Saturday, April 29, 2006


Between the nice weather and just general busy-ness I'm falling down on the blog job. Today was Planting Day. We got a bunch of plants from Spring Hill yesterday, so today was spent sorting them out and changing one of the Weed Beds™ into a Flower Bed™. The soil is utter crap - heavy clay which needs amending big-time with peat. (That brought back memories of Prawn asking why people were burning "Pete" in The Secret of Roan Inish, LOL!) I'm going to be sore tomorrow from all that digging. But we have a lot more work to do before it's all said and done! I sent Sluggie to sparring and advanced sparring with John since he had to ref, and the rest of us stayed home to work. Well, The Littles didn't exactly work, but Mollusc helped me. We listened to our new Michael Bublé CD for a bit until Mollusc got "sick of love songs," then one of Arabic and Hindi music (Aicha - OK that's in French - "Kiss Kiss" and some for which I don't know the names or artists) that my friend made for us. Our friends came over and gave me a hand and by the time John and Sluggie got home we were ready to move on, so we put in The Reptile Room (Lemony Snicket) and it really made the digging go faster. I love that guy's sense of humour. :-) And Tim Curry does such great executions of the different voices. I love how he does Mr. Poe and Sunny. Mollusc got to drive the lawnmower with a trailer-load of cedar mulch bags over to the bed and now she's dying to mow the lawn. :-)

I was wearing junked-out capris that are a couple of sizes too big now, causing them to become low-riders. (much to John's delight *rolleyes* ) What with all the squatting and bending I nearly have sunbun. As it is, I have a strip of sunburn across my very very lower back. :-P My cheeks feel sunburnt, too. My upper ones. But it was a lurvely day and I'm not complaining. It got a little dicey, though, trying to mulch around everything without stepping on stuff. Especially when some of the planted stuff was impossible to tell apart from the shredded bark mulch! :-/ I had no idea how many plants come as rhizomes before today.

Last night during the kids' red-belt class, Prawn fell asleep in a little ball on the floor and stayed that way through our class's warm-ups. Swimming must have really zonked her out! She was hunched up facedown with her arms and legs tucked up underneath her. Too bad I don't have a pic. The kids got to do flying sidekicks - jumping over folding chairs and kicking a helmet suspended on a string. Mollusc's were absolutely amazingly beautiful! She's not so very much the athletic one, (very, very bookish instead) and we were just staring in shock and amazement. Sluggie, of course, did some beautiful ones too (she always gets the crowd going at TKD) but it was Mollusc that shocked us since it was such a change of form for her. In our class, we got to do jump double snap kicks, which we've never gotten to try before, so a good time was had by all.

I haven't written in what seems like ages. It seems like life is a flurry of activity, even though I don't think anything has changed besides the weather. I'm way behind on my email. Ack.

I made "Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies" from my Chinaberry Cookbook. It made approximately 2 gazillion cookies. Fortunately they taste good, so I don't think we'll have trouble doing them in. We sent home a bunch with our friends and still had a gallon bag stuffed FULL and that was after a bunch of dough AND cookies had been consumed! I actually had to put my hands over the mixer bowl while the chips were mixing in so that the dough wouldn't escape. (I wasn't entirely successful either.) The kids say it's their favourite choc chip cookie recipe ever. :-) Just holler if you need it.

Our friends brought over "Madagascar" for the kids to all watch, so I got to see a bunch of it whilst making cookies. Cute. :-) It always amazes me how they can get the cartoon characters to look a bit like the people doing the voices.

I'm still ogling all the yummy homeschool catalogs that have been showing up. Oh to have an infinite book budget and more bookcases. My dream home will have at least one room lined with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling books. :-) The new American Girl catalog came and the newest doll is homeschooled, LOL! Hsers are really becoming some sort of niche market. Still trying to decide about Biology for Mollusc. The course I want to use is to be done concurrently with Algebra, which she'll be doing next year (or whenever she finishes this book.) But I'm not sure if she should take Bio so early in case she forgets a lot of it. OTOH, since she'll be doing Science-intensive study, that will give her plenty of time for Chem, Physics, and then Advanced coursework, which would have it nice and fresh in her mind for university. So that's probably the route we'll go.

I'm just realising that I do a lot of rambling to myself here. It's OK if you get bored and don't want to read it all, LOL!

Note to self - wear sunscreen tomorrow. Oh yes - Americans (or Westerners?) now lack Vit D because we wear too much sunscreen. And our air is too clean and no longer blocks out as many harmful UV rays. Can't win, LOL! Well, there always has to be some sort of crisis now doesn't there? Otherwise the papers wouldn't sell. :-P

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Coupla Pics HNT Not Much Substance

First off is Mollusc's cake for Toby. The inside is dark chocolate (almost black) with red cherries here and there - pretty cool actually.

Prawn helped by smashing extra letters into the icing, LOL! Remember, we are not Martha.

OK, next up is HNT. 2 arms for the price of one since I missed last week. Cheap shot I know. And bad puns. Not sure what I'd do with (or without) these without my First Amendment right to keep and wear (heh) arms. I know what you're thinking. "Shoot me now." Sorry. It's late and I get a bit like that when it's late. I'm a real pistol. *groooooan* So here's a pic of me in my chamber. (oof!) C'mon punsters. Wanna go a few rounds? (argh!) I could fill a magazine.(eegads!) I bet all these gun puns are going to be lost on all you non-violent readers. I'll just have to enjoy them myself, LOL!

Saprring, though somewhat exhausting, was fun tonight. After about 45 mins of 3-stepping, we did free sparring. The Master was coaching me in Korean since my opponent didn't understand what he was saying. *evil grin* Nevertheless, I misinterpreted one of his commands and ended up getting a hard spinning hook kick in the back of the head. D'oh! Poor opponent was really upset cuz it hurt his heel and he was worried about hurting me, but my helmet and mouthguard did their jobs admirably and I don't appear to be concussed, LOL! And then when my opponent was tiring, I accidentally gave him a hard shot in the side of the head - harder than I'd intended, so I guess it was tit for tat.

Imagine the HNT looks I'll get with "tit" in here. Sorry guys. That's in the earlier HNTs. :-)

I am salt-encrusted and running out of Thursday, so it's time to pull the trigger on this post. "Clear!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Can You Dig It?

Today was gorgeous!! And the fact that it was Wednesday was icing on the cake. We hit the library and re-borrowed the first of Mary Pope Osborne's Odyssey books. The kids really enjoyed the 1st one some time ago, and I picked up #s 4 and 5 on our trip last week, so I put the others on hold and we'll hopefully get to read them all in a row. It's the time of year when I feel inspired to look at new educational goodies and I've been drooling over the latest Timberdoodle catalog. These look fun.

But most of our time was spent outside attempting genocide on the many thistles and dandelions inhabiting our Weed Beds™. (Someday these will become Flower Beds™. I hope.) After stabbing myself with a nasty thistle thorn, I had Peter Gabriel lyrics stuck in my head for the rest of the adventure.

Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt
Digging in the dirt. . .

Yesterday for Mollusc's b-day we made this cake (we did decorator frosting, though) and it turned out really tasty. I think it was even better today. I'm kind of a snob about using cake mixes, but this was O-Tay.

Tonight we watched Valiant which I'd grabbed at the library, and it was enjoyed by all. We got a kick out of the disclaimer at the end "No animals were harmed during the making of this film, including Dennis." (Dennis was a bug that got "squashed" by an evil falcon.) Rik Mayall was one of the voices. One cannot have enough of Rik Mayall. I've been a fan ever since The Young Ones. Also not appearing in this film (since they were only voices) Obi-Wan, "Monty Python" (Sluggie thought that was John Cleese's name for the longest time), Tim Curry (aka "The guy who reads the Lemony Snickets") Bertie Wooster, and Bridget Jones's dad.

Oh yeah - another rejection on a kids' story "we're so full up we don't have room for any more and are turning away good manuscripts" or something to that effect. Stink! And why are you listed in SCBWI's book as accepting manuscripts, then? The first time I submitted to them it was returned because they had neglected to take care of their PO box. I suppose that should have warned me that they didn't have their act together. But they were a small press and had the kind of philosophy I like to see, so I let them give it a look. Fine. Next publisher, step on up! This is the part I hate. Figuring out who's next. I'm not organised enough to have my original list of prospects. Now that I have a laptop that will change, though. Plah. Oh well. A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 17 times. I have 16 to go.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mollusc!

This one's apt to get a bit sappy and sentimental, so you might want to step away now while you have the chance.

11 years ago today my first child was born into this world. She had the grace to wait until 4:30 am to wake me, and was born at 10:54 am - my 7 lb 5 oz initiation into the world of motherhood. Although I'd been a part-time stepmom for about 7 years and had been preparing for this for well over 9 months, holding my own real baby in my arms rocked me out of ideas of following other people's prescribed notions of "perfect parenting" and into the new and sometimes frightening concept of mothering by heart.

The first night at home - Mollusc's second 24 hours - was enough to make me think that anyone who bothered with a crib was insane and, quite possibly, sado-masochistic. Who decided that after having your baby inside of you for over 9 months, her transition to the outside was grounds for keeping her as far as possible from your arms? Babies aren't used to that kind of separation. Nor, frankly, are mothers. It's hard to fly in the face of accepted parenting practices, but, fortunately, it's even harder to fight the inborn sense of what's right where one's offspring is concerned. All notions of the possibility of "excessive holding" were promptly chucked out the window. Nursing ensured that I was forced to sit a lot during recovery from birth, thus helping to prevent "overdoing" anything, and the hormones released during nursing also promoted bonding and feelings of general happiness. Great design, I say. Family Bed? I had scoffed at the very thought, but that changed on that first night home when I found myself in a nest on the floor of Mollusc's room, nursing her and trying to sleep.

"The hell with this!" I thought. "I might as well be in bed!" Fearing repercussions from John, I crept timidly into bed bearing the sweet, pink terry-onesie-clad baby with me. To my great relief, he gave a happy sigh and snuggled us both most gratifyingly. He had missed us. :-)

This first success with bucking mainstream parenting ideas made me heady and I threw caution to the winds, embracing the idea of logical and heartfelt parenting to the utmost. Sometime after Mollusc was born, I was lucky enough to find Amity's and to discover that I was not alone in my parenting ideas. I could (and someday finally will) go on to write an entire article about this, but for now I'll leave it at that.

Mollusc has grown into a startlingly bright child with new talents making their debut as she continues to bloom. As she matures, I find myself amazed at -- among other things -- her sophisticated sense of humour (she's a big fan of the H2G2 books and has the same DA kind of wit) her writing talent and her drawing abilities. She shows an amazing compassion for her younger sibs that never fails to touch my heart. I am so blessed to have her in my life. I can't imagine it without her.

Happy Birthday, Mollusc!!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Recovery Day

You know how that first work day after vacation is. Note to self: find and buy a CD of something new (to me) with a driving beat. Today I had to resort to Creed, which, let's face it, is not really as motivational as one needs when one is supposed to be buzzing around like a busy bee. But I wanted it LOUD and my 'puter doesn't play MP3s all that loud, and most certainly not in surround sound. So what has a nice peppy beat folks? Suggestions? Maybe I need to buy the Hit in the USA CD.

Yesterday was Sondheim Day™ at our house. My first impression: Sondheim takes the "music" out of musical theatre. Gasp. *dons asbestos suit* I'm not impressed by the "melodies" (read "chanting.") That said, some of the songs are VERY clever and witty and I'm sure that, like all things, they will improve with familiarity. I have a suspicion that Sondheim's work is the sort that you love when you see it, whereas Webber's is the sort that you love when you hear it. There is something to be said for both, and certainly much to be taken away from both. Each grows on you in its own way. I will, in my own turn, produce something that is both amazing to see AND hear. ;-) So far my favourite is "A Little Night Music." I do love the one where Frederick is singing about his Ann. Heh! And there was a rather more melodic one somewhere in all that, but I forget where. I'll be listening to it all a lot more.

Blogger is being a complete pratt. (as in numpty, not as in "& Whitney" )

I suppose that's my cue to get back on task. Have a productive day, but don't forget to stop and sniff.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Home Again Home Again. . .

Lickety Split. }:->

We sailed through Chicago this time by getting shunted into an unmarked (or maybe it was marked but we were both watching the lady that was trying to drive into the side of us) express lane that ended up going around about 40 minutes worth of basically parked semis. Yay!! Gary seemed to have been blown off the map. Also yay!!! Indiana is by far the best leg of the drive once you get past Gary. We got home to Spring - leafed out trees, crazy forsythia, apple and cherry trees in full bloom, and in our own yard, a ton of flowers from that mass bulb planting.

The trip was awesome, but it's good to be home even if it does mean 654 loads of laundry. Trillian forgave us for leaving her as soon as I turned on a trickle of water from the tub faucet for her to kill. Enya still has her big bitchfest to go. It'll happen in another hour or so, but chicken will buy her silence. Emmett and Jet are too thrilled about having company to yell at us.

CD of choice lately has been Sting's The Soul Cages. You know how I get into a rut. But I think most will agree that there's nothing wrong with rutting. ;-) There are so many beautiful songs on this one that I just float on the music.

I have a lot of UFO*s in my head/notebooks/computer. I never used to do that - it was always one at a time, start to finish. So much for organisation. But John was helping me with my latest as we drove, so I have a bunch of that one fleshed out and I'm ready to create! I never used to be able to talk about what I was writing; the desire to write it would all evaporate once I leaked a concept. But it's working for me now. Huzzah!

*unfinished objects - a term from the sewing (and apparently also knitting) world. It has begun to apply to stories for me as well.

I got some bubble bath that really brings back memories. It's The Thymes: Fig leaf and cassis. It smells like something my uncle had with a fern in the bottle when I was a kid. Mmmm. I love that smell! Go smell some and then

Think of me
Think of me soaking
Soapy and relaxed
Imagine me
There in the bathtub
With the jets both maxxed. . .

Whoa, that almost seems to be heading down a slippery slope.

Like I always say, there's a POTO line (or song) for everything, and if there's not, it's easy to make one!! (sorry Frank! I'll try to keep it to a minimum, LOL!) Frank does not like POTO. Sacrilege, I know. ;-)

What are you listening to this weekend? I'll be floating with Sting some more and also listening to Sondheim, Sondheim and MORE Sondheim!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Best. Toy. Ever.

Today I saw what has to be, hands down, the best toy ever made. OK, well, some of you who know me realise that there are some obvious exceptions, but as John so eloquently put it, "I'm just shocked that it actually made it into the production phase." He's right. It's so bloody funny, but I still find it hard to believe that it did make it onto the shelves. Without any further ado, I give you:


For a photo that's MUCH better than the company's above product photo, check out this Flickr pic.

Here's the text from the company:
Avenging Unicorn Play Set Everyone wants an imaginary unicorn friend that they can call forth to smite their enemies. [SIL adds 'especially mimes' and I concur wholeheartedly!!] The Avenging Unicorn Play Set has everything you need to use the power of the unicorn to rid your life of irritations. Put the posable, 3-3/4" (9.5 cm) tall, hard vinyl unicorn on a flat surface and then impale one of three 3-1/8" (8 cm) tall, soft vinyl figures included (businessman/boss, new age lady and mime). Also includes four interchangeable horns (classic spiral, chrome, glow and pearlescent.)

The rest of the copy on the box reads:
Unicorns are magical creatures that exist only for those who believe. When they are not frolicking in dewy meadows or posing on windy cliffs they are helping believers do away with daily annoyances. Are you tired of being accosted by creepy mimes? Does the new age lady at the bookstore get on your nerves? Does the arragont businessman talking on his cell phone in a crowded elevator drive you crazy? Close your eyes, take a deep breath and summon a unicorn. If you believe in the magic of unicorns with all your heart and soul they will answer your call.

The Unicorn Code
1. Unicorns never lie.
2. Unicorns always lend a helping hand.
3. Unicorns are loyal.
4. Unicorns can keep a secret.
5. Unicorns don't use drugs.

I cannot tell you how much this cracked me up. I LOVE that you can push the unicorn's horn right through that guy's mimey little chest, LOL! At $12 I'm not sure what was wrong with me for not buying one. Oh to turn back the hands of time. He would fit into the kids' Playmobil™ scenes just perfectly. Darn! Maybe dh will get me one for my birthday.

I did, indeed, get to talk to Frank about musicals (thank you for the plethora of awesome CDs Frank!!!) and I'm so inspired to try my hand at this. I have a lot of homework to do. Fun homework - the best kind!!

Since we're in the land of The Onion and TG was talking star signs, I felt it was only appropriate to link to Onion Horoscopes for everyone! I was going to C&P for those too addicted to leave my blog, but those crafty bastards at The Onion made it so you can't highlight just the text. Humph! I'm a Gemini, as evidenced by my 2 complete bodies and split personality.

I think we're watching Boondock Saints again tonight since my sis missed it last night. Hahahahahahahaha!!! I HEART that movie! (really? ya think??)


Ahhhhhhh! I got my Boondock boys fix last night. Sigh. One can never see enough of that deleted scene where their mother calls and they end up scrabbling around on the floor for the phone. Naked. Wait - let me get in there. Oh yeah. That's better. *happy sigh*

I haven't yet carped SIL's DVD. As far as she knows. But she has a meeting today, heh heh heh.

The pool last night was a lot warmer than I was expecting, which was great. But that's where the pleasant surprises ended. Turns out the pool nazis were on duty tonight. No swim masks. OK, fine we have a bunch of goggles. But then I got "Ma'am, you can't go off the diving board backwards." So I got to do one back dive and that was the end of that. That really sucked because I don't usually get to use the diving board at home and I wanted to practice. Phooey. Sluggie and one of the cousins (who could easily pass as sisters) were being giggled over by some boys from cousin's school (and of course there was return ogling and giggling.) I hauled out our rubber fish to play catch, which made a decent icebreaker and soon all were involved in frolicky fish-throwing fun. Surprisingly, the nazis were OK with that. Frank and his girls came, too. The cousins are all girls, Frank brought four of his and of course there were my 3. Gordo was definitely in the minority but didn't seem fazed.

Since the pool is so close, we didn't bring clothes to change into. In the locker room, when Mollusc asked about this, I said, "We're just going to wear our towels home." She chose that moment to be very literal and also to follow instructions (which she has been getting a little guff about not doing lately) and as I stood in the pool lobby chatting with Frank and SIL, Mollusc came out looking a bit self-conscious and said "Can we go soon so I can get some clothes on?" A moment later it registered with me that she was wrapped up in her towel and holding her swimsuit. Shock. I immediately sent her back to the locker room to put her suit on, but not before Sluggie could yell "Molly's naked with only a towel on!" And of course that's when the boys came out of their locker room. Poor Mollusc was mortified, but the boys, fortunately, hadn't heard, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Here's something to brighten your day. I know I'm certainly going to make an effort to touch more nuts. What about you?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Not so HNT

Since I'm not where I can do anything about getting pics online, folks are going to have to be happy with the sisters in Hello Kitty G-Strings pic from Sunday.

I'm still just enthralled by that whole Les Miz performance and inspired to start writing a little musical theatre. I can't wait to talk a little shop with Frank, my friend who writes musicals.

The kids are having a blast with their cousins. Tonight we hope to go swimming and then imbibe the fruit of the vine with SIL and watch movies whilst the children frolic and watch something downstairs. We went to the park to "fly" kites and now John is pointlessly trying to untie a gigantic knot of kite string. I tried telling him a few times not to bother, but I think he finds it a mental escape, so I'll let him be. Later -- if I don't strangle him with the kite string first -- maybe we can sneak off to some nook or cranny for a little stress release. ;-) I bet that would make his day turn a little brighter. I hope so, anyway.

In the meantime, the death talk begins from MIL. We always get a rundown about who's died and who's being hospitalised and who's terminally ill and ack - how depressing. Gimme some of that kite string, dammit.

SIL and I made a wine run and at some point tonight I will get her raging drunk and attempt to steal her copy of Boondock Saints. She knows I covet it and I'm sure she's booby-trapped it. My oldest niece (16) has likely added her own security measures. If you come back and my blog is on fire, you'll know what happened.

LOL I finally got into Fal's Darth Vader links. Check out round one and round two. :-) Poor Darth! I wish I could understand the punchilne at the end. Any help Fal? Maybe I'll have to run them by sis's boyfriend.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In a State of Frugality

A friend sent me this link, knowing my love for Star Wars. It's a little over 5 mins but VERY well done and has an entertaining ending.

Today we're off to Frugal Muse YAAAAAAY!!!!! And then to State Street for Pizza Di Roma and funky shops. I love State Street! Last time we were there I was ribbing dh cuz he was getting checked out. By a man. But the tables were turned moments later. D'oh! But that's not why I love State St, although people watching is really fun there. It's just full of all kinds of quirky little shops and neat stuff. State St. Brats has the best drink called the "Rose Bowl" (created during the hoopla surrounding a Rose Bowl win, I think.) It's dangerous because it contains rum, which makes me very randy AND non-inhibited. Probably won't be going there today, LOL! Hoping to hit Lao Laan Xang for dinner, so everyone else who plans to go had better try to get there when we aren't since we basically fill the joint up.

Come Smell This Dairy Air

We made it. It was a longer drive than usual. Chicago sucked as always. Though we were not suspended over Thornton Quarry for as long as last time. That pic doesn't even come close to doing justice to that gigantic hole. It's huge. But deceptively so. You look out across and down and it looks big, but then you see a tiny little semi truck or buldozer and you realise that it's a lot farther away than you first thought and that the hole is way bigger than it looks.

We're composing a song called "Why I hate Chicago." I'm hoping maybe the Getaway Drivers can perform it. ;-) If they sing it in Chicago, they can change it to "Why I Love Chicago" so no one kills them, but they can leave all the reasons the same so it will be obviously sarcastic. If you hate Chicago, tell me why, and I'll try to incorporate that into our song. Gary, Indidana (which is basically just more of Chicago) also sucks. So far our song for Gary goes like this: (to the tune of the Music Man song)

Gary, Indiana; Gary, Indiana; Gary, Indiana. . .SUCKS!

Obviously Gary, Indiana sucked our wills both to live AND to compose.

And I hate semi-trucks. Have I mentioned that before? Cuz I do. What I hate most is how one will be going behind another in the right (slow) lane and feel the need to pull over immediately in front of us to pass the first one but will never bleeding accelerate to do so. No, he will just coast along on his stinking cruise control so that it takes him about 5 hours to pass the other stinking truck and then slowly drift back into the right lane. We fantasize a lot about having The Big Gun from the USS Enterprise (final episode) to blow all those stinking things off the road. Sigh.

But now we're in WI and all is well. Smell this dairy air, baby. (say it out loud) Today brought lunch at Wah Kee Noodles, a trip to the zoo and a jaunt to one of the used bookstores. Also the secret store. Oh yeah. I like Madison. :-) I got a copy of Les Miz (the book) today, as well as Dark Lover, as recommended by Jenna. (Afterthoughts over there ---->) And I got my own copy of The Secret Life of Bees so I finally get to read it. We hit Maurie's (chocolate store) and Orange Tree too. 'Twas a fun day. I have a new story cooking in my brain and have more to add to my lost work. No end of things to keep me busy!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Les Miz - I Am in Love

OK, I do realise that I've been falling in love a LOT lately, but it's happened again. To the max. We went to Les Miz today and it was - it was. . . So. Bloody. Stunning. Really, I am just not going to be able to say enough about it. And where to start? OK, well that's an easy one, actually. Jean Valjean. Randal Keith was not just a shining star, he was some kind of supernova. His voice is so incredible it's unbelievable. He can sing with power and then go and do something high and soft and it's still sharp and clear as a well. (bell isn't good enough, and wells have a lot more depth - think deep, clear, sweet, thirst-quenching and you'll have a little bitty fraction of an idea of this man's talent) Oh, my. OK, so I'm raving. Sigh. I want to go again. And then I went to his website when we got home and saw how he said to stop by the stage door and say "hi" and I kicked myself all over the house for not thinking of at least trying that. Argh. I tried to convince dh that we should go back to the end of the last show and try, LOL! Oh, and dh was as blown away as I was. Ah. It was music heaven. The entire cast was splendiferous. Oh, yeah, and how weird is it that the older Cosette is played by the neice of one of the TKD parents? *shakes head in wonder*

You will think me uncultured (ok, I'll admit that probably most of my previous posts have led you to that conclusion anyway) but I was actually unfamiliar with the story until today. I had heard some of the music, but only this last week or 2 because my friend gave me a CD. I really enjoyed not just the music, but the story. And of course all the set stuff and the rotating stage is just fascinating. And I love the music - some very witty stuff - but now that CD is ruined for me because it's not performed nearly as well as the show I heard tonight. :-P

Some of the effects were very cool, like the way they achieved the look of Javert jumping off the bridge, and the slo-mo effect when everyone at the barricade died. The sewer scene looked great. There were just a lot of amazing things going on in the whole show.

Well, I haven't really packed yet, and considering that I only got about 3 hours sleep last night, I should prolly get crackin' before I drop. Au revoir!

Oh, by the way, I'm quitting everything and joining a musical touring company.

*exits, stage left, singing*

edit - we are playing "trump that photo" with Sheila's SO via phone. Any suggestions?

Happy Easter & Yet Another Kitty Pic

Another pagan holiday which has been absorbed by Christianity arrives. In our festivities of the early morning we conducted a drunken assault on another blog. And no, that is not one of the pictures I was talking about. This morning's pics were taken with live models.

Sis and I are attempting to resurrect ourselves by drinking coffee. Sadly, I've just realised that I made decaf. I think that's all I have. :-P At any rate, the first solid food to pass my lips this morning was chocolate. Sweet, heavenly chocolate. Dark chocolate. With caramel and pecans. And frog. ;-) Next up - anthrax ripple. Mmmmm mmm!

Edit: Pic is up now, obviously. Egan and Toby, please don't hate me for posting yet another kitty picture. Meow!

Dueling G-strings. Can you hear the music?

Drunken Stupor

OK, I mentioned it on some of y'all's blogs and I'll fess up again here. I'm a couple of sheets to the wind. Friends came over and brought 2 bottles of wine, and I had at least my share and likely more. What can I say? I'm a cheap date. Though I think my head is starting to clear finally as I sit here writing.

Today I found out that we still get a TV channel - PBS apparently. Not beauteous in it's fuzzility, but not horrific, either. And I'll take it over any other possible channel, so hey! :-) The kids were watching some Pororo and when the tape quit, Red Green was on, and then Monty Python and now some odd show with a British guy touring Britain and Wales. Sounds like they're going through some kind of historical reenactment now and I'm seriously considering turning it off so I can listen to Michael. Yes, indeed, I'm going to. But I'm trying to help the littles (OK battle is lost for Prawn, so only Gogo) stay awake for Yi-yi's arrival.

Ah, but that convieniently brought me to the topic of Michael, my new audio love. Michael Bublé that is. O.M.G. What a wonderful voice, what superb music. I'm in love. Auditorally, you know. I'm not sure what's wrong with me (or right with me) to be on this swing kick. First Harry Connick Jr, now young Michael, but I'm loving this music. I really, really want to get "Sway" but have to figure out whether I just want the song, or the whole album. :-P Last night I bought "Save the Last Dance for Me." Today I bought the whole album, "It's Time." Oh yes it is. It's past time. It's time to buy more Michael Bublé, that's what it's time for.

But, hey! My sister is here! Time to drink even more wine and be merry and compare G- strings of my own fashioning. Woo hoo! Naked pillowfights are next, LOL! :-) John generously volunteers to be the official blog photographer. Phoblographer? Anyway. . .

Friday, April 14, 2006

1, 2, Minga! Sibiliance. . .Sibiliance. . .

I borrowed Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes on CD from the library so we could listen to it in the car. We got to it sooner than expected since tape 9 of LOTR is busted. :-( We actually own the book. In fact, we own several of the "Shoes" books, but though we started Ballet Shoes long ago, we somehow put it down and never finished. This was not for lack of it being a good book. It's a great book, but I think we were just sucked into a different theme at the time. Anyway, the CDs are very enjoyable and are read by an English lady who makes them sound just right, EXCEPT that her "s"s are SO sibilant that it nearly hurts my ears. Now here's something you should know about me to give that statement a little more impact. I haven't wrecked my hearing yet, but I love loud noises (at least of the right sort.) When I worked on F-16s, sometimes I would sneak off my headset while the engines were running just so I could get the full impact. And when we were at a Red Flag (fighter war games) in Nevada, I adored the British Tornados (as in really loud jet fighters, not swirling vortexes of dust and dirt) because they were so loud you could FEEL the sound - they made the bones in your chest vibrate. And yet this lady's "s"s hurt my ears. How can this be? It must be a frequency thing. *shrugs*

I sometimes miss working on airplanes. The good parts anyway. Our unit had A-10s before F-16s and they're a lot more mechanical and less electronic, so they're not so temperamental. The downside to this (for crew chiefs) is that they can fly in more adverse weather. I don't miss days like the one when it was so cold that when I went to close the ladder door it had frozen open and I had to go drag a big gas powered heater over to thaw it out. But I do miss being out there on the hot tarmac, tar lines squishing up around my boots, waving in my plane and climbing all over it for the postflight, or engine diving in that glossy white tunnel (that one's missing the actual engine) where I was always slightly freaked out in a horrifyingly thrilling sort of way that someone would start the engine on me. Or diving the exhaust on a broiling summer's day, while the plane was still hot, and feeling that wave of heat still rolling out and just baking me, knowing the kind of heat and power that had been flowing out such a short time ago through the very place where I was crouching now, looking for nicks and missing tailfeathers. Or doing EOR - End of Runway inspection and standing there on the curved taxiway watching snow snakes slither across the pavement and then seeing the big birds come rolling towards us like ghosts through the blowing snow.

Well, this wasn't supposed to turn into an airplane post. And now I've forgotten what else I had to say, and dh is not gruntled because he wants to start the movie. Apparently I told him "just a few minutes" more than a few minutes ago. :-P That is all.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

HNT and Really Baaaad Jokes

Whew! Right after the 2 hours of kids' classes this morning, we went to Kensington Park's Farm to ogle the critters. First up: Some rather new lambies and goats out with their mothers. I'm too sheepish to show the less-than-great goat shot, so you don't get that one. I kid you not.

After watching the babies for a while, we headed in to one of the barns, where we were met with the sight of Anabelle (I think that's her name) with her FIFTEEN piglets!!

I'm not extremely enchanted with grown up piggies (sorry piggies) but the babies are stinking irresistable!

This little guy was a real ham.

Whoever coined the phrase "It's a dog's life" had obviously never met pigs:

That was a very smiley little piggy. I have a lot of pics of him. Why? Porque he was so cute.

Next door to Anabelle and her horde was the Sheepoline™

I'm not spinning some outlandish yarn here. This baby was actually jumping up and down on her mama. Repeatedly.

She snuggled down for a few seconds (they are obviously a close-knit family)

but it didn't last.
Mama will get sheared next weekend and that will be the end of the Sheepoline.™

I have a baaaaaad feeling about what's for din-din:

Fresh sheep! Harriet's sign announced that she was still expecting, but no one was pulling the wool over our eyes as we could clearly see two babies in with her. The twins were born only this morning.

Hay there. You look like you could use a hand. Can I bale you out?

Outside, signs reminded us that nature can be cruel:

But then, unexpectedly, we saw this one:

So we did. We petted the "lamb's ear," admired the yarrow and tansy, sniffed the mint, and the children ate some of the chives. None of us were bitten.

On the way out we saw a couple of rock stars:

Dora and Diego rockin' out

After the Farm, we hit a local park and played. Sometimes we neglect our studies in favour of real life. That's one of the great advantages of homeschooling. :-)

Sparring was 3-step tonight. I'm very salty. And I was a fool not to think of putting arnica on my latest shin smash. After class tonight I definitely remembered. Argh. I just tapped it against someone's block and holy cow did it hurt. I was pretty gimpy on my left leg round kicks after that. On the plus side, I tried something new - padaba chugee with a crescent kick instead of round kick and doinked my partner in the head. I can't find a decent description of what that means, but at least now if I forget what I did, I have it written down somewhere. :-P

Oh yeah - HNT. Just sneaking in under the wire! I didn't Adobe out my racing stripes, but the grey helps downplay them a wee bit. Anyway, hey, that's how it is, so oh well. Considering that I've had a total of four baby humans crammed in there, I'm not going to complain.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wacky Wednesday

It's been a strange day. We went swimming today since the pool will likely be closed on Friday, so all day it's seemed like Friday. My friend brought over a tape of "Pororo" - a Korean cartoon about a penguin and his friends. Very cute! They've been calling Mollusc "Pororo" because - ah I have to wait until Saturday to share that. :-)

So we go to Les Mis on Sunday and a good thing, too. I guess that's the last day it's running and it's not coming back to Detroit. Ironically, the niece of one of the TKD dads is in the show. Will I enjoy it more if I read up on it? The music is great. :-) Now I have to figure out whether I have something appropriate to wear. John and I date in the bedroom and bathroom and then it's clothing optional, so. . .

I'm looking forward to our trip. Mostly because it will be good to see family and hit our favourite used book stores. You'd think a city this size would have some decent used book stores. But, apparently, you'd be wrong. Last time we were there, I scored some excellent Greek Mythology Manga (best I can do link-wise unless you want the publisher's site (in Korean)) books for the kids, among many other things. I have some books and laserdiscs to trade in, too. Quite a few, in fact. And there's a good music store where we're headed as well. Mollusc needs the next piano book. Better start a list. Most of all (not counting family), however, I'm looking forward to Lao Laan Xang. Ack, I was going to try to get to Barnes and Noble today to cash in my $35 gift card (free from MyPoints!) on the LOTR CDset. That's probably not in the cards for today.

I feel fuzzy and dull today. It's good not to have to go anywhere!

Thought for the Day:

Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. ~Ayn Rand

Monday, April 10, 2006

What's in a Name?

Where, you ask, did your children get all those bizarre sea-creatury names? Well, I'll tell you.

It began, of course, with Mollusc. Real name: Molly. Kind of a no-brainer. She's always loved critters and the name just fit. It suits her way better than, say, Mollykins, or Mollywollydooleyalladay, though she is sometimes referred to as such (the latter, not the former.) She also responds to Molluscum Contagiosa (a kind of wart, as it turns out - not flattering, but entertaining.)

Sluggie was next. Her nickname has absolutely nothing to do with her real name. When Sluggie was born, she had backfat. I kid you not. Back. Fat. A big strip of chub across her back. As dh noted, she was shaped like a Slug - high in the middle and tapered at both ends. This fit nicely with Mollusc's name and had the added benefit of appearing in "Atlas Shrugged" as Dagny Taggart's nickname, thanks to Francisco D'Anconia. Definition: SLUG — Heavy fire in locomotive firebox. (we're back to pyromania, aren't we?)

Next up, Fishy. Some of you might know he was named after my dad, Gordon. Well one thing leads to another, you know. Ever hear of Gorton™ Fish Sticks? There you are. Also known as Gogo (he's always busy, plus that's how he used to refer to himself when he was wee, and also how his friend Nolan (aka Nono) would refer to him.) He also goes by Gobi Fish (we used to have a saltwater tank), Gogi, and Mulgogi (Korean for fish.) This continues the sea creature theme rather nicely, IMO.

Last but not least. OK, well she is the least size and age-wise, but anyway. . . The Prawn. Like Sluggie, Prawnie's name has no relation to her actual moniker. Dh dubbed her The Prawn pretty much right after birth because she would curl up like a wee prawn (or maye a jumbo prawn if we're talking actual size) whenever she slept. Again, this was in keeping with the sea creature theme, so it stuck. People here knew her for months as The Prawn before finding out she had a real name, LOL!

As a kid, I used to get so tired of all the Candy jokes when I met new people. "Oh, you must be sweet, then!" (yeah, never heard THAT one before) or "Can I eat you?" (um, don't say that nowadays!) And one guy told me "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." What kind of man says that to a little girl? A dirty old man, that's who. And we were SDA's back then (so was HE!) and liquor was taboo so where he got off saying that is beyond me. Wanker. Now comments like those don't bother me, but I really did get sick of it as a kid. Kind of like the "Do you not know how that happens?"* comments. Which I've only gotten once, and then from FIL, and I still fired off a sassy comeback that left him speechless, LOL! Oh, and my nicknames as a kid: Tubbits (started life as "Two bits") and *cringe* Thunderbits. Apparently I was a gassy baby. :-P

*I was gonna link that blog but lost it. Anyone know the url? Great blog!

John's name was a point of contention between his mother and father. She had planned to name him Sean Patrick, but I guess they gave her a general anasthetic during birth and when she came to, he had been named John, and given his grandfather's name as a middle name. And then MIL found out that John was Uncle Jack's real name and she was REALLY POed cuz she hated Uncle Jack. Ack.

And now, for good measure, here's my Pirate Name. What's yours?

My pirate name is:

Bloody Mary Read

Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. Even through many pirates have a reputation for not being the brightest souls on earth, you defy the sterotypes. You've got taste and education. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

On a totally unrelated note, I think my kids are getting into "The Dark is Rising" sequence just a bit too much.

Yes, there are the signs of wood, water, fire, stone, etc. and now, the Sign of Balogna.

Last but not least, this is where I find Trillian at least 3 times a day when I pop in to brush my teeth, put away Prawn's clothes, or whatever. It's another kitty photo, so I'm giving you due warning in order to enable you to avert your eyes. What can I say? I'm a girl, and I like kitty pics. :-) Plus, this is the only way my sis ever gets to see our freshest rescue baby. Until Saturday, anyway. My sister is coming on Saturday! Woo hoo!!!!!

Ew, looking at this reminds me that I need to Rid-o-Rust™ the tub again. Water in MI is hard and ironic. *snort* I crack myself up. :-P It smells like camping.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Burn, Baby, Burn!!

I learned one more thing about satin sheets last night:

5) You can actually die of electrocution from the static electricity when changing the sheets.

Today we bought some lumber and John put together the first raised bed for the new garden. In the meantime, the kids and I went around cutting down and trimming back all of last year's plants out front. We put all the brushy stuff in the old garden bed so we could burn it. When The Prawn first learned what we planned to do, she said, "Oh GOODY! I LOVE burning stuff!" And, well, who doesn't?

Slug, Mollusc and I took pics:

I think Mollusc's hair is actually blowing back from the hot air.

Ooooooh. Fire!

Smoke gets in your eyes. (and chocolate egg gets on your face)

One of the few times Gogo wasn't frantically running for more stuff to throw on.

A little of the fire threatened to escape the box, and though it was easily stamped out, doing so reminded me of the many times my dad would pack my sis and me into the VW bug and go roaring off to stamp out brush fires. I guess it wasn't uncommon for layfolk to act as the Volunteer Fire Department (oooh more Lemony Snicket!) as evidenced by the fire beating mops and instructions at this roadside pullout. That's my mom with the fire mop.

But I never got to use the mops. I don't think there were ever any around the fires we found. We just stomped them out. Ah good times. :-) I suppose it's only fair we chased fires, considering that after my dad launched his homemade, candle-powered hot air balloon, he could well have set fire to half the jungle, LOL!

Sadly, the smoke of our fire failed to bring any hot half-dressed firemen erroneously rushing to our aid. Alas. (I think I'm working an alas into every post these days. Kind of like the whole Blackadder "cunning plan" thing.)

On the way back into the house, I finally remembered to snap the pics of Flat Accident Guy on the snowblower to add to my collection.

I sure hope he remembered to shut it off when he went to get THAT hand out.

Not as exciting as most of the stickers, but another notch in Heavy Equipment's belt (or at least Flat Accident Guy's shoe.

And finally, mostly to bug Egan and Toby ;-) young Trillian. She's dreaming of Toby's Billy Idol cat picture.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

More on Satin

Less than a week is long enough for me to have learned these things about satin sheets:

1) SLIPPERY! (duh)

2) Cold (brrrr)

3) Kind of tacky when you sweat (bleh)

4) Smooth - nice for rubbing feet (or whatever) around on, unless (3)

Overall, I prefer the jersey sheets. Yuuuuummmmm.

Today it was time to make stuff. Every now and then I must create something new. I have a shocking amount of fabric waiting to be made into various things, so today it was 1) Spiderman™ kitty pillow* for Gogo's bed, stuffed with super fluffy stuff and dried lavender from our garden 2) Similarly constructed girlie kitty pillow for The Prawn's bed and 3) Wizard/Dragon/Unicorn pillowcase for floopy old body pillow inherited by Slug when I was finally done being pregnant.

*Kitty pillows = fleece pillows that the kitties LOVE to lie on. The kids have been requesting some for their beds since the ones on our bed are always occupado and they want the kitties to sleep with them, too.

Yes, I can sew real things, too, but the kids seem to have plenty of clothes right now.

And then I felt like making more stuff, so I cranked out some peanut butter cookies. I think we're all getting pretty sick of non-chocolate-containing cookies. :-/ I put choc chips in the last batch for John and the kids.

Tonight we watched The Three Musketeers. I hadn't seen it in a long time. Bad part: not very convincingly acted, and since when were they all American? Good part: it's basically one gigantic sword fight broken into chunks that are strung together with bits of dialogue. Well, who doesn't love a good swordfight? At any rate, the kids liked it since they are way into swordfighting right now. (Thank you Frodo, Legolas, Aragorn et al.) Kind of made me want to see the Princess Bride again, though.

Tomorrow the plan is to get lumber for the raised garden beds and slap some together if it's decent out.

Is it possible that there are people in the world who have never seen the Star Wars parody Troops? This has been around for years. Click "movie" (not "film") to check it out. Watch for the Trooper in high heels.

Wench™ out.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Quoth the Raven

Actually, this is not going to be about things I'll never do again. It just came to mind because we've been reading/hearing a lot about ravens between The Dark is Rising and LOTR, and because I wanted to share this quote for the day:

There are two ways to live your life - one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle. ~Albert Einstein

My suit did not disintegrate at the pool today, which is a miracle in itself. But I really do have to do something about getting a new one. Preferably one that will not make me look like a giant turd (brown is IN this year, apparently -- hee hee Lemony Snicket reference) or a 60s candy wrapper gone awry. Good luck, me.

At the pool we did goofy things like sidekicks underwater (you can do a really beautiful flying sidekick with all that hangtime) and front handsprings, handstands and headstands, swimming like The Man from Atlantis (not that my kids have a clue who he is) floating on our backs, throwing around the plastic porcupine puffer fish and diving for "the white thing" which is a small rectangle of white plastic that we found several weeks ago which sinks to the bottom of the pool so we can dive for it. We got very hungry.

On the way home I caved to the kids and myself and we stopped at McDonalds (second time in 2 weeks - it's a record.) Oddly enough we'd never been inside the McDonalds in our town, so we were delighted to see -- get this -- a full size stormtrooper (COOL!) a full size Spiderman and what would be a full size Sully, Boo and Mike Wachowski had those characters been played by a kid and some guys in suits. Oh and an alien from MIB II (which I don't think I've seen yet.) Lots of celeb photos and posters adorn the walls, so I was able to show Sluggie "Legolas." She thought it was weird that he had "Aragorn's hair." In one grouping of 5 pics, 2 had been married to each other in the past, and 2 are married now AFAIK. The odd man out was Willy Wonka, who obviously is not the marrying type. Maybe that was intentional. The kids ran around in the giant Habitrail™ but I did not. The McDonald's in Brighton has a sign saying that adults can play, but this one didn't and there was a very crabby shemale (hard to tell - I think it was a woman) working the area, so I didn't try.

Today we performed some minor alchemy in the kitchen. I smell good. Sniff here --> @->--

Bath salts!

Yesterday we did manage to transplant our surviving seedlings. There were a few headless ones thanks to Emmett. Bad kitty! But as it is there was only just room on the windowsill for what was left, anywyay.

Check out Navan's new album cover :-) And then go to Elizabeth's blog to see one of the funniest potential album pics taken. I think they should put it in the liner notes, LOL!

Red belt class tonight. No matter how long I shower after swimming, I always smell like a pool at red belt class. Once I start sweating, there's a cloud of chlorine all around me. I suppose that with soaking for 2 hours in the pool, I'm bound to absorb a bunch of the stuff. I don't think that can be good for one, but as it turns out, everything these days is deadly, so I guess it doesn't matter too much. The stuff they use at the pool we go to isn't like regular chlorine. It doesn't smell as strong and it tastes salty. But it still eats suits.

The Prawn is sitting here reading her Happy Phonics™ flip books to me. She's getting really good with all the vowels (the most confusing part of learning to read, IMO.) I just assembled the new booklets and she's thrilled to be able to read them all to me. :-) Little miracles are all around me. Hope you're seeing some, too. :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Just Another HNT

Random thoughts for today:

I'm not winning the battle with losing my voice. Blah. But nothing feels really bad, so that's OK. I did get kind of winded while warming up the kids for morning and evening classes, but when it came time to do my class, I didn't seem to get tired any more than usual - even during sparring. Only thing is it hurts to cough. I don't have to cough much, but when I do my chest burns and the lower part of my throat. Don't you hate that?

OK, whining off now.

My children - sometimes they can find the most piddly things to argue about, like who does 1st wipe (on the table after a meal, as opposed to 2nd wipe which traditionally has no remaining debris, only sticky spots.) Sigh. Tonight Sluggie wanted me to make Mollsuc do 1st wipe since she did it after lunch. Turns out it was going to make her die if she had to do it, so I made her do it "so she'd get used to it and it wouldn't seem so bad." I'm mean like that. :-/ But then they'll go and do something totally sweet like give a sibling the last, treasured cookie or something. So I guess we're doing something right.

I thought about posting this for HNT:

But decided it was kind of a copout since I've already shown the bruise in its earlier stages. I was kinda hoping it would be gone for swimming tomorrow. Alas. The funny thing is that the peeps who only come to check out my HNT and not read will prolly scroll to this pic, see it and take off. So they'll completely miss my real HNT, which will be appearing farther down.

I forgot to try to find a chlorine-proof swimsuit, darn it. Mine is waaaaaay floopy. Scary floopy. Hope it doesn't fall to bits in the pool tomorrow. The bottom's in better shape than the top. Why can't they just make the top out of the same kind of material as the bottom?!?!?

Winn Dixie (the book) was GREAT! No one dies! I thought for sure the dog would snuff it. If you do have kids, I highly recommend it. I don't know about the film since I haven't seen it. My friend says they changed the story, so I don't know if I even want to see it.

Mollusc is starting to get compliments on her drawings from a lot of people. She draws a LOT and is really getting better. I'd love to get her Corel Draw or Paint or something, but I think they're pretty pricey, so I'm trying to find out if there's a Linux equivalent. And I'm trying to learn about those computer drawing tablets, too. Anyone know if there's an affordable version?

A bunch of us were sitting at TKD during homeschool class and swapping birth stories this morning. Why do women always do that? I guess it's a bonding thing. It's a stereotype that we do this, but it's true. I can only imagine that this has been done for thousands of years. And I never get tired of hearing them.

There's other stuff rattling around in my head, but I don't think much of it is particularly arresting. Not that it ever is, LOL! Eh, that's what a blog is for, though. Random stuff.

Oh yeah - my real HNT:

Know what I like? That cool little diopter adjuster on my Canon that lets me take pics with my glasses off and see clearly through the viewfinder. Neat-O. This is the first time I've used it cuz I forgot it was there until now.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lazy Wednesday & Part Deux

Readers who have been here for a while will know that the kids and I love Wednesdays. This is basically what we like to do:

Ahhhhhhh. :-)

In spite of the Wednesdayness of it all, however, Trillian refused to shirk her self-imposed Dripping Tap Sentry Duty.

She's very good at timing the drips and swatting them into the tub. Good thing, too, since otherwise they'd end up. . . in the tub.

After a lapse of yucky snain (snow mixed with rain) Spring renewed it's efforts.

Daffodils and grape hyacinths are coming up all over the place.

John is watching part of a Scrubs DVD and it's the one with Colin Hay from Men At Work singing "Overkill." The title, for ironic personal reasons, cracks me up just now. But what a great song. And the recording for the show is beautiful. That combined with an extremely clever sequence played out during the song makes this one of my favourite episodes. Here's a funny thing, though. We both thought all this time it was "goes to beer and fade away." Turns out it's "ghosts appear and fade away," LOL! I think I like the beer version better. I just figured it meant that every night he drank 'til he saw everything "through beer goggles" and gradually faded out for the night.

Today was the big Spring Clothing Event at our house in which we optimistically dragged out all the Spring and Summer stuff and figured out what fit who and what wouldn't be staying and whom we would give it to. We have been really blessed by a few TKD families. With 4 kids we're considered a large family these days, so people think of us when their kids grow out of stuff and have given us a lot of great clothing for the younguns. This is especially great for The Littles (who score the most clothes) since there are no boy hand-me downs for Gogo (my stepson is grown and on his own) and a lot of the girl stuff is wearing out by the time it gets to The Prawn.

Of course now that we've done that, we'll probably have a blizzard, but we ARE prepared in case of freakishly warm weather. :-)

At the library today I picked up "Because of Winn-Dixie" and actually started reading it. I've checked it out at least twice before, intending to preview it for the kids and have never gotten around to reading it. Silly me. It's maybe an hour and a half read - maybe less. So far it's very sweet. And a lot more meaningful than much of the pretentious crap out for adults these days, LOL! I'm going to write the author a hate letter if she kills off the dog in the end, though. Speaking of which, there's an entertaining YA book out called "No More Dead Dogs." We've borrowed that, too, and I'm looking forward to checking it out. It's about a kid who is sick to death of being assigned books in which the dog buys the farm at the end. Our sentiments exactly!

That's one of the great things about having kids; no one looks at you like you're a half-wit when you read kids' books. :-) And there are so many good ones out there. I realise very few of my readers have kids, but for those who do or someday plan to, or who just like good books, I highly recommend Chinaberry's catalog. They have superb book descriptions and keep their selection to books that they have personally chosen as great stories. They have introduced us to tons of magical books. And their cookbook rocks! Best pumpkin cake recipe ever, mocha cookies, plenty of delicious entrees. Mmmmmm!

On the topic of great kids' books, the Eddie Dickens Trilogy by Philip Ardagh is a total riot. OMG. Rarely have I laughed so much at a children's book. The others that spring to mind are the Sophie books by Dick King-Smith and Arabel's Raven and its sequels, by Joan Aiken (of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase fame.)

I'm fighting losing my voice, but the rest of me seems fine. Lots of ginger tea, Zicam, echinacea and water. :-P Teaching class is just a little more work - ever have that feeling like you kind of have to push to get your voice out? Blah.

The satin sheets are still lovely, though the pillows tend to zing off the bed. Fortunately I do have more than 6, and only 2 of those have satin cases (which set up an almost friction-free phenomenon. I forsee quite a few physics experiments in our future.) I refuse to have hard, decorative lurkers on the bed, so anything in arm's range is soft enough for sleeping. Erm, we're still talking about cushions and pillows, just so you're clear.


OK so I'll post a wee bit more of my short story, but I don't think I'm comfortable plastering the rest on out in open cyberspace.


“Do I get to guess who sent you?” André asked.

“You won’t have heard of my organization,” Sofia replied.

“Really? I’ve heard of a lot of organizations.”

“Trust me,” she said.

“Not that it matters, I suppose.” He shrugged.

“That’s right.”

Sofia had swapped her rifle for a small pistol she'd had concealed in an ankle holster. Now she guided him at gunpoint to her car and into the driver’s seat. She kept the pistol trained on him as she seated herself.

“Strap in,” she said.

André raised an eyebrow, but complied.

After instructing him to drive to the deserted mountain lodge she had rented, Sofia motioned for André to get out and walk down to the lake.

"Out to the end of the dock," she said. "The water's deeper there."

He complied and half-turned to look out over the water as if contemplating his escape.

“Going to dispose of me in the lake?” he asked.

“Maybe,” she said. “Undress.”

André turned back to her, a small smile beginning to play at the corners of his mouth.

“Undress?” he asked.

She nodded.

The smile grew and spread confidently across his face.

“Whom did you say sent you?” he asked.

“I didn’t,” she replied. “Undress.”

“Why didn’t you shoot me back there?”

“Because you could be worth more than the Sisterhood is willing to pay me.”

“And how’s that?”

“Well,” she said, smiling, “you might be willing to bargain for your life.”

His smile broadened even more and he began removing his clothing.

“How much?” he asked.

“Two and a half million,” she said.

André looked slightly disappointed.

“Is that all?”

She chuckled. “I’m afraid so.”

“Well, I can certainly top that." He dropped the last of his clothing onto the dock.

“Yes,” she replied. “I should think so.”

With a smooth movement Sofia flung the pistol far out into the lake. André watched the splash, then turned back in surprise.

“And what makes you think I won’t run?”

She smiled a knowing smile.

"Because," she explained, "now I'm going to undress."

With that, she began to undo the top button of her blouse.


Bedtime Story

I really needed another excuse to post so I could mention International Ball Dropping Day, and I was inspired by Fal's lovely story to share a twiddle of one of mine. I have a fair collection of these stories, but I'll post the intro to my spy story in honour of Fal.


Lying in the shadows, breathing evenly, Sofia watched the blue door intently through the scope of her sniper rifle. She was ready. Any time now, that door would open and he would step out. She heard a faint click and focused all her awareness on the door, then slowly let out her breath. Her heart beat faster. André had no inkling he’d been traced, had no security team because he always worked alone. He was a sitting duck.


A sudden weight on Sofia's back crushed the breath out of her while a gloved hand covered her mouth and pinched her nose. She went instantly limp, then thrust her body up and backwards, taking advantage of the momentary surprise she had caused her assailant. As he started to roll off to one side, she jerked her body out from under him in the other direction, swinging her rifle up from the ground and around into the side of his face with a sharp CRACK! against his temple.

Sofia sprang to her feet, rifle trained on the man's prostrate form as soon as she was standing. He lay face down, unmoving.

“Turn over,” she ordered coldly.

He lay motionless.

“As you like,” she said. She stepped forward and pressed the barrel of her rifle into the back of his neck.

The man stirred with a moan, shaking his head slightly and began to roll over.

“Not so fast,” she said, stepping back. “First, I want your hands where I can see them.”

He stopped moving and brought both hands out from underneath his body, spreading them out to the sides.

“That’s right,” she said. “Now, hands up above your head and roll slowly.”

The man carefully straightened his arms over his head and rolled slowly to the side. Sofia jumped forward and kicked away the pistol that had been lying beneath him. As he came face-up, Sofia's breath caught in her throat, but in the back of her mind, she had really expected it. Who else could have foiled her? André was good, she admitted to herself. Very good. She tightened her grip on the rifle.

“Up!” she ordered. “And keep your hands in sight.”

André rose fluidly to his feet and smiled at her. It was a disarming smile. His clear blue eyes had a teasing, confident look in them. She felt an unexpected lurch in her stomach. Her finger tensed on the trigger but would not tighten.

Change of plan.


© Candace Mahoney 2006

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fock U

Sometimes I hate Blogger. Like right now when it's eaten another post and posted some smarmy-ass "sorry you're screwed" message instead of coughing up my painstakingly typed observations. Sigh.

Sunday night John and I watched Meet the Fockers for the first time. I say first time because there will definitely be more. That was one of the most enjoyable sequels I've ever seen. And the baby was painfully cute! The baby signs stuff brought back memories of signing with our last 2 younglings. It was definitely nice to know what they wanted when they were 7 or 8 months old! Gay Focker's mom had a replica of Rodin's Eternal Idol which made us laugh since we have one, too.

Fishy has a tooth that's been hanging for at least 2 weeks. Last night he let out such an amazing belch at the table that the girls broke into spontaneous applause and gave him 25 points out of 10. But it didn't blow his tooth out. :-/ When it does come out, he'll have that missing-2-front-teeth look that I love. :-)

Over a year ago we bought a set of satin sheets and last night we FINALLY put them on the bed. OMG they are awesome!!! And slippery! And they facilitate things with their lack of friction that are not as lightly attempted with regular sheets. The only problem was when I jumped into bed, shot across the sheets, flew off the other side and slammed into the wall. John shouldn't have laughed, because it was child's play to send him rocketing off the other side and into the bookcase. OK, so maybe that was in my head, but it sure was easy to zing Prawn over to the edge this morning when I wanted more room. I foresee some bouts of late-night sheet-wrestling coming on.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Interactive Post Day

While the pancake batter is resting, I've decided to start a post that I will come back and update throughout the day á la Egan. Theoretically.

Still trying to get back on the Flylady wagon. Today's FLY Zone: The Kitchen

On the docket today: Science, Math, Spelling for Go, Art, Writing assignment for Slug , Alphaphonics for Prawn, FLYing, and Monday, Monday, Monday! Which here means 2 things: 1) Monday the house and 2) undisclosed ;o) Oh and repotting the tomatoes (still alive!!!) and planting a few more seeds. I don't think that's gonna happen.

Happy CP Day, John! I think it's been 19 years, right? Doesn't seem like nearly that long!! Monday, Monday, Monday! >:-} Plan on naked sparring after class and sparring. No cup. Remind me I have an evil plan when you get home, please, if you make it before I have to go teach. Otherwise, remind me when I come home before we go to class. (you know me - mind like a pair of mesh panties)

Ah, the pancakes are done resting. Thus begins the day's work. Fortunately I had a very loafy morning, LOL!

Today's skate-mopping soundtrack: Hit In America, Isolation (Beat Crusaders - see below)

Thought for the day: everything you do today counts.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Random Sunday Observations

First of all, let me just say this to the perve in Wichita, Kansas who hit my blog by searching on "porn alien creatures": I know Kansas is not that exciting, but sheesh, Dude, if you're looking for Hentai stuff hit J-List or something.

And speaking of "perve," I will now take advantage of Chickybabe's International Perve Day to post yet another picture of DC. Har! Great excuse, eh?

Let me backpedal most furiously now, in case I've offended any readers from KS, which is truly a gem in the Union. * singing - She's got diamonds on the soles of her shoes *

In semi-keeping with the J-List theme, a big thanks to Fal who turned me onto some J-pop -
specifically Beat Crusaders. My fave is Isolation. They remind me of Green Day and, from farther back, The Outfield if anyone remembers those guys.

On to food. This morning John whipped up some delicious cinnamon rolls. Oh. My!

And while we're talking about sugar bombs, if you haven't had Pop Rocks™ since you were a kid, now is probably the time to buy some. Just like hula-hooping, you're never too old for Pop Rocks™. Remember how if you bite them with your front teeth they explode with a tongue-blasting snap? Ahhh, good times.

We bought baseball mitts for the kids today. The Prawn had her heart set on a pink and turquoise Wilson that was on clearance for $7. Well, OK.:o) The only one who didn't get one was The Boy since we knew we had one at home already that should fit him. Guess what I can't find. Sigh.

And now it's time for one of Hannah's Helpful Homemaking Hints ;o) Tired of spending $ on paper napkins that you just throw away? The Wonderful World of Walmart sells 18-packs of white washcloths for $3 and change.

And the best part is that you can wet down one or two to wipe the table, countertops, baby and whatever else after the meal. If you get the white ones, you can bleach them without them getting all sickly-looking. When they get too junky to be napkins (oops - serviettes for you Canadians and Brits :oP is that still an issue? My Canadian teacher (I speak fluent Canadian now ;-) ) was pretty adamant about that when I was young.) you can demote them to the rag bin. Trees, landfills and your pocketbook will thank you.

Spring is trying its best out there:

Things are sprouting up, including the 400 some bulbs the kids and I planted in Feb.

And the younguns have been adventuring abroad in the woods and bringing home trinkets:

The white scratches above the quarter are gnaw marks. I'm guessing by size that this is a deer bone. There are coyotes and foxes in the woods, so at least someone made good use of Bambi.

Finally, the only thing we did for April Fool's Day yesterday:

Mollusc coloured the salt blue to shock her father. He was pretty surprised. She did another shaker of nasty purplish-mung colour, but she must have used too much food colouring cuz it got all clumpy.

And so I leave you, Dear Readers, with your minds no doubt spinning from the deluge of random oddities in today's blog. Good night!