Thursday, September 30, 2010

Like a Rock Wall

One of the challenging things about parenting these girls is that it's so hard to tell what they're feeling at any given moment.  Take this:

Or this:

Inscrutable, aren't they?  Amazing poker faces, those girls have.

This reminds me of a poignant moment from last week's hellishness.  I've raced out of work so that I can get to Addie's school on time for her parent-teacher conference.  I am late, of course, and Addie is the last kid in the classroom (bad mommy, bad mommy).  I enter, breathless, and ask the teacher if Addie can sit in the library while we talk.

"Talk?" she says.  "About what?"

"Uh...don't we have our conference today?"

Silence.  Looks me up and down, maybe checking for signs of meth use.  "That's in two weeks."

"Ah.  Alrighty then.  Well, I'm here!  And now we're leaving!  HahahahaHA!"

More odd looks.

Whisk Addie out of room, fight back tears, kick self in butt.

Then, in the car:  "Mommy?  Do you know what I'm really good at?"


"Knowing how people feel."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah.  Like I know exactly what you're feeling right now."

"You do?"

"Yep.  You're feeling exhausted."

Apparently I'm no rock wall, either.

I'm so glad this is week is not last week.

PowPow Bum Was Here

You probably can't see it, but this is one of the kajillion forms that comes home from the kids' schools every Friday.  It's for a Family Education evening with the Jeffco Sheriff, where I assume you learn about how to not let your kids get molested.  Stuff like that.

Anyway, Addie's been secretly absconding with the memos and filling them out on our behalf.

Apparently, a Ms. PowPow Bum will be attending this particular session.

I hope Ms. Bum asks the Sheriff some probing questions.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Just want to say that last week was pretty darned hard for a number of reasons.  Not least of which was that Milo got really, really sick from mushroom poisoning, leaving pond-sized duke puddles in our backyard and throwing up like you wouldn't believe.

We didn't realize it was mushroom poisoning until he got better.  So we were doubly blessed, first by the fact that he got better (thank God, because I freaking LOVE that dog.  It's unreasonable how much I love him).  Second by the fact that we didn't have to pay thousands of dollars in vet bills to get him better.  He somehow got better on his own.

Sometimes it's good to be slow on the uptake.

Here's a picture of Milog the Dilog with his little pint-sized friend Darcy (actually a real dog, even if she doesn't look like it):

And here's a picture of the false morels that made Milo turn into a poo/barf spout.  They're poisonous to animals and humans alike, so dig em out of your yard if you find them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Make Shirts From Shower Curtains

I love bossing you guys around.

Here's another shower curtain shirt.

Sorry again for the bad photos.  My mac enables me to both work much harder than I used to and be really lazy at blogging.

Anyway, picked the shower curtain up at a yard sale today for a buck.  Had these pretty cut-outs on it and so I just copied this shirt, which you may remember:

It's a good style for layering with cardis and the like, and you can whip it up in about fifteen minutes (I'm wearing mine to E's gig tonight--Hankfest 2010!).  Plus, you can say you made it from a shower curtain.  It's like a wet t-shirt contest without the wetness.  Awesome.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bugle Boys and Spangled Allergies

I have only a minute before I have to get back to work, but I have two things to share.  One, my remake of Shabby Apple's fantastic Bugle Boy Dress, pictured here:

Shoot.  I really love this dress.  But they don't have it in my size.  So I made one.  It's not nearly as purty and polished, but it's something of a resemblance.  Sorry I don't have better pics.

Yes, the bottom is navy and the belt is black.  I'm okay with that.  Here it is, belted and with a cardigan for work:

Yes, I'm taking these pictures at work.  I'll be getting back to it in a second, boss, don't you worry!

You can't see the big white flower too well in these pics.  That big white flower just gives E. the fits, but I try to explain to him it's fashion, baby, fashion.


Did I mention E. is turning 40 today?  Can you believe it?  Happy birthday, honey pie.  Someday I might post some pictures from a very silly party we had to help him celebrate.  Might.


The other thing is that I came home from work last night and went in to kiss Addie good night, and she tells me she's allergic to the Star Spangled Banner.  I asked Eric later what that was all about, and he said that Addie's class is studying civics in school, and yesterday they were studying the anthem.  When she got home, she asked him to sing it to her, and he did, and she started bawling like a baby calf.  Real tears, not drama tears.  She was really feeling the song.  But she kept asking him to sing it, and then she'd bawl some more.  It just touched her in some way.  Finally she concluded she must just be allergic to it and made him stop.

She has a big old soft heart, that girl.  I can't wait to torture her with Steel Magnolias some day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Getting Along

Hey there, friends.

I'm getting along.  It's the third week of the semester already, and I've survived Nolie's school being closed for ten days, E. getting completely ripped at a baseball game, three soccer practices and two soccer games, one of my best friends being hospitalized for a horrible leg-break (you wouldn't believe her story if I told you), E. getting the stomach flu, Nolie having a fever reaction to immunizations, countless faculty meetings, a wretched trip to the urologist (I'm fine, though I don't know if my hoo-ha will recover), a backyard campout with four dogs, six kids, and six sleepless, drunk adults, and a bunch of other crap I won't bore you with.

When I say I needed a chocolate milkshake today, I mean it.  I finished that thing in about thirty seconds.  The rip in my heart mended just a wee bit as a result, so it's worth whatever cardio nonsense I have to do to make up for it.

I have been finding the need to sew and make a few little extras here and there.  Seems like the more stressed I get, the more I make stuff.  When I'm happy, me no sew.  I haven't had time to take good pictures, though, so I'll just show you these crappy pictures and you'll have to use your imaginations.  Imagine me brilliant and gorgeous and without eye wrinkles, would you?

This one here is a brooding photo I took on the mac at night, so the light is creepy.  I'm not intentionally frowning and pulling back my cheeks:  it's just all I could muster at the end of a long day.  Focus instead on the headband.  I got joshed for trying to look like the Karate Kid the other night, but I think what that person meant to say is that this was a gorgeous piece of headgear.  Next.

This is not intended to be just a picture of my knock-knocks but rather of a shirt I embroidered ages ago. It's not backwards in real life.  It says, "I Roll Fat Bobbins."

I crack myself up.

I also made that necklace.  I thought I was hot shit for wearing two things I made at the same time.  Next.

Less of a boob shot on this one.  Trying to get a shot of the denim beaded cuff, but it turned out too dark.  Here's a wee close-up:

Also, who ordered those under-eye wrinkles?  Were those in the J. Crew catalog?  Did they come from Amazon?  I don't remember paying for those, and yet there they are.

Cue the violins.  Here's the piece de resistance:

That's right.  Bucking bronco jammie shorts.  You may now die and go to heaven.

Enjoy this brilliant post.  I'm off to teach class.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Playing House

We did a little bit of playing house, Soule-style, which means that we went to a pick-your-own berry farm, used the berries to make jam and cobbler, and had ourselves a feast.  Here's what it looked like:

All these parts of the process were lovely.  Picking the berries is satisfying (I'm not entirely sure why); I love baking with the girls; and summer fruit is truly fantastic--all the more so because it's almost fall and we'll be on the apple-only diet pretty soon.  Those strawberries, puny and misshapen as they were, were sweet as candy.  They make store-bought strawberries seem like badly-flavored medicine.  Colorado peaches are heavenly this year, and I love eating jam we made on bread I made on my great-grandmother's china, which we use every day.

But I don't want to make like it's all perfect-perfect.  We went to Berry Patch Farms, which is a lovely place, with roosters running around and a gorgeous-smelling barn market.  Unfortunately, we went on one of the summer's last 90-plus-degree days, and on a very busy Saturday, so the raspberry pickings were super slim.  After a few hours all we had are the three cartons you see above.  By the time we got to strawberry picking, I nearly passed out (no kidding) from the heat and the standing-up-bending-down of it all.  And I think I come from "hearty stock," as my grandmother likes to say--I'm no wilting flower.

E. and I were both thinking about what it would be like if that was your job for ten to twelve hours a day, and the strategies and toughness one would have to develop to manage it.  And it wasn't even as hot as it can get here.  We both felt pretty queasy on the ride home, and got even more cranky when we were ensnarled in a Labor Day traffic jam on I-70.

I also don't have any illusions about this being more environmentally friendly than other ways to get food.  Rather than driving 25 minutes to get to this pick-your-own farm, we're hoping that next year our strawberry plants go nuts and we can have our own fruit here.  But we're struggling to effectively grow things in our back yard because of the weird patterns of sunlight it gets (we have a tall house and lots of trees) and most of all because of foraging critters.  We have a new peach tree that had three gorgeous peaches a day away from picking, and overnight they had all been absconded with.

I think we'll start all over next year and build some real garden infrastructure.

But in the meanwhile, I'm going to eat some more of this yummy cobbler.

Friday, September 3, 2010

World of Wonder

Geez.  You move one piece of furniture a few inches so that you can see out your window a little better, and look what happens.

What the...   Is that a....?

Why, yes.  Yes it is.  It's a corn cob.  Still a little moist.  A little moldy, too.

I'm not even sure I want to know how this particular corn cob landed on its little perch, or what precipitated its being tossed aside in such a way.  Poor thing.

Just proves the point:  having children is a delightful adventure, with surprises around every turn.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


That's like Shark Week, but with a wild and fascinating four-year-old instead of marine creatures.  Both have sharp teeth, but the big difference is that sharks are relatively quiet, and four-year-olds talk.  All day long.

I was a little nervous about this week because the babysitter who used to fill in for us when the kids' preschool was closed moved to the mountains.  We haven't found a great substitute (haven't looked, actually) so that meant I was on deck, balancing Nolie care with a full workload.  It's the second week of classes at the college, so the timing was far from perfect.

But it's been a lovely week.  Bittersweet, in fact.  Nolie has loved it.  Just every minute of it.  My hypothesis that she would be most happy sitting in my lap every second of the day was proved true.  Also, I've loved having her with me.  She has been unfailingly sweet and entertaining and patient.  She's an absolute lovebug, a nice palliative to Addie's grown-up 'tude (also a phase, I realize).  And I've been able to get a surprising amount of work done, thanks to some DVDs from the library, a killer art set we picked up at the thrift store this summer, and some very understanding colleagues.

I did have to put Nolie in childcare at the Y for four hours yesterday because I had meetings and class, and E. said that when he picked her up she was whiny and wailing about missing me.  I will admit to feeling the slightest bit of pride about this.  Not happy that she was sad, but glad she noticed I was gone.

But, of course, her school opens back up next week and I have to get back to working in my office without a My Little Pony video playing in the background.  She will have to go back out into the world to figure things out with her friends and teachers, and continue to grow and blossom.  I will go back to feeling guilty about my kids being in daycare for so much of their lives, and wondering what it would be like for us two to pal around and do everything together all the time.

Though I won't overly romanticize that.  I won't, for example, miss playing Harry Potter, Nolie's most favorite imagination game.  "Mommy, let's play Harry Potter.  I'll be Hermione.  You be Harry.  Harry, there's You-Know-Who!  Let's do a spell.  No, you have to call me Hermione.  YOU HAVE TO CALL ME HERMIONE!"

Sounds adorable, but after three hours, you want to jump off the dock.  Trust me on that one.

Thanks, my little shark, for a fun and exciting week.