Thursday, February 25, 2010

politics by Bug

"Why does medicine cost money? What if someone didn't have money and they got sick and would die?  I think medicine should be free."

"If there was a peace army instead of a fighting army they could shoot Cupid's arrows at each other."

Maybe he should enter politics.  On second thought- no.  I'll just enjoy having a kid with empathy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

lookee! lookee! lookee!

Look at what I found!  Three of them.  There is hope.

Monday, February 22, 2010

he missed us

The plan was for Pook's friend to go to the mountains with him and Bug to spend the night with his brother, while CD and I went out to dinner with their parents and a babysitter watched over the two younger boys.  Except while Pook did go to the mountains, his friend did not.  He had strep throat and was stuck at home.  So then I was worried about Pook being away without his good friend.  And then, when at 8am Saturday morning Bug was already mentioning that he was bored, I began to worry about entertaining him.  I knew his brother would miss him, but I hadn't thought about how two sick parents were going to entertain an extroverted six year old for a weekend.  That was the hardest part of  having Pook gone!  CD wasn't sure he felt well enough to go out, I was feeling feverish and dinner out seemed seriously in jeopardy.  I phoned to cancel dinner and asked if they felt like having Bug for part of the day.  I know he was disappointed to miss out on the sleepover but he got to go to a movie instead, which worked best for all of us. 

Pook coped ok without his close friend and seems to have met some new kids.  He isn't one to elaborate much on his life, so I tried to pry gently.  Best sentence, to me, was when I asked if he'd want to go back, and if so, if he'd change anything.  He answered that yes, he'd go back but it would be better if Daddy or I went too.  He missed us!

When he climbed out of the car at the carpool location, he was very very pale.  I never decided if he was too hot, carsick, overly tired or all, but there was a where-to-throw-up-just-in-case issue for a bit.  He was a little pinker when we got home and I asked him to lay down.  He protested but cooperated, and was snoring within minutes.  I went to wake him an hour later and he was already awake but crabby as all get out.  It took another hour before he was able to be himself again.

Unfortunately, CD and I had a meeting to attend Sunday night, so we weren't with him to pry much more into the activities of the weekend.  We'll see what we can get from him tonight.

He did an activity using flags and Morse code.  There was a foot of snow and he didn't have boots or long socks. They hiked and slid on their backsides.  They ate macaroni and cheese.  He had a top bunk and blue puppy fell out and the floor was cold when he climbed down to get Puppy.  That's all I'll hear about it all probably!

Oh, and as an aside, in my sick and foggy state I decided since I couldn't even remember who I'd hired to babysit, she might have forgotten too.  I checked the calendar to see who it was... and there was no name on it at all!  Yikes!  I phoned two potential sitters with no luck, then tried a third whose cell number was scribbled in the corner of my sitter list.  After a conversation consisting of "uh huh, mmm, ok" I had a sitter.  I asked CD if he ever felt uncomfortable talking to someone who didn't talk back.  I told the boys who was coming and, a few hours later opened the door to... someone else.  With the same name.  Competent sitter, but very uncommunicative. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010


We're playing germ poker at our house. 
I have a cold. 
He has a cold. 
They have colds. 
I'm coughing. 
He's coughing.
They're sniffling. 
I've had a cold for two weeks. 
He has a sharp stabbing feeling in his chest and back. 
I accuse him of too much sledding with kids. 
I have sinus pain. 
He has a rash on part of his chest and back. 
I have a fever.
He has shingles.
And a cold.

I have a cold.
I lose.

Friday, February 19, 2010

away from home

Pook is going away for the weekend, without family.  This is the first time he will have been away from home, but he's ready and excited.  I keep hearing of  "away camps" that his friends have attended in the summer, so this seemed like a transition.  We'll look into those (expensive!) camps another time.  He is joining twenty other elementary-aged kids from our church who are going up to the  mountains for a cabin retreat.  I did not volunteer to be a chaperone, since that sort of defeats the purpose of his being away from home alone.

We received the list of carpools, and he doesn't know the other kids in the car, although I think he'll recognize them.  Then we received the list of class groups, and he's the only child from our church in his activity group.  At this point I began to worry, and I emailed for the list of kids in his cabin. He and one good buddy, K, signed up to do this together and I really wanted them to be in a cabin together.  If you're homesick or scared, the cabin at  night is where you want your friends.  Fortunately, yes, all the young boys from our church are in the same cabin. 

He sounds totally fine and calm about this time away.   Pook isn't one to show his emotions outwardly, but I'm worried enough for him.  There are just little things that he can do, but hasn't ever done, such as ordering his own dinner at a sub shop on the way up.  We don't eat at fast food places, so he doesn't have any experience doing it.  Of course he'll be fine, but those little things can add up and cause stress eventually.  Or, they would for me.  Then there's the fact that evening activities end at 11pm!  He goes to bed at 8:00 usually!  Combine all the newness with tiredness and he'll be wiped out.

I will tuck Blue Puppy into the toe of his sleeping bag and trust that he'll come home tired but happy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

cuz we're romantics

Yes, Valentine's Day is over for most of you.  But we're still enjoying the love.  Our best, shared with you:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Bug:  "No they aren't.  They're purple."

Roses are red
Violets are purple
Sugar is sweet
And you are a gerbil.

Roses are red
Violets are violet
Sugar is sweet
And you are a pilot.

Bug made us wonderful valentines which read  "I luv yeu".  CD and I celebrated by making tea with honey and lemon and sharing a tissue box.  I'm going to the doctor tomorrow for what is now a sinus infection.  Fun, fun.

slip, slide and skate

The Olympics have come to the house of Pook and Bug.  I remember this from four years ago.  The hearth has become a ski jump, pillows become moguls, and the "Happy Lap" around den, kitchen, dining room and living room has become the short track for speed skating (aka "speed slippering").  For the record, Bug can finish 13.5 laps faster than Apolo Ohno can finish his 13.5.  He has not yet requested a gold tipped glove yet, but the request may yet come.  We're huge TiVo people here, and we're watching everything a day late.  We cruise through (most) commercials, get bored with a sport and bypass it, and best, we decided to check out the speed skaters on fast forward.  They can move!

With no school tomorrow for President's Day (we had Friday off too for a teacher workday),  I was thinking of taking the boys on some sort of field trip.  I had the art museum in mind, but a search earlier shows them to be closed on Mondays (how dare they?) so I had to look for other options.  Indoors because I'm a weenie in the cold.  No zoo.  No science museum because I gave my parents a grandparent's membership to it for Christmas and I don't want to ruin it for them.  To get your money's worth you need to visit about three times and I'd rather not take the boys there just a few weeks before my parents move here.  So, I was open to ideas when I heard a neighbor mention taking his son ice skating.  Hmmm.

I never did much athletic activity as a kid, but I did figure skate for several years.  We had a great, casual program with lessons at twelve levels.  Whenever you felt competent at a level you could go to the end of the rink and take the test over it.  If you passed, you joined the next group up.  When you finished all twelve, you could help teach the first few classes.  I've never taught a beginner to skate, but I have taught many people to skate backwards, including my 6'2" father.  Why not the kids?

It will be a challenge to teach them both at the same time.  I'll have to leave one on the wall while I work with the other.  Pook had an "unpleasant" experience with his first and only chance to roller skate, so I'll need to be careful to keep them trying at something that may not come easily.  I will report back with results for Team Pook and Bug in speed and figure skating competitions!


That was fun!  We had two hours of falling on fannies, but they were doing great!  Our minister (from Vancouver via Texas) is an ice dancer and figure skater and he showed up just as we'd finished.  We bought a couple of drinks and two gum pops and watched him a while.  I want to take the kids back relatively soon so the skills they gained today can continue.  It was fun introducing them to an activity I'd liked as a kid.  I only wish my good skates still fit; my feet got bigger with pregnancies so I had to wear rentals.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

doilies and glue and all that sticky lovey stuff

I am a sucker for homemade valentines.  I love helping the kids and we've made them every year since they could scrawl a mark on a paper to indicate their own name.  As in, we've always made them.  I keep boxes of store bought valentines around, with leftover doilies and stickers and whatnot that I pick up after the holiday as a habit from teaching days.  When February rolls in, I get the bag of festive stuff from my storage room and dump it on the kitchen table.  I used to help with the cutting- using the corners from one paper heart to make more, smaller hearts, never wasting scraps.  I encourage them to use the store valentines, but to cut them up and add them to the collage of stickers, doilies and hearts.  The result is personal and shows some thought.

But it really isn't what the holiday is all about any more.  We have a four day weekend (report cards plus President's Day) so classes swapped cards today.  They didn't have official permission for parties, but the classes made do.  Both the kindergartners and third graders decorated paper bag mailboxes and exchanged cards.  Pink frosted cookies were eaten.  The teachers requested that kids only put their own name on cards, and leave the recipients names off.  This makes the distribution process faster, I know.  But it feels so generic.  

They came home this afternoon and dumped their paper bag mailboxes on the kitchen table.  "I want candy!" Bug yelled (six times).  I sorted through the cards while he sorted through the candy.  Lot of candy.  More than half the cards came with candy, many came with tatoos, and many were unsigned by the givers.  Many of the kindergartners had their names written by parents. One was printed, including the givers name, on a computer.  One child, a third grade boy, cut out paper hearts and wrote "happy v-day" on each.  Most were straight from the dollar store to you.

Pook is not embarrassed by my request to hand make cards, he loves any art project still, and doesn't yet associate Valentine's Day with romance. (When asked if either of them wanted to give someone in their class a special card, they both looked at me cluelessly and asked "why?") So, I will keep my bag of stickers and doilies for another year and enjoy this while I can, since I'm sure the end is near.  I suspect I'll be getting one myself, since I've already seen Bug's endearing "I luv yeu Mama" written at least once.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

whomped by Fate

I tempted the Fates.  I mentioned to two people how fortunate it was that no one in our family had been sick this school year.  Then Bug caught a 24 hour virus, Pook caught a mild cold, and I got whomped.

A tickle Saturday.  Sniffles Sunday.  Attached to the tissue box Monday.  Congestion Tuesday.  Chest cough Tuesday night.

I got up sometime near 2am. to take cough syrup.  I didn't notice much difference... until it wore off this afternoon.  Oh my.  I finally excused myself from Bug's piano lesson to go sit in the car and cough alone.  Then I debated whether to take it when we got home, early afternoon, or wait until later.  I don't want to wake up at 3am after it wears off.  One bad night's sleep was enough. Does a half dose of 12 hour medicine work for six hours?  Or for twelve hours, poorly?  I suspect the latter. 

Tea with honey and lemon.  Tea with honey and lemon.  Tea with honey and lemon.  Two more hours.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

plant swapping

I've been browsing plant swapping sites online. I had not ever tried to propagate the plants in my yard, either by division, cuttings or seeds until this past summer when I carefully sprinkled the seeds of coneflowers and black eyed susans around the bed in places I'd like to see them this summer.  I don't yet know what will come of that project.  Last summer I also tried to do a plant swap with a church acquaintance, but I'm not sure that what I traded for is really what I wanted. 

There are at least a few dozen fluffy "bearded" iris that came with our house, in pastel colors I dislike.  They are too shaded to bloom much and even if they did bloom, I'd rather have the bold dark blue iris I keep down by my mailbox.  I've decided that I should get rid of them.  There are better plants out there.

Not aware that others could see my lists of 'haves' and 'wants', I started to add plants to the lists on one of the garden websites. (Thanks to Fairegarden who inspires me with her choices of plants!)  I put Shasta daisies, ajuga, salvia and a few others on my list of 'wants'.  I listed the iris as 'haves'.  And, suddenly, I have a request for some of the iris.  And I have no idea what I want (from her list of 238 offers) in the trade!  The woman lives in Minnesota, so spring is not right around the corner for her.  (General Beau Lee, Ph.D., Georgia’s Official Weather Prognosticator... made his prediction this morning at 7:35am in rainy, 40 degree weather. Beau reported that he did not see his shadow, foretelling an early spring.) She suggested waiting until April to swap our plants.  This is good, since it will give me time to find out how one prepares plants for shipment.  On the other hand, the iris may well be blooming by April and that may make their shipment more complicated.

I will continue to look up plants to see if anything on her list seems appealing.  So far, I'm contemplating sweet woodruff and Persian cornflowers.  Mostly, I want something that will stay alive!

Monday, February 1, 2010

cooking by the fingers

I'm sure you can tell a cook by the fingers. Last week my left index finger got in the way first for a potato and then the next day for an onion.  Just now the knuckle on my right thumb got a bit too involved with the cheese grater.  As soon as it heals I'll wound myself with some other kitchen tool.  Perhaps I should have used the food processor, which deters such finger chopping by having a lid.  But I'm on a quest and it involves the grater I think.

You see, I'm trying to make my own pimento cheese spread.  I love the stuff Kroger makes.  Yes, I could buy it, and sometimes I do, but I want to make it.  Cooks understand.  If its good you want to try to replicate it.  And now, because I can't, I'm obsessed.  If you google "pimento cheese spread recipe" you come up with "about 53,300" hits.  Most of them are wrong.  Wrong as in, 'I can't put my finger on it (or in it!) but it isn't what I'm looking to get'.   Pook and I like them all, even though they still aren't what we're aiming to make, but Bug has been more critical about it.  And we're all comparing it to Kroger brand, which lists "spices" among the ingredients.  Like I can duplicate it based on that. So, I keep experimenting.  Unfortunately, I'm not good at writing down my process, so I'm getting no closer to a result.  Today I vow to write down the process/ingredients AND the results.

The major change today is in texture.  I'm grating the cheese to keep the mixture fluffier.  I'm using both mayo and cottage cheese.  I know the cottage cheese is odd, but again, I think it might add something good to the texture. As for flavor, I'm keeping the garlic and onion to a minimum, and using more pimento.  Some Worcestershire but no hot sauce.  Does anyone have a recipe they can suggest?  Does anyone know how I can get Kroger's recipe?  Does anyone avoid chopping their fingers when they cook?