Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mr. Skeeter's Holiday

We lost a rat the other day. Actually, it was an evening. Usually, Skeeter the boy rat pounds on the top of his cage until the screen opens and then he hops on over to visit the other rat in a cage. Who happens to be female. Trying to figure out how to get into her cage is enough to keep him thoroughly engaged until the early morning, when I get up and pass by the cages, realize there is a rat missing out of one of them, notice the free rat, and shoo him back into his cage.

Of course, the morning of the day I'm hosting a party, the rat isn't in his cage. He's not trying to chew his way into the girl rat's cage. There isn't a rat anywhere.

Now, here is the conundrum of friendship and honesty: do I 'fess up and tell my friends there is an errant, rabid rat traipsing around my house (guard your children!) or, do I "forget" the rat has escaped and keep the truth to myself. I did mention the escapee rat. Kind of like oh-the-food-is-in-the-kitchen-and-drinks-are-in-the-cooler-did-I-mention-we-have-a-rat-loose? kind of a way.

The next morning I woke up to find toilet paper strewn from our master bathroom to under the chaise loungechair next to bed. Either we had a poltergiest, or Skeeter had paid me a visit during the ngiht. Not really sure which one is more disturbing.

Later that day, the five children were dispatched upstairs with a large flashlight, strict instructions to find the rat and then locked into the rooms until the rat was found. Thankfully, they found Skeeter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Forget Oprah, here are some of my favorite things,..

Yep, it's the time of the year - we are all stretching our wallets and our legs getting ready for Black Friday. Or flexing fingers and waiting in anticipation for Cyber Monday.

I'm always on the look out for something unique for the holidays. Even better is if I happen to know the creative person who made such a wonderful gift - I feel like it makes me a better person. I'm all about basking in reflective light.

Here are a few interesting gifts for you to ponder:

1. Mamba Point by Kurtis Scalleta

Fiction for young adults. I knew Kurtis when I lived in Monrovia, Liberia. I'll be honest, we didn't hang in the same crowd. But, he's now a fellow writer with at least two great books under his belt - what is not to love? And this one takes place in Liberia. You gotta love it. Check it out.

2. Chaos Cove by Leslie Downie - this is a friend of mine at work. Her first book - and our department (fellow writers) is so proud. Makes a better present than say, downloading one of my Best Practice series on Imagery, if you know what I mean. This is another tweener book. Just got my signed copy and can't wait to read it,..

3. And of course, my friend Father Edward Beck - he's got a few books, all great reads, as well as hosting a spirituality show with Chris Cuomo on ABC. Perfect for the holidays! He's the only person I would agree to accompany to a five star Bel Air restaurant,.. with five children.

4. I recently reviewed another book that I think would make a great stocking stuffer along the same lines as Father Beck's book - "Why God Matters".

5. Tired of reading and need something to do? Since I have a bunch of boys in my house (four of them aged 9 - 42), a rusted 1959 Chevy, a leaking water heater and the vision to transform the garage,.. in my garage,.. I thought this was interesting and a great price:

Seriously? The only time you will see me enter Home Depot is during the holidays because my hubby has a fetish for power tools and office supplies. (that's that other Depot - both leave me with eyes rolled back in head, frothing at mouth.) But really? $20 for some good quality tools? That leaves some serious cash laying around for that trip to Nordstrom after the holidays, cleverly disguised as the "Half Yearly Men's Sale." Thanks Nordies, for having my back.

***Bonus ***

And you need toonage,.. so please check out this awesome fusion funky jazz from this German band - I was honored to sing in choir with Pat Appleton when I attended highschool in Liberia, the very talented leading lady of this popular European group DePhazz. I love her even if most of the time she is facebooking in german,...

And we must not forget my new favorite friend, Chickee and her awesome jewelry made from vintage items - chandeliers, spoons, type writer keys,.. she's amazing. Her business is called Lizzy B's Vintage Found Jewelry. Visit her online store or Facebook page, but better yet, email her and discuss a one of a kind item she can make for your loved ones.

That's all my sage shopping advice for now, folks. Happy Black Friday, early!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Who's Kid is That?

Sorry I haven't posted in a while - lots of serious stuff going on - deaths and sicknesses and kids with broken limbs. Not too much to poke fun at, but we're coming out of that, don't worry. There is always a laugh at the end of the tunnel.

Halloween was a fantabulous time, even if the 13 year old fractured his femur the day before. He has some nice friends - they came and hung out with him even though he couldn't limp very far. He was just new to his crutches ("crunches" as his four year old sister calls them.) so he hadn't built up the speed or agility for limping door-to-door swinging a pillow case full of candy for a long period of time. What was worse was the fact that he had on a banana costume - so everyone just thought his crutches were props.

The girls had it all figured out this year and I can see a glimmer of hope that soon - maybe even next year - I will be meandering at the sidewalk while they take themselves to the door to trick or treat. I might not even have to yell "did you say thank you?" from the street.

And hat's off to my good friend - who is still able to dress her entire family in a theme - including her husband!!! So she and her two cutie girls were flowers and her husband was a bee. Ehem. Wasp. Macho wasp. My favorite quote of the evening was listening him explain to everyone who commented on his great costume that "Oh, I'm not a bee! Actually, I'm a wasp,.." Righttt,...

I guess my other friend dressed her husband up as a care bear. I'm still waiting for the blackmail pictures. I love having friend with cajones, and I'm not talkin' about the guys,..

We are now in the holiday tempest - frosted sugar cookies in the shapes of leaves have been baked and we're collecting baking items for the rest of the holiday fare - fudge, santa cookies, candy cane cookies, Chex mix,.. Oi.

Before this week of relaxation (made doubly relaxing because I have no desire to drag five kids including one on crutches anywhere besides the required physical therapy sessions) we had parent teacher conferences. I thought elementary conferences were tough enough - but middle school is so far taking the cake. (Can't wait for high school).

Parents hadwer all week, Monday through Friday, to hoof it to the middle school and meet with the teachers, who were set up at tables in the library and gym, and get the low down on their seventh or eighth grader. It's set up like speed dating, complete with a rating (A - F) at the end.

Sounds quick and easy, right? Wrong. It took me two afternoons and a total of 2 1/2 hours to talk to all my 13 year old's teachers. The kid is great; just ask his teachers. After they all had the same thing to say to me - "He's so polite," "He's so contientious," "He's one of my favorites, such a delight in class". All I could do was double check their roster - did they have the correct child?

Because that's not the creature that barrels through my doors at 2:20pm every weekday afternoon. Wow.

And instead of me telling the teachers all about my beloved babes - "He's shy," "She loves to read" etc,... They were telling me things: "I think it's great that J wants to be an engineer!" (He does?) How can someone spend so much time with a person and not even know them? Teenagers are definitely a new experience. Lord, give me strength.