happy anniversary, mom and dad

Courthouse in Hernando, Mississippi

Image via Wikipedia

Today, August 4, is my parents’ 55th anniversary.  They got married in a Hernando, Mississippi courthouse in 1956 after knowing each other for only 10 days.  55 years later, my dad writes this to his life-long partner:

Ode to My Wife Uva Nell Lassiter-Fortney

by Robert Fortney

A hammer and saw you cannot use

A shirt without buttons you avoid like the flu

For you a road map is shade

but as a Mother you take a back seat to none.

You care for your family and house like they are royalty.

Then you act like we deserve it.

Of course we don’t.

But MOTHERING is something you do.

You cook, clean, pet and soothe our hurts and fears away.

Most of all you love us one and all.

So you are already in the Mother’s Hall of Fame

and at age 76 you have not quit yet!

And as your partner through these years,

I count it an honor and privilege to grow old with you.

As it was in our vows,

“‘Til death do us part,”



vote slim paley for a homie!

Slim Paley Photo

Do me a rockin’ favor and vote for Slim Paley for a “Homie” for Best Home Design Blog at Apartment Therapy.  Here’s the link:  http://bit.ly/edYKZo

First check out the site – it’s chock full of pictures of the author’s homes and gardens, vacation pictures from around the world, and incredibly high-heeled shoes.  What sets Slim apart from the other home design blogs is her witty commentary and soundtracks.  Think if Martha Stewart, Elaine May and Vivienne Westwood had a baby.  That’s Slim.

Then go to Apartment Therapy’s site here to vote.   Scroll down to vote in the poll, then scroll down to the bottom and input this info into the comment field:

Name: Slim Paley
URL: http://slimpaley.com

It requires registration to vote, which might be quick or a little finicky, but please be patient.  It’s worth it.

what good mathematicians do: a guide to problem solving

The following is a poster in my daughter’s math classroom.   Are these not solutions for everyday life? If you have a problem to solve in any aspect of your life, try what good mathematicians do:

image via flickr

1.  they look for patterns
If your kid is exhibiting less than attractive behavior, look for patterns.  Is it from lack of sleep? Are they hungry?  Too much sugar? In the middle of the night, do they open a window, lasso a tree and swing like Tarzan and yell “Get your damn dirty apes off me?” That might be it.

image via flickr

2.  they seek new ways to find solutions

Rather than tell your child they can’t bake a cake because they constantly ask for help while you’re trying to work and they never clean up after themselves, let them try it.  I let my girls bake a cake the other night.  After the fire department calmly explained to me that you turn on the oven, not the stove for baking, everything turned out A-OK.

image via flickr

3.  they create pictures, diagrams, and charts
What a great idea! Especially when you have to explain to your daughter’s teacher that she doesn’t really dream of killing zombies with poison plants and machetes although that’s all she draws in school.

image via flickr

4.  they estimate
Estimating is a good thing.  Like when you turn down buying coffee at Wal-Mart because it’s too expensive though you spend over 3 bucks a day at Starbucks every day.  Comparing the cost might come in handy.

image via flickr

5.  they ask questions
Such as, “Does Santa still have me on his good list?” after your kid’s last melt-down.  You think you sit on a gold mine at Christmas, letting the think they’re on the bad list if they dare talk back. But then you say stuff like, “Get me the TV remote or else Santa won’t visit you on Christmas Eve!” Santa will kick the crap out of me for that one.

image via flickr

6.  they create a plan to solve a problem
Especially when that plan involves chores for the kids to solve the boredom problem.  When your child says, “I want to do something fun. I’m bored. I have no friends to play with,” say, “The laundry’s lonely. Maybe you and the laundry have a slumber party with movies and popcorn. At midnight go wild and crazy and play Spin The Folded Towels. Whoever wins goes to the closet and sorts the linens.

image via flickr

7.  they explain their work
Very important when using their vocabulary words in sentences. They write, “My lip is sanguinary.”
You say “Shouldn’t you expand it a little, like WHY your lip is sanguinary?”
And they say, “It’s a sentence, C’MON!”

image via flickr

8.  they take time to do a good job
Of course! That is why kids take 3 hours to empty dishwashers. They simply take time to do a good job.

image via flickr

9.  they check their work
Listen up anyone who tweets. How do you know who’s talking to who with all those RTs and hashtags? #checkyourworkwhiletweetingdangit

image via flickr

10.  they use math to solve everyday problems
Math is wonderful especially for Californians. Like when most of your income goes to mortgage and property taxes.  When Jerry Brown takes over, he’ll take out more taxes.   But don’t worry because as Brown admitted, he has no plan for California.

housework: doing it right will kill you

Martha Stewart at the 2009 premiere of the Met...

Image via Wikipedia

“Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.” ~Erma Bombeck

I have no intention of ever doing housework right.  I’ve never done it right this far so why break a winning streak?

But educating myself in housework is another thing.  That’s why I bought Martha Stewart‘s Homekeeping Handbook.  She starts it out with Cleaning Products 101.

If only there was a periodic table of elements simple enough to understand what exactly goes into cleaning a home.  There’s abrasives, bleaches, builders, enzymes, fragrances, solvents, and surfactants.  This is where I wish I studied for my chemistry final.

Good news: you don’t need bottle upon bottle of toxic cleaners because Martha breaks it down into simple choices. This is essential when enlisting children in the wonderful art and science of cleaning.

This is Martha’s Universal Cleaning Kit: First, get a caddy (I have one, but it needs washing, naturally).  She writes, “For routine cleaning, less is more.”  Only 6 items needed:

1.  “An all-purpose cleaner, such as Mrs. Meyers or a solution of 2 tbsp. mild dishwashing liquid…and 2 cups water in a spray bottle.”  I chose Dawn because it’s blue and my spray bottle looks like the one on the cover of her book.  No, I am NOT anal retentive.

2.  “A mildly abrasive cleanser, such as Bon Ami.”  At Wal-Mart I walked up and down the cleaning aisles to find this Bon Ami to no avail.  Behind a display of something cheap and toxic, I found a slew of Mrs. Meyers cleansers.  I chose Mrs. Meyers Lavender Scented Surface Scrub.  Aaaaaahhhhhh.  I never thought scrubbing the kitchen sink would remind me of a bath.

3.  “Glass cleaner, or a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle.”  I’m all for the cleansing power of vinegar but not the smell.  It reminds me of dying Easter egg and having to open a window.  So, I went with the ever-reliable Windex.

4.  Rubber gloves.  Got ’em!  Who doesn’t have rubbers handy?

5.  Lint-free white cloths.  I have these – old cloth diapers!  Unused, of course.  There was no way I was coming anywhere near my babies with safety pins.

6.  Medium-bristled scrub brush.  I know I have this…somewhere.  I purchased a tile/grout brush because face it,  my husband will find out I’m using his toothbrush to scrub the scum behind the faucets.

So, armed with my ammo, I will tackle this house cleaning thing though I can’t follow Martha’s directions to a tee.  It’s like copying a master artist.  I can’t copy a Picasso no matter how I try.  But if I paint in his style, I take pride in the finished product.  As long as the house smells like lavender.