Why Valentine’s Day can be SOOO Scary!



This is why I pity any guys who like the Tot ….   Note the war paint and the hearts dripping blood on her trusty pumpkin.  I think she’s waiting for it to turn into a coach to take her to the Prince’s Royal Ball…  Could be a while.  Her fairy godmother has her work cut out for her….



Botox gone wrong, OHHHH so wrong….


Botox and a bright tube of lipstick.

Why, Pickles, why?

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Note:  No animals were harmed in the filming of this blog post…  botox, lipstick or otherwise…


Little Boxes made of ticky tacky

Tot decided the tea boxes needed some rearranging….

And this morning, she proclaimed, ” I’m done with hungry”  after having water for breakfast.  Makes you wonder what goes on in the mind of a child, though maybe I don’t want to know.  Could I be done with hungry too?  Sure would save on grocery bills, and time cooking and cleaning!








Warm Summer memories in the depths of Winter

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert CamusNorth Carolina has been uncharacteristically cold this year. The lows have been about 10° colder than average, and the highs have been about 20° colder than normal. On the eve of a potential snow storm (received pictures from my brother in Arkansas about their 22 inches of snow), I think back to my summer vacation …Tot even lit some sparklers to relive the moment…IMGP1480







Welcome to Ruffles R Us…  The Tot is still wearing size 2 and 3 though the clothes are getting very short.  She’ll be 4 in 2 months, but the size 4 items she’s gotten I’ve had to take in considerably since she’s rather skinny, and they just fall down immediately if they’re not the adjustable waistband.  Just as I was lamenting this situation,  I saw an outfit at the play place that had ruffles on the pant legs – adorable!  AND the answer to our problem.  So I spent an evening or two adding ruffles to several of Tot’s pants, and even one top.






















My main model is a diva — VERY uncooperative, but oh so cute. and totally worth the trouble.  Check her out.

And then there’s all those cute clothes with stains or cuts from a Tot on the loose with scissors.  There’s the brand new outfit that had the misfortune of being on when Tot found the sharpie, and the outfit from Brazil my brother got for her that got assaulted by blueberries….  What to do when the stain remover doesn’t work?  Cover them with buttons.  Lots and LOTS of buttons!












Tot’s starting her own clothing line… Maybe the Tot shop will be a real store someday!



Evidence of a Tot

Egads, it’s been two and a half weeks since I last wrote…

So much to do, so little time.  There have been so many things I have considered writing about over the last few weeks, but now… when I finally sit down to write about something?  Nothing comes to mind.  It doesn’t help that I fell asleep putting the Tot to bed.  I’m pretty much a puddle.

So I leave it to the Tot to provide entertainment…

I walked into the bathroom one day after I finally gotten it all organized and clean, and saw this…..







Yes, the carafe is full of water, so all those Q-tips are trash.   Deep sigh.














Evidently I’ve become the zoo keeper.  Don’t worry, all the animals here are friendly, and fortunately for me, they only eat once a year or thereabouts.












Then we had an infestation, but they’re very tasty bugs, and oh so cute.














And then there was the day our snowman melted….  He was made of newspaper snow.  Tot had a blast.






















So did Pickles.  See him in there?

Who knew you needed a memory to potty train a child?

When I say I have a bad memory, most people nod knowingly and tell me how it will only get worse.  While I have no doubt of this, it’s not like my memory was EVER any good, and I don’t think they really get the extent of my fog.  Several people have even told me that I’m lucky, that it’s a good thing.  I understand what they mean: forgetting pain, physical, mental and emotional makes it easier to cope.  But the daily practical consequences of a crappy memory are really not so great, sometimes downright horrifying.

I know I appear to be a functioning human being on the surface.  But behind the scenes…


My memory does work, but not in consistent reliable ways. Memory consists of 2 types:  recognition and recall.  Generally my recognition is decent, and my recall sucks.  But my recognition is getting faulty too, especially when my mom is telling stories of my past, and Mr.Tot claims he told me something.  Personally, I think  she’s making things up and he knows he can get away with anything, because how I can I positively say I remember?

I do still remember that I wrote my college entrance essay on the book, Silent Green by Rachel Carson more than 25 years ago, but no I don’t remember what I wrote or much about the book itself.   And I think the only reason I managed to remember the title and author is that it was the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question and came up in other ways through the years.  Generally titles don’t stick in my memory — I seem to have Title blindness – I think I skip over reading them.  Even the title of the book I just finished reading for book club evades me, and it’s still sitting on my nightstand.  Though I could at least tell you the storyline.

I also still remember my phone number growing up, but that is because my parents had it for more than 40 years, and only gave it up a few years ago.  On the other hand, I have momentarily been befuddled by simple every day items, and I do not remember most of the information I learned during my entire 17 year career at NASA.  I think maybe the Men in Black zapped me when I left with their “Neuralyzers”  (No, I didn’t remember – I had to look it up).  Either that, or all that knowledge disappeared along with the breast milk nursing Tot what seems like centuries ago.

Nor can I remember, when I tell Tot 5 minutes before the end of a meal that she will need to use the potty when dinner is over, to actually follow through and make her go, leading to an accident half an hour later in a spot not so easy to clean.  I’m not sure our daughter will ever be potty trained, because I don’t have the memory to follow through with the process.   And she seems to have issues.  With me.  Because at preschool, she seems completely able to handle the whole situation.   I need a timer, a potty timer.  Cause Tot’s timer is on the fritz.


Then too, there is the issue of medication.  Remembering to give Tot meds for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever THREE times a day???!!!!   And the consequences if we didn’t???  Oh man, it’s a miracle she’s still alive.   I take my meds when I brush my teeth at bedtime, so it’s generally easy, unless my routine gets messed up.  The part that’s hard is remembering to get my prescriptions refilled.  I often manage to remember the first half of the process – ordering them online when I run out.  But picking them up.  No.  Not so easy.  I have missed Thyroid & migraine meds for 3 days because I have forgotten 3 days in a row to pick them up.  And you think this would lead me to mail order, but so far, no.  In some way, maybe I think that if I let this little thing go, the whole list of things I have to remember on a daily basis will come flooding down on me and sweep me away.

Yes, we use a bill pay service, because yes, I have forgotten to pay bills.   And forgetting isn’t cheap!  Nor is it so good for your credit rating.  I have also taken to using Apple’s calendar software - iCal.  You can use it to send yourself e-mail reminders, as many as you want.  So for some events, I remind myself a month ahead, a week ahead, a day ahead and hours ahead.  Hey, I’m just not reliable.   Even with this, I have still had to cancel appointments because I double booked or reschedule because I forgot.  Then there’s the issue of forgetting what day it is….

In college, I considered studying to be a doctor, but knew that be be unwise.  Organic chem alone requires extensive memorization, not to mention anatomy and physiology, and and and…  At least with engineering, I could remember concepts and the rest I could look up when needed.   At no point in my career did I have to rely on my memory for a life threatening situation.  Most of the time, I had the leeway to say, I’ll have to get back to you on that.  And it’s a good thing.

I’ve had to rewash umpteen loads of laundry because they sat in the washer wet until they mildewed.  At least with food in the refrigerator, I’m looking at it every day.  Out of sight, out of mind is not so much my motto, as my memory’s guiding principle.  There are so many more examples of things I’ve forgotten, but….  of course, I’ve forgotten them.  They flit in and out of my mind like pretty little uncatchable butterflies.  If I don’t write them down, it’s POOF gone!   I ALWAYS feel like I’ve forgotten something, often something important, something urgent, and it often leads to anxiety.  Especially when it comes to the mail.  Did we get that bill, or document, or check, etc, and if so, WHERE did I put it?  Occasionally I have a moment of clarity, although more accurately partial clarity, because in remembering one thing, other things are being forgotten.  My memory forecast varies from partially cloudy to completely befuddled.


Conversations are often a challenge too.  I have a point I want to make and once I get sidetracked, I forget what I meant to say.  Maybe my brain has horder syndrome, and there’s so much crap stuffed in there without rhyme or reason that finding anything is next to impossible.  Writing helps because once it’s written down, I no longer have to hold onto that piece of information.  I can search for the next piece.   I came across an article about how to improve your memory by cross training.  I set it aside to read it, but haven’t gotten back to it.  Maybe it’s time.  Now, where did I put that?

Unfortunately, my dear Mr.Tot is not a whole lot better.  He has his iCal displayed on a huge screen in his office so it is always front and foremost and VISIBLE.  But there are hundreds of little things that don’t warrant space on the calendar that need to be done.  So many things.

At least we have the internet to look things up — a godsend to those of us memory-impaired.  Hmmm, wonder if I qualify for disability?

We’re going to install a bus stop sign and bench in front of our house, for when our Half-heimers matures into ALL-heimers.  Years from now, but not so very many, you’ll know when you’re at our house when you see us tottering around our fake bus stop and our pretty blond teenage daughter still wearing diapers leads us back inside…  (After all, she’s 3 going on 13 already)



Evolution of a Hacker




Scavenger Hunt Makeover

So this past Christmas vacation, I decided we needed a little excitement. We invited 5 families to join us for a scavenger hunt, dessert and movies. When we sent the invite e-mails, we hadn’t actually planned the details of the scavenger hunt. I kind of had in mind more of a treasure hunt where you have to solve a clue which leads you to the next clue and eventually you find the treasure, but I was too frazzled to come up with witty clues, or cough up any treasure.

I was browsing for ideas online and was sorely disappointed, when suddenly I came up with an idea myself to make things a bit more interesting, though I wasn’t entirely sure just how it would go over with the kids – ages 3 – 13. Instead of a set list of items to collect, I told them they could collect any disposable thing they wanted or could get from the owners of 4 houses and anything from outside that the owners wouldn’t be upset about missing. I did provide lists of possible items as examples that I had gotten off the internet. With these items, they then had to create a character with a face, appendages, and clothing or accessories. And it had to be colorful. They would be judged on number of items used and creativity.

With the 6 families, we split into 4 teams of 2 or 3 little kids, 1 big kid, and 1 adult. We had just enough adults to hand out items at the houses, and participate on the teams, ’cause SOME people had to work. Gads. Armed with the instruction sheet and a collection bag, the four teams set out. My team was handicapped as I was a bit scatterbrained, being the director of the operation, answering questions, and remembering the umpteen things I had forgotten and such. And my team which included Tot and her twin, also had a little boy who clashed mightily with the meek and mild (NOT) Tot. But we were not daunted by squabbles or faulty glue gun, or glimpses of rival teams’ creations, impressive though they were.

After all was said and done, I was mightily pleased with the results of my crazy idea and just how much everybody got into it. The characters were adorable, and every team made sure that every member from smallest to tallest got to make some decisions about their project. Everybody declared it a success even if I did forget to put out the peppermint brownies at dessert time.

In this corner, Thomas the train is commandeered by a dinosaur….

Back Camera

Over here, Robotussin needs a little straightening up.

Looks like Goldilocks

had a little work done, either that or she’s taking after Madonna with her wardrobe…IMGP4868

And last, but not least, “Stinky Sock” is a definite contender for the Triple Crown. And yes, he’s blowing his own horn about it.


Last I heard Robitussin was working up the nerve to ask Goldilocks out…

A gift from me to you… Skip the Fruitcake!

It started with a leftover loaf of Under-Wonder (otherwise known as all tasteless white bread better used as a sponge) from Blondie’s camping trip. Leave it to teenage boys to eat junk. Mr.Tot suggested throwing it out, but no, my hoarder, I mean, resourceful inner chef would not, could not let that stuff be added to the land fill. I mean, really – that stuff isn’t biodegradable, right?

So it was time to make bread pudding. But what kind? I had a hankering for chocolate, but did I pull down any of those scads of cookbooks up on our shelves? Noooo, I searched the trusty internet, and it did not let me down. Paula Deen is my new hero. She took Under-Wonder and made it into manna from heaven. Well, more like crack, really. Comparable to turning water into wine, except water is so much better than Under-Wonder. I couldn’t stop eating this pudding straight from the pan when it was still warm from the oven – I think it well may be the most addictive substance known to … me.


I didn’t get around to making bread pudding until Mr.Tot left town, so I was a bit like a child with no parent to duct tape me to the wall when needed. It was a situation I hope you never have to witness…. I’m surprised my clothes didn’t rip at the seams like, like… like this!

So, since I have renounced shopping for Christmas, I am giving any of you who happen to read this a very special present. The ability to make your very own crack, I mean Paula Deene’s Chocolate bread pudding. Oh, and wear clothes you wanted to get rid of anyway…

Merry Christmas to all!

Please note, in my typical use-what’s-in-the-cupboard fashion, I used Under-Wonder in place of French bread, Amaretto in place of coffee-flavoured liqueur, and a mix of white and semi-sweet chocolate, but I’m sure Paula’s original recipe is pretty good too. Don’t say I didn’t warn you….

And, as a special post-note note: I managed to restrain myself enough to bring some to Florida, and my mother, my MOTHER agreed we could have it for our main lunch course, because, after all…. it’s chock full of eggs and milk. Pretty much like an omelet. So, go ahead. It’s what’s for lunch! or breakfast, or dinner, or all of the above… Mother approved!

Post-post note note: Would be REALLY good with Creme Anglaise sauce…. But you might not make it out alive…