Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Latkes and Applesauce

I made latkes tonight.  I was going to make some anyway.  Then Jupiter's teacher sent home a list over the weekend looking for volunteers to send items for the holiday party on Wednesday.  Latkes was on the list.  They've been studying different holiday traditions.  So I signed up for the latkes, and wondered if anyone would sign up to bring the chips and salsa and other snacks that were listed.  I suspect nobody else voluntered for latkes, because the paper came back with a big happy face circle in the "OK".

On the way home today, we had to stop at the store to buy matzo meal, because I am nothing if not authentic. 

So I made a huge batch of latkes to send to school.  With the rest of the potatos I pulled out of the garden just before the hurricane came by.

In the middle of making latkes, I lit the Advent Candles. ( I remembered to buy new Advent Candles this weekend.  So now we have all four.)

They're really very yummy.  (Latkes, not Advent Candles.  Though maybe the scented candles might be okay).  I ate several.  With applesauce.

Jupiter would not eat any latkes.  She also would not eat her canned ravioli.

Today's newspaper had a front page article about how we can now get kosher jelly donuts in Southern Maine without having to go all the way to the Boston suburbs. The article included the proper name for the jelly donuts, but I'm not even going to try to post it. I am now disappointed that I did not have a delicious jelly donut to go with the latkes.

I did, however, have a little avocado with my latkes.  Which I'm guessing is not authentic, but I'm an avocado freak.  And it made a nice color contrast.

Tonight for story we read Latkes and Applesauce, which I ordered from the Scholastic book orders back when my Mom was teaching preschool and I didn't have any kids. Back then I ordered books every  month and acquired a library.  Now I have a child and don't have money to order tons of books from Scholastic. Somewhat ironic. But we still have a library.

I enjoy typing the word latkes.  And they are delicious.

And it is past my bedtime.

Happy Hanukkah!

2nd grade contraband list

Jupiter is ahead of schedule this year.

Yesterday, digging through her school bag, I found some crinkled up paper written in adult handwriting I did not recognize.  So out of curiosity, I unfolded it to see what it was.

It turned out to be a note addressed to "Emmie" from the Tooth Fairy.

So I dig through the bag some more and come up with a star reader pencil (which I know Jupiter has not earned yet), a small Advent sticker book, and a yellow plastic barrette of the kind I have not purchased. 

Questioning Jupiter about the origin of these items in her possession, I'm reminded of the...what was it again....Something Or Other she had this morning she was supposed to bring back to school.  I ask Jupiter if she returned the SOO back to school.

She went to her room and returned with a different SOO that she'd brought home over the weekend. Instead of bringing that back to school, she'd hidden it in her room.

I hauled out the plastic bags and we sorted the items by who they belonged too or where she had found them.  SOO number one was on the kitchen table.

Then I looked in her lunch bag and found two pink lip glosses. They belonged to the owner of SOO number two.

Last night I had to email Jupiter's teacher with a list of items she would be returning to school. 

For posts regarding Kindergarten and 1st grade emails to Jupiter's teacher with lists of items she would be returning, see here and here.

So Jupiter's backpack has gone on vacation early this year.  I'd take the lunch bag away as well, but she won't touch hot lunch, and Jupiter not eating is not an option.

The last two years, this was a February behavior.  Not sure if the accellerated schedule is a good thing or a bad thing.  And I THOUGHT she was doing well with pre-holiday behaviors; but apparently they've just reformatted. 

Two more days of school.  Which isn't really long enough to fully implement the "no backpack" plan effectively; so most likely that will carry over into some part of the new year.  Six more days until the post holiday "AHHHH" of school and work vacation.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Saturday after riding, we stopped at the grocery store. Among other things, I needed ingredients to make salsa for my mother's cookie party the next day. (The salsa was for party food; not cookies. Just to be clear.)

First stop, tomatos. They're on sale. Sweet.

On the other side of the display, avacados are on sale. I don't need those for salsa, but I just like them. And they don't grow here, much to my dismay. So I got two anyway.

Cilantro. It's on sale too! It's Christmas for me!!!

Couldn't figure out why it was all on sale. Normally that happens on Cinco de Mayo, but not in the middle of December.

The next day at church (about the time I made it to the service), I hear during Prayers of the People: "Please pray for our Hispanic brothers and sisters as the celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe."

Ah-Ha! That's why all the stuff I needed was on sale.

Gracias a La Dama de Guadalupe!!

(My apologies to any native Spanish speakers who may be reading this).

Monday, December 12, 2011


So every year I plan to create extra time during Advent to notice that it is actually Advent.

Yesterday at Children's Chapel, when we rolled in late because I had to buy gas on the way to church or risk running out of gas on the way to the gas station after church (uphill all the way, no less); Emily was asking the kids if they were doing anything special for Advent.

I turned to the adult next to me (the priest's wife) and undertoned: "Running around like a crazy person. I think I'm missing the point."

Emily asked if any of the kids had an Advent Wreath at home.

I turned to PW next to me. "Yes. We have one. It's even on the kitchen table. But we can't see it because it's buried under everything else on the kitchen table. Again, missing the point."

Emily asked the kids how many candles they might be lighting on their Advent Wreath.

This time I kept my own council. Well, we would light three today. If the wreath were visible. And oh yeah, I lost the candle for week one of Advent, so we could only light two anyway. I really have to remember to get more candles.

Emily asked the kids if any of them have a calendar.

Jupiter looks at me questioningly from her place on the rug. I nod at her. We do have a calendar. And it's even up to date. Entirely Jupiter's doing, I might add, that the calendar is up to date.

It's not like I don't know it's coming. Obviously I need to prepare for Advent before Advent actually gets here (21 weeks of Pentacost to prepare for Advent should be plenty of time, right?) so I don't blink and miss the whole thing.

I am prould to report that we remembered to move traveling Mary and Joseph closer to the stable (before church even). They've made it from the windowsill to the mantel shelf now. Non traveling Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus, wise men and camels are in the dining room closet, waiting for their turns.

So now would be an excellent time to dust that windowsill.

Then on Christmas Eve, we could put the Wise Men and Camel on the windowsill and remember to move them for 12 days to January 6th. I'm trying to convince Jupiter that the 12 days of Christmas are actually AFTER Christmas, but she's covinced I am wrong. Maybe that would help.

We also remembered to put the Little People Nativity under the tree this year. Last year I found it in Jupiter's closet in February (probably about Ash Wednesday) and was mad I forgot to bring it out with the other Christmas things.

Next weekend should be less busy than the one we just had. I'll try again. I have four more days to prepare for a non hectic weekend. The four days, on the other hand.....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The telltale scent of Sharpie's

So tonight, after a busy, action packed weekend, Jupiter and I settled in bed to read. At the same time, she was going to style my hair. We found the brush and the parfait cup that holds the hair ties.

So I'm reading. She's brushing, and braiding, and putting hair ties in.

And then I smell the Sharpie.

My hair now has purple and blue ends.

She informed me that you can't even see it.

Which isn't entirely true. You CAN see it. I'm not sure how visible it is if you're not looking for it. But it's definitely there.

Jupiter's logic: "Well, it's not like I colored it GRAY."

Thanks for that.

So of course on Tuesday, I have to go to a one on one meeting with our Senior Manager from NJ. This would be the same meeting that last week I went too two weeks early. Which was about six weeks after I called him by the wrong name. Immediatly preceeding a three day kaizen event. So this time, I can go to the meeting (on the right day) with multicolored hair. Good think I work for a bank. We're all for personal freedom of expression and all.

Jupiter is definitely all for personal freedom of expression.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today's Homework

Directions: Choose twelve words from the spelling lists (five seperate lists for unit 2) that you have a hard time spelling. Copy the word neatly. Say the word. Write the word again.

Jupiter: I don't get the directions.

Me: Read the directions to me. Out loud.

Jupiter: But there aren't 12 words that I have a hard time with.

Me: Then just choose twelve words.

Jupiter: This is too easy. It's boring.

Me: You still have to do it. If it's easy it shouldn't take too long.

Short while later:

Jupiter: I can't find the other (word list) paper.

Me: Then look for it. I'm not getting involved in this drama.

Short while later:

Jupiter: There's a big mosquito in here.

Me: It's December. I'm sure there is not. If there is a bug, it is microscopic and will not bother you.

Jupiter: Don't you believe me?

Me: Nope.

Short while later:

Jupiter: It's all done now.

Me: I knew you could do it.

Math homework:

Cut out the shapes. Fold the dotted lines and tabs. Tape together to make pyramid shapes.

Jupiter: I don't like tabs.

Jupiter: I'm good at cutting.

Me (in my head). I know you are. You cut everything. Your hair. Doll hair. Your clothes. Doll clothes. Including the skirt of your Russia Barbie. But yes, paper too.

Jupiter: Will you help me fold the tabs?

Me: Yes. When you're all done cutting the paper.

She's jumping on the mini tramp now. With enough attitude for a u-haul.

Monday, November 28, 2011

To Natalie in East Helena, Montana

Dear Natalie,

I have no idea why your Eddie Bauer order came to my house in Maine.

My 8 year old almost opened it for you, but fortunately I found her before she succeeded.

I've always wanted to see Montana. Perhaps I will deliver your order in person.

Jupiter in a great space

On Saturday the riding instructor remarked about how Jupiter was in such a great space that day. Articulate. Tuned in.

And she was.

She hadn't had school for a week. And we had time for lots of snuggle time.

And now...that space is done.

Guess what? Her homework is not done. Oh well, her parent teacher conference is tomorrow. I am still conflicted about homework because I think she that academically she is more than capable of doing the homework and should be held accountable for doing it. And then there's the part of me that hates the struggle we have most nights doing it. For awhile we sat together on the couch so she could lean on me physically while doing the homework. That seemed to help. But tonight, no such luck. She wouldn't go to sleep last night and was up before 5am rocking and chanting, so she was tired by the time we got home at 4:45. On the upside, she did take a shower, so at least she'll be clean tomorrow.

I did remember to email Jupiter's support person to ask her to ask the cafeteria staff to let Jupiter wear her snow hat in the cafeteria. It calms her. It muffles some of the high decibel cafeteria noise. Let her wear the hat. Mrs. C said she would speak to the cafeteria staff.

The pick up people remarked today how much the MP3 player helps her after school; with its eclectic mix of music. It always reminds me of putting a cover over a bird cage.

Last year her school issues seemed primarily teacher related. This year, she's coming home with stories of this, that or the other kid said something mean. A girl in a different second grade class is trying to make Jupiter's "best" friend play with only her and leave Jupiter out. Someone last week said they didn't like Jupiter's name. (Her real name; not her blogname). I don't remember her being this focused on other kids being mean before. So I'm not sure if this is a new thing or just increased awareness. I'm not sure if the other kids are mean to many other kids as well as Jupiter. Sometimes she doesn't even know who the other kid is. I'm not sure how much the other kids are being mean and how much is Jupiter's interpretation of their interactions. I think it's only a few kids; but those are the interactions Jupiter seems focused on at the moment.

She did say today that two of the boys at her table got moved so now she's at a table with only girls, and she likes that. That one boy accross the table kept kicking her (just absent kicking while sitting, I think; not kicking with intent to hurt) and that was making her really mad. She's handling all this okay at school (with the exception of the one day she sat at her desk and cut her own hair). But it's making for some interesting evenings.

Conference tomorrow. I get to have a one on one meeting at work with the senior manager from NJ tomorrow afternoon; then go pick up Jupiter and go to her parent teacher conference. I'm not sure I'm a fan of "bring your child to the conference". There are times that makes it difficult to discuss what I really want to discuss. That happens to be open house night for art, music and phys ed teachers; as well as guidance and social work. I want to see the art teacher. Jupiter has really been enjoying art this year. And it's also book fair night.

Remind me to pack snacks.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vacation Time

I have vacation time scheduled for the last week of December. The week between Christmas and New Year's, to be exact.

Mostly I did that because the only way I could get the day after Christmas off was to take the whole week.

Then I tempted fate. I actually realized how busy life has been and how much busier it will get during the rush of December Madness and pre holiday anxiety triggered behaviors. And I said to myself, "Wow. I can't wait for that week between Christmas and New Years when we can stay home and do absolutely nothing."

And the PTO gods laughed hysterically.

In October, I took one hour the second week of the month. The compliance area held a regional town hall meeting a couple of towns over from the town where I work (which is a few towns over from where I live). The town hall meeting was scheduled for the middle of the day. Unfortunately it was Thursday; which at the time meant dance class and karate. Deliberately scheduled for the same day since they occur near each other, and not so near to wear we live. Which meant that Thursday's schedule was going to go something like this.

Leave Hometown. Drive to WorkTown. Drive from Worktown to Meetingtown. Drive back to WorkTown. Drive from Worktown to Dancetown. Drive from Dancetown to Karatetown, which happens tobe the same town as Meetingtown. Then drive back to Hometown approximatly 12 1/2 hours after leaving Hometown.

So I took an hour of PTO after the meeting and went directly from Meetingtown to Dancetown. It just made sense. And Meetingtown happens to be Famous Outlet Store Town.

Two weeks later, Jupiter was having an extremely moody phase. I arrived to pick her up and she was throwing a giant wango tango; so I decided that she was not going back to after school care for the rest of the week. Wednesday is a half day of school in Hometown, so that was another 2 1/2 hours of PTO. I had scheduled the following Friday off anyway, so that was another 8 hours.

Then came late Sunday night. Jupiter woke up with a sore throat/headache. I let her sleep late in the morning, and when she woke up she said she could go to school. 1.5 hours of PTO.

3 1/2 hours later the school called. Fever.

1.5 hours of PTO became 4 hours.

Had to stay home sick the next day too. 8 more hours.

Now it's a new month. I was going to work all day every day. Until Thanksgiving.

At 11:30 the nurse called. Jupiter's orthdontic appliance had come loose and she couldn't close her mouth all the way. Called the orthodontist. Made an appointment. Left work early again. 1.5 hours.

My vacation is slipping away.

Fortunately I had a whole lot of PTO left over from last year. And I am now well into that time.

Hoping I can save the rest of it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Maine Storm's Coming

If you're from around here (read: around heah), you know this line. The line from the CMP commercial that they play before the StormCenter music comes on indicating that CMP is ready for the storm, and they want us to be ready too. And no line is safe to touch. Evah.

I wonder if Stormcenter has even lined up its commercial sponsors for tomorrow's storm center.

Seriously. We haven't even carved our Halloween pumpkin yet. Normally we would to a couple of pumpkins, but I never got to buy another one. I was busy today. Getting ready for the storm coming.

Put up the screens and put down the storm windows in the house.

Take out the dead tomato vines and pull the stakes from the garden.

Bring a couple of empty plant containers into the house so I can figure out how to put a kind of cold frame around them on the unheated sunporch to see if I can grow some lettuce or scallions during the winter.

Take out the screen from the storm door and put in the storm window.

Pull the clematis vine down from the trellis and put the green plastic thing over the trellis.


Haul leaves out to big pile at edge of woods.

Listen to hunters on the public access land behind my house.

Rake some more.

Haul some more leaves.

Make Jupiter get dressed and brush her hair specifically so she can come out and I can take a leaf picture.

Unhook the hose from the house and bring it in. The garage...not the house.

Turn over the gardens so the snow can get in them. Free fertilizer.

Plant my garlic.

Rake some more.

Haul some more leaves.

I'm not all done raking yet. But I can live with it.

The snow has started. I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

Jupiter looked out the window just before bed and said "I didn't know it was REALLY going to snow."

I'll have to take her picture in the morning. She's a happy snow girl with all that Siberian blood. It is fun to watch her like the snow. Much more fun than shoveling or roof raking the snow.

With any luck, it's our big snowstorm for the year. And weekend snow is better than weekday snow.

Now I think I'm going to go read The Long Winter and the very appropriate chapter about the October blizzard.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stuff and Thankfulness

I have a new plan for our household after Halloween. It's called "No more new stuff."

Seriously. If I had a webcam, you could see that the desk is covered in piles of stuff with barely enough room for the keyboard. On the left side of the keyboard is a foot high stack of bills, papers, contact lens and glass prescriptions, a desk of cards, a picture frame for Jupiter's birthday friends to sign at her party, a computer mouse that goes with Jupiter's computer game thing, a toy guitar, drawings, a die that I think goes in the Yahtzee game, a pink marker, a blue colored pencil, a five of clubs that doesn't belong in the aforementioned deck of cards, a hello Kitty notebook, and a purple straw.

And that's just in the one spot.

I'm tired of stuff. Jupiter, however, is not tired of stuff. Jupiter is one day going to star in the tv show about hoarding. She wants to keep EVERYTHING. Which is bad enough. But she also fixates on one or two things at a time, carries them around everywhere, then puts on down to do something else, and then when she wants it again can't find the current object of her fixation because it is buried under everything else.

But she still wants more stuff. The only thing she doesn't want is something she already has. If she doesn't already have it, she wants it. If she does have it, it's important and must be kept forvever.

So I've decided that in November, we are going to practice being thankful for What We Already Have. In other words: Not Being Thankful Because We Get More Stuff.

I think the hardest part for me will be practicing Not Picking Up Any More Cheap or Free Books Becuase I Don't Have That Book Yet and There's a Whole Shelf of Free Books At the Y. (And no, I certainly did not grab two books off that shelf tonight).

In December, I am going to practice Sneaky Ways To Get Rid of Stuff We Already Have Before We Get More New Stuff.

This plan, of course, does not extend to groceries. We are allowed to buy food. I expect, however, that I should be able to plan for cat litter, cat food and health and beauty aids and we shouldn't need any new items from those catagories.

I have to go Pick Up More Stuff now because people are actually going to come into my house on Sunday. Maybe I can let just the kids in and make the adults wait outside. Maybe I can make the kids all take home an article of random stuff with them when they go.

Except the books.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Jupiter and I were home early this afternoon. Which worked out well since she had about three days worth of homework to catch up on.

We came home and had a snack. Well, she had a snack. I had lunch.

I got out the first worksheet. The one she started yesterday but then decided she didn't know what a paragraph was anymore and didn't like where I wrote the numbers to show her paragraph one two three and four. Homework time tanked and ended. So today she had to answer one multiple choice question and write a sentence.

20 minutes later she'd answered one multiple choice question and written a sentence.

On to a math worksheet. She'd started about two math facts. There were about 44 of them left on the page. I tried to remove myself from the homework area in the hopes she would stop arguing about every.single.thing.

20 minutes later she'd done six math facts, snapped the lead on all her pencils, broken one pencil in half, and dropped her pencil boxes on the floor. I sent her to her room for five minutes while I threw away the broken pencil and sharpened all the other ones. She threw all the blankets off her bed and jumped on the bed.

We switched to a reading worksheet. She took her pencil and filled in all the letter "b"'s in the passage she was supposed to be reading. She informed me that she didn't WANT to do homework. She WANTed to play. She went in the other room. I brought her the worksheet with the reading passage.

She ripped up the paper with the reading passage. I sent her to find the tape. She said she didn't know how to tape it back together. (seriously; this is the kid who wants scotch tape for Christmas). She got mad at the tape because the long straight piece of tape wouldn't cover the diagonally jagged hole she'd made in the paper. I suggested she use a smaller piece of tape.

She ripped a two foot piece of tape off the roll and wrapped it around my body twice. Then she ripped off 8 inch pieces of tape and used the counter to divide them into four smaller pieces. Whatever. She stuck pieces of tape on where I told her.

She was supposed to read the story three times. The second time throw she yawned through every other sentence.

We had a conversation about how she hates homework and school.

She said she was hungry.

While she read the story a third time, I fixed her two tablespoons of straight peanut butter and dish of peaches.

When I blinked, she inhaled all the peanut butter. She asked for more.

She ate the peaches and a third tablespoon of peanut butter.

She answered the questions on her reading paper. We were on a roll.

I started switching up the three math papers. We had to find a sales flyer from last week in the recycle bin in order to find things in a magazine or newspaper that cost less than $2. (note to school staff: could you please send home worksheets that require looking at sales ads on Monday when there's a chance the sales ads are still piled on my living room floor somewhere?). She chose candy corn and wrote out two different ways to make a dollar.

I switched her to a place value worksheet. She whipped through the first two problems.

I switched her back to the math facts worksheet. She balked a little bit but completed two rows.

She blasted through the rest of place value worksheet. She was ready (willing) to work on her own. She finished the counting money worksheet and went back to the math facts worksheet. I started painting the walls in the living room.

She doesn't like subtraction. I told her to hop from the smaller number to the bigger number on her imaginary number line and that it would be the answer. She tried it and figured out it worked. I didn't mention that I still have to do subtraction that way. She colored the little path of all the facts that had ten for an answer.

Obviously she needs a hit of protein before she has to attempt homework. I know that she needs protein...I just fight to get it into her. Not a big meat eater (except pepperoni, which isn't really healthy enough to be an everyday food. Or if you have an idea for healthy every day pepperoni, I'm open to suggestions). I've tried protein shakes and bars, but she's not a fan. Although she has willingly eaten a couple of Genis*y mint chocolate crisp bars, which is better than no protein at all. But if I give her too many, she will get bored with them and stop eating them. And she doesn't like beans or hummus.

Four more days until the end of official birthday anxiety. I hope. Wait. She has a sub on Monday. I forgot. Well, there's always Tuesday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apology Notes

Jupiter had to write apology notes tonight.

To Keegan:

I'm sorry I pushed you. I hope you learn some manners.

To Mimi:

I'm sorry I broke your dish. You should get plastic dishes.

To Mimi: (part two)

I'm sorry I yeld at you. You should get walky talkys.

Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Peeling a clementine

At the market on Saturday, I bought a bag of clementines. I'm not sure why, since they don't often go over that well and I usually have to throw away some of them. Go figure.

Lately I've noticed that we're pretty much always in a rush. We get up in the morning and rush to get ready. We rush through morning drop off. Then I rush up the highway to work and rush into the building to get to my desk before 7am as my life at work is ruled by Webclock. Then I rush through work so the team can meet its goal and the regulators will be happy. Then I rush back to pick up Jupiter. I can't rush to get her home. She hates transitions. So by the time we get home we rush to get dinner and do our homework and rush to choose clothes for the next day (in an effort to rush less in the morning) and rush to get to bed so we have time to read before bed.

I'm sick of rushing. Not enough hours in the day and all that.

Yesterday, during my web clock enforced lunch break, I sat outside and ate some cottage cheese. Then, I found myself peeling the clementine.

It dawned on me that I was completely focused on nothing else but peeling the clementine slowly and deliberately. Taking the time to peel off all the little strings of pith that don't taste nearly as good as the clementine flesh. Breaking apart all the little sections of clementine and savoring each of them individually.

It was such a foreign experience I had to ponder it.

Of course, then my lunch ended and I had to go back in to my desk and rush some more. But for that five minutes, I managed to slow down.

I wonder if I can find other ways to build it into the day.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jupiter Likes her Teacher!!!!!

After an entire summer of not wanting to go back to school.

After two weeks of off the wall anxiety about going back to school (unfortunately coinciding with the between session break of therapeutic riding).

After the meet and greet teacher night where I leaned against a wall for 20 minutes because Jupiter was involved in playing with another girl in her class and was there by having "a positive experience in her classroom" so I stood there for as long as that positive experience was going to last.

After two days of 20 minutes of swinging before school and hard muscle motor work after school.

Today Jupiter left school proclaiming how nice her teacher is.

Jupiter brought two stuffed horse beanie babies to school today.

Did Mrs. R relegate them to the backpack?

No. She let Jupiter keep them on her desk. And she let Jupiter bring them to morning meeting.

I think Mrs. R just made a friend for life. Or until they have to count money.

Now maybe our anxiety (I've recently deciding that I am now taking on HER anxiety because she has so much to spare) will retreat to its normal abnormally high level. We can live with that.

No school tomorrow for Labor Day break!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ocean, or lack therof

It's already past mid-August and I can count on one hand the number of times we have made it to the ocean this summer. Jupiter is not so much a fan of the ocean, adorned as it is with seaweed and half gutted dead fish. So she never wants to go, although she seems to find ways to have fun when she does go. (When I decree we're going anyway, because I want to, and she can choose to be bored if she wants). When I lived in Iowa, my one problem with it was that it lacked ocean. Though I also find that Maine is particularly lacking in open spaces, which I think accounts for my partiality towards the open spaces of Scarborough Marsh.

But I've finally found a back road way that will get us between home and the ocean in under 40 minutes (not counting cruising around looking for a free parking spot). We went Sunday afternoon for awhile, before the thunderstorms hit, and walked a few miles on the beach. Then Jupiter planned to boogie board, until she saw the aforementioned half gutted dead fish washed up and was pretty much done with the ocean for the day.

We made it to my favorite sandy beach one other day this summer, and timed it properly to be able to walk way way out to the end of the sandbar; which was even farther out than usual due to astronomical low tide.

School starts a week from today. Jupiter is celebrating (not so much. She has informed everybody who will listen that she does not like school and has no interest in going back) by having a sick day today. The rapid strep test the doctor did today was negative, but I'm not convinced. She's presenting almost exactly the same way she did the last time she had strep. So we will see. Who wants to bet we will be on our way back to the doctor's office in a day or two?

Hooray for PBS kids programming. And ice cubes.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Clearing Customs

So last week, we went to Canada.

Invariably, I am questioned about having permission to cross country borders with my daughter. Ok, so we only ever went to Canada one other time.

So I was prepared. In addition to Jupiter's passport, I carried and produced Jupiter's Maine issued birth certificate for foreign born child. The birth certificate states "Sole legal legitimate parent". Which should suffice to answer any question about whether I am authorized to bring my child with me when I visit another country.

At Canadian customs, I presented my passport and Jupiter's birth certificate. I didn't present her passport becuase she didn't need it to get in to Canada, and becuase the night before I determined that it had expired in March.

The customs officer had me open the back window so he could view Jupiter and greeted her with a big smile and a "Bonjour, Jupiter!" So I love the customs officer.

He did question me about having a document which authorized me to take her out of the country. We discussed it in Franglish. I was confused because I thought he had already read the birth certificate and was still questioning it. I asked him if I needed a copy of the court decree or what. Then he read the magic words and he was satisfied. I can cut him a little slack because English is not his first language. He was a bit apologetic about it and neglected to ask if I was bringing any guns, mace, or pepper spray into Canada. Then he sent us on our merry way.

Two days later, we crossed back into the US at the same border crossing between Quebec and Vermont.

The customs officer is waiting outside her booth when I drive up.

I give her both passports and Jupiter's birth certificate.

"Where do you live," she asks.


"WHERE?" She seems grumpy. The crossing is busy right now, so maybe she's just stressed.

I tell her where.

"Where do you work?"

I tell her I'm an anti money laundering specialist at The Bank, slightly gesturing towards the work photo id hanging from my rear view mirror.

"How long have you been doing that?"

Since I got an incomplete on the last question, I figure I should be sure. And depending on what she wants to know, the answer is either one year or 13 years. So I ask her if she means AML or the bank in general.

"Anti Money Laundering," she says. So I answer that question.

She looks in the back seat.

"Where's her DAD?"

"Russia?" I ask. I explain that Jupiter is adopted, even though I don't think I should have to. As much as I want to yell at the customs lady, I figure that being detained at customs is probably not a wise move and I should just tell her what she wants to know.

"When did you get her?"

Are you serious, lady? When did I "GET" her? First, she's not a dog, or a car, or a contagious disease. She's a person. A full fledged US Citizen, in fact. Who, by the way, can HEAR you. And who also, by the way, is currently extremely sensitive about not having a father, and you've just completely pissed me off because if you had bothered to read what I handed you, this line of questioning would be entirely unecessary. And if you do feel the need to ask these questions after you READ THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE, you could do it politely.

I'm so mad I amost get the question wrong. I stumble between 2004 and 2005.

"At what age?"

Maybe it's a quiz to see if I'm smuggling an illegal 7 year old into the country.

"A year and a half," I tell her.

"Does she speak a language other than English?"

This can't possibly be relevant. Is there a reason she needs to know this, or is she just being nosy now? Jupiter actually said "Bonjour," to a store clerk in Montreal a couple hours ago. Should I tell her Jupiter can speak French? Or Swahili, just for kicks? That would be fun.

"No." I shake my head at her.

"Did you buy anything in Canada?"

"Yes." I tell her we bought three books, one t-shirt, and some chocolate. (They have dark chocolate Aero bars now. And we bought some kinder-Eggs because we can't buy those at home). She looks in through the hatchback window at the carrier bag from Indigo.

"Any food in the car other than chocolate?"

I'm traveling with a 7 year old. Probably, yes.

I start digging through the snack bag, coming up with a Z-Bar to show her. Should I show her the extra oatmeal packet next, or the rest of the animal crackers in the Ziploc bag?

She clarifies. "Any fresh fruits or vegtables?"

Oh. Well, then why didn't you just ask me that in the first place, if that's what you wanted to know.


She takes the paperwork into her little booth and scans the passports. I wait to have a fight about Jupiter's expired passport.

The customs lady comes out of her little booth and gives me all the papers back.

"When are you going back to work?"

Again, why exactly do you need to know this? What day AM I going back to work? I don't even know what day it is today. I think it's around the 15th.

"The 15th? A week from Monday."

Apparently I got the right answer, because she let us into the country.

I stay mad at her all the way through Vermont.

Wait, I'm still mad at her.

I'm mad at myself for not being able to protect Jupiter from customs officials who don't think 7 year olds can understand them. I'm mad at myself not having better answers to questions that shouldn't be asked in the first place. I totally get that they need to be sure that she's not the victim of parental kidnapping. But I was not expecting the invasive line of questioning that we got. I guess I should have been prepared for that.

Next time I'll expect it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time Line Travel Blog-Montreal

(note to my sister: you should go register this domain name and use it)

So on Monday, Jupiter and I left to go visit Montreal for a couple of days. I've done this trip several times in the last 10 or 15 years and was feeling pretty confident about it when we left.

10:15- We get in the car.

10:20- We get in the ATM line at the bank so I can deposit US cash and then withdraw Canadian cash at the ATM in Montreal.

10:25- We fill up the gas tank at the corner gas station.

10:30- We're on our way.

10:50- Jupiter asks if we're there yet. We're still in the next town over.

12:00-We make it to New Hampshire.

12:15- I think I missed the turn for West Side Rd. I'm not sure how I missed that.

12:20-I take a turn for the Kancamangus Highway.

12:23- I see a sign that says no gas for 32 miles. I turn around and go back.

12:30- I decide that the road I'm on goes west, and will undoubtedly intersect with I-93 at some point, since I-93 runs the length of the state.

12:55-I see a sign for I-93.

1:15-No I-93 yet.

1:20- Another sign for I-93. Indicating it is about ten miles away still. Whatever. I take the turn. We get to see Lake Winnipausakee.

1:35-It's a miracle. I found I-93.

1:37- Littleton is 42 miles away. That road that was going west...also going south. Very south. We should have been in Littletown over an hour ago. I am an idiot. I envision the Family Circus cartoons were the kids run in random patterns all over the yard or the block. I have just done this in NH.

1:50-We drive through Franconia Notch State Park. We see a license plate that says Lina-D. Jupiter is pleased.

2:12- We make it to Littleton (finally) and pit stop at McD's. Jupiter eats chicken nuggets.

2:35-We get back in the car.

3:30-OH Canada.

3:32-I hand documents to the Canadian Customs officer. I don't give him Jupiter's passport since I determined the night before we left that it expired in March. He checks them out and asks me to lower the back window so he can see the child. I lower the window and he says "Bonjour, Galina!" with a big smile. We have a brief discussion about Jupiter's parentage. He finds the spot on her birth certificate where it states "sole legal legitimate parent" and sends us on our way. He doesn't even ask if I'm bringing in any guns, mace, or pepper spray.

4:15- I can see a thunderstorm headed towards us. Excellent.

4:25- The thunderstorm is closer. It's raining.

4:27- Is that a funnel cloud to the south of us in that big cornfield over there?

4:32-The storm hits us with a torrential downpour. The people in front of me turn on their hazard lights. I turn on my hazard lights. I follow a little green car blindly through the storm.

4:35-The green car and I and a few semis pass a bunch of people who were smart enough to pull over and wait for the storm to abate.

4:45- The storm is abating. We all turn off our flashers.

4:59-We're coming up on a potential rest stop. I ask Jupiter if we need to stop to use the bathroom or if she can wait a half hour. She says she can wait. I plug in the garmin in case I need it to find the hotel. Maybe I should have used it in NH.

5:15-We're about 4 miles from the hotel. Traffic slows to a crawl.

5:30-We're three miles from the hotel. Traffic stops.

5:40-We watch the lightning from the next approaching storm.

5:45-The storm hits us.

5:50-It hails.

5:53-Jupiter sees a Walmart on the other side of the six lane highway and wants to go there to use the bathroom. Unfortunately, the Walmart might as well be in Kansas for all the good it's going to do us.

5:56-Traffic is now crawling. People coming from some other road are merging in on the right hand side, managing to get in front of all of us who have been sitting on the road for 40 minutes. The garmin tells me to take the exit in half a mile. I follow another car accross two lanes of traffic to get in the right lane.

6:00-We take the exit. We're actually moving again. Which is good, because I really need a bathroom.

6:05- I take the exit supposedly for the hotel. I end up in the metro station parking lot driving in a circle. I'm confused becuase I know the hotel is next to the metro station, but I don't see a hotel. I see a big condo building labeled Petit Frere in big red letters, half of which are burnt out. I try to follow the garmin, get confused, and go in a circle. Garmin recalculates.

6:10-We drive around the metro station parking lot again. I try to go a different way. We go down some side streets while Garmin recalculates our way back to the metro station parking lot. I yell at the Garmin. I drive past the line of taxis and do the circle again. This time I see the orange sign indicating a detour for the hotel. I miss the detour.

6:15-We drive past the taxis again. When I get to the detour sign I try to remember which option I tried last time.

6:20-The road is different. That's a good sign.

6:21-Wait, there it is! I cut a sharp turn into the parking area and inform the booth attendant we have a reservation at the hotel. He gives me a punch card and tells me to keep it on the dashboard.

6:22-I pull in the first available parking space.

We check in and ride the elevator to the 12th floor. Jupiter gets first dibs on the bathroom. I look out the window at the Montreal skyline on the left side and on the right side, a big condo tower that says Petit Frere in red letters, half of which are burnt out. I couldn't see the hotel because the big condo building was in the way. Now, from the 12th floor vantage point, I can see where I was, where I am now, and the back entrance to the hotel parking lot which was inaccesible due to the road closure.

Since the plan to ride in to the city for dinner is shot due to our late arrival, we walk accross the parking lot to the metro station and shop for dinner in the mini mart. Jupiter gets a cinnamon roll and a drinking yogurt and I get cheese, crackers, and grapes. Then we hit the hotel pool which is stuffed full of people. When we go back to the room it's getting dark. I educate Jupiter on the importance of closing the drapes when one has condo neighbors accross the parking lot at the same level. She absorbs this information. She very much likes the view from the 12th floor. She does some homework and goes to bed. She won't let me turn on the tv while she's going to sleep, and I didn't get to go to the bookstore yet since we were so late, so I have nothing to read. I fall asleep too.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


On day 2 of 15 day vacation.

It already feels like its going by too fast.

Too many things to do and not enough time to do it in.

And school starts again in a month.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baker Died. He's in New Hampshire.

Baker was a pony at Jupiter's therapeutic riding stable. Jupiter rode him for a year or so. When she was first practicing cantering, Baker was the pony Jupiter fell off of. When she picked herself up out of the dirt; Baker was looking at her very apologetically; even though it wasn't his fault. When Jupiter first started to ride off lead, the riding instructor turned around one day to see Jupiter gleefully trotting Baker through the cones (which they were supposed to be doing at the walk). Baker took care of the riders; even when they weren't following directions.

Last week I got a call from the riding teacher. Baker died unexpectedly last week from a perforated intestine; and the riding teacher was concerned about Jupiter being upset. So she called to let me know so we wouldn't show up at the farm on Saturday to find out. (In fact, the riding teacher made 24 phone calls to families that day).

So that night after story I told Jupiter about Baker.

She smiled. She wondered where they would put (bury) him. Then she said that we didn't have to worry, because we have Wally (new horse) now.

The next morning, the riding teacher called to find out how Jupiter was taking it.

I told her.

I also told her that Jupiter will, in fact, grieve for Baker. But it will be at some undetermined point in the future, and it will be something completely unrelated that triggers it. Most likely some other kid at school will do something that bugs her, and she will sit on that and let it fester all day, and when we get home she will explode with angry emotion. She will disolve into a kicking, screaming, hitting biting scratching fury until the fury is spent.

Only after all that will she be sad; and it will be for Baker.

We've done this before. We've done it for goldfish, and a cat named Murphy. We've done it for a mylar Thomas the Tank Engine balloon that abrubtly decided to flee its string and go visit the stars.

I find it interesting that the girl in Jupiter's riding lesson who is a year younger and on the autism spectrum had no difficulty in displaying immediate and appropriate sadness about the loss of Baker. My daughter, who absolutely loves all her horses; probably because she loves all her horses as much as she does; is not able to do that.

She did break out in hives the next day. When we went to riding, I told the instructor about the hives in case Jupiter was scratching. The instructor immediatly surmised it was a physical reaction to loss becuase she wasn't allowing herself an emotional one. Which made perfect sense. I wish I'd thought of that, and saved two hours trying to figure out if Jupiter had eaten anything new and different lately (which of course, she hadn't). She's still scratching the heck out of all the itchy spots.

"Baker died. He's in New Hampshire." That was how she put it when she told my sister about Baker. Baker had been taken to the equine vet in NH and his remains were not yet returned to the farm; so as far as Jupiter was concerned, he was in New Hampshire.

One day this week, Jupiter was saying that she could hear hoofbeats when she was falling asleep at night. I suggested that maybe it was Baker (and a minature pony named Daisy) coming to keep watch over her while she was asleep.

She loved that idea.

And I am sure Baker is still taking care of his riders; even as they sleep.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Apparently blogger prefers this picture of Jupiter eating sugar snap peas out of the garden on the Fouth of July.

The other picture is waiting for the Fourth of July fireworks to start.

Summer Pictures

checking out the view from the Pinta

imagine another picture here that you can't see because Blogger won't let me upload it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"I just can't help but smile the whole rest of the day"

Which just about sums up Jupiter's therapeutic riding experience.

She participated in the ride-a-thon this afternoon. Last week she started riding a new horse named Andre (who they call Andy).

Jupiter loves Andy. She told me after we left riding today. All afternoon. Several times. After the first hour I think I stopped listening to all the words. Except for: "I just can't help but smile the whole rest of the day." And she didn't say one mean thing to me. All afternoon. She even tolerated me singing a teeny part of Les Miserables which has been running on NHPTV for about 24 hours straight. Fortunately for Jupiter the pine pollen is crazy right now and I can't sing as much as I would like. Okay, so I had to beg for that little bit of singing time.....she gave in and gave me that two minutes.

That's why she rides.

The ride-a-thon raised over $11,000 btw.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Reaching our sensory threshold

This was after about 15 minutes of solid spinning. (My arms got tired.) Obviously when she told me she "needed" to go to the playground, she really did need too. But is it ever worth it when we actually get to the relaxed point.

It is kind of nice being the parent who doesn't have to worry about her child throwing up if she's playing with others on the spinny tire swing.

After the tire swing, we went home and concocted a smoothie drink for Jupiter. Jupiter hates heat and humidity. I adore them. I think there is about a six degree spread where we are both content. But when it gets hot, Jupiter doesn't like to eat. Wednesday was a fairly warm day. After recess, Jupiter was hot when she went to lunch. So all she ate was her watermelon slice.

Then Mean Bear came to school. Which at least demonstrates to the school staff that I was not completely crazy when I made them write "She must eat at least every 2 1/2 hours" into her 504 plan. ( When I got my copy of the plan, I found out they actually wrote it in as "Check in with Jupiter to make sure she is not hungry" and then I banged my head on the wall. You can't just check in to see if she's hungry. 1- she needs to eat BEFORE she gets hungry. and 2- Even if she is hungry, if she's busy doing something else or doesn't want to seem different from her classmates, she's going to say no even if she is hungry."

So anyway, back to the smoothie topic. What she really needs is protein...preferably not combined with 400 grams of sugar. She won't eat deli meat, tuna fish, or eggs. Mostly she eats canned pasta. Which I hate, but she needs to eat something. But she has no desire to eat hot canned pasta from a thermos when she comes in hot from recess. And they're in school until the third week of June this year. So I'm trying to determine a smoothie recipe that she will drink, that I can put in her thermos which would be a cool option.

Last night we used frozen strawberries (leftover from last June...need to use those up anyway) and a banana and some homemade yogurt (slipped that in while she was busy cutting the banana into chunks). Then I let her see me put in 3 squeezes of fruit punch from the juice box and the splash of diet 7up for fizz. If I'd had another second before she finished cutting up her banana, I would have thrown in some flaxseed.

Looked pretty good when we whipped it up. She took a sip and pronounced it delicious. Just in case she needed more incentive (or bribery, it's a fine line...) I sprayed a little whip cream on the top, at which time she pronounced it a professional smoothie and drank half the mug. Which for her on a warm day, isn't bad. We saved the other half for today. Next she wants to make a mango smoothie.

Now my next challenge is to get her to drink smoothies both at school and for 3 1/2 weeks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dear Controller of Rain Clouds and East Winds

Please, please stop.

My furnace just came on. It is the middle of May. Heating oil is about $4.50 a gallon.

The amount of self control I need to exercise at the moment to not eat the entire bottle of super potent vitamin D lemon flavored gummies is pathetic.

I watched the forecast on tv the other day and almost cried at the seven rain cloud graphics plastered on the tv screen. I am thankful that I do not have a large screen high def tv. I know there's a sun up above those clouds. I would be happy to see it.

The road in front of my house is washing away. The town has informed me that at the property line between my house and my next door neighbors, my road changes from a public way maintained by the town to a private road maintained by me and the property owners of the other four houses. The culvert is rusting out and dirt under the road is washing away. Last month I threw a bunch of rocks and dirt in the hole. The hole is getting bigger again. I am almost out of rocks. I do not have a degree in civil engineering. I do not know how to build a road. The clandestine research I did at work about building a roadway through a forested wetland was too technical for me. Although I can understand without much research the number of dollar signs involved with replacing a culvert and rebuilding a road. By the way, public works. You plow the road in front of my house all winter. But now you won't fill in the hole. I have plans for the money I have, and it does not involve building a road. So rain, please stop.

Jupiter really needs her outside recess. I am sure the teachers will state that all 950 k-3 students in the school really need their outside recess. The wii and the indoor trampoline and the noisiest bed in the universe only goes so far.

I need summer. It was cold and snowy all winter. Summer here is short enough as it is. Don't gyp us out of the small amount of warm weather we get. Please. I am begging here.

Did I mention begging???

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Day-for Keri who likes to read about regular days

7:30- Wake up in Jupiter's bed. She called me about 6:10. I didn't think she would go back to sleep, but apparently she did. As did I. I try to get out of the bed really quietly so she doesn't wake up. She has the noisiest bed in the world. Maybe because of all the jumping and rocking back and forth she does on it. Maybe I should just get her a trampoline to sleep on. Miraculously, I am successful at not waking her up.

7:40. I go to start a load of laundry. I do this becuase if I don't get a load of laundry in first thing in the morning, I inevitably find myself at 9:32 in my basement staring at the washing machine as it spins for hours despite showing only one minute left on the timer, wanting to put the clothes in the dryer before we leave for "cross". (When she was a baby; Jupiter was mostly attracted to the shiny gold cross that the acolytes carried in each Sunday). Today I NEED to get the laundry in the dryer before Cross, because after cross we are going directly to Jupiter's soccer game. Which I am excited about, because when we get to Cross, we will already be halfway to the soccer field, and I will save ALL that $4 a gallon gas driving back and forth. And since it's raining and cold, I am otherwise NOT overjoyed about going to soccer. Wait, did I say that? I meant, I LOVE watching my daughter play soccer, even if it's cold and rainy and it feels like March outside.

8:00. Jupiter wakes up. She's mad because I closed her bedroom door and she likes it open. I explain that I wanted her to have quiet and dark to sleep later. She needs it. I make her oatmeal and set a half gallon of milk on the stove to scald before pouring it in the yogurt maker.

8:30. I remember the milk I put on the stove to scald before pouring it in the yogurt maker. So much for that. I pour the boiled over milk down the drain instead. I go to take a shower.

8:40-8:55. I take a shower. Unbeknownest to me, Jupiter eats half a chocolate bunny on a stick leftover from Easter.

9:00-9:20. Jupiter gets dressed. In her soccer clothes. I change the laundry, pack soccer water (though we could just open our mouths and look up since it's raining); and grab a little can of raviolies to heat up for Jupiter's lunch in the Cross kitchen before heading to soccer, in an attempt to head off any Mean Bear attacks.

9:40. We get to cross. I end up covering nursery as the person who normally covers nursery has a daughter who is being baptized today. Nobody comes to nursery since they are all either being baptized, have a sibling being baptized, are staying in church to vist with relatives from out of town, or showed up before I came to cover the nursery. So instead of watching children I orgainze the nursery toys and dust the shelves; in between putting away the book of matches (on high shelf/not in nursery) for the candles and then delivering the matches to both Sunday School rooms so they can light their candles. End of the Sunday school year is next week.

10:30. I don't remember putting the bag with Jupiter's soccer ball and cleats in the car.

11:10 I go out to the parking lot and check the car. No bag.

11:15 We drive back home in the car to get the soccer bag. Jupiter eats her leftover Thai food from last night instead of raviolies. I change the laundry again (there's a plus), and find all my warm hats to go watch soccer in 50 degree rain.

11:40 We leave to drive back to soccer. We wave at Cross on the way by.

12:02 We get to the soccer field. When we get out of the car, the coach comes up to tell us the other team is not there. We wait ten minutes. The other team doesn't come. The coach says "See you next week."

12:11 We drive back home. We wave at Cross on the way by.

Now we are at home relaxing. (Okay, I'm looking for all the floors and tabletops and desktops which I am sure are here somewhere under all the stuff). But it's only 2:30. I've still got time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Sometimes I love to just listen when Jupiter is playing with her LPS's or something on the floor...hearing the voices and the sound effects she makes as she's using the toys. It's fun. I think maybe I should record it sometime.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Why is it I have to leave on Jupiter's night light AND the light in the hallway, so she can fall asleep wearing eyeshades?

Garden 2011

It's begun. I started seeds on Saturday. Eggplant, tomato, and sweet pepper. I can't start the rest of the seeds until I get up to Pinetree Garden Seeds on Thursday to purchase the rest of my seeds. I used to stop in on my way home from work, until my hours changed from leaving work at 2pm to leaving work at 4pm. Which is when PTG closes for the day. So I'm going on Thurday, after the orthodontist (goodbye palate expander which I haven't even finished paying for) and before the IEP (do I want the administrator to stay awake during the meeting, or fall asleep, which I hear, has happened before) meeting. Now I keep peeking under the lid of the seed starting tray, checking for germination. Nothing yet. Watched seeds never grow. Oh yeah, I also ordered some seeds from a catalog but I have an email that indicates they are enroute. Now I'm just missing the pumpkins. The type I like to grow in my small garden is available from one catalog this year. The seeds are about $2.50. But they want $7 for shipping. I.Don't.Think.So. So I'm trying to pick out a different one to grow. Although maybe I should just skip them. Last summer the pumpkins ripened the second week of August, and turned mushy the week BEFORE Halloween. Needless to say, the garden in my imagination is much more beautiful and productive than my IRL garden. Then just for fun, (and really, who needs groceries?) I ordered some cherries and citrus and a kiwi plant from another catalog. Jupiter loves cherries and kiwi (hardy to zone 5)...if I can make them grow and protect them from the Abundant Maine Wildlife surrounding my house. /The citrus will have to live in a pot like the bay tree (which I've managed to keep alive for a decade. So that's something). We've already had a groundhog sighting, btw. We also have daffodil sightings though. Forecast for Friday, April 1st....snow. 6+ inches possible. Too bad I have an oil change and 37 other errands scheduled between 9am and 2:30. Spring in Maine.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I love Mommy

I think Jupiter said this at least ten times this afternoon. Honestly, I lost count.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Too Many Plants

Jupiter was mad tonight.

She's been trending towards mad since the time change, when after her homework meltdown on Monday night I ended homework time and began bedtime; and had the audacity to do that while it was still light outside. Fortunately she is in the process of learning to tell time, and I directed her to the clock with hands and told her it was, in fact, time to get ready for bed. Or close to it.

Last night she had dance class, so we didn't do homework. No meltdown. However, her body didn't appreciate the fact that I was trying to wake it up at 5am. Which the clock said was 6am. Mad words.

Tonight she got almost through a whole homework page. Then she asked me what the date was. I got the year wrong, tried to fix it, and was suddenly on the receiving end of a barrage of physical anger.

So I ended homework time.

More anger.

Finally she calmed down enough to go to bed. After a couple songs, I went in to put some Littlest Pet Shops and some shoes in their boxes. Really just to have an excuse to go in there and see if she was calmer.

And it turns out she's mad at me because I don't have time to play with her. I'm always working. If not at work, than at home. (trying to keep us from being trapped inside the house full of dust and dirt. I don't know why I'm always working at it, because I turned away from the computer just now and looked at my living room and it is quite apparent I am failing at that quest).

And, by the way, we have too many plants. It takes too much time to water all those plants. That must be why every single one of them is dry as a bone, and the cat is in the process of eating my entire lemon grass plant. She doesn't want to get rid of all the plants, but some of them.

I should not do so much work. And I should play with her more. And going swimming at the pool does not count. That is not playing.

Then, after she told me all those things, she was done being angry about it.

If only we could skip the barrage part and go right to the rational verbalization part.

She is right though. We don't have enough time to play. And admittedly, I am lousy at unstructured play. Jupiter is unfortunately blessed with a Capricorn mother. Capricorns are the workhorse of the zodiac, in case you were not aware. And, boy am I good at that. I see work EVERYWHERE. My boss thinks its terrific. For her it is. Even if I try to play, I get distracted by all the work everywhere.


I wish I were better at playing. More fun. Stuff like that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dear Mailbox Owner:

I fully expect to get a letter from the mail delivery person any time now. Yesterday, Jupiter made a very nice card and letter for her new best friend whose initials are JB. Then I found her an envelope which she addressed to her new best friend JB, and ran out and put it in the mailbox and put up the little red flag so the mailperson would stop and pick it up. Not stamped.

I meant to go out and retrieve it, but I forgot. It was gone this afternoon, so I assume the envelope will be finding its way to JB postage due. I'm sure he's got extra to cover a little postage though.

It's not the first time. The last time was to Troy. Both times, she wanted them to come visit our house. Before Troy, it was Greg from the Wiggles. But for Greg she wasn't quite up to writing a whole letter, and just bounced away on her rocking horse to Australia to chase Greg. I never understood the Greg thing until I saw him on a tv interview during which he was not wearing his Greg suit from the show. He looks much better in regular clothes.

She's been known to mail rocks. She plastered the outside of the mailbox with Hello Kitty stickers one day.

I think the mail person probably approaches the box with anticipation; wondering what's in store for today.

I am glad for the opportunity to promote non boredom in my mail carrier's day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Siren Call of Mating Feral Cats

That's what I heard out my bedroom window at approximately 1:10am. One has been sheltering under my bushes in the front of the house next to the foundation (since we have four feet of snow everywhere). Apparently last night she had a visitor.

That's loud. Then Autum Leaf had to come running in and jump on my bed because of all the racket.

It took me two hours to go back to sleep. For part of those two hours, I had to go lay down with Jupiter. Maybe the racket woke her up too.

It was really hard to stay awake during the long boring conference call today.

High of 22 degrees today. I sincerely hope this is the last really cold snap we have. Tomorrow we're supposed to have a high of 29. Then, we're supposed to have highs above freezing.

My standards are low for March. Highs above freezing, and rain instead of snow. That's pretty much all I ask.

Monday, February 28, 2011

20 days to calendar spring

Calendar Spring doesn't mean much around here. But I'm counting anyway.

My house is just about buried.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Mom, I'm going to go lay down on my bed and rest."

She actually said this!!!!!!!!! Really actually said this. Today.

After we swam in the pool for two hours.

I think it's safe to say the Y membership will be worth it.

Oh yeah; she also declined dessert voluntarily and wanted to get ready for bed at 6pm.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Story time

This week story time has taken on a new twist.

Jupiter is reading to me. She is up to chapter six of a chapter book which she is reading to me. A 2nd grade level book.

It is way cool.

She's proud of herself too, which is possibly even cooler.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


This house has WAY too much stuff. WAY WAY WAY too much.

Just cleaned out the shelf in Jupiter's closet.

I dragged one bin of too small clothes downstairs.

I filled two donation bags.

I put too big clothes and summer clothes back on the shelf.

I need more bins.

I need less stuff.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Broken Olive Tree

The water heater was installed in just under an hour. As soon as the plumber's truck rumbled out of the driveway, after writing him a check for enough, I roared out of the driveway after him and went to the school to pick up Jupiter to bring her to dance class.

She put on sneakers to leave school and we went to dance class. I asked if she wanted me to stay, or if she wanted me to go do a couple errands while she was in class. She turned me loose, so I went up the street to the second hand store in the ritzy town to check for J Jill pants (none). Then I went to the garden store for a little green leaf therapy.

And since I hadn't written a check for enough an hour before that, I bought an olive tree. It promised to bring peace and harmony to my home. For $7.99. I'm all for peace and harmony, however it shows up. So I bought a little olive tree. The garden store man wrapped it all up in plastic to protect it from the winter breezes.

Then I went to pick up Jupiter at dance. I sneaked looks through the studio window until she caught me and came to the door to order me away. So I waited away from the door until class ended.

She handed me the sneakers she'd worn to dance and asked me to untie them.

While I was untying them, I looked at them more closely than I had.

They were not her shoes.

They were light up Sketchers which I'm sure cost significantly more than I am willing to spend on a pair of shoes.

Who needs a backpack? She can just wear stuff home on her feet.

She claimed that she traded her black shoes that were too big for the fancy light up shoes. With a girl in her class. But that she then took her shoes back.

Not sure what trading partner V was wearing on her feet. When asked, V indicated that there was, in fact a trade. Jupiter has very strict rules about not trading things. For the obvious reason. I can't trust her to tell the truth about the origin of new items in her possession. This girl V has been told repeatedly that Jupiter is not allowed to trade things. She still asks Jupiter to trade things with her. I'm not sure who the instigator of this particular trade was. Though I can't imagine V's mother would be happy with the rather lopsided trade of shoes.

I informed Jupiter that in the morning, the shoes had to go back to V.

Jupiter got to the car, and cried, and informed me how unfair it was that she didn't have light up Sketchers like her friends.

I tried to tell her about all the things she does have (including enough shoes for Imelda. It's not like the child doesn't have shoes.) And all the things she gets to do, like riding horses, that not all of her friends get to do.

So she argued, cried, and begged all the way home. She listed off family members who don't pay for riding lessons who should buy these shoes for her, since it was so unfair.

I also reminded her that not ALL of her friends have light up Sketchers. But she still thinks these shoes should just be given to her because she wants them.

About 3/4 of the way home, having withdrawn from the argument that was going nowhere, I looked over at the olive tree riding along on the seat, and remarked that I was going to return it because it didn't work.

Jupiter asked why it didn't work.

I told her it was supposed to promote peace and harmony in your home, but it didn't work.

She thought about it for a minute, and said, "Well, it's not home yet. Maybe it only works in the house."

I laughed. Trust her to come up with a reasonable explanation. Then I suggested that maybe it was because it was all wrapped up in plastic, and THAT's why it didn't work.

And after the brief hiatus, arguments reccommenced.

And nobody is going to buy them for her. If she wants to save her money from holidays and do some chores to earn some dollars, she's more than welcome to buy some for herself. So at home we went online and determined that shoes like V's cost about $40; and that's what she has to earn.

She seems interested in the challenge now. I can't wait to see the smile on her face when she proudly buys her own shoes. Hopefully it will make more of an impression than me arguing and explaining.

I think, possibly, her expectation that she must have (and be given) EVERYTHING is possibly more frustrating (to me) than anything else. Well, at least this week. Even more than misappropriation and lying.

I've unwrapped the olive tree and right now it is in the kitchen, waiting for a permanent window of its own.

Things have been fairly peaceful.

So I guess it was just broken in the car.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guess I'll get a new hot water heater today

Just what I was planning for the day. Wish I would have known so I could file my taxes LAST week and not two days ago.

Oh wait. It's been leaking off and on since September.

So therefore it would be my own fault and nobody else's that I didn't deal with it right then, and this morning had no hot water.

Man, that water coming straight out of the ground was REALLY cold when I washed my hair in the sink this morning. I have determined that people in Maine can not use electric tankless water heaters. At least not in winter. In winter the groundwater is too cold to be warmed up sufficiently by a tankless system before it comes out of the showerhead. I understand it is possible to have a gas tankless system, but I'm a big wimp about propane. When I was in junior high school, a house on the other side of the lake blew up one morning. I'm all good with propane, now, thanks.

The heating and plumbing person came this morning and told me it needed to be replaced. (It was put in the house sometime in the 90's as a five year tank. I kind of expected that it would need to be replaced. I have to say it did really well considering it's expected life span) The heating and plumbing person is waiting for his son to be available so they can come back this afternoon after the tank drains and install the new one. He ran a hose to the sump pump hole on the other end of the basement. But for some reason there still seems to be be water on the floor.

So now I get to stay home and wait for them to come back. Well, actually I've been filling bags with stuff to take to the donation bins and sorting all the stuff in my basement into cannot be saved, stuff I haven't used for years and can give away, stuff I haven't used for years and might be able to sell for cash, and stuff I haven't used for years but want to keep anyway. But I had to come upstairs for fresh air.

At least they can install it today.

In case you're wondering, the big box home improvement store CAN install a hot water heater on the same day. However, if you would actually like them to DO that, it will cost double the regular installation fee.

I suppose I could just heat up big pots of water on the woodstove. Just like in the old days.

The chickadees are outside flying around looking for the bird feeder. The chain broke, so the bird feeder is sitting on the snowbank right now. Mommy cardinal is looking for it too. The cat is staring at the birds.

Only three hours until they START putting in my water heater. Yipee!

Monday, February 14, 2011

oh wait, I remember now

At least one thing. I don't think it was the only thing. But I checked facebook and somebody's post reminded me of something.

This morning I was (trying) to brush Jupiter's rat's nest out. She asked me (demanded) that I stop, but the words had barely left her mouth before she was slapping my hand away.

Thus, my attempt to explain how the human body processes things it hears. Step by step.

"First, Jupiter, you have to say the words. Then my ears have to hear the words. Then my brain has to understand the words. Then my brain has to send a message to my hands to stop brushing. Then my hands have to stop and move away. Not everybody does that as fast as you do." (okay, so I try to listen to ALL the words and not just the first half a word and then just jump in and decide that what I think heard was what was said. So it takes a little longer).

Jupiter's response to this explanation: "I hate your slow brain."

What was my post topic??

I know that earlier today, I actually had an idea for the topic of this blog post. It's gone now, of course. But earlier, when I was typing madly (and ironically, bored out of my mind at the same time), I know there was an idea.

Might have been the weather. It's supposed to get up to 45 degrees on Thursday.

I am pathetically happy about even the mere CHANCE that the temperature MAY..just MAY...get above 40 degrees. Please please please, let it get warm.

Right now 45 degrees is warm to me.

It is very sad.

I'm pretty sure there was more to this post, but I guess I'll have to go back to work tomorrow and remember the rest of it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Random Stream of semi consciousness

Random is one of Jupiter's new words. She also uses it an an adverb, as in randomly.

I worked an extra shift on Saturday for six hours, since Jupiter was going to the new ice capades (only people as old as I am remember when it was called the ice capades.) I decided to work the extra shift since the oil people came two and a half weeks ago and the delivery total was well in excess of $500. And my water heater is leaking....and my camera is broken. Excellent. So I'd planned on going in in the morning and working about six hours.

Then on Friday afternoon, they informed is that our special work that we do computer software would be going down at noon Saturday for a production upgrade. So that meant I had to drag myself in there at 6am. So Jupiter got to spend the night at Mimi's before they went to the new ice capades on Saturday.

The first three hours were okay. The second three hours consisited of me wondering why on earth time was moving so incredibly slowly, and was it noon yet?

And apparently I am still tired today. Jupiter was doing her reading for school tonight and my eyes kept closing. Through one lousy easy reader book. I did manage to wake up enough to finish reading her Judy Moody school library book so it could go back to school in the morning.

Though maybe my brain is fried by trying to do my taxes. The tax software program kept insisting I qualified for an adoption tax credit in the amount of $13,000 and something, and kept showing a $15,000 refund amount. Sadly, I knew this was not correct and spent an hour figuring out how to delete the adoption related form from my tax return. Jupiter's adoption was completed in 2005. And the government very kindly made the adoption credit fully refundable SIX years after that, so I can't even get the rest of my adoption tax credit I ended up never being able to take, because I ran out of the five year carry forward period before I'd claimed the whole credit. It figures.

It turns out my tax refund is less without the adoption credit though. Bummer.

Jupiter prefers basketball practice to actual basketball games. It turns out that basketball games are loud, especially when the kid behind you is screeching whenever the home team scores. So Jupiter melted, but didn't want to leave the gym. Which fortunately was when the called the youth basketball players to line up in the hallway to run into the gym for their show. Jupiter was crying and a gallon of snot was running down her face, and the school resource officer informed me I could go with her when she went to line up. I'm wondering if I was giving any impression that I was NOT planning to go with her, because he certainly wasn't going to stop me from going with her. Then she had getting lost anxiety, and we had to make a plan that I would stand RIGHT BY THE DOOR while she was in the gym and wait RIGHT BY THE DOOR WHERE SHE COULD SEE ME until she got back. Then she grabbed my coat sleeve and blew two gallons of snot onto it.

She did successfully run into the gym with the other kids and do the routine. As soon as she was in her spot she looked back to check I was where I said I would be, then she did her thing. Then the kids came back, and it was like she'd never been upset and told us all about how awesome she was at basketball and how much fun it was.

Today she practiced ballet moves all afternoon. Her ballet moves are definitely better than mine. She tried to do the exercise tape from the New York City Ballet, but gave it up because it made her muscles tired.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Photopost Friday on Saturday

There is no photopost. Yesterday I discovered my camera is broken.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Common Sense

Tonight, I forgot myself.

When Jupiter was spitting out the glop from brushing her teeth, and it was hanging from the sink to her mouth in a big thread and she was stretching her head all over and backwards trying to free herself from the glop in complete disregard of the hand towel which was right next to her, I said, with some exasperation "Use some common sense."

Well, actually I was brushing my own teeth at the same time, so it came out more like "OOS SOM OMMN SNSH".

Just as well. Please. I don't know what I was thinking. Now that I think about it, I was that way all day.

This morning, Jupiter was up early. She chose not to eat her supper last night, so she was up bright and early at 5:15. Gotta love those natural consequences. So I gave her a drinking yogurt, found her hairbrush (amazing how much easier that was when I put in my contacts), and told her to brush her hair, then get dressed while I was in the shower.

When I got out of the shower, she was in bed surrounded by Littlest Pet Shops, hair still in a rats nest, and body still in pj's.

Her reasoning? "I needed help with my hair."

Well, yes, she did. But I did not specifically say to her, "If you need help with your hair, than skip the hair part and please get dressed. In underwear, pants, a shirt, and socks."

And I was so good. While I was dressing, I was thinking in my head about what I would say when I went back to her room. Apparently I had more than an inkling that my directions were vague.

So I went to her room and said, "What a great outfit! Your friends are going to LOVE that outfit."

Had she been dressed, it would have been appropriate. And since she wasn't, it was still appropriate.

Side effect of backpack on vacation

I did not say a word when I handed Jupiter her lunch bag and reading folder the other day.

Much to my amazement, neither did she.

She carried them to the car.

And since that day, she has been calmer. Not so much physically. But in an less anxious way.

I think she is relieved.

It is excellent.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jupiter's cold is back

Seriously. The cold went away for FOUR days. Now its back in all its runny nose glory. I have honestly never seen as much snot at one time as came out of her nose the other day.

But at least she hasn't picked up the virulent flu that is racing around the school.

Knocking on wood. With both hands.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Local Food in February

So, I'm trying to at least make/eat some local food. Even though it's February. In Maine.

A couple weeks ago, I found apples in the grocery store from a local (by which I mean the next county. It's a lot closer than New Zealand) farm on sale. So I bought a bag of those. Even Jupiter ate some apple slices from that bag.

The next trip to the grocery store, I found a bag of organic local potatoes ( from a different next county). I have a recipe planned for those babies. Can't wait to cook them. I have to do it soon, because they're starting to sprout already. If I had a spot big enough, I'd probably try planting them.

The yogurt machine is still going. I've finally learned to make a good thick greek yogurt with milk from our local farm (this county!). And I eat it every day during stretch break at work with some fruit and museli (made at home including Maine grown rolled oats I found at WFM). Of course today, I looked up the calorie count for whole milk greek yogurt and about fainted dead away. Not good. Well, the yogurt is delicious.

This weekend I finally used up the local butternut squash that's been sitting on my counter since last November, making a recipe for butternut squash soup. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it, but ate it for three days until I finally stuck the rest in the freezer tonight so save for a later date.

That container of soup replaced a container of fresh cabbage shchi soup that I froze last fall. Now I don't remember if I actually bought the cabbage at the farmers market, or if I got it at the regular grocery store. I'm pretty sure the apple in the soup was local. But at least, I cooked it in my own kitchen. Jupiter won't touch the cabbage schi soup. Or the butternut squash soup. Or the hideous soup, as she calls it. She only eats the chicken noodle soup that comes in the red can. Well, maybe someday. Cabbage soup doesn't sound like it would be good, but it really is. Expecially very hot, with a dollop of fresh plain greek yogurt on top, and some toasted quinoa bread.

Jupiter doesn't know what she's missing.

Fresh Cabbage Shchi
from The Practial Encyclopedia of East European Cooking
1 small turnip
2 carrots
3 tbsp butter
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 white cabbage, about 1 1/2 pounds
5 cups beef stock (I substitute veg stock for this recipe)
1 eating apple, cored, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh dill
2 tsp pickle juice or lemon juice
salt and pepper
Cut turnip and carrot into matchsticks (or just dice them. I'm not fancy about it). Melt the butter in a large pan and fry the turnip, carrot, onion and celery for 10 minutes.
Shred the cabbalge and add to the pan with the stock, apple, bay leaves and dill and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes until the veggies are really tender.
Remove the bay leaves, then stir in the pickle juice or lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with sour cream or yogurt.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Backpack on vacation


Jupiter is always in present mode.

Past..already happened.

Future..what's future? It's not here yet. Won't worry about it until it gets here.

Add in lack of impulse control. Okay, absolutely no impulse control whatsoever.

And....the backpack comes home with lots of things that didn't travel to school in it.

My favorite so far this year is the keychain emblazoned, "AMELIA". For some reason, I was suspicious that the keychain did not belong to Jupiter.

Last week, she came home with a green plaid jacket with peace signs on it.

I asked her about it, and she told me that someone thought it was hers (logically enough, since she loves peace signs) and hung it on her hook.

Just because someone hung it on your hook does not mean it is yours.

So today, she brought the green plaid jacket back to school.

When I checked her backpack this afternoon, it held a white vest with lots of pockets and zippers. Also not hers. Not sure what the story is on this one yet. So the backpack is on vacation. I hope it is spiritually on a beach under a hot sun somewhere, where I would like to be.

Her extra clothes, hat and mittens can live in the top part of her school cubby. Her daytime sneakers can live in the bottom of her school cubby.

Her hat and mittens of the day can live in her coat sleeves or her coat pockets.

She can carry her lunchbox and reading folder.

She doesn't need a backpack.

When I ask her, she knows the rule about taking things that are not hers. She can recite the rules. She can recite how people feel when we take things from them.

But she still. takes. things.

I despair that she will ever learn to control this.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Sorry, this post will not include pictures. It will be about pictures.

This morning I happened to check my email, there was one in there from Shutterfly with a promo code for 50 free prints. I need some prints (though not necessarily 50 of them), so I went to the website and chose the ones I wanted.

I didn't have enough for 50, so I pulled out the flash drive with the pictures that I took off my laptop when it crashed a year and a half ago so I could maybe get some prints of those. Still working (well, thinking about working. I think it's a great idea. Just haven't found time yet to do actual working) on the succession frame of Jupiter in the leaves every year, so I want to print some of those out too.

The flash drive had 4154 pictures on it. Running from approximately Fall of 2004 to sometime in 2008 (when the flash drive ran out of room. I know there are still more pictures on the laptop which is on the shelf in my closet).

4000+ pictures. My mind is overwhelmed by that number.

I mean, I adore digital photography, just for the simple reason that I can take 23 shots just to get the one shot that really comes out great. But I think I need to practice some restraint. Or learn how to delete some of them.

I ended up putting all the pictures from the flash drive onto the computer. Didn't want to, but couldn't figure out how to get album specific about it. Now I'm in the process up uploading all those pictures to Shutterfly so they can live on the internet and if my house burns down I'll be able to get them back. I'm sure some day the website will no longer exist and I'll be back to square one. But anyway.

Some of those pictures are repeats. It turns out I download the same pictures from the picture card two or three or four times before I get around to taking them off the picture card. Being paranoid that I'm going to delete the one picture I really want to keep, I don't delete any of them.

Some of those pictures are already on the computer. Some of them are already on Shutterfly. Of course, just because of the sheer volume of pictures, I can't remember which ones are where, so I end up doing the same ones repeatedly. I'm in the process of uploading them, then deleting them back off the computer.

I uploaded about 400 pictures today (between laundry and shoveling a path again between the driveway and the front door. The snow is heavy today.) Only 3200 to go.

Not including the pictures that were already living on this computer since summer of 2009. That adds some more.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Emergency! 51

So is it a bad thing that for two nights now Jupiter and I have been sitting on the couch (snuggling!) watching old Emergency! shows I taped back when TVLand ran them in about 1999?

It was my favorite show back in 1979 when they were originally on. It's kind of funny to watch now, what with the lack of safety protocols. Need blood donors? Troll the people hanging around in the ER waiting area for volunteers. I have to explain a lot.

But she likes it. Go figure.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mean Bear Attack

Today about 4:10, Jupiter wanted ice cream.

She had already had a lollipop, so Mimi told her no ice cream. It was too close to time to go home and have supper.

And Mean Bear in all her glory was alive and well.

Blood sugar crashes are such fun. When I came in at 4:50, Jupiter was still mad. She was stuck in ice cream. She wanted ice cream and was furious that she didn't get it.

Of course she told me that she told Mimi she was hungry and Mimi wouldn't let her eat. Of course she was probably so busy being mad that she didn't hear Mimi offer to go to the kitchen with her and choose something else. Or the offer of the fruit bar. Or the offer of cooking her something to eat. She could have ice cream at home after supper, but at that time she had to choose a healthy snack. Jupiter had no interest in any type of snack that did not consist of ice cream.

So I put all her stuff in the car (front seat only, for those of you familiar with driving down the road dodging flying projectiles from the back seat) and went back and picked up Jupiter and hauled her out. She blew Mimi a raspberry on the way out the door.

Jupiter sulked all the way home. First thing when we got home, I made her a piece of peanut butter toast, and gave her her vitamins and omega-3's.

She ate the peanut butter toast. Then she gave me a big hug.

Mean Bear was back in hibernation.

Then she ate her soup and cucumber.

Then, I asked her if she wanted to call Mimi and apologize before she had her ice cream for dessert.

She did. While she was on the phone, I got out the ice cream.

There was one little bite of ice cream left. Very very little.

But she didn't get mad. She chose a cookie to go with her little bite of ice cream and was content. Maybe she ran out of energy to be mad.

She's asleep now. Hopefully she will sleep a little late in the morning since I don't have to go to work. She was up early this morning because she was cold.

Tomorrow we go to both the eye doctor and the orthdontist. We both have eye appointments. I hope my benny card is ready for a workout.