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Tuesday Juxtaposition

On Tuesdays I pick up the boys at their school. We drive to a nearby town to select our weekly allotment of locally, sustainably, organically vegetables. Then, after other errands, we pick up cheap Happy Meals from McDonalds.

I remember my Senior AP English class, with the teacher who taught us the meaning of juxtaposition: the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect. She also told me I’d soon have an ulcer, like her, because of my desire to achieve.

Tuesday guilt and bliss, combined. Guilt: dinner provided by a corporation, one that’s not keeping our best interests in mind. Veggies; obtained, by burning fossil fuels. Today the boys and I spent our drive discussing the idea of a franchise: if one element of the franchise goes down, do they all? If the Fred Meyer in Newberg was gone, that wouldn’t be right: because we couldn’t buy all the things we need?! Isn’t that an inalienable right?!

Bliss: dinner purchased, not created. No messy dishes, happy consuming noises, no complaints, no cleanup.

I don’t want to believe a life of ulcers is my destiny; but how does the juxtaposition resolve itself? I wish I could take time to discern it, but I have to pack for my daughter’s second school birthday celebration, having skimmed the school guidelines book and provided one birthday celebration ahead of time. Slacker, juxtapositioning mom. 🙂

December 2nd: Boo-yah

When I was in third grade, I lived in Montana. I did not ask to live there; it just “sorta happened.” Those older than, and in charge of, me tried to offer tradeoffs to why life in the netherlands was a fine thing. “There are great people here! Lots of space! So creative! Lots of horses!” What got me – the cinnamon rolls. So large that I could never finish, so the Main Person responsible for me moving to the Hinterlands (a male, engineer, and still on the quest to understand emotions) would swoop in, consume the bestest and most gooey center, and laugh. At me. Each time.

The same person who introduced me to Star Trek. And vengeful behavior. Just in time for the holiday season.

Who found this game at Target? For a decent amount of money off? And then searched online and discovered it’s a sold-out product? And has won all the times playing, so far? Me: that’s who.

Without having had the middle of my cinnamon rolls for SO many years.

DDP2012 #1 – Old School

My friend Amy is doing this thing. And my friend Sherry is doing this thing. And I wanna do a thing. So, here:

[Retrospective. I’m a slacker. Ask my college advisors, all four of them, if you can find them, mwahaha]

Prep for popcorn and cranberry stringing.

And just as my eldest has to wait until mid-day to find the Advent Calendar filled with the daily activity, so will the readers of this site have to wait for daily pics. Cause I have three kids. And I’m an introvert. And blahblahblah, excuses: just enjoy. 🙂


A few days ago I logged on to our library’s online catalog for my usual check: What’s due? What’s almost due? What can I renew and eek out a bit more time? What can I say boldly, “Why YES! Your Captain Underpants book is DUE! It must be RETURNED! GO! NOW!”

I also have to check the balance of how many holds are in, how many holds are coming, and do we have room on our cards. Yes, we should have our own dedicated shelf at the library. No, we don’t. Yes, isn’t it great that our last name happens to be the section that the public gets to see while checking out, and that our last name is unique enough that the public all know who’s taking up all that space. People: the Gourmet cookbook and Peanuts ultimate collection are BIG BOOKS. Talk to the publisher.

Dork, I know. But it gets worse.

When I was checking our family accounts (remember? I was doing that, before the rant about the exposed nature of our reading material), I saw a notification written in lovely, light-blue lettering above the card’s record. “Change to CCRLS holds policy: In order to keep the libraries’ workflows manageable under reduced staffing, CCRLS will be lowering the holds limit for individual patrons to 25 holds at one time. This change will take effect November 1, 2012. Existing holds will not be affected. Thanks for your understanding.”

Understanding. They think I have understanding. Do I? I don’t see it… Maybe I left it in the pile of summer clothes yet to be sorted that are piled in the garage.

Some may think: twenty-five holds?! That should be plenty! But not for my household. My kids READ. I READ. We READ. Really, we should be on one of those “READ” posters, holding books about Ninjagos and Strawberry Shortcakes and Big Nates and Carnivorous Vegan cooking. Just like every other American family.

Don’t worry: I have a plan. And I’m sure you’re just aching to know. Who wouldn’t? Anyway, cards will be assigned “genres” to put on hold. Hubby’s card will be used for long-standing holds: popular items, like the latest movies or best-sellers, that trickle in with little rhyme or reason. JJ’s card: chapter books, graphic novels. Abe’s card: subjects – Lego, Star Wars, knights, ninjas, Avatar. My card: well, that’s for me. 🙂 And Little Miss? She will be getting a card ASAP, which will be all about colors – pinks and purples and reds from Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, Pinkalicious, and whatever else will help make our boy-less mornings more manageable.

Hmm, I wonder if card holders are limited to humans only: we do have a cat…


Recently a friend asked me about podcasts. “What should I listen to? I’d like to pick your brain.” Besides the fact that the image of picking and brains doesn’t sound too delightful, I found myself in a conundrum. What type of podcasts are you looking for? Spiritual, health, mamas, organization, motivation, educational, dorky: so many podcasts have emerged since I started listening when my middle child was a wee, non-sleeping babe.

So: podcasts. I’ve recently been listening to Seth Godin’s podcast: a condensed version of a training seminar for crazy talented, soldout entrepreneurs. I’m not sold out, and I don’t have a slush fund, but the idea of dreaming about purpose – the hows and whys and whats – really got my idealistic side happy. Perhaps there’s a place for a fully functional mama, doing household and “other” things in the world, both creating and using offerings to help her daily life. Perhaps…

Gosh, it sure sounds like fun …

The other day my middle child told me that he wanted to steal my coffee card. “To drive to the coffee place and get my favorite coffee drink and BURP!” And he was going to go to the store “and buy ALL the soda and drink it ALL and BURRRRP!”

My oldest son told me he can’t wait to go to college “so I have a car and watch tv all day.”

I think my youngest already owns more accessories that I do.

Gosh, they make being an adult sure sound like fun.

Dear Wonton Wrapper: Thank you

The other night inspiration hit for dinner, out of desperation, of course. My husband came home early – yay! My attempt at making dinner: not begun. An assortment of random reaching-peakedness items were in my fridge.

Quick tip: if wonton wrappers are on sale at a store
— buy them
— freeze them if not used right away
— thaw them in hot water
— stuff anything that sounds yummy inside of them
— involve the kids in sealing the wrappers (fingers in water)
— spray with cooking oil and bake
— consume

Our “stuffing” for Tuesday night: leftover chicken, cheese, green onions, corn, barbeque sauce, leftover teriyaki sauce from takeout. Success! Quick, easy, yummy, and involved the family. A winner in my book.

This has been a “in times of desperation” quick tip from Dren: may it serve you well.

Dashing Dolphins

JJ came home a mere few days into his venture in Kindergarten: “Mama, Mama! I’m going to be a dashing dolphin to raise money for my school! And there’s prizes and I need to earn them!”

Flashbacks zoomed before my very eyes of grade-school me pouring over prize booklets, calculating how many doors I had to knock on to earn that walkman, with my mama sighing in the background, muttering something about “fundraisers” and “prize-oriented frenzy” and “brainwashing” and “easier just to write a check”.

And so it comes full-circle.

Fortunately JJ understands that he’s earning money for his school to help purchase important things like “food and computers and telephones for my teachers” (and field trips and technology improvements for the kids, although I’m sure the teachers would appreciate subsidized snacks). AND fortunately the Parent Club advocates talking with friends and family rather than going door-to-door due to STRANGERDANGER!!! So we’re tapping into our online neighborhood.

October 15th is the ‘Dee Dolphin Dash in which JJ will be running laps to raise money (and awareness) for his school. People can sponsor JJ per lap or an overall pledge for the event. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you’d like more info. Here’s a demonstration of JJ’s Dashing abilities (and Boo’s peeking/crawling abilities. I didn’t realize until after the video that she got down the stairs by herself: those Dashing Dolphins are too distracting :D).

Dolphin Dash Demonstration