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Preview: Jen on the Edge

Jen on the Edge

Updated: 2017-10-29T09:38:49.007-04:00




In an effort to consolidate my blogging, Jen on the Edge has moved to WordPress. Please follow me there and continue with the fun!

(Do you think if I put enough links in you'll follow me?)

What a bummer.


The females of Jenworld love candy, chocolate in particular. We all have our favorites for each season and Easter is no exception. One that we particularly like is Cadbury's Mini Eggs. How can you go wrong with milk chocolate covered with a candy shell? It's like M&Ms, but just a little different.

(image) This year, Cadbury's introduced DARK chocolate Mini Eggs. (Or maybe they've been around and we're just now noticing.) I was so damn excited when I heard and couldn't wait to try them.

Alas, my excitement turned to disgust after one bite. The chocolate was cheap (after all, Hershey's is the American distributor) and was oily. I can't describe it any better than that. They tasted like ass, plain and simple. Yuck.

Has anyone else tried them?

At least she's honest


It is generally not a good sign to get an email from a teacher at 3:20 in the afternoon. When one does come into my inbox, I know to brace myself.

Yesterday I received an email from Elegant's teacher. Apparently El had a hard time focusing and completing her work yesterday. Duh -- it was Monday and it was 64 degrees outside. She was also a little disrespectful when the teacher took her aside to talk to her about her work ethic. Actually, she was more than a little disrespectful; apparently she ignored the teacher and wouldn't look at her, which is a sure sign that Elegant knows she's done wrong but doesn't want to admit it.

When I got the email, I asked Elegant how her day went. She immediately looked suspicious and asked, "Did my teacher email you?" I said that she had and asked Elegant to tell me what happened. Elegant's response was, "Well, you already know everything, so there's really nothing more for me to say."

As you can imagine, there were repercussions in Jenworld. The absolute worst punishment in the world for Elegant is making her write, followed closely by having to apologize or admit that she did something wrong, so last night she had to write a note of apology to her teacher in her very nicest handwriting. The first attempt was not acceptable, as it said, "I am sorry. I did not lissen because I was bored." The second letter was a bit more remorseful.

So hopefully today will be a better day for my girl. What would make it stellar is if she paid attention AND found her glasses, which have been missing since last week.


A shameful confession


Have I ever told you about my love/hate relationship with Tom Jones?

[Pretend there's a photo of Tom here.]

I don't understand why people think he's so hot. I think he's repulsive. The man actually turns my stomach. I can't stand looking at photos of him. If I had a choice between standing next to Tom Jones or a rattlesnake, I'd think my options through carefully before deciding.

But some of his music is enjoyable and gets in your head and Just. Won't. Leave. I won't actually buy a CD because that would involve having liner notes with his nasty face on it, but I do love it when I hear "What's New Pussy Cat" or "She's a Lady" in a movie.

(It just only now occurred to me that I could download some songs from iTunes.)

(Hmmm... I'll be back in a few minutes.)

Okay, it appears that iTunes downloads include a photo of the musician. Even though my iPod screen is only two inches wide, I'm going to have to think about this. I wouldn't want Tom's ugly mug breaking my stride when I'm on my walk.

So if you feel like starting your week off with some campy 1960s and 1970s tunes, click here, here, and here. I'll be over here doing the same -- with the speakers on and the computer screen off.

Such a shame


The Boy came for a visit yesterday.

He was not cute:

(image) The Boy was having some hair issues yesterday.

His cousins did not enjoy him at all:

(image) Pat-a-cake is the best game ever!

He obviously did not have a good time:

(image) Best. Toy. Ever.

So he looked for an easy escape from Jenworld:

(image) Low windows are good for little dudes.

And, for the true Micah fans (Hi Mom!), some video:

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The return of Ivana Goldtooth


After much wiggling, Elegant lost her third tooth yesterday, which meant a visit from her personal tooth fairy, Ivana Goldtooth. As is the tradition in Jenworld, Ivana left a letter and a dollar in exchange for the tooth:

Dearest Elegant,

Darling! I’m very excited that you’ve lost your third tooth. You must be thrilled, especially since this one took so so so long to come out. I really thought it would come out while you were at Cirque du Soleil today, but it hung there a little bit longer.

So darling, are you getting excited about your trip to England next month? I just love England. London is so exciting and there’s so much to do. You must go to Madame Tussaud’s and see all the wax statues of famous people. Oh, and of course you must stop by Buckingham Palace, which is the Queen’s fancy fancy fancy castle. Well, one of her fancy castles, that is. If you meet the Queen, tell her I said Hello. I am familiar with some of the teeth in that family.

Keep your teeth shiny and clean. I just know I’ll be back soon to see you -- wiggle those top teeth lots and lots!

Love, Ivana Goldtooth

Ivana is certainly an interesting fairy. So much energy. So much enthusiasm. I get tired just reading her letters. But Elegant loves her, which is really all that matters.

And here is what El's new smile looks like:


It's here!


Today's the day. After weeks of planning, Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet is now ready to rock and roll. So click on over and let us know what you think.

February photo 29 -- Going out with a bang


For my final February photo, I give you nothing but the absolute very best:

Yes, the Boy is back by popular demand. At eleven months of age, my nephew is a charmer and the ladies just love him. The men too. One look at him (or a photo of him) and I am instantly smitten anew. He has that effect on a number of people -- his parents, his grandparents, his aunts and uncles, and most definitely his two cousins.

And thus ends my experiment with daily photos. As with NaBloPoMo, I have discovered that nothing ensures writer's block quite like setting some sort of daily goal, so it will be quite a while before I do something like this again.

A new favorite -- song and TVshow


Have any of you seen the TV show "Dead Like Me"? Pete heard good things, so we've been cruising through it the past couple of weeks. The writing is that wonderful combination of funny and intelligent and I'm loving every minute of it. Too bad there were only two seasons and we're well into Season 2. We've noticed a new listing for it on IMDB, but we can't tell if it's a new season or a movie. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

The music was mostly done by Stewart Copeland -- oh he of The Police -- but there was one song (not by him) that we kept hearing during Season 1 that really grabbed us. After some searching, I found out that it was "Boom Boom Ba" by Metisse and I have since downloaded it to my iPod and listened to it approximately eleventy squillion times this week.


February photo 28 -- The play's the thing


So I owe y'all a play review and some photos...

Remember how I said that Elegant was chosen to hand out programs? As Pete and I were walking up to school yesterday, I remarked that I was certain our girl was watching for us. Not one second later we heard, "Hi Mommy and Daddy!" and out she came:

You can definitely see the purple footwear in that photo.

And then she did her job and handed me a program...

... followed by handing one to Pete, who thought he'd sneak in a quick smooch too:

We went into the auditorium and Elegant asked us to sit near the door, as that's where she would be coming in and was also near her spot on the stage. Soon thereafter, the actors arrived:

And now for some bad news. Some dumb ass (me) forgot to charge the camera batteries and it was at this precise moment in the action that the camera crapped out. I'm truly sorry.

I'm not going to take you through the entire play ("Tiki Tiki Tembo"), but will tell you it was so much better than the Greek tragedy the third graders did last fall, which was so boring that Pete and I didn't even bother to pay attention. Yes, we are lame parents.

An important thing to know about Elegant: She gets stage fright. I'm not kidding. One would think that she would be a natural in front of an audience, but it's actually quite the opposite. She freezes. Completely and totally. She loves the arts, she loves plays, she loves music. She does not however like to be in front of crowds. So she was there on the stage yesterday, but not really getting into the singing and dancing.

The play itself was very entertaining. Nice music, enthusiastic acting, and even a cute ribbon dance at the end. All in all, a lovely 30 minutes.

February photo 27


The second grade play is today. All second graders will be participating and all were instructed to wear a white long sleeve shirt and black pants as their base costume.

Think about that for a moment.

My second grader, Elegant, is supposed to wear black and white, just like everyone else? She's supposed to blend in? This is Elegant -- the child whose entire wardrobe is based on the principle that pink and purple are basic colors and that they match with everything and are appropriate year round and at all occasions.

Does anyone reading this seriously believe that Elegant even has a plain white t-shirt or that she's going do anything plain? Of course not.

Starting from the top...

Elegant opted for a hot pink hair doodad with a butterfly for her very perky hair. I think that style adds three inches to her height today.

The shirt is a lovely white blouse with ruffles at the collar AND cuffs. She does have on a white short sleeve t-shirt underneath for a little extra warmth, and it's probably the only plain thing in her wardrobe and a hand-me-down from Graceful at that.

And there's jewelry, natch. Tiny little blue sapphire studs, a pink and purple charm necklace made by Lori, and a silver and sapphire bracelet. Elegant's birthstone is sapphires, so she likes to wear them, although she would prefer that she'd been born in a month with a brighter stone.

The pants are black leggings that are actually a little short, which gives Elegant an Audrey Hepburn vibe. (Does anyone remember those black pants Audrey used to wear?) Plus it means that people will really notice El's socks and shoes, which are the piece de resistance.

As for socks and shoes, Elegant went with purple socks with rainbows and purple suede Mary Jane shoes with embellished flowers.

So the girl had an extra spring in her step as she went out the door today. She's very excited about the play AND she was chosen to hand out programs beforehand.

Yes, I'll do a play review -- hopefully with photos -- later today.

Normally I like guys with blonde hair and blue eyes


Oh my holy hell! I am SO going on a date with this guy:

Yep, Mr. Darcy and I are going to have a wonderful evening together, just the two of us.

How? Because Mr. Colin Firth has put himself up for auction for charity.

Of course, my winning this auction (currently at $6,800) is going involve my using a real whole lot of Pete's money. Do you think he'll mind too much?

(image) Because I think it's a most worthy cause and I really don't mind helping out. And, if it means I have to fly all the way to England and go on a date, then I think I can manage.

February photo 26


Our girls have art at school only once per week, which I think is just plain wrong, but that's a gripe for another time. In art class, the students explore different types of art and experiment with techniques and materials. The art teachers keep all of the finished projects all year and then send them home in June. Pete and I eagerly anticipate the bringing home of the portfolios because there are always some wonderful surprises. We sit together as a family and go through each piece and the girls tell us what they were learning or some other story about their art. Afterward, the girls decide what they want to hang in their rooms and we decide what will hang in the Jenworld Art Gallery:

This is the stairway going down to the basement. If we ever build our dream house, I'm planning to put the art gallery in a much more prominent location, but for now this is just where we have space at this time in this house.

We have other art around the house, including in the little bathroom on the first floor:

(image) The one on the left is by Elegant and is a tree in fall. When I saw it hanging with her classmates' art at school in October 2006, I was so excited because I just knew exactly where I was going to hang it, but then I had to wait eight months until I could actually get my hands on it. The painting on the right is actually a collage that Graceful did. She painted different parts, cut them out, and put them all together into one marvelous whole. Again, as soon as I saw it, I knew exactly where I would be hanging it.

And speaking of art, I need to end this and go pick up Elegant. She has art classes after school on Tuesdays and today was going to be working with clay, which always leads to interesting results.

February photo 25


Look at this photo and see if you can find three themes in my life today:

1. I got new shoes and I already heart them very much. These are by Keen and they arrived today. I could have bought them locally, but why spend $90 (even at Zappos) when one can find them new in the box on eBay for about two-thirds that, including shipping. Yes, I do love me some eBay.

2. The book, which I've read before, but it's just one of those that I revisit every couple of years.

3. Look to the left. Do you see boxes and stacks of papers? Why yes, I do have another mailing going out for work. This one will reach 1,300 people and has four inserts, so I'll be spending a lot of time at my kitchen table this week and next.

Jimmy and Ben, sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G...


Remember that most excellent video with Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon? Jimmy Kimmel has come back with his response and it's GREAT!

Matt vs. Ben? Anyone have an opinion?



We spent over seven hours in the car this weekend and listed to "The Best of Queen" two or three times.

This is Graceful's favorite.

And this is Elegant's, which Graceful had thought was called "Reginald P. Carlove."

Pete doesn't have a single favorite, but he does like this one a lot.

When listening to "Fat Bottomed Girls," Graceful said, " ' Fat Bottomed Girls make the rockin' world go 'round.' What's THAT mean???"

And this is my current Queen fave.

Just for kicks, here's "Bohemian Rhapsody" because it deserves some serious respect.

We pulled out an old Van Morrison album last night, so that might just be our next music rut.

And we're related ... how?


A conversation while we were at my parents' house this weekend:

Graceful, "Aunt Meredith, how old are you?"

Mer, "Thirty-five."

Graceful, "You're old enough to be president now."

Mer, something like, "You're right, I am, but I'm not well-funded enough to run."

Jen, clearly with Satan sitting on my shoulder, trying to stir up trouble, "Yeah but Graceful, what would you do if Aunt Mer ran as a Republican? Would you still vote for her?"

Graceful, looking very concerned, "Hmmm, I'd have to think about that."

Looks of dismay from my sister and step-mother, both of whom are Republicans. In case you haven't figured this out yet, we here in Jenworld are Democrats, including the children. They pretty much believe that George W. Bush is the most evil person alive. We've tried to explain that, no, it's actually Dick Cheney who is of greater concern. Bush, after all, is not smart enough to do any real damage. And, yes, my children do also believe that Bush is of sub-par intelligence.

My stepmother, "I can't believe how you're brainwashing your children."

Jen, apparently itching for a fight, "They're my children and I'm raising them to think the way I do, which is part of what parenting is about."

At that point, my sister, sensing trouble, wisely changed the subject to Obama vs. Hillary, which got us on more neutral ground, if you can believe that.

DNA is a really weird fucking thing.

February photo 24 -- The weekend in photos


We drove down to my father and stepmother's house yesterday for an overnight visit. It's 3.5-4 hours in the car, so Graceful prepared accordingly:The trip down was uneventful, except for the repeated requests for food and entertainment.Once there, the girls were delighted to not only see Grandma and Grandpa, but also Aunt Meredith and Uncle Andy. There was lots of exploring around the house and playing.After dinner, the girls took a long bubble bath in Grandma's big jacuzzi. They came out smelling like a French bordello and you could almost see the aura of perfume around them.My sister and her husband are into karaoke -- no, I can't believe she's related to me -- and pulled out their gear last night. Graceful tends to get stage fright, so she watched the goings-on from the back of the room, but Elegant got a seat right up front to watch:Then she got comfortable:The singing was done solely by my sister and brother-in-law, with Graceful and Elegant providing backup. They tried to get Pete and me to sing, but we preferred to stay in the audience.After all that excitement, we went to sleep easily last night. It's just as well, as we had to get up and make the drive back:Tomorrow is the beginning of another week and there are things we need to do here in Jenworld. As I type, the girls are in their bedrooms using the walkie talkies and Pete's in the kitchen patching a wall. And now I'm off to do laundry.Thrilling, I know.[...]

February photo 23


For some reason, we only recently -- like this very week -- clued in to the fact that the girls would reallyreallyreally enjoy having walkie talkies. As it happens, we had a set squirreled away amongst the junk in the basement. We told the girls about them and then refused to get off our lazy asses at that moment to go find them. Graceful nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged for a day or two until Pete put on his mining gear and went on the hunt. Two minutes later, he was back and plugging the walkie talkies in to recharge.

Yesterday, Graceful griped mightily about having to walk to school. It was cold, it was potentially wet out there and, if the school system was wise enough to open school two hours late, we probably should just drive instead of walkingl. At least, that was her thinking. As it happens, there was virtually no ice outside and therefore no reason not to walk. Because she is a smart negotiator, Graceful stopped whining long enough to request that they be allowed to use the walkie talkies on the way to school. We said yes -- anything to stop the incessant droning whine of the nine year old mosquito.

Elegant got dressed in record time and prepared her gear:

Alas, when we got outside, there were some technical difficulties, so the girls didn't actually get to talk on the walkie talkies, but they pretended anyway. When we got to school, we confiscated the communications devices, because can you just imagine what would happen otherwise? The girls would somehow figure out how to get them working and then would be whispering plans to each other throughout the day.

Today we are going to my father and stepmother's house, which is a fairly large abode with lots of nooks and crannies. The girls are planning to take the the walkie talkies with them and make use of all those closets and other hidden corners. I'm guessing they'll disappear when we walk in the door and all we'll hear for hours is bursts of static and then two girls speaking in code.

Y'all know this is just one step removed from giving the girls cell phones, right?

Whatever happened to those guys?


This just popped up on iTunes.

I just LOVE that song. I have no idea why, but it's a helluva lot better than any of that Hannah Montana crap my children like.

Friday stuff


We got more frozen shit last night, in the form of sleet, ice, and freezing rain. I'm not exactly sure what the difference among the three is -- and no one needs to enlighten me on this cold gray morning -- but we got enough of it that schools have been delayed by two hours. No complaints from me; I love having this extra time in the morning to be leisurely.

In anticipation of getting crappy weather and possibly being housebound with children, yesterday I did what any sensible person would do and went to Target to stock up on necessities, including chocolate and toilet paper. I'm not saying that the two are connected, only that our supplies were too low for my comfort.

I also picked up a seriously cute purse in my new It color for spring: GREEN. While not every woman should match her accessories to her eyes, that's my personal fashion statement for Spring 2008.

While I was shopping, I discovered that my favorite long sleeved t-shirt was marked down to $4.98, so I stocked up in a variety of colors, including black, green, blue, black, white, and black. I now have enough to see me through 11 days of travel in April.

(I wouldn't need so damn many new shirts if I weren't so messy. Every year I ruin shirts simply by spilling nacho cheese on my rack, which I admit is a convenient shelf, but not a place I wish to store bread crumbs or spaghetti sauce.)

Also whilst at the Big T, the Easter Bunny did some shopping for Graceful and Elegant. Easter is in four or five weeks, which seems impossible, but that's the problem with those floating holidays that change days and even months. We went from Valentine's hearts to Easter eggs with no time to even stock the stores for St. Patrick's Day. I recognize that by making these purchases in February I am jumping the gun a bit, so one could argue either that I have a shopping problem or that I am simply very organized. I prefer the latter.

In other news, Elegant has three loose teeth. After bearing the shame of being the only child in the first grade last year who had not lost a tooth, she lost two over the summer, at which point her mouth decided to take a break from all that losing of teeth. It was just So. Much. Work.

So now she has two wigglers on top and one on the bottom. The poor child can hardly talk with all that movement in there, and she has a lisp AND always sounds like she has something in her mouth. When I made Shepherd's Pie for dinner the other day, El came to the table and announced with great disdain, "Thith ith dithguthting!"

And now it's time to mosey outside and see just how slick it is and what levels of Pete's efforts will be necessary to get the girls to school.

February photo 22


So, what do you think? Is it obvious that children live in Jenworld:

Those are magnet boards. We've been collecting them for years, adding them one by one (or, more accurately, two by two) as the girls have gotten older. Early versions were of Madeleine, dinosaurs, and farm animals. Later versions included fairies, princesses, and ballerinas.

The girls keep them all in the same container and will pull them out to create a Magnetic Extravaganza. The boards and dozens and dozens of magnets are all over the living room right now. At first glance, it appears to be pure chaos, but the reality is that the boards have been carefully divided and sorted. If you look more closely, you can see open spots on the carpet -- about the size of a 4' tall girl -- with semi-circular arrangements of magnet boards and pieces.

When the girls do this, there's a story, natch, and it tends to be elaborate. All of the boards and their characters interact and visit each other. The story tends to be a Major Drama -- akin to a soap opera, only without the adultery and alcoholism. Or the lengthy comas or villains on the run. There are, however, rich princesses and poor orphan servants. Maybe there's even a mystery to spice things up around the kingdom. One never knows what will spring from the fertile imaginations of children

Eco fun


Melissa at Green Girl in Wisconsin and I have been working on a fun project: Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet! We'll get started on March 1 and plan to talk about the continuing adventures of Enviro Girl and Recycla as they try to save Planet Earth.

Yes folks, it's another damn eco blog. But! Ours is going to be fun. And EASY. So wander over there on March 1 and join the Eco Women on their mission for truth, justice, and the Green Way.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of eco stuff, a few weeks ago, Jan at The Prytz Family talked about Indigo Wild, a fabulous company that produces organic personal care and household products. They have a line called Zum, which includes Zum Body (lotions) and Zum Clean (cleaning supplies). I took Jan's advice and ordered various soaps, lotions, scrubs, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies. The box arrived yesterday and my word it smelled SO GOOD even before I opened it. They even included several samples of other goodies, so it really was a fun box to open.

One disappointment was that the fine folks at Indigo Wild opted to use packing peanuts to pad the contents of the box. I don't care if they were so-called environmentally friendly packing peanuts or not; packing peanuts are the work of the Dark Side and I hate them, I just hate them. They float all over the place and skitter out of my reach as I grab for them. Plus, sorting through all those damn P.P. to find the parts of my order was a royal pain in the royal ass.

But that's a minor thing compared to all the other great things. I'm looking forward to trying all my new stuff and will let you know the results on Eco Women. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be placing another order soon, because Indigo Wild makes something called Zum Bum -- which is some sort of "bidet in a bottle" -- which Pete thinks is freaking hilarious and keeps calling "ass spray." I might just order up several bottles and make Pete test everything out on his own personal ass. Which I might add is mighty cute, but that's my opinion.

February photo 21


Did any of y'all watch the lunar eclipse last night? We did. Actually, we HAD to, as it was Graceful's homework.

The girls were so excited and worried that they would miss the whole thing, until we explained that it wasn't dramatic like that, that it would take about an hour to happen and wasn't a 15 second occurance.

Luckily, their bedrooms are on the east side of the house and their beds are near the windows, so they could lie in their beds, all warm and cozy. And if Elegant just happened to fall asleep early on? Well, that's just bonus. And if Graceful fell asleep shortly thereafter? Double bonus.

I did not take the photo above, which I shamelessly stole from Yahoo News. The moon did not actually look like that here in Virginia. Maybe in the other 49 states, but not mine. It was small and white, then a l-o-n-g time later it was small and brown, then m-u-c-h later it was small and white again.

So now all residents of Jenworld can say they've seen a lunar eclipse. The next one is in 2010 and something tells me we'll be watching it then too.

Page 123


MizMell has tagged me for the book meme that's going around these days. The rules:
  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
  2. Open the book to page 123
  3. Find the 5th sentence
  4. Post the next three sentences
  5. Tag 5 people
"The lawns around the office park become less green and stop growing and turn to stubble, and the begonias in the beds along the walkways fade, and the rhododendron leaves curl and then brown and then drop off. At home you increase the cycle of the underground sprinkler system from three times a week to every other day, to every day, to -- and you feel guilty about this after the voluntary watering restrictions are announced -- morning and evening, and you're maintaining everything but not gaining any ground, nothing seems happy, the lawn is green but thin, patchy, parched-looking, browning around the edges where the sprinkler's spray is weaker, and the crabgrass and clover are moving in. The impatiens along the wall down by the road are bravely blooming, but their foliage looks tired, and even the indestructible independent barberry, weary and dusty, seems to be calling for a helping hand."


Honestly? Did any of you actually read that? I know I wouldn't have. Someone needs to instruct the author on increasing his use of periods and cutting way the hell back on his commas.

I'm not going to tag anyone. Feel free to tag yourself. And, if anyone wants this book, holler and I'll mail it to you. If more than one person wants it, I'll have a random drawing to choose a winner.