Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Pope and the HTS

One of my bleeps who hasn't flown in a while was asking advice about what to wear on the plane. Naturally I had many opinions to share with her. My general thoughts are these:

  • Wear comfortable layers*. The temperature on planes vary widely. A cardigan sweater can come in handy even in the middle of July. (*This doesn't mean "feel free to dress like a slob". No need to wear sweatpants with the word "Juicy" on your ass and your beloved sorority t-shirt that may, or may not, still fit. )
  • For the love of god wear shoes you can slip on and off without laces, buckles, etc. I don't care how much you work out; when you bend over to untie/unbuckle them? It will not be a pretty sight.
  • Wear SOCKS! You WILL have to take your shoes off and you do NOT want to be walking through security in bare feet.
  • PLEASE leave your enormous watch, belt buckle, chunky silver necklace at home. They will set off the metal detector and I will feel like beating you with them when you have to stop and remove them.

My rules, however, kind of fly out the window on international flights. If I'm spending ten plus hours on a flight? Dashing through multiple airports? And trying to get some sleep in uncomfortable surroundings? I'm wearing the track suit people!

Several years ago we took a trip to Ireland with the Precious Daughters. Who were MORTIFIED that their mother was wearing a track suit on the plane. They dubbed it the HTS (Hideous Track Suit) and took great glee in poking fun at me and my "old lady" need for comfort over style.

About a year later the Saint and I went to Italy. Against their protestations; I once again wore the HTS. You do see where this is going don't you? The plane landed late, we arrived at our accommodations (a convent BTW, by show of hands who wants to hear THAT story?) with only enough time to dump our luggage in the lobby before LITERALLY RUNNING down the hill to the Vatican to meet the Pope.

So let this be a cautionary tale. Comfort is all well and good but remember; what you wear on the plane MIGHT end up being what you wear to meet the Queen of England. Or the Pope.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Today kind of kicked my ass

Do you have Redbud Trees where you live? I've come to appreciate them. (Just over my right shoulder are the soon to be dismantled remnants of Precious Youngest's childhood.)

Lovely heart shaped leaves will follow.

White Dogwood

Pink Crabapple

A Red Dogwood out front.

Columbine in one of the front beds.

And a carpet of Creeping Phlox in another.


Fannie: remarks to the Saint whilst looking out the kitchen window at the swing set in the back yard "The seats on the swings are looking a little ragged; do you think we should replace them?"

Precious Youngest: with disdain "No one even FITS in those seats any more."

Fannie: thoughtfully "Well maybe not you, but......You know? We don't really have that many little ones visiting any more. Maybe we should take the whole thing down."

Precious Youngest: now horrified and filled with dismay "Geez mom, way to dismantle my childhood before I'm even out of high school!"

Monday, April 28, 2008

I tried to warn you

The next time I tell you I have nothing in draft mode but a bunch of whiny, self indulgent shit? Run for the hills people! That said, this would be a good time for you to offer up thanks that even I'm tired of my own whining. So I'll be moving on.

Spring is very pretty here. I have wonderful pictures of all our flowering tress. Still in the camera of course, but I'll try to get them up soon. The weather was decent enough over the weekend for me to work in the gardens. There is still a possibility of a frost, so I have to be careful what and where I plant. I have a ridiculous amount of garden area which requires an early start if I want to get everything done. The majority of my gardens are planted with perennials, but it's almost impossible to keep color here all summer without throwing in some annuals.

I got all of my pots (Begonias, Verbena, Vinca) planted because they're easy to move and protect if the weather turns. I also got most of a flat of Sweet Alysum in the ground; they don't seem to mind a little cold weather. As anxious as I am to put the tomatoes and herbs out I think the ground is still a little too cold. The asparagus, on the other hand, is producing like crazy!

Come the heat and humidity of August I'll be cursing the upkeep of all of this. But right now it just feels good to be outside in the fresh air - anticipating warm weather, fresh flowers and the flavors of summer.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Worst Thing

I'll never forget the shock of that day. Being alone; no thought that something was terribly wrong. Coming back with the Saint later in the day to have another ultrasound, done by the technician, because my doctor was hoping beyond hope that she was wrong.

Having to go to the hospital two days later to have a baby I knew was dead. Having my milk come in because my body didn't know there wasn't a baby to feed. Not wanting to leave the house because I couldn't face anyone. I didn't want to have to talk about it. And I certainly didn't want to see anyone else with a baby.

I was sad and I was angry. For many years I couldn't talk about it without crying. I still think to myself: "He would be ten. He would be in fourth grade. He would play these sports with these kids." And I wonder what our lives would be like.

At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could happen to us. That would ever happen to us. I was wrong. There are worse things.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ordinary Day

Twelve years ago my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I got up, brushed my teeth and threw up. I had done this hundreds of other mornings, it felt ordinary. I showered, dressed, got the kids up. I fed them breakfast and drove them to school. Ordinary. I drove to my 9 o'clock doctor appointment. The first appointment of the day – very important so as to not be late for pre-K pick up at eleven.

Kathy, my Ob/Gyn nurse of ten plus years, called me back. I peed in a cup. We chatted about our kids and the weather. Ordinary. She weighed me, took my blood pressure and asked if the spotting had returned. A routine we’d repeated for the last fifteen weeks; so familiar, ordinary. I lay on the table and Kathy measured me, then she pressed the Doppler to my belly. Nothing. "Ornery" she said, "hiding this week". She went to get Dr. B, see if SHE couldn’t get the kid to pipe up. Dr. B came in. Moved the Doppler here, there, everywhere. Still nothing.

"Placenta must be in the way" Dr. B said. "The tech is not in this morning, but let’s go do an ultrasound" she said. Ultrasound? We'd done this dozens of times. We laughed; "Thank God we’re past the transvaginal stage" we said. We talked about summer vacation and how far I might, or might not, be able to travel. New room, new table, cold gel, transducer. We’re looking at the screen. He looks so big! Oh my God, I can see fingers...

Wait. I can’t breathe. All the air has been sucked out of the room. The only light is emanating from the screen. Nothing is moving. This isn’t right. I’ve seen dozens of sonograms. There should be movement. His heart should be ...

We can’t look at each other; only the screen. We don’t speak. But we know.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How does your garden grow?

Every year I anxiously await the arrival of the asparagus. This is a picture of some early asparagus shoots taken on Saturday.

This is a picture taken today. I'm always amazed at FAST it grows.

I love asparagus and I could eat it every day!


Good Lord did we have a storm roll through here last night. We're finally having some mild weather, so I had the windows open. About 3 a.m. the storm woke me and the thunder was absolutely deafening. The terrorist gets spooked by storms in her dotage and was going bat shit crazy just to add a little noise to an already raucous situation. Shutting the window did little to abate the racket on either count and I'm feeling a little fuzzy today.

Nevertheless, it feels good to be able to HAVE the windows open after an incredibly long winter. Over the weekend I took care of a lot of seasonal chores. One of my favorites is changing from winter to summer bedding.

I washed the mattress pad and pillow covers. We flipped the mattress. I washed and stored the flannel bed linens, aired the down comforter and re-made the the bed with summer weight cotton.

What says spring to you?

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The doorbell rang the other evening. It was the BFF and "Boy A". Boy A made this sign to do the "Official Asking". He had BFF tape it on Precious Youngest's bedroom door

RHS Junior Ring?
or a better question might be

is it humanly possible to resist this much manliness?

I can't imagine where he found this picture. They were about five years old. Seriously, how cute were they? People, THIS is why I hope everything works out.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


It happens to us when we grow up. When childhood fades into the past and our unconscious mind intrudes on the present. We use a specific phrase without thinking. Or we find ourselves doing a certain task in a particular way. "Oh my God!", we say with dawning realization. (Always out loud, even if no one else is there to hear it.) "I'm becoming my mother!" Inevitable, it would seem. These moments. And they surprise us. Sometimes fill us with dismay.

And if you're sixteen going on seventeen?

A moment like this can kill you dead!

It was something she said.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I know I’ve explained the Precious Daughter’s reluctance to let go of inability to walk away charming habit of remaining friends with the majority of their ex-boyfriends? (For the love of god, if you plan to read the rest of this entry PLEASE read the LINK!) Well I’ve got a mini teen drama playing out and I want to go on record as saying I think someone is going to get their feelings hurt.

Precious Youngest has known a young man we’ll call “Boy A” since Kindergarten. They “went out” some time during eighth grade if I’m remembering correctly. Boy A went on to a different high school (Jesuit, all boys), but he lives in the neighborhood, they have friends in common, so they still see each other a fair amount. Additionally, if you attend an all boys school? You will need Precious Youngest and her pals to go to various dances with your friends and you will not hesitate to call her. In fact, it was through Boy A that Precious Youngest ended up with Homecoming Date #1 last fall.

As a refresher, Precious Youngest is a high school junior. At the aforementioned all boys school, in place of “Junior Prom”, they have “Junior Ring”. Here in Whoville, the word on the street is that this is THE high school dance. Not to be missed. THE BEST. Boy A, who still carries a wee torch, wants to take Precious Youngest. Problem? "Boy B". Boy B was Homecoming Date #2 last fall and morphed into Boyfriend around Christmas.

Precious Youngest has had “hard core talks” with Boy B and he has “agreed” that Boy A can take her to "Junior Ring" with the proviso that, the weekend of the dance, he can complain as much as he wants and she can’t say anything.

Are you still with me here? Do I need diagrams? Flow charts? OK, here’s the thing; I don’t see this ending well. I’ve TOLD Precious Youngest this. She insists it will be fine. That she just wants to go to the dance. That Boy A KNOWS it's "just as friends". That Boy B is really OK with this.

I remain uncertain. Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This sounds familiar

Stole this from Kim at All Consuming. Too funny!


It was a nice sunny day yesterday in Whoville. I drove home from work with the window down and the music cranked up. I was stopped at a red light and had to wonder: did the woman behind me driving the red Toyota Camry not KNOW or not CARE that I had a very CLEAR view of her PLUCKING HER CHIN HAIRS? WTF?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The lovely Madame Queen sent an award my way

And to prove that I am worthy of this award? I'm taking you on a virtual tour. This box resides under my bed.

Wondering what's in it?

Three, count em' three, tiaras.

And yes, I do wear them (check out the second picture down, me and my niece !). Because nothing picks a girl up like putting on red shoes and a crown. I'm just sayin'.

So if you need a pick-me-up I have a couple of suggestions:
  1. Pour a glass of wine
  2. Put on a tiara
  3. If you don't have the above? Give me a call, I'll be right over. I have extra.


If you work in my office and you admire my new shoes? I will most certainly say, "I know, aren't they awesome?". I don't believe in false modesty. (Hells bells, hang out with me on a secluded beach in other parts of the world, I don't believe in modesty period.)

And I won't mind if out of nosiness idle curiosity you ask where I got them, I'll be happy to tell you. I'm willing to share retail information, I'm very generous that way. And if you go to that store and out of nosiness idle curiosity check out the price? Whatever. Save up your pennies, buy yourself a pair. Knock yourself out.

However, if you then come into the office and maneuver as a topic of conversation the aforementioned shoes ? And state vehemently that you "would NEVER spend that kind of money on a pair of SHOES!"? You should not be shocked or offended when I am not only unapologetic, but suggest that I wouldn't be caught dead in any of YOUR shoes either.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Death and Taxes

The weekend SUCKED. It was gray, cold and it SNOWED! Well, flurries, but still, it's APRIL. I managed to get the necessary errands attended to but was otherwise unproductive. And there's quite a list of things that I should have done. Things I won't want to do when the sun is out and the breeze is warm.

For example, I have fabric sitting on the bench in my bedroom. Fabric that's been there for at least six weeks. You know, fabric to recover the bench seat. Which is sadly in need of being recovered. A normal person would have thought to herself, "Hmm, the weather's not good for outdoor activities. I know, this would be great day to recover the bench seat!". Me? I just piled some more crap on top of the fabric and pretended it wasn't there.

Last weekend would also have been a good time to sort through winter clothes for storage; determine what needs mending, dry cleaning, to be given away. To start bringing up clothes stored last fall . Different clothes. Clothes I am not sick to death of wearing. Sadly no, this chore was left undone as well.

One thing did get accomplished. The Saint occupied himself by figuring our taxes for the eighteenth time. Sure that THIS time the result would be different. Guess what? The result? Was the same as the last seventeen times. It seems the good folks in accounting failed to withhold enough from some of his commission checks and so we got to write a check. To Uncle Sam. That ended with four zeros.

I need a stiff drink and a good cry. Unfortunately, my boss frowns on that kind of thing at the workplace.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I have four posts in draft mode. Whiny, self indulgent posts. One that is making me cry every time I hit "edit". I can't bring myself "publish". Because I need some time alone to finish these posts and I don't have any. Time. Alone.

So instead I'll delight you with a peek through the window to my soul. My blackened, tarnished, possibly going to hell soul. I LOVED the "The Real Housewives of Orange County". And I'm LOVING "The Real Housewives of New York City" even better.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


If you take a woman of a certain age and put her in a choir loft, then proceed to pack the sanctuary to overflowing, given the tendency of heat to rise? You might end up with a hot flash of biblical proportions.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I just had to show you these pictures from Prom last Saturday. (And can someone please explain to me this trend of having Prom so early? Ridiculous!)

Precious Youngest is in green and the B.F.F. (a.k.a. Precious Middle) is in brown.

I know, I know, pictures of headless high school students are weird. Still, aren't they cute?

All the young ladies were fabulous in their vibrantly colored dresses. So glad we've moved on from black!

I have very fond memories of the dances in high school. Do you?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Oh yeah, I got new shoes.

Pretty, no?
Did I mention I also won the BRACKET!?!
(I had Memphis/Kansas eight weeks ago. I think both teams were under estimated, worthy of the championship, worthy opponents, but we WON!)

I'm the happiest girl

Not only are my beloved Jayhawks NATIONAL CHAMPIONS;
But I got new shoes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Ahem: Busy stressful week here in Whoville. Resorting to bullets. Not sorry in the least.
  • The terrorist had her dental procedure yesterday. She's fine and it was only $178 as opposed to the $225 estimate. (There was some discount for "Dental Health Month". For dogs? WTF?)

  • Last night was choir practice for Confirmation next week. I sing. Did you know that? Hmmm, maybe not. I get tapped on occasion for special event ensembles. So I'll be singing for the Archbishop next Wednesday at Saint She Who Shall Not Be Named. I'm suppressing my diva and singing Alto. Blech.

  • Precious Youngest and I are going pick up her Prom dress this afternoon. She's terrified of the alterations lady at Nordstrom's and requires me for back up. All the woman has is a German accent and a seam ripper so I'm sure we'll come out of it alive.

  • Tomorrow is supposed to be warmish and sunny and I hope to get some much needed yard work done.

  • I'm judging finals for the Forensics tournament late in the afternoon. (I fervently hope I don't get a boring event like foreign extempt.) Precious Oldest is wheeling into town to do some judging as well. I hope to have a meal with her at some point

  • Then my beloved Jayhawks face off against North Carolina to see who goes to the national championship. ("Oh please, oh please, oh please!" she murmurs quietly to herself.)

Now go have yourself a nice weekend!

Rain and other news

It’s raining in Whoville today and I’m actually HAPPY about it. I KNOW, I lover of all that is sunshine and warmth. BUT. When I was driving home yesterday the sun was shinning, the sky was blue and my car had heated sufficiently sitting in the sun all day that I had my window open.

As I drove it dawned on me; transformation was imminent. While the grass is starting to green up and the forsythia is blooming, the landscape remains fairly gray. But you can sense that blossoms and leaves are just around the corner. The bushes and trees are fairly VIBRATING. It seems that every year, when spring is on the BRINK of arrival, a gentle rain will transform the scenery from gray to green overnight. I anticipate my drive tomorrow to be wholly different from my drive yesterday.

In other news, dinner last night teetered on the brink of disaster. You may remember that I cleaned out my “potential recipe” file a few weeks ago. I am big on tearing things out of magazines and newspapers. Not that I necessarily plan to use the recipes as intended so much as I find the ingredients intriguing or I think I see the potential for a twist on a dish I already make.

Anyway, I have been diligently looking through the file the last few weeks and pulling things out that I might want to use. Last night I had two pages pulled. Both had potential. I had some of the ingredients for each recipe, but was missing important components of each as well.

I should mention here that I am a hoarder stockpiler well prepared. My basement contains a second refrigerator, a deep freeze and a second pantry. When something runs out upstairs one simply needs to just visit the basement, pull out a replacement and then write said replacement item on the grocery list. The item will be purchased and put back in reserve. I almost always have enough oddities on hand to throw pretty much any meal together.

However, this was not the case last night. I had Italian sausage, but not chorizo. I had Great Northern beans but not plum tomatoes. I had sun dried tomatoes but not marinated artichoke hearts. I am still thinking “Yes, yes I do believe I can make something come together.” So I start browning the sausage in a little EVOO. I throw some garlic and onion in with the sausage. I drain the sun dried tomatoes and chop them up. I drain and rinse the beans. (Yes, out of a CAN. Don’t judge me; I had a shitty day yesterday damn it!)

Now I’m thinking “Well crap, one of these recipes calls for orzo and the other appears to have some sort of vinaigrette. Wait, main dish vs. salad? Really quite different concepts…..Fuck.” [Another aside; I talk to myself. Out loud. All the time. So when I say “thinking”? It’s really more talking to myself like a crazy person muttering under my breath.] I HAVE orzo, but I’m thinking with the beans it would be overkill. I'm starting to think a contingency plan might be in order, so I send the Saint to the store to buy some good bread. In the same vein, I pour another glass of wine .

I start whisking a little red wine vinegar with some oil. I throw the beans and the tomatoes in with the sausage. I throw in some salt and pepper and the oil and vinegar. (Stop, I KNOW, it’s going downhill fast.) THEN I realize that the sun dried tomatoes were not the usual brand, but some fancy Italian shit. Packed in oil with ANCHOVIES. (My Italian is not extensive enough to have picked up this piece of info off the label on the jar). I had counted on the damn sun dried tomatoes to add a little “sweet” to the mix. I was wrong. So now in addition to being odd it’s totally over salted.

Sigh. In their defense, the Saint and Precious Youngest polished off the dinner. It wasn’t BAD per se, just too salty and sort of blah. So the next time you decide to combine recipes for lack of ingredients? Make sure there’s plenty of bread on hand. And wine.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Wooden table
Eyes closed
Empty wine glass
Chin resting in her palm
Fingers squeezing the bridge of her nose
Air escaping like a deflating inner tube

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I have a bit of a mystery on my hands. None of my crocus bloomed this year, and some of my daffodils are sparse or lacking blooms at all. In past years the rabbits sometimes eviscerated the crocus; munching on buds and blossoms. But this year I never saw any buds at all. Seeing THIS didn't help my disappointment at ALL.

These are all well established plantings that have bloomed well for ten plus years. I don't cut the leaves back too early, I feed them and I try to divide them every few years. I'm at a loss. If anyone has some insight as to what the problem might be leave a comment. PLEASE.