24 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

As I can't imagine I'll be here tomorrow, I'll leave you with my Christmas wishes now. May all your Christmases be full of thoughts and gratitude for our Lord and Savior.

And may you all remember to give me sugar cookies next year, because I'm noticing a distinct lack of said cookies here in my possession. Write yourselves a note right now.

22 December 2007

Wrapping Presents With a Cat

1. Clear large space on table for wrapping present.
2. Go to closet and collect bag in which present is contained, and shut door.
3. Open door and remove cat from closet.
4. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.
5. Go back and remove cat from cupboard.
6. Go to drawer and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc.
7. Lay out presents and wrapping materials on table to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.
8. Go back to drawer to get string, remove cat that has been in the drawer since last visit and collect string.
9. Remove present from bag.
10. Remove cat from bag.
11. Open box to check present, remove cat from box, replace present.
12. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.
13. Try and smooth out paper, realize cat is underneath and remove cat.
14. Cut the paper to size, keeping the cutting line straight.
15. Throw away first sheet as cat chased the scissors and tore the paper.
16. Cut second sheet of paper to size by putting cat in the bag the present came in.
17. Place present on paper.
18. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present. Wonder why edges don't reach. Realize cat is between present and paper. Remove cat.
19. Place object on paper to hold in place while tearing transparent sticky tape.
20. Spend 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent stickytape from cat with pair of nail scissors.
21. Seal paper with sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.
22. Look for roll of ribbon. Chase cat down hall in order to retrieve ribbon.
23. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.
24. Re-roll ribbon and remove paper, which is now torn due to cat'senthusiastic ribbon chase.
25. Repeat steps 13-20 until you reach last sheet of paper.
26. Decide to skip steps 13-17 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper. Retrieve old cardboard box that is the right size for sheet of paper.
27. Put present in box, and tie down with string.
28. Remove string, open box and remove cat.
29. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for locked room.
30. Once inside lockable room, lock door and start to relay out paper and materials.
31. Remove cat from box, unlock door, put cat outside door, close and relock.
32. Repeat previous step as often as is necessary (until you can hear cat from outside door).
33. Lay out last sheet of paper. (This will be difficult in the small area of the toilet, but do your best).
34. Discover cat has already torn paper. Unlock door, go out, and hunt through various cupboards, looking for sheet of last year's paper. Remember that you haven't got any left because cat helped with this last year as well.
35. Return to lockable room, lock door, and sit on toilet and try to make torn sheet of paper look presentable.
36. Seal box, wrap with paper and repair by very carefully sealing with sticky tape. Tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst areas.
37. Label. Sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulate yourself on completing a difficult job.
38. Unlock door, and go to kitchen to make drink and feed cat.
39. Spend 15 minutes looking for cat until coming to obvious conclusion.
40. Unwrap present, untie box and remove cat.
41. Go to store and buy a gift bag.

Cool Water

For those of you who are interested in discovering new musical talent, our good friend, Mark Austin, is a tried-and-true singer/composer. The Husband and I were invited to a live premiere of his first (all original) album, "Cool Water," where he not only played all of the songs from the album, but the backstories behind a few of them, which were nearly as entertaining as the songs themselves. The man is amazing. Absolutely amazing. I got to see him perform again in Annapolis when he went on tour with Janis Ian (of "At Seventeen" and "Society's Child" fame you recall) and he was an even bigger hit then. He specializes in acoustic guitar and his style is described as "contemporary folk." Honestly, I never realized I even liked contemporary folk until I heard his stuff (apparently my definition of folk varies greatly from how they use it now)--if that's what folk sounds like, then I love it. What I thought while listening to the various songs he's written was there's something for everyone here. He has such a wide range of styles and themes, which is certainly a nice break considering all the groups out there where every song of theirs sounds exactly the same (Maroon 5, I'm looking at you).

My favorite songs on his album (I like them all, but I listen to these the most) are:

  1. "Dandelions & Clover." Mark's wife Whitney (my walking buddy and a lovely woman in every way) says everyone loves this song. I believe it. It's about finding love in the midst of a little league ballgame. My favorite line is about "the outfielders picking dandelions and staring at the sky." That's about right.

  2. "Cool Water." When Mark and Whitney were in the process of courting, they went on a long road trip. On the way they decided to haul out all the skeletons in their closets, each trying to out-do the other (in shocking severity I'm assuming). This song, about one person accepting the other with all his faults and deficits, is a beautiful testament to the very definition of love.

  3. "Wish You Were Here." Mark said he wrote this after leaving Whitney to go overseas on one of his MANY work trips. The song itself, which isn't necessarily what you think, says it all.

  4. "Texas Summertime." I hear this song and I actually feel hot and humid, no joke. No. Freaking. Joke. But it's like what you'd expect a song about the Texas heat--and its subsequent relief--to sound like; it nearly drips with sweat. I love that it can do that.

  5. "Jacques Mathurin." I would never expect this kind of song on an album like this, but as I said, ther's something for everyone here. It's a song about a vengeful sailor who, centuries ago, was sold into slavery and longs to be free and to see his wife again. Haunting, compelling, and imaginative.

  6. "Yesterday's Wind." An upbeat song about the necessity of a wealthy youth coming into his own and not borrowing on his parents' success and wealth.

Give 'em a listen here: http://cdbaby.com/cd/markaustin. They're just clips of the songs, but enough to give you an idea. And if you like them, buy the album! I demand it! If you know me, you also know I wouldn't plug his stuff if I didn't love it.

A Mother's Love

My parents, the lovely people they are, sent us many Christmas gifts in many boxes. We finally opened the boxes today and began taking out the gifts, reading the gift tags as we went. One gift tag in my mother's handwriting read, "To the family, to help keep your insides clean." We just looked at each other.

Husband: "Maybe it's fiber."

Me: "That actually wouldn't surprise me one bit."

We'll let you know if we're right.

19 December 2007

Take Heart, Freaky American Moms and Dads!

We here in the United States of Awesome are free to name our children any completely ludicrous and asinine thing we see fit. Why aren't more parents here thanking their lucky stars? By gosh, we could be living under the totalitarian, fascist society of Italy where courts can legally prevent you from naming your baby something stupid and negatively life-altering. An article published today by the AP details an Italian couple who were stopped by courts from naming their boy after Robinson Crusoe's companion, Friday, because "they thought that it recalled the figure of a savage, thus creating a sense of inferiority and failing to guarantee the boy the necessary decorum." See, "ridiculous or shameful" names are illegal in Italy and vital records personnel are required to report names for review that they suspect may fall into that category (Rizzo, AP). Also, apperently if you don't go along with this and rename your kid something acceptable (or perhaps you've proven yourself incapable of selecting fit names for other humans so you're stripped of your privilege to do so entirely), the courts will name your child for you.

I can't comprehend a law like that EVER flying in the US, but it sure would be nice, wouldn't it? Then we wouldn't have to live with people named Ketchup, Seven, Spot, or La-Ciir'styyne''. You know those people.

18 December 2007

Donny Osmond the Delinquent

I was going to wait to post this since this makes it seem as though I'm obsessed with Donny Osmond. Nothing could be closer to the truth, especially these last two days. This is too good to wait for.

FYI, this was linked to the Weird Al video. It has to be one of the greatest things I've seen in a long time.

Dance, Donny, dance

This was on a friend's blog and I enjoyed it so much (apparently I've been living under a rock so I hadn't seen it before yesterday) that I'm putting it on mine, too. Yes, I'd jump off a bridge if all my friends did it, too. Shut up.

Oh, and here's the All-Donny Dance version:

The Trauma

By special request, the following is the tale of the trauma I inflicted upon my infant son. No, I'm not paying for his therapy for this.

I had just deposited Peawhistle at the preschool that my friends and I teach mutually and was on my way to the bank, but I stopped at our house first to quickly put something in the recycling bin before the recycle guys came to pick it up. I left the car running while I got out, walked the three feet to the bin, turned around, and found the car door magically locked. I tried all the doors, then went to the neighbors' to use a phone, but none of them were home. So I started running to my friend's house down the street (where Peawhistle was) to use her phone to call the in-laws (they have a spare key). I got halfway there and another of the moms was coming back from dropping her kid off, saw me, and drove me back to my house and let me use her cell to call information since I don't know the in-laws' number and my phone was in my purse in the car. Turns out they're unlisted. She said, "When I locked my kid in the car, I just called the cops. It was no big deal, they just came out and popped the lock." Not having the number for the police department, I called 911 and the dispatcher asked for the particulars and then she said she'd send the fire department as well, as if I weren't embarrassed enough already. My friend could hear all of this and started laughing, which only made me laugh too, all while I was attempting to sound like a very concerned and serious parent to the dispatcher. While we were waiting, it came out that my friend had not so much "called" the police, but had walked into the mall to get one, which is an entirely different situation altogether. I accused her of leaving out this very vital information, which only made her laugh even harder. While waiting, I'd get out occasionally to check on Peanut, and he remained asleep thank goodness.

Then, to top off the humiliation, the last preschool mom had her dates confused and she and her husband (and family) drove to my house instead and got a good bit of entertainment before they drove to the correct house. Shortly thereafter, I saw the fire truck coming with lights a-blazing, but it went into the wrong neighborhood. Great. Then a cop showed up and asked what happened. I explained and he said all is well, etc., assuring me that I hadn't done anything negligent (I swore they would arrest me for locking him in the car). "But you ARE parked illegally..." I buried my head in my hands ("I was in the go-position!"), my friend laughed at me some more, now joined by the cop. While he was explaining about why cops can't carry lock kits anymore, the firetruck found us, located the door nearest Peanut, and set to work. My friend had to leave while the cop had me watch the firemen break into the car. They took this airbag-thing and shoved into the side of the window and pumped it up to open the gap so they could shove the hook in and unlock the door. Quite fascinating, really.

After they unlocked the door, the cop left and I opened the car door to check and make sure the baby was all right, which he was. As I was closing the door again, I noticed a fireman directly behind me, who had apparently been trying to get a look at Peanut to make sure he was OK, too, but I'd already closed the door again. I asked if he wanted to check him out, but he said if I thought he was OK, then that was good enough for him. I agreed, got in my car, and drove off, not far behind the cop, who went back to trying to catch speeders off the main road where we live.

TA DA. Responsible parenting if I've ever heard it.

The Mail Carrier Cometh....

I have just answered the door for the 56th time today, resulting in an entryway full of boxes and mail. This last time, our mail-lady-carrier-person just delivered a box from a catalog company I frequent. Enclosed therein is an item that I ordered for Peawhistle, hoping to give it to her for Christmas. I ordered the item (a musical jewelry box) no later than March of 1917; it's taken this long to deliver?? Back-order is one thing, but this is ridiculous. I had very nearly forgotten about it in the process, meaning they could very well have stolen my $7.12 and gotten away with it.

I give you my friend, Donut.

I've thought about this on occasion: what are the things in this life that I cannot resist? And I'm not talkin' about stuff like breathing and water, I'm talking about things one does not need to survive or even be somewhat comfortable. What luxuries can I never pass up? I've come up with just one: the donut. If I see a donut, I will eat it. Well, except those nasty raspberry-filled abominations--we'll be eating those in hell, I suspect. Aside from those, I love me some donuts. I can pass up candy, chocolate, cookies, cake, soda pop, chips, fries, and any other thing you can think of that will kill us all. But the donut? No. The Husband, good as he is, knows of my weakness for these tasty patries and brings them home on a somewhat regular basis. If he buys a dozen, he knows by now that he will never get six of them. He also seems OK with this fact, which only makes the addiction to their glazed and chocolatey caked goodness more aggressive. Truly, your method of donut production has to be considerably poor for me to refuse consumption of your product. My friend (who recently moved away, the jerk) gave me a dozen donuts for my birthday this year. I don't think even she understood the magnitude of such a thoughtful gift. Sure, we'd had conversations about our mutual love for donuts before, but had it really sunk in that I LOVE donuts? You all just have no idea.

Yes, I blog about donuts. At least I blogged about my children first.

Evidence of Good Genes

It's about here that I would add a photo of myself since I'm the subject of my glory-blog. However, I've found that I'm not nearly as attractive as my gorgeous daughter, Peawhistle, and adorable son, Peanut. I dare you to produce children as perfect as they appear to be.

My family believes these children to be angels in disguise. My brother commented recently, after I had lamented Peawhistle throwing a temper tantrum after her gymnastics lesson, that he could not possibly imagine her doing such a thing. I suppose since he had never witnessed her in a disagreeable mood that he only assumed she was incapable of such contrary thinking and behavior. I myself try not to believe that she is capable of said thinking and behavior, however it manages to happen just the same. Oh, and her brother, being an infant, cries a lot. So there's his faulty behavior. But gosh, they sure look fabulous, don't they?

17 December 2007

Welcome to Me.

Considering my LiveJournal still has two entries (and only two entries) going on five years, I can't fathom why I'm starting a blog now. Probably jealousy that everyone else has one with pretty pictures, and boredom with reading those other blogs that have far too few references to me. I'm amused by myself. I can't think of a better way to stay constantly entertained than being able to come to a blog where everything is about me. It should put a smile on my face. I'll let you know if it doesn't.