Friday, July 31, 2009

What Price Peace (and Quiet)?

I'm trying to work, but both kids just came running into the room.

"Mama! Mama! Pixie wants a piece of chocoloate!" Princess screams.

Pixie dances around, something small and most likely chocolate clutched in her tiny hands.

I look at the pile of work on my desk and sigh. "Do you two know what *I* want?"

Pixie gets a funny look on her face as she cogitates this. "Um, world peace?"

"Exactly," I say. "When I get what I want, you can have what you want."

Princess bobs her head. Pixie keeps squealing and spinning in circles, smooshing chocolate in her hand.

"So does that mean we can have the chocolate?" Princess asks.

**If that's what it takes to get some peace and quiet...**

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cooking Crisis - Yellow Squash!

It's Monday evening, almost 5:30PM. I have entrees already prepared - spaghetti, steak. But I have no side dish. Hubster bought an armload of yellow squash this weekend. I'm supposed to do something with it. However, I have no canned tomatoes and no bread crumbs, so that effectively kills my two best ideas. I do have a HUGE can of spaghetti sauce, but I don't want to crack that open just to cook the squash (it'd be too much sauce, and I'd have to store it and remember to use it later, only to end up forgetting about it until I find a tupperware container of fuzzy green spaghetti sauce several weeks from now). I thought I had an onion, but I sliced it and it smelled funny. Not like an onion, but more like an onion that died, rotted and came back as a zombie onion and now I have to blow off its stinky onion head with a shot gun.

What to do? I've already sliced the squash! Hmmm...

I know. I have a big unopened tub of salsa sitting in the fridge. Unlike the spaghetti sauce, there is no way I'll forget I have salsa in the fridge. And get this! It's labeled "Italian Rose" salsa. I think the cooking fates are trying to throw me a clue.

I've got the sliced squash simmering in a pan with a cup of the salsa. The only other ingredient I added was a little olive oil. We'll see how this works.


Update: It's 7:30PM. The salsafied squash was a success, at least in my opinion, and that's the only opinion that counts. Nyah! It was spicy, but tasty. WIN!

Move It Mama Monday! Off Kilter and Out of Sorts

I had thought last week was going to be a better week. After last Monday's post about getting more sleep, I had promised myself I would do exactly just that - get to bed early, get up early, get my work outs in, be productive, etc. In fact, the week started off pretty good.

Then the rest of the week went to hell in a handbasket. Unexpected stress from an unexpected source showed up and knocked me completely out of that good groove I had going. I ended up staying up way too late on Monday night, and then suffered through insomnia most of that night, which completely screwed my getting up early Tuesday morning. I was so frazzled from this stress that I was out of sorts the rest of the week. Determined to somehow get back on track, I dragged myself and the kids to the dojo on Tuesday morning. I wanted to get there early rather than late, so I spent all morning packing lunches, gear, weapons, etc. and we headed out as soon as I had the car loaded up. Well, we were early all right... 45 minutes early! We stayed and worked out and Cassie got her class done, but I was so tired and out of it by the time my class started that I headed home. The rest of the day wasn't much better. To decompress, Hubster and I stayed up to watch Stranger Than Fiction. We loved the movie, but once again were up way to late. I slept late the next morning too. By then my whole routine was in shambles, so I spent the next few days scrambling to get stuff done. I wore myself out Thursday scraping vinyl linoleum off the kitchen floor, then chiseling away the glue and backing left behind. I was so sore after that, I slept way late Friday morning.

I decided to force myself back on schedule Saturday, and have done well since then. I've been more productive this weekend than I was all last week. But I still feel the effects of being off kilter. It showed up in my karate class Saturday morning where I suddenly developed three left feet and several extra (and quite useless) thumbs. I felt like my body was fighting itself the entire class. Then my knees ached so badly the rest of that day that I pretty much retired to bed for the afternoon, slathering on the Ben Gay and popping the Alieve like no one's business. Yesterday morning, I got up early again, felt better, but still wasn't back to my old self. After 40 minutes of Dance Dance Revolution, I tried to do some Wii Fit Yoga. I've never had worse scores. I was just completely off kilter.

So this week wiill be dedicated to getting myself back on schedule and getting back in tune with my center of balance and coordination. I've reworked my daily schedule and my exercise plan to help with that, making sure I get enough, but not too much, exercise. Meanwhile I'm going to start back up with my physical therapy to see if I can fix my knees. I really don't want to suffer through another afternoon like I did on Saturday.

So that's where we're at right now, just trying to get our act back together. We'll see how I'm doing next week.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Contentments - Early Mornings

Thinking more today about things that make me content. It's 1:30 PM right now, and I've had an extremely productive, yet relaxing, Sunday so far. Here's what's made my day full of contentment.

  • Getting up at the crack of dawn and having the house to myself

  • Working in peace and quiet

  • Finishing a project early

  • Working out without interuptions

  • DDR

  • Wii Fit yoga

  • Sleeping babies (especially when they're so chubby and cute!)

  • A cup of coffee, eggs on toast, and a fresh peach for breakfast

  • Clean laundry

  • Clean house

  • Time to read the Sunday newspaper

  • An afternoon free to do a little light work

  • An evening of dinner and conversations with good friends

  • Time to knit (I'm working on a belt now!)

  • Books to read

  • A cup of hot Darjeeling tea

It really doesn't take much to make me happy. Just a quiet life at a pace I can handle. I've been up since 5AM this morning, gotten in my workout and housecleaning, and I'll probably sleep like a rock tonight. And it's all good.

What do you want out of life? Where do you find your contentment?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fiction Friday - The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant: A Billibub Baddings Mystery

Like the icon? It's supposed to be a book wyrm, i.e. a dragon that devours books by the scores. I would love to be a book wyrm like this guy. In fact, when I started the Fiction Friday posts, it was with the intention to do a weekly review on what I was reading. Unfortunately, I don't get to read as often as I would like. I still intend to keep doing Fiction Friday, but I can't guarantee it will be every week (unless I somehow magically get my act together).

Having said all that, I did recently read that I wanted to talk about - The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant: A Billibub Baddings Mystery. I actually happen to know the author, Tee Morris. Not know know, like in that sense of "Oh yeah, Tee! I've known him for years! We're best friends!" But I do know him in the sense that Tee's the one who got me started podcasting.

I first met Tee at RavenCon three years back, where he did a weekend-long workshop on podcasting. Tee also wrote the fantasy books Morevi and Legacy of Morevi, as well as some technical books including Podcasting for Dummies (which I refer to often for my podcast), Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and his latest book All a Twitter. The man definitely knows what he's talking about when it comes to podcasting and social media. But what caught my attention about Tee's work was that he was podcasting his fiction, making his novels available a chapter at a time for free in audio format. I was desperate for some good books, but with a toddler and a preschooler on my hands, I couldn't find time to sit down and read. So after RavenCon, I went home, bought myself an iPod Shuffle, and downloaded Tee's novel, The Case of the Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery.

This was the first Billibub Baddings mystery, a story about a dwarf from a fantasy realm who falls into the heart of Prohibition Era Chicago and becomes a private eye. This story quickly became a favorite of mine, and I looked forward to downloading a new chapter every week to listen to. At that rate, it took me a while to get through the book, but I didn't mind. I had something fun to listen to while I exercised and did chores around the house. This was a win for me.

Then last August, the second Billibub Baddings book came out, The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant. Both this book and the first centered on the mysterious appearance of magical artifacts from Billi's world appearing in Chicago. Such articles in the wrong hands, like say, Al Capone's, could prove more than disastrous, so it's up to Billi to find the items in question and put them safely away. Along the way, he ends up dealing with gangsters, the FBI, the Chicago Police, various femme fatales, and more shady characters than you can shake a stick at. The books aren't Raymond Chandler, but only because there's a good deal more humor in them. Billi is a hard working detective with some unusual skills at his disposal, and he goes all out to solve the cases presented to him. The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant opens up in Chicago, following the disaster of Black Thursday. Everyone is struggling to survive, including Billi, but the love for baseball, the national past time, still runs strong. There's a new baseball team, though, the Baltimore Mariners, who play far better than they should. When Chicago Cubs manager Joe McCarthy shows up in Billi's office, asking him to look into things, the dwarf takes on the case. It's a dream job for Billi, who's a big fan of the game, but then things take a nasty turn when two murders, apparently unrelated, occur. And when Al Capone shows up, things just get that much more interesting.

I read The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant in just a few days, which says a lot. For me to read that quickly, I had to shove some other things off my busy schedule, like sleep. But I was too busy enjoying myself to really complain. I love detective novels. I love seeing gumshoes put together a case, piece by piece, and Tee let's the reader put the pieces together on their own as well, providing a few clues to what's going on without bludgeoning you over the head with a lot of wasted exposition. The setting for the story is spot on, exactly what I would imagine Chicago in 1930 to be. And while I'm not a fan of baseball (honestly, I'm not a fan of any team sport), my lack of knowledge on the subject wasn't a problem. Tee wove in enough background on the sport and its history so that I could understand what was going on without feeling like I was drowning in an info dump. In fact, Tee made everything about the story engaging, with the right mix of fantasy, history, humor and mystery to keep me up late three nights in a row.

So yeah, I would definitely recommend The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant, and The Case of the Singing Sword. The latter you can listen to for free if you like, over at And if you're interested in The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant, you can pick it up on

But don't try to borrow my copy or the Book Wyrm will get ya!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Drama vs. Contentment

I recently had a brush with someone else's drama. It was not the natural disaster sort of drama, nor was it the death-in-the-family sort of deal where the tragedy that happens in unavoidable and there's no way out but through it. Rather, this was a sort of self-inflicted sort of thing, many years in the making, that was brought about by bad decisions, refusal to communicate, and an unreasonable expectation that everything, especially the people you love, should be perfect or at least better than they are.

I hate this kind of drama. First, it's sad to see people's lives combust right before your eyes. But second, it really is self-inflicted, and it's mainly because of that mindset that everything in life should be without flaw. People, jobs, relationships are not perfect. They never will be perfect. And when you get involved with any of these things, when you make a long term commitment to someone or to something, you ought to understand at the start that there will be mistakes and rough patches and even a little outright misery.

And you know what? That's okay.

Seriously, this is where the Buddhist in me comes out. When Buddha said "Life is suffering," I think what he meant was, "There are tough times in life, and there's no way to avoid them." And that's true enough. But I also think he meant that people want things to be perfect no matter what, and they get upset when things turn out to be otherwise. Things, people, and situations are all impermanent. They CHANGE. What was perfect one day will be flawed and blemished then next. And that's okay. It's the natural state of things. Nothing lasts forever. But people refuse to see that, refuse to accept that the job they took on now has additional or different responsibilities, the person they made friends with has picked up (or probably always had) annoying bad habits, that the house they bought has bad plumbing, etc., etc., etc. And that refusal to accept always leads to anger and strife and worry and misery.

And people wonder why they're suddenly so unhappy with their once perfect lives.

I figured out a long time ago that nothing was ever going to be perfect in my life. I have a husband I love. He's handsome, smart, responsible, kind, generous, and good with kids. He also drives me nuts with his coupon clipping, his budgeting, his technobabble, the way he riles up the girls right before bedtime, the way he leaves his shoes lying around, his mile-wide streak of perfectionism. We've had more shouting matches and head butting over these things than I can recall. And somehow, we're still married after 16 years.

Then I have these two beautiful daughters. They're smart, funny, loving, healthy. They fight non-stop some days and drive me batty with endless questions and attitude and tantrums, not to mention their refusal to eat a meal I made because they specifically asked for it, and oh, did I mention the youngest scribbled on my freshly painted walls, and the oldest can't focus on her homework to save her life some days? The whining and the fussing and the fighting never end. Yet somehow, I look at them and think, "I want a third. One more baby would make this family complete."

I love my parents. They're far from perfect. I love my friends. They don't hit that goal of perfection either. And you know what? Neither do I. I nag, I bitch, I get angry, I yell. I'm rude, obnoxious, a loud-mouth. I'm carrying around an extra 10 lbs I can't seem to lose no matter what and my oldest child tells me my butt jiggles funny when I run.

No, nothing is ever perfect. But there's plenty in life that's good enough, and I want to appreciate those things as much as I can. Case in point. Hubster and I were rather shell shocked after being hit by the shrapnel of someone else's drama (and that's my biggest bitch about drama; it doesn't just affect those directly involved, it takes out the bystanders too). Feeling nervous, upset, out of sorts, we deliberately decided to take stock of what we had. We had dinner as a family, laughing and joking with the girls. We ate fortune cookies and giggled over the ludicrous fortunes we got. We read comic books together and tucked the girls into bed with kisses and songs. Then we curled up together on the couch to watch a movie. Before we went to sleep, we made love.

None of it was perfect. Pixie wouldn't eat her dinner and threw a tantrum when she only got one fortune cookie because of that. Princess pouted and whined over not getting extra stories or being allowed to stay up late. Hubster and I argued over how good the movie was when it was over, me rolling my eyes yet again at his elitist standards for cinema. And the sex? It was comfortable, not earth-shattering.

And I'm good with all of that. Really, I am. It's a quiet life with minor issues, and I don't set out to make mountains out of molehills by digging up every little thing that goes wrong. And I think that's good, because when the mountains do come along, the real ones like a natural disaster or a death in the family, I know I'll still have the solid ground of a contented life to keep me steady on my feet.


Helen's list of contentment's for today:

  • Two little girls who love singing along to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

  • Waking up with a half-decent story idea in my head for today's writing

  • Cheese and onion pie with fruit salad and iced coffee at the Briar Patch Tea room

  • Running into an old friend at lunch and reminiscing about the days I used worked at the newspaper

  • Reading Bone by Jeff Smith to my girls

  • Having time to do random doodling on in my sketch book

  • Picking up an old paperback I've had for years and finally starting to read it (Gojiro by Mark Jacobson)

  • Summer dresses and nice weather

  • Long phone calls with my friends

  • Learning how to knit a potholder

  • Watching Stranger Than Fiction with the Hubster and discovering Will Ferrel can really act

  • Sleeping late, curled up with the man I love. He smelled too good and felt too comfy for me to get out of bed.

Really, what more could I want than all this?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Move It Mama Monday! Early To Bed, Early To Rise?

Today's post takes a look at some aspects of health beyond just exercise. In particular, sleep.

Last week, I had a couple of good days where I got everything on my to-do list done. However, the very next day I was dead on my feet and couldn't drag my ass out of bed at my usual butt-crack of dawn wake-up time.

Coincidence? I think not!

My to-do list tends to be pretty full, and I'm getting to the point (hell, I'm past the point) where I'm tired of trying to get it all done. For the past year, I've been shedding certain activities and being very choosy about what new stuff I will do. But it seems I still need to trim a few things from my daily grind (if only to make it less of an actual grind).

What to cut though? One of the things I added to my to-do list was 15 minutes of house cleaning a few days a week. The house definitely looks better. I mean amazingly better, like better to the power of 10! And I only invested maybe 2-3 extra hours of cleaning time. But I didn't take anything else out and that's probably why I was wiped out the day after I did any house cleaning.

What can I ditch? I have to (read want to) keep up with the podcast and the cartoon. I must keep up with e-mail. I really want to keep up with my exercise. And the kids need my attention through out the day. Is there anything I could drop?

One thing I'm going to try is re-instating the bed time rule. This is the rule which states I must be in bed no later than 10PM, no matter what. I've learned from hard experience that if I don't go to be at least by 10, I can't get up at 5AM the next day. And getting up at 5AM is what allows me to get a jump on my day and actually be productive.

I'm also thinking of assigning certain major tasks to certain days. Like take one day just for cartooning, and one day just for recording and producing the podcast. In fact, I've already started on this plan by taking Sunday to write as many blog posts as I can for the week. Yep, this post was written yesterday, and I'm hoping to knock out one more before I go to bed.

Unless 10PM comes first. Then I'm going to bed no matter how much work I have left to do today.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I Can't Do It All...

Sunday is normally the day I cook dinner for the week. I do it early in the day so I have it ready to reheat by 6PM. This strategy assumes, of course, that I will be up around 5AM so I can get a jump on my daily to-do list.

Well, today I slept in. And that felt wonderful. And because I slept in, I got to have sex with the Hubster, because you know, I was actually in the bed when he woke up! And that felt wonderful too. And of course, there was more sleeping after that, and then a wonderful breakfast of eggs, potatoes, fruit, toast and hot tea. I managed to grab a quick workout before having to change so we could go out to an early movie. We saw Night At The Museum 2, which I really enjoyed, and then we came back home for a late lunch, and then I squeezed in a couple of hours of work that just had to get done, and as a result of all of this...

We had cereal, pizza, and hot pockets for dinner. Oh, and fresh fruit.

I was supposed to cook teriyaki chicken and sauted green beans, but I couldn't do the cooking and sleep late and have sex and see a movie with my family and get my work done. Something had to go. And that something today was dinner, because dammit, I deserve to get all that other stuff done every once in a while. Although to be honest, I always make time for work, and maybe I should concentrate harder on making more time for the other stuff.

Tomorrow is Monday. I will get up at 5AM, write, clean the house, cook, exercise, and chase after the kids. There will be no lazy morning sex, and no afternoon movie. Because I can't do it all. Thankfully, today I didn't even want to try.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Move It Mama Monday! So How Many Plants Have I Killed?

I know, I know. I'm running late again. I apologize. The Hubster had a paper to write this weekend for a big important conference, so my little blogging adventures kind of got pushed to the side by a double helping of weekend child-rearing activities. It's okay though. I'm here now.

Anyway, I thought I'd talk a little about Operation Kill A Lot Of Plants, since I haven't mentioned it in a while. So far, most of the plants are doing... okay. Not terrific, but not dead. For some reason, a few of the plants had a delayed growth spurt and are only just now graduating from sproutling to actual plant. The vegetables we planted aren't exactly producing a bumper crop, probably because I started the seeds so late. I have been told that next year I need to start my seeds in February, which leads me to wonder where the hell I'm going to keep all those tiny plants for the two plus months I'll have to wait until we're past the final frost (which I have been told is on Tax Day in April). I also may have not helped things by trying to make a homemade pesticide out of apple cider vinegar, dish soap and hot sauce. That recipe came out of a gardening book I have, and I thought it would help kill the leaf eating pests we've been having problems with. Well it did, but it also caused the plants to shrivel up and nearly die too.

In spite of my attempts at planticide, we do have a few ears of corn coming up, but the bugs got one and now the others seem to afraid to come out of their husks. We have the odd tiny green tomato and banana pepper hanging on the plant. The herbs have done the best, though for some reason my basil took forever to hit puberty (do plants do puberty? I dunno).

The best grower by far has been the beans we planted. I have no frikkin' clue anymore what kind of beans we've planted, but they grew like weeds, trailing all around the tomato cages I set up around them. We harvested about 25 pods and got enough beans out of those to feed myself and both girls one serving of beans each. They turned purple when I boiled them (the beans, not the girls), and the girls thought that was a little too weird so yours truly is the only one who would eat them. For the record, if I die suddenly in the next few days, it was probably the beans.

The rest of the yard isn't looking too bad, except for the one side where the Hubster planted a slew of creeping juniper a few years back. I hate creeping juniper. Weeds get in there and the only way to kill them is to reach into the prickly, scratchy branches of the juniper to pull them out. I tore up my arms good this past weekend and only managed to weed about a square foot. I've still got another twelve square feet or so to go. Joy!

But the flower garden in the side yard looks good, as does the small herb garden in the back, plus a few other odds and ends I've managed not to kill over the years. Here are a few photos I took a week or so ago.

Princess, standing by the towering Russian blue sage in the side flower garden. I've also got some calla lilies in there, plus some daisies, yarrow and button flowers and a few other things I can't recall the names of.

The containers of herbs on the back deck. Note the delightful chalk art the kids drew for me!

Our vegetable container garden. The big bushy thing is the beans I ate that are probably going to kill me. And next to that is our stunted corn.

A mixed pot of sunflowers, colieosus, and marigolds. Probably the weirdest combination of plants ever thrown together, but they're doing pretty good. Nothing's blooming yet, of course...

This is not my garden. This is Norfolk Botanical Garden, about an hour from where I live. Norfolk Botanical Garden is gorgeous. I wish I could get my yard to look even a little bit like it. Yes, they teach gardening classes there. Would they help improve my black thumb? Probably not. Drives me crazy.

Anyway, that's what's going on with Operation Kill A Lot Of Plants. It's not a roaring success, but we are getting outside and digging around in the dirt, and I consider that a sign of success, even if all we manage to grow is a bunch of purple beans that kill me.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Move It Mama Monday! Clean House Or Exercise?

Oy, this almost didn't get out today. I got hit with something yesterday that involved a very painfully swollen lymph node in my neck, plus a ton of other aches and pains all over my body. I'm thinking this was a result of too much work, too much working out, and not enough sleep. My knees have been bothering me all week. Those last couple of workouts on the EA Sports Active 30-day challenge were not easy on the jumping and squatting and lunging. Plus, I switched to the heavier weight band the week before and that probably contributed to the sore arms and shoulders. Top all that with a day at the beach, a day at a friend's pool party, and some massive deadlines that had to be met, and I was one beat mama Sunday. No wonder then that I slept through my alarm and dragged through this morning.

However, I did perk up enough to get some exercise in. Given my knee problems, I opted to forgo EA Sports Active today and stuck with a combination of Wii Fit and DDR. I love the workout mode in DDR. I set the target number of calories I want to burn and then fail badly to hit the right arrow combinations as I stomp mercilessly all over the mat. My DDR skillz suck, but I do work up a sweat, and the kids get a laugh out of watching me flail around like a demoniacally possessed monkey on speed. In fact, on at least one occasion while I shook my booty to the cadence of DDR, Michael did consider calling in a priest to perform an exorcism on me.

But that's not what I really wanted to talk about today. Today, I have yet another wrinkle in my routine to iron out, and that would be house cleaning, or the lack thereof. I try my best to keep this place neat, but I suck at house cleaning the way I suck at DDR. Yeah, I can do it, but once again, I flail around like the aforementioned demoniacally possessed monkey on speed.

My problem with house cleaning is not that I don't know how to do it, but that I don't know when to do it. We all know there aren't enough hours in the day, right? Well my hours in the day start at 5AMish (like some others I know), and usually end around 11PMish (though I'm trying to get back to that 9PM bedtime, really I am). In between those times, I write, cook, exercise, fold laundry, play with the kids, cartoon, blog, do more writing, record, podcast, do even more writing, work on art commissions, promote my work, etc. I have a hard enough time some days finding time to clean ME, let alone the house, so the house work sort of falls by the wayside most days. I do try to keep up with the kitchen and the vacuuming and the laundry, but that's about as good as I can do. I just can't seem to find half an hour more in my day to do a simple chore like dust one room, and frankly, even if I did dust one room, then I have to remember which room I dusted so that if I remember to clean again the next day, I don't end up dusting the same room twice.

I had signed on at one time with Fly Lady. Fly Lady is cool. Here is a woman who's worked out a system to get housework done in bits and pieces. She is encouraging, she is helpful, she has her act pretty much together. For a few months, I was doing good following the Fly Lady system. The problem was, those few months occurred prior to the birth of Pixie, and once Pixie was born, it was all down hill from there! I think the reason Fly Lady worked for me at the time was because I was nesting (even though I swore at the time I wasn't), getting my house ready for my upcoming addition. During those few months, I had no problem waking up at 4AM without needing an alarm and throwing on my clothes so I could go clean the house. Yes folks, I was cleaning house at 4AM. I was soooooo nesting.

But I can't do that now. Now, I do my best to get up at 5AM so I can grab a quick shower and write for an hour or two. Then the kids are up and it's breakfast, laundry, outside to play, back inside to work out, time for lunch, time to read stories, time to sit and work, and oh my god, is it really 6PM already? Crap, I haven't even started on dinner yet!

Yeah, that's my day. Just about every day, too.

So what am I going to do? I've thought that maybe I ought to give up some of my workout time to clean, but my weight isn't were I'd like it to be, and quite frankly, I hate giving up workout time. I sure as hell ain't giving up writing time. As for cleaning when the kids are outside... well, we don't have a fence around our backyard. I don't mind sending the kids out to play while I'm in the kitchen or the living room where I can keep an eye on them, but I sure as hell am not going to let a six-year-old and a three-year-old play outside by themselves when I can't keep an eye on them. Just doesn't seem like a smart idea.

I'm not sure what to do. House cleaning is one of those activities that would burn calories, although not as many as a good 20 minutes playing DDR will. I need to see what I can fit in. Maybe if I can get the kids to help me...

Or would I end up cleaning up after them in addition to any other house cleaning I'd be doing?

I got no solution here. Will keep thinking about it. I'm hitting the hay now, so I hope everyone has a good night.