Thursday, January 31, 2008


Making resolutions at the start of the year is for amateurs. Watch what happens if you wait a few weeks….

#1: Fix Nea’s IEP. Well, now that I get daily reports on what she does at school, I’m already feeling better. Plus, as of yesterday she says “cheese.” Seriously. “Cheese.” I want to teach her the Wallace and Gromit double hand gesture that goes with it. But, yes, we need better goals.

#2: Get the kids’ German passports. I plan to do this sometime this summer.

#3: Find families near us that have an established network of social events that we can jump in, so the kids will at least get a chance to hear other kids speak German. DONE! I met the aide in Nea’s class that I’ve been hearing about. She speaks German to Nea sometimes. So, I make nicey nice and wah-la. Instant network.

#4: Figure out our basement plans. DONE! This wasn’t even a topic of conversation 4 weeks ago. All of a sudden, there are new blueprints on the coffeetable every evening. Laundry area, spa (full bathroom with sauna), craft area, exercise area, storage, workroom. Still waiting for my free radon tester. Plus there’s still some kitchen wrap-up to do. But I've never lived in a house with a finished (or really partially finished) basement. Sounds kinda exciting.

So, there you have it, folks. If you wait a month to make your resolutions, you can be 50% finished by the end of January.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Feeling Down?

If I'm a little blue, I watch this video 10 or 12 times, and then I feel better.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Old Man Winter can kiss my ass

Blogging in front of a roaring fire again. First time all day I’ve been warm.

I just found out that if you live in Illinois, you can ask for a
free Radon test. I ordered mine today. If you have a finished basement, you should definitely request one.

Got the winter blahs? Got some big cardboard boxes and some kids? Check out
Mr. McGroovy! You’ll note our pirate ship is much cooler than the one he’s got, but we’re pretty hip that way. And we didn’t buy any plans or rivets. Nothing but duct tape and boxes for us! Well, and a Cranium playfort sail.

Boo is sporting a pair of
Cranium Giggle Goggles, which I highly recommend, especially if you happen to have a sunglass-obsessed child, as I do. It's the other kid, but let's not quibble and argue about who pushed down whom for the goggles.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Does anyone know of a weather web site that tells you the amount of rain your area has received in the last week?

I know it's January, but I've been looking at gardening catalogs and starting to plan ahead for the growing season.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bits and Pieces

  • I don’t know why people insist I’m hard to buy for. Look at this web site, as an example. There are so many I’d love! Knuffle Bunny and Gashlycrumb Tinies and Frog and Toad and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and … I wear a MEDIUM!
  • You’ll hate me for this. It’s so addictive. I may lose custody of the kids, my job, my husband, the house, etc.

Some of my results

DUMMY and DUSTY = dunce (7th guess)
UVULA and VIOLA = valve (7th guess)
NUTTY and OASIS was supposed to be NYLON (didn't succeed)
TUSKS and TWAIN was supposed to be TUTOR (didn't succeed)

  • If you haven’t already seen Maps: Finding Our Place in the World, hurry because it’s only on exhibit until January 27. It’s astonishing.
  • Another fab opt out site, to stop those annoying credit card offers. We only get them from our current credit card banks now. Like that makes sense, but whatever. Quite a change from the 5-a-week we were running.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Boo the Artist

Today I would like to share with you the brilliance, the artistry, the genius that is Boo’s art. I know it's hard to believe she's only five.

You should be able to pick us out of a police line-up based on this piece (on the right). Note the homemade frame, too. That was Boo's design.
If you have ever met N, you will instantly realize the sheer perfection of this portrait (on the left).

Can you spot which is the Wassily Kandinsky and which is Boo's work in sparkle glue and marker? I know, take your time. The similiarity is quite breathtaking.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Book group selection

This month's selection is The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.

Favorite words

I don't trust people who can't list a few favorite words off the top of their heads.

Lollipop is so, so excellent. (Don't you hate it when people say "sucker"? It practically makes me mad!)

and ... fav word ever ...

If you want to think about words a little and raise food for the hungry, there's always Free Rice.

By the way, I did go and make our collective donation to Heifer. Just in case someone out there was wondering.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


For some reason, I am fascinated with hoarders. I recently spent an hour reading about hoarding online. Reading these stories makes me wonder about my tenuous hold on sanity. I mean, I am clearly on the spectrum of full-scale hoarding. Consider the evidence:

  • I hold onto newspapers because I plan to read them.
  • I have little scraps of paper that are important to me.
  • If you ask me where something is in my chaos, I can find it with no problem (ASSUMING NO ONE ELSE MOVED IT).
  • I hate it when people mess with my useless bits of stuff, or hassle me about them.

On the other hand, my house is delightful and friendly! You can see the floors in several places! No, we don’t have a basement, why do you ask? What’s that? Our house has outside windows near the ground? No, no, that’s a design flaw. No basement here.

But seriously, the off-site storage industry is growing massively. I don’t understand the appeal of renting extra space indefinitely, but clearly there’s a market. It’s particularly perplexing since the average square footage of American houses is very generous. In 2002, the median square footage for homes occupied by middle income households was 1,700 sq. ft. (cite)

Enjoyable reading on historic hoarding at its most extreme: the Collyer brothers. What a way to go.

If you, too, can’t get enough hoarding info or need actual help:

Squalor Survivors
Children of Hoarders

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Confession and BIG NEWS

Dear Perfect Writer,

I have a confession, and I don't know who else to turn to. I was in a hurry when I scrawled a note to my daughter's teacher yesterday, and I misspelled "initiate." I spelled it "iniciate." I knew I should have used a simpler word, especially since I was writing to a spec ed elem school teacher. They aren't generally that bright, and they tend to wear those stupid holiday sweaters. Also, for some reason they tend to be short and overweight with very conservative hairstyles. What's more, they don't seem to understand my child's brilliance.* But I digress. So far I have held back from writing a second note, correcting my first note. Thanks for listening.

Sincerely, Embarrassed Tech Writer

* I have some serious reservations about this particular teacher. Please don’t take offense if you are also in this particular profession and are a caring, listening individual. I’m just venting.

Big news!

Nea is in training pants (we call them underwear, of course) during the day! Naturally she wears reusable at home, but pull-ups at school. She even went out to dinner with us in “undies” last night!

:: breaks into song ::

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Book recommendation

Just tore through the new Ann Patchett book, Run. I nearly blogged its recommendation when I was only on page 28, but I thought maybe I should hold back, just in case. "What if page 29 is a dud?" I worried.

After recently rereading Bel Canto, I felt like this one was much in the same melodic tone. I have read nearly all of her books, but really didn't like the others. In these two, the way she reveals her character's secrets and their inner voices is so beautiful, so effortless, so much like how I think.

Someday I'll write a book just like hers, except, you know, better.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Oy, the sick

We almost pulled a full Stonebraker. I believe the definition of a full Stonebraker is when all family members over the age of 3 are violently puking on the same day. Sadly, N doesn’t allow himself to vomit, so we will have to continue our sad little existence, knowing that we have only achieved a mediocre partial Stonebraker.

But we’re getting better!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ralph’s World

So, I was up late last night and went to a concert today. I’m a little hoarse from all the whooping. We even had our t-shirts signed by the lead singer.

OK, now try to remember how cool I am even after you read the rest of today’s post. Let’s look at the all-true statements in more detail….

So, I was up late last night (Nea threw up every 10-15 minutes for 7 hours last night. Luckily, N and I took turns on puke duty.) and went to a concert today (Ralph’s World with Boo at 10 am). I’m a little hoarse from all the whooping (yeah, that’s a little embarrassing). We even had our t-shirts signed by the lead singer (are we cool or WHAT).

This was our fourth RW concert. Unfortunately, I tend to burst into tears at the beginning of every RW concert. I was on the way to our second RW concert when I heard that Daralyn had died, so when Ralph breaks into “Clap Your Hands,” everyone else claps and cheers, and I try to pull myself together.

If your personal RW music selection is a little sparse, may I suggest either
Green Gorilla, Monster & Me or Happy Lemons.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

C is for Computer

I'm a little concerned about the extreme lack of Sesame Street references on this site thus far. Let us rectify this oversight, shall we?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Started out with sushi dinner. Then had a lovely evening at home with a sister-in-law and two friends. It was the most fun we've had on a NYE in awhile. Fire in the fireplace, wine, chocolate cheesecake (from Whole Paycheck -- very delicious). And the snow quietly fell, making the night sparkle.

Worthwhile quote of the day: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."--Dwight D. Eisenhower