Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Flashback: September 1996

I'm a sophomore in college. I'm a punk but I think I'm pretty cool. I am wearing clothes I won't now confess to wearing (though I have little doubt Terri, my roommate at the time, will out me in the comments). I've just declared my major as political science, though what I want to do with it I'm not quite sure.

It's a Monday, Wednesday or Friday around noon. I'm sitting in my first political science class as a political science major. Sitting there talking to friends and --dare I confess it again?-- thinking I'm pretty hot stuff. How I could think that in cut-off train conductor bibs and blue bandanna I know not, but I did (did I just admit that out loud?).

I look up and notice an attractive guy sitting one row up and about three desks over. I've never seen him before in my life. He's later to become my husband, Superdad.

How we got from there to here is a long, complicated story that I refuse to thoroughly delve into on my blog. It might unjustly tarnish the opinion you have of me now, which is a one of a mature, coherent woman who thinks through all momentous decisions completely and rationally. (That is your opinion of me, isn't it? Isn't it?)

Suffice it to say we first noticed each other there, though it wasn't for another year, the fall semester of 1997, that we'd officially meet and start dating.


I apologize to those of you tracking your blogs with bloglines. If you are I'm sure you've noticed what seems like 18,000 new posts a day coming from my site but, no, I'm just working with some older posts, updating them with labels, proper line spacing (something I shamefully didn't know how to do before) and general edits.

Shouldn't take too much longer to finish!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Pioneer Woman claims this is the best lasagna. Ever. I thought it was very good. So did the guests I made it for this past Saturday.

Most importantly though, it was easy. Look, even my four year old can make it:

Not that I care about being proven right or anything.....

In my very first blog post on August 25, 2006 I used Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson's marriage lasting to illustrate something else not likely to happen. Well, well, well, it occurs to me (eons after the fact) that a scant three months after making that prediction they announced their break-up.

What does this prove? Absolutely nothing. But I was right and, darn it, someone should know.

And I don't want to hear anyone whispering that it was an obvious, easy call. Hush! Does this help bulk up my credentials as a bona fide oracle: I also predicted the demise of Britney Spears and K-Fed.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Leisure Wear

I like to window shop; I always have. I've always carefully admired the assembled mannequins in the windows of some of my favorite stores and envisioned myself wearing the pretty skirts, uber trendy jeans or the sparkly jewelry.

Lately though, I've noticed a disturbing change.

Once the window displays at Banana Republic beckoned me inside and perhaps I'd leave with the store with a new blouse. Or high heels. But now the uncomfortable, stylish clothes in the windows of the "cool" stores don't hold the same power they once did. Walking past with little notice of the sophisticated displays has become more common.

I've noticed the somewhat dimming interest with no small amount of shame but still, today I was completely horrified when I realized just how far I've fallen. Walking past Land's End I noticed their very elaborate display of... yoga pants. Yup, yoga pants. I seriously considered entering the store and trying them on. Even as I write this, well aware of the absurdity of my position, I want those pants. Those made-for comfort, designed for sweating, yoga pants.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Flashback: June 2004

Pictured are Madeleine (age 3) and Hank (age 20 months) in June of 2004 at my mom and Bob's house in Silver Lake. Their Nana (my mom) took this photo of them on her patio. As I mentioned once before, Mom was a phenomenal gardener, and she was also good at showing off her green thumb in photo ops like the one featured below.

Going into a weekend that predicts snow, snow and yet, more snow, I long for spring and the days like this that I know are waiting for me just a few more months down the road. Doesn't the scene look so warm and inviting?

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Madeleine had a friend, C___, over from school the other day who is one of the two best readers in their first grade class. And by this I mean she came into first grade reading the backs of medicine labels better than I currently do. Madeleine is no slouch but she doesn't read at genius level. Yet.

Madeleine and C___ decided they would begin their playtime by reading a new book of Madeleine's. They agree to this by C___ telling Madeleine she would help her with any words she didn't know. Madeleine responded enthusiastically," Yeah! And then when you read I'll help you with any words you don't know."

C___ laughed. Not a mean laugh; a laugh of distrust, disbelief, "Well, OK, but I don't really think there will be any words I don't know."

Madeleine looked slightly affronted. Game on I could hear her say to herself.

And they read amiably for awhile and later moved on to other pursuits. But after C___ left Madeleine resumed reading the book they'd read together. Two rooms away from me I hear Madeleine shout," MOM!!! WHAT DOES G-Y-M-N-A-S-T SPELL?"

I'm wondering why Madeleine is yelling from two rooms away since I've asked her time and time again to walk to where I am and converse like a respectable person. But my response is, "Gymnast."

Madeleine walks into the room I'm in. She looks happy. Satisfied. Maybe even a little smug. "Humph." She laughs, "C___ thought it said gymnastics." She walks stridently away, both rolling her eyes and laughing while she struts.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


There are days when blog post ideas race through my brain at light speed and, on good days, if I'm lucky, I'm able to capture a few before the thoughts are lost forever.

And there are days, like today, when I want to post something but have nothing to say. I sit here with sun streaming through my window, a hot cup of coffee six inches away and a peaceful home and yet I have...nothing. The blogging stars, so to speak, are perfectly aligned, and yet the most critical component, a good idea, is utterly lacking. Shouldn't the serenity, the coffee and the sun be enough? I sort of hoped it might.

Alas, all I can think of is the trip to Trader Joe's I have to make this morning. And the casserole I have to make for our potluck at church this evening. And the pile of laundry in my basement. None of those things are interesting or inspirational.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Talking about the weather seems such a cliché; it's what you talk about when you don't know what else to talk about. It's something that just, well, is so there's no point in discussing it.

But I can't help it. First off, weather fascinates me. I find different weather systems and all their different components incredibly remarkable and interesting. I adore hearing all the different predictions and seeing if they play out as predicted. I even have a weather station strategically located next to my kitchen sink for maximum viewing (OK, OK, addictive surveillance is more like it) and a desktop weather program installed on my laptop.

Secondly though, this winter has been awful. So cold and awful and Superdad and I have on the most miserable of days researched different cities we would consider relocating (all of which are far, far south of here).

Given those confessions I'm sure you can understand why I'm unable to stop myself from telling you what the weather is like here today. It's warm. Gloriously, beautifully warm. No, not warm by a sane person's standards; no, no, we live in Wisconsin, we can't expect true warmth until April at the earliest.

But it feels warm. There are puddles on the sidewalks, I can feel the snow squish instead of crunch beneath my Sorrels, I'm comfortable in a couple light fleeces instead of my usual warm parka and, best yet, I was able to retire my car keys and dust off the double jogger so that I could return to walking the kids to school today.

Yes, yes, I know. Weather is boring. But today? No, it's perfect.

Birthday Jamborees

A weekend spent celebrating birthdays with family far and wide.

On Friday Superdad and I hosted Bob's birthday at our house. The gang:

All this eating and playing proves too much for Hank who falls asleep mid-meal:

And out go the candles-- Happy Birthday, Bob!

Saturday we traveled south for Diana's birthday. Here's the gang minus Dad:

The meal was a group effort and it was so, so good. Dad grilled steaks (sent by Quantum Void!), Superdad and I put together twice baked potatoes, I roasted fresh asparagus, my sister, Cloe (a.k.a. BakerBabe) threw together a fresh garlic vinegrette for an arugula salad and a delicious white cake with a chocoate cream cheese frosting.

The birthday girl seems happy to feed Elisabeth the leftovers. Happy Birthday, Diana!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sweet Dreams, Little Ones

After bedtime stories, prayers and hugs and kisses Madeleine abandoned her upper bunk and squeezed in with Hank in his lower bunk. They stayed like this the whole of the night:

Thursday, February 15, 2007


These gorgeous flowers were my Valentine's Day gift from Superdad. Aren't they pretty?

Their arrival here was complicated. It should be simple, no? Alas, an incorrect notation of our address gave me flowers a day late, after Valentine's Day, and gave Superdad a fifty percent discount.

I'm just happy to have fresh, beautiful flowers in my dining room against the backdrop of cold and snow, no matter the day. Superdad though, feels differently. It's the romantic in him, I suppose. Don't tell him I told you, but he's probably more romantic and sentimental than I am. That's a good thing as sometimes I think I'm not romantic enough.

I'll let him deal with the business end of ordering flowers. I just want to enjoy them.

Thank you, Joe!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, dear readers!

Also, here's the most adorable valentine the kids got this year. Isn't it delightful? (Thanks, Jack and Harry!)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Movie Review

Just before leaving for NYC last week Superdad and I did something we hadn't done in eons: we rented movies. We're so behind that we didn't know where to begin, so I just ran through Hollywood Video and nabbed three that looked interesting.

So, here's what we watched:

Superdad and I both really enjoyed this movie. Eric Bana was terrific and made some slower scenes watchable. I don't have any insightful commentary, but I would recommend the movie, though make sure you watch it on a night when you're fully awake and alert.

Hil-arious. Even Superdad enjoyed it . It was a very pretty movie to watch, doesn't require much thought (OK, any) to keep up and I've heard and read it pretty accurately describes the behind-the scenes of the fashion industry.

I thought I'd read good reviews of World Trade Center. Upon proudly showing the rental to Superdad his less than enthusiastic face temporarily tamed my excitement.

"What?" I asked.

"Why'd you rent that?"

"What! It's supposed to be really good. Isn't it?"

"No, Cate, it's not."


And he was right. Pretty dull stuff.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pass the Sugar, Please

All kids like food made with sugar, or so it seems. But not all kids like food made with sugar.

Madeleine likes her cake and candy, but not so much that she'll gorge herself. And she'll often choose a healthy snack after school, preferring that to a homemade sugary treat.

And then there's Hank. He has proven too many times during sugar centered occasions (trays of Christmas cookies lying about, for instance) that he's painfully out of tune with his body. He's made himself sick on more than one occasion by popping one too many cookies in his mouth.

We've learned that when it comes to cake, candy, cookies and other sweet treats that Hank's behavior needs to be closely monitored. It's tiresome to hear him trying to break into the cookie jar when I leave the kitchen. Again. And again. And again.

Well now it appears Superdad and I have another sweet tooth in the house. Elisabeth isn't quite capable yet of breaking into the cookie jar, but she's made it abundantly clear that she approves of cookies and cake. She hasn't had them that often yet somehow she's aware of exactly what they are and exactly how much she wants them.

Here she is enjoying a chocolate chip cookie this past Saturday night. A happy little baby follows:

Friday, February 09, 2007

New York, II

I love New York. I love visiting. I love racing up and down subway steps imagining, for just a moment, that I’m part of the hustle and bustle; that I too have someplace so important to be that I couldn’t dream of merely walking down the stairs. I love the sounds of the trains screeching on the tracks. And the chorus of honking taxi horns when you step up from the subway. I love the idea that someone is upset because someone else's pace (hit the gas pedal a half a second BEFORE the light turns green! Don't walk to slowly on the subway stairs! Push the revolving door faster!) might push them a millisecond behind schedule. Superdad calls NY driving "Combat Driving" and I think it's an appropriate title.

Hurry, hurry, rush, rush!

And all that rushing always has New Yorkers on the cutting edge of everything in America, it seems. Some of it good, some of it not, but what's good is so enjoyable to take part. I love watching what people are wearing in NY. It almost seems as if I'm looking at a photo spread in Vogue; people are so well dressed. I love eating out in NY. The restaurants are unique and amazing but, like everything else, ever changing.

Here are my trip highlights: a fun visit with my aunt (check out Sixty-Five's blog for some more tidbits about my trip), a trip to the Museum of Modern Art, a Bobby Flay and Stephanie March sighting (they were at the MoMA too!!!), three extraordinary meals at Bar Americain, Mesa Grill and Lombardi's Pizza and countless hours logged drooling over clothes, bags, jewelry and accessories in one glamorous store after another.

It was a fantastic, too short trip, and I can't wait for the next.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New York

I am heading to the Big Apple tomorrow to celebrate Superdad's and my wedding anniversary. Superdad is already there for work and I'll be joining him tomorrow afternoon. This will be my first trip into the city in a long time without kids in tow and I'm very excited-- especially since we have reservations at one of Bobby Flay's restaurants tomorrow night (I won't get into how much I love Bobby Flay; that's a whole separate entry).

Bon Voyage!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Snow Day, II

And now school's been cancelled for tomorrow. This is absurd. We live in Wisconsin, for pity's sake; it's supposed to be cold.

I'm trying to envision Pa Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie fame telling Ma he wasn't going to get to the chores most days in the winter because the cold was too dangerous. Please.

They're Up!

Terri's galleries, that is. Scroll through all four and see if you spot any familiar faces...

Snow Day

No school today. No, not too much snow; too cold, they say. It's tolerable, I say, but no one making school closing decisions asks me.

So, the kids get to stay home. Both big kids are immediately shuttled off to the first of what turns into multiple play dates. It's quieter here than most days now.

I like the quiet, but I also don't want the kids' time in school in June to be extended. I hope they're back to school tomorrow.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


We're done and ready to file our 2006 federal and state income tax returns.

Ignoring the ridiculous amount owed and the wasteful management of our tax dollars both in Washington and Madison, I'm still relieved. They're finished.

Oh, and I love TurboTax. Love, love, love it.