What the?

So I'm going a bridal registry looking for Christmas gift ideas for the couple awaiting nuptials. And I'm hoping you can help me with something my dear friends in the computer.

What the *hell* does one do with this: Stainless Steel Chocolate Fountain

My apologies to the person reading this that owns said $50 fountain of chocolate delight (although perhaps when you got it, it was still over $100.) I'm sure it's lovely the few times a year we opt to pig out on fondue.


Our town has a very big tradition -- the very big Halloween parade. It's probably safe to say that anyone that spent any of their childhood here has marched in that parade at least once. I know I marched several times. Once as laundry on a clothes line; it was my mother's (aka troop leader) way of keeping a gaggle of young girls in one place for a few miles. We all wore Dad's dress shirts and they attached us to a rope with clothes pins.

We've not taken the kids to a parade yet. Too much chaos. The folding chairs have been curbside for almost a week saving places for the big night. You can't near a curb unless you're ready to arrive with your coffee and a bagel Tuesday morning. The parade, mind you, is after sunset.

With this behemouth tradition comes a little unconventialism. We trick-or-treat the day before Halloween. Yes, my kids will be out mooching candy tomorrow afternoon. And tonight, tonight I sit with the front door open and the front lights blazing in an attempt to ward off mischief nights miscreants. I'd comment further on that but I don't want to jinx myself.

If I'm a little a head of myself here, perhaps now you'll understand why. Happy Halloween!


Highs and lows

I haven't really mentioned it here before. I don't know why actually. I just didn't. There's this big thing going on at a particular company. It's one of those things that leads to lay-offs. Not only that, but based on what we know, chances are good - like 99.9% good - that one of those dissolved jobs will belong to the primary "breadwinner" of our family. Yeah, that sort of sucks.

There is worry, of course, but no panic yet. Last week we worked together on polishing his resume. We both take time scanning job boards and want ads. Today one of those led to a preliminary phone interview with a search firm for a job that is a) within the same distance my dear husband is currently commuting, b) within the right salary range and c)exactly the sort of work he's got experience doing. It's a great opportunity really. At least it sounds like it. The initial talk went well and a 2nd talk is now being scheduled. Keep all appendages crossed.


As hinted at in the last post, a member of my family is planning a wedding. My head hurts and never wants to see another brick wall. Enough said.


The future-aunt came into a few hand-me down Halloween costumes. My little imps were already outfitted for the holiday but they never turn down a chance to 'dress-up.' Am I the only one that finds the "unicorn riding a horse" thing hysterical?


If your ears were here. . .

If your ears were here you would have heard:

Me: Ok then, what is 8+3?
Logan: (pausing a split second as he holds up his little four-year old hands, then sighing with annoyance) Mommy! I do not have 11 fingers.

Me: Megan, what are you doing?
Megan: (who had managed to get her-2-year-old-self up on the potty seat without assistance) I am concentrating.

Daddy: Can I go see "Santa Clause 3" with you too?
Logan: Ok, but you have to sit in the back row.
Daddy: Where will you be sitting?
Logan: Not in the back row.
(For the record he is going with Grandma. She tends to be his 'movie date.')

Grandma: When Uncle S gets married to Miss J, she'll be your Aunt J.
Megan: Mommy steps on ants and spiders.

While watching one of the most mind numbing children's DVD's I've ever seen - Tiny Planets - featuring the aliens Bing, Bong and assorted "Flockers"

Daddy: Ahh, those crazy Mother Flockers.



I you read my pouting last night, you'd know I was starting to freak a little about the boy's Halloween costume. Not all of it - just that darn vest.

Logan can be quite particular when he wants to be. The vest, you see, could not be any old plain tannish looking vest. It had to have pockets. It had to have the little patch on it just like Diego's - the animal rescuer patch with Mama and Baby Jaguar. These were exact specifications that any short-cutting around would surely lead to one very unhappy boy come Friday morning.

I had already looked in nearly every store I could think of. I even, I shudder to admit it, dragged Megan into that big monster store that I despise - the mega-store with that starts with "W". (Now, now, now. I know some of you love that place. I also understand that in some places, the big monster W place is nice and tidy. The ones near us, however, are not. They are chaos spilling across multiple aisles. The smells, the disorder, the nasty people slamming carts around - none of it makes me happy. And friends, normally I am a *very* happy shopper.

So we left that place empty handed. We left the store with the giant K on it too. We left the sporting good store without the hunting vest. We went back to the place that tends to suck my wallet dry. Target. I really do love Target.

I had looked there already and I honestly wasn't going in to look for this vest. I had a list of other 'must gets' that I knew I could find there. We picked out my new winter gloves. We headed to the kid's department to find Megan a pair of mittens. And there it was.

Tucked on the end-cap of a rack near the main aisle was my sanity. A three-piece, regular, wear it every day Diego outfit. . .complete with *the* vest. THE vest, people. The real vest with the pockets *AND* the animal rescuer patch. There it was. Ripe for the taking. So I took it.

Creativity and cost savings be damned. We're talking about sanity here.

Of course, when all is said and done I saved myself about a total of $2 by not getting the actual costume. After you total up the 3 piece clothing set and the orange plush (but usable) Rescue Pack, I didn't pay much less than I would have with the actual costume. The difference, however, is the outfit can be worn again and again and again...and the one piece - vest, shirt, pants all printed on the same cheesey nylon-ish fabric - could not be worn again.

Logan will be home from school soon. I will show him my find. He will be estatic. We will try it on. In my excitement I grabbed a 5T. Sometimes he is. Sometimes he is not. We will see how big it is. We will assume the pants - very normal, non-stamped with any signs of branding pants - will sit in his closet until he grows into them...but grow into them he will. He will wear the long-sleeve Diego laden shirt at will. He will have his vest with pockets and patch.

And I. I will get another night off without having to curse at my sewing machine.

This is a good thing. It is a very good thing.


Running out of time

Let's be honest. I have several creative bones in my body. I can't blame this procrastination on the lack of right brain abilities.

The thing is, you see. . .well. . .oh all right. I'm scared.

I've sewn before - quilts, pillows, various household sort of things. Even a place mat or two and maybe a table runner. Yet I've never sewn a thing that didn't come with a pattern or at least a book of instructions.

But now it's nearly Halloween and I'm pretty much screwed.

It was about a month and half ago. Logan was sitting on the floor with a brown padded envelope tossed aside near him. It had the long-sleeve t-shirt he had picked otu as a gift for Meg's birthday. Tucked neatly inside the envelope, as all good "mail order" marketers know to do, was a new catalog of yet more things we could buy. Logan was flipping through it with a crayon in his hand - a crayon to circle his great big wish list.

He got to the Halloween costumes.

"I have an idea!" he said quite excitedly. "For Halloween this year I can be Diego and Megan can be Dora [the Explorer]!"

"Oh, wow. Yeah. That'd be fun," I said quite convincingly - honestly happy this meant he was giving up whatever not such fun for Mommy idea he had just prior to this one.

"See, we can buy our costumes here!" he said, still in that giddy 4-year old way of his.

"Ahh, yeah, see, I'm not going to spend that much on your oufits for Halloween," I said, eye balling the prices. "What if we make them ourselves."

I wasn't thinking really. I mean really, how hard could this be? The boy has navy blue shorts and a light blue shirt already. I simply had to pick up the bright orange shorts and hot-pink t-shirt off a clearnance rack for Meg's outfit. I even solved the hair problem with brown temporary hair color. We already had a 'real' purple Dora Backpack. I even managed to locate the matching orange Rescue Pack for my little Diego.

But that damn vest.

How in the world am I going to make that vest?

I keep hoping I can cheat and find something close enough in a store. I went to the sporting goods store around the corner and looked for a child's hunting vest. (And people, if you're wondering, they did indeed have one. The blind-you-it's-so-bright orange and camoflague, however, is so very *not* our favorite Animal Rescuer Diego.)

The fabric, if you must know, is sitting in a bag in my room. A yard of cheap muslin. Waiting for me to be brave. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

And "Diego's" school Halloween party is Friday. "Please come in costume" they say.

Awww, crap.


Meggielocks and the Three Bears

Once upon a time there was a blue bear covered in snowflakes. Logan the Lionhearted was bequeathed the small squishy-bellied bear as a thank you from Queen Mommy's co-worker. He had helped the Queen and her cohort complete a rather mudane task - then demanded $500 for it. He got the bear instead from the lady that thought he was quite funny

This bear was originally tossed aside with distain. It was too girlie. It was too babyish. It was not fit for a noble and wise "big boy." Then the mischievous Princess Meggielocks got a hold of the bear. Suddenly Snowy Bear earned "special" status. He was off-limits to the oft-sticky handed princess.

This did not make the sticky-handed princess very happy.

And so, she took her pleas for equality to her Fairy Grandmother, who rectified the situation on their very next trip to the craft store. The result? A pink, soft bear the same size and shape as Snowy.

All was right with the world.

Until one day, "Teddy" went missing.

They looked high. They looked low. They looked left and right. In and out. Behind and in front. Teddy was gone.

Meggielocks was most upset. Queen Mommy was to, fearing set backs in nice things like sleep - Teddy had become quite the comfort object at bed time. The Fairy Grandmother promised Meggielocks a new bear the very next day.

When the sun came up and craft stores again opened, the Fairy Grandmother, Logan the Lionhearted and Princess Meggielocks set off to secure a new and much cleaner Teddy. At the same time, Queen Mommy located a store of the same chain near her office - Teddy was, after all, a limited edition bear. Can't be too careful.

The sun set with two bears in Meggielocks possesion. One drying in the sink after a good cleaning (she had attempted to clean the noble Grandpa's car with it) and the other nestled close to her as she drifted off to sleep.

Many weeks went by. Or so it seemed.

One afternoon, the sun already low in the sky, Logan the Lionhearted drove a small toy car under a big heavy loveseat in the family's multi-purpose room. The Queen pulled back the loveseat and let the brave boy venture into the unknown. As he was poking around for his car, the queen found a small cuddlesome pink bear. Princess Meggielocks had been playing with Teddy moments before in that very room. The queen assumed she had tossed Ted on the top edge of the loveseat and that he had fallen to pending doom when the seat had been pulled out. Queen Mommy tossed the bear back into the playroom floor behind her and didn't think twice about it.

Moments later Princess Meggielocks was hugging two pink bears tight. "I found him!" she kept saying over and over.

Queen Mommy said something wise, because isn't she always wise, about that second bear being the one that was most recently cycled into 'cleaned' status. Logan the Lionhearted shook his head.

"No Mommy," he said with such reverence. "The bear you just cleaned is still up high in the shower where you put him to drip dry."

So the Queen ventured down the hall to see if the lionhearted lad was correct.

And he was.

Tonight, the fair-haired princess is nestled into bed with her three bears - newly minted (thanks to the sometimes off-her-rocker Queen) "Inky, Pinky, and Stinky."

Princess Meggielocks is quite happy.

And so is the Queen.


How about now?

The medium that is the Internet is quite a paradox. On one hand it opens up whole new worlds to us - people and concepts that before would be out of reach are suddenly at our finger tips. On the other hand, it can also be a secretive place - intentionally or not.

If you knew me in person and we got together on a fairly regular basis, you'd see me in my good and my bad. You'd get to know the parts of me that I disclose and you'd get an idea for the parts I close off. Here though, you only see what I'm willing to show you. Sure, you can draw conclusions based on that. You probably have a pretty good idea of who I am from what you read here, if you read often enough. Yet, there are still things that might surprise you simply because you are wholly dependent on me to feed you information and I've, undoubtedly, over looked a few inconsquential details. Or perhaps I've remained silent on things I'd not want people in my 'brick and mortar' world to stumble upon one day.

It's not a direct tie-in, but that one certain wireless company and it's annoying little ad-persona that runs through the wild blue yonder shouting into a phone, "Can you hear me now?" sometimes makes me think of this bloggity-conundrum. When I write, are you hearing *me* or the person you paint in your mind's eye?

And does it really matter?

I am a strong believer that all things evetually come out in the wash. Regardless of what you hide or what you don't, people tend to figure out who you are - in an abstract sense - sooner or later. If I forget this, my children have a way of reminding me.


I've got nothing

I've not been the best 'keep it current' blogger lately. That didn't mean a lot back when it was just me reading these little peaks into my insanity. Now, however, a few of you gluttons for punishment like to visit on a fairly regular basis. I like having the company, but sometimes it makes me feel guilty for avoiding the 'create posts' screen.

Avoiding may be a harsh word. I'm not going out of my way not to pontificate. I merely struggle to find anything compelling me to write it. I'll be honest, I like the comments. I like the feedback. I like knowing I'm not talking to myself all the time, because frankly, with two little kids and a grown man in the house sometimes it feels that way.

Yet frankly I've always written as a way to lighten my load. There are things that rattle around in my head, sometimes even in my soul, that beg to be released. This has been my outlet to do so. My lack of blog writing (and subsequently blog reading to a degree since they seem to happen in tandem for me. Write a little - read a little) has little to do with concerns that I have nothing 'good enough' to write. It has everything to do with having little demanding to be written.

Certainly I could fill the space with something for my beloved friends inside the computer. Do you really, however, want to read about the extreme glee and pride I experienced today because my feisty little two-year old went nearly 8 full hours in underwear before creating a puddle on my floor? That included multiple "fruitful" potty breaks. See, aren't you glad I shared?

I could share how I'm jealous of the adorable photos so many are capturing at apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Ok, granted, we got a few cute ones this weekend. However, I was really hoping to snag one of both kids looking "Christmas card perfect." Instead I got the following. Of course, I'm biased. I tend to think they're adorable any time they are not channeling demonic beings. This just wasn't that "we are having fun just standing together and smiling for you" type photo I was going for.


Crisp. Colors. Change. It's all good.

When pressed to pick my favorite season, I tend to muddle through a response that makes me sound like politcian courting both sides of the coin. Usually I say that I prefer the autumn and spring best. Except that I love winter holidays and I really do enjoy summer days at the boardwalk, in the pool, long stretches of sunlight. . .no school buses on my commute. You get the idea.

Lately, my favorite season is autumn. Namely because we're in the midst of it. I've begun to drag my sweaters from their storage boxes. I pulled up a bed of impatients and replaecd them with mums. (I know that photo is barely focused, but I love it just the same.) I even picked the giant pumpkin to display on the front step.

At one point I thought that perhaps it was as simple as I didn't have a favorite. And ok, so yes, that's true. Yet I've now come to realize why.

I'm in possession of a restless soul that grows easily bored.

There are certain things in my world that don't ever grow tiresome - mostly people. Relationships, if you're lucky and wise, evolve constantly thus avoiding the "staleness" that wreaks havoc.

Yet other things in my path. . .they are not safe. Sometimes small modifications soothe me. I can paint the kitchen and rearrange the living room to calm my restless itch over the house. I can clean the collection of jackets and toys from the van to make it seem almost new. I can even take long breaks from hobbies and then reacquaint myself with them as a means to shake things up.

Mother Nature gets me. She shakes up the seasons to help my spirit. I do love summer but after several months my garden loses it's appeal. The last crop of tomatoes often sits unpicked waiting for me to muster the motivation to harvest. The attire in my closet and drawers starts to seem drab and unexciting. I begin to long for something new and different. The routines, the rituals, it all begins to wear thin. I start to yearn for something different.

And then autumn enters.

The closet changes over. The garden begs to be pulled out. The flower beds rotate into something new. Nature starts the great process of metamorphsis and the nights arrive earlier. Suddenly it's a new ball game and I'm revitalized by it.



This morning I rolled into the gas station and filled the tank at $2.15/gallon. This excites me very much.

Of course the fact that it excites me depresses me. I have already become that person that bores today's youthful drivers with tales of time long ago when gas cost less than $1.

Who knew I'd get to that point in my 30s?

Tonight I completed the first draft of the first project as true outside consultant for the old job. I'm still gloating.

Speaking of jobs, have I said here how much I love the new one? Well, if not, I love my new job.

It's absolutely wonderful to be working with sane people again.

This weekend we plan on heading to the orchard to go apple picking. Take this as your weekend forecast. If you live anywhere within driving distance of me, it will be unexpectedly hot and humid. No matter when we go apple picking, we end up in the orchard on an incredibly hot (unseasonably hot) day.

Up until recently, Logan would select 'special' one-on-one lunches out at a limited number of places. I convinced him to try Applebee's one day as a change of pace. It is now the only place he'll agree to without a debate. In fact, if he sees the road side sign he begs us to take him there.

The week after our exquisite mother-son excursion, Grandma attempted to take him elsewhere to lunch. He put up quite a fight. She asked him why this one place. Cleary my four-year old has a future as a food critic.

He said, "It has a delicious menu, wonderful atmosphere and it's quite educational because of that little book and crayons they give you. Besides, it has a soccer ball on the wall."

In response to comments on the last post - the day got much better and the girl-child's runny nose is 'there' but not awful.

Also in response to the previous post, Nicole commented: He tried to install an IM program?!

Umm, well yeah. He did.

The computer in Logan's room arrived via a shuffle of PCs that included an inherited machine, a new purchase that lead to another hand-me-down and a failure to upgrade after one of those hand-me downs. It's actually a bit complicated if you try to keep track of who got what, but long story short: he got someone else's old machine.

MOST of the content was cleaned off. Certain child friendly programs remained or where added. Among these, although he has no Internet access in his room, was a web browser. That package apparently included a certain company's instant message package.

Logan found the icon for it as he was looking for another game to play. He decided to IM Grandma - which he actually does do on our family PC as we sit with him. When he double clicked the icon the install shield launched. When I found him he was about to start step two of the install. He knew exactly what he was doing.

"I want to send Grandma a message so I'm putting the program on the computer."

This is what I get for loading new software with him on my lap.

Oh and because I keep forgetting to reveal the answer I will do so now - that door in a previous post is actually part of an old bunker at a decommisioned military base.

I'd bother to spell and grammar check this (ok, who am I kidding, I rarely do either. I would have, however, checked that I wrote what I meant to) but frankly, it's playoff season and I really must leave you now so I can watch the Yanks. Gosh I love October ball. (Except, that it does erase my guilty pleasure. I admit here and now that I am so quite hooked on Prison Break. Why? I don't know. Bruce thinks it has something to do with good looking bad boys. I deny that in its entirety.


Chugga your choo choo

It started off looking like one of *those* days. Any parent that has survived 'sick, cranky, toddler' says knows exactly what I'm talking about. It's a tantrum because Mom is not talented enough to butter french toast AND hold squirmy 2-year old at the same time. It's a heightened tantrum because the initial fit has cause a runny nose flood. It's one of those days when you stop and realize that you have no prayer of a shower, let alone clean clothes that you didn't sleep in the night before -- at least not without a fit ensuing.

That is, unless, you have a preschooler in the house that is worshiped by the aforementioned toddler. If you do and if he's not also dealing with a bad-mood inducing head cold, you may have hope.

You might lean over and whisper quietly, "Can you do me a favor." You'd tell him about the game he could play on the computer in his room with his sister perched at his side. He's nod and smile. He'd understand a) the game is fun, b) it's nice to help Mommy sometimes.

You'd head down to help set-up the game, but the PC would already be turned on. You'd help locate the right disk. He'd launch the game. (You'd make a quick dash to get the camera of course.) You'd find him later trying to install an instant messaging program so he could send love notes to his grandmother. You'd remind him he does not have Internet access in his room. He'd grouch about that a little.

They'd keep playing even though you were out and in their way. The toddler would be over her general crank and malaise. She'd be tackling her brother and begging him for hugs. They'd settle in around the train table. She'd be sweetly pushing Thomas around the tracks. He'd start bouncing Percy - loud, banging hops.




She'd stop moving. She'd look at him and shake her head. She'd start to wrinkle her nose in the way she does when she's about to scold him good.

"No! Woden Daniel. You have to chugga your choo choo!"

Then you'd leave the room because there was no controlling your laughter. No chance at all.