Monday, January 30, 2006

things that would make my day but are so unlikely to happen

1. a mysterious package arrives at my door, full of great stuff for me, that i didn't have to buy (yes this has always been a dream of mine-- just out of the blue someone sends you a great package of fun stuff for no reason)

2. my house miraculously develops a self clean function.

3. my husband telling me he could work from home and we could live wherever we want. this happened once already but was sadly short lived-- and i think the likelihood is like lightning striking the same spot twice.

4. winter in new england does not have snow or freezing temps- instead becomes like hawaii...

5. a sonic gets built in my town so i can eat onion rings and limeades to my hearts content (my town has 2 gas stations, no grocery store- highly doubtful)

oh i can dream...what do you wish today?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Biology student of year

Yes, that was me- I got to go up on stage at the school assembly to receive my certificate and award (A small medal that says biology student of the year) Along the way, though I abandoned my love of hard science for a career in "soft science". Truth is I decided I liked people better than microscopes. As I mom though, I get to relive my passions and science glory with my boys. Currently our house is a mini-science museum and i am Science Smart Mama-- hey i can even pin my medal on a lab coat to feel official.
Here is an update on our current experiments...
1-We currently have 30 cactus sprouts in our odd pod cactus garden- complete with "moon rocks" and a cardboard space backdrop.
2-We have parsley, spearmint, and green onions growing in our mini hydroponic greenhouse- although so far parsley is the only thing sprouting (I sent dh for seeds he and ds came home with turnips
3- Forcing paperwhites , which has become our annual tradition (which are gorgeous but really smell funky-- and make me think something in my kitchen is rotting)
4- The classic favorite-- A set of six agar plates "aka bacteria farm" (okay you want to talk funky smell- try boiling up that gelatin culture medium- bleccchhh!) growing various bacteria swabbed from locations around our house (let's just say the toy train is growing far nastier microbes than the kitchen floor)
5- Last but not least the Gel works Ant habitat complete with blue LED illuminator -yes no ordinary ant farm- the nasa designed gel style so you can see all their tunnels (although we have no ants yet) It glows an eerie blue for the neighborhood to see through the playroom window. we always have a ton of ants appear in the spring so i have decided we will catch our own instead of ordering the ones for 4.95 with the "CAUTION:ants bite and sting warning" attached to them.

waiting on deck (north's bedroom closet)-- paint you own "root view" garden and butterfly habitat.

Oh my biology teacher would be so proud--we've got some serious science going on here.

OOC birthday parties...

1960's home movies- cute smiling mom brings out tacky homaemade birthday cake- all are wearing silly party hats, blowing horns, making silly faces. Kids running around yard- playing games, blow out candles... I thought that is what birthdays were--(Or maybe i watched too many rounds of credits for the wonder years)

Yesterday was a birthday party for one of my ds's preschool friends (at least it was on a saturday- unlike the standard sunday party- when you have to crush their spirits as soon as the open the invitation)--As I am learning the rules have changed....
1. homes are no longer acceptable venues-- some place must be rented, permission slips also a must
2. presents-all invites must say no presents-- if you accept presents or at least do not saythey are unnecessary makes you look not greedy (or that somehow you are wealthy enough to meet your childs every toy wish and whim)-instead request x dollar donation to x charitable cause (although i applaud philanthropy- and encourage children finding ways to give- diallowing presents... i find this a little presumptuous as does miss manners and assumes your child is too good for my gift and coerces me to donate or else look cheap) If someone wants to give your child a gift let them (much to my parents chagrin and our joy this is how the first scantily clad barbies entered our house)
3. guest list- must include all neighborhood, school friends, relatives, and anyone else you semi-know, etc. small gatherings not en vogue.
4. food- cake and ice cream are not longer acceptable fare--no longer a homemade cake either- it has no been expanded to include a full meal for all attening pizza, chips, soda, and all other forms of junk-- and everythign must be prepackaged individual packages-- no handful of chips or cup of soda-- only mini cans, mini bags, etc.
5. goodie bags- don't get me started--don't get me started this outrageous trend must be quashed! when i was little we sent our friends home with bags of popcorn decorated with stickers or homemade playdough (yes my parents were into healthy and homemade) now each bag must be filled with pencils, stickers, cars, candy-- the cost of which must equal at least $5-10.

I guess i yearn for the simplicity of yesteryear. i remember sitting at the dining room table with my mom -- planning the guest list, picking invitations, planning the games (like playing fishing pole- where we erected a giant decorated cardboard box in the doorway of the guest bedroom and toss the line over (while the parent on the other side attached a small gift (you've seen pollyanna- you know the game) a tisket a tasket, duck duck goose. Cake- always homemade and decorated will all a mothers love and ice cream (and i got to pick the flavor), dad came in early from work , and the ultimare surprise of what was hidden beneath the glamourous wrapping paper of your presents.

After i will never forget my care bear cake,that salty smell, as i kneaded the hot pink playdough and packaged it into little sandwich baggies to give to my friends. It was a celebration-not of money or extravagance or me and the joy of childhood!

Friday, January 27, 2006

pregnancy tests= scratch off tickets

the thrill of a scratch off card--we've all been there- the one that comes in your cereal box, or publisher's clearinghouse that tempts you with million dollar dreams and Convinces you "YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER". There is a thrill in taking a coin and flaking off that metal covering to see if you have won (But course it always says "sorry, you're not a winner- please try again").

Really thats why those people line up at the customer service desk at my local stop and shop laying down a stream of$5s, $10s- to buy their weekly scratch off and lottery tickets. (I being a non-gambler off course have to hold my toungue from lecturing them on the wasteful expenditure of their money- really one day i almost opened my mouth as the guy in front of me bought 60$ worth- but i was afraid they'd call the police or throw me out of Stop and Shop) I mean how can you throw that money away each week while people are starving and second-- are you too stupid to understand the odds-- you lose-- its how they make money. People still do it though on the chance they might get lucky...

okay end gambling tirade... make connection to pregnancy tests-- for those of us non gamblers pregnancy tests are the best gamblers thrill we get--the "scratch off ticket" of mothers or soon to be mothers the world over--1 minute in the bathroom, little stick... suspense builds as you stare intensely at the wait to see- WINNER or SORRY TRY AGAIN--line or no line--

We want that line and will do anything to increase our odds of "winning"-- it's why we do things like test early (delay of gratifiation not a gamblers skill), buy cheap tests online at 80 cents a pop (Hey i can test 10x for the price of 1- thats 10 thrills for the price of one!), buy more sensitive tests calculate approximate hcg levels for given dpo (anyone who has a relatively good understanding of the reproductive cycle knows you can pretty reliably test before 14dpo)

But like every gambler-- every TTC mother knows you can't stop until you hit the jackpot!
And when you do your life will never be the same...

(For anyone thinking i am ttc- that is a big no-- but as a former master tester- i write in honor of my best friend shelah ttc obsesser extraordinaire!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Be prepared

yes- i think our religion encourages a sort of hording-- - it all stems from the Year supply/food storage thing-- But somehow it spills over into other things- I'd like to horde money-- but i find that is hard to do so i try other things- like the 6 things of ice cream i have in my freezer at the moment (Hood- Peanut Butter Nation- the worlds best ice cream, Hood Green Monster, Price Chopper Neopolitain, Edy's Grand Light moose tracks, Friendly's Vanilla, Hood Vanilla Bean.) Now this is all possible because i have an extra freezer in my basement- yes to hold some of my food supply- or maybe i take very literally the counsel to have "comfort foods" in times of crisis- Maybe it's not hording but just being prepared-- prepared to have a dinner party or dessert for 40 at the drop of a hat or maybe just prepared to satisfy my every whim and craving without a trip to the grocery store. That would also explain the poly bucket in my basement full of every kind of chocolate, peanut butter etc. chip for cookie baking (around 20 bags). Also the next 2 years of my sons' clothes already lined up and organized in their closets- (all bought at those "ending in .97" prices on Gap clearance) because nothing would be worse for me than having to buy it in season and full price! I hate being unprepared--thats why i got 8 packs of diapers the other day (at 5$ a pack of 48- call me dealmaster!) That also explains why i am a heavy packer, its why i schlepp 3 bags to church on sunday, it is why i keep a lunch box of snacks in the car at all times, A closet full of next years toys and books (i hate shopping with the crowd), a basement full of paints, fabric, and art supplies. That is why my dorm room at BYU had everything in it from glitter to grits! I wonder what deep childhood experience this stems from-- maybe my mother forcing us on "errands"-- which i now try to minimize at all costs!-- but hey call it hording, call it food storage, call it being prepared- it's great so instead i'll just go on eating my 6 cartons of ice cream, dressing my kids in last seasons gap clearance and try to convert others to "being prepared"

Monday, January 23, 2006

mom snow day

okay i live in new england- land of interminable winter and snow-- yes we got 8 feet last year. The only thing that sustains me through the winter is the promise of my husband fully vesting in his 401K and company pension after 7 years- (4.3 down) only a few more to go. This morning around 6 something my son announced on a visit to his slumbering parents that it had snowed. So its down to turn on the TV to see when (if ever it will end) and if schools are closed. Well sure enough our town and surrounding towns are closed but not the preschool town, but after 2 near death car experiences last year- both involving a treacherous hill (once sliding down and completely through an intersection) the other on the way up-- with not enough torque to climb-- what to do--let off the gas or brakes-- and you will rock backwards down through the said intersection but you can't seem to move up-- after 15 min of burning rubber, bargaining prayer, and half a tank of gas- i finally made it the one block up to relative flatness. Anyway both experiences scared me straight for snow driving. So i decided to drs appt for little son today as it was 1 hr in towards boston and no preschool because it was too treacherous- well husband can't get to work because the roads aren't plowed- so he shovels, plays with the boys- enjoys his break from work- meanwhile i am making a chocolate cake for an after funeral gathering, folding 3 loads of laundry, rescheduling everything, and trying to recoup the weeks schedule-- Snow days rock when you are a kid, they rock when you are a dad and get out of work (minus shovelling- if you saw my driveway you'd understand), when you are a mom it means wet foot prints, piles of snow clothes, and house arrest!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

So I made the worlds greatest pie...

okay I just have to pat myself on the back here- yesterday I made the worlds best apple pie ever-a culinary masterpiece, a tast bonanza, delectable dessert, a flavor explosion! i could continue my ravings-- I have an overblown aesthetic sense, but let me tell you it was an edible experience as yet unparalleled int he world of pie- I decided to catalogue it here- because as a SAHM-- I will never be in Who's Who or receive major awards for my work aka "mother tasks". So as not to feel unnoticed or appreciated I will toot my own horn- after all that is one fo the great purposes of blogs. I really should have taken a picture of it-to prove it-i guess i could now- even half eaten it's beauty would shine through-- like all those greco-roman scultpures missing limbs you see in museums. I think it rivalled the work of any of the great domestic pie baking women of my great grandma's generation. The crust was perfectly mounded, shiny (yes i even bothered to do the "brush with egg white" step in a moment of supreme dedication to the art of baking), flaky, sparkling with sugar. The insides- macs, grannies, allspice-- the perfect combination. Even my husband remarked - "That is an impressive pie". So i'll take that compliment and mark one up for Smart mama today!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

new years resolutions-end of year evolution

I have mixed feelings on me a rebel-- i don't like to follow the crowd- and so i don't always do resolutions-- or at least not by new years day- thats too contrived (after all we should have an ongoing process of renewed resolve!)actually i hate to have my life really structured and resolutions foten feel very confining (like exercise x times per week-- i can feel the anxiety setting in just pondering it!)-- it all started with and interesting read i did in grad school on goal setting (basically a backlash against the feverish covey style "goal mania" of the 90's) it basically said to an extent goal setting can be bad or selfish- or actually makes you think you can control things in your life--when much is out of our control and we don't know what the future will throw at us-- you've got to be flexible-- the number one thing in goal setting as we are all taught is it has to be measurable-- only many great things in life are immeasurable (like love, charity, harmony)- so be careful in all our feeble attempts and mere mortals to direct the universe. Or sometimes even though goals may be good at times we may not reach a goal because other things in our life demand attention at the time...Like this story praising a woman for climbing mt everest-- meanwhile she left her 18 mo old daughter for 6 mo for the climb--that gets me--so reasonable general goals thats me (none of you climb mt everest with a young child or you will feel my wrath!)

that being said- i will claim the national resolution-- get healthier (the justifies for my buying 1 lb of strawberries for 4$ yesterday and well as 2 loaves of ecce panis bread- cause thats got to be healthier right) Or maybe it was prompted by laying on the couch trying to get rid of my headache eating ghiradelli caramel squares as my husband flipped through the weigh in at the biggest loser-- when the women still a little chubby and weighed less then me i sat up and demanded... "Do i look like that??!!" needless to say after that i resisted another caramel square (until this morning that is)

other resolution- get my groove back-- yep clean up, get out of the funk of 4 years of miscarriages, and final ensuing stressful pregnancy- which yielded a great baby boy (now 7 mo!) - it simple things i want--i want to be creative, have time to think, read, enjoy my boys and husband, be a better wife mom, friend, etc.-- oh yeah and shower, brush hair and get dressed everyday!

okay i'll justify a little more--I think though resolutions can be very self defeating-- and of course we must spare ourselves all psychological pain or guilt (or that is the model currently accepted in pop psychology)-- i prefer a rear looking model--Lets call it. End of Year Evolution-- basically look back on your year and compliment yourself for what you did - how you changed and got better- a great time for this is the crafting of the annual braggadocio christmas letter-- trying to backtrack and see if you did anything someone might find novel to read.
So I invite you to join me-- no setting lofty goals which only get trampled under the daily grind- just live each day well- focused on being better and in the end when you look back you'll actually be surprised and pleased.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Horror

What is it about Christmas decor-- it looks festive until Dec 25th and then Dec 26th - you wake to find your house looks hideous-- Christmas decor becomes repellent- I think it is a psychological defense mechanism- if you look at-- it reminds you its 365 days until you get more presents (cause when you are an adult birthdays are lame). Okay maybe it's not just about presents-- but its 11 months again till things get covered in lights, mistletoe gets hung- etc.

Its the same with candies- like Hershey kisses wrapped in Christmas color foil-- the day after Christmas it's so taboo to feed those to guests- Christmas is over-- the candy is past (or you can be cheap like me and pull out the greens- leaving silver and red and recycle for valentines day!!

Christmas is gone-- and no scrap can remain-- its like an unspoken new years resolution-- No evidence of Christmas may remain--maybe it's cause marketers immediately discount items 50% day after Christmas- so they have conditioned us to find that years remnants distateful)

but back to the house- seriously, you cannot feel peace until all those Styrofoam meat try angel ornaments and other child crafted treasures have returned to the attic. After 2.5 weeks of vacation- first thing I did- pile everything Christmas on the dining room table for immediate packing- yet 3 days later there it remains- waiting for my husband who has shoveled our driveway 3 times since we got home (which has consumed the majority of non sleeping moments in our house) to go up to the attic and retrive boxes-- I could get them myself but that would violate the strict marital duties we have laid out- which are wife does all things decorative- husband does all things dirty, cold, requiring ladders, beast of burden ish, or generally unpleasant (like getting cars registered, oil changes, etc) (aka trash, yard, attic, and basement!)

so I sit and blog- feeling unsettled because there-- although out of sight-- it looms in my mind-- the Christmas decorations-- jacob marley could never haunt like unput away decorations can-- I hear them calling as I type, embroider that dishtowel I said I was going to and yes continue my apron fantasy- and so i praying it won't snow again so i can end the torture.

off to go find some of that discounted christmas merchandise at target-