Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween, Revisited

Part One is a repost from June, but it was relevant to today:) Happy Halloween, y'all!

At Halloween our first year in Poland, my sons' teachers at their two separate schools encouraged the parents to dress up. I have a Wonder Woman costume. A little back story here. Poles do not celebrate Halloween. Not really. They are just recently getting into the idea of sending children around collecting candy, but are never too sure about dressing their children up, let alone their adults. I showed up at my son's Polish preschool in a Wonder Woman costume. Poles do not dress up unless they are completely drunk AND they don't celebrate Halloween AND I had to park down the block because there was no parking available AND they don't know who Wonder Woman is since they were under communism when that TV show came out. So I was just a drunk woman wandering around in red, white and blue underwear walking the 1/4 mile down the street in a residential neighborhood to my son's preschool. At noon, on a Wednesday.

I look amazingly like Lynda Carter. People think we're twins.


And later that same year...

Our neighborhood, being full of expats and all, has tried to instill the Halloween tradition. So, at first Pamela and her friend were stuck handing out candy, while Dylan (dressed as the evil Spiderman) and I (all decked out as Wonder Woman, including some awesome red heels!) trick or treated with the boys. I had to return to the house because said awesome red heels started to hurt like hell after the first hour walking, and Pamela and friend wanted to trick or treat on their own. So I was relegated to handing out candy.

When I was handing out candy on Halloween night still dressed as Wonder Woman, a kid that Toby went to school with showed up with his dad. "Friend" of Toby is half-American, half-Polish. Dad, who is the American half, was with "friend" of Toby that night. "Friend" said: "I KNOW HER!" (They did not know that we lived in the same neighborhood, nor did I until that night.)

American Dad: Yeah! That's Wonder Woman!

"Friend": No! That's Toby's mom!

American Dad: Um, hm. That's Wonder Woman!

While it would have been great fun to let this go, I did step in and say "Yes, I am Toby's mom. AND Wonder Woman!"

"Friend" of Toby was not actually a friend. Just someone he went to school with and didn't really care that much for. You know, in case you don't understand quotation marks.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Yeah, I know I'm a day early, but I have a story for y'all tomorrow, so here's more pictures. (Because I don't think far enough in advance and didn't put these up for Wordless Wednesday.)

From 2005-2007 we lived in Ghana. Ghana is pretty much hot all year round, you know, being on the Equator. And hot places don't grow pumpkins.

Our Jack O'Lantern from Halloween 2006.

And now for some truly scary things:

I'm terrified of heights. Yes, that is a treetop canopy walk, in Ghana. And that is my oldest boy, when he was 2 1/2 walking along that canopy walk. It scares me to look at it.

What scares you?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Theme Songs Of Our Lives

First, I must mention that I've been playing around with my blog look (especially since some of you have already commented on it). This is an ongoing thing. I am learning HTML and web design, and eventually I plan to move this blog to a new address, but this is all a bit premature. For now, I'm just going for a new look. Hope you all enjoy it!

A few days ago I visited Write on, Yo! and heard (for the first time) Grace Kelly by Mika. After subsequently deciding that I MUST OWN THIS SONG and purchasing it from iTunes, I listened to it a few hundred times and proclaimed it my blog theme song.

"I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like."

This really got me thinking about the theme songs of life. Music has always had great meaning in my life, even though I am no where near a musician. I have multiple songs for different aspects of my life.

The Way by Fastball: "They made up their minds, and they started packing. They left before the sun came up that day...but where were they going without ever knowing the way?"

This one is just the way I live. Where are we going without ever knowing the way? I can't believe that two teenagers made a life together and now, almost 15 years later (12 of those spent outside the US) are fairly successful even though we still don't know the way. But it's okay. I no longer mind not knowing the way (well, most of the time anyway).

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World reminds me of my teenage years and prompted me to introduce my teenage daughter to this song (which she plays incessantly, so apparently it's a universal teenage song).

So how about you? What's your theme song?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Conversation With The Dishes

This is something I dug out of my drafts folder. My kids have been sick all week and now I, too, have THE PINKEYE (my apologies to everyone I kissed yesterday). I promise, there is a new post forthcoming.

My husband sometimes talks for inanimate objects. Usually when he's trying to prove a point to Pamela, but sometimes he rambles on.

Pamela's job is to put away the dishes. That's really it. Friday night, due to teenageritis, Pamela did not put away the dishes. When she doesn't put away the dishes, her consequence is that she then has to put away the dishes AND do the dishes.

This was the situation on Friday night. And then Saturday morning, HUGE SURPRISE THIS, she had not done the dishes.

So Dylan, in his talking for inanimate objects thing, started a conversation with the dishes.

Dylan: Whazzup?

Dylan (as dishes): Whazzup?

Dylan: So I can't help but notice that no one washed you last night?

Dylan (as the dishes): Dude, the girl totally did not wash us.

Dylan: Why are you talking to me? You're dishes.

Dylan (as the dishes): Don't know what to tell you man.

Dylan: I put you in the dishwasher. You can't do nothin' about that BITCHES!

Dylan (as the dishes): Dude.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Think I Speak English

Last night, Seth and I were having a conversation about something that a kid in his class did that he didn't appreciate. I was trying to help him come up with a solution.

Me - "Why don't you tell him that you don't appreciate it when he does that and if he does it again you will tell the teacher?"

Seth - "I told him but I don't think he understands me. (Whispers) He only speaks English."

Me - "WE speak English."

Seth - "Yeah. But he ONLY speaks English."

Me - "But, we're speaking English RIGHT NOW."

Toby - "I know how to say something in English! 'I am English'."

Me - *blink, blink*

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Um. Yeah.
(I blurred the names of his friends, he didn't put anything OBVIOUSLY inappropriate.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

N is for Ninja

Every week Seth has homework. He has to bring to school no more than three things that start with the letter of the week. When the letter of the week was P, he brought his sister (she goes to the same school).

Last week, the letter of the week was N. He brought a nut and a necklace and a


I'm sure his teacher thinks we're mad. I'm pretty sure she's right.

Monday, October 20, 2008

UN Day (Part 2)

So, all dressed up like Bree from Desperate Housewives (I SO want to be Bree, no matter how many people tell me that I don’t really. I do, I DO. You just have no idea how badly I want to have obsessive compulsive disorder and be a thin, gorgeous redhead. Anyway.), standing in my kitchen making pikelets ALL MORNING LONG. One of the things about UN day is that you must bring food for your child’s class. Well, that’s all well and good for people who have only 1 or 2 children in the school, but what about those of us with 4 (well, this hasn’t actually happened yet, but it’s so in my future – I’m going to become a short order cook on UN Day in years to come).

So I was flipping pikelets and the evil youngest one was home because he was ‘sick’. He was cooking next to me and I was trying to whip some cream for the pikelet topping, but the cream I had was too thin, so I set it aside. Blaise promptly dumped it all over the counter/himself/the floor. I stripped his clothes off and set him outside the kitchen.

As I got to the last pikelets, I went into the living room (where Little Einsteins was on television for the banished child) and Blaise was standing, naked in the middle of the living room swinging his poopy diaper around. He was covered in poo as was the living room.

I cleaned all that up, got him dressed, strapped him into the stroller and went to the school to drop off all the food.

Came back, got in the car to go get Toby.

Fed them lunch, put them back in the stroller to go see UN Day.

The epitome of UN Day. These four girls are all in their country's native costumes and they all interact daily. I love UN Day. It's kind of creepy, you know, with those weird faces, but you get used to it. The purple arrow shows where I work on Mondays.

Came back. Blaise dumped out the completely full bottle of floor cleaner in the bathroom.

Put him out of the bathroom to clean it up.

Came out. Blaise had dumped all the board games on to the floor.

Put Blaise down for a nap. Mommy had had enough.

UN Day 2008 was the longest day ever. But so worth it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My UN Day

Yesterday was UN Day (It's not actually UN Day, that's just the day it was observed). This is a totally awesome “holiday” that my kids’ school pulls off every year. It’s a way to celebrate the diversity of the school and to gorge yourself on fabulous Asian food.

Some may argue that it's a way to promote your country through propaganda (my son came home with pens from 3 different nations, coins, and flag pins and last year he had nothing but good things to say about the country with the blue and white flag - a special prize for the first one who knows it), but I say diversity. We're celebrating our diversity! To say nothing of the pens I'm ordering for our table to give away next year. It's all about diversity.

When we awakened, Seth was so excited. “I have to wear a shirt with the flag of my country!” He says it this way because he really has no flipping idea what his country is. In school, they were making the hats to wear for UN Day to represent their countries and my son made a Polish flag hat. Yeah, we’re not Polish.

So, I dug through Seth's wardrobe thinking for sure that like all good Americans we have the Old Navy American flag T-shirts. Yeah, we do. For Toby and Blaise and Dylan and Pamela. Seth and I do not have these (and ironically we were the only ones born OUTSIDE the United States). So I dug through Pamela's wardrobe and found an old t-shirt that says “America” on it. Yeah, that’ll work.

So I sent my 5 year old BOY to school wearing a girl’s “America” T-shirt. Hey, at least it didn’t have sequins. Wait! No, it didn't have sequins. (Dodged that bullet)

I asked him, “Would you like me to paint a flag on your face?”

He said, “Um, YEAH!”

So I painted a 10 striped, 15 starred American flag on his cheek. Don’t judge me.

That's a B'Merican flag, y'all.

I asked Pamela “Would you like a flag painted on your face?”

She said, “No, thanks. I’m good.”

Moody teenager.

Then, even though Toby doesn’t go to the same school, I asked Toby.

He responded, “you’re completely insane if you think I want that crap on my face No.” Toby’s not a big fan of the face paint.

So we have Seth, in his girls’ America shirt and blue jeans with a baseball cap and a flag painted on his face. How much do you want to bet he will tell people he’s from Poland?

And Pamela, who does have a flag t-shirt, comes down wearing a pink, white and blue striped shirt.

I said, “So you’re the pacifist American?”

I dressed in a red blouse (‘cause I have a kick ass red blouse) and a lapis and pearl necklace. ‘Cause I’m all about being patriotic (even though I can’t stand the way red and blue look together, can’t we change it to blue and orange?).

I realize I look totally creepy in this picture. You see, I'm taking this film class and right now we're studying German expressionism. Well, I'm German (1/4 anyway) and this is my expressionism. Not really, it's just the best I could do with available light and a mirror, but I had you going right?

The day got better,but I'm going to make you wait. I have to keep you coming back right?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tossing Cookies

No, it's not what you think.

Yesterday, Dylan and I went to the big grocery store where the friendly cashier (anyone who knows Eastern Central Europe realizes that a friendly cashier is a rare find, and anyone who says otherwise is lying) took his money for a phone card and refused to ring up the rest of the groceries. At which point she turned to me and asked:

"Pani ma kartę punktowe?" - Do you have a point card?

"Nie, nie mam." - No, I don't have. (Although really my favorite thing is when I overhear others say "Nie będzie." - It will not be. Cracks me up every time!)

Then she proceeds to ring up the groceries, completely ignoring Dylan, who is the one with the credit card. Apparently he only wanted the phone card.

As she was ringing up the groceries, she got to a packet of cookies that Dylan had opened and had been eating in the store. As she scanned them, the cookies fell out of the package and Dylan reached across to grab them as the cashier threw them away. Dylan looked at me all hurt.

"She threw away my cookies."

The cashier starts speaking quickly and angrily to him.

"And now she's admonishing me for it."

At which point I burst into hysterical laughter. Which did not impress the cashier. She stared at me for the rest of the transaction, trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL I thought was so funny. If it had been a restaurant, we certainly would have gotten a spitter. I'm not entirely sure she didn't spit in our food anyway.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let's Play Tag

So, in reference to yesterday's post where I'm going back through my archives because I have nothing to say, I've been tagged by Marinka. YAY! More useless stuff where I don't actually have to sit and come up with an amusing post all by myself.

So here they are, Six Odd Things About Me:

1) If I look at myself too long in a mirror it freaks me out. Seriously. I don't know why and when I was a teenager I covered all the mirrors in my room.

2) Doors that are meant to be open MUST be open and doors that are meant to be closed MUST be closed. How do I know which ones are which? I just know. And everyone else should know too. If you ever see me closing doors or opening doors (such as the cabinet doors at the PTO store) and think I'm a little bit crazy, it's 'cause I am.

3) When I see Africans outside of Africa, I smile at them like I know them. Because I think I'm African. (I mention this one because this morning at the gym there was a gentleman from Nigeria and I smiled and he walked up and started talking to me. Which was rather unfortunate, as I was trying to balance on a large ball while squeezing another ball between my legs.)

4) I have attended weddings in every country I have lived in except Ghana. I may have to go back just to attend a wedding.

5) I have panic disorder, but I stopped taking my medicine a long time ago. I didn't like the way it made me feel. But I get angry with other mentally ill people who stop taking their medication. As though I think I'm normal and they should know that they are not.

6) I was raised without religion. I usually say Atheist, but we were not the hardcore 'everyone else is wrong and there is obviously no god' kind of Atheists. And I now teach religion to teenagers.

I'm not going to tag anyone because that's too much pressure (did I mention panic disorder?). So if you want to play along, go ahead. If not, that's okay too.

Monday, October 13, 2008


One of the blogs I follow has a "Flashback Series" (presumably when she has nothing else to say). I love this idea so I've stolen it, for when I have nothing else to say.

So here's a tale from our time in Ghana:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Finding Our Way

Today's adventure consists of finding Ana from Ghana's house, or at least where Ana is staying while her house is being built. For those who don't know Ana from Ghana is a girl that Pamela went to Kindergarten and 1st grade with back in Syria. Now, as amazed as we were, Ana is back in Ghana. Seeing as she's Ana from Ghana it's not really all that surprising...but she's in Pamela's class at school.

We start off first with Pamela talking to Ana on the phone while I was trying to get Toby down for his nap. Toby's nap time consists of 4 books (mostly Sandra Boynton) and then an adult lying down with him until he goes to sleep. Seth usually sits for the books, but will not have anything to do with the nap and is out the door after the 4th book. So Pamela goes to give me the phone so that Ana's mom can tell me how to get to where she's staying at the precise moment that Seth pulls down a plastic container filled with art supplies from the closet that I not moments before had asked him if he had been getting into (he said no) and told him that he was not allowed in that closet. Chaos ensued...and Pamela had to go find Dylan to get the directions.

Dylan's story is that Ana's mom (we don't remember her name, unfortunately we'll just continue to call her "Ana's mom") gave him 2 landmarks he'd never heard of in a part of town that on the map is about half of Accra. They go 'round and 'round until finally they agree to meet at the school and Dylan will follow from there. It's 7 minutes from the school, she tells him. Apparently that's 7 GHANAIAN minutes-which actually translates to about half an hour. His recount then gets amusing..."we go down a windy road and then on a main freeway, we immediately get off the freeway then go under it, through a small river, and around a corner. We turn right at the Total station. Afterwards, Ana's mom says, you'll know where to turn by the Total station. Dylan was like...yeah, THAT'S where I'd have trouble. Oh, did I mention that very few streets have signs and the ones that do have names that not one single Ghanaian actually knows? For instance, our street is Aborlebu and Rose laughed at me when I gave someone directions. She told me after, "I don't think they call it Aborlebu." I said, then what do they call it? She told me she didn't know. I am under the impression that they call it "Ugly White Person street".

Anyway, after all that we have to find our way back to where Ana is staying in the dark...that should be fun and an interesting post for tomorrow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Death Trap Playroom

Okay, so yesterday my blogger-friend-in-real-life, Globetrekking Mom, came over (along with another friend) for some scrapbooking and socialization. We grabbed our kids from school and headed to the house so they could hang out while we gabbed.

Not 10 minutes into our gabfest, there was an incident. It involved blood. Because all good incidents involve blood.

Globetrekking Mom's son sliced his foot (bad - we're talking stitches bad) on a piece of broken glass in our PLAYROOM. You know. The place where my kids go to play with their toys. Hell, it even has a padded floor so that they don't bang their heads.

But apparently, we also keep our broken glass in the playroom. Along with the knives, guns and liquor. Makes the kids tough. They're gangsters in training. In the 1920's.

This was (sort of) the first time I had friends over (really it's the first time I had friends over during the day when my husband wasn't here). So of course, there would have to be an incident. With blood.

Because everything's better when there's blood.

This is definitely up there on my "most embarrassing moments" list.

Tune in tomorrow for when Seth's friend Mike finds my crack stash. Then the whole bloody foot thing will seem like nothing.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You Belong Here

We have cats. LOTS AND LOTS of cats. I don't really like cats.

We have a really old cat and two very young cats that are siblings. Our really old cat has been THE cat for the past 15 years and has absolutely no interest in sharing us. Despite the fact that she is blind and incontinent and a cat and rarely comes downstairs. Because she is elderly. And hates stairs.

Today, E.D. (Evil Devil or the ancient one), graced us with her presence in the downstairs world. The young cats, Tiggy (yes, her name has been changed. Pamela REALLY didn't like having to tell her friends that both cats were named after an alcoholic beverage. Pamela doesn't belong here) and Shiraz were inside because they did one of the things where they hang around outside and rush the door when the short residents of our house open the door.

E.D. spotted Shiraz and went ballistic. There was all kinds of hissing and spitting and fighting. E.D. doesn't have front claws, but she can hit like a mofo. I know this because she hits me in the shoulder when she doesn't have food in her bowl (is anyone else imaging a six foot cat here?). And she weighs all of 6 pounds and it actually stings a bit when she hits.

Tiggy, who was resting in a living room chair, sat up, hearing that her brother was in trouble.

Did she do anything?

No. She sat on the chair and made sure SHE was out of the sight of the crazy old blind cat. She was all, "Dude, Bro. Sucks for you. I'm just gonna sit here. Come get me when it's done. Mofo."

It was at that moment that I realized she belongs in this family.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Polar Bear Blaise

You know how when you're standing in your garage next to the refrigerator and the garage door is open and you're spraying whipped cream out of the can directly into your mouth and you turn around and your neighbor is staring at you across the fence.

No? Just me, then?

So. Um. Anyway. Across from our church (don't stop reading, this is not going to be a church related post!) is a park (well, across from EVERY church/school/grocery store/embassy/"exotic" shop in Warsaw there's a park). We dropped off the two oldest at the church for religion classes and took the two youngest to the park.

Toby told Seth "HEY SETH! After we drop you off we're going to the PARK!"

Yeah, 'cause kids are kind of mean.

Anyway, Dylan and I were walking along through the park and Blaise and Toby were following along behind us.

Blaise found some steps that went down. Blaise LOVES steps. So he went down the steps and we continued on.

About that time our friend, who is pregnant with her second child, walked up just as Blaise was emerging from what could very well have been an open sewer water retention pond very large puddle in 50 degree weather.

We smiled and pretended like this kind of thing happens all the time and we were totally prepared to deal with it and were not going to have to drive 30 minutes back to the house with a completely naked baby in the car AND be back in time for church.

BEHOLD! This is your future!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Inappropriate Bar Comments

Sometimes the people at my husband's office go to the bar on Friday nights.

Sometimes I come up and join them.

Last night, I did.

Dylan has been talking with a lot of people about his new Harley (due date February 2009). As I was walking up, we noticed a friend getting ready to head home. Dylan started in on his Harley.

Dylan: "Did I tell you that I'm getting a Harley?"

Friend: "No, wow! What happened to the old bike?"

Dylan: "The engine died. It was very sad. But did you hear me talking about the Harley?"

Friend: "How does your wife feel about that?" (Hi, I'm standing right here. Unless you think that maybe I'm just his hot girlfriend, which is okay too.)

Dylan: "Well, I had one picked out, but she looked at it and said that I couldn't get that one."

Friend rolls eyes.

Dylan: "Because it didn't have place for her to sit."


Did he just say he wanted to 'borrow me'? What does that mean exactly? I mean, he's cute and all. And he looks good in tight pants, but I'm kind of married (and so is he). And he just asked my husband for permission. We all stood in an uncomfortable silence for a half a minute. While I kind of wondered how my husband would respond.

Dylan: "Um, just for decision making purposes."

Then the subject rapidly changed.

But I feel good. My husband would NOT be willing to trade me, or rent me out.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Gated Community

I live in a gated community. We have guards at the gate and an internal phone system that we can use to call between houses and that the guards use to contact us when someone comes to visit.

Yesterday, the guards called me. Most of my guards speak only Polish (which is actually kind of stupid, since most of the people who live in my community are expats) and as you all know, my Polish is limited.

The conversation (translated) went like this:

Guard: For you ma’am, (name of some company that I never could understand)

Me: I no to expect. No.

Guard: From embassy.

Me: No, embassy no to call. No. I don't want. I don’t know.

Guard (to guys in truck): Do you speak English?

Apparently he was tired of my 2 year old Polish.

Guy in truck: Yes.

Guard: I’m giving the phone to this gentleman who can speak English.

Guy in truck: Hello?

Me: Hello?

Guy in truck: We have…thing. I was to bring…I don’t speak English.

Me: Okay. Great.

Guard: They have something from embassy.

Me: Embassy no to call! NO! I don't want!

Guard: I’m sending them in anyway.


That last part was all in English. The ramblings of a crazy woman.

Guys in truck show up at my door. Guy who speaks English only when someone asks him in Polish is standing there.

Me: Hello?

Guy in truck who doesn’t speak English, but thinks he does: We have. From Embassy. (And that part was actually in was Mamy z ambasady – so I’m thinking that his Polish – not so good either.)

Me: The embassy did not call. What do you have? CO TO JEST?

Guy in truck no English: Hm…from embassy.

Me: Right, I get that it’s from the embassy. WHAT THE HELL IS IT?

Guy in truck: From embassy.

Finally I get a clue and call my husband.

Me: Are they supposed to be delivering something to the house today that no one informed me of and when I saw you 30 minutes ago you did not mention?

Him: Um, yeah. My bad.

So I finally let the guys in. And they delivered a bunch of parts to fix my furnace (and extra parts that I don’t think were meant for my house). The whole time they giggled like teenage girls. I’m not entirely sure what was so funny.

At the same time, Toby had tied a red napkin around the cat (Shiraz) and declared him to be “Supercat!” It could have been that. Yeah, it was probably that. I'm sure they weren't laughing at me. Right? They weren't laughing at me?

I SO need my anti anxiety meds back.

And for your entertainment Veggie Tales (except the video is not) “Gated Community”:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Crafty Wednesday!

Just got a Cuttlebug and I am just spending all the time I'm not blogging cutting out letters. Anyway, still don't know where my stitching software is, so this is a really crappy stitching job.