Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tap 'n Hip Hop

Last weekend was Precious Daugther's dance recital. I suspect that recital time is almost the highlight of her year with Christmas as the only rival. Or maybe Hallowe'en. The girl loves dressing up and looking fancy.

In this photo, taken at the dress rehearsal, Precious Daughter is third from the left. Flash photography wasn't permitted, so I was trying to work without a flash. Her music for this routine was "Please Mr. Postman."

In this picture, she is second from left. This costume was a hip-hop routine to "Come on and Ride It." When Precious daughter took her first hip-hop class last September, she was all gangly arms and legs. I'm sorry to confess that I wasn't sure how well she'd do.

I am tickled to report...

...that she kicked butt in both dances.

Her no-talent mama had little to do with the curls, by the way. We bought 'em at a wig store at the direction of the dance studio. It's just a big pouf of synthetic curls stretched over her own hair (in a bun) and pinned at every possible angle.

After Sunday's performance (when the two prior photos were taken) she didn't want to take off the hip-hop costume. She wore it the rest of the day. I think she would have worn it to bed if the elastic hadn't started pinching by then. She's been wearing the wrist bands every other day.

For some reason, this made its way into the recital folder. I can't resist a fat baby eating her fingers, can you?

Here. Have seconds!

Monday, June 22, 2009

No More "Pagan Baby"!

Kryptonite, along with four other babies, was Baptized on Sunday, June 7. I would have posted this sooner, but I was knocked for a bit of a loop over finding poor old Peake that Monday. (Edited to add: Then I got distracted, and this post was left in limbo until now.)

Two days prior to this first sacrament, The Oracle and I were in the throes of last-minute preparations for Kryptonite's big day. Those close to me know how frantic that can be. You know I'm disorganized and flaky, but the depths of those traits can't easily be explained without actually being witnessed. If you haven't seen it for yourself, be thankful.

It's bad. Really bad.

I spent most of Saturday doing my favorite work in the kitchen. Our menu was simple: Florentine layers (pasta dish), hot roast beef, and chicken salad. Sides included cole slaw, cucumber salad (a first for me), fresh fruit, chips, pretzels, and onion dip. Pineapple upside-down cake and a chocolate cake for dessert.

The downside to all of this is the non-stop use of the oven. The "secret" to the chicken salad is roasting the skin-on chicken breasts rather than boiling them, plus I had to roast the two eye roasts and bake two cakes. The kitchen was as hot as hell and I was quite crabby because of it. I hate perspiring. I am a priss. My dislike for it is a post all its own. BUT I was cooking, and that's something I love to do. You can't cook without heat.

On the brighter side, the roasting meats, bubbling gravy, and the sweet smells of dessert made the house smell divine.

The Oracle got stuck with the icky work, like clearing the dining room table of its mountain of clutter and dusting all the stuff that hadn't been dusted since the last time company came to visit. Have I ever mentioned that he scrubs the bathroom and the floors? I clearly got lucky in the man department.

Saturday night was an all-nighter. It was tough. The kids' corner in the living room was an unmitigated disaster, and I was inches away from tossing it all instead of sorting it out. For instance, they have a bookcase for their books, but the books are rarely on it. On any given day, at least 50% of them are scattered about the house. I don't understand it. When I tipped up the loveseat (yes, you read that. Tipping it forward is easier than dragging it about) to clean beneath it, I found no fewer than two dozen books crammed beneath it. Now, I don't believe they were shoved there intentionally, but the careless way my children treat the books they claim to love is downright criminal. Oh, they don't write on the pages or intentionally tear them up, but they rarely put the things in a safe place, never mind returning them to the shelf. It is so frustrating.

I won't describe how much dog hair was under that couch, but I will say it rivaled the volume of the books. That's why I call her a German Shedder.

On the Big Day, after a brief two-hour nap, the only remaining work was assembling the Florentine, slicing roast beef, bathing, and ironing Kryptonite's gown.

I've made Florentine enough that I pretty much have it down to a science, and the beef was quickly sliced thanks to this little gem. Mine is a much older model my mother purchased around 1995 or so, and it's still one of my favorite specialty appliances.

It's a good thing I had that slicer, because ironing the christening gown was a horrid affair. Had I known how awful it would be, I would have done it much sooner. It's 100% cotton. Washing it was super easy, just a gentle-cycle wash, shake it out, and hang dry. "Iron while slightly damp." Huh? Okay. I set to work with a spray bottle of water and my iron, and I swear it seemed like the iron was sticking to the fabric. That dress contains what seems like eyards and yards of fabric. Just when I thought I figured out a technique, I pressed in yet another unwanted crease. Ironing it took almost forty minutes.
I hate ironing. My sister, Jennifer, loved to iron. She found it relaxing. In my opinion, the notion of ironing clothes came from the devil himself.

The only bummer was my cousin not showing up. Granted, it was kind of a last-minute invitation, but they sounded positive on coming. I hadn't seen them in ages, and having them there would have been really nice. Aside from that, if they'd told me they weren't coming, I would have had room to invite E and her family. I really need to see E. It's been weeks and weeks. I haven't seen M or S lately either. I suspect this may be why I feel like I'm losing my mind.

My brother-in-law, AKA Kryptonite's godfather, supplied me with these pics, since we ran late and forgot the camera when we left for the church.
From left to right: Godparents Uncle R. and Aunt J., Fr. Rob, Kryptonite, me, and The Oracle.
I'm so happy my older two love their baby sister. They really are very good with her.

And, man, look at the size of this baby, will you? I was worried that the gown wouldn't fit (it did). At her checkup this Friday she tipped the scales at 17.5 pounds and stretched to nearly 25 inches in length.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Name That Character

Anyone remember this?

100 points if you can name the show, 500 if you can name the critter itself!
I wish I had a real prize to offer, but I just happen to know of an excellent place for real prizes!!!
Consider Taking a Chance on Life!! Hallie, from Wonderful World of Wieners, is organizing an awesome fundraising raffle to support the non-profit United Network for Organ Sharing, an organization whose vital function found a new heart for her father six years ago.
Even if you're not the gambling type, consider becoming an organ donor yourself to better the odds for someone else.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Good-Bye, "Baby Boy"

I found him dead on the floor Monday afternoon.

I didn't say a word to the kids. I called my father-in-law who, bless his heart, came over to get my kids out of the house so I could get him out of the tight corner he was in and into a more presentable position (box) to say their farewells. I feared moving him while they looked over my shoulder, since I wasn't sure what would happen when I picked him up.
I don't know when this happened. The Oracle says he last saw him Saturday. I don't know. I do know that, other than filled food and water dishes, I hadn't thought about critters at all on Saturday or Sunday because we were swamped with getting ready for Kryptonite's baptism and the handful of people visiting house afterward.

Peake arrived with his sister, Chessie, in early autumn of 1995. The Oracle's friend and coworker were plagued by a stray floozy feline that considered their porch her private maternity ward. Rather than being overrun with feral cats, Bob and his wife kit-napped the babies to hand tame, bottle feed, and adopt out. Bob brought the box of tiny kittens with him to work. The Oracle took a liking to the little calico Bob had dubbed "Sausalito."

The Oracle, being much more considerate than I, talked with me about adopting a kitten (I simply would have brought her home). We were still feeling the loss of Missy, an elderly long-legged coal-black stray that showed up on our doorstep Thanksgiving week of 1993, and who died a bit over a year later. We were ready for another cat.
When the kittens were old enough to adopt, I visited Bob's house to pick up the calico. I vividly recall (for once!) standing in their kitchen waiting to meet our new kitten. They had only two kittens left from their latest litter. As his wife brought them out, she introduced the orange tabby as "Reginald" and tucked him into my arms with Sausalito, knowing I wouldn't be able to resist. I don't remember whether I called The Oracle first, but I went there for one kitten and brought two home. I'd read somewhere (possibly Life's Little Instruction Book or similar) that if you were going to adopt a kitten, you might as well go for two, since you're getting double the fun for little extra effort.
I remember bringing them home and introducing them to Strudel, our first shedder. The kittens took one look at this large, sniffing dog and instantly transformed into hissing demons with every hair standing on end. They ran up my bare arms and buried themselves under my hair and against my neck. "Ouch" was an understatement.
The names Sausalito and Reginald sound aristocratic, but they're a mouthful. We realized that they would have quickly been reduced to Saucy and Reggie, and we weren't crazy about those nicknames.
The Oracle, as those close to him know, is an enthusiast for railroading history. He enjoys industrial history in general, but railroading is something he's loved since he was small.
Back in the '30s, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad ran an advertising campaign for their long-distance service, "Sleep like a Kitten," surrounding a stray cat they named "Chessie." Chessie's husband was "Peake." A little of the story can be found here. The names were fun, the story was interesting, and Sausalito and Reginald were renamed Chessie and Peake.
In nearly 14 years, they've been separated only three times, and those occasions were for surgery to Peake's left foot. He had an extremely-rare cancer of the nerve sheath, and the surgeries were intended to debulk the tumor and keep him comfortable. In recent months I'd been torn over having to take him back for more surgery, because it had become so involved in the foot I figured I'd be bringing home a three-legged cat.
Peake was The Oracle's cat. Peake claimed him from the get-go, choosing to lay on the footrest of the recliner alongside The Oracle's legs. We called him "Baby Boy" in addition to "Peake," and although I'd taken to calling him "Old Man" in the last few years, he was always Baby Boy to The Oracle.
In recent years, Peake wouldn't go to bed unless The Oracle came too. Around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m., he'd start yowling in the hallway, and he wouldn't stop until The Oracle started brushing his teeth.
He was also a major-league moocher. He could be sound asleep on the foot of the bed, but when I cracked open a can of tuna to make The Oracle's lunch, Peake would be winding around my feet meowing pitifully for morsels of tuna. He mooched at the dinner table, too, and The Oracle shared little tidbits of whatever was on the menu. I've even caught him raiding Knucklehead's dish if she left anything behind.
One thing he enjoyed was American cheese. It's something he'd loved since he was a kitten at Bob's house. Knowing it was unhealthy, I rarely gave it to him. Sometimes I couldn't resist.
The picture above doesn't show it, but Peake had marvelous whiskers. I loved his whiskers. They were long and full and perfectly fanned, especially when he smelled something interesting.
And, God, I'm going to miss his pretty orange eyes.

It Struck My Funnny Bone

A blonde calls her boyfriend and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started." Her boyfriend asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?" The blonde says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, 'First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.' He takes her hand and says, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea."

"Then," he said with a deep sigh, "we'll put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."