Friday, February 26, 2010


"Mom? Do you hardy Aqualad?"


"I mean, which of the Teen Titans do you hardy?"

"I don't even know what that means."

"It means when you almost love someone."

"Oh. Heart-y. That's called having a crush."

"Okay. Which of the Teen Titans are you crushing on?"

"Um, none of them, really."


"Because they're kids. It's fine for a kid to have a crush on a kid, but it's kind of gross for a grown-up."


"...Do you have a crush on one of the Teen Titans?"


"Which one?"


"Huhn. Why do you like him?"

"Because he's so handsome."

"Fair enough. Aqualad and not Robin, huh?"

"Yeah... Robin isn't that handsome."



"Yeah, sweetie?"

"I changed my mind. I'm not crushing on Aqualad."

"You're not?"

"No. I love him."


Thursday, February 25, 2010

...Or Get Off The Pot

When I picked Alex up from school Monday and the 2's teacher told me that he was officially moving into that room, she told me, "In a few weeks, we'll probably ask you for some pull-ups to make potty training easier." She showed me the little bathroom they had -- with a working flush toilet built at toddler potty height -- and told me about their training approach (which is to encourage any and all interest in the potty and bathroom, and to praise lavishly any attempts to actually use it).

She also told us that she was working with the boys that week on remembering to hold their "peepees" down when they were sitting on the potty, so if he was talking about it, then that was probably why.

I passed all this on to Matt, and was glad that we had picked up a case of pull-ups the last time we were at Sam's Club. And indeed, a couple of times Alex announced that he wanted to go potty, and we dutifully helped him with his pants and his diaper, set him on the training potty, and reminded him to hold his peepee down. He didn't actually go, but that's fine. Slow acclimatization is the name of the game, here.

Yesterday, I came home to find Alex's daily sheet on my computer with triumphant notes written all over it: Alex had gone poo in the potty! Twice!

That's actually kind of a big deal. For whatever reason, it's typical for kids to learn to pee in the potty first, but be reluctant to poo for a bit longer.

And then last night, while I was at book club, Alex told Matt he wanted to go potty, so Matt got him on the pot, and he managed a little pee! That's three successful potty uses in one day!

We might need to break out the pull-ups a little sooner than we thought. And the M&Ms. (When Penny was training, we gave her 1 M&M for each successful potty foray.)

We can't call him trained by any stretch, but it's definitely an encouraging start! Penny didn't finish training until she was 3 1/2, so I had resigned myself to another pretty long haul with Alex -- boys are usually slower than girls, all else being equal. But by gum and golly, I think I can see the light at the end of the diaper tunnel!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I'm hungry. Going to be a hungry sort of day, I guess, since it's Book Club tonight and I'll need to save up points for it. Unsatisfied appetite, unsatisfied mind -- this month's book was Nightlight, which is the Harvard Lampoon's parody of Twilight, along with Stephanie Meyer's partial draft of Midnight Sun (which is the events of Twilight from Edward's point of view). Neither of them really grabbed me, though.

The jokes made in Nightlight were pretty good, but they stretched it out too long -- they could've made it a short story or novella-length piece and it would've been much tighter and funnier.

And Midnight Sun was... well, an unfinished draft. I could feel that it might have been a fun read if she'd decided to finish it and clean it up, and it would have been even better if she'd written it earlier and spliced it into Twilight so that we were getting both points of view in the same book. But it's a draft. There were unexplained things, scenes that made no sense, characterizations that didn't work, consistency issues... Eh.

Other than that, I'm pretty well drawing a blank today.

Such is life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day Off

I had an absolutely lovely day off.

I had a massage in the morning, and then I stopped off at the mall to see what Old Navy had on the shelves (answer: not much, really, but I picked up a sweater and a couple of shirts to hold in reserve for warmer weather). I finished up there and headed back to Williamsburg with perfect timing to catch Avatar in 3-D. Which was pretty much exactly as it had been billed -- mildly preachy, sort of Ferngully in space, a little thin on plot but so stunningly gorgeous that its flaws didn't matter. I kind of want to buy the DVD when it comes out just so I can pause it every six frames and examine all the detail work on the CG and check out the "making of" features that are sure to come with it.

When the credits rolled, I checked my phone and found a message from Matt that he'd taken Penny home from school a bit early because she wasn't feeling well, and if I could pick Alex up, that would be great. So I went to the used bookstore, then collected the boy. While I was at daycare, they told us that they'd (finally!) officially moved Alex into the 2-year-old room, whoo!

Anyway, it was a fantastic day, and I enjoyed every moment of it, and I should do it more often.

Alex was a hoot in the car, too. He said something at one point that I responded to with, "I think you're being silly." He said, cheerfully, "Alex weenie!" (which is what we call him when he's being a goofball).

"Yep, you're a weenie, all right."

"Alex greeble!" (which is what we say when he begs/steals food from us).

"Yep, you're a greeble, sometimes."

"Alex greeble o'jas!"

"Yes, you greeble Daddy's oranges."

"O'jas juicy."

"Oranges are very juice. And tasty."

"Daddy o'jas tasty!"

...Did he just admit that other peoples' food tastes better?

At any rate, we repeated that entire exchange about eight times. He seems inordinately proud of himself for being a weenie and a greeble.Yup, he's a boy, all right.

We got home to discover that Penny had taken a nap and was stubbornly clinging to bed rather than work on her homework. Given the appetite with which she ate dinner, however, we felt okay with sending her to school today.

So now I'm back at work -- boo, hiss -- wading through the emails that collected and trying to figure out how to balance the day's assorted meetings, appointments, and tasks. Whee.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Excellent Weekend

I had a really excellent weekend.

I stopped at J.C. Penney's, intending to pick up another pair of jeans to go with my size 12s. Just for kicks, I tried on the 10s... and they fit! (Snugly, and with a bit of muffin-topping, but no more snugly than the 12s were when I got them back in November or December.)

And I went to the Chocolate Affair with Vicki Saturday night. Which blew my diet a bit lot, I expect, but was soooo worth it.

I slept in a bit Sunday morning, and woke up with an idea for how to set up my characters for a problematic scene in the story I've been headworking for the last week or so.

And in the afternoon, I got an email from Torquere Press that started off: "I read your story, and I'd like to take it for publication..." and went on to discuss the general terms, including the royalty percentages to be paid quarterly. Can I say that again? Royalty percentages. It's not a huge press, but even if it only sells 10 copies of the novella over the 2 years of the contract, I'll still be a paid author. That made my day. My week. Possibly even my whole month. Professional publication has been a huge item on my bucket list for at least twenty-five years, now.

(Of course, it'll be interesting when it's time to share this wonderful news with my family, as it's not exactly the most family-friendly thing I've ever written. But that's a bridge that I'll cross when I get to it. I may wait until I've signed the contract and have a solid publication/availability date.)

And today, of course, I'm not at work. Which timing couldn't be better if I'd planned it that way.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chocolate Attack

Saturday morning, my friend Vicki posted to Twitter that she was on her way to watch the Chocolate Chariot races.

I responded asking whether this was an event that somehow involved the mass consumption of chocolate by spectators, and if so, whether it was too late to join her.

The Chocolate Chariot Race turned out to be a charity event, and if it did not involve the mass consumption of chocolate by spectators, it certainly sounds like it involves the mass consumption of chocolate by the participants. (If you didn't follow the link: chariot teams have to race along a 1.5 mile course through New Town, stopping at each of 10 local businesses, consuming a drink and chocolate dessert at each.)

Anyway, early that afternoon, Vicki called to see if I wanted to go with her to the related evening event, called the Chocolate Affair. Matt was willing to watch the kids, so I agreed to meet her there at 7. (Breaking already my diet promise regarding evening eating, but I'm pretty sure calories consumed for charity don't count. Right?) Of course, we'd gone out to eat for lunch, so I had the very smallest dinner I could possibly manage, then left to meet Vicki.

Oh. My. God.

Entrance tickets were $25 ($15 if you'd bought them early, but we hadn't). Was it worth it? Oh, yes. Each of 20 or so tables around the edges of the room hosted a local vendor: a restaurant, catering company, or other food store -- most of them from the upper echelons of quality: The Carrot Tree, Blue Talon, Fat Canary, the Trellis... Each vendor had a display, and each display featured chocolate, of course. And by "display" I mean "samples". Most of them had multiple offerings; a few only one, but everything was exquisite.

We started with hot chocolate topped with a handmade marshmallow. And when I say "hot chocolate," I mean, "high-quality dark chocolate that's been melted and just barely enough cream added to it to keep it from resolidifying before you drink it." (And yes, I'm pretty sure I mean "cream" and not "milk".)

At the next tables, we were given a chocolate mousse in a dark chocolate cup, topped with a white chocolate drizzle and raspberry liqueur. Next to that was a table featuring handmade caramels, caramel-chocolate brownies, and brownies. And then there were chocolate-dipped pretzel rods and squares of chocolate.

This is the point at which I started feeling like I'd already had too much. We weren't even a quarter of the way around the room, and it's not like I'd eaten everything on offer -- but what I'd had was incredibly rich. After that, I started getting really choosy, and collecting things to bring home to share with Matt. There were truffles and cookies and cakes and brownies galore, and a few more exotic offerings, like orange marmalade and chocolate spring rolls topped with a caramel sauce. Goat cheese and white chocolate truffles (no, really, that was good). There was coffee and ice cream. There were even a couple of savory offerings, like quail legs in mole sauce topped with pistachios. Vicki and I were completely bowled over by the meatballs with chocolate sauce over white chocolate mashed potatoes (Seriously. Completely amazing).

There were servers wandering through the crowds dressed in cow costumes, offering cups of milk. I like milk, mind you, but it's never tasted so good.

It wasn't just samples, of course. There was a bar at one end selling beer and wine and bottled water. There was a display from Colonial Williamsburg demonstrating the old-fashioned process for converting of cocoa beans into edible chocolate. There were videos from the Chocolate Chariot race, and a couple of the chariots themselves on display. There weren't many places to sit, but there were lots of tables gathered around the middles of the rooms for people to set their goodies down while they ate.

And of course the people-watching was choice. There were families plying toddlers with a year's worth of sugar. There were an amusingly high number of pencil-thin, older WASP women wearing expensive clothes and jewelery who were carrying heaps of chocolates, like they intended to use the event to cater their next bridge clubs, or something.

Which led to my biggest moment of amusement: On the tables were small bowls of Hershey's kisses. And people were eating them. Seriously? Seriously? I mean, I like Hershey's kisses as much as anyone, but when you are completely surrounded by gourmet chocolate in all varieties, are kisses really going to be your go-to item? (Which did not stop the older women from putting them in their boxes to take home.)

It was crowded and loud, but really fun, and really fantastic. Thanks, Vicki, for inviting me along! Next year, we'll plan ahead and make sure we can find a babysitter so Matt can come, too!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reasons I love it when the kids play by themselves:
  1. It's healthy for them: solo play builds a child's self-confidence and self-reliance, strengthens their sense of individuality, provides an outlet for ideas and emotions that otherwise haven't found acceptable expression, helps them learn to focus and builds their attention spans, and can even sneak in some lessons in observable science and math.
  2. I get to witness their imaginations in action. Alex is still a little too young yet to really "play pretend" but Penny's eyes see into the most amazing worlds, and her brain concocts fantastic stories: A bunch mermaid sisters are trapped by an evil wizard and have to trick him to win free! Wonder Woman and Batman are fighting bad guys!
  3. I also get glimpses into their growing and ever-changing personalities. Penny is family-oriented nearly to the point of obsession. Even when she's playing with her superheroes, there is always a daddy or a mommy. Alex is much more into exploration and experimentation. He's much more patient with trial-and-error than Penny was at the same age (or even than Penny is now, for that matter). He's also an extremely active learner. Even while playing by himself, he frequently seeks an adult's confirmation that he's got the right word for something, or the right color, or wants to count items, or name the letters... Sometimes all in the same 5 minutes. Just now, for example: "Heart? Heart? Red heart! Pu'ple heart! Count hearts? One! Two! Three! Four! Five! Eight!" (He has trouble remembering that six comes after five, but if reminded, can get to about twelve without other errors. Which I think is pretty darned good for a two-year-old.)
  4. I get to be lazy, just watching and occasionally responding to prompts to admire their efforts. Sometimes, it even gives me time to do other things -- like write blog entries.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I had a really cute story to tell this morning. A prime example of 6-year-old logic at its most circular and tautological. Naturally, however, in the fifteen minutes it took me to drop Penny off at school and drive to work, I've forgotten what it was.

I'm so glad it's Friday. This week has felt insanely long.

I'm equally glad we don't have any particular plans for the weekend, though I do have some errands I need to run. And I'll need to work in a trip to the gym Saturday evening or Sunday, because I'm taking Monday off. I have an appointment for a massage, and I thought I might go to the movies, and if there's time in the middle, I might do some shopping. At any rate, it will be time spent all on me. It won't be a reboot, but it should at least be a refresh.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I need a reboot. My memory is firing randomly and losing critical instructions. I've got data corruption in my stored files. I'm spinning up during sleep cycles, which just makes me sluggish when it's time to power on. I need to shut all the way down, let all the little impulses discharge and clear, and then do a slow boot and run some optimization routines.

Alas, that takes time I don't have.

So I'm having lunch with Matt today, which I'm looking forward to. And I think I'm going to take Monday off from work and enjoy some me-time. Preferably out of the house. Go shopping or to the movies or get a massage or something.

Which is less of a "reboot" and more of a "shut down all applications and hope they release excess memory" but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Borrowed and Lent

I mentioned on Twitter that I was thinking of giving up something for Lent, this year.

"But you're not Catholic. You're not even religious." I got that from several different people.

And as far as it goes, that's true. But let's face it: I'm pretty sure most of the people celebrating Mardi Gras yesterday weren't Catholic, either. And just because I'm not religious doesn't mean I'm not spiritual. My borrowing Lent would hardly be the first time that a religion's observances and rituals have been co-opted for some other purpose.

That purpose, for me, is to try to examine some of my habits and figure out which ones are not merely unnecessary, but actively harmful. To remind myself that I can do without some things that I tend to treat as vital -- and might even be better off without them.

I considered a lot of options. Several of them were in support of my diet: junk food, or soda, or snacks after dinner, or red meat. Some of them were in support of my workday productivity: Twitter or Gmail chat or webcomics or blogs. And some of them were in support of my personal productivity: Facebook games or television or books that I've already read (as opposed to ones I'm reading for the first time).

That's a lot of options to consider. So how do I pick? How do I even narrow it down?

Well. The point is to stretch myself, to prove something to myself. Most of the things on that list are things that I already know I can do without. Intellectually, of course, I know I can do without any of them. I'm talking about that inner knowing -- if I consider cutting something out, how much does it bother me?

My strongest reaction -- by a lot -- was to the notion of dropping my Facebook games. Which kind of surprised me. I mean... stupid Facebook Flash games? But when I first thought about giving up Facebook entirely for Lent, my initial reaction was not, "But I'll miss all those status notes and links and pictures!" It was, without hyperbole, a moment of actual panic for the lost opportunities to earn pretend money with which to buy pretend stuff.

And if I'm experiencing panic over that -- however fleeting -- then maybe it's time to draw the line and remind myself that they are stupid games and that the world will not end if I fail to collect my daily "pay" or happen to miss a month's special items or even let my pretend baby animals starve. So I may still be checking Facebook from time to time and using it as a communication tool, but between now and Easter, I'm not playing any Facebook games. Not the ones I'm already embedded in, and not starting any new ones.

(I'm also giving up evening snacks. Doesn't matter how many points I have left in a day, if I haven't used them by 7pm, they're gone. But that's less of a spiritual examination and more of a horrified reaction to what I saw on the scale this morning, and it's only strictly in force until I've lost the weight I gained this week, whether that takes the whole length of Lent or not.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I played Rock Band last night. Had a lot of fun, and didn't get to bed until somewhat past midnight. So I'm kind of dragging and sleepy today, so not terribly inventive in the whole blog-reporting thing. Therefore, my choices are to bitch about the stupid bureaucracy crap going on at work that's driving me bananas, or post pictures from Valentine's Day.

Yeah, that's what I thought. Pictures it is! Though I didn't take any at the party, so I don't have any. Alas. But I still have some cute/pretty shots from Valentine's Day itself!

Here's the tulip/iris arrangement that Matt sent me. Pretty! When I took this, most of the irises were still so tightly closed you could barely tell what they are. The flowers were all opening this morning, and I would swear the tulips had all grown an extra inch. I need to change the water in the vase, re-trim the stems, and re-arrange the flowers so the shorter ones are on the outside. Maybe then I'll take another picture.

Penny going through her pile o' Valentines. There's a lot of love going on, here.

This is me getting all artistic and goofy with one of the dangly decorations from Penny's party. I thought it turned out rather well, actually.

I had a package of gel window clings for Valentine decorations. They cost $1 from Target. Penny originally put them up out of Alex's reach, but eventually I moved them so he could play with them. He loved them. He played with them -- moving them from one spot to another -- for at least half an hour, and maybe longer. I took several really cute shots of it -- but I like this one the best, just because of the title I gave it:  "I Offer You My Heart... It's Slightly Sticky."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentines and Tigers

Penny's Valentine party was a great success! Though I completely forgot to take any pictures. Oh, well.

The girls made cards, and then they ate cupcakes and gummi candy and veggies and cookies, and then they went up to Penny's room and played with suspiciously little shrieking until it was time for them to go. I was slightly worried that Jess, who only Penny knew, would get pushed to the side, but the other girls seemed happy to include her, and she seemed to be having a good time. The adults were a bit withdrawn for the first little bit, but once the girls disappeared upstairs, we all sat at the table to eat the leftovers and wound up having quite an enjoyable chat. I got phone numbers for all three of Penny's school friends, so I'll be able to contact them over the summer for playdates and birthday parties.

Valentine's Day was very nice, too. Matt and I had started our exchange on Friday -- he sent me a bouquet of red tulips and purple irises, and I sent him a cookie bouquet. He warned me that my "big" present had been backordered or shipment-delayed due to snow or something and that he wouldn't get it until probably Tuesday, so I wasn't expecting anything Sunday. But there was the latest Order of the Stick book, so that was pretty awesome. (I got him the Pushing Daisies DVDs, since they are weird and quirky and romantic, very much like Matt, and a second Wii controller and nunchuck for our Wii, so we can play Lego Star Wars together.)

Our gifts to the kids were a big hit -- they both got kits for making candy necklaces and little lightstick flashlights (they're meant to be safety lights for outdoors exercise, but I have yet to meet a kid that doesn't love flashlights), and Penny also got a necklace. Matt's mom sent some Sesame Street DVDs and a decorate-it-yourself picture frame. So all in all, they made out pretty well.

Today was supposed to be a holiday for Penny, but they canceled it to make up one of the recent snow days. So Matt -- who still gets the holiday -- is getting most of the day to himself to kick back and relax. I think he's planning to hit a matinee movie before he picks Penny up from school.

I, obviously, am at work. I have some vague hope that it will be a calm week. We'll see, I guess. At least, since Matt got to go to a D&D game this weekend, and has today off from work, I laid claim to Rock Band Night tonight, so that should be fun.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sugared Up

Penny, inexplicably, has been suggesting that we all sleep in Saturday morning, so we're well-rested for the excitement of the day. Matt and I are certainly encouraging this line of thought, but I really have no idea where it's coming from.

Not that really sleeping in will be possible -- Alex will be getting impatient to get out of bed around seven anyway. But hey, if Penny thinks it would be a good idea to stay in bed until eight (her proposed "late" rising time) then we're all for it!

As excited as she is for this party, I'll be shocked if she doesn't wake up at 6.

Though maybe we should throw parties to keep her excited more often; her blood sugar checks were all fantastic yesterday -- hovering between 90 and 110, except for the 10:00 check, which was 140 (and it was back down to 110 this morning). Today probably won't be quite so good -- we have a deal with her concerning her lunches, and she earned herself a chocolate milk with lunch today (that nearly double the number of carbs in her lunch). And I don't know if her class Valentine party will involve food, but it well might.

I made the cupcakes for the party last night. Six heart-shaped pink cupcakes, and a whole slew of mini-muffin-sized ones. Tonight I need to frost them and make the gummi candy. And either tonight or tomorrow morning, I'll run to the store for the "healthy" food. And clear off the dining table, and hang the decorations I got. And clear some space in the living room for the adults who will be hanging around.

I'll try to get pictures, of course. See you on the other side!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The last outstanding RSVP for Penny's Valentine party on Saturday came last night, so yay! I now know exactly how many kids to plan for! It will be a very girly party: the one boy Penny invited (Ray, of course) will be out of town, so it's going to be Penny and four other little girls (Jess and some girls from school -- Penny made her own guest list), plus the toddler sister of one of the girls (along with the parent). And I assume KT and Kevin will stick around... Guess I should lay in some food for the adults, too.
(Penny is still sort of upset with me that I'm not throwing a big party and including all of our adult friends as well, like we did for the Christmas party. I'm just not feeling that ambitious. It's someone else's turn to throw a party.)

As it is, though, I need to start food prep tonight. There will be heart-shaped cupcakes for the girls to decorate with sprinkles, and homemade sugar-free gummi candy. And some other candy, left over from the Valentines we put together last night for Penny's school party. And probably some nominally healthy food, like veggies with dip, cheese, and apple slices.

Also: activities! I bought some blank cards and a whole lot of stickers so the girls can make Valentines, and Penny has it in her head that they can all play a board game together (probably Candyland, as her other board game tops out at 4 players). I have some doubt as to her ability to corral five excited girls together to do something as staid as a board game, but I wish her luck, as the alternative is probably going to involve a lot of shrieking and giggling.

Heck, there's already a lot of giggling going on. Penny has been bouncing (literally) around the house for the last few nights and telling me how excited Gillian and Jillian and Rachael all are.

I'm looking forward to it, actually, shrieking and giggling aside. I think it will be fun for the girls, and I'm hoping to get home contact info for the girls from Penny's class so that I can invite them to her birthday party this summer, as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Oh, for petesake. It's snowing again. It started just as we were getting up this morning -- when I looked out the window at 7, it was only just starting to stick to the cars. When Penny and I left the house at 8, the whole world was blanketed in white. The trees look like they've been made out of wire and cotton. It's pretty, but seriously, I've had enough!

Shockingly enough, they haven't closed the schools yet. I assume since they've used up their allotted snow days they're now being a little more cautious about shutting things down. Or, as it may be, less cautious. I admit, I'm curious to see whether they send the kids home early. I guess it'll depend on whether it keeps snowing or turns to rain as the morning progresses.

In the meantime, I'm glad I invested in a wool coat. I wish I could go out taking pictures instead of sitting at my desk at work. Well, tomorrow is my "free" lunch -- no gym, no allergy shots. Maybe there will be something left for me to photograph then.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I've actually been writing and editing some, the last couple of weeks. I spent a few days reading through my more recent projects, and the one that stuck with me was a sci-fi romance/erotica novella I'd originally written a couple of years ago, and which I spent some time revising last year. When I read through it again, there were only a couple of scenes that needed to be cleaned up, and one last scene to write.

So I did it. Last Wednesday, I wrote the words "THE END." and saved the file and closed it. Thursday, I read through it again and made a couple of quick fixes, and I gave it to a couple of friends who had offered to read it. Reactions have been positive so far... so I'm sitting on it for another day or two, after which I'll do a final read-through and clean-up (I spotted a typo, at least, when I skimmed through yesterday looking for something) and then I'm going to submit it for publication. I'm trying to decide whether to use a pen name -- any opinions?

Anyway, I thought that was that, and after a short break to get my brain re-aligned, I'd go back to the other big project. Except that over the weekend, I pondered a "what-if" that pretty quickly blew up into a pretty compelling sequel. And somewhere in the back of my brain is a situation that I could probably build into a third story.

Last night, I started jotting notes and sketching out the rough shape of the sequel.

So I may be stuck in that world for a while.

Turns out, I'm okay with that.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Miracles Happen

It snowed some on Friday, but didn't stick to anything but grass; by night, the snow had turned into a snow/rain mix that was washing even that meager accumulation away.

Saturday morning, it was still misting a light rain. You could barely even tell that it had snowed the previous week. I began to wonder if all the doom-and-gloom forecasters had miscalculated entirely.

But no -- by mid-morning, the misty rain had turned into thick wet flakes that stuck readily to everything. We went out to eat for lunch, and in the hour or less that we were in the restaurant, our incoming footsteps were completely obscured by the falling snow. Driving in slush and snow doesn't really intimidate me (thus, the benefits of two years of college in the mountains, I suppose) so we went over to the comic book store.

I don't think I'd been over there for six months or so -- Matt usually gets the comics on his own or with the kids, lately -- and Mark swore he wouldn't have recognized me at all if I hadn't come in with Matt and the kids. That was nice.

On the way home, I was driving through four inches of slush in the roads, and it occurred to me that all that slush could very well freeze overnight, leaving us with four inches of ice on Sunday. So despite the still thickly-falling snow, I headed off to the grocery store as soon as we got Alex down for a nap, so I wouldn't have to do it Sunday.

The snow stopped a bit before dinner, and I think we counted about six inches of accumulation. I sighed, and was glad I'd decided to lug my work laptop home, because it didn't look all that likely that there would be school Monday.

Sunday was slow. No grocery shopping to do, anyway. I puttered around on the computer, did some organizing of my scrapbook stuff, called my parents, and otherwise managed to forget about working on our taxes. Penny spent a lot of time playing with Ray, over at his house and then at ours. (They trooped in around 3:30 in the afternoon because they were making Ray's mom crazy. Penny said, "Mom, I hope we don't drive you sane!")

I might not have bothered with that Saturday grocery run, though. Between it being a bright, sunny day and the salt and sand still on the roads from last weekend, somewhere between 10 and noon, the roads cleared up almost entirely. Little bits of meltwater and slush collected at the edges, but even our culdesac, which is always the last spot in the neighborhood to clear, was clean.

So we had a quiet afternoon and evening, ate dinner, played with the kids, and got them put to bed. I can't say we watched the Super Bowl, but we did record it on the TiVO so we could flip through for the commercials. Though they were mostly pretty lame, this year. The Denny's series with the screaming chickens could've been good, if they'd either gotten better fake chickens, or worse ones. I'd never run into an Uncanny Valley problem with chickens before, but they managed it. And the Snickers "Betty White" one right at the beginning was pretty funny. The rest, though... eh. To steal directly from Wil Wheaton's twitter comment, most of the commercials were "1) Bland and unimaginative 2) Emasculating 3) Misogynistic 4) All of the above." Ah, well. At least, thanks to the magic of TiVO, we were able to blow through the entire 3.5-hour event in about an hour. (And even though I really couldn't care less about football, congratulations Saints fans. I'm always glad to see an underdog come out on top.)

Shockingly, school was not canceled, even though there's probably a street somewhere in the county with some ice on it. Miracles do happen.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Be Mine

Penny's homework this week (and next, though she's already finished it) was to fill out a workbook by writing one nice thing about each of her classmates. When everyone's is done, the workbooks will be taken apart and reassembled into little Valentine booklets for each kid.

Which I think is a cute idea. I seem to remember her kindergarten class doing something similar at some point, and that, looking through the book that came home with Penny, that most of the kids seemed to be picking from the same 3-4 "example" compliments. My favorite was almost a non-sequitur, for the age group: "Penny is a good citizen."

Apparently, they're left to devise their own compliments this year. Matt, supervising the effort yesterday, reported to me that Penny was using the exact same formula for just about everyone: "<Name> has <cool [boy] | pretty [girl]> eyes and nice skin."

Which made me fall over with the giggles. Skin? Really? At least she wasn't defaulting to: "<Name> is very nice."

This morning in the car, she was telling me about it, herself. She thought it was silly that the list of classmate names had her own name on it, since she wasn't going to write one for herself! (That wacky teacher, printing out 20 or so identical lists, instead of tailoring each list specifically for each kid!)

"Hey!" she said brightly, "I could cut my name out and put it on your list!"

"Um, I guess you could."

"It could be your and Daddy's homework. No, just yours. Daddy would say something silly."

"Daddy's a pretty silly guy."

"Yeah. But he'd write something that wasn't even about me!" I was about to protest this, but she continued. "Like, I like to give Penny zerberts!"

I had to admit that it did sound like the sort of thing Daddy would say. And that she was right that the statement wasn't actually about her, even though she was in it -- which is a pretty sophisticated nuance, I thought, for a six-year-old to be able to grasp.

So much for my nascent thoughts of starting a new Valentine's Day family tradition.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


The kids are back to school today! Yippee! Now, if it can just not snow this weekend (they're threatening some, but it looks like it'll be mixed with rain, so it's a toss-up) and life can get back to normal. Please.

Entry's running late today because I took Alex to the ear-nose-throat doctor to get his tubes checked. Alex was not too keen on having the otoscope in his ear, but he mostly kept his cool, and the doctor gave us two thumbs up: tubes are still in place and everything looks healthy. He suggested bringing out the ear drops whenever Alex has a cold, as a preventative (which we'd pretty much been doing anyway -- actually, when his ears get stopped up, Alex will actually ask for the drops, so it makes a pretty good indicator).

Alex was so good, we let him have two stickers from the sticker box -- Winnie the Pooh and I found an ELMO! sticker hiding behind some others. He insisted on taking off his coat immediately so I could put the stickers on his shirt, and he talked about them excitedly all the way to school.

(Except for when we passed a stop sign in the parking lot and he had to stop and touch it and tell me about the Red! Oc'agon! With Letters! S! T! O! P!)

Damn, but I have a cute kid.

And now I shall drop all pretense of dignity and beg: I desperately need a babysitter for March 11! Matt and I have tickets to see They Might Be Giants -- and Jonathan Coulton -- in concert, and I really, really want to go to this show! (Yes, we bought the tickets before finding a babysitter. Not always wise, but I am determined!) Unfortunately, the combination of it being a school night (a Thursday) and the need for the babysitter to be able to give Penny her bedtime shot is kind of limiting our pool. So if you know anyone in the area who might be willing -- please, please, please let me know!!!

Seriously, please.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Snow Day? Seriously?

Schools are closed again today. Three days in a row. Though at least today, they had teachers report for the workday they missed Monday. So maybe we'll be back to normal tomorrow.

I wouldn't mind the working from home so much if it wasn't accompanied by a lot of "Moooooooommmmmm, I'm booooooorrrrrrred," whining.

I do remember doing this to my own mom when I was a kid, so it's just One Of Those Things, I expect. The way I've been handling it: I suggest three activities. If she doesn't want to do any of those, then I'm done trying to help her out and I'm also done listening to complaints. Mostly because I don't have the patience my mom had.

Add to this the administrative tangles that keep failing to be resolved at work (they're moving my spot in the org chart, but failed to take into account what happens to my subordinates when that happens; also, I still haven't been paid back for the damn holiday party, or received the back pay I'm due from when I got my promotion back in November), and I'm just not having the best of all days.

But I figured I should post something, so... there we go.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow Day

Well, it didn't work out quite like I'd planned. Oh, the snow held off until late Friday night, and then came down most of Saturday (it stopped late Saturday night, so I think it snowed for the better part of 24 hours straight). The kids had a blast (though we really should get Alex some boots -- his shoes kept slipping off in the snow) and I took some pictures.

But the roads weren't quite as clear this morning as I'd imagined they would be. Luckily, Penny wasn't supposed to be going to school anyway -- it was supposed to be a teacher workday -- so we'd already planned for her to stay home. I'm curious to see whether they close or delay school tomorrow, though. And then I'll be curious to see if they cancel the President's Day holiday or shorten Spring Break to make it up.

I got Alex to daycare this morning to discover they were running on a staff of 4 -- the director, the kitchen lady, and two teachers. They had the two teachers and all the kids corralled into a single room, at least until some more teachers come in, and I was a little concerned that Alex would freak out at being left in a room that he wasn't used to, without his favorite teacher present.

I always forget, though, that Alex is much more social than Penny was (or is). It didn't seem to bother him a bit. One of the teachers there was the two-year-old teacher that he already knows (they haven't officially moved him to the two-year-old class, yet, but he's been spending at least half his day in their room for weeks, now) and he ran right up to her and started telling her about the snow. And then while the other teacher (who happens to be the school-age teacher) was asking after Penny, he ran off to the far side of the classroom to investigate some toy with Elmo on it. He spotted me as I was leaving, and I wondered if he would lose his cool, but he just kind of shrugged and went back to the toys.


The drive in to work was pretty. Most of the roads I took had been cleared (except for the ramps and merge lanes, inexplicably), so traffic wasn't too bad. And a lot of the vegetation on the sides of the roads was covered with frost and sparkled in the morning light. Very pretty. A couple of times, I wished I could stop and take pictures.

Still, I think I might take my work computer home with me tonight, just in case school is still closed tomorrow.