Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday conversations

***Right now, I'm sitting on the (hard) floor in my bedroom, working through season 1 of Friends while the boy is watching a movie on the tv.  My Saturday nights are off the charts.***

I hit up the local Panera this morning for a (few) cup(s) of dark roast and a mediocre book while the boy wrangled the Elder and the Younger.  There's nothing quite like it: sunshine, coffee with cream out of a travel cup, and 50 pages finished.  Sometimes the local color distracts me, though.  And today, I took notes because blog post.

Mid-50s woman, standard beige sweater & slacks, book half-way finished, table for two close to the door.  The woman was fascinating--chatty with all, friendly to all, and illustrative of all (the Midwest personified).

About the Palm Sunday tornado, approximately 50 years ago: "I'm a survivor..."

[My mom and dad's house that was turned 45 degrees by the tornado] "had a sunken kitchen...not a place to retire."

To make distilled water:  "...boil water on a stove and hold a paper towel over it...that's distilled water."  Use it to clean the screen of your Kindle "but that's probably not the best for it."

In reference to a fellow Saturday-morning-Panera-crony: "Art went over to his normal spot."

Apple watches "are supposed to do everything right there--email, and everything!"

Leaning across the table to help play a word game on her friend's phone:
  "I don't want to spill coffee on it."
  "You worry too much.  I want to freeze it [the game]."
  "You won a freezer?"
  "No, I want to freeze it for a second."
  "Oh, I thought you said you won a freezer!"

About that status of her yard on March 28th in the Midwest:  "I suppose I'd be doing some yardwork, but it's just too spongy."  (This reminded me immediately of my grandmother who told me at the end of January--also in the Midwest--that she had been out in her garden a few days prior with a spade to see if the ground was able to "be worked" yet.)

To her friend who walked away for a quick minute to refill a drink:
  "Your phone went off."
  "Oh, cool!"

Saturday morning coffee conversations are fabulous to people watch, which is what literature majors do for a living.  We make connections and understand what is not explicitly stated; this morning, I understood the solidity of the Midwest.  We understand purpose in seasons and order in what has happened as well as what is to come.  We are neither crippled by the past nor floundering while we wait for the future.  We are here and now, and friendships are paramount.  I'll drink some coffee to that.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Seven boxes of G.S.C.

There are 7 days in a week.
Seven is a prime number, a Lucas number and a Mersenne prime.
There are 7 deadly sins.
If you play water polo, there are seven players on your team.
We have what you would call the 7 wonders of the world.
And, let us not forget the 7 dwarves.

And, do you know what trumps those all?  I got SEVEN free boxes of Girl Scout cookies sittin' and lookin' pretty on my pantry shelves.

And that sweet little bundle included a free gallon of ice cream.

Happy weekend, everyone.  Bring the milk and come on over!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I shall whisper this to you and "How to Be More Tree-like"

I debated about "tree-esque" for the title.  That didn't seem to work well.  But that's neither here-nor-there.  Unless you're counting the title as a "there;" in that case, it is (right up) there.

So the Younger thinks that Mommy always has cold hands.  And she's spreading these rumors around her inner circles, e.g. to her pre-school teacher.  Apparently, when said teacher was helping hold her on the potty last week and apologized for having cold hands, the Younger leaned forward in a conspiratorial way (let's make this was emphasized to me this way and I find it to be hilarious) and whispered "Mommy's hands are always cold."  Vile rumors. 

Maybe there's a shred of truth. 

Seriously, what's the point of having young children (who either aren't strong enough or not dexterous enough to fight back with any authority) if you can't touch their delicious bare baby skin, which serves the purpose of both warming your own hands (because they're always WARM even when running around like little nudists) and fulfilling your sensory deprivation for soft things.  I might be the only mother of two high schoolers who still tries to find that soft, soft skin to our children's utter embarrassment.  IT'S SO PERFECT AND DELICIOUS AND UNACCOUNTABLY PERFECT! 

Having two little people with downy soft skin is the only way that I can withstand the pleading, liquid eyes of puppies and kittens.

I have spent too long waxing poetic on the merits of what every adult probably already knows, and like a veritable fool, I always seem to drain my computer's battery willy-nilly the night before my coffeeshoptimeallformeallforme, so the rest of this might need to be quick.  Read: I don't want to have to scout out an outlet since someone's usurped my sweet cushy chair corner.  (Actually, it would mean that I have to shift over one table and plug in.  A sacrifice that no one should make since that requires moving one table closer to the door and it's cold outside.)

So it turns out that a concerning bit of discomfort/tenderness is nothing more than "fibrous tissue."  Hello you-are-what-you-eat.  (I jest, but as I'm typing this, Simon & Garfunkel's "I am a Rock" is playing over the coffee shop's music system, specifically the refrain: I am a rock, I am an island.  Well, I am a tree, too.)

I keep thinking of that phrase, "fibrous tissue," and envisioning trees.  Who's with me here...?

And friend, I knew that this was a likelihood going into my appointment, but still, how does one avoid the inevitable "But what if it is..." conversations that run through your mind in the week between when you make the appointment and when you actually hear the words? 

Here's what I came up with when my first thought was the default "I have cancer, and how are we going to deal with it?"  My kids are my NUMBER ONE right now for why I would fight a cancer diagnosis.  The boy is NUMBER TWO.  And someday, that ranking will be reversed, but for right now, that's the way it is.  And that right there is just about my every reason for why I would fight a devastating diagnosis, and those two reasons are enough for me to fight hard.  But, here's my moment of honesty, a blip-scare such as this resulted in a complete feeling of peace that it would be okay.  My girls and the boy would be okay.  Should a diagnosis be despair upon devastating, I feel that I would be calm about that outlook.  I would plead with my God for miraculous healing but would do as I did this week.  I prayed and prayed often for calm in the face of whatever the outcome should be.  God has my life firmly in his hands and heart.  He knows, and that is enough for me. 

So in the interim, I'll just go on being a tree.  Because how amazing is that?  I felt like the happiest tree in town yesterday afternoon.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Perfect, perfect brownie edges

My job is one of spurts of frenetic grading interspersed with long lulls with nary an email to answer.  I'm in one of the valleys right now (note the slight uptick in posts lately), and this allows me to do things like make brownies (good) and read books about the New England Patriots (slogging at best, dreadful at worst). 

So let's talk about my brownies, first.  I've never done this before, but HEY, I'M HERE ALL BY MYSELF WITH A KID WHO GETS MAD AT ME WHEN I DON'T DO SOMETHING EXACTLY HER WAY EVEN THOUGH SHE NEVER TOLD ME WHAT SHE WANTS FIRST.  Sometimes, that's frustrating. 

Here's the thing; obviously, I've made brownies before.  (Oh, yes.  We're well acquainted, we are.)  But I've never massacred them as I'm bound and determined to do right this very afternoon. 

Edges first.  Only the edges.  And all of the corners.

Then I'll be all good and done and let the others take their nambsy-mambsy one-piece-at-a-time tactic.  I don't understand that self-control.

(Right now, I'm 50% into my attack.  It's truly something to enjoy and savor.)

(Frankly, I'm mostly excited about the freedom of mutilating a fresh pan of brownies.)

I'm also rather trying to avoid going back to the book that I have to read but don't want to admit I'm reading.  Hmm...perfect, warm brownie edges or reading about scum spawn. 

Hand me a fork!

Monday, March 16, 2015

A little bit of sticky rice makes the shattered glass go away

The weekend was fun, then same old-same old, then a Debbie Downer, then thankheavensnoonewasinthekitchen, then SUSHI and the weekend ended on a high note.

It started with the Elder meeting me in tears at the end of the school day Friday when I came to pick her up.  High fever, sneezing, a bad headache, and tears.  This was about 45 minutes before I was supposed to ditch the kids with the boy for a night on the TOWN (e.g. a dinner with faculty members which ended with a gourmet popcorn bar and me filling up the rest of my bag with brownies and key lime cheesecake squares...the "mommy purse" holds lots of those).  There were a tense couple of minutes on a texting-turned-phone conversation with the boy that sounded a whole lot like Her-fever-is-really-high-and-she-doesn't-want-to-move-can-you-come-home-early-well-maybe-by-4:45-no-that's-too-late-alright-she'll-have-to-suck-it-up.  And she did, like a champ (with more tears, not that I blame her).  The child-swap transition went well, and it was just me, the open road, some (loud) music, and...a 4-car pile-up on the highway.  I tell you what, that made me calm myself down, real quick like.

The rest of the night went swimmingly (Did I mention the brownies and the key lime cheesecake squares?  Copious amounts of them?), and I made two new friends (whoodalolly!).

But all of that put me in a better frame of mind for a drizzly Saturday with the sick-one and the squirt.  So we went on a special mission to buy a new toy for each.  And, the Elder didn't figure out that I broke my "$5/kid" rule and helped out a bit more with the Younger's sweet waffle-maker toy.  (Sidenote:  I've had at least half a dozen waffles served to me thus far, including one in bed this morning.  Oh, snap.)

Then the boy came home a bit earlier than expected, and I do love me some alone time with my clean laundry. 

But the sick one also means that I ended up with more confinement on Sunday morning, but when my kids aren't feeling well, it means all sorts of squirming-snuggling-reading time.  Reading with the squiddgles...sigh.  And since there was no vomit involved with anyone, do believe me: That was a happy sigh.

And then I blew up a glass 8x8 pan.  (Sidenote: I hear someone mowing their yard right now.  That is most definitely the sound of a lawn mower.  Some people...)  So, there were sharp shards of glass l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y everywhere in my kitchen, but somehow, no one was in the kitchen when my salted caramel blondies turned into flying shrapnel.  And while I'm on the topic, can we have a moment of silence for the gorgeous pan of the aforementioned salted caramel blondies that were only about 25% enjoyed.  They were so unfulfilled.  And they just got dumped in the trash as if they were moldy leftovers.  I won't mince words here: There was definitely some residual longing for those chewy gems all night. 

But that unfortunate moment ended with SUSHI, and if you ever want to see someone milk something for all it's worth, just feed the boy SUSHI.  He was having a moment (and then some).  Perhaps, he wanted to enjoy his $15 worth of raw fish and rice.  I, however, just want to follow up bite after delicious-y chop-sticked bite with no interruption.  And I accept it for what it is when it's all done.  Perhaps

There's just something about seeing your credit card statement at an all time low right after getting your gaudy tax refund stashed safely back in your bank account that makes you want to go and drop $30 on a few bits of sticky rice. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Turn the radio up

I very much dig driving by myself.  I dig sunny days and cruise control.  And I definitely dig blasting the music as LOUDLY as I want.  Darn it.

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled my little fuel efficient car into a gas station with jammin' DMB rocking my insular driver's seat.  It's one thing to bop your way down the highway, but it's quite another to have the elderly folk casting furtive glances your way. 

There's nothing about your car that says "young 20-something," so turn it down, already!  I'm trying to pump my $75 worth of gas over here, you mid-life crisis woman, you!

At least that's what I imagine an old, crotchety dude would say.

Regardless of gas station etiquette, I say "Jam on, my friends!  Find some groovy tunes and drive!"

(I also say find some good coffee to take along for that journey, but to each her own, right?)

This I know: I will jam to my music all rock concert style at a stoplight, and I don't care anymore.  I invite you to join me in my jams, soccer mom in the mini van.  Please, sing along, real estate agent guy in the white Nissan sedan.  It's alllll good. 

By the way, I also say "Three cheers to the boy who always steps up for girl wrangling, even when one comes down unexpectedly with a high temp and tear-inducing case of the crummies at the end of a long work week while I keep my date elsewhere.  Props to you."

Jam on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Let's just take a moment to ponder this...

We snuggle a lot on the couch after school when it's just me with the girls.  We read a lot of books, go over the daily school work barrage, normal stuff all.  Yesterday, Squiddgle the Younger hopped off the couch after one of these squirm fests (otherwise known as "how long will Mommy sit here before she feels honest-to-goodness claustrophobia?") and was toodling around doing whatever on the rug in front of us. 

Me (talking to the Younger):  "Abby, you have 'green day' Thursday."
Abby:  "You mean Audrey."
Me:  "Yeah, whichever one she is."
Abby:  "You mean 'the spare'." 

Yes.  That is exactly what I do (not) mean.  "The Spare."  Where in the what did she get that one? 

If there's one thing Squiddgle the Elder is well aware of is her status as Elder-cum-Supreme-Ruler-of-All-Things-Kid.  The Spare will be a great encourager and leader by support.  She has little choice around here.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Another one of those transition days

Hey there sweet cheeks...'re looking all sugar-ly today!

Our youngest daughter has never had a wealth of hair but just enough.  She's fully 2 3/4 years old, and we're just now rocking some pigtails.  Genetics are strong with this one, too, and her hair is slippery as silk, so they're somewhat mobile piggies.  But she's excited about her new look and sits still like a champ every time.

And because today was the semi-annual Daylight Savings Time change, we figured go big or tuck your tails between your legs and hide in the closet.  So, we did this:

We changed the crib out for a I-can-get-out-whenever-I-darn-well-feel-like-it bed.  Earlier, she was looking like this...

...but right now it's sounding more like I have no intentions of doing anything like sleeping, suckers

And we're hedging a lot of the tot's ability to  identify the number "6" on the left of her digital clock in the morning middle of the night.  I'm telling you, it's all fun and games until the sun goes down around here. 

In other news, my favorite coffee is AWOL on back order, I'm getting my mint tea vibe on, I'm working my way through a handful of junk books, and I'm coming down off of a grading spree on the last dregs of my favorite coffee.  Fun and games 'till the sun goes down...

Monday, March 2, 2015

When Q and U join hearts and hands

It's been a few days since I've found myself staring at this blank screen.  Kids got sick.  The boy decided he should jump on that train.  There was some bad news on my side of the family.  It snowed bucketfuls on March-c'mon now-1st.  There's always more that cages my blogging mojo, but most of it falls under the tedium of domesticity.  And really now, who wants to hear about the never ending saga of our dishwashers?  Fortunately, my personal live-in dishwasher boy (which doesn't sound nearly as sassy as "pool boy") hasn't broken down yet.

But I'm here today to report on a "joyous" event that I was "fortunate" to take part in: Q and U got married.  Oh yes, they did.  According to the "letter of the law," that's legal in this state. 

Apparently, Kindergarten is all about shenanigans, including putting on a "quaint" (get it...get it?) little Q-U wedding.  Oh, to be a wedding planner for this shindig.
*The boys were the "quarterbacks" and the girls were the "queens."
*There was a ringbearer and a flower girl, a best man and a bridesmaid, and two ushers.
*There was wedding music.
*There were programs.
*Invitations were sent out--handwritten, nonetheless.
*Family was invited to witness the proceedings.
*There were honest-to-goodness, I-can't-believe-they-did-this wedding decorations.
*The principal officiated.
*The bride & the groom recited VOWS.  (Sidenote: They were both really into their parts, talking into the microphone and saying their lines.)
*The entire Kindergarten sang some schmaltzy song about "from this day on" and "together forever" and "joined as one" about Q & U.  (Sidenote again: They haven't played Scrabble with me.  I'll throw a "qi" down on all of 'em.)
*There was a reception afterwards with cookies and lemonade.
*The bride and the groom walked out with Q-tips tossed at them like rice.

It was so bizarre.  And over the top.  And kinda cute.  And kinda weird.  I'm still processing, here!

It's too bad there was no dancing...that could have "quickly" become hilarious.  (Have you ever seen a Kindergartener dance?  Then get 50 of those little buggers together...HI-larious.)  And there was no word on any honeymoon plans.  I also didn't have to bring a gift and try to figure that out since there was no gift registry.  So that's a plus. 

But still, I wish that there had been dancing...