Archive for September, 2009

Day late, dollar short.

I woke up this morning thinking today was tomorrow. 

That’s a sort of yay-boo joke — yay!  it’s Thursday!  boo! it’s actually Wednesday! 

I suppose that’s an indication of just how soundly I was sleeping this morning, because when I wake up confused as to what day it is, it means that I’m pretty much knocked out.  The truly happy times are when I do that on a Saturday — thinking I have to get up get up get up and then realizing that I can actually roll over and snooze for another hour. 

I love my sleep, folks. 

I don’t know which is worse — waking up on Monday thinking it’s Sunday or waking up on Wednesday thinking it’s Thursday.  Either way it’s a bummer. 

My first semi-cognizant thought most mornings generally centers around what day it is.  It’s my way of pulling up my bootstraps for the day, even if the rest of me is still prone on the mattress.  Eventually the rest of me will follow. 

The irony of it is, today I was actually glad to get that extra day.  I have so much to get accomplished before we head out on vacation.


— Mox

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This morning when I woke, the outside temp was 50 degrees.  That’s about 20 degrees fewer than I like for it to be at 5:30 in the morning.  My sinuses concur. 

The high here today is somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 degrees, which to be sure is pleasant enough.  It is fall, after all. 

But I’ve just checked the 10-day outlook for our upcoming beach vacation and the highs there are upwards of 85 degrees every single, blessed, beautiful day.  That’s pool weather, folks.  That’s beach weather.  That’s shorts and flipflops and paperback books in the sunshine weather.  That’s sit on the pier and drink beer and eat shrimp weather. 

In short, that’s my kind of weather. 

I just have to get out of here, first.  Which is more difficult that it might seem. 

One thing that sets my teeth on edge when it comes to traveling is… my mother.  My mother is not a good traveler.  When she plans a trip, the closer she gets to the actual date of the trip, the more difficult she is to get along with.  Now, I understand that mostly that’s her anxiety in action, which in turn causes her to be short-tempered and unreasonable and quite devoid of logic, but… makes me nuts.  Sometimes the anxiety gets so bad with her that she ends up making herself sick, usually with a killer headache.  I try to ignore a lot of her snark and foul mood prior to a trip, because I know that for the most part she’ll have a good time once she actually gets to where she’s going.  And it’s the same when I’m planning a trip.  The closer I get to my departure date the more sore-tailed that cat becomes.  Which means that when I’m actually on the plane and climbing into the sky, I feel like a weight is being pulled away from me.  Because for several days I don’t have to listen to it. 

This trip is no exception.  It’s a trip we make every year.  Part of the problem is that the trip includes a visit with a set of relatives that simply get on her every last nerve, and even though she’s not the one visiting them, she still frontloads my trip with snark and bad humor.  I try to ignore it, and most of the time I do pretty well.  With practice one learns to ignore one’s mother quite well.  It’s called self-preservation.  However, there’s just that unrelenting relentlessness that wears on my armor of studied indifference. 

I’ve got three more days of this to endure.  And then I don’t have to be anyone’s daughter. 


— Mox

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This past spring, my husband came home with a cell pack of little plants that he thought were ornamental kale.  Ignoring the obvious — that ornamental kale isn’t available until fall around here — he proceeded to plant it in his containers (he’s Mr. Container Gardener) to set off the pansies he’d also bought. 

I, however, being the more clever of the two of us, actually read the label that came with the plants.  They were broccoli plants. 

Now, I generally try to plant something different each year in my garden, beyond the standard tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and squash.  I think that trying new things, growing-wise, helps to broaden my horizons.  It also can be very helpful when you’re trying to rotate your crops.  Over the years I’ve tried some oddball stuff, and some not-so-oddball stuff, under the guise of trying something new:

  • Leeks – which produced more than we could eat, or give away
  • Sugar snap peas – nice until the weather got hot
  • Edamame – no one would try it
  • Corn – which the squirrels ate, right on the stalk
  • Lettuce – also great until the weather got hot
  • Spinach – never ate
  • Eggplants – ate the first few, gave the rest away

I would not have planted broccoli had my husband not erroneously bought it, but I tend to have a soft spot for orphaned plants.  So I took the remainder of the baby broccolis and planted them in my garden. 

Broccoli, if you don’t know, is more of a cool season plant.  As long as we had cooler weather it did great.  The minute it got hot the plants bolted.  I cut them back at the bolted parts and the weather cooled down and they started producing again. 

And then, one day, I noticed that the florets were looking a bit… chewed. 

And lo and behold, I found lots and lots of tiny little caterpillars, munching their tiny little hearts out. 

I wish I could have been sad about that.  Turns out, I just let them go and eat and grow, and pupate, and go on their merry little ways. 

And they completely denuded my broccoli plants, forcing me to pull them up and compost them.  But I’ve got happy little white cabbage moths all over the place. 



— Mox

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Reg Henry of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says it well: 

We were too busy this summer arguing with each other to remember that something like Summer is here only for a short time and should be enjoyed to the max.

More here

Today has been a typical non-summer weather day for those of us in here in Podunk.  Which is to say, gloomy and rainy and generally just bad.  Weather like this makes me want to curl up on the couch with a book and a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies. 

I think I could enjoy fall if only it lasted until spring.  I could skip winter entirely. 

And also, I am not loving these dark pre-dawn mornings right now.  Bleh. 

Spawn’s school is holding their annual Fall Festival this weekend.  Right now the weather is not looking cooperative.  What is it about the carnies that seems to bring rain? 

My husband and I are on the hook for the funnel cake booth, in the interest of doing our part to support the school and keep our tuition to the merely astronomical level.  Never mind the fact that we’ll be shelling out quite enough in cash anyway, so that Spawn can ride rides and play games. 

I can remember as a kid going to this same fall festival and being very amped up about it.  I can’t say I feel the same way about it now.  Must be something to do with that whole adulthood business.  Of course back in the 70’s my cousins and I were allowed to run rampant around the school grounds while the adults ate catfish and drank beer and played bingo.  I don’t feel as confident letting my 8-year-old rip and tear through a crowd of strangers without keeping a pretty close eye out. 

Sometimes I don’t know if the world has changed or if I have. 


— Mox

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Last night I attended a seminar/talk about nutrition for kids with learning disabilities.  Any time you attend such a gathering, you have to go in with both an open mind and a grain of salt.  Because anything said by anyone on such a subject tends to sound slightly woo-woo. 

I don’t necessarily march in lockstep with the traditional medical community, though I realize and appreciate that most people in the field have worked very hard to get where they are.  I recognize that there is a whole lot of information to absorb and assimilate when it comes to the topic of the human body and its’ functions.  I don’t necessarily believe, however, that traditional medicine is the apex of all we should trust when it comes to our health. 

Not surprisingly, I am one of those slightly woo-woo people who tries her damnedest to not take a whole lot of medication. 

I also tend to think that every problem we experience, physiologically and mentally/emotionally, has an underlying cause.  It makes sense to me to root out that cause rather than just treat the symptoms. 

So yeah.  I went to this meeting to see what the lady had to say about nutrition and the ADHD/LD brain. 

Within the first ten minutes after she opened her mouth, I was wildly thinking that we needed to move, to leave this tainted environment and go someplace more organic… though I don’t know where that might be since the world as a whole seems to be pretty polluted.  And the lady also had plenty to say about vaccines, too.  Which got me a little edgy thinking about getting a flu shot. 

People who look at the world in such a way, who have this alarmist cadence in their voice when they start to warm to such a subject, well, they tend to sound a bit like conspiracy theorists. 

I don’t go around thinking that the world is a great big conspiracy, but I don’t trust a lot of things, either. 

I do think that nutrition plays a role in how the ADHD/LD brain operates.  For that reason I try to limit the junk stuff that Spawn consumes, realizing that if I banned junk food altogether that would come back to bite me at some point in the (teenage) future. And I’ve got a kid who likes very few things, food-wise.  Sometimes it’s more productive to give in to the PopTart. 

What do I believe?  I believe in my gut, and trusting it.  I believe that traditional Western medicine doesn’t have all the answers.  I believe that we have to take responsibility for ourselves.  And I believe that I need to listen to what others have to say about alternatives, whether or not I choose to ultimately accept them. 

I still have quite a lot of days where I look skyward and ask “why me?” but I’ve accepted that maybe the situation I’m in exists because I need to learn something from it. 


— Mox

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Our annual pilgrimage to points south is a mere 10 days away (!) and already my mind has made the journey. 

It’s hard to say at this point what I am looking forward to the most.  No work?  No school?  No homework?  No alarm clock?  The mind boggles. 

This year we decided it was time to take Spawn to Disney, before the magic of the Magic Kingdom lost some of its’ luster.  We figure that at 8 years old, Spawn’s living on borrowed time for all things magical, like Santa and the Tooth Fairy and Cinderella.  Better get the kid to The Happiest Place on Earth while its’ myriad charms still hold. 

Only, it’s too late for that, it would seem. 

We’re taking a young relative along this time, so that Spawn will have someone close in age to bury in the sand at the beach and play games with, thus relieving my husband and me of the task of Constant Entertainment.  So, in order to make sure everyone has a good time, I’ve been online planning and looking over stuff.  When I showed Spawn the website for Disney, the kid was nonplussed.  Disdainful, even.  Could it be that the kid has already outgrown Disney? 

I do believe so. 

To be sure, we’ve never been big on the whole Disney Machine around our house.  That’s probably because the whole Disney Princess franchise gives me the hives, and Mickey Mouse never did interest me, even as a kid.  We just never did push it.  And Spawn has an adult-like distrust of just about anything animated or dialogue spoken in that namby-pamby singsong tone.  Disney just does not interest the kid at all

Oh, but there’s Sea World.  Now THAT’S something else entirely.  An amusement park coupled with animal attractions is precisely the thing to make life complete, as far as Spawn’s concerned. 

So I’ve made the rental car reservations and ordered the tickets online and Shamu here we come. 

Already I’m anticipating a fair amount of beach time, lots of seafood, and sleeping as late as I can stand it.  I just have to somehow reconcile myself to the next ten days of drudgery. 


— Mox

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Hey diddle diddle.

During my student days, my dad was always up for a challenge if it involved a school project of some sort.  Turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 

One of the things I like about Spawn’s school is their committment to subjects beyond the three R’s.  Foreign language and music are part of the weekly curriculum, in contrast to many school districts that have made these subjects optional or nonexistent.  Not everyone has talents in these areas, of course, but I do think it’s good to expose kids to such subjects, because when you get to be 42 years old, it’s a lot steeper learning curve. 

Spawn’s music class just finished a unit on Bluegrass music.  That might sound a bit odd but Bluegrass music has its’ roots in this area, making it not only a genre of music but also a part of the local culture.  The capper of this unit was that the kids had to submit a project.  They could write a report, make a poster, do a drawing, or make a model of an instrument.  Spawn carefully considered three of the four options, completely dismissing anything that had to do with writing and reports, and finally narrowed it down to making a model of an instrument. 

Bluegrass instruments are traditionally the banjo, dobro, guitar, fiddle, upright bass, and mandolin.  Of these traditional instruments, Spawn was torn between the banjo and the upright bass, and ultimately settled in on the bass, also known as the bass fiddle. 

A bass fiddle, folks, is a big instrument.  The full-size version comes in at right about six feet tall. 

I tried to talk the kid into doing a mandolin, but because that’s Mom’s preferred Bluegrass instrument, the suggestion was rejected straightaway.  I could have done a mandolin with a big cereal box, but no.  Bass fiddle it was. 

A local furniture store was kind enough to donate a large box that we cut apart.  My husband donated weedeater line for the strings.  We used an entire roll of packing tape.  But it was a thing of … beauty? to behold. 

We pulled up to the school this morning and unloaded this great big cardboard contraption from the back of my SUV and as luck would have it the music teacher was working morning drop-off, so she got a good look. 

I think the kid will get an A. 


— Mox

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