Monday, April 30, 2012

Diabetes Camp

I took Penny to diabetes camp this past weekend.

It's exhausting, but she obviously gets so much out of it that I can't imagine not doing it.

Last year, we left right after school, got caught in traffic, and nearly missed dinner. So this year, I signed her out of school before lunch. We met Matt for lunch, then went shopping for snacks, and then hit the road. So, naturally, we encountered absolutely no traffic and were there an hour before check-in was supposed to start.

We wound up in the same cabin as last time, and since we were first through the door, Penny got her pick of bunks... so she chose the exact same bunk as last year.

When I moved the car back to the parking area, Penny hopped out of the car and immediately -- and I mean immediately -- spotted a four-leafed clover. How cool is that? I pressed it in the little notebook I'd brought along.

When our cabin counselor/nurse showed up with the name list, it turned out that Penny's favorite friend from last year's camp was going to be in with us again -- she nearly lost her mind with joy, and spent the next two hours avidly watching the door, waiting for her to show up, which she finally did just before dinner. We also had some new kids arrive; Penny made friends with two of them right away. (The last one, being a couple of years younger than the other girls, was a little left out occasionally, unfortunately.)

Just like last year, there were games pitting the cabins against each other. Some of the games were really cute, like the giant slingshot with the live target:

...or the game of human Battleship:

I think the ODU students running the games weighted the scores for participant age, because our cabin won! That got us a stack of $5 gift certificates to use at the camp store (which, weirdly, was only open for two hours on Saturday -- from 10-11, and from 4-5).

There was, of course, a fire after the games. (This year, they got it started while the games were still going on, which was nice.) With s'mores. Penny asked me to roast her marshmallow for her. "I want it to be perfect, Mom!"

The next day, we went rock climbing right after breakfast. Penny was initially on board, but got bored waiting for her turn and gave up. (To be fair, the girls who were on the wall ahead of her were both very slow, and very determined to make it to the top.) Several of our cabin-mates, however, made it to the top to ring the bell. Multiple times, even!

Then we went fishing. Penny was very enthusiastic about it, but alas, caught nothing this year. We took a short break after the fishing to visit the camp store and spend our gift certificates, and then went to the leatherworking shop, where each girl got to make a keychain, and each adult got to nurse a killer headache from all the hammer pounding.

After lunch, we had a Q&A session with the attending doctors -- some of the kids asked some great, thoughtful questions. Penny, tasked with "stumping Doctor Marta", asked what the carb count was on honeysuckle nectar, which did, indeed, stump all the doctors and nurses and counselors present. Then the kids went back to their cabins to work on their skits for that night while the Q&A continued with the parents.

Our first activity of the afternoon was pony riding (next year, we'll get to do real horseback riding, I think), and then a hay ride.

The hay ride was about half an hour long, and at about the 25-minute mark, the skies opened up. We all got pretty drenched, between the last bit of the ride and then the run back to our cabin afterward. We voted to skip the second activity of the afternoon, which was canoeing. (I was just as happy about that. I don't have the arm strength to handle a paddle, even if my only passengers are a couple of eight-year-olds, and it was WAY too chilly to even contemplate a tumble into the river.)

So we worked on our skit for a while longer, and then the girls had a pillow fight that lasted until the moms realized that they were dropping their pillows on the muddy, filthy floor. (Next year, if I remember, I will bring a spare pillow case -- one for getting dirty, and one for sleeping on.)

One of the girls had a Flat Stanley with her, and her mom's phone camera wasn't working properly, so I took lots of pictures for her -- Flat Stanley in the bunk, Flat Stanley climbing the wall, Flat Stanley fishing, Flat Stanley riding a pony... I love the Flat Stanley project, I really do.

For their skit, the girls sang along with Weird Al's "Pancreas", and when they said the word "pancreas", they turned around and pointed to all us parents, who were sitting behind them on the stage, holding their diabetes supplies. (To indicate that we're doing this job that the pancreas should be doing for them.) We had fun making it crazy (the adults popped to our feet and did our best jazz-hands, and on the line "metabolizing those carbohydrates," one girl held up a big gingerbread stuffie, and her dad snatched it and pretended to eat it). At any rate, we got a big giggle out of the whole thing, which was pretty much the whole point.

And of course, there was ice cream after that, and then we had the fun of trying to get a cabin-full of little, sugar-wired girls to settle down and go to sleep.

We were all sad to leave the next morning -- well, the girls were, at any rate. The adults were all looking forward to clean bathrooms and proper showers and sleeping in our own beds!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Rainy weather. Drip drip drip.

Taking Penny to Family Diabetes Camp this weekend. Gonna be rainy and cold, with highs in the low 60s. Not looking forward to that part of it much, but Penny's enthusiasm is undampened by the weather. So far. Drip drip drip.

Scrambling to get a document done today that has to go out tomorrow, so we can leave early to tomorrow to get to camp before the traffic gets bad, like it did last year. Except the subcontractor guy who wrote several sections of the document is, apparently, still centering lines by putting a lot of spaces in front of them. I didn't know people DID that any more. Drip drip drip!

Oh, coffeemaker?

Make with the drip.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I'm a major stresspuppy lately, what with the day job and the editing job and the writing job (I'm calling it two and a half jobs) and the being a mom and everything. Alex is still overflowing his night-time pullup a few times a week, which means he wakes me up to change his sheets, so my sleep levels aren't the best, which only adds to the problem.

You know what I do when I'm stressy?

I eat.

I had a doctor's appointment this morning, and even though I know how much I weigh, it was a little bit of a smack to realize just how much I've gained in only the last year.

Am I going to pull myself together and stop stress-eating? Am I going to regain my willpower and start going back to the gym three times a week?

...Let's face it: probably not. Though I've ordered a compact elliptical machine to put in my office, so maybe I can at least make myself do a mini-workout from time to time.

Am I going to start going to bed early to make up for the unavoidable early mornings? No way; that's my "me" time!

Am I going to give up the editing and writing? Absolutely not; that's my dream job. It's not their fault that they don't pay worth a damn.

Am I going to get a new day job? I think about it on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, but this isn't a good economy for job-hunting. I'm keeping my eyes open, but I don't see it happening soon.

So what, then?

Damned if I know.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Run Around

Crazy busy weekend.

Hung with the Hedge as usual on Friday. We had Pierce's for dinner (damn, but I should eat there more often) and played some Rock Band after the kids were in bed. (I even managed to keep my drumming scores over 85%. One of these days, I will actually figure out the timing on the effing kick pedal.)

Saturday morning, Penny helped me frost/decorate some black forest cupcakes. (I used this recipe, except instead of the glaze, Penny gave each cupcake a white icing base frost, then I piped a chocolate frosting ring around the edge, and then we filled the ring with cherry pie filling. The white base made the pie filling stand out bright and pretty.) I don't usually like cooked or processed cherries (maraschino cherries make me gag), but this was Jenn's specific request for her birthday party. What the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets.

So Jenn took us and the Hedge out for dinner (we decided on TGI Friday's as being family friendly, and got the Best Gay Waiter Ever) and then we went back to the Hedge and had the cupcakes (everyone said they were wonderful, and we introduced Alex and Henry to the concept of shooting whipped cream straight into your mouth from the can, which was awesome and I wish I'd had my camera ready to go) and then after the kids were in bed, the rest of us gamed until somewhere around midnight.

And then Sunday, pretty shortly after lunch, we took the kids down to Chuck-E-Cheese for Henry's birthday party.

I know it's not cool to like Chuck-E-Cheese if you're an adult, but I kind of do. I even like their pizza, which you're really not supposed to admit, but it was damned good pizza. I downloaded a coupon for extra tokens, and found out that if you bring in a recent report card, you can get extra tokens for good grades, so I dug up Penny's latest report card (5 As and a B!) and stuck that in my purse, too. The kids got big ol' handfuls of tokens to play, and there were even plenty of leftovers for Matt and I.

I donated a few of my tickets to Ripley so she could get a toy she wanted, and then I gave the rest to Alex, who didn't really grasp the whole "trade tickets for prizes" concept and was -- silly kid -- picking rides for the fun of them! (Yeah, that's sarcastic, and yet I expect if we'd prepared to leave and he'd realized his sister had gotten toys and he hadn't, there would have been trouble.)

Anyway, both kids had a great time, and they were really well behaved considering they were short on sleep, and now Alex is talking about maybe having his birthday there. (His birthday is eight months away; I'm taking it with a grain of salt for the moment.)

Anyway, both Alex and I went to bed a good half-hour or so earlier than usual last night. It was a great, fun weekend... but a tiring one.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cards Against Humanity... Online?

Nothing much happened yesterday, largely because I dumped a ridiculous amount of time into playing Cards Against Humanity online. (Okay, technically it's a way for them to gather data about what people in various groups find funny so they can improve the game, but from my perspective, it's an endless CAH game. Online. Um, don't click the link if you're anywhere that people can look over your shoulder, 'cause... Well, it's CAH. Not safe for work, kids, or pretty much anyone you haven't ever gotten drunk or high with.)

This is a cardset I got yesterday that was so amazing I just couldn't believe it. Of the ten offered responses, only two were not excellent answers to the question. I did a screengrab and doctored it a bit so I could share it, because... DAMN. (Click to embiggen.)

If you don't find all those answers to be at least a little bit funny... you probably should not play Cards Against Humanity with me. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Recipe Time!

Alex had a bad dream last night around 2:45 that left him convinced there was a bug crawling around his bed. Seriously, when I made him get back into bed, he crouched on the very tips of his toes on his blanket and eyed the sheets with wide-eyed suspicion. "What's that dot, Mommy? What's that line? What's that, there? No, there!" (Of course his sheets have pictures on them that, in the dark, produce dark patches that could well be bugs. If bugs were, y'know, the shape of Woody's hat.) And of course, by the time I had him convinced that there were no bugs and it was safe to lay down and go back to sleep, he'd been awake long enough that he didn't really want to sleep any more.

He was up for the better part of an hour. Perforce, so were Matt and I. So I'm not terribly coherent this morning.

Luckily, I took pictures as I was making dinner last night (because Matt gave me a new camera lens for our anniversary and I wanted to try it out) so today's entry is going to be a recipe. With pictures! (Er, if you click through the pictures to look at the bigger versions, try to ignore how messy my stove is. Aheh.) This is one of my all-time favorite soups, and it's both cheap and easy to make. Get ready for some truly awesome...

Black Bean Soup

I had this soup when I was in Mexico and loved it. I looked up recipes when I got home, but none of them really matched what I'd had down there. So I reverse-engineered it (I'd say 'cause I'm awesome like that, but really, it was just luck).

You start with a big soup pot, a couple of tablespoons of your choice of oil (I like to use a combination of vegetable oil and butter), and a medium-sized onion, diced. Put it on medium-high heat and sprinkle a little salt on it to help the onion sweat out its flavor.

When the onions are getting translucent and soft, you open two cans of black beans. If you can, get at least one can of them "seasoned". I've been experimenting with the various brands at my store, but really, they're all pretty much the same. Do not drain out the liquid; just dump it all in the pot.

In fact, add about a quarter-cup of hot water to each can and swish it around to rinse out all that tasty goodness. (You're going to have to rinse the can out anyway if you want to recycle it, right? Right?)

Then you add about eight ounces (= 1 cup. ish. I don't measure it, as being off a bit one way or the other won't make a big difference) of your favorite salsa. I'm a certified wimp when it comes to spicy food, so I get mild salsa, but you should use whatever you like. Except this is not the time to go for those delicious fruit-flavored salsas. I'm a peach and pineapple salsa addict, myself, but for this soup, you want plain old tomato salsa.

Dump it on in there and stir it up.

And then you add four cups of broth. I use chicken broth for the light flavor; if you wanted a richer, more complex flavor, you could go for beef broth. If you wanted to go vegetarian, you can use vegetable broth. I buy these 48-oz cartons of broth by the gross during the winter, when I'm making soup two or three times a week.

Yep, just pour it all in there. I did say this was really easy, right? Dicing the onion is pretty much the only real effort involved in this soup. And dicing an onion isn't exactly heavy labor.

Put the lid on it and let it simmer for a while. How long? Eh. If you're in a hurry, five minutes will do. If you like a thicker soup, leave the lid off and let some of the liquid boil off. At any rate, there's no need to go longer than half an hour. Stir it every little bit to make sure the beans aren't sticking to the bottom. And taste it at least once to see how you like the flavor. Add more salsa and/or other spices to taste -- but I never do. (This picture isn't really useful at all. I just think my pot is pretty and wanted to show it off.)

When it's done boiling, move it off the heat...

...and get out your immersion/stick blender. You can do this in a standard blender, in small batches, but that's a huge pain in the ass. Plus, I have a friend who was burned badly making soup in a blender. You can get a decent stick blender for $20 or less, and a pretty nice one for around $50. (Beyond that, you're getting into professional-grade blenders, and if you're going there, you don't need me to tell you about them.) But really, if you're only going to use it for soups, a cheap one is sufficient; the higher wattage blenders are only necessary if they're expected to tackle hard items like ice or nuts.

Digression done. Where was I? Oh, yes. Soup. Blend that mother until it's smooth and creamy. This one turned out a smidge more watery than usual, because I was finishing off that jar of salsa, so I added a little extra water to rinse it all out. Waste not, want not. But I probably should've taken the lid off for a bit to boil off the extra.

Spoon it into bowls and serve with a handful of tortilla chips, or with a spoonful of sour cream on top if you want to be decadent about it.

It's not the prettiest soup, but it's so delicious. Both of my kids love it -- even Alex, who as a rule does not like dinner. I get five or six servings out of this recipe, but those are entree-sized servings. If you were going to serve this as a side dish on, say, taco night or with quesadillas, you could get twice as many servings out of it.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Friday was supposed to be a D&D game, but one of our players was recovering from surgery, so neither she nor her husband could make it. So we decided instead to introduce the girls to a sort of D&D Lite via a free module that Matt found a while back.

Not Very Scary Monsters
It's a brilliant system, to be honest, a great introduction to some of the concepts of tabletop gaming without overwhelming you with choices. There are five pre-built characters to use. Each character has a number of hit points, an armor class, a speed/move rate, one "normal" attack, and one special ability. And that's pretty much it. Each player needs only two dice: a d20 and a d6. They roll the d20 to hit. Successful attacks do 1 point of damage. (Unless their special ability changes it, or they roll a natural 20, in which case they do a d6 damage.)

That's pretty much it. It's just enough game mechanic to get them used to moving around the game grid and rolling dice to attempt things and begin to understand some of the strategies of teamwork. Because it's aimed at kids, the artwork in the module is downright adorable. ("I want to be a girl!" they insisted when we started handing out characters. Thankfully, the names and character pictures are generic enough that they could be either gender, so we assured them that no one had to play a boy.)

The math is fairly simple -- basic addition and over/under comparison -- making it perfect for our 6-to-10 age range. To avoid squabbling over who got which character, we had them draw blind. Emma drew the elf wizard and made a gasping squee noise. "I'm an elf mage! That's all I've ever wanted in my life!" Penny drew the human fighter; I was worried she'd find it a boring choice, but she promptly dove into the character and began demanding blood and death from every opponent. (She also demanded to know what the damsel in distress looked like, and while I know her motives for asking were not along the typical fighter's line of thought, it still amused the hell out of me.)

"I want to spill blood!"
 Matt ran the adventure as it was written, with Braz sitting in to play the fifth character and Adin hovering nearby to help Ripley (who didn't really need help after the first few rounds, but was tired and therefore believed she did). I dashed back and forth taking pictures and live-tweeting it from my cell.

Aah! Scary monster!
Penny's fighter was swallowed by a bulette -- there was much squealing and "ewwww!"ing, but we promised her that the best kind of gaming events were the ones that you could tell awesome stories about later. (She survived the encounter, I promise.)

They cottoned on to simple strategy more quickly than I'd expected. The adults were gritting our teeth in frustration that they would flit from monster to monster instead of concentrating on one until it was dead, but they did quickly realize that they should try to arrange themselves to make it possible for Sarah (playing the rogue) to use her special backstab power (for which she had to be positioned directly opposite a party member), and Penny eventually started positioning her character to allow her to use her charge power.

When they successfully completed the module, Matt sealed their fates: he handed out a "hero badge" to each player that he had printed out for them to keep. They were so excited, it took us nearly an hour to get them calmed down and to bed, despite it being past 10pm.

The next day, all four of them demanded another game. So Braz wrote up a quick module, and this time he ran it while I played the spare character he'd played the previous night. He hammed it up for his audience with larger-than-life gestures and appropriately silly/gross touches like having Sarah's rogue attack hit the troll in his butt. Emma busted out a Princess Bride quote early on -- not just a TPB quote, but an adapted quote. "Hit it with the axe!" We swelled with pride.

Once again, everyone got an actual, physical reward for successful completion of the game -- this time, a penny that represented a token promising a favor from the town's mayor.

The girls would have demanded a third game on Sunday, but we told them more or less immediately that it wasn't going to happen, the adults having actual things to do. But we promised them another game soon. I guess it's my turn to write and run one.

Who'd have guessed that gaming with a bunch of elementary school kids would be so much fun?!


I also spent part of the weekend sanding and staining our new entertainment center/bookcase. There's not much to say about that. I planned marvelously for the actual sanding and painting, and made sure we got a dropcloth, and a tarp to put over it so it could stay outside overnight while it's drying, and everything... but didn't even think about cleanup. I had to call Matt and Penny back from an errand they were running on Saturday because I had polyurethane stain all over my hands and couldn't get it off with any cleaning substance to be found in the house. Matt kindly ran to the store and got some mineral spirits and Lava soap for me, and also some disposable gloves so I wouldn't have the same problem again for the second coat. Ah-heh.

At any rate, I got the shelf sanded and put two coats of stain on it over the weekend, and though my whole body still hurts this morning, I'm looking forward to getting it into place soon! Admittedly, it doesn't look like a professional job (either the carpentry or the finishing), but neither does it look bad. (It's those little imperfections that point to a handmade item, anyway, right?) Oh, well, whatever it looks like, it's going to do the job that our old entertainment center no longer does, and then we'll be able to hang our TV on the wall and get back the chair it's currently propped on!


And finally, a momentous moment for us: Matt and I took our baby boosters out of our cars this weekend. Alex is now officially, full-time on the regular booster, and Penny is now officially, full-time sitting on the car seat like a big kid!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I went to bed at 9:30 last night, and Alex stayed in his room this morning, so I got a solid eight hours of sleep, plus about half an hour of dozing. I feel much better. Not quite up to snuff, yet, but definitely better.

Naturally, I'm going to blow it on gaming tonight.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to sand and stain our new shelves that Brian built so that the stain can dry overnight and we'll be able to put the shelves in place sometime on Sunday.

That's pretty much my entire plan for the weekend, which I'm hoping means that I'll get in a nap sometime, as well.

That's about it. Yay for a mostly relaxing weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Once again with the sleep deprivation.

Well, I should be honest. It's not true deprivation. It's not like I have insomnia, or a newborn. I just got behind somewhere, and I can't seem to catch up. Alex woke me up -- again -- at about 5 this morning, and then after I got him back to bed, he kept coming back into our room every time I was just about to fall back to sleep. Which means that effectively, I stopped resting at about 5 this morning. So I'm just that much further behind, now.

"So," Matt murmured when the alarm went off at 6, "when are we rearranging the room so I'm closest to the door?"

I chuckled, but I would do it in a heartbeat if I thought it would actually work.

We're gaming tomorrow night, which means I'll be up late again. But we have no other solid plans for the weekend (aside from finishing the shelves for the dining room, which I'm hoping to do Saturday morning so we can put them in place on Sunday) and so on Sunday morning, when it's my turn to sleep in? My ass is sleeping in.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Hooray for days off and friends and family and fun!

As it turned out, at the last possible moment, I got to take Friday off altogether. So I drove Penny down to Chesapeake for a sleepover -- I got to hang out with KT for a couple of hours and chat, and we had lunch together, and I got to see the condo they're about to buy before I came back up -- and in the meantime, Matt and Adin went to Busch Gardens, where they got to ride all the rides. All the roller coasters that Matt's had to walk wistfully past because he's been with me (I hate roller coasters) or Penny (who loves roller coasters but has height restrictions), he got to ride with Adin. They had a fantastic time, despite it being just a touch chilly.

I met them there around 2, by which time they'd pretty much done all the rides. I wanted to do Dark Kastle -- they'd already done it, but I wasn't going to name any rides they hadn't already done -- so we went over and did it. We wound up in a car with a trio of pre-teen (or maybe early teen) girls behind us. The girls started screaming the instant our car moved, and right at first, I thought that was going to be annoying, but it actually turned out to be awesome, in fact, adding an element of verve to the ride. As we dismounted, we joked about just following them to whatever they were doing next.

But by that point, the park was getting stupidly crowded and all the lines were crazy long. We got in line for another ride, but just before we got to it, the ride broke. And we were watching the clock to make sure we weren't late picking up the kids, so we got some snacks and meandered slowly and happily back home. (When it's my turn to spend a full day at the park without the kids, I want to do all the shows.)

Since Penny was off at her sleepover, we were free of our usual carb/dessert restraints for dinner, so we had pizza (real pizza, from Papa John's, which I have missed a lot) and Coldstone, and then we got to hang out with Adin (and Braz, once he got back from his trip) until it was time to go home.

Saturday was very busy: I boiled eggs, did the week's grocery shopping so I wouldn't have to do it on Easter morning, and then made peas with pearl onions for Easter dinner and a lemon chess pie for Easter dessert. While Alex was napping and Matt and Penny were off at the library, I put the kids' Easter baskets together.

After Alex woke up, the kids dyed eggs and had a great time doing it.

When that was done, we took the kids over to the Hedge, ate a quick dinner, and then Matt and I went out for a little date night -- we went to see A Separation at the DoG Street theater. As a note, the descriptions of the movie that we'd seen makes it sound like the movie's pivot/plot points turn on the couple's decision whether to leave the country and/or whether to get divorced; in fact, those decisions are made in the first ten minutes of the film, and the rest of it hinges on what falls out because of it. It was still very good, just not the movie we thought we were getting.

Another note: DEPRESSING. I mean, we knew it was a movie about living in Iran, and that it was going to be depressing. But the only -- and I mean only, entirely free of hyperbole -- happy moment in the movie is a brief scene that exists, I'm fairly certain, solely so it can drop you off the highest possible cliff when the next moment of horror strikes.

When the movie was done, we walked across DoG Street to the Trellis for dessert. Which only made me want to have dessert at the Trellis more often, because they had four or five things I really wanted to try.

Then we went back to the Hedge and cheered ourselves up by hanging with Braz and Adin and playing Cards Against Humanity.

We were up early on Easter, of course, because the kids knew the baskets were waiting... They had fun with them, and didn't even whine too much when I told them they'd have to wait until at least 9 before I'd go hide eggs outside for them. We went over to my parents' more or less immediately after lunch, where they hunted more eggs, and then we had an early dinner.

(I'll have Easter pictures later; I'm still sorting them.)

You'd think that a holiday devoted to chocolate and candy (well, okay, it is at our house) would be a nightmare for parents of a diabetic kid, and you'd probably be right, except not this time. We let her have a measured amount of candy at every meal (though for two of those meals, she deliberately chose to have less candy than we were allowing, because she's very much in the "but if I eat it, then I won't have it" camp when it comes to chocolate), and while she coasted on the high side of her range for most of the day, she did, in fact, only have one officially high blood sugar, and no lows. Which is a better record than she's had for most of the last month, to be honest, so we were both pleased and astonished. (Not enough to let her have candy more often, though, which I think was her secret wish.)

We got home around 5, and I was just about ready to go to bed right away, except that Jenn and Brian came down to deliver the new shelves/entertainment unit that Brian had built for us. It looks great, though we still need to sand and stain it before we put it in its final resting place. Which means I need to get my hands on a sander (I'm tempted to just buy one), and run to the hardware store for some brushes, a dropcloth, and a tarp to cover it so it can dry overnight without dew forming on it. (There's my project for this coming weekend, I guess.) Anyway, Jenn and Brian stayed until around 10 or so. By the time they left, I was ready to completely fall over from exhaustion, which is why I've still only got egg-dying pictures and not Easter Day pictures posted.

I've been ignoring my camera too much lately, though -- I wound up taking tons of pictures that were either way too light or way too dark because I'd forgotten to check the settings before I started snapping. Sigh. Well, now that the weather is getting nice, maybe I'll remember to grab the camera more often.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Under threat of canceling the sleepover she has planned for tomorrow night, Penny has been almost supernaturally good during the last few days. I'm not even kidding: she picked up her brother's toys last night. Without even being asked to do so.

I took her shopping yesterday for an Easter outfit. She'd told me in no uncertain terms that she did not want a fancy dress for Easter. What she wanted precisely was to wear a skirt or a skort with a "cute shirt with a chick or a bunny".

Silly me, I thought that might be doable. I'd forgotten that she is no longer wearing toddler clothes, and that in big kid departments, there aren't really any holiday-specific tees outside of Christmas and Hallowe'en. So we wandered listlessly around the Kohl's. I tried to interest her in a shirt with pretty butterflies or ruffles on them, but no dice. At least she wasn't being whiney. (Cf above: supernaturally good.)

Suddenly, she turned around and said, "MOM! O. M. G!"

She really did say the letters O-M-G like that. I don't know which of her friends taught her that, but I'd like to strangle them.

"Mom! This is beautiful!" She held up a pretty yellow dress, pleated and decorated with sparkles.

"I thought you didn't want a fancy dress," I said.

"This isn't fancy," she said.

... Who am I to argue? We picked several dresses off the not-fancy (but totally fancy) dress rack and went into the dressing room to try them on. The yellow dress was not very flattering to either her color or her figure and the green dress was gorgeous but had a scratchy crinoline. But the turquoise dress! Comfortable and sparkly and pretty and flattering. We even found  a sweater-shrug for her to wear over top of it in case it's chilly, and it's white, so she can use it with any of her other sleeveless dresses, too.

I didn't buy her the shirt with the attached necklace that she was excited about, and she didn't beg or whine. Supernaturally. Good.

So she's all set for Easter clothes, yay! And so is Alex, because I'd bought him a button-down shirt with lighter blues and yellows a couple of weeks ago, and I set it aside earlier this week when he tried to pick it to wear. (Alex loves button-down shirts. It's adorable. Now if I could just convince him that button-downs should be worn with khakis or jeans instead of with sweatpants, he'd be set to go.)

Tomorrow, Penny's got that sleepover, after which she can (and probably will) stop being so good. Saturday, of course, we'll need to dye and decorate eggs. (I got a dozen for each kid. I'm going to be eating an ass-ton of hardboiled eggs over the next few weeks.) And I'll be baking, too, because Sunday's dessert is pretty much in my hands. (I'm waffling between lemon chess pie, which is my traditional Easter dessert, or ice cream and berries, which would be easy.) And then, of course, Sunday is Chocolate Bunny day -- there will be baskets to fill, eggs to hide and hunt, and a late lunch/early dinner at my parents'.

The weather for the next few days looks delightful and spring-like -- sunny and warm without being hot.


I hope you all have a perfect weekend, too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Geekery and Sundry

Hey, gang! Late post today, I know. That's because I've been lining up posts for my guest day over at the Torquere Press blog. There's going to be talk about our dream jobs and pictures of hot guys and excerpts from my latest release, so if that kind of thing floats your boat, then paddle on over there to check it out!

Otherwise... Not much to talk about. I'm working from home today, and again tomorrow. It's looking like a busy weekend, but hopefully a fun one.

The new season of Game of Thrones has launched, so I'm looking forward to that. You know, when it comes out on DVD next year. I'm sure I would never watch illegally-acquired videos that aren't available for legal download outside of an HBO subscription(*).

Also, I'm in love with the new Geek and Sundry channel on You Tube, and I don't even watch a lot of videos, so you know if I'm making time for this, it's awesome. Wil Wheaton's Tabletop feature makes me want 1) to play more board games with my friends, and 2) to buy one of those awesome gaming tables.

* By which I mean, I would totally watch illegally-acquired GoT episodes. How effing stupid is HBO, anyway? If they offered the eps for sale individually on iTunes or their website or whatever, I would buy them. I would even wait a week or two for their subscribers to get that first-run benefit. But I'm not waiting a whole effing year for the DVD to come out to watch this season.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Spring Break is fraught with concern for a kid with working parents.

Penny was actually pale and withdrawn this morning, worried that her friend at the daycare wouldn't be there.

Then we got in the car and she looked in her lunchbox to take inventory and discovered that the little tupperware cup of sugar-free syrup I put in there for her waffles had leaked. Ug.

So we got to the daycare and I send her into the kitchen to put her lunchbox in the fridge while I take Alex back to the classroom, and by the time he's taken off his coat and we've gone into the pre-K classroom where everyone is for the moment, Penny's still not joined us. So I head back up to the front to find her and end up going over some diabetes-care questions with the director and then having her figure our tuition for the week so I could write the check.

When Penny and I get back to the pre-K classroom, Alex is sitting at a table with his back to the door. I assume he's playing, but I want a hug and a kiss, so I go over to him... to discover that he's just sitting there, alone, quietly sobbing because he thought I'd left without saying goodbye.

Dammit. So I sit on a little chair and hold him on my lap for a while and reassure him that I'd never ever leave him without a hug and a kiss and so forth and so on, but of course he's worked himself into a lather, so I have to take him over to the teacher and sort of pry him off. (I say "sort of" because he did actually let go of me of his own free will, but he was still crying. So I guess it was more like I had to be pried off, emotionally at least.)

But luckily, Penny's friend was there. I got the most perfunctory good-bye hug and kiss ever from her when I left.

I want a do-over on this morning.