Much Ado About Much Ado

This fall Rocco was in his school’s Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing. He was Borachio, which everyone mispronounced as bo-rah-chee-oh but no one, not even the producer, could get everyone to pronounce as bo-rah-kee-oh.

I should know. I was the producer.

Yes, after six years of ducking into the bathroom whenever the outgoing producer even looked my way, after six years of hiding out on the concessions committee, after six years of shuddering at the thought, I found myself in charge of the whole darn thing. (At least, all the behind-the-scenes things, not the actual directing of actual actors.)

It was as messy as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, only a lot less funny. No one thought it was funny, for example, when I sent out a letter saying to turn in the time-stamped applications on October 3 and that THE OFFICE WILL NOT ACCEPT THEM BEFORE OCTOBER 10.  Or when I realized we were projected to come up $1,000 short. Or when a principal actor came down with the flu on opening night. No one laughed. They must have missed their cue.

Fortunately, the parents were very forgiving, we didn’t end up all that short, and the principal actor rallied to put on an amazing performance.

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(Rocco is the shifty looking character in a black hat and dark sunglasses.)

All this is to say that I did not have time to make Rocco one of the thematic bouquets I usually make when my kids are in a play. Plus, it’s hard to make a thematic bouquet for a play you can’t understand a word of, even though you are the producer.

Fortunately, the cats were up to the task.

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Not too bad for their first bouquet, eh?

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Chicken noodle soup
Italian bread
Pumpkin pie

Kitty Cats!

You know when you try so hard not to do something, so very very hard not to do something, like to not eat one more cookie or to not say “chicken butt” when someone says “Guess what?” For a while you do all right. You do not eat the cookies. You do not mention chicken butts.

But then you think, what’s one more cookie when you know you are ultimately going to eat the whole box? Or you are greeting fifth graders as they come into the classroom and one of them says, “Guess what?” And you just.can’t.help.it.

I have been trying so hard, so very very hard not post a zillion cat pictures and videos on this blog.

But you know what?

That’s right. Chicken butt!

And…the dam has burst.

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Sharing a little catnip:

Matcha catching mice in her sleep:

Matcha, growling and hissing to tell Boba not to play with her favorite tiny gray mouse:

Boba!

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Chinese hotpot
Pizzelles

Every Day is Thigh Day

If you want to get the full experience out of this blog post, click this link and play the song as you read along. It will be well worth the five-second ad you need to wait through.

Ready? Okay good.

So last August, Kevin and I were in the car when one of my all-time favorite songs came on: Everyday by Buddy Holly. You know the one. Everyday, it’s a-getting closer, going faster than a rollercoaster…

One of the things I love about the song is the light slapping sound that keeps a steady beat throughout the whole thing. I’ve always thought it sounds like a kid running down a street in flip flops in the summer. slap slap slap slap slap slap… But what exactly was making that sound, we wondered.

My immediate guess was that someone was slapping another kids’ cheeks while they stood solemnly beside Buddy Holly. Maybe there was even an automatic slapper with rubber flaps on it spinning around, and the kid was just standing there taking it. The thought made us giggle.

Kevin drove on.

The slapping sounds continued.

Then I pulled out my phone and looked it up and you know what? My guess wasn’t all that far off. The answer to the question What makes the slapping noise in the song Everyday by Buddy Holly is…Jerry  Allison’s thighs.

Yes, Jerry Allison, the percussionist for Buddy Holly, stood on stage slapping his thighs for the two minutes and six seconds of the song, night after night after night.

Suddenly we were flooded with questions. Do Jerry Allison’s thighs qualify as a musical instrument? Could someone else learn to play Jerry Allison’s thighs?  How do you tune Jerry Allison’s thighs? If Jerry Allison can’t make it to the show, can someone else play their own thighs?

We Googled Jerry Allison to get some answers, and the crazy thing is that he died the very day before we were having this conversation. I was left with no other choice than to believe that the ghost of Jerry Allison’s thighs was speaking to me in the car, urging me to look them up and eventually commemorate them in this blog post.

I was honored (but not surprised) that his thighs chose me. I hope this post have given them the proper respect and recognition they deserve. I pray that Jerry Allison’s thighs have the closure they need to join the rest of Jerry Allison in the afterlife.

If you aren’t listening to Everyday yet, do yourself a favor and put the song on. It’s a real thigh-slapper.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Meatloaf
Mashed potatoes
Green beans
Vanilla cupcakes

Happy Halloween!

This year we only have two jack-o-lanterns because Vincenzo brought his to a pumpkin carving party where they didn’t carve pumpkins but instead drove around thinking trying to find something to do until 11PM when they finally gave up, went to their respective houses, and played video games together. The pumpkin didn’t make it back.

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Rocco carved his own this year! Leo’s is a “stripey shirt pirate” inspired by his role as Smee. (He didn’t want to get sued by Disney for calling it Smee.)

Boba is going as roadkill.

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Matcha is going as Pet Mah Belly.

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But the real reason I’m here today is to post a picture of my friend Laurie, wearing her own jack-o-lantern.

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And this is why we have been friends for 26 years. (Good Lord! I met her in college, and it’s been 26 years? How old am I?!)

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Dominoes pizza

They’ve Arrived!

I know there were things I did before kittens. I know life was full and busy. I had hobbies and to-do lists. I think I worked sometimes? I fed and cleaned up after some other beings. What were they?

Okay, I honestly can’t remember.

Oh right! I used to blog! I should totally do that again! But what does one blog about when one has spent a week solid hanging out in the cloffice with kittens?

Oh right! How many hours of videos should I post here? All of them?! Y’alls crazy! Let’s start with a couple pictures.

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The gray is a girl and the black a boy. Sister and brother. I am no longer the only female in the house! *throws confetti*

We went through many name ideas. Princess Buttercup and Inigo Montoya, Boba and Binx, Samoa Joe and Razor Ramona, before settling on our original choices of Boba (him) and Matcha (her).

Boba enjoys growling when he catches his favorite toy and acting like he wants to be pet, then sitting just out of arm’s reach. He will wake from a dead sleep to play if you walk into the room with a toy.

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Matcha wants to be worn like a neck scarf. She also enjoys being a prairie dog, getting into tight places, and climbing curtains.

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(Checking to see if she fits so she can sits.) (She does.) (She fits everywhere.)

They both want to eat my face. It is hard to take a picture of two cats trying to eat my face, but this one gives you an idea.

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Matcha jumps gracefully into a high-up box. Boba studies her carefully. He jumps. Biffs it. Licks a paw and walks away like that’s what he was trying to do. He is a mouser; she’s a birder. He is infantry, she is air force.

The boys, you can imagine, are ecstatic and cannot get enough of the cats, playing, snuggling, laughing.

You can stop imagining now. The boys are completely uninterested in the cats.

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I had to give him a candy bar to take this picture.

In conclusion, cats!

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Kitty cats!

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Leftovers, including…
Pasta with fontina and prosciutto
Spaghetti with meat sauce
Roasted broccoli
Bread (thanks, MIL!)
Chocolate cheesecake
PB&J thumbprint cookies

Feeling Squashed

Well look who came through after all!

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Good ol’ butternut squash.

I texted that picture to my mom and sisters and you know what they said? They accused me of going to the store and buying butternut squash to trick them.

I started to write an incensed text back about how next they were probably going to accuse me of buying dozens and dozens of cucumbers just to fool them into thinking I grew all those too. But then I deleted the text because that does sound just like something I’d do.

Seriously, did I even grow these?

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Or is it just part of an elaborate scheme to make myself look better than anyone else in my family who tried to grow vegetables this summer?

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And are those babies even real?

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We may never know.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Tuna melts
Chicken noodle soup
Pan-fried cauliflower
Chocolate chip cookies

Pinch Me

I have only had a handful of good dreams in my entire life. Most nights I’m tormented by bad dreams and nightmares, and they’re not even good ones. The major themes of my dreams are being lost, being late, being confused, not getting to play in a basketball game, and drowning. I have drowned so many, many times in my dreams, and usually it’s in stupid circumstances, like I’m in the baby pool.

A typical night of dreams might have me sending out an e-mail with the wrong sign-up dates for a school play, resulting in a line of angry parents wanting to talk to me. Then I might go into school for a sub job only to have another sub show up because it’s actually her sub job. As the night progresses, I might send out an e-mail to myself test my ownership of a new domain, and the e-mail might say, “Hey you sexy thang!” And then I might find out I sent it to the whole group. I might try to remedy this by sending out an apology letter to the whole group, only to find out hours later that I sent it to just one person. Then my son might call me from school to say I was supposed to be at a meeting 10 minutes ago. You get the idea. The only good thing is that within minutes of waking up, I forget all of it and go about with my day where I don’t drown even once.

Except that all that stuff I just wrote there, about the messed up dates and the wrong sub job and the test e-mail? That was today. Actual today. Fully awake today. Only, by the grace of God, I did not write “Hey you sexy thang” in the test e-mail, as I often do when I need to e-mail myself something.

It’s 6PM now and while I could use a relaxing soak in the tub to wash off the day, I think it’s best I don’t go anywhere near water.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Quiche
Roasted broccoli
Pan-fried potatoes

College of One

Ah! Time has flown, as it is wont to do, and it’s now the third week of school! I felt blue the first week, angsty the second week, and calm this third week. I’m living a life of leisure but still feeling worn out at the end of each day. I vacillate between worrying that I’ve become lazy and feeling like I’m doing too much.

I spend a couple hours each day working on my stories now, and while it feels like I’m not getting anywhere, this week I’m able to look at the writing objectively instead of through a lens of self-flagellation. That’s something brand new for me! In fact, there are a lot of new things I’m doing lately.

  • I’m teaching myself Italian.
  • I booked a vacation to Arches, Zion, and Bryce Canyon (usually I just come up with the big idea and let Kevin do all the booking).
  • I got suckered into being the producer on Rocco’s plays after 7 years of hiding whenever the outgoing producer looked my way.
  • I’m volunteering at Hopelink with my neighbor—usually stocking the food market, but sometimes going out to farms to do gleaning and pretending that it’s my farm and my barn and my one-lane road lined with giant poplars.
  • I’m making artistic arrangements with the sarcastic amount of cucumbers our two vines put out.
  • I made the switch to digital scrapbooking.
  • I’m scouting out kittens at our local cat shelter!!

And of course there are all the old things, like reading, gardening, subbing, cooking, baking, carpooling, and all the other activities that get lumped into the term “homemaking” and given a bad rap even though they are the very best things in life.

It feels like I’m in a class with a really vague description at a liberal arts colleges that “goes beyond majors and minors,” where all the cafes are vegan and you make up your own grades. That’s fine with me—I’ve always loved being a student. This quarter, I’m going to grade myself in kittens because grading myself by cucumbers would be too easy.

(These are all from different harvests.)

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I’ll let you know when the final grades come in.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Hashbrowns, sausages, & eggs

First Day Pix

I’m doing better today. Cried off and on yesterday morning, then I sat down to  write for the first time in a month and realized how much I had missed it. It’s not all bad having the kids back in school! Instantly after having that thought, I began to feel anxious about writing tomorrow, which is now today. I sat down to write today and loved it. (!!) Currently, I am feeling anxious about writing tomorrow.

I’m beginning to think it’s not writing that’s the problem. You know what they say: No matter where you go, there you are.

But now, in a segment that causes me no anxiety at all, I present to you the Back to School Pix! The first three in the series are called: Leo has a Cracker in his Mouth

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This next one is called Leo Ate the Cracker but You Really Can’t Tell

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Here’s one called We Don’t Know if Leo has a Cracker in his Mouth

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This one is called Now There’s a Bug on Leo’s Hand

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And finally, a picture that has nothing to do with crackers or bugs or snide comments. I call it Untitled.

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Also, when did Rocco start looking like a Nickelodeon boy?

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Chicken yakisoba
Fruit salad
Chocolate cupcakes