Sunday, February 24, 2008

Who knew one little ball could be so powerful?

Friday night was game night at the church, which meant brownies and chips and cookies and cake and pretzels and a veggie platter (guess who brought that), several round tables, stacks of board games, a few dozen adults, and about 15 kids completely uninterested in playing board games. The herd of young ones ranged in age from toddler to pre-teen and, with almost no trouble, they played Red Light/Green Light, had crab races, and did a lot of chasing each other around. Then Mr. Baseball found a racquetball.

When Mr. Baseball brought out the blue ball, all the boys converged on it and without any formal explanation, they organized themselves into an improvised ball game that involved somebody throwing the ball off the wall and then 16 little hands chasing after it, diving under tables, disrupting games of Cranium, and spilling drinks. I was reminded of an episode in Cesar Millan's book Cesar's Way, (he's the dog whisperer on Animal Planet). In the book he describes an entire pack of dogs playing fetch with one ball, all following the lead of the alpha male--no fighting. just pack solidarity and the intense desire to hunt down a small, bouncing rubber object.

The boys played like this for at least an hour without any major fights or disagreements, and while, as I've already mentioned, they did disrupt a few of games here and there, for the most part they stayed out of trouble and everyone had a great time.

Wouldn't it be great to be so easily entertained, enthralled, and consumed by one little ball. Too bad we have to get older, and grow out of that kind of mindless distraction...

errr, uhhh, yeah. too bad.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm on the phone right now with a polster

and I can't tell whether this is an unbiased poll or not, but the more I listen to the kind woman on the other line, who has quite a unique accent, with all her questions surrounding the policies and actions of Mrs. Clinton, the more I feel like this is a long commercial disguised as a poll. Most of the questions are weighted heavily in Hillary's favor.

There are basically two types of questions. One with the caller reading several lines from Hillary's rhetoric and asking me whether or not her stance on this or that issue will make me very, somewhat, or much more or less likely to vote for her, and another type of question where the caller reads a statement from Hillary's rhetoric about Barrack Obama and asks me if hearing that statement will make me very, somewhat, or much more or less likely to vote for her. The tricky part is that some of the questions are about voting for "him" and some are about voting for "her" so if I'm not paying attention I might give an answer that unintentionally favors the wrong candidate. and if all this sounds a little confusing and hard to follow, you should hear survey questions. I'm a 27 year old graduate student and I had a hard time following the logic trail in some of the questions.

Besides feeling a little bit taken advantage of, and feeling like Mrs. Clinton ought to be spending her time dealing with the issues instead of trying to make her opponent look bad, it is kind of nice to think that my opinion matters, even if it doesn't really. Still, disguising a commercial as an opinion poll seems dirty to me. Unfair, manipulative, sneaky, Jr. High. hmmmm.

New York the Last

I know we came back from New York weeks ago, but I had to finish posting about the trip. It was really really fun and we're so glad we got to go as a family. Here's the last of the pics.

Ha ha ha....

Times Square Friday night and again Saturday afternoon. The visit to Toys R Us in Times Square was the highlight of Mr. Baseball's trip. The lifelike T. Rex, the real Island of Sodor, the Ferris Wheel, I only have a slight idea of how exciting it would be to a four year old!

New York the Seventh

I've wanted to go to the MOMA since I heard about the opening of the new building. Lucky for us, the museum was just down the street from AWP and open for free on Friday nights (thanks to Target!) The building, in the architect's own words, is "an ideal environment for art and people [created] through the imaginative and disciplined use of light, materials, and space." And that was just the building! I could hardly contain myself when I started walking the floors. I'd seen lots of it in textbooks and on slides, but seeing it in person was SOO much better. I could have spent all day there and maybe someday I will!

One of Alexander Calder's mobiles.

Mr. Baseball in front of Andy Warhol's famous Campbell's Soups!

New York the Sixth

One afternoon the husbands left the conference and we all met up at the Natural History Museum. Everyone says it's a must see and now I know exactly why. The building itself was very architecturally satisfying, not to mention the floors and halls of animals and exhibits and videos and and and...

Yes, it's as big as it looks. A gargantuan OLD turtle hanging from the ceiling.

New York the Fifth

Appetizing? I hope so, it was our dinner in our little hotel kitchen. Do you know how much extra it would have cost to buy hot dog buns in New York!? So we opted for bread slices. Looks funny, but tastes the same pretty much.

Outside Grand Central Station, we stayed about 3 blocks away.

On the Thursday we were in New York the Student had meetings early at AWP (Association of Writing Programs). Our friends here in Athens went to New York for the same conference, so the husbands conferenced and the wives and kids played! We met some friends of our friend at her apartment in near Wall Street (WOW, is all I can say, the view from the 28th floor was amazing!) and then walked to a little restaurant called The Soda Shop for lunch. It was quite a site: 4 moms, 4 strollers and 7 kids walking down the street at lunch time in New York City. I'm sure we got some strange looks. The Soda Shop was fun, complete with those old fashioned wood candy shelves and toy soldiers. After lunch Emily and her kids, I and my kids walked down past Ground Zero (an eerie feeling) to Trinity church. There was a lunch time service in progress we watched for a few minutes which, along with architecture of the building reminded me of being in England.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Barack Called today

We got a phone call from Barack Obama today. It turns out there's an election coming up in Ohio soon. Go figure. There's going to be a presidential election, he tells me, and I can actually go to the voting precinct right now and vote early. Me! All I have to do is walk in there and I can put my name down for a candidate, and it will mean something. It will count. That was so thoughtful of him to call. Maybe I'll have to go down and vote.

It's nice to think that for the first time in my voting life, my vote for president will count for something (In Utah, I might as well have voted for the Easter Bunny. Bush II was a shoo-in, which is funny, because now we're shooing him out.)

Oh, and in case you were wondering whether or not Barack Obama is "all words," as he has been accused of being, consider this and this and this. And oh yeah, this. And then check out this. He's not perfect. Not guiltless in the politics game. But he's different. Ambitious? yes. Calculating? I don't think so. Refreshing? Can you say "Irish Spring." Washington could use a bath.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I hung up on Hillary

She called today. But it wasn't really her, just somebody who likes her and has a recording they play for everyone else they want to vote for her. Not going to happen. So I hung up after "Hello this is Hillary" (Yeah right!) "Together we can..." Click. Nope, we're not doing anything together.

I do, however, respect her for trying to break gender stereotypes. That takes a lot of guts.

Fred Savage I can understand, but everybody else?

So a friend introduced me to the shamefully self-indulgent "Celebrity look alike" program on All you do is upload your picture and their state-of-the-art face recognition program generates a non-gender discriminating short list of "famous" people who look like you (or do you look like them, and how does one decide that bit of social hierarchy?) So, like my dad always said, my evil-twin is making movies in Hollywood. the question is, which one is it?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New York the Fourth

After the quick hop over to New Jersey we made our way back and to our hotel. We packed light, or so we thought, but even 1 suitcase for all of us made subway travel rough. Mom, Dad, walking kid (who always needs a hand) and one who needs to be carried (along with the stroller) plus the big rolling suitcase, add in a busy train, lines of people waiting to get on , and you're bound to have a wrench in the works. Ours was relatively small, thank goodness, but still a wrench! We ran down the stairs to the right platform to see the train already there and people piling on. Just as the Student, the Monkey and Mr. Baseball stepped on the doors started to squeeze shut. A kind person helped keep the door open while the slid on, leaving me to wrestle with the suitcase and shutting doors behind them! I made it on the train but only after I had tipped the suitcase over, landed on top of it and caught my leg in the door. I eventually got inside and uprighted myself, but not without a big purple bruise I still have on my leg. I could have been embarressed but subway wrestling is just a part of being in big city. I'm sure I'm not the first one to ever get my leg stuck in the subway door in New York!

The hotel priceline picked for us was perfect! It was a "suite" so along with the obvious bed and bathroom we also had a hide-a-bed (or hide-a-Mr. Baseball, he loved sleeping Under it one night), a desk, table and chairs, dresser, closets and a mini kitchen!

The short trip around the block to the grocery store at 9pm proved too much for Mr. Baseball, he zonked out in the stroller in the middle of the grocery store.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New York the Third

My sister, Amy, is on a mission in New Jersey, right across the river from Manhattan. Her mission president said we could visit her if we were going to New York. It just so happened we had a legitimate excuse to be there! AWP didn't actually start until Thursday the 31st. So Wednesday, which happened to be Amy's Preparation Day was the perfect day to visit her! A sweet Sister at the mission office actually gave me her cell phone number so I could leave Amy a message and coordinate a visit. So after a brief visit to the surface of the city via Grand Central Station, it was back down in the earth for a subway ride and a PATH train to New Jersey. We waited to meet Amy at Hoboken Station, a Beaux-Arts style building on the register of National Historic Places. It was gorgeous!

We met Amy and her companion outside the station. It was a chilly first meeting for Amy and the Monkey, who was born after she left for New Jersey! The visit included a little local bagel shop and pleasant conversation. It really was a treat, the highlight of the New York trip! Luckily Amy returns home in 16 days and we'll get to see her on our Spring Break trip.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Domain name piracy: Mega Bible studies be thy name

I sat down at the computer this afternoon to work on the blog and accidentally transposed the P and the S in "blogspot" when I typed in the URL. "" leads to a site that describes itself as

A mega-site of Bible, Christian and religious information and studies. By God's mercy, one of the largest Bible-centered sites on the web (app. 6000 pgs). If it's in the Bible, it should be on this site.

Unfortunately, this does not mean that some evangelical group thought enough of our blog to pirate the web address. Rather, it means (as I discovered with a little bit more playing around with the URL), that the online bible college hosting the site purchased just the domain "" and have somehow figured out a way to get all URLS that end in to link to their site. Kudos to them for creativity. Still, I don't think they're going to convert anybody by tricking folks onto their website.

Interestingly, and not surprisingly, "Mormonism" is found on the website's handy "cult list," After "Moonies," and before "Moslems" (their spelling, not mine). Also on this list: the KKK, OUIJA boards, and witchcraft. I've got to start paying more attention at Church, because I'm definitely missing something.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Monkey's new obsession

Several people have sent us a link to this video. Monkey absolutely loves it. Today I was home with the boys while Queen Bee ran some errands and Monkey kept saying "gogg, gogg," over and over again, and I just didn't get it. When Queen Bee came home, he appealed to her, "gogg, gogg," and she responded, "Oh, you want to watch the dog video again?" Boy did he. And all night he's been asking for it. It's cute. I didn't fall over laughing, but it's cute.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New York the Second

I didn't forget to post more about our recent trip, I just didn't get to it until now. It's convienent that we have a laptop with more storage space to upload pictures (the family computer is maxed out on space), it is not, however, convienent that the laptop belongs to the student and travels to school with the student every day! He's off plasma-ing so I'm taking advantage of the computer being home in the afternoon.

A train ride anywhere would be exciting for Mr. Baseball and the Monkey, but this hour train ride into Grand Central was exciting for the parents too. The view along the Hudson river was beautiful. The tracks from Beacon Station run right next to the river, close enough and low enough it made me wonder if they flood sometimes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sick, sick, sick

That about sums up the past two weeks. Last Sunday at this time I was in bed with the stomachache of a lifetime and the kids and the QB weren't much better. After coaxing the Monkey out of a three-day fever and ear infection with a dash of pink eye we decided to take the New York trip and the kids did wonderfully marching up and down midtown Manhattan with the QB while I attended the writing conference. All was well until the middle of the night on Friday night when the monkey began throwing up and purging his bowels. He kept it up all day Saturday until we made it back to Ohio. We left Manhattan at 4:50 pm, got to the airport at 7:10pm, got on the plane at 8:15, landed in Columbus at 9:45, got in our car at 10:15pm and arrived home in Athens just before midnight and by that time the Monkey had gone through three outfits and had thrown up on QB twice during the plane flight.

So on top of recovering from vacation and dealing with sick kids on Sunday, our neighbor gave us some super spicy chili that gave us awful (I don't think it was just the chili that did it, but it didn't help) we both came down with some kind of intestinal malaise that left us with an intense desire to turn our stomachs inside out (Mr. Baseball included- all night long). On Monday I took the monkey to the doctor because he was till throwing up and having diarrhea and wasn't eating much. By Tuesday I was okay, and the QB was on the road to recovery, and the monkey was eating a bit more and holding it down and in, but he was now getting rash on his chest, that was spreading, by Wednesday and Thursday, to his arms, neck, face, and legs.

Friday the Monkey went back to the Doctor. Roseola. He was on the upswing though, so there wasn't much we could do. Silly. We went to the doctor three times in two weeks. In our defense though, the monkey had three distinctly different medical problems, all that warranted serious concern, all that just happened to clear up the day we went to the doctor, almost within hours of being in the doctors office.

So now its sunday again and the kids seem to be doing really well, except for maybe a cough. But QB and I are now dealing with something like a cold/sinus infection/ dreaded ganboo.* So we're off to bed, except that the monkey just woke up again and who knows when he'll go back to sleep. I was up with him until 2am yesterday because he doesn't like going to sleep in his room anymore. If he's not completely out he won't let us put him in his crib, and he doesn't even like laying in our bed with us that much. He's got a serious case of bedroom aversion and it's making life interesting around here to say the least. So I'm going to take over for the QB who is currently rocking a screaming baby, and we'll see what happens. (the QB just came out her and set the monkey (crying) on the floor. Poor kid. Poor mom.

*dreaded ganboo: a generic term invented by one or the other or both of my parents, or perhaps another relative, used to name any variety of physical ailments.

"Go Get Your Socks"

Tonight The QB was holding the monkey at the computer desk and she decided he would feel better with socks on. She pointed at his bare feet and at her socked feet and said "You need some socks. Go get some socks." He hopped down from her lap and toddled out of the room. A few seconds later he toddled back in the room, looking very pleased with himself, holding a solitary white baby sock in his hand. She congratulated him for the success and helped him put on the sock and then said, "You need one more sock. Go get another sock," and he did just that. I watched him make his way into his bedroom open his sock drawer (the top of which meets him about forehead level, which means he can't see into the drawer without getting onto his tip-toes) and reach in for a sock. Next maybe we'll try to get him to change his own diaper.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New York City the First

Tuesday 8:00pm: I arrive home from grocery shopping and help put kids to bed
Tuesday 8:30pm: The Student and I flop on the couch to make a final decision about who, when, if, etc. is going to New York City in the morning.
Tuesday 9:00pm: Priceline decides for us. We're all going! At 6am in the morning.
Tuesday 9:05pm: We tell Mr. Baseball about the big trip in the morning and he's so excited he can hardly contain himself.
Tuesday 12:30am: I go to bed after packing as fast as I've ever packed in my life.
Tuesday 1am: The Student hits the sack.
Wednesday 5:15am: Alarm rings
Wednesday 5:30am: We wake up an excited Mr. Baseball
Wednesday 6am: Out the door to the airport, minus the Monkey's new prescription.
Wednesday 6:20am: We turn the car around to fetch said prescription.
Wednesday 9:07am: Skybus takes us to the Big Apple!

Mr. Martha

A few Saturdays ago I came home to apron-clad boys and a whirring Kitchen Aid. Rosemary bread was on it's way, thanks to Mr. Martha. There was much anticipation as it rested for 15 minutes, then rose for an hour, and then another 30 minutes before it baked for 30 minutes.

It was worth the wait! We shared a loaf of it with the neighbors and selfishly gobbled down all three loaves in less than 24 hours. YUMMM!

Oh, and did anybody want the recipe?

Rosemary Bread Ala Martha Stewart


Makes 2 loaves

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon whole leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  1. Stir together yeast and the warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let stand until foamy, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add 3/4 cup water, the olive oil, sugar, salt, chopped rosemary, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, and the whole-wheat flour to bowl. Fit mixer with the dough hook; mix on low speed until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Raise speed to medium-high; mix until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl. Shape dough into a ball, and transfer to oiled bowl. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch down the dough; let rest, covered, 15 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide in half.
  5. Roll one piece into an 11-inch-long loaf. Gently twist dough to create contours, then tuck ends underneath. Transfer to a baking sheet. Press half the rosemary leaves into loaf. Repeat with remaining piece of dough.
  6. Loosely cover baking sheet with plastic wrap, and let loaves rise slightly in a warm, draft-free spot 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Dust loaves with remaining teaspoon all-purpose flour. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.