Archive for November, 2007

We almost avoided the ER this year..

November 26, 2007

“Mom, take it from someone who knows: I am stupid.” This evening I wearily looked over at Nyssa who was berating herself and asked her what the deal was. This requires some background.

Last night we gave James a brave goodbye for another week, and tried to get on with our evening. The kids got out a new hama beads kit with the intention of making up many little penguins for James. As I do the ironing portion of the craft, I hardly took notice until Nyssa comes up to me with a bloody kleenex wadged up her nose. Apparently it struck her as an enormously necessary experiment in anatomy to stick a hama bead up her nose. I found a flashlight and had a look. I couldn’t see anything. Trying not to groan outwardly, I did the usual first aid reference. It became apparent right away that I needed professional help, so I spent the next hour chasing down a nurse on the NHS 24 line. After commiserating with me over the mothering perils inherent in little girls and plastic bits and orifices, she told me to take her along to the ER. We found an atm, found a taxi in front of a bar (living near drunks can be helpful I guess), and then played the triage filtration waiting game at the ER. Finally, after another hour or so, we’re seen by a nice, young lady doctor. She wanted me to perform something I’d only gagged over on the internet–the mother’s kiss. Good god, what I had to do was put my giggling face close to Nyssa’s giggling face, try to get a seal over her mouth and blow forcefully. Somehow she managed to close off her airways because the effect of this was akin to blowing hard into a balloon that you expect to yield easily only to have the stiff rubber cause the air to honk right back into your mouth. Nyssa was kind enough to exclaim that this made her feel sick. Beautiful. So, the doctor confirmed that this was a waste of time and proceeded to look up Nyssa’s nose again. She didn’t see anything, so she went to fetch ‘The Boss’. ‘The Boss’ turned out to be a convivial young irishman who tutted at Nyssa for squirming while he took a turn with the nose probey light whatsit. She responded by saying in her ‘outdoor’ voice, ‘Do you clean that thing after you use it?!’ I snickered. Joseph, meanwhile, had been trying to tell anyone who would listen that the day before had been his birthday and give an itemized list with commentary on his presents. Eventually Nyssa was given the highly reassuring assessment that he was ‘as sure as he could be’ that there wasn’t anything in her nose. I stared at him blankly and he continued sort of lamely about how hama beads wouldn’t show up on an x-ray anyway, and if she has trouble to come back during the morning so an actual nose professional could have a go at her. I quirked an eyebrow and asked him to affirm that we’re not meant to be worried about inhalation…? He hemmed and hawed a bit on that point, but by that time we were tired, we hadn’t had dinner yet, and Nyssa had had her cranial bones poked so much that she was happy to concede that yes the bead probably fell out hours ago so I let it drop. We thanked them for their trouble and coughed up the fare for a taxi home. It could have been a lot worse, of course. The taxi driver on the way to the hospital was good enough to share a delightful story about his son who had to have a rancid piece of sponge extracted from his face, which necessitated a trip to the infirmary in Edinburgh. Yes, at least it wasn’t that. Jeebus.

So back to this evening, and Nyssa getting on her own case, apparently the trouble was that she had got her Barbie’s hair in her soup. Between that and the attempt to bead herself, she had had quite enough with her brain and it’s less than sensible notions. Poor girl.

Today, at least for me, was a marked improvement on yesterday. We got our washer fixed. That is to say, dude showed me where the filter trap is on the stupid Italian machine and de-crudded it. I wonder if that means we’ll be paying for it.

We also got our container-grown fraser fir tree! I love it. The needles are so soft. It sits just behind me here and when I lean back I’m under evergreen branches. It doesn’t get much better, really. We also got a very fragrant wreath. Tomorrow I’m going to get some kumquats, cloves, bay leaves, and pine cones to decorate it with. I McGyvered an excellent door hanger for it out of a copper head massager. Yesss.


Bionicle Hell

November 25, 2007

OK, for most of us, myself included, what follows will be gobbledygook. However, some brave people have expressed an interest in getting Joseph Bionicle for Xmas, so here are things he would like:

-Maxilos and Spinak
-Toas: Hahli, Jaller, Matoro, Nuparu, Kongu
-Barraki Deep Sea Patrol
-Toa Undersea Attack

He notes: “P.S. If you are getting one Mahri, please get 8914, then 8911, 8913, 8915 and finally 8910.”

OH, may as well say something about Nyssa’s Sylvanian Families(UK)/Calico Critters(US). She would like the wedding-related stuff. I’m going to get her the river boat and little crews that go with it, and a cottontail bunny family.

For the benefit of Mr James

November 21, 2007

..what the Mrs. wants for Christmas

– a Christmas pyramid from the German market
– Montezuma or Godiva chocolate
– the Lonely Planet ‘Experimental Travel’ book
– a stainless steel frothing pitcher and thermometer
– a candy thermometer
– a super-ergonomic chef knife, with a more bow-shaped hilt
– anything by Bjork post Vespertine
– ‘White Christmas,’ ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and ‘Charlie brown Xmas’ on DVD. What. Shut up. (wait, I bought White Christmas for myself)
– led kinetic wheel, AWSUM! (ditto..what, it was £1.99 at Camera Obscura!)
– the dyson handheld
– countertop dishwasher *sigh* i admit that the ebay one was a fiasco. now buy me a new one for being properly contrite
– Armani ‘Diamonds’ set
– Body Shop Vanilla Spice stuff
– Estee lauder xmas set of 6 lip glosses
– Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure book
– ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking’ and ‘How to Eat’ by Nigella Lawson
– Moosewood Cookbooks I don’t have
– Howard Zinn histories
– a good jigsaw. not a puzzle.
– zmag, new consumer, or harpers subscription
– Bob Dylan Live 1975: the Rolling Thunder Revue CD
– framed, mounted, whatever print of the above
– ‘Happiness is a Sad Song’ by Charles M. Shulz
– a big, gorgeous dictionary, perhaps even a stand for it
– a clarsach, with semi-tone levers *pokes*
– a Wii (pipe dream, given the current demand situation)
– a DS
– Zelda: Link to the Past for GBA
– big, gorgeous houseplants
– florist pussy willows or *really* good fakes
– Futurama and simpsons on dvd
– ‘I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence’ by Amy Sedaris
– fair trade shop decor items, particularly wall hangings
– interesting textiles
– several skeins at least of debbie bliss astrakhan, noro anything, rowan big wool or scottish tweed, or anything else that looks interesting. big gauge wool is nice as I have waning energy for knitting and that’s a pity. stop laughing, james.
– a filter coffee maker with a timer and an insulated caraffe or heat plate. i don’t care what you say, i want one.
– a photo printer
– a color printer
– wireless headphones
– quilting fabric (fat quarter or otherwise): retro/vintage christmas fabric, flannel checks and plaids, batiks, etc.
– head/neck scarves
– kilt/scarf pins, brooches
– a kitten…ok not really (yes really..keeps me from wanting a baby)
– i wanna go to disneyworld.
– i want to be genuinely warm in an outside location for several hours.

Isn’t daydreaming fun?

Oh teh noes

November 21, 2007

Lolanimal + environmental statement = teh win

Leave me alone, I need extra squee. James has started his new job, and I have the usual paranoia that he won’t be happy, that it will uproot our lives, that when he’s out even further in the big, interesting world he’ll forget his stumpy little wife at home… OK I know it’s pathetic. Shove off.

I performed a small experiment on Joseph last night. He’s always wanting to stay up late, so I finally let him. We stayed up until 5 in the morning. He’s pretty useless at the moment, hehe. I’m hoping that will make an impression, instead of, you know, making him that much more likely to be a night owl. I’m not sure he stands a chance though. He and I are too much like my dad. Jos and I were talking slightly resentfully last night about Nyssa, and how she has such a brilliant body clock that will interrupt whatever she’s doing and she’ll happily trot off to bed and just as happily roll out of it again in the morning. Aunt M doesn’t need to have kids, the world already has a mini-her. 😉

Is it possible for an animal to be an asshole? I think our ‘kitten’ qualifies. I fed the cats last night, and he desperately thunders into the kitchen as usual. Instead of eating at his bowl, he does his flop and tummy roll maneuver in front of Mitu’s bowl, boofing it with his head so Mitu can’t eat. Mitu finally shoots him a dirty look and switches bowls. Mittens, lazy arsehole, doesn’t even get off his tummy and sort of worms his head over the edge of the bowl to start eating. Evidentally it’s not good enough, because he gets up, walks over to Mitu and bodychecks him out of the way so he can eat from that bowl. What a pill. I guess there is some improvement to his behavior this year though. So far he’s only eaten 2 rolls of wrapping paper. There’s also a paper chain we’re working on that should be within tantalizing reach and he’s not so much as touched it. He makes me nervous.

Old Age Cometh

November 13, 2007

1. I just adjusted the font on my blog to 9pt instead of 8pt, because the latter made me all squinty. I have enough lines around my eyes, kthx. 😛

2. I’m sitting here muttering to myself that a pound cake didn’t turn out as I would have liked, which means that I wasted four organic eggs and 250g of organic butter. Of course that 250g of butter just may have something to do with the greasy mess that was the pound cake. About half an hour ago I had a slice of it, toasted, and my plate is now dotted with congealed yellow globs of fat. I’m sure I’ve brought forward my impending heart attack by six months or so. Anyway, since when was I such a pantry miser? I don’t think it all is due to my decision to buy as much organic as possible.

3. Putting on jammies that make me look lumpy and sitting in front of the fire with a cat sounds infinitely more appealing than dolling up in heels and fishnets and pretending that I’m a sexual person. As I’m not 30 yet, I’m pretty sure I should find that depressing.

4. I’m reading about the US credit crunch/exchange rates/markets with much more interest than I ever would have. That is to say I actually read them and don’t skip straight to the stories about cats chasing bears up trees.

5. I have longer and more involved conversations with my cats than I do with my peers.

6. I appreciate the merits of a cereal with some fiber and only buy cinnamon toast crunch once a year or so when I’m feeling absolutely devilish.

7. I fret about the state of my back more than my weight.

8. In Marks and Spencer, when browsing for trousers, I wandered into the old lady section and didn’t immediately recognize the fact. In fact it look my noticing on a pair I was considering that the entire back half of the waistband was elastic to make me sharply raise my head and note my whereabouts.

9. Thick, wooly tights are taking up the drawer space where I used to keep Victoria’s Secret garter belts and thigh-highs.

10. Not since pregnancy have naps beckoned so seductively and so frequently.

Speaking of which..think I’ll find another sweater to throw on and wander over to the sofa.


November 8, 2007

There are more US colleges in the world top 10 than UK colleges. I flaunt this being the trailer trash wife of an Oxford-bred boy who enjoys mocking the US school system. To be fair, what would be more useful would be knowing how the average colleges compare, or for that matter the average secondary schools. I’m sure the statistics are out there to be googled but I’m too tired.

Why am I too tired? First, a week+ of insomnia with bonus 8:20 am doctor appointment for Nyssa. We haven’t figured out yet what’s going on, but she’s being referred to a pediatrician at the hospital. Hmm… Oh, Nyssa was good enough to point out that I was ‘very angry’ with her for needing the bathroom once in TK Maxx. I felt a right monster. Fair enough to feel that at home, it’s a mom’s job really, but you’ve got to have perspective when chatting to the doctor. Unless she wants him to call child protection services. 😛 It’s funny though how assessment of parents’ behavior has changed in one generation. When my parents were angry there was absolutely no mistaking it, and most kids my age will know why. I guess we have to be more subtle in our dealings nowadays, so god forbid you’re having an off day and your tone of voice changes substantially. I was watching a program late last night (I say I was was on while I was semi-comatose) and I remember someone academic saying that the major social shift in family life has been that towards emphasis on kids’ happiness being the barometer of all being well in the home. We are sort of ridiculously child-centered. Is it ridiculous? Sometimes, particularly at birthdays and Christmas, I really wonder.

Amazing thing..

November 8, 2007 much time I spend on the internets and still manage to not post pictures. Ah well. They’re sitting on my desktop anyway, queued nicely.

So. Nyssa has been having some strange and even more bizarrely predictable nighttime behavior. First, she’s been needing the bathroom *a lot* recently (we’re waiting for lab tests regarding that, actually), so she gets up once after bedtime to use the bathroom, won’t go into it. She eventually ends up in bed and a bit later will start to scream. I’ll run in to see what the matter is. She’ll invariably be sitting up, but will have stopped yelling. She’ll say strange things though. Last night it was, ‘Terrible, terrible, terrible! Pancakes!’ I lay her down and she conks right out. In the wee hours of the morning, she comes out for the bathroom again and then comes and flops on me. It’s hard for me to tell her to go to bed, because we have some weird and wonderful conversations in this late me and her time. Sort of reminds me of my dad coming home from his gigs. I’ll never forget that image actually. The crappy green carpet, Dad’s grey and black coat and beat-up cowboy hat, the smell of cigarettes and a bit of alcohol, and the hushed and husky voice of someone’s who’s been up into the wee hours of the morning. Ah. Anyway. Nyssa is mellow and slower in speech late at night. In fact one night she woke up because she was all wet. I found her in the bathroom with copious amounts of blood pouring off her face. I was shocked by the blood, but more so because of how composed she was. She commented in an offhand sort of way that she was concerned about getting her bedding stained. Bemusing little girl.

I’ve found a brilliant item to have when waiting at a train station longer than I intended. The kids were at a birthday party and got wee bottles of bubbles as favors. Apart from when they were being told off for venturing too close to the platform when chasing the bubbles, it was excellent.

People who don’t know James very well will probably be shocked to know that he is, in our vernacular, full of squee. That is, he gets all hello kitty cute at times. It’s true! You just have to involve cats somehow. For instance he is a very proud and doting father to his naughty kitten (hugantic, as Joseph says, 2-year-old cat) Mittens. He even has a painfully adorable song, the lyrics to which go: “Fishie time is here! Come and celebrate!” The singing of this is then followed by James going off into the hall with Mittens’ fish-on-a-stick toy with Mittens happily trotting along behind. The cat really is James’. He’s learned to fetch–on his own terms, but I can’t for the life of me train him to stay off the kitchen table. And he doesn’t just daintily hop up to sit, oh no. He jumps up, stomp-stomp-stomps about, knocks all the spare change and other kitty annoyances onto the floor, then nestles down in a bag of recycling. To top this off, when I come in and chide him, he looks at me like ‘what’ and somehow plants his huge rear end down to make extracting him as awkward as possible.

I finally got my invite to ravelry, woot. Sort of a myspace for yarn floozies. Check ‘er out here.

Nyssa was looking at the news and wants to warn you about this: apparently Gap hasn’t cleaned up its act.

Speaking of the Gap and its affiliate companies, I found Joseph an excellent coat in a charity shop yesterday. It’s reversible, red (awesome for Joseph), down-filled, and from the Old Navy. You find the odd and end American items second-hand here, it’s sorta funny. I have a strappy top from Banana Republic that I found in the Oxfam shop. Anyway, I paid a whole £1.25 for the coat. That’s $2.50, y’all. Yesss.

Hehe, I might have mentioned how huge of fans the kids are of High School Musical. It’s sick how the kids in this country love it. Nyss and Jos were even eyeing matching sequined tops with the HSM motif the other day. At some point I would have told the kids that someone had found a naked picture of Vanessa Anne Hudgens and put it on the internet. Femi-nazi Nyssa was appalled. Joseph said, ‘I wanna see it!!’ Nyssa was shocked, and chided him as he is her fan. He told her, ‘yeah, and if I see it I’ll be an even bigger fan!’ So so so wrong, but I could have died laughing.

Nyssa had a wee moment in the spotlight last week. We went to a schools showing of Meet the Robinsons and Nyssa was picked to radio the dude in the booth to start the film. She did a super cute job, but was a bit embarrassed about it because she was in her Halloween costume, being a home-schooled kid and having no dress code, and none of the other hundreds of kids aside from Joseph were. This year she was a little devil, and as is typical for Nyssa, the main features of her costume, i.e. horns and pitchfork, had become bothersome early in the day and were in my bag and her hair which had been spray-painted red wasn’t noticeable in the subdued light of the cinema. Nyssa needs her complexes I guess. That reminds me–for the love of wash’n’wear, do not buy the spray hair color from Boots. After drying it stained her clothes. It stained her scalp (a week later it’s still red). It stained the tub, it stained her jammies, it ruined her jacket because even after the hottest wash (or three) and the most caustic soap, the color wouldn’t completely come out.

And smoothly segueing yet again, Joseph was in the tub the other night and calls for me, sounding fairly urgent, to come to him. I find him with his hair all lathered up and a goofy grin on his face. ‘Mom look!’ he says then leans his head back sensually and running his fingers through his hair says, ‘yes yes, ohhh yes!’ I quirk an eyebrow. ‘I’m like the herbal essences commercial, get it?! Ahahahaha!’

One thing I like about homeschooling is that it halted the self-consciousness that was starting to impede their personalities. They were born whimsical, surreal creatures and I like that. Yesterday we were in Tesco, and I asked them to step aside to the seats by the window to wait for me to pay for the groceries. By the time I turned to look at them Nyssa was engrossed in a reflection of herself in the window doing a crazy hula dance. Joseph was trying to get out of an invisible box. When I walked to get them so we could leave, Joseph wordlessly opens a ‘door’ , gets into his ‘car’, motions for Nyssa and me to get in, and ‘drove’ us home. He’s an excellent chauffeur really. 🙂 And apparently he considers miming to be on his list of occupations for serious consideration. That would be very excellent.

Oh oh oh, we actually got an NHS dentist for the kids. Woww. James and I can’t get one of course, but the dude’s private rates aren’t too extortionate. This is considered better than average provision over here. Eh.

Guy Fawkes night was Monday, which as you might know is Britain’s bonfire/fireworks night. Wikipedia it if you’re interested. We were going to go to Burntisland, and indeed were on the way with our picnic dinner, when Nyssa was just feeling too unwell to be far from a bathroom, poor bean. So, we walked down a couple blocks to the waterfront in our own town and had no trouble finding a place to sit as the place was fairly deserted. It wasn’t actually bad for firework-spotting because even though they don’t have the sense to have anyone out on the forth shooting them off from a boat, lots of random folk were having their own little shows in the area. James confirmed for me a growing suspicion–you know those fireworks that back home in the States we can only get on the reservation? Yeah, apparently you can get them at the local supermarket here. Maybe they figure, ‘eh, it’s going to rain soon enough anyway.’?? So, we ate our picnic on an empty promenade, strained to see stars through the clouds, saw a few decent fireworks, and went home when we were too frozen to remain outside any longer. Then James made a fire and we played games. Pretty dorky, but for us it was a family night out on a week night. Wow! 🙂