again) just in time to watch the official lighting ceremony.

And the capper on the capper? Referenced by friends on Facebook like half a dozen times this week:

(How awesome is Bill Nighy, I ask you?)

Resistance is futile.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Okay, holiday season. I'm ready for you. Bring. It. On.

Advent calendar? Up.

Wrapping paper? Tags? Ribbons? Totally bought.

List? Made.

Gifts? Okay, the gifts aren't all bought/made/whatever yet, but I'm halfway down the list and it ain't even December yet.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble, Gobble!

Friends, I have news. For the first time in our history together, DH and I are completely packed and ready for a biggish trip the night before we leave! No last-minute grabbing of superfluous items! No extended fueling stop before getting on the highway! No squabbling caused by same!

We're heading for the old home place tomorrow, the land of shoofly pies and birch beer and Yocco's hotdogs. (No native Vermonter, I. In fact, of the six humans, four cats and five dogs I've lived with during my years here, only three of the cats were native to this place. Flatlanders R Us.)

I wish all of you celebrating tomorrow a very Happy Thanksgiving. There are many things I'm thankful for, and you lot (American and not) are high on the list.

May your plates be heavy and your hearts light!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pizza! Pizza!

I made pizza last night. From scratch. Both dough AND sauce. And I don't have a single damn photo because I was so frazzled by the entire experience. Which is too bad because they looked pretty good.

Little old Italian women don't even make their own pizza from scratch any more. Want to know why? BECAUSE IT TAKES FOREVER. If I'd paid someone a decent hourly wage to make the pizzas (there were three!) I would have shelled out like $80 for three medium cheese pizzas. Three medium, handcrafted, artisanal, mostly locavore cheese pizzas.

Who does this anymore? Stay at home moms who feel like they should have more to show for the day's efforts than one basket of clean laundry, that's who.

You know what the worst part was? Not making the dough, even though I tried being all fancy/old world by creating a well of the dry ingredients and pouring the wet ingredients in and realized too late that the well was too small and tried to make it bigger and watched the yeasty oily water spill all down the sides of the cabinets and splash on my slippers. It wasn't even making the sauce, even though I used the damn tomatoes I froze this summer and they weren't defrosting fast enough and I had to squeeze out the seeds from the half frozen pulp by hand and periodically run warm water over my fingers to thaw them out and THEN cut the tip of my ring finger while dicing the onions. No, the worst part was getting the fully loaded pizzas from the cutting board into the oven. Because we don't have a pizza peel. I'm all for making do, but this was an occasion for specialized equipment, and I DIDN'T HAVE IT. 

So we kinda threw the pizzas into the oven onto a cookie sheet (that only has one side and I am only just this second realizing would have made a not-bad substitute for a pizza peel damn it all) and tried to straighten them out in the 500˚ heat. Fun times!

Whatevs. They baked up pretty well, and Sarah declared that I am "the BEST pizza maker in the WORLD!" (Tonight she also stated that Tom and I are the best parents in the world, and that her doll Gloria is the best baby in the world, so, you know, I can't say I place a lot of weight on the claims these days. Still, it was nice to hear.)

So. Lesson? Plan ahead, use the right equipment, and keep an insanely complimentary kid on hand. And never forget the camera.

Monday, November 15, 2010

On Hair, And Time

I've been thinking about Sarah's haircut a lot. The whole time I was hacking away at it, increasingly desperate about getting it right as she wiggled and squirmed on the chair, I couldn't help but think about all those times my mother took the shears to my head. She had a pair of those scary long-handled barber's scissors -- do you know the ones I mean? The long, thin silver blades looked like an egret or heron's bill. I used to dream about those scissors -- I dreamt about them again this weekend before cutting Sarah's hair.

How many times did my mom cut my hair? I can't possibly guess. A dozen? Two dozen? More? I DISTINCTLY remember the last time, though. I was 13 and had hair down to my waist. It had been years -- two? three? -- since my last trim and apparently Mom had had enough. "Just a trim! Just enough to take the dead ends off!" she begged. I gave in.

I sat in the bathroom on the cold closed lid of the toilet, as was usual, with a terrycloth bath towel around my shoulders and my damp hair slicked down my back. Skrritch! Skrritch! And then (I'm pretty sure this isn't just embellished memory), "Oops."


By the time she finished, my hair was over a foot shorter. Apparently there was a LOT of fixing going on back there, Mom.

As I took my turn wielding the scissors Saturday, my only hope was not to get myself into a situation I had to, you know, FIX. Skrrritch! Skrrritch! Who knew cutting hair could be so emotionally exhausting?

Sorry about all the wiggling, Mom. I had no idea.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New 'Do, Part TWO

This Afternoon: A very brief photo essay.

Look at that. Can you appreciate that? Her hair covers her butt
That blonde wispiness is as old as she is. Was as old as she is. (sigh)

My thought on seeing the results of my first hack:
"Oh, god. I may not survive this."

But look! We made it! She's so excited!

Adorable. The end.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, and also

I'm going to be playing with the design a bit. Or trying to. I don't know a thing about blog design, but it seems to me this joint could use a little shaking up.

A Moment

Do you ever look outside, and what you see is so perfectly of that moment in time? I was at the window yesterday at dinner time. There might as well have been a big fat caption in the sky: "Evening, Late Fall, New England".

Friday, November 5, 2010

New 'Do

So, I got a haircut today after I dropped Sarah off at school. When I picked her up after lunch, she said, "Mom, you look like you used to!" And for a second I thought she meant I was all getting my groove back or some such pseudo-personal-growth stuff. And then I realized what she actually meant. "You mean I look like I did last winter?" "Yeah!" Right. The last time I got my haircut. 

But then she later said, "You're the cutest little mom in the whole wide world I've ever seen with your new haircut!" and one of her besties, Bea, chimed in with "You look beauty-full!" (That's the way she pronounces it, which I think is a great improvement over the standard way.) That'll put a little bounce in your step, a little spring in your sprocket. I tell you, when four year olds aren't deliberately trying to DESTROY YOUR WORLD, they're the best people to have around ever.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Goose Is Getting Fat

Gearing up, people. We are gearing UP.

So, Sarah's had this habit for pretty much her entire conscious life of planning up to an entire year ahead what she's going to be for Halloween. When she was two, she was a cowboy (NOT a cowgirl, by golly), and had decided on it a few months before. The next day she announced she was going to be a skunk when she was three. And she was! The very next day she announced she wanted to be a unicorn when she was four. That would be this year. And if you asked her, as many people did, what she wanted to be for Halloween as recently as the beginning of this month, she would reply, "A unicorn!" And what is in her bedroom? What has been hanging there since Christmas? That's right, a unicorn costume.

But then? Then my friend, my good friend Allison (hi, Allison!), gave me the Martha Stewart Halloween magazine which contained a picture of a little girl dressed up as a black kitty. Which, cute, but that can't compete with a unicorn, amirite? No, I am not. Because the girl was wearing face paint.

As soon as Sarah saw the picture, I mean that VERY SECOND, she yelled out, "I want to be a kitty and wear FACE PAINT!" Fortunately, the face paint was just a little triangle nose and simple whiskers. Also, we have kitty ears and tail in the dress-up box. We even have little black paws from the skunk costume. So, fine! Kitty it is!

Ah, but a mere week later, Sarah changed her mind yet again. Somehow, and this time I don't know where the inspiration came from, she conceived the idea of being a black FOX. Well, considering I had everything but the tail, no big, right? She stuck with it for a week, so I went out and bought some ridiculous black faux fur for the tail. I've been talking it up BIG this last week. Why? Because she's been making noises about maybe being... a bat. Sorry, sister. Ain't happening.

True to form, however, she's already planning next year's outfit. Yesterday she decided she was going to be a skunk again, having rejected her previous but classic idea of "ghost" as too scary for her friends and a butterfly not being scary enough. But then today, she started mulling over other options, like maybe a fox-bat. Apparently I birthed a costume designer.

It was time for a distraction. Decorating!

I know it's not much, but Sarah and I did it together, and I think it's just spooky enough. Also? I totally made the wreath. Look:


Now that I'm looking at it like this, it's kinda goofy. I like the crow, but those skulls... I'm going to have to mess with them tomorrow. I'm pretty sure there's a hot glue gun around here somewhere. Until then, don't get too close to it. And don't touch it. And don't slam the door. The whole thing is held together with straight pins. Yeah. So, just, don't breathe on it, okay?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thoughts On Super Why

So. PBS. Gift of the gods of public broadcasting to the children of America, right? Fun! Educational! Full of marketing potential! What's not to love?

Super Why. Super Why is what not to love.

Super Why is Sarah's best beloved. I'm not kidding. The kid is frigging INSANE for the show. I'm pretty certain she'd sell us if it would give her a chance to meet Super Why and Princess Presto and the others. Well, maybe not us, but she'd sell the dog without thinking twice.

And I loathe it. In its mission to educate the kiddies, it destroys the entire canon of traditional Western children's tales. For reals!

So, here's the deal for those who haven't been subjected to this little delight. Wyatt (the alter ego of Super Why) and his friends get into various little scrapes and misunderstandings (ALL characterized as "a SUPER big problem!") in their town of Storybook Village. They become Super Readers and use their powers of reading and stuff to find solutions to their problems "in a BOOK!"

I've hardly begun to explain this show and we've already hit my first issue. All problems are SUPER BIG. Friends not talking is just as bad as a kid trashing his brother's room is just as bad as accidentally scaring someone. Except they're not equally problematic out here away from teevee land.

Then, they go into a story that has a similar problem to the one they've encountered in, as it were, real life. And then they CHANGE THE STORY to make everything all better and take the lesson back to Storybook Village to solve the problem that started the adventure.

They what? Oh, you heard me right. They change fairy tales and nursery rhymes so that the revised plot shows a resolution they can apply in real life. But this isn't the egregious treatment. The real problem is that the show's writers change the tales to begin with so they better fit the episodes.

Um, no. Not okay.

For example, let's take the episode based on The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Wyatt hears his baby sister speak for the first time, but no one else hears her and furthermore, no one believes it happened. So the Super Readers suit up and fly into the fable. This, ahem, version is about a little boy who makes friends with a wolf. But every time he calls his family over to meet him, the wolf hides. But then they all learn to trust one another and the family meets the wolf and everyone is happy and blah blah blah fairy tale ending.

People, this is so totally NOT the point of the ACTUAL fable. The POINT is that the kid LIES. Repeatedly. Finally no one believes him because of his tricks, so that when the wolf does finally come he gets eaten. The end.

But in this bowdlerized PBS telling, it's all about distrust of a truthful child. Now, I understand that this show is meant for children and therefore should address their concerns. But surely there's a better way to do it than to warp children's stories to serve an arguably greater good (kids do learn prereading skills, so it's not totally Teh Evil).

(Oh my god, Sarah is totally singing the theme song EVEN AS I TYPE THIS.)

So, my frustration stems from what I am sure is a well-intended attempt to find dilemmas kids can relate to in formats that are familiar, but which in fact completely subverts the original intent of the stories. The Three Little Pigs isn't about excluding the poor, friendless, misunderstood Big Bad. It's about doing a job right so that when the Big Bad does show up at your doorstep, HE WON'T EAT YOU.

Plus the songs are too catchy and stick in my head all day.

I know Sarah will eventually outgrow the show, and in the meantime it's reinforcing prereading skills and teaching her the very important lesson that BOOKS ARE GOOD and full of useful information. I just wish PBS wouldn't strip the source material while their little anime fiends do their song and dance routines.

Also, Princess Presto is bossy and annoying. The end.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh No She Di'nt!

Well, no, actually. I didn't. But I thought about it.

So, I was at our local fancy-pants/hippie-dippie co-op the other day picking up some random stuff that I can never seem to find at our regular grocery store. You know, life essentials like Dutch-process cocoa and Maldon salt and I forget what-all. Anyway, I wandered over to the health and beauty aisle and there, on the top shelf, way up high and out of reach, I saw it. Henna.

Now, I've never once colored my hair (or permed it for that matter -- and I was a teen in the 80s, so please feel free to admire my trend-bucking). Mostly because I've always been perfectly happy with my hair, partly because I can't be bothered with that sort of thing, and not a little bit because I'm cheap. 

I found my first grey hair at 27. And I was excited! It was kinda cool and weird and interesting. Thirteen years later I have grey hairs scattered all over my head (and eyebrows! I have found white hairs in my EYEBROWS) and an actual streak springing forth from my right temple. I should name it Athena. And I've been fine with it (you know, that grumpy kind of fine where you're not at all psyched about things, but resigned to them). But someone who shall remain nameless but with whom I may cohabit and who is NOT four years old has a tendency to compliment my hair when the streak is hidden under the part. And after a while, you start noticing that tendency and thinking about, you know, what it might mean.

Also, the last time I had my hair cut, the kind lady with the scissors told me that coloring my hair would make it thicker. 

Did I mention my hair sheds like a very sheddy thing? I shed a bunch about, oh, five months after Sarah was born, but this time? It's been like ten months now. IT IS NOT COOL. I didn't have all that much to begin with.

So there I was, staring up at the boxes of henna. They even had it for the standard-issue brown that is my not-grey color. And oh, I was tempted. 

I don't know, people. Isn't there supposed to be a period in your life when you are neither wrinkly, nor zitty, nor going grey? Because I missed out on that one. Or if I did have it, it lasted for about two weeks when I was twenty and was too busy trying to buy cases of Natural Light (yeah, we were klassy drinkers in college) to notice. As it is, I have grey hairs AND wrinkles AND zits. I mean, come on! Really? 

There's a bit of a movement amongst women who are letting their grey hair be its natural self. There are even young women dying it grey on purpose. Yeah, if I looked like Emmy Lou Harris I wouldn't think twice. But I don't. Still, I plug on as if this whole aging thing didn't bother me a bit. But it does.


But god forbid I should do something about it. Because that would mean I care about that sort of thing. Which I don't. Really. Watch me not care.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Today's yardwork lead us to some discoveries.

Broccoli going to flower is gorgeous -- just as pretty as sedum or my beloved hydrangeas.

Raking leaves is the Best Chore Ever! Especially if there's a kid involved.

It's never too late in the year to enjoy a Creamsicle.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All Righty, Then!

Let's bump the depressing crap down the page a bit, shall we?

When I'm not feeling cranky about other people's good luck (there's got to be a German word for anti-Schadenfreude; Freudenschade?), I've been getting my hand back into making stuff a bit:

Our fairy house in the neighborhood park

(I left the chocolate chips out, not from any misguided notions of health, 
but because I tragically didn't have them on hand)

A hat for Sarah 
(please let it be big enough; please let me have enough yarn)

(that would be the sound of a needle scratching off a record, dontcha know)

Oh, damn. The green tomatoes. So I had all these visions of making pickled green tomatoes, right? Or maybe chutney, or tomatillo-esque salsa verde, or relish. But, um, I didn't use the tomatoes the day I picked 'em, and the next morning... white moldiness everywhere. Dang it.

Anyway! So! Soldiering on!

Oh, here's a little Public Service Announcement for you all. A great antidote to general blechiness? KITCHEN DANCE PARTY. How could I have forgotten? Let me tell you, dudes: the Go-Go's, The Wiz soundtrack, Beyonce, Blur, Fugazi... puh-lease. I defy you to mope with those beats bumping. I sure couldn't, not with a pigtailed four year old easin' on down the road behind me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Not To Do

Here's an item for the Not To Do List, Like Ever Ever Again: read the blog of another family's experience in the NICU.

Hol-ee crap.

It was by accident. Of course. I mean, I'm not stupid (usually) (I hope). But in the way of the intertubes, I found a thing that lead me to one blog that recommended another, and before I considered the wisdom of my actions found myself reading this woman's account of her daughter's 96 days in the NICU. Her story is different than mine, of course, incomparable and yet so similar, the way these things are. Monitors, alarms, desats... My stomach is still tensed hours later, the way it was for so many months last year.

So, here's the thing. I get angry when I think about people who went through so many of the same things that I did but got to bring their kids home. It comes over me in a flash, a brief but engulfing conflagration of rage. And jealousy. And so, so much bitterness.

How exactly does one get past this sort of thing? Oh, shut up. I know. Time. Stupid, slower than I can bear Time. I know this. After all, I no longer automatically think, "Bastards" as I walk past the pregnancy and parenting section of bookstores, so I assume that someday I will no longer think similarly uncharitable thoughts about those families luckier than ours.

I'm not a complete beast. I am happy for such people. And I understand that coming home isn't necessarily the ending of their troubles. Truly. I'm just deeply bitter that we're not among the fortunate*. 

The real kicker? (And by "kicker" I mean, "stomp on the head in the manner of Edward Norton in American History X".) Sarah sometimes talks about Jane in the present tense. I can only hope Time will take care of that one, too. Soon, please and thank you.

*I feel compelled to acknowledge that in most areas, we are in fact among the incredibly fortunate. I know this, too. But I'd trade any of the rest of it to have my girl back.** 

**I know you know this, too. Sometimes, though, it just needs to be said.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Loose Ends

Loose ends being where I'm at.

Summer's over. The vegetable garden's winding down, so I'm in that odd moment of not having to fuss over taking care of anything outside (unless there's a frost warning, of which we've had three in the last week), but not needing to rake (much, yet) or weed or otherwise, you know, tend. I do have bags of bulbs standing by that I could certainly plant. And I fully intend to. However, I have this idiotic thing with bulbs. I love them, I love the promise they hold, and I love buying them and fantasizing about drifts of daffodils and bundles of crocus and stands of tulips. And I bring them home and put them... somewhere, meaning to get them in the ground promptly-ish, and then suddenly it's November and hard frost and whooosh! There goes my vision of spring.

I did put by (what an awesome concept and phrase that is) a dozen half-pints of freezer pickles. I served some at a neighborhood cookout, and people said complimentary things about them which they may even have said out of truth and not just kindness. I'm going to try my hand at green cherry tomato dill pickles, too. But I'm still hopeful that some of the little guys may ripen, so I'm holding off. (I've heard you can ripen green tomatoes in a box of newspaper kept in a cool, dark place, but I really don't need additional fruit fly infestations elsewhere in the house. The few that keep cropping up in the kitchen are more than sufficient, thankyouverymuch.)

But I haven't made anything in a while -- crafted, created, not cooked -- and it's got me feeling unsettled. I tried to start a crocheted wrap thingy last night, but I'm not digging it. I want to make a poncho for Sarah, but nothing's inspiring me yet. Honestly, I need to just pick a thing, anything, so I can pull my feet out of the sucking mud hole of inertia. It's a crappy place to be, and it's dragging me down.

I haven't only been sitting on my duff watching Buffy reruns, however. In my ongoing war against stuff, I went through my clothes, and bagged up an entire trash bag of items I will never wear again. And I've made some minor forays into the scary mire that is Sarah's playroom. What is it with four year olds and their need to hold onto every damn baby toy they've ever known? But I've cruelly ignored her piercing bids for continued ownership and wrested mangled shape sorters and abandoned puzzle pieces from her desperate grasp, dumping them in a box bound for... well, I don't want to send them to the landfill, but they're pretty useless. Free box on the sidewalk, I suppose. Ew, no. Salvation Army and let them sort it out? Yes, indeedy!

The question remains, however, of what to DO. What to make. How to make better use of my time. How, to be frank, to fill my days. Crafting aside, I suspect this isn't actually going to be an easy issue to resolve. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sniff, Sniff

What's that I smell? Something kinda fusty, kinda wool-socky?

That's right. Heat's on.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Modern Conveniences

So, it's September 15. It's 49 degrees right now. I'm a little worried about frost tonight. (Not that I covered anything in the garden. Oh, no. That would be, like, prudent or something.) And the house never got above 64 degrees today. Which, naturally, is just cool enough to be noticeable but not cold enough to turn on the heat. Because I am cheap thrifty and ignore the thermostat until wearing two sweaters becomes imperative. (Not that it gets that far. Tom likes his conveniences a bit more convenient than I do. I am, however, not unreasonable and will lower raise my standards to his level in the interests of domestic peace.)

What to do? Make a mug of tea and feed the kid pancakes for dinner. Obviously. And hope for a warmer day tomorrow. Otherwise... two sweaters, kiddo. Dad's out of town.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Flow It, Show It

Have I ever mentioned that my kid has never had a haircut? Ever? And she's almost four and a half?

There's a lot of hair there.

This photo just doesn't do it justice. I'll see if I can find a better one. I mean, it hits her waist dry. There's still a little bit of the wave and curl she had when she was younger and her hair was shorter -- there was a transcendent period when her hair formed ringlets down to her shoulder blades without my doing a thing to it. Even now, as long as it is, the ends still curl a bit, especially when it's been freshly washed. And it's glorious. Truly. I love it.

Okay, I have a confession. There was a commercial years ago, in the mid-'90s probably, that featured two little girls with ridiculously long hair running down a hall in their nightgowns. I think they jumped onto their parents' bed, family hijinks ensued, etc etc; I have no idea what they were selling (not hair products; coffee maybe? mortgages? Hell, I don't know). ANYWAY. I loved that ad; I was completely charmed by those two kids and thought I'd love to have a little girl someday with hair like that. And now I do. (Okay, a confession-within-a-confession: Jane was very much part of that picture. I think she would have had similarly glorious hair, maybe darker. [These are the little things that get to me: missing out on the older Jane, not knowing who she would have been, what she might have become.])

But the thing is, when does it become too much? I mean, Sarah lets me wash and condition and comb it. It's usually in braids or ponytails, generally tangle- and food-free, so maintenance isn't yet an issue. But there's going to be a point when it's just silly. Just a silly, silly amount of hair. I just hope we'll recognize that point before we get there. 

(Ooh, found another picture from earlier this summer:

See? Way long.)

I'm sure the day will come in a classically inevitable way: she'll hack at it herself, or burdock will get ensnarled in it, or she'll fall asleep with purloined gum in her mouth and wake up with the wad inextricably fused into a fuzzy mat (not that such a thing ever ever happened to me when I was maybe six or seven, and my mom and I discovered that ice and peanut butter do not solve all gum/hair peccadilloes). And when it happens we'll march off to a punnily-named hairdresser's and hope there's enough uncompromised hair to donate to Locks of Love.

Until that day comes, however, I'm going to delight in it, thrilled that she lets me play with it and brush it and braid it, and hoping that the cut, when it comes, will be another grand adventure for her.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oh, Snap!

Three, yo! I'm on a roll.

Actually, there's not much to report except that I boxed AND LABELLED Sarah's clothes and shoes and put 'em away. That's right, stuff. It's go time.

But really, I'm posting because I wanted to show you guys this:

That's what I pulled from the garden when we came home Friday. I harvested half a dozen more cucumbers yesterday, and there are still more coming. This is why I'm starting to hate the green beasties.

It's hard to appreciate just how much biomass is gathered there on the step. For a sense of scale, here's Sarah holding trying to hold the largest zucchini:

She dropped the thing moments later. It's a monster, I tell you, almost half her height. (Those cucumbers aren't a whole lot smaller.) And it's destined to become tomorrow night's fritters. What kind of weird-ass summer is this that I'm looking forward to the zucchini and dreading the cucumbers?

Oh, and I have approximately a metric ton of green cherry tomatoes on the vine. Has anyone used them in a recipe for full-sized green tomatoes? Or pickled them? We're only a week away from our frost date (I KNOW), and I 'd hate for them to be wasted.