Thursday, February 28, 2013

Now, Go Cat - Go!

Well, this is it.  Once I actually think of something to go with this title, finish typing and click on publish, I will have posted every day this month.  Yay me!

So what, you say? 

I met my goal, that's what!  It may seem a small accomplishment to you, but so is tying your shoes.  Try running a marathon without that first step.

Hubby has been asking periodically when I plan on self-publishing my novels.  (I have two thirds of a young adult trilogy languishing on my desk.) After a long, drawn out, disappointing attempt at finding a publisher in this recession-ridden, celebrity-crazed market I have decided that is (probably) my best option.  So what if fate has not smiled kindly upon my writing career thus far?  It is high time I stop waiting around for fate and just get the job done.

It's taken a while for me to wrap my head around the idea of going it alone.  Self-promotion isn't something I excel at despite the narcissistic nature evident in these ramblings. Talent and self-sufficiency aside, I know my limitations....

....or maybe.... I've leaned on them too long.

This month besides being a fun challenge was a first step.  There's enough material to browse thru here to keep newcomers busy even though I won't be posting as often.  And hopefully, now this blog has enough of a presence to go it alone for a while, just like me.

Here's my new challenge: To publish


by Easter.....


by Christmas, and....


by my birthday next year.  (And yes, that is original cover art.)

I'm not giving up my day job (or my play, or this blog forever, or most importantly my vocation as wife and mother) so things might get a bit wild around here for a while.  But as a famous philosopher once said "Have no fear of this mess!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Three To Get Ready

Awwww... come one!  You knew it was coming, didn'tcha?

Actually, comings and goings are very appropriate subjects for a blog about surviving large families.  Or more specifically, transitions.

Why is it transitions are so hard?  Let me answer that with another question. If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, why do we constantly head off on tangents, especially when timing is crucial?  Does this happen in your house too?  You know you have to get out the door at a certain time to make it to point B, but despite having roused everyone early so as to assure more than adequate time to prepare, one or several someones hold up the show.  Maybe it's a last minute item that needs retrieving, personal grooming to be completed, or more often than not, just plain ol' attitude.

Living this far out, we try to pack as many errands and appointments into every trip to town as we can.  Sometimes this means a lot of waiting around.  And even though I might not need to be at the chiropractor till 2:00, we may have to leave the house at 11:00 to drop this one here, that one there, and pick up something for so-and-so in between.  It can get pretty complicated, and everyone looks to Momster to keep it all straight.  Most of the time I do, but usually not too gracefully.

While we've struggled with transitions over the years, we've never really come up with a solid strategy for managing them well.  Hopefully, that is about to change.  I'm about to implement a new family policy.  It may be a little challenging at first (especially for me!) but in the long run it just might be brilliant.  It's called Three To Get Ready.  Here's how it works:

Every time we approach a transition, whether from one activity to another or switching time zones, if EACH family member would only follow these three simple steps, improved flow will happen.

1) Think about who else (other than self) this transition is affecting.
2) Do everything possible to not hinder them.
3) When you can, do everything possible to help them.

Pretty simple. Some might call it mindfulness, respect, and charity.  I like to call it real love rather than lip service.

And since getting ready is what this whole life is about, isn't it about time we take transitions seriously?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two For The Show

Actually, more like Two for Tuesday, as in two topics for the price of one.

Today is just an ordinary day, kinda gray and quiet - relatively speaking.  I attended a funeral this morning while the Critters (who are enjoying February break) lounged around at home and burned up our allotted internet usage for the day.  Not that I blame them.  We live in a remote part of the world (northern New England) where we still don't have access to high speed internet without a satellite dish --- meaning our ability to watch You Tube videos and look up pictures of cute little kittens is severely limited. Can you imagine anything more tragic? 

Some mornings as I sip coffee and gaze out upon our scenic mountain vista, I contemplate all of the horrors I might inflict upon my oh-so-deprived offspring, such as actually making them spend time in the fresh air of the great outdoors.  Such a cruel Momster, I know!  Today was not one of those days. Today rather than forcing the issue, I guilted them into it by taking advantage of my poor deceased friend. 

"I bet Mrs. M. would like to be outside right now.  I bet if she could do it all again, she'd spend a lot more time outdoors."

Actually, I don't know anything of the sort.  She wasn't exactly the athletic type.

But maybe it was attending her funeral this morning that made me think about what I would miss most if I could no longer do it.  Just walking in the crisp, fresh air while enjoying the sights and sounds of God's creation would rank right up there.  So would spending time playing with my Critters.  I get so busy with other, less important "stuff" that I sometimes forget what incredible gifts each of them are.  And sometimes not having "stuff" (such as unlimited access to the internet) is a blessing in disguise.  So excuse me for a moment (or hopefully an hour or two) while I go spend some quality time with the ones I love.


Take II

A few posts back I taunted you by withholding important information.  (No, I'm still not going to tell you what that mystery non-post was about!)  Though I shared my audition experience, I left you hanging about what role I got cast in for Jesus Christ Superstar.

I am....... drum roll, please.....

A Soul Sister


an Apostle.

Pretty cool, huh?  Two roles for the price (and believe me, I paid in nerves!) of one audition. Last night I joined the rest of the cast in the first read/sing through.  It felt really good to be up on stage again, especially since the hardest part was over.  Looking forward to finding out if I still have what it takes... but since they already cast me, guess they'll have to take whatever I've got!  So starts a new chapter....

Monday, February 25, 2013

One For The Money

I'm not, are you?

Here we are, counting down the final days till the end of the month and twenty-eight consecutive posts.  I've been enjoying the challenge and hope you have been too. And I also hope you know I'm not in it for the dough.

Take a look along the sidebar.  See any ads? 


Now, why (if I'm such a talented writer) wouldn't I be writing for profit?  Is it because I totally lack ambition?  Connections?  Sense? You already know I'm not independently wealthy --- name one person with five kids who is! And those five kids are all gonna want to go to college, which trust me - ain't cheap.

Truth be told, I'd get paid for this if I could.  I not only love blogging, but it loves me too.  I'm better with a creative outlet, and this medium allows me to grow both as an artist and writer.  Attempting to amuse you on a regular basis forces me to look at the humorous side of life more often, and that's good for everyone.

There are three posts still to come, but I really do have to move on to more "profitable" work after this month-long journey ends.  But don't worry - I won't stay gone.  I'll be back from time to time with updates on life along the Backroad of Busted Mufflers and the Critters' latest antics. But feel free to come back and poke around in old posts anytime....

*In case you're wondering, the Top Mommy Blogs icon boosts my rating on their site when you click (so please, please do!) but so far at least, the only thing that benefits from it is my ego!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Return of the Condiment Queen

While Hubby and I were dating (and even prior) it was a well known fact that one of us was rather fond of condiments. Since he's a basic ketchup and mustard kinda guy, you may be able to guess who it was.

He affectionately dubbed me The Condiment Queen after an episode at the local pizza joint involving not only the classic add-ons of garlic, Parmesan, and oregano, but also massive quantities of chilis and hot sauce. There may have been more options too, and if there were I'm sure I took full advantage.  But since my head caught fire that day, that's all I can really remember. 

It's not that I didn't like plain old pizza, or whatever.  I just liked to spice it up a little.  Still do.

Which must be why I kept on adding children...

When we had FirstBorn life felt pretty complete. But with each addition our family just kept getting better and better, each member adding new flavor to the mix.  It's no coincidence that the most addictive foods are not only sweet, but salty, acid and umami as well.  Rich with layers of flavor.  We've been stewing all together in this pot for so many years now that sometimes it's hard to discern those individual flavors.  Except.... now that Firstborn is away at college, dished out into the world separately, we're beginning to find out how she'll season things there sans the rest of us.

I'm not too worried - I know she won't leave it bland.  She's inherited my love of spice.

And she carries a little of each of us with her.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dirty Rotten Cheater

Not a label often applied to me, but there's a first (hopefully non-repeatable) time for everything.

I have a confession to make. Even though I committed to writing a post every day this month, I didn't do it.  I cheated.

Yesterday I wrote two.

This is not one of them.  The first of the two you may have already read - it's the post immediately preceding this one.  The second of them you may never get to read.  Not unless I work up the nerve to risk really offending you.  You see, not only am I a dirty, rotten cheater ---- I'm a chicken.  So you're getting this (freshly written today) totally bland and non-offensive post instead.

Guilty Conscience is my middle name. After all, I'm a mother and a Catholic to boot!  Any mother (or Catholic, for that matter) worth her salt wouldn't be entirely comfortable with herself if she wasn't feeling at least a little guilty about something, anything... everything.  Most of the time, guilt can be dealt with.  Thank goodness!

But the reason you're not getting to read the post I pre-wrote is not because of a guilty conscience, but a preference for a clear one. It is because, dear reader, I don't want you to think any less of me than you already may. (Not to be confused with "think of me less often" than you already may, in which case - how would I know?) Because of it's objectionable subject matter.  And no, I'm not gonna tell you what that is because someday I may decide my conscience be hanged!

Only one other person in the world has read that post so far, but I know Hubby loves me unconditionally.  Someday you may know me well and love me despite of it too.  And then you'll know that whether it ever gets posted or not, I have your best interest at heart.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Something Old, Something New, blah-da, blah-da, blah...

You're probably thinking this post is about weddings or brides, or maybe even traditions, but you're wrong.

This is another post about breakfast.

You've already read about pasta for breakfast, and other such culinary quirks of mine. This morning I opted for something a little more traditional --- albeit with a typical Momster twist.  What could be older (or newer) than eggs to start your day right?  Oh, favored protein source the world over, your compact oval shapes beckon with the promise of long lasting heartiness and energy, fuel fit for a blissful, busy/full day!

This morning I cracked open two (large?) brown eggs, and quickly decided to scramble the little beasties.  Accidentally breaking the yokes may have been a contributing factor.  But, what to add?  Since it's a Friday in Lent, ham was out of the question.  Likewise the leftover burger in the fridge. Suddenly the jeweled tones of peppers caught my eye: brilliant ruby and verdigris..... and a jar of topaz, pickled, hot banana pepper rings - yee-haw!  I cut them all up and threw in a handful of baby spinach for good measure, a little tip borrowed from the breakfast chef at work. The vibrant slurry quickly coagulated in the hot pan.

Hmmmmm..... old & new, borrowed and..... bleu!  Crumbled stinky goodness added just the perfect touch!  Dumped onto a plate and topped with a decorative squirt of sriracha, a heavenly new favorite was born.

 I think I'll make it a Friday tradition.....

....unless, of course, there are cold, leftover fried trout in the fridge....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tacky, Not Techie

I am not, nor will I ever be technologically savvy. 

The Critters and Hubby are.

But I am, and ever shall be, a fan of the good old fashioned way of doing things, especially when it involves crayons, pen and paper, scissors, tape and/or glue.  I love it when my budding artists/writers bring home their doodles and projects from school, eager for my appraisal.  I love posting things on my wall --- my Critter Art Wall, that is--- which is covered top to bottom with layers of creativity.

Most people have at least one or two juvenile artworks magnetised to their refrigerator. I have far too many Critters for that. Here it takes an entire wall and then some, and mind you, I do take down and replace items now and again.  (There is an overflowing file cabinet in the basement attesting to that fact.) It's not hidden away for our eyes only either.  Our art wall is the first thing you see when you enter the house.  Visitors who comment on the  display are proudly conducted thru the developing years of the artists by this collection's loving curator.

I had plans to make the house barren before Lent, strip the walls clean, eliminate all clutter - HA!  As usual, time wins in every race against it. But looking at the art wall today, I was really glad.  Part of my Lenten experience this year is not only striving to become the person God intends me to be, but more fully recognising the special-ness of each and every person.

Beginning right here at home.

So, while some people post scores of pictures on cyber walls, I'll keep on tacking up memories one masterpiece at a time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Transformer

The transformation was far from painless.  But it is now total.

Only Son has morphed from....




My poor Critter!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An Explanation

Yesterday's post may have seemed out of the blue, though auditioning for our local theater production of Jesus Christ, Superstar is something I'd been considering for months.  What with everything that's been happening health-wise in this house, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to manage it. Yet despite frayed nerves and that darn, lingering head cold, I worked up my courage and gave it a shot.

It was definitely one of the most terrifying experiences of my life!  And that includes accumulated hours of hard pitocin- accelerated labor.

But after all these years of shuttling the Critters back & forth to auditions and play practices, I realized that I really miss being onstage myself.  Narcissistic, you say?  Or perhaps a midlife crisis?  Maybe both.  Or maybe girls just wanna have fun, even fifty year old ones.

The last time I auditioned for anything I was a confident young college student with a drama scholarship, young being the operative word in that statement.  I wouldn't exactly be auditioning for the same roles these days.  But that's the great thing about community theater.  If this were The Sound of Music you might see a cast with a fifty year old Maria to a seventeen year old Captain.  (Can't tell you how badly I wanted to trip the leading lady and belt out a verse of title song when the Critters performed it in children's theater this summer! Ah, for the glory days!  It would've worked that Third Child & Sweetie Petite-y were Von Trapp children, but since Only Son was cast as the Captain, I refrained.)

The only real role for a woman in this upcoming production is Mary Magdalene, so I went for it.  Me and every other woman who wasn't shootin' for Judas.  It's been even longer since I last saw this show than since I had no stretch I was a little fuzzy on the lyrics.  In fact, some of the music I would swear I've never heard before.  But there I was, up on that stage with all the other Mary wanna-bes not knowing how to love my little heart out.

And yes, it was scary, but it was also a blast.  No matter what happens, I'm glad I did it.

And in the meantime, I'm living the role of a lifetime.  My audience may not always be appreciative - yet.  But I'm hoping for a standing ovation by the time they have families of their own.


This just in: before I'd even finished spell-checking I got a call from the director.  But.... I think I'll make you wait till next post.......

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Audition

*to be sung to the tune of "I Don't Know How to Love Him"

I don't know how to do this.
I don't know what I'm doing
On this stage, here on this stage
It's been thirty years, well - give or take,
Since I got up the nerve.

I don't know how to sing this.
What if I mess up the lyrics?
It's just a song, a pretty song,
And I've sung so many songs before
But always ones I knew.

Okay, here goes.

Oops, I started high-
Did I stop too soon?
Is my voice too soft?
Should I belt or croon?
I never knew I'd shake like this
Feeling like I'll swoon.

Don't you think it's rather awkward
All these other people waiting
For their turn to come on stage
And try their best, but do their worst
But I did my worst first
It scared me so.

I really thought I'd pee my pants
Right up on that stage!

But if they say they want me,
I'll be back here in a heartbeat
It's been so long, yes, much too long.
And I want the part... heck! Any part-
Please, I don't want to go.
I've missed it so.
I want it so.
I love it so.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Nope, not  a misspelling.  Febluary just seemed more witty than February Blues.

I've been sitting here tossing around ideas for this post, but nothing seems to click.  Ever have times like that?  You want to share something meaningful, something that not only resonates with you, but will hopefully touch other hearts (or at least tickle funny bones), and you can't seem to settle on what that should be.

It's not due to an appalling lack of material --- on the contrary, everyday life is simply overflowing with it.  I usually spark on a title idea, and - BLAM!  The post practically writes itself.  But occasionally it is a struggle. 

Here we are more than halfway thru this month.  The groundhog has spoken - or at least, it's shadow has.  Throats were blessed and ashes have marked us.  Hearts have been wooed, won and/or broken.  Presidents past are soon to be honored.  And don't forget the Critters' winter break!  A lot happens in February considering how length of days-challenged it is. And, not to go there again, but throw in cold and flu season on top of everything else and this month is overwhelmingly full.

And more than a little boring....

Not that prognosticating rodents, rites of sacrifice, romance, and truthful politicians with wooden dentures aren't interesting.  (I'm not so thrilled about stuffy heads and body aches, and frankly think sandwiching in a winter break between Christmas Break and Spring Break is overkill.)  But the constant gray skies and muddied snowbanks of me, Febluary sure make this month seem like the longest of the year.

Good thing you've got me to entertain you.....

-----------scroll down-----------

Yep.... it's a long, long month.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Survivor: Cold & Flu Edition

Yesterday was not one of my better days.  In fact, yesterday I would've gotten voted off the island for sure.

But today I am a survivor.

Today, I would have been an asset to any team despite only functioning at about 50% of my usual capabilities. Today I would have made my own MOHGAW Momster proud.  If you're new here and wondering what MOHGAW means, it's my mother's pat response to inquiries about her disposition or well-being --- she's Mean & Ornery and Hard to Get Along With, thank you very much!  Me too, in case you hadn't noticed.

This condition stems from having plates too full. 

My MOHGAW Momster balanced twice the plate I do, yet I rarely heard her complain about her health.  Other things?  Heck, yes!  But not her health.  That woman worked thru everything because, as she so succinctly put it "I didn't have time to get sick!"

So, even though my employers gave me a pass for today, I went in to work anyhow.  Not because I wanted to be known as an infectious bug bomb, but because I wanted to show myself (and okay, maybe Hubby too) the kinda stuff I'm really made of.

Since I work directly with the public I was extra, extra fastidious today.  Normally I hate Purell, but today it was my best friend.  I also used disinfectant wipes repeatedly on every surface I touched.  And though I may have slouched and shuffled whenever there was no one around to witness it, I still smiled and greeted guests amicably, took reservations without any major mess ups and remained helpful and pleasant with my coworkers.  Just because I could barely hear callers, and my croaked replies sounded less professional and upbeat than usual, well... that's to be expected with a head still full of crud.  I would have to say that sheer determination got me through the day --- and that makes me a keeper.  No, a survivor!


.... Hubby just offered to take us out for pizza instead of me making our usual homemade, and you're darn right - I'm taking him up on it!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Death Warmed Over

Okay, so I know I'm supposed to be trying to be less of a whiner, but this lousy cold on top of everything else just stinks!  How's a Momster gonna do what she's gotta do when she can barely do diddle?  Yes, it's just a cold, albeit with chills and body aches, and I've managed with many a cold before.  And no, I am not just having a pity party for myself.  Husband has been a gem, and I would feel really guilty for faking.  And the only thing that would make me feel worse right now would be to feel guilty on top of it.  I feel like I sound, which is so lousy that when I called my employer to say I would still be in if I couldn't get anyone to cover, he didn't want me there germing up the place.  I'm hoping to shake it (come on, Airborne!) so I can at least go in tomorrow - two shifts in a row is more than I wanna be out.

But it seems like this zombie theme just keeps coming....

Yikes!  I should know better than to try and draw when I feel like this, let alone write.  Oh, dear reader,  forget you've ever been here today!  Go on with your life, hopefully healthy, and visit again when this delirious Momster is back to her normal snarky self.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Funny Valentine

What's black and white and red all over? 

My fingers from helping Bonus Baby rush job her unfiinished Valentines this morning!

We managed (with a little help from my Funny Valentine Husband) to complete the task with no tears and teeth brushed before heading out the door.  It's interesting... what started out as a fun project ended up, as is often the case, with me barking out instructions with withering patience.  Until Husband stepped in with his offer to assist with the labeling.  He didn't critique my manner or her handiwork, but rather, calmly provided a helping hand.  It wasn't much, but it was just enough.

That seems to be his way.

Yesterday's testing revealed nothing unusual, and no answers at all.  But Husband was right there with me, joking and soothing as we awaited our delayed surgeon, providing much needed comic relief.  Meeting his mischievous gaze (he has great eyes!) and enjoying playful banter was almost like being on a date.  While his ashes-smeared forehead reminded everyone who entered our little cubicle that Lent had begun, his evident love for me even after five Critters and twenty years of marriage was it's own powerful witness.

I love you, Funny Valentine - don't change a thing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Totally Tubular!

I'm prepared.  At least, as much as one ever can be for such events.

Yet again I am going under - anesthesia, that is - to have another tube rudely inserted into orifices that ought to remain tube free --- this time from the top down, thank goodness ---  in search of a stray stone or other reason for my return to pre-gallbladder removal discomfort.

I'm a little nervous despite knowing what to expect. The procedure is called an upper endoscopy, and prep for it is far less involved than for my recent colonoscopy. You don't wanna go there.  I didn't even have to fast, though just liquids today.  And hopefully they will find what they're looking for.

I don't have too many orifices left.

The Critters are taking it all in stride.  When I had my appendix removed (while very pregnant with Bonus Baby) it was pretty traumatic for everyone, especially Third Child, who tends toward a cup half empty outlook.  We (both Bonus Baby & I) came through the surgery with flying colors, but since then this ol' Momster has never been quite the same.  Not that my appendectomy was to blame - rollerblades played a distinct role in at least one health related issue.  But a lot has happened since then, and so, the Critters have gotten used to Momster and her medical complaints.

But I haven't.  I'm really, really, REALLY ready for wellness.  Not just the "I'm fine" kinda feeling, but glow-y good health, the kind that makes you feel like dancing for joy.  Hope that's what's in store for me.  It really would be totally tubular!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pasta for Breakfast

It's common knowledge around these parts that I have very eclectic taste. For example, my three favorite movies at the moment are The Natural, The Incredibles, and The Fifth Element.  (Hmmm..... "The" - a common thread.)  My choice of music includes Celtic harp, blaring 80's rock and show tunes. Some days I dress like a stereotypical librarian, and on others, a hippie artist (though more often than not, a couch potato).  Our home is filled with antiques, junk-tiques, original art and home-made furniture of every wooden hue.  Oh, and drooping plants... 'cuz I'm a really poor plant parent.

Where eccentricity really shines through is my choice of breakfast foods.  I am just not a toast & bowl of cereal kinda gal.

Eggs are good.....sitting atop a pile of tortilla chips and smothered in cheddar & salsa. Or made into microwave custard with leftover rice and a brown sugar/butter topping. Or my all-time favorite: Eggs Benedict, a rarely indulged in treat.  But all of these are pretty normal in at least some part of the world.

Usually, I eat leftovers.  And I'm not talking re-toasted waffles.

Cold tabbouleh ranks right up there.  Earlier this week I enjoyed a cold pork chop, and cold pizza is a staple.  But today I craved something warm.  Last night's pasta with chicken, cannelli beans and wilted greens fit the bill to a tee.  Almost as yummy as the cold Oriental cabbage salad I savored the morning after the Super Bowl.

It's nice when your tastes line up with your values --- in this case, inherent frugality.  Now, if only I could pass this on to the Critters.....


I realize that some of my posts during this "month of blogging every day" may lack the flavor of a fully developed and illustrated essay, so I've added a "Top Posts" feature to the sidebar.  Not that these are my particular favorites, but they are the ones that have gotten the most hits.  Feel free to check out these and other past posts, and if you're so inclined...... think of it as finishing off those leftovers!

Monday, February 11, 2013

In the Good Ol' Days...

...I could wake up and get out of the house in under fifteen minutes.
...a week's worth of dirty dishes could be hidden in the toaster oven.
...I could put whatever I wanted to on my pizza - and not share it!
...laundry day was every other week, and I never found stray socks in the sofa. tweezers or favorite blouse never came up missing.
...I spent more time in the living room than behind the wheel of a minivan.
...being snowed in meant doing nothing all day.
...etc., etc., etc.

I do a lot of whining about all of the work and inconvenience generated by the Critters.  When I stop and listen to myself sometimes, it sounds as if I'm not very happy with my lot.  And though painful to admit, I don't act like it sometimes either.

I got to thinking today: If I don't like the way it sounds when I complain, how must it feel to the Critters?

Despite my grousing, I know they know I love them --- and yes, I do tell them.  Every day.  And show them to.  But do they ever think that I think I'd be happier without them?

Well, just to set the record straight....

I WOULDN'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But it wouldn't hurt me to act more like it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Well Adjusted Kid

Sometimes it pays to really listen to your children.  It pays even more to act upon what you hear.

For weeks, maybe months now Sweetie Petite-y has been complaining of a sore neck.  She first mentioned it one morning as I woke her for school.  Coincidentally, later that same day news broke about tainted steroids coming from a pharmacy in the northeast causing spinal meningitis.  She's never had a steroid injection, but she does use a steroid-based ointment on her eczema. I calmly panicked.... and called the pediatrician.

Turns out she just had a stiff neck and muscle spasms, not at all related to the sensational headlines.  I felt a bit foolish (as always when I let fear get the best of me), but at least I could stop worrying.  We treated her symptoms with heat, an occasional neck rub, and even more infrequent ibuprofen.  She stopped mentioning it.

But her pain never really went away.

I've told you before that Sweetie Petite-y is not a whiner.  Most in this household are...

...but she's a stoic little bugger - she and First Born take after their father in that regard. 
So when she brought it up again, I rubbed a little more, but I also searched online for a cause and solution.  And one day I mentioned something about going to the chiropractor. 

She was all over it.

Now, I have been to the chiropractor.  I don't know why it took so long to think of it for her, since I almost always feel much better after an adjustment.  Maybe because she's still so young, I didn't see it as necessary.  But, it couldn't hurt, right?

Well, actually.... watching Sweetie Petite-y get adjusted was painful.  Seeing her smiling face afterward was priceless. 

And knowing that she is still pain free, well, that's making us both smile.


It has been extrememly difficult not making pictures for the last few posts.  I mean, I could do so much with the zombie theme!  But I am sticking to my resolve, and since time is still in crunch mode, no new cartoons.... though I never said anything about recycling old ones.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Revenge of the Zombie Momster

I now know for a fact that I am entirely capable of pushing myself beyond normal human endurance - but that doesn't mean I like it.  Zombie Momster has reared her ugly head again today.  I should have expected it after staying up late again last night to post.  In all the zombie movies and weird games like Plants vs. Zombies they just keep coming and coming even if you chop them to bits. 

SUPER OCD MOM didn't stand a chance.

Lucky for Husband and the Critters, Zombie Momster had to work today.  And, also lucky for them, by the time my shift was over (and with the help of an extra, extra cuppa degrump) I came home relatively pumped up.  But it's nearing 5:00 P.M. and the shadows are creeping in.  Battle is being waged....

Tonight is homemade pizza night, so I'm really hoping SUPER OCD MOM will triumph by then, don't you?  Zombie made pizza just doesn't sound very appealing..........

Friday, February 8, 2013

Zombie Momster Meets her Match

Dawn of the walking dead.

Only Son thinks he is preparing for a far off day when he mentions the Zombie Apocalypse.  Little does he realize that his Momster woke up to it.


Only a few short hours after crawling between cold sheets.

The night was much too short.  After sitting through three One Act Plays that featured numerous high school students with whom I shared no blood connection, and finally, one One Act Play that did, I crept home with said Critters in tow several hours past my normal bedtime.  On a school night, no less.  I was more than ready for sleep, and despite icy toes and softly snoring Husband, fell immediately into blissful repose --- as promised by the warranty on my faux Tempurpedic.

My bladder (never the same post Critters) woke me in the wee hours (Ha!), but I fought the urge (Ha ha!) and won, falling back into a restless sleep for another precious half hour.  I then crawled from the now toasty sheets in a bleary-eyed stupor, gave Third Child an early wake-up call per her request, and crawled back in bed entertaining the notion of finishing out the hour at least dozing.  But Husband, who hadn't attended the Playsssszzzzzzzz was eager for a debriefing. 


After stumbling through the morning routine and taking Sweetie Petite-y to an appointment (see last post about logistics), I stayed on after dropping her off at school to help decorate the gym for the Father/Daughter Dance.  An extra cuppa degrump kept me focused enough that I didn't try to fill anything inappropriate with helium, but just barely. 

A lot more happened throughout the day, but since zombies don't notice much about their surroundings, I couldn't tell you what.

Until the phone call.

The phone call where First Born says she's bringing another friend home with her from college this weekend - do I mind? 

And, of course, I don't mind!  Really!  First Born, who hardly brought a soul over throughout her years in high school, has suddenly become the hostess with the mostest (it's easy to entertain when you don't have to clean the place you're inviting people to), and suddenly Zombie Momster is overpowered by SUPER OCD MOM!

I go into hyper drive sweeping, vacuuming and straightening up.  Then I remember that I was gonna have leftovers tonight....but that will not do! I pull out some chops and throw them into the microwave to defrost, roast some potatoes and veg and call it good.  We have a lovely meal when everyone arrives.

But that is not all, oh no, that is not all!  There is still a dance to dress daughters for, hair to braid, photos to snap.  I ride along with Husband and the Bevy of Estrogen because there is punch to be poured and cookies to be meted out.

And now it is 11:57 P.M. and, by gum!  I will get this post done today!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Logistics 101 - A (Short?) Course for Parents

Course Description:  Non technical information and statistics intended to illuminate the murky depths of  parenting multiple offspring while maintaining safety and sanity.  Parents of singles exempt.

Mandatory Supplies:  Multiple offspring, small house, mini-van, excessive "stuff", and a loose screw.  Also, a boatload of patience (which may be obtained in small amounts as required).

Daily Syllabus: 

6:00 - 7:30 A.M. - Waking & Readying for School - Approximately 2/3rds offspring will put up a fight. Begin with the most amiable to set the tone. Wake in ten minute intervals to avoid lavatory crush. Ignore all complaints until offspring are dressed and downstairs.  Utilize kitchen for your own needs while clear, then step aside.  Insist on food despite resistance.  Expect delays.

7:30 - 8:00 A.M. -  Surviving the Commute - ALWAYS pre-assign seating in the vehicle - eldest gets shotgun, youngest picks radio station. Allow teen offspring personal tech devices with earbuds only if  kept below ear-splitting decibles.  Note: A minimum of once a week, someone will need to arrive early.  Parent chaufeering least number gets to take the "cool" car.  Intelligent alternative --- live within walking distance.

8:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. - Appointments -  3% will have been incorrectly recorded on your daily planner.  65% will require an additional trip.  100% will require more time than you have alotted. You may attempt to double or triple-up back-to-back pediatrician and dental visits, but more than this may result in a meltdown.  Bring snacks.

Afternoons are tricky due to numerous unforeseen variables.  Amend the following to suit.

12:00 - 3:00 P.M. - Errands - Grocery shopping best accomplished when babies are sleepy and preschoolers are not. Multiple stops (multiple buckling/unbuckling of car seats) best left for another time.  Fill up gas tank at full service station when available.

3:00 - 3:30 P.M. - Pick up and delivery - Transfer appropriate offspring to afterschool activities.  Go back after urgent text from child you missed. 

3:30 - 4:30 P.M. - More Appointments/Activities.

4:30 - 5:30 P.M.  - Drive or Down-time? - One or more offspring will always need to stay later - plan accordingly. (Tip: Working spouse may take on second, part-time job to kill time in cost effective manner.)

5:30 - 7:00 P.M. - Pre-dinner Crunch - Non working spouse oversees snacks & homework, engages in meal preparation, and responds to various & sundry pressing matters while playing Candyland and/or sculpting Playdoh.

7:00 - 7:30 - Dinner - Includes clean up.  Expect complaints.

7:30 - 8:30 - First bedtime - Take turns overseeing bedtime routine to avoid burn out. Older teens may need pick-up from evening activities from now until midnight (they will be ravenous upon arrival).

8:30 P.M. - 1:00 A.M. - Lights out - Fact: Teens are night owls.  Do not try to stay up as late as they do.  You need sleep, regardless if they think they don't.

Extra credit for two working parents and/or managing to have any outside interests.

Proficiency Level: After 18 years
Excels - Fruit & Veg. eating, drug free A+ students
Succeeds - C+ students with no criminal record
Fails - Offspring in cage while you are in the Bahamas


Check out these additional course offerings: Building Bunkbeds for Beginners; Bedroom Delegation - Who gets a Single; Disguising Healthy Food 101; Feeding Five or More on a Shoestring; and Hand-me-downs - Sustainable Dressing for a New Generation.



Wednesday, February 6, 2013


No, this title is not code. 

It just means that not only can I not decide what to write about today, but I'm having trouble prioritizing.  Heck, I'm having trouble doing anything!  Did you ever have day with so much potential that all you could do was sit like a lump and watch it all unfold?  Or unravel, as the case may be....

Some might call it laziness, apathy, or more kindly, just being overwhelmed.  But it's not like there is anything unusual about what's on my plate for today.  I just made a list (which I won't bore you with) to check.  What I lack is motivation.

Maybe I can chalk it up to CABIN FEVER!

I do live in the Northeast, and despite the lack of drifting snow, frigid temps have kept me relatively housebound.  Except for necessary errands, church and work, I've been a hermit....

....a hermit who happens to live with several very noisy and active people.  And that's the crux right there.  It would be acceptable for me to just curl up in my little cocoon of blankets next to the wood stove, sip a mug of something warm and devour a good book --- if I lived alone.  I might even achieve hibernation, as I've been known to doze off within seconds of putting my feet up.  But this Momster can't afford the luxury.  Not with all of the responsibilities and my.....ahem! - the Critter's - busy schedules and social agendas.

I only have snippets of time, so deciding what to do while I have the house all to myself is where I'm struggling.   I know I should tackle the left over pots-n-pans on the counter, or any other of the numerous beckoning household chores. Or I should brave the elements and go for a walk, or snowshoe if I can find enough snow.  I could pull out the modeling clay that's been sitting on my sewing table for over a year just waiting to be sculpted into something brilliant.  Or.... I can write something pithy about nothing in particular just to say I did.

Yep, that'll do.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Morning for Miracles

It began disguised as a normal Tuesday.

I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning.  Despite the rosy glow peeking through the shade on the east facing window, it seemed much too early.  But alas, on the rare occasion that Bonus Baby doesn't clamber into bed with us, squirming unmercifully to get me up and going, my aging bladder does.

The Critters seemed to be moving as slowly as I was, maybe because it was so cold in the house.  Finally confident that they were sufficiently roused, I headed downstairs toward the warm smell of of coffee, though I never seem to get a cuppa degrump until everyone is out the door.  But this morning, I actually did...

Sweetie Petite-y came down while Bonus Baby was finishing her Crispy Rice, complaining of a sore throat.  She made herself a cup of tea (because she is self sufficient like that) and even cleaned up after herself - which for her, doesn't seem to come naturally with self sufficiency.  For once, Bonus Baby didn't even ask Sweetie Petite-y to drop everything and play, being totally absorbed in tracing her own hand on the cereal box.

Third Child came down fully dressed  in modest clothing and humming softly under her breath.  And now I started to take notice..... fully dressedModest clothing?  Humming softly?  The only thing Third Child ever does softly is bat her eye lashes!  Here she was opening the fridge to make herself a lunch without being nagged, telling me that she has decided to become happy-go-lucky!  I don't know if me eyes popped out of my head, but she giggled and kissed me on the cheek and went happy-go-luckily about her business.

Did I wake up to a houseful of aliens?

Finally, Only Son made an appearance, and as usual, was barely in time to grab pre-packaged snacks and head out the door.  I could tell he was still sore and achy from whatever had been bothering him last night. Knowing that spells C-R-A-N-K-Y, I attempted to steer everyone clear.  But in typical Momster fashion, I just couldn't help trying to mother him -

"Do you want to take somethin-"


"Did you pack a lunc-"


"Are you gonna be oka-"

"I'M FINE!!!!"  Slam!

I shuffled over to the window to wave and watch them pull out.  Husband, who (as always) has made my coffee, built a fire in the wood stove, and blessed and kissed me goodbye, is scraping frost from the windshield of the van, which he went out early to warm up for the CrittersOnly Son flings his backpack inside and hesitates....and turns to come back inside.  I meet him at the door thinking he forgot something.

And he did.

"Sorry, Mom" he says, wrapping his arms around me in a warm, but gentle hug.  "I love you."

He smiles, and heads back out the door empty handed...... leaving me with a heart that's full.


And one more miracle:  I got this written and posted in only half an hour!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bottled Up

Three days down, twenty-five to go....

I've mentioned before what a highly distractable person I am.  If men's thought processes are like spokes on a wheel, and most women's are like a jar of marbles, mine are more like carbonated salad dressing. (Nope, never heard of such a thing either; just bear with me 'cuz I'm trying to make an analogy here!)

There are lots of ingredients in this salad dressing, some weightier than others, some highly fragmented.  But when thoroughly mixed in proper proportions, they coalesce into a flavorful sauce that enhances whatever it touches.  Left alone, the individual ingredients settle into recognizable components, clearly defined.  But shaken up and opened, they spew like a volcano onto whatever (or whoever) is nearest.

Okay, so now that you have that word picture in your head, let me explain.

There's almost always a lot going on in my head.  As Momster, not only mine, but all the Critters' and Hubby's "stuff" (both organizational and literal) gets thrown into the mix too.  It's a lot to keep suspended.  When I have time (and peace and quiet), things can settle into levels of importance, and though not always easily separated, can be dealt with accordingly.  But when everything is stirred up in my head and too much pressure builds, it can get messy.  To my credit, I've been pretty good, and haven't blown up on anyone lately. I've been juggling a lot though, and at the moment, everything is pretty well shaken.  So writing every day this month is not only a practice in self discipline, it's adding a few bubbles to the mix.  I'm hoping the result will be something new and extremely satisfying, but it might just blow up in my face.  So, just to simplify the recipe a little, I will only be adding cartoons when I have plenty of extra other words, close to never this month.  But stay with me!  The goal is to become a better writer, and I'll need you to tell me if I get the flavor right.

And, better make that twenty four days...........

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl - Pooper Bowl

I'm just in it for the commercials, conversation and cheering.

Oh, and of course, the..........


Here's wishing a Super-Duper Birthday to my February 3rd gals - two of the most beautiful people on the planet! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Meal Planning???

Ahhh... weekends!

Highly anticipated around the world as a time of rest and relaxation.... who doesn't love em?  I do, though they aren't quite what they used to be now that I'm working part-time. Sleeping in?  Haven't done much of that since FirstBorn entered the picture.  And piles of laundry and assorted messes are usually still waiting when I get home, so outside employment seems a breeze compared to my main occupation of raising the Critters.

No, what I really miss when I have to work on a Saturday morning is food. 

There is something intrinsically foreign about the notion of of a leisurely brunch.  Not for everyone, mind you.  But for this Momster the concept is just that - a concept.

What actually happens is more like "lunchfast" - bolted in stolen moments - usually stone cold - over the course of an hour in between answering the phone, assisting guests, and the myriad other tasks I am responsible for at the little county inn where I work.

I can't eat first thing when I get up.  Coffee keeps me going as the morning speeds along.  Though I've been awake since early pre-dawn, I've been busy and haven't noticed the gnawing in my gut.  But along about 10 - 10:30 I begin to realize, hey!  I'm hungry!  And lucky for me, there is a very fine breakfast chef who will  lovingly prepare my food once the guests are all served.... see previous paragraph.

What would help is a little pre-planning.  I do it for the crew at home, plugging in the crock pot, stocking up on fruit and prepackaged, easily accessible snacks. Why not take better care of myself?  Actually I do sometimes pack something for myself, but I often forget and leave it in the car, or just get too darn busy.

Anyhow, all of this thinking about food has made me think about the terminology we assign to mealtimes.
I've come up with my own, more appropriate terms:

Morning Coffee             =   Cup-o-degrump
Coffee Break                 =   Zip Sip
Breakfast                       =   Smell the bacon ('cuz that's all I get to do)
Brunch                          =    Lunchfast
Lunch                            =   Huh?
Mid Afternoon Snack    =   Need a Nibble
Tea Time                       =   Cuppa (borrowed this, but mine is usually joe)
Dinner                           =   Soup's On
Late Supper                  =   Lupper
Midnight Snack             =   Zzzzznack

Feel free to use them.  Here's hoping both your belly and table are full....


Friday, February 1, 2013

A Daily Dose

This morning I am issuing myself a challenge to post every day this month.  It is February after all, the shortest month of the year, and not even a leap year's extra day to contend with - I factored that in before commiting.  So... no guarantees that it will be in the morning, but let's see if I get farther with this than I did with the Nanowrimo challenge a few years back.... but hey!  I had an emergency appendectomy then, so cut me some slack!


In The Last Hour or so...

By the time I finish writing this (and making pictures, if you're lucky) it will probably be bedtime, but the title actually refers to how I spent my first waking hours this morning.  And no, I am not an excruciatingly slow writer, just a highly distracted one....

6:00 A.M. - Woke the Critters with kisses and attempted to dress a newly-five year old lump (a.k.a. Bonus Baby) who was "too tired for pulling clothes".  Settled down to a cup-o-joe (lovingly brewed by caffeine free Hubby) for all of two seconds before jumping up to help with breakfasts, packing lunches, locating stuff, refereeing a mild dispute, and getting them all out the door.  Sorry, Sweetie Petite-y, I forgot to write your permission slip.....

7:25Vantana is running, and everyone else is outside in the cold vehicle waiting, but Third Child is still sitting here trying to zip her boots.  I try unsuccessfully, then Hubby and Only Son venture back in and give it go, but nuthin' doing.  So, like Rosie the Riveter, I roll up my sleeves, and with SUPER MOMSTER effort do what no man has done before - I zip those boots!   I am woman, yada, yada,yada.... Two hours later, the dent is still in my finger, but hey!  Fashion has it's price.

7:30 - Waving goodbye out the window, I turn to see the open breadbox on the counter... and grief for my recently deceased father-in-law washes over me.  Weird, you say, but that breadbox was crafted just for me by the man that taught Hubby to be the man he is today....  Now I am a drippy mess, because that makes me think of my own father, and how much I miss them both.  May they rest in peace...

8-ish -  Combating grief, I turn to the mind numbing comfort of technology, and hop on the computer.  First, I take care of business - checking and answering email, thanking TEE for mailing back my lost earring (and including a package of spare earring backs: do they make those for lost trains of thought?), and scanning the morning headlines.  Two in particular, posted back to back, strike me:

Why Heart Attacks Increase in the Winter 


A Football Feast: 100 + Super Bowl Recipes

No joke! But that does make me think I need some nachos to supplement my coffee.....

So, after the serious business of the morning is accomplished, I am faced with a dilemma.  Should I go make bread  like I promised Hubby I would (and just told several people via email I was about to do), or fritter away time on FACEBOOK?


I'm thinking that bread baked later this afternoon would be a nice "fresh from the oven" treat at dinner tonight, don't you agree?