Thursday, December 30, 2010

How many licks does it take?

My friend Karen is here. 

It is the best present I got for Christmas. 

When Karen is around silliness abounds. 

We came to the topic of tootsie pops this evening, much to the dismay of Rolf's much younger girlfriend, tried to explain Mr Owl and naturally the conversation widened to include Hootie the Owl, and the Owl from Puff and Stuff.

I can't tell you how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, or why there seem to be a dearth of giant owl characters acting as mentors to children in the 70's, but I can say that it is jolly good fun to laugh about.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I just finished   "The wheelman"  which I really enjoyed.  What's not to love about a crime thriller with an Irish protagonist?  Not much, if you are me.

I am also finishing up "Mennonite in a little black dress", which I am enjoying, although it feels a little precious, and phony at times. It would be perfect for reading on a plane.

We rented and watched "the ghostwriter", with Ewan McGregor last night.

It was a well done thriller/mystery, but had I know it was directed by Polanski, I would not have watched it.  Mark claims he didn't realize it, but I dunno if I believe him.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

24th & 25th and DONE!

I spent the morning of Christmas Eve, putting the table together for Christmas day's dinner, cleaning up the house, fielding e-mails from work and preparing to leave for a party all at the same time.  the kids were with my mother, downtown, living it up in a fancy hotel! WOO HOO!

happy, sparkly cousins!
Freyja went to visit Santa with my mother...
I, being a bad and wicked mother, never have taken the kids to see Santa- she asked for a puppy!
On Christmas morning she said
"I hope Santa knows that I was only joking about the puppy."
  I told her 'if we open the kitchen door and there is a dog in the living room, it is on you to take care of him'
She looked pretty happy that all of the gifts we canine free.

 home from the party and getting ready for bed so Santa can come

Christmas morning!
The whole going to bed early thing paid off!

Freyja got her wish, "new clothes for Rosie" and a matching outfit for her.
(Rosie is Freyja's sister,  a doll I found at Goodwill, who is remarkably even keeled and  opened minded, she often takes the blame for things around the house- she puts up with rather a lot, with little complaint. 
She is named for a beloved lab mate of Onkel's, from Romania, who makes fantastic sweets and wears high heels much to the delight of a certain little girl. We love you Rosie! both real and doll.)

Damn that scooter! It took two highly intelligent people fours hours,
before they finally came to the conclusion that parts were missing and it needed to go back to the store!

Maxwell and grandma playing one of many, many, many rounds of Monopoly cards Christmas day.
Mom rocks the whole grandma thing.

Mark and Freyja hogging the party food on Christmas Eve
Miss F playing up the role of youngest cousin, with my niece

lunch at an Irish pub with the extended family.

Freyja reveling in drinking soda right under my nose, with grandma!

My cousin and I outside the pub, feeling very excited that our parents were taking our children back to the hotel for the night!  She has four kids, so this may have been even more exciting for her than it was for me.

at a friend's house for a Christmas eve party. 

Mark being polite and drinking champagne, rather than his usual PBR.

I spent the evening worried that Freyja would ignite her taffeta dress   on all of the candles.

I was just happy not to be hosting the event! REALLY, super, happy!

Stressing out over where I hid all of the santa gifts, and stocking stuffers!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Super tasty!

Mark and I got to go out to a grown up dinner at a grown up restaurant on Tuesday!

We tried the much hyped Tasty and Sons  which was really good (except for being super busy and a little noisy, but I think everything except silence it too noisy, so ignore this complaint).  We opted NOT to wait and chose to sit at the bar, which is kind of smack in the middle of the dinning room and since smoking is not longer an issue, it felt totally fine.

Mark was a little disappointed by his spaetzle dish, which he said was not as good as mine, I thought it was fantastic, and I loved the pumpkin that was sauteed with it, giving it a sort of saucy quality- I would have licked the plate, if I could have gotten away with it.

I really, really wanted to go to Toro Brava  , but Mark is not a huge tapas fan, and not really an adventurous eater, so Tasty and Son's, Toro's sister restaurant was a good compromise.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

you'd better not pout

I dropped the children off at my mother's hotel this morning just in the nick of time- before I went postal.  Two days stuck inside with them bickering and turning on the television every time I turn my back is enough.

Mark's mother gave Freyja a giant  container of  art supplies and a big bag of toiletpaper rolls, so she has been crafting nonstop since Saturday, which is nice in theory, but makes a compulsive tidier like me crazy. 

I am also curious as to where we are supposed to store the container, when it is not in use? 

For now it is stashed under her train table, but I don't see that as a long term solution.

Some wise guy also gave Miss F a jumprope, which has also been a source of aggravation for me, since she wraps the stupid thing around her neck every chance she gets.  I may have to disappear it while she is away.  

We watched a documentary called Restrepo about a platoon a marines stationed in the Korengal valley in Afghanistan.  It was had to watch in general because I get all worked up anytime someone's son is in danger, but on a more personal note one of my best friend's step daughter is currently getting her ass shot at in Afghanistan,  as a medic and my heart is just sick for my friend and her husband.

My biggest fear is that this war will drag on and on and they will have to re-institute the draft. 

I heard on NPR yesterday that there is a growing problem with young people not being able to pass the entrance exams for the military. 

It scares the hell out of me. 

Maxwell has expressed an interest in going to Quaker services, which, despite the mildness of Quakers, I still find yucky- the whole church thing is just not attractive to me at all, but  in the back of my mind is a great way to demonstrate that he is a conscientious objector.   Much simpler than me having to chop off one of his toes, or drive him to Canada, but then again, if the fighting does drag on for eight more years, they may take the toeless and the the religious too.  Yes, I do sit around and worry about these and other things.

Monday, December 20, 2010

the christmas sing along

 we raced from swimming lessons to the sing along at Freyja's school.  She immediately rejected us and went to sit with her friends.  She only wanted to show off Maxwell, Mark and I were sent to sit with the other parents.

Maxwell being a moderately good sport.

no, these children have not been greased! They just came from the pool with wet hair, yes out in the cold with wet heads! bad mama!

there is something lovely about three hundred people singing along with a 5th grade orchestra, no matter how jaded and cranky you may be.

Freyja can't stop decorating...   and good HEAVENS! when I am not wearing my tall, clogs (which I put on for this photo- I am still the mom around here thank you very much!) Maxwell is just about as tall as I am, but that doesn't take much effort,  however, it is a very weird thing to have happen to your six pound tiny baby.  Next year he will be taller still and I  imagine I, over time, will turn into one of those absurd people that sit around talking about the weather and the size of their children in long run in sentences, boring the shit out of everyone. 

I made these vegan cupcakes for the teachers!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last night I had a dream, which involved cleaning the apartment of one of my coworkers, and the Modern Lover's song astralplane was playing really loud.

I don't remember having a dream with music, loud music as the central theme before.


here   is a pretty nice live version of what was playing in my dream
this is also good. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

 The new, old haircut.
After goofing around with A lines, and texture and shoulder length for a couple of years, I finally went and got my favorite short haircut, and instantly felt a million times less matronly, even though it could be said that this is a matronly haircut. HA!

I DO leave my house once in a blue moon

I am actively trying to be less of a hermit- with mixed success. 
I have met a friend for coffee two weeks in a row, so things seem to be going pretty well, although I still owe another friend an dinner or lunch, and I am not sure how I am going to fit it in. 
My friend was clever enough to chose a place with giant cups of coffee, that is just a stone's throw from the kid's schools, so I can dash out and do pick up at the last minute!

 and she pretended to need help with cards, which gave me a feeling of being needed, which is always helpful with me!


preparing for the big dive

the reward for a job well done!

The fondue turned out well this year, after the disaster of last year's Christmas Eve, I was determined to tweak the recipe and get it right.
wrapping and wrapping and mailing and wrapping and hiding and trying to remember where I hid stuff

some people are more excited about making Christmas cookies, than others.

I'm the one that managed to spill an entire jar of pink sprinkles, after cautioning Freyja.

Rolf laughing at my folly.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My continued love affair with Paul Klee

Today I am thinking of a friend that loves the notion color theory.

I just want to wrap myself up in the yellows and wallow a little.

I need a weekend from my weekend

What a totally busy weekend it has been so far, starting with my insane christmas tree decking Friday evening...
I feel a little like Henry from the last scene in Goodfella's, where he is running around doing all kinds of unrelated tasks while making spaghetti sauce. 
Saturday I met with a colleague to over haul our mission and vision statement and put some final touches on a new logo.  While we worked on our mission, I had a crew working on a new bike shelter, three new windows being installed, and a new partitian being built in the five year old class restroom!
We gabbed for about four hours, which was fun, but damn, I was tired when I left.

I headed home just in time to pick Maxwell up from a birthday party wayyyy the heck out in NE, and we hit the grocery store on the way home. 

When I got home I made two pies, set the table for the St. Nicholas fondue party, and started shedding cheese and prepping the other stuff.

We had a nice dinner with friends, cleaned up, played Wii bowling, and headed to bed.

Freyja woke me up at 5:00am, so we cleaned up the bedrooms, and the upstairs bathroom, ate breakfast and headed to Home Depot at 7:00am (who knew? Yes, friends you too can do your home improvement projects at 7:00am on Sunday! ), where we purchased sealant for a restroom partition at the school.  

Miss F and I headed down to the school and she played while I sealed the wood and did a little deep cleaning. 

I also managed to knock over a big bottle of eucalyptus oil along the way, so the school is smelling mightily minty right now!

We headed home, ate lunch and I sewed new curtains for the newly improved restroom.

Mark just peeked his head in to remind me that I have to pick his mom up in a half hour, so she and I can volunteer at Maxwell's school art festival until 5:00pm!

No rest for the wicked this weekend! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

getting things ready for St. Nicholas Day

the boring part
 We are doing a very scaled back St. Nicholas Day dinner this year. 
No goose.  
I can't deal with a goose. 

Rolf has insinuated that I am happy to dispense with the goose because I hate cooking them, and I don't eat them, which is somewhat true, but really it is a matter of time and my sanity, and the hefty price tag geese are sporting these days.   


Really? for something I don't eat?

I think not.

I have to work today and work the art sale at Maxwell's school on Sunday, so we are streamlining things.

I ran around like a crazy person from 3:00-6:00 buying, decorating, cleaning up the mess from decorating the tree, yesterday. 
Thank goodness our neighbor sells trees, so I didn't have to drive far with the trunk open, which makes me nervous.
Then Mark came home and assisted with the gingerbread house.  

Maxwell lauded me for minimal yelling.  
Even when I spilled potting soil on the carpet. 
I was positively Zen.
re-potted Christmas Cactus

                           Freyja did a pretty good job of decorating the tree this year, and I did a very good job of not interfering. 

Mark brought home a sample of DOMO lights from work.  Oh goody...

resisting the urge to eat the house and the snow and the decorations!

the finished product

please don't take my picture when I have been running around like a crazy woman for three hours.

candy hands!