Archives for category: fretting
  1. The point of painting is not THE painting. It is PAINTING. The end result doesn’t matter, but enjoying the process does.
  2. Plowing through all your new library books in a five-hour reading marathon is a legitimate choice. Don’t worry about rationing them out all week. You can just read them again.
  3. Footie pajamas make a great, warm layer under snowpants and no one will know you aren’t dressed.
  4. When caught doing something you shouldn’t, the best defense is to flatly deny and walk away. It confuses the opposition.
  5. Stripes go with plaid, pink goes with purple, and socks don’t need to match. If someone questions your clothing choices, start crying. They’ll backpedal instantly and think twice before doing that again.
  6. There’s really no logical reason why you should get the housework done before you have the fun adventure. I mean, when you really think about it.
  7. Go karts are aces.
  8. Yahtzee is better if you don’t overthink it.
  9. When in doubt, go back to the beginning and start over.

Now that we are past a weekend, let me fill you in on what happened the weekend before that.  Then maybe next Monday, I will write a post about what we did this last weekend. That way you will always be approximately 8 days behind on my life.  I’m pretty sure is how this blogging thing works, right?

Anyway.  The past weekend before this last weekend (must work on that descriptive, I think), we harvested one of our potato boxes.  This is the second year that we’ve done potato boxes, which, theoretically, are a method of growing many, many potatoes in a small space.  Last year, we filled the boxes with straw, which didn’t work at all.  We got potatoes in the first layer, but all those other boards just disguised really tall potato plants and a lot of damp straw.  This year we decided to fill the boxes with dirt and try again. And, so, the past weekend before the last weekend, we decided to dig out one of the boxes.

First, you remove the boards from the box:

Does that build enough suspense? Are we all properly invested in this drama?

Good, because that’s the only picture I took of the process.

That’s fine, though, because the process goes something like this: remove boards, dig potatoes.

I like digging potatoes.  I like digging potatoes so much that after taking that picture I put down the camera, shoved everybody out of the way, and plunged my hands down in there to see what I could find. I came to my senses about 20 minutes later as I was examining the dirt wedged under my fingernails and remembering: oh, yes. I own garden gloves.

This type of thing is why I don’t bother with manicures.

But it was worth it, because  I found this:

It had some friends.  This many friends:

Can you see my feet in the background there? That’s about when I was frowning down at the potato box and thinking: that’s it?

Annabel’s asking the same question.  We are usually of one mind about this sort of thing.

It’s not a bad haul, I suppose, and if I remember correctly it’s better than we did last year.  But I look at this and I think: one meal.  We’re a family of four. That’s one meal.  If we take our time eating it, that’s 45 minutes of food.  If we average 45 minutes to eat a meal, three times a day, 365 days a year, that’s 49,275 minutes of eating I need to somehow fill.  And I just spent two months growing 45 teensy little minutes of that.

If we were dependent on me actually gardening to feed my family, that’s 45 minutes of food and 49,230 minutes of not-food.  I’m pretty sure this is not a successful food to not-food ratio.

I don’t know how pioneer folk did it.  I don’t know how my ancestors did it.  I’d like to pretend that, if push came to shove, I’d have the ability to keep my family alive via my wits and hard work.

And I could. For 45 minutes.

Well, we’ve got that other potato box.  And a few pumpkins growing out on the vines.  Some beans.  Green tomatoes ready to ripen if the blight doesn’t get us.

Maybe 225 minutes of food.

And 49,050 minutes of starvation. If it’s not a Leap Year.

It’s a start, I suppose.

Note to self: next year, three potato boxes is clearly the way to go.

Also, maybe I’ll try to shoot a moose. Or two.

Some people are competitive.  Some people care a lot about how they measure up against the rest of the world.  I am not competitive.  I don’t really care that much if you are smarter or funnier or better-looking or can run faster.  (I can pretty much guarantee that you can run faster.)  It’s all good.  I’m comfortable in my mediocrity.

But then there’s Valentine’s Day.  I can’t explain what happens to me around Valentine’s Day.

Actually, I can totally explain what happens, or at least why it happens.  The week before Annabel’s first Valentine’s Day at day care, I received a list of all the kids in the center.  I looked at Michael that night and said, “Surely no one is going to bother with valentines for babies. This list is for the parents of older kids.

Valentine’s Day arrived.

We were the only parents who didn’t do valentines for the babies.

We are terrible, terrible people.

I guess I don’t enjoy feeling like a terrible, terrible person, because the next year, I discovered that I had gotten competitive.  So I made homemade glitter cards. I was quite proud of them.

Everyone else did homemade cards plus candy.

Sigh. Mutter. Grump.

It’s okay, fellow parents, I thought.  You want to play?  Oh, I can play.  This year, this year, I was going to make it happen.

I got the glitter paints out.  I made homemade heart stencils.  I planned on making mini-heart shaped sugar cookies but then our oven broke (sabotage, anyone?), so I purchased chocolate instead.  I forced Annabel into endless rounds of valentine making “fun” as first we painted, and then stenciled, and then glued, and then wrote.  And in the end, it was good:

I mean, it wasn’t great.  But for a three-year old who is severely handicapped by the fact that her mother is a Crafting Moron, I thought it wasn’t bad.  Points for authenticity, at least, eh?

I was really looking to score big time points with Sam’s class, though.  First, I felt pretty ahead of the curve because this time I knew that, yes, they really do valentines for the babies.  But I wasn’t sure how I could make a splash with no candy and no little toys and no stickers.  Just a card didn’t seem like enough.  And then it hit me.

How about I knit heart toys for everyone?

Because surely that doesn’t look like a desperate woman who is trying too hard?

When the kids came home tonight, I immediately pounced on their bags.  I’d been anxious all day and I had to know the truth.  Where did I rank in the Great Valentine-off of 2011?

On Annabel’s side, I was strongly holding my own against homemade cuteness and sugar.   And then I saw this:

Well, that’s just ridiculously adorable. It was homemade, contained sugar, and could double as a plaything.  It was like the Valentine’s Day trifecta.

Dang it.

But wait.  Wait.  What is…that?

Oh, you mean the fake ice cream cone filled with hot chocolate mix, chocolate chips, and marshmallows?

I just… I’m totally… I don’t even know what to say about this.

Other than, you are the winner, Ms. Fake Ice Cream Cone Mom.  Big congratulations to you, indeed.  You are the Queen of Craft.

And Sam’s hearts?  Well, they were cute but in the end I’m not sure a bunch of misshapen hearts made from scrap yarn held up against:

Rubber ducky and his glitter heart card.

Fine.  It’s over.  I lose again.

Next year I’m buying everyone ponies.

Just you wait.

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday.  I can’t say it’s my least favorite, either.  On the holiday spectrum, I’d say Halloween has generally fallen in the upper middle, somewhere below Christmas but far, far above Valentine’s Day.  I think Halloween has potential, but it’s the crafting that holds me back.  In order to do Halloween right these days, one must be crafty.

When I was a kid, my mother used to make us elaborate Halloween costumes.  She’d ask what we wanted to be and then she’d take weeks to create perfection out of papier mache and felt.  She was a costume master.

I am not a costume master.  I am a costume idiot.

Last year I tried to make Annabel’s costume.  She was a black cat.  It sounded simple enough.  It looked, well.


Hi! My mom can’t sew!  Also, I’m blurry!

It may not look horribly egregious here, but what made it awful was the realization that people don’t make their kids’ costumes anymore.  They buy them.  I’m not one for keeping up with the Joneses, but when I saw my little homemade black cat compared to the elaborate Batman and pumpkin costumes from Old Navy, it was a little depressing.  Apparently, one can’t simply toss their kid into a black turtleneck, pin a tail to their butt, and call it a day anymore.

Obviously, this leaves a cheapskate slacker like me in a quandary.

Added to the dilemma this year was the fact that the girl wanted to be a spider.  A green spider.  Naturally.

Here’s a hint: Old Navy does not make green spider costumes.

At this point I’d love to spin an inspirational tale about forging through adversity and creating a masterpiece of a spider costume–sorry, green spider–that resulted in 1) me finding my inner crafter and 2) Annabel being elected homecoming queen, but no.  I actually didn’t do anything.  I flailed about helplessly for a few weeks before Michael stepped in and made the costume.  She looks pretty good, we think, but, again, homemade just can’t compare to professionally designed and sewn in a factory.  But I suppose it will have to do, even though all we did was throw on a black turtleneck (again!) and strap Girl Scout tights from the discount store to her back.


My contribution was the black yarn around the legs. Genius, I know.

Halloween.  It’s just not my favorite.