Saturday, July 27, 2013


Meg and Nana were watching the cat curled up in a sunbeam. Meg said, "And my favorite place is here eating PANCAKES!"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The mice came out to play

I had a mouse house when I was younger. I had barbies too, but what I really liked was my set of stuffed mice and their household. I made them furniture, accessories, and entire wardrobes of clothes. They had shelves of books, a pantry of homemade food, and a set of doll china. It was pretty cool. (Interior design and fashion design!) Anyway, the mice got packed away in the top of my closet until such time as Meg would appreciate them.

Over the weekend, Meg came to me greatly concerned because while Daddy Tigger had an outfit, Baby Tigger did not. This was clearly unacceptable. I promised to make Baby Tigger a sweater, but first I jumped up and down rejoicing because this meant she cared about clothing her animals, which meant SHE WAS READY TO PLAY WITH THE MICE.

So down they came! Meg has spent the last several days going through the mouse goods and dressing her critters. She set up an outdoor room on the top shelf among my human-sized house plants, so the mice have a very pleasant jungley patio. Most things survived pretty well, though the teeny oil lamp had its glass shade break and the cardboard pantry was just done for. The mouse clothes, you'll be glad to know, were apparently not tailored very precisely and Baby Tigger fits into them just fine. Also, I crocheted him a quick sweater... but the green yarn I had was that really massive chunky kind, so the sweater is pretty peculiar. But Meg doesn't seem to mind.

I asked her what her favorite part of the mouse house was. She grinned and said, "Playing and dressing!"

Friday, July 19, 2013

Going on an airplane

I emerged from the shower to see Meg stuffing animals into a bag.

"I'm going on an airplane!" she informed me.
"Oh, fun!" I said. "Where are you going?"
"To Iceland, to find more dinosaurs."
"Can I come too?" I asked.
"Sure!" she said. Then, reassessing: "But you have to take that towel off your head first."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

You can't get there from here

Meg was in tears over something, and I was hugging her on our bed. Our map of Middle-Earth caught her eye.

Meg: "Is that a puzzle map?"
Me: "That's a map of Middle-Earth. It's a place in a book."
Meg: "How do we get INTO the story book?"
Jonathan: "That is the question."

I tried to gently explain that it was just in a book; you couldn't get there from this world. Meg started bawling.

Me: "Is Meg crying because she can't get to Middle-Earth?" At which, I started crying too. It's been a long day.

Jonathan: "Now my wife is crying because my daughter is crying because she can't get to Middle-Earth!"

You can't make this stuff up.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Library principles

As Martha Stewart says, which books you want to have in your library is a very personal decision. But if you're like me, eventually you run out of places to put new shelves and you have to actually pick a few volumes you can live without -- before the shelves make like a black hole and collapse in on themselves, taking the books with them.  (Dun-dun-DUNNNN!) You never know.

I'm finally coming to a place where I can admit that just because it's a good book doesn't mean I HAVE TO OWN IT. This has taken years, y'all. I'm finding the easiest ones to get rid of are classics that the library has, or are readily available -- like Shakespeare. I have the complete works; the library has the complete works; the internet has the complete works; I do not also need to have all the plays in single-play bound format, though I'm keeping the copy I used when directing a play because that's full of notes like a scrapbook and therefore irreplaceable.

So to make your sorting easier, I now present you with some principles for your personal library.

Good Reasons to Keep a Book:

1. You like it.

2. You want to lend it to friends.

3. You want to read it a lot and will almost certainly want to read it next after nine p.m. or after the libraries are closed.

4. You want to read it a lot and the library is apparently run by philistines and doesn't have a copy.

5. It's just that awesome.

Inadequate Reasons to Keep a Book:

1. You've read it.

2. You haven't read it yet.

3. Somebody gave it to you.

4. You paid money for it.

5. It was free.

6. It's a good book.

7. It's so bad, you want to quarantine it.

Anybody have any good stories about culling their libraries, or not culling their libraries, or really epic collapsing shelves?

(This list brought to you by popular request after my Kitchen Principles post. I love getting popular requests.)

Saturday, July 06, 2013

In which we rearrange, which is always more complicated than it looks

Jonathan is now officially full-time job hunting. His last position ended last Friday. He has some good leads, with one he's really excited about, so all that's coming along, and also we're re-thinking our house set-up. We love having Daddy home, and we're pretty sure Daddy likes us, but at the same time everyone's happier if he can just go away and shut the door. I hear new retirees have this problem, too.

Inconveniently, we don't have a spare room, so Jonathan's computer was smack dab in the middle of the living room, which translated into the middle of everything. There is a limit to how much Meg and I can be out of the house, especially when it's always either over ninety outside or else raining and I'm trying not to go shopping every day, so nobody was getting anything done and by Thursday the Time Had Come to Rearrange. However, it was the Fourth of July and we had other things to do, so it got put off.

The only thing I could think of was our room. The bed only takes up a little more than half the length of the room, and the other end mostly gets used for holding stuff. Admittedly, it's useful stuff like clothes and shoes, but maybe we could get creative...?

July 5 we got up, not very early because we'd been at the fireworks, and started organizing. We had cleaned our room earlier in the week, so it was in pretty good shape. We started by cleaning Meg's room, moved most of the moveables out of our bedroom and into hers, cleaned off the sci-fi-and-fantasy bookshelf in our room, and made the inconvenient discovery that the desktop is plugged into the modem, doesn't have a wireless card, and the modem has to be plugged in in the living room. Um. Jonathan assured me he did want internet access on that machine, unfortunately. But giving up was not to be thought of! We must rearrange! We'll figure it out later. Jonathan hoisted the computer desk from the living room into the bedroom to make a kind of office nook, adding three boxes of law books, two short filing cabinets, and the now sci-fi- and fantasy-free sci-fi-and-fantasy shelf for extra beauty, and tidily arranged all the computer stuff around on it. Then we moved dressers, other shelves, and stuff around the rest of our room.

It actually looked pretty good. At this point the bed was covered with sci-fi and fantasy, not to mention all the usual flotsam, jetsam, and paraphernalia that magically appears when you move furniture. Meg's room was full of the rest of our junk, I mean treasures. The living room had big dusty holes where there used to be a computer desk and two filing cabinets. But it looked pretty hopeful.

Mid-afternoon Jonathan had to go out and do something, so he went and did it. Meg and I took a nap.

When he got back, we tidied up and started rearranging books for real. The shelf at the end of the hall - pshh! The shelves are all bending down in the middle, but they'll be fine. We can fit a LOT more books onto that. In fact, maybe I can hold up the middle of shelves with stacks of books on the shelf below. Also, I started a massive giveaway pile of books in the middle of the hall, because we didn't really need to walk down that hall. After vacuuming the desk hole, we moved two shelves into it, and loaded them up with cookbooks, Shakespeare, and medieval-ish fiction and theology, because obviously those belong together. The Greek and Latin all moved into the shelf at the end of the hall with the other history and language, which freed up enough room in the living room for the sci-fi and fantasy. Which freed up our bed. Which meant, happily, that we could get into it, which we did, and called it a day.

All we're lacking now is wireless for Jonathan's computer and somewhere to put laundry, my shoes, and bedside stuff, and we might need a charging station and another lamp because it's kind of dark in his office nook when the sun goes down. Not too bad!

Friday, July 05, 2013

I guess cleaning is scary

Jonathan: "Why are you climbing into the crib?"
Meg: "I don't want to be cleaned up by accident!"