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.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

SHHHH....don't tell

I used our snow day productively this morning.

I even got a legal snow day. When I got up this morning at 6:45, I watched the weather forecast (symbolic, since I never would have made it on time if I HAD decided to go to work), then called my supervisor to tell her I wasn't coming to work.

She answered the phone and said she was just looking up my phone number. Then she asked where I was.

I told her I was at my house. She said not to come in, because the branches were closed and therefore we were closed too. I felt bad for the half a department that had already gone to work before they made that call. But hey.

That means I get paid storm time for today, and I don't have to use PTO. Which means I can still take all of Friday off like I was planning to, and not go to work to offset the time I used today.

Anyway, back to post topic. While Jupiter was on Starfall this morning, I was cleaning her room.

I snuck some of the stuff she doesn't play with out of her room and hid it in the bottom of the donation bag. I snuck the clothing labels and other stuff that she feels obligated to keep for some reason I just do not get into the bottom of the recycling and garbage bins. I think I say four times a week, ,"WE CAN'T KEEP EVERYTHING". I also threw away the broken plastic peace sign bead ropes that she tried to tie together so they got tangled up and broken. The ones that weren't broken I hung on her lap and curtain rods. I have to be sneaky, otherwise she follows me around and sneaks the stuff out of the donation or recycle or garbage bin so she can keep it.

My house is full. We can't keep EVERYTHING.

But she has a floor in her room. Who knew?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Storm number whatever

It's going to snow, again. It already snowed today. We got about 4 inches of snow today. It stopped around 5pm. Now we're in the lull before the "big storm," which is supposed to start around daybreak, and then get horrible very fast.

Whatever. I'm done. I heard the forecast the other day and promptly clicked the property for sale website in Puerto Rico. But then Jupiter wanted to look at ranches in Montana. We found one she likes, but it's way out of my price range, and even if we could afford it, I would have no job. Unless I can do anti money laundering work for some bank by remote at home.

While we're on the topic, I keep telling my bosses that if they would give me a laptop computer hooked up to the bank network, I could do work at home on snow days.

They haven't taken me up on that yet. Their loss.

I don't plan to go to work in the morning. At least it's supposed to start snowing before I would have gotten to work. It's really hard to justify calling out of work for weather when there's no snow yet.

YAY!!!! The no school announcement for tomorrow just came up on the tv. Now all I have to do is remember to get up in time to call out.

On the upside, the sun now rises before 7am. If the snow stops someday, we will be able to see it.