Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ye Olde Booke

I requested a book from the library for a project I’m working on. This is how old it is.



For anyone reading this who was born after CDs were invented (It occurs to me that you could be old enough to read this and not be entirely sure what a CD is. Oh dear.), that is a pocket pasted on the inside covers of books. Librarians used to put a card in there that had a due date on it. If you wanted to renew a book, you had to physically take it to the library and ask them in person. I feel like this wasn’t actually that long ago, but I also feel like I didn’t graduate from high school actually that long ago either, so I can’t be trusted.

I kind of miss the cards, in fact. If you got hold of a book that wasn’t checked out very often, you could see dates stretching back several years. This was more fun in the college library on one of the top floors in an obscure subject area. I was working on a culture paper for a Latin class once and found a book that hadn’t been checked out in years and had a published date in the 1890s. I cited it just to see if the professor would squawk. He didn’t. I guess the culture of active Latin speakers hasn’t changed that much in the past 150 years.

Unlike the publishing industry. And while I admit to some nostalgia for the old due date cards and the particular smell of a library, I confess I routinely download e-books from my desk at home. And I love it. Because of me, someday your children will only see books in a museum. Sorry. (But not very.)

Here Come the Holidays

We had a really lovely Thanksgiving. It feels a little wrong to have had such a nice time on the first year that Mom wasn’t with us, but there it is. I think maybe it’s that our Thanksgiving tradition in the past few years has been fluid. There wasn’t a particular chair to be empty, or place to look lonely, at least not in the way that really punches you in the gut.

We went to my brother’s house, and in addition to really good food, we had excellent entertainment. Levi sat right by Uncle Chris and they regaled each other with utter nonsense for nearly the entire meal. Levi’s belly laugh got quite an airing as he told joke after joke that mostly made no sense whatsoever. They were so bad that we couldn’t help laughing, which pleased him no end.



L: How does a squirrel swim?
C: I don’t know. How?
L: THEY DON’T! Baaahahahahahahahahahah!!!

L: What is that stuff on your hand?
C: Um, my skin?
L: What’s skin for?
C: It keeps my guts in.
L: WHAT?!? Hahahahahahah!

L: <starts to tell a joke for the fifth time>
C: That’s the same joke!
L: I like jokes!
C: How do you feel about repetition?
L: I don’t know what that is! Hahahahahahaha!

If it sounds slightly manic, that’s because it was. We were a little afraid at one point that Auntie was in fact going to choke from laughing.



I put an OSU shirt on Levi on purpose, since Uncle Chris is an alum, and on a whim, taught Levi what you say when someone says, “O-H!” That may have been a bad decision, since I’ve had O-H yelled at me nearly constantly since, and if I don’t respond with I-O there is great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The passing of Thanksgiving means that Christmas is coming, and the beginning of December means preparation for our Advent days. The boys really looked forward to this last year, and started asking in October if we were going to do it again. It makes me happy that they like a tradition that is all about time together and goofy activities, instead of loot. (Not that they’re not into the loot as well, at least in Levi’s case. His Christmas list keeps growing as thoughts fly into his little head.)

So the Advent tree will appear on Monday morning, each box loaded with a picture for the day’s activity. This is the first year I’ve included words instead of just pictures. Some of them (“decorate” comes to mind) Levi will need some help with, but I think he’ll get quite a few of them on his own, especially with the help of illustrations.


As always, the plan is simple:

  1. Make paper chains to count to Christmas Day.
  2. Decorate the kitchen windows with static clings of a nativity set.
  3. Watch Frosty the Snowman together.
  4. Color in craft stockings. (These were purchased last year in January for something like 90% off at Target; they’re cloth and come with markers.)
  5. Make paper snowflakes.
  6. Go see Santa.
  7. Set up the Christmas tree.
  8. Make paper chains to count to the extended family Christmas trip (meeting the Torontonian relatives roughly halfway for a night).
  9. Set up the Veggie Tales nativity set together. (Also includes me bracing myself to hear the first bars of Jesus our brother kind and good … ad nauseum until after Christmas or I break down and take out the batteries.)
  10. Make homemade soft pretzels.
  11. Make homemade Christmas cards.
  12. Have breakfast for dinner.
  13. Drive to see Christmas lights.
  14. Decorate cut-out cookies.
  15. Make latkes.
  16. Make a gingerbread house. (Felt craft, also purchased at Target at deep discount last year. I don’t know if I can handle an actual gingerbread house at this time.)
  17. Watch Rudolph together.
  18. Have hot chocolate with marshmallows.
  19. Read The Animals’ Christmas Eve together.
  20. North Pole Breakfast! (Red and green pancakes last year. Huge hit. It’ll be something along that line.)
  21. Make bunelos.
  22. Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas together.
  23. Read The Night Before Christmas.
  24. Have a birthday cake (or cupcakes, if I’m lazy, which is quite likely) for Jesus, after the Christmas Eve service at church.

As always, and even as simple as the plan is, I will execute it imperfectly. We will probably have to skip days and make them up. I may have to move things around as the schedule fills up. The boys don’t seem to care. Sometimes they don’t even care when we do the actual activity, or at least not as much as they care about pulling out the paper in the morning. Anticipation seems to be the thing.

Even I am looking forward to it. Perhaps my Grinchy heart is growing just a smidge.

A Tale of Two Meals

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of chicken nuggets, it was the age of homemade hash, it was the epoch of joy, it was the epoch of cruelty – in short, it was being four years old.

These two pictures were taken just over 24 hours apart. Observe the contentment and love emanating from this child in the first. It was so simply attained – all that was needed were chicken nuggets and a cup of Sprite.


But the second. Oh, the second. The despair, the disbelief, the horror when faced with potatoes and beef cooked on the stove at home.

It was all too much for this poor mother’s heart. We travelled straight to the King of Burgers and emptied our pockets in the quest for more nuggets.

Kidding. He had the hash for breakfast this morning.

It’s amazing to me that he still digs in his heels on this stuff. I’m just as stubborn as he is, and I’ve had a LOT more practice.

Poor, poor boy.

Woo hoo!

It’s a good day.

I went on my twice-yearly pilgrimage to Cleveland (on the first day they had snow – yay?) to see a doctor. He watches me for markers in my blood tests that might indicate a return of thyroid cancer. I’m delighted to report that those levels were undetectable, and he was happy with all the other stuff he checks. It’s really the result I expected, but it’s nice to have confirmation.

I celebrated with a stop at Starbucks for a foofy coffee drink. The big size. (Also for the bathroom. It’s a long drive home.)




In other news, I’m having a hard time writing lately. I was thinking about it the other day and I think it’s that my usual writing time slot is filled. With sleeping, as it happens. I’ve been going to bed a lot earlier than I’m used to. And … I feel great. Seriously. The mornings go better (though not perfectly), I feel better, and I get more done.

Honestly, it’s kind of ticking me off. I LIKE staying up later. The house is quiet and I can putter around to my heart’s content. Or watch bad TV. Or write. But I can’t deny how much better I’m feeling with more sleep. And I’m not willing to give that up for a few blog posts. So … I’m going to have to figure out another time, and make it part of my routine.

If you suggest getting up before the kids and making THAT my time, we can’t be friends anymore. Elias has to be sternly supervised to get him to stay in bed until 6:00. I am NOT getting up at at any time that starts with a five. Baby steps, people.

I’ll figure something out. I hope to bring you more stories. Perhaps from our trip this winter to see Grandma Z. We are, however, not driving this time. NOT. If you don’t know why that’s in all caps, you maybe haven’t been around here long enough.

Good Livin’

I know small town life is not for everyone. My boss, for instance, has lived just outside Boston his entire life. I like to tell him things like, “I’m usually home from the preschool pickup run by then, but there was a cow on the road, and some of us stopped to herd it back into the field,” just to watch him break out in hives. (I made that one up, though it could happen. I can’t think of any of the specific things I’ve told him lately.)

Despite the danger of animals on the road and the irritation of trains stopped interminably over the back road crossings, I like it out here. I was reminded of that today when I went to vote. I lived in Indianapolis for a time, and when I voted there, I stood in line for 30-60 minutes every time. That’s just time standing in line, not the actual voting or getting there and back. I checked my time on leaving and arriving back at the house when I went to vote. Door-to-door, I came in at less than 45 minutes. That’s WITH the 20-minute walk I decided to take because I was right by the trail and it’s a gorgeous morning. I’ll have to work a little longer this afternoon, but I got to be outside instead of in the basement on the exercise bike. Win!

I admit that I do have doubts twice a year or so when everybody empties their manure pits onto the fields. And I wish there was an Ethiopian restaurant less than an hour’s drive away.

But still, I guess I’ll stay.