Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Location: MA, United States

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Miserable Vomitous Mass

Parenting helps you develop a certain skill set. You learn how to tell whether your kid has a fever, or a just warm head from being tired, with the back of your hand. You learn how to do a shocking number of things one-handed. You learn how to feed and/or soothe a baby in the small hours of the morning without ever being fully awake yourself. You hone a sense of hearing so fine you sometimes hear your children before they actually wake up calling for you. You gain the ability to see through the back of your skull, and to kiss away booboos. You grow a Voice of Authority (if you didn't already have one from your line of work).

I'm confident that while some of these skills were perhaps previously unnecessary, you look back after a while and think, "Of course, I needed to develop that."

The ones that surprise me are the highly specialized skills that have virtually no non-parenting applications, for example the ability to remove the straps and cover to a car seat. You wouldn't need to know how to do that unless you needed to do that. The way you'd need to do that if a three year old boy threw up all over his car seat while you were driving him home from school.

And so, like Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction, I cleaned up the mess. Sadly, I didn't hae Travolta and Jackson to do the actual cleaning. I shuffled the kids out of the car and into the house, stripped the sick little offender of his upchuck encrusted clothing, requisitioned a roll of paper towel and a trash bag from Big Brother J, strapped on a pair of rubber gloves, and grabbed the Clorox spray.

The trouble I ran into was the fact the nastiness had smeared into the straps, necessitating that they be washed along with O's coat, clothing, and the fabric cover from the car seat. But how to remove the cover? and how to extricate the straps? Well, I flipped it over, reeking of undigested food, and set to figuring out how it's put together.

And now I know how it's put together, and how to take it apart.

And I also know how to be thankful he missed his sister and my son in the process.

(added 4/1/08: as a postscript, O was fine by morning, and other than being tired, he's back to his old tricks)


Thursday, March 27, 2008




Apparently I'm not feeling super photogenic lately, huh?


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday Morning

I was only up once with Felix in the night, and he cooperated when I suggested that he just go back to sleep. Love that.

I woke up on my own, no alarm clock, and not running late, and I got to talk with my husband and kiss him goodbye. With Felix still sleeping, I put a load of laundry in the dryer, finished a row of knitting left abandoned last night, loaded the dishwasher, and set about making breakfast.

It's warm enough over 40 degrees now, so my dogs can play outside for a while, so while they were out, I whipped up a tasty smoothie, and ground some coffee for the French press. While I drank my smoothie I caught up on my morning reading.

It's funny, I suppose, that my morning reading comes from my two email accounts, and my Google reader. Once upon a time it might have been a newspaper, or watching the news, or even listening to the radio. I can distinctly remember having toast at my Grandma's kitchen table while she drank coffee, tidied her kitchen, and listened to what must have been NPR (where else could she have been listening to newsy radio in Vermont?), before switching to a classic country station. Perhaps that's where my until recently latent appreciation for Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash came from?

But I digress.

I read my feeds, check my email, and then, cup of fresh brew at my right, set up a new post for my own blog, which will hopefully entertain someone else during their morning coffee.

I bet my Grandma would've liked that.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Book Borrowing

One of the things I love about our library is that it's part of a huge inter library loan network with online catalogs, renewals, and requests. It's perfect for the lazy time crunched mother. So, last night I went and picked up my most recent stash.

Knitting books much?

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Break

Spring Break!

Words that once inspired thoughts of travel, of a possible break from study and papers, of reunions with old friends, are now words that make me quiver in my pink and yellow polka dot rain boots. It's been chilly and rainy these last two days, and %75 of the kids under my care are sick with some kind of cold, so we've been a little housebound.

But on Tuesday, did we have a good time!

I took the kids to the Ecotarium in Worcester, and despite its modest scope, it was a great fit for my crew. It was science-y enough for Big Brother J, there were live furry animals to watch and learn about for Miss E, and a train ride around the property for O. As a bonus, my mom came out to play with us - Lisa is always a treat!

The picture was taken while the kids were all watching the live chinchilla demonstration. Chinchilla!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Of Swifts and Nostepinnes

This weekend, I tried a few new tricks in the knitting department.

I've been reading about how to make a yarn swift out of Tinkertoys, and I picked up a used set of Tinkertoys on Ebay a while back. This weekend I finally had a need for my new swift. I deviated a little from the original design, but the concept is the same. Now, with skein at the ready, I thought, "wouldn't it be nice to have one of those nice yummy yarn cakes that don't move around while you're knitting from them..."

So, I pottered around the internets until I found a guy who gave instructions for using a paper towel roll as a nostepinne.

After a little fiddling, I used the pictured swift and "nostepinne" to make that cute little yarn cake from which I've cast on a new project. Hooray, no more tanlged skeins.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Good Saturday

I've got some hot chocolate next to my Mac this morning, looking out the kitchen window at the wet snow plopping out of the sky. I just let Amelie in from a romp in the muddy snowy yard. Felix had a good night last night, and i don't have to make dinner we're having dinner with the inlaws.

Things I should do today: laundry, sweep the floors, organize the wilderness of toys that has sprung up in our living room and dining room, clean the upstairs bathroom, and deal with the squalor here in the kitchen.

Now you see why I'm looking out the window.

Things I will actually do today: blush like a debutante because Mrs. G linked to my blog. Take a much deserved shower and perhaps wash the baby, too. Update my reads list, since it's sadly out of date...

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Friday, March 14, 2008

When Babies Don't Sleep

I'm so tired my eyelids feel scabby.
Also, I maybe need to wax those brows...


Answering the Challenge: A Meme

A gauntlet was thrown, by my pal over at Baptism of Fiber, to complete a high school related meme. I accept the challenge, and will divulge the secret horrors of my high school career (be forewarned, many of my answers will be the same as the original post on BoF, I left those answers in italic):

1. Did you date someone from your school?
I did. Jason and I "went out" for a few months freshman year. It was sweet, and strange, and I'm proud to say I wasn't his last girlfriend! That honor went to someone else.

2. Did you win anything in Seniors' Who's Who?
I don't remember, but I might have been the Teddy Bear... or was that Gil? or maybe we both were?

3. What kind of car did you drive?
1987 Subaru GL Wagon in metallic red. God, I loved that death trap. Her name was Ruby Sue.

4. It's Friday night...where are you?
After rehearsal, I was at Tatnuck Bookseller (RIP) having coffee and Kentucky Derby Pie with [Ari], Jason, and Naomi.

5. Were you a party animal?
Absolutely not.

6. Were you considered a flirt?
I doubt it. I wasn't very sure of myself around the boys....

7. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
Chorus and the Academy Singers.

8. Were you a nerd?
Most definitely.

9. Did you get suspended/expelled?

10. Can you sing the fight song?
I've forgotten the rather archaic stanzas, but the melody of the chorus is in my head right now (Oskeewowwow, WA...)

11. Who were your favorite teachers?
Ms. Cotton, Ms. Gould, Mr. Shainheit, Mr. Bloom, and Mr. Duemmel)

12. Where did you sit during lunch?
In the cafeteria, somewhere near the clock

13. What was your school's full name?
Worcester Academy

14. School mascot?
A goat..oh, sorry. a "hilltopper"
I actually think it was a ram. It had swirly horns, didn't it?

15. Homecoming court?
I imagine that is a kind of prom king/queen thing and no, we never did that. Thank god.

16. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
I wouldn't want to do high school over, but if I had to go back, I'd do WA again.

17. What do you remember most about graduation?
I walked with Veronique, and Jason's valedictory speech had something to do with Wile E. Coyote.

18. Where did you go senior skip day?
No skip day.

19. Have you gained some weight since then?
Gained in college, lost after, gained it all back, am now fighting it off again for the eleventy millionth time...

20. Who was your Senior prom date?
Marc. It was funny. And fun.

21. Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion?
I was one of five who made it.

22. Who was your homeroom teacher?
We didn't have homerooms, but Madame Soave was my advisor.

23. Who will repost?
I expect no one. But if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged.

24. Did you play any sports?
I did not. Though I lettered in swimming for being a very dedicated manager. Heehee, me with a varsity letter!

25. Do you still talk to people from school?
Yep. Ari, Veronique, Will, Pete, Julie, Alta, Naomi. And quite a few more I keep up with more casually.

26. What year did you graduate?


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Eighteen Weeks

Felix and Mr. O and I headed to our pediatrician's office today for Felix's four month check up. Someone got his booster shots, and was none too happy about it.

His stats are in, though.

Weight: 17 pounds, 6 ounces
Height: 25.5 inches
Head: 42 cm.

He's healthy and happy, and we couldn't be happier!


Memoria in aeterna

I signed the authorization for my fifth iPod this morning.

Yep, fifth.

My first iPod was a Christmas gift from Mark in 2003. Just a few months later, the headphone jack didn't work, so I got a refurbished one as a replacement. That one was water damaged in my bag, and had to be replaced. Then, Maurice ate the screen on the third one.

When the screen finally gave in, months later, Mark bought me a new one. My fourth one. It's a 5th Generation, and he bought it just as the iPhone was taking the world by storm (so he got a good deal). On Saturday, the battery failed in a catastrophic way.

After several attempts at restoring it, updating it, resetting it, crying over it, and swearing a lot, I took it to the nice folks at the genius bar, and they examined the faulty Pod.

Turns out, the battery was indeed defective. Since they didn't have a refurbished one in stock for me, they ordered one, which I should have a few days. So, I will trade number four for number five, and hope that this one outlasts it's fallen brethren.

Requiescat in pace,


Friday, March 07, 2008


O turned three yesterday, and what a day it was.

He met with his speech therapist, and they sang "Happy Birthday," counted birthday candles, and she gave him a firetruck as a present.

Mrs. Boss's mother took him to the Science Museum and out for a snack at his favorite watering hole, Starbucks (Yes, it's true. He asks everyday to go there.).

He and I decorated his birthday cake. I supervised the frosting, we split sprinkles duties, and he placed all the decorations on top. I am particularly fond of the random firefighter duckie. He and I also baked the actual cakes on Tuesday (O is quite skilled at dumping ingredients into a bowl, stirring, and egg breaking!), so this cake is authentically the work of a guy who just turned three. Not too shabby. Maybe this is the start of a boutique business?

Felix celebrated by wearing his party clothes, and doesn't he just look like a tiny old man?

And then, Happy Birthday to Me, I got the day off today, since Grandma and Grandpa are taking O for the day!

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Yesterday was a good day, for a dozen little reasons.

1. The morning commute was relatively quick and stress free.

2. O & I had a tasty morning snack at Starbucks, which always leads to fun

3. The weather was mild, so we could go out to play.

4. We ran into O's friend Q (no lie!) at the playground.

5. O had lunch at Mrs. Boss's mother's house, so I had a little me time.

6. Felix took good naps.

7. Felix ate regularly and well.

8. O and I baked the cakes for his Fire Truck birthday cake extravaganza.

9. Miss and Big Brother J got along for the most part.

10. No one complained about what was for dinner.

11. The fingerless gloves that I started on Monday are going well.

12. My blog slipped back in relative anonymity.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

And One More Thing Before I Go

Before I leave on vacation, I'd like to mention that yesterday there were 1165 unique visitors to this blog, whereas I get 15-25 unique visitors on an average day. Too bad I couldn't get this kind of attention when I have actual relevant things to say.


The Price of ... Fame?

Now that the majority of the drama has passed regarding my little rant yesterday, I'd like to take a moment to speak of far less interesting matters. But I'm not going to. I'm going to lock the front door of my blog, turn out it's porch light, and go for a vacation at, where I'm not anonymously harrassed for having an opinion. To those of you who commented with an identity, whether you agreed with me or not, have a nice day. To those who agreed anonymously, I wish you'd had a name, and to the "sploogers" (credit to Richenza for the term...), take your anonymous curmudgeonness out of my virtual dooryard, and go find someone who gives a hot damn about your thoughts.

Oh, and thanks,, for the nod. It's been .... real.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Open Letter to the Folk Who Run the Stop & Shop on Old Connecticut Path in Framingham

Dear Stop & Shop,

I know Sundays are a big shopping day, and consequently I try to avoid them. When, however, I am required to shop on a Sunday, I would hope to find that you had your A team in place to handle the crush. Instead, I find a customer service cashier who, when faced with 17 returnable bottles, was incapable to handing me the $0.85 I was owed.

Normally, of course, I would have left the counting to the rather competent machines, but they were all full, the bag boy you sent off to fix them didn't seem to be in a hurry, and I had a four month old with a slight fever. I wasn't willing to go back outside and stand in the Bottle Return room for fifteen minutes while the machines were emptied, and meanwhile the bottles were taking up valuable room in my cart.

I digress.

When the aforementioned cashier rang in my 17 returnable bottles, somehow her register told her to give me $0.15. When she did, I told her that I was owed $0.85. She replied by telling me that "the register says...".

This is simple math. Someone operating a cash register at customer service ought to have a basic enough grasp of simple math to know that the register was wrong, and to just give the customer her $0.85 and then deal with the faulty register. She next handed me another $0.35. This now totals $0.50 in my hand. I looked meaningfully and with some disbelief at the cashier, and was met with a blank stare.

I walked away. I was too disgusted to speak.

You might wish to raise the bar just a little in your hiring process.



Saturday, March 01, 2008

Book Club 2008: The Innaugural Review

Mrs. Boss invited me to be part of her book "club," this year. It's nothing so formal as a regular book club. The premise is this, everyone in the circle chooses a book up front and reads it in the first month. Then, on the first of the new month, everyone sends their book to the next reader on the list. At the end of the circle, you get your book back, and you've gotten to read however many books there are in the circle.

I'm psyched!

My book:
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

It looked like a tasty novel; a mystery, a family secret, a reclusive fictional author... It turned out to be a twisty, sly, gothic thriller of a story. It was an unabashed love song to the Brontes and all their contemporaries. It dug inside a family's secrets, peered behind the social niceties to the human ugliness, and occasionally its beauty. It celebrated the reader, the lover of stories, the book-obsessed. I loved reading it. I stayed up late reading it. Was it an "important" novel? Probably not, but oh, did I enjoy myself. The language and atmosphere conjured "Jane Eyre," which isn't an accident, and the characters were very real, despite their fantastical natures.

Next up:
What Is Mine, by Anne Holt