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2006 September

Love is…

September 28, 2006

Last night I was laying in bed text messaging my husband. The lure of text messaging has long escaped me. If you want to talk to me pick up the phone and call me, like we used to do back in the old days. Or email me, even better.

Rob was enroute to NYC for an early morning meeting, having delayed his departure until after the boys’ baseball practice. The tunnels make phone reception spotty, and so we channeled our inner adolescent selves and sent text messages back and forth.

That’s love, right there. I am not sure how you photograph that. The weekends given up, the adult pursuits that are left by the wayside, the leaving work early so that you can coach the team, the working late on other nights to make up for it. Riding the train into the city at 11:00 at night rather than miss any of it.

Love is spending an hour text messaging back and forth, typing with your thumbs like a 12 year old girl arranging a sleep-over, when a 2 minute phone conversation could have covered it all, and then some.

Love in the 21st century

Love is still wanting to talk to the person you married the very last thing before you fall asleep, even after 15 years.

(visit karen at chookooloonks and add your link to your contribution for Love Thursday.)

Posted by Chris @ 9:58 am | 38 Comments  

Family meal time

September 27, 2006

Melissa asked earlier this week for photos of family meal time. She wrote about how studies have shown that families that eat togther stay together or something like that. I don’t know I was too busy carefully orchestrating my family meal time photo to read carefully.

Family Dinner

Family Day is an effort by the Center to promote family dinners as a way to reduce substance abuse among children and teens. Personally I think family dinners lead to an increase in parental substance abuse, but what do I know.

But I decided, since I had it on my brain, to answer one of the most frequently asked question that I get over on my other blog. How to deal with a picky eater.

And I also come clean about my own picky, which I prefer to call highly selective, tendencies.

I am a picky eater. There I admit it.

I have always been a picky eater. When I was a kid my mother would frequently make meals that I wouldn’t finish. She would make me sit there from dinner time until bedtime staring at the plate before she would wrap it up and put it into the refrigerator. Then it would come out for breakfast, and lunch, and dinner, and breakfast… the food cold, congealed, and still unappetizing. Imagine that. It would go on for a couple of days sometimes. It was a test of wills, a stand off in which neither of us ever won anything.

Like so much of the way I parent my own children, my views on picky eaters is colored by my childhood and the complete lack of empathy that my own mother showed towards me. From my mother I learned how not to parent.


This photo was taken at my aunt’s house. I look so sad and lonely, whcih is the way that I often felt growing up. I was four years old and what do I remember of the day? That I was not allowed to go to the playground and play with all the other children because I refused to finish my dinner. I have other photos from this day in which you can see me clearly upset, sitting in front of a HUGE heaping full plate of food. I also couldn’t have any dessert. I never want my children to have memories like that.

Anyway, go on over and read a much MUCH less depressing post about picky eaters and how I deal with them.

Posted by Chris @ 4:22 pm | 35 Comments  

might as well just move along

September 26, 2006

I have nothing.

Picture me sitting here twiddling my thumbs, scratching my head, and letting out big long sighs.

“Do you have anything funny to say?” I ask the children. But they just look at me.

“C’mon, got anything for me? Anything at all?” I probe.

When the oil man came to deliver our liquid gold, I went outside to talk with him. Hoping there would be something interesting to write about the encounter. Or else it would spark some idea. But no. He is perfectly nice and gracious and he hopes that there is a mild winter also.

I came inside and got a pork loin roast into the crock pot following a recipe in a new cookbook I just got in the mail to review. But, on further inspection, like actually reading the recipe, I realized that I was missing some of the vital ingredients of the recipe. Like the oranges, onions, and dry mustard. I substituted in pineapples. Who knows how it will be. But, looking on the bright side at least I have dinner cooking already, so what if it is inedible. It’s not like most of the kids were going to eat it anyway. Might as well give them a reason to reject it.

I don’t have the best track record for this substituting ingredients, if you have been reading long enough to remember this post.

I should end this now before I tell you that it is 12:30 in the afternoon and I am still wearing pajama bottoms, a t-shirt and no bra, and my hair is all tied up in a pony tail that looks like I slept in it. My throat is sore from reading out loud all morning and not from yelling, “For crying out loud stop bickering over the duplos or I will open the front door, toss them out, and then run them over with my car for good measure.”

And yes I did go outside and talk to the oil man dressed like this. Me so sexy. So while I got no blog fodder out of the encounter, if he has a blog, I am sure he would write about me under the category of you can not believe how these housewives let themselves go.

Posted by Chris @ 12:38 pm | 36 Comments  

and now it is monday

September 25, 2006

So this (link) was last weekend.

Our kitchen remodel so far has been slow and painful, like removing a bandaid from a hairy place on your body and feeling each and every individual hair being ripped slowly and painfully out. We feel like we are stalled in the middle of a few different projects, but the kitchen had to be done so that we could insulate the walls and put the exterior siding back on. That can’t be done once the weather turns cold.

pulling the cabinet off the wall, where it was held up with no less than 100 12

This is late Friday night when Rob came home from work. He couldn’t stand seeing my half done project and had to tear the cabinet off the wall immediately. There must have been 100 screws holding that thing to the wall. If I had known how sturdy it was I would have hung off of it for fun more often. Or ever.

Just in case anyone was wondering, we take safety very seriously around here. We also like to color coordinate our “safety” gear with our pajamas so that we match and look well put together in all the photos.

We take safety very seriously here

But cleaning our faces after we eat, nah.

I want to eat him dirty cheeks and all

“Dad, What does a kid have to do to get some breakfast around here?”

“He has to forage in the cabinets for something that is sealed, requires no cooking or adult preparation, and then take it outside and eat it.”

“But Dad, it’s raining!”

“Think of it as your morning shower.”

surveying the mess

You know how when you hand sheetrock andyou get all that fine dust when you sand the joint compound? Well you get that, but even worse, when you knock down walls. Throwing dirt onto the fine dust makes it easier to sweep up. What? You don’t have a cubic yard of topsoil sitting in pile in your yard? Nevermind then.

Cleaning up the paster and resulting dust

Miles walked around the entire time Rob was doing this, shaking his hand and babbling what I imagine was, “What the hell? Do you call this better?”

Miles walking around incredulous at the mess

And frequently Rob would meaure and shake his head muttering about how the floor is not level, the ceiling is not level, and nothing is square. I assure him that the look will all pull together once we hang the funhouse mirrors.

On the bright side we had take out pizza for dinner Saturday night. Because it took me the entire afternoon and early evening to clean the kitchen back up again and the choices were pizza or fasting. And surprisingly everyone went with pizza.

Making a mess

Blah blah blah more stuff happened, and now I have this:

Finally a window that closes

And next weekend, I get electrical outlets, insulation and sheetrock. I am quivering in anticipation.

If you want to see the set of photos of the kitchen destruction renovation thus far, the set is here.

Posted by Chris @ 1:20 pm | 39 Comments  

He keeps raining on my parade with his practicality

Me: You have the crow bar out, why don’t you just tear up this horrible floor that I have despised with fury of a thousand suns ever since we bought the huse?

Him: I’d love to, but we don’t have a new floor yet.

me: So???

Him: Didn’t the tile take like 4 weeks to come the last time we had to order tile?

Me: (heavy sigh) Yes.

Him: So, maybe we should wait.


Me: Hey I know! Why don’t you tear out all those cabinets over there on that wall.

Him: Where would we put our stuff?

Me: (heavy sigh) I don’t know, the attic?

Him: Yeah, I am thinking that might not be convenient.


Me: Hey, well why don’t you tear out the world’s smallest oven? Please? Can we just get rid of it? And while you are at it just tear out it’s gas twin over there.

Him: And you will cook how?

Me: It’s not a big deal, I hate cooking anyway.

Him: Yes, but the children are rather fond of eating.

Me: Perhaps we could break our long standing rule about Lunchables oh or maybe become raw foodists?

Him: Yeah, I don’t think so.

Posted by Chris @ 8:04 am | 16 Comments  

It must be Saturday

September 23, 2006

I was trying to think of titles for this post and came up with:

It’s just another day in paradise

If I knock it down, he will build it back (he refering to my husband, not god)

See the cabinet on the left hand side in this photo?

Yeah, yesterday I emptied it out and used my crowbar to get it halfway off the wall. Then I bought a new window. (Only halfway, people please do not be impressed by my wimpy girl arms.)

A hole in the wall

And so as I sit here typing this, my husband is tearing plaster off the wall, a more messy, dust filled job has never been discovered. I curse you horse hair plaster. lathing, and blown in insulation. I curse you!

I will have more photos later. Right now I have to go wrap my laptop up to prevent dust from clogging it’s delicate pores. I would just go sit in a room far away and continue to type away in bliss, but that would just be wrong. My oohing and aaahing and making futile attempts at cleaning up are a vital part of the process.

Hopefully the photos I have later will be of a window, not just a pile of plaster.

Posted by Chris @ 9:38 am | 18 Comments  

back in my day we had to hold a tape recorder up to the radio to record our music… and we liked it

September 22, 2006

Most of the time I don’t think about my age. I feel like the same person I was twenty years ago. I don’t really feel the aging most of the time, or at least I have convinced myself of this. Yeah I take vitamins, think about my fiber intake, and my bones crack when I get out of bed in the morning. But getting old, nah, my hair is prematurely grey.

Sure I don’t jump out of our backdoor that that is 3ft off the ground with no stairs yet, but I like to attribute that to not being as energetic, not due to a deep seated fear of breaking my geriatric hips.

The same when I see a woman my age wearing clothing that is meant for teenagers. No one wants to see a muffin top on an 18 year old, but no one really wants to see it on a 40 year old. I chalk this one up to dressing sensibly, not as a sign that I am headed for polyester elastic waist pants and perfectly coiffed helmet hair.

A few days ago Mom-101 write a post retelling how someone she works with called Blondie “the Tiffany of your generation ” which, while being just so wrong on so many levels and makes me question the intelligence of young people today (see, I am doing it already! imagine me banging my cane on the ground for emphasis here ), it made her, and in turn me, feel old. I mean wasn’t that just a few years ago?

In the comment section I wrote how last week I was at the store and a young man was waiting on me. I thought he was flirting with me until he called me ma’am. MA’AM!! I thought ma’am? I’m not old enough to be a ma’am and simultaneously figured out that I could be old enough to be his mother. And then I threw up a little in my mouth.

Yesterday I rented my children the movie Ghostbusters. When it was over my oldest son turned to me and we had the following conversation:

Him: I really don’t like old movies very much.

Me: Old, like what? the black and white silent flicks?

Him: No like movies from the 80’s.

Me: Those aren’t old.

Him: Yes they are. The computer animation or whatever it was way back then was just so low tech. It looks so fake. Really, I don’t know how you could stand watching movies way back then.

And before I could say anything I flashed back to my sassy preteen self saying to my mother, “Like, I don’t know how you could stand watching those old movies They were so unrealistic with, like, everyone facing towards the camera and then, like, suddenly breaking into song and dance.”

Oh it comes back around alright and hits you like a two by four across the back.

Last night I was reading one of my favorite blogs, and maliavale was writing a very interesting post about creativity, school, and homework. She related a story of her own childhood in passing which mentioned having a VCR when she was in kindergarten. What? I think we still had a black and white television back in my day (see doing it again! tap tap tap the cane).

I wish I could remember where I was going with this post, but it has slipped my mind. Perhaps I am becoming senile… prematurely of course.

Posted by Chris @ 9:03 am | 58 Comments  

say it ain’t so…

September 21, 2006

updated below

I just walked away from computer earlier today and left it up and running doing whatever it does when I am not frantically smacking the keyboard with the three fingers that I used to type.

When I returned I found what amounts to a computer post it note looking at me, informing me that the new version of Firefox had installed itself. How thoughtful of my computer. Also, how creepy. I didn’t tell it to do that. Next thing you know it will be playing tic tac toe with a computer somewhere in Iran while we all hold our breath and mentally count the number of canned goods we have stockpiled in our fallout shelter and wish we had been nicer to those Mormons who came a-knockin. And in my case I would be thinking damn, I only have three cans of tuna and some chicken broth?

But aside from all that, when it installed this New! and Improved! Firefox, all my bookmarks vanished. Gone. Years and years of bookmarks in their helpfully titled folders, some that have been transfered over from two previous computers, gone. I think they must be hiding somewhere. But where?

And, more importantly, why wouldn’t my computer leave me a little post-it note to find them?

Update: Tragedy has been averted. No need to begin hoarding of the canned goods, which is a good thing because I would rather die than eat SPAM or any canned vegetable with the exception of corn. The people who read my blog are still smarter than my computer. I, on the other hand, am not. Unless my bitching, moaning, and kicking the leg of my IKEA table were helpful in some unquantifiable way.

With Beth’s help I was able to find the bookmark back up file. And then Jen told me how to import the file back where it belonged. Because I am resistant to change and like my bookmarks over there on my sidebar.

Posted by Chris @ 5:02 pm | 21 Comments  

Love is…

I always wanted a large family and siblings. A brother, a sister… I didn’t care which. And some cousins, and aunts, and uncles who would all get together for fourth of July picnics. Instead I got an abusive lunatic for a mother and no one else.

Ever since I was little I said I was going to have a lot of kids. Of course my idea of a lot was three or, maybe if I got really crazy, four! I wanted to be in one of those loud crazy big families where everyone seemed to talk at once and told stories is some kind of short hand language that would make them all laugh until they couldn’t speak. I would sit there laughing because they were laughing, but the entire time feeling that I didn’t fit in. And no matter how much I hung out there at that house, they weren’t my family.

And now I have that. There are times when I am overwhelmed by the everydayness of my life, just like mothers who have one child or twenty children. But most of the time when I watch them interact with each other, laugh with each other, retell stories with each other it makes me happy. It warms my heart like one of those Chicken Soup for the Soul stories. Happy in one of those living vicariously through my children sort of moments.

I love watching their relationships with each other develop and the love and kindness they share for each other. It is bittersweet for me sometimes, because as I watch them I realize what I missed out on. People ask me all the time how I made my children so kind and loving, especially to each other. There is no sibling rivalry or jealousy between my children at all. And really I have no magical answer. I do believe though that people who are shown love and respect, give love and respect to others in return.

Yesterday I was sitting outside on the front porch while my 1 yr old, 3 yr old, and 5 yr olds were playing in the driveway. The 5 yr old was riding his scooter and showing me all his “tricks”

After a little while of watching, Miles decided he wanted to ride on a scooter also, which obviously he can not yet manage. He would set the scooter upright and fall over, set the scooter upright and fall over, scream and kick the scooter, and try again. I tried to distract him with some other ride on toy options, but he wouldn’t budge.

My five year old rode over to him on his own scooter.

“C’mon sweetie, I’ll help you.” he said. And with that he helped him stand on the scooter and proceeded to push him on it. He pushed him up and down the driveway for what must have amounted to miles of walking and pushing.

And I ran and grabbed my camera in the middle of it. because isn’t that what love really is? Doing something for someone with the sole purpose of making that person happy with no gain for yourself.

Love is doing this:

Love is...

And only getting this in return:

I ate him shortly after this photo was taken

visit karen at chookooloonks and add your link to your contribution for Love Thursday.

You can read an explanation of what Love Thursday is here and find all the links, including the one to add your photo to the Flickr pool.

Posted by Chris @ 9:18 am | 73 Comments  

Conversation in the car today

September 19, 2006

“Mom, what do you give a dog that has a fever?” my ten year old asks me as we are driving.

“Uh, wow, I really have no idea. I’m sure that there is some kind of dog tylenol or something. Do dogs even get fevers? I am sorry I have no idea.” I answer.

“I heard that it’s ketchup.” he says.

“Really? Ketchup? I find that somewhat hard to believe.” I answer. I hate when they quiz me with these questions because the two of them are walking trivia depositories. I think they frequently ask me questions for the sole purpose of proving their superior knowledge.

“No, it isn’t ketchup. It’s mustard.” my 9 year old pipes up.

“Mustard? What?”

“ketchup…mustard, the perfect thing for a hot dog.” the both yell in unison, “Get it?!?!”

::fell free to slap your knee now::

Posted by Chris @ 11:04 pm | 41 Comments