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Thursday, December 27, 2012

All I wanted for Christmas...

...I got.

And then some.

I was really pleased with what we and others got the kids; a lot can be done with gift cards when you're creative. Leanna's nature-themed books and geodes and kits, Abby's Who-themed or "dark" books and novelties and toys, and Lizzy's princess doll ("because gwownups don't call me pwinciss") and a gazillion puzzles and duplo blocks.

We got my mom her yearly gag gift (we don't formally exchange gifts among the adults, but the can of Original Nalley's Chili is traditional for Christmas, Mothers' Day, and her birthday; it's all she wanted to eat while pregnant with me lo these many years ago).

I got the Hubs a book on paper mechanicals and the electronics to move them, and Santa brought him fun snacks and jambalaya mix.  The kids got him gift cards for his online game. He and the kids together got a crystal-growing kit so they can "do science". Fun things from his brother and sister-in-law too - a puzzle that makes me cross-eyed just to look at. And my mother and I gave him a break from the crowds of people that are my family for several hours on Christmas Day.

He got me some pretty steamclock-punk jewelry and the Christmas Special for Doctor Who and a used copy of an old favorite video game I sold long ago. I got the other one with a gift card given me by his brother and sister-in-law. My lovely friend Amie from France sent me a pretty card with a wooden ornament and a  Who photo signed by David Tennant (she just returned from this convention across the Channel).

As I said above, we don't exchange gifts among the adults on my side of the family. But we do get handed-down tech from my sister and brother-in-law when the holidays bring them newer versions. So I now have a lovely Kindle Keyboard which I am so enjoying. And I got to write a guest post for my friend's blog, which was both flattering and fun. I'll link it when he releases it.

But probably the most useful thing I got for Christmas was a job. Collections, which I may or may not enjoy - I'm not terribly thick-skinned, but I have centuries decades of customer service experience - and the pay is very low for the first month because the turnover is so high in jobs like that. But after that it becomes base plus commission, so if I can keep firmly in mind that any upset people are not upset with me specifically... I should be fine. I might even like it. And it's less than a ten-minute commute, the perfection of which cannot be overstated.

So I expect to spend the rest of the day recovering from too much dairy over the holiday, doing laundry, and packing Abby's bag for her dad's house this weekend. Allons-y!

Monday, December 24, 2012

And to All a Good Night...

...we can hope.

Dinner was - as is usual at these things - super yummy. Chicken breast and whipped sweet potatoes and a broccoli casserole and salad and fruit salad and my mom's homemade rolls. It was a rough week for some family members - one just had ankle surgery and another has a kitchen remodel - so they purchased rather than made their shares. We brought +Laston Kirkland's Diet Coke, and eggnog and soy nog and southern comfort (because it goes well with nog) and all those little things that our lovely hostess +Cheryl Morton ran low on, like butter and whipped cream and so forth.

We've left milk and cookies for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer ("Make sure there are nine, Mommy, we can't forget  Rudolph!"), and I've resolved the contention about whether Santa should be allowed more than two cookies ("Jenn, he's magic, or he couldn't fit through a chimney, much less a keyhole"). I explained that if you figure oh, a billion households on Earth celebrate Christmas in one way or another, and each household gives him two cookies, that's two billion-with-a-b cookies. Not good for anyone. I could just see Abby-the-Whovian thinking about a Slitheen in a Santa skin, so I left it at that.

And now the children are nearly snuggled in their beds (although not asleep; they're watching A Barbie Christmas Carol), and the Hubs is trying to unwind (at his computer, natch), and I've vacuumed (which is more or less fruitless at Chez Gamers' Babes, with the cheap apartment carpet and all. But I tried). The new-fallen snow is grey and damp fog, and Santa uses a keyhole here as we have no chimney.

But to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pageants and Hobbits and Presents oh My

Lizzy the Red Nosed Reindeer
Lizzy's preschool program for the holidays today. A large group of three-to-six-year-old kids, singing songs for Christmas and Hanukkah in English and Spanish, dancing, etc. And then Santa came and distributed candy canes and the kids had a feast. We didn't stay for the feast this time; Grandma took Lizzy and Abby out to lunch (at Wed Wobin, natch) and the Hubs and I went to the movies. It hadn't occurred to use that the movie theater in the mall parking lot was perhaps not the best move this time of year, but really we had no trouble, not even in the food court where we went for lunch. I suspect the school district in which the mall lies is not out for holidays yet.


And the movie? Oh. Wow. The Hobbit was one amazing movie. A tiny bit confusing at first because the framing device includes bits from The Fellowship of the Ring book. I've read a few reviews that view this expansion of the story - tying in back-story from other books set in Middle-Earth - as a detriment, but I didn't think so at all. I find it helpful in understanding what's going on, and it also means that characters with only bit parts or mentions in the original story (like Radagast the Brown) are played to the hilt here. And then (aaaaaannnnd THEN) Sylvester McCoy gets to shine. Let me tell you, Radagast (the Crazy Friend to All Animals Hermit Wizard of Middle-Earth) and the Doctor (McCoy played the Seventh Doctor) are not all that different.

Martin Freeman is perfect for Bilbo Baggins. That confused expression that's just this side of panic? I'm sure he perfected it on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Sherlock, but man, he's got every eyebrow twitch and look of mute protest down to an art form. The Dwarves were terrific; I was especially impressed with Balin and Bombur and the twins Fili and Kili. Smeagol-Gollum is just as pathetic as he was in The Two Towers, and Peter Jackson's treatment of that story was the first time I really grokked the character's split duality. Poor Smeagol.

The stories are troperiffic, of course; a fair chunk of fantasy (in the western world in any case) tropes came originally from Tolkien. This version of the story took a few of them further than I remember in the books though. Gandalf is an aversion of the Squishy Wizard trope - the guy kicks major orcish butt (well, goblin and troll butt anyway).

And the music - OMG, the music. We weren't even out of the theater parking lot before I downloaded Misty Mountains Cold on my Zune/Windows Phone. It makes my teeth ache but it is oh so good. And as one might expect from anything by Peter Jackson, the movie (the landscapes and the sets and the special effects) is freaking GORGEOUS. Or is that New Zealand? I'm going with both. Um, except for Gollum, of course. Poor Smeagol. And Azog and the Great Goblin. Ew. Nasty looking guys, both of them.

And then we got the kids from my mom and came home to three packages, two of which were from Aunt Laura for Abby (one for her birthday and one for Christmas). Yeah, my ears are still ringing from the squee uttered by Abby when she saw her birthday gift. A sonic screwdriver, with an integrated invisible ink pen (the UV light from the end of the screwdriver shows the ink). My little Whovian didn't even read the package before she identified it as the Tenth Doctor's. By color, you understand; the Eleventh's has a green light.

So all in all, it was a big day. Epic, even.

Monday, December 17, 2012


It always takes rather longer than anticipated. I mean, it's not like we have tons of gifts lying around to wrap, and I figured that an hour or two before people come home from work or school would be sufficient.

I was wrong.

I managed to put everything out on the table depending on to whom it belonged, and to make sure that things were approximately even (these are children still, and they do not quite grok the concept of more-is-not-necessarily-better).

I er... arranged for Santa Claus to put the appropriate things in each stocking, and hid the stockings. You see, Santa only does stocking gifts at Chez Gamers' Babes; gifts under the tree are from adults or children to each other, not supernatural guys who somehow manage to get in without a chimney. Keyhole, perhaps?

I succeeded in wrapping the adults' gifts to each other, those which were not already open (like the Hubs' stick blender and my toaster oven), and Lizzy and Abby's gift to the Hubs before he came home from work.

I've spent the rest of the day accomplishing the usual - job hunting (those are getting thin on the ground, and UI ends for everyone on the 29th), school work, laundry. I wrote a guest post for a friend's blog at his request; that was fun. Watched some Classic Who.

Life continues, even with random things like gifts to wrap.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Children and Tragedy

I'm sure that everyone has heard about the school shooting in Connecticut by now. I - like most of the people I know - am a little shell-shocked and a lot sad and more than a bit angry. In some ways it's worse than Columbine or other school shootings because it involves small children - the under-twelve set.

Like mine.

And so when Lizzy (5) asked me why I was sad, I told her that a bad guy had hurt some children and it made me sad, and in response to her questions, dug out a Google Map of the USA to show her how far away Connecticut is from our home near Seattle. This is to reassure her - or is it to reassure me?

We got a phone message and email from our school district explaining that the children's safety is their first priority, and that if our children have heard about this they may feel some anxiety.

All I want to do right now is lock mine up safe with me, even though I know that's both an overreaction and terribly unhealthy besides.

And honestly? I'm feeling pretty damn brave for letting Abby play outside with the other kids this afternoon.

But I'm really glad that we've already planned a quiet weekend of DVDs and tree-decorating.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Old Mother Hubbard no More

Oh, I'm still old. But my cupboard is no longer bare, courtesy of

And that's only the door!
We started using them when I was pregnant with Lizzy; I could no longer fit behind the steering wheel in the last couple weeks. Not and still reach the pedals. And while the delivery fee is fairly steep ($12.95 for a one-hour window), I can usually save that much in not-impulse-buying and not-taking-kids-who-whine-for-fruit-snacks. Certain delivery windows are also three or six dollars off the usual delivery charge, and this time I ordered enough to qualify for the free delivery deal. And, if nothing else, I get someone else to haul the Hubs' Diet Coke addiction up the stairs to our apartment.

And that's only one shelf!
You see, my cupboard was down to a can of tomato paste, a bag of rice, two boxes of cereal, a can of tuna, and a box of mac and cheese. Now it's full. Similar shortages were occurring in the fridge and the freezer, and with the Hubs' new stick blender (and fear of scurvy) we needed new fresh and frozen food as well. Being merely human, we cannot live on fish fingers and custard for long.

And's specials were even better than usual this week.

So we now have meat and veggies and fruit and tea and bread and canned goods and dry goods and you name it - everything from soup to nuts (except the nuts).

And a sigh of relief from Jenn.

Oh... cheeseburgers for dinner tonight. And then tomorrow I'll have a choice of what to cook!

Monday, December 10, 2012

To. Be. Continued.

As they say instead of "next time on Doctor Who."

Part Two of Abby's birthday 2012. It's customary in our family to have a family meal - girls only - in addition to any birthday parties, preferably on the actual birthday. Also, gifts from Grandma come on these days.

Abby collects these little dolls and has for some time; until just recently they were not available online, so Grandma would get them for her in Florida. Today's offering was the Sugar Plum Fairy, which plays what you might expect and is not available on Also the first two books in a series called The Nine Circles of Heck; if she likes them we'll get her the others (I think the author is up to book six so far).

But the definite winner was the Dalek alarm clock. It rotates through three phrases to exterminate your sleep
  • "Exterminate" 
  • "You would make a good Dalek" 
  • "You are the enemy of the Daleks. You shall be destroyed."
We may wear out the batteries just playing the sounds over and over.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baby Whovian Turns Ten

Doctor Who?
Abby won't be ten until tomorrow, but we had her Who-themed party today. Nine children ranging from age four to age 12, most of them dressed in fezzes and bow ties.

The Dance part of our program did not last as long as planned; at ten apparently only the girls want to dance, and about half the kids were boys. So we used Leanna's the Fourth Doctor's scarf as a limbo stick and did that for awhile, and then settled in to watch an episode of Doctor Who. Ten points to the first reader who guesses the episode correctly.

Goodie Bags
Lizzy creates a TARDIS card
Leanna and I spent last night filling goodie bags (we drew the TARDIS bits ourselves with a sharpie) with proper British sweets the good Doctor has been known to enjoy. Jelly Babies, Jammie Dodgers, and Fruit Gums, in separate little bags so as not to get shortbread crumbs in our candies. I'm thrilled with how they turned out. And nearly as thrilled with the adorable card Lizzy made Abby, little light on top of the TARDIS and all. Leanna's gift to Abby was incredibly sweet; she got a pretty handcrafted bag from a friend who had visited Peru and put together a little emergency kit, with bandaids and a notebook and pen and a little sewing kit and such. Adorable.

The children seemed to have quite a lot of fun, although during the Dancing parts of the day a couple kids got a bit squirrelly about even being in the room with all that going on. After dancing, limboing, an abortive game of Weeping Angel Tag, episode-watching, and gifts, we settled in for Fish Fingers and Custard, the Eleventh Doctor's (he of the bow tie and fez) favourite tea. As I don't expect a bunch of children to actually eat such a thing, my dear friend Carrie made us a shortbread cookie stick rolled in graham cracker crumbs for our "fish fingers" and homemade custard, along with a time vortex swirl cookie.

"Fish Fingers" and Custard
and Time Vortex Swirls
It was a good day, a good party, if rather trying in spots, as most days with a herd of over-sugared, over-excited kids is wont to be.

And then, just now, Lizzy destroyed me. We've all been speaking in Who quotes and paraphrases all day, and she asked for a small bedtime snack. I said, "I've got apples now, Apples are cool." She didn't even blink, and just shot back, "No, apples are rubbish." In perfect RP at that.

I haven't laughed so hard all day.

Baby Whovian and Friends

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Eulogy for Boxy

We got a sorta-Christmas gift today - a new toaster oven I purchased with a gift card to replace the old one. It's nice - shiny chrome and lots of dials and settings. It's over in the kitchen running its test run - the one meant to make sure all the production oils and such are gone.

And Lizzy completely melted down over me dumping the old toaster oven into the packing box to take to the recycle center/Dumpster in our neighborhood..

Because she named it.

This is unusual for her; generally it's Abby who falls violently in love with random objects like boxes from Home Depot. But Lizzy went nuclear, cried real tears and everything. Real tears are very unusual for Lizzy; I wonder if she's coming down with something, or having another growth spurt. And she begged me to take a picture of Boxy so she can remember him when he's dead.

She is somewhat mollified by me a) making this blog post and b) explaining that we can recycle Boxy so he can be made into smaller boxes.

Good lord, I've introduced the concept of reincarnation about a cardboard box.

Anyway, she's plastered up against me, sighing about the unfairness of life and poor Boxy's fate.

Please join us in mourning the passing of Boxy the Cardboard Box.

Monday, December 3, 2012

As Time Goes By...

...the junk under the couch gets more manageable.

Lizzy 'reading' at three
It used to be a ton of little crap, and it still is to some extent. But it's somehow less; there are still books and hair ties and legos (and socks; no wonder we can never find any pairs), but the incidence of Happy Meal toys and broken bits of just junk... it's far less.

Maybe it's that their shoes are finally too big to fit under there, or maybe it's just that they care more about their belongings these days. ("But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small" - and yes, that was one of the books we found under there). And we found Daddy's spare back scratcher and the extra Roku remote. But in general, it's a much smaller pile of stuff in the middle of my floor than there was the last time we did this.

Lizzy 'reading' at four
So tonight we finish the washing of couch cushion covers (and I repaired a rip) and tidy this pile away, and tomorrow while Lizzy is at school I vacuum the whole living area and get out the spot bot again, and when she gets home from school she and I plan to go through all the puzzle pieces we found under various bits of furniture (to figure out what gets saved and what gets tossed) and do (still yet more never-freaking-ending) laundry.

Add in job-hunting (I applied for seventeen jobs today, and took three company quizzes of the would-you-fit-with-our-culture variety) and school work (Yeah, still getting As!) and I am a busy busy bee.

And based on three of the five books we found under the couch, we're also Seuss fans. But you knew that.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Rock Again

On the school front, that is.

Because I'm making A to A+ grades in both my classes, now that F&^king Algebra is done. That's right, 99.41% at the end of week 3 in the one class, and 98% in the other.

See, that's what I tried to tell everyone about the F.A. - it's not simple math anxiety here, folks; it's a bona fide learning disability.

Well, that and math anxiety.

Because now I'm back in the humanities, the only things I've done wrong so far in my classes are little niggly formatting issues in papers, apparently.

So I rock again.

Now if there was only a direct correlation between school and employment, we'd be golden; as it is, we're playing musical late fees again.

And on another rocking note, I am slowly getting the house into shape for the holidays. It's a bit more challenging thins week because my mom (read: Child Care Provider Extraordinaire) is out of town, and Lizzy's help is, um... not. But it must be done by the end of the week so the place is clean for Abby's birthday party, and then next week we'll start decorating for the holidays.

Unless I'm employed by then.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Yeah, it sounds like a catch phrase from a show with Robin Williams, doesn't it? It's not.

NaNoWriMoNational Novel Writing Month (although solely national it's not; I know nearly as many people from Canada and Europe doing it as Americans) - has been a big deal around Chez Gamers' Babes.

I'm not doing it myself; although I probably write the required 50k words in any given month, my writing is a combination of short stories, papers for school, assorted social media posts, emails to prospective employers, and this blog. Not a novel.

But the Hubs is. And I'm his front-line editor / beta-reader.

It's a really great story, and an interesting setting, and he finished it today, ready for polish (where polish equals re-wording a few things, and fixing the punctuation, primarily).

And because he is who he is, old-skool gamemaster first and foremost, his story settings tend to be... grand in scale. Which leaves sixty-bajillion sequel hooks.

Now, my spouse is a good person, kind but absent-minded, an accomplished storyteller, and a decent parent. Cute is however not generally on anyone's list of adjectives to describe him (except mine of course), because he's in his forties and comes across more as Bill Nye than Daniel Jackson in his science-geek adorkability. Until this Thanksgiving, when not one, but two of my family members were exclaiming how cute he is when he's excited about his writing.

And he's managed to do it while remaining mostly-present, which is a challenge for him even when he doesn't have a word count to keep up.

Goodonya, honey.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poor Little Rich Girl

Not in the classic sense of the term, where the family has a ton of money and no love to speak of. No, this is a much more prosaic sort of thing, and it has always been the case. Even when I was still married to Abby's dad and we were both out of work, with a new baby and having been laid off; even then we didn't qualify for so much as WIC, because we owned a condominium.

We're too poor to pay our bills on time, yet too rich to qualify for assistance.

We're not starving (obviously; only one of our household is on the thin side, and she never stops moving). We have lots of toys (usually purchased by gift card; in fact, I have already purchased all our Christmas gifts and spent just over $6 out of pocket). We have enough to put gas in our car, food on the table, clothes on the humans (and even those are usually purchased at a consignment shop with store credit, after trading in old stuff). We have a lot of friends and acquaintances in far more dire straits than we are.

But we often end up in a vicious cycle of late fees, and my ten-week job was not enough to catch us up, even with help from family (thanks, guys).

This is getting really old.

On the other hand, I have as noted above purchased all Christmas gifts. For $6 out of pocket. And got the Hubs the stick blender he wanted and me a new toaster oven (because we rent, so what else besides that and light bulbs are we going to get at the home improvement store with that gift card?) Not bad, if I do say so myself.

And school is great (when it's not F&^king Algebra it's As and Bs, baybee), and at least those bills don't have to be paid yet! Abby's shining in school (except in spelling - spelling is her F&^king Algebra). Leanna's doing spectacularly in reading (although her science could use work), and Lizzy is bright as a button in pre-kindergarten (in spite of hitting her head on random objects on an average of twice a week).

All I need is a long-term paying job that pays more than unemployment insurance, and in a couple months or so we will be financially just as rich as we are in family.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Milestones (Good Ones)

This is a big one. First lost tooth, for Miz Liz, all five years and nearly three months of her.

I was a little concerned about it, frankly, because that seemed very early to me. But apparently (according to her dentist and the web site for the Mayo Clinic) this is within the normal range of tooth-loss age (albeit at the early end of the range), especially because she got her teeth early.

I know, because I was nursing exclusively. Ow.

That first tooth - and it may be the same one - came in at about three and a half months old. And out 59 months later.


Oh, and the scratches on her face? Yeah, those are from her nightly run-in with inanimate objects last night (in this case, a door). The child is a menace to herself, and frankly, I'm thrilled she hasn't lost any teeth through accident.

Just through normal milestones.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

In spite of posts like these, I truly am thankful.

Ten years ago (!) I could barely move at Thanksgiving dinner, and Abby was born a couple weeks later.

Holy cow. She'll be ten December tenth.

But that's not the point of this post really; the point is that in spite of the constant money-and-job angst, I have so very much to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family and their support, especially my mom and my husband.

I'm thankful my ex-husband is a decent man and a good father.

I'm thankful for friends both near and far.

I'm thankful for friends I've never met; just this morning I got a "Merry Thanksgiving" text from a friend in France. I've never met Amie, but we read each others' stories and I check hers for correct English and she checks mine to make sure the ESL people can understand what I'm getting at. So that qualifies as thankful-for-Internet-relationships.

I'm thankful for my daughter's preschool, where she has finally learned to grok the difference between "Indian" and "Native American Indian" although she still thinks the Natives took the Pilgrims out to lunch.

I'm thankful for my school, the job that just ended, and the Washington State Unemployment department. For craigslist and Google and LinkedIn. Even Facebook games.

For so many things.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


...the Paranoid Android. (Or Eeyore, or Glum, or... you get the picture)

He never seemed paranoid to me, just depressed.

But it's sort of been a Life... don't talk to me about life... week.

No job, mostly; the rest of it is okay really. We're basically healthy again, Thanksgiving this week, I'm doing well in school finally.

Oh, and Abby is too - very well. The only thing that she needs "extra work" with is spelling. Go her.

And I'm super excited for her birthday party in a couple weeks; sometimes homegrown is the best.

But there's the no-job, and the no-money (these go hand-in-hand) at the holidays.


And it's, well, wintry out there.

But I've gotten a few hits on job possibilities, I'm finally done with F&^king Algebra, and I can breathe again without hacking up a lung. I have my Vitamin D and my full-spectrum lamp.

It'll work out.

It's just depressing in the meantime.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fish Custard and other Wibbly Wobbly Balls of Stuff

Which is a fancy Whovian way of saying Random Life Post

Yes, it has been a week or so since I blogged here. Finals (especially when it's that class) and the world in general got ahead of me. We've had quite a week, what with bronchitis and a turkey dinner and parent/teacher conferences and friends over and those finals and starting a new set of classes (which I love, but they're another thing). And job loss. Yes, I said job loss. It's not a surprise; I just finished Week 10 of an 8-to-10-week contract, and the last week and a half or so have not been my most productive ever (hi, bronchitis!) in any case.

So yeah, looking for a job. Again. And this time I have some experience at A Major Aerospace Corporation in addition to the other stuff listed in that link up there. And I left the building at 2:30, but by 4:30 I had talked to three of my previous staffing agencies and the unemployment people as well. Good news: There is no waiting week because we reopen the old claim. Bad news: the claim runs out at the end of the year. I need to find that new job by December 29th.

Fish Fingers and Custard
So, dismayed but un-surprised, we went to our already-planned dessert-and-game night with our good friends and future in-laws (Lizzy plans to marry their daughter Natalie, and now in WA state this is legal. When they're old enough anyway). Carrie is a professional baker and I commissioned her to make Fish Fingers and Custard Cups for Abby's Doctor Who Dance Party.

Now, although the Eleventh Doctor is very fond of his fish fingers ("do fish have fingers?") and custard - he considers it processed comfort food - I don't really expect ten kids around Abby's age to eat this in place of birthday cake. So Carrie's making us chocolate cookie cups with vanilla custard and "fish fingers" that are a shortbread cookie stick rolled in graham cracker crumbs. Aren't they lovely even in the little ceramic bowl? Imagine them in a chocolate cookie cup!
Click to play this Smilebox invite

So, when Abby turns ten next month, she has requested said Doctor Who Dance Party. We've nixed the Dalek piƱata for lack of space, but we intend to have the aforementioned fish custard, TARDIS goody bags filled with jelly babies and wine gums and jammy dodgers, and songs by Chameleon Circuit and the TimeLords. We may watch an episode of Who - depends on how nuts it is. Check out the invitation I made with Smilebox.

Create your own invite - Powered by SmileboxSo yeah, busy and stressful week. But with F&^king Algebra out of the way, and a smidge of good luck (and hey, I got my yearly bronchitis out of the way early), I should be all employed and stuff again soon. . Click the link up there near the top; it'll show you the basics of what I can do. I'm thisclose to getting my AA in Communications too, so I rock!

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Me Not So Much

I posted here that Lizzy is quite healthy (although now, four days later, she still refuses to take off the band-aids the nurses slapped on over the vaccination sites). Me not so much, because the cold I got from her last week has - as is often the case - developed into bronchitis. No sinusitis still; I haven't had that since the Teeth of Doom were removed something like 15 months ago, and that's something of a miracle itself.

So my boss sent me home early yesterday, with orders not to come back until "at least Thursday, and then only if you're feeling better". I'm already feeling better, and if I spend today doing nothing more strenuous than laundry and watching election returns (as Boss Lady intended - the point is to rest), then I should be good to go tomorrow, with homemade soup (below) and plenty of cranberry juice.

Anyone who reads my blog or knows me personally knows that I am likely to be fairly content with the election returns in my state. I'm socially quite liberal and I live in the comfortably blue state of Washington (in the populous and blue western half of the state), so  as long as Referendum 74 passes (at the moment it's still not officially called but the YEA vote is ahead at 52%), I will be happy. I have huge concerns that something as basic as this is even up for a vote, but we have to play by the rules even if we think the game sucks.

Abby is up for ASB representative again this year too. And this year, not only were other contenders outright asking for votes, they were bribing other voters with leftover Halloween candy. The nerve! Not that she didn't take the bribe, after carefully examining it for nuts. The fact that "the other Abby" in her class is the briber probably mitigates her indignation somewhat.

So... chicken soup. Last night we had a snafu with the power - a miscommunication as to payment dates between me and the power company (but hey, they gave me a link to their job line when I went down there to beg for power) and so we were without power for a few hours. When it came back on, the smoke detectors let us know (loudly) that they needed new batteries. So up to the store for 9-volts and a roasted chicken dinner.

Late last night I took most of the chicken off the carcass and put the carcass in the colander in a soup pot. Added the following:

  • One bunch green onions
  • Two bullion cubes
  • A knob of ginger root
  • Some rosemary
  • Some black pepper
  • A little soy sauce
  • The juice of one lemon (and the lemon halves after juicing)
  • Water to cover the lot
Once it's done boiling down into stock, I'll add some chicken meat back in, and some noodles. Yum.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Healthy (more or less) Lizzy

Lizzy's five-year-old well child check today.

Man, is she squirrelly when she's uncomfortable. And even worse than shots (jabs for my overseas readers - vaccines) is the Dreaded Otoscope. God forbid an adult should look in Lizzy's ear or her nose. She did surprisingly well on the vision test (her dad's vision is dreadful, and mine was before LASIK) with a score of 20/25 in both eyes. The doctor is pleased with her diet (Miz Liz will eat meatballs on her spaghetti, chicken with ranch dip, and bacon; other than that she is - in her own words - "kind of like half a vegetawian").

Now, we had this appointment at the neighborhood branch of our own clinic; our family doctor works at one further away and is not open on Saturdays. Turns out today was one of the two days a year our family doc works at the one nearest us and is open on Saturdays, , but we didn't know that until we got there; we saw a different doctor. Lizzy says she "sounds like Miss Dhunitha at my school - I'm in Montessowi pweschool you know". She's right; their accents are very similar. But Lizzy is generally healthy, has decent vision, and was pretty brave about her shots.

Of which she got four (flu, varicella, polio, and hepB), but now she's up to date and won't get anything but flu shots until she's ten. She was brave enough - especially considering how awful she was about the Dreaded Otoscope (I just noticed that I'm writing that the same way I write "F&^king Algebra, of which tis is my second-to-last week) - that she got one princess sticker for each shot, and one pick from the treasure chest for each shot. I suspect that even Lizzy is pretty done in as far as candy goes since Halloween, because she only chose one sweet; the rest are toys of the same sort we keep in our own treasure box.

So now she's lying on the couch watching the flu shot episode of Sid the Science Kid, and then I imagine she'll want to watch Blue Visits the Doctor. Looks like a tea-and-preschool-TV kind of day.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Ghoul Wore Galoshes

Abby was a Zombie this year, but she wore hot pink leopard print rain boots. Apparently "bits of zombie fall off" if they get too wet. Good to know.

Undead Abby,
The Annoying Orange, and
Mona Lizzy the Vampire
Mona in her original incarnation
Greg's character costume

Lizzy went as Mona the Vampire. I have to say that I am ridiculously proud of the quick-release bow tie I made her. Standard ones from costume shops wrap around her little neck too many times and I could just see her strangling herself, so I made her one out of a red satin headband and a black velvet bow... it worked pretty well - just like the quick-release collar Tiger has.

We had most of the usual suspects and a couple new ones, in all different types. The Hubs is trained as a teacher, so he assigned them buddies as well as going with them, so Katniss Kiki and Wolfman Tris (the oldest two) kept an eye on Mona Lizzy and Captain Conner America (the youngest). The three medium sized kids (Abby the Undead, Greg the Annoying Orange and Trish the Princess) watched out for each other. Add three adults (the Hubs, the Orange's dad, and Wolfy & Cap's mom; my mom just had knee surgery so I stayed with her and answered the door to trick-or-treaters) and a good time was had by all.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday Was... Difficult

My phone went kablooey (something wrong with either the battery or the charging port). I have new parts coming as it's under warranty, and a cheapo GoPhone in the meantime. I thought I'd give the GoPhone to Abby when I'm done with it, but I had forgotten that her father and I had discussed it and decided that she was too young, even for the "starter phone". Bad call on my part, and not very respectful of the other adult involved in the equation either; I didn't even consult him.

She's not all that careful with electronics. although she's better now than she used to be. We  replaced the DS Lite her dad got her (with the extended warranty he also bought, good idea, Dad) about a year and a half ago, although that was an issue with - you guessed it - the charging port.

Maybe we have a mini-USB problem.

Anyway, her dad and I will have another talk about the idea of a cell phone for her, and since this GoPhone is also completely cheap and doesn't have any of the cool features any self-respecting tween would want (like a camera, or a texting keyboard) and also no parental controls (because it's a prepaid), I think we'll keep it in the house as an emergency phone, the sort of thing we can keep always in the same place in case we need to dial 911.

God forbid.

And then - ANNND THEN - I had to take Lil' Lizzy in for a filling. At five years old. With a half-dozen more to do, because apparently drinking juice right before bed is the same thing as drinking juice in bed; it's seriously bad for the teeth. Lizzy - being Lizzy - is a fidgeter. And a... well, it was somewhere between screaming and whimpering. And then Lizzy - being Lizzy - was absolutely fine and maybe even a little more jumpy than usual (do they put epinephrine in novocaine for babies?) the second she was out of the chair. Apparently her rewards of a blue toothbrush and a Halloween pencil made it all worthwhile.

They want to send her to a pediatric dentist who can knock her out and do the other six all at once. Scary for Mama.

Anyway, not a bad day. Just difficult.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Almost Done

The school I'm in has gotten some bad press lately, because they're closing several on-the-ground campuses, although the only way this should affect online students such as myself is in losing live tutoring services. I feel bad for those who will have to either go online when they're used to on-the-ground, or commute to a further campus. But times are hard for for-profit schools too, and not everyone learns well online. We all have our learning quirks.

But I just got off the phone with my academic counselor, and I feel great. As soon as my current class is over (three more weeks!) I am Done With F&^king Algebra Forever, and back to classes that mean something to me, both in the academic and affectionate senses.

Next up is Communication Variety: the Spice of Life. I'm back to two classes (since F&^king Algebra will be done) and the other is Information Strategies: Putting 2 and 2 Together (and no, it's not math, and even if it was, arithmetic I can handle).

After those and two more, I will have an Associate of Arts in Communications.

And then I start on a Bachelor of Science in Cultural Communications.

Now I was able to transfer 15 credits from the Long Ago toward my AA. I have 33 credits from back then to transfer toward my BS. That's a lot of credits. And it covers all my electives, which is lovely except that any other classes I want to take I will have to take separately. I wouldn't mind a creative writing class for instance, but  it won't be part of this degree; I used up all my electives in the late 1980s with things like Spanish and Signing Exact English and other classes that count as Humanities.

Assuming no breaks in schooling, I will receive a Bachelor of Science for my 46th birthday.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Weird Little Phrases

The woman from whom
these are learned.
 I'm not talking about the potentially offensive ones here, but those pithy little phrases one hears from people in the generation up from one's own.

Today I was reminded of this because I just received an email from my mother - who is watching my kids in spite of having had knee surgery four days ago, go Mom! - and she said Lizzy was "covered in sand from ass to appetite".

I want to know exactly how far that is. What's the etymology? Does it mean literally from the child's backside to her mouth (or did it start out that way and has evolved)?

I wonder whether I have any phrases that my kids think are really strange.

It's similar to another one I've heard her use - "raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock". Now that's evocative (if yucky) of a mental picture - the splashy kind of rain.

Certainly more so than "raining cats and dogs".

I'm at work and I can't go searching for stuff like that from here; even if I had the time to do more than bang out a blog post on a break, I shudder to imagine the kinds of search results I would get with words like ass and pissing in my search terms. From work.

The last time I did that, it was at Atari (or maybe it was Infogrames at the time), searching for one of our own Duke Nuk'em games by subtitle. Yeah, "Land of the Babes"... not a great search term from work.

Besides, I try to keep this blog basically PG-rated.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I find Thursdays to be a bit trying. I think that it's because Wednesday I go in for my math tutoring session, and my brain is fried from twisting into unnatural (for me) configurations (this is where I want proper smileys in Blogger). Not to mention the driving-all-over-town part of it.

And this Thursday is especially so. My mom is having knee surgery. Now, she hurt her knee um... 29 years ago? Something like that, and she had surgery at the time and I remember one point when all three of us - me, Mom, and Sis - were on crutches at the same time that spring. Mom had torn stuff skiing, I had pulled a bunch of ligaments and tendons ditto, and Sis had broken her leg on a wet playground slide.

But I digress.

Anyway, mom's having surgery today - one of her BFFs (my Fairy Godmother, aka "Auntie S" in this blog) took her in, and it's not even at the hospital; it's an outpatient thing. No real reason to fret, right?

But there's no news yet. And it's making me crazy.

And Lil' Lizzy is at the dentist with her dad, which also makes me crazy, because even though I know he's perfectly capable (if not exactly eager) to take her in, he's not me. If she does in fact have a cavity - and it sure looks like it to me and my mom and Miss Abby - she will want her mommy, no matter how cool Daddy is or how much SCIENCE he does with her.

Yeah, so this post is kind of rambling, but hey, that's what it's for, right? To "write things out".

Edited (3:30PM) to add: Heard from Mom, who texted me from the car (her friend is driving of course) to let me know she's fine and they're on their way home. Have not yet heard from The Hubs about Lizzy's Teeth of Doom.

Edited (3:50PM) to add: Poor baby has a number of cavities (seven, all on surfaces where it's a flossing issue), apparently. She's too young to just pull baby teeth. Our juice bill will go down though, I guess.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One of Those Days

The Hubs has to be at work at five, so when I'm still bleary-eyed and coffeeless at 630 and he comes barelling into the house, plops my keys into my hand, and says, "Check your email," there's a problem.

Yesterday I sent Abby out to retrieve her school bag from his car. Apparently she left my copy of the keys in his passenger door and of course he didn't see it (why would he - he uses the driver door), and assumed that the tapping noise was a seatbelt hanging outside the car. Until he gets to work. And then he has to work until six, emailing me and Google-Plussing me (while I sleep), when a manager comes in and he can get permission to run the keys home so I can get to work. Abby spent the rest of the morning before school writing him a contrite little note.

That's how the day started. Then there was dreadful traffic, a note from my boss asking me to do a bunch of articles over again (and a later note saying that only two of them actually needed it so I'm good), Lizzy getting the sniffles, and a note from Leanna's mom asking how many of us are coming to Leanna's concert tonight.

Um... I wasn't told about a concert until just now. Looks like Leanna was supposed to tell us but forgot. Thus is twelve years old - still young enough to assume that parents just know this stuff, through osmosis, I suppose. I have school and Abby has gymnastics, and Lizzy may be getting a cold, and...

At least I'm still passing F^%king Algebra.

Knock wood.

Lizzy may have a cavity - she's going to the dentist tomorrow - and needs a checkup - pediatrician two weeks from Saturday - and gahhhhhhhh.

Just that kind of day. Nothing huge. Just a lot of little Bad Stuff.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Green Beans

I buy organic... but only when it's on sale or otherwise cheaper. Organic food (and yes, yes, all food is organic in the literal definition of the word, but 'organic' in this context means 'not genetically modified, no weird antibiotics or funky artificial hormones, and oh, by the way, we don't use cancer-causing pesticides.') is expensive as a rule.

So I don't get it often.

But on my way to work (I live north of Seattle and work east of it), there is a little drive-thru latte stand called The Green Beanery.

And they are fabulous.

Everything is organic. Some of it is free trade. The cups are made of recycled paper. Most of it is compostable. They have things I've never seen at any other coffee place, like hummus in place of cream cheese, and more alternative milks than just soy and rice. They have extensive nutrition information so it would even be safe for my daughter to eat there; they know what is in everything, where it's from, etc.

They don't seem to be more expensive than other 'non-organic' coffee shops. Which means of course that they're not an every day thing; coffee drinks are expensive no matter where you get them.

But they're worth it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Probably Overthinking This

You know, in that way that middle-school English teachers and book reviewers overthink the meaning behind every word that a given author writes. The, "Blue indicates the protagonist's longing for the sea," thing, when no, the protagonist just likes blue; it was a throw-it-in just for - ahem - color.

But I've been thinking about two of the songs on the Spooky Mix CD I talked about earlier this week.

Ghost Riders in the Sky - Is this a variation on the legends of the Wild Hunt? Or a simple ghost story in song form? Overthinking? Yeah, probably, but well, that's what breaks (and my favorite wiki site) are for, right? So I looked it up. And sure enough, when one types "Ghost Riders in the Sky" into their serach box, one of the very first hits is - you guessed it - The Wild Hunt page. Go Jenn and her mind full of trivia!

So I looked up The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Sounds very Faustian, yeah? Putting up one's soul in a bet with the devil, as in many many other stories. (Although in the case of this song, the Devil is the one who initiates the encounter; he's behind on his soul quota apparently). And yeah, it's on the Deal with the Devil page on that web site, under both Music (natch) and Video Games (for Guitar Hero). Along with one of my other favorites, of course, as pointed out earlier this year.

My mind works in twisty little ways.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Musical Discoveries

I've shared before how music affects my kids.

Abby's such an auditory learner as to make it difficult for her to read until recently when it clicked (and the only "long words" she can spell are those she learned in song, like "Aitch Ay Double-ell Oh Double-you, Double-ee En spells Halloween" to the tune of Danse Macabre).

Lizzy thinks songs in minor keys are by definition sad, so she is unable to cope with - for instance - Greensleeves (What Child is This?) or Sunrise Sunset.

But this weekend Lizzy and I went into The Hubs' considerable collection of mp3s he's bought over the years, to make us a Halloween compilation CD for the car. Some favorites of Abby's (Dead Man's Party, the aforementioned Danse Macabre) and Lizzy's (The Monster Mash, Purple People Eater) along with twelve or so others. These are not (in general) "Halloween songs", but they are all either creepy as to content or in that minor-key way - Bad Moon Rising, Devil Inside, etc.

So when we started in on track six - Ghost Riders in the Sky - and Lizzy said, "It sounds like the pie episode of the Backyahdigans," I looked it up. And sure enough (as you can see if you click on the link) The Backyardigans: Samurai Pie's musical genre is in fact Spaghetti Western. Good catch, kid!

Abby noticed that most of the Halloween songs - at least "the ones with words, mom" - are story songs; they tell a specific story about a given dark and gloomy night or the like. 'Twa Corbies is a good example (although a certain amount of translation had to be looked up) and so is Abby's new-old favorite of The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Now this is a song that her father and I listened to ad nauseum while I was pregnant with her, so I don't know how much of her love of it is prenatal influence. But she really really loves it.

And then we got to the last track on the disc. And although I'm no longer sure Abby has a mild form of dyslexia since her reading improved so much over the summer, she does still have trouble with right and left, much as my mom does. If I can use The Time Warp to teach her right from left in a way she can grok ("It's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the ri-i-i-i-i-ight" and no, we're not doing the responses; get your head out of the gutter), then I will.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I love autumn. It's my favorite season, even if the end of it is ugly. And today I am rocking the fall/harvest vibe. Right now I've got all four burners on the stovetop going, and a G+ friend in my What's for Dinner? circle asked for recipes. So...

Boiled eggs
This one is pretty easy, but we boil a lot of eggs (I'm mildly allergic to milk, so eggs are an easier quick protein than cheese), and we've discovered the best way to make them easy-peel; about halfway through the boil add a shake of baking soda to the water, and when they're done, run the whole thing under cold water until the eggs are cool. This may explain my water bill.

Laston's Work Lunches
He likes to vary these, but in general they include (white) meat, veggies, beans and spices. Today's batch is thusly:
  • 3lb pork tenderloin, in bite-sized chunks
  • 1 onion, chunked
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans Cuban-style black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 2lbs frozen mixed veggies
Usually this requires a fair amount of spice. But the Cuban-style beans are a bit spicy and the Chipotle Tabasco could come from Safeway any time between 11 and 3 Pacific. I brown the meat and onions and then add the rest, bring to a boil and simmer for an hour.

"Camping Soup"
So named because one could take it camping and cook it all day over a fire; the only thing requiring refrigeration was the meat. We use it more commonly in the fall now, and I associate it with something hot to eat before trick-or-treating. Mom uses ground beef but I prefer stew meat. It's another throw-it-in kind of recipe, and today's version is...
  • 1lb stew beef, browned
  • 1 onion, diced and browned with the meat
  • 1 large can beef broth
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 can wax beans
  • 1 large can kidney beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can mushrooms
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 handful (half a cup?) pearl barley
  • 1 bay leaf
Brown the meat and onions, and toss it all in the slow cooker. It's very important not to drain the canned veggies; the water from them helps make the broth.

Jenn's Jewish-Asian Fusion Sick-time Soup
Jewish because of the chicken-soup stereotype. Asian because of the flavors I put in it. Sometimes I get frozen won-tons but I didn't have time today. Also out of pea pods.
  • 1 quart chicken broth (today I'm making my own,  with chicken thighs, water, lime juice, garlic, onion, ginger, and celery)
  • Chicken (um... today is three thighs' worth)
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 can shiitake mushrooms, drained
  • 1 handful (half a cup?) white rice
  • Soy sauce to taste
Make the broth as above (it's reducing as I type), dump the lot in a slow cooker (Laston's mom got me a triple-crock-pot a couple years ago and it's my best friend), and enjoy!

There it is, folks, Jenn's autumnal comfort food.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An 'Out of the Mouths' Sort of Week

I got home rather late tonight, because I went grocery shopping, and also bought dinner at this new place down the road called Readi Spaghetti. It's not bad - rather like the Subway Sandwich of pasta - and the grownups truly enjoyed it. But I did get this remark from Abby, in her best sneering-tween manner. "Mom. You just don't understand. When Grandma says the mac-and-cheese is good, that means it's good only to Grandma. Kids are not fans because it's too cheesy."

Right then. Next time I'll get the kids' pizza meal. Sheesh.

Then the Hubs sneezed. He tends to do this several times in a row so we all waited to say bless you or salud or gesundheit. He sneezed again and Lizzy (just five) said, "Wait for it... waiiit for itttt." And the Hubs and I just cracked up.

Credit: Big Fish Games
Awakening: The Dreamless Castle
After watching Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan with me, Abby no longer wants to be anything from Who for Halloween, and is refusing to play one of our favorite games from Big Fish. (see right). She's still interested in a Who-themed birthday party though.

And as for birthdays, Abby is firmly convinced that she made up the knock-knock joke containing her name ("Abby who?" "Abby birthday to you"). We'll let her keep that illusion for awhile.

We're not churchgoers  but my musical repertoire includes quite a number of religious songs and/or songs that refer to religion. Lizzy threw this one at me last night as we completed the singing portion of our bedtime routine. "Mommy, I know what Gahdian Angels is; the ones god sends to care for us at night so he can sleep." This is on a par with last Thanksgiving, when she declared that "Thanksgiving is to thank Indian people foh doing nice things like taking Pilgwims out to lunch".

And that, Dear Readers, is why this blog is named what it is.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Real World

It's a little stressful. Between the job (woohoo! I have a job!) and home and school (still F&^king Algebra), it's rather complex.

I thought that, and typed it, and then I decided I was wrong.

It's not work and home and school that are so stressful and complex; it's specific aspects of these things that make me wiggy.

It's the commute and the fact that even with a job I still have no money.

It's the fact that our kids are getting to be adolescents (at least the older two), and this is a very scary row to hoe in our super-connected world. And Lizzy seems to be more intelligent than her mama, which also scares me.

It's that F&^king Algebra 2 is not going any better than F&^king Algebra 1 did.

But then I look around again, and I think, well, not too bad.

The commute is working a little better each day and although we're still extremely strapped for cash, it will work out eventually.

It's my birthday tomorrow and the Hubs has apparently gotten me a surprise in addition to the cool gift he got me when it came out earlier this month. And my mom is making me my fave dinner too.

Once F&^king Algebra is done, I go back to classes in which I have skill and confidence, like writing and communication and the ones that are in fact useful for me.

It's a good old life. One just needs to look past the scary and stressful to the meat underneath.

Monday, September 24, 2012


You know her. She's the one who works full time, is the president of the PTA, takes the children to ballet and soccer and swimming, puts dinner on the table, has a sparkling clean house, is a trim size six, and is still home with milk and cookies when the kids get home from school.

I am not she.



I mention this because some kind soul on the University of Phoenix student support forums called me 'supermom' because I work full time (now, at last, finally, and oh boy am I loving it!) and go to school (F&^king Alegebra 2), and still manage to keep the kids fed and more-or-less in clean clothing. Now, the spouse does quite a bit (and more since I got the job - he cooks dinner several nights a week and does dishes, supervises homework when Grandma doesn't, does the floors and sometimes the bathrooms, picks up kids, puts Lizzy to bed over her objections on my school nights, etc). Grandma babysits three days a week, shuttles children to school and gym, and is basicallt Supergrandma. but unless I want mornings to be utterly stupid with stress, the laundry and the night-before-lunch-packing is mine.

The people who think I'm Supermom? These people have clearly not seen my house.

I mean, it's not actual squalor, but tidy it ain't, and I'm really not all that bothered by stains on cheap apartment-grade carpet. We often take our clothes for the day off the neat piles (separated by wearer) on the couch and socks out of a basket. And the fruit flies in the kitchen are starting to be a bit of a pain, but they'll go away when we get to winter fruits - nothing but apples and oranges and the occasional banana for weeks on end; the fruit flies do love their nectarines and plums.

Mostly I am content if I can pass my classes (and once F.A. is done that will be simpler) and get dinner on the table, make sure the kids get off to school in good order, make sure Abby is reading and Lizzy is sleeping in her own bed. Make sure they're getting experiences over and above laundry and dishes and school.

You know, life.

I'm not Supermom.

But I'm Pretty Good Mom.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Movies and Pirates and Airplanes oh my

WARNING: Minor Spoilers Abound, Matey.

As you may know, I have a horror of violence in movies where the kids are concerned, and we had decided that The Hunger Games was likely too violent for our kids.

There is also the issue that while twelve-year-old Leanna has an actual goal of watching a Rated R Horror Movie the day after her 18th birthday (such an adolescent thing to do), nine-year-old Abby is less bothered by violence on its own, and more by things like Noble Self-Sacrifice or violence done to the helpless (hoo, boy, last week's episode of Doctor Who, with a helpless herbivorous creature being killed by the Big Bad? She's cried through that scene twice now.)

But when Abby was at a sleepover last night, and she called to ask if it was okay for her to watch The Hunger Games, I thought fast. I came up with these points:

  • I finally gave in on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which she did okay with
  • I gave in on the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which she did okay with
  • The last few episodes of her (and my) beloved Doctor Who have been very very dark in many ways, titles like Dinosaurs on a Spaceship notwithstanding. She does okay as long as there is a responsible adult with her watching these things, so she can ask questions.
So I told her she could watch it, assuming that the supervising parent watched it with them. And this morning she's her normal, slightly-grumpy Sunday-after-a-sleepover self. When asked if the movie bothered her at all she said no, "because it was just violent, not scary". I asked her if it was "dark" and she said it wasn't as dark as Harry Potter Five.

And as we had had a very busy day Saturday, she may not have taken the whole movie in; like her mother, she usually gets more out of something rewatching it later.

Saturday was a blast. We went to the Imagine Children's Museum (to which my mom got us season tickets) and it happened to be Seafair Pirates Day. There was a lot of time spent upstairs listening to pirate songs (and a damnyouautocorrect sequence between me and my mom that should not be shared on this PG-rated blog) and more time downstairs playing in all the cool stuff they have there.

Lizzy's favorite is as always the Imagine Air plane; a bunch of local Boeing engineers designed, built, and donated it to the museum a couple years ago, and she loves it. She flew to "Hawaii, and they Disneyland, and the last time I was the pilot!"

Busy day. No wonder Abby was numb by movie time!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Tomorrow is my first day back to work in about 17 months. Today was Lizzy's fifth birthday. So of course she and I spent it running all over town to get last-minute security forms for getting a badge made. We got to have this little gem of a conversation:

Lizzy: Mommy, how do we bo?
Me: Bo? You mean bowl?
L: No, bo. You said we're going Boeing.
Me: Uh... we're going to Boeing. It's named after a person, not an action.
L: He must have been a very good bo-er. 

Then we met Grandma and Auntie and Cousin at Lizzy's favewit restawonk - Red Robin. This is because Red is her second favorite color, and her middle name is Robin. Uh-huh. Abby's not feeling terrific; she's cold and has a headache and a stuffy nose. The stuffy nose has been going on for a few days but with Abby you never know if it's allergies, and this afternoon she got the headache and this evening she got the chills, and now her temp is 102F.

Back to School 2012
I get the Bad Mommy Award because they're still staying overnight with Grandma tonight; although she managed to convince my brain that Abby's just as fine with her as with me, and that it's better if I don't roust a sick child out of bed at oh-dark-thirty to go to Grandma's because I have to work (Yeah, I can see that, "Um, hi, I'm Jenn, the chick you just spent four weeks and ungodly amounts of cash vetting to make sure I'm not a spy or an evil hacker or something, and I can't make it in 'cause my kid's got a cold!" Um, no.), in spite of what my brain and my gut know, my heart is freaking out (my baby!).

Based on her symptoms and family history, she has a cold, maybe a sinus infection. I'm not worried about her faking anything; not only was she with us the whole time, she likes school. So I will call her in sick, and if she still has a fever tomorrow Grandma will take her to the doctor (Grandma has all permissions). But it still freaks me out.

Monday, September 3, 2012


This is the sort of week that makes more than a few of my online friends say things like, "I'm tired just reading that!" Part of this is that I write it all out, not to make myself look like Supermom, but because it's the only way for me to keep track of it all. So even little things that can be done while other things are in process - like running a load of laundry while doing the dishes for instance - are separate entities on the list. But the basics are this: Tomorrow is the first day of school and Lizzy's fifth birthday (and no, she's not going to kindergarten; we could have tested her in but we don't think she's socially ready, although she is academically. She wouldn't be able to sit still even to the limited extent they require of kindergartners, so she's staying at her Montessori preschool another year. We love them.) Wednesday is my first day back to work after nearly 17 months of unemployment. And this is my last week of F&^king Algebra, assuming I pass the class, which I should. Then on to F&^king Algebra Part Two, but that's a separate issue.

Let's just say that there's a fair bit of labor going on this labor day at Chez Gamers' Babes. For the past four days I've been washing and sorting this plethora of clothing Grandma and Grandpa K sent, checking for fit, deciding what's appropriate for school, etc. Abby's idea of appropriate and her dad's are different, but as long as her Goth remains perky-Goth I'm okay with it, even at nine. If it gets darker we'll have to have A Talk, especially with her dad; he's not unreasonable so if it goes too far for him it is likewise not unreasonable to clamp down. Her back-to-school choice this year skirts (ha!) the edge of how far I'm willing to allow; it's a plaid skirt, black hello kitty knee socks, and a black tee that says, "I Heart (where the heart is a hologram that switches to a set of vampire teeth) Vampires". A picture will be posted tomorrow.

Lizzy's back-to-school clothing choice is more... well, it's younger. Jeans and a green flowered top. But as it's her birthday and the first day of preschool for the year there's a fair bit of stuff that needs to happen. Because it's "little kids" we need a change of clothes, because it's a school in an old farmhouse with cold floors we have to pack slippers, like that. And Birthday Treats (on the first day), and we decided on donut holes; they're small and cheap and the teachers can dole them out as needed. So all that is packed and ready to go.

And today Grandma took them to get their hair cut. Abby's been nagging for color, but neither her dad nor I are comfy with hair color over and above natural highlights in someone so young, at least not during the school year (Kool-Aid rinses in the summer? Be my guest). But Grandma was willing to pay for clip-in extensions; Abby got two, one in a burgundy that looks like it could be natural, and one in a purple that is definitely not. Lizzy got one, in dark blue, and they both got their hair cut (Abby's in her usual inverse bob and Lizzy's at just below her shoulders). Who knew that Lizzy's hair blew out straight? It's a good thing she wasn't wearing those jean shorts that make her look about eight today or I'd have thought they were both starting fourth grade!

So... today I'm finishing all that laundry and putting it away. Getting as much done of my school work as I can for the week. Running the dishwasher (the Hubs emptied and reloaded it while I was out of the house), packing Abby's lunch and making other lunch things (like hard-boiled eggs) and dinner for tonight. The clothes are already laid out for tomorrow morning. Mmm - taking the bacon out of the freezer, setting alarms for an hour and a half before school, making sure everyone goes to bed on time.

Tuesday I take Abby to school, take Lizzy to school and drop off all her stuff, birthday and otherwise. Meet my mom for our last breakfast-without-kids for awhile, get my own stuff ready for Wednesday, pick Lizzy up at preschool. Pack a bag for the girls including Abby's lunch, wait for Abby to get home from school, provide a snack and homework time (if no homework yet then reading for twenty minutes), take them out to Lizzy's birthday dinner with my mom, from which they go to my mom's house (she offered to take them overnight before my first day of work so I only have myself to get ready in the morning).

Whew! Now I'm tired just reading that!