Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Weather is Getting On My Nerves

Winter Storm Warning
Tomorrow is April First
Is this storm a joke?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ad Astra Per Astrum

I have the Kansas State Motto pinned to my bulletin board. I am not from Kansas. I was there once for a brief period of time during which I bought a Kansas Jayhawks shirt and then I left, never to return again. I have pleasant if only brief memories of the state. I sadly no longer have the shirt.

While as a person, with no other strings attached, I like daylight saving time, once I get the sleep adjustment thing going on. As a mother, however, my dislike for daylight saving time knows no bounds. I was telling a friend the other day that I am going to write my congressman a letter:
{ Dear Sir,

This is to inform you that I am by no means saving any energy at all. When bedtime comes around with all it's morning glory still intact I must take extreme measures to convince my children it is INDEED time for sleep. I march around the house pulling down blinds and turning on lamps and lights to create the aura of evening. I have become pretty good at it. But my energy consumption has certainly increased, and YOU ARE TO BLAME. WHOSE DUMB IDEA WAS IT TO SWITCH DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME TO MARCH????? ARE YOU HIGH?????

Respectfully yours,

etc., etc. }
We have helped to remedy the bedtime difficulty by installing shades that do a so-so job at keeping out the sun. But last summer when the sun started to hang around and we only had old Levolor blinds, Ben brought home some Enormous Sized poster board type things to stick in the windows and help block out the sun.

One had information on the state of Utah (my home sweet home, home of a lot of jello consumption, or so they say) the other was filled information on the state of Kansas. I took one look over the visual presentation and pulled off the card with the Kansas state motto.

Ad Astra Per Astrum it said.
Which apparently means (in Latin is my guess) To The Stars Through Difficulty.

Which basically sums up, at least once a week if not daily, how I feel about things. Things may get tough. But they must be worth it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Anywhere the Wind Blows

It snowed last night.

Unpleasant, early spring rain turned to cold icy snow, snow. (Read that sentence again, the two snows are there on purpose.)

And this morning the sun came out a few hours late. But on a day like this, who could blame him? He did show up. The rays that brightened the kitchen and made it bearable to clean the family room were lovely, but did nothing at all to protect those who had to venture out of their houses.

The wind was vicious today and when I went to pick up my daughter from school I stepped out of the car only to have a violent gust of air whoosh past me so fast it took my breath away. That is one of the oddest feelings; having air pulled out of your mouth so that the lungs are lost for a moment, with suddenly nothing to do.

My daughter, on a field trip to the local airport, told me the wind blew so hard that it moved her to a different spot from where she was standing. I can see it right now: a miniature Mary Poppins blowing wherever the wind takes her. It's too bad it's so cold, otherwise that might be pleasant.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Your Suggestions, Please

I'd like to branch out there and find some new blogs to read. Not that I don't like the old blogs. I love the old blogs. And I read them every day. I am just looking to add to my Google Reader list.

I am not one of those amazing social creatures who have a million good friends and a billion acquaintances. And while some people I know really like blogging because, while they are more introverted in real life, on the net they just explode out (in a good way). I am not like that.

I have found that I interact on the internet in similar fashion to my real life. I keep things small-ish and enjoyably manageable. I am not super-introverted. But I wouldn't call myself an extrovert either. I had a friend once who insisted that he was introverted, but everywhere we went he knew someone. So I chose not to believe him. But believe me. I have never been a social butterfly. In fact, I have been thinking about writing a post called Social Media for the Anti-social. DON'T ANYONE STEAL THAT TITLE FROM ME! IT'S MINE! I'm not really the possesive type either. Except when it comes to pseudo-academic blog post titles.

But anyway.

I'd like to venture out into the blogosphere a little bit more, expand my horizons, etc., etc. I actually check in on a fair amount of blogs, but whenever I start to wander around the net I run into all sorts of different people and it's rather amazing to me.

So, dear readers. You may not know me well, but if you have a blog that you think I would enjoy, tell me what it is. Maybe it's yours and you are sort of an introvert and are shy about sharing. Don't be. Share away! I like good writing, interesting ideas, and not a lot of swearing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Whistling in the Dark

It's after midnight. Unfortunately so. I am so tired. But as it often happens when I am just so tired, I fall asleep and then am awakened by something or other (I have four of those something or others, all asleep right now) and then I can't fall back asleep.

All those sleep advice columnists (they do exist right? Yes, if only as someone doing some side writing job for several beauty magazines) suggest that when you can't sleep you get up and do something for awhile, until you think you can go to sleep.

It's a nice idea. And here I am trying it, because the alternatives were either a) lay in bed trying to count sheep, but feel slightly overwhelmed instead, or b) fall asleep. Well, b) was taking it's own sweet time in getting here and a), while nice and all, was getting me nowhere.

The phrase that kept going through my head was "whistling in the dark." And attached to that was someone saying "Oh, that's just Charles Wallace's way of whistling in the dark." That someone would of course be Charles Wallace's sister, Meg. And Meg and Charles were the fabulous creation of Madeleine L'Engle, who passed away a few years ago, and whom I have never met, but am quite fond of.

There's just one thing. I have never been quite sure what whistling in the dark means. Although I am typing it out many times now, in this post.

And so, as that phrase whistling in the dark went through my head, along with the voice of my mother-in-law singing a song with the same phrase in it, I thought it would be a good, productive idea to get up in the middle of the night, turn on the computer, and look up the meaning of whistling in the dark. And so I did.

Do you want to know what it means?

Of course you do.

A definition appeared after googling it (ah. google as a verb) that I liked: To attempt to summon up one's courage or optimism in a difficult situation.

And I thought to myself, well what do you know. I may just be whistling in the dark after all.

There are worse ways to pass one's time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Think Spring is Pretty Darn OK

The Sun is crossing the Equator. This means that today is the first day of Spring, also known as the Vernal Equinox. I've never been a big fan of the word vernal. It doesn't sound very pretty to me. I am all about pretty words. Words like perpendicular. And a lot of other words that I can't remember because my daughter is storming around the house hitting things with a brush because I am on the computer and she is not. Actually, I just like the word perpendicular. I don't know that it's a pretty word, so much as fun to say. And so I begin to understand the wisdom of having a wireless computer connection: it eliminates the competition for the computer. {Also, could somebody tell me, why the blogger spell check does not like contractions? I can't figure it out.}

Oh. Hey. I think arabesque is a pretty word. There you go. French will save you, every time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


My youngest daughter, almost 22 months, has taken a liking to grapefruit. She calls it an orange, but it is most certainly a grapefruit. I know this because the preparation time needed in order to serve a grapefruit properly is more time intensive than for that of an orange.

Proper grapefruit preparation includes cutting the grapefruit in half and then painstakingly cutting along the edges of the natural triangles of the grapefruit slices. I do this so that the bitter skin can be easily pushed aside when I spoon out the pink fruit and place it on a little plate for my daughter.

I won't always be able to do this for her. Life, on most days, is a combination of the bitter and the sweet. I know there is purpose in this. I know it is just how life is. One does not always have the tools needed to cut away the bitter from the sweet. And we need the bitter even, to understand the sweet.

Grownup as I am, there is no one but myself to cut my grapefruit. But I have found that sometimes there are days where the bitter skin of life has been pushed away and what is left is simply the sweet fruit.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Sun is A Mass of Incandescent Gas

As of this moment:
The Dow is up.

The temperature is up.

Therefore my children are outside running around in the backyard.

{They get very excited when the Dow goes up, those little financiers.}

{No. They have no idea what the Dow is, and that's a good thing. They are outside running around because things are a balmy 42 degrees right now. Almost summer!}

I need to shower soon so I can do what I need to do for the day.

The Pioneer Woman's post (see A Time to Heal) about her new border collie made me tear up.

I don't really even like dogs all that much.

As I head into the years I find that I truly prefer cats to dogs, probably 100 to 1.

But I wouldn't let either of them into my house.

A good cry now and then is a good thing, so I need to watch some sad movies.

I'm all for cathartic release through vicarious emotion. It's easier sometimes.

I am a little tired, also. Which is probably why I was all teary-eyed about some dog I don't even know.

But that is par for the current course right now, and it's time to get my game on.

Whatever that means.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I don't mind cleaning my house. I really don't. When I get tired and overwhelmed and the laundry piles up, I won't refrain from complaining about it, but it's a decent kind of work. I can choose a task and on most days follow it through, check it off my list and have a visual reminder that I actually accomplished something on any given day. Of course I mean that it's a visual reminder on the days my kids don't rip through the room rendering it unpleasant and dirty once more. On those days that is just a reminder that I have kids. (As if I don't get enough of those kinds of reminders already.)

What I am not so great at is the cooking, baking and general food preparation. I don't hate it. But it's an easy way to mess up a newly cleaned kitchen (or a kitchen I hope to have clean soon) and I don't love it enough to make time to really settle into making dinner or whatever. I have a few meal exceptions. Within the confines of my tiny menu I have found that perhaps I could be a decent cook, should my circumstances ever align with the stars and grant me a housekeeper, lots of great ingredients, etc., etc.

Today I made quiche. Quiche is in my repertoire and I make a decent one. I therefore send out this piece of kitchen advice to the masses: wait to add the milk or cream until after you have cracked all the eggs; else a small shell may inadvertently drop into the mixing bowl, never to be found again, except by someone's teeth at dinner time. Hopefully your own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Alternate Universe is Toy Story

My son has worn his red cowboy hat almost into oblivion. He wears it with his snow boots and insists we call him Woody. He calls his younger sister Buzz. (I suggested Jessie. He said no. He wants the more permanent side kick.) He shouts "To infinity and beyond!" (It's his prerogative as an older brother, I guess, to co-opt the cool catch phrase.) He is Woody. Reach for the sky!

Unless he's being Super Why (see PBS Kids).

In which case he puts on his sun glasses and sneakers and rides around on his tricycle like a maniac. He pauses to raise his fist in the air, a super hero stance all the way, and yells out "Power to Read!" Though it actually sounds more like "Powah-uh-weed!" And that works too.

He still calls his sister Buzz.

Adopting whichever persona so completely he will not allow me to call him by his name. Rather he yells at me "No! I Super Why!" And I forget over and over again, rarely remembering to call him Super Why. But he is persistent.

It's so interesting to me to watch how each of my children use their imaginations. It is so specifically tailored to who they are. My older girls are avid story-tellers. They make up stories as they draw, as they play. Everything is a story. And they are the creators, the producers and the directors. (We have also often had visits from the character who live in the 100 Acre Wood. I'm not sure why. But they are popular with both my older girls.)

But Super Why wants to live the experience. He has nothing to do with making up the story. He is the story. And will be, long past the time when his cowboy hat can keep up.

One thing doesn't change. He calls me his mom, whether he is Woody or Super Why or Horton Hears a Who. And I love it when, after helping him find his sun glasses for the nineteenth time he says "Tanks, Mom."

I just hope some day he'll let me call him by his real name. Really, that's not too much to ask.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I've taken to writing a certain kind of list lately.

This is not a surprise; I am a list person. But this sort of list goes beyond what needs to be done during the day. It is not a grocery list or a house cleaning list.

The kind of list I've been writing out is a kind of life list. And not a list of things I'd like to do at some point in my life (...write a novel, go back to Paris. I find sometimes I am so cliché. But if you know my history, I say both of those are valid. Along with Rome.) but a list of all the things I want &/or need to be doing right now. Books I am or ought to be reading, ideas to think about, blogs to organize and post on, social media to participate in (rather ironic, in it's way: I am more or less non-social), activities to introduce for our family, a laundry schedule.

I suppose if I got it all written down it could really seem overwhelming. I don't ever get it all written down. But I feel like if I could just get everything in it's place I could get it all done.

I know that is one of life's myths.

But I am not after Whammy-Presto Super Change! While occasionally prone to desire such rapid progression I am learning to be content with the step-by-step process of getting things done. Letting life sort it's self out. Saying my prayers and then doing what I can do as it comes.

Ah, this list. Started and started again. I don't despair over it. Rather I am languishing in the idea that I can't finish a complete thought.

I have this cold that I can't quite shake and it's driving me mad. It sits in my sinuses and won't leave; not for love or for money or for time. It keeps me feeling clouded and unfocused. And until it deigns to go, that list I have partially written and left about on scattered papers and various notebooks will just have to sit. I haven't the wherewithal (lovely word) to pull the words from the lines and put them into action.

And so they will stay, nouns without verbs, until I can take enough Vitamin C to kick this sucker out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Under Construction

A little something here, a little something there. Obviously nothing too earth-shattering. I'm just trying to tweak the layout a bit, whilst a sick baby sits on my lap. So, there you go. And thank you for your support.

Also, this new layout thing is making me seriously consider jumping over to WordPress.

haikus for a wednesday morning

Today brings in sun
A light breeze plays through the house
I would like to nap

The children have colds
That run from their heads to toes
Quick, get some kleenex

I guess that I missed
my calling as a writer
of haiku poems

{That one only works
if you say poems as a
two-syllable word}

{...so I know I just lost some of you there...}

{P.S. Here is one of Ben's favorite haikus:

Haiku haiku hai
ku haiku haiku haiku
haiku haiku hai

Or something like that...}

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

another day, another dollar

My house, the infirmary, where whiny, coughy children lay about with naught to do, but torment their mother with complaints ranging from the lack of decent curtains in the house to the state of the world economy.

Yes. Life is tough.

We got home late last night from a family birthday celebration, wherein there were many cakes and pies to consume. I should have brought home another slice of key lime pie, is what I say to myself this morning.

Three of the four kids napped yesterday so staying up late wasn't the end of the world. Except, whoops! I forgot. They're sick. They woke up late and angry this morning.

Angry that I require socks with boots (oh, the feet in boots without socks!) because the bedroom the night before was filled with the humid scent of smelly, smelly toes, thanks to the vaporizer puffing out steam in cheerful fashion, and the boy who had insisted on no socks with his boots.

Angry that I let them sleep in because they had stayed up chatting in bed until 10 pm, and oh no! now my girl would miss "centers" at school. Reasoning with a 7 year old recently diagnosed with an ear infection at eight in the morning is not high on my list of things I like to do.

The weather report says sunny skies and mid-50's today and though at the moment it's gray, my-oh-my I hope it's true, because I need to throw open the doors and windows and air out this germ infested abode and let some light shine in, withering the little complaints that are creeping around into small manageable crusts that I can sweep up and throw away.

Monday, March 2, 2009

an open letter to the month of March

Dear March,

Welcome. I have been looking forward to your arrival. Now you are here, and though it's not quite as grand as I had hoped (my kids are still dealing the remains of their illnesses), I am glad.

I have plans for you, month of March. They include eating less sugar, getting to bed earlier (although this will be a trick with Daylight Savings coming up on Sunday ~ darn U.S. Congress), and perhaps, just perhaps starting to get some sort of regular exercise program.

I may also take my vitamins.

This may seem over ambitious to you, dear March. But seeing as we're all a little tired and rundown over here, something must be done!

There are a few exceptions for sugar consumption: cough drops, as needed; and family birthday celebrations, which will total three dessert opportunities. And that seems good to me. As for the kids, they can have either pumpkin or oatmeal cookies. Healthy enough, right?

SO. Where do you come in?

I know you are a finicky, wind-blowing, temperamental month, but if you would so kindly send some nice rain to clear the muck out of the air, followed by a few brilliant sunny days, I think we'll all emerge from this month rested and well, and all the better for it.

Thanks, most sincerely.