Friday, May 18, 2012

{this moment} -- And an Easy Way to Help Dogs

{this moment} - Inspired by SouleMama

As I've mentioned many times, our beloved St. Jimmi (above) was adopted through the fabulous Cincinnati-based dog rescue group Recycled Doggies.  Well, today only (May 18th) they are in the running to win a new van from Toyota through 100 Cars For Good.  In addition to doing dog rescue, they also run the Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry, providing pet food, kitty litter, etc., to low income pet owners, allowing them to keep the furry members of their families.

Now my plea -- I would really appreciate your voting for Recycled Doggies to win the car, which they will use to transport food for the Pet Food Pantry.  You can vote for them by clicking on the box below.  Or if you go to, you be directed to their Facebook page.  From there you can click the green "vote" box on the far left, which will bring up the five charities in the running today.  If you click on Recycled Doggies, you can see a video explaining what they do and why this vehicle would make such a difference.  Just click on the "vote" box and we're one step closer to getting them that Sienna!  We're ahead at the moment, with 39% of the votes, but we only have today.  Please, please, please vote for Recycled Doggies.  St. Jimmi and all the dogs like her would be so grateful.  Thanks!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Wednesdays over at the Small Things blog is Yarn Along day, where knitters and crocheters share what bit of needle goodness they're working on and what they're reading. Time for this week's installment.

I've been involved with quite a bit of super secret knitting lately which can finally be revealed.  In addition to my Easter knitting, this week I finally presented my mom with the Mother's Day shawl that had been under construction during the spring.  The pattern is Henslowe by Beth Kling (available for purchase on Ravelry here).  Since I wanted it bigger, so it could really drape over the shoulders, I went with a size 9 circular needle.  This special project called for my favorite yarn from Roving Acres.  I used their merino/wool sock yarn, custom-dyed in robin's egg blue.  I wanted something light and lacy for spring/summer, but with enough warmth to actually be functional.  I'm pleased with how it came out.  (I first saw the pattern on the Woolythyme blog.  Thanks, Steph!)


Now that I can knit under my mother's nose again, I've moved on to a charity project.  One of the three charities chosen for Debbie Macomber's Knit 1 Bless 1 project this year is Halos of Hope.  Halos of Hope provides chemo caps to in-need cancer patients, both adults and children.  I'm currently working on child-sized caps using Deborah Norville's Everyday Soft Worsted in "Nursery".  This is a very soft acrylic yarn, so it's suitable for the purpose, but once these skeins are gone I'll probably look into some nice, soft cotton for future caps.  For the kids I'm using the Hug Cap from Debbie Macomber's A Charity Guide for Knitters book.  Free patterns for other styles are also available on her site here.

On the subject of my bookish pursuits, last week I finished up The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry.  I really enjoy Fry's work in general and this was his typical style.  It is not, however, a book suitable for those easily offended as events in the book, as well as dialogue by the characters, can be quite graphic.  I've now moved on to Eighteen Acres by Nicolle Wallace.  The title is in reference to the eighteen acres on which the White House sits and the book revolves around three female characters, one being the first female president.  Having been a huge fan of The West Wing and the type of person who salivates when there's a new Supreme Court confirmation to watch, this book is right up my alley.  A little on the soap opera-ish side so far, but still an enjoyable read.

So, what are you reading this week?


Easter Bunnies and Flying Pigs

Knitting:  What's S.E.X. Got to Do With It?

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Okay, maybe that's stretching it a little, but I'm not exactly June Cleaver either, which may explain my Mother's Day gift this year.  A few months ago, just before they announced that this was the final season of House, I got the first disc of season one from the library.  And it was love at first limp.  I don' t know what took me so long to get around to watching this show.  I've adored Hugh Laurie for close to 20 years, going back to when I first watched Jeeves and Wooster on Masterpiece Theatre.  Maybe if I'd known he wasn't just nasty and snarly but hilariously nasty and snarly I would have tuned in sooner.  And Sherlock Holmes being one of my minor obsessions, the parallels between the two characters would have hooked me as well.

In a nutshell, about two months ago I became seriously addicted to this show, got every season from the library, and caught up (thanks to Hulu) on this final season in time to watch the last eight episodes along with the rest of the world.  My sister swears I only like House because I am House.   I have to admit that when I watch House and Wilson together, it eerily resembles my interactions with my own husband.  While The Vulcan isn't as empathetic and supportive as Wilson, he does have a high tolerance for abuse, which is the main reason I married him.  I realized the only thing missing from our Ohio-based Wilson/House relationship was...wait for it...a cane.  Yes, I realized that the many times I torment my husband and he takes off running for the sanctity of his room could only be made more enjoyable by the addition of a cane.  As my husband was arguing about how pointless a gift that would be, I explained to him the practical applications.  When he tried to escape me up the stairs, I could stick the cane through the railings and trip him.  Or I could hide outside the bedroom and when he emerged I could use my cane to trip him.  Or if he said something snarky and insulting...well, you get the idea.  His reaction, naturally, was, "And why would that make me want to buy it for you?"

Let's just say, I have a way of getting what I want most of the time.  For holidays such as this I always buy myself a backup gift or two in case my husband lets me down.  This year I bought several seasons of (what else?) House on dvd.  Turns out I wouldn't have had to do that, as I got Foghorn on my side and she's been harassing The Vulcan to buy me a cane for weeks.  He might be tempted to cross me, but there's no way he's gonna cross her.  I now present the perfect Mother's Day gift:

OK, technically the guy holding the cane
would be the best Mother's Day gift...

And it even comes with an instructional video:

Happy Mutha's Mother's Day, everyone!


An 18 Year Sentence

"Don't You Have Anything Better to Do?"

Sunday, May 6, 2012


When I think of teenage boys, my mind often rolls back to the mid-70s when my much older brothers were in that age bracket and I was in early grade school.  Our silent home movies of that period, taken on lovely holidays like Christmas and Halloween and at birthdays, unfailingly have one or both boys in the background, long hair dangling before their eyes, surreptitiously giving the camera the finger.

It is with that image in mind that I have mixed feelings about today.  In literally less than ten minutes, The Professor turns 13 years old.  I'm not one who wishes my children could stay babies forever.  Truth be told, infants and toddlers leave me cold.  I loved my kids and at the time they were mildly amusing, but now when I see mothers with the under-five set, I get slightly twitchy and thank the stars (and the doctor who performed my husband's vasectomy) that those days are over.  I don't look back with fondness on diapers or high chairs or bouncy seats.  At the time they became monotonously frustrating, yet the compensations of watching my kids grow and learn made up for it.  I don't, however, have any illusions about wanting to go through it again.

By the same token, the thought of my son becoming a teenager leaves me wistful and sad and more than a little scared.  I remember my own teenage years.  I was not some wild child running amok.  I went the other direction.  I was depressed and moody and solitary and miserably unhappy 99% of the time.  In fact, I remember distinctly bringing my eight pound, six ounce bundle home from the hospital and as I rode in the backseat with his rear-facing car seat, I gazed down at him and thought how cruel it was that same day he'd have to go to junior high.  In the blink of an eye, we're there.  How did some of those nights with a colicky, screaming infant seem to go on eternally while the actual decade or so went by in a flash?

The Professor With Bailey
When The Professor was an infant my husband added him to our website.  Years before we had children, The Vulcan had created a page for our deranged beagle, Bailey.  This was back in the day when you had to be a software engineer (like The Vulcan) to even understand how to create a web page.  Amazingly, the URL for The Professor's pages still work and I spent a little time today browsing through the online pages.  It's no coincidence that, like a digital baby book, the site was only updated through about six months of age.  After that we were too busy raising him to actually write about it.  (If interested, you can check it out here.)

Twice a year, on my children's birthdays, I torture myself with home videos of them when they are little.  While I don't want to exactly relive those days, watching their tiny, chubby faces makes me want to burst into tears.  Nowadays, though, I know if my son comes lumbering into the room and catches me mourning in front of the television, I'll get a braces-filled sarcastic smile from him, followed by a barrage of carefully-worded insults expressing his opinion that I'm the biggest idiot he's ever seen.  And it's at those moments that I start counting the years until he goes away to college...

With his new iPod Touch.  That's probably the
view I'll have of him for the next five years...
He always did have a mouth on him, although in school he's considered extremely quiet, studious, and well behaved.  The sarcastic wit of his younger days is increasingly being supplemented with crude behavior, off color remarks, and curse words.  His latest target is the fact that my sister, his unaptly-named Uncle Chester, is large busted and tends to show a fair amount of cleavage.  This leads him to serenade her with The Monkees' tune "She Hangs Out," with the lyrics changed to "They Hang Out."  Just last week it was Chester's birthday and The Professor didn't even try to pretend that he had any interest in her celebration.  She commented that he better quit being so sullen and that his birthday was no more important than hers.  His retort was "it's more important that I'm leaving my childhood years behind than you just taking one more step downhill."  She tried to threaten him with physical violence, but he's starting to tower over her...

Uncle Chester With The Professor

Happy Birthday, Professor!  Maybe you can get off the computer later long enough to share a piece of cake with me.


Meet The Inmates - The Professor

Invisible Children

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Yesterday was one of those days, the kind of Mondays The Boomtown Rats sang about (minus the school-shooting imagery).  Bad enough to make Bob Geldof forget saving African famine victims and instead hit the local smorgasbord before hiding in his bedroom with a bottle of gin and season two of Jersey Shore.  (No, I didn't do that.  I did, however, use a fork to scrape all the frosting bits off the waxed cardboard in the bottom of my sister's birthday cake box before taking out the trash.  Never underestimate the stress-relieving qualities of Crisco and sugar.)  On the way to the grocery store, my nerves frayed and my blood sugar level high, I suddenly pulled over into the local park, rolled down all the windows, and let the cool breezes combined with bird sounds bring down my blood pressure.  It was quite lovely.

This morning I started having another one of those days.  My son, The Professor, departed for the driveway to catch his bus, only to return two minutes later yelling something about leaking.  I pride myself on packing my kids waste-free lunches, which usually works out quite nicely...except for when I hastily screw on the top of the milk-filled Sigg bottle and don't notice that it's slightly crooked.  My boy stood in the foyer with white liquid dripping from the corner of the messenger bag he uses for homework that overflows his regular backpack.  Luckily last night was homework-free and he only managed to soak a binder he uses for his after school Classics Club.  I ran to the laundry room with the messenger bag, leaving a wet trail behind me that was not surprisingly cleaned up by the cats a few seconds later.  I managed to get to the kitchen, pull out a clean Built lunch bag, wipe down all the plastic containers, and get everything back into the lunch box before the bus came.  Whew!

Well, sorta "whew".  My kids basically tag-team in the morning, with The Professor going out the door just at the moment when I'm waking Foghorn up.  I should say when I'm giving Foghorn the first of 47 wake-up calls.  She sleeps completely rolled in a blanket from head to toe and I always feel like I'm peering into a sarcophagus when I approach her bed.  As I was giving Foghorn call #3, I glanced out the window and noticed The Professor and the two kids across the street still standing in the driveway awaiting the bus.  OK, not quite "whew."  I threw on my shoes, grabbed my purse, and popped a piece of gum in my mouth.  (The toothbrush and I hadn't had our rendezvous yet.)  I yelled for the kids to jump in the van and that's when I noticed that the rear van window was down.  That lovely, refreshing meditation in the park yesterday had resulted in a window accidentally being left down during a night of thunderstorms.

Buddy in The Warden's taxi.  He doesn't
even tip well...
A bit of digression here.  My van was saved from completely flooded seats by dogs.  I know, I know, I tend to think canines superior to homo sapiens in just about every category, but in this case it's true.  Across the middle seats of the van was the big plastic cover that I use when transporting Frank and Jimmi and it was still on there from their trip to Uncle Chester's birthday party at Grandma's on Sunday.  It saved the seats from getting wet except for a six inch strip on the far end which wasn't covered.  (The girl across the street was probably particularly grateful to the dogs, since she got stuck in that seat and was wearing a lovely dress that wouldn't have looked as good with a big wet spot across the rear.)  The dog cover had saved most of the floor as well, since in hangs all the way to the carpet and billows out like a ball gown.  The back floor was saved by a balled up old quilt that happened to be crammed there.  I use it when Buddy, the neighborhood dog, shows up at my house for taxi service.  Buddy roams freely far too often for my taste and frequently shows up at my back door, half a mile from his home, usually after a morning's romp through swampy woods following a good, soaking rain.  I keep the old quilt in the van to cover my seats and, in this case, it got drenched while keeping my van floor virtually dry.  I did spend twenty minutes with microfiber cloths soaking up water that managed to find a few uncovered inches here and there,  but overall we were spared complete disaster.  And for that I say "Thank Dog".

I returned from dropping the junior high kids to find Foghorn had completely ignored my order to get dressed and brush her teeth while I was gone, and was instead lounging on the couch with St. Jimmi.  Since The Vulcan doesn't roll out of bed until well after eight, there was no one there to crack the whip.  With fifteen minutes to bus time I ran through the house like a wild woman, shouting commands and threatening bodily harm.  We hit the driveway with seconds to spare, me hurriedly combing her hair and pulling it back into pigtails as the bus turned the corner and Foghorn bouncing around like Ernest T. Bass on crack.  I always feel a little guilty saying that my favorite moment of the day is when the bus door closes behind her, but today I feel totally justified.

There's gotta be some Ben & Jerry's hidden in that freezer somewhere.  Hey, it's medicinal and has fewer side effects than heroin.  What can I say?  The silicon chip inside my head got switched to overload...


Crime and Punishment

Frenulectomy - The Final Chapter