Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pesky Internet

I wrote a little yesterday, pontificating on this, that and the other. It was short, ruminating on being home with a sick 8-year-old (she wasn't too terribly sick, just getting over a Sunday-night fever), catching up on the weekend.

Went to hit post, and POOF! it was gone. Got a message that there were problems with the site, it was being looked into by engineers.

But I lacked the energy to recreate yesterday's musings. So, today is a new day. Halloween!! One of my favorite days. I remember well those school parties, trick-or-treating. I usually went with my brother, though at least once or twice I went with friends. I love dressing up; Gary and I got a lot of mileage out of our Bill & Hillary costumes. We also went as Wayne & Garth one year (that was fun), and as Aladdin & Jasmine.

Sadly, no party invitations for us this year. So I"ll settle for enjoying my girls (a diva, a devil and a Grecian princess). I have not even purchased the candy yet (horrors!) so I am off to the store. More later? Check back — I'm not making any promises.


Friday, October 27, 2006

It's 6.15 a.m.

And I'm up. I'm working on my World Cultures project.

OK, well, it's not mine, exactly. But I'm helping. Someone was exhausted last night, fell asleep around 5.30 p.m., then woke up around 8, totally confused and disoriented, very upset. So we did the math, agreed to get up early and finish the project. It was nearly done, anyway.

So here we are. I'm up; it's OK, as I have to tidy up for my parents and brother (Jim), who are visiting today. It's Jim's first visit to see us here in Texas, though not his first time in the state. He went to Padre Island for spring break his senior year of high school. My parents paid. For the record, none of my other siblings got an all-expense-paid spring break ... ever. But when you're the youngest, life is different.

Mostly the house is clean, so I just have to put a few things away, change some sheets.

Hope I have time to take a quick nap.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Makes me feel useless. I'm a whiner. But it hurts, you know?

Had a nice dinner out with Sharon, a friend from Lafayette who is in town on business. (Keep in mind that "in town" still means 40 minutes from where I live ... ) We picked her up at the hotel and went to dinner, caught up on friends, her daughter. It was fun.

Went to a luncheon today; could not get the address to work in the GPS in the car (grrr ... a frequent occurrence, unfortunately), but I knew roughly where it was (at 290 and 610). Got misguided not once, but twice, but I still made it there. Despite Mapquest's claims that Houston is the most unnavigable city in the country (like the double negative?) I can generally find my way around without too much trouble, or even anxiety. It has dissipated some over the past several months.

Chalk it up to progress. And time.

Plus the luncheon was nice, for Reach Unlimited, an organization the sponsors a group activity center, job coaching, and assisted living for adults with mental retardation. It is an incredible place and the presentation, mostly by family members, was moving. I am so glad I went.

The magazine is planning its big kick-off event Nov. 17. Gary will, naturally, be out of town. I was hoping for some spousal support for my career; I know it's there, in spirit, but to have him there in body would have been nice. Maybe in another lifetime.

I'm glad he is doing well. But success is a double-edge sword.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Grey skies; flashing back

Rain in the forecast, though the temps are still in the mid-70s. Not too bad, but my mood matches the clouds. I need a pick-me-up. Not sure what, but I'll come up with something.

The cool nights make the hot tub wonderful. The perfect way to end the day.

It's Red Ribbon week in the schools here. So Maddie and Sylvia have theme days every day: Spirit Day. Twin Day. Crazy Socks Day. Monday was '80s Day for Maddie. She found me Sunday evening and said we had to plan her outfit.

The 1980s, the years when I came of age. I know that the 80s encompass 10 years, but when I think of that decade, I think of high school. Those are the fashions that stand out for me: plaid skirts, knee socks, monogrammed crew neck sweaters. The "preppy look," penny loafers and topsiders, straight leg jeans.

I described several looks to Maddie, then she and I pored over my high school yearbooks — a trip down memory lane that, frankly, I could do without. (Not that high school was wretched; just that I've moved on. Way on.) Maddie giggled but was amused by photographic evidence that teenagers did, in fact, dress the way I said.

She was also fascinated by the lengthy ramblings from my friends and classmates "Why do they write so much? Who takes up the entire back page?" And why did one friend (whose identity I'll protect) draw a unicorn next to her name?

So, based on her preferences, she and I put together quite an ensemble: black & white houndstooth skirt (the closest we could come to a plaid skirt that would fit her), knee socks, penny loafers (actual vintage shoes, Bass Weejuns, circa 1982), black hair bow (also vintage 1980s, purchased at Harrod's in London, 1986), pearls, and the piéce de resistánce: a grey crewneck sweater, monogrammed in burgundy — another vintage piece, monogramming courtesy of Anne Johnson, Tammy's mother.

Wish I could have found the little IZOD earrings and barrette set, but apparently I no longer have those. Which begs the question: Why have I held onto any of this stuff? I have a handful of sweaters and dresses, beloved items from high school and college, clothes that I will never, ever wear again. Let's face it, even if I could cram myself into those things, why am I keeping them? Penny loafers? The dress I wore to my high school graduation? Several vintage dresses (from the 60s, purchased at thrift shops) that I used to wear to go out in college. A sweater that Gary gave me when we were dating; sadly, I no longer have the complementary jeans, that had a giant floral pattern on them — they were all the rage ... albeit briefly.

The answer, of course, is to help my daughters when they have to dress for such an occasion. They will be quite authentic when they need to look like a 20-year-old vision of their mother.

Monday morning arrived. Maddie had laid out everything, tried on the entire combination Sunday night. She looked adorable. She came downstairs at 6, wrapped in a blanket, and said she didn't want to wear the outfit.

No worries, I reassured her. I told her to wear only the pieces she wanted to. She chose the pearls and the hair bow, wore her own jeans and shirt. She said she wasn't sure anyone else would be totally decked out.

I suspect she's right. She was happy enough with her hair bow and her faux pearls (also vintage 80s). Teachers were way too into it, she reported, reliving their glory days — I guess they're old like me.

Sometimes it's fun for me to go back, look at where I was 20, 25 years ago. Mostly, though, I need to live in the present. My life now is not about what I was like as a teenager — even though those experiences contributed to making me the adult I am. My focus now is on where I am now. Today. It takes way too much energy to worry about what happened way back when; I have to concentrate on the present.

Grey skies overhead. They'll clear up soon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I'm not above plagiarizing for a good cause.

The title of this post was borrowed ("stolen" is rife with ugly connotations) from Sarah's post, and it is apropos for today's ramblings, "In Which She Lets Off Steam in Describing A Fellow Suburbanite."

I've referred before to my favorite PTO mom, whom we shall refer to hereafter as PM (as in, Perfect Mother). As a disclaimer, I should say that she is probably a pleasant person. I never said she was mean or nasty or someone people don't like. She is loud and sort of overbearing, the kind of person who likes to be the center of attention. Thus she bugs me. But only a little.

Well, I was at her house recently. In order to protect the innocent, I am not going to reveal the circumstances. Suffice it to say, I was there.

And it is huge. I mean gi-nor-mous. Obnoxiously big.

True enough, we live in the same subdivision. But there are variances in the sections. One area has what are referred to as "cottages," another area has patio homes, yet another is the gated, estate section, where the homes start at half a mill.

I think the houses in my area (Section 26 of the 1200-acre, 2900-house neighborbood, for those who are keeping up) are big enough. They start around 3000 sf; we have around 4100, and ours is not the biggest around here by far. Yet with our three children and the dog, we feel quite comfortable.

But these people — PM and her family — have taken big to a whole new level. Their ceilings are higher, the rooms are more palatial, the backyard is like a football field (complete with tennis court ... and room for another one ...). A 14-seat mini-theater upstairs is decked out with a huge screen and leather recliners on graduated platforms. Lots of little extra rooms line the corridors — rooms that are so small as to have no apparent purpose, other than yet another opportunity to use designer paint colors and decorator touches.

Not that any of this is really that big a deal; I guess I just need to have a nemesis. Lots of time on my hands these days, you know.

But the plot thickens ... the other day Maddie had a friend over. They were discussing an issue that had occurred at lunch when her friend, L, mentioned a classmate and Maddie said, "You know PD?" (Perfect Daughter, of course.) Not the girls' favorite person, as they — unprompted by me — described her as spoiled. According to these girls, PD has been known to say, "You know, my house is so big I get lost in it."

Rearing children with lots of money and privilege is not inherently evil. Rearing children without grace or humility is. If I ever found out one of my children were using what they perceived as our supposed wealth or status to intimidate or humiliate others I would be very disappointed.

Despite what I've written here, I don't have it in for PM. I used to be sort of amused and entertained. Now I catch myself thinking that something must be up; no one's life is that perfect. And judging by the behavior of her daughter, it isn't; well-adjusted children do not feel a need to make others feel inferior by brandishing about the fact that they have more than others.

Life in OverAchieverville. It takes all kinds. Thus it remains my job to keep my kids grounded. They need to be reminded that there will always be families with more than we have and with less than we have. They need to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner when they are around any other people, regardless of where they live, what school they attend, or what social circumstances they inhabit. In short, they need to live their lives with class.

And that is something money can't buy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fall in Houston

When you live in this part of the country, I take it that 70 degrees qualifies as autumn. So I acquiesce. I did not adorn myself in the full fall look: sweater, jeans, boots with a heel — but I did wear tennis shoes with my cropped pants and a three-quarter sleeve Tshirt.

The weather is lovely. Perfect. It was 50 this morning at the bus stop; yesterday was only in the 60s (so I was outfitted in fall finery, boots included). I love the slightly cooler temps, the slight nip in the air mornings. The swimming pool is definitely off limits; you'd have to much braver than I to touch that water. But the hot tub is a different story ... I love fall (or whatever facsimile of it we get here). I love jacket weather with sunshine; I like to wear long sleeves and jeans, leather jackets but no hats and gloves. I think I am going to like this part of the year.

And I think I will love this about Houston; I am happy to bid snow farewell. Forever; we can visit Colorado if necessary.

We checked out First Church yesterday, down in the museum district. It's only 30 minutes from here. Northwoods was 45 minutes; Northwest was 20 or 25. I think this is a fair trade off. The church is older, well-established, with over 500 members, a well-run youth group. We liked the people at Northwest, but the youth group was not well organized, and the RE program wasn't what the girls wanted. The service was good, and most importantly, Alison is happy. Emerson apparently is also well run, lots of great stuff for kids, but they are so together that they don't necessarily participate in the Houston cluster youth activities, and that is important to Alison. Yesterday she said she actually prefers the First Church youth group to Northwoods. Sounds like things are progressing the way they should.

Plus, church in the museum district means that we can turn Sundays into outing days. Yesterday meant a trip to the IMAX at the Museum of Natural Sciences. Enjoyed by all, it was a movie on ancient Greece. Lots of options for future outings: the zoo? MFAH? Children's Museum? The possibilties abound.

My work — the paid kind — is mostly done. I think I have turned in my last stuff for the fall magazine, so now I have a couple of weeks off, save for some PR duties — lunch this week, for example. Eating lunch I can handle.

The new season is holding lots of promise. With each day I try just a little harder to feel as if this is truly my home. Progress. The steps I take are infinitesimal, but measurable none the less.

Here's to the change in the weather; may it mean a change for me as well.

Get to Know You Quiz

I confess: I love these. Thanks, Helen; I replied to her personally, but I'll post the answers here, too; if you have a blog, answer these in your own blog and I'll check them out.


Maybe the song (Get along home, Cindy, Cindy? How embarrassing ...)

Reading to Sylvia, "By the Shores of Silver Lake," when Jack the dog dies, last week

Sometimes; it could be worse. But even my friends tell me it can be hard to read.

Roast beef. Yet I order chicken salad when I eat out. But I rarely eat sandwiches these days.

6. KIDS?
Yes, 3. Alison is 15, a freshman, loves theatre, Tae Kwon Do, and whatever her current passion is, which occupies her 110 percent (at present: Greek Mythology). Madeleine is 12, sixth grade, loves middle school, plays flute, is very social, quite the fashionista. Sylvia is 8, second grade, loves her friends, Brownies, soccer, is very easy going, still a little girl.

I think so.

Yes, but it's kept up very sporadically. These days I have a blog, but it isn't the same as a journal. Not nearly as honest; some stuff you just can't blog about.

Not me ...

Yes. Though my mother dragged me to every doctor in town to get them removed; it wasn't the trend at the time, so they remain.

Don't know; I rappelled in high school and it was amazing.

Never eat it. Grape Nuts if you force the issue. Does instant oatmeal count? Apples & Cinnamon. Mmm.

Yes. I try to put them away, with varied success.

I hope so. I'm not sure I've truly been tested; let's keep it that way for a while.

Dark chocolate. Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Haven't bought it in ages, for good reason.

6 1/2

Red. Maybe pink? AAAHH — can't decide.

Short temper.

Are you kidding? All my friends, especially the ones in Lafayette. Or Germany. Or Missouri ... moving is lonely.

Why not?

Jeans and white sneakers

Had a cup of tea when I got up.

Classical music on the public radio station.

Green — I am environmentally friendly.

Clean laundry, baking, the beach.

My neighbor.

Friendliness. I like chatty people.

Of coursse — she is one of my favorite people in the world.

Water, champagne, Coca Cola.

NCAA football, basketball; watching my girls play soccer


Do they have sizes? Small, I guess; whatever fits.

Yes. But not at the moment.

Pasta ai frutti di mare (seafood pasta), tiramisu for dessert.

Greece: Secrets of the Past at the IMAX at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, yesterday.

Sweatshirt and jeans

Summer. I love the beach, the pool.

Hugs. Nothing better than a spontaneous hug from Sylvia.


Hmmm ... Tammy?

Everyone else (!)

Trying to finish Hotel New Hampshire, Adam Bede, Are Men Necessary

Solid blue ... boring

Desperate Houswives (not live, TiVo'd)

My children ... or, alternately, the quiet house


Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg)

Writing. But there are so many writers better than I.

1966, Lincoln, Nebraska

50. Who sent this to you?
Helen (Hi, Helen!)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Now look what I've done ...

Now I owe all of the truly wonderful people in my life an online tribute. Jessica was chosen at random — well, sort of, as it was her birthday. But I fear that by not mentioning everyone that is blog-worthy, I have inadvertently ignored soneone who is important.

Who have been my best friends over the years? Let's see if I can name them all.

(And a preemptive apology to those who will be overlooked — I do my best, but I am bound to forget someone.)

Debra C. Jane S. Lorinda G. Janet A. Jill B. Amy P. Christine M. Cindy R. Shawna A. Gina P. Tammy J. Jessica M. Dawn H. Jane H. Vicky H. Christy G. Susie G. Camilla P. Rachel P. Karla H. Jami S. Don W. Pat R. Eric W. Lois H. Maria M. Candy T. Shelly P. Peter G. Amy S. Denise K. Ann O. Carol L. Beth G. Marc E. Helen S. Terri J. Cheryl K. Susanne W. Heike B. Birgit K. Claudia Y. Megs P. JoAnn D. Gale K. Edie P. Gail W.

Each one of those names represents someone who was, or is, very special in my life. The list, chronological, reflects people that I know had that sort of "kindred spirit" feeling. I didn't list my brothers, but I could, because I consider them friends as well. Nor did I list anyone from Houston yet. But I'm sure I will; I am working on cultivating those relationships. It just takes time.

I'm still in touch with 23 of those names. Mostly from the latter part, but not necessarily; some go back to grade school.

A life of good friends; now that's an accomplishment. Something to be proud of.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jessica!

One of my oldest and bestest friends has joined the ranks of those of us in the new "40 and over" demographic. I have known Jessica since grade school — fourth grade, in fact — and my family will tell you that among their fondest memories of her is the image of us all lined up in front of our living room window as she and her family came to pick me up for a skating party driving their eight-door limousine. Apparently, the story is, her dad bought is so their five kids would quit fighting about who would get to sit next to a window (!). Gotta love a parent with a sense of humor.

Jessica is one of the smartest people I know. She was our high school valedictorian and made it through college with one B. Only one. I was impressed. High school fun times include, but are not limited to:

• Watching Jeremiah (her brother) dancing to REM in ballet slippers.
• Her speeding ticket as she drove over to study with me (a long-kept secret from her mother).
• Taking her brother, my brother, and his friend to the drive-in, sneaking Andy and Pat in under the lawn chairs (because we didn't have enough money to pay for all of us) but forgetting to get the money until we were already in line at the drive-in, thus seeing Pat's hand emerging from the pile of lawn chairs, dollar bills in hand (I think maybe you had to be there ...).
• "An anonymous percolator and an REM fan."
• An evening spent in the company of ... well, some friends, shall we say, listening to Black Flag.
• "Hessica" (and for the life of me I cannot remember the origin of this ...)
• Sharing tales of our respective fast food careers.
• That after-prom party, involving poetry and a wheelchair. It defies explanation, trust me.

And then there are the college memories, many involving live music at the Blue Note — Steve, Bob & Rich, Pianosaurus, The Elvis Brothers, Nick Lowe, Alex Chilton .... too many strange roommates — hers and mine — and the sudden realization that her football game cadet partner (who appeared, at first, to be personality-free) was, in fact, the roommate of my boyfriend; he was suddenly very entertaining. I'm not sure I even want to know what kinds of secrets those two shared.

She was the first person to congratulate me on my first pregnancy ... the first person to tell me I looked big (I believe the word she used was "huge"). She drove three hours to attend my baby shower, attended a going-away party when we moved to Germany, and served as Godmother for my youngest daughter.

These days even our daughters are friends. They are a year or two apart, and they (Maddie and Rachel) get along great. We clearly do not see one another often enough.

A frienship that goes back 30 years — amazing. She is among my favorite people. There are others — you know who you are (Tammy, Helen, JoAnn among others), and I can't believe I haven't written more about them. Maybe I'm being cautious? Don't want to invade others' privacy?

To heck with that; more tributes to come.

Happy Birthday, Jessica. I wish you many more.

Slipping away

Another piece of my childhood is gone. Christopher Glenn, the voice behind CBS's "In the News" has died. If you are my age and spent your childhood watching cartoons on CBS on Saturday mornings, then you would recognize his distinctive voice. He told stories about the wide world in an attempt to broaden our collective horizons.

We only watched CBS because it got the best reception. This is back in the olden days — you remember, the days that preceded remote controls and cable. We didn't always even have color TV. Remember how you'd have to turn on the set and wait for it to warm up before the picture appeared? Remember how your dad (well, mine anyway) said getting a new picture tube would be too expensive? We had — yes, kids, hold onto your seats — get up out of our chairs to change the channel or the volume. And we grumbled when the picture was flipping.

NBC was only OK, and ABC was on UHF. (Do my kids even know what that is?) So we watched CBS on Saturday mornings. And Christopher Glenn did news updates throughout the morning — which ended with the CBS International Children's Film Festival, hosted by Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

I know we all get older and have to watch idols from the past die, fade away. Maybe I didn't think it would happen so soon.

Here's to you, Christopher Glenn. Thanks for all you did — from my entire generation.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


My time is valuable. Seriously. I know I am only employed part-time; I know that I have time to whip through two books a week. I know that I work at home, that I have minimal outside commitments.

None the less, my time is worth a lot. A. Lot. And while I can appreciate that those of us who have committed to teach Junior Achievement in the elementary school classes need training, I want that training to be worthwhile. I resent that the two-and-a-half hour session could have been accomplished in 30 well-organized minutes.

It's not the facilitator's fault that some participants asked stupid questions. (And for the record, all those teachers who said there's no such thing as a stupid question were so wrong; they are definitely possible. I witnessed several today.) But we sat and watched a video that consisted of smiley kids, teachers and JA leaders singing the praises of Junior Achievement for a non-essential 10 minutes. You know, if I didn't believe this program was worth my time, I woudn't be here. Stop preaching to the converted.

Other than the tips on how to manage class time, the entire session felt like a JA cheerleading session. I think the material is well planned and organized; any questions I have are dealt with in the handbook. I didn't need the corny humor of the guy who referred constantly to "kin-DE-garten."

This waste of time took up half my day. So I went to the library, came home, and watched most of "A Raisin in the Sun." Who wouldn't enjoy a movie starring Sidney Poitier?

The in-laws left this morning. They thought they might stay til 9, but they didn't realize I would be leaving the house early. Tomorrow my day is my own again.

Back to my routine. I've grown used to it. I rather enjoy some of my alone time, enjoy the parts that are relaxing. I have some work to do, and I like to do it on my own time.

If I am going to waste time, I'll decide how to do it on my own, thanks.

Monday, October 16, 2006

On rain and flooding

When it rains in Houston, it really rains. No middling showers here; we get torrents of rain, complete with extreme flooding. Today the Katy Freeway was affected, along with several Interstate underpasses. This I know not because I was out and about (I had sense enough not to drive) but because Gary took his parents out to see more of Houston. I stayed home under the pretext of having work to do.

Which, in truth, I did. More importantly, I wanted — needed — some time to myself. I vacuumed, did some laundry, did some actual work (yes, it's true), caught up on one TiVo'd show ... a good day.

The humidity is back up to, oh, 99 percent. On went the AC. You'd think that by mid-October we'd be done, but no-o-o-o ... tomorrow is supposed to be 90 degrees. Yikes.

Went to neighborhood ladies night Friday, sponsored by the Witches of Ormonde Crossing Drive. Her outside decorations exceeded ours, that's for sure. And inside? She — Andrea, the hostess — had cranked it up a notch. Or 10. Cobwebs hung from the chandeliers; light bulbs were replaced with purple bulbs and black lights. The walls were draped with fabric and more cobwebs, some yielding actual spiders. The bathroom played screechy music; the dining room table was set with creepy place settings, also covered in cobwebs. Lights accented the stairway and railings.

And that does not even begin to capture the ambience therein. Mostly it was a fun evening. I chatted with all the women in the neighborhood, some whom I know, some I'd never met before. (For the record, networking and cocktail party chatter are not my strong suit ... but I did it.) Lots of people commented and had questions about the magazine, all very positive. Wore my Halloween T-shirt and ghost earrings. Had fun. Jell-o shots were served — man, I thought, brownies with pot and this would feel just like college ... all in all, a pretty good time.

So, today I am watching the rain. I need to take some books back to the library, but I'm not sure I'm ready to venture out. But I will, eventually. Some would say it's just rain, but here that just isn't true. Like everything in Texas, even a little rain is big. So big.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Company and such

My personal space has been invaded. We have Gary's entire family — parents and sister — visiting, and last night my parents were here, as well. We have plenty of beds so things upstairs are a bit cozy but not too bad. But downstairs I am feeling as if people are right on top of me. All. The. Time.

Mostly I just want people to stay out of my kitchen. I am fine with putting the dishes away myself, with taking care of things. I actually prefer it that way. I'm a big girl now and truly can handle it.

We cooked all day yesterday while watching Missouri lose to A&M. Sad ... no more undefeated Missouri Tigers. Last night we sat outside; my dad sat inside listening to the Nebraska game (they won) and Gary was checking the score on the baseball game. Gary cooked a Tex-Mex extravaganza. And we roasted marshmallows and ate smores. Mmmm.

So, today we are heading to the Museum District. Have to show off our new home.

Must run! Have a happy, albeit rainy, Sunday!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Company arrives tomorrow. I was busy busy busy all day, getting stuff in order: cleaned all the bathrooms (and that, my friends, is a LOT of toilets), changed sheets, bought some new towels, straightened up, vacuumed upstairs, put away laundry, and on and on.

And the list for tomorrow is long: vacuum downstairs, mop bathrooms, tidy the kitchen, grocery shop, get out the touch-up paint. I had wanted to get my nails done, and I'm not sure that activity will make the cut.

All this for relatives who probably won't notice or care. But it gets stuff done that wouldn't get taken care of otherwise.

I've invited my parents to join us for dinner Saturday night, so we'll have the whole crew here for one night ... I'll just remain calm; after all, I did invite them to join us.

Yesterday I started to write about a minor work issue, then thought I'd better not. I doubt my boss reads this, but I'll err on the side of caution. No need to ruffle any feathers unnecessarily.

Just found a friend in Lafayette is expecting her first baby. I am so happy for her — I know they've wanted this for a while now. News of a new baby always makes me happy.

I am so tired. No rest for the wicked; I have to get up early to get some stuff done tomorrow. I can sleep next week. Tuesday. Feels like a long way away.

For now, time for bed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

All in a day's work

What happened to Monday?

Oh, I remember; I lost Monday. The girls were home from school — nice, but not very eventful. But it means I lost a weekday. And considering that this week I actually have stuff to do ... eeek! How will I get it all done?

So, yesterday, I did find time to go to lunch with a friend. She is heading out of town for two weeks (her family is in Barbados). Ran by Target to search for exterior Halloween finery. Inside looks charming — we are properly adorned with little pumpkins, ghosts, and witches. But outside, save for a door wreath and orange lights, is really sub-par for our neighborhood. I'm waiting for a letter from the Homeowners' Association.

It rained yesterday. A lot. (Maddie's poor desk, which sits under her window, bears the proof.) But it was over before 2 p.m. When I returned from Target at 5 p.m., the answering machine was full; half the messages were from Maddie's friend, but several were from parents on the soccer team. So I called one dad to confirm that we were practicing.

He: Really? It's pouring here.
Me: Well, it's not raining here. It rained earlier and it's a bit muddy, but the rain stopped hours ago.
He: It's pouring here.
Me: (???) Well. It's. Not. Raining. Here.

But what I wanted to say was, Really, buddy, what do you want me to say? There is no rain here, so the practice goes on as scheduled.

Company coming over the weekend, so I need to get the house in order. Really in order; it's the first time my in-laws have visited, so I want things to like nice. I may as well wait til tomorrow; these girls can't keep things in order for three whole days. And their rooms are the problem. As always.

And I'm off. Much to do ... clean my desk (OK, it's not always the girls' rooms that provide our mess). My office doubles as the guest room, so I'll need to tidy up. But since I officially put the magazine to rest today (yay!) I think I can clear away my paper pile.

Have a wonderful day, all!

Monday, October 09, 2006

No school!

No school today; we had parent/teacher conferences. I only had one with Sylvia's teacher, which went well.

All in all, not a very eventful day. Mostly we just hung out. Sylvia had a friend spend the night, and they spent the entire day together. Gary came home at noon for the conference and we ended up taking the older two out to lunch. I finished a book, went grocery shopping, inventoried the Halloween decorations.

Here in the 'hood they seem to take Halloween very seriously. We are sadly lacking in seasonal finery; we'll need to get on the stick. If we don't get busy, we are going to look like poor relations, and we can't have that. Must keep up with the Joneses (whom we actually know ... hi Sarah!). They have a very cool street, where all the trees in the entire cul-de-sac have coordinating orange tree lights. Very classy; we pale in comparison. I heard on the news tonight that Halloween is second only to Christmas in decorations (no surprise there) and that the average person will spend $59 on accoutrements. That will be easy enough, trust me.

Gary got the hot tub working; I think we'll be trying it out tonight.

Went to a nice dinner party over the weekend at our friends up the street. They served a middle-eastern meal: hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli. Mmm. It helps that he is from Palestine. The high schoolers abandoned us, opting to attend the Rock Against Racism. Alison had fun. I was up til nearly 2 a.m, which is very late for me. It was fun, but I felt useless on Sunday. I was very careful to not drink too much, because I really pay for that. I know my limiit these days; I'm no 21-year-old anymore.

So, tomorrow is back to normal. I need to catch up on some favorite programs from last week. We invested in TiVo, which is making this much more fun. I can't really watch anything before 9 p.m. (kids! grrrr), and I was tired of watching shows I like on poor quality VHS tapes when we are paying for HDTV. No more searching for blank tapes; no more setting the unreliable timer on the VCR. Gotta love advances in technology.

Sigh. Materialism. I think I just need to embrace who I am; why deny it?

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Just a little mental health vacation here for the past week, and I feel s-o-o-o-o much better these days. For my many (!) fans who asked, yes, I'm here. And I"m back, blogging with a vengeance.

And, as if my maintained sanity were not enough, my middle daughter has a freshly painted bedroom. It is a lovely, soothing shade of pale green.

Can't wait until we add the fuschia polka dots. What can I say? It's her room, not mine. It's just paint. And life is short — we should live a little. Thus pink dots it is.

I'll post a photo when it's completed. Stay tuned ...