Friday, January 30, 2009

Things I Should Have Asked My Mother

When I was a kid, there was a product on the market called "5-Day Deodorant Pads." A stack of cotton circles about two inches in diameter soaking in a solution were packed into a small jar. The jingle said "Use 5-Day Deodorant Pads 'cause they're five times more effective." What I always wanted to know is, was one supposed to reuse the same pad daily for five days and then return the slightly used pad to the jar with the untouched remaining pads? Or was one application supposed to be effective for 5 days? Weren't you supposed to wash your underarms? What's the deal?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Surfs Up


Who needs an ocean? Logan is surfing our snow covered driveway at this very moment. Ben is patiently (?) waiting his turn. Today is gorgeous. A couple of inches of snow have fallen on top of the ice, so driving is treacherous and very few people are on the road. It's quiet and peaceful. No school for the second day in a row. On snow days we can't go anywhere, and we just hunker down, play board games, watch TV, play with the dogs, read, and eat cozy food.

Here's yesterday's dire forecast that resulted in today's winter wonderland:

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST
TONIGHT.
AREAS OF FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET...HEAVY AT TIMES...WILL CONTINUE
TO TRACK OUT OF EASTERN OKLAHOMA AND NORTHWEST ARKANSAS INTO SOUTH
CENTRAL MISSOURI. THE FREEZING RAIN HAS BEEN ACCUMULATING AT A
RATE OF A TENTH OF AN INCH PER HOUR IN SOME LOCATIONS OVER SOUTH
CENTRAL MISSOURI.
FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET WILL LIKELY CONTINUE
THROUGH MUCH OF THE AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING HOURS WITH
ADDITIONAL ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF A HALF TO THREE QUARTERS OF AN
INCH AND SLEET AND SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES POSSIBLE
BEFORE THE PRECIPITATION COMES TO AN END EARLY WEDNESDAY.
A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW...
SLEET...AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO
POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Favorite Things

Oprah and I have a little bit in common -- we both like to identify our favorite things. Here's one of mine -- it's a Cuisinart hand blender. It has really sharp blades housed inside a bell-shaped dome-like thingy on the bottom end. The whole gizmo is slender enough to fit inside a glass. I like it for mooshing up stuff in a sauce pan that is still on the stove -- no need to dump it out into a blender or a bowl for using a mixer. And no blender to wash. The lower part of the assembly detaches and is dishwasher safe. The bell-shaped blade housing protects the pot from scratching. It's great for pureeing soups, blending sauces. I also like to stick it in a cup and blend salad dressings. It minces garlic and renders anchovies unidentifiable in Caesar Salad Dressing -- a fact that allows me to serve anchovies to those who believe they hate them. You need one of these. If you don't have one and want one for Christmas next year, let me know.

Here's another of my favs: the levitating iron. I am one of those mindless people who frequently leaves the heated iron plate down on the ironing board. Since I have been quilting and using lots of spray starch and sizing, this practice results in a carmelized ironing board cover very soon after I've installed a brand new one. Enter the Oliso Iron -- problem solved. In this picture, the iron is hovering above the ironing board, supported by Teflon protuberances fore and aft. The iron's handle has sensors built in which cause the little legs to retract when you pick up the iron. The instant you leave the iron plate down on the board and remove your hand from the handle, the little legs pop out causing the iron to levitate an inch above the surface of the ironing board. How cool is that! I can't afford to get you one of these for Christmas, they cost about $110.00 -- but I'll save that in ironing board covers in less than a year.

The weather today has been just like you heard on the news. We've had freezing rain and sleet now being topped with snow. It's real slick outside, so we are staying in. School was cancelled today and was closed for tomorrow as of noon today. It will be below freezing most of the week, so I look forward to staying in until the weekend. I'm prepared and it suits me fine. We haven't lost any power here, though the folks just 50 miles to the south, across the Missouri/Arkansas border may be without power for weeks. They have had a lot of ice, downed trees, and downed power lines. The kids went out to play and slide in the slippery stuff for a few minutes this afternoon, but they were back inside in about ten minutes. It's cold out there!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthday Wrapup

Logan says that Saturday's paint ball party was his best party ever. Seven kids braved temperatures in the teens and splattered each other for three hours. They were great kids and they had a wonderful time -- I'm inclined to agree with Logan that it was the best birthday party ever. I didn't get any photos because I wasn't anywhere near the action. My 70th birthday is in April, but I don't think I want a paint ball party.

Phone calls came from all over the country to wish him a happy birthday. He felt like a celebrity for several days.

Yesterday we celebrated Bernice's 89th birthday and hers and Arlan's 63rd wedding anniversary by gathering for lunch at Golden Corral, where Ben and Logan ate nothing but yellow and orange food: mac and cheese (of course), canned peaches, corn, mashed potatoes (OK, white food, too ), rolls, and orange sherbet.

The boys' birthdays are just six months apart, so I always measure them at that time to have a record of their growth and current height. Both boys are now exactly 5' 6-1/2" tall and have grown three inches in the last six months.

Ben cooked dinner last night: raviolis, sugar snap peas, and olives. The menu was Logan's doing and Ben volunteered to cook. Next Sunday, Logan will cook.

We are waiting for the forecast ice storm to hit this afternoon. I hope the dire forecasts are overblown. We've been told to expect one inch of ice and power outages. We'll be OK, I have gas fireplaces, lots of goose down blankets, and enough Honey Bunches of Oats to see us through till spring.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Old Beyond His Years

Logan is twelve today. He always has seemed older than his years to me, but it I can easily recall the beautiful younger child he was (he's still a beautiful child, just older.)
At the invitation of Robin, my friend Nancy was present at Logan's birth. Robin called her early in the morning on January 22, 1997 and Nancy arrived at the hospital before I did and in time for the birth. I was at Robin and Steve's caring for Ben, waiting for the time when I could take him to day care and get to the hospital. A phone call came saying that the birth was imminent and that I should hurry. So, I calmly backed into the side of the garage and proceeded to the hospital, arriving just after the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. He had a cap of white hair, white eyebrows and a beautiful squarish face with just a few scratches. He remains blond and very good looking. And he's a wonderful person - smart, funny, kind, wise, considerate, and great company. He's a miracle. His presence in my life is a blessing beyond description.
He has become quite aware of his appearance and grooming. He comes out of the bathroom smelling of mouthwash and deodorant. The hoodie I gave him this morning for his birthday delighted him because it was the correct brand and had the right logo on it.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Do We Have Any . . .

Ten Things We Are Always Out of (or can't find)

10. Scissors (No! Don't use my good sewing scissors!)
9. Scotch Tape (Did you look in the Christmas wrapping stuff?)
8. Shampoo (Go get the bottle downstairs)
7. Toilet Paper (There's plenty in the garage! I'm not in the garage, and I need it now!)
6. Postage Stamps (Bill pay and email have rendered them nearly obsolete)
5. Bottle Openers (Used about twice a year when someone wants an imported beer.)
4. Milk (We're getting to the stage when I consider getting a cow or at least moving closer to a dairy.)
3. Cabernet Sauvignon (Another woman's milk.)
2. Clean clothes (if you'd put them in the hamper . . . anyhow, you know how to run the washer)
1. Time (My mantra: "Hurry we're late.")

Ten Things We Have in Abundance or will never run out of (or use up)

10. Lipstick (I think I still have my original tube of Tangee's Theatrical Red , now nearly 60 years old, plus all the other tubes that were "free" at the cosmetic counters, and remember those miniature Avon tubes?)
9. Cayenne Pepper
8. Baking Powder (Eeeeewwww, aluminum)
7. Vermouth
6. Christmas decorations (Why do I buy more each year?)
5. Books (The boys won't let go of any they have read and enjoyed -- where did they learn that?)
4. Quilting projects (Just when I think I can handle what I've begun, three new projects pop up)
3. Panty hose (does anyone wear them anymore?)

2. Plastic wrap (I'm still working on a roll I bought at least four years ago in California -- Safeway brand, an inferior product, but I'm determined to use it up down to the last crummy inch.)
1. Love (Awww, from family, friends, and our own household -- pets included.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Historic Events


Light snow fell on the frozen river today. Tomorrow will be warmer and hopefully Tuesday even warmer when Obama is inaugurated. My emotions surrounding that event are like those I've experienced over the Hudson River miracle. Against all odds, wonderful things happen, so joyous they bring me to tears. Yet, I can't ignore that rumbling of fear in my belly. Fear of what might have been, what could be. For today, I celebrate the good people and heroes among us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Warming Trend

When the boys left for school this morning, it was 5 degrees with a wind chill of -15. I didn't want to send them to school, but the bus came, so off they went. I know it's colder other places, but I'm not there and the boys are here and I want to protect them, keep them in the house, snug, safe, and warm!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Need a New Brain

In our part of the world, we pay personal property taxes on our vehicles to the county tax collector. These taxes are due at the end of the year, coincidentally the same time that my car insurance is due. Taxes have to be paid with a real check, and the tax bill must be submitted with the payment. For some inane reason, I also decided to pay the auto insurance by check instead of using the bank's bill pay service like I usually do. Well, I switched the payments and the envelopes. Not a good thing to do. When the insurance company received the tax check, they immediately deposited it, never mind that it wasn't payable to them. Then they sent me a letter refusing to accept the payment because it wasn't enough money, issued me a refund check, and advised me that my policy would be cancelled. The tax collector returned my (insurance) check and sent a letter advising me they couldn't accept a payment made out to an insurance company and letting me know that my taxes were now delinquent. Arrrggghhh. I did get it straightened out and I am insured and my car won't be towed away, but who needs this? I love bill pay and promise not to stray from their dependable service ever again.

Here's Logan wearing his new birthday T shirt -- a gift from Cameron's family. Lisa always gets him a long-sleeved T shirt for his birthday and he always loves it.

He's having a paint ball party this year, and you are all invited. Let me know if you can come.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Things That Go Chirp in the Night


Last night, about 1:30 A.M.,Oreo let me know she needed to go outside. She doesn't usually awaken during the night, but because she was quite insistent, I let her out. When she didn't come right back in, I left the door standing open, crawled back in bed, and went back to sleep. Now, my smoke alarm has self-recharging batteries that are unfortunately sensitive to the cold which was streaming in through the still open door. When it is too cold, the batteries don't hold a charge and consequently the low-battery chirping signal commences. And it did. By this time, Oreo was back in the house, in my bed, and scared to death of the chirping sound. She burrowed under the covers, pressed tight up against me, and jumped with a startle reflex every time the chirp sounded. Normally, she sleeps atop the covers at the foot of the bed. I could have slept through the chirp with a pillow over my head, but I couldn't sleep through the twitching dog synchronized with the chirping. Finally, the room and the batteries warmed up and all was quiet. Some watch dog!

Friday, January 9, 2009

January Blahgs

I follow several blogs and I've noticed that postings in January have fallen off dramatically. Including mine. I'm having a hard time getting motivated to do anything except sleep in, which I've done twice this week -- a record for the past 50 years, I think. When I am up, I clean maniacally. I'm moving furniture, shampooing carpets, cleaning the garage (!), organizing closets, cupboards, etc. Am I depressed? No, my waking moments are filled with joy. It's just January. And I realize there are probably three more months until we see signs of spring. I eagerly await my dogwood tree's second spring in my yard. I see round blobs on the branches which I'm hoping are fetal blossoms.

Logan started playing basketball yesterday with the church league. He is the tallest sixth grader in the league. And he's much better than he was last year. I love watching him play and he hates it. He's definitely getting ready to be a teenager even though he's just approaching his twelfth birthday.
Gotta' go -- I need to finish shampooing the living room carpet.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Puzzled

Minnie Mimi stands guard over the puzzle that was started by Ben and Kevin the day after Christmas. Nichole made giant strides on it while she was here, completing the Brooklyn bridge and the buildings of the pre-9/11 Manhattan skyline.

Tom, Nichole, Mallaike, and Aurora arrived safely home early this morning (around 1:15 A.M.) The timing of their trip was perfect. Today their entire route is under a winter weather advisory, but it was clear sailing the whole way a day earlier.

I'm still basking in the aura of joy that has settled on the house. It would only have been better if more of my family could have been here. I would love to see Colleen and Mallaika together. Mallaika is talking like crazy now and loves being the center of attention. She's very confident and says lots of cute things. She spent a lot of time wandering around the house carrying an empty cookie tin, holding it out and saying "Do you want some tofu, honey?" Tofu is one of her favorite foods, although she is a fearless eater and will try anything. She calls everyone "honey," an affectation picked up in day care.
Here I am reading Mallaika one of the "Mr. Man" books. These were a gift to Ben and Logan from my friend, Barbara. She got them for her kids while they were living in Hong Kong, long before anyone in the U.S. had heard of the Mr. Man series. Kids just love them and it was as hard for Ben and Logan to part with them as it was for Barbara's kids, nearly eight years ago. Our copies are quite worn, but have been read hundreds of times.

You can see all the holiday pictures on the web

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Princess and the Garbage Truck

Mallaika poses next to her new recycling trash truck in her Christmas red princess gown. They will leave for Massachusetts in just a couple of hours and leave a big hole in my heart. The days have been filled with family, fun, and food and left me with no time or energy for blogging. They arrived New Year's Eve at around 10:15 P.M. and the house has been full of friends and family ever since -- staying up late and sleeping late. Saturday we invited people over for soup (and ate Amanda's home made bread). Rachel and Kevin came down from KC for the weekend. Much of the time was spent (by Nichole) assembling the major parts of a 2,000 piece puzzle. Let's see if it awaits her touch when she next visits, or if we will manage to finish it without her. We played silly word games and laughed till it hurt. The guys played poker -- it's amazing to realize that Ben and Logan have become part of "the guys."
I love having my house full of people. It's going to be a very dull and quiet January. The weather looks good for Tom, Nichole, and Mallaika's drive home. It was 80 degrees yesterday and its fifty degrees cooler today, but nothing seems to be falling from the sky between here and Massachusetts.