Posts Tagged ‘homemaking’

*horror movie scream*

October 23, 2008

Something I’ve never quite gotten over is the whole household cleanliness honesty thing, particularly where in-laws are concerned. I always envisioned myself becoming, certainly by my late 20s, someone who would have the household rhythm down and everyone more or less clean all the time. It eludes me still, but rather than just accept it, I have quasi-panic attacks just before visitors come. OK, admittedly not all visitors, and this all depends on how well I’m feeling (which affects my ‘give-a-sh*t’ levels to a high degree), but generally I try to nurture the fantasy that I’m not a complete slob. So in the interest of evolving honesty, I post the following–the photo of my laundry closet after I gutted the house of all the dirty laundry I’d managed to pretend didn’t exist..


Nooooooooooo…..

It seems though that I might have a good out for being a bit immature about the housework. A neighbor came from across the street the other day to introduce herself. She greeted me, sort of looked me up and down, and asked, very nicely I should add, if my mom was home. Good god. I sort of feebly replied that I was indeed the lady of the house, tada. Granted, it probably didn’t help that I was wearing camo pants, pig tails, and bright lipstick, but come on. I’m 30 years old.

Certainly old enough to vote–which I did!

I find it fairly charming that they must assume that everyone, from the sorority girl to the old farmer, is going to be keen on getting a sticker. I put that in the mail the other day, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t get home in time. I’m a good citizen, w00t.

Speaking of good citizens, here’s a very good little world citizen, learning about her planet. She loooooves her geography. She cuddles her geography. I suppose that’s one benefit of homeschooling–you can engage with your material in any number of strange ways and there are only a few people who will give you wierd looks for it.

Another demonstration of good citizenship–here are the kids walking back from doing the recycling. I like the ‘No Golf’ sign just on the other side of our wall.

Being a good citizen also involves reusing. What the hell am I doing to this guitar with knitting needles, you ask? This is yet another example of my awesome McGyvering skills. I was reading about lap steel guitars, and decided I need to play around with one. The only reasonable course of action at that point was to take this crappy £5 guitar we got at a knick-knack shop, put a wooden needle under the strings to raise them, tune it, then use an aluminum addi knitting needle as the bar. Do you know what, it worked just fine. The guitar being incapable of holding its tune for more than 2 minutes is what did it in, not my elite instrument building skills. Hehe.

To be a good citizen, one must also support small business. To that end, I just bought some more knitting needles. These are beastly *15mm* addi circulars. Yeah, woah. You know, they’d make mighty fine steel guitar bars…

As a responsible citizen, I also support the arts. Would you take a look at this?

This is a typical example of James’ doodling. That’s right–his doooodling. I finally convinced him to stop doing them on envelopes and I ordered him some proper paper. I don’t think I’m merely husband-proud in saying that he is quite talented. He has an extraordinary sense for forms and lines, and he’s doing all of these with a set of Sharpies. He refuses to let me buy him proper artist markers, and I think that’s a pity. Could be that I use the holidays as an excuse to get around the ban.. In any case, I’ve told him that what I want for Christmas is a huge one in a frame.

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Oatso funny

March 29, 2008

Nyssa’s sense of humor is coming along nicely. To backtrack a little, a couple weeks ago I got sick of the kids continually getting cheerios all over the floor and threatened them with a week of oatmeal if it persisted. They must not have taken me seriously (they should know better by now I would think) because, sure enough, cheerios everywhere. So I enacted the sentence and to add insult to injury made them eat the baby porridge that you have to reconstitute. Sounds sadistic? I blame my dad and the Fishstick Punishment of ’93. Anyway, yesterday I took Nyssa to McDonalds to reward her for coming to the vet with me. Yeah, I know, but it’s the only place on the high street that does proper (well..) milkshakes, and she was yearning for one. Here we are also subjected to McDonalds Monopoly, and she got a sticker to peel on her cup. She was an instant winner–of a free bowl of Oatso Simple Porridge. Apparently British people consider that a prize and not, you know, an act of cruelty. Nyssa got the brilliant idea of taking it home, acting all excited and going on and on about winning a wonderful prize but wanting to give it to her beloved brother. The deflated look on his face upon reading his ‘prize’ was excellent.

Another Nyssa food-related funny–she came running to me the other day after a dinner of pasta and vegetarian ‘scampi’ exclaiming, ‘Mum I LOVE the pasta and scabs you made for dinner!’

Oh oh, I passed my car theory test, w00t. 🙂 Now to get my eyes checked, new glasses, and start properly driving.

So, I’ve declared this a house-cleaning weekend, but so far all we’ve managed is one run to Argos and now James and the kids are playing Xbox 360 while eating Ikea snacks, and I’m nursing a headache and thinking I’ll need a nap before anything more strenuous.

Amazing thing..

November 8, 2007

..how 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! 🙂

Racist baby shampoo?

October 18, 2007

I bought some J&J baby shampoo the other day and chose the chamomile one because it smelled decent. Later in the bathroom, I read the bottle (doesn’t everyone read bottles when bored? no?). It said that it contains chamomile extract, duh, but then went on to say that it ‘keeps the light color of your baby’s hair.’ What the holy hell? Am I overreacting in finding this more than a smidge offensive? On several levels? Sheesh.

Nyssa pulled a prank on James today and I’m ever so proud. While Joseph was learning to knit earlier, she got her own ball of yarn and proceeded to make ‘knot art.’ She ended up with a dangly ball on a string and we tested it on Mitu. Now Mitu is a mysterious cat, in that he always has the most gorgeous smelling fur, but has the funkiest breath EVAR. A couple nips on Nyssa’s yarn thing and it was smelling really nasty. That’s when I had the idea to have Nyssa go run into James’ room and tell him she made a lovely perfumed ball and ask him to smell it. She runs in there, giggling so much she can hardly be understood, but still manages to convince James to take a good sniff. HAHAHAHAHA. FUNK’D! 😀

Oh speaking of Joseph learning to knit, he managed to learn to do so much more quickly than I did. Do I feel pride in him or shame in myself? I’m conflicted.

I hurt my back fairly badly a couple weeks ago, not sure how. My dear seester gave me advice via email and I’m much better. Not only is she a treasure trove of dietary/exercise/health info herself, but she works at a hospital and has colleagues with a whole lot of skillsets she can tap. I wish I could be so useful. She’s learning to knit too, and is good enough to ask me questions so I can feel helpful :).

I established a couple house rules this week. The first is that we only do dessert on Sunday. After 10 years of my weight fluctuating by about 30 pounds, I’ve finally decided that I’m happier at the ‘heavy’ side of 135. It helps with the post-pregnancy deflated body parts. Most girls will know what I’m talking about. Most boys have probably stopped reading by this point, so no worries. ;). Anyway, after I had been fairly immobile for a week or more when I hurt my back, I stepped on the scales and let out an audible ‘woooah.’ Much more discipline needed. I refuse to be enslaved by the Scottish fatty/sugary food addiction, even if it is the loveliest, wonderfullest addiction going…

Right, so the next rule also has to do with my back in a roundabout sort of way. Though my back is mostly better, certain movements really aggravate it. One of those is standing up and having to do things with outstretched arms. Dishes, of course, is one of these. I’m not making this up just to get out of a despised chore (I would have thought of it a long time ago if I were that sort of person)! I think it’s because I’m short, but yeah. The new associated rule is that everyone has to wash any dish that they themselves dirty. So simple! The cooking dishes are really never the problem, it’s the 2 billion cups and plates that accumulate. I’ve tried reducing the stock of dishes in the kitchen a few times, to no avail. They breed when you shut the cupboard doors, seriously. No, that’s a lie, they actually breed in the sink because god forbid I should open a cupboard door to find extra clean dishes when I want them. So yeah, we’ll see how these new rules play out.

I am really happy

November 4, 2006

I found a big bag of Reeses Pieces at the back of the cupboard. Mines.

So..had a wierd night of nausea and confused state of mind. Did some shopping today, and it was totally mad. Every place was packed and I’m sure the new Debenhams was breaking fire code. I went out with just Nyssa as we were picking up a couple pressies for Joseph. I really like going places with the kids singly. We bought her some nice hand cream because she’s started getting her insane winter chapped hands already. Fireworks are exploding all around in preparation for Guy Fawkes. I get the feeling that laws are a lot more lenient regarding the fireworks that can actually become airborne..

Joseph has interesting skills. In the department store yesterday he found precisely the right bra for me amongst the dozens of styles–‘it’s pink, it’s got a lacy back, and it’s padded.’ He’s very sweet too. We had a homeschooling outing and Nyssa was complaining about some playpark drama (I think I’ve mentioned before that she frequently finds herself the sub to the other girls’ doms). Joseph said, ‘Now Nyssa, if people are bothering you, you just come to me and I’ll sort it out because I’m a tough boy.’ Then he pauses from putting his shoes on, looks at me and asks, ‘Lannita, can you tie my shoe please?’ Hehe.

It’s been a busy week and we didn’t even make it to everything we were supposed to. Highlights include our first trip to Dundee and a (free!) film. The next day we went to St. Andrews for homeschooling friend A’s birthday. She wanted a tea party, and it was very sweet. Nyssa proved to be a bit too adept at party games and I learned, sorta, the trick of manning the music at Pass the Parcel. That is, stop the music such that there are maximum kids getting turns to unwrap and minimal whining. We went to the park for a time and the kids had a great time while we grownups moaned about the cold. It’s suddenly become very cold here. Last night I found some chunky yarn and knitted myself up a gaiter/scarf/hat thingie.

We got the chimney swept and tried out the fire last night. Today I bought a little rug to put in front of the hearth. I’m going to experiment with scenty things to put in the fire. I’m going to start baking spicy pies and things and once we can find some aromatic tree cuttings to put about the house, things will be nicely winter-fied. Ahh…

Avoiding chores..

October 12, 2006

I really should be housecleaning at the moment. I don’t want my house to be a total sty when my mom shows up. Then again, it’s not like I’d be fooling her if I had an immaculate house.

Nyssa came out of her room this morning and said she wanted to stay home. She’s so in tune with her body barometer that I’m inclined to be guided by her, particularly since she really wanted to go to Edinburgh for the activity as of last night. Those who read my last entry will know that I wasn’t terribly heart-broken to have a day at home. James was sick again, I was not well but was obliged to go about my various tasks anyway, eck. Joseph was fine but spent all day in his jammies, pill. Even when Nyssa is unwell, she goes to the trouble of dressing. She certainly didn’t get that from me. I’m 28 and still have to make a conscious effort to not just fall in bed with my day clothes on.

On a whim I checked my landline messages today, and discovered that Nyssa too has been offered a place in gymnastics. This is good, I suppose, though each session requires a good 3 miles of walking. My lazy backside should appreciate the obligation.

I wish my dishwasher was working.. Anyway, back to it.

Ow, my eyes..

October 11, 2006

Jamie woke up sick today. I woke up with weepy lefteye, which if you’re not familiar with my person means that I’m about to get sick. Ugh.

What doesn’t help is this new monitor. My laptop power supply died, so Jamies set me up the PC. It’s got a 19″ monitor and it hurrrts my eyes. So much screen! And this keyboard nonsense is killing my wrists. I need to knit a wrist cozy. Mmm…kitschy.

The kids went to the Bel Canto choir last night for the first time. They had a fabulous time. After the holidays, Joseph will be able to start gymnastics. I hope he appreciates it, as we have to trek out to one of the high schools for it. It’s on a Thursday, so it’s just as well that I decided to not continue with choir myself. I have learned of 2 opera groups near to where I live though, so in March I might look into whichever has the most appealing show in the works. Nyssa is still adoring highland dance. I honestly don’t know how kids who are in fulltime public schooling can have the energy to tackle all these activities..

After three hit and misses with the delivery guy, we finally got our Denby mugs. James and I loved our old mugs, but alas, they were just too cracked and we were down to just a few, and damn it if Tabletops Unlimited didn’t discontinue that particular shape. So, after much searching, we finally settled on Denby coffee beakers. We got them all in different colors to align with what I call our ‘Studied Eclectica’ decorating style. They are gorgeous, here’s an example. Only, we got them for 50% off, rawk.

This and that..

October 8, 2006

I just got done buying a girl guide shirt off ebay. Why, you might ask, as my daughter is not in guides? Well, on freecycle, I told a lady I had a shirt I would be happy to send her. However, upon inspecting it, I noticed some dark spots, presumably mildew. I tried to bleach them out with a tiny paintbrush, but as you might imagine, I only made matters worse. I felt bad, so I found one on ebay and so the lady won’t feel awkward about my having bought her a shirt, I’m going to have it sent to me and then send it on to her. Yes, I’m a sap.

Joseph is developing nicely into a sadistic brother. Nyssa comes in almost crying apologetically that she sucked her candy too hard and it went down her throat. After chiding her (choking is my key paranoia, you see), I explained that if it had gone down her lungs, she’d know it because she’d be coughing. She ran into her room and told Joseph how lucky she was because her candy went into her tummy and not her lungs, etc. Then she cleared her throat as she’s apt to do. Joseph says simply, but pointedly, ‘you’re coughing.’

The kids are debating about what sort of cake they want for their joint party this month. Joseph wants Bionicle and Nyssa wants Hello Kitty. Fair enough, but just for kicks, I told them to chat to see what they could come up with. They suggested a being with half a Bionicle face and half a Hello Kitty face. *sigh* I wish I had a costco membership, I’d get a big white sheet cake and let them have at it themselves with tubes of icing and sprinkles. For some reason, every cake here has the stupid inedible fondant crap on it. At one point, I told the kids, ‘hey, I could get you that cake from Tesco that’s in the shape of huge breasts!’ They thought that was an appalling idea. Hehe.

We’re doing an overhaul of their room because we never really organized it after we switched rooms around. My method is to totally clear out anything that doesn’t belong and put all of that stuff in a pile. A huge pile. They’ll chip away at that for several days, I think. If they do a good job, I might even bring some of their spare toys down from the attic. My biggest annoyance in this endeavor is Nyssa’s insistence on asking me a dozen times to reaffirm what exactly I’ve asked her to do. As though I could quantify mess and the time is takes to be rid of it. Not all teachable moments are pleasant ;).

I finished ripping yarn from those two charity shop sweaters and knitted up the back of this jacket. I altered the pattern to make it waist length, due to the amount of yarn I have. I’m not actually convinced I’ll have enough for sleeves, so I’m thinking perhaps a sleeveless jacket, or I can buy the remaining yarn in something complementary and do the ties and sleeves in that..i really should have posted this to my knitting blog, but eh, I’m lazy.

I’ve been thinking about what kids should be exposed to a which ages. I wonder how much of how parents choose is based not so much on a child’s readiness, but on the parent just not having the energy to explain it. South Park is a good example. I’d never let my kids watch that at this age. It’s not because I think it’s objectionable, it’s that I’d have to sit and explain things so much that watching it for the purpose of being entertained would be pointless. That, and I think they need a few more years of work on their ability to translate satire. Same thing when we go to the drugstore and I buy something from *that* aisle, and they query me on it. I tell them I’d be happy to tell them, but would they please ask when we get home, feeling sort of guilty because I know they’ll just forget about it. Then again, if it was vital knowlege for the little creatures, surely they’d remember. God, it was all so much easier when they couldn’t talk.

Traditional fun

September 16, 2006

The kids have been on my case about it, so today I finally taught them a game that uses those seemingly useless jokers in the card deck. And what did we play? Well, Old Maid of course! I explained that this was the game we played with Grandma Hazel and that it should be full of good-natured heckling. Nyssa looked worried. Anyway, the kids quickly learned how fun it is, particularly Joseph who took a little bit too much pleasure in tricking his neighbor. Nyssa thought it was great but had trouble being subtle. When she passed on the joker, she would laugh exhultantly, then think better of it and say, ‘I mean, nothing!’ She was also concerned about calling someone an ‘Old Maid’ being hurtful and suggested ‘happy apple’ or somesuch instead. I said, ‘Nay! If no one is permanently scarred, then all’s fair. It’s tradition!’

In other news, James didn’t get send to Bermuda after all. I think it was a bit too last minute, so I fully expect him to be sent out in the near future. As you could probably guess, that’s all fine with me, as it means he can do those outings with the kids.

I was an excellent fixer person this weekend. I installed a new vent on the dryer, and McGyvered a new deflector for the inside of the dustbuster out of craft foam. I also fixed the toilet seat as best as I could, but that POS is just going to need replacing here pretty soon. To achieve cosmic balance, I’ve been really crap at knitting. I’m working on a simple lace scarf in a user friendly yarn, and I keep having to rip it out as I don’t have the presence of mind to keep my stitches straight.

So, onto going through pictures, which I intend to post very soon. I should definitely have some interesting pictures by the end of next week, and I don’t want to get backlogged.