Monday, January 30, 2012


A while back I was in the market for a nickname.
Maybe because I am a regular nicknamer, and rarely call my family by their real names, I thought it was time that I had one as well. I tossed a few around, trying them on for size and appropriate superhero-ish-ness. One friend calls me The B, and that seemed short and a propos, but nothing stuck. I went on being regular me.
Until this week.
I have a nickname now, and wow it is a doozy.
I am....
The Crusher! Roooaaaar!
(Thanks Rick)
I know. I know, you're wondering if my workouts have gotten mondo crazy, and I've become a serious gym rat. Nope. I know, I know, you're wondering if I'm sidelining at WWF. Nope.

What I am doing, apparently with frightening regularity is this:
backing over the kids' things in the driveway.

Bike not put away? Rooooar! Here comes The Crusher! Her blue van cannot be stopped! It will crush and mangle your bike so irreparably, the recycling place will wonder if you were in a biking accident.
Tricycle left with one wheel on the driveway? Roooar! The Crusher will take that trike down down DOWN. Down to scrap metal town.
New scooter left leaning in the garage, too near The Crusher's van wheel? Oh, good. Daddy was driving that day. Crush averted.
It's almost embarrassing.
It's mostly gratifying, how a few inadvertent (really! inadvertent!) mishaps have accomplished what years of nagging could not: kids that are freakishly hasty at putting their bikes, scooters and trikes away.
You're welcome.
The Crusher is available and ready to help you with your toy-in-driveway issues.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Word is Good

Did I say it was The Year of the Happy?
Well then, as Phoenix would say "I tell you, I tell you - it is!"
And so I made this reminder, and what mama says, goes.
By hook or by crook my little ones, you will find a way to...
Be Happy.
And with a wave of my crafty wand, I make it so. It's a mixed media decoupage creation, on a canvas. Underneath, you can see the Time magazine clippings as the base. Only I will know this, but they are all from a Time article on the science of favoritism, with regard to children. My favorite child will always be the one that is happy at the moment. Take heed, brood!
Note the nifty scrabble tile letters! (Thanks Rach!) They will soon make an encore appearance, in another project I'm working on.

See, here I am - beside the print - being so happy to be 8.5 months pregnant with twins. And there I am - cropped above - being happy in the Adriatic Sea, back in my modeling days. Happy, happy...
It's all about the happy.
(I would like to be happy about having a better shot of this to show you. Alas.)
There you have it friends.
Let's all Be Happy.
Bring on the happy, 2012! It is, after all, our duty as Americans - the pursuit of happiness... so, bring on the patriotism, in this pursuit!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Lay down buddy, let's look at the clouds. Oh look! I see a bear!
Yeah Cole. Cole, Cole! Cole! I see a tree!
No buddy, that's the tree right there. Look up, way up, at the clouds.
OK Cole. Cole, Cole, Cole! I see a roof!
No buddy, look higher, up up UP.
OK Cole. Hey! Cole, Cole, Cole! I see a hippopotamus!
Yeah buddy, that's good, I see it too.
Gimme a hug buddy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Party Rerun!

The Seventh Birthday Dance Party went off without a hitch.
See here, the happy parents with the happy party girls - happy, yes! because the party was held in our neighborhood clubhouse. Good one, yay me!

The dance is ON!

(Yes, yes that is our eldest son Cole in the dangly glow stick hoop earrings. Can we just say he was advertising the versatility of our party craft project? Necklaces, glasses... earrings! I'm in!)
See? Here's Jadyn, in all her glow stick finery! Complete with hoops! And finger laser lights, don't party without them...

Yes! Everyone is dancing... the cake is MINE...

Party hats made it home, to resurface the next morning. What a dance, what a crew.
It was proclaimed the "best birthday ever" and we said Good Night to our brand new resident
7 year olds.
The End.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hambone Sisters

See these two hambones?

They turn seven on Saturday.
They have long legs and some honking big girl teeth.
They have strong emotions and clever minds.
They like to get into my cabinet and put on deodorant ("that arm pit stuff"), face powder and under-eye concealer. (I am a minimalist.)
They like to see their wrapped gifts, and think about the possibilities for days before opening the gifts. (This level of restraint did not come from me.)
One of them climbs trees like a lithe monkey. One of them is earthbound and avoids heights.
One of them hides dirty clothes under the bed. One of them is orderly and organized.
One of them procrastinates on HW. One of them jumps right into HW and leaves papers to be signed right on my desk.
One of them is not comfortable with technology and its workings. One of them is a natural with small electronics.
One of them has windblown, tangled hair within 5 minutes of brushing it. Actually, so does the other one.
As a pair, they are pretty darn complete.
I think I'll keep them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Doors and Lost Connections

Yes indeed, our front door search brought some adventure - though thankfully, no (visible) creepy crawlies. Of course, the whole adventure part could have been avoided by a few trips to Lowe's, but where's the fun in that?
Much more fun to find a craiglist person, who is a builder with a stock of quality doors in an old tannery. Scoring a bargain - fun, and a tale to tell - fun again.
Of course, we haven't done anything further with the door situation - which, by the way, is rotting away as we speak. No, we've been beset by Ye Olde Curse of The Bermuda Triangle of Technology Fail. (I know, lengthy title AND lengthy curse. I assure you.)
It's an ancient curse, known to strike at random, and requiring Level Five technicians to converge on our home, 4 different ones in a row if you please. And the 4 techs in a row will subsequently need three.whole.days to get this house up and running again. Don't forget the addendum to the curse! The technological fail will happen over a weekend and a school holiday so Yay! Six people to explain "sorry, no TV or internet" to over and over and over again...
Addendum Two: The Curse of the Four Hour Window. You know this one. Three.whole.days wherein we must remain at home or very nearby for the dreaded 4 hour tech arrival window.
The joy of it! Being forced to stay home, and having no connection anywhere to be found!
Even my cell phone went wonky.
I tell you, Bermuda Triangle. Signals were lost, only to be found again when 3 techs converged on 3 separate points at the exact same time. Point One: our home. Point Two: the nearest phone hub control-box-thingy on the road nearby. Point Three: India. And it was the guy in India that made it all work again.
I had to ask the Point One tech - is the knowledge that Indian fellow holds something I could go to school for, and travel around offering? To you know, like, save people a 3-day wait for repair? A reasonable question, I thought. He did not agree. He did not even answer.
I'm thinking that's a niche skill right there. Eh?
I know. I am so going to take that Indian man's job. Not in a mean way, no! In a helpful *timely* way, for the betterment of our community. Guess I should find out the incident count on this Bermuda Triangle Technology Fail curse first.
I'll get right on that.
Just as soon as I've caught up on my 44 unread Reader posts. Google, I've missed you.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The old tannery

We pulled across the decrepit railroad tracks and spied the place.
A long, low factory-type building was snugged into the side of a slope, allowing for a basement level. It's crumbling foundation, overgrown surrounds and abandoned air put me on alert. Snakey, my mind said, ever on the watch for my (mostly-phantom) fear.
"Snakey, for sure." I informed Rick, in case he had missed the beginning of an enhanced beat to my pulse.

We introduced ourselves and the builder rumbled up the large metal door and we stepped into the old shop. We perused doors and sidelights, and selected styles we liked. The builder chatted, and we kept an eye out for our kids running around in the field nearby. The girls ran in, shouting about Cole, and how he was scaring them with the idea of snakes. Smart kid, I thought. He noticed too. But I stepped to the door and called out "Stop scaring the kids, any snakes around here are asleep for the winter." There. Nicely adult and good job squelching the fear.
The builder's head spun toward me at the mention of snakes. He smiled and said he had been selling doors out of the place for 15 years or so, and that in times past the building was a tannery. The railroad tracks, ten steps from the door, serviced the trains bringing in cowhides from Texas.

"Yeah, back in those days, with the cowhides around, there was a serious rat problem. So, the owner of the mansion just up the hill started breeding king snakes, to take care of the rats."

I started eyeing the worn floor boards, and hidden, dusty corners around me. He must have seen some concern on my face, because he reassured me that the snakes would indeed be hibernating. My inner dialogue kicked into overdrive. It's the first cold snap, really. It's been in the fifties, and never below freezing at night, until this week. What about a late bloomer? A snake that didn't think quite right? Oh crap. I really don't like this.
The builder began to speak again:

"I've caught about 15 king snakes in this building (crapcrapcrapCRAP! I knew it!), and I just take them up to my farm in the mountains. Haven't seen a rat up there in 16 years."

I smiled knowingly, and told him about my Mom and her resident king snake. Surely I implied what a seen-it-all country chick I was, and how the mere idea of a 5 foot snake couldn't throw me off balance. Surely.
We took pictures of the doors we liked best, and made our way outside. I watched the kids pull an old tire out of the brush, and begin to roll it down the hill. "Can we take this home?!" Jadyn called out, "It's so cool!" I chuckled and shook my head. The builder grinned and said he had eight kids at home. (Eight kids and willingly migrated 15 snakes? What kind of man ARE you? Moreover, what sort of person is your wife?)
We talked amiably, said our farewells and pulled out of the drive. Rumbling over old cobblestones, I caught sight of the nearby mansion, on the corner of Tannery St and Wilson St. and shivered at the thought of a place riddled with rats AND snakes. We drove slowly down the old main street, and I watched the classic ranches and bungalows roll by. Snake-land, forever more.

We'll be choosing our front door well before spring comes, that I can promise.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guest Blog: I'm back

It's been awhile since I wrote on the puter. Mom keeps it pretty well locked away from me. Something about "leave my stuff alone" and "stop breaking things, Phoenix," things like that, she says. I tell her, I tell her I want to do it and so I can do it. I tell those kids too. I tell Cole he better stop leaving Legos out everywhere, or he's going to his room. I tell him. I tell him don't talk back Cole, or you go to your room.
And I tell you, I tell you why I'm writing today. About this Year of the Happy stuff. Let me tell you - it did not work out so well for me, that last time there was a Year of Something. A Year of the Yes? I tell you, it was more a Year of Yeah, Right. I tell you, if I'm not gonna do something, I'm not gonna do it. And if I'm doing something, I'm doing it. I tell you.
I tell you too, here's what I think of this whole Year of the Happy. I am NOT happy. Being sent to my room is not happy, and staying in my bed all night is not happy, and having to drink water when I want juice is definitely NOT happy, and drawing on only paper is not happy. And pottying. I tell you, going potty is SO not happy. It's not even been a week, and it's already the Year of Pick on Phoenix.
Take this Year of Happy. Take it, I tell you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Year of the Happy

Hi kids. I think of you here, I truly do. Entertaining happenings, informative happenings, plain old crazy happenings - I think oh! They need to hear this!
Life is getting in the way of me. Phoenix is getting in the way of anything that does not heavily involve Phoenix. School is starting tomorrow, and then, oh then! Helloooo schedule, my preshus, my dahlink, thee I do love...
Holiday time is for for no routine, heck, no regular mealtime - because who needs regular times when you have resident locusts that require no break between feeding, and make me want to quote the Very Hungry Caterpillar at them all. day. long.???! (and for good measure !?!?!)
I do. I really do. They ask for food, and I reel off what they have eaten to that point in time, as if to explain to their empty bellies why there should be no hunger. It so (does not) worketh!
And then I think of the miles they have scootered around the neighborhood, and the hour(s) they have run full-tilt around the yard, cartwheeling and leaping over trees and small children, and next thing I know, MealTime The 5th is being served at 2pm. By a friendly waitress bearing drinks and a smile. Resident friendly waitress, I should say. All locusts should live with a waitress.
Along with my own 4 are 6 different neighborhood kids that also randomly float around the house. Two of them are in my Jadyn's 1st grade class, so I'm comfortable with bossing them around and hugging them and telling one in particular to blink those big blue eyes at me, daily.
He does so, and then asks for milk, and band-aids and could I please tie his shoes on the way out the door?
It has been a good holiday break. Weather good enough to run around in until dark, friends enough to go around, new toys enough to keep the smiles up, wounds enough to tell all and sundry.
Cole's first stitches, courtesy of a log in the woods, and a herd of running boys. Four in the eyebrow, and we have all said if you have to be scarred, the eyebrow rocks it. Laceration, one. Contusion, one. That one is Jadyn's, courtesy of a well-thrown heavy stick by aforementioned boy herd. She will go to school tomorrow with a sorry-looking shiner, and her hair pulled forward to hide it.
Though I did offer some concealer makeup, and explained what it was - we will see if she takes me up on it. All I know is, first thing this morning, before coffee, she peered into my face and said "I see what you mean about covering the purple circles under your eyes." Lucky me. See? I have my own wound, courtesy of Phoenix, who couldn't stay in his bed 3 times last night. Or any night prior.
These days. And then I get an email from my friend Louise, assuring me that this will be the best year ever. I look into space, and think - I surely do hope that during a long, fulfilling life such as hers, I will look each year in the face after 80 years and say it will be the best. I surely do hope!
Happy week and happy schedule and happy happy. Just happy in general, that's good - right? Let's do it.
The Year of the Happy.
{I think I will enjoy it as much as this particular year.... HA!}
Now I'm off to run a herd of boys to their own home for dinner, including one blue-eyed charmer.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Out with the old!

I believe the Mayan calendar did not take into account some changes in energy and possibility on our planet, so...
Happy New Year! We get more time to get it right!

"Out with the old" clearly did not mean out with the old habit of obscure references, in case you have not been looking into the whole Mayan thing. Example, I have one. Ask my neighbor Rachael, as I happened to mention shapeshifters in a recent conversation, thinking that was a typical everyday term. (me? paranormal reading habits?) She nodded and said "Are those people who make their own candles?"
Not really. Neither of us can remember what she actually said, but it was just that unrelated, and all we do know is that we both hooted and carried on about it.

Out with the old has taken form in my house, in the manner of cleaning out in a ruthless and focused way. From closets to kitchen cabinets to this morning - my desk. Talk about random and obscure items, here they be. My favorite finds (other than stashed cash. Halloo!) are the little notes I leave myself, when I'm in the flow of writing something. Most of the time they are short thoughts, and I can't make them go anyplace once the feeling is gone. But I save them, just in case.
Just in case they could become... something.
And so I greet you in this new year, with a snippet and the hope that all good things will come to you, friends. It's been fun, and it's been real, and on it will go. I greet you with this found snippet, because it represents exactly what I hoped to gain with blogging. Inspiration, friendship, and a place to keep the words coming. And this is how they come, on small bits, in the car, at stoplights, tucked into my desk to be remembered or forgotten, and the mood goes.

Found Scrap - 2011, undated
When I was a child, my dreams were my own, and crystal-like to my own mind. Not as in clear, but as in oh-so-fragile. Unmentionable, as though even to speak them would break the force field binding these dreams to my being. These years later, the idea of fragility remains, but my reality has risen up. Risen up to speak aloud, seeing that as we speak these dreams into existence they can be free to step into the light.
Secrets? No.
Dreams, yes. Closely held, beloved...

Happy New Year, fellow dreamers...