Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kitten? Really? Kitten?

I've seen this billboard around town:

It's always intrigued me, but then I've been known to be fascinated with billboards. Particularly when I have to translate them (poorly) myself. Because despite what my children think, I do not think in Polish.

But this one I kept thinking about. What does "To Nie Tak Kotku" mean? My horrible translation of this is "That's not yes cat".

And now you know why I don't shop for groceries much.

Finally, yesterday, I was not paying attention to the road driving so I was able to get a closer look at the sign. It reads "To Nie Tak Jak Myślisz Kotku".

I thought about this all day. Again. 'Cause I fixate a bit.

I called Dylan* at work at noon. When he picked up the phone I shouted "It's not what you think, Kitten!"

To which he replied, "Huh?" As though he hadn't been thinking about it every minute since I dropped him off.

"That sign! It says 'It's not what you think, Kitten'! Like, you know, she's a kitten. Or he is. Or it's about a cat. Whatever. That's what the sign says!"

"Well, that's great. I'll talk to you later."

Humph. Like he wasn't thinking about what signs mean all day when he's working. Sure. It's only me.

* Yes, for a short time my husband was known as Owl. He hated that and threatened to never buy me camera equipment scrapbooking supplies anything again politely suggested that I use a different name for him. I agreed because I like stuff I don't make money there was alcohol involved I love him.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I spend a lot of my day Christmas shopping this time of year. For me that means, a lot of websurfing.

In my websurfing I found this item. I couldn't figure it out for quite some time and then I finally realized that it's a cat that hangs from your ceiling and MOVES like it's walking. It's also listed on their site as "For Kids".

Please DO NOT get this for me. That last cat looks like my E.D. and I still sometimes see her out of the corner of my eye wandering through the house. It really freaks me out, you know, since I killed her and all.

So the worst possible thing would be to have a cat that looks like my dead cat that I killed hanging from my ceiling haunting me. Of course if you were trying to push me over the edge, then I suppose this would be the best gift to get me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. In the words of AnnaKay, "They have two days off, so apparently it's a big deal..."

I thought I would go with my SIL's (who got the job! Go Dawn!) idea and just post 10 things that I'm thankful for.

1. My children. They are the best gift ever. And I know how blessed I am.
2. My husband. I love him more and more each day and I'm grateful to have such a love.
3. My health. This is a huge deal in my family.
4. My whole extended family. My mother and father in law, who are the best anyone could ask for. My sister in law her husband and my nieces (the cutest little girls ever!), my brother in law, my brother in law and sister (who is wrapping my Christmas presents!) and nephew. And my dad.
5. For all of you, my dear readers. You give purpose to my blog.
6. For a delicious meal that I'm cooking, therefore I know it will be delicious.
7. For life in Poland. For all it's faults, it's an awesome post. I always have power and water and I can buy food that I'm familiar with here.
8. That I'm nearing graduation finally. 16 years is a normal time to finish a bachelor's degree, right?
9. For a nice non snowy day to play American football with my kids in.
10. For a half day of school. Enough to let my kids have a nice big dinner, but not enough for them to get bored and torture each other constantly:).

Hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving. Even if it's not your holiday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seasonal Ambiguous Disorder - Updated

Last week I went to see the psychiatrist because of my blues. I generally try to keep this blog as my happy place (and pretty much everywhere else because as a neurotically depressed teenager you learn that people don't really want to be around the sad, depressing person, which just leads you to being more depressed, and so on. Like that old anti drug commercial about cocaine. But for me it's more, I seem happy so I can have more friends so I can seem happier so I can have more friends...)

ANYWAY, I went to the psychiatrist and he diagnosed me with Seasonal Affective Disorder and prescribed me a light. A FREAKING LIGHT. AND it costs over $200.

And because my field of study has been psychology, I was like, "WHAT THE HELL KIND OF PSYCHIATRIST ARE YOU? You're supposed to be a drug dealer. Hey, drug dealer! WHERE ARE MY DRUGS???"

Yeah, but I didn't do that because then I might have been committed. Or thrown in jail. Or tossed out of Poland. All of which would have been bad. I think.

And he told me to quit drinking and exercise more. And I was like, "Yeah, only ONE of those is going to happen. I'm not superwoman! So which is it doc, drinking or exercise?"

(Oh, and the "exercise more" for those of you who know me, was because he asked if I exercise and I said "I used to" meaning: about a week ago I quit because the parking situation was too bad and almost made me burst into tears so I had to stop going to the gym to keep my sanity, and he heard "I used to" meaning: the last time I strapped on running shoes was in 1985 - and I was 11 then.)

Updated - I should have posted a picture of the light originally. And here's where you can find one (in case you also have seasonal affective disorder and a psychiatrist who doesn't believe in medicine):

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Invisibilty Cloak Revisited

Last week I posted about how I (or the kid) should get an invisibility cloak and this week I was reading this issue of Time:

And guess what I found!

Yep, an invisibility cloak is feasible! And you saw it here first!

Now excuse me, I'm off to Berkley. Can you watch my kids? I'll be back in about a week, but you won't know it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Aliens Stole My Dead Leaves!

I came home and the garbage gate was open. I've talked about this before, and I'm too lazy and forgetful to link it here, but we have a weird little house for our garbage cans. It's separate from the people house and it has two gates, one from the inside of the fence, for us to put our garbage in, and one from the outside of the fence, so the garbage men can get the garbage out.

Anyway, the inside gate was open. And because I'm a slight bit paranoid, I interrogated asked the children nicely which one of them had left the gate open. They all lied through their teeth claimed innocence.

When I approached the front door, I noticed the pile of leaves, that I had been keeping there because I really enjoy it when dead leaves fly into my house when I open the door and not because I was too damn lazy to sweep and rake, was gone. I looked around the yard and noticed an absence of leaves.

That's right. Aliens Zombies The Terminator Someone broke into my yard and RAKED all of my leaves.

It's days like this that Poland rocks!

As long as they weren't just clearing a path so that they don't slip and fall when they make off with all my belongings.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Wisdom of Children

Pooh has had to make periodic trips out of Poland due to his health issues. Whenever he leaves, Piglet misses him tremendously, because there's no one for him to torment Stewie fights back he loves his brother so much.

Piglet, Stewie and I were having dinner the ONE night that Pooh was gone (Tigger was at play practice) and Piglet asked about Pooh.

Piglet - What's wrong with Pooh?

Me - Well, the doctor says that everyone has hair in their noses, you know?

Piglet - Yes.

Me - Pooh is missing that hair.

Piglet - Oh, okay. So the boogers just keep coming out because they're like "Whee! It's like a slide!"

Me - Yes. Exactly like that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blaze, or not...

So you may have seen this comment yesterday (followed by my embarrassing confession of how I actually blog):


This from my real life friend. Thanks;).

So, um, Stewie burned his right hand. He opened the oven door while I was cooking AND IN THE SAME ROOM and touched the 400 degree F oven full on with open palm.

Yeah, that kind of sucked.

So we made a trip to the E.R.

As I sat in the E.R., that must have been built in about 1945 and has not been remodeled since, on Friday/date night with The evil youngest one Stewie, I noticed a few weird little things about Poland. First of all, they don't have fancy "triage" in the E.R. It's just whoever shows up first. Just like every other doctor's appointment. "Yeah, yeah, 3rd degree burns, Wait your turn!"

They also didn't have a place to change a baby, but that's par for the course in this country so I wasn't particularly put off by that, aside from the fact that I have to go to the "Children's" hospital because only the "Children's" hospital can see anyone under age 18. Seriously.

Anyway, they also had no soap, paper towels, or toilet paper in the bathroom. And the toilet that was for "staff only" was locked. Presumably because of the stockpile of soap, toilet paper and paper towels.

They did have this one cool room, and because I did not have my phone on me I didn't get a photo. The "Sala Reanymacja". The Reanimation room! I so wanted to get behind that door. I'm convinced that they are keeping the Terminator back there.

It was locked though.

At about the point that I was trying to break into the Reanimation room to get a glimpse of the Terminator - ooh, I could control him for my own purposes. And get my invisibility cloak. That would be kick ass.


At about that point, the doctor decided they could see us. Something about "Hey Lady, you're not supposed to go in there. Stop trying to break in and see things that DON'T EXIST playing with the doors."

And he had 2nd degree burns on his palm and fingers and they cleaned it, BROKE THE BLISTERS!, and wrapped it, telling us (all in Polish) that we need to keep this on for 2 days and come back to the E.R. on Sunday.

Right. On both accounts.

Ever tried to keep a two year old's hand wrapped? It's a bit like putting a cat in a burlap sack and carrying it across country on your back, when you've had no food or water and you have to walk the 2000 miles.

So the wrap was off before we pulled into our driveway.

I'm not that persistent. I gave up at that point.

Monday, we took him to the doctor to have him looked at (not the E.R.). They also cleaned, ointmented, and wrapped and told us to keep it on for 5 days. It was off by the time we stopped at the corner store.

And then the nurse walked in.

She said, "Oh, Kylie. You HAVE to keep that wrap on."

And I was all, "Right, Beyotch, I KNOW. But unless I duct tape him to a bed, he's NEVER gonna keep that thing on! Do you want him?"

But I actually said, "I know. I'll do what I can."

So I did.

Yes, I totally duct taped a glove to my son's hand AND took pictures AND sent him to school like that. I am the best mom EVER!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Maybe You Could Get An Invisibility Cloak

I live within walking distance of my older kids' school. On the corner across from the school, as in every location in Warsaw, there is a corner grocery store. I use this store for a lot of my shopping.

What this means though, is that in addition to my children, I get to see everyone else's children, because a store near a school immediately becomes a teen hang out.

In addition to groceries the store sells copious amounts of alcohol and cigarettes. Yep, you can see where this is going.

There's one "child" (can you call them children when they're older than 16?) that I see just about every day at the school. He waves and says hi and is very polite.

When I see him in front of the store smoking and whatnot, I say hello and he pretends that he does not see me. Apparently there is an invisibility shield in front of the store. I'm not sure which one of us becomes invisible, but I totally hope it's me, 'cause I could harness that for all kinds of other interesting activities. Although, seeing as I can still see him, it MUST be me. To do list for today: Buy vegetables, make dinner, harness invisibility mechanism.

Last week, he saw Tigger walking up to the store (apparently the invisibility shield works only on me) and he said "Um, did you see what I was doing?"

She said "Yep."

He said, "Don't tell your parents, 'k?"

She said, "Um, you DO know that my parents are NOT stupid, right? My mom has seen you many, many times."

He stared at her blankly. She kept walking.

So, anyone have any ideas on how to harness this invisibility shield? Think of the possibilities!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Now That the Smoke Has Cleared...

from all those burning McCain - Palin signs, I'd like to take moment to speak of the election.

"What election?", you say, "You've never spoken of an election. It's like it didn't even exist to you."

But, I assure you, it did exist to me. It's just that this blog is about my family and my funny stories, and I didn't feel the need to share my political point of view. Even my real life blog friend, Globetrekking Mom, didn't know how I voted until Obama won.

So, this won't be a political post.

My Nigerian gym "friend" had a conversation with me (because he doesn't quite get the what I thought was universal, "I have my earbuds in AND I'm reading a book, that's your cue NOT TO TALK TO ME", concept) about the then upcoming election. He had a few very good points, but the most poignant moment was when he asked me, because Owl works for the U.S. Government, "If Obama wins, will you have to leave?"

I was puzzled. "No. It means absolutely nothing to our tour here. Either one can win and we're here for as long as we're here."

I puzzled about that one for several hours afterward. Then I realized that in many parts of the world, parts of the world that I have lived in, getting a job with the government is not a matter of being the best one for the job. It's a matter of who you know.

And that, my friends, is why you SHOULD vote. Because of my Nigerian friend who doesn't have any say in his government. Because of all those people out there who may not have a job/home/life tomorrow when someone else "takes" office.

Because you can.

I realize I'm a little late in this. Just like always.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm Batman!

On All Saint's Day (November 1st), we got up and got dressed and went to church. After church, we headed to the zoo and walked around for about 2 hours (tip - All Saint's Day is a fabulous day to go to the zoo in Poland. There are NO PEOPLE and it's half price!).

After that we went to lunch at our favorite little pizza place. Then, at dark, Dylan and I headed to the cemetery closest to our house to check out the beautiful candlelight (you can see the photos here).

We came home, watched a movie for my film class, and then I got ready to go to bed. I pulled off my sweater and...Batman's cape was attached.

My little Batman. Do you just love his costume? It's pajamas with a belt, that I MADE, and black underwear.

I yelled at my family "HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN WEARING A CAPE?"

No one could answer. They were all laughing too hard.

For all I know, the whole flipping day I was wearing a cape.

That's why we have family.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday with Words

I thought this would be a good photo for Veteran's Day. And of course, I photoshopped it a bit to make it look like Owl and I existed during WWII.

As an aside, I'm going to find whatever filter that photographer used that made Owl and I look so young and beautiful and attach it as a hat so that everyone always has to look at me through that filter!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Evil Gnomes

I spent last week, when Piglet and Tigger were out of school, doing a deep clean of the house. Fall cleaning, if you will. In order to actually get rid of things, I need the children to leave. I asked Tigger to take her brothers to the park while I cleaned their room.

Tigger: Do I have to? Can't I just take them outside?

Me: If you stay with them.

Tigger: Okay.

15 minutes later she was back inside playing Icy Tower.

20 minutes later, Pooh Bear came running up the stairs.

Pooh: Mommy, I have some so funny bad news. (He says this every time he wants to tell me something, not because he was laughing at his brother's pain. Although that wouldn't surprise me.)

Me: What is it?

Pooh: Piglet is bleeding.

After we cleaned him up. Note the nasty scratches on his nose, cheek and forehead. He looked worse the next day. But at least he's a happy injured person.

Apparently, Piglet had a fight with the garden gnome. I'm not sure who won.

The face of evil!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Or You Could Say, "I'd like a sandwich, please"

I have two boys who are set in their ways. One insists that I pack the exact same lunch for him every day of his life. When I have suggested anything other than a ham and cheese sandwich, yogurt, chocolate milk, an apple and a package of Scooby snacks, he nearly has a nervous breakdown. God help me if I suggest that he BUY LUNCH from the school cafeteria. He would just as soon die right there.

My other one comes home for lunch. He also insists on the same thing every day. Pooh Bear wants a Nutella and peanut butter sandwich, every day of his life. For those unfamiliar with Nutella it's chocolate spread, like peanut butter, but it's chocolate. So I feed my son a peanut butter and chocolate sandwich for lunch. I suppose I could skip a step and just feed him Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but those are hard to come by here.

Some days he will request this for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. (I don't give in, you don't need to report me to CPS).

But one day, he said he wanted something different. So I left him to decide. We have MANY other kinds of food. He sat in the kitchen for 20 minutes trying to decide what else he may want.

Finally he said, "Cheetah tost".

I said, "Um, what?"

"Heetah tost."

I should mention that Pooh Bear was effectively deaf from the time he was 18 months old until he was 3 years, so sometimes his speech is a bit off.

"Pooh, I don't know what you're asking for. Can you show me?"

"Heetah tost!" And he points to the bread.

A few moments of me staring at him in confused silence.

"You want a sandwich?"

"Yes. Heetah tost."

"Oh, Chyba tost! Tak, tak. Rozumiem!"

He'd been speaking to me in Polish all along. The curses of a bilingual school.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Now We Are Six

This is a series to prepare you, my loyal readers, for the inevitable day when I change my blog address and "put myself out there".

I know, I do conversations a lot, but we have weird ass conversations in my house.

Tigger and I were discussing who of each of A.A. Milne's characters each one of our family members is and that lead me to new nicknames for when I change my blog address.

Me: I'm Rabbit. I'm always obsessed that everyone is ruining everything and I want everything to look nice. I'm not terribly social. And I have a lot of babies.

Dylan: He's Dylan. You never heard me say otherwise. Ignore that picture to the left. Can I have my new lens now?

14 year old : She's Tigger. She's bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

5 year old: He's Piglet. He's a bit nervous and anxious. And he stutters.

4 year old: He's Pooh. Hum-de-dum. Time for Honey. Yeah, that's Toby all over.

2 year old: He is Stewie from Family Guy. He's totally Stewie.

So now you know, and you'll see that everyone's names will change from now on. If anyone happens to miss this post, they'll just think I'm crazy. Which is okay too.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Blood On My Hands

We did it. We all did it. We made the unanimous decision to put E.D. to sleep.

She had been ill, kidney disease. She had developed incontinence (not that she was ever truly continent), had lost her voice, most of her teeth, and basically her will to live. We would find her at the end of the day, lying on our bed, not moving and barely making a squeak when she would see someone.

So, we decided that it would be better to let her rest than continue to live like this.

But it's hard. So hard.

I agreed. I voted. I spoke for what I believed in. And I did believe in it.

But I didn't want to be the one to pull the trigger. So I stayed home, ostensibly to dig the grave and take care of the little kids who couldn't go to see the execution, but really it was just me hiding out because I didn't want to watch it. I wussed out.

We'd had her for 15 years. Before Pamela, before we were even married. She came from an abusive household and we adopted her, but she was never quite right. She suffered from anxiety. Which helped her to fit right in here.

But now she's gone.

We'll always love you, E.D.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hobos (with fingers)

This post is inspired by a conversation I had with my father the other day.

Dad - "My homeless guy won't leave. I told him that after the hurricane I wasn't turning the power back on. I thought that would inspire him to go, but he's still there."

Me - "Well, that's a very interesting story you've got there old man. If I were you I would blog about it."

Dad laughs.

Me - "I WILL blog about it!"

Until earlier this year, my dad "lived" in the house that I grew up in. When I say "lived" I mean that he still kept his furniture and everything at that house, but he spent most nights and days in my sister's house. My sister and her husband moved into a new neighborhood near (1 mile or 1.6 kilometers) my dad and my sister enlisted my dad's help in babysitting my nephew while she and her husband worked. So my dad, being the person that he is, sort of "moved in" with them. Since then, and that's a story for another post, my dad purchased yet another home and moved to the next street over from my sister.

Somehow, and I am not totally clear on the whole story, my dad invited a homeless man to live in my childhood home. My childhood home had no running water (it had running water when I lived there, I didn't grow up THAT hippie). But since this guy had been homeless, I suppose running water wasn't his biggest priority.

At one point my dad said to me "I think my homeless guy has some sort of mental disorder." I said, "Gee Daddy, you think?" Then he proceeds to explain the symptoms to me because in my dad's mind being in your senior year of college for a degree in psychology makes you an expert on mental disorders (for all you psych majors out there, laugh along with me...I took exactly ONE course in abnormal psychology - which BTW was a psych elective).

This is probably a good time to mention that my dad also has a mental disorder. He has compulsive hoarding disorder. So my childhood home is packed full of stuff. Seriously. You have absolutely no idea how bad this is.

But that's okay, 'cause there's a homeless guy living amongst the clutter. He probably feels at home. Which is actually quite punny.