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Archive for June, 2002

Political Compass

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-30-2002

I wanted to leave my Political Compass over at Brian’s, but I can’t seem to figure out how to work his comments system.

Guess I’m just having a bad day ( scratch.scratch.)

Economic Left/Right: -3.50
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.49


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-30-2002

The Girl : The next one that you find, can I hold it in my hand ?
Mummy Dearest : Girl, these aren’t house pets !
The Girl : I know that - I want to look at it under my microscope.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-30-2002

The girls have lice. Well, I think that is what it is called in English- you know, cooties, bugs. The Girl and I just spent almost an hour checking everyone out. We looked like a family of chimpanzees. It seems that The Girl brought the nasty things into our happy home, then The Baby got it. The Boy only has a few eggs, The Father nothing and me ? I have cooties ! Yuk! Yuk! Yuk !

My first reaction is to want to run to the store to get cootie shampoo, but of course, it’s Sunday so I can just sit here with goosebumps on my arms for the rest of the day. Yuk ! Yuk! Yuk!

For those of you who have children and have done cootie checks, perhaps wondering if they were so tiny that you were missing them : believe me, you can’t miss them. I pulled a few off of The Girl that were bigger than aphids. Oh, yuk, yuk, yuk.

So let it be written. So let it be done

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-29-2002

Well, I was in quite the hissy fit yesterday. But of course, it was only here on the computer. Whether I’m dropping toads and lizards out of my mouth or doing a mean Shirley Temple routine here, day to day life continues as usual : kids to be picked up, shopping to be done, directions to the Vismarkt to be given to strangers, a pleasant demeanor to be maintained throughout. But by dinner time the last vestiges of my foul humors were blown away. I had fun at dinner.

First off, we had schnitzel for dinner. I make a very good schnitzel and it is one of the few things that everyone likes- even The Girl. The Girl is a very picky eater and I am sure would much prefer to live on potatoes and applesauce alone. So most dinners include those agonizing nag fests of ‘eat your dinner’ ( nibble), ‘Girl!’ ( gnaw). But she likes schnitzel, so no nagging yesterday.

During dinner there is no TV or reading at the table allowed. The Baby and I sit on one side of the table, The Boy , The Father and The Girl on the other. Usually we do the ‘what did you do today’ routine, where everyone ( including – with much prompting- The Baby) tells what they did that day, but yesterday was report card day, so instead we went over The Boy’s and The Girl’s report cards. First let me say this : we have perfectly normal kids. We don’t lose sleep at night pondering over whether or not to send them to schools for gifted children. I’m sure that this is because I never read enough to them. So The Boy’s report card was still surprisingly good, a wee slump here and there but all and all something to be proud of. The Girl had brought her grades up quite a bit and deserved praise as well. For a while she was very unhappy in her class ( known as the rowdiest in her school), but since she has become involved in scouts , school doesn’t seem to annoy her as much as it did before. She’s happier. Her teacher had suggested that we might want to hold her back a year, simply to get her out of that group, but we have decided against that so The Girl will be moving into group 6 ( 4th grade ).

The moments after dinner are sometimes used to reinforce certain house rules that the kids have been abusing. I have our classic authority figure with me ( The Father) to back me up and help get things back in line. The Girl and The Boy were clearing the table last night, The Girl just reaching for my plate when The Father said he wanted to clear up a thing or two with ‘the girls’ ( meaning The Girl and me). The Girl paused, and as The Father began to speak , I found my two forefingers creeping up to my lower eyelids and pulling them down, my two pinkies pushing my nose up, I began to sway from side to side slowly- in short, the classic Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera face. Without missing a beat, The Girl joined me and together we respectfully listened to The Father, faces contorted, gently swaying from side to side. He was able to go on for about two more sentences, reminding us to screw on the cap of the peanut butter jar- tightly- before we all just broke into laughter- even The Father.

We finished the evening by watching ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ with The Boy and The Girl.

The Friday Five

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-28-2002

Is the Friday Five up yet ? I’m in desperate need of distraction. I still can’t believe that I just yelled at a very louche character blocking my way on the bike path this morning. For a moment, I thought that he was going to come after me and punch me in the nose. Yes, the Friday Five is up :

When is the last time that you …

1. …sent a handwritten letter? Last summer I received a letter from Rock, complaining that since we were using e-mail to communicate we rarely actually said anything to each other any more. He suggested that we resume our long standing tradition of hand written letters ( we’ve been in touch since 1977 via mail). So I sat down and actually wrote what I thought was a very good letter and sent it off to him in Saudi. It has yet to arrive.

2. …baked something from scratch or made something by hand? I made macaroni and cheese ( having found some cheddar by chance the other day) for the kids last Tuesday. Right now, I’m working on a quilt for The Boy- believe it or not, I pieced it when I was pg with him and was so busy after he was born, well, he understands.

3. …camped in a tent? I think that ’92 was when The Fatherand I made a camping tour of Scotland.

4. …volunteered your time to church, school, or community? When I first came to the Netherlands ( in ’82) I did volunteer work at an archaeology center in Tilburg. It was in the middle of that whole cruise missile crisis and there was a lot of anti-American feeling, so after a few months of lunch time being the pick-on-the-American time, I quit. The last conversation I had with the director has always stuck in my mind. Chomping on his sandwich, he asked me to name one good thing that ever came out of America. I said ‘The Potato Chip’ and left.

5. …helped a stranger? Living in a tourist town, I attract people wanting directions like a magnet. Oh, look ! A woman pushing a stroller loaded with groceries- must be a ‘native’. I have to add that I am very bad at giving directions, always having to flap a hand before I say left or right.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-28-2002

That whole business this morning has put me in a really foul mood. For example, if one were to ask me about my plans for the weekend, I would say : ” We are going to buy a new lawn mower. Doesn’t that just make you want to piddle all over the floor and do a happy dance ?”. I think that the correct term is ‘bitchy’.

As you can imagine, just about the last thing I wanted to do this morning was to get on that bike. On the plus side, though, it was very sunny, sunny enough that I could wear my sunglasses, which I always enjoy doing. It makes me feel so reptilian. So I strapped The Baby in and we walked The Boy and The Girl over to school, did the whole kiss-kiss , see you at lunch bit and took off.

Well, we hadn’t even reached the bridge over the Oude Maas ( another point in our route that has oodles of charm and is most likely a place where a statistically significant number of accidents occur each year) when it began to rain, first just a light sprinkle, then your average rain-rain and then the first recorded monsoon broke out in the Netherlands. The winds rushed over the polder , and in no time at all The Babywas heard to comment ‘legs all wet’. Drowned rats comes to mind. Of course, just as I parked the bike by her school, the clouds passed, the rain stopped, the sun began to shine. Entering the classroom, dripping water and wearing my sunglasses , I made the obligatory oh-silly-me comment to Ms. Nora : ‘ Oh well,the sun was shining when I left home’ and then got The Baby settled down. Kiss-kiss, have a nice day, big goofy wave and I was off.

As I neared the fortifications of town, I saw that a bike had stopped in the middle of the path and that there was a dog roaming back and forth across the path – obviously belonging to the man who was yelling into one of those I-am-always-available-even-when-I-go-to-the-john cel phones in the sort of dutch that one does not pick up in your average language class. The dog was an old pit bull, and yes, I do judge people at times by the breed that they choose to own. As I neared, he was still cursing into his phone and the dog headed towards me, so I stopped my bike with a dramatic huff. He looked at me and said ‘Hallo !?’ ( translation, including tone of voice : What the fuck is your problem?’). I wheeled my bike past him and started it up again and yelled back ‘Watch your dog’ ( translation , including tone of voice: Watch your fucking dog, asshole’). Then, for a brief second, I thought that I heard him starting up behind me ( he really was a rough looking guy, looking like the sort who would go after one), got that shot of adrenalin and wondered what in the world possessed me to say anything at all.

And that was my morning.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-27-2002

The inevitable has finally happened : while biking The Baby back from school yesterday, we had an accident. It would be far more dignified, far more bearable if I could say that we were minding our own business, zipping down l’Alpe d’Huez when suddenly a… moose – yes, that’s it – a moose jumped out in front of us. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that I was at a full stop, both feet planted firmly on the ground.

We were on the last bit of the trip home and had just turned into the bike path that goes behind The Boy and The Girl”s school. I don’t like this path much as while it is very picturesque it is barely a meter wide. It’s been my experience that the more charming an object is, the less comfort or practicality it contains. Anyway, I’m pedaling along and see a woman with humongous saddle bags on her bike coming towards us. I know that I can never pass her, so I pulled the bike over to the side of the path, planting a foot on the path on both sides of the bike between my legs. And then it happened- slowly the bike began to tilt to the right, and try as hard as I could, I couldn’t stop the eventual fall : The Baby, the bike and I landed in an undignified pile on the side of the bike path.

Fortunately while I couldn’t stop the fall, I did slow it down a lot. Fortunately, we fell on the steep side of a dike rising up on our right, where the meter high grass had just been cut that very morning, providing a cushion for us to land on. Fortunately, The Baby is alright, having only a small bruise on her right knee to show for it all. Shaking, we walked the rest of the way home.

I myself have a large bruise on both my right knee and my right wrist. It was funny,the second thing that shot into my mind after the fall ( the first being, of course, that The Baby was ok ) was that I only had to make this ride 3 more times and then the school year is over.

I hate that bike.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-26-2002

An important archive of 37 Marconi telegraph signals recorded on board R.M.S.Olympic, relating to the sinking of her sister ship, R.M.S.Titanic, are to be offered for sale in Warwick on Wednesday July 10th.

Warwick and Warwick – News section, from Warwick and Warwick, via Titanic 2002

The Titanic in Dundee :

From August 10th to 18th 2002, Dundee plays host to a range of organisations with one feature in common.

They are all dedicated to the memory of that outstandingly graceful and charismatic ocean liner, Titanic, which collided with an iceberg 90 years ago and then sank with the loss of over 1,500 lives.

Dundee is the city where Californian was built. This was the ship that appeared tantalizingly close to the stricken Titanic and which failed to heed the rockets fired in an attempt to highlight the vessel’s desperate plight.

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of Titanic’s foundering, the Maritime Volunteer Service is filling to the gunnels Shed 25 at Victoria Dock, Dundee, (pictured above) with a rich collection of artefacts and images, which will stimulate interest and amazement in young and old alike.

The Clip

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-26-2002

The comment in the previous post about my hair was actually right on target. For the last year or so, the best description of my hair is Janis Joplin on a bad-hair day. I don’t know, maybe it’s one of the side effects of getting older.

A few weeks ago I found this great hair clip which has solved some of my problems. The easiest thing to do would be to simply throw a picture of it up here, but with 16 colors, most of my software won’t open. It’s about 5 inches long, faux tortoise shell and basically looks like two curved combs joined at the back by a spring mechanism. You pinch the two tabs at the back ( which look a lot like a clothes pin) , the two combs open, you stick it on the hair which you have rolled up against your head, release the tabs and the two inter meshing combs close and hold your hair up in a nice tidy roll. The clip is even curved slightly, to match the general contours of your head. A nice thing.

I can almost put myself in The Boy’s shoes, almost. If you pinch those two tabs open and shut a few times, the curved teeth of the two combs do rather look like the lethal teeth of some prehistoric animal opening and shutting. Vicious, in fact. I can almost imagine thinking that if I held the clip up to my mouth and chomped up and down on the two tabs, it would look like I was some monster, opening and closing my mouth to expose teeth of death. What I wouldn’t know, like The Boy, was that the clip would get stuck in my mouth, making me look like Alfred E. Newman, redesigned by Stephen King.

That is what happened yesterday morning. I was drinking my coffee, looking at the newspaper. It must have been about 8, as 8 is when The Boy finally really wakes up and starts getting into things. He came running into the kitchen in tears. He turned towards me and then I saw it : my 5 inch long 1.5 inch wide clip was stuck horizontally in his mouth. His lips were stretched out like a gargoyle’s around my clip which is roughly the size and shape of an empty toilet paper roll. It wasn’t hard to get off ( I still don’t know exactly how it got stuck IN his mouth in such a fashion), and I had him swill his mouth out a few times with ice-water for the pain. But I suspect the major damage was done to his pride. I was very sympathetic, soothing, a good mother.

Once I came back from taking the kids to school, the image of The Boy with that clip stuck in his mouth floated to the surface and I all but rolled on the ground laughing : it was the silliest thing I have seen in ages. I laughed and laughed until tears rolled down my cheeks. This could only happen to The Boy.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-25-2002

Which footballer are you?

You are
Freddie Ljungberg
Although you need a new hairdresser, you’re a class player. You’re not a saint but you’re not a hatchet man either. However, unlike a solid Swedish table, you’re a bit unstable. Your temper needs to be controlled.

via molly