Thursday, December 28, 2006

tedium, tedium

yesterday afternoon, i helped h put together his lego bionicle playset. that is, if by "helped" you mean "put the whole thing together while child and kittens fiddled with the plastic bits." have ANY of you taken on a large scale lego project in your lives? it is eye-straining, back-spasming tedium. i've put together piles and piles of the actual bionicle robots, they're very easy and very playable once they're built. you can even take them apart and interchange the parts into your own cool new robot creation! wow. but this playset, this was a whole different story. there were about 15 little plastic baggies in the set, each filled with a few hundred shiny, colorful lego building blocks in diffrent sizes and shapes. what they don't tell you on the exterior of the package is that THERE IS ONLY ONE OF THE PIECE YOU NEED, and that YOU HAVE TO FIND IT AMONG THE 20,000 OTHER PIECES.

oh, honestly. h was trying to help me find the appropriate piece per the instructions, if by "trying" you mean messing around with the kittens. usually i could find what i needed, but occasionally it would take 10 minutes to locate the small, flat, red, square, four-nubbed piece necessary to build the ENTIRE rest of the structure. one time, i asked h to go upstairs and get his basic box of legos so i could substitute an unfound piece, and he said, "i'm too sick!" my reply? "then i'm too sick to build the rest of this castle!" (i'm not normally so snotty, but this was after at least 3 hours of legoing. my patience was running thin.) he slunk off the chair and plodded, head down, toward the stairs when i shouted, "FOUND IT!" boy, was he relieved not to put in the effort of 14 stairsteps.

the end result was... i would use the word "breathtaking..." but it was really just underwhelming. all that work? all those itty bitty pieces? for THIS?! h enjoyed playing with the built set until it slowly began to fall apart from playing with it. that's right, folks, FALL APART. from PLAYING. with a TOY. then orion knocked over the towers. then it was bedtime.

it's still on the kitchen table today, and my question is, what to do with it? i can semi-dismantle it and place it in a box, but will it ever again be rebuilt? will it get played with in a semi-built mode? will it crumble into it's original state of a zillion pieces disconnected? but most importantly... what was the point?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

christmas morning

i'm a little late posting the christmas morning photos, mostly because i'm overwhelmed with mess! also, blogger was being testy, then s got pneumonia. i am SO SICK of the doctor's office, i can't even tell you. and i didn't even blog about t's trip there last week which darn near resulted in one-way ambulance trip to the hospital. hopefully everyone is really, truly, FINALLY on the road to recovery (except me, i'm fine).

christmas photos never look so great, but it's the nostalgia that keeps me taking them year after year. luckily, only the back of my head made it into a few photos. photo avoidance is critical.

here is my sweet boy on christmas morning, perusing the gi joe sigma 6 toy he got from grandma & papa. his gift from santa was a razor scooter (faintly visible behind his head), but he got loads of books and action figures, too.
above: i'm just surveying the mess from on high...

girlfriend was ecstatic over diego's animal rescue center. a little babyish for her, but she has a crush on diego. not to mention that she loves animals.

santa brought her the blonde american girl doll; the dark haired one (samantha) is mine. ALL MINE! AND I'M NOT SHARING! no, really. s wanted all the native american accoutrements for the doll, but wanted the doll to have blonde hair and blue eyes like her. no problem. we did extensive research for an appropriate name, and dubbed the doll "kaliska" which means 'coyote hunting deer' in miwok. clever!

altogether we had fun. i got nice new clothes, and t got an xbox 360. but christmas isn't so much about us adults now, is it?

hope yours was fun, too.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

christmas pictures

these are the photos i intended to intesperse with the perfectly pc holiday greeting below as an ironic contradiction. it was good in theory, but a blogger reality prevented it.

my babies on santa's lap... have you heard the terrible song "i farted on santa's lap"? well, that's all i can think of when i see this photo. sigh.

s is JUST learning to write, and worked VERY HARD on this drawing. the bag in her hand is a dog carrier with a dog in it.

she wore this outfit to several holiday events... the nose blinked on and off. my littlest reindeer!

again, merry christmas and happy holidays.

Hello Melissa: Holiday Edition

hey all! i've been trying for 2 days to upload cheerful holiday photos... obviously unsuccessfully... to add to this greeting. no, i did not write it, but found it very funny. my best to you all and your families!

"Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all."

"Additionally, a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regard to the race, creed, color, religious, or sexual preferences of the wishes."

"(Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.)"

Friday, December 22, 2006

you look so cute in that hat!

i promise no more kitten photos after this. they are still a novelty, and SO DARN CUTE. they curled up today in h's "samurai jack" hat and my cowgirl hat. awwwww! just like a cheesy cat calendar!then orion curled up in the boughs of the christmas tree. more kitty calendar cheesiness! fun for everyone! now that you're all thoroughly sick to your stomachs, you can join t and s in their vomit-fest. h is only hacking up a lung. me?? i'm just fine, thanks, after 52 1/2 loads of laundry.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

about these kittens...

the family is adjusting to the kittens really well! tibby is hissing and growling at them, but tibby hisses and growls at everyone and everything, so that's to be expected. jane follows them with loads of curiosity, and is starting to play with them. the kids have mini kitty scratches all over their hands and shoulders, but that doesn't deter them from loving these little guys to bits.

the kitties are adjusting to our home and family! they are eating more, playing more (the floor is littered with little kitty toys) and have done no major amount of destruction. we have discovered that they like people food, unfortunately, because i served up pumpkin pie with whipped cream and they both wanted their helpings.

however, the cutest thing is that jingle bell nurses on orion's ear when they're snuggled up together. it is so cute! tibby has always suckled his back foot, but i'd never seen a cat do that to another cat. orion gets a little irritated, but gives her a few minutes before he shakes his head and stalks away. very funny.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

orion and jingle bell

yesterday there was a flyer in the mailbox from a foster home for cats. seems the county shelter was so overrun that the foster mother had somewhere around 60 cats at her home and pottery studio that needed adopting. one of our two cats died last summer, and the other cat is just pure evil, so i'd been considering another kitten in the back of my brain for awhile.

when this flyer appeared, i showed it to t, and he thought it might be a good idea to get a kitten for jane. she wants SO BADLY to be friends with the devil cat, but tibby wants nothing to do with her. i called the foster parent, her name is siglinda scarpa, and she also happens to be a reknowned italian-american sculptor. if you need to rent a villa in tuscany, give her a call!

we agreed to meet the cats today when i got done volunteering at the school christmas parties. i went home, grabbed t, and away we went to the goat house gallery. it is a beautiful goat farm, with dogs, cats, and peafowl running around, and fountains trickling behind bent-wood fences along the path from the house to the studio. the studio was almost infested with cats of every size, shape and color. i am a "cat person," so snuggling a zillion sweet kitties was heaven to me. there were several possibilities in the kitten department, but i left the ultimate decision to t. it came down to a sweet, trilling black female or a brother and sister grey tabby set.

t decided on the siblings.

we brought them home and let them get used to some sounds and smells on the back porch, including jane. jane was far more scared of them than they were of her! she cowered when they growled, but within minutes they were all doing fine. the kids got off the bus, and we blindfolded them to surprise them and put one kitten in each of their laps. they had NO IDEA this was coming, so their little faces lit up, and then the laughing ensued.

s claimed the girl and christened her "jingle bell."

h claimed the boy and named him "orion."

they're terrorizing the christmas tree as i type, but there is loads of giggling involved so i am happy. i'll keep you up to date on our new arrivals as the days go by!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

white russian

i was looking for an alcoholic adventure in my nearly-bare liquor cabinet this evening, and came across my almost-empty bottle of kahlua. ah HAH! that's it! it had been awhile since i mixed up a white russian. although it's been incredibly and gorgeously warm here (68-70 during the day) i still want a small taste of the season, and what better than this drink.

first, take a real klassy tumbler like my 'tom and jerry' jelly jar (surf's up!) and add the following, in this order:

crushed ice
1 shot vodka
1 shot kahlua (or bailey's)
and top it with milk or cream.

or eggnog if you're feeling REALLY festive, but i will not endorse the final product as i've never tried it.

you can either stir it or drink it as-is, it's simply delectable. like ice cream for grownups. just don't tell anyone i'm a grownup, k? i'm still in denial.

happy sipping everyone!

ps. i missed my 200 post anniversary a few posts back, so... HAPPY 200th POST-A-VERSARY, HELLO, MELISSA!! here's to 200 more.

Friday, December 15, 2006

someday my prints will come...

unbelievably, our "home" computer printer has not worked since about june. i kept thinking i could uninstall and reinstall, or magically fix it with an update. i've uploaded, restarted, stood on my head, YOU NAME IT! but the printer still refused to work (although the attached scanner worked... odd...).

yesterday we threw in the towel while ordering much-needed ink for the work printer. we needed the package overnight, and to add a whole printer to the overnight order only added $2 to the shipping costs, so we bit.

now it's all prettily installed, and printing all the receipts and necessaries that have been awaiting printing for the past, oh, 6 months. yeeehaw! i'm so excited, i feel almost normal again.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

hot diggity blog ziggety

this morning while i was sleeping, jane the wonder dog started whining at h's bedroom door.

"stop whining!" i told her. "it's not time to get up yet."

i rolled over and looked at the clock. it was 6:30, the time i get h up and dressed. i had forgotten to set my alarm.

needless to say, janey was treated like a queen today, as if she wasn't every day.

confirming what i've secretly known for some time...

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods (me? moody?).

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

thanks, lotus for the fun quiz. t ("the sun") cracked up when he saw high priestess, while i threw my arms up in the air like a champ. we thought about doing a fake quiz, putting in answers like "asexual" for gender and "vengeance" as a thing we value, but heck, it's time to get to work now.

anybody else wanna play along?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

tuesdays with melissa

each tuesday (as long as no one is barfing up a lung or something) i go to the kids' school to volunteer. i tried to help at school a few years back, and had trouble committing since s was still at home with me and t's schedule was crazy. last year, i attempted to join and contribute to the pta instead, an endeavor that ultimately ended up crashing and burning... THANKFULLY before i lost my sanity. since i really do enjoy the kids, and have much more time on my hands now, i thought it would be better to go back to helping KIDS, and the teachers of my kids in particular. this has been a resounding success for all, and the best part is I LOVE IT and look forward to every tuesday.

first of all, theirs is a small country k-8 school, and a very warm and inviting place. if the pay for a fun job like assistant teacher weren't so ridiculously low, i'd be working there full-time in a heartbeat! as it stands, i go in at 9:30 to help in s's kindergarten. i then proceed to have lunch with her class, then h's 2nd grade class, then help out during the 2nd grade "workshops." sometimes i'm home by 1:30.

kindergarten is a riot. this bunch is loud, funny, crazy and smart, although prone to the immature. the teacher and i were trying to figure out WHY today, and discovered that many of them are the babies of their families! interesting, huh? mostly what i do there is tutor kids individually on alphabet, sounds, words or sentences depending on their ability level. the spectrum is broad... some are reading books, while others only know a few capital letters. occasionally i'm pressed into service doing crafts, monitoring recess, filing papers or passing out snacks... you name it, i do it.

lunch is really pretty boring because for me it ends up to be almost an hour long. and that school food! do you remember it? sometimes lunch is uneventful, with the kindergartners competing for my attention on pointless knock-knock jokes, or needing help opening their milk cartons. the second graders are really into making fart noises with their armpits or asking you to spell "i cup" for them. today was much more eventful as a boy in s's class barfed all over the lunchroom floor and i was left in charge of 19 five- and six- year olds while the teacher took him to change his clothes and to call his mom (the assistant teacher was home sick). instead of having lunch with h, i took mercy on the k teacher as she had had no bathroom break and virtually no lunch, and returned to her class to help her some more.

the second graders are shockingly smart, and much more independent than the kindergartners. i "float" through the room, helping anybody that needs assistance on whatever task they're on. it's SO much easier for the most part than the little kids, but today the big kids were SO full of giggles and wiggles. it was a "sit down and FOCUS!" kind of day, and a kid in h's class also was sick (we got him out before he could barf) causing some drama for the whole group.

normally i'd go home at this point, but taking pity on the kindergarten teacher, i helped her wrap up a few loose ends before leaving.

and i'll do it all over again each and every tuesday! i feel so lucky to be able to know my kids' school, teachers, and friends so well, and it also gives me a frame of reference as to what their curriculum is, as well as their individual strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. also, both my kids and the kids in their classes are so glad to have me there, and i get so many smiles and hugs. it's incredibly rewarding, and i hope i can continue to volunteer for the rest of my kids' school careers.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

my young author

yesterday, t went to school to discuss Being An Illustrator to h's 2nd grade class as they are writing their "young authors" books. he got there at 12:30 and called me at 1:30 saying um? henry feels sick and looks green? and i'm on my bike? so off i went to school, grabbed the boy, went to warn the girl that the boy wouldn't be on the bus with her (she worries) and she burst into tears over her snack of donuts so i took them both home. half an hour later, h got the chills, a fever of 102 and started barfing. he proceeded to sleep, barf again, then wake up at 10:30 pm asking for pancakes and sausage. i agreed to the pancakes, but NO WAY was i gonna clean up partially digested sausage. he's feeling much better today, but we skipped dance class today... JUST IN CASE. anyhow, the following is h's story, and i'll post the illo once it's done.

it's a southwestern retelling of "jack in the beanstalk," and i love all the exclamation points.

Jack Rabbit and the Giant Cactus Stalk
By H L Edwards

There once was a poor family that only held Jack Rabbit and his Mamma. It was a hard year in the desert. One day, Jack Rabbit went off into the desert. Suddenly, he saw something pokin’ out of the sand.

“What in the tater sauce is that!” explained Jack Rabbit. He RAN over to see what it was. And it was a… coyote skull! Then he picked it up and started hoppin’ down the bunny trail to his home. When he got home he shouted out, “Mamma! Mamma! Loooook at what I found!”

“What is it this time?!?” said Mamma.

“I found a coyote skull!” said Jack Rabbit. “We could sell it for some money!”

“That’s wonderful!” said Mamma. “We could sell it to the tree lizard antique collector!”

“Okay, I will, Mamma!” said Jack Rabbit as he started hopping all the way to the antique collector.

When Jack Rabbit found the antique collector he spoke: “If I give you this coyote skull could you give me some money?”

“Oh, you don’t NEED money!” said the antique collector. “How about I trade you some Magic Cactus Seeds?” said the antique collector in his deepest southern accent.

“Okay, I’ll take ‘em!” said Jack Rabbit, unsure about this. He gave the antique collector the coyote skull, and the antique collector gave Jack Rabbit the Magic Cactus Seeds. Jack Rabbit the twelve-year-old bunny started hopping home.

When Jack Rabbit showed his seeds to his mom, she threw them out the window, saying nothing. Jack Rabbit heard his Mamma crying. He felt bad for her. Jack Rabbit thought they might help. It wasn’t his fault. So, Jack Rabbit was sent to bed without supper.

That night, when Mamma and Jack Rabbit were sound asleep, a stem started growing in their yard. Then it got prickly. After that, there was a saguaro cactus in the blink of an eye! Then it grew taller and Taller and TAller and TALLEr and TALLER! And at that time, it touched the sky!

Jack Rabbit could not sleep. He got up to get some fresh air and then he saw that cactus. He couldn’t believe his eyes! The seeds had worked!

“Hmmm?” thought Jack Rabbit. “Maybe there’s some gold and money up there!” But how could he climb a cactus?

So… Jack Rabbit got four big stones, found some prickly pear fruit, and splattered it on each stone. The four stones were sticky now! Jack Rabbit put both of his feet and paws on one of the stones. When he started climbing, the quills of the saguaro cactus were falling off! About two hours later, Jack Rabbit had touched the clouds! He thought it was worth trying to walk on the clouds. Jack Rabbit put one foot on the cloud then another… and good thing he was standing on the clouds. But in a far distance, he could see The Biggest Castle he had ever seen!
Jack Rabbit decided to walk up to it. When he got to the door it was HUGE!

Jack Rabbit was curious, so he creaked open the door and went in. Creeeek! But then…Jack Rabbit heard a “Tee Tie Toe Tum! I smell the blood of a Western Rabbit!”

Jack Rabbit hid behind the giant stove. Jack Rabbit peeked out from behind the stove and saw… A Giant Desert Tortoise! The Giant Desert Tortoise was going to look behind the stove! Jack Rabbit ran quietly to behind the giant green sofa!

“There’s nothing there,” groaned the Giant Desert Tortoise.

But then, Jack Rabbit heard a squawk! Jack Rabbit followed the sound while the Giant Tortoise fell to sleep. Then Jack rabbit came to a room of roadrunners trapped in cages!!!!!!!!!!

“P l e e e e e a s e let us out of here!” whispered one of the roadrunners.

“Where’s the key?” whispered Jack Rabbit.

“The Giant Desert Tortoise has it!” explained another roadrunner.

“Alright!” whispered Jack Rabbit. “I’ll get the key!”

“But you might never return!” whispered another one of the roadrunners.

Jack Rabbit left, not saying anything!

Soon, Jack Rabbit was in the Giant Desert Tortoise’s bedroom. Quietly, Jack Rabbit crept up to the Giant Desert Tortoise’s chest and quietly picked up the giant key and hopped down off of the bed.

Jack Rabbit ran instead of hopped to the room with the roadrunners! He unlocked every cage and the roadrunners ran out! One of them gave Jack Rabbit a ride!

Suddenly, the Giant Desert Tortoise came running down the hall! “Give me back my roadrunners!” yelled the Giant Desert Tortoise!

The roadrunners got down the cactus in five seconds. It didn’t hurt their feet because Jack Rabbit knocked the quills off on the way up. But then the Giant Desert Tortoise accidentally fell off the cactus instead of climbing! The Giant Desert Tortoise exploded at the bottom!

The roadrunners gave Jack Rabbit enough money to buy food for five years! They then lived happily ever after!

The End

Friday, December 08, 2006

stop me if you've heard this one...

three blondes are out hunting when they come upon some tracks.

"are those moose tracks?" asked the first blonde.

"no, i'm pretty sure they're bear tracks," said the second blonde.

the third blonde didn't get to say anything because she got hit by the train.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

abc me me me

okay j, i'll play along.

A - Available/single? happily unavailable since june 1992
B - Best Friend? my man
C - Cake or Pie? pie i think... pumpkin or pecan
D - Drink Of Choice? coffee
E - Essential Item You Use Everyday? toothbrush... i'm a clean mouth freak
F - Favorite Color? green green green
G - Gummy Bears Or Worms? the white/clear gummy bears
H - Hometown? can't really claim one, but i grew up in carmel, in
I - Indulgence? sushi
J- January Or February? the forsythia blooms in february, which means spring isn't far behind
K - Kids & Their Names? h, a boy aged 8, and s ("toilet"), a girl aged 5
L - Life Is Incomplete Without? family
M - Marriage Date? april 15. tax day!!!
N - Number Of Siblings? 2 brothers: 1 older and 1 much (10 yrs) younger
O - Oranges Or Apples? oranges, esp in the fresh squeezed juice form
P - Phobias/Fears? something bad happening to my kids
Q - Favorite Quote? "take it for what it is" axl rose
R - Reason to Smile? my family & dog. generic, i know
S - Season? spring. a fresh, clean, new beginning after the cold
T - Tag Three or Four People? eh, whoever wants to play
U - Unknown Fact About Me? i don't wash my face at night
V - Vegetable you don’t like? raw onions
W - Worst Habit? probably picking my fingernails or swiping at my runny nose with a sleeve for lack of kleenex
X - X-rays You’ve Had? most recently TEETH when i had braces 2 yrs ago
Y - Your Favorite Food? can't pick. too many. i love food.
Z - Zodiac Sign? cancer, and i'm VERY typical of the sign

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

comfort food

when your mind wanders, do you ever ask yourself those "what if" questions? as in, what if i went back to school, what would i study? or what if i opened a store, what kind of store would it be? how would it be decorated? what products would i carry?

the entrepreneurial part of me is thriving, however i don't have the drive to be a small business owner, and dreaming is all i am able to do. the main ponderings i do are about restaurants, and what kind i would open.

after years of careful daydreaming, i have decided that i would open a restaurant called "comfort food" (and yes, i was born a cancer). the decorations would be warm colors, woods and plushes. a couple of roaring fires would invite folks to eat their dinners on easy chairs at a coffee table. it would be small and quaint so as to reduce hustle and bustle, and would smell like mom roasting turkey and baking apple pie at the same time.

the menu would serve breakfast all day. breakfast is one of my favorite comfort foods. eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast, benedict... you name it. all day. a fully stocked oatmeal/grits/cream of wheat bar would be in place where you could choose your own toppings for stirring in. lunches would be mostly creamy soups and thick stews (not from a can) with buttery biscuits and a selection of hot teas... infused of course, no teabags.

dinner would feature bubbly casseroles and sauteed vegetables... primarily squashes and such. roast beef or turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy would always be available. my favorite idea would be that patrons could request THEIR OWN comfort foods from the chef. if the idea is chosen, it would be a special of the week for everyone to try... maybe to become a comfort food for them, too!

dessert would be a focus on pies and puddings. possibly apple, pecan and pumpkin pie, a cheesecake thrown in for good measure, with bread pudding and rice pudding as staples.

i know it's a brief description (must wake children. must shower. must go to dentist), but what do YOU think? what would YOU want to see at a restaurant that featured comfort food? which foods do you turn to? it's easier to ponder with the weather outside being frightful and all... :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

new post

in response to lotus' comment on my last post...


i wrote a lengthy, thoughtful post this morning before running errands the rest of the day and blogger ATE IT. i swear, i am not making that up. here is the condensed version.

f went home on friday. she was happy. i was emotional.

shopping nightmare after dance class saturday.

took the kids to "nutcracker" on sunday.

did a bunch of stuff i needed to do today.

more when i'm less frustrated with losing posts.