Goodwill Ambassador

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 6:48 PM


(If you like, you can sing "Fat Bottomed Girls" in your head while you read this post. Substitute lyrics as desired for new, funnier ones about hedgehogs and sausage. Trust me. She likes it.)

I had plans for this post. Iris looked so sweet today, and I wanted to get a picture and do it up nice. But then she tripped on the curb outside Paradise Bakery, and now she looks about like Mickey Rourke at the end of The Wrestler.

So I'll use these cell phone shots from a few days ago. They're blurry, because my toddler is much, much faster moving than my phone camera. Devlin's being this age is what first prompted us to buy a "real" camera! The kids are just little vapor trails, otherwise.

(Do you think she looks a little bit like the Pope in that hat? I think she does. I like it. I'm sure she's cuter than the real Pope, too.)

Three separate people told me in church last Sunday that Iris has "twinkling eyes". They are entirely right, of course. She has the most amazing, delightful, vivacious spirit about her. She has a smile, a hug, and a headbutt for everyone she sees. She is laughter on two feet.

She loves zerberts.

She loves to climb things.

She eats like she is stuffing logs in a wood chipper. And there is a million kajillion dollar prize for the fastest stuffer.

She still sucks her thumb. I kind of hope she never stops.

She takes a drink from her sippy, then offers a swig to her dolly.

She thinks her brother is the funniest person alive. Funnier than zerberts, even.

We thought we were done after two children. Iris (almost) makes me want to have 10 more.

Why I am here instead of surfing Craigslist

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010 at 12:30 PM


Last week at the library, Eve selected a stack of fairy tales as tall as her knee. Lots of my old favorites.

Sleeping Beauty.

Beauty and the Beast (the *real* one, sorry Disney).

The Emperor and the Nightingale.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

And one that I really, really needed.

The Fisherman and his Wife

by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon a time there were a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a filthy shack near the sea. Every day the fisherman went out fishing, and he fished, and he fished. Once he was sitting there fishing and looking into the clear water, and he sat, and he sat. Then his hook went to the bottom, deep down, and when he pulled it out, he had caught a large flounder.

Then the flounder said to him, "Listen, fisherman, I beg you to let me live. I am not an ordinary flounder, but an enchanted prince. How will it help you to kill me? I would not taste good to you. Put me back into the water, and let me swim."

"Well," said the man, "there's no need to say more. I can certainly let a fish swim away who knows how to talk."

With that he put it back into the clear water, and the flounder disappeared to the bottom, leaving a long trail of blood behind him.

Then the fisherman got up and went home to his wife in the filthy shack.

"Husband," said the woman, "didn't you catch anything today?"

"No," said the man. "I caught a flounder, but he told me that he was an enchanted prince, so I let him swim away."

"Didn't you ask for anything first?" said the woman.

"No," said the man. "What should I have asked for?"

"Oh," said the woman. "It is terrible living in this shack. It stinks and is filthy. You should have asked for a little cottage for us. Go back and call him. Tell him that we want to have a little cottage. He will surely give it to us."

"Oh," said the man. "Why should I go back there?"

"Look," said the woman, "you did catch him, and then you let him swim away. He will surely do this for us. Go right now."

The man did not want to go, but neither did he want to oppose his wife, so he went back to the sea.

When he arrived there it was no longer clear, but yellow and green. He stood there and said:

Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!
Flounder, flounder, in the sea!
My wife, my wife Ilsebill,
Wants not, wants not, what I will
The flounder swam up and said, "What does she want then?"

"Oh," said the man, "I did catch you, and now my wife says that I really should have asked for something. She doesn't want to live in a filthy shack any longer. She would like to have a cottage."

"Go home," said the flounder. "She already has it."

The man went home, and his wife was standing in the door of a cottage, and she said to him, "Come in. See, now isn't this much better?"

There was a little front yard, and a beautiful little parlor, and a bedroom where their bed was standing, and a kitchen, and a dining room. Everything was beautifully furnished and supplied with tin and brass utensils, just as it should be. And outside there was a little yard with chickens and ducks and a garden with vegetables and fruit.

"Look," said the woman. "Isn't this nice?"

"Yes," said the man. "This is quite enough. We can live here very well."

"We will think about that," said the woman.

Then they ate something and went to bed.

Everything went well for a week or two, and then the woman said, "Listen, husband. This cottage is too small. The yard and the garden are too little. The flounder could have given us a larger house. I would like to live in a large stone palace. Go back to the flounder and tell him to give us a palace."

"Oh, wife," said the man, "the cottage is good enough. Why would we want to live in a palace?"

"I know why," said the woman. "Now you just go. The flounder can do that."

"Now, wife, the flounder has just given us the cottage. I don't want to go back so soon. It may make the flounder angry."

"Just go," said the woman. "He can do it, and he won't mind doing it. Just go."

The man's heart was heavy, and he did not want to go. He said to himself, "This is not right," but he went anyway.

When he arrived at the sea the water was purple and dark blue and gray and dense, and no longer green and yellow. He stood there and said:

Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!
Flounder, flounder, in the sea!
My wife, my wife Ilsebill,
Wants not, wants not, what I will
"What does she want then?" said the flounder.

"Oh," said the man sadly, "my wife wants to live in a stone palace."

"Go home. She's already standing before the door," said the flounder.

Then the man went his way, thinking he was going home, but when he arrived, standing there was a large stone palace. His wife was standing on the stairway, about to enter.

Taking him by the hand, she said, "Come inside."

He went inside with her. Inside the palace there was a large front hallway with a marble floor. Numerous servants opened up the large doors for them. The walls were all white and covered with beautiful tapestry. In the rooms there were chairs and tables of pure gold. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceilings. The rooms and chambers all had carpets. Food and the very best wine overloaded the tables until they almost collapsed. Outside the house there was a large courtyard with the very best carriages and stalls for horses and cows. Furthermore there was a magnificent garden with the most beautiful flowers and fine fruit trees and a pleasure forest a good half mile long, with elk and deer and hares and everything that anyone could possibly want.

"Now," said the woman, "isn't this nice?"

"Oh, yes" said the man. "This is quite enough. We can live in this beautiful palace and be satisfied."

"We'll think about it," said the woman. "Let's sleep on it." And with that they went to bed.

The next morning the woman woke up first. It was just daylight, and from her bed she could see the magnificent landscape before her. Her husband was just starting to stir when she poked him in the side with her elbow and said, "Husband, get up and look out the window. Look, couldn't we be king over all this land?"

"Oh, wife," said the man, "why would we want to be king? I don't want to be king."

"Well," said the woman, "even if you don't want to be king, I want to be king."

"Oh, wife," said the man, "why do you want to be king? I don't want to tell him that."

"Why not?" said the woman, "Go there immediately. I must be king."

So the man, saddened because his wife wanted to be king, went back.

"This is not right, not right at all," thought the man. He did not want to go, but he went anyway.

When he arrived at the sea it was dark gray, and the water heaved up from below and had a foul smell. He stood there and said:

Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!
Flounder, flounder, in the sea!
My wife, my wife Ilsebill,
Wants not, wants not, what I will
"What does she want then," said the flounder.

"Oh," said the man, "she wants to be king."

"Go home. She is already king," said the flounder.

Then the man went home, and when he arrived there, the palace had become much larger, with a tall tower and magnificent decorations. Sentries stood outside the door, and there were so many soldiers, and drums, and trumpets. When he went inside everything was of pure marble and gold with velvet covers and large golden tassels. Then the doors to the great hall opened up, and there was the entire court. His wife was sitting on a high throne of gold and diamonds. She was wearing a large golden crown, and in her hand was a scepter of pure gold and precious stones. On either side of her there stood a line of maids-in-waiting, each one a head shorter than the other.

"Oh, wife, are you now king?"

"Yes," she said, "now I am king."

He stood and looked at her, and after thus looking at her for a while he said, "Wife, it is very nice that you are king. Now we don't have to wish for anything else."

"No, husband," she said, becoming restless. "Time is on my hands. I cannot stand it any longer. Go to the flounder. I am king, but now I must become emperor."

"Oh, wife" said the man, "Why do you want to become emperor?"

"Husband," she said, "go to the flounder. I want to be emperor."

"Oh, wife," said the man, "he cannot make you emperor. I cannot tell the flounder to do that. There is only one emperor in the realm. The flounder cannot make you emperor. He cannot do that."

"What!" said the woman. "I am king, and you are my husband. Are you going? Go there immediately. If he can make me king then he can make me emperor. I want to be and have to be emperor. Go there immediately."

So he had to go. As he went on his way the frightened man thought to himself, "This is not going to end well. To ask to be emperor is shameful. The flounder is going to get tired of this."

With that he arrived at the sea. The water was all black and dense and boiling up from within. A strong wind blew over him that curdled the water. He stood there and said:

Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!
Flounder, flounder, in the sea!
My wife, my wife Ilsebill,
Wants not, wants not, what I will
"What does she want then?" said the flounder.

"Oh, flounder," he said, "my wife wants to become emperor."

"Go home," said the flounder. "She is already emperor."

Then the man went home, and when he arrived there, the entire palace was made of polished marble with alabaster statues and golden decoration. Soldiers were marching outside the gate, blowing trumpets and beating tympani and drums. Inside the house, barons and counts and dukes were walking around like servants. They opened the doors for him, which were made of pure gold. He went inside where his wife was sitting on a throne made of one piece of gold a good two miles high, and she was wearing a large golden crown that was three yards high, all set with diamonds and carbuncles. In the one hand she had a scepter, and in the other the imperial orb. Bodyguards were standing in two rows at her sides: each one smaller than the other, beginning with the largest giant and ending with the littlest dwarf, who was no larger than my little finger. Many princes and dukes were standing in front of her.

The man went and stood among them and said, "Wife, are you emperor now?"

"Yes," she said, "I am emperor."

He stood and looked at her, and after thus looking at her for a while, he said, "Wife, it is very nice that you are emperor."

"Husband," she said. "Why are you standing there? Now that I am emperor, and I want to become pope."

"Oh, wife!" said the man. "What do you not want? There is only one pope in all Christendom. He cannot make you pope."

"Husband," she said, "I want to become pope. Go there immediately. I must become pope this very day."

"No, wife," he said, "I cannot tell him that. It will come to no good. That is too much. The flounder cannot make you pope."

"Husband, what nonsense!" said the woman. "If he can make me emperor, then he can make me pope as well. Go there immediately. I am emperor, and you are my husband. Are you going?"

Then the frightened man went. He felt sick all over, and his knees and legs were shaking, and the wind was blowing over the land, and clouds flew by as the darkness of evening fell. Leaves blew from the trees, and the water roared and boiled as it crashed onto the shore. In the distance he could see ships, shooting distress signals as they tossed and turned on the waves. There was a little blue in the middle of the sky, but on all sides it had turned red, as in a terrible lightning storm. Full of despair he stood there and said:

Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!
Flounder, flounder, in the sea!
My wife, my wife Ilsebill,
Wants not, wants not, what I will
"What does she want then?" said the flounder.

"Oh," said the man, "she wants to become pope."

"Go home," said the flounder. "She is already pope."

Then he went home, and when he arrived there, there was a large church surrounded by nothing but palaces. He forced his way through the crowd. Inside everything was illuminated with thousands and thousands of lights, and his wife was clothed in pure gold and sitting on a much higher throne. She was wearing three large golden crowns. She was surrounded with church-like splendor, and at her sides there were two banks of candles. The largest was as thick and as tall as the largest tower, down to the smallest kitchen candle. And all the emperors and kings were kneeling before her kissing her slipper.

"Wife," said the man, giving her a good look, "are you pope now?"

"Yes," she said, "I am pope."

Then he stood there looking at her, and it was as if he were looking into the bright sun. After he had looked at her for a while he said, "Wife, It is good that you are pope!"

She stood there as stiff as a tree, neither stirring nor moving.

Then he said, "Wife, be satisfied now that you are pope. There is nothing else that you can become."

"I have to think about that," said the woman.

Then they both went to bed, but she was not satisfied. Her desires would not let her sleep. She kept thinking what she wanted to become next.

The man slept well and soundly, for he had run about a lot during the day, but the woman could not sleep at all, but tossed and turned from one side to the other all night long, always thinking about what she could become, but she could not think of anything.

Then the sun was about to rise, and when she saw the early light of dawn she sat up in bed and watched through the window as the sun came up.

"Aha," she thought. "Could not I cause the sun and the moon to rise?"

"Husband," she said, poking him in the ribs with her elbow, "wake up and go back to the flounder. I want to become like God."

The man, who was still mostly asleep, was so startled that he fell out of bed. He thought that he had misunderstood her, so, rubbing his eyes, he said, "Wife, what did you say?"

"Husband," she said, "I cannot stand it when I see the sun and the moon rising, and I cannot cause them to do so. I will not have a single hour of peace until I myself can cause them to rise."

She looked at him so gruesomely that he shuddered.

"Go there immediately. I want to become like God."

"Oh, wife," said the man, falling on his knees before her, "the flounder cannot do that. He can make you emperor and pope, but I beg you, be satisfied and remain pope."

Anger fell over her. Her hair flew wildly about her head. Tearing open her bodice she kicked him with her foot and shouted, "I cannot stand it! I cannot stand it any longer! Go there immediately!"

He put on his trousers and ran off like a madman.

Outside such a storm was raging that he could hardly stand on his feet. Houses and trees were blowing over. The mountains were shaking, and boulders were rolling from the cliffs into the sea. The sky was as black as pitch. There was thunder and lightning. In the sea there were great black waves as high as church towers and mountains, all capped with crowns of white foam.

Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!
Flounder, flounder, in the sea!
My wife, my wife Ilsebill,
Wants not, wants not, what I will
"What does she want then?" said the flounder.

"Oh," he said, "she wants to become like God."

"Go home. She is sitting in her filthy shack again."

And they are sitting there even today.

Head above water

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 8:57 PM


When the going gets tough...

..the tough get organized.

Snow bunnies

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 5:11 PM


We got inspired (with a little help from one very enthusiastic first-grader) to take a drive to parts northward this weekend and seek out some cold white stuff. To my utter amazement, everyone - even Princess Eve - had a wonderful time and stayed (mostly) warm and dry!

The kids were able to go down the small hill unassisted and, better still, get their own darn sleds back up to the top, leaving me free to take pictures and try to keep Iris alive:

We have one tiny daredevil in the family - no hill was too steep or bumpy for her liking:

That hallmark of every childhood - the first snow eating:

The girls were able to wear my old snowsuits from when I was their ages and we lived in Boston:

Immediately after realizing that maybe the "big hill" was just a little too big for Devlin to navigate solo:

Not sure who enjoyed it more - David, or the kids!

It might even be worth doing again sometime.

just the facts

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 10:00 PM


1. I love Meryl Streep. Seriously, I love her. I would see anything she was in. Her acceptance speech tonight (starts at 2:20) was riveting. Just watching her stand and purse her lips and try to formulate her next sentence is an experience. If any other actresses would like a lesson in how to not sound like a vapid phony while asking people to pray for/think of/donate to the suffering people in Haiti, look no further.

2. Also, go to to donate to the Hatian victims? Like, couldn't we go somewhere else where we wouldn't incidentally be subjected to NBC propaganda on the way to donating? We could, but I think they could use all the positive spin they can get after the whole Jay Leno/Conan debacle. Show-offs.

3. I havent't seen it. I'll just say that right off. I was thinking to myself, as I kept seeing it nominated for this and that tonight, "maybe I should go see this Avatar thing, and then my irrational hatred for it could either be confirmed and made rational, or disipated and then I could move on with my life". But then James Cameron stood up and accepted his Best Director award and started speaking IN HIS OWN MADE-UP LANGUAGE THAT HE CONCOCTED FOR A MOVIE ABOUT BLUE PEOPLE WITH FLAT NOSES and I lost all of that budding feeling of generosity and goodwill. It just evaporated. I'll just go donate my $9 ticket price on, after all.

Whew, I feel better! Got my snark on for the evening. I'm going to cut it off though - got to save my energy for the red carpet fashion recap tomorrow. Who's with me?

Martha, Martha, Martha

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, January 15, 2010 at 6:17 PM


It's so easy to want to hate Martha Stewart. But you know what? I like her style. I really do.

I somehow ended up with a free subscription to her charming little periodical, and in the January issue there is a little list of 9 things to do before the month is out. I totally dig it, and feel like maybe I can actually accomplish these things (probably because I had already done a third of them just by coincidence).

In case anyone else didn't get around to making any official resolutions and wants a gentle kick in the pants:

1. Dress your bed with pretty new sheets.

Well, Martha, it just so happens that I already did this! An all-white bedroom has been a revelation for me. I absolutely love it - so soothing and crisp and modern. Bit by bit, ugly alarm clock by dingy sheets, I've been pecking away at it for the last few months. Here's where we stand as of today. Don't you just want to crawl in? (I sure do, but I'll try to finish this post first.)

2. Make a big pot of soup.

OK, so I'm not doing so well on this one. In fact, I think I have officially "cooked" maybe one meal since Christmas. We've been eating lots and lots of sandwiches, cold cereal, takeout, and when we eat an actual meal we've been alternating between hamburgers and grilled sausages.

Cooked by David.

Eaten outside so I don't have to sweep under the table afterward.

(Yep, I lay it out on the line for you guys.)

So, I do certainly know how to make a number of yummy soups, and since payday was today I hereby promise to make a meal plan and put some darn soup on it.

3. Recycle old electronics (

Well, we usually recycle them by squeaking every last dime out of them that we can via craigslist, but close enough. If I can't get more than $10 out of a given item, I will have on standby.

4. Try a new winter vegetable.

See, I'm the weird one who already loves kale, chard, squash, etc, but there's got to be something out there that I'm not a fan of yet. Any suggestions?

5. Visit a historic home.

As a matter of fact, just last night I made tentative plans to experience this little number here, which I have always wanted to do. Whether we actually make it will depend on a) whether it actually lasts for 6 full hours, and b) whether we can arrange childcare. Because not even Martha Stewart thinks it's a good idea to take three small children with you on this one.

6. Tackle one closet.

Oh, boy. Little does she know. We have a couple of gaping holes in my order-loving life, and they are the Upstairs Hallway Closet and the Master Closet. If any of you have any items, people, or livestock that have gone missing in the last 6 months, chances are it's in one of those two places. Absolutely frightening. They've been on my poop list, but now I guess it's official.

David and Eric, consider your new deadline February 1.

7. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products.

I have been making my own cleansers for years, courtesy of this smart lady, but how about replacing the spray bottles that have gummed up (these are the best, in case anyone wants to know - should have started with those in the first place)? I'm lazy and cheap, and making your own stuff is seriously the way to go. Trust me.

8. Peruse seed catalogs, and plan Spring plantings.


Whew, sorry. Just let me regain my composure here.

Spring plantings. Hilarious! How's this, Martha? We'll compromise. I will peruse seed catalogs - at my mother-in-law's house - and I will take my kids to visit her Spring plantings when they come up, which they surely will. I will save myself the trouble this year. If I want to see what my plants inevitably look like, I can visit the surface of Mars.


9. Spend more time with family and friends.

This is a little hard to quantify, but I will give it a shot. Friends and family are what make life worth the living, so I think I will start by going right this minute to watch a movie with my handsome husband.

Think you can do better than Martha? What new roads are you going to travel this month? Maybe I can make room for a couple more things on my list.

Warm and cozy

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 7:07 AM


(Yes, that is a hat. And an scarf. Over a hoodie. The projected high for this afternoon is 71 degrees. He wears them every day).

Last night, after an exceptionally long day. I was laying on Devlin's bed:

Dad: Dev, your mom is going to go have some quiet time before we go out for dinner, so I'm going to do scriptures and bedtime with you. She needs a break.

Me: Good night, little man. I love you.

Devlin, pulling out his "special blanket": I have something to help. My special blanket always helps me feel better when I am stressed out.

(He pauses to adjust the blanket around me).

If you tuck it under your chin like's nice.

Me: Thank you so much, Dev. That's very thoughtful of you. I'm sure this will help.

Long pause.

Devlin: Mom, when you're done with it, I can have it back, right?

He rescues my bread

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 7:03 AM


Happy birthday (yesterday) to the man who finds my keys

who changes my light bulbs

who makes me new blogs

who reaches tall things in my house

who buys me new clothes because a happy wife is a happy life

who picks out new music I've never heard of because he knows I will like it

who pulls my bread out of the oven when I turn it on and then wander off and do something else so I don't hear the timer (so, pretty much every day)

who takes care of me when my life gets to me and I lose my cool and I forget to take care of myself

He's just the best, really. (But he's taken.)

I love you honey.


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 9:57 AM


Today was the day.

The day she's been waiting for, asking about every hour on the hour for 2 months.

The first day of ballet class.

It made my heart sing to watch her run, kick, and twirl. I'm so excited for the years of joy, the feeling of freedom and flying and beauty that this art brought to me, and may bring to her.

Brava, Evie.


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 8:25 PM


So, what do you think? Pretty fancy, eh?

If it's too goth and teenager-y, I don't want to hear it. Besides, as an actual, certifiable Former Goth Teenager, I am fully entitled to use it. So there.

To christen my new setup, just a few quick dear little moments from my life the last week:

At the Santa Barbara Zoo, where Eve was magically transformed into a happy, obedient little angel for 2 solid hours:

At the zoo, she rediscovered an old favorite hiding spot. My beautiful Eve three years ago:

And last week:

Time, how she does fly!

No greater childhood pleasure than a tire swing:

And no greater pleasure for me than a kiss on a sweet baby head.

This space under construction

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 12:22 PM


This is the blogging equivalent of throwing out all the clothes that will fit again once you lose that pesky 15 pounds. I have been "meaning" to make a lot of changes, customizations, etc to the template I chose probably at least a year ago, but it hasn't happened yet and I have decided to make some changes so I am not continually reminded of this fact. So you get ugly Blogger standard here until I figure out how to get someone to make me a custom actual cute background. None of the free ones work properly with the amount of computer knowledge I possess.

That is all. Back to your regularly scheduled whatever.