Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top 11 Reasons I'm Ready to Love This Christmas Season

1. Christmas music. Soon Halloween will have passed, and when I crank up my Christmas-y tunes, I'll get fewer odd looks. At least, I think I will.

2. Christmas lights: the only thing that combats Daylight Savings Time. If my sunlight runs out by dinner time, I'm darn sure gonna have some extra twinkly lights to keep my spirits up.

3. Candles. My two favorites are Mulled Cider and Yankee's Basalm & Cedar. Oh, my heart! Maybe I should just get it over with and go work for Yankee. It's just possible that would be a more healthy outlet for my scent obsession.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas. " I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love." Can a get a holla-holla?

5. We Care Christmas Tree Walk. What could possibly be better than a mall full of a hundred themed Christmas trees? Seriously? I love watching my kids' expressions as they try to decide which ones are in their top 3. Even better to see them try to recreate them when we get home. Priceless.

6. Shopping. I love shopping. I love shopping with my husband. I love shopping with my husband after the kids are in bed. I love getting a drink and a snack from Starbucks and going shopping with my husband after the kids are in bed--lovingly monitored by one of their grandmas, of course.

7. Snow. When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season, I'll know I'm growing old.

-Lady Bird Johnson

8. Baked goods. I love Baked Goods (yes, capitalized on purpose) with a passion. Any old excuse'll do, but Christmas goodies are even better than the other year-round variety, because they're usually recipes that are brought out solely at Christmas time.

9. Brass groups. My kids are practically holding their breath waiting for the day they get to go to Grandpa's work and listen to the Christmas music his brass group plays. Yeah, yeah, the kids are.

10. Decorating my tree. I've been using mostly paper decorations for the last several years to prevent breakage. Turns out, I may never go back. I love the unique look that delicate snowflakes, red white & green paper chains, and glittery star cutouts give to my tree.

11. It's not here yet. I am therefore free to daydream about it to my heart's content: You see, by December 15th, I'll undoubtedly be freezing cookie dough to use on Christmas Eve. I'll be leisurely wrapping the gifts I made with my own two hands...and making lovely labels to go with them. I'll be perusing candy recipes and trying them while my kids nap. I'll have plenty of time for this, because my laundry will be all caught up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Otherwise Entitled: How Much Pizza Can I Eat in a Week?

For Sasha who misses me when I don't blog
For Andrew for whom I tried to keep it short
For Doug and Edie who are always up for a good time
For Donna who has freed me from the Tyrany of the Matched Sock
For Matthew who knows how to show this girl a good time

Last Saturday night, Mr. Floyd and I went out on a date. A real date...you know, where we're gone for more than an hour? That's right. And in a vehicle that had no car seats in it. Ahhhh...

Some of the Super Friends generously provided both the babysitting for our unruly brood, and the car-seat-less vehicle that transported us sleekly down to Indianapolis. It was a most amazing time. One of the perks? A GPS in the car, so there was no need for hastily scribbled directions or last minute panicking as we try to figure out why the parking lot wasn't included in those directions.

Our first stop finished up a sort of pizza tour that took place last week. I'll pause this oh-so-exciting date story to give a brief rundown:

1) Thursday, lunch-- Gas Station Pizza. From Russiaville. Some of the best pizza available in the Kokomo area. Edie never fails me.

2) Thursday, dinner-- A surprise visit to Pizza Hut. Matt's mom called mid afternoon with a plea to have us accompany her here to celebrate a dear friend's 70th birthday. Usually Matt hates Pizza Hut. This was no exception. We made it through, although I was beginning to question my often quoted: "I could eat pizza EVERY day 'cause I love it so much!"

3) Friday, lunch--My mom takes the kids and me to Harvey Hinklemeyers and I feel a bit green as I hear two of my children order pizza. Watching them eat it is no small feat either.

4) Saturday, lunch--The Menfolk are re-roofing my garage. We have lots of people at my house. Lots of kids. Guess what we eat? Oh well, at least it was Papa Johns, but eating it was real test, because I knew we were trying out a new pizza joint in Indy for our date that night.

5) Saturday night--Bazbeaux in downtown Indianapolis. We were definitely some of the least cool people there. The girl in the bathroom had a sprawling tattoo on her chest and one of the waiters had a handlebar mustache. The insanely-cheerful black guy who sat us told us we were being placed downstairs in the "TroubleMaker's Section" where the wine cellar was located. We actually got to sit at a table made for 2 people.

But the pizza! Oh, the pizza! I picked the Garden Pizza, which is really out of character for me, but wait til you hear what was on it: ricotta cheese, artichoke hearts, avocados, fresh spinach, red onion, and black olives. Be still, my heart. I love avocados and artichokes with a passion and spinach aint too bad either. When it arrived, the creamy blend of the ricotta cheese and the baked avocado slices was enough to render all my other senses useless. It was all I could do to sit there and help Matt eat the entire pizza. That's right. I'm not ashamed. If you'd been there, you wouldn't be ashamed either.

So back to the date. After we'd eaten until we were drunk on pizza, we waddled back to the Date Car and drove down Delaware (ha HA! built in alliteration) to the Benjamin Harris Home where we took part (you know, in an audience, fill-in-the-cryptogram on the program kinda way) in a walking play called Ghost Tales of Indiana. It was fun for me, who likes theatre and doesn't mind a touch (all right, a dollop) of corniness. It was fun for Matt, who was the only one who actually solved the cryptogram. I don't think that they expected anyone to actually solve it in the time provided, as was made clear by the fact that our hostess seemed more than a little crabby when I read it out loud for Matt instead of letting her do it. This made Matt very happy. I know, and we call ourselves Christians.

When we arrived home, no one was screaming, flailing, fighting, or bemoaning. We'd had more than two hours in the car alone, a pizza that made us hate all other pizzas, and a fun time annoying corny hostesses. Now that's what I call a date.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rice Pudding Mishaps

So I've been on this unofficial quest to make a good rice pudding. Whenever we have gads of leftover cooked white rice, I'm seized with the sudden urge to use it rather than throw it out. (Yes, I'm aware this is dangerously close to the aversion some people have to throwing away "perfectly good" spaghetti, but I press on, because I believe it's my love of sweets and not my weirdness that gives me this irrational desire. If you, like Matt, see this differently, feel free to plan an intervention.)

Well last night was one of those nights. And I was JUST SURE that this time would be different. I say different, because in all the time that I've been feeling these rice pudding urges, never once has one of my puddings turned out to be something that ANYone would want to eat...not even me. Although I did eat one once, because I was JUST SURE that I would like it if I just gave it a fighting chance. But you know, sometimes I'm wrong. Matt spent the week laughing at me as I doggedly comsumed the entirety--all right, half--of the "pudding." It was really more of a rice mass.

Alas, last night was not a success either. I had been dreamily envisioning coming home and serving my children warm rice pudding, topped with a gentle sprinkling of nutmeg, and they would gobble it up and take their showers, and thusly warmed by their caring mother, slip sweetly away to sleep. What happened instead was that we came home, took it from the warm oven, and looked at it, suspiciously so. It looked...eggy. And true, there were eggs in it. But it didn't really look so much like pudding. Matt poked it and declared "I'm not eating any of it." This concerned me, because if my husband won't eat it, I find myself asking Is it just because he doesn't like it? Or because he doesn't feel it's safe to eat? And if it isn't safe to eat, should I feed it to the children? I threw the entire thing in the trash. I mostly lament the loss of 8 cups of milk used to make it. EIGHT cups of MILK! Never again, rice pudding. Sing your siren songs no more. I'm not wasting my dreams or my precious milk on you anymore.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sure fire signs it's an Indiana Indian Summer

Cook out food. Definitely makes you believe it's still the height of summer, even when the evenings are getting dark by 8 o'clock.

Kids wearing sandals (or wandering around barefoot) and showing off their popsicle tongues.

Vegetables from the garden...sittin' pretty on my counter.

And then of course, "School" pictures. I love my camera so much that I've more or less decided that we're never doing "professional" pictures again. Besides, my kids sit much better for me than they would for any other person alive. Don't you agree?

Of course, I didn't post the out-takes. They weren't quite as spectacular, although they were much funnier. Chandler sulking because he didn't WANT to take just one more picture. Kellar sticking his tongue out at me. Dawson trying to crawl away. Nadia's hair looking ever so slightly disorganized. Ah, the dance that is photographing children.

P.S.--Abigail and The Cat

When my family first moved into our new house on Melody Lane East, we had no pets. One day we went to the park. The parents went one way, the kids went the other way. Soon, our (I must clarify, I was one of the kids) attention was drawn to a small, sleek, black dog that was RACING around the playground. She was surrounded by a sprinkling of shouting children, one particular who was screaming that she was a vicious pitbull and was attacking people. Karen and I took one look at her and knew it was a hysterical lie. The puppy looked terrified. We caught her (no mean feat) and decided upon a scheme. Er, plot. Uhhh...plan. Karen was the youngest, and therefore the cutest. She, the Cutest, would hold the cute puppy and put on her sweetest face and I, the spokesperson Big Sister would do the talking. We took her home with us.

We put an ad in the paper to check for owners. Nobody responded and we kept her.

We named her Abigail, after Abigail in the Bible. My mom said that Abigail in the Bible was beautiful AND intelligent. Just like our puppy.

Actaully, she's kinda funny looking. She looks like a little black seal...sort of. She's supposedly a dachsund/lab mix...looks sort of like a long-legged dachsund.

Abigail has been a WONderful dog for the last ten years. She is well behaved, smart, and still very very fast. She's a miniature member of our family.

A couple of years back, in the dead of winter, a scared kitty showed up on my parents' front porch. She was terrified of all people. But she was very cold and hungry. But she was terrified of all people. Very cold. Very hungry. Very very scared. She would sit 20 feet away from the house and meow piteously at us. We would all take turns going out to try to coax her into the comfort of the house and she would take off. After two or three weeks of this craziness, she finally gave up enough to let someone catch her and bring her in.

She's never really warmed up, apparently. She's still terrified of all people...except my mom and dad. And she's not sure about them because they allow my loud, scary, AFFECTIONATE children to visit at least once a week. Oh, the horrors.

Her name is Gatita, Spanish for "female cat." My mom was a Spanish minor. It happens. *grin* We usually just call her "the cat" like many families I know. Abigail in horribly jealous of any affection that is bestowed upon her, but she shouldn't be. Abigail really is part of the family. Gatita really is just The Cat.

New Hair

I got my hair cut a couple of weeks ago. People have started demanding pictures. I aim to please.

I know. It's short. And I have bangs.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Chris Post

My dear friend Edie is of the opinion that The Inman Series will just not be complete without a Chris Post. So I begged my family to write stuff about me. Then the waiting began. Karen--she was ON it:

I don't think Mom and Dad realized there were nights we didn't go to sleep right away. I remember one night we camped out in a little cave/den thing Chris somehow made by the way our bed frames were situated. Chris put the bookshelf under there too and a little seat/bed fashioned out of blankets. We hung out there one night and slept there.

Something I thought was cool was when I came to high school. Chris graduated before I started my freshmen year, but she left me a reputation before I got there. She talked about me in band a lot, but in a good way. She said I was super cool and told all the guys I could beat them up. And they seemed to believe her when I got there. It was nice to be a freshmen and already have some coolness.
One thing everyone seems to have a knack for is confusing the two of us. A stranger once asked us if we were twins. We do look similar, but twins? Typically, I'm the one who is confused for being Chris. Or people tell me I look like my sister. After we sang a song together in church someone told me I sounded like my sister. I get annoyed because I just want people to know who it is they're talking to. Don't you know I can break your face? Get my name right! I'm just looking for competence in other people, but it's really not bad getting confused for someone like Chris.
Chris is someone who I can be laid back with and just be myself. I sometimes am too quiet and hide who I am. Chris can break me out of my shell. We both act really goofy when we're around each other. It's just that only kind of goofiness you can get with a sister.

* * * *

Then my mother, the Writer, told me she was working on it. She told me she'd do it by Thursday, by Friday, hey-maybe next Tuesday. Ah, the intimidation of the blank text box! However, she did not disappoint:

Chris. Social. She likes to go places. Was frequently known to say, "Where are we going to GO toda y?" as a little girl.
On being "Mommy's Helper". "Mommy, the baby was crying," as she carried out her four-week-old sister. She was 4 ½ yrs old. !!!! "Give Mommy the baby, honey. Next time just come tell me when she's crying."
On bedtime. "Chris, stop talking and go to sleep." It never worked. She just talked faster.
On clothes. She would change outfits numerous times a day, leaving piles of clothes strewn about the house. (preschool and kindergarten)
On amusement parks. "See that highest water slide, Mom? Yeah, the one that's almost completely vertical. I just went down that." !!! (high school?)
(Okay, I'm changing to first person here, and I know it.)
On having children. I really appreciate that you wanted me to be with you when Chandler was born. I d on't know if you needed the moral support or if you did it for my benefit. Since the three of you (you, David, and Karen) were born by C-section, and I was completely unconscious, I missed the whole birth experience. That made it even more meaningful to be there when Chandler was born and be one of the first to see his little face as he popped out. :^)
I didn't think I was ready to be a grandmother when Chandler came along, but it really is as great as all the other grandparents say. I feel kinda sorry for my friends who are my age and don't have grandchildren. I can tell some of them wish they did when they hug on my grandkids. :^) And I love it when I run into people around town and can say, "Oh, yes, we have four grandchildren now."

* * * *

Then The Real Waiting began. Oh boys, boys. How I waited for them. Finally when I could stand it no longer, I wrote them an email:

Subject: Calling InMen

Good evening gentlemen. I need to know if I'm waiting on articles that are actually forthcoming. Please respond to this email so I know if I can go ahead and write the Chris post or if I should wait for any of y'all.

I understand that you might:

A) be busy
B) be uninterested
C) be uncertain of your writing ability
D) be emotionally unable to express your deep and abiding love for the wonder that is me.

If any or all of these apply to you, I won't hold it against you. My feelings will not be hurt. Just please let me know, because I'm having blog readers surmise that I've run off to Las Vegas rather than continue the tedious task of writing. (Really, somebody s aid that.)
Let me know!

* * * *

I waited a little longer. My dad said "Sorry -- forgot (that wasn't on your list). Can't send anything this morning ... I'll try to ponder further ....D." My brother picked one of the options I listed, but he didn't tell me which one. Still I waited. I started feeling like I was just putting it off. I thought perhaps I should just move on to other things, new topics, and come back to The Chris Post when I got a chance. Then I got an email from my dad today and I rejoiced. Woohoo!

But then tragedy struck. Like many Dad projects, he made it harder than it had to be. He painstakingly crafted a lovely flow chart depicting who I am. Witty. Creative. Impossible to upload? Thank goodness I have geeky friends, or none of us would be seeing it right now:

Matt says it's the perfect representation of me. So I guess now you know. And we'll never know what David would've said, but that's okay. Seeing as how he frequently capitalizes on his brotherly right to make fun of me, you might not be missing all that much.

Technically, I'll be finishing the Inman Series with a brief post about our dog Abigail (she's smart AND beautiful). I was planning on moving on to her whilst I waited for the Chris Post to come together, but that was vetoed on the strength of the argument that I am much more important, more relevant, more...sparkly than the dog. Boo-ya, Abigail.