Four calling birds, three french hens, two turtedoves and one Miracle Ear to address my hearing loss

Well bless their hearts if my daughter and her friend Trinity aren't just the SWEETEST, CUTEST, Most darling children the world has ever seen who CANNOT SING A LICK I don't know who is.

I'm not saying they CAN'T sing exactly. I am saying they are choosing to sing LOUDLY and distinctly OFF-KEY to the utter hilarity of all. There are geese and Lords and something with milking but none of it goes together all that well at the time.

Still, it's quite sweet music actually and I wouldn't change their tune for the world.

Rock on girls. You and your partridge and the pear tree too.

The gift that keeps on giving

The gift that keeps on giving a life of loneliness and bachelorhood, maybe.

This season's Public Service Announcement suggesting that a truly thoughtful gift for one’s wife, daughter, sister, or mother might be that the man schedule her gynecological visit seems a bit too much like some sort of planned mass male homicide to really be taken seriously.

Nonetheless somewhere out there SOME poor guy fell for it. Let us all take a moment and pray for him.

Lest anyone feel slighted. They have one for Hannukah too.

Photographs and Memories

Okay, so, I receive compliments on my photographs and every single time I'm so flattered I could just cry. Truly. My "gear" is a Sony Cybershot P&S camera (stands for "point and shoot" not "piece of sh#$" but with the way some point and shoots take photos the confusion is easily understood). Most people when they say "gear" will follow it with a lot of talk about really pricey camera like Nikon D-whatevers and Canon Rebels. I, of course, want one of those so bad I could just sob quietly to myself every time one of my children streaks down a soccer field like greased lighting and all I have to show for it is a blur because point and shoot cameras can't DO telephoto sports action. The best you get is a shot of yourself and your sad little face because you missed the shot YET AGAIN. Still, there is something to be said for a camera that doesn't require it's own insurance policy and make you question if you would save our spouse or camera and in which order if only one could be pushed from the path of a speeding bus (just kidding honey, I would totally save YOU because otherwise I would have to take photos of MYSELF loading the woodburner and such and that would be No Fun At All). There is also something to be said for a camera that fits in your purse or pocket. Never will I be that photog who, turning left, takes out the three people seated to my left because my long-lens got in the way.

Still there comes the inevitable "what camera do yo use?" comments because some people, inexplicably, like my photos. To this I answer that I use a Sony Cybershot DSC-W150. There are many fine point and shoot cameras on the market but for my money, the Sony's are the way to go. A dear friend was a professional for years, routinely used cameras that cost more than my first, second, and sometimes third car (combined!) and Sony Cybershots are her "pocket camera" choice. Good enough for me right?

My only two words of advice for ANY model of point and shoot manufactured by virtually anyone is 1) turn off your red-eye reduction. Do it now. I'll wait. Yes, I know, it seems like an AWESOME feature but that red eye reduction is probably responsible for every frustrated "aarraggh!" of shutter lag I've ever heard. If you point your point and shoot camera at a subject you understandably expect it to "shoot" the photo when you push the button. If it doesn't, but instead does this annoying little pause where it first seems to flash and THEN, finally, when your toddler/dog/other has wandered out of the frame grabs a quick shot of their retreating back (or butt) you can thank your red eye reduction. It stopped the shot to "flash" a quick pre-flash at your subject's eyes so that the retina would restrict or what have you. THEN it took the picture. I like to think of red eye reduction as the "no eye reduction." So named because if you use it, most of the time you won't see eyes at all. Just grimaces of pain and/or retreating rears.

Then, turn off your digital zoom. Yes, I know, again it seems AWESOME but what it will probably get you is lots of cool shots of pure fuzz. As your camera moves in on a subject with digital zoom you will likely end up with a photo so pixelated (broken up into little dots and squares) that it will be useless to you as anything less than weird modern art that nobody understands. Hardly your goal when photographing your six year old's soccer game. Stick with optical (ie real) zoom and turn your digital zoom off. Sorry I can't tell you how to do that for every model manufactured. You are going to have to crack open that little book that came with your camera and read up. Or, alternately, just start poking buttons and see if you hit upon something in the "menu" area that fits the bill.

Finally, whenever possible shoot with your flash OFF. Yes, I know. I blaspheme. Seriously, the most flattering light is "real" light and if you have any - even candlight - try it sometime. The key is to invest in a lightweight tripod, learn to balance yourself perfect taking not even a breath as you depress the shutter button, or, set the camera on a steady surface and use the timer (when available) to snap a shake-free shot.

The beauty of digital is you can delete your mistakes and no one's the wiser (or out any money). Still, if you experiment with what a birthday cake or Christmas lights look like when you photograph the actual glow rather than a harsh burst of bright flash glare - you might be pleasantly surprised at what an awesome photographer you are almost without even trying!

The final key to certain success that will have friends and family asking "how do you do that?" is to take too many photos. Seriously. I will take 300 shots to get the 30 or so "great ones" that might actually see the light of day. Of those 30 exactly 3 will be true "masterpieces." So just so we are all clear, in pursuit of the "perfect photo" I will, in fact, abuse my family.

My children have been photographed so much they think they're being followed by the Paparazzi. Worse, at an early age my son was so adept at dodging the roving photographer also known as mom that he would fling his arm, coat, baby sister, in front of his face to shield himself from the camera's prying eye and unrepentant glare. He was kind of like our own, pint-sized Sean Penn.

Finally, I need Photoshop. You need Photoshop. We all really need Photoshop. Life is just prettier with Photoshop. It allows you to tweak a photo. Remove blur. Punch up the color (or tone down the zit). Virtually every published photograph you see has probably been run through some sort of photo editing program and Photoshop is the granddaddy of them all. I use Photoshop Elements because it does everything a non-pro photographer would want and the price tag doesn't require my selling a kidney.

Granted, it's a fine line between slightly punching up a shot so the photograph better resembles reality and turning your elderly Aunt Pearl into a virtual clone of supermodel Heidi Klume. Our goal is to enhance photographs so they better match reality - not fabricate reality into a wholesale lie.

Example: Below I have taken a SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot (1st photo) and punched up the color and sharpened the image in PSE (2nd photo). The entire process took maybe a minute and, if I do say so myself, was very much worth it. In Photo #2 at the right my creepy old santa head full of candy canes just SHINES. In photo one you just really don't get how maniacal that little dude really IS.

It's beginning to look a lot like ...

It's beginning to look a lot like once again I am all in a quandary because I always seem to have an IMBALANCE of gifts for the kids. One year it's so easy to buy for, say, Kassie it's laughable, while I have no good ideas for Matthew. Another year the situation reverses itself. This year is Kassie's year and I'm wracking my brain trying to come up with fresh, interesting ideas for Matthew beyond games of the video variety. I'm not AGAINST video games, mind you, I just hate for all his gifts to fit neatly in the palm of his hand. If only they made big honkin' HUGE video games. Something I could wrap for a real present PRESENCE under the tree.

As it is Mike suggested a "drip bag" for Matthew's newfound love of hunting. Because nothing say's "Season's Greetings Son!" like a bagful of deer pee under the tree.

Siskel & Ebert I'm Not

S o the gal pals and I headed out Friday night to see New Moon. We read the entire Twilight book series avidly -- the average being to finish all four books in the space of 10-14 days. Of course, to achieve this you need to completely neglect to feed, interact with, or provide for your family in any discernible way, but sacrifices must be made for literature.

I know they are not Great Literature. They are not Steinbeck. I consider them more like "Gone with the Wind." Engaging, entertaining, and fun. What's wrong with fun? Not every book or movie must be Great Art to be good. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that most movies (and some books) pushed as "great art" are in fact pretentious yawns. Give me a nice fluffy fun flick any day.

So there we were watching New Moon. Just us and dozens of young girls. I saw a few kids from Wonderboy's 6th grade class there (all girls by the way).

If you liked Twilight you'll love New Moon. It's more Jacob, less Edward (which made me sad, I like a nice emaciated vampire kind of thing any day) but since the majority of theatergoers heaved an audible 'sigh' when Jacob took off his shirt mid-show, I figure they more than made up for it.

Other than that where Twilight was blue, New Moon is brown. The lighting is so different and there is one scene that is so laugh-out-loud bad that I can only think it was included as a joke. Or the Director lost a bet.

Still, it was an enjoyable $7 (Matinee price) plus popcorn and I highly recommend it for those who love fantasy, adventure, and pretty boys (and can get past the whole "the actor who plays Jacob is not yet eighteen years old" thing). Hello Mrs. Robinson indeed!

3 Days of Camp

A lternately titled: My semi-empty nest.

So Matthew is off to camp. Camp is something ELSE the school cooked up just to torture me. Much like the whole "5th graders TOTALLY belong in Middle School with big giant huge children who look like they eat 5th graders for mid-morning snack!" they have helpfully decided that in 6th grade children should go away to camp - for three days.

They have done this for something like 25 years now and since all the natives are brainwashed into thinking about how much fun this is - we all have to agree.

Granted, I'm sure he is in good hands and all the older kids, former camp survivors, wax rhapsodic about the wonders of camp. The lakeside learning. The hands-on demonstrations. The time they took all the bunks and stacked them up out on the lawn ...

Even though Matthew has gone camping with the Scouts before, this is different. This is no-contact-camp. "Don't call us, we'll call you!" they said. And then you have to hope and pray they don't because they only call you for Bad News.

So I haven't heard from my firstborn since Wednesday a.m. when he tossed his bags into the back of the oldest equipment bus in creation (I think it was horse-drawn) and sauntered into the school. I know all the good moms wring their hands and say they are "worried sick" about their kids but the truth is, I'm not worried at all. He'll be fine. It's good for him. I bet he hardly even misses us because he's having too much fun.

Which is, after all, what being twelve is all about.

Tomorrow at 2 p.m. they deliver our children back to us. They say it's an educational experience. I think it's practice designed to wear us down for future spring breaks.

Screaming Finale

Eh, let's file this one under "glass half full."

Saturday morning was Kassie's last soccer game for the outdoor season and we were once again in the presence of "Cody's" screaming banshees, er, family.

I won't bore you with repetitive type but suffice to say it as "Cody! Cody! Cody!" ALL over again. "Mercedes" parents were mercifully silent. Perhaps they read my blog?

Anywho, Cody's gallery, perhaps realizing we had all become numb to their constant stream of screaming decided to trick it up a bit by adding helpful commentary to the game. This, I supposed, in case Cody had somehow plumb FORGOT how to play soccer since taking to the field and would be forced to rely on the screaming from his grandfather (?), Uncle (?), Own personal demon (?) to keep him on track .

What Gramps decided to scream was "she's pushing! Don't let HER push you! She's pushing you Cody. Don't let her push you! Hey that GIRL is pushing you! That girl's pushing!" "She" you may have guessed, was Kassie. She was not pushing him, she was jockeying for the ball and, since she kept taking it off Cody, Cody's people were understandably less than impressed.

Poor Cody having to be jostled in play by a GIRL. Oh the horror.

Now, not five minute later, Cody, in legal play, inadvertently plowed in to another girl on our team, Lucy. Lucy is about as tall as my thumb and weighs only slightly less than, say, a puff of air. So when Cody plowed in to her (accidently) she went down like a sack of bricks. At this point Cody's people shouted "Yeah! Get her Cody! Take her down!"

To which I could only turn and say, incredulous, "is that the same gentleman that was incensed because my daughter was jostling HIM?"

To their credit three OTHER fans from that team, turned to me, rolled their eyes and one spoke "he's like this at EVERY game. He's SUCH a chauvinist!" They also added "please don't judge all of us by him."

I promised not to.

And yet, after the game, Mr. Yelled-himself-Hoarse (but sadly not quite enough) approached Mike, as coach. He explained that he knows he gets really loud but he's just so EXCITED and that this was the best game he'd seen all season and he had a really nice time at our field and he just likes the boy to know he's there, show his support and all.

And suddenly, he's  human. Sure, he's still quite possibly the loudest human I've personally met - but human nonetheless. And I thought that in a world where we hear how kids are falling through the cracks and don't get enough support at home, and extended family aren't there for each other - is a grandfather who screams himself hoarse at every single game not because he has to but because he's proud, and he wants to. I decided there are probably worse things than being "Cody" and having your name shouted far and wide by people who care about you - even if this does make the soccer moms deaf.

So, go Cody! And all the other kids who went out in the stifling heat and later freezing rain and took to the field whether they love the game or joined a team and by golly they weren't going to quit before the season ended.

I cheer for each and every one of you. I just cheer QUIETLY because I don't have the lung capacity to compete with Super Fan.


Y ou know how I said that a certain local soccer league is where sportsmanship goes to die? Well, I am pleased to be able to say publicly that I am going to eat my words.

Today Matthew played his final game for the season. It is bitter, frigid, cold. They play in shorts and short sleeves. We could see our breath. Not ten minutes in Matthew makes an amazing play for the ball which, unfortunately, ends in a graceful slide right into a very deep, very wide, puddle. He was completely in it. Laid out, his entire body half submerged. One of the parents on OUR team yelled "Swim Matthew Swim!" It was THAT bad. There were gasps along the sideline. Even the OTHER team's players offered him a hand up and  "dude that's bad" commiseration. Gamely he stood up - shook his head like a dog, and trotted back down the field. His clothes dripping wet, water streaming down his legs.

Not five minutes later a very lovely woman comes trotting toward us from the other team's fan base. She is holding out a thick, black sweatshirt and ever-so-graciously asks us if Matthew would like to wear it. She doesn't know us from a hole in the wall, we are the opposition, but as a mother she saw one wet, dripping child and didn't think "game advantage" but "I have an extra shirt here."

That's class. It's also a reminder that good sportsmanship doesn't begin - or end - on the field.

Being a boy he did, of course, say "no thank you" (arrgh!) and I am ashamed to say I didn't catch her name. However, I want to give a shout out to the lovely mother who offered a sweatshirt in kindness. It may not have had a chance to warm my son but it definitely warmed this mother's heart.

Wanted: Your Decorating .02 Sense

Okay, so let's say that I'm getting the yen to actually, finally, decorate the attic/play space. I mean sure, it's been nine years and we'd hate to rush in to anything but I'm thinking it might be time.

So I need input, opinions. I could just go ahead and do what I want but I'd rather endlessly hash over the ifs, ands, or buts. If I play my cards right I could put off a decision - and thus not have to actually bust a move to do anything - for a few more years, easy.

So right now we have worn, scrubby old stairs. Rustic, yes but splintery too. Being a lover of typography I'm kind of drawn to this look. Finished tread, white back, some lettering. Is this a "love it" or a "hate it" do we think?

And, what is "our" opinion on paint/stain hybrids for railings ala'

Please comment or e-me. I just can't do this alone!

Things Better Left Unsaid

Isuspect everyone who knows me thinks "oh that Kym, she's so outspoken" (that or "her big mouth is going to get her beat down one day") but I often say I don't get enough back-pats for my remarkable self-control.

Case in point yesterday's soccer game in a nearby community. This I refer to as "the place where sportsmanship goes to die." I'm sure not EVERY Fan in their league is annoying but they definitely do take annoyance and poor sportsmanship to a higher art form than other communities. I'm just sayin'.

For Matthew's U15 game, their player  knocked out our goalie by kicking her when she had the ball. When that didn't work he simply grabbed her jersey and threw her down. She's a tough one but being body slammed did, in fact, cause her to lose her grip on the ball. As she fell their player then stepped around her and kicked the now dropped ball into the goal. While the poor girl lay, prone on the field with our coach assessing her injuries, a little gaggle of parents from the other team mused, idly, "so do we get to keep that goal?" This is when I knew I was sitting on the sidelines with Satan's own soccer fans.

Meanwhile, another community was removed from the league a few years ago for "being too rough and playing dirty." To which I can only suggest that unless they brought guns and knives to the field, I find it hard to believe they were any rougher than this group.

During Kassie's game we were sitting near "Cody's" family. Cody's family, it should be noted, was very vocal. Now, hey, I love to cheer for the kids - mine and anyone else's - as much as the next soccer fan. I like a nice "good job Morgan, great hustle Nick, it's okay we'll get 'em the next time!" as much as the next person. I aim to cheer as much, if not more, for other people's kids because I know the little thrill of excitement when someone else is cheering for a kid. I am not, I promise, the Grinch that stole soccer fandom.

Then we come to  "Cody." Or shall I say "CODY! CODY! CODY! CODY! CODY! CODY! CODY!" screamed at top pitch ad nausea throughout the entire game. Seriously. "Go Cody! Get the ball CODY! Good job CODY! Get 'em CODY! You go CODY! GO CODY! GO CODY! GO CODY! GO!!!" Maybe I'm just jealous because Cody had about fifteen fans and every last damned one of them was bent on making sure that Cody - and people in the next county - knew they were there by God. Lest you think that Cody was special needs and only repeated instruction from the sidelines kept him on track let me assure you that is not the case. Cody could play ball. I kind of suspected he ran faster just to get the he@$ away from all the screaming from the sidelines.  We just leaned over to each other from time to time and said, wryly, "I'm not sure, but I think one of those kids might be named Cody ..." It was that or resort to yelling "Cody please come poke my eardrums out so I don't have to listen to these people screaming your name another second!"

Of course, "Mercedes" parents were not to be outdone by Cody's fan base. So THEY started screaming "Go Mercedes, Run Mercedes!" etc. etc. What they lacked in getting such a late start in making sure their child's name was out there loud and proud they more than made up for in volume.

Now, I am usually a fairly nice person and I pick on people my own age - not children. I also  have children named out of thin air and after a soap opera character, respectively, so I am hardly one to throw stones. However, after already being worn to a nub with "Cody," "MERCEDES!" was just the icing on the cake.

It took all I had to keep me from leaping up and starting to randomly  yell my own cheers at non-existent players on OUR team. I was dying to start with "GO TOYOTA CORROLLA!" "MOVE THAT BALL Impala!"

Somehow I just knew, however, that when I started to cheer for "Toyota Prius" and "Ford Focus" the jig would most definitely be UP.

Memories are made of this ...

H ad a ball at Kayla's field hockey last night. Visited my old high school. I don't think I've been back since shortly after I graduated. I got all choked up and missed it for a moment. So many memories.

I probably crossed a line, however, when I took a quick snapshot of the girl's bathroom. It was as if I could still smell the AquaNet and strawberry lip gloss ...

Is that to-go or will you be wearing it here?

E veryone should be pleased to know that I no longer smell like cappuccino - much.

And, for the record, french-vanilla cappuccino really does offer excellent curl enhancement. Marvelous holding power.

Soccer smells a lot like ... French Vanilla?

You would think as a veteran soccer mom I would have better reflexes - or cooler moves.

One moment I was sitting court side, sipping a tasty french vanilla cappucino. The next, a soccer ball came flying off field right at my head. Now, I may be bad at soccer but I ROCK at self-preservation. I instinctively put up my arm to shield my face. Yay me! Except the ball hit my cup instead of my head, causing the lid to fly off with a mighty "crack!" and the cappuccino I was holding to drench me. People two seats down were hit in the back splash. The entire game came to a halt so the official could say "are you okay?!" while he struggled not to laugh.

Fortunately Dawn, Kayla, Adam and Matthew had a front row seat. For the rest of the afternoon I smelled great - like french vanilla mocha! ;-)

My son the activist

Matthew announced today that he ran for and was succesfully elected a classroom representative for 6th grade Student Council. He spent 15 minutes on his speech and indicated surprise that he won. He only offered to help with homework, some of the other candidates offered bribes. Apparently, it takes more than a free ice cream cone to buy a vote in the 6th grade!

They are the champions

For the second year in a row the Crestview Little Rebels have taken the regional cheer championships.

You go girls!

Further proof that Martha Stewart is in league with Satan


artha's Magic Mushroom Project

Seriously Martha why? WHY?

Is this not a parole violation somehow?


Why, just the other day I 'recycled' (by which I mean gleefully cast into the trash) a set of mushroom-themed canisters hailing all the way from the darkest depths of 1970;s home fashion. They had all the allure that an avocado green and gold mushroom could bring to a home, naturally, but alas they are no more.

And now comes Martha with THESE?

She hates us. She really, really hates us. 

Busy weekend of love and goodness


I love that image. Doesn't that just say it all? In any direction? Good love. Love good. I like that.

It's perfectly appropriate for the PERFECT weekend we just had. It was AWESOME. I mean seriously. Friday my lovely cousins and their respective adorable children came for a visit. We ate too much, watched chick flicks, downed Rum Runners, and enjoyed a number of "shows" put on by the children with mad props given to the Divine Miss M. (age 5) who rocks a Princess Gown AND a Hannah Montana costume like nobody's business.

Saturday was Matthew's slumber party in the barn. The boys were all sugared up on soda, candy, ice cream cake and had a marvelous time. There was, of course, a bat. There is ALWAYS a bat. Mr. Wonderful played chaperone and slept all night in the barn too, bless his heart. I was awakened at 5:00 a.m. as they searched for donuts (clearly the earlier sugar had worn off). Again at 7:00 a.m. when my son, now high on donuts and Mountain Dew, chattered at me a mile per minute "it's 7 o'clock mom? Are you getting up? it's 7 o'clock mom are you gonna sleep all day? Mom? Mom? Mom?" They also woke up Mr. W. at 5:25 a.m. to go look at the moon. Kids. LOVE 'EM.

Birthdays 101


e gave up goodie bags a few years ago.
They just aren't that huge a deal around here (thank goodness) and, in
fact, are seen as kind of "babyish" by a lot of the kids.

I started just putting out a big bowl of "kiddie candy" and letting
kids take a fistful home in a bag. They seemed to love it. Now I've
even stopped that.

I also gave up trying to "plan games" when I realized I was pulling
kids away from fun "free play" to make them stand in line to pin a tail
or smack a pinata.

  We do very simple parties these days. Matthew's 12th will be held in our barn on a Saturday afternoon. He will
have a few choice friends over to swim and play video games on the big
movie screen (a Wii character 10' tall!) and sleep out in the barn all

I plan to get pizza, an ice cream cake and some chips, snacks and
drinks. They will be fed donuts Sunday morning and sent home! Good

Our son, being very easy
going and hasn't made any real "demands" for his party beyond "can we
get pop?"

So he, being a boy, is perfectly happy hosting his friends in a BARN.
Seriously. A big block structure with a drywall movie screen ( a
powerpoint projector to put the video game or movie on it), cast-off
furniture, etc. Trust me, it's not HGTV ready. It's a BARN. His only
request wasn't that we sweep or paint or even, I dunno, put out some
napkins. It was only this:  "mom can we put something over the sofa. It's

So, apparently, you can host your friends in a BARN as long as you don't ask them to sit on anything floral.  

Good to know!

Monday Morning: Ready, Set, Goal


To spend more meaningful time with the kids before school swallows them back up

To plan Matt's birthday party in a way that doesn't embarrass a 12 year old boy.

To write something fabulous well before Thursday afternoon

To catch up on my laundry and vacuum under the furniture 

To return to "early to bed, early to rise" so I'm not up at 3:00 a.m. watching a remake of The Bad News Bears and marveling over the cinematic excellence that is Billie Bob Thornton in an insomnia induced mania.

When you care enough to send the VERY best ...

To Mike, from Kassie. She made this card back in May and carefully
saved it for this special day.The "Happy and Healthy and Active" line
sounds like a PSA for some Government Nutrition and Fitness Program but
it really is her sentiment - in her own words.
I have made no bones about the fact that I did not, in fact, buy a house. I bought a porch that just happened to have a house ATTACHED to it. That's how that worked out.
Some years I feel quite frisky come spring and I drag out the hose and the buckets of warm soapy water and the scrub brushes and I spent the first passingly warm (but not warm enough) Spring day scrubbing all the dirt and lint and cobwebs and bugs off my porch until it gleamed. Then I would immediately realize it needed painted and (sometimes) I would do that.
This was not one of those years. I scrubbed it, yes. But I just can't get motivated to paint when it's only 60 degrees and apparently going to be damp all summer.
Instead I'll just enjoy my photos of my porch of year's past and close my eyes and pretend it looks that way now.

Mr. Wonderful in the Flesh


Is it wrong to lust after you son's Boy Scout Leader?

Okay, now what if he's your HUSBAND?

Mr. W. In the flesh. I'd marry him again. Yes I would.

Will Write For Food

"Modern poets write against business, poor things, but all of us write for money." ~ Robert Frost

To learn how you can obtain reprints or first run work for your website or publication, or to bring her lively brevity and wit to any small group or club presentation, please contact 

She also knows a thing or two about digital scrapbooking.

And bats. 

Real Mothers

This is an excerpt from I couldn't have said it better myself.

Real moms sometimes have children you can’t see.

this goes out to all the mothers who don’t get tagged for
things like this. the ones who’ve given birth but had no baby to take
home. who sit on the sidelines of conversations about back labour, with stories to tell but no room to participate. who have
a little gravestone or an urn or just a memory in the place of a child.
who have adoption papers saying “relinquish all rights…” or ultrasound
photos but nothing more. or who have two smiling school photos on their
desk, but really, inside, count to three when you ask “how many kids do
you have?”

this is for all the real moms with children invisible to the eye.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Today is my baby's 10th birthday. This means she and I are getting closer and closer in age every day.


New profile pic!

I'm calling it my "MySpace Face." If you are online at all you'll see so many people posting this type of pose as their "avatar" (aka profile pic).

To achieve this awesome and oh-so-realistic effect you want to hold camera at arm's length.

Turn flash on really bright (to best achieve that deer-in-the-headlights-look).

Purse lips in a vain attempt to look sultry (particularly effective if you are, say, 14 years old and wouldn't  know sultry if it bit you in the, well, somewhere).

Post online and swear it looks just like you. Just a natural snap taken on the spur of the moment.

Extra points if your username is something like nobodyunderstandsme or MissUnderstood. 

But weight, there's more ...

About Look, I don't want to frighten anyone but you know how when you are growing up and into your, say, 30's all the slightly older-than-you friends like to make ominous warnings about how you just wait, age is going to slap you silly one of those days? No? That only happens to me? Okay, note to self: you run with a bad crowd. Anywho, if you  have friends like this, or just the vague notion that despite your best intentions, delusions, and flat-out denial you are, probably, going to succumb to aging, have I got news for you?

 Aging bites! Seriously. I turned, ahem, 40 last November. And whereas I thought my friends were kidding when they said the metabolism takes a nose dive - they were so not kidding. Why did they not take me? Shake me? Force me to subsist on spinach and endive alone? Come January I hopped on the scale to figure out why the heck all my pants were shrinking? What was that about? And lets just say the numbers were not kind. I normally am a big fan of rising numbers - stock values, bank accounts - but high numbers are not your friend when it comes to debt - or your backside. I'm just sayin' 

So I embarked on a little healthy-diet revamp. It's worked before right? Except, this time after eating healthy - whole grains, healthy fruits and vegetables, and so on and so forth - I have to date lost two pounds. Maybe. That's if I remember to remove my wedding rings - and socks.

So I am now on a quest to figure out why weight loss is so much HARDER these days? WHY??? And, if one is going to carry extra weight, why that weight doesn't plump out the wrinkles? It seems the least age could do?

This one's for the yaysayers ...

This is the most excellent article EVER espousing a skill that far too many of us (particularly of the female, mother variety) simply do not utilize enough - the power to say "no" (or, more graciously "no thank you.") is sharing an amazing primer on How to say "No."


Now showing ...

Since this week's column is all about a boy and his barn turned movie-plex I thought a visual aid of the awesome was in order.

Behold the work in progress! Here the children are being menaced by a giant "Sharpay" from High School Musical. Good times or therapy of the future? You be the judge.


Tragedy - in perspective

So I'm already lazy as sin and prone to sloth and the news that poor Natasha Richardson has died following a bump on her head in a skiing accident is doing nothing to inspire or motivate to do more with my life activity-wise.

It is just so sad - how a person can be merrily living a pretty great life one moment - and boom - gone, the next. Particularly from something like a bunny slope bump. Tragic.

Watching the news today I was struck, however, by how parenthood changes a person. Seeing that Ms. Richardson leaves behind a husband, fellow actor/superstar Liam Neeson and two sons ages 12 and 13 -  my heart just seized up.

As a mother I no longer think of the loss of the life of the mother from the mother's perspective. Of the loss of promise and the fulfillment of her life's dreams. No. I think of those poor boys left without her - and of her not living to see how it all played out. Not getting the happy ending (or at least happy middle) to the story we all dream for our babies from the moment we know of them.

Hearing things like that kind of puts the "tragedy" of AIG bonuses or our own 401k balances into perspective doesn't it though?

Of Satisfaction and Succulence

So today's weekly column
is all about how you have to learn to embrace what you have - the
things that matter. Home, health, family. While I am not your "go to
girl" for anything related to health (God forbid - I think gummy bears
are a fruit-based food group in and of themselves) I am able to share
how I keep my love of hearth and home alive on approximately
seventy-six cents - per month.

I keep the fabulousness that is this falling-down-Old-House from reducing me to tears with the help of great web bloggers like Chatting at the Sky and The Nesting Place.
Both provide real-life inspiration to work pleasure and happiness and
warm feelings of fuzzy goodness into your home - without breaking the

You know you want to go there. Really, you do.

The Nester is decorating with succulents today and really now? How can you not want more succulence in your life?

Cheery no.

Is it wrong of me, as a parent, to say I won't attempt to influence my child in any way, shape or form in her choice of extracurricular activities?

To claim that I won't allow my own hopes, dreams, and dread-fear-of-rabid-pee-wee-football-types to influence my child's choices?

To insist that I absolutely will not attempt to live vicariously through my child?

And then to come straight home and say to my nine year-old daughter,  "Mommy will buy you a car AND a pony if you promise me you won't pee-wee cheerlead this year?"

Bringin' home the bacon, fryin' it up in a pan ...

The only downside to a lazy Sunday morning enjoyed at home with loved ones and a husband who whips up a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon is the lingering smell, hours later, of bacon.

The bacon I loved with wild abandon (and no thought to the size of my hips) at 10:00 a.m. has become the bacon that haunts and nauseates me some three hours later.

Da@# an old house with no rangetop vent hood!

Hugs to all who are struggling out there and may we all begin the economic recovery personally - and globally - and begin bringing home mega-bacon again posthaste!


I finally felt like I could scrapbook today.
Only because I declared today as "National Do Not Clean the Kitchen
Day". I believe tomorrow is "sit on your butt day" so don't be
surprised if I scrap some more.

I call it the crack-pot, because it's THAT addictive ...

If you can only eat one more cupcake before you die, make sure it comes from Main Street Cupcakes
Seriously, these are sinfully good.
In the meantime, I am currently pining for something that makes my current Crock-Pot Love seem but a pale imitation of itself.
When I saw one of these in Target shortly before Christmas I stopped dead in my tracks. My jaw dropped in agape wonder. I I do believe I heard a choir of angels singing and heavenly light shown down upon it from above (or that may have been a too-bright fluorescent, could go either way). 
Yes, my friends, it is a 3-bowl Crock-Pot. (I wonder if I could make cupcakes in that thing?)
A girl can dream can't she ...

Keepin' it real ...

So how about my coolest profile photo yet? Found this awesome shot of me with my tongue hanging out and said "that has GOT to go on the internet IMMEDIATELY! I must share this with the WORLD!

Just keepin' it real - and proving that unlike my last picture, I do have two eyes. And apparently crazy eyebrows.

Well THIS is embarrassing ...

So, um, yeah. Maybe I should have cleaned out my cupboards just a tad sooner than I did. Found this wayyy in the back when organizing the Bermuda Triangle of Baking cupboards recently (where spices go to die).

Apparently my baking powder expired in February, 1995?

It probably says something unkind about your baking prowess when your staples are near driving age.


Scene of the crime ...

Our daughter's cat, Kandalle, is very, very protective of "their" bed. The dog seen on the floor below is supposed to be on that bed. The cat, however, clearly disagrees. The arrow illustrates where big fuzzy fluffy pink dog (who clearly means no one any harm) should be.
What confounds me is how a cat can fling that dog off the bed with such force?

Here the alleged culprit shows little to no remorse. His recidivism rate seems high.

So close ...

Why is it so possible for the people I live with to do THIS:


Yet entirely impossible to manage THIS:


It shall remain one of the many wonders of the modern age. Why no one has invented a 12-pack bathroom tissue dispenser?

That genius could make a mint ...

Simply Wild

And now, for my best impression of the awesome lifelong value of Cub Scout skills (as taken from my favorite program and story-of-my-life "The Gilmore Girls.")

Rory: How am I supposed to get into Harvard if I have no wilderness skills?
Lorelai: I don't know honey. Maybe you'll have to give up your dream of majoring in logging.