Friday, November 30, 2012


The kids had a friend ove on Sunday.

Well, the kid's dad wanted to watch the football game, and we have a good setup for it. So his little boy came, too.

The kids were all playing with swords, jumping around yelling, generally being loud and rambunctious. And of course, that leads us to the part where one kid emerged in tears because someone actually HIT HIM with the sword, the swords they have been swinging around like mad men, aiming at each other, poking at each other, and ignoring warnings about.

So I went onto the porch, which was where the boys were, and the boy's father and I removed the swords from the boys, and told the boys to find something else to do.

There was a good deal of grumbling, but eventually all of the boys left the porch, and we closed the door.

And about twenty minutes later,  heard the dog barking to be let in.

So I went to the door to the deck, only Gunther wasn't there. I was confused. He barked again. The bark was coming from the porch.

The dog had been shut in the porch for twenty minutes.

This is the part where I remind / tell you that the porch was where we had been storing the leftover thanksgiving turkey.

HAD been.

Because if you give Gunther 20 minutes, apparently, he can work out how to nudge off the top cover of the deep roasting pan, and he will then eat the top half of the turkey until, for some reason, he wants to distance himself from it.

He ran away from me as soon as I made the discovery, and I assumed that would be the end of it, more or less.

Only it turned out to be less.

Because even though nothing bad happened all that night, the next morning Gunther began to throw up.

And he kept throwing up.

All day.

On every rug we own.

Spreading the joy.




With a kid you can say "Get in bed, here's a bucket to throw up in." You can say "try and make it to the bathroom."

With a cat, it's not enough mess to make it that much of a pain.

With a dog, there is no logic and no warning. He'll be walking along and suddenly he makes a noise like "ARCK." Gunther is a big dog. When he pukes, he pukes a LOT.

And he's old and it's cold out, so I couldn't leave him outside.

And when I tried shutting him in the bathroom, he just barked and barked and barked.

He's fine now. By the way. Which I guess is lucky, because he was the one stupid enough to eat half a turkey, and I was the one stuck cleaning up puke all day. I wasn't feeling very sorry for him.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

You Had To Ask?

Andy's sitting at lunch, eating a ham sandwich, and looking out at the nasty New England weather.

"Mom?" he asked. "What is that white stuff falling from the sky?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is It Christmas Yet?

This morning I got the first Christmas card of the season. In November. And it was from my sister, Emily.

As if I needed any more proof that the world was spinning off it's axis.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Happening...

I used to sit down and try and write a bunch of blog posts at one time.

When my brain or memory would fail me, I would put up a bunch of photographs. I didn't always have any, but I often did, and if I didn't I'd pull out the camera and take pictures of the boys eating or playing with their DS things, or sometimes my backyard.

So there I was, right after Thanksgiving, ready to put up a bunch pf photos of smiling and eating relatives, and everything seemed to be going according to plan, when...

I got an error message.

It was upbeat. It began with "whoops!"

When I was tracking my running, RunKeeper sometimes gave me error message s that began "Oh Noes!" when their server wasn't functioning properly. And I would get doubly irritated because not only was the server not working, but I'm in no mood for computers trying to act all cute. This time I kind of felt the same way.

Only Blogger wasn't taking any of the blame. Oh no.

The "whoops!" messgae went on to explain that I had reached my free 1GB of free storage space for photos in my online Picasa web album, the one that stores my photos, and that I would have to purchase additional space if I wanted to go on. Or perhaps order some photos or something?

Quite honestly, I don't remember the exact wording of the message. I was upset. And as I am not inclined to pay for web storage nor am I ready to order photos (I just ordered 300 prints from iphoto) I was in kind of a lurch.

So now I'm doing a bit of shuffling around. I'm trying to transfer photos from the Picasa web albums to iPhoto, so I don't lose them (I'll end up having to back them up again, I know. Then, I can go and delete them, one by one. off the Picasa albums.

The downside to this, and it is a real downside, is that when I delete a photo from Picasa, it is no longer available on this blog.

Go back. Take a moment and go back to the earliest of the posts I did, way back in 2006. You'll see that the earliest photos are gone and unviewable. You should view all of them, all of the pictures of Nick as a toddler and Nate as a chubby cheeked baby, go back and see them all now. While you still can.

From this point on it's like some horror film, Back To The Future, maybe, but to me more like Steven King's Langoliers, or The Nothing from The Neverending Story. It has begin, and now, little by little, those old photographs will disappear, gradually picking up speed, until today, too, is eaten by the no-more-photos monster...

Anyway, one of the reasons things have slowed down is that all this shuffling around takes time. Photos will arrive before too long. I appreciate your patience.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dear Santa

Circumstances this year have postponed this letter until the day after Thanksgiving once again. If you ask me, this is when Christmas belongs: after Thanksgiving. Not before, and certainly not before Halloween. The people who disagree with me are thinking in marketing terms. This year, I've even waited until after Black Friday.

This year I ask, as I always do, for gifts to remain modest. We are trying to avoid excess, so we can have room for our favorite things. Things that can be used up - art supplies or soaps , or things that can be read or worm - books or clothing - are very much appreciated. Also, special gifts of trips to movies, zoos, playgrounds, or parks, can be coordinated and the boys will love them.

Andrew - age 5 on Dec. 17th
Shirt size: 5
Pants size: 5 (has a lot of these, some hardly worn because Nate grew out of them so quickly.)
Shoe size: 12 (needs these, also needs socks!)
Asking for: a nutcracker doll, a slingshot (don't get him one), Books, anything that is not girlish, or babyish.
Likes: learning to read

Nathan - age 7 on Jan. 16th
Shirt size: 7/8
Pants size: 7
Shoes size: 2
needs all sorts of clothing - he wears things out quickly
Asking for: DSXL (no), gloves that have mitten tops that fold back to fingerless gloves
Likes: Harry Potter, Books, Video Games, puzzles.

Nicholas - age 8
Shirt size: 7/8
Pants size: 7
Shoe size: 2.5
needs all sorts of clothing - he wears things out quickly
Asking for: an owl (again, no)
Likes: Harry Potter, Legos, Pokemon, Cooking. He likes Rick Riordan books, and might enjoy the 39 Clues book.

I will add to this list as the toy catalogues come pouring in, and I will delete anything that gets purchased. I'll also put a link to this letter at the top of the blog (see where it says "Dear Santa?" Yep, that's it!) , so anyone can access it as we get closer to the actual holiday!

Love, Kathleen

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Let Us Be Together Tonight

I am horrible  at taking pictures.

I've gotten better, now that I have children and now that cameras have gone digital. I can take as many as I want, and don't have to pay for film development.  It's just, when I'm standing there clicking away with my camera I'm always thinking "Why am I taking a picture of this? What di I think I'm capturing?"

And then, years later, when I'm rifling through photo albums with the shot arrange according to whimsey instead of by subject or chronologically, I'm metaphorically kicking myself in the head for not taking more pictures than I did.

Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings. Let us try to remember them the whole year through.

This song has been running through my head lately.  If I had time, I would have put together a slide show of old Thanksgiving photographs to go with this song, and maybe someday I will. For now, please give the song a listen (watching the YouTube slideshow is up to you, I don't care for it much.) You can look at these four photos I managed to scan while you listen.

And we can be Thankful and Grateful for what we have.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Game Plan

We have a guest list of 27 people.

I've ordered 2 turkeys.

I have written out the menu, composed a shopping list, and created a cooking schedule.

Now we simply need to purchase a table and make sure someone bring up some folding chairs.

And hope all the guests make it up.

For now, all I have to do is clean the house.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Older They Get

My kids have stopped being so funny.

No, seriously, I rely on them for material. They say something funny and I make a mental note so that I can write it up for this blog. "Ah! How funny little Nathan is! Isn't Nicholas so humorously observant? And Andy is just adorable! Ha ha ha! How Charming!"


Except that then I sit down to write something, knowing full well how charming and hilarious my kids are, and.... nothing. I have either forgotten everything they've said over the past week, or...  they are no longer funny.

I'm thinking this is because they're older. Or maybe because I've put too much pressure on them? (Be funnier, Darn it! Say something to make me laugh! NOT the interrupting caw joke!)

Whatever the reason, it's going to cause some problems.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It comes and goes.

I lost my voice.

The worst part of this, aside from it being a Choir Day (Sunday), is that I am unable to yell at my children. Or even to calmly remind them not to poke each other with sticks or throw sneakers at each other's heads.

I may resort to carrying a whistle or a fog horn.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

One thing, Then another

The first thing that happened was that Andy got strep throat.

That actually happened almost two weeks ago, right after Halloween. So you'd think it wouldn't have anything to do with what's happening NOW, would it?

But you'd be wrong. Because Thursday Andy had a playdate, and when I wandered over to pick him up, his face was red and splotchy, and the mother of the other kids was wearing a look of near panic. "I swear, he didn't eat anything except PBJ and pineapple! I can give you a list!" She was mortified, and I had to explain to her that all he eats at home is PBJ, so it was most definitely not that.

I took him home and gave him a bath, thinking he might be itching because he had a haircut that morning, and that I could just wash away any little hairs making him itch. In the bath, I saw that he actually had huge raised welts all over his back and his tummy.

So I gave him an antihistamine. The bottle said ages 6 and up. But Andy's almost 5, so I gave him 3/4 of the recommended 1 tsp.

Andy passed out. I mean, he was awake one minute and then I turned around and he had fallen asleep in a dining room chair.

But the hives went away.

Until that night. After we gave him another dose of amoxicillin.

The next morning he still had hives. I called the pediatrician to ask what we should do, because we only had one day of antibiotics left.

I couldn't send Andy to school, because no school would take a kid so red and blotchy and itchy.

So I had to call the mother of the other kid Andy was supposed to go home with after school and let her know he wasn't going to be around.

And then I remembered I had a hair appointment. And I spent forty minutes bouncing off the walls, wondering if I should cancel my hair appointment or just leave, and why oh why I didn't give the pediatrician my cell phone number.

A nurse called back, but she didn't have any immediate answers, except to say that sometimes it DID take over a week for these kinds of reactions to medications to occur. She said she had to talk to the doctor. I left the phone with Steve and took off to get my hair done.

And when I came back, the office hadn't called back for the second time. When they did, they said to just stop the meds.

I was now much later to the grocery store than I had planned. I usually go in the morning. The store was crowded. When I got there I realized I didn't have my cell phone, so I couldn't listen to music. But the bigger deal was that I had somehow lost my list. I had to guess about what I needed for the few days before Thanksgiving shopping. I kept thinking I would call home and get Steve to tell me if the list was on the counter, and then I remembered I didn't have my phone.

When I got home, without a few key items, I didn't find my phone. It wasn't where I thought I'd left it. I had to walk around with the house phone listening for the ring, and I finally found it in my car, on the floor in the back under the passenger seat.

That afternoon I finally gave Andy a second dose of antihistamine, which knocked him out so much he couldn't do karate. Nate and Nick had a fight that resulted in someone pushing another someone off the bunk bed ladder, so I told them no karate. There were tears and screaming and wailing. And I still had errands that I had planned to do while they were in karate.

So I took Nate (who was wearing clothing) with me to pick up my milk and get the dry cleaning.

But I somehow forgot to go to the dump. I don't know how, the car was full of old boxes and recycling. By the time we got home, the dump was closed.

Then I had a glass of wine.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Curtains for me

For the life of me, I can't figure out why purchasing curtains is so complicated.

Actually, I wasn't even purchasing curtains. It was the hardware. The curtain rods. Oh, I went to Sears and found them. And I looked and selected one that was the right size. And I looked and saw the that the one behind it was also the same size.

And, silly me, since there were longer ones behind them, and shorter ones in from, I them made the assumption that I was selecting ALL THE SAME SIZE.

But I wasn't.

No, instead I have two the correct size, and two ridiculously long curtain rods.

I realized this, of course, only after I had removed our existing curtain rods, drilled new holes in our already very holy walls, and begun the process of hanging the actual curtains up.

I already opened one of the packages.

Now I have to go back tot he store tomorrow. I'm terrified they won't have the kind of curtain rods I need on the size I need, and I'm going to have to drive all over creation trying to find them.

Which is what happened the first time we tried putting curtains up in this room. We had to go to so many stores to find eight panels, and when we got them, one was too short. We hid it behind the TV.

Why is this so complicated? It seriously makes me want to beat someone with the actual curtain rod.

I spent all day on this, and it isn't done. And nothing else got done.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And Then It Snowed

Actually, it was more like slush. Thank goodness it melted before nightfall.

The boys had snow pants and boots by 7am and went out to play before the school bus came. They were soaking wet in minutes.

I went out to try and do damage control and take out the trash. I saw Nathan slip and fall face first into the wet slush of the driveway.

For a moment he didn't move. Sometimes kids do that when they hurt themselves.

I called out and walked over to see if he was OK.

Nate got up, rolling every other dry spot into the slush in the process.

"I'm OK." he said. "Lucky I fell into the slush! This slush saved my life!"

Monday, November 12, 2012

A View

There are advantages to having a bigger window in my kitchen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Birthday Gift

 For my birthday, Nathan dressed up.  His idea, he did it all by himself. (yes, those are sweatpants.)

He also made me this best birthday card.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Out Of Step

With the time change comes the inevitable onslaught of posts and comments from pet owners and parents of young children. My cat didn't get the time change and woke me at 5am. The baby refused to go to sleep and now is up at 3am. The dog was ready to go out at 4am.

The adults in these situations always seem to be fine with whatever time change there is. In this case, we were given an extra hour to sleep in. All grown peoples were supposed to simply enjoy their extra hour of sleeping in and then adjust, going to be when the clock's numbers seemed right, and waking at their usual waking time.

I know, I know, the time change was a week ago!
I am not most people.

I blame it on my routine. From day to day, or week to week, I am usually pretty certain of what I will be doing. If it's Wednesday morning I'm cleaning the house. Thursday I'm paying the bills. Friday I'm grocery shopping. After the boys come home we dash to do a quick homework, practice piano, off to karate or wherever, and then I throw dinner together. We eat, I clean up quickly, bathe the boys, read them books, and then to bed.

The time change throws a wrench in everything. I am so habitual that I can't sleep in. This means I'm awake at 4:30, staring at the ceiling. I force myself to wait until 5 before finally creeping down to the basement to work out. I don't know why I'm creeping, The boys are awake.

 When I get up from my workout, it is now still pitch dark. By lunchtime I'm starving. By dinner the boys are tired and cranky and Nate is falling asleep at the table. I have a thing inside my head saying 'hurry hurry hurry!" like it's already 10pm, so we rush through baths and then rush through stories.

"You do know it's 7:18," Steve said the other day after I tucked the boys into bed.

I knew. But they were exhausted. And I was exhausted.

I have to say that I can understand the point of time change in olden times, before the light bulb, when people rarely rose before dawn or stayed up past dark. But these days we do both, come winter. Does it matter if the hours are int he morning or the evening? No. So what, I ask, is the point? I have yet to hear an argument that convinces me that this was a good idea.

Meanwhile, I'm just bumbling around, trying to make things more normal.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Downhill From Here

Steve was listening to his usual talk radio as he got dressed int he morning. I hate talk radio, I can't stand it, it drives me crazy. But what I hate most about it is how one sided most "hosts" can be, and how they love to hang up on or talk over anyone with an opposing view. It isn't "talk radio" that's "rant radio" and anyone who thinks they are actually getting information from such a medium is sadly deluded.

Anyway, Steve likes this particular program which isn't so bad, because it has both a conservative and a liberal, and the topics they talk about are serious things like chewing gum in meetings, or... I don't know... dress codes for restaurants.

When I walked in, the woman was talking about hormone replacement therapy. I can't remember exactly how it went word for word, but it went something like this:

radio: women who don't delay hormone replacement therapy, who begin it sooner, have a lower chance of getting Alzheimers. Those who wait have a higher chance. What do you blah blah blah blah blah

Steve: Kathleen, are you hearing this?

Me: Yeah. So?

Steve: Well... you should listen, You should start taking those hormones.

Me; Steve, they're talking about menopause.

Steve: ---

Me: I'm 37.

Steve: ---

Me: Do you even know what menopause is?

Steve: Well...

Me: And do you really want me taking MORE hormones right now?

And that said, it's my birthday today. I'm 38. One year closer to Hormone Replacement Therapy. Or not. Depending on whatever it was they said on that program.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Dark Suffer

I can't remember what we were talking about. I think it was Nate's Tick. Or maybe it was about the rats in New York city escaping the subway... But I think it was more likely about Nate's Tick....

Anyway, he suddenly started talking about The Dark Suffer.

"You know, The Dark Suffer. Nick knows about it, right Nick?"

I thought it must be some Pokemon battle thing, but then Nick said "You know, when the fleas from rats made people sick?"

"Wait," I said. "Are you talking about the Black Plague?"

Recognition lit up both boy's faces as they nodded. "The Black Plague? That was hundreds of years ago. You don't really have to worry about that anymore."

The Dark Suffer?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

You Are Given A Right

In this country, you are given the right to select your government. As twisted and complicated as you believe this process to be, every vote counts.

Today I am casting my vote in favor of Marriage Equality, for the right to make decisions about my own body, and to any extent possible, for those who take Climate Change seriously.

You can agree with me, you can disagree with me, but today, do it in a voting booth.

Also, it's Lillian's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Lillian!

Monday, November 05, 2012


Here are some photos of the boat that used to be ours, Post Storm.

Done Dreamin' is just that.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

No Ticks On Me

After Trick-Or-Treating on the 31st, we still had to make the drive back home.

Both Nate and Andy fell asleep in the car, so when we got home, I had them skip baths so they could hop into bed, even though it wasn't even 8pm.

The next morning, at the breakfast table, there was a slight commotion. Then Nick and Nate were both shouting at me that there was a tick on Nate.

It was on his chest, high up enough so that he couldn't see it. It wasn't swollen, but it has sug itself in.

I called him over and got it out with a cotton ball, dish soap, and tweezers. (I've heard that if you cover it in soap or oil, it backs out, trying to breathe, and it makes it easier to pluck off. Don't know if it's true, but getting it off Nate was pretty easy.)

Nate sniffed a little, but the tick was off, and I figured it was forgotten.

That afternoon, however, he was poking at it during piano practice.

"I feel all funny about it," he said. And then he asked if it was true that you could catch a disease from ticks.

"Yes," I said, not really thinking about it. "You can, but you won't. We'll keep an eye on it just in case, but I'm sure you're fine. Now let's practice this."

Cut to Nate in Steve's Den, crying with worry about catching some illness from his tick bite.

By the way, he's fine. The area was red because he was poking it all day. Once we put a band-aid on the spot and he was able to see the reflection in the mirror, he was a lot calmer.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


Halloween was postponed here in our town. In Lillian's neighborhood, however, things looked good! So we headed down there on the 31st, and the boys trick or treated.

The boys have the little orange UNICEF boxes, handed out by the church. This year was the first year that Nathan understood the concept. People give you change for the boxes, and the boxes go to poor children.

This year, each of the boys remembered to bring their orange boxes to Lillian's, and all three of them carried them out into the night.

The first house we stopped, the guy gave them each a dollar.

The second place we stopped, some very nice young adults passed out candy, but didn't seem to notice the UNICEF boxes. I started backing away, Andy shouting out "Thank You!" and suddenly Nate froze.

"Wait!" he shouted at the nice young adults. "Aren't you forgetting something?" he waved his orange box in the air. "UNICEF?"

The kids told us they didn't have change, and I pulled Nate away, apologizing.

"Listen," I said. "Some people will notice the boxes and give you coins. Others won't have anything. But don't ask. It's a little touchy, and we don't want to be rude."

At the next house, a very nice lady placed candy bars in the boy's bags. Nate didn't say anything, but he raised the box over his head and waved it back and forth, making sure the lady would notice it.

After a few more houses I told him that if he didn't stop waving it around I would take it away.

But this time of year, I'm reminded he would be great at fundraising.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Storm Of The Century

They say things like this all the time. "Storm of the Century!" the headline will say. Or "Biggest snowfall of the decade!" or "Worst storm of the year." Usually Steve and I will glance at each other and then snort. "It's only January," we'll say. Or "it's 2010. The decade / century has just begun. HOW do they know?"

People seemed really hyped up about Sandy. There was a lot of giggling, a lot of eye rolling. People made jokes about not needing to stock up (I've still got all my stuff from Irene that I never used!) and people complained about the universe being out to ruin Halloween.

We braced for the storm. I expected a few downed branches. Maybe another fallen tree. We expected to lose power - I mean, let's face it, we lose power every few months. I got out all the flashlights. Steve bought gas for the generator. We charged up out electronic devices, our ipads, our computers, our phones.

I expected, in my self-centered, ego-centric world, that we would get the worst of the storm. We love in the country. There are trees. We always get the worst of the storm. At least compared to most of the people we knew.

It rained. The wind blew.

Facebook lit up with people updating the world on when they lost power.

And then the news sites started showing photographs of floating cars and waves hitting people.

A few daredevils I know posted pictures of an optimistic Atlantic Ocean. One picture was from a car that got soaked in salt water seconds later. One picture was of a plywood dam, taken from a second floor window which no longer exists.

Most of our town lost power. The kids were out of school for three days, and Halloween was postponed for the second year in a row. (The Universe Hates Halloween.)

We did not lose power.

Oh, there was a moment when the lights went out, and I called out "This is it, guys!" and then, twenty seconds later, the lights came back on. And they stayed on.

I wish I could say the same for my family.

My parents were evacuated out of their NYC apartment when a crane collapsed nearby. They don't know how to dismantle the crane (it was a tall one, building a lovely eyesore skyrise,) and everyone is afraid it will simply fall and crash into nearby buildings. The trouble is, in the hurry to get out, someone was left behind - a small, tail-less cat named Cinder.

The building is now padlocked. Jamie could not get in to retrieve the cat, and was told it would be 4-5 weeks before they'd be let back in. He led the  Save Cinder! movement until someone directed him to the back of the building, where they let people in small numbers (five) so that they might collect pets and other important items. Medication. Coats. Computers.

So my parents are refugees, as is my brother.

Areas have been flooded. Public transportation is broken, due to flood damage in the subway tunnels. Linda is without heat, running water, electricity. She says people are plugging cell phones into every outlet they can find - at banks, at the posts of some building (was it the library?)

Remember the boat? Steve's boat? Well, I don't think I ever posted about this, but Steve sold the boat, just a few weeks ago. Which turns out to be kind of lucky. Because the boat was totaled in the storm. Another boat broke from it's mooring and smashed into her. I feel bad, though, for the guy who bought her. He is from South Jersey, and although his insurance will more than cover the cost of the boat, he and his wife lost their home in the storm.

I'm getting all over the place, here. The thing is, there has been a major disruption. And so much damage. I feel horrible, and helpless, and wish I could do something.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things get back to normal soon. I'm hoping that damage is easily repaired. I'm thinking of my family and of the so many many people who has lost so much. And reminding myself that we never know what this storm will bring, or the next.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The End Is Nigh

Oh, Good Lord, It's November already.

The beginning. The beginning of the end. Of 2012.

Once Halloween is over, the ball has more than started rolling. It's mostly down the hill and is rolling at blur-vision speed.

First, the election. Lillian's Birthday.
My Birthday.
Veteran's Day, with no school.
Thanksgiving. Chez Moi.
December. Piano Recital. Parties.
Andy's Birthday.
New Year's Eve.

And just like that, it's 2013.
And I register Andrew for Kindergarten.