Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No Soliciting

Bella's been having bad dreams. Bad dreams in which she is menaced by vampires, and turned into a vampire herself. Since we're pretty darn careful about the television she's exposed to, Alex and I were fairly shocked to hear about what was going on in these nightmares. We knew she was having some pretty bad dreams, because we still keep a monitor on between her room and ours (as well as a closed-circuit camera left over from the days when she wouldn't stay in bed at night), and we rushed upstairs late the other night when we heard her crying out, "No!" and "OWWWWW!" in her sleep. So when she told me what she'd been dreaming about, I of course asked her, "Where in the world did you learn about vampires?" And now I get to blame her night terrors on my sister, because among the stacks of books she inherited from her older cousin Grayson was one I somehow missed: a collection of stories subtitled, "spooky stories to read after dark." Which, of course, she did. Like mother, like daughter, I suppose.

Me: "I bet you wish you hadn't read that book now, huh?"

Bella: "YES. Can we get rid of it?"

Me: "You want to give it back to Grayson?"

Bella: "Yeah, or we could sell it to the library."

Me: "You think the library would buy your books you don't want? I don't think it works that way, Hon."

Bella: "Well, I have never seen a 'NO SOLICITING' sign there, so they might."

At this point, her father and I quiz her on the meaning of 'soliciting,' to which she smugly answers, "If a place puts up a 'NO SOLICITING' sign, it means that they do not want you to come in there selling things."

I wonder what else she knows that would amaze me?

In other Bella news, she's officially done with preschool now, and looking forward to starting kindergarten at the very good public school near our home in the fall. (We just hope they'll know what to do with her.) Her last day was to have been last Friday, but she came home Thursday with a raging case of pinkeye, so Thursday wound up being her last day. She was really sad, because she didn't get to say goodbye to her friends, she missed their class party at CHUCK E. CHEESE, for crying out loud, and she also missed the end-of-year program that she'd been practicing SO hard for. She apparently had several parts to play, including the letter 'U', a sunbeam, and a storm-cloud. I felt so bad for her having to miss all that, and offered her pretty much the world (including, Lord help me, a make-up trip to the giant rat's pizza joint) in an attempt to comfort her.

So it was that, when she expressed a desire to take her much-hated, Duggar-style polyester uniform dress and "set it on fire," this mom could not say no. (But since this mom is notoriously frugal, this mom selected one of the jumpers to symbolically represent all the others, which will be sold to one of the next crop of unfortunates who is forced to wear it.)

Yep, we had us a good old down-home dress-burning in the driveway. There was much excitement as the dastardly thing caught the flame.

the beginning of the end

We noticed right away that it wasn't so much "burning" as it was...well, "melting."

note that it's not burning so much as it's melting

The fumes coming off the polyester blend were probably fairly toxic, and definitely stank to high heaven.

we don't need no water, let the... well, you know

in princess nightgown, with pinkeye, protecting herself from noxious polyester fumes

And it kept burning for a really long time, until I started to wonder just how much petroleum was IN that fabric. Finally, the flaming mass began to shrink...

get on outta here

And ultimately it pretty much disappeared, at which point Bella stomped up and down on the charred remains with both feet until they were rendered to a handful of black dust. And then the princess, with her crazy messed-up hair, the bruise on her forehead, and her pinkeye-swollen peepers, was happy. And lo, that happy was contagious. It didn't hurt that Daddy let her ride the tractor in her nightgown while he mowed.

even with pinkeye, mussed hair, and a knot on her noggin, still the prettiest thing I ever saw

So now my baby is officially having her last summer vacation before starting the next nearly-two-decade-long phase of her education life that is "real school." *sniff* She's gone to the office with me a couple of days, and has been really good, but of course that's no way for her to have to spend the summer, so I need to come up with something for her to do. This week we're on an organizing kick, and hopefully will be able to do some MAJOR de-cluttering and selling of outgrown clothes and unloved books and such on Ebay.

My homemaking efforts have gotten completely away from me in recent months, with everything a cluttered mess, and hardly any home-cooked meals being served, and just general chaos on the homefront. And since that feeling of chaos does seep into every facet of our lives eventually, it's time to get a handle on it. It's in that spirit that I'm falling back on some good old-fashioned public accountability, and I'm jumping into combating the "cycle of despair" at the admittedly arbitrary point of meal-planning and cooking. You gotta start somewhere, and right now, that's where I really feel the weakest, so why not? I'll be journaling what my family's dinner is every day, even if that means admitting that we totally punked out and stopped for cheeseburgers on the way home from work. Just knowing that I'll have to admit it publicly will, hopefully, keep me motivated to do the right thing. Right? Sure. And, since there's no better time to start than the present, I've posted the recipe for the dish I made tonight, which was a BIG hit, and is called "Husband's Delight Casserole." Seriously. That's what it's called. It should come as no surprise that it's originally from a cookbook that was printed in 1943, which came to me by way of Twitter-bud Jenny. Go check it out, because it was SCRUMPTIOUS.

While I'm inflicting accountability upon my pitiful self, I might as well go ahead and mention my weight-loss efforts. I've thought long and hard about how to do this without having to admit what I weighed to start with, or to have people doing the math to figure that out, and I finally settled on calculating the amount I am trying to lose in the form of percentages. So I am telling you now that, since about February, I've lost 26% of the weight I need to lose. Go, Weight-Watchers. Whoo.


  1. 26% is MAJOR. Go you! Also, that casserole looks deadly.

  2. That girl never ceases to amaze me, and either do you. Very cool, a dress burning.

  3. You may also want to check for Christopher Moore novel on Bella's bookshelf. I know I was afraid to turn into a vampire after reading them.

    Now, off to sell my books at the library. But, only if there isn't a no soliciting sign :)

  4. You? Are the coolest mommy ever, letting her burn (melt?) her uniform.

  5. 1. If they're smart, they'll put her in the gifted and talented program like, day 1. Idle hands.. you know.

    2. Good thing you burned the polyester jumper. That could've sat in the landfill and never decomposed. Like a twinkie, that jumper is.

    3. Re: #2. Apparently, I'm channeling Yoda. EEK!

  6. Dory: Today IS "Speak Like Yoda Day" so you're on message!

    NP: Can you explain to Bella that vampires have to be invited in and they haven't been on the guestlist? She seems the type of kid you can reason with. :)

  7. Hey Belinda! The casserole sounds fantastic. I'm seriously digging the blog... I found it earlier this week after googling something like "stuck home with sick child" and was so captivated that I'm spending a LOT of time on my vacation (at home) this week reading your archives. You are hilarious! (For example, reading the post about the creepy Burger King guy... I nearly peed in my pants I was laughing so hard, because I thought I was the only one who thought he was so disturbing.) I'm also new to the South, so your blog is helping me to understand this nutty (nutty to me, as an outsider, no offense intended whatsoever!) place I've been living in for the last year and a half.

    Anyway, sorry for the rambling comment but that's just me. I'm new to blogging myself, so I hope you'll consider visiting mine.

  8. So great that you are down 26%, woohoo for you!!! Keep up the good work. I am glad that Bella enjoyed her uniform burning:o)

  9. you know, as brilliant as she is, I hope the school system knows what to do with her. You might just end up homeschooling. (don't knock it, it really is awesome, especially for kids who don't fit the mold, either gifted or special needs)

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