BlogHer Reviewer

MeKate's got a new Etsy store. Gorgeous paintings!

A dear friend is selling ADORABLE handknit baby clothes. If you're in the market, have a look!

free counters

New Thing

Anyone who is interested in following “the artist previously known as Sprogblogger’s” new blog–you can find me at www (dot) susanjett (dot) com

(waves hello! yeah, that’s me!)

Hen will still make ‘cameo’ appearances on that blog, but there will be no further photos of him–the cat, dog, and garden will likely still be represented visually–likely more than you care about! I’ll be posting more recipes, more gardening (and chickens!) stuff, and more about the writing, weightloss/exercise, and philosophical wonderings. I lean way-liberal in real life & I might be talking political-stuff more often than I let myself do over here since it is a big part of my life, so be warned.

And to everyone who has read this blog over the years, whether or not you choose to follow the new blog–you were my salvation during the darkest time in my life. Your support–and in many cases, reading about your own ongoing journeys–helped me more than you can know, and it was a privilege to ‘know you’. I’m feeling that this is the right thing to do, but it doesn’t mean I’m not feeling nostalgic for everything this site & its readers have meant to me throughout the years.

Thank you.

Small Things 1-11-14

I have found myself reluctant to come here, for a couple of months now, and I think it’s likely that I need to change my blog somewhat.  To focus much more on boring-old-me and much less on adorable Hen.

You see, he’s of an age where privacy is getting more and more important to him.  And while I’ve always tried to be respectful of his physical person–I don’t, for example, post (or really take) unclothed photos of him–& while I would never try to embarrass him, I have to be aware that some of the things I detail about his day-to-day life might be too personal for a boy whose 12-year-old-obnoxious friends will someday be able to hunt this down on the never-dying internet.

And while up to this point, I’ve felt just fine about talking about him in MY life, as his presence relates to MINE, (and because, seriously, if a kid of mine gets his nose out of joint as a teenager because poop was mentioned in a post I wrote when he was three months old, well, he’s going to have WAY BIGGER problems than the embarrassment of knowing that anyone who reads it knows now that he’s merely human!) but these days I’m feeling less comfortable in general with putting him out there when he’s not really able to consent or understand.

And, granted, this blog is probably reaching about 4 people outside of family these days.  Happy, healthy child-rearing doesn’t even come close to the compelling reading that life-draining TTC stories make!  But there it is.  I’m feeling more and more like they’re not really my stories to share anymore.  That since my child is old enough to ask for privacy in the bathroom, and even sometimes when he’s playing alone, that now that he has interests & friendships I am not a part of, that perhaps telling the world about the intimacies of his life at home is just not entirely ok anymore.

Which means I can shut the blog down entirely which I’m oddly loathe to do.  This space saved me in more than one way.  I can honestly say that the community I found here made me much easier with the non-conventional story of Hen’s beginnings, and I am-and-will-always-be deeply, intensely grateful for that.

I might move this away from this being so devotedly a Sprog-Blog though, and towards more of a Mom/Wife/Writer/Gardener/Cook/Craftsperson blog, which, honestly, I’m pretty sure the world has enough of.  Or I can try to specialize a bit more. (Either that or generalize a bit more.)  Do I go more for passing along relevant articles written by others, mostly, that speak to me; or do I try to craft beautiful, thoughtful essays about trying to craft a beautiful, thoughtful life?  I’m not really sure what makes the most sense right now in my life.

I guess I’m really not sure what function this blog serves–except as a way to update important people in our lives on Henry’s day-to-day life.  And, as detailed above, I’m getting less comfy doing that on a public forum.

And making it be more about me might be challenging–and way less compelling.  Because really, my life is happily, contentedly dull on the surface.  Incredibly rewarding for me, but dull nevertheless.  I cook, I clean, I child-mind, I write, I garden, I cook, I clean, I child-mind, I write, I garden…  And the deep need I had for this space when my life was shit simply doesn’t exist anymore.

But I can’t seem to bear the thought of closing it down entirely.  So.

If I change blogs, you all will of course be welcome to read all about the exciting life of a SAHWriterMom, with an emphasis on the ‘mom’.  Henry’ll show up, but it will be general rather than specific, and the photos–always sparse–will become pretty non-existent.  I’ll talk more about meal planning, gardening, preserving, trying to bring us more in touch with local, homegrown food. I’ll talk about gardening until you’re ready to scream.  I’ll probably talk more about crafts, and about trying to find a new exercise regime since toddler-chasing just isn’t cutting it anymore.

I’m certainly going to be taking a bit of time off to think about what I want to change about this space–and I’d love to hear from you all.  How you’ve managed similar transitions in your blogging life, how others you’ve read have handled them, and most importantly what you think–in a general way, of course!–of the issue of children’s privacy as chipped away at by their too-loving parents…

Small Things 12-1-13

1.  Dinner seems to be the time Henry chooses to talk about the scary things.  Blindsided me tonight with insta-tears while asking more questions on death out of the blue.  Sounds like he came to grips with the ‘mommy will die someday, but not anytime soon,’ and he seemed to be ok with the idea that daddy was in that category of someday-but-not-soon, too.  But then he wanted to verify, “But little boys never ever die, right, mommy?”

Oh, too-perceptive child, please let go of this for a few more years!

I did my best, promising him that while everyone eventually dies, almost all little boys don’t die for a long long long long long long long long long time, and reminded him that both his granddaddies are still alive, and can he imagine how far away it will be when he’s older than his grandparents?  (He couldn’t.)  And then I made crazy cross-eyed faces at him and pretended to steal all of his brussels sprouts.


Parenting.  Is.  Hard.

2.  But then sometimes, you get it right.  My 3-year-old is officially able to pull up his own damned undies and pants after peeing.  Wahoooooooo!!!!!!  We were almost there before The Elbow, but I was beginning to despair of ever getting back to a place where I wasn’t the One in Charge of pants-down/pants-up.  Life is good.

3.  Also?  The serious praise he’s gotten for taking this step toward big-boyhood is renewing his interest in pooping-on-a-potty.  Life might be about to get VERY good.

4.  Hen burned himself on the woodstove today–as good a burn as I could hope for(?)  As in, he’s KNOWN for a long time that stoves are hot, but I’m not sure he’s ever really understood just why mom & dad are so crazy about him + stove.  But he burned his fingertip this morning, enough to blister, but not enough to slow him down from pain.  And I’m sort of pleased.  Better this than a big burn, obviously, and I’m hoping it was enough of a lesson to make him respect The Stove a bit more.  Sigh.

5.  Whiskey + store-bought eggnog.  I’m not a hard liquor person.  Wine is my vice-of-choice, and I rarely indulge in more than a glass.  But every year when the grocery store starts selling that sicky-sweet eggnog stuff, I start dreaming of Real Eggnog.  Too lazy to make the real thing, I simply add enough whiskey to down a horse to my glass of sicky-sweet and sip it through the night in a haze of sugar and alcohol.  I figure I have two more nights of indulgence left in my quart-o-sweet.  Mmmmmm.   Eggnog.



Small Things 11-10-13

1.  I’m pretty sure that the comparison of cats to human sociopaths is one that has been made before.  So I won’t belabor the point.

Well, yeah I will.  After 48 hours of sporadically putting the cat into a locked dining room with a wounded chipmunk (my least favorite rodents, by the by) in a sort of cage match to the death, she was still no closer to actually ending that poor wounded thing than she was 2 days ago.

(And in all fairness to the human, non-sociopaths (I promise!) who live here, the rodent was in a vent for most of that time, couldn’t be located/retrieved.  It’s not like we were just cheering on messy rodenticide and selling popcorn.)

When it got to the point that the chipmunk crawled out of the vent, went nose-to-nose with the intrigued but not murderous cat, like it was saying, “come on, you bastard, just end it already”, we had enough and The Valiant Boy (nevermore to be known as effete easterner/city Boy) donned heavy gloves & went in to grab the chipmunk to throw his sorry little rodent butt outside.

Where he still might die, but honestly, it was just too much for me to witness.

And just now?  Not 2 hours after the end of the chipmunk saga? The cat just brought a paraplegic mouse to me.  Seriously?  Just kill it, Mattie.  It’s the size of your paw.  Just smack it.  The torture has to stop.  What’s gonna happen if these mice gang up & grab you one of these days?  You think I’ll be able to get you back with all your whiskers intact?  Yeah.  I don’t think so.

2.  Battles of willpower.


Ok, both The (Valiant) Boy and I are rather, um, stubborn.  Ok, we’re extremely stubborn, and we’re ok with that.  And we figured that our kid would likely inherit a good bit of that stubbornness.  What we weren’t prepared for was the sheer stupidity of arguing with a stubborn kid who makes us look easy-to-get-along with and go-with-the-flow.

We all got into some bad habits during The Summer of the Elbow, chief among them was a return to hand feeding the kiddo.  At first it made sense because everything hurt and didn’t work and the awkwardness of sitting at a table properly, OMG!  But for a month or so now, he’s managed just fine if it’s say, a dish of ice cream or a plate of cut-up steak.  But if it’s soup, or mac & cheese, or really anything that isn’t super-duper fun to eat, he’s begging to be fed.  By hand.  My hand.

Once it became obvious he was just being lazy/enjoying the Little Emperor routine, I made him wait til I was done with my meal, figuring he’d get bored & eat.  No go.  Dinner’s tough, because it’s hardest on me if he’s awake at night with hunger, so I’ve been giving in more than I should and just shoveling some food into him at the last minute.

Well, tonight he happily ate tons of bread he dipped in his chicken stew (one of his favorite meals) and then sat back and asked to be fed the stew.  We told him it was time he fed himself, and offered a compromise–one bite from his own spoon, one from mine.  No go.  Absolutely not, no way, nuh-uh.


So I told him he could feed himself and have a piece of his Halloween candy, or I would be happy to feed him, but there would be no dessert.

The world ended.  He worked himself into the most amazing dither, because he didn’t like either option, damnit (which is what I wanted, to be honest.)  There were tears.  There was agonized self-debate.  And then he fed himself.


He is not an independent kid.  Never has been.  He’d be just as happy to have me get him dressed for the rest of his life, I think.  He’d love to spend every mealtime on my lap.  Being spoonfed.  He still falls asleep for naps on my shoulder (though he falls asleep in his bed for his daddy.)  He’s a mamma’s boy, and since he’s 3, it’s delightful, but it’s also my job to teach him to be a big boy, and that’s really hard for him since it’s nothing he really wants yet.

So we’re compromising.  Making him do it himself where it affects other people (feeding himself) but letting him ‘be a baby’ where it’s not affecting anyone else (being held at naptime.)  Adding bribery for the breathing treatments worked wonders, so we’ll probably throw in the promise of an extra garbage truck vid or two if it makes this easier.

Because right now it’s not easier.  It’s really really hard.  And for whatever reason, he’s taking this really really hard, which is difficult for me to be a part of.  But yeah, needs to happen.

3.  On kind of an unrelated note, letting him take his time with the non-critical potty training has resulted in mess-free naps for 4 days straight now.  He basically decided last week that he was done with diapers during his naps, and he’s maintained that iron bladder control he’s got through some seriously long naps this week.  Go Hen!

4.  The writing is going well.  I located some outtakes that I’ve been hunting for (sporadically) for years and I’m delighted to be able to reinsert them where I wanted them.  Also–having a personal writing computer that goes back in one form or another to the mid nineties?  Wow, is there ever a lot of junk on this computer.  Some gems, but an awful lot of junk too.  Ah well.  Remember the good old days before computers?

Yeah, that sucked.  Love my magic writing pad.

5.  It’s my birthday, and besides the scads of FB & phone calls wishing me a happy birthday–which are always awesome, I’ll admit–I got to talk to a few old friends I haven’t spoken to in decades, and that was pretty special.  Made me grateful for every twist and turn along the way, that I’ve ended up where I am, safe and mostly sound.  I’m one amazingly lucky (old) lady.

And my son greeted me when I hauled my late-sleeping self downstairs this morning with the sweetest smile and “Happy birthday, Mommy!” that I’ve ever heard.  He proceeded to ‘give’ me every one of his favorite trucks in turn, each wrapped up in (imaginary) ‘pretty paper’ and told me, “these are a surprise for you.  you can play with them with me, if you like.”

How could I resist?  Best birthday gift ever.

Plus seed catalogs started arriving–about 2 months earlier than expected (woohoo!)  Hard to dwell overmuch on growing old (old!  older than the hills) when there are seed catalogs to pore over.

So it was, in fact, a day of utter, pretty-much-perfect contentment.  A day I hope I remember for the rest of my life.  A very happy birthday indeed.


Small Things 11-4-13

1.  As promised, quilt pictures.












The colors are closer on the photo on the left, but the photo on the left shows his moon map, too!

2.  I’m really getting excited for the holidays this year.  I always like the holiday season, but this year, with a kid who’s excited about Christmas (he wants to give his dad a bundle of firewood–shh! Don’t tell!) I’m practically giddy with anticipation.

3.  My cholesterol actually went down this year, which is awesome, since I’m not in great shape at the moment & I’m genetically predisposed to high levels.  Also, I really like my doctor, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a GP I actually liked before.

4.  I’m about halfway done with xmas shopping/making, which is good, since I always think I’m getting on top of it, but I still end up scrambling at the last minute.  Still having trouble figuring out what to get for son-in-laws & almost-sons-in-law & boyfriends-in-not-quite-law, but everyone else is pretty much done.  Even the boychild.  Even The Boy.  Whew.

(Perhaps I should just make a tiny little something for everyone on our list…)

(Um, no.  Maybe not.)

5.  One scary, scary ghost for your post-Halloween nostalgia:






Trick or treat!


And the cat came back.

At 2am.

Meowing to wake the dead, desperate to be held and cuddled and fussed over (though I did sniff cat food on her breath–she ate before she came upstairs to find us!)

She lay cuddled up with us–rare for her–the whole night long.  She panicked once when my husband came back into the room from checking on Hen, and flung herself across the room before she realized it was all ok.  Then she came back, curled up, went back to sleep.

And she got up with us this morning before coming downstairs to put another huge dent in the cat food supply.  And then she went back upstairs to curl up in her little cat bed & sleep safely.

I had given her up.  I knew if she couldn’t find her way back here in 4 days, that she wouldn’t be able to do it in 5 or 6.  But she did.  Power of good thoughts?  Power of the used cat-litter stink that the rescue folks told me to scatter around the perimeter of our property?  Power of spending most of yesterday out there hollering myself back into laryngitis?

All of the above, I think.  And a lot of luck.

And now I have to go take down some missing cat notices.  And pull some ticks off her.  And call the vet & the NHSPCA.  And edit my craigslist posting.

_DSC0822(Don’t do that again, Mattie, ok?)

Small Things 10-28-13

1.  Henry’s puke-fest from last night which I attributed to some rest-stop milk that might have soured, revisited us this morning after his morning milk from our own fridge which I know was fine.  After the yech-episode he felt fine, and ate like a horse, so now I’m left wondering if it was a leftover bit of food poisoning? A sudden onset of lactose intolerance? Desperation to avoid PT that manifested itself as pukyness?

Whatever.  It’s over, it was really disgusting, and I hope it doesn’t come back tomorrow.

Oh, and while we were both standing there, dripping, me trying not to yech from the stink, Hen says in a small voice, “Mommy, I think I need to go find a book to tell us about vomit.”

Um, no, kiddo.  I actually think you have mastered this subject quite comprehensively.

Blech.  A+ little boy.  A+

2.  On a much more upsetting note, my Mattie catty is missing.  And yeah, I’ve done all the things that one does–contacted every animal agency in the state to notify, verified that the microchip place has my correct contact info, spent many many many hours wandering around calling her name, dumped used kitty litter all around the property so she can maybe sniff her way home if the wind brings her a hint of familiar pee smell.

But really, all I can do is wait and worry.  And worry.  And worry.

Damn, I hate this.  I’m still hoping she shows up, but I think no more cats for me.  This is too brutally hard, having just gotten her back to health from her car-encounter, to lose her now (again) is just too much.  My heart can’t lose critters like this anymore.

3.  Laryngitis over the weekend in Brooklyn.  Yay for not having a voice.

Not really.  I dislike laryngitis, which is a shame since it seems to hit me with alarming regularity these days.  If I get sick enough to cough, I will be effectively mute for at least one day.

I’d rather a lost voice than a fever, though, so I shouldn’t complain.

4.  After six months of playing board games with glee whether he won or lost, Hen has realized that he likes winning enough to be a bit pouty when someone else pulls way ahead & looks likely to win.  Which is sort of funny–he’s not being truly sad, but mocking it with slumped shoulders, declarations of woe: “I am SAD, Mommy.” (said in a very earnest tone of voice) and shuffling steps (for the little boy does not sit to play a board game, oh no–he’s running around, dropping in to play each turn.  Except when he’s losing.  Then he shuffles…)

I still won’t cheat for him, but I’ll confess I’m cheering internally every time I get sent back to the beginning of Candy Land or Chutes & Ladders.

5.  Hen was desperate to go grocery shopping with me this morning.  As a result of his usual whininess when it’s shopping day, I’ve taken to doing the weekly shopping while he’s at school.  But this has, apparently, made him realize how much he loves grocery shopping.  How much he longs to help me shop.  How the grocery store is the best place in the world.  Why do you want to come with me, kiddo?

“Because we’re shopping buddies, Mommy!”  What am I going to say to that? No?

To show me how serious he was about wanting to be included in the trip, he didn’t even pop out of the car cart every time I put something in the cart today–usually he’s so bored that he’s trying to ‘help’ me by wanting to be the one to put the groceries in the cart, or to examine every sort of thing we never buy there.  But today, on his best behavior, we got out of there as quick as if I were there alone, which was pretty amazing.

Be really really good, Hen, or I won’t let you come grocery shopping with me next week.


I wonder if I could convince him that bathtub scrubbing is as desirable an activity as grocery shopping.  It’s only a matter of time before I get him to pay me for the privilege of helping me paint a fence somewhere…


If you believe such things, please send good thoughts for the safe return of my kitty, eh?  It’s cold out there tonight.


Small Things 10-26-13

1.  Getting back to normal, getting used to (sort of) the nebulizer routine (Man, oh man, he hates this part of his day.  Hoping this gets much better/easier for both of us.)

And the illness induced crankiness is gone, and my sweet boy is back.  (thank goodness!)  Where the first part of the week was all growled commands (his), annoyed ‘what did you just say to me?’ demands (mine), and huffs entered into by the both of us, today was lovey kisses and smilesmilesmiles.  We had a long slow day in Brooklyn town, since I am now battling the dreaded lurgi, and my voice is nonexistent.  He thinks my whisper-voice is pretty funny, but he’s also been quite solicitous of my health.  “Perhaps you should have another sip of water, Mommy.  Water can help you not to cough, you know.”  and he was perfectly happy to spend much of the day just lying on the bed with Mom & Dad, all of us reading books or playing quietly with trucks.  We had a fun excursion with one of his sisters to Chinatown for dinner, and he came home & happily fell asleep, looking forward to tomorrow.  When he hopes to ride a subway again.  Because really, what greater joy can this life hold for a 3-year-old boy than a ride on the F-train?

He spent the wait for the train excitedly telling me why he was pretty sure the subway trains were ‘steamies’, and that I needed to stand well back from the edge and hold his hand carefully so that I would not fall onto the tracks.  That would, he assured me, be dangerous.  He was positively delighted once inside the car, getting to loudly admire everything from the very shiny poles to the beautiful orange plastic seats.

Ah.  To be so easily made happy, eh?  He was made super-happy by his subway experience and I was made super-happy by him.  Kids are awesome.

Now if I could just get my voice back, all would be well.

2.  I did venture forth from the basement during his nap to buy a NY-authorized toy garbage truck for a much-coveted Christmas gift for a certain little obsessed boy.  Anyone who’s never been here, NYC is pretty much garbage truck central.  Unlike at home, here, there are garbage trucks to be seen in the neighborhood pretty much every single day.  There’s a reason Hen thinks Brooklyn is the coolest place in the whole world and it’s not entirely because this is where his sisters live.

3.  Speaking of Brooklyn and ‘cool’, I feel really old (and uncool, obv.) when I come here to visit, because never before has hipster-fashion seemed quite so young to me.  I dunno–full beards, guys?  Really?  On every single one of you?  Don’t get me wrong–I rather like beards, and I know a couple of guys–my step-son-in-law for one–who’ve had a beard forever, and none of them fall into this category of crazy-self-conscious beard-wearing.  But honestly, in our neighborhood EVERY male between the ages of 25 & 35 is sporting a full-on beard, & it’s kind of funny–I want to walk around handing out plaid woolen jackets and non-ironic timberland boots.

But that’s probably just because I’m elderly and don’t appreciate these young kids’ fashions anymore.  Chainsaw, anyone?

4.  Hen has started offering compliments on the darnedest things.  “I like the color of your hair tie, Mommy.”  “I like those skeleton earrings, Mommy.”  “Those are very nice purple socks, Mommy.”  I honestly have no idea if he’s trying to apply lessons from a book he has called “Poindexter Makes a Friend” (in which a shy pig & a shy turtle read a book with lessons like ‘smile’, and ‘say something nice to someone’.  I hate it but he loves it) or if he’s mimicking my deliberate habit of trying to make sure he hears me saying nice things about people at least as often as he overhears me muttering something snide, or if he just really likes things these days.  Dunno, but it’s adorable.  I may not appreciate the concept of the mandatory beard, but I have fantastic taste in hair elastics, sugar-skull earrings, and wool socks, dontcha know!

5.  My grandbaby is beautiful and perfect and it’s killing me that since I don’t want to infect her with this nasty cold, I am restraining myself from covering her body with kisses.  Because really–kissable!  Cuddleable!  We got to see her on Friday & will get to see her again tomorrow before we go, and she really is just a tiny bundle of ‘darling’.  I am so lucky to have stepdaughters who are willing to include me in their lives, in their kids’ lives.

Small Things 10-22-13

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with crises and blessings both large and small.  And I’ve been lazy and haven’t posted any of it, so I’m just going to keep going til I run out of things to say…

1.  “Who farted?” Hen comes out with this at the dinner table.


We’ve been practicing pronouncing that most difficult of consonants: ‘R’, so he made sure to growl it very clearly “Who Fahhhhhhhted?”

Um, Hen?  We say ‘toot’ in this family. And it’s not ‘manners’ to talk about tooting at the dinner table.

He looked at me, completely uncomprehending, turned to his father and said, “I didn’t fahhhhht, did you fahhhht, Daddy?  Maybe it was Mommy?”  Bwahahahahah!

Oh the glee.  Oh the little boy joy.

(Oh the foreshadowing of what the next ten years are going to be like.)

Seriously, the influx of other people’s input into his brain has begun.  Which is cool, and as it should be, but also sort of bittersweet.  I have to ask him, now, where he heard things from; I don’t know what books he’s read, whom he’s spoken to, what his favorite part of the day is, unless he chooses to tell me.

He’s decided to be a ghost for Halloween.  When asked if he’d be a scary ghost or a friendly ghost by the nurse yesterday, he pondered a moment and then said, “I think I’ll be a blue ghost.”  And that is Hen all over.  No outside influence there.  Yet.

2.  He’s a little high energy today because of all the steroids he’s taking.  Yeah.  Steroids.  His viral-induced Reactive Airway Disease came back with a vengeance this fall.  He had a cold (another cold) over the weekend which, between one breath and another, turned to wheezing and gasping for breath–gasping until he got panicky.  I took him to the pediatrician who measured his blood oxygen and went to find a nebulizer quick–and then found one I could take home with us and wrote me a fistful of prescriptions.  *sigh*

Apparently they’ve been studying kids who do & don’t progress to full-on asthma with this sort of pre-asthma, and found that lung tissue can break down/scar up with this sort, too, so they want him on a single low dose of pulmicort daily (2ce daily when he’s sick), albuterol every 4 hours when he’s sick, and an oral dose of steroids for the next 2 days.  And he’ll be on the daily treatment til spring, and we’ll play it by ear each year until (oh, how I hope!) he grows out of it.  And in the meantime, the steroids are making him believe he’s superman, flying high!

He doesn’t like the breathing treatments–it’s a little like smoking a water pipe–but he simply wasn’t tolerating the inhaler with spacer-mask option.  So the breathing treatments are boring, but not scary, and we read books, so it’s not the worst way to start the day.  He likes being the one to turn on the machine.  He treats Real before each treatment, which makes it easier.  He’s already bored with the new routine, though.  (As am I.  Man, I hate having him on a daily anything.  It sucks.  But watching him gasp for breath?  That really really sucks, and his doctors seemed pretty adamant that this was what we should be doing for him.  Dr. Google seems to concur that this is standard best practice for this sort of thing, so…)

He actually napped well today, is currently sleeping fine, his mood is fantastic, and his attention span is better than I’d expect, but he cannot hold still–worse than usual for my wiggle worm.  Hoping this effect lessens once he’s off the oral dose, though, because his energy level is through the roof and he’s hard to keep up with when he’s floating around the stratosphere.

3.  Touch-a-truck.  It’s an annual charity event in Portsmouth that was better than Disneyland for this child.  It’s exactly what it sounds like–40 or 50 municipal & private big rigs gathered in one huge parking lot for kids to climb on, pretend to drive, and generally revel in.

IMG_0792It was awesome.  We’ll be making an annual pilgrimage to this event.  At least until the love of all things ‘truck’ is over.

4.  A horrible scare regarding my 94-year-old grandmother’s health turned out to be nothing that wasn’t fixable.  Had a really bad few days, but am so relieved that she’s out of danger.  Oi.  And my mother’s healing up from her fall.  And things are currently back to ‘ok’ with all my family members.  Which is nice.  I love where I live, but I hate being so far from my family–especially when things are scary.  There’s only so much you can say over the phone when a hug is really what’s needed.

5.  Henry said, “School was really quick today, mommy!”  and “Xander isn’t afraid of being left alone at school anymore.”  (Xander being a little boy who may or may not exist, whom Henry has taken under his wing whenever Xander gets afraid at school–usually that his mommy won’t come for him.)  And “I don’t think Real Bunny needs to go to school today.  Maybe I will bring Gray Bunny instead so he has a chance to go to bunny school.”  All of which are Henry-codes for “School is fun and I like it there and it’s not scary anymore.”  When I thought yesterday that he might have to miss today’s schoolday, he was very upset by the thought.

Therapy, on the other hand, he was delighted to miss…

6.  Naps are hit or miss these days.  Yesterday, we tried to nap, but the breathing was so bad that I just tossed him in the car & drove to the doctor instead.  He never did make that nap up, and he never did get cranky with the tiredness.  Today, he was all set to play quietly–said he didn’t want a nap–but when I went to leave him to it, he changed his mind and slept for 2 hours.  We’ve been working on ‘waking up happy instead of sad’, because he was getting into a really bad habit of crying when he woke up–not hungry or tired or headachy or sad or scared or anything.  Just crying because he was awake & still dopey from sleep.  And I have to say that crying I can’t do anything to fix?  It makes me nuts.  So I’m delighted to have him nap when the end of the nap is cause for smiles instead of tears.  He can decide this one for himself, as far as I’m concerned.

7.  I went to a local orchard, bought a half-bushel of fallen apples on the cheap, and came home and canned applesauce.  I also have a quarter-bushel or so waiting in my kitchen for me to make the time to do one round with our ugly but tasty apples.  Next year I’ll start the applesauce project earlier, and if Hen’s current obsession with the stuff continues, he’ll be getting homemade every day in his snack bag instead of Mott’s.

8.  Made a batch of tortillas last week and they were divine.

9.  I scored a brand new copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s brand new book, Flight Behavior at our library’s books-for-sale shelf for $2.00

I had thought I’d have to wait til Christmas for this one–I tend to ask for ‘respectable’ books for Christmas so I don’t have to defend my execrable taste in stories to anyone–urban paranormal, or zombie thrillers I’ll buy myself and enjoy thoroughly, but explaining why I like it to anyone sort of takes the joy away, you know?  BK definitely falls into the ‘not ashamed to be caught reading it on the subway’ category, so I’d planned to ask for her latest book for Christmas, but now I get to read it in October instead!  Woohoo!

10.  We ate the last of the garden tomatoes this noon (though I haven’t checked the garden, and for all I know there are another few out there waiting to be plucked.)  I think it’s supposed to freeze one of these nights, though, and I can’t say that I’m sorry.  It’s late October and we’re eating garden tomatoes in New England.  Just ain’t right.  I know.  Everyone should have such horrible problems.  But still.  I’m ready for stew, not caprese salad.

11.  Read the new Robin McKinley book, Shadows–(I simply couldn’t wait for this one).  And it was very satisfying.  Not, perhaps, my favorite ever, but thoroughly enjoyable and nicely open-ended (ie: I know there’s more that will happen to these people even though I’ll never get to read about their future adventures) without feeling like I was left hanging. (occasionally a problem with my favorite author’s books, though it pains me to say it.)

12.  Finally got to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and liked it rather a lot.

13.  I was all excited about Apple’s free OSXMavericks upgrade today until I realized that not only was my OS so far out of date that I would first have to upload an older (but newer than my current) OS in order to  to access the page that would allow me to download the free newest OS, but that my ancient Mac can’t even handle the new OS.


See, I tend to use my beloved belongings until I just can’t use them any more.  I once had a Toyota pick-up with well over 300,000 miles on it when I sold it to buy a car with a backseat so I could carry myself+another person+dog.  I am currently wearing my favorite jacket in the world, which is little more than tattered threads held together by my imagination.  I wear my jeans until they have actual holes in the patched knees and I’ll patch them again until the crotch seams finally start to go before I’ll admit they’re done.  And my computer is going on 6 years old, and very little is being made any more that will work on it–except for everything I do on it all day long…  So I’m loathe to throw down a thousand bucks when I have the perfect writing machine right here, working perfectly; but really, it would be nice to be able to update my browser/iTunes/OS and I’m sure I’ll give in to the company’s planned obsolescence ploys one of these days.

But not today.



Small Things 10-12-13

1.  Canned another batch of salsa today because, damn, the garden is still kicking out tomatoes.  It’s the middle of October, fer cryin’ out loud!  Not really complaining, because I figured while I was at it, I should make another batch of pico de gallo, and then while I was on a roll, I made some guacamole, and then I went all out & bought lard & made flour tortillas.

And our dinner (all that + spicy black beans) was flat-out divine.

2.  We had our library insulated this summer.  When we bought the place we noticed that for all the beautiful woodwork inside the library, the contractors did some bizarro work where it wouldn’t be seen (using upside-down wall insulation for under-the-floor insulation in the crawl space) that basically made the space under the library the perfect nesting area for skunks, raccoons, squirrels, etc. All that lovely fiberglass batting + an area not being used for anything + not inconsiderable amounts of heat coming down from above = perfect winter resting place for stinky critters!  So we had solid insulation installed down below & blew in a few inches of foam in the attic space to see if we could make this giant room a bit more comfortable in the wintertime.  But since it was summer, we sort of didn’t know if it would actually make a difference.

Boy did it ever.  It’s only getting into the 40s, but still, library’s getting warm & staying warm.  Woodstove is having an easier time of it, too, and the cat?  Cat’s never leaving this room again, as far as I can tell.  Yay for insulation, yay for getting to use our favorite room year round instead of just when the weather’s lovely.  And yay for feeling snug instead of cold.  All good things.

3.  Hen napped today–but in the middle of the afternoon instead of late morning.  I think we’re going to be playing it by ear for a while, let him set the pace & decide if it’s a napping day or not.  I can live with that.  I got to go shopping with my grocery buddy at noon–which was s first–he’s always napping by noon.  So that was kind of awesome.  Lots more time to get stuff done if the nap is negotiable.  I think I might like this stage!

4.  He is deep deep deep into ‘pretend’ play, which is a blast to witness/be a part of.  Most conversations now consist of him telling me things he’d like me to pretend–usually things like “Mommy, pretend you’re afraid of ghost-es.”  or “Mommy, pretend you’re afraid of getting your face wet in the swimming pool.”  And then he proceeds to reassure me, ie: teach me how to do whatever it is that’s worrying him at the moment, or scare me.  “Mommy, are you afraid of monsters?”  “No.”  “Will you pretend that you’re afraid of monsters?”  So I will, and sometimes he reassures me and sometimes he becomes a monster and chases me.  Either way, it’s a hoot to see his imagination working like crazy all the time, no matter what else is going on.

5.  When we bought this house, the very small master bedroom had a king-sized, canopied, extremely ornate brass bed.  Which I can only assume the owner couldn’t figure out how to disassemble, because she left it for us to deal with.  Long-time readers might remember that we instantly dubbed it the QE2. We figured we’d sleep on it until we could figure out how to get it the hell out of our bedroom, since the mattress was practically new, but then, during the nights of co-sleeping–the boy, me, the baby, and the whippet–realized we really loved the bed.  At least we loved the way it felt when we stretched out on it, not so much because of the way it looked. So soon after we moved in, I took down the canopy framework.  Because really, too too much.  (She liked shiny a lot, did the nice little old lady we bought from.  This year, we finally got around to replacing the chandelier in the dining room, which used to feature weird brass dragons, flowers painted on china, and lots & lots of beadwork–all of which sounds weird enough to be cool, but it wasn’t.  It was just very very shiny.)

Anyway, I also finally got around to buying a rug for our bedroom, and in trying to maneuver it underneath the enormous, unwieldy brass bed, I was reminded how much I hated its wrap-around brassiness, and its largeness.  So I pulled off the footboard and the wrap-around parts of the headboard and find that I rather like the (comparatively) simple, plain brass headboard.  An enormous king-sized bed doesn’t seem to take up nearly as much room without all that visual furfeleuing, and the room looks cozy now, instead of overwhelmed.  Very nice.

And the rest of the QE2 is now living in various places up in the attic, (right next to the chandelier) where it’ll be the problem of the people we someday sell the house to!  Hahahah!