31 May, 2006


Oh God. Christina's got me totally hooked on You Tube. My kids are probably the only ones on earth who've danced today to EBN-OZN and the Cars. And the adventure in bad taste continues...

30 May, 2006

Little trip down memory lane...

Weather is crappy and I'm feeling kind of melancholy. Mausi posted a link to You Tube and I've been sucked into a time warp. Unbelieveable to see all the really obscure stuff that's on there! I've been mining their old 80's alternative videos. Does anyone else remember Echo and the Bunnymen???!

29 May, 2006

I should have found her a feather

"Umm, Bets, have you noticed the shape of the dog today?" M asked me Friday with a bemused smile.

To be honest I'd been too busy to pay her much mind, but I called her over and was horrified. Our normally wasp-waisted sleek and slender D looked like she'd swallowed a basketball. (with the basketballer still attached)

She reminded me of that video that's been circulating around the net of the python that swallowed the baby hippopotamus!

Turns out she'd snuck down into the basement and had hijacked a bag of dogfood. She ate more than a kilo worth of dry food in one go! That's 3 1/2 days worth of food, people!

And she looked pretty unhappy! It's taken her until today to digest it all. I've closed up the sack and might even move it into another part of the garage. Or maybe I could just put that faux poop down there just to scare her off!

25 May, 2006

15 minutes of fame

S's football team had an end-of-season barbecue last friday. And the main event was a match between the boys and the mothers, which was a lot of fun.

And someone must have connections with the press because we actually made it into the sports section of Het Laatste Nieuws, which touts itself as the biggest newspaper in Belgium!


S is so proud-- you should have seen the look on his face when he saw it!

Sound advice

I had to have "the talk" with S this morning. You know, the one which probably have a big impact on his future relationships with women.

It took me a second to plan my strategy but in the end I boiled it down to one sentence:

If you sneeze after having a bloody nose it's best not to leave the puddle on the kitchen floor as a trophy.

24 May, 2006

I could enter the witness protection program!

I've discovered my inner blonde. I've always wanted to try it just to see what it would look like but it's taken a while to get up the guts to do it.

Today serendipity struck: I had to have my windshield replaced and was stuck for four hours just down the street from my hair salon. (Hey, don't laugh! I hate to think about what might have happened if I'd been trapped near a tattoo parlor!)

So afterwards I went to pick the boys up from school and it took a few seconds before they recognized me! And then they started giggling and shouting "Mamaaaaaaa! What have you done to your hair?!"

It's good to keep them on their toes...

23 May, 2006

Trying to pull one over on the tooth fairy...

S came running out of school today absolutely beaming.

MOM! You'll never guess! Remember last fall when I lost my front tooth during swimming lessons?! Well we were at the pool again today and I found it while I was diving down near the bottom!

And he pulled a molar out of his pocket.


I just put him to bed and he got all excited. wanted me to go fish the tooth out from off of the floor of the car where he'd dropped it. He's now got it under his pillow hoping the tooth fairy will slip up and leave him some money for it.

It should be interesting to see how the good fairy chooses to handle this one...

22 May, 2006

Birthday hell update

So the neighbor's meeting ran over and he picked up his kids 1 1/2 hours late. Normally no problem, but he didn't call so I've had them ready to go for more than an hour-- ended up reading stories to them all just to get them all to settle down.

Put S & B to bed, came down to finish my now very cold spaghetti and found that the cat had picked all the ham out of it.

I give up....

And many moooooorrrrrrrreeeeee...

Am thankfully more than halfway through what I think can safely be called the shittiest birthday on record.

M left for Stuttgart at 7am so I was already feeling morose and lonely. Someone came to look at the house at 2 so I spent the morning cleaning, mopping and generally feeling sorry for myself.

My parents-in-law called to sing to me and convinced me to go buy myself a birthday present. Hopped in my car and was about 2km from home when a branch fell out of a tree and destroyed my windshield. Luckily it didn't break through, but it was pretty shocking just the same.

Am now celebrating further by looking after my neighbor's kids. Which is normally fine but they're unusually rowdy today and are running around the house screaming like maniacs.

Plan to top off the evening with a couple of loads of laundry and German homework. Somebody please tell me life's going to get better....

21 May, 2006

Wir lernen Deutsch

The kids have been actively rebelling against their German lessons. Can't say I blame them-- it's the one small thing they still have any real control over. I'd probably do the same.

They behave just fine if the teacher is here but don't want to work on it with me during the rest of the week. Which is fine-- I'm just not going to push it. They'll learn it when we get there.

Have done a couple of searches lately to try and find some multimedia lessons that might suppliment what we're doing in a more entertaining way-- and found a really fantastic site: MyGermanClass.com.

There are about 10 lessons available and they're hilarious! Very bizarre, and the grammar and vocabulary seems to "stick" just due to the sheer absurdity of the script and situations!

Found out that the creator, Clark Shah-Nelson has a Vlog called ZipZapZop featuring his alterego Clark ov Saturn. Have really been having fun mining it this weekend. Lots of great clips, music and wacky humor.

And as a weird serendipitous footnote, he seems to be somehow linked with Gil Fronsdal, whose lectures I've been avidly podcasting for a couple of months now. I knew there was a reason I liked this guy!

19 May, 2006

Honey I shrunk the garnish...

B and S love pickles. And although I'm a kosher dill woman myself I can only seem to find those tiny cocktail cornichons. That doesn't seem to phase them, though-- they could probably devour an entire jar if they got the chance.

B was eating cucumber slices with lunch today and suddenly became thoughtful: "How do they make pickles, actually?"

And I started detailing the ingredients and the process when he interrupted me:

"NO! I mean how do they shrink them down so that they're so small?!"

(Picture courtesy of Groupe Original)

18 May, 2006

Things that make you go "Hmmm..."

I just found three slugs in my kitchen sink...

15 May, 2006


My "gross-out factor" has always been pretty high and has only strengthened since having children.

In the last 6+ years I've applied pressure to a profusely bleeding chin that probably needed to be stitched. I've cut off the remains of a toenail that had been ripped off down to the nailbed. I've cleaned up my fair share of bodily fluids and have cared for so many fungal infections that I could do it with my eyes closed!

But I have never, EVER done anything that creeped me out as much as last night's adventure: ripping out a loose tooth that's been dangling by a thread for a few days.


14 May, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Was awakened this morning to the smell of coffee, the rustle of tissue paper and the frenetic movements of boys who are so excited about their gifts that they are about to split out of their skin and fly around the room!

B presented me proudly with a pair of potholders-- they were decorated with little thumbprints and the imprint of a hand and a foot stamped in vivid orange paint. Took one look at it and started giggling-- the teacher had obviously mixed B's up with one of the older children in the class because the footprint was HUGE!

It took me about a half-hour to realize that that really was his footprint and that his feet have grown about two sizes since last week! Remind me to check his shoes because I'm starting to wonder if we're subjecting him to Chinese foot-binding practices every morning. No wonder he prefers to wear sandals!

S also had a couple of nice presents for me-- the best thing, though, was a little paper flower with the petals folded inward. And it says "Mama, I love you because you're" and there were five adjectives he'd picked out, one for each petal:


That just made my whole morning! Not only because S was so earnest and adoreable, but also out of relief that he had not surprised me with "freakish" or "naked" or something like that...

Alternative Mother's Day gifts

Sick of giving run-of-the-mill flowers and chocolates? Davezilla linked to this list of alternative gifts for Mom.

(For some reason the self-embalming kit really cracked me up...)

13 May, 2006

How to melt my heart

7am Saturday morning. Trying to sneak in an extra half-hour sleep.

The boys' door opens and I hear B's staccato steps as he skips past our room-- with one quick detour: small silent fingers slide my stray foot back in under the covers and tuck the duvet back neatly around it...

11 May, 2006

A beautiful moment

Yesterday afternoon it rained; One of those sudden summer storms that brought back vivid images from my youth. Big fat drops plummeted straight to earth releasing that invigorating earthy scent.

We sat on the porch, mesmerized. dreamy. content.

When the shower stopped we realized that S had forgotten to bring in his bicycle.

The result was a ghostly photogene-- something we might have missed if we hadn't been looking carefully. An ephemeral reminder of the beauty to be found in simple moments.

Earth to Betsy II, the sequel

So after typing up that last post I started realizing what a space cadet I've been lately. I don't feel all that scattered but apparently I'm more preoccupied than I realize because I keep doing really bizarre things! It's a wonder I haven't left the house in my pajamas at any point-- it's been that bad!

Case in point: An acquaintance has just had an operation on her foot and has been bed-bound for the last two weeks. I bumped into her mom at school and asked how she was doing-- apparently she's bored out of her mind and is lonely. So of course I offer to drop by and try and cheer her up.

When would be convenient? Right now? No problem!

We agreed that I would collect the boys and meet her behind the school in about 10 minutes.

Sounds pretty straighforward, right? Even my dog could have gotten this one right!

But no! I seem to have misplaced my brain somewhere between the cafeteria and the coatracks.

I arrived home a half hour later-- raced in the door to answer the ringing phone. It was my half-crippled, lonely acquaintance: There seems to have been some sort of miscommunication. My mom waited for as long as she could...

(By the way, this is the same woman from the pink sock affair. I don't even want to know what she thinks of my parenting capacity...)

10 May, 2006

Earth to Betsy...

Have been so preoccupied lately-- I've got a thousand things going on in my head and there's just not enough space for all of it in there.

Today I was about halfway through grocery shopping when I caught myself daydreaming and admiring the shape of the leaves on the carrots in my cart. When all of a sudden it dawned on me:

Carrots weren't on my list this week and shouldn't be in my cart in the first place!

Further inspection revealed other foreign items; three cucumbers and two trays of watercress nestled in along with my tofu and sweet potatoes. WTF???!!!

Turns out I'd been so caught up in my own little world that I'd hijacked some poor lady's cart and left her with my Bonita bananas! And had gone on shopping for at least another 20 minutes without noticing a thing!

I sped back to the vegetable aisle and saw her circling the produce looking for the sinister fiend who had foiled her shopping experience. When she saw how embarrassed I was she started laughing- no harm done. And she laughingly told me that I was lucky because I'd paid a larger deposit on my cart than she had so she'd just missed making a profit...

08 May, 2006

Juicy Fruit Ant

I would love to know how they did this!

04 May, 2006

Pictures from Koninginnedag

What comes around goes around...

I just got paid back in spades for tricking my poor dog.

I was a little distracted while vacuuming the kids room and accidentally sucked up a plastic sack that was on the floor. Grumbling under my breath I opened up the vacuum cleaner and fished the sack out. That action liberated a rubber snake that had apparently also been in the bag, and it slithered out and onto the floor at my feet.

There is now a dent in the ceiling from where my head hit when I rocketed out of my shoes...

D's looking a little smug now-- I'm wondering if she had anything to do with this?

03 May, 2006

I spy with my little eye

B thought up a new game today. He drew a set of udders and asked me to guess which animal he was thinking of. (it was a goat...)

Kids are so weird!

01 May, 2006

Guilty conscience?

M and S were busy working on something in the basement this morning. I wasn't supposed to know what they were up to, but S let it slip that it had to "dry" and he kept giggling under his breath.

So I wasn't particularly surprised about an hour later when S called out: "Oh no! Mama! Someone has pooped in the hall!"

I should probably mention here that M and S made a cement turd a couple of months ago. Don't ask-- it was some sort of strange father - son bonding ritual. For a couple of weeks I found it in all sorts of unexpected places-- was very relieved when it finally slipped off the radar.

Well, my friends, the excrement is back. And today's task was apparently to paint it brown and green, because it now looks quite realistic.

So S calls out to me and I went into the hall and feigned surprise- "Oh no! Who could have done such a thing, etc." And just then the dog sauntered in so I said "D, did you do this?" and pointed to it.

She took one look at it and crumpled! Actually dropped to the floor in shame and tried to marine crawl out of the room!

I never realized it might be possible to play a practical joke on a dog, but to borrow an expression I heard this weekend this proves that she's not the sharpest lightbulb in the drawer....