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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My little bird to the rescue


My youngest, D, (a homeschooled kindergartner) goes to our public school every week for a private speech therapy session. Recently we added occupational therapy, after an evaluation determined he has some gross motor skills that need work. He really likes both therapists and the time he has with them one-on-one.

But he really, really likes his speech therapist's new shiny iPad.

The first time she pulled it out, his mouth fell open. But when she let him use it to practice sounds, he was beyond thrilled (I wasn't making it up in my review of Talking Tom).

So, now, at the end of each speech therapy session, she gives him a few minutes on the iPad, presumably to let him relax and have a little fun.

But, I know what she's doing. She let it slip the last time I saw her.

As I entered the school to pick up my little guy, she came down the hall beaming. "How'd he do?", I asked. "Great!", she exclaimed and then she brought her voice down a notch and said, "He got me out of a level of Angry Birds! I had been stuck for ages! He told me this was easy and--poof!--done!"

That's my boy.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Forced bulb


It's frozen, snowy and cold outside. And still, the ugly little bulb bursts and pushes a green stalk through the wet pebbles in the glass, until it blooms into something so simple and pretty. She isn't much to sniff, this paperwhite, but her delicate petals stand defiantly against the stark backdrop.

I'm still here.

January has been a tough month. My oldest turned ten despite all my efforts to slow down time, heels digging into the ground like the anchor on a loosing tug-of-war game.

My weight is also creeping up beyond what I'd normally shrug off as "winter insulation", and yet my desire to do any physical exercise is lost in chocolate candy wrappers that crinkle as I unwrap them.

I hang on to our daily school schedule like the structure, the deadlines, the check marks will begin to make sense, my voice tired from yelling, pleading, bargaining. I just. want. someone. to. listen. to. me.

The other day, my neighbor's new puppy, a fluffy white bichon frise got loose and ran out into all the blinding white. A car drove slowly up and down the street that first night, calling her name, "Liesel! Liesel!" for the little girl who would never make it through the night in this cold. We looked for her too, around our house, in our neighborhood. Even now, a week later, I hope to hear a whimper when I step into the garage and triumphantly be able to deliver a warm puppy back to the heartbroken owner.

Alas, it is too late for her.

For me, though? I hold onto that image of the flower coming out of rocks. I've got enough warmth around me to get through this.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Hidden Love


(tiny message found in my salt holder next to the stove)

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Monday, January 03, 2011

What I got for Christmas (and Valentine's Day, and my birthday, etc)

It's been a few weeks since the last contractors packed up and vacated my kitchen, and I can now finally find things (usually) on the first pull of the cabinet or drawer. We were back "under construction" after Christmas as my husband readied the walls to paint and now the only thing to do is pick a paint color for the walls, take a deep breath, and go for it.

I've been asked to show some photos of the renovation (Deb), so here is what things looked like just before Christmas. Please note that the colors are a little wonky due to my over-zealous camera flash.


view as you enter room; far wall will have color on it, someday


standing on other side of island looking at refrigerator (with our now-devoured-by-squirrels gingerbread house at bottom of frame)


how do you like my big balls? I almost passed out when I saw them. . .I didn't know they'd be SO BIG, but I really, really, really love them now


hard to tell, but there is a textured tile on the wall above the stove; love the range hood to pieces even though I've whacked my head on it three times already


Soapstone Spyder countertops which look darker when the flash isn't washing it out; I tell my countertops I love them every morning in the hopes that they won't scratch or chip


a better look at the countertops; putting the stone on the windowsill was important since the wood sill had been so water damaged; the undermount sink is my favorite invention since Velcro

If anyone besides Deb is still reading, I'm thinking of doing a steel gray/blueish color on the walls. I think the white (primer) is too stark, and I'm not jazzed by any other color I've seen in the four gazillion home books and websites I've viewed.

I also would like to put a neutral but dirt-concealing throw rug at my feet in front to the stove and maybe the sink.

I don't think I'll do curtains or shade---we have no neighbors back there and I wear clothes when I cook, so no need to cover the windows.

Any thoughts or suggestions for other things I can do? It looks a little stark in these photos but, trust me, it looks really lived in already.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Oh meme, oh my

I'm kicking off 2011 with something I consider a throwback: A meme! Does anyone still do these? It figures that I'd figure out how to pronounce them and then they'd go away.

But, regardless, I saw Jennifer's meme and thought it seemed to be just about all the exertion I could handle the day after I was up until 1am. So, here it goes!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
OK, question number one, and I'm stumped. This does not bode well for me finishing.

Oh, I know: I took a photography class. And hosted a Fresh Air Fund child. All in the same month.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
no, no, no and no---that's not to say that the year was a total wash but I never remember what I've resolved to do and they all blend into the very generic: Be a better mother/wife/employee/teacher. And cure cancer.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Like, next to me? Ugh! Thank goodness NO!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Sigh. Why, yes. My cat, Cally, of 19 1/2 years died on December 22nd, the same day my dad died six years ago. December 22nd is hereafter known as the Day No One Else I Know is Allowed To Die.

Oh, and then we also lost my husband's Uncle Don to cancer (damn cancer!). He was a sweet, funny man who should've had many, many more years to sit on his porch in Ocean City, NJ.

5. What countries did you visit?
Countries? Plural? Oy. You guys live way more exciting lives than I do. I visited the U.S. of A. Daily.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Spunk and moxie. And whiter teeth.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Mother's Day because it was the day my beautiful girl got sick in public which kicked off a very, very, VERY tough period in her life known as The Lost Summer.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not completely losing my shit when we went through our difficult time with our oldest.

9. What was your biggest failure?
That I didn't keep up running consistently. Now I've got to start all over again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope, I just accompanied way too many kids to the ER for various fractures and scares.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new kitchen!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My kids, mainly my oldest who has come a long way, baby.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Facebook "friends" who used the forum to promote intolerance, rhetoric and general suckatude.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Kitchen Reno 2010

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Kitchen Reno 2010. And running a 5K without my bladder falling out.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Tick Tock

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) happier
b) fatter ( but, strangely, feel like I look better with a little more padding)
c) poorer (see #14)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Laughed until my stomach hurt

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Arguing with my kids about doing schoolwork

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Home with my family, just the five of us in PJ's all day long, eating Tater Tots.

21. Did you fall in love with 2010?
No. Do people really fall in love with years?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Mad Men (I gave up on Glee)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I try not to hate. It poisons your body.

24. What was the best book you read?
Harry Potter---reading it aloud to my oldest and almost DONE with Book 7 so DON'T TELL ME THE ENDING!!!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

26. What did you want and get?
A new kitchen

27. What did you want and not get?

28. What was your favorite film of 2010?
Does Tangled count? My movie viewing is pathetic.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 43 and do not remember one thing about this year's birthday. See "Lost Summer" reference above.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not having the Lost Summer (see above).

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2010?
What? I don't know! Try not to look like I slept in my clothes? Don't embarrass myself when I go to New York City?

32. What kept you sane?
Not doing stupid, really long memes like this one.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Wondering why in the hell Sarah Palin got a tv show.

34. Who did you miss?
My dad.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Our new therapist

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
You can't fix someone with love alone.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere, angel
Come get up my baby
Look at that sky, life's begun
Nights are warm and the days are young

(David Bowie: Golden Years)

Happy New Year to you all!