Friday, April 27, 2007

Clouded Haikus

In honor of Poetry Friday and Mona, I will throw this out. (Throw this up?)

The word is "Cloud". Lovely, innocent, lazy, summer entertainment, soft and fluffy clouds:

"Clouded Consciousness".
"Clouded Corneas". "Cloudy
Urine". Never good.

It is a fate of
mine, going through life seeing
the ill in the fair.

It is a fate of
yours, you who choose to read, to
glimpse my twisted takes.

As I butcher such
a simple and lovely form
that is the haiku.

And, for those who love pictures and haven't been reading long, here are some more dark, evil clouds from last summer.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

*giggle, giggle, clap, clap, clap*

Back about 3 years ago, before the blog existed and we were still young and idealistic, we moved out to our own little bit of Eden in rural Wisconsin. The house was in good shape, 3/4ths finished, just not as, er, pretty as we'd like it. We made a list of things that absolutely HAD to be done. Things like finish the 1/2 of the basement that was a big, open, dank, dog-shit-for-decoration cave lit by a single 25 watt bulb dangling from a light socket. It looked like a place that monsters would dwell and we didn't fancy living in a place with monsters. It's bad enough when your kids have nightmares. Don't need a real Freddy Krueger popping up the stairs in the wee hours to raid the fridge and torture you. Also, we replaced the light gray kitchen counters, put tile in the hall, kitchen and bathrooms in place of the ugly light gray vinyl, painted the soul-destroying light gray walls with a cheerier, warm (although not wildly dynamic), very light demi-peach paint.

(Note: We are essentially White Wall People, through and through. We adore color on the walls of the houses of our friends, we just can't fathom it on our own walls. We tried to make Sara's room a sunny yellow and the painters obviously thought it was horrible--because it was--and painted over it with the warm bland. Colin's room, we painted a nice blue, which looks, well, cold and blah. Shouldn't have put a sign on his door that said "Don't Paint Me" and let the painters cover up that mistake, too. We need to just stick with white-ish. Know your weaknesses. Choosing wall color is a failing with us.)

By the time we'd done all that, we'd exhausted our budget. Then we had to recover from the move (it's always more expensive that you think). Then we had the enormous vet bills from poor Emma's illness. Then there was the getting of the new puppy and kitten, and various other expenses that put our Next Big Thing For The House on hold.

But...finally! The stars and expenses lined up and, golly!, there was this amazing sale as we were poking around in the floor store on a whim and, well....


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Ain't it purdy?

Why the builder ever put down carpet in the first place is beyond me. Although, as Charles and I decided last night as we stood in our new pose: smiling in the center of the room and slowly revolving to look at all the pretty, pretty wood, had they done so, they'd probably have put in weathered light gray driftwood to match the walls and counters and bathroom decor, and we'd have hated it but felt bad as it would have been hard to rip up new wood floors to put down new wood floors, right?

(The previous owners were very nice and, having designed and built the house themselves, apparently planned to live there forever, but then had a very, VERY nasty divorce. I think that it was all the gray that did them in. Sort of like The Shining but with 'light gray everything' rather than being snow-bound in an evil, possessed hotel.)

So, Charles and I are thrilled, as the floors are pretty and are not full of dog piss.

Mad-Kitty is happy, as things she bats around go skittering all over the surface.

Molly-Dog is not-as-happy, as she skids over the slick surface.

But Colin is really, really happy, as he gets to sock-slide from one end of the hall and across the room in one 'go'. He's teaching his sister the finer points, too.

Works for me. The sock-sliding dusts the floor.

Next up? Replace the light gray tile surrounding the fireplace. I mean, really. Gray, again. We're thinking a nice, warm granite or something. Shouldn't be too expensive. There's not much to do.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

The More Things Change...

Remember this?

Well, like the behavior of some siblings, it really hasn't changed. In fact, after a year and some, it's gotten more pervasive.

Several times a day, we are treated to such scenes:

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It starts silently except for the sound of thumping against any furniture that happens to be in the vicinity. Then there are the low growls from the kitty. As things escalate (and they always escalate) the size difference comes into play and there is the muffled meow of frustration, as the kitty's head disappears in the dog's maw. This is, of course to be expected as the cat weighs 5 lbs (3 kg) and the dog weighs 75 lbs (35 kg).

"Hey! Molly! Leave. The Kitty. Alone," someone will holler.

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Molly opens her mouth and the now matted black cat lays there, scowling. She's clearly pissed that she came up on the losing end, yet again.

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As soon as whoever halted the round turns away, one or the other (it's an even split) launches in again. Either the kitty goes for whatever body part she can reach (a knee, a tail, a nose if Molly is silly enough to put her schnozz in paw's reach) or Molly re-engulfs Mad's head.

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My favorite was the episode I stepped in on, where I hollered, "Hey! Molly! Stop it!" Molly turned and lifted her head, with Mad-Kitty dangling from her pus, a foot off the floor, 5 front claws embedded in each side of her muzzle.

Both seemed fine with it, so I rolled my eyeballs to the ceiling and left to a distant part of the house where I didn't have to listen to it.

Unfortunately, Kitty doesn't leave it just for Molly. No, no indeed.

When bored (and an inside kitty is frequently bored, even with 2 kids, a large dog and several house plants to play with), she will lay in ambush, waiting for you to walk by. She then dashes out from behind a door on her hind tiptoes, arms stretched out to the sides, in the air, as wide as they can go, tail straight out behind for balance, and seizes you (usually me with my arms full of laundry or a glass of water) around the top of the calf, then releasing you, dances off sideways with her tail fluffed twice as big as the rest of her small self.

It's even more fun when she does this as you are descending the stairs, at night, with a large bowl of popcorn in your arms and maybe a glass of something in one hand.

Oh, yes. Ever so much fun.

Damn pets.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rite Of Passage

The words we dread but know are inevitable:

Sara (from the living room): "Mom! Guess What?"

Diana (from the kitchen): "What's that, honey"

Sara: "I just cut my HAIR with the SCISSORS!"

Diana: (gulp) "Oh dear."

Yes, she did, indeed.

In retrospect, giving her bangs a trim followed by letting her help me cut the tags off her new summer clothes and then popping off to the kitchen to put the kettle on, leaving the scissors on the table was not the wisest series of events. How could she resist?

The scissors are now on top of my dresser.

Sara is very, very sorry.

I've tried not to laugh, but it's really, really hard.

We've all done it, right? I did. Age of 8. Cut a hunk of my bangs off at the hairline. The hunk that was hanging down in my eyes when I was trying to read. Sadly, what I'd cut off was right over my cowlick. Dad tormented me for ages calling me "Dagwood" as the hair growing in stuck straight up for ages.

And so, Sara has given herself a modified left-sided mullet.

Thankfully, she has 5 months until school pictures.

And I have 5 months to mock.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Well, that didn't take long, did it?

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I knew I'd be pissing off some deity by callously offing the obviously beloved and popular Wanda and Muriel, but who knew that it would lead to such drastic consequences as the week-long hard freezing of all my beloved spring plants? And now, their little prone bodies will be covered in several inches of snow in the next 24 hours, if the weatherheads are to be believed.

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Bah. Had I known, I'd have come up with another solution, like accidentally tripping and falling on each of them several times, with an axe or at least done the deed under cover of darkness. But no. I had to be all "It's my garden, I'll commit planticide where I wish" and "I don't care who knows."

Fortunately, I saved some before the massacre:
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I think this will have to sustain me until, oh, July, when things may just melt.

So, I'd like to send out a large, shamefaced apology to all and sundry who have had to suffer the blast of winter in what should be a time of scampering among the hyacinth and dancing among the daffodils. It won't be happening again, or at least not without some sneaking and hiding and wiping of finger and foot prints.

Let this be a lesson to us all. Being caught at murder never pays.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

This And That

Let's see.....

It's been over a week since I've done more than leave comments.....

Must blog about something.....


Had a lovely weekend. Played with the kids, had a tornado-filled storm skive past us to the West, leaving us with lots of lovely lightening and thunder (the fun stuff) without the miserable cowering in the basement with the spiders and dead centipedes, no matter how many bottles of wine we have down there. Yes. I've a cork screw there, too, next to the bottles of wine and batteries and canned tuna. No way I'm being sucked up like Dorothy, sober, whenever it happens. Also committed double homicide and went to a fabulous cooking class featuring my love, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Don't tell Charles. He'd be jealous. Or maybe I should be worried. That olive oil is a seductive thing for him, too.

It all started when my lovely friend, Ariella, who moved from Jersey to the Frozen Tundra just to be my friend last summer, called. (Well, OK, maybe she moved to be with her husband.)

"Hey!" she said. "There's these cooking classes at this cool shop in Madison. Interested?" Hmmm. Food. Cooking. Food. Food. Yup.

We went down the possibilities on the list and found that there were few that we could manage, what with my little darlings (I adore my children but don't think that they'd be adored in a cooking class as they looked on in horror at something being made with more than 1 ingredient. Their meals are completely deconstructed, as evidenced by their dinner tonight: A slice of ham, a pile of greens and tomatoes, 2 slices of wheat bread-and-butter, which adds up to make a ham sandwich, doesn't it?) and work schedules. My Charles and her Erik came along for the fun.

The Sunday Afternoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil class, it was.

The shop is rather lovely. Lots of cooking things. Not badly priced at all. Some I decided I couldn't live without. We were also given discount coupons that were perishable (expire in May).

We wandered around a bit and headed up to the cooking demonstration area, on the 2nd floor. There, we joined 6 other women and sat down, expectantly facing a kitchen that would fit in a 400 sq. ft. apartment. There were 4 nice-seeming women and 1 odd woman, who took her share and her invisible friend's share, as well as the obligatory person who Must Ask A Question Every 5 Minutes Or She Will Suffer From The Piles And The Grippe And The Dropsy. I found it interesting that someone who was a child in the 'woman's place is in the kitchen' era that seemed to be the 1940s-1950s hadn't, so she claimed, the vaguest idea what end of the spatula to hold. I'm not exaggerating. She was in raptures over how to hold a whisk. Ariella, am I just being mean and catty? No? Didn't think so. Why must some feel like they must ask the most stupid questions? They truly seemed to throw the lovely woman who was holding the class. I think they made her husband roll his eyes, but he was facing the back and all I could judge was his shaking shoulders. Charles, ever charitable, thought that maybe she was raised with servants and was just recently cut off from the family and was trying to not just make it on her own but make it with all the good things she had had on her plate. If that is true, I take back all my irritated thoughts. But ONLY if it is true.

And so it went, through the olive oil gelato and olive oil cookies and the olive oils that we were encouraged to taste as wines, in cups (but most of us chose to dip pieces of bread in) and the ohmygoditwassogood dish of baby scallops and garbanzo beans poached in olive oil spooned over grits (never had them, but if grits were all made with heavy cream, a cup of butter, a cup of Parmesan cheese and, I'm sure, a bottle of EVOO, well, the South would never have fallen, as the Yanks would have taken a bite and fallen into a Sleeping Beauty-like swoon and still be slumbering on the outskirts of Atlanta, which would never have burned, but whose suburbs would have spread north to Hudson's Bay.) There was also a lovely salad with spring greens, strawberries, these shockingly good almonds and radishes. And a dressing of olive oil.


Of course, all that oil, even in rather small portions, made for some very full stomachs. We'd planned for dinner at this lovely-sounding restaurant, but decided that we'd better pass.

There must be something in EVOO similar to Tequila (Yes, Teri?), as I felt the utter necessity after all of it for leaving there an extra $90 dollars poorer for the acquisition of silicone oven mitts, lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil, a baguette pan, a citrus grater that won't extract bits of knuckle as well as peel, a very comfortable vegetable peeler and a red silicone spatula. Charles also got a large bar of lovely dark chocolate that was mysteriously gone a mere 6 hours later. He did, I'm proud to say, resist the mustards, possibly because the 23 jars of other mustards already in our refrigerator seemed a bit excessive. Or not. You'll have to ask him why the sudden mustard resistance. Good thing there was the discount, yes?

So, we went back home. A bit squidgy from all the consumed spendy lubricant, but happy.


The double murder?



See, there were these cinquefoil bushes planted by the previous owners of our house.



There are few plants I hate: Martha Washington geraniums. Marigolds planted all in a row. Hostas ringing trees and foundations. Cinquefoil. Leggy, shaggy cinquefoil. Soooooo...I happened to go out with a pair of loppers and a spade, Saturday, before the storms and, well, made the remaining 2 of them......disappear.

You won't tell, will you? I don't think there will be any witnesses. Just the crocuses and daffodils and they will be long gone by the time the perennials that are poking up are cognizant. Right now, the rest of the garden is just small leaves, barely able to recognize the difference from sun and not-sun. By the time they have any coherent thoughts ("Hey! Where are Muriel and Wanda? They should be THERE and THERE.") the bulbs should be yellow and doddery. And by then, lovely new things should be planted there. The fact that there are 2 new bodies in the fire pit in the back should raise no suspicion, especially as I've taken great pains to make sure that there's no communication between the front and the back, aside from the one peony and the two lilacs.

And we all know how unreliable peonies and lilacs are.

You won't tell the thug deer, will you?

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