Wednesday, December 31, 2008

About me

This is from Chelle, and I think I may be supposed to pass it on, but I'm not bothering right now.
Things About Me--
2 names you go by: Karen, Mooooooooooom!
2 things you are wearing right now: a sweater, jeans
2 of your favorite things to do: look at the stars, go caving
2 things you want badly at the moment: more time before school starts, a neat house
2 pets you have/had: my dog Maddie, my cat Lollipop
2 things I did last night: watched It's A Wonderful Life with the kids, talked to my sister
2 things you ate today: Lasagna, Chocolate Silk pie
2 people you last talked to: Caly, Zaven's friend Camryn
2 things you plan to do tomorrow: clean house, get more winter clothes out
2 trips taken in last five years: Chicago, Niagara Falls
2 favorite holidays: Christmas, Fourth of July (because there are no obligations, you just eat hot dogs and go to the fireworks)
2 favorite beverages: diet Big Red, Pink Cows (a Big Red float)

Monday, December 29, 2008


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I had meant to take some pics of our tree and post them, but I haven't managed to get around to it. It's worth looking at because there's almost no green visible.

I've been out of town for almost a full week and just got in this evening. We had a lovely visit with Scott's family and even though it was cramped driving, we even enjoyed the drive there and back. We also managed to cut back quite a bit from previous years' excesses and that made it even nicer. Somehow instead of making Christmas more exciting to get and give more presents, even for the kids it becomes simply overwhelming. A doll that you might have loved or an art set that may have thrilled you is simply lost amidst the sea of toys. So Scott and I have worked hard to resist trying to make Christmas perfect by spending more money, and even to some extent more time since it usually backfires by making us exhausted and grumpy with the kids. Instead we focused on family, on giving to charities, and on explaining why we celebrate.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crunchy, with a chewy center

So last night I ended up in the ER with a kidney stone. I get them every 4 or 5 years so it's not surprising. I was sent home to try and pass it, which is nicer than staying in a hospital and passing it there. At least at home I can snooze in my own bed. They give you the same painkillers either way, so the only other difference is the expense. That pain is almost (almost) as bad as the pain of the stone. Happily, I have insurance this time around. Unhappily it's half way through December. I will have used up our Flex Spending Account and paid my deductable and in two weeks, it resets and I will need to pay it again if I have any complications or illness. But at least we have the insurance, and I have hardly put anything on the Flex Spending Account, so it will cover almost the entire deductable. It would have rolled over... but I'm still far better off than the last time I had a stone.

As for the stone itself, it was/is a very big pain. I'm on some painkillers now so I'm not hurting, but last night was insanely bad. It hurt so bad I puked. But even in the midst of all that, I am still a smart-ass at heart. When the nurse asked me if the pain was sharp or dull, I said that it was dull all over my side and back, but the pain in the center of my side was very sharp. What I thought was "crunchy, with a chewy center."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It was the best of concerts. It was the worst of concerts.

My kids are musical. Zaven plays cello, Caly plays violin and trumpet and sings in the chorus, Zoe has perfect pitch, and Quinn knows more song lyrics than actual words. And this week, all that music came to a head. In the past 7 days, I've been to a professional musical show, a school band concert, a school chorus concert, an afterschool strings concert, and a Christmas party featuring professional violinists and singers as well as group singing.

It all began last weekend, when Zaven, Scott, and I got to go to a professional performance of Stomp! in Cincinnati. And while I really enjoyed it, they were not the best show of the week. Of course, they were not the worst of the week either. That honor fell to the middle school chorus. They were doing one of those productions where there's a recorded soundtrack for them to sing along with, and a fairly stupid play that they read off of scripts. Yup. Read. In barely audible monotones. In their defense, the teacher explained that several students had gotten sick that morning and these kids had filled in at the last minute. But it was bad. Very, very bad.

On the flip side was the strings program. Now you may think that a meet-for-half-an-hour-once-a-week strings class with over a dozen beginning violin players would sound like a screechy nightmare. But they are GOOD. Really, really good. I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera to record them. It was a joy to go hear the results of all their hard work. They always blow me away, too. The class is taught by a little old woman in her 80's whom you can barely hear speak, but man can she teach a kid to play the violin. And even if my kids weren't in it, I'd go to that program any day of the week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tag, I'm it.

OK, I was tagged by Tara and that means I'm supposed to list 7 things about myself that you may not know. So, here goes.

1. I like people, but most days I don't actually speak to anyone I'm not related to.

2. I don't like milk in my cereal and when I eat cheerios, I eat them three pieces at a time.

3. As a kid I had to stop watching the Flintstones because it made me too stressed out with worry about how they'd get out of whatever trouble they got into.

4. I have almost no sense of smell.

5. I'm a sun-sneezer. Bright lights make me sneeze.

6. I have a strong urge to make something up for this list just to see if anyone believes it.

7. My favorite thing about Christmas is wrapping presents.

And I am tagging Chelle, Pearly, and Heather.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I love books. I really, really do. I was thinking about it all day. It started last night when I ran across a quote from Anna Quindlen that I'd saved. "I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."

This morning, I got Quinn out of bed and directly onto the changing table, where I'd accidently left the copy of Click, Clack, Moo! Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin that I'd been reading to him last night. Now I don't read to him every night, but I do sometimes and he loves it. But it's not like you see on TV, where the child sits contentedly in his mother's lap and listens, or even where he's grabbing the page and trying to tear it. Nope. He won't stay in my lap. Instead, I'm on a bench and he's stuck in his crib (can't get out) and he's using it as a trampoline and yelling and you can barely hear me. But he seems to like it because he smiles a lot when I read and so I do it anyway. So this morning when I put him on the changing table, he grabbed the book, opened it up, turned it right side up (how did he know?) and proceeded to read it to me. "Ababble-ee-ah-sooooo. Cick, cack, MOO! (He turns the page.) Ha-ba-ba-na-na-na. Cick, cack, MOOOOOO! (He turns the page again.) RRRAAAAAAAAAA! Cick, Cack, MOO! I was so impressed. I honestly thought he hadn't heard a word of what I was reading. Apparently he heard three of them.

All of my kids love books. They see them as old and dear friends, but also as the new kid at school who's lived in a whole other city. Books are the best of familiar and comforting surroundings... the perfectly broken in shoe, or the worn and faded blue jeans that fit just right. And the best of the new and exciting... adventure without risk, suspense without danger.
And so they read and read and read. And I am so gratified to know that I did this one thing perfectly right.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Every year as Christmas approaches, I hear adults talking about believing in Santa. Mostly, they're worried that their kids will stop believing or wondering how to handle it when their kids ask them if they believe. And I always think the same thing. Because unlike most adults, I actually DO believe in Santa. And not just the spirit-of-Santa generosity BS that I hear adults start to degrade into when they don't want to 'fess up that they don't really believe. I mean I believe in the reindeer-wrangling, sleigh-riding, chimney-climbing Santa that defies all the laws of physics and visits every child in the world in a single night. And I KNOW that I believe because the first year that I was married, Scott and I spent Christmas eve at his mom's house. We were sound asleep when a noise woke me up. Wide awake. Suddenly. And the first thing that I thought was, "Santa!"

Of course the next thing that I thought was, "duh!" But even so, there's no denying. I believe.