Friday, February 25, 2005

Feeling Fried

Tonight Carl and I are going out to dinner, so I fried a chicken.


The story starts two weeks ago, when Carl and I had planned on going out for a romantic-type evening. ("Romantic" means "not a hockey game".) The girls were going to spend the night at a neighbor's. However, Mary got sick, so we had to cancel the evening. Now, fast forward to Thursday, February 24 (yesterday). I went shopping, and while at the grocery store I bought some chicken hindquarters with the intention of frying them for supper. But then Carl called and said he had to work late, so I put off frying the chicken (intending it for supper tonight) and the girls and I got fast food. When Carl got home, we decided to go out tonight instead (the girls are going to the nightbor's) but I didn't want the chicken to spoil, so I fried it and we'll eat it for leftovers. Everybody got that?

This will not necessarily be a romantic evening out, though. After supper we plan on going clothes shopping for Carl. He has to go to Sao Paulo, Brazil March 5 - 14, and he needs some new "business casual" shirts and ties. (Sao Paulo is Portuegese for either "Saint Paul" or "way too far away from Iowa".) With Carl being an engineer, he will definitely need help since most engineers have the fashion sense of a snail - their main fashion criteria is "Is there a pocket on this shirt for my pens?". Poor guy. Besides, Carl hasn't bought any new clothes for, oh, maybe two years, so he's about due.

I'm really not happy about him going to Brazil. He's going with his Master's Degree class for an "international business experience" but I wish they would have picked somewhere closer (and safer) like Canada. He's going to be on an airplane for 12 hours, and after September 11 I feel really queasy when anyone I love has to fly any farther than, say, the distance it takes to jump from the diving board to the pool. But Carl's had all the shots and stuff needed for the trip, so I guess there's not much I can do about it except pray that he comes home safely. That, and conspire with the girls to make him feel really guilty at the airport. ("Daaaady!! I don't want you to go!! Waaaaah!!) I already feel like crying.

The good news is, though, that I won't have to do much cooking. The girls and I can live on Ampride pizza, Wendy's and Schwan's stuff for ten days, no problem. I've already mentioned in a previous blog that I can't cook. If it wasn't for my wonderful mother-in-law, I wouldn't know how to fry a chicken. Seriously. She stood in my kitchen a couple of years ago and fried a chicken while I watched her. She gave me step by step instructions, and I took notes. She even showed me how to make pan gravy. Neat, huh?

So now I must go and prepare for the evening's festivities. I need to get the girls' stuff together, and then change clothes. Anyone know how to say "goodbye" in Portuegese?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Les Miserables

It's hard to believe that I haven't blogged for 10 days, but there's a reason: I've been sick. And not just me, but Mary and Hannah, too. It all started with Mary back on the 10th, when she had her fever and vomiting. I got the bug on Saturday, then Hannah got it on Tuesday. It took Mary ten days to finally shake the fever, and today she's back at school. It took me seven days to get past the fever, and Hannah still isn't all right - she's home from school today. The only one who's managed not to get sick is Carl, and even he says he's got a scratchy throat and a cough. But he's avoided the fever, probably because he's been at work and not home breathing in flu viruses.

This was one nasty virus. We had visits from all the viral bad guys - Ralph Hurley, Ivan Trotski, Heili LaFever and I got an extended visit from Bernice the Once-A-Month Witch. That made having the flu even worse. You gals understand. I'm finally back to near normal. Now I'm working my way past a head cold (Mary has one, too) but I'm getting some laundry done and I'm back down in the shop painting again. When you're too weak to blog or paint, that's when you know you're really sick. The one good thing that came out of all this is I discovered that Propel fitness water actually tastes pretty good, and when you have no appetite (not even for chocolate) finding something you can stomach is nice.

I jotted down some short notes while I was sick so I would remember to blog them later. They are:

1) The Democrats chose Howard Dean as their chairperson. Well, you get what you pay for, I reckon.
2) A couple of weeks ago Hannah and I ran into her school teacher while shopping. I said, "This is how you know your teacher is human, when you see her in the toilet paper aisle at Wal-Mart." Everyone laughed, fortunately.
3) Hannah must be getting a good Christian education, because on a pretest she spelled "nonprofit" n-o-n-p-r-o-p-h-e-t.

Well, that's it. And since I have nothing more to write about, I shall bid you adios.

Friday, February 11, 2005

What A Week

The whole mess started on Monday. Hannah, my oldest, started vomiting before school, so she had to stay home. She didn't have a fever, and seemed to get over whatever was bothering her by lunchtime, so that was OK. I took advantage of her being home (without her little sister around) to have a "mom to daughter" talk with her. You know, birds and bees, that kind of thing. She reacted exactly the way I expected - she was grossed out and embarrassed, which is a good thing. But I wanted to talk with her about these things now, while she is still sweet and innocent, so that some creep wouldn't take advantage of that innocence. I don't want my baby to be another horror story on the evening news. I think she has a lot better chance of avoiding that now.

Tuesday and Wednesday weren't bad, but Thursday made up for that. I had a doctor's appointment scheduled that morning (for my yearly physical - yuck) but poor little Mary woke up with a cough and fever. Plus Hannah had a whole bunch of stuff to take to school; a Valentine's box, valentines for her classmates, four dozen cookies, and her trombone. I was planning to drive her to school, but I couldn't leave Mary alone. So I called Carl and bless his fuzzy heart, he came right home. I'd already taken Hannah to the bus stop with the promise that I'd bring her Valentine's stuff to Norway (Iowa, not Scandinavia) so when Carl got home I was ready to go. I drove down to the school first, then to the bank, then to Blockbuster, and I still made it to the doctor with 10 minutes to spare. And I wasn't driving that much over the speed limit. I got passed more than I passed. So after the doctor I came right home and Carl went back to work. But as the day progressed, Mary became more and more lethargic, and her temperature kept rising, and she started throwing up late in the afternoon. I took her to our pediatrician's office (to check for influenza - she didn't have that) so we headed for home. Just as I turned the corner into our neighborhood, Mary started throwing up again. Fortunately she had a bucket on her lap, so she didn't make a mess of herself or the pickup. I called Carl on my cell phone and told him to meet me in the garage to help Mary, and we got her in the house, cleaned her face and put her to bed.

She's feeling better today. She's kept down everything she's eaten, and right now she's in the living room watching Three Stooges cartoons on DVD. Hey - it was a two DVD set in the five dollar bin at Wal-Mart, and the girls love it. But Mary still has a fever, so we had to postpone the sleepover she and Hannah were going to, for two weeks. And Mary has homework, which will make the weekend fun. (NOT!) But that's a Mom's life.

And speaking of that, I remembered another category in the "let's age Mom" competition. It's the Sibling Rivalry category. This is the first event that kids enter into, and it lasts the longest. Scoring in this event depends on the size of the "disagreement" and extra points are added if they're fighting when you're already frazzled.

And speaking of frazzled, Mary needs me. 'Bye!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

To My Niece

Dear Shannon: I read your lament about your sons' latest unfortunate round of injuries. (For those of you interested in Shannon's story, go to You said that someone should tell them that its not a competiton. Well, sweetie, I have bad news for you. It is a competition, but not a "let's see which of us can do the most physical damage to oneself" type of contest. No; rather it is a "let's see who can make Mom age the fastest" competition. This tournament, rather like a track meet, has several categories, as follow:

A) Restaurant Misbehavior: this event usually occurs when you take the children to any restaurant nicer than McDonald's. You'll sit down and order, and while you wait eternally for your food, your children begin to get restless. Crayons and crackers can only entertain so far, and soon the kids are fidgeting in their seats, trying to look around and/or talk to the people seated next to them. For every time you scold and/or discipline them, the kids get one point. They get extra credit for tossed food that lands somewhere other than in your table zone. Similar behavior at the grocery store or Wal-Mart also merits points.

B) Public Flatulence: this event occurs any time you are out in public, or when you have company at your house. The child usually waits for a lull in the conversation before really ripping a loud belch or fart; then the child smiles serenely as everyone around chuckles with embarrassed laughter. Each gaseous emission is worth one point. Double points are given if the flatulence occurs in church, triple points if it happens during a particularly quiet time (like opening prayers or the Lord's supper). No points are given if the flatulence occurs during a Special Music when the singer is really, really bad.

C) Embarrassing Comments: this event occurs when your child repeats something that you said within the privacy of your home that you never wanted to have repeated. Phrases like "Mommy said she's tired of your cat pooping in our flowerbox" are worth one point. Extra credit is given if the phrase is uttered to someone you've been trying desperately to get along with. Points are deducted if the phrase is uttered to someone you can't stand and should have been told that, anyway.

D) From The Mouths Of Babes: this event occurs when the child says something embarrassing that comes completely out of the blue, i.e. with no prompting from you (as in category C). Phrases like "Your breath is really stinky!" are worth one point when uttered to a complete stranger. Extra credit is given when the phrase is uttered to someone of importance, like a visiting pastor or the mall Santa Claus. No points are given to such phrases uttered to near relatives.

Points earned by the kids affect you in this way: ten points in one week ages you one day. Ten points within three days ages you two days. Ten points in one day ages you one week. Ten points within one hour ages you one month. Ten points scored in a single moment ages you three months. This is extra aging added on to the aging you're already doing. And point accumulations don't slow down as the children get older.Quite the contrary. Point accumulations grow because the number of categories grows. You and I both have yet to add the Automobile Driving, Dating and Hormonal Rages categories. Right now, as things stand, I think my girls have aged me an extra two years. That's not bad, really. But Hannah is beginning to add categories, and I'm sure we're both being aged by categories that I can't remember this late at night. (It's 10:40 p.m.) So suffice to say that your kids are in a battle royale to see who can get Mom to start sprouting grey hair the soonest. And you know what the worst thing is? Once they're grown and gone, you'll wish they were back, and that the competition would never end.

Right, Mom?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Blatherskite 2

I seem to fare poorly when I cheer for teams dressed in green, white and grey (silver). Saturday, it was the Rough Riders. Sunday, it was the Eagles. Both teams made a valiant effort, but they both lost. Oh, well. Congrats to the Pats and their fans.

I learned a new phrase from my nephew-in-law. It's "potle" - a type of burrito from a Mexican restaurant chain called Chipotle. This chain hasn't made it to Cedar Rapids yet (maybe the Quad Cities has it, I don't know) but I still have one question: is it pronounced "pottle" or "potley"?

I read an article on the Drudge Report today about how many Americans, up to four times the usual number, are applying for entrance visas to Canada so they can live there permanently. Apparently, these people are disappointed that Bush won re-election and they'd rather live under the more liberal (and by liberal I mean socialist) government of Canada. What I find strange is, I know a Canadian lady who just got her American citizenship and she voted for Bush. Whatever. I suppose if they want to leave the U.S. for a percieved socialist mecca, fine, but they're headed in the wrong direction. If they really want to experience socialism at its finest, then they should go south - to Cuba. Warm Carribbean breezes, free schooling and health care, and all the sugar cane they can chop. Paradise. And when they want to defect back to the States (where the speech, press, and religion are free) all they have to do is build a raft and escape in the traditional Cuban manner. Just make sure to pack a life vest and your shark repellant.

Meanwhile, back here in the great frozen North (Canada isn't any warmer than here, folks) we've been roughly shoved back to winter's reality after a Friday and Saturday when the temperatures were in the 50's. It was so nice out that I gave my dog a bath. But today the temperature is in the upper 20's, and we had some freezing rain this morning that delayed school for two hours. Plus, my neighbor across the street lost her mailbox when some unfortunate fellow slid down the street, missed the corner and landed right in her ditch. According to my neighbor's son, the fellow's dad came and towed him out of the ditch, then returned later and built a temporary post for the mailbox. It's moments like these that make me understand the urge to go to Corpus Christi TX for the winter.

But I'll always come home to good ol' Iowa. Pass the meat and potatoes, please!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Lessons Learned from a Hockey Puck

Carl took me out on a date tonight, the first date we've had in ages. And we decided to go to a hockey game, something we've never done before. Our local team is the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders, and they were playing their rival from nearby Waterloo, the Black Hawks. They play in the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, which is next to Veterans Memorial Park (for baseball) and Kingston Stadium (for high school football and track). Lesson number one learned tonight: park as far away from the main crowd as possible so that you can get out easier. It's worth the walk.

The inside of the Arena is pretty nice. They have two rinks: one for public use, and one for USHL hockey games. However, the seats were not made for tall people. Fortunately, the seats in front of us were vacant, so we were able to put our feet over the backs of those seats and stretch out a little. Lesson number two learned tonight: next time, get tickets for the center section, and higher up. It was a little hard to see the action sometimes. Not that there was much. The only goal scored came within 14 seconds of the start of the game, and Cedar Rapids didn't get it. And there was only one fight. Oh, well.

I'm not sure about the NHL, but in this league, they play three 20 minute periods with 15 minute breaks in between. (As a woman, I dislike the use of the word "period" except when referring to punctuation.) They play six team members on the ice at a time, unless one of the players is sent to the penalty box. Then you're down one. Lesson number three learned tonight: if one team has 5 members on the ice, and the other team has 6, the team with six is in what's called a "power play". There were several instances of Cedar Rapids being in the power play situation, but they could never take advantage of it. Again, oh well.

As is true of most sports teams, the Rough Riders have a mascot, a horse named Ricochet. I feel sorry for the poor soul who has to wear that costume. It is, without a doubt, the ugliest mascot costume I've ever seen. It's supposed to be a grey horse, but it looks more like a jackass. I tried to ask him if I'd seen him on TV at the Democrat National Convention, but he couldn't hear me. But the audience around me got a good laugh out of it.

But all in all, we really had a nice time. I found myself being drawn more and more into the game, and came away with a desire to go back and watch another game sometime. Carl, soft hearted daddy that he is, bought game souvenirs for the girls since they were at a sitter's. He got them an "official" game puck and a cowbell. Half the crowd had cowbells (in their hands, not around their necks) so I guess this is a big deal for hockey fans. Whatever. My souvenir was a night out with my hubby: just him, me, and 3000 raving hockey fans. I loved it!

Thanks, honey.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Blatherskite – 1. a person given to voluble, empty talk 2. nonsense; blather

<>Now that you have the definition, I can tell you about my day:

<>I had a bunch of errands to run today. I had to get my haircut, then go to the church and do a small repair job. After that I went shopping; Michael’s, the Ice Arena (hockey tickets) JCPenney’s, Wal-Mart, the Can Shed, Theisen’s, Blockbuster Video and Fareway. I also had to wash Candy and fill his gas tank. I had a full day. Fortunately, I got everything done before the girls got home from school. This was no small feat as Murphy’s Law was working hard against me. <>

Case in point: Michael’s. I hate going to Michael’s, but until they get a Hobby Lobby in Cedar Rapids, Michael’s is the only game in town. So I went there, got a couple things, and then went to stand in line. I was second in line, and a new clerk looked at me and said “I can help you over here.” Well, before I could get there, another woman got there before me, and she had a BIG pile of stuff. The clerk rang her up. She had about $20 worth of stuff (it was all small) but she paid with a $100 bill. (What, her bank doesn’t hand out twenties?) Naturally, the clerk didn’t have change so she had to call the manager who had to go to the back of the store to get the change. Meanwhile, I was giving the Obliviot shopper “the glare” while we waited for the manager. (Being in large part my father’s daughter, I had no problem using body language to relay my irritation.) Fortunately, while we were waiting another manager came up and asked what the problem was. The clerk told him, then I looked him in the eye and said “Can’t she ring up the rest of us while that lady waits for her change?” He said, “That’s no problem.” So the clerk started to ring me up. I paid with my efficient debit card. Then the first manager came back and gave the Obliviot customer her change; all in $5 bills. Serves the Obliviot right. If she’d gotten twenties from the bank instead of $100, she’d have four bills in her wallet, and not 16 fives. I have no pity for her.

The rest of the shopping went quite smoothly. With Mannheim Steamroller’s Fresh Aire IV playing in the background, I made the rest of my rounds quickly. However, Murphy’s Law kept exerting itself in the form of stupid drivers. I especially reference the guy in the Theisen’s parking lot who was driving perpendicular through the lot (i.e. not in the designated driving lanes) and when he saw me coming he SPED UP so that he could cross the parking lot in front of me. I’m glad I have good brakes.
<>But now I’m home. All the stuff I bought is put away, and Candy is as clean as a car wash hose can get him. I’ve vented on my day, and now I feel better.

So, how was your day?