Dec 31st, 2007 by wrekehavoc

1st Time Skating Since Knee Surgery

back in the saddle again 🙂

happy new year, y’all!

new year's meme
Dec 31st, 2007 by wrekehavoc

it just seems like a good thing to do.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?

  • start monthly IVIG therapy. i never would believe that i would voluntarily sit for 5+ hours with a needle in my arm every four weeks (for the rest of my life). i hatehateHATE IVs. but you do what you have to do, especially when you’re a mom. and staying alive and healthy is what it’s all about for me now.
  • take ice skating lessons. i know how to skate, but i never learned, for example, how to stop. i learned other things, too, which led to another question answer…

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

i started to until i was derailed by a knee injury, thanks to the new ice skating lessons 😉 but i did lose a little weight. not all that i wanted, but a little. and that’s better than nothing.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

nope. not a one.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

sadly, our little friend mason died. but he lives on in our hearts, and every time we pass key school, we think of him with his cool bike, his batman paraphenalia, and, of course, a soccer ball.

5. What countries did you visit?

grand cayman, mexico, and the republic of new jersey. oh, and the happiest country in the world, disney world. (does that count?)

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?

  • better health
  • happier, rested children and spouse
  • time and focus to write

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

getting a short story published for the very first time!

8. What was your biggest failure?

allowing BC to linger in a class where she was not only not learning enough but where she was terrorized by a person in authority. i will never forgive myself for this. ever.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?

ha ha ha. very funny. besides the usual panoply of sinusitis and bronchitis, let’s see:

  • a torn PCL
  • a torn meniscus (both leading me to arthroscopic surgery)
  • CVID diagnosis
  • a gallstone
  • a request by my doctor to elect to have my gallbladder out (this will be a 2008 experience. i can’t have all the fun in one year)
  • and lest we forget the zillion CT, HIDA, and other scans i had this year, plus endoscopies and the like.

on the bright side, my platelets remained stable the entire year, which is more than i can say for 2006… ;-P
10. What was the best thing you bought?

hmmm. a year membership to the thomas jefferson community center. the workout equipment is ancient, but the people-watching is priceless.

11. Where did most of your money go?

chocolate. mortgage. computers. money market funds. probably not in that order.

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

springsteen going back on tour. the who going back on tour.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
 a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer?

a) happier

b) thinner (but not by much)

c) probably dead even.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

exercise. get my kids to read instead of being read to. spend more time and attention on my kids. write.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

house cleaning. hands effing down.

16. What was the best book you read?

the tale of despereaux. a children’s book, but an awesome read with BC.

17. What did you want and get?

tix to see springsteen.

18. What did you want and not get?

perfect health. i’ll never get that. but i am going to keep trying anyway 😉

19. What kept you sane?

my friends. my BS. my parents. and even sometimes my kids. see, my kids have a way of driving me crazy, but sometimes, i realize how incredible they are (especially when i see other kids in action.) sort of like my parents and husband, now that i think of it 😉

20. Who did you miss?

my gram and gramps. but i always miss them. i miss amy and jen-jen, and i never see them. i always miss my family in NJ. always always always.

but they're cousins…
Dec 29th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

we’ve been having a wonderful visit with my BIL, his wife, and their two DDs, one an extremely sweet girl a few months older than BC and the other a seven-year-old firecracker. they were finally asleep in the living room, the three girls and jools, at their second slumber party of the weekend. last night, BC stayed with them in their hotel room. jools was mad because he couldn’t have a sleepover like the girls. and PRESTO! four kids in the front of my house.

[the night before last, little miss firecracker apparently drove her sister and everyone nuts and ended up sleeping in her mom and dad’s room. she drove her sister crazy enough to make her sleep on a couch! so tonight, i knew we would take no prisoners.]

welcome, as i might say, to auntie wreke’s police state 😉

seriously, though, i had no fears about people getting to bed. see, today, we took them on a walking tour of the National Mall. we walked through FDR’s memorial. we walked through the WWII memorial. we walked through the jefferson memorial. we walked all the way over to mr. lincoln’s place. we did the whole circuit, which, for the uninitiated, is quite a feat, especially if you’re jools and have the 4.5 year old shorty mcshortshort legs to go with it.

after a whiny (jools) cup of hot cocoa and chats about why you shouldn’t touch the water in the fountains (answer: they’re sadly places where homeless people sometimes bathe) and bird shit (all the kids were freaked out about sitting on chairs with tiny blobs of white), we walked back to the car. we had a nice lunch, dropped off my poor BIL, who needed to rest because he has a terrible cold coming on, and spent a few hours letting the kids run around the house while i had a nice chat with my SIL. (BS hid out in the office on the computer.) we then fed the kids and packed everyone in the car for the light show at the national zoo, an incredibly lame light experience. all the lights were sponsored by businesses; all the treats cost ridiculous sums. i don’t know why we had to pay for tickets for this underwhelming extravaganza. i sure hope the national zoo earned some money outta this one.

and then back for brownies and ice cream. BS stopped and bought vanilla ice cream (plus cookies and cream) because the sweet girl doesn’t care for chocolate. why can’t we have chawwwwklit? cried jools, who has been raised by a mama who knows no other flavor. why are there white chocolate chips touching my brownies? cried little miss firecracker, even after i surgically removed them, leaving a faint white (unacceptable) trace. BC, bless her pointed little head, has never met a chocolate product she didn’t like. she ate it all gladly and taught miss firecracker about the wonders of cookies and cream ice cream (the other aforementioned flavor BS actually purchased for himself but which of course ended up with the kids. my poor Beleagured Spouse.) and then bed. a fold-out couch. an aerobed. and a blow-up sleeping bag that jools adores and which is ripping apart.

my sweetgirl niece got homesick and went back to the hotel with my BIL and SIL; BC is sleeping in her room because the living room is apparently too dusty for her. so the talley in the livingroom now stands at jools (in the blow-up sleeping bag) and miss firecracker, who has the entire fold-out-couch to herself. i just hope she doesn’t freak out in the morning when she sees her sister AND her beloved BC are not there with her.

we’ll see.

happy holidays!
Dec 24th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

bloggermoms unite

from nylonthread, wrekehavoc, and kellyo 🙂

mommy bloggers (or whatever the hell we’re called these days) extraordinare.

for jewish girls who've considered suicide when christmas cooking was enuf
Dec 23rd, 2007 by wrekehavoc

with apologies to Ntozake Shange.

some friends are coming over for christmas eve. i’m pretty excited, as i have not yet hosted either family over my house. it’s kind of amusing, really, that the nice jewish girl is hosting a christmas eve ‘do, but i just consider it another occasion for celebration. as i said so sweetly to BS this morning as he was getting cranky because of cleaning duties: get ahold of your holiday spirit, dammit.

it’s clicheed, but it’s true: my dream of christmas day has always been a movie followed by chinese food. for the many years of our marriage, i went without those, deferring instead to BS since this annual trainwreck holiday belongs to him and i wanted it to be as he would want it to be. i love to see his face, all happy and thrilled 🙂

but last year, i got my dream of chinese food: to be clearer, crappy, overpriced, but still chinese food. we were surrounded only by dressed-up chinese people who all seemed to know each other and who ordered stuff emanating from animal parts which i, a borderline vegetarian, probably don’t want to contemplate. this year in jerusalem, BC would like to have vietnamese food instead. BS and i (embarrassing history geeks who should no longer be allowed to watch the history channel) have already spent actual time contemplating whether certain southeast asian nations have had significant numbers of christian missionaries invading (thailand? india? cambodia?), as this might determine whether they would actually be open on christmas day. do normal people talk like this? i don’t really know. [note to self: just call the damn vietnamese restaurant tomorrow to find out whether they’re open and forget about seeing whether the history channel has an answer for you. they won’t.]

consequently, i have no earthly idea what one eats on christmas eve beyond the cookies and carrots one’s child has dutifully left out for st. nick. (oh, and by the way, for any of you kids out there reading this — auntie wreke wants you to know that those are only the cookies and carrots that santa and his reindeer left behind. they get kind of full on christmas eve, you know.) so we’re going with modified thanksgiving. i can hardly wait to taste the brined turkey that kellyo is bringing over; and i’m full of thanks that nylonthread’s AJS has something with which to actually carve the bird — and he’s not afraid to use it.

i found a recipe for sugared cranberries. heaven knows why i decided this, but i’m making said cranberries, which apparently create a lovely sugar syrup that’s appropriate for mixing with vodka. i added some orange peel to steep in there — i like my cranberries with orange whenever possible. i’m not entirely sure what the hell to do with this, but kellyo assures me that she does. i think i might welcome that sort of drink after the cleaning and cooking i’ve been doing.

additionally, i’m making ginger-orange carrots (a modified tzimmes, for you red sea pedestrians out there), some sort of garlic mashed potatoes, plain peas (because there will be 6 kids there), hummus, some sort of challah rolls (haven’t decided yet, but i guess i better get on the stick) and dessert. one dessert has turned out well — red velvet cupcakes topped with white chocolate peppermint cream cheese frosting (say that 10 times fast). in fact, the kids helped me decorate many of the cupcakes with lots of colored sugar and frosting, so if people haven’t started out in a diabetic coma, they will definitely end up nearing one.

dessert #2? well, that’s a different story. the gingerbread in question started out life with a different purpose. (a special purpose.) i made gingerbread cupcakes from an online recipe source and was all set to make the lovely frosting to go with it. people swore up and down, 5 stars, amazing recipe. so i made it. only, too bad for me. the cake, while delicious, ended up quite fragile and fell. the batter was quite thin. no way in hades would this stuff stand up to a stiff wind, much less frosting. i had to come to plan b.

or, in the words of my hero, winnie the pooh, think, think, think.

and sha-ZAAM! it came to me. a trifle. when G-d gives you lemons, make lemonade. the cake tastes fine; it just won’t be a pretty thing. i found a recipe and i’m modifying it by using my gingerbread. if nothing else, people might like pumpkin pudding, which tastes fine.

so what have we learned, boys and girls? stick with recipe sources where you can stick it to them via the letters to the editor section, if need be.

and when all else fails,we’ll always have kung pao chicken.

thank you, mr. hoffa
Dec 22nd, 2007 by wrekehavoc

tonight, as we started the joy known as wrapping the presents, BS discovered one of the two missing chanukah presents — HIS chanukah presents. the ones i somehow misplaced and which i have been obsessing over for the past two, maybe three weeks. fortunately, the one he discovered was still in it’s sturdy cardboard. clearly, it wasn’t a basketball, but still, he doesn’t know precisely what particular rectangular object it would be. strangely, it was right there in front of the washing machine, a place where i genuflect several times a week, prostrate to the laundry gods. how i missed it i cannot even begin to guess.

but still, gift number two was M.I.A. i knew i had held them together when i had last seen them, so there was no way on Dog’s green earth that it was missing. so when some of the presents had cleared, i did the unthinkable — i climbed to the dusty side of the dryer. and there, for reasons i cannot fathom, was gift #2. BS claims he didn’t look cos he didn’t know that was a present. i believe him.

damn that jimmy hoffa. guess he was done with them and decided to give them back.

it leaves me wondering the imponderable, though: is it regifting if you didn’t get presents during the holiday for which they were originally intended?

christmas songs
Dec 20th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

yes, it’s that time of year when we are bombarded with christmas songs, like it or not. i made a mix which you can check out (on your right) called chrismakwanzikah which has everything from yellowman to vince guiraldi. (it’s pretty schizophrenic.) even though i’m a nice jewish girl, there are certain christmas songs i look forward to hearing every year.

the little drummer boy : only when it’s sung by the vienna boys choir. and i cry. i don’t much like the bing crosby/david bowie (ding dong, it’s ziggy calling!) version. surprisingly.

step into christmas by elton john. maybe because it was released when i was little, but whenever i hear this, i get excited about the season. yes, i’ve mentioned before that i’m a red sea pedestrian. but i still get excited. maybe i was excited at the prospect that i, too, would one day wear glasses the size that sir elton did.

father christmas by the kinks. it reminds me of BS every time i hear it, as he loves this song. it figures: it’s about santa getting mugged by poor kids who want money, and jobs for their dads, and, oh yeah, how about a machine gun? give all the toys to the little rich boys.

santa claus is comin to town by bruce springsteen. oh, c’mon. did you REALLY think i wouldn’t include this one?

the christmas song by nat king cole. no one will ever cover this song well enough for me. period.

linus and lucy from a charlie brown christmas. i just wish i could dance as well as some of those cool kids in the scene.

the beatles christmas messages, like this one (which includes john lennon’s imitiable words that i sing every year: rudolph the red nose reindeer had a very shiny nose cos everybody picked it), this one, this one, this one, this one (including my fave, christmas time is here again.) this one, this one, (including yoko ono, of whom i’m not a huge fan.) i used to wait and wait until my local radio station would play these. they were a real treat. and it’s funny — you can tell a lot about the beatles from their christmas messages — they start out doing it all together in the beginning, then they start their own compositions and include a spouse or so toward the end. 1969 sounds so clearly pasted together by individual beatles to me. i’ll stick with 1967 and 1966, thank you very much.

christmas in hollis by run dmc. it’s christmastime in hollis, queens. mom’s cookin’ chicken and collard greens. ’nuff said.

there are plenty of other songs — like adam sandler’s chanukah offerings — that i enjoy. but i really, really look forward to hearing those songs.

i’ll finish with lyrics by the kinks. it sums up my feelings about this time of year, when people are happy to share things with the less fortunate but somehow forget about them the other days of the year:

Have yourself a merry merry christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin
While you’re drinkin down your wine

aimee mann's christmas show, birchmere, 12/17
Dec 18th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

i really, really wanted to see aimee mann again. i loved when she toured with her husband, michael penn; and the birchmere is such an intimate, yet comfortable venue to see artists that aimee mann + birchmere = no brainer.

imagine a travelling andy williams christmas special slightly off-kilter (and with mostly better music and more profanity) and you’ve got the jist of the evening. mann noted that she was battling illness and had just gotten a steroid shot to try and help her voice. it cracked often and didn’t hit notes, but this usually cranky reviewer is very forgiving when someone tries that hard to not disappoint. and she didn’t. in fact, there were times when the whispery, warbly, wobbly notes made some songs that much more plaintive. she sang some traditional christmas faves, she sang save me, she sang one song that knocked me out (i was thinking i could clean up for christmas, a song where her croaky throat actually worked well.) she even sang one of my two very favorite songs of her’s, wise up — a song that, even with tom cruise and william h. macy singing along (in the movie) still brings a lump to my throat. (i still think that movie is incredibly special, even if BS hated it and was furious with me for making him watch it.)

others on the show include comedian paul f. tompkins, who did stand up, sang with mann, and featured prominently in the funny short films she shared; ben lee, a tuneful jewish guy from australia; the hanukkah fairy (comedian morgan murphy), and jazzy, retro nellie mckay and her stuffed rudolph, singing in front of clips of young pia zadora in santa claus conquers the martians. (see, i did learn something from watching the late, great MST3K.)

a wonderful evening. get well, aimee.

explaining homosexuality to a 9 year old
Dec 16th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

BS left a Time Magazine on the top of the toilet as he always does. he’s always weeks behind on his quality reading, so this issue must be at least a month or so old. one headline that screams from the cover: Yep, He’s Gay.

BC and i were in the bathroom at the same time, she washing her hands and me drying mine. it was one of those slow-motion moments where i saw her eyes leap to the monosyllabic words, words she can easily read. and i knew hilarity would ensue.

mama, girlfriend said, what does that mean?


“gay” she said. duh, mama.

attempting to be as matter of fact as if i were discussing butter or baseball, i replied, gay is when two people are in love with each other and they are both men or both women.

i saw girlfriend processing this one. she made an uneasy face. i wanted to head it off at the pass.

you know, buzz (one of her nicknames), i added, in this world, you are lucky if you can find someone you love who loves you back. it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a boy or a girl.

that finished it. we were both satisfied.


tearjerker du jour
Dec 14th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

cranky jools, who stayed up until 9pm last night, was snapping out of his sleepy snit. he jumped into my lap on the couch.

mama, he said, am i too big for your lap?

no honey, i replied. you’ll never be too big for my lap.

even when i grow up and i am bigger than you?

if you want to sit in my lap then, you can still sit in my lap.

he pauses, thinks for a moment. then he continues.

mama, when i am bigger than you, will you die?

i hate moments like this. before i was diagnosed, i used to confidently blurt out, only when you’re very, very old. now, of course, i’m not so sure. i guess no one can be sure. but somehow, i am less sure than before. though ever more determined.

only when you’re very, very old, i reply.

i hope i’m convincing.

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