Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Room Mother H E Double Toothpicks

Tomorrow is the big day. It's the day I make my debut as Head Room Mother Room 406. I think I have everything: napkins, cups, snacks, markers . . . pretend valium.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Old Hook and Ladder

Yesterday we went to see my stepson march in the NDSU marching band at the Fargo Dome. Jeremy is a senior so we've been going to these games for four years and even though I'm not a real big football fan, I do get a kick out of these little trips.

It's easy to get behind the NDSU Bison. I think they've lost one game in two years or something. I get all excited and start yelling "That's another Bison FIRST DOWN!!" and "Go Thundering Herd!" and stuff. Plus there's pretzels and cinnamon almonds and a little green and yellow firework when they get a touchdown. What's not to like? I even found myself secretly cheering for the other team when they preformed what the announcer called the "old hook and ladder." Apparently it didn't work as well as it should have, but it looked impressive to me.

So, I was a little sad when Jeremy said this is his last year in marching band. He has one more year to go, but he feels like he's put in his time. As the Bison head into college football big time, there are going to be changes in the marching band program -- a full-time athletic music director, new uniforms and such. Jeremy has always preferred his music without a lot of pressure. I respect that, but I'll probably miss the call to "feel the thunder!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I've had an addiction to mascara for most of my life. Comes from having very little (few and small) eyelashes. Since the birth of Baby D I have gone out of the house a few times without it, but mostly -- even if it's the only thing I have time for -- mascara.

I'm picky about it too. I don't want to pay too much for it. It is, after all, just mascara, but I want it to perform well. I don't want it to clump. The brush can't be too thick, but my eyelashes are very sparse so the brush can't be too little either or it will take a lot of effort to get it on. For a while I was into this mascara that painted on . . . or something. You had to work it off with your fingers. It came off in little tubes. Weird, but it really stayed on. It can't smear. That I think is even worse than clumpy lashes. Raccoon eyes. I know the world loves Maybelline in the pink tube, but I don't. I've always got to be bucking the system.

Today I tried a sample of Dior or something I had gotten from Sephora (Is there any where else? Don't answer that, Brennan.) and suddenly this lovely odor came wafting to me. If you pay big, big bucks ($23) for your mascara, it comes scented!! I may have to rethink that bookkeeping job.

Nope. Maybe I'll try Maybelline again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thanks . . .but no

I was half jokingly offered my old job as bookkeeper at a weekly newspaper. I know this paper pretty well. My dad used to be the publisher. I had done every job at the newspaper except for bookkeeping when, one day, the bookkeeper quit and there I was. Numbers have never really been my game so I was a lot nervous about doing it, but Dad operated on a cash accounting basis (the "what you see is what you get" of accounting methods) so it was never very hard to tell exactly where we were.

My bookkeeping motto at the paper became, "Pay what you owe -- no more, no less." It did not come as a surprise to me that there would be costumers who failed to pay, but there were customers who would just pay random amounts -- plucked out of nowhere. At first I would try and figure out how they came up with this amount as opposed to the amount they owed, but after a while . . . well, I just didn't care. I would credit them and move on, rebilling them the next month.

When Dad sold the paper I worked another four or five months and left. It wasn't the job for me under the guilt laden eye of my father. No way was I doing it for a stranger. Needless to say today I said, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Fireplace Carol

The wood was wet to begin with . . .

We just got home from a long weekend up on the North Shore. A great time was had by all, but it was raining or thinking about it the entire time. That's okay; there was plenty to do. We shopped. (I bought woolen mittens and got all excited to read about them on the tag only to discover they are made 30 miles from my home.) We looked for moose. We drank coffee and ate fish. We looked at waterfalls.

One thing I love to do when we are "Up North" is build a fire. My parents had a Franklin stove and since I -- for whatever reason -- got up at 5 a.m. to do my homework, I got very good at fire building. So I am in charge of the fire. Our cabin had a fireplace (which we laid all the chairs in front of so Baby D could not get near) and every night we built a fire. Well, the first two nights went pretty well, but by the last night I had run out of dry fire wood. I anticipated this problem and began drying wood by the fire the first night, but we were also out of dry kindling and it was just tough going that last night.

Unfortunately, this was the night I declared we were going to roast hot dogs and marshmallows by the fire and so a fire had to be made to feed my family. As I was slaving away trying to get the fire going, Brent was out at the truck -- doing whatever he does out there, picking up crumbs or some such thing. Colin came in and said he was heading for the bathroom. Fine. I kept working. I heard Colin begin the bathroom process and didn't think much about it until I started to look around for Baby D. Colin, for some reason, had decided to pee in a half crouch position facing away from the toilet (I think he was thinking about sitting later). Baby D had pulled himself up onto the toilet and was leaning into the toilet to watch the waterfall. I wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry or take a picture. I wish I had done the latter.

I got my fire built. Colin declared he did not like hot dogs roasted on the fire. I offered the non-burnt one to Brent. He took it. I ate the burnt one. It was time to come home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Immortal, Invisible

I'm not quite 40, yet lately -- and I'm talking about the past couple of years here -- I've been in a bit of a mid-life crisis. Life seems more and more temporal all the time. Faster and faster it goes. My mother assures me today that the feeling doesn't get any worse after 40. She didn't say that it would get better, but I'm okay with the idea that it won't get any worse.

I have an uncle who died today. He had one arm, the other lost to a potato picker. I have a vague memory, as a small child, of being warned when he first came around, that he was missing the arm. I think I was scared of him for about a second. I don't remember now. Looking back as an adult everyone was probably scared of him. He was going to marry my Aunt Lois, who hadn't really brought any other boyfriends around. He was a lot older than she. He had one arm. I remember them making each other laugh. Prior to that point I thought I was the only one who could make Lois laugh (probably due to the near spelling of our names Lois/Lisa). I thought it was a good thing for Lois to laugh.

This weekend a well like local man was killed in a head-on collision. I know (knew) both the victim and the 16 year old driver who ran into him. Michael in the permanence of youth apparently thought he could not wait for the truck in front of him. Now he knows that life is temporary too. So quickly both families changed forever. He should have waited. He knows that now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

So, today is BLOG ACTION DAY and we're supposed to be writing about the environment. It's probably a bad time to mention that Brent bought a large SUV recently. It does have Flex Fuel.

It seems that in regard to vehicles I have married someone similar to my father -- whatever that means. Growing up, at least every year, Dad would drive home in a new car. We would go for a ride and ooh and ah, but never get too attached because you never knew how long it would be with us. Shortly after I got my driver's license he got a Corvette which thrilled me no end. It only lasted a couple of months until he declared it hurt his back to get in and out. I don't remember what he got after that, but I do remember I only got to drive it twice.

So Brent, as it turns out, is as bad if not worse. I knew we were in for it after Baby D was born and he started mumbling that there wasn't enough room in our vehicles for all his children. Now J and S are in college and the first time we have seen them in three months was this weekend, so, frankly we don't have a lot of call for hauling all the children around, but I respect his desire to do so.

The new SUV has a DVD player. I was opposed to the DVD player for a long time, but as you may remember during our trip to the Black Hills, I saw the light.

Oh . . . and . . .well, don't forget to recycle.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

One is the loneliest number

Mrs. Peterson, C's third grade teacher, asked for volunteers to be room mothers at the beginning of the school year. I had been really feeling like God was calling me to do volunteer work at school so I agreed. I even agreed to be the room mother coordinator. Why not.

Now, you need to know that C's school doesn't have room mothers, so when I agreed to do this, I thought I was agreeing to cut construction paper pumpkins or police game time during parties. So imagine my surprise when Mrs. P came up to me at the third grade picnic and said, "I have the money for you."

"For what?" I asked.

"Why for the parties, of course," she said.

Turns out in the rest of the world that's what room mothers do -- they plan the parties. Every woman I have talked to about this in our district has been surprised, so I know I am not the only one who was in the dark.

Well, I thought, since God was calling me and God loves hospitality, I would have a coffee and all the volunteers could sit down and meet each other and volunteer what they would do for the parties. I had one -- yes, one -- lady show up today. Two others called to say they weren't coming, but that was it.

It's not like I don't already have issues about being loved and accepted by my peer group. But they don't even know me! Is it so bad I am rejectable without even being seen?!

Brent suggests I am taking it too personally.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tired Again

Well, I am just tired again. I slept through Bible Study this morning. Brent called to say I wasn't coming. I hope my group survived. I'm sure they did.

Baby D is getting up at 4 a.m. for good. I am torn between thinking he is having tooth troubles and thinking he is training us to get up and entertain him. I know his teeth are bothering him. I wouldn't be surprised if all four first teeth came in at once.

When the boys go to sleep I get all excited about doing the important things I haven't been able to do because I am chiefly chasing Baby D around -- like playing on-line bingo. Then I stay up too late for a 4 a.m. wake up call.

Tonight this ends. Brent has declared -- and I am totally on board -- that we are going to bed at 10 p.m. even if we have to lay there and stare into the dark.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm so Rhapsody in Blue

It's my life dream to play "Rhapsody in Blue" on the piano. I have a simplified version that I've been working on for about a year. (Obviously, the new baby has really cut into my piano rehearsal.) I can play it all right, but I want to play it without stopping -- play it without stumbling -- be brave enough to play it in front of somebody . . . anybody. Brent has heard me, and I think so has beloved stepchild S, but she's very supportive.

I'm not very good at finishing things, so I don't hold out much hope this will ever happen. My basement storage is full of plastic containers of cast off craft projects -- counted cross stitch, Christmas ornaments, a quilt. My favorite is a sampler I pull out periodically. It was a wedding gift. It says so far, "I am my beloved's and he is mine. --erta and Neil." I'm thinking they've been married seven or eight years now. I should probably think about another gift for them.

Monday, October 8, 2007

You get what you pay for

Well, I just wanted to cry for a couple of the Girls at ECFE today. The topic was how you balance your home life. One of the Girls announced that her husband tried to charge her $15 for "babysitting." She informed him that when you're the dad it's called "parenting" and you don't get paid.

I think I would have sooner stayed single.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Another great mind ruined by education

I am proud to be president of the Malmberg Cousin Underachiever Club. I earned this title, I believe, because:
  1. I have the most undergraduate degrees and currently have no job at all (for the sake of argument we will not count the exhausting task of full-time stay at home parenting a "job").
  2. I started the club.

We've never had an official meeting because that would be achieving something, but I would guess that Cousin Josh comes next as vice president for having the most graduate credits without an actual degree. He's in graduate school again, so we'll see. If he comes out with a degree and works at McDonald's or something (and that would be fine), he will probably be president. If he gets an actual job, we'll have to kick him out -- but again, that would require a meeting or something so he's probably safe.

Cousin Nate is not in the club and never will be. He is (oh, for the love of Pete) a micro chemist. I was browsing some of his journal articles on line and -- now I consider myself to be a fairly sharp cookie -- I could not even understand the titles. Permanent black ball status for that one.

In my favorite photo of our great grandmother, she is reclining on a sofa she has made for herself in the woods. There is a large farm to be run, men to feed, our grandma at her feet begging for attention, but Great Grandma is reading the newspaper on this couch.

I love my gene pool.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Better late

My one project that absolutely, positively, must be done this summer was to wash my removable couch cover. I just put it in the washer.

I hope my fall project doesn't involve anything outdoors.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Who's this for?

I really enjoy a trip to Florida at the end of a long Minnesota winter. Today it is six months until we spend our first full day in Orlando next March. To honor this day, C was forced against his will to watch Peter Pan last night and this morning Tinkerbell left a trail of sparkly pom pons leading to a Disney video for C and a stuffed Mickey Mouse for Baby D. C is too old to care. Baby D is too young. It reminded me of my friend who remarked, after several years of frustrating Santa pictures, who's this for? Is this for me? Is this for the kids? Clearly, the marking of this day was for me . . . and I think as long as we are all clear on this that's okay.