Saturday, May 31, 2008

snaps on saturday (and a couple other things)

The dark leafy greens in my garden are growing like mad!

The first of the harvesting. Kale, chards, and mustard.

My favorite quick meal with greens. Super simple, super easy.

I pop some of frozen "meatless" meatballs (yay, Trader Joe's) into the toaster oven. While those are warming, I thinly slice as much garlic as I can stand to peel (I think this was about 5 cloves...but sliced garlic is milder than chopped, kids) and I saute it in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. While that's going, I do a rough chop on the washed and slightly damp greens, then I add them to the pan with a little salt and black pepper. Sometimes I'll toss in some red chili flakes. After the leaves wilt for a minute or two, I pour in maybe 1/2 cup to 1 cup of veggie stock, depending on how many greens I am cooking up (no, I don't make my own stock--I'm a slacker, I reconstitute a teaspoon of this stuff in a cup of water). I only pour in enough stock to help the leaves steam. I'm not boiling them. The greens and the meatless balls get done about the same time, and then I combine them and allow the balls to soak up some of the liquid (which is good, because they are way too dry, imho). I add more liquid if necessary.

And there you have it.

This is my first meal from my first garden, and I am pretty darned excited about it. This morning MyFavoriteKid and I are picking some salad greens and cherries for him to bring to my folks.

A couple of other little things.....

**I have been knitting more frequently, and it's feeling great! I have made some progress on some socks and on the little summer cardigan I had to rip back and reknit for a better fit, but I have also just completed a little test knit for a designer (more on that once she is ready to publish the pattern).

**I think I have also finally got myself back in gear with the comments on the blog here. I had sadly fallen into the mode of failing to reply to them. A few weeks ago, I finally got myself back into the habit of "my replying to your comments back in the comments". Hopefully I will stay current, although I expect time delays in summer. Over the summer there will be some pre-posting and then catching up and I go on and off the grid, I have a hunch.

**As of today, I am trying to think of myself as being in "training mode". In six weeks I will be going on tour with DandelionDancetheater for a run in Los Angeles. If I try to do this two week run of shows in the physical state I am presently in, I will probably hurt myself. I'm seriously out of shape, and carrying extra weight isn't helping any (you try gracefully launching yourself off the floor using only one leg AND having a sack of potatoes tied to your ass). Today I start doing a bit more yoga, doing a bit more strengthening of the core, and eating like someone who'd like to lose a couple of pounds (and be less ramped on sugar).

Have a great weekend, guys! I'm out today with TheMostImportant guy doing something nice with him for his birthday, which is tomorrow (but we're celebrating early because tomorrow I am doing something nice with MyFavorite kid).

Friday, May 30, 2008

hide the fleece

If you are both a fiber fanatic and a friend of fuzzy animals, please do read this post over at Knitting With Dogs.

Sad, but helpfully cautionary....especially since my dog Riley has both gotten into my yarn and roving, and has shown a keen interest in that stinky sheep stuff MyFavoriteKid brought home a few weeks ago. I have it double zip locked and stashed out of my sight, but not far enough out of the sight of my dog. If he really got bored and did a little creative sniffing, he'd find it for sure.

I moved it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

things around my house thursday

I started off at the beginning of the year using every Thursday to post about things around my house. If you need to know why I'd bother doing that, click here, scroll down.

Around week 11 it fell apart, which is a shame, because...well...I am sure I have at least 52 things around here I'd be into writing about, and since I'm doing Blog365, that means only having to deal with 313 other posts.

Anyhow, I should be on 22 of 52, rather than the measly 12 of 52. So here's the deal. I'm doubling up. Perhaps even tripling up at times. And I'm going to start this deranged little game of catch up by taking you through what hangs on my walls, and I'm going to try to do it in the order of which each piece was procured.

Things Around My House Thursday (13 & 14 of 52)

13 of 52:

Buddhist painting on canvas from Tibet

This was given to me back in 1994 as an engagement gift (to TheEx), although it doesn't hold any emotional ties for me in that regard. I do believe it to be the piece of art in my house that I have owned the longest. For years, in my last house, it was the only art hanging on my walls (such a shame, I know). It hung over my bed, and it wasn't even framed. It was stuck to the wall with thumbtacks (such a shame, I know).

Even though I haven't always taken the best care of it, I have always loved it. Sometimes I have spent long periods just looking at it, and it brings me a sense of peace. It also was the only source of color on my walls for several years, and it in some way kept the hope alive, if ya' know what I mean.

When I moved last summer, I did a light cleaning on it to remove surface dust, and carefully stored it in a cardboard tube. A few months ago, I finally backed it with some handmade paper and framed it. Finally, it was mounted over my big ol' bathtub in the master bathroom.

I will soon be intalling a floating glass shelf underneath the picture in that empty space there, an on it I will put a candle or two and maybe some flowers.

Just in case you are curious, here's what's at the other end of the tub.

And this is interesting, now that I look at this snapshot, it is actually the larger of those two pictures that is the oldest artwork in my house. That I have had since 1990. It just hasn't hung on a wall in a long time (it's always propped up somewhere).

So much for chronological order of acquisition. I'll have to cover that one sometime, too.

14 of 52:

This piece is from my folks. My mom picked it out and gave it to me right after I returned home from Paris. I had been there on an exchange student program when I was in culinary school (a whole 'nother story, for a whole 'nother time), but let me tell you, I fell in love with Paris, and this picture really brings me to a warm and happy place full of cappuccinos and cheesy goodness.

My mom and I agree that the mat is all wrong, and the frame, too...but it was purchased that way, and I've never bothered to change it because even though it isn't a perfect fit, it hasn't driven me nuts. Yet.

It currently hangs between the kitchen and dining room over a little telephone table.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

famous quotes mash-up

I'd rather be knitting.
Therefore I am.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

why i get sad and lonely sometimes

Tuesdays are the day I visit the convalescent hospital. Just to give you the backstory, I volunteer with an organization called LITA (Love is the Answer) that matches volunteers up for one on one visits with people who are in convalescent facilities that do not get visitors. I've been doing it off and on since my early 20's.

My current match is James. James is totally coherent, he just has some physical challenges. He reads lots of books, and has Netflix dvd's coming and going almost daily. He even has a computer and an internet connection. He also runs a bible study at the facility a couple of times a month.

A little over a year ago, James went into the hospital for a leg amputation due to complications related to diabetes. He was certain he'd be home as soon as he was well enough. That's when I met him. He never went home. He's never going home. In the year or so I have know him, he has had to sell his home and permanently commit himself (and his state disability check) to the institution he now "lives" in. It is a real bonafide convalescent home. There are quite a few patients who are still mentally "with it", but I'd say at least half suffer from dementia.

To make matters worse, at the beginning of this year, James got really sick. He was sent from the convalescent hospital to the real hospital where he was stuck for almost a month trying to get over pneumonia. During the time he was in the hospital, the convalescent facility (let's call it "James' home, because for all intents and purposes, that is how he sees it) could not hold his room for him. They called a member of his church to pack up his things and they gave his room to someone else. They didn't care diddly-sqaut about his phone service, his cable, his internet, his personal items (that had all been recently downscaled from a house full to a closet full).

And then the bonus??? The buddy from church that was called to store all of James' belongings?? He had some friends and family cleaning out his garage during the time James was in the hospital. Guess what got tossed? James' stuff. Like the big stuff. His checkbook, his birth certificate, his debit cards, cash....I won't bother to continue listing.

I am pretty much the only person that visits James. He's in his very early 60's, a couple of years younger than my parents. His wife died a couple of years ago, and neither of his siblings visit him, nor do his step-kids (even though he raised them since they were toddlers). He gets an occasional visit from the mother of another patient in the same facility who treats him like family, and I think a Tibetan monk visits him from time to time.

Anyhow, there's the backstory, although I have probably written on this blog in part before.

So, let me just replay for you a portion of my conversation with James today (who is now back in his original convalescent facility and is working to rebuild some of what was lost).

James: So what else do you have going on this week that interesting?

Me: Well, MyFavoriteKid has an end of the year band concert on Thursday night...although today in school is their last rehearsal and he left his damn clarinet in the car, I noticed.

James: Do you still have time to bring it to him?

M: Yeah, I though about it. Although I swore I wouldn't bring it to him ever again if he forgot it one more time. Besides, it would cut my visit with you short.

J: Oh, I think you should bring it to him if you can. This rehearsal is probably pretty important. I'm glad to have seen you, even if it is for a short visit. Maybe I can get a hug before you go though.

M: Of course you can get a hug! (I always hug him when I get there, and when I go, by the way)

J: I really like getting hugs from you. I used to get them from the staff, but they stopped when I came back from the the hospital. I'm not sure why. Maybe they aren't allowed to now. I hardly get hugs anymore. Just from you.

I'm hoping this little discourse between James and myself illustrates why I can manage to get so danged bummed out sometimes, because I have a really hard time putting words to it. I mean, I'm not going to stop doing the volunteer work just because it can occasionally be a downer. I mean, I feel like I am making a tiny bit of a difference, at least to one person, and that feels good (actually, I also make shorter visits with a few other folks there just for the heck of it). And it's a happy-bummer, if that makes any sense at all. Kind of like when you are so happy that you cry....if you know what I mean? But different?

Anyhow, I'm not telling you about my volunteer work to toot my own horn or something, so don't go telling me about how great it is that I volunteer, please. I'm writing about it because it just gets challenging sometimes, and there a many a time when I just can't figure out how to work it out for myself, at theend of the day.
There are just too many lonely people in the world.
And it makes me sad.

Monday, May 26, 2008


(Filched from JenLa)

There's several different versions of the commercials, if you click around.
Which of course I did.
And that had me run into this clip:

Oooohhhhhh, lordy.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


For a person who is naturally social and chatty, I have spent a whole lot of time lately in the company of only myself. I just spent thirty minutes writing a whole bunch of excuses for how my life has ended up that way, but that is exactly the problem. I keep making excuses.

It's true that when I moved last summer I lost TheEx-as-built-in-babysitter on Wednesday nights (the night of my old Stitch-N-Bitch and the one here in my new town). It's true that when I invite people to hang out that we are all too busy to get our calendars to mesh, or that nobody wants to drive far to see one another. It's true that I've been stood up or canceled on so many times that I don't even really feel like extending invitations anymore.

These are truths. Truths that I use as excuses.

Another truth is that I DO spend time with people. Great people.**

Every Tuesday night MyFavoriteKid and I join my parents for a family dinner. Which I love. Every Thursday morning, my dad and I run our errands together. Which I love. I visit the convalescent hospital once a week, and spend time visiting and listening to the stories of many great (coherent and fascinating) folks. And I love it. I see MyFavoriteKid (almost) every day (unless he's with his dad). Which I love, and wouldn't trade for anything. I also see TheMostImportantGuy a couple of times a week. Time I adore with a person I adore.

**It would be remiss of me not to mention the time I spend chatting with a couple of friends I hold very near and dear to my heart. They might be online friendships, but they definitely count. (Mousie, where are youuuuuuuu?!?!?)

I love all of the time spent with all of these people. And I still feel like I lack friendship. It's not that the great big list there doesn't count for something... it most certainly does. But it's my family, it's people I do volunteer work for, it's my son, it's my Beloved. It's friends I can't spend time with in real time.

I don't have friends that I get together with.

And it's been depressing me. I'm pretty sure it was TheBon I was chatting with about this a few months ago. Not spending time with friends is sort of a "low grade" depression. Not a sinking pit of black hell, just this nagging buzz of dissatisfaction. It's a strange little place to be. It makes me feel sort of "hermitish".

It's taken me awhile, but I have finally got off my arse and have tried to make this situation better. It has been interesting because even though I had come to recognize what the problem was, I couldn't seem to jump right in and fix it. I mean, I felt like I should have had an easy time reversing this dilemma, but I just couldn't get in gear. I kept crawling back into my hermit cave.

Finding a way to get out of this lonely mess has sort of felt like the joke:
"Doctor, it hurts when I do this."
"So stop doing that."

I mean, you'd think that if I missed time with friends, I would just make plans and spend time with them. And I suppose, in the end, it really is that simple. But at the beginning it was like I was really stuck on stupid for a bit, and I couldn't figure out how to do it.

Well, I've made some baby steps in the last couple of weeks.

I've been calling people more often. Just to talk and check in.

I invited Ms.Donna over, so we could hang out and get our kids together (I boffed that one up because I got the weekends I am with MyFK backwards). At least I made the effort to head in the right direction. We are going to try again in a few weeks.

Last night I entertained TheMIG's co-worker and wife here at the house, and then we all went out to dinner together for an amazing gastronomic affair.

Today I spent a few hours with my closest girlfriend, whom I have missed far too much.

Things are getting better. Now I just need to figure out how to a) keep it going, and b) find a way to get to a friggin' knitting function of some sort.

hint: workin' on it!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

snaps on saturday

From the garden, cherries and squash blossoms....

Friday, May 23, 2008

total cop out, but at least it's pretty

flowers on the dining room table, real time

This moment of gratitude brought to you by Trader Joe's and their $4.99 Market Bouquet.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I saw this video clip days ago, and I haven't been able to shake it. It features a choral group of seniors that cover some awfully popular artists (The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, etc).

Many many clips of Young@Heart are available on YouTube, but this one has been working me over since I saw it. Please click. I'll be surprised if it doesn't move something in you.
(ed. to add: this is cover of "Fix You" by Coldplay)

Here's a trailer about their upcoming movie.

And here is their official website.

I had to order their cd. I couldn't stand it. It was haunting me. They cover a Radiohead song called Fake Plastic Trees (video version...acoustic version, if you are so inclined). I've been thinking about choreographing/dancing/performing to that piece of music for years now.

The Young@Heart cd arrived in the mail this afternoon. Hearing their version of it (and the whole cd, actually) really has my creative juices flowing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

in which i prove that my family is out to get me

"Hey, mom. Alex is on the phone. Can I go over to his house?"

Being that we just walked in the front door from my picking MyFavoriteKid up from school, "Well, okay...but can you walk to his house or ride your bike over or something? I don't want to go back out again. We just got here."

Kid leaves with phone, goes into his room. Couple minutes later...
"Mom, Alex has moved and so I can't walk there. It is too far. Here, talk to him."

Which I do...
and I get his new address, which is much farther away and across a rural highway that I'm not ready to have MyFavoriteKid cross on his own yet on a bike. And so I tell Alex that we'll be there in about 15 minutes or so, at which point Alex offers:

"Well, so you don't have to pick him up, my mom says we can just meet you at the school at the Open House at 6. You were going to go to that, right?"

(the empty lines are here in case I ever find a proper way to communicate to you that I had absolutely no frickin' idea there was an open house tonight)

I call the school, and they say they sent "word" home with all the kids today. Word???? Duh. Wonder what kind of "word" the parents of the kindergarteners received. Sheesh.

The office claims that in addition to "sending word" they also sent something home last week about the the little fundraiser bookstore sale thingy that would be open tonight from 6-7. I did receive that flyer, but I thought it was just something going on after a PTA meeting (the one I would have skipped....sorry if I am ruining your impression of me), so we sent in our order form in lieu of going to the sale in person. I surely did not think that the book selling thing was in conjunction with an OPEN HOUSE. Why would I ever think that IF THE ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE BOOK SALE DOESN'T INCLUDE THE STATEMENT "DURING THE OPEN HOUSE"???

Oooh, sorry. I am yelling, huh.

After this call to the office, I have MyFK going through his backpack, and although there was no sheet announcing the open house, I am just tickled to have found out that there were several other things in there I was expected to have reviewed and sent back. Things like helping out with the art fair (last weekend), or ways to express gratitude during Staff Appreciation Week (hint: it's the week that is now half over).

So my afternoon/evening/night? Fairly screwed up at this point. I am typing this fast and I hope it even make sense (and not too rant-y). I did let MyFK have the brief playdate at Alex's house this afternoon, even though based on the backpack burial of paperwork, I don't think he deserves it. But MyFK hasn't been invited to hang out with this kid in ages, an Ales has been refusing MyFk's invitations, and now we know why---he was moving.

But now I need to go clean myself up and get into proper school event attire (which is not even close to what I have on at the moment), pick the kid back up, supervise homework, water the garden, walk the dog, feed the kid (and myself I guess, too...wouldn't that be swift?), and get it all done in time to get to the damned open house.

Which I will promptly return home from and then deal with bedtime and cleaning up the house for the new housekeeper coming tomorrow. Yes I know. Shut up. I am cleaning for the cleaning lady. Stupid. But you would, too. You should see the place. It's not "dirty", it's just that all the surfaces are covered with clutter and knitting and dog hair and stacks of mail and mountains of folded laundry waiting to be put away, and if I don't take the time to clear off the surfaces, it will leave nothing for the cleaning lady to clean. Oh, and the kitchen. Let's not discuss the kitchen today, shall we? I've been catching up on other people's blogs for a couple of days (not my own, obviously), and I have been doing so in lieu of washing dishes, it would seem.

So here I am, not catching up again. But at least I am telling you that at 2:52pm instead of close to midnight. That is sort of an improvement, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

this time it's not my fault

You can blame it on my mother, like I do with other qualities about myself that I like to blame on my childhood ;-)

I did NOT begin writing a post for today last night, as I announced would be so wise of me to do (goshdangit I reallllly need to write about my favorite day in Boston which was like a month and a half ago). No. I went to bed and passed out last night, I was so tired. I just knew that I would get on top of things today. I just knew it.

Today ended up being super-busy volunteer/convalescent hospital stuff, and the small chunk of time I may have had in the afternoon went straight to helping MyFavoriteKid with homework. Then it was straight on to dinner.

MyFK and I have had dinner with my parents pretty much each and every Tuesday night since we moved up here last summer. "Tuesday Night, Family Night," we call it. It's usually dining out, but occasionally it is at one or the other's house. Tonight was an extra special treat. Sale on live Main lobster. Mom sprung (thanks mom!) and invited us over to her place. I brought the side dishes.

We started and finished dinner pretty early. I was about ready to head home and post, when Mom says to MyFK, "Go get that box, let's trip down memory lane!" This box she is talking about is a an ongoing project she and MyFK have tinkered with a bit lately. She she is basically beginning to divvy up the family photos.

Out comes "my" box, and all the while I am begging, I am pleading, I am complaining, I am insisting, "NO BOX". I am dying to come home and write about Boston. Out the box comes anyhow, and then we lose at least an hour tripping down memory lane.

Fine. I decide that if this is how my night is going to go, I at least have a trip down memory lane photo I'd like to write here about. I have my dad scan and email me a few of the photos. I get home and write a blogpost to go along with a photo of my mom and I together. Me at about age 1-1/2 in some funny little bonnet or hat that may have been hand knit or crocheted by I don't know who...and my the most perfectly perfect (yeah,'s just...well...perfect) late 1960's outfit EVER. These big ol' sunglasses and a cigarette and a faux fur jacket with these sort of plaid-ish, patchworky pants. It's amazing.

And at 10:30, right as I am about to publish the post, mom calls and says she doesn't want me to use the photo.

No sweat. I respect that.

Except now I have no friggin' post, and I'm too tired to finish the start the one about Boston 'cuz it will need a bunch of links and whatnot added to it, and I Want. To Go. To Bed. So let's blame my mom for pulling out the box, or for sorting photos, or for cooking a fabulous dinner, or somethinnnnng (and mom, you had best know I am kidding, for crying out loud), rather than blame myself.

So no catching up on past events (again), and no writing about something current that happened today either, and's a little token photo of me, to make up for it (?).

My favorite part is the skinned knee ;-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

it aint workin'

Today is not my day for catching up. Again. Lots of odd little time sucking events today, nothing major, but you put them all together and.....*poof!*.....the whole damn day is gone.

This is my post for today.
But as soon as I hit "publish" I'm going to start working on tomorrow's.
Maybe that's the trick?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

slacker (mostly)

Gosh, what a lazy slacker-ish day I have had today.

I mean, I did do a mountain of laundry (TheMostImportant guy came over this weekend bringing many many loads of laundry with him--the machine at his place is out of commission). And I did hostess an overnighter for MyFavoriteKid that started yesterday, Saturday, at 9:30am and went until today, Sunday, until about 6pm.

Aside from that, I pretty much stayed in my room all day watching the boob tube.

First it was a disc full of Flight of the Conchords. OhMyGosh, so SO funny. It's my new favorite thing. But when the disc was over, I got immediately got sucked into a marathon of really really bad reality tv (a program I am too embarrassed to even name here). Now it is almost midnight, and I am watching back to back episodes of Ninja Warrior-20.


This next week I am just flat out keeping the tv off. That's that. And I am using this week to catch up on some overdue posting. Period. But for now, please excuse me....I've got to stop typing so I can see if Nagano and that one American dude can clear the 2nd stage ;-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

snaps on saturday

More Crazy Hot for you.....

There was an Art Fair/Silent Auction at MyFavoriteKid's school today. 90 degrees in the shade today, and they decided to include the kids doing a Jazzercise demonstration in the baking sun. The kids were troopers, but special kudos to the JazzerciseLady. She did three 10-15 minute sets with each of the different age groups!

Friday, May 16, 2008

crazy hot

Wednesday morning I took a photo of the local weather report off the television screen. Check out the forecast for yesterday and today:

Yup. Crazy hot. I think it's a scientific term. At least it was accurate.

Want to see another kind of crazy hot? (I am tootin' my own horn, cover yer ears)

Me before:

(taken yesterday)

Me after:

(taken 10 minutes ago)

Did I need a haircut, OR WHAT??!?! hahahaha

Thursday, May 15, 2008

saved by the co-teacher

It's late, I'm exhausted, and just coming in from teaching dance class. I was about to climb into bed when I realized I forgot to post today.

Luckily, I have been saved. My co-teacher (Karen the Dancing Lurker) gave me a cd tonight of a bunch of photos taken of our troupe at the Rakkasah bellydance festival this past March.

So here's my post. It's me. Dancin'....

The un-cropped photo is much more lovely as it includes the face of the woman behind me that I am dancing with. Unfortunately she's out of town right this minute and I have no way to ask permission to use the photo. So I cropped out her face LOL. Hopefully she won't mind my using her belly!

I am happy to report that I am back to commenting back to your comments within the comments. Going back retroactively seemed a little daunting. But I'm all about moving forward!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

to catch a thief

First off I really need to say:
thank you for all the comments.

At the beginning of the year I swore that I was going to be diligent about replying to comments by typing replies back in the comments section myself. Like most resolutions I make around the New Year, I failed miserably.

I need to get back on that horse however, because it is the most tangible way I can thank you all so very much. I get so much from this blog, and while some of it comes from just the keeping of it, a good portion of my enjoyment comes from the connection with folks out there who read and comment back. In the past couple of months now, with this Blog365 insanity, I often find myself far more excited to see comments then being faced with my blank entry screen each day. I have deep appreciation for the people who take the time to bounce a thought back my way.

Case in point: I really appreciate all the feedback about my thieving housekeeper issue. Here's what I did about it.

The first thing I did was to have a locksmith come the next day and change the locks. That really was key (get it?) in regaining my sense of security (and sanity). I didn't suspect she'd try to come and steal more stuff, but I also didn't suspect she'd be the type in the first place to steal money from a client, let alone from a kid.

The next thing I did was try to contact her to discuss it. I agreed with Kim that this probably was a communication problem. During the CleaningLady's employment here, I'd acquired a few new pieces of furniture and a shedding dog. I spoke with her about this, and she told me she was fine with everything. I suspect that she actually was not. That's too bad, because not only am I approachable, but I even opened the door for discussion regarding her pay.

I didn't feel 100% great about stopping payment on the check for her recent cleaning either. She probably stole about twice that amount over the months, but she did clean that last day.

Once I nailed her stealing money, I tried phoning the CleaningLady several times over a couple of days, but she didn't answer. Typically she always answers the phone when I call as she can see my number. She doesn't know how to retrieve her voicemail messages, so she has told me never to leave a message. She has told me however, that I can text her. After several attempts at calling, I sent her the following text message:

I have stopped payment on my recent check to you. I would be glad to reissue a new check (less the $18 that I can prove you have taken), even though I am certain you have taken much more than that. Please feel free to call me to discuss the matter (or not). I no longer require your services. This situation is a shame.

HolyCrapoli, I cannot for the life of me believe that I fired someone via text message. She never called back.

Monday I called MerryMaids to let them know I had to let her go and why, just in case they were going to take her on again. That's when I was advised that the reason they let her go last fall was not due to a decrease in their client base, but because she was caught stealing money out of a child's piggy bank, and she admitted to it!

So it's a pattern. And (sorry, Kim) no amount of open conversation could have fixed that. But it is a pattern, which means it isn't me, and that is great because I was taking it personally for some reason. I am embarrassed to say that knowing she has jilted others somehow makes me feel better, even though I feel truly sad for everyone else she has harmed.

Learning that she is a repeat offender, I tried to track down her business license information to file a complaint. I'm still working on that, but more than likely, she never really had one in the first place, and that's why I can't find her.

I have decided that tomorrow I am not going out at my usual time with my dad, as I am still a bit nervous that the CleaningLady didn't get the text message, or perhaps she doesn't know yet that I stopped payment on the check, or maybe she is going to come and try to kill me or something (did I mention that she has a bumper sticker on her car that says "Contract Killer"? Please tell me that's the name of band or something, eh?).

I have spoken to MyFavoriteKid about the whole ordeal, and he understands why I felt the need to keep testing her for so long to be sure, and why I grilled him about possible other places the money could have gone. I also talked with MyFK about all of the emotions that ran through me that day when I was able to finally prove without a doubt that it was CleaningLady who was stealing... and how I felt knowing that he'd been having similar feelings. We had a nice talk about it, and he's all good. Especially since I repaid him his stolen money. Which I can't say has my wallet feeling too great (heh heh), but oh well.

So there we are. I have someone new coming in tomorrow morning (from a small agency that is bonded, licensed, insured) to look my place over and give me an estimate.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

two kinds of toasty

Toasty 1

Washed and stored the winter blankets from my bedroom today. Over the last couple of weeks, we've been having the occasional cold chill at night so I was keeping them around. In most cases though, they've been in a heap on the floor.

Today it was in the upper 80's here. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 94 and Thursday 97.

I don't even want to see blankets for awhile!

Toasty 2

Finally have picked up some knitting again. The yarn is "Big Footies Toasty Sock" from Keegan Lane Yarns, in the colorway Cafe Au Lait. These will be for TheMostImportantGuy. Feels great to be knitting on these after 5 false starts (on a plain ol' vanilla sock---not sure what was up with that).

coming tomorrow: Update on The Thief

Monday, May 12, 2008


I know what benign means, but that doesn't make me feel any better about getting a note that advises me I am now on the "recall" track.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

empty letters

Delayed post, here (per Blog365 rules)...
I was off the grid, but the content you see here was created Sunday.

After the track meet yesterday, MyFavoriteKid went off with his dad for the weekend. Today they are going to TheEx's mom's house (MyFk's grandma) to celebrate the earlier part of Mother's Day.

Since they split, I took out my mom for a mother's day lunch at our favorite rustic little joint on the Napa River.

After lunch was over, TheMostImportantGuy and I drove out to see his family. We took the MiniMaison (the van) and set up our little hotel on wheels in his sister's driveway. I love being able to do that.

Came home tonight to spend the rest of the evening with MyFK, finally...because hey it is my mother's day, too. He gave me a great card by Hoops & Yoyo (one of my most favorite things ever) because they always make me laugh....

.....but then came the funnier thing.

Waiting in the mailbox for me from the weekend was MyFK's letter home to me from camp. It was suggested we send stationary and self addressed stamped envelopes (suggestion take).

Well, I get the letter two days after he's been back, but whatever. I am so excited because while he was gone and I was missing him I had kept checking for a letter every day, and now here it finally was. He sat down next to me, and I opened it with him on my lap.

The stationary inside was blank.

My mother's day spun into a spiral of drama. Me laughing my ass off, and wondering if he just goofed and mailed the wrong thing or if he just sent me a blank letter. He getting all distressed because he had spent so much time on this letter.

Well, I finally found it. He had never put the letter into the envelope for mailing. He had put it back in the bag that held all the stationary items. It had been sitting in my house since Friday afternoon tucked inside his suitcase!

And it was a good letter.
And he did spent a lot of time on it.
This kid is great.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

snaps on saturday

Delayed post, here (okay per Blog365 rules)...
I was off the grid, but the content you see here was created Saturday.

Saturday was all about taking MyFavoriteKid to the district track meet set up for the 4th & 5th graders.
Forty yard dashes, relay races, and tug-o-wars....

My favorite part of the day was watching some of the "coaches" (read as "dads") cheering (to put it mildly) the kids on and inspiring them to pull harder, or run faters.

Here. Maybe this is a better example.

Friday, May 09, 2008

thanks, and he's back

Thank you all so very much for your feedback on yesterday's post. I really appreciate it, and I did take some steps today to resolve the situation, including having the locks changed. I don't want to get into the other stuff right this second, because I'm choosing to focus on my enjoyment of MyFavoriteKid's return.

When I picked him up from school, he immediately told me had something special for me, and it had to do with knitting, and it had taken him awhile to get it together.

The sheep at the Outdoor Education School had been sheared, and a little bit was given to each kid. MyFK spent a huge chunk of time asking around and collecting little bits from all over the camp. He brought me home a big mass of really beautifully colored fiber...

...that realllllly reeks of seriously stinky farm animal. I love it, I'm just admiring it from inside a ziplock freezer bag. I wonder what the names of the sheep were. One of them just has to have been "P.Ewe".

Seriously way to doubt that my kid knows me and loves me.


In other news, MyFK and I went to the clubhouse tonight to play Bunko. He won the pot for the most Bunkos and I won the pot for the highest score, so we got the $18 back, plus a couple extra for an icecream cone.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

in which i solicit

I accept advice when offered, even welcome it...but it is an rare day that I outright ask for it. Especially on the blog. But I'd love to know what you'd do if you were in my shoes (shoe).

(I have just tried editing this and it is rambly and scattered because so am I. Sorry.)

I have someone come in to help me clean my house. The CleaningLady has been coming since last fall. I really like her. She is very sweet, and we chat a little bit about personal stuff from time to time. Very nice person. She worked for MerryMaids when I first had her in, but after awhile she left there to work independently, and was happy to follow her.

In addition to a CleaningLadey, I have a son. He gets an allowance of $10 per week. Seems like a lot for a 10 year old, perhaps...but I make him pay for pretty much everything he covets. His latest goal is a Wii, and he's been saving allowances , gift monies, and forgoing purchasing other things for quite some time now. I think around December, maybe...when he realized that he wasn't get one under the Channukah bush.

Several months ago, February I'd say, MyFK started complaining about how long it's been taking to save up for said Wii, and about every months or so, he pulls out all of his money and counts it, and he's always got pretty much the same amount. He has either just above or below $100. For 4 months in a row now. Of course, this is odd, because at $40 a month of allowance, you'd assume that after 4 months the kid would be closer to Wii-land, right?

I'm sure you know where this is going, but allow me...I need to process this.

So about a three weeks ago, after months of listening to NoWiiWhining for months, and after checking in with my MyFavoriteKid's dad to make sure money wasn't being taken to his house on weekends and being spent in ways I might not be aware of, I realize that the money is being taken, and probably by the CleaningLady.

Three weeks ago, I have MyFK count his money. She comes, she cleans, he counts, less money. I suggest we try one more week. Maybe he counted wrong. We must be sure, I tell him. The next week he counts, she comes, she cleans, less money again. This time I realize that other people had access to the house that same day for that go-round, so we can't be 100% certain.

While waiting for go-round #3 I kinda quiz MyFk a bit. Is he sure he is counting correctly?? Is he maybe doing something shifty with money during the day, like (heavens) buying things he shouldn't be buying, or making friends by being a sugar daddy or something?? Is he stealing the money from himself because I'd told him I'd replace it if the CleaningLady was found out, so that he'd double his money?? (yes, I think he is that clever...and no, he probably is not...he is 10...but I'm his mom).

MyFK is slightly insulted by my questioning, but hey...if I am about to fire someone, I have to ask.

Just a few more details for you....the missing dough is averaging out to be about $10 a week, and MyFK keeps it locked up. His room is furnished with this gym-lockerish stuff from Ikea.

He keeps his money in that white nightstand there. He locks it. Now all the furniture in his room is that style, and it all uses the same key, and he keeps one out all the time plugged into the cd tower, so none of it is burglar proof, for sure. But CleaningLady couldn't have "accidently" opened the nightstand. She'd have had to gotten the key from the cd tower to unlock the nightstand, and there is no reason for CleaningLady to go in there anyhow.

Oh, and a few more details. I do not believe that she has a key to our house. Usually I am here when she arrives. I let her in, and I leave once she gets working to get out of her way. She locks the doorknob behind her. There have been a couple of occasions though where I have left the key under the mat for her because I had to leave before she arrived, and she'd leave the key on my dining room table and let herself out and lock up. This happened one time while I was gone for a week in Boston. She could have had time to make a copy of the key during that week (that would be ParanoidMeWhoMaybeNeedsAtivanForAnxiety talkin').

Ok, so if you are still with me, back to the 3rd go-round.

This week, MyFK is out of town. And CleaningLady came today. And nobody else had access to the house. I counted the money about 3 minutes before she arrived, and then to make things interesting, I sweetened the pot with a couple of 5's a 10 and some singles (I use peanut butter on mousetraps, too).

As I always do, I left while she cleaned. As always, I went out with my dad. We do it every Thursday morning. We run our errands together. Love it.

I came home minutes after she left and immediately counted the money.
$18 gone.
No kid to miscount because this time I counted. Nobody else around. No sugar daddy-ing, no nothing. Just missing peanut butter and a sprung trap.

It's the CleaningLady.
No, I didn't go buying a webcam to nab her (I almost did though!), but it's her. It just has to be.

Right after I counted the money and almost fainted from not breathing, a handyman friend of mine showed up to install a dog door, and he suggested that I stop payment on my check to her that day...pronto. Which I did. (not sure if I should have done that quite yet, read on).

I cannot even tell you how crappy I feel. I shall try, though. I feel the typical violated. I feel like I would have never guessed in a million years that she'd be the type to steal from a me, and even worse...from my kid. Any kid. I feel like I cannot trust my judge of character. I feel like I doubted my own intuition. I feel like I waited too long giving her the benefit of the doubt. I feel like crap for questioning my son's character, even though it was just to be certain, because firing someone without actual proof is a pretty big deal, but still...I doubted my kid, and I know he knows that. I feel like stopping payment on the check may have been bad, that she might retaliate. I feel like I need to change all the locks. I feel like I might not be able to go out on Thursday's with my dad because she knows that is my routine and neighbors wouldn't blink if they saw her car here. I feel pretty sick to my stomach, and this is one of those events that just sort of makes me hate people. I feel like I'd rather have been mugged on the street by a stranger than stolen from in my own home by someone I trusted to have dusting my personals. Gads, she even dusted my altar!! Ugh. And I am sad I have no more CleaningLady, and even if I found a new one, I'm going to now be feeling like they are all sneaky, probably.

Now, I have not called her yet to let her know that my check will not go through and that she has been canned. I want to do that tomorrow after the locks are changed. She may have tried to cash the check today for all I know though, and maybe she is plotting against me right this minute. That is why I am here typing this right now. I skipped teaching dance class tonight! To stay home like a worry wart and look up locksmiths!

So what would you do? I've talked with a few people today about it and I've gotten everything from "file a police report" to "sit her down and talk it out, good people sometimes do bad things" to "go kick her ass". And what do I do about how I feel?

I dunno. I am open for suggestions though. Have at it.

You know what, too? This week has really sucked.

I just need to say that out loud.

I had three doctor's appointments, none of them fun (one of them troublesome), a sleep study, a trip to the vet, a crown replaced, a debit card stolen, and a sneaky CleaningLady. I miss my kid, and I have actually gone to the mailbox every day just to see if he sent a letter home, which if he did, I probably wouldn't get until next week anyhow. I missed dance class, I didn't catch up on the blogging I wanted to (I still have one more day of the Boston trip, plus things around my house, plus ABC-along), I've only caught up on reading a few of the many blogs I am behind on, and I AM TIRED.

I did go buy sock yarn though. Totally to make myself feel better. Lame, I know...but I almost bought chocolate and pack of cigarettes, so I think I did the right thing.

It's Trekking Hand Art in the colorway "Feuerland" (fire land).

I'm calling it "seeing red, feeling like poop".

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

how am i supposed to enjoy the break when the school district keeps giving me a heart attack?

If you are following along, this first bit is rehash...

* MyFavoriteKid is away for the week with his school on an Outdoor Education trip.

* I have been away from him for long periods before, but he's always been with members when I have been gone. This is his first time away from family. I was invited to come along on the trip as a supervising parent, but I opted to let him have his first non-family experience. Besides, a week off. Hey, sorry. Single mom here. Nice break.

* I am happily on "vacation", which sadly has not meant a trip to shangra-la. It's meant catching up with all of the tasks and appointments that I have been too busy for.

* MyFK's biggest fear is that his picky eating habits will result in his being starved to death on this trip.

* Yesterday was when I realized how uncomfortable I am that I can't call him to check in with him. Yeah, I've been gone for as long as almost 3 weeks, but on most trips I call every day.

But guess what has happened since he has been gone???


The school district has called.

They NEVER call me for ANYTHING.

The phone rings, and the caller-id screen displays the name of the school district and first I have a friggin' heart attack. Then right before my eyes pass visions of my driving out into a field somewhere to pick up a kid that has been bitten by a snake, or now has west nile virus, or lyme disease, or who has passed out because he wont try peanut butter and jelly.

The first time the phone rang it was the music department calling to update the credit card that I use to bill his clarinet rental to (that card was "compromised" last week---more fun for me to deal with this week while he is gone. That has sucked up at least one whole "day off").

The second call was from the principal. An automated voicemail message letting us all know there is a community meeting about the new high school. I almost puked when I heard her voice before realizing it was a recording.

Now how am I supposed to enjoy myself when they keep calling?!
They should have sent out blood pressure medication with the parent packet.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

deliciously irresponsible

This break from MommyDuty is great.
But I already miss him.

Monday, May 05, 2008

my day in pictures

Kid off to camp.

Boobs squished.

Riley = Dog Park.
(where he met and played with Lala. Would you look at that face? !!! )

Watered garden.


Knit a little.

Saw Ironman.
(didn't take photo inside the theater because I didn't want to be rude...but maybe I should have...I would have been in great company with the guy next to me texting, the guy in front of me texting, the people behind me speaking at regular volume, and the two crying babies)

Sleep study.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

MyFavoriteKid (whom I should probably refer to as MyBabyyyyy!!! for this post) is leaving tomorrow to go on a week long educational trip with his school. From the orientation night a few months back, it looks to me like the kids are going to have a total blast. Fifth grade. Wow. I took a trip like this once, but I think I was in 8th grade when we did it. These kids are only 10 and 11! MyBabyyyyy!!

I've been apart from MyFK for long stretches before. Close to three weeks, I believe has been the longest, when I was in culinary school and went to Paris as an exchange student. I have also taken a few two week trips while on tour for dance productions. But when I go away, MyFK has always stayed with family. Even though I have been away from him before, this will be his first time away from all of his family.

I think he is going to come back looking a foot taller and with the latest upgrade of smart assness installed. Would you agree? home from school a couple of weeks ago comes the itemized packlist.

Figuring I should start the independence vibe early, Friday night I suggest to MyFK that he pack as much as he absolutely can and be done with it. We had a very busy weekend, and if there were to be any last minute items that needed to be shopped for, or dug out of a closet, or if anything needed to be tossed in the laundry, I did not want to be hearing about it Sunday night before bedtime.

So Friday night he goes into his room with a pen and the checklist. He comes out if his room every thirty seconds or so to ask help in finding this or that. Yeah, independence. About thirty minutes go by, and he declares himself packed. He asks if he can now go play video games. I ask to look over the list. Everything is checked off!
Wow! Sure! Great job! Okay! Go play!

Tonight? Sunday??? As I sit together with MyFk to do the final pack? I begin to realize that maybe, and I do mean maybe, 50% of the list is in the duffel bag.

"Ummmm, son....WHAT IS GOING ON HERE??!! Why did you check things off you didn't pack??!! You've checked off all of these things, and they aren't in the bag! The idea is to only check off what you have put in the suitcase, that way you can easily scan the list to see what you still need to do!"

"Well, I did do that!! I put a check mark next to the things that I packed, and an "X" next to things I didn't."

I can't wait to tell y'all the "percentage of items returned home".
This oughta be interesting.

So our late night scramble for packing tonight did make for a later than normal bedtime. I'll make up the lost sleep on Tuesday when I don't have a get up early to do the MommyDrill. And I wasn't mad about the list. We had a good laugh over it, actually. You should see my imitation of MyFK crossing things off a checklist.

The other thing that had us splitting a gut ('cuz we're strange and find these things funny, I guess) was that on the "Do Not Bring" list, right underneath comic books and next to curling irons, it says not to bring "Hatchets".

Maybe you had to have been there....

Saturday, May 03, 2008

snaps on saturday

Last week, a person I have only met briefly at dance events once or twice, brought me some gifts.

Amputee Elmo (a finger puppet), and a collection of stray/single socks that had been saved for me.

Friday, May 02, 2008

how to be 30 minutes late for a 60 minute obedience class

So RileyTheDogDogDog was scheduled to have his very first obedience class this morning at 11am. At 10am I let him out into the yard to wander around a bit and take a whizz. At 10:10am, I called him to come in so we could head on out.

No dog.

Well, no dog in the back yard.

Now, if you'd like a reference to what my yard looks like, click here (but scroll past the first two photos, because that aint me). My yard is basically a long flat skinny landing strip right along the house (which I just lined with raised beds/planter boxes this week), and then there is a retaining wall that holds back a steep hillside which is my yard. At the top of that hill, is the fence enclosing my yard. It has wooden slats run that run through it for a bit of privacy. And beyond the fence with the slats, is more big hill, and it is at the top of that hill where the TrampolineGuy lives. So in between me and TrampolineGuy is this huge open field. It is home to wild bunnies and lots of birds. In other words, a playground for dogs. A "Field Day". (I know...boooooo....hisssssss).

Ok. So, no dog in the yard, and I haven't yet figured out where the hell he went.

I see something moving beyond the slatted fence. Something white and fluffy. Something that can't hear me, but is probably intentionally ignoring me. Something that had found a hole under the side fence into the neighbor's yard, only to then discover yet another big hole in her fence leading up to the field. Something that when it is listening, either can't find its way back into the yard, or something that is possibly just outright taunting me in it's own doggie way, because he sure aint coming back by lure of love or dog cookies.

I'm not going to waste your time going into all the recovery details, but let's just say it took 2 cookies, 5 adults, 3 tissues (I was so pissed I needed to cry), 45 minutes, and about 187 cuss words to get the friggin' dog back.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

things around my house thursday

I am several weeks behind on things around my house Thursday, and at some point very soon I intend to catch up.

(insert here any one of many famous quotes about intentions an how you can't wipe yer arse with any of them)

I can show one thing new around the house today, though.
Well, outside the house.

Now excuse me while I go pick the dirt out from underneath my fingernails.