Archive | October, 2011

We Love our Mummy

31 Oct

You all are in for a treat today! No trickin’! You see, we have this really fantastic mom. She’s always been that way. I suppose she always will. Occasionally we’re reminded of the ways in which she is fantastic. Today, specifically, countless Halloweens come to mind. Halloweens during which we donned the creations of  that lady. Some of our costumes were homemade from their very beginnings. Some were yanked from household closets. Some were stolen from unsuspecting construction workers. Those things matter not. What matters? The fact that we were never clad in polyester/synthetic fur/plastic mask/made for Walmart/highly flammable costumes. (Well, we had ONE highly flammable costume, but darned if we can’t find the picture. I promise that when we do, we will post it, regardless of season. It’s THAT good.) I wish that I was always so intrinsically motivated as a mother. Well, maybe it wasn’t intrinsic motivation at all. We may have just been really high maintenance daughters. Nah. That couldn’t have been true…Anyway, to you I present The Vogelsang Sister Halloween Costume Gallary:

See these? Ghosts. Cliché? Nope. How many ghosts do you see wandering the sidewalks these days? That’s what I thought. These are costumes only rivaled by Charlie Brown.

Next photo please…

You’ve seen these before (in black and white and itty bitty). A lion. A flower. Faces encased in cardboard. I’m wearing an old dress and Christina is wearing a gunny sack died green. Brilliant. Innovative.

This is District 13’s student body dressed up for the holiday and in front of our schoolwide Halloween art project. How cool is that, right? These costumes were obviously pinched from our father’s closet. Christina has more power as the “White Hat”. That’s as it should be.

The overall costume is ripped from our p.j. drawer, but the bonnets? Those were handcrafted my our mom. The diaper/trick or treating bag? Another homespun accessory. The bottles? Well, sometimes people keep things in storage too long….

DUH-da-da-DAH! Best costume EVER!!!! “Beware of the Abominable Snowman” Yep. Wondering which costume we ganked from construction workers?? Look no further. I can still smell the crumpled newspaper shoved down our britches. We had to answer a lot of questions that night. That’s why Mom made signs. Most Abominable Snowmen don’t wear signs. Betcha didn’t know that.

Good, huh? We’d love to hear about your past costumes. Please? Sometimes my discussion requests get ignored, but this time I’m Serious (serious enough to capitalize). And with that I wish you Happy Halloween, Blessed Reformation, and a Joyous Candy Collection Day.

Now You See It, Now You See It Again

29 Oct

I’m not going to lie – I was pretty excited to reach into the good ol’ grab bag this week and find the photo album filled with pictures from the months around my first birthday.  It’s nice not to be humiliated every once in a while.  And I’ve never seen a picture of a yearling child that wasn’t dominated by cuteness.

I’m not even going to spend a lot of time pointing out the weird fuzzy stuffed animal that I can completely feel in my memory, but can’t picture well enough to remember what animal it actually was.  And I’m not going to talk about the crazy gold striped chair that I’m sitting in, because in 1976 I think every family had one of those.  I won’t even dwell on the adorable jumper that I just bet my Mom made.  And that wall paper?  I’ve never seen it before.

This is what struck me about this photo:  Cecilia.

Do you see it?  Here, compare it to this one of our dear daughter that I’ve doctored with a little retro-photo action on Picnik.

Okay, so she’s got a little bit more of The Nose going on, but I bet my parents would testify to my nosing it up back then.  And I had a few curls sprouting behind my ears, but so does she, you just can’t see them in this picture.  We’re obviously not the generous and conscientious parents my folks were.  We’ve simply given our only girl a stick to play with.  Her dress?  Hand-me-down, not handmade.  But that’s nearly the same.

Despite all these differences I still see the resemblance, and I don’t think it’s just the Picnik photo re-vamping that’s doing it.

Big Pumpkin….

28 Oct

Today’s book recommendation comes thanks to my husband, the Halloween-y season, and a great deal on produce at Walmart. I love them all. Wait. Really, I love my husband and I LOVE a great deal on produce. I’m pretty cool with Halloween. It’s fine. Reformation’s a bit cooler, I like to think. Christmas? Birth of the Savior. Hard to beat that. You know, though, Easter is pretty heavy on the amazing stuff, too….

Stop. This is not a holiday competition post. It’s a book review post. I’m so sorry. My mind is a delta of tangents. Today’s book?

We’ve got a whole load of Halloween literature (thanks mostly to one very generous Halloween loving Grandma) and this is undoubtedly our favorite. Wait. Really it’s AJ’s favorite. (Mine is Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi and Gris Grimly. You should read that one. And this one, of course.) This is so much AJ’s favorite that 3 years ago after our paperback copy ripped, we got him a hard back copy for his birthday (in mid-November) and he was elated. And it wasn’t false elation, either. Real, genuine elation, that’s what it was. I’m not sure what about this book he finds so completely charming. Maybe it’s the outward aggression by the book’s protagonist towards a pumpkin? Maybe it’s the obvious arrogance of not only a mummy, but a vampire and ghost, as well? Perhaps it’s that ever driving desire for underdog success? It could be the story’s promise of a sweet treat. Heck, it’s probably the cliff-hanger ending that really sells it. There is SO MUCH packed into one bitty book and one prodigious pumpkin.

Do you want to know what else you can squoosh in a squash?


Wait for it……



Head over Heels

27 Oct

I’ll let you in on a little secret:  I’m not a huge fan of trees.  Individually, I find them quite nice, but all together, very intimidating.  The way they block the horizon messes with my need for wide open spaces.  I also blame them for sending my internal compass spinning.  The need to know north is crucial, and while one tree acts as a great reference point,  a whole bunch of them simply serve to confuse and confuddle.

Now I hear that there are some people who can live without knowing what direction they’re facing at all times.  I am not one of these people.  Never have been.  Never will be.  But that might be another post.  Today’s post is actually about trees.  Sort of.

You see, it’s Things I (We) Love Thursday and . . .

And it’s hard to love fall without loving trees.  Leaves in Michigan are so beautiful that I can even tolerate a handfull of trees all at once.  But I still prefer to take them in one at a time.  For instance, check out this great tree that has just one branch that’s turned.

I didn’t even know that was possible prior to my move to the Mitten State.  And here’s something else that took me by surprise:  One leaf is capable of being several colors at once.

Also, leaves make a very nice fall craft medium.

My children like them for their shock absorbing effects.

I’m a really big fan of 80-degree fall days that let you partake in color at the beach.

(I know.  You’re doubting that picture aren’t you?  You think I photoshopped it.  Guess what?  It’s legit.  We absolutely, truly, really went to lake Michigan in October.  And swam.  Swam.  Not kidding.  Well, the kids got wet, we adults just basked on the beach.)

All of this beauty brings me to the following concession.  The glowing branches overhead probably make up for any sunsets that have been hidden by masses of foliage.  And our van does have a built in compass to point me east when I feel like we’ve been driving north so long in the U.P. that we ought to be in the middle of Lake Superior.  But I am still confused by one thing.  I can’t seem to find the forest.

It’s not red meat, it’s red VELVET

26 Oct

I prefer “Cupcakes: The Other OTHER White Meat” (as long as we’re drawing cupcake to pork parallels…)

Full Disclosure (AND a DISCUSSION QUESTION! Don’t miss it!)

25 Oct

So here’s the deal, folks. I let my sister down last week. She hasn’t said a thing, but I know it’s true. See, she’s the brains behind this operation. I’m the brawn (?). We have a schedule of sorts. You need not know the details, but suffice it to say that I don’t meet deadlines well. I just can’t handle the pressure. Never could. And now we have this blog. And my inadequacies are OUT THERE. Oh, my. I could say that I dropped the blogball because I was in a pit of Halloween Costume prep, but, that’s another deadline, so, of course, it I’m presently struggling to meet. (The pressure is high, but my children are scarier than my sister, so it’ll get done.) So, consider this my public apology. To Christina. To You. To My Computer. To My Brain (because, believe it or not, writing this dribble gives it more of a workout than doing laundry, making baby food, or sweeping combined). There. Are we all happy now? Deadlines. Weakness. Me.

So that was a really boring paragraph. Not much give and take. I like give and take. Here. I’ll GIVE you one of my current beliefs and then I’ll TAKE your opinions about said belief. That will make this post more interesting, don’t you think? Please don’t let me down on this. It’s very important. Here it is:

I fully believe in the placebo effect of decaffeinated coffee.


Deep, Dad. Deep.

24 Oct

Last month while my parent’s were here in Michigan I was working on a post.  As usual I was stuck.  My mistake was in letting my Blogger’s Block become public.  Dad, always quick to the punch, or possibly just punchy, had this sterling advice:

Plant it deep and pack it in.

It’s a post.  Get it?

Don’t worry, the next time you go out to help build a fence you’ll get the joke.  If not, well, don’t feel bad, Dad’s jokes have been lost on us for years.

It's been this way all my life, I tell you.

And so today, since you’re already deeply mired in the mud of a Memory Dirt Road Monday I’d like to share with you two special jokes that our father wrote.  I guarantee that you have never heard these before (unless you know our father, in which case you’ve probably heard them anywhere between 6-422 times in your life.)  Are you ready?  Okay, here’s the first:

Q:  If you’re flying down the road in your canoe and a wheel fell off how many flapjacks would it take to cover a doghouse?
A:  Nine, because ice cream doesn’t have bones.

What?  You don’t get it?  Try this one instead:

Q:  What’s the difference between an orange?
A:  A bicycle because a vest doesn’t have sleeves.

Still nothing?

Okay, fine, we don’t understand them either.  But we never let on.  We just laughed and laughed . . .

You should probably do the same.

This is a really dumb picture.

22 Oct

Okay. Here’s the thing about grab bags. Sometimes you get really stupid stuff. Like nose whistles. Or flower tattoos. Or lemon drops.

Or this picture.



Really? THIS? Okay. Here goes. The thing about this particular picture is that it speaks to my high school years in fog horn decibels. Yep. High School. I know. I’m embarrassed. I am. There were a few things about which I was passionate in high school. Gilbert and Sullivan Musicals. Loved those. Z Cavariccis (I had a purple pair). And, well, Disney movies.

And cats.

And stuffed animals.

Ach. This is pitiful. I’m not sure I can go on. See that box? It was a FREE box from the Disney Store. I kept it because I loved it. I decorated my room with it. I MAY have even had a senior picture taken with it. I OBVIOUSLY staged pictures with it. And my special Disney stuffed animals. And my cats. I mean, really, is there anything more adorable than two kittens, Iago, Lady, Mickey, and Flower surrounding a BOX??? What about if one of the kittens is IN the box WITH MICKEY!?!?! Cutey cute cute cute. What about the Mickey slate in the background? Talk about artful framing. The knee and the foot? There’s got to be a story there. And the two rag rabbits? Well, honestly, I don’t think they were invited to the party. They were such a natural part of the decor that they went unnoticed. Like grass. Or clouds. Anyway. That was me. That was my art. That was what I used to do.

Running Away with My Imagination

21 Oct

Like their aunt, mother, and cousins my boys are adept at choosing books based on their covers.  Hence, the entire Mr. Putter and Tabby section of our local library was cleared yesterday afternoon.

The cover of these books didn’t used to strike their fancy until our good friend, fellow other-blogger, and renowned Little Boy Whisper Mrs. Mueller brought them over for post-math reading every Tuesday.  The boys soon became Putter Devotees.

If you’re not familiar with series I’ll give you a quick overview.  Mr. Putter is an older gentleman with a fine cat named Tabby, a next door neighbor Mrs. Teaberry and her good dog, Zeke.  They do things and stuff happens.  And it’s all very funny.

As they loaded the extensive collection of books into my holey library bag one book was waved wildly in front of my face with the caveat that this particular title was “for you, Mom.”  Which book could it be?  Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake?   Pick the Pears?   Spin the Yarn?   Spill the Beans?  All likely candidates, but no.  The answer was:

That’s right.  Mr. Putter and Tabby Run the Race.

As you’ll note, it was not I that ran a race last weekend, it was the green-clad, medal-wearing Kid’s Marathoners you see happily enjoying the book.  But, I have to admit after reading it that I probably have more in common with Mr. Putter than my speedy offspring.

In fact, I’m thinking of using this book as my new training guide.

To begin his marathon training our pace setter takes four days to find his sneakers.  I’m all over that.  Four days sorting out our entryway closet?  Easy-peasy.

Then he attempts some toe-touching.  He can only reach his knees, but no sweat.  Literally.  And that’s probably fine.  Keep touching your knees ten times a day.

Mr. Putter’s unique take on running gear has some appeal as well.  And his message about not being intimidated by the show-offs who can touch their toes really speaks to me.

And lest you think this training method will never work, please take note:

Plus, it’s either that or follow the plan in this book:

That seems less fun.


19 Oct

Can you believe her father let her do such a dangerous thing???

Doesn’t he know I’m genetically predisposed to dislike the Sooners?

Go Huskers!!  (Yes, I know they’re not our rivals anymore.  Yes, I know Nebraska’s now part of the Big Twelve Ten.  But genetic predisposition does not care.)