Monthly Archives: May 2008



I just burned a graham cracker in the microwave.

Remember in college how one bag of microwave popcorn, scorched on the altar of inattentiveness, could clear the whole dorm with its stink? It smells kinda like that. But worse.

You see, I had this chocolate craving. And when I say craving, I mean an unstoppable force, a madness, a desire so strong that ten minutes ago I was shamelessly ransacking my child’s closet in search of an eight-month-old bag of carefully hoarded Halloween candy. No luck.

Then I found the chocolate chips. Just a few, in the bottom of a twisted plastic bag in the back of the cupboard. Right next to the marshmallows. And I had an idea.

Oh, yes. S’mores. In no time, I had laid hands on a graham cracker, which I set on a napkin before arranging the chocolate chips and the marshmallows in a sweet layer on top. Salivating, I placed the whole construction in the microwave and pressed ‘Start’.

I’m not sure what happened. By the time the smell reached me from inside the microwave, it was much too late to stop its putrid tentacles from creeping into every nook and cranny of the apartment. I tried. I whisked the smoking mess, napkin and all, into a trash bag, which I tied up and removed immediately to the dumpster outside. When I came back in, the smell almost knocked me over, and for while I was very busy–lighting candles, opening windows, spraying air freshener, and mentally adding graham crackers to the List of Things Not to Put in the Microwave.

Then I called Paul and asked him to bring home some ice cream.

See? I do have some good ideas.



Caleb got his five year immunizations this week. There were three of them, each a miraculous cocktail of disease prevention in a giant syringe tipped with a glistening needle.

He’s fine. And, well, I’m recovering.

I hate the moment when the needles break that pristine baby skin, and, despite all the preparation and the hand holding and the assurances that “it will all be over in a second, sweetheart”, those big blue eyes widen–first in shock and then in pain–and the wail that cannot be contained pierces the air and mommy’s heart at the same time.

The nurses weaseled their way back into Caleb’s good graces with cartoon bandaids and a Spiderman sticker, and after a visit to Doctor Mark’s treasure chest, he was well on his way to forgetting the grievous injury so recently visited upon his person.

On the way home, we stopped at McDonald’s for a couple of bracing vanilla ice cream cones (small for Caleb and large for Mom), a treat which completed the healing process.

For Caleb, at least.

I might need another cone.

Skin Deep


I had a lovely Mother’s Day.

From Katie, I received a clay pot in the shape of a cat that she had made for me in art class because “I remembered cats are your favorite.” Thanks to Caleb, I was deluged with hugs and kisses and hourly declarations of “Happy Muvver’s Day, Mommy!” And all day long, from the moment I woke up until the moment I closed my eyes to sleep, Paul did every single thing that I usually do for the kids, from getting them up and dressed for church to preparing their meals to fielding the usual bedtime crises of lost Tiggers and parched throats. I wasn’t allowed to lift a finger.

It was divine.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Paul announced that he was buying me a present: a Skinit for Penelope*! A Skinit is a sort of giant vinyl sticker that is applied to the top of your laptop computer (or cell phone, or iPod, or electronic-device-of-your-choice) to endow it with super powers, or at least with a little bit of its owner’s personality. It’s flair for your tech. Plus, stickers are cool. In that geeky way.

The best part? Not only does Skinit have an extensive library of possible skin designs for your gadgetry, they also offer you the option of creating your own unique skin with any digital image you upload. A photo of your family, a child’s drawing, even the original album cover art from the one and only CD ever cut by the ill-fated garage band you formed in the tenth grade to get Jesse Ackerman to notice you: the sky’s the limit.

I promptly immersed myself in a Google Images search for the Perfect Penelope Picture, sweating and studying as if I were choosing a tattoo for my face rather than a design for my notebook.  I searched through free desktop wallpaper, unique works of art, movie posters, anything and everything that tickled my fancy. The problem? My fancy is very ticklish. I wanted to express myself; I just couldn’t decide which part of myself to express.

Did I want to be feminine?






Or just cute?

After three days of searching and sorting and pondering the eternal questions (“Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “Are LOLcats just a passing fad, or the profound expression of a timeless truth?”) I finally settled on one of the stock images provided on Skinit’s website:

And this is what it will look like on my machine:

Penelope will love it.

It’s a Webkinz World


Two weeks ago, the Coach House Gifts store at the mall celebrated its highly anticipated Webkinz Extravaganza! Normally, this event would have passed under my radar, but my friend Kathy called me Sunday afternoon to make sure I knew that the ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ selection of Webkinz was running out. You see, up until that weekend, my kids (according to them) were the last two children in America without at least one of these fuzzy, endearing, cyber-savvy critters to call their own. I decided to take advantage of the sale and make two children happy for the price of one. Bargain parenting, I call it.

I dashed out to the mall that afternoon intending to snatch up the first two fuzzballs I encountered and get back in time for a robust round of power napping (What can I say? I’m a party animal!) First mistake. I should have known that, when presented with the manifest cuteness of five thousand different species of Webkinz, it would take me roughly an hour and a half of picking them up and putting them down and rubbing their fur and choosing first this one and then that one and changing my mind over and over and over again to decide which lucky beasties to take home with me. In the end, I picked out an elephant for Katie and a tiger for Caleb. And would you believe it: I actually felt bad leaving the rest of them behind. (Clearly Ganz has implanted some kind of brainwashing microchip in them to make them fly off the shelves so quickly.)

The reception I received at home would have made the conquering Attila green with envy. I was temporarily crowned mother of the year and showered with hugs and kisses for about seven seconds–the exact amount of time they were able to contain their anticipation before scampering off to the computer to formally “adopt” their new pets and embark on their maiden voyage into Webkinz World.

Webkinz World. I have to tell you, internets, it’s surprisingly cool. In Webkinz World, you can build your pet a house, furnish it, and invite friends’ pets over to play in it. You can feed your fuzzy friend delicious foods, dress him in dazzling threads, and take him to the doctor when he’s sick. If your pet is into exercise, you can take him to work out at a Webkinz health club, and if you just want to play, you can meet up with other Webkinz in a game room. The booming Webkinz economy runs on KinzCash, which you earn by picking up odd jobs at the Webkinz Employment Center, by answering educational trivia questions at Quizzy’s Corner, or by playing games in the Webkinz Arcade.

And here comes the confession: I love playing in the Webkinz Arcade. I love Cash Cow and Picnic and Operation Gumball. But my favorite game is called Home Before Dark, a timed brain teaser in which you have to rotate pieces of a maze into place in order to create a path for trapped Webkinz to get back to their houses before the sun goes down. I accidentally played it for two and a half hours the other day when I meant to be doing housework. Oops.

And that’s my other confession. I secretly log onto my kids’ Webkinz accounts to play arcade games while they’re gone. I don’t think they’d like it if they knew, but I can’t help it. I suppose now I have to stop making fun of Kathy for buying herself her own Webkinz.

I think I might start with a Cheeky Monkey…