Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I tried to be a good daughter and fulfill my mom's request to comfort her sick cat, but the sour puss wanted nothing to do with me...except possibly bite me. I won't take it personally, even the vet has to put the Hannibal Lechter Mask on the cat in order to safely do an exam. Seems like a fitting image for Halloween.

I think I'll be Supermom for Halloween

Although I considered dressing as a Temptress Cavewoman or Sexy Harry Potter (guess what I'm not wearing under my Gryffindor robe?), Supermom is the front runner.

Here's my day so far:
6:30 Wake up and head to computer to write before the kids are up. Like a dog that can hear its owner eating marshmallows, within minutes Smartypants is at my side. I didn't bother showering for my job interview because the boys get picked up on Mondays and I planned to exercise right after pickup.

7:10 Splinter wakes up and freaks out about his Halloween costume, or lack thereof. This from a boy who made a list in August of both his school and actual trick-or-treating costumes through the year 2009.

7:15 My mom calls to tell me she almost cancelled her out-of-town trip because one of her cats is sick. Thankfully, she has hired someone to come give it medicine and change its bandage all week, but would I please go over each day this week to give some love to the poor cat (who hisses at me whenever I get within three feet of her)?

7:18 Carpool Buddy calls. Her son is sick and won't be going to school today. I need to make the 45 minute round trip to drop the boys at school.

8:05 Boys delivered safely to school. I stop at the cleaners on the way home, get a 1.5 miles walk on the treadmill, shower, dress (including the oft-ignored hair and makeup) and make it to my interview with 15 minutes to spare.

Yeah, baby!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

More adult Halloween fun

Remember my slut-o-ween post? Here's a funny fauxmercial for the special day. Note: not appropriate for viewing at work or with small kids (esp. with the volume turned up).

Guest Blogger: Kari Anne Roy

When Kari Anne Roy posted this on our Austin Mama Blog, I immediately shot off a request asking to copy this funny bit on Hormone-colored Days. She said yes, weeks passed, and finally here it is.

Kari also blogs at Haiku of the Day and even has a Haiku Mama book!

Kari writes here about a recent visit from her aunt:

At least she lightens up after a few days. Usually.

You know that cliche - guests and fish start to smell after three days? Well, my aunt is visiting. We have one of those on again off again relationships - in fact, it's been almost a year since we've seen each other. I thought that with the baby and all, she'd stay away for a while longer (she's not really into babies), but she snuck into town last night.

It's been so long since we've seen each other, I'm afraid this is going to be a particularly long and trying visit. It's not that I don't love her. I respect her, and frankly, I wouldn't be the woman I am today without her. It's just that she cramps my style when she comes to visit. And it's not like I really have a "style" to begin with, she's just so dominating the whole time we're together, it really makes me crazy. If only she wouldn't sneak up on me like this, things would be better between us. I could plan for our visits, you know? She's just so spotty when it comes to actually giving me any notice before arriving - or leaving! God only knows how long she'll be here this time. Anyway, if I can make it through this exhausting visit, I'll hopefully be better prepared for the next go 'round.

Man. I really, really wish Aunt Flo wasn't such a bitch. And showing up at only 11 weeks postpartum? Un-f-ing-forgiveable.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wasted Women


Check out my latest post at the Austin Mama blog.

Also, check this out, my rabbi has staked out a spot on the blogosphere! He joins me and other talented congregants such as Jim and Brad.

Why doesn't the Bloogger.com spellchecker have 'blogosphere' in its dictionary? Isn't that odd?

Today we are going to carve pumpkins. I'm also going to mix up yet another batch of silkworm food. Apparently they eat someting like 80% of their life's food intake right before cocooning and they are almost ready to go. I'm a bit worried about running out of food because I have about 4 times more caterpillars than were supposed to come with the kit. I fear that I will have to make a Sophie's Choice-type decision.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again

"It's a fun science project," my sister-in-law's brother (not to be confused with my husband) told me last summer.

So with Smartypants' class reading Project Mulberry and Splinter's class learning about the Silk Road and a science fair looming, silkworms sounded like a great project. If there were a continuum of How Much Care Other Living Things Require with a cactus on the far left and a human infant on the right, silkworms would be on the right, just behind puppies.

Every day I clean out their little poops which the instructional catalogue describes thus: At first their excrement looks like small black specks, but as the caterpillars age, their excrement resembles miniature corncobs. Just before the caterpillars start to spin their cocoons, they release all feces.

Then there's the food, which I am cooking up just about every other day now. Mix 1/3 cup of water plus three tablespoons Dry Silkworm Diet, microwave for 20 seconds, mix again, microwave again, cover tightly with wrap and allow to cool. It stinks, literally and figuratively. This process is every bit unpleasant as changing a baby's diaper.

The silkworms are not cute, nor are they fun to watch. They can't be played with and we have so many that I've had to divide them into several, equally smelly, containers. I can't allow myself to kill them off or leave them out for the birds which is sort of ironic because the only way to get usable silk from the cocoons is to boil them with the little moth still inside (think lobsters). Dare we let the 65 (we ordered 25 eggs, but got a windfall) or so caterpillars make it through their pupa stage, the moths that hatch out cannot eat or drink. They can't really fly either, only flutter around a bit. Like some guys I knew in college, they live only to mate. And unlike those guys, they will die within five days. The successful female will lay 200-500 eggs, which, thankfully, can be refrigerated for up to two years and will make a great Christmas present for your child's favorite science teacher.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Love Thursday: Loving the Cafeteria Lady

A while back this mommyblogger encouraged others to post a love-themed piece each Thursday. I couldn't find the photo I planned to post, but given that my 20th high school reunion is only weeks away (yikes!) I thought this would be appropriate.

She was known for her succintness, "Yes, please?" "Next, please" and ability to give proper change. I don't recall what exactly went into this pose. I think was the last day of school for seniors and the love just spontaneously erupted.

Interesting tidbit: a few years ago the kisser was named as one of Crain's Chicago Business "Forty under Forty" that is, their list of young businesspeople on the rise.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Starving children at the Ethiopian restaurant

Read about it here, at Scrambled CAKE.

Later this week on Hormone-colored Days: "My, how quickly they grow" and other reflections on silkworm project.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Taking back "Slut-o-ween"

When Splinter and I popped into a party shop last week I noticed that the selection of costumes for women differed from years past. Not only was there a larger variety to choose from beyond the basic witch, she-devil and French maid, but the costumes seemed to promote, well, a different type of Halloween fun.

Apparently it's a trend and I'm not the only who noticed. The women of Salon.com's Broadsheet take it on here (you may need to watch a brief, painless ad first).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

School Fundraising- taking it to a new high

Reading this post at my friend Jim's blog reminded me about our own little fundraising program.

Our school doesn't nickel and dime us, but we do have some major funding campaigns, like the capital campaign to get ourselves a proper school building. The school is currently housed in an old office building. My eight year-old, Smartypants, wants to sponsor the Spanish classroom in the new building. Here's an appeal he wrote last summer (really, you will see it is not quite my style).


Dear Friend,

I'm Smartypants (my mom doesn't let me say my real name on the Internet). I'm an eight year old boy who likes sports, technology, and reading. My school is called "The Gifted Academy" [Mom won't let me post the ral name on the blog]. It is a very good school. It is for academically advanced kids. I feel comfortable with it; the kids and teachers are very talented and the subjects are very interesting. My school needs money because they are going make a new building.

I would like you to make an investment in the school because it is for a good cause, it will help lots of kids and at my school kids use their full abilities. If they don’t get to use their full abilities they might not get such a good job when they are grown up. One reason is because they wouldn’t have learned as much or know as much as if they did use their full abilities and learn a lot.

At my old school I was in a class with kids who were not academically advanced and I had to wait because I was finished with my work but I couldn't do anything and didn't have any more work and wasn't allowed to read and it was very boring for me. This year I went to "The Gifted Academy] and it was a huge improvement. I've made lots of friends at the GA. At my old school I didn't really have friends.

Examples of some things we do at the GA are in science, we made circuits and the older kids dissected squid. And sometimes in FPS (Future Problem Solving) we do Sudoku, a very cool number puzzle. We learned Pascal’s triangle in math and once in FPS we learned the word pneumoultramicroscopicvolcanoconeosis, a disease that you get when you breathe in quartz or granite.

I am trying to raise $25,000 to sponsor a room at the new school. I realized that if 250 people invest $100 then I’ll have $25,000. I would like you to invest a little in my school. I don’t care how much money, but at least one penny. Here is how to invest:
Click on this (CTRL + click). It is perfectly safe.
{link deleted for blog. For donation details contact fundraiser (at) moldofsky (dot) com} Please say that you are donating to the "Blueprint for Excellence" (Capital Campaign) in honor of "Smartypants" Moldofsky.

I thank you very much for investing in my school and helping special students.

Sincerely,
(Smartypants)

Monday, October 16, 2006

My haunted house and Halloween fun

Official word around here is that Halloween is cancelled.

On a recent trip to the dentist one of our sweet things who has been eating too many sweet things (and not flossing enough) was diagnosed with two cavities. Each cavity covers two surfaces thereby costing twice as much to fill. Bottom line is that we'll owe over $400 for fillings and that pretty much depletes our modest candy budget.

We haven't worked out all the details. I think trick-or-treating will be allowed, but I plan to eat all the candy before little Splinter can sink his rotten teeth into anything (which is pretty much the standard procedure around here anyway).

Our mounting medical bills and $5000 deductible continue to scare me. Take some time to think about where your insurance plan is heading. You will be afraid. Very afraid.

Thinking about returning my boys to public school is also frightening. Look DH, my hair is standing on end from the chills going up my spine! On a related note, I am seeking new clients for my growing freelance writing practice. Contact me at writer@moldofsky.com for details.

Here' s the last scary thing around Chez Moldofsky, but it's really more weird than scary. (Cue the Twilight Zone theme, please). I have a printer/fax combo and lately when I plug in the phone line to send a fax I get WBBM news radio. I can't send a fax because I'm picking up radio signals instead of a dial tone.

I called my tech guy: DH, come help me! What's going on?

He told me he couldn't have made that happen if he tried. When the phone line is plugged into he phone it works, but when it turns my fax machine into a radio. If any of my tech-savvy readers have some tips, please share them. Or maybe you can recommend a good exorcist?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The best part of waking up?

I'm not a morning person. For me, the best part of waking up is morning snuggles with my family, but when the folks who market Folger's Coffee asked if I'd blog about some free samples, I readily agreed. We are all about the swag-send it on!

I appreciated the fact they asked for honesty and not merely a glowing report. "But," some of my more cynical friends asked, "if you give a bad review does that mean they won't ask you to participate in future projects?" Hmmm, let's hope not.

The truth is coffee lovers can be a picky bunch. For example, I like mine topped with whipped cream served a paper Starbucks cup with the corrugated collar. And I'm told that The Starbucks crowd and the Dunkin' Donuts crowd are very loyal to their chosen brand- it's as much about identity as it is about coffee.

So what of the Folgers? We've tried one of the three sample packs thus far (you can get a fee sample here!). And when I say we, I mean I served the Gourmet Folgers Morning Blend at a party and I went around like a busybody asking my guests for feedback. Too strong said one. Too weak said another. *sigh*

The one consistent comment I heard was related to that brand identity thing (and this is definitely a coffee on-the-go kind of crowd often found with a DD or Starbucks cup in hand). Folgers is our parents' coffee (indeed I spied a canister in my mom's fridge the other day). The updated logo and gourmet flavors are not enough to convince my designer coffee-loving Gen X/tail end of Baby Boom crowd that Folger's is the best part of waking up.

**Bonus Feature**

Coffee Dough Recipe
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup used coffee grinds
1/2 cup cold, leftover coffee

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir until blended. Gather the mixture together with your hands. Knead on a floured until have a you smooth dough. Store dough in a plastic bag or margarine tub. (Note we used almost twice as much flour, perhaps because the grinds were quite damp.) I thought the dough had a lovely aroma; my boys did not agree, but enjoyed playing with it nonetheless.

At the risk of sounding like a mom with too much time on her hands, this tan speckled dough is perfect for making fake dinosaur eggs. Take take a small plastic dino figurine, encase it in dough. Form the dough into an egg shape and let it dry for a few days. Let your budding paleontologist chip away at the egg and discover the "fossil" inside.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Start your week with a little Scrambled Cake

Okay, so we totally fell for the marketing gimmick in which the kids get free prizes (in this case from the summer reading club) that introduce us to new ways to spend our money. Read all about it here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Signs of life in the petri dish!

After several fruitless days of searching for signs of life in the petri dish I began to worry. For example:

The scene: bedtime on a crisp fall night.

Me: Do you think we should turn on the heat?

DH: Are you cold? If you're cold, go ahead and turn it on.

Me: *sigh* No, I'm just worried about the silkworm eggs. I think our house may be too cool for them to hatch.

The next day I was prepared to call our supplier and insist on replacement eggs because what they sent us were clearly just leftover poppy seeds from someone's lunch when behold! There was movement in the dish! Four tiny worms had hatched out before Splinter left for school. By the time he returned home there were nearly a dozen. Within two days virtually all of the 65 eggs hatched.



Our kit was only supposed to contain 25 eggs. I thought of the extras as "insurance," but now that almost of them hatched, I'm a little worried. I've gathered some extra containers for when they outgrow the petri dish, but what to do about food? Will I be able to feed them all? Should I order more Dry Silkworm Diet now, just in case? Can I keep them alive for the next 6 weeks? How much silk do I harvest? (More about the ethical dilemma involved later.)

I'm not going to let these answers keep my up at night. In fact, I'm going to bed right now.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

haiku


boobs in a vise grip
smooshed for just a few seconds
my first mammogram

Thoughts on my mammogram:

The technician has one of the most bizarre jobs ever.
I hope my insurance covers this doctor-recommended screening.
I got my mammogram at the local Nordstrom. Pretty cool even for a mall-averse person like me.
I was ready to shop within 15 minutes of my appointment time making this the quickest medical visit ever.