Archive for November, 2009

And what a hoopla it was

November 19, 2009

The Baby turned 13 last week – I know! – and had decided, quite some time ago, that turning 13 required a “bash” of the highest order.  I even offered her Black Friday cash in lieu of a party, but she didn’t bite.

So, a bash we did have. She hadn’t thought about much beyond who she wanted there and what she wanted to eat, so as we readied the invitations, we started to make decisions. In the end, although it was a combination of themes, I’m pretty sure a good time was had by all. The kids – all 16 of them, aged 12-14, seemed to really enjoy themselves. So here’s how we did it.

The party was held in the community room of a relative’s apartment building to accomodate the Baby’s friends and family members (I think the final tally was about 30). On the invitations, we asked guests to wear their fancy clothes a a masquerade mask.

We decorated the room in an array of purple, gold and silver. Purple and silver tablecloths, gold doilies with a floating tealight in a glass dish, and gold star ctable confetti. Silver and purple stars hung from the ceiling, and streamers and balloons rounded things out.

Dinner was buffet-style, simple penne and salad. And potato chips – lots and lots of potato chips. And cake, of course.

Stumped for entertainment beyond karaoke, we rented a Crown & Anchor Wheel and Blackjack mat from a nearby rental company. Each guest was given an equal number of poker chips to play with. No one was forced to play – they could also sing karaoke or just sit and loiter, the way teens do. But the kids really took to it – karaoke was quickly abandoned.

After about an hour of gaming, guests were directed to the Auction Table. I’d prepared 16 gift bags, all different sizes, with dollar store items and candy inside. However, the kids didn’t know what was inside the bags, so they were invited to use their “winnings” to “bid” on the bag of their choice.

Everyone opened the bag they’d “won” at the same time, to find that, in spite of shape and size the contents were all equal in value. Things like silly putty, light-up keychains, funky shoelaces, hand sanitizers (ah, the age of H1N1), Post-its, etc.

They really seemed to have a good time.The boys even wore ties, and only one kid didn’t have a mask.  There were adults present the whole time (someone had to run the Crown & Anchor) and the kids didn’t seem to mind. And it seems that kids are a little less rambunctious when they’re dressed up!

And now the Baby is 13!


Smiling on Saturday

November 15, 2009

Five things to smile about this Saturday:

  1. I bumped into Mr. Brennan, who was one of the BEST teachers my kids ever encountered.
  2. The sun was shining.
  3. I had a marvelous three-hour nap.
  4. I finally got the H1N1 shot, and didn’t have to wait in line for it.
  5. It’s been six days since the dog peed in the house.

But I don’t NEED magenta

November 12, 2009

For about three days now, my printer has been warning me that I’m about to run out of magenta ink. This irks me on many levels.

The printer is one that, should any of the ink cartridges run dry, everything comes to a full and complete stop. Not like the old days, when, on the days when the black ink cartridge would run dry, I’d simply print everything in navy blue. No no – not in this era of technology so convenient it’s inconvenient.

Admittedly, I knew this when I bought the printer a few years back. And I knew the printer ran on not two but four ink cartridges – black, cyan, yellow and magenta. CMYK.  And I was assured that, generally, with average printing use, all three colour cartridges would run dry at roughly the same time, making it more sensible to purchase the rainbow pack than individuals.

They lied. I’ve replaced the Cyan three times this year, and this is the first magenta to go. And I just replaced the black three weeks ago, after having to wait to replace it until my income caught up with my outgo, and now I’m subject to printer stoppage again.

It’s maddening. Particularly since I don’t NEED magenta, not theoretically. Most of my printing is in black , and I even use the “fast normal” setting most of the time. I’m not an ink Nazi – if it needs printing it needs printing – but neither am I devil-may-care when it comes to wasting ink. I pace myself.

I could go months without NEEDING the colour magenta. Except for the fact that my printer won’t run without it. Unless someone smarter than me has figured out how to outsmart the printer.


November 9, 2009

It wouldn’t be November without a post about Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month for the unititated.

You may all thank me now for having spared you the will-I-or-won’t-I pre-Nano angst. All by myself, I decided, sometime in mid-October that “I will!” I started outlines. I brainstormed. I itched to sit down at the keyboard and begin pounding out pages of powerful prose that would some day, one day, become my next great novel.

My last great novel having been my Nano result of 2004. Or maybe 2005, I can’t remember what year it was. But oh! it was great, and I loved it so. I wrote it, then edited it, then shopped it. And shopped it and shopped it.

And stopped shopping before finding an agent or editor who thought it was as great as I did.

Nonetheless. Having tried – and failed – to “cheat” at Nano in a previous year, I was enthusiastically looking forward to 2009 being The Year I Wrote Another Book.

So last Sunday I sat down to write. I wrote approximately 300 words of the story I had thought I wanted to write, wrote another 400 words of a completely different story, and then realized I didn’t want to write that story either.

I had nuthin’.

And then the week went by, and although I did write a 2400 word recap for The Disney Blog and a 900 word proposal for a new publishing project, I did not write another novel-esque word at all, at all.

So, I decided, all by myself, that this year, I won’t. No, it’s not too late, yes, if I really wanted to I could do it, but the reality is…

I got nuthin’.

Not fiction, anyway, not this time.  And I don’t really want to after all.

So best luck to my best buds who are writing their hearts out and racking up the word count. I shall cheer you on from the sidelines and celebrate with you when you cross the finish line.

And P.S. – anyone wanting to comment on my “V” recap at The Disney Blog is heartily encouraged to do so. Comment there too, if you please – and watch for this week’s recap coming Wednesday!

Not Got Shot

November 5, 2009

It seems like every conversation this last week inevitably makes its way to one topic – H1N1 and the Vaccine, or lack of it. Heard and said repeatedly in the last seven days:

Did you get the shot?

Are you getting the shot?

Is there a clinic today? Where’s it at? Do you think the lines will be long?

Let’s hope the country is equipped to handle a pandemic – they seem awfully inept at dealing with a public vaccination effort. First, let’s impress upon everyone how dangerous this virus can be and urge them to get the shot. Then let’s make it nearly impossible for anyone to get it.

A small number of shots for large populations. Regional discretion on how the clinics are handled. A couple hours from here, they managed to vaccinate in the elementary schools. Here in our city, they haven’t managed to cover the health care workers. People are standing in line for hours not knowing if they’re going to be able to get the shot when they DO get to the head of the line. The high risk group definitions seem to change week to week – last week, our entire household was considered high risk. This week, only one of us is.

So, even though I, long-time believer in conspiracy theories, am willing to get the shot, I can’t. Not yet – and who knows when? Meanwhile, people have died, most are scared, and my hands have never been so clean in all my life.



Scary stuff

November 2, 2009

I’m almost ready to declare this the Halloween that wasn’t. My role in the hauntings and happenings seems to have been reduced (in part, by me) to purchasing the Halloween candy.

I didn’t dress up. I didn’t purchase, or carve, the pumpkin. I didn’t participate in the costuming of the Baby. I didn’t chaperone any trick-or-treaters and I didn’t sit on the porch and dole out the goodies.

I did, however, sit and fret quietly all day today until the Green Kangaroo, away at University, posted on her Facebook.  Always nice to know she has returned from the par-tay-ing safely.

The Baby opted to go door-to-door with her cousin across town, and TKATGATI sat on the porch swing with Her Boyfriend to dole out. The Dog barked and The Man shushed. I napped.

Thus endeth a chapter of parenting and I didn’t even see it coming. And I’m not sure how I feel about that. Halloween was never my “holiday” but I’m not thrilled with feeling irrelevant.