Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend Update

Where to commence the onslaught of randomness that will be this post?

Well, I'll start by saying one MUST NOT go to the Costume Store the day before Halloween. Not that most people with half a brain would consider such lunacy, but still. If you attempt it, you could get mauled by hundreds of desperate shoppers eager to find the last remaining child-sized Mad Hatter costume in the tri-state area.

You'll probably leave empty-handed and frustrated when you realize all that's left is one sorry looking Hannah Montana costume that is "soooo 3 years ago" and a few "teen" costumes that would make any child look like a streetwalker.

Also, please note that while having your husband out of town Thurs-Sun of Halloween weekend --and therefore not able to help with baseball, church, soccer, parties, etc-- is difficult, being home alone with a 9 and 11 year old is NOTHING like being home alone with toddlers. For those of you in the trenches of baby-hood and toddlerhood-- I send big admiring hugs to you.

Oh, and I'll guarantee that if you had decided to creep into your adolescent kids' rooms next week to purge their closets of unwanted, useless, dusty stuffed animals that haven't been played with or visible in about 4 years, you'll hear contented laughter and walk into THIS scene on Saturday morning:


How do they sense these things?

Oh, and if you buy a cute pair of brown boots ($7.50 at the thrift store, yo!) you might decide to pair them with a skirt and some brown tights. Since your tights and "panty-ho" supply probably succumbed to dry-rot when you traded work-wear for sweats a decade back, you might need to buy new ones.

Try not to flip when (two pairs!) of $15.oo tights rip upon first wearing. Yes, I realize they cost twice as much as the BOOTS. Kind of left me feeling, in a way, like a Panty-Ho.

And if your husband is out of town for four days, you could get conscripted into playing in the end of season "Kids against Parents" baseball game. You may already have decided to keep your cute outfit on, ripped tights and all, and forgo participation.

You're not athletic, you've just had Shingles, and this really isn't your cup of tea. You may, however, eventually give in when your son looks at you with his enormous brown doe eyes and says, "Mom, I really want you to play."

Try to soldier on when, after you strike out and take four baseballs to the gut at 3rd base, you discover he wanted you to play just so the Parents' Team would lose. Nice.

By the end of the weekend, when your kids are begging for an apple or "something fresh," you might decide that the grocery store would have been a better choice than the costume shop. Give them a Twizzler and hope for the best.

Hold your breath and utter silent prayers as you try, with one hour until trick or treating, to assemble a gypsy costume out of things around the house that will please the president of both the "Store Bought Costume Movement" and the "Fashion Police."

Breathe a sigh of relief when the costume comes out THIS STINKING CUTE and she likes it!

Well, that's it for now. The dog costume, the fact that I left the laundry in the washer for 3 days (pee-yewwww!) and tales of my bowling prowess with have to wait until another day.

Dear friends, I hope YOUR weekend was great!

And pumpkin carving? I've decided there's always next year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WWMD? OR, What Will Martha Do?

Okay, so my friend Kate gave me a cool Martha Stewart craft item she got at BlogHer, because alas, I was not invited to the Martha Stewart shindig. It's like a hole punch that you use on the edges of a piece of paper to make them all lacy and such.

My daughter Molly was looking at the box with me, and we discovered something of which we doubt Dame Martha would approve. "Separately" was spelled incorrectly.

Oh yes, someone at Martha Stewart Living apparently missed the "There is A RAT in separate" lesson. Perhaps she missed "The Principal is your PAL," too.

Molly circled the error and put it on my desk with a note: "Speled Wrong. Email Martha." I know, how cute is that? "Speled."

Now of course I'd like to let Martha know, because she has certain standards she would like to uphold, but I'm a little nervous.

You see, although I am a Martha fan, I acknowledge she has a wee bit of a reputation. And if there have always been a few rough edges in her personality, I doubt they are smoothing out as she gets older. I, for one, grow grumpier and more short-tempered every year I'm on this earth.

If she were a friend with rice in her teeth or toilet paper on her shoe, I'd tell her, but do I risk the Wrath of Martha over this momentous matter?
Perhaps it's because we're so close to Halloween-- thanks for my cute stairway mice Martha--but I have visions of HRH Martha dressed as the Queen of Hearts shouting, "Off with her head!" about the poor copy writer or assistant or lackey who wrote the offending prose.

Opinions, please.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Frankly My Dear Shingles, I Don't Give a Darn

So remember the scene in "Gone With the Wind" when those pesky Yankees had burned Atlanta, Scarlett O'Hara had alienated pretty much everyone, and to top it all off she had not a thing to wear? Did she hunker down at Tara, feeling sorry for herself? Well, maybe --it's been a while since I watched the movie-- but I know ONE thing she did do. She took those green velvet curtains down and soon had a fabulous new dress. Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade.

Well, yours truly was getting a little sick of letting her Shingles determine her destiny, so on Friday she decided to get the heck out of her own split-level Tara and have a night on the town.

She employed cover-up, Bare Minerals, and creative bang placement on her face, then set about dealing with those 4 inches of roots. Channeling her late mother circa 1985, she went to Sally Beauty Supply and bought Fanci-Full Temporary hair dye in Spun Sand. This quickly transported her back to the days of Lanz of Salzburg flannel gowns, Wayfarer sunglasses and Steak-Ums, but on to business...

Disclaimer: Donna (hairdresser) if you are reading this, and I know you are, please don't kill me when you read the next part.

What did our young lady do next? She said, "48 hour patch test be damned! 'No use on open wounds' be damned! Rubber gloves be damned!" and squirted that stuff all over her head. When she dried her hair, what did she see? Tons of gray. Damn.

Did this stop our Modern Day Scarlett, who would otherwise be resigned to yet another Friday night of soccer carpool, church youth group and watching baseball on tv? Heck no. She got out her sticky blond cover-up crayon and went at it, oh yes she did. And you know what? She looked fine.

Counting on dim lights and relying on the promise of her Sorority Little Sis who said, "These guys have been drinking on the golf course since 10 am," she headed off to the Fraternity Benefit Event to see a bunch of people she hadn't seen since 1991.

And you know what? She had fun.

As an added bonus, a huge canker sore in her mouth hurt like heck but made her nonexistent upper lip swell up in a youthful manner. Nothing like a little homemade Restylane when you need it.

p.s. Photo edited to exclude unrequited college crush. I could have edited him ALL the way out, but what fun would that have been?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


If you've ever wondered whether one can scratch a shingle-y head while spray painting, I thought I'd introduce you to 2 of my newest buds.


And her little sister Ethel:

Both were super sturdy and super comfortable.

After a little priming, painting, and stapling, they have a new lease on life.

Gladys now goes by "CoCo," and Ethel would prefer to be addressed as "E-Dawg."

When and if I find the baggie where I put the screws to hook the seats back on, these 2 are going on Craigslist.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekend Update

Note: Right side of head and eye stick out farther than left. MUCH better than yesterday.

So things on the Shingles front are going okay. I'm tired and not very purty looking, but a lot of people have much more severe problems with this illness.

The worst part is the itching. I want to crawl out of my skin. Even just typing this, I have the sensation of hundreds of bugs crawling on my scalp. You're welcome.

I've decided to go ahead and scratch my head, where the worst of it is, hoping an abundance of hair will cover any scars. For those of you who have had shingles, did you put anything topical on it to help the itch? Calamine lotion? My physician's assistant said "nothing topical," but other people have said it's okay. Please advise.

My interesting forehead protrusion has gone down from its 1/2 inch state of yesterday. Tom said, "That looks Elephant Man-esque." Alrighty then.

I have great sympathy for those who must go around every day with severe acne, because that's what my Shingles look like. And I'm a semi-confident 41 year old woman, not some poor kid in the miserable throes of adolescence.

I have much guilt for wanting to reach over and pop my 11th grade lab partner's whiteheads during Science class. I wondered, "Does she even SEE those?" The answer, surely, was yes. Perhaps, like me, she had a reason for keeping hands off. By the way, I watched an hour-long infomercial on Proactiv on my sick day yesterday out of facial-lesion solidarity. I'm super impressed by that stuff!

More on the Vanity Front: I don't think I'll be joining my college friends at a charity golf tournament next weekend. It is for a great cause, in honor of a dear fallen hero from our class, but I can't wrap my oozing head around seeing people I haven't seen since 1991 when I'm in this state.

More than the face is the hair. Let's just say the title of this blog is changing to "Four Inches of Gray" until the distant day when the doc gives me the go ahead to color again.

It's not my close circle of friends, but the wider circle I'm worried about.

I'd like to show them I found life on the other side of my pleated pants and MC Hammer glasses, but at what cost? On the plus side: I weigh 10 lbs less than I did when I graduated (thanks to no more shoulder pads, unlimited Dining Hall food or kegs). Minuses: Well, there are many.

Thus, my vanity has helped me decide that I'm staying home. Waaah!

I hope you are having a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Good Shingles, Bad Shingles

Good Shingles:

The kind on my roof that I got free. Thank you, HAIL STORM!



Bad Shingles:

The kind on my head and face. Just started meds tonight. I hope it will be a mild case.

Photo not available.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Toy Box Re-Do

I found a tired old toy box just screaming for a re-do:

I took some chalkboard paint to make a panel in the front, painted the rest a creamy white (heirloom white, of course!) and added some vintage-looking scrapbook paper to the inside for fun.

Now she's ready for toys, shoes, or whatever life throws at her.

Linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the porch and Make it 4 Monday

Sunday, October 10, 2010


"Are we poor, Mom?" Molly asked.

I wondered how a girl, riding in a spacious, year old car, fresh off of a not inexpensive weekend soccer tournament, could imagine we were poor.

True, there has been talk about "cutting back" at the See household of late. Gone are the landscape guys, the once a week Asian food, pool membership and other luxuries. I'm clipping coupons. Our much-touted trip to Europe was replaced by free vouchers for a day at a local amusement park, and there won't be replacement windows in our near future, unless you mean replacing the duct-taped cardboard that covers one pane with a fresh piece.

But POOR? Oh my goodness. You would think that with our big project this year, to build 2 wells in developing nations, Molly would understand that we have it much, much better than the rest of the world. And I think she does. But, like me, she frequently, and not very flatteringly, swings back and forth between gratefulness and covetous.

We live in an expensive, affluent region. Many people in our area have been affected by the economic downturn, but the cars on the roads scream luxury, the houses are enormous, and people wait for an hour to get a table at our over-priced chain restaurants.

After leaving a lovely party in a beautiful home yesterday, Molly said, "Mom, when I see a house like that, it makes me think ours is small and junky." Instead of launching into my spiel about consumerism and the need to have our priorities straight, I replied, "I know. I feel the same way."

She and I had been having a major mind-meld in that moment, yet was brave enough to express what we both were thinking. You see, before we'd even put our seat belts on, I had mentally moved our family into that lovely house and pictured myself sitting on the back porch surveying the estate, not a care in the world.

Why is it that we know we have enough, and are grateful for it, but when MORE MORE MORE is in our face we feel somehow diminished, grasping, dissatisfied?

I found myself getting grumpy about the same issue earlier this weekend, and I've had 41 years to Molly's 9 to realize that, "the most important things in life aren't things." I pondered how I was always in the top of my class yet I've spent the better part of my adult life unemployed or underemployed in part-time gigs. This was by choice, but I've started to wonder if it was the best choice. I worry if I'll be employable in the future.

Could be that hearing a guy I went to middle school with has a full-sized basketball court IN his house colored my thinking a tad green.

Today I pulled up to my favorite thrift store on 50% off day (thanks, Christopher Columbus!). After circling the jammed parking lot for 25 minutes, I gave up and went home. Not only did I have a chance to remind myself that I wanted, but did not need, more THINGS, the crowds of people there, many of whom had taken the bus or walked long distances to get there, made me realize that I have much to be grateful for.

And if I ever forget to be grateful, I am poor indeed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Back in the Day

Some thoughts on a weekend away:

If you are the one making the reservations (Tom), and you see that the hotel has an indoor pool, please share this information with the rest of the family. Not super fun to watch the kids have to resist the siren song of the pool just because no one thought to pack bathing suits.

If you are packing the portable DVD player (Anna), it might be a good idea to remember the plug as well. Kind of stinks to have a brand new movie in the car and no way to watch it.

When you take your kids to Historic Williamsburg but don't want to spring the money for passes to the exhibits, you may need to find other ways to turn the weekend into a learning experience.

Note: The old-timey dressed actors will NOT let you inside without a pass. Trust me on this. And what is a milliner anyway, and why does she think she's all that?

Tree climbing is free:

As is spending time with the livestock:

Just be warned that both horses could be male and may be rather "excited" to see you.

While it is not on the official Williamsburg curriculum, this could be described as a "teachable moment." It could fall under science, or sex ed.

I do not recommend zooming in on the next photo, even though this is well after things had died down, so to speak.

If you find you need a little alone time, you can just throw those meddling kids into the stocks:

If one child says his shoes are stuck and he can't get out of the stocks, just yell, "There's a BEE!" and see how fast the problem resolves itself:

Talk about lightning speed.

Feel free to take the kids down to the James River in Jamestown. If your daughter falls in, gets soaked, and starts wailing, just keep shooting pictures and laughing:

You may want to apologize later when you realize her leg is scraped up and bloody.

Give her a hug when you hear that she risked lfe and limb to recover a submerged Colonial artifact.

Give her another hug when she discovers her treasure is a mangled 1991 penny.

Bear in mind that the success or failure of any trip is directly related to the mother's blood sugar level at any time. Feed said mother chocolate and Diet Pepsi at regular intervals.

And finally, remember that despite the schlepping and the arguing and the enormous fear of bedbugs (or fear of enormous bed-bugs), a get-away, even just for a day or two is usually worth it.

May I Have a Spoon With that Sugar?

Last night in bed Tom felt something he hadn't felt in quite a while .

No, not thaaaaat.

He felt my leg thrown over him all cozy-like. Seems that when we went out of town for the weekend it was summer, but we came back to fall.

We are now in the week or weeks-long window in which it's actually colder inside the house than out and the furnace hasn't kicked in yet. Soooo, Tom gets a snuggle, which is a treat.

Because normally, I do not want any part of it.

Our queen size bed is not big enough for both of us, and if I think he's ooching over to my side, I'm not above (or below) giving a little kick to regain my territory. I have night sweats, my husband is more than a little bit hairy, and have I mentioned that I...




I know, being married to me must be a real walk in the park.

But for now, until the house warms up, I'm all about the snuggle.

Who knows? Maybe I won't get out the down comforter this year.