29 September 2008

For Adam

This one's for my brother-in-law Adam, who complained that I never wrote about him.

So, Adam, now I'm writing about you.

Actually, my brother-in-law is a great guy and I'm proud to have him as a member of my family. He's a fabulous husband and father. He's funny and smart, though his taste in music is questionable (Van Halen? Really?). I'd say he's a good golfer but I have no idea what that means.

OK, Adam, you can quit riding me about not ever blogging about you. Shut up already. You know I love you, right?

28 September 2008

The Haircut

She did this yesterday.

Picture day at school is Thursday.

27 September 2008

So That's How Pommeranians Get Across Country

We Are Scientists is one of my new favorite bands. What's not to like? Smart, catchy lyrics; a sense of humor; a bit of retro 80's sound (a little Wall of Voodoo, a little Psychedelic Furs). This video for "Chick Lit" is hilarious.


26 September 2008

Aw, Shucks.

Yesterday I was poking around on the computer, checking up on the other blogs I read regularly when, to my surprise, Harley Quinn over at Homestead HQ gave me this:

She also wrote some very kind words about me. I'm not entirely sure I can live up to the praise (Me? Cool and stylish?), but it's certainly appreciated. A little ego stroking is always a good thing. Really, I was gobsmacked and a bit giddy.

Even before Harley lauded me, I read her posts with an appreciation of her honesty, kindness, humor, and total love for her two completely adorable children.

We haven't had many opportunities to get together in person, but hopefully that will change.

I guess I'll spread the love around. I think all of my favorite locals have been feted with this award already so I'll gift the following:

Go check out Jinjur. Sarah is a wonder woman of sorts: among her varied talents she's an expert seamstress (she may say differently, but trust me she's a genius with a needle and thread), cook, artist, and writer. Oh, and she's a mom to boot. Her site never fails to inspire and she's cheered me on to projects I probably wouldn't tackle otherwise (like sewing pajamas and candy making). I've been a fan of Sarah's work (and that of her husband and partner Evan Dorkin) for a long, long time and it's been sheer pleasure getting to know her. If there weren't like 2,000 miles between her home and mine I'd totally want to share a cup of coffee with her, while listening to the Aquabats or Puffy AmiYumi, because she's just so freaking cool. And I like her shoes.

I've raved before about how much I adore Stacy. So, head on over to Olive Loaf Design, a site consisting mainly of art, local (i.e., Chicago) and elsewhere, that inspires Stacy. She also showcases her own artwork. Stacy is the queen of papier-mache; she makes these funky flying pigs and other things. I don't know if there are enough good adjectives to describe her, so I'll just let you figure it out for yourself. I'm just happy to call her my friend.

If you'd like to tell some one how much you like their blog, the participation rules are simple:

1. If you get tagged (and want to play along), write a post with links to blogs that you love, then
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

25 September 2008

Sickness and Snoring

Evan is home sick today. Apparently, he has whatever virus making the rounds at school. I picked him up early yesterday and took him to Convenient Care. The rapid strep test was negative and we were given the "lots of rest and fluids" spiel. So. As I type this, he's holed up in my room reading up on knights and medieval life.

In other news, in spite of two big mugs of coffee I am dead tired. Seriously, I could take a nap. I should not be this tired as I got more sleep last night than I have the previous two.

On a slightly tangential note, did you know how big a difference a new pillow can make to a snoring husband? A lot. Frank snores and it's something I've mostly gotten used to over the past thirteen years. But there are nights when it's not just the volume of the snoring that drives me out of our bed. In addition to his nasal cacophony, Frank has a tendency to moan like a Scooby-Doo villain or Frankenstein's Monster in his sleep.

Believe me when I say I have tried kicking him and/or shoving him to get him to stop, but that man sleeps the sleep of the dead. And the snoring and moaning just. doesn't. stop.

And it's bloody irritating.

When one's bed pillow can be folded in half like a taco and it stays that way, it's time for a new pillow (I think that's something Martha Stewart taught me. That, or I read it in a magazine.). No wonder Frank was raising such a ruckus; he was basically sleeping on a relatively thin piece of fabric and getting no support for his head. I realized this yesterday and remedied that with the purchase of said new pillow.

Last night? A very brief bout of snoring, but no moaning.

And tonight I'm hitting the hay as early as possible.

23 September 2008

Yep, it's all Lego.

Saturday Frank and I took the kids to the newly opened Legoland Discovery Centre in Schaumburg. Aside from the hefty price of admission ($19/adult, $15/child over 3), which was augmented by my smart sister-in-law who had sent along coupons for a free adult's admission with the purchase of a child's (Thank you, Karin), it was a nice way to spend an afternoon.

The space is fairly small; 2 stories of a corner building in an upscale strip mall. But then again, it's Lego. They're tiny. The first thing we saw was the amazingly detailed Chicago cityscape. It took over 10,000 man hours and 1,000,000 Legos to build 25 Chicago landmarks. It even had the green building on the corner next to the Chicago Theatre (it wasn't marked as a McD's, but trust me it was there - we've used their restrooms many times over the years). Navy Pier was especially impressive. The carousel played music and went round and round.
The lights and sounds of the city changed over the course of the simulated day. Lights came on and went out in the high rises, street lamps came on, etc. Pretty cool.
There was even a Sears Tower with a little Lego Batman perched on it, watching over the Windy City.
The next section of the Discovery Centre was devoted to the jungle. The kids were given a scratch off card and were asked to answer multiple choice question about various animals (i.e., snakes, tigers, hippos). All of the jungle animals were made out of Lego.

The jungle led us to the Lego Hall of Fame which had life-sized replicas of Batman, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Hagrid. All. made. out. of. Lego.

There was a very tame little ride, a 4-D theater (which showed a very cute film), a Lego "factory" that asked kids to help make the Lego (at the end each child in the room was given a special brick with Legoland Chicago imprinted on it), a cafe with play place and tables stocked with, you guessed it, Legos. Of course there was a gift shop, but you can find a better selection at any Toys R Us or at the Lego shop online.

We're happy to have had the time to go explore this newest addition to the Lego universe. But Frank and I were both of the opinion that once was enough.

Though, I could look at that Chicago cityscape for hours.

22 September 2008

Good-bye Mr. Chipmunk. Hello, Dead Jesus.

We traveled northwards this weekend to spend some time with my mother-in-law and other family members.

Helga, my mother-in-law, has a chipmunk nest under her back stoop and routinely catches the little guys in a live trap, oftentimes not even using any bait. The chipmunks must be naturally curious (and/or a bit stupid) because they fall for it. Helga is a kind-hearted soul and finds the chipmunks to be a nuisance but she doesn't want to kill them. She simply transports them to a local forest preserve and lets them go, though lately she's been taking the chipmunks to the cemetery where my father-in-law is buried.

Saturday morning found yet another chipmunk in the trap and Flynn could hardly contain herself. She was out the door in a flash to watch the little thing skitter from one end of the trap to the other while she chattered to it. And when Frank and I took Evan to the barber's to get a descent haircut (unlike the chop job he got at a local place before school started), Flynn went with her Oma to let Mr. Chipmunk go and run a couple other errands.

When Flynn and Oma arrived at the cemetery, they said good-bye to the chipmunk then Helga spent a few minutes watering and tending the flowers at my father-in-law's grave. While she was doing this Flynn played among the gravestones, stopping often to admire the statuary (most were a depiction of Jesus).

As they walked back to the car Flynn said, "Oma, there sure are a lot of dead Jesuses around here."

19 September 2008

From Kids To Dogs

Last night we celebrated Frank's birthday with dinner out at "that place [he] likes. You know, the one with the ribs." In Frank-speak that's Chili's.

While Flynn and I were in the restroom she made the following proclamation: "When I'm a mom, I'm not going to have any kids. They are a lot of work!"

Really? I had no idea.

This from the girl who once said she was going to have 10 kids. Then that got whittled down to 4. Now she's down to none.

Frank and I figure she's going to be have, like, 40 Chihuahuas (her very favorite dog breed) and dress them up in doll clothes (which is pretty much what she does with her stuffed animals).

Maybe one of her dogs will be named
Sunshine Treepod.

18 September 2008

Many Happy Returns

Today I wish my husband, Frank, the happiest of birthdays.


Oh, and Frank? You are 38 today (or 31+7), lest you forget.

For those of you not in the know, my dear sweet husband has a memory akin to Swiss cheese (unless whatever fact he's trying to recall is superhero or comic book related then his mind is like a steel trap and it's a little Asperger-y). A perfect example of this happened a couple of years ago: Frank was at our local health clinic having some blood drawn. While the phlebotomist was readying her equipment (needles, vials, etc.) she chit-chatted with Frank and asked him how old he was. "31," he replied. It wasn't until after he had left the lab and was on his way to his car that he realized that he was, in fact, not 31. He was 37.

And he said last night that a watershed moment in his life came when he realized he was older than Batman.

Ah, Frank, you make me laugh and I love you.

17 September 2008

Yet Another Ear Worm

Heard this 80's classic, OMD's "Tesla Girls", a couple days ago on Sirius' First Wave channel and it's been stuck in my head ever since.

Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark (OMD) is better known for their song "If You Leave" that was featured in the movie Pretty In Pink (the title song was performed by one of my favorites, The Psychedelic Furs), but I tend to prefer this little gem over any of their other songs.

Ah, well, it could be worse and I can take some measure of comfort that this ear worm probably won't last long. I'm open to suggestions to help speed OMD's exodus from my brain.

16 September 2008

Comics For The Poor

Evan and two of his good friends have come up with a brilliant idea: they are going to write and draw a series of comic books then sell those books and donate the money "to the poor," as Evan told me on the way home from school today.

My son has a knack for latching on to a cause and doing his damnedest to do what's right. Last year, he saved close to $100 for the World Wildlife Fund because he couldn't stand the idea of animals being killed.

And now he wants to do this.

I cannot express how proud I am of him and his friends.

I don't know how much they plan on selling their work for or when they're going to start (Sarah, any tips?).

But, good God, how I love that sweet, thoughtful, determined boy of mine.

15 September 2008

Twilight Zone

Before today my daughter, the born girly-girl, was all about the princesses.

Favorite color? Pink. (Even when she was a baby if I gave her a choice of something pink or any other color she chose pink every single time).

What did she want to be when she grew up? A princess (That, thankfully, has changed to "animal doctor" and "mom").

When she was 2 she had a pink, frilly nightgown emblazoned with the word "princess" in silver glitter that she wore every.single.day for about 4 months. Yes, she wore it to preschool. And when she wasn't wearing it, she was carrying it around.

She's, in turn, LOVED Cinderella, Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Jasmine from Aladdin and Ariel, the Little Mermaid. We lunched with the princesses at Disney World (Flynn wore her yellow Belle dress).

Princess, princess, princess.

"Mommy," she said today, "I don't like princesses anymore."

I didn't know what to think or say.

"Except for Ariel."


For a minute there I thought I'd stepped into The Twilight Zone or Invasion of The Body Snatchers (Who are you and what have you done with my daughter?).

Now it's all Star Wars all the time.

She could not avoid it: it's in her DNA.

And there's a princess.

14 September 2008

What's In The Sauce?

We ordered out Chinese food for dinner this evening. As we settled at the table Frank asks, "Do we have any duck sauce?"

Flynn: "What's duck sauce?"

Evan: "Yeah, what's in it?"

Flynn: "Is it made out of ducks? Ewwwww!"

Evan: "Does it have high fructose corn syrup in it?"

Daddy responded with, "I don't know what the exact ingredients are, but I do know it's not ducks."

12 September 2008

The Lawman

Lately, my 7-year-old son has been obsessed with what's begainst the law (his way of pronouncing "against").

He'll come up with all kinds of creative scenarios and ask "Is this begainst the law?" Like, "What if an alien came down from space and said, 'You're stupid.' Is that begainst the law?" or "What if the President invades another country and starts a war and kids die in that war? Is that begainst the law?" (yes, he and I have been discussing world events).

Most of the time my answer is an exasperated, "I don't know, Evan."

"Mom, you need to go to law school. And we need a set of law books."

My response: "Hey, Evan, how about if you go to law school. And there's a million different kind of law books. There are libraries filled with law books."

"Cool! Can we go to the law library?" I love my nerdy boy.

"The speed limit's 35. That sign said so. I read it. You're not driving 35. You're speeding. You're going to get pulled over and taken to jail!"

"Flynn, if you don't cut it out I'm going to lawyer all over you!"

I can't quite figure out where this fascination with law came from. Yes, Frank and I have impressed upon him from an early age the importance of "following the rules." He knows that laws are the rules we live by. But it's almost like he's looking for a loophole. Is he destined to be a criminal mastermind or a Supreme Court judge? Do I need to tell you which I prefer?

I just wish he'd stop with the backseat driving. It's slightly annoying and almost makes me wish he was still illiterate.

11 September 2008

Since It Is 9/11

I strongly urge you to check out my friend Stacy's post for today over at Olive Loaf Design.

I've known Stacy for almost 20 years, since our undergrad days at Eastern Illinois University. She is smart, beautiful (I bet she could still totally rock a burlap sack), talented and a survivor.

She was in the World Trade Center when it was hit 7 years ago today.

Go read about her experience.

Seriously, do it.

Her Promise

I promise, Mommy,
I will wear high shoes all day
when I'm a grown-up.

Flynn uttered this haiku last night while tromping around in a pair of my high heels (aka, high shoes). This was after she berated me for not wearing "high shoes" all the time. She also said she'd wear high heels every day.

Yeah, we'll see.

10 September 2008

Rockin' Out Wit Ma TeeVee

I triple dog dare you to sit still while listening to this, the theme song to the dearly departed Teen Titans as performed by J-Pop superstars Puffy (Ami and Yumi also had their own show on Cartoon Network). So. Much. Fun.

Not only does this song totally rock, it has that cool 60's vibe to it that I tend to gravitate towards and reminds me of the Pink Panther and Friends theme for The Inspector (called "A Shot In The Dark" and was composed by Henry Mancini). That may be because the kids and I have been watching some Inspector 'toons lately.

09 September 2008

Mars Attacks Fashion

Another image from a pictorial in Harper's Bazaar, a never ending source of entertainment for me. Is it just me or do the kids in this shot look incredibly uncomfortable standing next to this woman? And how wrong is it that the little girl on the far right, who I'm guessing is 9 or 10, has a much healthier figure than the model.
When I showed this picture to Frank he said, "She [the model] looks like that character from Mars Attacks!" and he started doing that swivel-ly, gliding gait. If you've seen the film, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
I laughed out loud and realized that my husband was totally right. The model does look like that lady martian from Tim Burton's movie! I wonder if that was the "story" for the pictorial...

That makes much more sense than just showing the latest in "little black dresses."

08 September 2008

If I Had A Spare Few Grand

Flipping through Harper's Bazaar this afternoon I came across this ad for the Italian fashion house, Iceberg (I know, I was surprised to find out it was an Italian company. I figured from the name it was at least Swedish).

I think I must have gasped out loud when I saw this bag because Evan asked, "Are you okay?" "Yeah, I'm fine." I answered slightly breathily, "I just saw a picture of a purse that I really like." Just then Flynn, who wasn't really paying attention to this conversation piped up, "Purse? What purse? I want to see the picture of the purse!" and she scrambled from where she was sitting in the family room to where I was at the kitchen table in record time (mention the words "purse" or "handbag" or "tote bag" in my daughter's presence and she's libel to go a bit nutty). She took a look at the above picture, looked at me and said, "It's like a comic book purse. We should get it for Daddy for his birthday." Evan sauntered over to take a look, "What's the big deal? It's just a purse. I guess it's kinda cool since it looks like a comic book but there are no pictures. They should put pictures on it."

I covet this bag exactly because it has that funky, cool comic book graphic lettering. I like, no love, the juxtaposition between the casual feel of the graphics and the structured look of the bag.

There's no price listed in the ad or on the website. I guess if you have to ask, you can't afford it but my estimation is this bag costs at the very least $1,500 (it's handmade).

Ah, it's nice to dream.

05 September 2008

More ABC Me

My friend and fellow book-clubber, Mary, sent me this today and thought it was "blogger-ish". So, Mary, thanks for my post today.

A - Age of your first kiss: 13

B - Band listening to right now: Gnarles Barkley, though I don't know if they qualify as a band.
C - Crush: Neil Gaiman
D - Dad's name: Tom
E - Easiest person to talk to: Frank or Katy

F - Favorite artist at the moment: my friend Stacy
G - Gummy worms or gummy bears: Da' Bears, especially if they're from Germany

H - Hometown:
Tolono, IL
I - Instruments: Flute (for 6 weeks in 5th grade), I can plunk out a tune on a piano if the need arises.

J- Job: Mom, substitute teacher

K - Kids: 2

L - Longest car ride ever: Return trip from Washington D.C. Sept. 13, 2001 (we drove straight through with an 8-month-old Evan and hit a traffic jam in Indy).
M - Mom's name: Carolin

N- Nicknames: Miss, Mom-mom
O - One wish: My children become good humans
P - Phobias: Snakes in the house (I'm OK if they're behind glass or far, far away).
Q – Quote: “A little from 'column A', a little from 'column B'.”
R - Reason to smile: Frank comes home tomorrow.
S - Song you sang last: Sonic Boom by Venus Hum
T - Time you woke up [today]: 6:00 am (ugh)
U - Unknown fact about me: When I was 16 I competed in the Miss Teen Illinois pageant and placed in the top 10 in the talent competition. I performed a comic monologue I had written.
V - Vegetable you hate: While I don't hate any vegetable, I do hold a strong dislike for spaghetti squash.
W - Worst habit(s): Procrastinate
X - X-rays you've had: hand, dental

Y - Yummy food: These cookie/candy things called Fox's Bars from Ireland. They're kind of like a Twix but much, much better.
Z - Zodiac sign: Cancer

04 September 2008

Get Thee Behind Me, Satan

While I was tidying up the house this morning, I had the t.v. on for background noise. It was tuned to the Today show and as my luck would have it, the New Kids On The Block performed a couple of songs from their new album. I hated the New Kids twenty years ago. Today's Today performance revived my loathing with a vengeance. I had to find something to purge their "music" from my head.

The Barenaked Ladies have a song called "New Kid On The Block" on their almost perfect album Gordon. Alas, there is no video for it on You Tube.

This is the next best thing I could find. The Aquabats' wonderful song "The Cat With Two Heads" from Fury of The Aquabats. It contains the lyric "and it ate up the New Kids On The Block". Perfect. The audio quality isn't the best on this and it isn't the full version of the song but it'll do.

03 September 2008

Blessing No. 4,000andsomething

Taking a cue from Mrs. Chicken, I am counting my blessings. Presently at the top of my list is my mom who watched the children this evening so I could attend Parent Info. Night at their school. What is amazing is that I asked her to do this this morning (I hadn't heard back from my regular sitter so I had to ask Mom). She didn't hesitate, she just asked, "What time do you need me at your house?"

She is currently reading Evan and Flynn a night-night book, like the awesome Nana she is.


02 September 2008

My Heart Goes Wandering

Well, not exactly "wandering," per se but you get my drift.

Frank left this morning for Prague. Yep, the one in Europe. He's on his way there to help with a European press screening of the video game he's been art directing for the past 2 years.

As I type this he is sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for his plane that will whisk him off to one of the few major cities in Europe that wasn't bombed to bits during WW II. He'll be staying at a super-swanky hotel and, I think, will have Wed. to see the sights (I'm jealous of this). Thursday and Friday he'll be holed up in the hotel's conference rooms showing off his game (not so jealous). He comes home Saturday.

Over coffee this morning Frank asked, "Will you survive without me?"

"Just barely," was my half-joking reply.

When he was in San Diego, the kids were still on vacation and the most pressing thing on our agenda for the day was getting to karate class in the afternoon. Now, they're both in school which means I'll need to be up extra early to insure the morning runs smoothly (Frank's usually up before me so he can get the kids dressed while I'm in the shower). I'm usually not the one who takes them to school; Frank does. Additionally, I somehow have to be in two classrooms at once tomorrow evening for Parent Information Night at school.

I need to breathe.

After our coffee, I dropped Frank off at work and we kissed our good-byes. He lugged his suitcase out of the car and waved as he entered the building. As I drove away, there was a lump in my throat. I was missing him already.

Saturday seems so far away.