Monday, May 31, 2010

One Step Closer

Spent the day cleaning again. Got the two hall closets cleaned out, which is un-freakin’-believable. Culled out all kinds of sheets, blankets, pillows and tablecloths from the linen closet and Robert got the luggage and tote bags that have apparently been breeding in the other closet under control. I was able to get the sheets we are keeping separated out by size and stacked neatly. Tomorrow I’ll do my favorite part—labeling their new homes. :) (Yes, I’m aware that I’m a complete dork. Whatever. I’ve got a label maker that makes me happy.)

Also spent a ridiculous amount of money at Target on cleaning stuff and handtowel racks for the bathrooms. In all fairness, I’ve wanted racks in there since we moved in, so it’s not like they’re an impulse buy. I also bought a replacement bathtowel rack for Robert’s bathroom—I’ve hated the gold one that is in there, also since we moved in.

In all, a lot of work today, but good results. I’m happy with the day and looking forward to the impending garage sale.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

More Declutter

We’ve been working around the house today. Robert took on the ginormous job of getting the garage cleaned and organized, taking everything off the shelves and out of the storage room, sorting it all into related piles and then returning things to their homes. Now that it’s all neat and tidy, we are ready to have a garage sale in a month. We’ll be collecting up all of our stuff that just doesn’t have a home anymore and sitting outside in the Hell-like East Texas heat at the beginning of July for two days. We intend to sell, along with our old crap, sodas, snacks and I think Harrison is going to have a lemonade stand. In all, I think it’s going to be a good thing. We will get rid of stuff and hopefully make some money.

For now, though, we’re exhausted and in much need of sleep.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fairy Mother

Got to play Tooth Fairy for the second time for my son. Despite the fact that I’m, in fact, lying bald-faced to the young light of my life, it was kind of fun. He couldn’t find his plastic tooth that the dentist gave him for storing disembodied teeth, so I gave him a gold colored draw string bag that just fit the bill. He’s in his room now, crashed out and dreaming of the big fun he’s going to have with the his tooth money. In a five-year-old’s world, you can buy the biggest and most elaborate Lego kits for $1.

On a side note, he got to play with his cousins this afternoon, which was really cool. At one point, though, he got into a little bit of trouble—I don’t remember what he did, but I called him to the living room using his entire name. When he heard that, he turned to the other kids and said, “This is not good. This is really, really bad.”

At least he’s got that much sense about him. :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer’s Here!

I know I’m a humbug, but I really dislike graduations. I’ve not enjoyed any of the ones I’ve had to participate in, either as a student “moving on to the next phase of my life” or as a teacher watching self-involved teenagers prance around the stage and swagger as if they just won the lottery when all they did was scrape by in enough classes to survive.

(It might be noted that I’m effing tired from school and life and all that blah blah blah business and I might be a bit bitter about the fact that I was just at a command attendance for our school’s graduation. It was actually lovely and I was very proud of many of the kids [and, quite frankly, surprised to see some of the others]. I think it’s time for me to take my sweaty, stanky, sleepy self back to bed and get some rest so I can forget about how crappy I feel.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One. More. Day.

And a half day at that.

Watched the boy graduate from Kindergarten this morning. He looked really sharp in his suit—I’m glad we got some more wear out of it after Cody and Amy’s wedding in November! :)

So now, to make plans for what to do to fill all that precious unfilled time. I vote for naps, TV and more naps. Maybe a trip to the pool. Harrison watched a cartoon the other day where the protagonist made a paper mache solar system (yes, I make my kid watch the dorky “smart” cartoons to balance out all the Transformers he’s obsessed with), so now he’s kind of interested in doing that. We’ll see. Seems like it would be pretty easy and he’d really like it.

We’ll see.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fed Up

Had six of the ten students scheduled to come take my final exam just not come in. I totally can’t believe that. What kind of audacity makes a kid think that they can just skip a final exam?

“I don’t want to take it.”

Well, whoop-de-doo! I don’t want to be around teenagers right now, but that’s what I’m paid to do so here I am.

“But I don’t get paid to be here!”

No? What about that grade on your report card that says you can now graduate with the Recommended Plan (which requires one year of Fine Arts)? Think you’ll get into college without a high school diploma? Heck, think you’ll get a job at McDonald’s without a high school diploma?

Kids are so dumb.

I’m so ready for summer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mystery Garden*

Ok, so this is the weird world I live in.

Back in February/March, I built a new raised flower bed in my front yard. LOTS of work. After putting in layers--newspaper, compost, manure, etc. (I'm lasagna gardening again this year!)--I planted a few things. Blueberries (two bushes), raspberries (one plant), some nasturtiums that I nurtured from seed (four or five, I think). I left it pretty open because I was going to go in later and plant some flowers. Pansies, daisies, whatever.

So after a while, I noticed a few seedlings popping up around the things I planted. I didn't pull them up immediately because 1) I didn't have time and 2) I was kind of curious. Who planted them? (I don't know, still.) What were they? Who many were there? And will the things that I planted survive amid all this other stuff?


I've deduced that most of them are either a squash or zucchini of some sort. And there are LOTS. There's some sort of melon in there--the vine at the end looks much like the cantaloupe I attempted to grow (and killed!) last year.


There are a few tomatoes in there. My nasturtiums are doing the best that they can, spreading to other areas that are not AS crowded. My poor blueberries are stunted. I went in this evening and trimmed out some of the squash/zucchini leaves so that they can get some sunlight.


Long story short, I need help. What the heck are these? I can't tell if they're squash or zucchini, but whatever they are they are round and not elongated. Any thoughts?
Incidentally, the squash, zucchini and tomatoes I DID plant in the backyard raised bed are doing ok, but no where near as good as the ones in my Mystery Garden.

*This is a repost of a photo post I made at Facebook last night. Whatever. I still want to know what the danged things are!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Final 24 Body Count

I won’t be posting specifics about the episodes tonight in case anyone is avoiding spoilers. Rest assured, things come to those for whom they are destined. People reacted in much the way that I figured they would. There was nowhere near the bloodbath that I figured would happen. It was nowhere near as Shakespearean as I anticipated it would be.

That said, final counts are as follows:

  • Episode count: three, none of whom are attributable to Jack. (What!!!! I know, right?!?) There was an almost-attributable to Chloe and one of the actual might survive with brain damage, but we, the audience, are not sure.
  • Season count: ninety-one, twenty-nine taken by Jack

I’m curious, now, what the counts are for the entire series. If we use this season for an average, and there are eight seasons, that puts us at 728. Jack had twenty-nine this season; over eight seasons he could have logged in 232. Ish.

Guess I know what I’ll be doing this summer…

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tired. Duh.

About to embark on the last week of school. Squeee! Could not be any tireder (is that even a word?). Dad and I spent the day working on the can house for the Longview WOW booth at Alleyfest. We’ve got probably 70% of it done, so that’s cool.

Heading off to bed now to rest up for my last week of teenagers for a while.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What To Do With Expired Medications (and Other Adventures)

Despite the leftover margarita glasses hanging around this morning, the mess cleanup was astonishingly quick and simple. After the ten minutes it took me to put the sticky glasses in the dishwasher, wipe down the counter and sink and put away the bottles that had been left out, I decided to really push the mess-envelope: I made waffles. I kept the mess maintained to one counter and regularly swiped it with a paper towel so that when it was all said and done, I sprayed the counter with some Windex to loosen up the stuff that had dried in the time it took me to cook two dozen waffles (!) and was pretty much done. Oh, and mom made some brownies right after I cleaned up the waffles. And the mess was a non-issue since it was cleaned up by the time the pan was in the oven.

Which is all to say that I can’t believe how easy this keeping the kitchen business is. I know I keep harping on this, but you have to understand that I am not a natural born cleaner. I like things clean, but I’m not terribly interested in doing it myself because it’s just too much danged work.

But it’s not, apparently.


Aside from keeping my kitchen clean despite all my best efforts to eff it up, I also got to something else that I’ve been wanting to take care of for some time now. Last weekend I cleaned out the medicine cabinets and removed tons of outdated meds. Pills, syrups, lotions, you name it. Vitamins, pain meds from dental work and post-natal-post-surgery experiences, cold meds, ointments for rashes, eye drops… The list could go on and on.

I was concerned because I didn’t know what to do with this big ol’ box of drugs. Flushing it was out of the question because that puts these narcotics directly into the ground water which ends up back in our drinking water eventually. Bad juju. Throwing them away made me nervous because I didn’t want someone to find them and use them in improper ways.

My school nurse friend finally told me what to do. She said that at the end of the school year they take all the left over meds that kids bring up there and then don’t take home and the put them in a big container with a lid. (She suggested a coffee canister, and I intended to take one home since I’ve got several in my supply closet. Best laid plans being what they are, though, I ended up using an old wipes container that had a lid.) Once all the meds are in the container, fill it with water to an inch or two above all the drugs. This sits, with its lid on, in a cabinet for several weeks. What you’re doing here is dissolving all those pills and things. After a few weeks, she said to bring in some kitty litter (presumably unused…) and dump it in to soak up the moisture. After stirring this around and letting it clump up, replace the lid, secure it and it’s ready to toss in the trash.

This is what she said the EPA told her and the other nurse to do, so that’s what I’m doing as well. It’s a load off my mind to have this taken care of (or to have started taking care of it, actually); I’ll be glad to finally have it all out of the house.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Half a margarita in to relaxing for the weekend. Can't even say how worn out I am from this week but rest assured the rita is helping.
Scrubbed the tub and vacuumed the office tonight before Cody and Amy got here so at least I got some work done. Don't know how shiny my sink will be when I go to bed but it will be the first time in three weeks so I'm not sweating it.
Looking at the rest of my drink and wondering if I've got the energy to finish it. I'm such a lightweight.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Eye on the Prize

Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six…..

(Yes, I typed all of that. No cut and paste for this girlie! And yes, I’m ready for school to be over.

Side note: Does anyone else remember going into stores—Sears was where I would do it, but fill in the blank for yourself—and them having electric typewriters set up that you could test type on? And would you, then, type something over and over? Perhaps something mildly [but not supremely—I was a pretty good girl, for the most part!] offensive?


Me neither.)

…more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more days. Six more………..


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Seven more days.*

Ugh. I hate the end of the school year. The kids are tired, sick of being at school, sick of being around each other, sick of me. I’m sick of being at school, sick of being around them, sick of it all. It’s just bad.

I think I’m one of the only teachers right now who isn’t showing movies to the kids. Seriously.

While some of them have been watching things actually tied to the curriculum—Forrest Gump, October Sky, Back to the Future (seriously), some kids have been watching Paul Blart, Mall Cop.


I thought of showing them a documentary about one of my favorite artists, Dale Chihuly, I am now rethinking that plan and will probably just let them play cards after they clean my room for their final.

(Yes. Seriously.)

(*Not that I’m counting…)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ironclad Awesome

Had an unplanned but very pleasant date night tonight. Robert decided to break out of our daily grind and take us to dinner and a movie. I, exhausted from the still-nascent week, tiredly agreed. A Smashburger with smashfries and a Hagen-Daaz shake followed by some Iron Man 2 action later, I’m still freakin’ tired, but man, I had a great time! Love that my honey still knows how to surprise me and keep things from grinding us both down to a worn out nub. :)

In other news, I got a few yards of some beautiful fabric that I fell in love with last month at Sewing Club. I was heartbroken when I couldn’t find it last night at meeting but when I called today with a product number and a description, they went right to the shelf and got it. I’ve got some skirt plans brewing; now that I’m working in the office area this week, I’ll have room to lay it out and cut it, as well as actually sew it very, very soon. Yay! I’ve not sewn anything (aside from Harrison’s Lowe’s patches) in almost four months. I think it’s time…

So, off to shine my sink (my parents, while awesome at watching the kids, are not so much trained in my FlyLady routines), pick out my clothes for tomorrow and head to bed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

24 Body Count

Episode 22: 1 pm to 2 pm

So it seems that everyone else in 24 Land is pretty much off Killin’ Patrol, because Jack’s the only one who is logging any stiffs these days.

  • He shot to wound three Secret Service agents in his mission to get Logan the Weasel. The Weasel quickly sang like a bird and gave up the name of the Russian ambassador, thereby signing that fella’s death warrant. Jack immediately took that information, found the Russki's hidey-hole and took out five of the Russian Secret Service guys and Ambassador Now-I’m-Dead. The corresponding American officials, of course, are all crapping themselves. Jack, of course, knew that the Weasel would be calling his other Russian bad guy friends and so he planted a bug on him. He. Knows. Everything.

Episode count: Six, all Jack’s. Season count: eighty-eight. Jack’s count: twenty-nine. He’s officially up over one third of the kills for the season. Ba-bam!

I’m really sorry to see this show ending next week. I know it had to end eventually, but it’s really been one of the best things on TV in the past decade and I’ve enjoyed all the intrigue, plot twists and mayhem it’s afforded. I’ll miss watching it and, quite frankly, I’m not sure where I’m going to get my smart action flick fix. I suppose we can keep watching back episodes of The Unit (yay, President Palmer!!!), but that is also already ended so there’s only so much I can get from it.

I refuse to watch CSI, though, so I guess we’ll have to figure something out.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Scrubbed Clean

Did a test run of the seed paper I’m facilitating at Alley Fest in a month today. It went pretty well, but I’m definitely going to want to do a little bit more planning on it before the actual day. Harrison and his friend Jace “helped,” and Jace’s mom actually helped, so it all came out well. The boys said the paper pulp reminded them of alien poop, which begs the question: when has my son been exposed to alien poop? ;)

Got the kitchen pretty sparkly today and made some serious headway in the guest bathroom. Organized the medicine closet, culled out a big, horkin’ box of old meds (need to find where to take expired prescriptions—anyone?) and Robert scrubbed the toilet out. I’ll be spending this week working in there and in the office, so I am excited about that.

I also got Harrison to work in his room for about an hour today. We moved his bed around so it’s easier for him to make it in the morning and we cleared out some trash. His desk is still buried under a ton of crap, but at least we’ve made a good start. I think I’m going to have him work on his while I’m working on mine.

The baby birds are doing well, as well.  Momma Bird has even deigned to come back to the nest while I’m on the porch and doesn’t fly off immediately if I show up, so I’m feeling a little bit less traumatized.

In all, a really nice Sunday. Very relaxed and very much enjoyed.

Have a good week!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

No Bathing Beauty, She

I let the kids play in the sprinkler today. Harrison loved it. Laura, not so much. I mean, she was ok at first, but when the water hit her she decided that it was not really what she wanted out of the experience.

I changed the hose from the regular sprinkler that I have set up to water my garden in the backyard  to the Elmo sprinkler in hopes that she would lighten up and decide to play and have fun. (Yes, this is the sprinkler that was recalled last year due to lead in the paint. No, mine was not part of the run that had too much lead.)

Not happening.


Very far from the squirting demon Elmo. Very safe.


She did play around in other parts of the yard, though, and Harrison had a blast, so it wasn’t a total wash.


Afterwards, when she was dried off and warmed back up, she hid in her new favorite hiding spot. Nope. No water here!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Peep-Peep Little Birdie!

Watched a robin feeding her babies tonight. We’ve had a Momma Bird camped on our back porch for some time now. I noticed her nest on the crossbeam of the patio about a month or so ago; it seemed to appear out of nowhere, almost magically. I pointed it out to Robert and Harrison and we began watching her come and go.

There were times I figured she would leave her little haven. Robert grilled one night and reported back that he got an earful from her for his efforts. His grill, alas, is right below her home, and I’m sure that she didn’t appreciate the banging of the lid, the rising heat or the smell of burning animal flesh.

I, on the other hand, scared her more directly, although not really intentionally. She was in her nest one afternoon when I was out there and had frozen into a sort of ‘Don’t See Me!’ position. I, seeing her not moving when before this she had been moving quite a bit, thought that she had died in her nest. Don’t ask me why—I’m not always on the ball, I suppose. Anyway, I started making loud, aggressive movements, swinging my arms and jumping around. To her credit, she barely flinched, but she finally did move a little bit. I, realizing that she was probably trying to keep me, a potential predator, from noticing her little home, felt like a doofus and quietly went back inside the house.

But it appears that all is well, because she was feeding her little ones tonight. I looked out the window as I was feeding my own babies (albeit, not regurgitated grasshoppers or worms) and saw the Momma in her nest. I’ve been watching her through the windows for days, seeing her sitting serenely, often sleeping. Tonight, I saw her sitting at the edge of the nest and I saw two little baby heads popping up, wiggling around and peeping.

I immediately pointed her out to the rest of the family and we spent the rest of our meal watching the little ones eat the rest of their meal. Additionally, we saw several red birds zooming in to eat from the bird feeder we hung from another crossbeam on the porch. Harrison built this feeder at Lowe’s a few weeks ago and the birds are finally noticing that it’s there.

I’m not sure why watching birds eat had such a magical effect on us all, but it really did. Harrison liked seeing the babies and we got to talk about the birth cycle of a bird and really tie the information he had learned in school over the past few springs in to real life.

I, on the other hand, feel like maybe I didn’t mess up so badly with my Momma Bird friend. 


Thursday, May 13, 2010


My tooth is killing me.

Strike that. My jaw is killing me.

I hate having dental work done. I hate having crowns put in. I hate waiting for my gums to heal so that I don’t cringe every time I take a bite of food. I hate my tooth still being sensitive to temperature and pressure while I’m wearing the temporary crown.

I hate paying huge amounts of unexpected money—money that should be going to fixing my eyes instead of fixing my geed-up teeth.

I hate taking pain meds. I’ve taken more Tylenol the past week for this than I have in the past year for all my aches and pains combined.

Think I’m going to go take some more Tylenol and go to bed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Clicking away on getting the kitchen cleaned up. I’ve accumulated two boxes of stuff from two sets of cabinets already. The stove is shining, much cleaner than it has been since we moved in three years ago. The sink, as ever, is shining. I help with the dishes, a job that I have avoided my entire life because when I was a kid it was always my punishment and therefore I never got to see it for what it is—a job—instead of something to dread.

On top of this all, the laundry room is cleaned up and has stayed that way. The front porch could use a little bit of a sweep, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. The kitchen table, one of my worst dump spots, has stayed relatively dump-free.

I can’t help but be excited about all of this. Having never had a ‘cleaning habit’ instilled in me, it feels refreshing to be formulating one. Granted, other parts of the house are still a mess—the bathrooms are in pitiful shape and the kids’ rooms are not much better—but seeing how not-quite-two-weeks has made a difference gives me hope.

It feels weird saying that I’m excited about the probably thirty minutes, total, that I spend cleaning every day, but I am.

So that’s cool.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Typing this as Robert sits at my computer, uninfecting it.
Despite the virus, despite the toothache (the gums around my temporary crown are killing me!), despite the TWO meetings I sat through where we worked on plans for an event and then reiterated those plans in the second meeting, I had a pretty decent day. My house remains clean(ish), my kid behaved at school (!), and I got to work on a real-honest-to-god painting that I chose. Now if this computer issue would resolve itself so Robert could be happy and my world would be complete.

Monday, May 10, 2010

24 Body Count

To borrow a phrase from my sweet husband, tonight’s episode was a real sphincter clincher.

Episode 21: 12 pm to 1 pm

  • Jack used his crackerjack knowledge of how government agencies work to draw the bad guys out to the mall and their eventual doom. He called the reporter chick from early in this season (I could look back at my archives, but it’s getting late…) and dropped a few keywords that were picked up on CTU’s spy channels. Once he told Brenda K. Starr that he was meeting her at the mall in 20 minutes, it was only a matter of time for him to get there and shoot up all four of the Russian operatives who were on the floor.
  • Mr. Blonde, meanwhile, had the Russian sniper who killed Renee contained in a service room, waiting for Jack to show up. Jack, Brenda, Mr. Blonde and Sniper went to a deserted room in a building nearby and Jack began his aggressive negotiations. Punching the crap out of the guy didn’t get him to talk, but I’d venture a guess that it made Jack feel a little better. Pinching off a bit of belly skin with some pliers, while also ineffective in the long run, was also probably therapeutic. Ditto for scoring Sniper’s skin with a knife, pouring alcohol on the cuts and then hitting him with the flame from a mini-torch. Jack finally decided to cut ties with the fella, as it were, when he realized that Sniper had swallowed the Sim card from his cell phone, taking his involvement with the assassination and terrorist plot from earlier in the day to the grave with him. Jack gutted the guy from gut to gullet and retrieved the nasty card. I will say this—the phone worked perfectly with the quickly swiped electronic device replaced into it. If I could guarantee that kind of product quality, I’d be using that kind of phone too.

So. Sim card replaced, Jack quickly made a phone call to the last number which turned out to be Logan the Weasel. Something tells me that he’s about to regret his request to speak to Sniper personally.

I see a very Shakespearean ending coming here. Jack’s pretty much got to die, I think. Logan’s going down. I think Taylor might even bite it. Russian head of government is probably gone. Logan’s guy who took over at CTU is a goner, and I can only hope his assistant will be with him.

Episode total: five, all attributed to Jack. Season total: eighty-two. Jack’s season total: twenty-three.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Day

Have really had a great Mother’s Day weekend. My feet are sore and my shoulders are beat up (that bobsled ride at Six Flags, while all kinds of awesome, really knocks you around if you’re not holding on right!), but I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

After spending the whole day at the park—we left after 8 pm (with two kids in tow—yeah, I know we’re crazy!)—we stopped at McDonalds to let the kids eat before heading back. Now, we don’t eat at the Golden Arches very often in our house because the food is appalling and, well, that’s pretty much it. Harrison, of course, thinks this is a travesty, but has finally stopped asking for it every time we drive by one. We decided to stop there, though, because Laura had spent the majority of the day in her stroller, only getting out and playing for short bursts of time, and we figured that somewhere with a playground was a good answer.

While driving around looking for somewhere to go, we saw several fast food places and Harrison started naming them as suggestions, but he never once said the ‘M’ word. “No, son, we’re not going to Sonic.” (Would have preferred it, but no playground…) He replied, “Well, I’m just out of ideas then!”

When we finally drove into the McDonald’s parking lot, he asked, disbelieving, “Are we going in there?”

Begrudgingly, I said that we are.

“This has been the BEST. DAY EVER!!!!!”

Guess we need to take him to eat crap food more often. :)

As for today, we lolled, which is one of my favorite things to do. The kids and I played, Robert bought groceries and brought home pizza, and we just relaxed. Laura can climb up on the couch now, so that’s stressful, but exciting all the same. We napped, watched movies and Harrison and I saw that the morning glory plant in the front flower bed is blooming.

Life is good.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Heading home from Six Flags with Robert driving and my babies asleep in the backseat. It has been such an awesome day. The kids really enjoyed the rides--Harrison was FEARLESS, begging to go on all the rides, even those he was too small to ride. I can't wait to take him next year when he's a little taller and can ride them all. :)
Happy Mothers Day to all the Mamas out there!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Winding Down

Another week down. I’ve got fifteen more days of school left and I’m more than ready for them to be over. By and large, I really do like my job, for all the griping about it that I do. This time of year, though, the kids get more squirrely than usual and I just reach a point where being around teenagers is the last thing I want to do.

I’m going on a field trip tomorrow with the art club to Six Flags. I’m dragging my family along because it’s been too long since we’ve all done anything fun and I think they’ll enjoy it. Harrison is in full-blown Super Hero Worship and Six Flags happens to own the Warner Brothers/DC Comics franchise; I’m looking forward to seeing him meet Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and all the others.

Off to rest up because 6 am comes early on. Sigh. It sucks living so far from the cool stuff.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shiny Sink

This sounds kind of silly, but I’ve cleaned my sink every night now since Monday.

I know. It sounds stupid. Who doesn’t clean their sink every night?

Lots of people, apparently.

I found, through the recommendations of some friends on a sewing list I belong to, the FlyLady. While she isn’t an insect, nor does she actually fly around, she does offer lots of encouragement and advice for cleaning your house up. Her system involves learning new habits in small increments—baby steps, if you will—that feed upon each other until it becomes second nature to do things like put something away when you’re done with it or clean something up when it’s messy.

These all seem like common sense, logical things, but unfortunately lots of people never really get good at these things. We’re more interested in the fun that comes from getting the things we want out and interacting with them. When we’re done with our activity, we’re ready to move on and do something else and not worry about cleaning because, jeeze, that’s work!

One of the things that I really like about the system is that she has you declutter your house before you try to intensively clean it. As she says, you can’t clean clutter—you can only get rid of it. It totally makes sense and so somehow doesn’t seem like it’s as much work.

I also like that she breaks the home up into zones so you don’t get overwhelmed by trying to get it all done at once. I’m currently in the front porch/entry way/dining room zone and the little bit of decluttering and cleaning has made a huge difference. She cycles through the zones each month so whatever you don’t get picked up and taken care of one month will be waiting for you the next month. Your house didn’t get messy overnight (unless you had an Animal House style party over the weekend, and then you’ve got a whole other group of issues…), so it’s ok if it takes longer to get it done, as long as it gets done right.

As a working parent who never seems to find much time to do anything, the best part for me is that she teaches you to clean in little spurts. Most cleaning occurs in a fifteen minute interval, but there are some that are as short as two minutes long. For the three days that I actually worked on the house these past four days, I’ve set my timer and buzzed around my zone and was amazed at what I was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. My front porch is swept; my laundry room has been decluttered, organized and swept; and my dining room table is completely cleared of all crap that is unnecessary to our mealtime. For each of these areas, I spent fifteen minutes working quickly and efficiently and then usually two to five minutes after that putting things away that had been left out.

I’m also finding myself keeping the areas I’ve cleaned much cleaner than I did before. I have not made a mess in the sink since I soaked it and cleaned it out intensively. It’s almost a game for me now—how long can I go putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher instead of into the sink? I’ve gone for three days now, which is pretty awesome, I think. Robert and I are also making the bed first thing in the morning when we get up. It seems silly, I know, because lots of people make their beds immediately, but that was something that we just didn’t do regularly.

Both the sink and the bed are nice surprises when I walk into their areas every day. The house is pretty awful in many ways—the bathrooms are pitiful, Hurricane Laura blows through the living room every evening and the kids’ rooms are eyesores. But these little spots of clean and calm are relaxing, both visually and mentally. I’m finding that as I go along with the program, the calm areas are expanding and so I’m seeing them more and more often.

I totally didn’t expect this to become a full on testimonial for the FlyLady, but if you’re having trouble keeping your house clean I absolutely suggest looking into her site. I’m so glad that I did—it has changed my outlook and I foresee great things happening in the Brown house.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Queen for the Day?

Got crowned today, in a dental sort of way. :(

Actually, it wasn’t too bad. They gassed me up so that I didn’t feel how much the Novocain shot hurt—all I felt was the pressure, but not the sharpness of it. Then, I pretty much napped through most of the rest. I mean, I was awake and alert, in a manner of speaking, but it was a very dozy kind of awake, if that makes sense.

I’m not really excited about paying for this new work, but considering that I was having trouble eating, I guess in the grand scheme of things it’s good.

I’ve got the temporary crown in and they will put the final one in in a few weeks. I’m going to need to get another one done on the other side of my mouth pretty soon, but I think it’s just going to have to wait. The pain from that one is nowhere near as bad as this one was, so I can probably put up with it for a little while longer.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


In a weird, synergistic mixing of fate, two of the blogs I follow touched on some things I found pertinent to my life.

I won’t belabor the reasons that these two essays touched me—anyone reading them with a shred of humanity will probably feel similarly. I was surprised and a bit unnerved to think that maybe I’m not as developed as I’m ever going to be; that I am also growing, still. And the admonitions to use the good stuff really hit home with me. My dear, sweet husband can attest to the fact that I’ve got years and years (and years and years…) of crap nice things that I’m not using. I don’t know what signal, what important event I’m waiting for to use them, but I’ve been kind of compelled to do just that lately.

Mostly, I just wanted to share these beautiful thoughts with others. I’d like to help others know that the journey is far from over and that they should enjoy every glorious detail along the way.

I know I plan to.

Monday, May 3, 2010

24 Body Count

Dry spell’s over!

Episode 20: 11 am to 12 pm

  • Jack saved G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S. from Toepick and his crew, killing the former figure skating wunderkind and three of his associates.
  • Jack takes G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S. and Scooby into the bank where she is holding her evidence in a safe deposit box. Turns out, there’s a small ignition charge in the box that knocks Scoob off his feet. Very forward thinking of her. It doesn’t kill him, but knocks him out pretty well. On the other hand, when the bank fella who brought them in to the viewing room with their booty returns to check on them, she pops him with her gun, which was also in the box.
  • G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S. calls 911 and gets the police to come to catch Jack. Silly girl—did she really think a few NYPD Blues were a match for Jack Freakin’ Bauer? (No offence to the NYPD—I’m sure they do a wonderful job. It’s just that this is Jack we’re talking about here.) After relieving one of his gun, he shoots the other in the foot so he can escape their clutches and resume his chase for G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S. She sees him and, using a pedestrian as a shield, shoots another pedestrian.
  • In a building that is empty because of the apparent renovations, Jack and G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S. get into a long, drawn out gun battle. Jack finally corners her, gets the evidence he’s looking for and puts the poor, misguided thing out of her misery. I’m pretty sure Scooby is going to have some issues with that when he comes to.

Episode total: seven. Jack’s episode total is five. Season: seventy-seven. Jack: eighteen.

Just for clarification, there might be one more fatality attributed to Jack. When he and Scooby are breaking into the building to save G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S. (so that he can kill her later), they distract the guard stationed on the roof. Jack throws him over a low wall onto an adjacent roof and says something about how he’s out of commission or something. (I’ll be honest, the beer tonight is making actual conversational points float out of my head. I remember what happened, just not what they said about it. :) ) So my point is, I’m not sure how ‘out of commission’ this guy is.

Anyhoo, elsewhere in the episode: Logan the Weasel is proving more and more weasely by the minute. He’s got his guy on the inside at CTU so that he can help the Russians hunt down and dispose of their one big problem—Jack.

And that’s pretty much it. It looks like there’s going to be some pretty squirrely action in the weeks to come. Russian torture. M.E.P.’s wife won’t be very happy to find out that her husband’s murderers were covered up, so that should be interesting. I’m curious as to whether Mr. Blonde will show back up. And dammit, there’s still no Tony! I have faith, though!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


You mamas who stay at home all day with the kids and actually get anything done are going to have to give me a clue. I can barely work on the weekend, housewise, without the kids destroying it all. I was working in the bedroom tonight with the kids playing nearby and literally two minutes after I would finish a task, Laura would come behind me and undo whatever I had just done.

Pants on a shelf for Daddy? Oh, those need to be on the floor. (This, actually, is one of her favorite games—un-shelf the shelves.) Clothes in a laundry basket? Much better on the floor, except for the underwear that should hang around my neck while I toddle around the house. Should you decide to remove the underwear from my neck, I will become a combination harpy/banshee. Oh, and if I get in your way and you accidentally bump into me the slightest bit, I’m going to fall down as if you whacked me with a hockey stick and scream bloody murder. Because I can.

I swear, I felt like Sisyphus and was a blubbering idiot by the time Robert got back from the grocery story.

I know I sound like a wussy idiot who hasn’t a clue about anything in the world. I’ve got two kids—this shouldn’t be anything new to me. I’m telling you, though, that I’m worn to a nub. I don’t know if it’s because she’s teething and that has upped the ante or if I’m really just not that great a parent and it’s finally showing through. (Yeah, I know, shameless plug for praise. Whatever. Get it where you can…)

Anyhoo. I’m looking into Flylady as a way to hopefully collect my clutter, if not my sanity. I’ll post back at some point to tell whether I’m a new person or whether I gave up after two days. She wants me to shine my sink…

Saturday, May 1, 2010

For The Dad-folk Among Us

I had a revelation of sorts recently.

I’ve been reading these ‘mommy blogs’ for the past year or so. It started last summer when I was home with the kids several days a week during the summer and I knew that if I didn’t get some ideas for activities, we’d all sit around watching TV all summer. Harrison, of course, would be completely fine with me letting him watch TV and play Super Paper Mario all summer, but I just couldn’t stand the mush that his brain—and mine—would become if that was all we did.

So I found activities. We did crafts, we went to the library for story time, he helped me cook. We had a very busy but very enjoyable summer. And he did get to watch a little TV in there from time to time because, lets face it, I’m only human and there’s only so many games of Candy Land I can handle.

I found many of our activities on blogs, one blogroll often leading me to another blog and on and on until I was inundated with stuff for us to do. Pages included Amalah, Just Tutes (which became indietutes), Life of a Dairy Queen, Make and Takes, No Time For Flashcards, Simple Mom and The Crafty Crow, to name a few. My feeds list was kind of out of control for a while there…

Anyhoo, the point of this story is that I still read lots of these mommy blogs. I like to see what these women are up to in their day to day life; they’ve become virtual ‘friends’ of sort, even though I mostly just lurk in the shadows of their craftiness and steal their ideas.

Which is where my epiphany comes in .

Robert does not read mommy blogs. He reads Geeks are Sexy, The Drudge Report and Harry Knowles. Not a lot of crafts in his world, which I’m ok with.

But I noticed that darned near every danged one of the mommy blogs I follow has recently had a Mother’s Day craft featured on their pages.

Doesn’t this seem kind of weird? I mean, am I supposed to get my kids to make my own gift?

I’ve seen the same phenomenon in parenting magazines, too—they’ll have totally cute things for kids to make for mom, but neither dads nor children, by and large, read Parenting or Parents or any of the majillion other magazines out there that tell us how to raise our offspring unless the copy of Wired has migrated from the bathroom and even then, they’re just skimming.

So. Say you’re a dad who needs a gift for a mom and you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Say your wife already has a Snuggie and jewelry and you’re scratching your head about what to buy for her.

My suggestion is to make one of the following items with your kid(s) and present it to the mom in your life, along with a cup of coffee and breakfast in bed.

  • These are the things that appealed to me, personally. If none of these blow up your proverbial skirt, then just Google ‘Mother’s Day crafts’ and I guarantee that you will have more good ideas than you can shake a stick at.

    Now, the obvious problem with me posting this is that I’m pretty sure not a whole lot of dads read this blog, outside of my own sweet husband. Ladies, if you’re reading this, go on and forward it on to your significant other. If none of these gifts blow your skirts (proverbial or otherwise) up, go on and Google and find something you do like. Believe me, your husband is going to be grateful for the ideas—anything to help him avoid getting you another knick-knack or a bottle of perfume  or pajamas. The bonus is that he gets to avoid a trip to Wal-Mart or the mall with kids in tow.

    And if there are any fellas out there who are reading me, first up, thanks for stopping by! Secondly, pass the word along. I’m pretty sure the dads out there will be grateful for the help. :)