Monday, February 28, 2011

The End Of February

It's snowing. Again.

I shouldn't be surprised. Here in New England we get snow through the end of March and flurries until April. Once we even got 2 feet on April 1st.

Still, I see February as the hump month, or the Wednesday of Winter, if you will. It's the Month we have to get past so we can get to Spring.

Maybe this is why the snow today didn't get me down as much as it should have. It's the end of February. Do your worst, snow! Spring is coming. The flowers will wake up, and you will melt into the muddy earth. And it's only a matter of time before we are struggling with the windows, trying to create a breeze in the house to cool us down.

Also, this is why they put the Easter stuff out. To remind us that Spring is around the corner, at with it, chocolate and jelly beans!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is It Easter Yet?

I went to the grocery store to buy valentine's chocolate and they were taking it off the shelves. It drives me crazy that they can't even wait until the day of the actual holiday to take everything away. Apparently we were supposed to stock up the day after New Year's.

And now we are supposed to be buying jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. They were being set up before Valentine's day. The tragedy is that Easter is not until the end of April. And I can't buy Easter candy NOW. I'd just eat it. Or I'd stash it on a high shelf intending to save it for baskets and then, one night, in a moment of weakness, my brain would turn itself off and I would find myself eating six Cadbury Eggs at once.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Winners and Losers

In Vegas there's a lot of gambling. And when there's gambling, there are winners and losers. And without further ado.... The Winners and Losers of 2011 Vegas:

Big Winner: The Fountains Brunch at Bellagio. We stayed at Bellagio. We needed to eat. This brunch was "upscale" and by that I mean "expensive" at $60 a head before drinks or tip. It was so, so worth the money. Exquisite food, view of the fountain, and a whole room of desserts. Which, by the way, we were too full to eat. But we did anyway. If you ever ever are in Las Vegas on a Sunday morning, go here. You will not be sorry.

Big Loser: The Amazing Johnathan. Not so amazing. Sadly.

Winner: Jean-Phillipe's Chocolate Waterfall. This Patisserie was also in the Bellagio. It's a creperie. And there are beautiful cakes on display. I didn't eat either of those, but did have an overpriced croissant and a coffee. But the best part is the waterfall, which has three different kinds of chocolate falling, and the lady in the chocolate dress.

Loser: It was cold. Not as cold as here, but colder than last year. This didn't stop some people from swimming in the pool. I was not one of these people. I require at least 60 degrees before immersing myself in water.

Winner: Ginger Martinis.

Winner: The Lord-of-the-Rings slot machine. Because it played clips from the movie, and was in one of those high-backed chairs that shake when the volume gets loud and the speakers are right on the headrest. I didn't win any money on it. But it was more fun than the 7's and the cherries and the lemons.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In My Dreams

I just came back from a trip to Las Vegas.

Vegas is over stimulating. There is so much going on, all the time. Slot machines beeping, clinking, flashing, and playing the same musical phrases over and over. Everything is over the top, at you all the time, and at any moment a big busted lady in almost no clothing will offer you a cocktail.

The time change and the change in lifestyle added up while I was there. I didn't get a lot of sleep, but spent the time in the hotel room reading World Without End, a book that captivated me from the first page, which is the only reason I would lug it to Vegas with me in the first place, because it's 1000 pages long. I have an ipad and can get books on that, but no, I lugged the old fashioned paper book. The story takes place in 1300 England, and centers around this cathedral and a hospital. Naturally it involves a number of monks and nuns.

My first night back from Vegas we got home at 1am and I fell into bed, exhausted.

And then I had this dream that I was trying to build a casino run by monks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yoga Yoga

This morning I did a little yoga, 30 minutes, for the first time since I got sick.

And my back is sore. And my arms.

I take this as a sign that it is doing something.

Soon I'll be doing the advanced DVD's, where the lady casually says things like "place your knee over your shoulder" and balances on one arm with her legs sticking out to the side. Even Nathan's jaw drops when I play this DVD. What she does is just impossible unless one dislocates one's limbs while in a gravity-free zone.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Is it wrong to discourage my boys from biting their nails... when it is painfully obvious, looking at my hands, that I bite my own nails?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Sounds Of Spring

The past couple of days have been extraordinarily warm.

I bundled Nick up to wait for the school bus, as usual, and as we stood there I realized it was noisier than usual. "What do you hear?" I asked.

Birds. There were birds singing.

And rain. Only it was snow melting and dripping off the roofs of houses.

And a stream. Only it was just the melting snow running downhill.

Warm weather does amazing things for my soul. I get happy in a way I forgot that I could. The cold and dark of winter hardens people, I think.

After two days of weather so warm I sent the boys out to ride bikes without coats, it is scheduled to get cold again tomorrow.

I can't wait for spring.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Andy Speak

The other day I was making grilled cheeses for lunch.

Andy: I want to help!

Me: OK.

Andy: I can't see!

Me: Here, stand on this stool, but stay away from the hot stove.

Andy: I want a tarantula!

Me: A spider?

Andy: No, a tarantula.

Me: A tarantula is a big spider.

Andy: No, to cook with.

Me: Oh, you mean a Spatula!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Knock Knock!

The boys like to tell jokes.

They don't quite grasp the concept of humor, though. Nick is getting there, but somehow all joke telling sessions end with someone shouting "Fart Fart Poopy Pants!" and all three boys collapsing with laughter. While I sit there and try not to look scared, because I have never found the word fart funny in my life. I just skipped that stage.

Andy likes to tell the "Interrupting Cow" joke. But he tells it like this:

A: Knock Knock
B: Who's There?
A: The Interpring Cow.
B: The Interrupting Cow Who?
A: ... MOO!

And then Nick tries to explain that he messed it up, he has to *interrupt* or it doesn't make sense.

But to tell the truth, the joke is kind of old. And somehow I find Andy's version funnier.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And Better Than Ever!

I'm Back!

After all this time (days and days!) I'm surprised if anyone is still checking in. Please forgive me.

See, I was totally knocked out either by this stomach bug or food poisoning or something. I was up almost all night on Sunday. I'll just say I wasn't throwing up or anything, and that's all the detail you'll get on that part except to say that I have never experienced anything like this before in my life, and at one point after a few sleepless hours I became alarmed I was getting too dehydrated. Which was serious because Steve was away on a trip, and I was alone with the boys, and if I passed out or died there would be no one to feed them and they would wander out into the street and get hit by a car. (note: it's far more likely that they would just turn on the TV and play their hand held video game devices for hours.)

Naturally and logically, I decided to measure my dehydration by stepping on the bathroom scale. I lost four pounds that night. On my frame, this is kind of a lot. Oddly, I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe, I would feel well enough in the morning to hop on the treadmill for a five mile run.

I did not.

The next few days were a blur. Not only could I not run on the treadmill (I didn't try) I got tired walking down the stairs. I was reluctant to eat anything. And I was running a fever. A low fever, but still. Whaaa. Poor me.

So here I was with the boys, shuffling to get them to school and get them fed and all that. And an amazing thing happened: I got almost everything done that I needed to get done. Well, except laundry. But I relaxed about getting Nick out the door in time for the bus, thinking I would just drive him to school if he missed it. And he didn't miss it. I remembered to send the boys to school with valentines and remembered to bring in ice-cream for Nate's school party. When the boys were at school I slept. When it was time for Andy's nap I slept and let Nate play video games. When Nick got home we did piano practice, slowly. We did homework, quietly. And then I put on a Sesame Street video and slowly made supper - chicken and rice. I ate the rice.

Bit by bit I became human again. And yesterday afternoon I bounded down the stairs after putting away two loads of laundry feeling on top of the world! I have never felt better in my life! It had been years since I've felt so ALIVE!

Of course, this morning I went for my five mile run, and afterwards I noticed that I had pain shooting through the muscles in my legs. Which I think means I am still a little dehydrated. It's a process.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Taken From Cake Wrecks, one of my favorite blogs. Read every single one, folks. And have a happy happy day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On Hold

I'm not feeling very well. I have a little bit of a tummy thing. No big deal. Just feeling really icky and not up to talking. Or writing. Or eating anything.

Please forgive me for taking a few days off of blogging.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How Much Snow Is There?

There is so much snow in our yard, that when the Oil Fiasco was going on the other day, Gunther got out. But instead of running over to the oil guy or to Steve, he stood on the edge of the snow and barked. Because even the dog won't go trudging through the snow in the yard.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oil Fiasco

Remember how we ran out of oil?

Well, that was on Sunday, and not just any Sunday, but Superbowl Sunday. The Day When Nothing Gets Done.

Steve called the company, because we are supposed to be on automatic delivery. They usually come around with the truck and fill up the tank, need it or not. But for some reason they hadn't lately. Anyway, the lady who answered the phone paged some guy who was on duty and who came around with five gallons of kerosene. But we knew it wouldn't be enough to keep us warm for very long, and we weren't sure when the oil truck would be stopping by next.

So we conserved. We turned the heat on only in the rooms we would be in, and only as high as sixty degrees. We wore sweaters. I did not run the dishwasher, or bathe the children, or shower myself (I did run and then tried to take a cold shower, but the cold shower was way, way colder than I thought it would be, and I only lasted three tenths of a second before screaming the scream of death and making my way back out into the frigid air of the bathroom where I gasped in pain and shock. I took a sponge bath instead.)

Needless to say, we were all very happy to see the oil guy on Monday morning.

We almost missed him, you see, because he didn't come to the house. I happened to look out the window to see why the dog was barking his head off and saw the oil guy standing at the top of the driveway, staring at the house as though it were something unusual, like a spaceship, or perhaps a T-Rex. Steve then threw on his boots and walked out to meet him.

I wasn't out there, but it turned out the guy didn't want to walk through the snow. He had been there just last week, he said. Did the office call us? They told him they left a message. He told them to call us. But there was no way he was going to walk through the snow.

Let me just say here that I think it is actually reasonable to state that you prefer not to walk through three feet of snow if you are a delivery person. However, if you are unable to deliver oil because of that, leave a NOTE! CALL US! Tell us what you need us to do so we can accommodate you and we won't run out of oil when it is ten degrees outside. Not doing this is irresponsible.

Anyway, the guy wouldn't do it. So Steve said he would.

The guy went back to his truck, and Steve dragged the heavy hose through the snow to the side of the house and filled up the tank. The oil bill was over $850, (it should last us 6 weeks) and we got no discount for Steve doing the work, nor did he, or we, ever get an apology or any kind for not delivering our oil, or for not informing us of our responsibility to keep our yard free of snow.

The cherry on top is that Steve hurt his back tromping through the snow with the hose, and is now in constant pain. Each time he has to get up, or turn over, or walk, he remembers the oil fiasco.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Fifth Disease

Nick got Fifth Disease two weeks ago.

His cheeks got bright red, and his arms and tummy were all rashy. They didn't itch. He didn't have a fever. It was just this random rash that hung around. His teacher said Fifth Disease was going around, but that once the rash was present it was no longer contagious.

Andy got it the next week. He never had a fever, wasn't really sick. He just got this rash. And since he got it Monday afternoon, and didn't have school Wednesday, I just sent him in on Friday.

Well, the teachers didn't love having him all bright red and rashy. They wanted a note from the doctor saying it was OK for him to be at school. Which was a problem. Because it was Friday. There are no appointments over the weekend. And also the boys had a make-up gymnastics class at 2pm, and Nick and Nate were supposed to go to Karate at 4:15.

We didn't make it to Karate. But I did get a doctor's note for Andy.

And then, this weekend, Nate started acting sluggish. Dragging his feet, being quiet. And Sunday his cheeks popped up bright red.

I'm keeping him home a couple of days, just to be sure. But I hope the school won't make me go back to the doctor to get a note just for him.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


This morning we woke up to a cold house.

I figured I had run around the night before and turned the heat in all the rooms down. I do that sometimes, especially after I watch or read certain ecological or environmental articles or documentaries.

But I hadn't. Instead, we had simply run out of heating fuel.

See, we have oil heat. And the oil heats water, which runs in pipes to heat our home and also to give us hot water. But the oil needs to be delivered. A truck usually comes by every few weeks and blocks our driveway while a guy drags a huge hose over to the side of the home. The dog barks for 10 minutes straight, once breaking a window in his fury.

But the guy hadn't come by for over a month.

It's the kind of thing we should have noticed, but didn't.

And so we were caught with no heat or hot water.

Of course this is Sunday.

Steve was able to get someone to come by with a few gallons, but not what we usually use, and nothing that would last more than a couple of days. So we turned down all the heat. No washing dishes (which just means a sink of dirty dishes) and no baths (until after I run tomorrow, when I shall shower.)

I hope the real delivery guy comes tomorrow.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Agh! Ack! Thhhpt!

I have to make a confession. I have this habit of writing a week's worth of posts ahead of time. I pre-post, or schedule things to be posted.

This makes sense for me, because I don't always have time to sit down and decide what to say. It' a lot easier for me to get a bunch of writing done at once.

But there are a couple of drawbacks. For one thing, should I get a little gloomy and depressed and write about how I'm trapped in my home with my children and they are slowly pecking me to death with requests for juice, it may not actually get published for a few days. And then, by the time it does, I will be fine, and the juice-rush gone.

Another drawback is that I somehow need to to come up with a week's worth of posts at one sitting. A whole week. Which is why some days you might check in and all you find a a photograph of one of the boys picking his nose, or a sentence about how I have run out of shampoo. I know. But my life really isn't that interesting.

This is one of those times. I sit down to write and... I've got nothin'. Not even a poorly shot photograph.

Boy is this week gonna be fun!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

How to not live to see four

The other morning I made bagels for breakfast.

This is a treat for the boys. They love bagels. I think it's because we refused to let them have them for a long long time, due to the fact they are a choking hazard.

I place the plate of bagels on the table, and the boys oooed and ahhed, then I started to cut one up for Andy.

"NO! I want a whole one! DOn't cut it up!"

At this point my mind did a very speedy calculation, weighing the costs of having this argument this early against the possibility of anything actually happening added to Andy's ability to cram food into his mouth.

"OK, fine. Take this one, it's a whole one. But you have to chew it Very Very carefully!"


"And take small bites!"

"I will!"

"I'll put this other one back on the plate, and you can have a whole one."

"Thanks!.... Now cut this one up."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Seasonal Depression

I think that most years I keep a good head on my shoulders until mid to late February. That's when I start to go a little bonkers, get a little stir crazy, and I start feeling lonely and stranded and cold and dark and I hate the world because it's cold and overcast and the snow and ice are surrounding me and they are never ever going to melt and spring divorced me no one loves me and we are never going to be warm or sunny ever ever again.

The recent post of the photos of my deck? Remember that one? My brother Jamie commented that we had a lot of snow and that it wasn't even February.

February has come early, folks. And with it that cascade of self-pity and endless white of overcast sky meets snowy ground. Really, they are one and the same.

I think it's cabin fever. A need to get out and do something. I feel the need to connect and get out and buy bathing suits and plan vacations I will probably never take. May those that take them enjoy them. I will sit here and smile and pretend to be happy for you. And you can pretend I'm not jealous or feeling left out. And then we'll all drink some more wine, and life will go on.

That's the magic of it all, right? Life goes on. I have faith that, eventually, spring will come, and my tulips will break ground. I can restart my compost and plant some tomatoes. And in the long run it won't matter, will it? Because the snow will melt and it will all be forgotten. In theory.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Don't Ask

I really have no idea what he was doing in this photo.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pirate Nate

Corn Flakes Again?


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Pirate Andy

What do you mean the ship is stuck in the ice?