Monday, March 29, 2010


"Hi dad."
"Hi son, How was school?"
"Would you please feed the dog?"
"Well, I'm getting my skateboard, I'm on a tight schedule, but ok."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quivering Pug

Yesterday, I spent the day in Portland with my sister.  We had a ridiculously girl-ish day.  Lots of cups of coffee, window-shopping, actual shopping, pinot gris in a bistro.  It was an anti-dote to testosterone poisoning.
We had to pet this pug.  It was quivering in a simultaneously compelling and revolting manner. 

We took senor cupcake out to dinner.  He doesn't care for beets.  Neither did I, as a child.  "Learn from my mistake!"  I told him,  " I avoided beets until I was nearly forty.  Only then did I discover that they can be delicious!  With orange zest!  and chevre!  Think of all the beets I missed!   It didn't have to be that way."

"Truck!"  He replied, bouncing in his high chair and pointing out the window.  "Eh-plane!  Hel-cop! TRAIN."  Testosterone--in a really cute package.  I can't escape it.  I don't think he was listening.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Hooligans were giving their saintly father a hard time.  They were bickering and squabbling, and lobbying for more computer time, which is effective until it's over, when they become surly.  It kept pissing down rain, just when they needed to be sent outside. Today, however, is a different story.  So far, I am hearing what sounds like a stampede of happy rhinoceri thundering through the house, along with roars of laughter.  Right now they look like this:

Perhaps I am a good influence. 

Friday, March 19, 2010


My talented father in law, Mike, takes pictures that turn the Hooligans into art.  It's good for my perspective. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Importance of Saying Sorry

My name is Jenny, I'm an old friend of Katie's from the way-back.  Katie tapped me to write a little post about something.  "Something" is a very broad choice of topics considering that I can't even pick out a cereal at the market in fewer than ten minutes.  Just too many choices.  I told her that if she didn't give me a topic than I would write about a totally fascinating topic like lice or my toenails.  "Lice would make a fine topic" said Katie.  Turns out that this post isn't about lice though.  Ya, I had lice, my kids had lice, it sucked.  End of topic.  This post is a bit dearer to my heart than to my scalp.  This is about my growing ability and ease with saying sorry.

I'm a very blunt person.  I have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the right time.  I'm always putting my foot in my mouth.  A polite person might call me "direct", but sometimes it just comes off as rude.  I work on this every day, but change is hard.  I come from a family of funny, direct, blunt and very kind people who all communicate the way I do.  It turns out the rest of the world doesn't roll that way though.  I now live in the midwest, which might explain my heightened awareness of this character flaw (there I go again, insulting a good third of the country.)

My kids take swim lessons every Wednesday afternoon at our gym.  My daughter Lillian is a very good swimmer, mostly due to the fact that I've been dragging her to swim lessons once a week for three years.  Yesterday, suddenly after six months in her current swim class, these two boys show up in her class who couldn't even swim a lap.  In order to deal with these kids, Lillian was made to swim laps for half a hour instead of being given any instruction.  It was the fault of the swim instructors for putting the boys in the wrong class, not the boys' fault, but I was peeved.  I usually sit and chit-chat with my pall Jill during lessons, but yesterday I was swimming laps because I made some crazy deal with my friend Lisa to do a mini-triathalon (very mini, but that's a different post.) So after struggling to swim my laps for 20 minutes, I sit back down next to Jill who tells me that Lillian has been neglected and swimming laps the whole time.  After Lil's class is over, I speak to the instructors who tell me that the boys will be moved next week.

So into the locker room I go.  I see Jill and say in my loud voice "I talked to the instructors and those Boys Who Couldn't Swim will be moved to a new class next week," not noticing that The Boys Who Couldn't Swim and their mother were also in the locker room.  I'm just clueless and unaware sometimes. The mom the comes up and tells me how rude I was to say that in front of the Boys Who Couldn't Swim and that I've made them feel bad.  She was right.  I was wrong.  I said "I'm so sorry, really sorry, I shouldn't have said that." No defending myself, no giving reasons, just saying I'm sorry.  This stops people in their tracks.  Try it on your husband or your neighbor.  It really works a lot better than trying to come up with a million ways to defend your actions.  Just "I'm so sorry."

It even works if you aren't really sorry.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Opportunistic? or just Manipulative?

Both Hooligans were invited to birthday parties last Sunday afternoon.  I seized the moment:
"I sure hope you two get finished in time to go."
"Finished?  With What?"
"Oh, the basement.  It's pretty messy."

Even when it's tidy, the basement is a horrible place.  It has a low ceiling--5'8" just like me.  The Man Who Lives In My House is not allowed to go there, as he is on the tall side (6'4").  He is also on the forgetful side: he whacks his head every time.  If I ask him go down to find a bottle of wine or bring up a load of laundry, he accuses me of trying to kill him.  (He's on to me!)

Sunday morning found us in the filthy, chaotic, basement.  It was a very successful episode.  Nobody fought.  Things were sorted into their respective bins.  Shoes that seemed to be lost forever were found.  We got rid of 3/4ths of the dress up clothes--we only kept the cool stuff.  We hauled the big trunk where the costumes were supposed to be stored (they were always strewn all over) to the curb. That trunk always made me nervous.  It was the perfect place to trap and suffocate your brother, or to accidentally slam off his finger. Some college kid nabbed it--now it will be a coffee table in front of a futon.  We filled up one hefty bag with garbage, and three more with stuff for goodwill.

Here is some of the cool stuff that made the cut:

Cowboys have guns.  Cool.

Weird glittery space alien dress looks GOOD with cowboy fringed jacket, platform shoes, ski hat and light saber.  Perhaps he intends to ride the broom-he's never used it for sweeping.

Mexican wrestling mask + cape--we kept ALL the capes.  They go with everything.

You never know when you'll need to be incognito--like if a girl comes over. 

Now for the basement: I wish I'd taken a "Before" Picture.   See all that bare floor?  It was not there 3 hours prior.

Would I really have made them stay home and clean if the job had not been finished?  We'll never know.  I achieved my objective.  No wonder they say I am the mean one.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Skier or Snowboarder, which are you?

Here is the thing:  if you want to look/feel cool with minimal effort, you are a boarder:  lurch to the precipice, hurl yourself over and  cart wheel down.  Whoo Hoo! When you finally land, looking like the abominable snowdude, it will be to standing ovations and contracts with sponsors such as rockstar soda.  Way to go.

If you care about form, astrophysics, and art, well you're a skier.  It's like becoming a yogi:  it will be many years, possibly never before you levitate.  The road to perfection will be paved with yard-sale wipe outs and skiing in the toilet position-- where your butt sticks way out.  Not cool.  But you have chosen the high road, grasshopper!  Do not give up!

I boarded Saturday.  It felt great.  But I admit it, my 7 and 10 year old are better than I am. They are fearless.  They like to eat snow anyway; to them, going headfirst is a perfectly viable option.  This rant may be sour grapes.  I did something to my neck and can't really turn my head to the left.  Also I may have sprained my right wrist.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

If we had a tv, we would fight over the remote

We do have a computer, and netflix and hulu, so we fight over the mouse.

Me (casual): What are you watching?
Him (off-guard): Just some basketball, but we can watch whatever you want.
Me (opportunistic): Can we watch the hoarders?
Him (horrified): WHAT?
He did say anything.

We compromised and watched Raising Arizona.  The hooligans are too big to cuddle.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Maybe She Was Hungry

Today after school we took the Hooligans to the post office to sign and send in forms for their passports.  We were BORED BORED BORED because it was taking FOREVER. A very huffy, sneaky lady managed to cut in front of us by asking the passport clerk a question and just riding her coattails down the long hall to the office.

We looked at one another askance.

"She took CUTS!" announced the larger Hooligan, clearly horrified.  He is very law abiding, as long as the law is clear.  And it was clear!  We had a ticket with #5 on it, and the #4 person had just left.  It was clearly OUR turn.

When the offender came out, about 10 LONG boring minutes later, I said politely, "We have been waiting a long time, and we really did not appreciate you cutting the line."

There was NO POINT in saying this.  I realize that.  It was too late.  She had gotten what she wanted and there was nothing we could do about it.  I just have a hard time letting these things go.

Her response, however, did kind of blow my mind: "BITE ME!" she snarled, and stomped out.

BITE ME.  What did she mean by that, exactly.  The Hooligans were curious.  "Well," I said, "It's not as rude as F-off, but it's almost that rude."  For some reason this struck us as funny. Mom said F-off!  That's almost like she said the real F!  Ha Ha!

"Bite me!"  snorted the Hooligans, "Hey mom, are you hungry? Bite me!"

Well if I get a call from school tomorrow, I already know what it will be regarding.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things in my yard.

Lazy, unproductive chickens. They like meat. This one has been trying to crow all afternoon, with limited success. 

If this was a real snake, it might explain why there are no eggs.


A shrub that starts coral and turns to chartreuse with lavender flowers.  Spiro-something?  Bad Grandma will know.  Have I mentioned she is a master gardener?  Check the comments.  I'm sure she'll want to tell us when she performs her unsolicited but deeply appreciated editing services.

The new flags on the back patio.  Keep going along the path to find the hot tub.  I didn't photograph it because it is not very photogenic.  We planted 3 huge trays of stepables between the flags last Saturday, when it was sunny.  We need about 6 more.

War and Peace

The smaller hooligan just swerved into the driveway in a spray of gravel.  He pounded up the steps and banged open the door, "MOM, I NEED MY SWORD!"

Last week I got fed up with war. I enforced a peace treaty with a weapons ban.  So I knew that all the swords, nerf guns, etc. were in the broom closet.  Sometimes it's good to be Supreme Dictator.

Since this war was taking place on foreign soil (at the neighbors') I handed over his sword.  He shoved it through his belt loop and leapt onto his bicycle.  "We are having an AWESOME WAR!" he hollered over his shoulder as he tore off.

This may explain the state of the world.  I hope he keeps his bike helmet on.

I just want to note that the little girls who live two houses down were busy playing tea party throughout this episode.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Other Hooligans (they're everywhere)

My friend Robin--we go back to seventh grade, Ms. Bond's Language Arts, the back row.  Unlike me, she did her homework, and never had zits.  Like me,  she is now a mother of hooligans.  Hers are tech-savvy foodies.  Check out this snippet of their blog, "Tucker and Cyrus Make Dinner":


Oscars' Sunday Hors D'eouvres

I was thinking on Monday about what I should make for Sunday dinner. Then, Dad reminded me that Sunday was the Oscars.

As you can see, Tucker, (age 13) whipped up some mussels with peppers and serrano ham.  This is something to which I aspire: Hooligan Chefs.  I wonder if I could nurture me up some Hooligan Housekeepers while I'm at it?

Cupcakes, Anyone?

Here is Senor Cupcake, wearing clothes and a backpack that the hooligans used to wear....I''m his doting aunt, so I can say he's so cute it's sick.  He calls the robot shirt I got him his "orbot shirt."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Rube, a.k.a. Easy Mark, a.k.a. Sucker

Trader Joe's, I know what you're up to.  I know why your freezer section doesn't have signs.  I have to troll along, looking for nice, healthy edemame beans, and what do you know?  There are frozen gyoza!! The hooligans would love those!  And blueberries.  We need blueberries, artichoke hearts, crumpets, cashew butter..... How have we lived this long without fig flavored yogurt?

I spent way too much money on (extremely tasty) food that has been processed within an inch of its' life, not to mention excessively packaged.  Michael Pollan would be appalled.  It's really a good thing I hardly ever get over to this side of town.

I was going to go running, but instead I'm sitting here scarfing dark-chocolate covered pretzel thins.  I cannot stop.  Soon I shall be sick.  And fat.  It is Trader Joe's fault.

Snowboarding Haiku

S'up dude? snowboarding: 
Awesome righteous tubular
 Just like my hair, yo

Picture taken @ Hoodoo by Denis

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bored? Here's a solution!

Oh no!  you're bored?  Here's what to do:  Make sure mom is busy.  Quietly get her good scissors.  Now you'll need tinfoil, string, maybe some tape.  Matches would be nice, maybe some power tools, too.  Can't find them?  Darn.

Oh well, now get busy:
I believe if I hadn't happened upon him he would have made an entire suit of armor.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

He didn't get it from me

Monday, the larger hooligan came home with a friend.  They built things with legos, shot baskets in the pouring rain, consumed many snacks, and finished things off with a gory dart gun battle.  When it was time to face the homework folder, I was expecting a certain amount of resistance.  To my surprise, he plowed through it.  In fact, he did all of it, even though it is not due until Thursday.....

Does it mean I'm a bad mother if my first thought was, "When is his teacher going to call me to tell me he's done something dreadful?"

Bad Grandma will attest that had I ever done my homework voluntarily, it would have meant I was trying to cover/compensate for something really-seriously-off-the-charts-you're-grounded-for -- -life worthy....Like "borrowing" my best friend's stepdad's big, teal (it was the '80s!), mercedes while he and her mom were in Italy... or something.

(We didn't get I still didn't do my homework.)
(Mom, if it makes you feel better, I was not the driver.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

L'eggo my waffle

These scruffy twenty-somethings opened a waffle shack in my little town.  They moved from some sort of cart/pick-up window to the former baskin-robbins space at a nearby mini-mall.  I took the hooligans two Saturdays back.

The place is called "OFF THE WAFFLE." Here's their logo:
Off the Waffle- Authentic Leige Waffles

I can't figure out how to do a link.  But have you noticed that I added a picture in my last post? I'm learning.
We went  back for another waffle on Sunday.  I became a fan on facebook--I normally only become a fan of good causes.  Since these guys can't afford a sign for their establishment yet, I think they qualify.

Last Friday night, the bigger hooligan slept over at a friends.  The Man Who Lives In My House was not at home (back country snowboarding with other Men.  Tres macho.).   To distract myself from worrying about hypothermia and avalanches, I took the smaller hooligan back for more waffles this most recent Saturday.

Sunday the big hooligan mentioned wistfully that he'd sure like a waffle.  So we went again.

You may have figured out that these are incredible waffles.  They are like a crispy chewy waffle-brioche-donut with a carmelized exterior.  Plus you can get them embellished with bacon and maple syrup.  The hooligans prefer the version with bananas and chocolate chips.

I will never go back to those nasty yellow things from the freezer section.  They do not even deserve to be called waffles.