Archive for the Category ◊ Suburbia ◊

20 Apr 2008 Finally!
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Usually I write about spring more than this.  I love the changing of the seasons and adore the change from winter into spring.  It usually sneaks up on me.  One day I walk outside and the birds are singing and the air smells different and it’s obvious the long, long winter is over.  This year, though, the signs haven’t been so obvious and we’ve been plagued with cold weather and snow for far too long.

My crocuses didn’t even bloom this year.  I think they were on strike.  Either that or stunted from being buried under feet of snow as late as March.

We’ve had great weather the past few days, sunny and warm,b ut with a nip in the air.  But, the girls could still wear shorts outside and we could roll down the windows in the car and open up the house AND do some “gardering” as Emily used to call it.

Spring 08 001.jpgWe took a trip to the ‘Dept today and bought paint to spruce up the trim around our front door.  I bought a couple of new forget me nots and we bought new hdege trimmers.  We have some more work today, but the place is looking pretty good.  While we were out holes for our new plants, Emly found a worm and shared it with Cadence.

Cadence thought the worm was pretty cool and spent a good amount of time carrying it back and forth, showing it off, dropping it, pinching it when she picked it up. I’m sure the worm was dead when she was done with it, but she really had a nice time.  It was funny to she wasn’t scared by it and really seemed to like it and want to keep it around.  She’s a hoot.

It was really nice to just be outside.  I pruned my lavender and we planted two more forget me nots to replace the  ones who have died over the  past year.  Turns out, I need a third (meaning three of my four have died since 2006) so Cadence and I will venture back to the depot.  Eric mowed the lawn and put down some grass seed in our bald spots and Emily and I pulled up the sunflower stalks (though our back garden isn’t ready for planting yet).

We also planted strawberries in our planter boxes, so we’ll see if that actually pans out for us.  The past few years  we’ve killed everything we’ve tried to grow in there.  I’[ve also been planning how to better use the deck including finding some patio furniture and getting a burner so we can enjoy the extra outdoor living space (which I still wish was grass).

Honestly, it’s made me long for summer.  I think I’m as tired of school as Emily is.  I’m ready for our whole day to be our own.  At least for a couple weeks, by which time I’ll probably be tired of refereeing and coming up with something to keep Emily occupied.

19 Feb 2008 Dancing with the Devil
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Today, I shopped at Wal-Mart.  I don’t have to explain that I usually do all I can to avoid shopping at Wal-Mart.  Not just because our local store is old, crowded, dingy and understaffed, but because I believe that voting with your dollar is the best way to make sure companies know that you don’t like how they do business or where they’re buying their products from.  Once upon a time, Wal-mart prided itself on having more Made in American products than other store.  Now, it seems like the shelves are normally crowded with things brought in from other countries to ensure a better bottom line.

But, I’m digressing.

My town doesn’t have a fabric store.  That leaves me a few options if I need some simple notions or thread.  I can drive about 15 miles to the next available fabric store OR I can bite the bullet and shop at Wal-Mart.  Typically, I end up at Wal-Mart.  Not because I like the place.  I don’t, but by the time you figure in the extra gas and time it takes to get to the fabric store the next town over, my $4 in thread and $2 zipper have suddently become a lot more expensive in both time and gas.

Anyhow, so the Girlz and I are in Wal-Mart.  I need white thread and a zipper.    ON our way to the craft department, Emily spots a huge rack full of Hannah Montana t-shirts.  If you have a pre-teen daughter in your household I shouldn’t have to explain Hannah Montana to you.  If you don’t, just google her.  ;o)  Hannah Montana merchandise is in high demand.  Tickets for her limited engagement 3-D movie were so poplar that Disney agreed to extend the run a week and stories abound of parents paying four figure prices for her concert tickets.  Anyhow, the rack was full of Hannah t-shirts next to a display crammed full of Hannah dolls and right next to that was a display of Hannah accessories, including Wigs so you too can masquerade as Hannah Montana.

Emily picked out a shirt, of course.  We hadn’t seen one in our usual forays to Target and I remember well what it was like to be a fan and want a shirt (I should write a post on my loves one day….but I’m digressing). Target has a small display of Hannah Montana dolls as well, but nothing like the multi-item attack that  Wal-Mart was launching.  We carried on to the craft department and picked up what I was actually in Wal-Mart for.  I picked up my thread and my zipper and some glue sticks for my glue gun.  ON the way out of the fabric department we came across Hannah Montana fabric.  This stuff is in pretty high demand as it is limited and yet….there’s Wal-Mart with a part of a bolt.

Emily asks, of course, but it was flannel backed satin and I don’t even want to go on a tirade about that crap AND it was $8/yard it takes two yards to make Emily anything so that was out.  We were waiting for a phone call about another item I had spotted at Wal-mart and I decided that since Emily had gotten a Hannah shirt it would only be fair for Cadence to get a Dora shirt (the love of HER life).  None to be found, save a few outfits with a decidedly unDora looking Dora on it, but a huge display with TONS of Disney t-shirts AND a full circular rack FULL of Disney summer outfits.

What’s my point?

I think Disney might be in bed with the Devil (aka Wal-Mart).

I know plenty of people think Disney itself is probably the Devil.  I disagree, of course, for a million reasons.  Yes, I know Disney is a huge company.  Yes I understand that they’ve partnered with Nestle (and if you don’t know why people hate Nestle, again, google). I understand people think they turn out subpar story lines, market kids to death and over charge for their theme park experiences, but I, of course, disagree.  I think the Disney storylines are just fine and i have one little princess here who thinks and feels the same way.  Disney’s partnership with Pixar have turned out, in my opinion, charming engaging imaginative fun and funny movies.  Too much merchandising?  Well, any company marketing to kids (or really anyone) could be accuesed of that, so I don’t think that’s a blemish on Disney’s record.

But, the abundance of Disney merchandise crammed onto Wal-mart’s shelves has made me wonder.  What’s the connection?  Does Disney have an exclusive deal with Wal-mart?  I don’t recall seeing much Disney clothing on the shelves at Target which is where I normally shop.  I don’t recall seeing much or any at Kohl’s (which is the place I shop second most)  Or, do people who shop at Wal-Mart demand more Disney products.

And, what does that say about, um, me?

If Wal-Mart and Disney have some sort of exclusive thing going on, does that change my view of Disney? 

14 Feb 2008 Love Day
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I admit I’m still trying to determine what “casual” use of the Internet equates to.    I’m still not sure.  Apparently vacation planning shouldn’t be considered “casual” (and I agree. Vacation is freaking necessary!) but what is casual?  I really don’t know. I think I should have thought a little more about that.

Our Valentine’s Day celebration has wound down now.  Emily is sorting through her Valentines from her classmates (overseen by Smokey, her new Webkinz) and Eric is watching hockey (to Eric hockey=love and I guess it does to me too come to think of it).  Cadence is sleeping, hopefully having happy love filled dreams because she’s a baby and only lovely things happen to her.

Well, there have probably been a few less than lovely things, but Cadence’s balance of lovely things vs non-lovely things is pretty heavily weighted in favor of lovely things. 

I think.

And so, on Valentine’s Day it occurred to me that the concept of a “Stay at Home Mom” is actually a fallacy.  Today, I got up at 6:30 and showered and dressed.  I got the kids fed and took Emily to school at eight.  Cadence and I went to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things (party tray for mom’s group party, books for Cadence’s valentine gift) and then returned home where I ate a hasty breakfast and then wrangled dressed Cadence for our DUAL parties.

We left home at 10:00 to ensure that I’d actually be able to park in the school postage stamp parking lot and I made some phone calls for some upcoming mom’s group events.

Cadence and I hit the school at 10:25 (punctual as never usual) and then the fun really began.  At first, there were just two moms.  I helped set up the food (the teacher is super organized and makes requests for the families and the kids end up with a nice spread of unduplicated and healthy snacks.).  I had a problem, though. I didn’t realize I’d actually be helping the party.  I thought I’d stand around and observe and be overwhelmed by the cuteness.  Not so.  I left Cadence’s stroller in the car anticipating being available to chase her around the class room.   But I had to manage snacks and activities and Cadence hit her head and got a gooseegg on her eyebrow within fifteen seconds of walking into the classroom.

Thankfully, though, Cadence had a great time and Emily is still thrilled to have us come to her things.  I know the time will be coming soon when she just can’t be bothered with us so I’m trying to make the most of this time while I can, but this is about LOVE, man, and not the lamenting of me.   

Anyhow, we finished up Emily’s party LATE and I didn’t have the cushion of time I intended to have between the party of 22 second graders and the impending chaos party with my Mom’s group.  I adore my mom’s group.  Really.  I found it through Meetup and I HIGHLY recommend it, but the plain truth was there were 39 confirmed parents coming to the party.  Two dads.  A couple grandmas pushing the adult numbers to about 45.  Everyone, obviously, came with at least one child.  Probably half of the original 39 came with more than one child swelling our numbers to close to a hundred people.   But, it’s love Day.  And, the party started at nap time.  It seemed to me that an unlovely situation could occur but Cadence had a nice time.  She colored.  She played.  She hid inside the playhut tube….DSC_0119.JPGand she got cozy with other moms.  Thankfully, my group is full of friendly moms so they didn’t necessarily mind her lounging on them.  One she had met before and maybe she seemed the familiar to C, but the other was pretty much a stranger and Cadence was giving her cuddles (and calling her Mama, but she’s not realized, I guess, that Mama is a unique name because EVERYONE is Mama now, even Eric and the harder we insist that he’s Dada, the harder she laughs).

After staying at the party forty minutes longer than I intended (Cadence was not 1 hour and Forty minute late for her nap and I’m not going to get into our sleep issues around here, but let’s just say getting Cadence to sleep for certain lengths of time is crucial to ensuring that she’ll continue to sleep well).  Eric agreed to come home early so Cadence could nap through picking up Emily.  I was at home for about an hour before I was into the car again to pick up Em’s V-Day gift from 7-11 (They had the exact Webkinz she wanted. I could have gone to Hallmark, but I didn’t see a reason to drive out of my way and run the risk of not being able to get the gray cat she specifically wanted, so I bought a Valentine’s gift at 7-11.  Big deal), picked up Emily from school, stopped at Target to pick up the finishing touches for Eric’s gift and a giant raspberry colored ball for Cadence from Emily. 

I spent another hour at home before we left to go to Eric’s mom’s house so she could babysit for us in exchange for us loaning her Dell (my other love) for some book keeping she had to do.  We had dinner and now, after 9, we’re home.

Stay at home?  Whatever. (actually, tomorrow I DO plan on MOSTLY staying at home.  And I can’t wait).

14 Dec 2007 The first cookie of Christmas…

…spiced pumpkin softies from Woman’s Day. You can find the recipe here

Overall, these are pretty good. I skipped the pumpkin pie spice and just added some similar spices of my one (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves). Emily gave them a thumbs up and the baby and the dog liked them too. Oh, and if you drop them onto your cookie sheet you have to flatten them.

Mine looked nowhere NEAR like the one’s in my Woman’s Day (there’s were tiny and very flat and round). Mine were big and sort of ….bumpy? The recipe claimed to make 60 cookies and I made 48 so I didn’t grossly over do the size.

I also used a pastry bag to pipe on the icing. It was easier, IMO, then trying to spread a dollop on each cookie.

05 Dec 2007 It’s Winter
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I don’t care what the calendar says. I don’t care when winter starts. It’s December, it’s twenty degrees, there are six inches of snow on the ground. It’s Winter. Our sleep last night was puncuated with the scraping sounds of the snow plow. Neighborhood boys were trudging through the streets with snow shovels over their shoulders, going door-to-door, charging ten bucks for a shovel.

It is winter.

Today I sat glued to the tv waiting for the school closing list to scroll by. I got snow in my shoes. I used the term “snow warts”. I asked for gloves for my stocking, the dog’s tie out was frozen and I had to take off his collar to get him into the house. Cadence pressed her face to the sidelights of our front door, confused and interested in the change.

It’s winter.

26 Nov 2007 What has become of us?
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Eric is off work today. He has strep throat and is staying home today and tomorrow to wait for his antibiotics to work. When Eric does stay home, his “treat” is Mexican food (something he loves dearly and that Emily and I can live without). I got home from dropping Emily off at school and suggested a breakfast burrito. I was hungry and had yet to go to the store. We were also out of coffee.

We called and ordered breakfast, picked it up and stopped at the corner 7-11 for coffee. Coming out of the store as Eric was walking in was an old guy holding a carry tray with two coffees and a newspaper. His hands were shaking heavily and when he got to the curb he was having an issue figuring out how to get off of the curb.

Cadence was asleep in the car and there were people around. I thought if he needed help someone else would be able to help him. I don’t like to leave the kids in the car alone EVER, particularly not Cadence alone. The old guy realized he needed to hold on to something to get off of the curb and onto the street and decided to hold onto the handicap parking sign mounted in the cement. He realized he was going to have to set he coffee down and try to manuver down from the curb.

I was faced with a huge dilemma. He needed help, obviously. But my baby was in the car and Eric was in the store. In the time I watched him, two very able bodied looking man passed right by him and our local police officers even drove by as well, but no one stopped to help. I couldn’t bear to let him suffer/struggle any more and I pulled the keys out of the car, locked Cadence in and offered him help.

I helped him off of the curb and carried his coffee to the car (he had very shaky hands. Like Eric, but worse) He told me my voice sounded familiar and that he had just moved here from Vermont. He lived in our neighborhood as he turned left into the neighborhood as opposed to going left.

It made my stomach ache, literally, that people passed him by that the police had to see him struggling (the car let off an officer who presumably went into 7-11 for coffee) and just couldn’t be bothered to stop and help him.

And, really, what has become of us when in a safe suburban neighborhood, in the broad daylight with lots of traffic no one but me could be bothered to spend the 45 seconds it took to help him down and walk him to his car? But, at least I went back to the locked car and my sweetly sleeping baby able to know that I did the right thing, at least and hoping that my willingness to do that will rub off on my girls and they’ll help too.

So much time, this time of year, is spent being generous to our loved ones. We shower our children and families in gifts, we drown our kitchens with food, we light our houses with millions of tiny lights, but yet we can’t be stopped or bothered to show the tiniest kindness to a stranger. Why can’t our generosity extend that far? It’s such a small step to take.

03 Apr 2007 Square Foot Gardening….
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If you aren’t using the Stumble Upon plug in for Firefox, you’re missing out. I reccomend it because you Stumble Upon gems like this.. Square Foot Gardening.

I love the idea of a garden, but all of the work involved in weeding, planting, tilling, etc? I don’t love that idea so much. But I’m thinking I could adapt this idea to go along the back of our deck were Creepy Eyes planted rabid Home Shopping tomatoes and peppers. It would allow us to keep the weeds down without too much effort, give us a large amount of easy to maintain growing space and cut down on our weeding.

But, can Eric build boxes? That is the question.

06 Feb 2007 Oh, the weather outside is FRIGHTFUL….
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and we don’t have a fire, but it’s snowing anyhow. Winter was slow coming to our part of of the world but is it EVER here now. The past couple of days have seen highs ranging around zero, with early monring lows being way below zero and we won’t get into the windchill.

Emily bundles up for the bus like she’s heading out into the artic with boots and snow pants and mittens and her coat zipped all the way to her nose.

I’m hoping it does warm up like predicted because starting at noon tomorrow, Emily is on a long weekend and I’d dearly love to be able to get out of the house with the girls a bit. It will make for 2.5 VERY long days if we’re stuck inside the entire time.

17 Dec 2003 Club Scrap and Christmas Cards
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No knitting done today. I am happy to announce though, that I have made seven of nine gifts for teachers and co-workers (I’ll make the other two tomorrow) and I finished my Christmas cards. My Club Scrap Evergreen Kit arrived today and it is beautiful. Just what I needed to crank out my last nine cards. Hooray! Now, I just need to sign, address and mail out. I should have that done by tomorrow. No pictures of my FO objects you, however, here is my Christmas tree

Also, a picture of my sleeping dog, minus his nose.
I just love that tree
Am suffering from a nagging cold. Caught it at Thanksgiving. Thought it was gone, but found out it wasn’t. It’s back. I’ve been coughing my head off since last night. I hope I hurry up and get over this darn cold. I’ve had more than enough
Tomorrow and Friday will be my big “Get it done” Christmas rush. I wanted to have this done weeks ago, but, alas I didn’t. I’m hoping that it will afford me time to relax and maybe knit some next week. I’m really chomping at the bit to get some work done.