• Work

    I really should not be typing now. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.

    I picked blueberries this morning and came home with 16 quarts (my girlfriend Laurel helped me pick after she got all that she wanted for their family, bless her heart) that now need to be picked over, canned, frozen, and dried.

    I need to bake chocolate chip cookies and make tuna salad. I need to pick potato bugs (the kids like them fried in butter with sea salt sprinkled on top—just kidding), hoe the beans, pick some rhubarb, weed and mulch the rose bed, mow the yard.

    And this evening I am planning to go pick cherries (sweet, wax, and sour) and buy some apricots, too. Then there will be more jam and drying and canning. I will not get near everything done, but I bet you’d be impressed if I did.

    About the blueberries, I’m wanting to can some—does anybody have any advice about this? I’ve never done it before. Just put them in jars with water and sugar and process? And how does freezer blueberry jam turn out? Or is it better to do cook jam?

  • Patting Myself On The Back

    I don’t consider myself a Fun Mom. I don’t play games with my kids; I don’t laugh at all their jokes. I say no a lot. I have lots of rules. I demand manners. I make them do work (at least I try to—this is a hot topic, ie. I’m constantly pulling my hair out over this one, and I’ll blog more about it later). I don’t have body piercings, wear a bikini, drive a flashy car, etc. In other words, I’m traditional and boring.

    But when Yo-Yo Boy asked for a Mohawk, I said yes.

    I may not have said yes if I hadn’t lived through the whole Mohawk craze, twenty years ago, a la my brother. The one that’s now bald. That brother begged and pleaded for a Mohawk. He made a sign and hung it on his door: The Mohawk War. All to no avail. My mother later admitted that she should have let him have one. What could it hurt? And now it’s too late.

    I buzzed the sides of Yo-Yo Boy’s head and then used mousse and manipulator to make the middle part stand up.

    He was thrilled.

    I spiked his hair for church on Sunday (it wasn’t till we got there that I realized how much the hair stood out) and when he went to the dentist and to a friend’s house. But after a week or so, he started saying no when I offered to fix it. He said he didn’t like it that he couldn’t lay his head back… And that was pretty much that. He hasn’t spiked it for several weeks and now the sides have grown out and he just looks like he has a butch haircut.

    I’m rather sad to see the end of the Mohawk. Yo-Yo Boy’s ability to go out in public like that was kind of beguiling and sweet.

    However, yesterday he went to Bible school, intentionally wearing one brown sock and one black sock, and this morning he used a flashy gold belt from the dress-up trunk (I held my tongue and didn’t let on that it was a girl’s belt) to hold up his pants, so I have an uncomfortable feeling that over the next ten years he will present me with many opportunities to be strict and boring. But when he does, I’ll be able to point out that I was a Fun Mom. At least once, anyway.

  • Burn-y Drink

    We don’t drink much soda. I usually have some in the pantry—Sprite (for a sick kid), root beer (for the occasional float), and once in a great while a Coke. I don’t really like the stuff, preferring to spend my calories on something else (though an ice-cold Coke with corn chips hits the spot, especially when I’m pregnant. Which I’m not). Mostly the sodas sit there and get dusty and loose their zip and then I chuck them.

    So a couple days ago when Yo-Yo Boy asked to use a soda to do an experiment, I said yes. The experiment flopped, and I was left with a bottle of pop and four kids clamoring for a taste. We passed the cup around and this is what they did.

    Then I dumped the rest down the drain and nobody complained.

  • Lettuce

    Barbara Kingsolver inspired me (via her fantastic book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) to buy some heirloom seeds to plant in this summer’s garden. I bought a mixture of lettuce seed from Seed Savers, the names of which are almost as beautiful and tasty as the plants: Amish Deer Tongue, Australian Yellowleaf, Bronze Arrowhead, Forellenschuss, Lollo Rossa, Pablo, Red Velvet, and Reine des Glaces. The plants lasted a long time and provided us with a solid base for many a chef salad, but now, alas, they are going to seed.

  • My Kid’s A Freak

    Yo-Yo Boy delights in looking odd, grotesque, and weird, especially for the camera. Is this just a male thing? How long does this last? Judging from his father’s pictures, maybe forever. But judging from what other’s tell me, there will come a time, for several years when he’s a teenager that he will stare blankly, even hostilely, at the camera. So I’d better stop fussing and just enjoy what I have.

  • Tearin’ Up The Town

    So we went to the play last night and it was fantastic and totally made me want to become an actress. Maybe in my next life. After the play Mr. Handsome and I did what every sensible couple does when they are out on the town without children—we ran errands. We stopped by Home Depot (I hate that store) because they have a bistro table that I think would really improve our table-less deck and I’m trying to convince Mr. Handsome that we ought to buy it. But the store was closed. So we stopped in at Walmart to get a box of diapers, a can of Pringles, and a box of microwave popcorn. We had told the kids that if they were good they were to put out their shoes, which meant that we then had to buy a treat to put in their shoes. We decided a pack of popcorn per child would fit the bill—a novelty (we normally eat boring, pan-popped popcorn, so my kids think that microwave popcorn is totally cool), and not loaded with sugar.

    Then Mr. Handsome got it in his head that we ought to go see a movie. He had heard rave reviews for Wall.e on NPR. Our conversation went something like this.

    Me: What’s so great about it?
    Him: It’s about a trash compactor.
    Me: A trash compactor?
    Him: Yeah, it’s an animated cartoon.
    Me: An animated cartoon about a trash compactor? (Rude guffaw) Anything else? Is it about something?
    Him: Um. I dunno. But there’s not even any talking for the first hour. It’s supposed to be really neat. The reviewer was really excited about it.
    Me, slowly: You want me to go see a cartoon about a trash compactor and there isn’t even any talking for the whole first hour?
    Him, grinning sheepishly: Yeah.
    Me: Alright, let’s do it.

    We got to the theater just in time for the ten o’clock showing (it was good, though a little hard on the eyes what with all that barren landscape and trash, but I would recommend holding onto your $18.50 and renting it when it comes out in the video stores) and got home at midnight. I collapsed in bed, plum tuckered out from all my gallivanting. Being footloose and fancy-free sure is exhausting.

  • Book Suggestions

    I hate going to the library and randomly choosing a book to read. There is so much trash out there. Plus, I can’t focus too much on anything when I’m in there—four kids running in four different directions… I much prefer to have a list of books in hand before I walk through the three sets of glass doors of the downtown library. I want the books to be well-endorsed before I spend my time (and overdue library fines) on a piece of literature.

    So, what do you recommend? What are your oh-my-goodness-I-can’t-believe-you-haven’t-read-it books? (You can see from the side bar the types of books I like to read, but I’m open to expanding my mind.) And not just for me, but also books to read aloud to my children?

  • A Fallacy

    Mr. Handsome has, over time, come to learn that numerous people (who don’t know him very well) think he’s always angry. I’m here to squash all rumors. They are unfounded. Mr. Handsome, while quite handsome…

    …can be a complete and total goof ball. Here’s the proof:

    Uh-huh. He sure is some angry guy, don’t you think? Insane, crazy, loco, a Bloomin’ Piece O’ Work is more like it.

    And boy oh boy, do I ever love him.