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Showing posts from 2012

Hurricanes blow -- unless they get a cool name like "Frankenstorm"

Here I sit, on day 3 of waiting, preparing, and hunkering down for Hurricane Sandy. I ran all around on Friday and Saturday, buying necessities (and non-necessities), filling up gas tanks, and spending way too much money in preparation for this "biggest storm in recorded history" to hit the East Coast. (Note to political candidates: How about an unprecedented natural disaster to momentarily spur the economy?) Schools and offices are closed today and tomorrow, as are all the major roadways in my teeny little state of Delaware. I just turned off the television news when I saw that not only is this storm "starting her turn" into the east coast, but she's picking up force -- and heading straight for my neighborhood. The eye is supposed to pass over us this evening; right now it's a Category 1.

So of course I am compulsively baking (and eating), my children are acting like caged chimps, my cats are trying to climb into my mouth for safety, and my husband is sitt…

Things I learned on jury duty

Fellow citizens, this week I did something we all dread and complain about: I served in the jury pool in my county's Superior Court. I did not get selected to a jury, but it was touch-and-go close for a while. The experience was not excruciating -- in fact, it was fairly interesting to be inside the justice system -- but I tell you what, I don't really want to do it too often.

I learned a some important things, however, from my few hours hanging around in The Pool. Take notes now because you won't be able to look at this on your smartphone when you're called to serve...nor will you be able to text or call or e-mail me. For a whole day. Because cell phones are not allowed. (I know, right? That got your attention...you're freaking out already.)

(1) The #1 most critical aspect of jury duty is parking. No joke. When you receive the summons, you'll notice the mention of parking and paying for parking at least twice on each side of the paper. Then when you call for i…

A new friend

Zippy had to accompany me to my eye exam today. Which made me quite nervous. He's not great at entertaining himself, unless it's by doing something mischievous or dangerous. He's not a bad kid, but he's curious and adventurous -- not often content to sit and play or color alone, preferring instead to climb a bookshelf or jump off beds or plan in the sink. Imagine all the implements and solutions and expensive equipment he could destroy here at the eye doctor!

But today at Dr. Steinbach's office, I was reminded of two things that I've learned with Kid Two that I didn't fully grasp with Kid One: First, it's okay to accept help when it's offered. And second, it's okay if my 2-year-old acts like a 2-year-old in public.

The half-hour we spent there went down like this:

The receptionist and assistant persuade me to leave Zippy with them in the waiting area, convincing me that they "do this all the time." It's a hard sell, because in my h…

Days like this, mama said

I know you don't really have time to read this, my fellow adventurers, because I sure as heck don't have time to write it. After all, it's September, and with September comes school and activities and obligations and all that rush-rush-rush-we're-having-fun stuff.

Consider today's schedule, for example:

5:00 am: Wake up, sort of.

5:30 am: YMCA workout; chat quickly with friend; freak out a bit when I realize I forgot flip-flops for shower; wash, dress, put on make-up, sort of.

7:30 am: Get to work, eat oatmeal, make coffee for everyone who arrives an hour or more after me.

9:30 am: Finally make it through the 52 urgent e-mails in my inbox that arrived overnight; respond to some, put off others.

10:00 to 3:45 pm: Work feverishly on my professional to-do list, without really accomplishing much besides adding more to my to-do list, and gulping down a ham sandwich at my desk between meetings.

4:30 pm: Pick up Zippy from day care; apologize (again) to his friend's m…

That time Mommy had to nip a little vodka before back-to-school night

I may have mentioned it here before, but my children can go from zero to jackass in 3.2 seconds. One moment I'm awed by their gentleness, cuddliness, and compassion; the next moment I'm horrified by their brutality, meanness, and complete disregard for the safety of their bodies.

In general, the moments between 4:00 and 6:00 pm are the most volatile with these two, when they're tired and hungry and seeking attention. Ironically, this is the brief window of time that I get to spend with my children during weekdays. And it's also the brief window of time in which homework has to be completed, piano needs to be practiced, snacks need to be doled out and eaten, and clothes have to be changed for whatever activity inevitably comes next. Of course this is also the time during which I scramble around the kitchen attempting to create some sort of meal-like substance to fill their bellies. 
Inevitably there is a meltdown of one, two, or three people in this household every day …

Hello, September! I'm so glad you've come.

August is the hardest month. I've thought for a long time that it's only me who felt this way -- that other people are out enjoying time off at the beach or the mountains, laughing with friends around the grill, iced drinks in their hands, happy children frolicking in the yard -- until I read some Tweets and Facebook posts around this essay, A Digression for August, as Summer Rots, which contains a great little summative paragraph about August:

"The month has such potential. There is the summer rental, with its bookshelf of easy literature and sandy bindings. There is the second sangria, the third spritzer, the fourth 'I’m not drunk; you’re drunk.' There is the absent boss, the out-of-town wedding, the totally free weekend that black-holes your best-laid plans, the muggy birthday BBQs for chatty Leos conceived in early winter. And yet the month is freighted with dumb seasonal regrets."

Such potential, dumb seasonal regrets. Ah, how I can relate!

August is my …

QT with cutie

It's 9:30 pm. Zippy is sitting up in his bed, "reading" loudly to his blankie and assorted Hotwheels cars. He refuses to lie down, and he refuses to be quiet. He's punishing me, you see, because I did not read a book to him tonight; this was his consequence for continually throwing cups of water at me during his bath, despite me telling him to stop. This happens often. At least the me telling him to stop part. And the him just doing whatever it is anyway part. (Usually doing whatever it is at full speed and without a care in the world for his own safety. I mean, he's two, after all. Safety-schmafety.) And the ineffectual consequences happen often, too, mostly, I think, because he's smarter than me.

The kid frustrates me to no end. And he wears me out. But I can't stop giggling at him. In general, even when he's being a super-fresh-freshie, even when he's throwing food at me or climbing the retaining wall and leaping onto his face or chasing the ca…

The Uglies

I think to the rest of the world, I seem like a pretty pulled-together, confident thirtysomething-year-old woman. I dress neatly, I stand up straight, I smile at strangers, I joke with friends. I make it to appointments on time (mostly), I pay bills on time (mostly), I feed my children fruit or vegetables and dairy at every meal, and my cats are (finally) up-to-date on their shots. I work all day, race home to collect my children, and cook a real meal every single evening. I go to church regularly. I volunteer with the PTA. I take my children to the library weekly. We walk around the neighborhood, looking all rosy-cheeked and sun-tanned.

But most of the time, I feel as if I'm about three seconds from a complete breakdown. Like all it will take is for my husband to criticize the way I stack dishes in the dish drainer, or for Happy to shriek like a banshee one more time, or for the cat to jump up on the table while I'm trying to set it...and I'll just explode apart into a mi…

"Radishes are my enemy!"

We started a new tradition this evening: Passing the radish! (Which is not nearly as dirty and inappropriate as it sounds.)

At dinner we passed around the gigantic radish we picked today, each of us taking a bite, because it's the first vegetable from our garden! Yay! We have veggies!

You see, it's pretty exciting to pick our first batch of big, red, crunchy radishes from our very own garden patch....












...grown from seeds that Happy plunked into the ground himself...



















...the ground that my sister and her beau and I dug up and turned over and filled with compost and leaves and sweat and hope.

We planted an awful lot of seeds this spring, and so far the plants are not booming. In fact, it looks a bit pathetic. We have a few spinach plants, some kale that's filling in, and a handful of peewee broccoli plants. The tiny tomato seedlings didn't fare so well, neither did the beans or zucchini seeds, so I turned to plan B and planted seedlings from the local farm market this pas…

Crazy for kale soup

We joined a local farm's CSA two weeks ago. That's right...we joined a farm share thing in the middle of winter. Why now, you ask, instead of in the spring when things are new and sprouting and warm? Because I freaking love cold-weather veggies! Turnips, kale, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots...brussels sprouts! Let's not forget the old standby broccoli and cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Every week is an adventure because we don't really know what we'll get, but every week we have fresh, local veggies (and eggs...the most delicious, buttery eggs I've ever tasted). And every week we learn new things about food and how to make it taste good.

I happy-danced in the farm market Saturday when I looked in our CSA bag and saw a large, curly-leafed, dark green mass of leaves. KALE! My favorite of all leafy greens. So tonight I made my favorite soup, Portuguese kale soup, and served it up with warm home-baked bread. It may be 25 degrees outside, but inside it's w…