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Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

Don't Panic (image: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)I am no longer the Answer. But that's okay. I won't panic.

This morning Laston took me to the casino while the kids were in school. We did slots for an hour and a half or so and had their great buffet lunch (of which I was actually able to eat a fair bit, surprisingly, given the Gaping Maw of Doom in my upper right quadrant).

Laston doesn't really grok the appeal of the slots because there is no skill involved. I find that although we had fun, it was even more fun with "the girls" (my mom, my aunts, and my female cousins). And while we enjoy Tulalip, I'm told that Angel of the Winds is really nice and we should try it. The whole activity is, however, a twice-a-year kind of proposition for me, and I think from now on I'll let the hubs take me to dinner and a movie, and The Girls will be my casino-going companions.

After Abby gets home from school, does her homework, etc., we're meeting Leanna and her mom at Red Lobster (since we didn't manage to get her mom the birthday dinner we promised her a couple weeks ago, we're combining them). Should be fun. Assuming Lizzy is awake by then; I wonder what the preschool/my mom did to her while her dad and I were out playing.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


  • I am grateful that even though he thinks it's silly and kind of boring, my husband is taking me to play in the casino tomorrow for my birthday.
  • I am grateful that my kids are (basically) healthy and happy children
  • I am grateful that although there is a huge hole in my face and the whole thing is starting to throb again, I have graduated to noodles with mushrooms.
  • I am grateful that my sister-in-law Laura bought me books written by my online friend Laura for my birthday
  • I am grateful that my four-year-old daughter made me a birthday card - and will not let me open it until tomorrow
  • I am grateful that grandma takes Abby to swimming lessons most weeks - and often out to dinner afterward
  • I am grateful that - thanks to my husband - I can stop robbing Peter to pay Paul, (Paul's been paid off) and pay Peter myself from my UI checks... especially because Peter in this context is my mom
  • I am grateful that my kids will happily eat leftovers for dinner when I'm too tired/sick/throbby to cook properly... as long as nothing touches anything else (Lizzy's having a slice of bread and butter, a strip of bacon, a stick of cheese, four baby dill pickles, and a pear)
  • I am grateful that although I get points taken off, my school is understanding about late assignments due to dental surgery
  • I am grateful that in spite of my unwilling housewife status, I have a home in which to practice the art of housewifery
  • I am grateful that my dentist is pleased with my progress, and so is my academic adviser
So, God, Universe, Karma, Powers that Be, Whomever? Thanks, bud.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why So Serious?

It's a valid question. Please note that in the oh-so-flattering picture to the right, my facial muscles were relaxed; I really did look that bad immediately upon leaving the dentist's office.

Here's the thing. There is extensive work required in my mouth, mostly because I lost my night-guard when I moved house about six years ago, and therefore (since I'm a grinder/clencher, or I wouldn't need a night guard in the first place), I tend to pop old fillings loose in my sleep. Crud gets under these and they get infected. This particular one started really hurting a few days ago, and it turned out to be two teeth (numbers 3 and 4), in the top right quadrant. One of them needed to be extracted and the other a root canal. Okay, pain in the... neck, but doable. Even when it turned out they both need extraction.

Disclaimer: this is where tonight's post is rather less family-friendly than usual, because my internal monologue is both profane and obscene, especially when I am in the throes of pain/terror/nitrous oxide. You have been warned.

Dr. C is nice, and his voice is soothing. Which is good, 'cause, you know, dentist and all. Goddammit. I mean I like them and all but this is getting way too frequent, and...whoa, what the fuck is that thing? Is that what they call 'dental pliers'? I sure hope so 'cause it looks more like blacksmith tongs from this angle! Hey. Hey! Those don't bend! Knock it off! (interjections show excitement or emotion, they're generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling's not as... ). Oh right, I'm supposed to raise my left hand if I need a break - oh shit, I've lost track of which is my left hand. Hmm.... this one, right? I mean left, tee hee. Oh forget this right and left shit, my jaw aches...

And so it went for three hours or so. Complications. Turns out that one of those teeth had a root that went all the way through my gum and bone into my sinus cavity. So this becomes an even more delicate procedure, since we don't want to turn the damn thing into a tunnel. And after the surgery is all done, and the whatsit-caine has worn off, it hurts all the way up into my right nostril, not to mention the extraction area itself, my jaw, etc. I suppose I'll never sleep again; they gave me prednisone to reduce swelling along with the antibiotics and painkiller narcotics.

On the up side, they may have found the root (pun definitely intended!) of the recurring sinus infections I've had my entire adult life. And wouldn't that be cool?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As the World Turns

Or is it the Days of Our Lives? No matter the title, today was super busy, tomorrow promises to be trying, and Thursday I'll be able to Get Things Done. I had extra money too, as my state's governor just upped the unemployment pay by $25 a week... and paid us back pay all the way back to March. Since I started collecting UI in April, this made a huge difference in my UI check this week.

So today I took Abby to the bus, took Lizzy (now feeling better but still Dropping her Spoon) to Grandma's, and took the cat to the vet. They treated her for fleas and had a blood and urine panel taken. Doc thinks she probably has a kidney infection (common in cats her age and the probably cause of the inappropriate pottying), and/or hyperthyroidism (because she's lost 2lb she didn't have to spare; she started at 8lb 4oz). Test results tomorrow morning. She also has a head cold, poor thing. And the vet accepted a down payment and a payment plan. Times are hard for all pet owners, apparently.

I went to Costco and got a few things (out of Costco for under $60 is always good), and Safeway came to me with a few (all right - a lot) more. We have fresh veggies, fresh fruit, fresh meat, fresh bread, canned goods, boxed goods, frozen goods, a couple treats (chocolate chip light ice cream and mini-marshmallows), "personal paper products", a twelve-pack of man-size socks, stuff for Abby's lunch box, stuff for Lizzy's contribution to snacks at preschool, and the hubs' Diet Coke.

I went to the dentist for tooth pain. A gazillion of them (all right - three of them) need to be worked on tomorrow (and then they will make me a night guard so I don't grind any more fillings loose). I got my hair cut so I look like a professional when job hunting, too. But my cat is going to be okay, my pantry (and fridge and freezer and fruit bowl and hubby's sock drawer) is full, and I feel much much better about life today.

So... I need to go fill this Rx, get some soft food for tomorrow, and I have enough cash left to buy a couple of DVDs - I'm thinking Phineas and Ferb Across the Second Dimension for the kids, and for me? Well, for me there is always my Marvel hero of choice - at least in the movies!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Poor Kitty

As shown here, Tiger is not the world's healthiest (or smartest or most graceful) cat. Which she just demonstrated by inappropriate urination. Generally, if and when she does this, it's on a patch of carpet next to the room where we keep her litterbox, and is a heads-up to me, her mama, that she is unhappy with the state of her litterbox, her water bowl needs a wash, there's a scary pair of shoes between her and the box, the door is closed, etc.

Not this time. This time she leapt onto the table and used a pile of Abby's old (finished, graded, and returned) homework as her toilet. Not okay, cat. But it does suggest that there's something going on - a bladder or urinary tract infection for instance. (Stop that - I cleaned and sterilized the table. Good heavens.)

So she has an appointment at the vet tomorrow. Abby wondered what happened to the stuff she brought home from school and I had to tell her that Tiger is sick, peed on them, is going to the doctor tomorrow, and might not get better. Her reaction was typical for my sensitive-but-still-eight little girl - first she said "Oh no! If she dies I'll be so sad!" followed fairly quickly with "can we get a new cat if she dies?" (the answer to that, by the way, is "not until we have a house with a yard"). I'm not looking forward to telling Leanna this Friday when she comes for the weekend, should Tiger die.

Tiger's been with us since October of 1998, when she was "about 6 months old", so she's older than any of our girls. My mommy-side is upset and sad (yes, yes, I know it may not be serious) and the 10% of me that is practical is able to deal. I have to remember that although 13 is not ancient for a cat, it's no spring chicken either. And that Tiger has never been the World's Healthiest Cat; she seemed old even as a kitten

So Tiger is in her bedroom (the laundry room) for the night already. Abby and her (extra super noisy whiny today) friends are cleaning and hoping for Treasure Box rewards. And I'm trying not to scream at them for arguing as they clean, because I know I'm a little oversensitive.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things I've Learned...

...or re-learned in the last 24 hours.

  1. Although my husband is very supportive about my going back to school, my mom is more so. She does a lot. I've always known it but because of a paper I wrote this week, it was more obvious.
  2. I'm not a fan of characters who cast from hit points.
  3. Four-year-olds trying to get their big sisters' attention by waving metallic ribbons in their faces are not tolerated at Chez Gamers' Babes. This behavior results in immediate time out.
  4. I can play computer games with one or two kids in the house, because they play alone or amuse each other. When there are three or more, the dynamic requires more of my direct attention.
  5. My ex-husband is an expert at picking out Halloween costumes (or clothes for that matter) for our eight-year-old daughter Abby. These clothes/costumes satisfy her taste (slightly goth and girly-pretty), my sense of practicality (long sleeves and pants), and his moratorium on "sexy", because she's eight. 
  6. Even though Abby is not intending to hurt Lizzy, the mere fact that she is twice Lizzy's size can cause (minor) booboos (as in picking her recalcitrant sister up to move her out of the way results in tears even though there is no actual injury).
  7. Nine-year-old neighbor boys doing all the voices for the characters in Super Mario Brothers 3 (except Princess Peach, which he allowed Abby to do) are hilarious.
  8. Eight- and nine-year-old children can be literally blown away when it's gusty in Seattleish. Abby and her friend took out the garbage for me and were actually blown off course into a blackberry bush, resulting in scratches.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday at Home

Today was very nice. Abby's at her dad's, and Leanna's at her mom's, so it was just grownups and Lizzy. We played with Lego. We jumped on the Bouncerine. We went through Lizzy's flash cards (she knew all the words except W is for Walrus - she kept calling it a "weally big seal"). I completed my schoolwork for the week, applied for a dozen or so jobs, and played a game with Laston while Liz watched Veggie Tales. We did some cooking. We did some baking. We did some laundry. We fielded a dozen or so requests by neighbor kids for Abby to come out to play.

Tomorrow Abby comes back from her dad's place and models the Halloween costume he bought her (apparently they didn't go for the much-desired vampire costume because her dad - like me - feels that eight-year-old girls don't need to wear sexy costumes - good lord!). Then we get ready for the week - decide which days she'll buy her lunch, make sure the stuff she brought home is ready for school Monday, lay out their clothes, etc.

Sometimes a clear weekend is just the ticket.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Abby's teacher already groks her and lent her a book for over the weekend. She read it to me three times in the car on the way to her dad's house, and as it's a book of ghost stories, I was predisposed to suspect the arcane when the mysterious events of the evening occurred.

We had Friday Night Board Games tonight. Lots of fun, but as one group of gamers (the ones with small children who were beginning to melt down) left, we started hearing a high-pitched whine in the kids' room.

We looked everywhere. We pulled out the trundle. We flipped power on and off, on both appliances and even the in the circuit breaker box. We pushed the button on the smoke alarm. We determined the whine was not coming from outside, another room, or any of the electrical things in the room. The heat was off. None of the lamps, kids' electronics, or the smoke alarm was the culprit. How mysterious.

Our friend Jason (husband of Carrie the Cake Goddess) discovered that if he knelt by the TV in the kids' play area he could make the sound stop... until he stood up again. A clue! And under the pillow in front of the TV? The one he was kneeling on?

The Dora the Explorer walkie talkie from the set Grandma got Lizzy for her birthday!

Mystery solved!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heart is an Awesome Power

My mom took me to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two today. This is the start of the two-week celebration that is my birthday; Mom likes to stretch these things out and I'm gonna let her.

Note: SPOILERS for anyone who has neither seen nor read Harry Potter through to the end... if there are any left.

Now, I'm a fan of these stories. I've watched those kids grow up with their roles and some of them have grown as actors to the point that if they can get past the inevitable typecasting, they will be absolutely wonderful. All of them have matured well enough to play almost anything, but the two I see as "most improved" are Matthew Lewis (Neville, who really comes into his own in this movie, as much as or more so than he does in the book) and Tom Felton (Draco, who manages to play as more than the angsty teen anti-villain he is in the books). These two were especially good.

And the adults... I knew they were good casting from the first movie, all of them, really, but especially Snape. But when Molly Weasley uttered her immortal B-bomb and destroyed Bellatrix Lestrange, I cheered (one forgets that she's just as brave-and-true Gryffindor as anyone else), and when Minerva McGonagall (played by the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith) set up her Substitutiary Locomotion spell (or whatever it was called) I was thrilled (although a little surprised at her trying a new spell at that point in the battle).

One thing that was all through the books and the other movies that I hadn't noticed until this movie was that the usual colors for good and evil were reversed. Generally speaking in the fiction I'm read (or seen), red is for Bad Guys - your Toraks, your Sith Lords - and blue or green is for the Good Guys - your Belgarions and Jedi Knights, with some variations into other cool colors. But here Red and Gold is Gryffindor Good, and Green and Silver is Slytherin Evil. Now, it's a plot point that Slytherin does not always equal Evil, any more than Gryffindor does Good, but it's interesting nonetheless.

And then there's the Power Trio - Hermione is the Brains, Ron is the Brawn, and Harry is the Heart. The reason Voldemort was defeated? He's all What Kind of Lame Power is Heart Anyway?. And the answer - the reason he was defeated in the long run?

Heart is an Awesome Power.

Oh, and next March I am not only taking my husband and my dad to see John Carter, I'm taking my mom too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vampires and Other Toothy Topics

Abby is writing crossover fanfic apparently. She wrote a story in class (3rd grade), entitled The Three Little Bats and the Big Bad Vampire, It follows the classic story of the Three Little Pigs, except that houses are made of potatoes (which the Big Bad Vampire eats), blood oranges (which he sucks, natch) and chocolate. And the Pigs Bats defeat the Vampire by putting blocks of the chocolate into a Vampire-proof cage and tempting him in there.  That's my girl.

I took her to the dentist today because she has a few cavities (apparently she has "weak enamel") and although she brushes "adequately", apparently those with weak enamel must brush "spectacularly" to avoid cavities. Lizzy has none. This cavity was in a baby tooth (#2 molar, top right), which was already a little wiggly, so they just decided to pull it rather than fill it.

I had a Mommy Moment there for a bit. I'm willing to be in the room with her, and to hold her hand, but I cannot watch. And the whimpering started to really bother me. She told me later that she was "one fist hurt and two fists scared". That bothered me too, but I managed to just smile and nod. The dentist even cleaned off the pulled tooth for us, so the Tooth Fairy won't turn up her nose at it.

Now she has that cachet of a lost tooth. Together with the remains of last weekend's black eye (now in green and purple!), she looks like she's been beaten, but only on the right side of her face. It is not a pretty sight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reading Levels

3rd grader Abby's reading level is J or K in the system her school district uses. Most beginning third-graders are at L or M, so she's doing okay - much better than this time last year (when she started the year at E instead of the average of H or I) and she no longer requires the specialized services of the reading resources teacher - she's back on the curve. Apparently her difficulty in reading is primarily due to her being such a very auditory learner; her comprehension is Harry Potter but her fluency is more Green Eggs and Ham. Or maybe more The Thinks you Can Think.

But... Harry Potter is what she wants to read. She's seen the first four movies (I won't allow the others until we've read the books that far - torture and abuse are not something I want to explain on the fly during an intense movie scene. Harry Potter varies from level T through level V for the first five books, and the last two are all the way at Z (which is where they expect them to be at the end of sixth grade).

So last night I let her read Book 1 in bed. She knows the context and all the characters (so sounding out words 
like "Dursley" is not a problem where it might otherwise be). It took her almost 40 minutes... but she got at least through the first chapter. I have a note in to her teacher (because in earlier grades they did not encourage "reading ahead" because the kids tended to get discouraged when their skills could not keep up with their interests) to see if it's Kosher. I think she can handle it now, where she might've indeed gotten upset earlier on. 

We shall see...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bedroom Antics

Stop that eyebrow-raising you've got going there; I'm talking about the stalling tactics and such that the kids do at bedtime. Abby knows full well that I'm unlikely to keep her from reading, and she milks it for all it's worth. Lizzy came up with a new one tonight; man, does she keep us on our toes.
"Mama, the lullaby song says "safe in my ahms", so you have to stay with me fowevah."
What, with you attached to my hip? I don't think so.

She also informed me about an hour before bedtime (after I had exasperatedly asked her why she threw her cup behind the TV in the kids' play area) "That's wheah they go when you don't want to put them in the sink."

Again. Don't think so. But I know what I'm doing tomorrow while they're not here; in addition to the job-hunting and school that is my new normal, I'll be pulling God-knows-what out from behind their TV. Maybe we'll find the remote. Or some 3D glasses. Or a dust bunny that will eat me alive. The hubs is supposed to call for backup if I don't show up by nightfall.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Natalie!

Lizzy, Emmy, Natty, Abby
Natalie is Lizzy's BFF, the woman Lizzy wants to marry (preferably today, but I decided they were a trifle young for that, as today is Natalie's fifth birthday and Lizzy has been four for two weeks. Maybe by the time they're both of age it'll be legal). Natty has a lovable baby sister, Emmy (for Emily) and they and their parents have recently been to Hawaii, so Natalie wanted her birthday to be a luau theme. So the adults are all dressed in Hawaiian shirts and the kids were a little more luau - grass skirts and leis and such.

The sand is graham cracker crumbs
The weather today was not very tropical - we're back to standard Seattle weather - so I made Abby throw a jacket over her authentic Hawaiian dress. I found the dress-up grass skirt when cleaning out the garage, so Lizzy wore that over her swim shirt and tights, and the Birthday Girl was adorable in a swimsuit and pink grass skirt. And her mom is Carrie of Sweet Creations by Carrie, so the cake not only looked beautiful (I mean Happy Birthday scratched into the "sand" and the candy flip-flops and all the frosting flowers), but it also tasted wonderful.

And with our kids and Carrie's, and the heaps of adoring adults in her kids' lives, a good time was had by all.

Villainy and Other Dark Objects

We're having a quiet morning/early afternoon, until we attend a birthday party later today. We're watching Danny Phantom and Abby says that Ember is her favorite villain. For those who don't want to read that whole link, suffice it to say that Ember is a goth ghost chick, who uses rock-n-roll as mind control (hey, that rhymes!). Lizzy pops up with, "you know who my favewit bad guy is?" and we wait, because usually these declarations are pretty funny. We expect it to be someone from Danny Phantom - maybe Vlad (the series' Big Bad) but noooo...

"My favwit bad guy is the Peculiah Puhple Pieman of Pohcupine Peak, Ya-duh-duh-DAH-duh-DAHHHH!"
Last night Abby conked her right eyebrow - hard - on her bed frame. It started to swell, rapidly, so we slapped some ice on it and gave her some ibuprofen before bed (it just occurred to me that these little bruise-type injuries usually happen around bedtime; I wonder if fatigue is a factor). Today it's a tiny bit swollen but looks more like she's wearing subtle (and skillfully-applied) eye makeup.

Sunday Morning
Saturday Night

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Birthday Hats, Redux

Remember how Grandma Dianna sent Lizzy a stack of hats and some art supplies to make "weal tea pahty hats"? Well the girls are making the hats now. Kiki helped Lizzy make hers (thanks, Kiki!) so I could take pictures, and Laston supplied a special flower he made himself when we ran short of silk flowers. Lizzy's all girly-sulky and Leanna's got a girl-style Indiana Jones fedora look and Abby's got this Mad Hatter vibe. They look like they could go to Ascot races at any moment... aren't they gorgeous?

Back to School Blues

Not these kinds of blues. Nor these. Nor even these.

The kind of blues that comes with the back to school cold season. Two of us are sniffling. Two are sneezing. One has a scratchy throat. Nobody has a fever and everybody is Dropping Spoons at a rapid pace. The kids are mad because I made them clean up before they leave to go play. Laston is slamming dishes around because he can't finish his science experiment (he's been growing root-beer-flavored rock candy for a couple weeks) until there's a clean space in the kitchen and he couldn't wait  for me to do them. I'm pissy because he couldn't wait and now I'm charged with keeping the kids out of the Very Dangerous Kitchen (boiling sugar = bad) without any warning. Lizzy's clinging to my left arm and basically making a pest of herself. And she's insisted on watching VeggieTales, which she had not seen before this week.

I'm not a fan of Veggie Tales' message; I'm more of a God helps those who help themselves kinda gal (yeah, I know it's not in the Bible. Not the point here), and VeggieTales is all about giving it all up to God and letting Him take the burden. Abby never watched it because talking vegetables squicked her. But man, the songs are as infectious as (or possibly more infectious than) those from the Backyardigans.

And as for songs, Lizzy just told me, "this song makes me look like Candace's mom on her buhthday, wheah my face is smiling but my eyes ah cwying", in reference to this scene from Phineas and Ferb:

Really? That sort of thing makes it all okay.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I was never one to get choked up on the first day of school, or when they first walked or what-have-you. Major milestones are not a problem. I'm proud of my kids but that sort of thing doesn't bother me much.

What does bother me - the things that make me all stereotypically Mommy-misty - are the little milestones. For some reason, Abby's jump into size three baby shoes just killed me. And when she was two-and-a-half, she brought a bean planted in a dirt-filled styrofoam cup home from daycare, which seemed so kindergarten that it made me cry. I gather from conversation that her father feels much the same way when he lines up the annual pictures of Abby on a Pony at the Fair.

Lizzy's first day of preschool? Not really a problem. Lizzy in the car this morning, saying, "Mama, I want to make putting my lunch box in the kitchen at school my special job."? Hoo boy.  She's in the back seat, I'm in the front, and I'm dripping tears while trying to keep my distress out of my voice. Such a big girl.

And Abby, last night when going out to play after dinner, said, "Mom, I think getting Lizzy to sleep before I get back is your goal for tonight."? Part of me thought excuse me? Who do you think you are, kid? and part of me did that Oh Em Gee my kid is growing up so fast thing, where Mommy's heart goes ka-thump. And as I choked back a laugh, I posted it online.

There's a reason this blog is called "Out of the Mouths of Gamers' Babes".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Last of It - an Open Letter to my Mom

Today - in about half an hour - I'm moving the last of the boxes into storage. I'll still have the empties here for the time being, and I still have to go through the ones already in storage and have another game of "prune out the junk". And there are four boxes here still, but they contain books and therefore must be gone through. But the project itself will be Officially Done.

My mom, at Lizzy's birthday lunch
I can see my mom, shaking her head and smirking and thinking about how lame I am as she reads this. She's right. It is lame that I have not gotten it all done already. I'm not even making excuses about tooth pain and fatigue and school and job hunting. I'll own it; I'm lazy about this kind of thing. Let's all move on now.

It'll be good to have it gone though, even with the few things still here.
On a more positive - or at least funnier - note... my mom sent me this Instant Message while babysitting Lizzy today. They made snickerdoodles and, well... the IM speaks for itself:
so, i told lizzy not another cookie, she put the edge in her mouth anyway, i took it, she looked crestfallen and said she really needed it because <thinking, thinking, thinking> "I don't have enough cinnamon in me"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

School and Scouts

Tonight was the Parents' Night at Abby's school (for third-graders), followed by her first Brownie meeting of the year. Busy evening, involving the hubs feeding the kids their supper and sending Abby down to our parking lot for me to pick her up between meetings. He got them pizza (to make them happy) and fruit (to make me happy). I wasn't eating because of dental work. Hungry now, though.

So the Parents' Night meeting was interesting. Abby's teacher already has her number - you can tell because she's got Abby (a) separated from her fellow chatterers, and (b) up at the front of the room. Of the class of 26 kids, five or six are chatterboxes and also know each other from last year, and her classroom is in a (small) portable, so this took some creative rearranging of desks. Good for Ms. K.

The Brownie Scout meeting was a planning meeting - what are we going to for the rest of the year, filling out of the annual emergency paperwork, like that - and one of the moms who was in our troop last year (we blended two smaller troops this year) brought (Abby-friendly) snacks. Thanks! Brownie first aid badges are an October meeting thing, so while we were discussing Ace bandages and ice packs and emergency numbers and so forth, I volunteered us to teach the troop the correct use of an Epi-Pen. They liked this idea so we stopped at our pharmacy on the way home to pick up a dummy epi-pen (no needle, used to train parents and other caregivers). We'll practice with it and bring it next month.

It's nice - and Scout-worthy - to be able to contribute.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Birds and the... Seeds?

As you may know, Abby and Lizzy are completely ignorant of "how babies are made"; although they grok how babies get out of a mama's tummy, they've never asked how babies get in.

Until tonight.

And thankfully, the four-year-old Lizzy-appropriate explanation (Abby's outside playing) was met with utter disbelief and the assumption that Daddy was teasing "because he's a teaser". Apparently "a boy plants a seed in a mama's tummy," was so outlandish that she simply cannot fathom that it's true (as far as it goes). I can cope with that for now.

And it did make me wonder about the phrase "the birds and the bees". I mean, really, who cares how birds do it or bees do it? It's not how humans (or most other mammals for that matter) do it, so how is it even related? Even the botanical "plants a seed" reference above is more accurate.

So I looked it up, 'cause that's how I roll. And while I realize that Wikipedia is not a be-all and end-all source, it does make sense, in a Victorian "it's my bosom and I never mention it" sort of way (yes that is a reference from my favorite Heinlein novel; you see, the heroes are visiting Oz and... never mind).

Anyway, Abby came in after the subject had been dropped but I'm pretty sure it won't be long before she asks for more details too. And I'll tell her.

But I'm not looking forward to the conversation.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Random Post of Randomness Take Eleventy-Billion

I don't really have a specific topic today, so I just thought I'd throw some stuff out there and see what sticks.

This morning I was on Google + and I mentioned the old game Gauntlet (because "Jenn needs a (paying) job, badly"), posted a youtube link and everything. It made me think of my other favorite game of that era, at which I sucked horribly, but which I really enjoyed. Looking at those two articles, I see that the games were actually separated by about three years, but I think of them as contemporaries to each other. I think they must have both been in the Student Lounge at Edmonds Community College - along with this other game - back in 1987-1988, which I was a student there.

I've been thinking a lot about EdCC here lately, because of going back to school, and being able to use 15 of my EdCC credits toward the degree I'm working on - my AA in Communications. But the above made me think of the student lounge there, and how we would play video games (the above three plus Goonies, I think) and pool, and watch music videos back when MTV did that, and the MTV game show Remote Control.

And Remote Control reminded me of the Nylons, because the Nylons version of Kiss Him Goodbye was the tune played when someone got axed from the game. I love the Nylons.

And the Goonies reminded me of the company that made it ,which in turn reminded me of The Konami Code, which Netflix Tech Support clued me in yesterday is the reset code (although Netflix uses up up up up at the end, having not A B Select Start to work with) for Netflix Instant Play on the Wii.

Very Small World stuff. As is the fact that I know (online) a woman working at the place I phone-interviewed with last week, in addition to the fellow Brownie Scout Mom I already knew worked there. Maybe knowing two people who work there will help me, 'cause I really really want that one.

And thus are non-parenting blog posts born.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Summer Sunday

Yeah, I know school's in. But it's still technically summer, and the weather finally matches the season here in Seattleish. It's about time. And of course Lizzy wants to watch The Secret of Snow and The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve, because she's ornery that way. I overrode her.

Today we went to the pool in our complex, which was fun, although Lizzy was a little timid and the mating rituals among the older teens and young adults in our neighborhood were definitely in evidence. Then we came back here and had a movie afternoon (Tangled) while we cooled down and I did my homework. Kind of a nice afternoon, all in all. In a few minutes Abby'll come in from playing outside (she'd better), and we'll have a summer dinner - salad with steak strips and quesadillas.

Tomorrow is another busy Monday - Abby to school, Lizzy to school, Laston to work, Jenn to clean house, job hunt, do homework, prepare for More Dental Drama. But this day has been nice, and calm and relaxed, and it's just a Good Day. Assuming Lizzy sleeps tonight (and she should; water play always wears her out), tomorrow should be too.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crime and Punishment and Parental Race Assumptions

Crime and Punishment - Abby was late inside again. Usually this is a matter of a few minutes and is not a big problem. But when she's a half-hour late to lunch, and a parent has to go after her, it's another story. She was supposed to be in at noon, and she had come in at 11:37, with a couple friends, to bring me some "blackberries for your sore teeth, mom, 'cause they're soft, and if they're too sour you can spit them out". I thanked them, accepted the blackberries, and sent them back out until noon.

When she hadn't shown up by 12:35 I went looking for her, texting neighborhood parents as I went ("Is she at your place?" - "No, but she and my kids are together, last I heard at the "secret club".") I found her at the secret club (blackberry thicket with a clearing in the middle) and the look on my face must have warned her that the usual excuses ("if I only had a cell phone I could keep track, and I can't find my watch!") were not gonna cut it. Not when it was half an hour and I had to hunt for her - this is not the same thing as breathlessly running up the stairs to our apartment four minutes late - and she knew it.

Now Abby is not a strong reader and so her punishment had to be phrased carefully. I never want to use books or reading as a punishment for the same reason I don't send Lizzy to bed as a punishment; I do not want negative associations with those things. But I wanted to do something she'd notice and that she'd have to think about. So, as I had errands to run, she had to eat her lunch (now cold) and then amuse herself in the house without electronics. No TV, no computer, no DS, no outside until I come back and we can talk about it. On a beautiful September Saturday. Of course this has the net effect of essentially punishing Lizzy too (and to some extent Laston) but no harm in the TV not being on in any case. When I came back (2:30) she was sent back out and told that if she did not check in at four she'd lose her outside and electronics privileges all day tomorrow. We shall see.


Parental Race Assumptions - Lizzy told my mom she hates "scawy black mans". She's told me this too, and I was frankly a little worried about it. So today I did a little careful questioning about it (this is an art form - asking a four-year-old questions without leading the witness - it takes practice). Turns out she means black-black, not black in the racial sense. Roscoe Orman is not the problem, nor is DJ Lance Rock, nor our dark-skinned neighbors. She can't describe what she means by "black" in this context, but she describes all the people above as "bwown", so i showed her a couple more pix - and this guy and these guys are the "scawy black mans" in question. I admit to feeling relief.

Though I'm a little disappointed that she categorizes this favorite character of mine as a "scawy black man" too... "'cause his face is all shadows".

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Fun (take... whatever)

So our Friday Night Mage Game is on hiatus due to scheduling (four players in school, three job-hunting, one starting her own business while holding down a job, and everyone else working - it's hard), and so we're doing Board (or in this case, Card) Game Night instead. This opens it up to a larger group of people, which is nice, as well as giving us flexibility as to what games we play.

Tonight's game is Dominion, and in addition to a couple of the usual folks (future son-in-law Greg and his dad Nate, plus another gamer from whom I have not gotten permission to post a name), we have Lizzy's BFF Natalie, her baby sister Emily, and their parents.  This will assist in keeping Lizzy happy and therefore somewhat less clingy to adults. We have a lot of cleaning still to do to make the place barely-mobile-baby-safe though!

And I got to spend this morning at the dentist. Again. I love my dentist, but I don't really want to see them every month if I can help it. However, the place where they extracted the broken tooth and then did a bone graft is poking through the gum and has gotten infected (this is apparently not unusual) so I have to go in next week and get it numbed and filed down (OW!) and the gum closed over it again, and in the meantime I have another round of antibiotics and pain pills. Sheesh.

As I was writing this, I noticed that while I do like the new Blogger tools, my link to amazon has disappeared. I can no longer just highlight some text and automatically search for it in the Blogger writing screen. Where'd it go? And also I'm having to log into my school site every time I click on a link within the site. Weird. I think after I hit "Publish" I'm going to play with my Chrome settings and clear my cache and all; maybe I've got something in the background interfering.

After I do some cleaning, of course.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Topic Deficiency

Three of my favorite people
almost four years ago
Some days I just can't think of anything about which to write. I have a short paper due at school Sunday, so I guess I've used up my creativity for the week.

I could write about Abby and school, but she's in a holding pattern of math review until Parents' Night. And if anything dire has happened on the social front (dire in the mind of an eight-year-old half-vampire perky-goth-wannabe tomboy princess, that is) she hasn't told me.

I could write about Leanna and school, but she does not live here, so all I know is that she enjoys it more this year, and that she left her library books here last weekend, which the hubs returned to her on Tuesday.

I could write about Lizzy and school, but you saw what I wrote yesterday and she's only attending three days a week and won't go again until tomorrow.

I could write about my favorite dentist, or my favorite consignment shop, or my favorite nail spa or my favorite coffee shop, but I've been there and done those and aside from having visited the consignment shop today (got three pair shoes that may or may not fit Abby, who has already trashed the ones we bought her for back-to-school, and who cares if they don't fit at $6 - paid with store credit, so no cash outlay - per pair), and having made an appointment for the dentist for tomorrow (this canker sore will not go away since my extraction), I got nuthin'.

So on days like these, I just write, kind of randomly. It seems to work.

And... made ya look.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School (Lizzy)

First Day
Have you ever seen anyone look more excited to go to school?

We stopped at the store on the way to school to get mini-cupcakes as "a tweat for my new fwiends" (I can see this being an issue for her entire school life, what with a Labor Day Weekend birthday and all). We chose some cupcakes and got to school early. She got to paint (as evidenced by the splotch of green on her forearm), and play on the playground, but the rest of the day she remembers right now as "moh pweschool things". She'll remember more later. She is one wiped-out kid, that's for sure, and I'm just happy she made it through school awake. And dry. Go Liz.

Oh MY!
Birthday Lunch was fun. We went to Lizzy's favorite restaurant, "Wed Wobin" which she says she likes because her "second favowite coloh is wed, and my next name aftah 'Lizabeth is Wobin". Fair enough. We had a great waitress - Luisa - and a good time was had by all. We ate lunch - man, it's been a long time since I had a proper cheeseburger - and we had just started in on the presents when they brought Lizzy a Birthday Sundae. The look on her face was absolutely priceless; she had been told she would get a blue balloon after lunch but she never expected the sundae. After we cleaned her up a bit (mental note: put more wipes in purse), we opened the rest of her presents from Grandma.

What a haul! Duplo airplane, Hello Kitty top, dinosaur floor puzzle, ponytailers to match Leanna's tropical flower clip, flashlight, and - oh wow! - Dora the Explorer walkie-talkies. That was about the coolest thing ever.

And she got her blue balloon too...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Such a Big Girl! (take two)

Lizzy's first day of preschool is tomorrow. She's so excited that she's had a tummy-ache (she says) for days. I think she's nervous and does not know how to express "butterflies in the stomach". The tummy-ache has not stopped her from eating normally, sleeping normally (except that she says she's decided not to sleep anymore because it's boring, but she will tonight so her heart has lots of energy for tomorrow), using the potty, jumping indiscriminately on siblings, friends, adults, whomever; therefore I think it's just nerves.

In fact, I plan to put everyone to bed a little early tonight; I'm moving the whole night up by half an hour so we start Lizzy's bedtime routine just before seven instead of just before 7:30, like that. We shall see how well this works but she clearly needs to rest and she's just not able to self-regulate that well yet.

I have her little backpack packed with her school supplies, like crayons and chalk. I have her clothes laid out for tomorrow (blue and green tee, denim jumper (pinafore for my overseas readers) and green socks). Stylin' preschooler. We'll stop on the way for cupcakes (her birthday was Sunday and she wants to share "tweats" with her "new fwiends") and baby wipes (since the preschool would like a fresh pack to come in with each kid). It will be nice, but a little bittersweet.

ETA: Although she has improved enormously, getting Lizzy to go to bed is still usually a bit of a chore. Not tonight; I read her books (Good Night Gorilla and Five Wishing Stars) and sang her songs (Blanket Bay, Summertime, and Snuggletime) and told her I was leaving the room to do dishes and would check on her in two minutes. This is what I saw after those two minutes were up.

There will be (more) pictures.