Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dear Abby

No, not me, that other one...

My husband's evil stepmother (his title for her, not mine... well...) has, for YEARS given me a pleasant desktop calendar for Christmas. For YEARS, I used it on my desk at work. I would write down meetings and other appointments in there, not so much for me, but for coworkers who came a-looking for me.

There it would sit with my scheduled commitments written out for all to see. So if someone came by my cubicle wanting to talk to me about something, they would know if I was in a meeting or something, and the approximate time when I would return. If nothing was written in the pleasant desk top calendar and I wasn't there, it was safe to assume that I was just roaming the building or hiding in the bathroom or something and would probably return relatively soon.

I haven't had a desk job in over 12 years.

Still, the calendars arrive. I give them away.

I got another pleasing desk calendar from the stepmotherinlaw this Christmas. I will give it away.

My question is: Do I ask her to stop sending them? Or is it too late for that? If I do make the request, will it dawn on her that I've not used the pleasant desktop calendars for the last 12 years?

Before answering, perhaps I should provide some background info on the stepmotherinlaw. She is not exactly the sweet little old lady type. No, not at all. Seen the movie "Devil Wears Prada?" Remember Meryl Streep's character? That's similar to my stepmotherinlaw, only not as extreme. Really.

I would bet money, cash MONEY, that her coworkers, particularly the underlings, speak about her behind her back - instant messaging each other and such similar to the way as in "DWP". In fact, my husband has had it documented that certain neighbors have done such things. And there's some evidence of connection to Nazi's, but really, I just don't want to go there...

ANYWAY, in addition, I think it's safe to say that she's never really understood my leaving a perfectly good title and profession to be a LOWLY stay-at-home-mom. Perhaps the pleasant desk calendars are her form of denial.

What would you do?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


On Saturday, we went to the mall.

YES, we braved the day-after-Christmas crowds and hit it. Of course, we wouldn't get the full drama of it if we didn't experience the mall food court, so that's exactly what we did.

Lunchtimish, day after Christmas, mall food court. We were sitting there amongst the throngs eating various things. Meego had a large plate of Japanese something-or-other, and once he'd eaten his fill, the vultures (a.k.a. Chaco and Wolfgang) swooped in to lick his plate clean.

I just nonchalantly happened to note, "all those dishes on the steam table taste the same like there's just one big wok in the back and then the workers fill up different compartments."

Both Chaco and Wolfgang stopped mid-chow and gave me quizzical looks.

"No they don't", was the concensus as the quizzical looks persisted.

"Yeah, they all just sort of swim around in that same saucy stuff and...", I could tell this was sounding like I was some sort of alien. Then Magnum cleared things up.

"Mom doesn't have smell buds, so she doesn't taste anything either. Sense of taste and smell are related".

Okay, so that didn't really clear things up. I was sure they knew the story of how I somehow left my sense of smell on the delivery table when I gave birth to Wolfgang, but apparently not.

They were absolutely astounded to learn this.

"You never told us that!", Wolfgang stated, wide-eyed, lips glistening with one-sauce-fits-all.

"Well...", I explained, "I can smell SOME things. Burning diesel fuel is somewhat noticeable".

That didn't really help either. I told them how I even asked my ob/gyn about this strange phenomenon at my 6-month post Wolfgang checkup.

"Pffft, beats me", was her educated opinion. "Maybe it's Nature helping you out since you have two in diapers now". Worked for me.

I've heard of similar things happening. I have a friend who suddenly became allergic to dogs after having kids. Another friend lost 3 teeth. I have a dog, a cat, and my teeth are all pretty well rooted. I don't really mind that all of the food at King's Wok tastes the same. The kids thought this a bit of a travesty though.

"You mean, you can't smell it when you make corned beef and cabbage - the way the whole house smells like it, even the basement?" Wolfgang asked forlornly.

"Uhm... no, not really". This seemed to make them sad, so I added, "Well, I can kinda smell bacon! OH, and dog breath! I don't really smell it, but there's the sensation of it in a gag reflex kind of way!"

This cheered them up somewhat.

Their mother could sense dogbreath and bacon. Things were okay with the world.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Hmmm.... anything special happen this past week? Well, there WAS that Christmas thing...

Yes, a special week it was. I'm still basking in the afterglow. It was a low-key Christmas day this year, much like our low-key Thanksgiving.

For one thing, I'm thankful that we are able to have the financial side of Christmas. Magnum and I don't fuss over the getting of stuff, but do like to get special things for the kids since we're total tightwads with them the whole rest of the year (probably according to them anyway).

On that note, it's been a good year for me workwise, being able to contribute more to the kitty.

Continuing with the materialistic theme... the kids - particularly Chaco - are lobbying heavily for a new TV, pointing out the great deals out there right now. Yesterday, during one such pitch, Chaco enticed me by noting that we could mount the new TV on the wall, thus being able to move the old TV, currently on a stand. "We could get rid of the old TV stand, and you could VACUUM!" He knows me and my love of dust bunny annihilation all too well. I nearly bought the TV right then and there.

The kids have a small humidifier in their room. It began dying a noisy death on Christmas eve - as if it's not hard enough to sleep on that night anyway. Between the cooking of the Christmas ham and scalloped potatoes, I managed to tenderly bring the dying humidifier back to life. Nothing like some good machine surgery to bring about some yuletide peace.

Some readers here may remember our traditional Escape-to-the-Yurt! Christmas trips. Well, yurts aren't exactly erected in easily accessible areas, particularly under winter conditions. After a couple of years of having our Yurtness spoiled by bad weather, we don't reserve one anymore. I made the suggestion the other night that we should simulate the yurt experience during our break, so we've scheduled a "no electronics" day or two for next week. That should be fun. Right? Shouldn't it be? It will, won't it??


Friday, December 25, 2009

living large

Merry Christmas to all of my blog friends!

Here's our little blue spruce all.... er... spruced up for the occassion.

And I think the rest of the festivities of the day are declared a success. A low-key holiday around here so far, and everyone is in a holiday state of contentment.

After anxiously awaiting the morning, Chaco is now anxiously awaiting the night to try out the new night vision scope (note: I want to try it too).

Wolfgang has now proudly proclaimed that he has the best cell phone in the family (note: this is true, but really, it wouldn't take much to acquire that position).

Meego has retired to a corner of the Man Cave to spend quality time with the Legos (note: I want to play with the bus).

Even the cat is festively sparring with some Christmas trash. The dog is, however, clueless as always.

Magnum has been spying things with his new binoculars. I think we could spot stranded hikers on Pikes Peak if necessary. These things are huge, though. It's like "Mr. Magoo Goes Stargazing" or something. I mean, look!

Okay, this post is seriously starting to have a pornographic feel to it now...


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

it was a pizza mash

The latest winter storm is moving through and we are amply stocked with life's necessities.

I made an intrepid invasion to wal-farts yesterday, mandating beforehand that it would be my last such invasion until well after Christmas. The place can be ugly around Christmastime.

So I got us well stocked with food and shampoo and cat litter (life's necessities), and returned home to find I would have to get creative with the fridge packing. The leftovers were making their presence known, so it would be another famous clean-out-the-fridge dinner.

When this happens, I sometimes become divinely inspired and combine the leftover morsels into some nicely packaged regifted meal. Just wasn't feeling it yesterday, though.

Even now as I think about it, leftover pizza with leftoever mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy does not sound appetizing. Martha Stewart would probably declare that this is NOT living.

All I know is that this utilitarian meal was satisfyingly consumed and so far, everyone who partook has lived to eat another day.

I don't plan on serving it again, though.

Monday, December 21, 2009

the twee

So here's Christmas Tree Oh Nine. Isn't she cute? We adopted her Saturday and she seems to be taking nicely to her surroundings.

She has yet to meet the dog, though.

We expect her to sleep all through Christmas and beyond. This tradition with the live Christmas trees started many Christmases ago. I don't even remember, but I guess we just decided to get a tree that would go on top of a table and be out of little kid reach.

Now the "little kids" are the ones who hang the lights on the house.

The trees are later planted somewhere in the yard. I really wonder how our trees are doing at the houses we no longer live at.

This tree be a dwarf blue spruce. I think. I don't remember if we went for the regular or the dwarf and I don't feel like going out into the cold garage to check it right now.

Anyway, we've got the tree. The decorations are up. My shopping's done. Cards are mailed.

It can be Christmas now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Another lovely week has been entered into the books...

Got our Christmas tree yesterday. I've mentioned here before that we traditionally get a small still-in-the-pot evergreen each Christmas and then plant it in the yard later. This year, it's a cute little baby blue spruce. Shhhh.... it's sleeping in the garage.

The kids had their last week of school before winter break this past week. It was finals week for the high schoolers. Chaco and Wolfgang say they think they did well on the things. We will soon find out if reality matches.

I've taken the last few weeks off from work. I'm thankful that I have such flexibility in my job. I'm starting to notice that I miss it though, and that's something to be thankful for too. I've got a class scheduled to start up in a couple of weeks - fresh out of the gate for the New Year. A gala it certainly will be.

So, we are pretty much on break-time status, which is temporarily a nice thing. I'm thankful for couch-potatoes and sleeping cats - not necessarily mutually exclusive items.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

party on

<--I hereby present... the yema ball.

Yes, Wolfgang and I had yema ball success. I found a recipe that looked pretty easy, plus it even had a video to go with it. The guy making the yema balls in the video spoke tagalog, but was easy enough to follow anyway. It kinda went like:

"tagong bakong abonga chonga egg yolk... bonbaga chonga konga mongalonga condense milk..." and so on.

Anyway, our yema balls came out looking just like the ones in the video, so I assume they tasted like they were supposed to taste.

And I will say this... I am NOT a fan. yucko. But, to each his own. Wolfgang brought them to his party and claimed that some people really liked them. I think they are like egg nog in the way that people either love it or hate it.

Meego's class had its holiday party yesterday morning, so I attended that. Yes, the school has a new party policy this year - having parties at the start of the day rather than at the end of the day. I guess the thinking is that they will get the parties out of the way, then the kids can move back to learning stuff.


Oh well, a party's a party and it was typical 4th grade fun. And it felt quite sporting to leave the sugared up kids with their teachers for the remainder of the day.

Some classrooms really got into the party-in-the-morning theme. One classroom had bacon and eggs while another had gingerbread pancakes. Meego's party had neither of these, but we figured that party moms are eligible to crash other classrooms' parties.

Now, we've two and a half weeks of winter break fun ahead of us. Little icicles formed on my eyelashes this morning when I went out to run. How fitting.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Yema balls.

I'm supposed to make Yema balls today. Or at least get them started.

What the Francis are Yema balls??

Apparently, they are some sort of Filipino dessert/cookie thing. Wolfgang said he was bringing them to his "International" party tomorrow. Enter mom-makes-yema-balls request.

He found a recipe online. I searched and found several others. No two match. Dang yema balls.

I will attempt something. Probably an amalgamation of various yema ball recipes. I mean, who's gonna know if they turned out right or not? Yema balls?

IN other news, remember my cute little iPod shuffle? I took it for it's first run today. Oh, so fun! So light! Now the thing with it is, it's so tiny, that there are no controls other than off/on/play/shuffle on the little unit. Volume control and skip/pause are on this little switch attached to the wire of the earbuds.

So I'm on my iPod run, and I go to decrease the volume and some point. Well, nothing changed. I'm like clicking away on that little control and nothing. I try "pause", nothing. It worked fine earlier on the various little test drives.

I'm trying it now, and the pause/skip works, but still no volume control. I think maybe it gets saturated with perspiration, and this perspiration saturation renders it useless? Anyone else have this problem??

updateness: I searched online (how did we get anything done before the internet??) and yes, apprently this is a sweat-gets-into-the-controller problem. Teflon tape anyone?

Other than that, I love it.

IN other news, Meego still wants a baby. What I thought was just a passing phase is still here. Maybe we should start "the talk".

Yema balls should be easier.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

smell like I sound

The following post is somewhat in response to Beej's many "What Did Dirty Larry Bring Me" episodes...

It seems that I'm beginning my emergence out of the dark ages. Looky what Magnum got me!

Yes, it's a precious little iPod shuffle.

I've mentioned here before that I didn't own such a thing. I'm not really the ubiquitous earbud type, and when I do listen to fed-straight-into-the-ears tunes, it's just when I'm using my treadmill.

But finally, FINALLY, Magnum's frequent flyer miles were worth something. Rather than just offering airplane tickets to someplace we weren't going to anyways (because we've got three kids that we would then have to cough up money for plane tickets for in addition, and who really wants to spend that money and travel on an airplane with three kids?), they've started offering other sweet treasures.

Such as my brand new precious iPod shuffle. And that's not all. Magnum got himself some sweet new binoculars too.

Just got it last night, so haven't used it yet. As usual, I plan to just use it on the treadmill. I'll be a downloading fool today.

I think it goes lovely with the loufah that Magnum scarfed from that hotel room for me.

And no, this is not a Christmas present so yes, I can have it NOW.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday! I have much to be happy about.

For starters, my thermometer says "42". No, not "4.2", not "-4.2", but a whopping FORTY-TWO above zero! It feels like the Bahamas.

Okay, enough of the boring meteorological updates...

It was a good week. We had that blustery coldness, but that was actually kind of fun. Kids got a snow day and a delayed start out of it. The count now stands at 4 snowdays used up for this year. The schedule allows for 6. 2/3 down and it's only mid-December.

It was also quite productive. I was way behind on some of our financial mumbo jumbo - just one of the many hats I wear around here: financial mumbo jumbo person - and I'm glad to say that it's almost all caught up now. Much crunching of numbers.

On that note, I'm thankful that we have some decent numbers to crunch in these "tough economic times".

In other productivity news, My Christmas Shopping Is DONE! Can you believe it? Neither can I! Now, about those decorations....

In movie watching updates, we saw the latest Star Trek movie. I'm not a Trekkie. I'm not even really a Science a-Fictionado. Magnum and the kids liked it, though. I slept a bit and wondered why Uhura was often dressed in clothing that was 2 or more sizes too small. Eric Bana as the vengeful, tattooed, bad boy, Romulan, Nero was HOT, though.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Years ago, I ran a childcare in my home. Just prior to doing that, I went to the state required run-a-childcare-out-of-your-home school.

This was nice, just a few training classes for a few evenings. I met some nice ladies there. What's not to like about a run-a-childcare-out-of-your-home lady? I have yet to meet one that I didn't like.

Anyway, I learned many useful things there regarding the care and feeding of other people's children. Did you know that a caregiver is only really allowed to carry, at most, two babies at a time? Particularly if running? What would you do in case of a fire? And you have more than two babies? Ever think about THAT?

I hung up my home childcare hat a while ago, but one tip that has remained with me is the art of ventilating the home EVERY day. Yes, it is highly recommended that we open windows, preferrably all windows, of the house for at least 30 minutes a day. This keeps the inside air fresh as opposed to just recirculating the old, stale, kiddie-germ infected air, and helps keep the house from becoming a very large petri dish. Do you do that cover-windows-with-ugly-plastic-and-smooth-it-with-the-blowdryer each winter? STOP!

To this day, I open the windows - north, south, east, west - for at least 30 minutes a day.

Yes, even when the temperatures are in the single digits. (Note: you should turn off your thermostat during this ventilation time, to prevent your furnace from trying to heat the entire neighborhood).

Since we and many in the rest of the country are currently in the deep freeze, it is more noticeable when I do this ventilation ritual. Actually, I typically do it when I leave the house and everyone else is at work or school.

Tuesday was a major freeze day as well as a snow day off from school. Everybody but Magnum was home, shunning the outdoors. Nonetheless, I ventilated. Oh, how I ventilated.

I opened the windows and let the screaming wind have it's way with us. No one really freaked out too much. I think they were all on a snowday high. Eventually, however, it started to become noticeable.

Cover was sought, blankets were wrapped, thermostat was consulted.

"When it drops below 55, buy!", I directed.

The huddling continued.

Ultimately, we did reach 55 degrees. I gave the signal, and there was a mass frenzy of window slamming. One window revolted however. Snow had blown in and had gotten icy and prevented the shutting of said window.

After some struggle, I got it closed. "HA HA, that would be funny if we couldn't shut it until spring!"


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

a struggle ensued

We're having us a snowday today and, baby, it's COLD outside. Remember that snow on Sunday? It's still here and it invited a bunch of friends to come over too. My thermometer reads a whopping "1". Up from the zero a few minutes ago. Is it a warming trend?

With this snowday, that makes for three snowdays on the school year and two delayed starts. It's only December 8! If this keeps up, they'll still be going to school in July (cool!).

I like snowdays, though... the cozy deprivation they provide.

We must struggle more in a winter storm. It's a struggle to go outside. It's a struggle to drive. My garage door is refusing to fully open. It opens just enough to squeeze the cars underneath, as if it's saying, "not doing any more than I hafta!"

Yesterday was cold too, but not quite as snowy. I struggled a bit with the garage door. Then I struggled to get gas for the car. Then I struggled to get groceries.

It helps that I'm currently reading "The Coldest March" It puts things in perspective. If their struggles are infinity, mine are about a 3.

Later yesterday afternoon, I took China the crazy dog out for her customary walk. Yes, it was cold, but she has fur and looks forward to our walks. We don't go that far. Even so, about halfway through the walk, she turned and looked at me as if to say, "Why are we out here again?"

Maybe I should introduce her to the stories in the book. She's not pulling any supplies, and I don't plan on eating her when she's of no more use to me.

Be glad.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Sunday... Snowy Sunday. Certainly better than bloody Sunday.

Yes, we have snow. Fluffy, pretty, fluffy snow. I know because I went outside this morning to get the newspaper. I searched around, to no avail, like a ski patroler seeking an avalanche victim. Then I came back inside and called the newspaper people. Their recording said, "we have snow" (paraphrasing).

It's been a lovely week. Everyone went back to work and school after our slothful Thanksgiving week. I, however, had the week off from teaching and got totally caught up on stuff that's gone by the wayside as of late... okay, maybe not "totally", but who is really ever totally caught up, I ask!

The pantry is pretty well stocked, the house is SEMI clean, we ate SEMI real dinners... Even the car is happy with a fresh lube and oil change. AAAaaaaaaaaahhhhh....

AND I spent time on one of my favorite hobbies - that of PURGING! No, not in a bulimic way or in a colonoscopic way, but in a get-rid-of-clutter way. I got rid of some old frump clothing, some no-longer-useful books, some worn out shoes, etc. I highly recommend it.

Magnum and I once again came out winners in the crapshoot of DVD watching. I selected The Lucky Ones purely on a whim because I was in a hurry and thought it had possibilities, although I had never ever never heard of it. It was REALLY good! Just one of those plotless movies that can really stay with you. Go see!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

oh, here we go

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, there was that Thanksgiving feast thing at the elementary school. I mostly served up stuffing and gravy, but was allowed to go eat with Meego during his feasting time.

Honestly, I may not have even gone if not for the hash slinging duty. I mean, the food's good and all, but bottom line, you're still eating in an elementary school cafeteria. My ears were honestly ringing afterwards, like I'd attended a rock concert. And Meego gets more of a kick out of me pulling lunch lady duty than me actually sitting and eating with him. But sit and eat with him I did.

Now these are 4th graders. Nine or ten years old. A good bulk of the conversation of those whose parents were not in attendance centered around the various "relationships" in this soap opera that is 4th grade.

Who's "dating" who. Who's broken up because of who was "cheating" with whom. Who is broken up over the break up. Etc., etc. All this and the noise level did not make for healthy digestion.

"La la la, one-two-three, la la la...." I offered while plugging my ears with my fingers and looking at the ceiling - wanting to provide a mature example. All to no avail as the drama continued.

This was mostly girl-talk, and the boys who were sitting nearby would involuntarily get roped in. Try as they might to change the subject, those girls were on a roll.

One girl sitting next to me, Lea, pretty much ignored the others. Lea is a neighbor of ours and has been friends with Meego since first grade. She's cute and precocious for her mere 9 years. She and Meego spend a lot of time together at school as they both go to the TAG reading and math teacher in addition to being in the same class.

Lea often walks home with us as she lives right around the corner. I notice that Meego acts a little differently around Lea than he does around his manly guy friends. More "chivalrous" is the best way to describe it.

A few days ago, I overheard Lea tell Meego that a classmate, Olive, liked Meego. Meego said nothing in response and Lea made an additional statement to confirm the first. Then Meego made a comment about Olive that was not what I would call slanderous, but was a round about declaration that he did not have mutual feelings for Olive. (I will note that Olive wore a rockin' Laura Croft costume for the Halloween party!)

Lea dropped the subject of Olive and commenced to inviting Meego to her house to play racecar video games. The two of them continued off into the sunset, seemingly oblivious of me.

"La la la, one-two-three, la la la...."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I realized a while back that there are some accents I just don't like. It doesn't matter what the person is saying, the voice, the accent, make it stop!

I'm not sure why this is. Does it make me prejudiced in some way?

(Okay, this blog post is a bit of a confession..)

For instance, I realized I do not like James Dobson's voice. His accent. James Dobson - he's that Focus on the Family guy. Focus on the Family is based here in Colorado Springs. Some people don't like James Dobson. They say he should just Focus on his own D*mn Family! I don't really care, let him have his ministry. I just can't stand his VOICE!

His voice comes on the radio every now and then. ACK, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me! Seriously, if I were to be tortured, just turn on non-stop James Dobson and I'll spill everything!

What really bugs me? It's the way he pronounces words that end in "-ive" by pronouncing it "-eev". Like "active", he says "acteev". Isn't that grating?! I know!

He might have some good advice, but I just can't deal.

On the other hand, take the Aussie accent. On Sunday I was out running and I literally ran into a bunch of people playing, of all things, rugby. What? Rugby, yeah, that's what I said. Really, there must've been about 100 people in this rugby madness.

In the midst of it all, I heard a few Aussie accents here and there: "All Rot, mates...", "Avery wone get a tay shut?", etc...

The Aussie accent has a rather playful sound. Sounds like beer during high school.

I wanted a tay shut.