Sunday, August 31, 2008

Feelin' All Widgety

Let's chat widgets, 'cause I've been tinkering with them. And there suddenly seems to be a bit of testosterone in the homeschool-mommy blog.

This past weekend, Pink Power Ranger came to visit for a few (way too short) nights. And she brought a ridiculous book of Chuck Norris jokes that someone gave her. And when the U-Dad had slipped out for a few hours to prep for the coming school year and the U-Kids were finally asleep and we'd had a glass of wine (or two), this book became a laugh-til-you-cry-and-can't-even-tell-her-what's-funny-anymore-while-she-says-what?-what??!! experience. I suppose it's one of those, "you had to be there" moments. And lo and behold! There's a Chuck Norris widget in the same spirit! I've tried to watch it for a while to make sure that it's reasonably clean. If anyone sees anything overly scandalous, let me know? In any case, it may not last long. I sense that I'll get bored with it soon. But for now, it reminds me a fun evening with the PPR.

And then, the Jack Bauer countdown. Pretty self-explanatory, right? 'Cause it's been too long, dammit! (get it? get it???? oh, never mind.....)

Hope you like them. But then, it's my blog. And I like them, dammit! (get it???? oh, never mind.....)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barney vs. The Pink Power Ranger

Guess who's coming to visit this weekend? In fact, guess who is on the "el" right now coming from Midway?

Two clues: None of my three brothers are poe-poe's. And Barney is not allowed in my house.

C'mon admit it.... you want him to give her a reason to Taser him, don't you?

Happy Weekend, everyone!
(sorry, these are as good as they get for cell phone pix)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Chat With Urban Kid 2

Me: Can you say key?

UK2: Eeeeee.

Me: Can you say house?

UK2: Ow.

Me: Hot?

UK2: Aw.

Me: Mmmmmilk?

UK2: Mih.

Me: Mmmmmmommy?

UK2: (clear as a bell and with a big bright smile) DADdyyyyyyyy!!

Me: Mommy?

UK2: (still clear as a bell, with same smile) DADdyyyyyyy!

Me: (less certain) Mommy? Mmmmmmmommy?


Me: (*sigh*) Yeah, ok, I give up. Daddy.

UK2: (banging on table in rhythm with chanting) DADdyDADdyDADdyDADdy!

Just like her sister.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tag Me? Tag YOU!

Wayyyy back on August 4th, Katy at My Nut Village tagged me. Yep, I'm all about the speedy responses here. And I know that you've all been holding your breath for me to finally post again. What can I say? I'd click on my page, see the picture from the last post and think, "naaaaah. it can wait. i'll just look at this for a minute here." But enough Dirty Old Cougar thoughts. Back to business.

Here's how it works:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. (done)

2. Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste steps 1-6).

3. Write six random things about yourself (see below).

4. Tag six people at the end of the post and link to them.

6. Let each person know that you've tagged them and leave a comment on their blog.

Ok, ready?

Six Things You Never Wanted to Know About Val (I'll try to not get too personal):

1. My favorite chore is laundry. I love to do laundry. Once the U-Dad and I moved in here, I was in heaven because I no longer have to crank quarters into the machines. I like the feeling and smell of warm, clean clothes. I like the opportunity to take a bit of inventory of things. And I like the visible sense of accomplishment at the end.

2. I can't drink coffee. I had to stop my torrid affair with the coffee bean about ten years ago. I was mind-numbingly nauseous for six straight months. After numerous tests that showed absolutely no results, I switched to tea one day, on a lark really. It was like hitting a lightswitch that gave me back a normal day. But I miss it......ohhhhhhh, how I miss it............ I like to go into coffee shops and just breathe deeply. And then order a chai.

3. I'm looking forward to teaching Biology next year. I flip through the great, big, phone-book-sized homeschool catalog and want to order critters. But I'm not sure how I would hide them all from the U-Dad. He's not very critter-y.

4. I'm married to a technophobe. If it has buttons, I'm the one who knows how to use it. This includes the computer, DVR, answering machine, cell phone, clock radio, remote, dishwasher, washing machine and U-Kid 1's Leapster. If anything happens to me, this household will revert to 1976.

5. I ran a marathon in 1994. It was a horrible year, and running for hours after work every day kept me as sane as I was going to stay. Having the race as a goal gave me something constructive to focus on. However, my knees and I have an agreement about doing any more of them.

6. My favorite dessert is called Crumb Tart. My mom is the only one on the planet who seems to know how to make it. Those of you familiar with this blog are aware of my (lack of) culinary skills. Pray for a long, healthy life for my mom!

Ok, as far as tags:

I'm borrowing this strategy from Regular Mom. If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged! Yep, I'm lazy. Also, I have two kids who need to go to bed, and a cupcake waiting for me once they're down, so I'm pressed for time, too.

Remember to come back and let me know if you did it!

Ok, back to looking at my Dirty Old Cougar picture of Phelps.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just Call Me Sybil

I watched this nail-biting, jaw-dropping, jump-up-and-down-inducing race and had three reactions.

1. As an American: Who doesn't just share in his raw, unfiltered joy? Who isn't just proud as hell to have this incredibly talented guy represent America?

2. As a female: Well, helloooooo there............. Nice suit. And such big, um, hands you have......

3. As a mom: (insert nasally, matronly voice) Oh for heaven's sake, young man! The whole world is watching! God himself, even! Let me just cinch these up for you. Goodness, what will the neighbors think?

I didn't used to have Reaction #3 to this kind of thing.
Just put me in the nursing home now.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Weekend!

It's my favorite weekend of the year in Chicago!!!!

They were practicing yesterday, which was tremendous fun to watch while at the playground. As we walked back home, we stopped a gazillion times to gawk at the sky and try to find the planes. But by the time you hear them, they're not where you heard them (ok, it made sense to me).

The noise makes Urban Kid 1 a touch nervous, but I keep telling her that those loud noises are to scare away bad guys, not to scare little girls. She seems to be buying it.

They go at 3pm today for the first of two performances, plus there are fireworks tonight. But we have nowhere to be tomorrow, so the Urban Kids can stay up late!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We're In The Mon..... oh never mind............

Late one night, after the Urban Kids were asleep, I came downstairs to find the Urban Dad deep in thought and staring at various financial charts on the computer.

ME: Whatcha doin?

U-DAD: Looking at Google. (the stock, not the actual webpage)

ME: (still dumb and happy) Whatcha learnin?

U-DAD: Well.... several months ago, I thought about buying it. We had (insert number here) dollars doing nothing, so I was looking for a place to put it. And I sat here one night when I was the only one awake and stared at the numbers for Google. And I thought about it and thought about it, but then I didn't do it.

ME: Ummmmmmmmm, what would (insert number here) dollars be worth today if you HAD bought Google that night?

U-Dad: 8-million-dollars.

ME: (pause) What's that after taxes?

U-Dad: About six-four.

ME: (longer pause as I think "for richer or for poorer, for richer or for poorer") Please don't tell me these stories anymore.

Monday, August 11, 2008

To The Politicians' Wives...Too Many To Name Anymore...

0But you know who they are. And I've already written my own thoughts on the topic. This is a much funnier take on it, though.

(Warning: Definitely an adult topic.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Trivia

Way back on July 22nd, Tiffany over at Tiff's Bermuda Shorts tagged me with some trivia. I'd link you to her 'cuz her blog is fun and interesting, but she's gone private, so you wouldn't get far. But a tag is a tag! So here goes...

A. Attached or Single? Attached for the last 13 years, married for almost the last six of 'em.

B. Best Moment? Holding Urban Kid 1 for the first time. I was terrified of marriage and motherhood, but had finally strapped on the weights and followed Urban Dad into the deep end of the pool of life. And looking down at her was a total, "oh...NOW I get it!" moment.

C. Cake or Pie? Who cares? Pass me a fork!

D. Day of choice? Friday. Urban Dad is home and is basically ours for a few days. And if it's the Friday before a break at Great Big Urban High School, then it tends to be laid back and light.

E. Essential item(s)? Strong black tea, cell phone, tinted moisturizer, concealer, Ouidad hair products, minty gum, current issue of The Wall Street Journal. Yep, I'm high-maintenance and totally own it.

F. Favorite color?: Purple.

G. Gummy bears or worms? Wait, where's my cake and pie? Oh well, I guess bears. Not getting my cake or pie makes me want to bite off their little heads.

H. Home town? St. Louis, Missouri. Go Cardinals!!

I. Favorite indulgence(s)? A glass of good wine with the U-Dad, a good long sit in the steam room at the gym, a good long sit in the nail salon, a good long sit in the hair salon (gawd, this is pitiful). Finally, a nice run on a pretty day in the park.

J. January or July? July, hands down. I loathe winter.

K. Kids? Two fantastic little girls who keep me guessing.

L. Life isn't complete without? The Urban Dad. I spent years thinking marriage is what kills a relationship. With him, I've experienced the exact opposite.

M. Marriage date? October 28, 2002. A Monday afternoon after school. A security guard at GBUHS who is also an ordained minister came home with us and did it. If I'd had a bunch of time and plans, I would have freaked and pulled a Runaway Bride thing like that chick in Georgia.

N. Number of brothers and sisters? Three older half-brothers from our father's first marriage. One younger sister from his second marriage (the one that also produced yours truly).

P. Phobias? Heights. Can I tell you what it took to take Urban Kid 1 up on Navy Pier's Ferris Wheel? I loooooove that girl.

Q. Quotes: "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." --Dr. Seuss "Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter." --Ayn Rand "We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." --Winston Churchill

R. Reasons to smile? Because life is just good right now. Honestly, I look at the rest of the world and realize that I truly do not have any real problems and am just so incredibly blessed.

S. Season of choice? Anything but winter.

T. Tag? Melissa at Complete Chaos,. And Anne at Hemstitch and Hydrangea -- because she needs to post already! We all miss her!

U. Unknown Fact about me? I absolutely cannot stand Oprah or The View. There. I said it.

V. Vegetable? Most anything but squash-type stuff, e.g. eggplant.

W. Worst habit? Clenching my teeth at night. Now I get to wear a sexy mouthguard.

X. X-ray or ultrasound? I suppose ultrasound. It implies something good instead of something broken, right?

Y. Your favorite food? Sushi.

Z. Zodiac sign? Aquarious.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm Fine...Really...Just Fine

BACKSTORY: I'm unhappy with our current form of b/c and am in search of a solution.

ME TO URBAN DAD: there's an option that might

TRANSLATION: I've gone through two pregnancies now. And since biology demands that so that we could have those little angels currently sleeping in their beds, I was fine with that.

I was fine with not being able to stand the sight or smell of food, with resting my face in my hands between classes in a vain attempt to get a moment of rest, and with the utterly all-consuming exhaustion that is the first trimester.

I was fine with muscles, tendons and skin stretching over the next several months and all of the aches and itchiness that came with that. And with watching my belly inflate until I could no longer see my shoes. In fact, I was was even fine with having to put my foot up on a bench in order to tie my shoe. And I thank you kindly for always reaching down to untie them for me when we got home.

I was fine with constantly having to go the the bathroom. In fact, I was even fine with feeling like a brick had been parked on my bladder and learning where every single bathroom in the city of Chicago is located.

I was fine with complete strangers -- and even my students -- fondling my stomach and asking the same set of enormously personal questions.

I was fine with having to bunch every pillow in the house around me in order to sleep at night. And with living on Jamba Juice during the third summer-time trimester with Urban Kid 1. I was fine with having to hoist myself out of bed and off of furniture and feeling like Jabba the Hutt finally trying to move.

I was fine with getting large needles injected into my spine in order to get the sweet relief of the epidurals. And I was fine with every single employee at Northwestern Hospital coming in and having a look at my hoo-hah. Eventually, I was fine with having stitches in my hoo-hah and gratefully wearing ice packs in the fashionable hospital underwear while watching the clock until I could pop more ibuprofen. I was fine with having nothing to watch in my room but football when Urban Kid 2 was born on New Year's Eve -- and I can't stand football.

I was fine with nursing the little munchkins at all hours of the day and night and everywhere in Chicago, St. Louis, Colorado and a great many points in-between.

Now it's your turn to make a physical sacrifice for a few days. Get on board, buddy. I did my part.

Snip Snip.

Luckily for everyone involved, Urban Dad speaks Val-ese and did not need a translation. His doctor's appointment is next week to ask about how he can, um, contribute to the solution.

Bless his........ heart.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Losing the Battle of Wills to a 19-month-old

BACKSTORY: Urban Kid 2 is now out of her smaller-than-standard-sized crib and in a toddler bed. Which she refuses to fall asleep in. Here was tonight's adventure in parenthood as told in the text messages between me and Best Namma Ever!. The numbers represent the number of times that I have returned U-Kid 2 to her toddler bed.

8:32pm Me: 63

8:32pm BNE!: Success?

8:33pm Me: 67

8:33pm BNE! Oh. Got it.

8:34pm Me: 70. She's mad!

8:36pm BNE!: Maybe she's about to give up.

8:38pm Me: 79. She's SO MAD!
8:42pm Me: 88
8:48pm Me: 98
8:54pm Me: 108

8:54pm BNE!: Going to give up?

9:00pm Me: Holdn @ 111
9:01pm Me: 112
9:06pm Me: Holdn @ 113. She might be gettn the memo.

9:07pm BNE!: Hope so

9:12pm Me: 119. Memo must b in circular file.

9:12pm BNE!: Oh oh

9:15pm Me: 3 minutes

9:17pm BNE!: It's been an hour or more total.

9:18pm Me: Yes it has! 120!!!!!!!!!!
9:23pm Me: 125. Bagged it. She's in pak n play.

9:24pm BNE!: Better luck tomorrow

9:24pm Me: *sigh*

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Windy City, Indeed!

You know how I can tell that the Cubs may actually go to a World Series this year? Because the world here tried to end last night. And you just know that the two events would have to go hand-in-hand. You see, 100 years ago, The Baseball Gods made a decision -- no Cubs to the World Series...ever.
And they are angry about this First Place thing.

It got a little crazy last night as our Eduoard wanna-be storm came through. Our city was a disco-tech of lightening, strobing to where it nearly hurt to look outside. Then the rain -- you know you're in trouble when it blows both horizontally and back up. And the wind -- 70mph!

As U-Dad was putting Urban Kid 2 to bed, U-Kid 1 was watching (aka: being distracted from the psychotic storm outside by) a cooking show. The Emergency Broadcast Thingy knocked the DVR off three times, specifically mentioning Lakeview in it's robotic, staticky voice. In the seven years that we've lived at this address, we've never had a power outage, but I felt the need to gather flashlights and candles. Then WHUMP, darkness! Being her first power outage, U-Kid 1 freaked hard.

I went to U-Dad and informed him that 1.)it was raining back up, 2.) the emergency sirens were wailing - much like his firstborn, and 3.) you noticed it's dark inside now too, right?

Off we went to the basement. After a few minutes of "there-there's" to U-Kid 1, I finally growled at her to quiet down already! All I could hear was her wailing, and I wanted to listen for the sound of a train. And no, I don't mean the el. 'Cause if I heard the sound of a train, we were going to scramble for another section of the basement -- a storage locker with two concrete walls and no windows. At which point, U-Kid 1 and I could begin a duet of wailing.

Meanwhile, Wrigley's stands were evacuated and everyone hustled into the concourse.

They even locked the gates so that no idiot could say, "what's a little rain?" and head out to the street. 'Cause you know there's one in every crowd.
As the winds lightened up, we came back upstairs. My battery-powered shower radio told us that it could be *gulp* days before the power was back on. So how did we cope? By eating all of these
from the defunct freezer. Bummer there wasn't a pint of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream in there, huh?

This morning, I learned that our gas gizmos -- namely, the stove and hot water heater -- have electric ignitors for the pilot lights.

Thank God this place, just at the corner, DID have power:

I learned from Mike the Landlord that we are on the same transformer as the public school on the same corner. And it was out of power too. And it's on some sort of City Super Duper Priority List when the power goes out. So our lights (and TV and computer and hot water heater and stove and refrigerator and freezer and radio and land-line telephones -- and a/c!!) were all back on this afternoon.

Stocking up on these

probably help speed things up too, huh?

If the Cubs actually go to the World Series, I'm thinking of boarding up the windows. And if they actually win the damn thing? I'll be blogging from under the desk, I imagine. And I'm assuming that we can kiss the car good-bye.

On a completely different note, sorry to go so long between posts -- out of town guests for four nights who stayed in the same room as the computer. (i keep telling the u-dad that we should have gone laptop!) Then, y'know, the Angry Baseball Gods thing. Hoping to get back into a regular schedule!