Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Lately, Margot has been saying things that sound a lot like sentences. They generally are missing verbs, but you get the idea. Examples are: "Mama outside" (generally referring to Daddy being outside) and "Margot outside" (to mean that she would like to go outside). Today, we had the start of communication at an entirely new level.

Margot was standing next to Jolly's crate, eating her toast. Jolly was unexpectedly in the crate looking very excitedly at M's toast. I walked over and saw that the door to the crate was closed, presumably by Margot owing to Jolly's lack of thumbs. Somewhat confused, I asked, "Margot, what are you doing?" to which she responded "I close dog". My brain heard, "I closed the dog into the crate, mother". It was amazing AND involved the use of a verb!

Ahh, the unexpected wonders of parenthood.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Warning to Unintended Houseguests

While a thank-you present is thoughtful, and hearing a gift hint while you're staying over is a lucky break, try not to trump the Host's christmas presents to the Hostess!

Umm, and always leave behind toffee.  That was good.

PS - No seriously, thanks for the coffee.  But, umm, I swear I ordered it first!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Clown College, Here She Comes

I believe that I've mentioned that Margot has a thing for shoes. For a while now, she has been trying to put on any shoes she sees regardless of whether she is already wearing shoes or whether they are anywhere close to her size.

This is probably a developmental milestone. Margot successfully put on a pair of Adam's shoes (even on the right feet!) and walked all the way from the garbage can to the island (a good three feet) in them before becoming distracted by something shiny.

Adventures in Napping

Napping with snow boots on is hard, but Margot is up for the task!

was followed by

A Warning for Husbands and Boyfriends

When your wife/girlfriend/mother/any woman you know asks if there is anything you would like for [insert gift giving reason here], do not then go out more or less immediately and buy this item for yourself. Sheesh!

It Deliciously Didn't Work*

With Christmas coming, homemade present making is in full gear. I normally dive into some entirely untried project and get very mixed results, but not this time. I've tested the recipe a bunch of times and gotten consistent results.

Of course, it was time to throw a wrench into the system. These cakes would be sooo cute if I made them with my awesome mini-bundt pans and look, we're out of white flour. No problem, we'll just use a little whole wheat in there (then they'll be healthy!).

Then, I overfilled the bundt pans. I knew that I should only fill them half full, but the first one got overfilled and then the rest followed. No problem, a cookie sheet under the cakes will catch any overflow.

So, where did this all go tragically wrong? The cakes wouldn't come out of the pan. They were greased and sugared like we use in every other container we've cooked these in. Maybe the thick metal of the pan meant that they needed to rest for longer before being removed. The cute bundt cakes of my dreams turned into ugly crumbly misshapen globs. Not exactly present material! Well, we now have a holiday season supply of yummy cake bits.

It wasn't a complete loss, the whole wheat flour actually added a yummy nutty flavor, so I think I'll stick with that change to the recipe. Now I just need to figure out what else to make!

*The title is a reference to one of my favorite Homestarrunner cartoons. It's full of so many wonderfully quotable lines, good for any occasion. Thank you, Ben, for introducing us to this awesome entertainment!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Storm Pics

This pine is in the same stand as the birches in the previous post. It didn't fare as well - all the broken limbs you see are new breaks. Again, this was not much damage compared to a lot of the region.

Needle from the pine tree, encased in ice. Actually, this was a cluster of three needles.

Power-company trucks in the parking lot at lunch Friday. There were 9 or 10 of these large trucks at midday Monday.

One of two large limbs that came out of the old oak down the block. And Jolly providing scale :).
Posted by Picasa

There are worse things in life...

(with apologies to Robert Frost - I had to stop for pics of these "swung" birches near home)

OK, so this post is a bit delayed . . . it turns out we've been busy as you'll see.  New England got a bunch of rain and ice/sleet overnight last Thursday - in our neighborhood, the trees and bushes are glazed, not merely frosted. I haven't seen this level of small-to-medium damage in previous storms, and in fact there are a significant number of large trees and big branches down.  However, further west and north there are serious downed limbs, trees and power lines, and well over half a million households in MA/NH lost power for a significant amount of time.

Our friends Brian and Edith, from a couple of miles west, didn't have a lot of damage, but they didn't have power either, until Sunday afternoon.  Neither did Brian's workplace in Littleton, although Edith's work is on generators in much harder-hit Worcester.  By Friday afternoon, their house was in the low fifties, not to mention dark and without running water (they have a well with an electric pump).  The solution?  Party at Christi and Adam's for the weekend . . . they brought over their spoilable foods and an extra Guitar Hero guitar, and we rocked it even hahdah for most of the weekend (as well as getting xmas trees, setting ours up, cleaning up their yard and draining their pipes, Edith getting some work done, and Christi and Margot surviving lingering colds).

In the end, B&E's power came back Sunday afternoon, but Brian had drained the pipes Saturday afternoon to prevent a burst in the 15-degree overnight temps.  So, Monday was refill-and-monitor day for their heating system.  Since I haven't heard sob stories, I guess everything went OK!

Other folks at work were in a similar boat or not as lucky.  Multiple people had three- to five-day power outages, lots of downed trees/branches, and even significant roof damage from falling limbs.  Hang in there, folks!

What we do While Dad's at Work

Play with expensive camera gear!

Initially, Margot picked up my big camera, held it upside-down and pressed her face to the back. I exercised more restraint than usual by not just running straight for another camera to take a picture with. So, here's a reenactment that has the expensive camera gear well supported by my grownup hands.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


As I've mentioned, Margot likes to clean things. She has even been known to repeatedly spill something so that she can wipe it up. If I don't get her a paper towel in time, she will just use her hand. It's all the same to her as long as that spill is gone.

Well, today the concept took a big leap forward.

While walking in the kitchen with her favorite mustard bottle (another story) and eating a biscuit, Margot tripped. This was distressing because 1. the mustard bottle went under something and 2. the biscuit left crumbs on the floor. Once I had safely rescued the mustard, Margot jumped to her feet and grabbed for a kitchen towel while exclaiming today's new word "mess!". She then came back and proceeded to "wipe" the crumbs up with the towel.

Ok, so she needs some work on her cleaning technique and should probably be taught how to use the vacuum soon, but her new vocabulary was most impressive!