Thursday, February 22, 2007

How long until Easter?

Ah! The Lenten Season! Time to find some way to improve yourself and have meatless Fridays. Lent is the one thing that the man and I still cling to from our religious upbringings. Why we do it doesn't make any sense: we don't go to church and we do nothing else Catholic for the rest of the year. But every year when Ash Wednesday rolls around, we both plunge right in. Old habits die hard? CCD classes only succeeded in the Lent lesson? Who knows what it is. It just is.

We've both tried a variety of things to give up or take on during this time of year: give up snack foods, give up pop, stop swearing out loud, stop being angry when driving. All of these have work with a modest amount of success. (The swearing thing didn't work out for me AT ALL!)

This year we are taking a different approach. We have decided to take a walk together everyday to get more exercise. We are going to try to do a 30 minute walk a day. And it has to be a brisk walk, not a stroll. Romantic, eh? Ah, but wait- To remove all fun from the exercise, we are taking Marco along. He needs exercise too and by including him keeping at a quick pace will not be an issue. The dog does not know how to heel despite numerous obedience lessons and pulls like a train engine when he's on his leash. He zigs and zags all over the sidewalk, sniffing, peeing, sniffing, lunging, choking, peeing, and tripping us the entire time. By the time we get home, we are exhausted.

Lent is two days old and we've taken two walks. Only 5 weeks and three days to go!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Birthday Man

The 17Th was the man's birthday. And what a day it was. In the afternoon we went sledding with... um... most everyone we know! Down at Mill Hollow they have a sled hill that's nice and long and not too steep. Most importantly, the walk back up doesn't make you want to roll over and die like the hill at Cascade. As soon as you trudged your way to the top, someone would be there asking "You want to ride with us?" So off you'd go again. We had a variety of sleds: Long ones that you can fit four adults in and their kids, lots of little saucers, and one person sleds with a seat. Our long black sled is the worst sled ever made. You pile everyone in and if you're lucky, you end up going sideways, then backwards, then stop. If you luck runs out, you're face first in the snow with the sled on top of you. Nobody wanted to ride in it.

The hill was filled with people doing all kinds of crazy things. Some kids brought their bikes and were riding down. Not a good idea and they got scolded by the park warden. Some other kid had a huge, red blow-up inner tube. He probably never felt a single bump on that sweet ride! This other family would all pile into the sled and go down the hill with their leased dog running along side. But the most memorable sledder was the guy in the garbage bag. That's right, he was in the big black garbage bag and he would just sort of THROW himself down the hill. It was a sight to behold.

There's nothing like sledding to make you question your sanity and redefine fun. You find yourself sitting in a snow-filled $3 plastic box with five other people looking down at a hill side of people face down in snow, who you are about to run over if they don't move. Some sadistic friend pushes you over the crest of the hill and now you're out of control, zipping and bumping, spinning and did I mention bumping, over snow that's been packed ice hard. You're screaming at little kids to get out of the way because you can't stop. You're praying that you can hang on to the baby in your lap (who is giggling her head off!). You know that you are going to end up with a face full of snow from the spray and end up looking like a cartoon character.

Then all these things do happen and when you get to the top of the hill, your legs wiped out, you do it all over again. Why? Because it IS fun!

Finally we had all had enough. A quick stop at a friends house to change clothes and then it was off to dinner to Boccardi's. Dinner for 21 with kids seriously outnumbering the adults. Service was slow, but that's to be expected there. Nobody minded. We accomplished a semi-successful wave around the big table which amused the other patrons. The food was super yummy, as always and there a chocolate chip cookie cake for dessert.

Happy Birthday to Dave, John, Brad and, of course, the man. Here's to another happy year!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another Snow Day!

Home again, home again. Here we are. Snow day #4. Now is when you start to worry. Everyone knows that only 5 snow days are built into the school calendar. If you go more than 5 than they extend school into summer that much longer. NOBODY wants that! The girl keeps reminding us that she's only been to school 1 hour all week. Let's hope for school tomorrow. We can finally get the Valentine's parties in!

The man dug out the driveway yesterday with the much appreciated assistant of Mr. Neighbor Man and his snow blower. Today the kids and I cleared the walk from the sidewalk to the front porch. Now we can get mail. It's quite a pile out there, but it's lousy snow. Way too fluffy, it doesn't pack at all. No snowmen, no snowballs.

Today we finally got out of the house. We went to the grocery store for a few staples and the library. Books and food, that's what keeps us going. The laundry is all caught up. The girl got all her homework done. The PlayStation is begging for mercy. We watched an Indiana Jones marathon. All in all, it's been quite a couple of days.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow Day Valentines

To make up for having zero snow days last year, today would be our third one so far this winter. Though I guess the two days last week would be called "Extreme Cold" Days which were no fun at all. Snow days are better because you get to run around outside in foot deep snow and fall down over and over again. This would be the girl's third day off in row. She's been home with the flu for the past two days. Her snow day will mostly consist of doing make-up homework. Yucky!

On days where you are unexpectedly stuck at home, I like to take some time cleaning things up. Today, I'm cleaning up the blog, more like catching up. Two weekends ago the troop had a sleepover here at the house and we made pillows for Blessing House, which is a home that keeps kids that have been removed from their homes in an emergency situation. My girls cut fabric, used sewing machines, stuffed and hand closed about 20 pillows. My house was thread and fiberfill from one end to the other by morning.
Last weekend was the 1st birthday party for sweet Lucy. I didn't get one picture of her or her cake, but I got these shots instead. The party had an excellent balloon guy who made all kinds of amazing balloon things. This is my Calliope with little 2 year old Calliope. Both were pretty excited to meet each other. This was the first other Calliope that the little one met, but mine met another one when she was in the first grade. These two were best buddies for the whole party.
The boy had a sword and helmet made. Standing between him and his victim is Lucy's daddy, James. Right behind our knight is the clown pinata. I wish I had a better shot of what it looked like before because here's what it looked like after...

Every kid got multiple whacks at this poor thing. It kept getting knocked down and then rehung by an arm, finally by his feet like an Italian dictator. Finally it took James himself to deliver the death blow. While the kids scurried around for candy, my man grab the carcass and started using it like a puppet. Kids would come up and continue to beat on it and rip off limbs while the clown cracked jokes. Funny, yes. Disturbing, definitely!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Teaspoon for two

See this spoon? I used to have a bunch of these guys. Now I'm down to 8. I have my suspicions on how this has happened.

The realization that we were running low on spoons has been slow coming. I've been in denial for awhile telling myself things like "Oh, the rest must be in the dishwasher or the sink." But tonight, every dish is washed and put away and the final count is 8.

This flatware was a wedding gift from my Grandma. A heavy, heavy box, it had 12 each of knives, teaspoons, soup spoons, dinner forks, salad forks and two big serving spoons . The first year that I had Christmas for the family, I was already down a few spoons and a fork, so ordered some more. Oneida was having a sale so I bought 8 more forks and teaspoon. I had so much flatware, I couldn't fit it all in the drawer! That was 12 years ago.

Fast forward to today and my missing spoons. Oneida is very sorry, but they have discontinued my pattern. I've checked around all the flatware replacement sites and have found my spoons at two of them. They both want $6 a spoon! I found my pattern under headings like "Heirloom" and "Vintage" Come on! This set came from Kmart and we've only been married 14 years! This is not antique silverware!

But it's clear now that our spoons are valuable. My new plan is guard and protect these last 8 spoons from the dangers that they face. Obviously, we have a gremlin or rogue yard gnome sneaking around and filching our spoons for their own nefarious purposes. How dare they!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Happy Groundhog's Day

When I was a kid, I remember telling my dad that I loved snow. He said, "You won't after you learn to drive." End of conversation.

Well, now I know how to drive and I still love snow. I don't even mind driving in it as long as there's not much risk I'll get stuck in a snowbank and have to depend on neighbors and passersby to push me out. That's the pits! Ice is another story. Nobody should have to drive on ice, except the truck driver whose job it is to make the ice go away. My street is a permanent sheet of ice from December to April. Two blocks in any direction and you've got smooth sailing on dry pavement. But my street is a death corridor lined by 100 year old oaks. The plow went down the street last night with it's yellow lights dancing on our living room walls. We were about to burst into song when we saw that its the blade was up. The truck was just passing through on its way to more important streets.

There's lots of stuff to love about winter. New white snow hides all the ugly places in the yard. Grass doesn't grow, hedges don't need trimmed. Frozen dog poop doesn't smell, so there's not such a need to run out there and clean the yard. Besides, it's all buried in snow so you can't find it anyway! And frozen trash rarely gets hit by nighttime visitors. And there's no bugs. Very big plus!

I hear you out there. What about the snow shoveling?

We deal with that around in here in our own way. It's called the Pack Down Method, but we prefer to call it "Spring is going to happen eventually, so why knock myself out" method. That's right- we don't shovel. I hate to shovel and I only do it if I'm mad about something else and need to throw stuff around. The farthest I'll go at snow removal is sweeping off the front and back stoops. Ice on steps is dangerous. But that's it. The driveway, the front walk, the sidewalk, it's all deep snow with paths packed in from tires or feet. The cars take care of the driveway. Our feet handle the walk to the backdoor. The mailman and anyone else walking down the street help tramp down the front walk. The neighbors on both sides of us thoroughly shovel and salt their sidewalks right up to our line and then it's like you hit a glacier for our walk.

When we were kids walking to school, we would flip off houses that didn't have their sidewalks shoveled. ( Yeah, we were tough guys.) We would flip the house the bird inside our big mittens and yell stuff like "Why don't you get off your fat ass and shovel your damn sidewalk?" (I'm not kidding. You didn't want to mess with us!) Are kids out there sneering and hating at our house? I wouldn't be surprised. I know we've got it coming, but honest, spring is going to come!

Today is all about the need for spring. We need spring so bad that we are willing to bother some poor, fat, super cute (Sorry, I have a soft spot for groundhogs!) animal from it's slumber just to prove it to ourselves. But no matter what his prediction, whether it's winter for 6 more weeks or 12 (which is more likely), spring will come and melt all the snow away. In the meantime, while our snow shovel hibernates, I'll enjoy winter while it's here.