Three Kid Circus : 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Rock and Roll All Nite

Whoever sent the memo to my 22 month old, inviting her to pardeh all night is on my list.
You would think that such a young child would require more than 45 minutes sleep in a 18 hour period. When my darling children finally dropped off to sleep at 9 PM, I allowed myself a little victory dance.

Heed my warning, oh smug parents. The parenting gods do not like victory dances. Not one teeny-tiny bit.

I was awakened at 1:30 AM by the sounds of minor crib rail rattling and my girl talking to herself quietly. I ignored this, and as soon as I drifted back to sleep:
"Ma-maaaaaaa!" She's kind of got a sore throat right now, so she sounds kind of gravelly. In fact, she sounded just like a heavy metal singer. "Ma-MAAAAAAAA!" Too much of Daddy's big hair bands while in utero.

I gave her a minute to see if she could work it out and settle herself. (Bwahahahahahaha! As if THAT was going to happen.) I think it was at this point where she ripped the TV out of the wall and pitched it out the hotel window, followed by the armchair.

Nope, I was going to have to fetch her. I scooped her out of her crib, where she was looking very Pat Benetar, and brought her to my bed. We snuggled in for 3.25 seconds before she inserted both her pointer fingers into my nostrils.

"Yow! Ma-maaaaa! Wake UP! Wake UP!" She crowed as she slapped my cheeks rythmically.

"Baby, it's the middle of the night."

"Yow! Seer-yall! Naw, Mama. Up! Get UP! Seer-yall!"

Okay, I know all about the 2 AM munchies, so I thought, maybe cereal WILL settle her down. Evil carbs. Hah! I spent 15 minutes watching her pick every raisin out of the bowl of Quaker 100% Natural and line them up on the table next to the bowl. Then she ate one bite of the granola and dumped the rest onto the floor.

Recharged by watching me crawl around on the floor cleaning up milk and cereal, she applauded and cheered. "Yea! Mommy!" I tried not to snarl too much.

I changed her pajamas. I changed her diaper. I sang lullabies and rocked her squirmy, not-even-a-little-sleepy body. I changed her diaper again. I got her sippy cups of warm milk. WARM. That was so over and above.

"Dag-tails. Ma-maaaaaaaa! Now! Ma-maaaaaaaa!" Screw it. It's 3 freaking 30 in the morning, if Dragon Tails on TiVo will net me some horizontal time, I'm game. So I got to lie on the couch while my daughter watched recorded shows until 5:30 when my husband gets up for the day. I didn't actually get to sleep on the couch. Everytime I would close my eyes, the child would kick me in the kidney, or slap my face.

So, there you have it. I'm cranky, I've had 2 hours of sleep in 24, and I'm blogging instead of cleaning. And the baby? She's still rockin' and rollin'. Un-freaking-believable.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

6 AM

Son: Mommy, I just hafta keep on talking. You know, talking. Blah de blah and stuff.

Me: Honey, I've just barely opened my eyes. You can talk, but I'm not going to answer.

Son: Mommy, why did the dog talk to the Ram?

Me: silence

Son: Okay, you don't know. It's a joke. Say WHY MOMMY?

Me: Why mommy.

Son: Hee! Because! Hee hee hee! Because!

Me: Uh?

Son: Because he's always butting in. Get it? Butt? Hee! Buuuuuutt.

Me: That's what they call it when a ram uses his horns to bang into something.

Son: I know, but it's funnier my way. Butt. Butt. Butt. Butt.

Me: Okay, enough.

Son: (in mocking sing-song) Mommy needs some quoa-fee cause she can't take a joke.

5 year old: Did someone just say butt?

Son: Pain in the butt! Pain in the butt!

Me: Really, enough now.

Son and 5 year old: Pain. In. The. Buuuuuuuutttttt!

Me: (over my shoulder as I head for coffee) No more Butt!

5 year old: I guess we'll have to sit on our elbows. Great.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

You Call That Cleaning?

I'm still cleaning, but the lure of the computer sucked me in, and I decided to clean out my documents. In the process, I stumbled across this gem from way back - I would love to know who the actual author is, since there are several folks that pop up claiming it when I google'd it.

And I promise to return to original material from the Circus tomorrow. As long as I get my cleaning done.

Laws of Forbidden Places
Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room. Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink. But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.

Laws When at Table
And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke. Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck: for you will be sent away. When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why. Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

Laws Pertaining to Dessert
For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.

On Screaming
Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of you right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault. Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even not I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat it myself, yet do not die.

Concerning Face and Hands
Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances
Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of the bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, not against any building; nor eat sand. Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not the humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.

Complaints and Lamentations
O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and even sometime do you spit, and shout "stupid-head" and other blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straight-away, "Can I come out?" and I reply, "No, you may not come out." And again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.

Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know. For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moaning. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with beverages of fermented grapes, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am thy ruler: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O Children of mine.

Because I'm So Behind

...on my housework. I am not granting permission to call me an ass. Or to refer to my rather prominent hindquarters in anything other than awestruck and reverent tones.

However - due to my need to launch a full scale war on my dust buffaloes, I'm directing you to go here to laugh instead. Unless you want to hee hee away here, which I support unwaveringly and encourage you to Hee! yourself silly.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Restless Jenny Recounts Her Day

I don't know what is going on... my whole family was squirrelly today. Lots of twitching and spastic flailing, leading to a whole lot of nothing in the productivity department.

A few days ago, I ran out of my makeup base - which of course sends a come-on-down signal to the acne fairy. Hello!?! I'm days away from my 32nd birthday and while I'd love to recapture my 16 year old verve, spots were NEVER a good look for me. I'm also retaining enough water that I could fling myself onto a burning building and save the day. It's like a bad Wonder Twins episode. Add to this vision of loveliness the fact that I've been too harried to buy my good shampoo and have been using my husband's all-in-one, rendering my tresses lifeless and dull.

Nevertheless, having rock-solid self-esteem and a bent towards procrastination, I prepared to go fetch my kindergartner at the appointed hour wearing purple yoga style sweatpants and a t-shirt, finished off by my ratty Target sneakers and barrette holding my limp bangs off of my face. I looked like holy hell, but figured I could at least excuse my lack of cuteness by arriving on foot. You know, like this was my workout look. Hah!

The stroller had a flat tire when we went to leave, and despite repeated attempts to fill the tire, it became apparent that we would be taking the van. During this repair interlude, my son took it upon himself to climb to the highest peak of the swingset, where he sang Baa Baa Black Sheep at the top of his lungs. I was able to coax him down with the promise of an Oreo.

I grabbed the baby and the dog, and loaded kit and kaboodle into the van. We arrived, were able to retrieve the big girl quickly, fetch her bike and load back into the van. We left, my daughter bubbling over with enthusiastic descriptions about Johnny Appleseed and Baby Beluga. We rounded the final corner to our house, and there was my mom in her SUV, waving.

She toodle-loo'd at me, and said "Can I come play?" This was really bad. I've been slacking on my housework. And despite playing catch up this weekend, I'm far from company ready. In fact, I should get my heinie off the computer and go clean. Right now. But I'm bad like that. Panic was shooting through every fiber of my being. My mom is a professional real estate stager. She makes homes look like model homes for a living. I didn't want to expose her to the chaos that has overtaken my home after several days of funkitude.

We entered into quick negotiations and decided on ice cream. Since the ice cream parlor is located in the shopping mall, I figured I could Clinique and perhaps replace my ratty shoes, since Grandma would be there to help out.

Normally, taking the kids to the mall is a hair-raising event, executed at a sprint with kids on lockdown in strollers and slings and a minimum of horsing around. Grandma apparently took her cue from my hair, weighed down with crappy all-in-one conditioners, because there was to be no hair-raising, nor any sprinting. She loves to show off the kids, and to let them have 'fun' by wandering free of restraints.

In the royal snit/state of fashion disaster I was in, I developed an eye-tick watching my 22 month old toddle into the path of other shoppers, causing them to lurch around her at the last minute while shooting the evil eye at me. I'm just sour to the core today, because they really had a wonderful time, and I'm sure I was imagining the dirty looks, because really, everyone was busy looking adoringly at my children and their young and cute grandmother.

After a refreshing, sugary treat, the children were primed and ready to take advantage of Grandma's good graces. I Cliniqued while Grandma took the kids up and down the escalator. I wandered the purses and shoes while Grandma took them to the bathroom. Hobo bags are in. After a brief questioning - "Jenny, did you know your son is wearing underpants with ballet slippers on them?" I had to 'fess up that he had soiled the last clean pair of boy pants and I had to improvise, while reassuring her that I'm not trying to raise a cross-dresser.

We let the kids play at the toy store. All three were excited but mannerly, and we made it out of there without spending a dime. Hooray for Grandma! I also got new sneakers, which will clash horribly with my purple pants. But, as I'm thinking on this, purple is really close to pink, and I can't do pink sweats. I have issues, I know. So maybe I need to get some new workout pants too. And a hobo bag. And a poncho. And a housekeeper.

Once we made it home, I was treated to a five hour long bad pun and knock knock joke extravaganza from my five and a half year old. She's got a real dorky streak. She comes by it honestly, what with her parents and all. My son napped, and woke up feeling extra energetic. In fact, he spent close to an hour bounding up and down on the mini-trampoline, kicking himself in the butt and saying "Look Mommy! I'm a pain in my own butt!" Over and over.

The wee one followed me around as I aimlessly loaded the dishwasher and folded laundry. She is in the rapid acquisition phase of language learning, and she speaks with a rising tone, so every word sounds like a question. It's adorable, and I try my best to keep my head in the game, but I was just weary. My slackitude netted me sharp pokes in the thigh from the baby when I failed to parrot the word she was schooling me on. I've got a bunch of pinpoint-sized bruises on my leg as proof of my wandering mind.

We read and logged our books for the evening, packed lunches for tomorrow, chose outfits, ate dinner, did the baths, played with daddy, brushed teeth, even got to bed at a decent hour. I think I will blame this restlessness on the weather.

Oh! That's the other funny thing my daughter said: she said that I'm Deciduous. She must have overheard me talking about needing to mulch my entire wardrobe and start fresh with some Fall Colors. Hee!

A Wild Hair

I'm feeling rebellious, and I have nothing to rebel against.

When this mood strikes, I generally listen to Brian Setzer. If I had a pretend celebrity boyfriend, it would totally be him. It's one of those things, though... you start calling him your boyfriend, and he freaks out and stops calling you and you tear up all his photos and, uh, ahem.

Anyway, I have rediscovered that my children LOVE Brian. In particular, we love his stuff with The Brian Setzer Orchestra. It's great for some faux-swing dancing in the living room. And it inspires my children to refer to me as "Pretty Mama" or "Bay-buh."

And now, I totally want pin-curls and some new dancing shoes.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Roshambo, Baby

Having a fondness for the little things helps, when you are not an adrenaline junkie. Take me, for example - on my list of Things To Do Before I Die, there is not one mention of leaping from a plane or swimming in shark infested waters. No climbing Everest.

There was an article in our local paper, about a local man who swam the English Channel. It was a longtime goal, with many years spent training, and at least one aborted attempt. He made it recently, and it was really great. I'm happy for him, and all those folks who feel the need to challenge themselves physically who go out there and get it done. Bravo.

Me, though, I've got my sights set on less strenuous events. For example: the sport of Roshambo. Shut UP! It is too a sport. In fact, I've been teaching my children the basics this week. A local winery is named Roshambo, and in addition to good wine, they are major forces in the more intense aspects of the sport.

Teaching the chitlins has been a blast. The 5 1/2 year old caught on right off the bat. She's good like that. She does occasionally try to trump me with an ears open, mouth closed and we did end up in a heated thumb-wrestling match over one paper/rock result. But she's savvy. She gets it. She puts on her Roshambo face and fakes me out.

The 4 year old son, well, he gets that you enter the smackdown with one of the three, but he doesn't always remember which trumps which. He's been known to use both hands, causing chaos. He also changes his weapon of choice if you should win. Thinks on his feet. Not a purist, but we're working on that.

The 22 month old is the best, though. She *always* kicks down with Rock, and she always slugs you at the end of a match. Not very sportsman like, but an effective deterrent should some fool parent think about *always* producing Paper.

Just wait, there will be an article about me someday, holding my Roshambo Pro-Am trophy and flashing a triumphant Scissor.

A Feel A Song Coming On

I feel pretty bloated!
Oh so pretty zitty!
I feel pretty crampy and witty whiney and bright sarcastic!
And I pity any girl fool who isn't me scared tonight!

I feel charming crazy,
Oh, so charming lazy,
It's alarming how charming cranky I feel!
And so pretty swollen
That I hardly can believe I'm real not aloft like a weather balloon.

See the pretty girl bleary eyes in that mirror there:
Who can that attractive snarling girl be?
Such a pretty hostile face,
Such a pretty dress large pair of sweatpants,
Such a pretty smile ratty ponytail,
Such a pretty me... never mind, just RUN!

I feel stunning monstrous!
And entrancing irrational!
Feel like running sleeping and dancing pouting for joy oh boy!
For I'm loved feared
by a pretty wonderful boy smart husband who knows when to be quiet!


See, Mir - ANY TIME is a GREAT time to sing "I Feel Pretty!"

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Light! It Burns!

First of all, I have to thank the adorable CCP for my first ever fan snailmail: a pack of "Mofo" gum.
You can't see it in this photo, but the box also features really hilarious hand gestures with accompanying phrases like "When yo' chillin' with the bee-yatches, get yo' mofo groove on and put a cap in that dawg breath." I'm speechless. It's, like, perfect for me! Heeeeeee!

Also included was a very sweet note that made my day! You're a doll! Mwah!

I'm going to have to keep this short and sweet (like me) today (I know, everyone is all, "good, because she just goes ON and ON") because I got myself a hangover.

That's right, folks - fed the kids grilled cheese with baby carrots for dinner, put them to bed, curled up on the couch with a small glass of Chateau St. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon and a grilled cheese of my own to watch Survivor. (It was a grilled swiss on rye, toasted with a touch of olive oil, which I feel compelled to mention. Just don't want you to think I'm pairing Kraft American singles, margarine and Wonderbread with my moderately priced wine. 'Cause I am CLASSY and all.)

This morning: Hangover. Hangover City.

I'm like, shocked. I'm an even cheaper date than before. Sheesh. So I'm drinking tons of water and wearing sunglasses. To type on my computer.

Let's all say it together: CLASSY.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

She's Really Asking For It!

Carmen at Mom To The Screaming Masses has posted that she will answer any questions (as long as they are within tasteful bounds.) Hop on over there and get some answers!

Also, anyone want gmail? Is there anyone who still doesn't HAVE gmail? Ask and you shall receive. Gmail, you got other issues, take 'em to Carmen.

Return of the Gymboree

In a fit of I don't know what, spurred on by a SALE! email from the marketing wizards at Gymboree, I shopped their online sale a few days ago. Take a ridiculous price, put a line through it, put a more moderate price in red and I'm all, THIS is a GOOD SALE! Never mind that the sale prices are still more than I would pay NOT on sale, say, at Target.

They had some sort of electronic voodoo going on, perhaps some sort of mind altering code flashing behind their logo, because I felt compelled to buy matching outfits for both my girls and me. Mommy-daughter dressing. (You can't see me right now, but I'm miming gagging myself with my finger)

If this wasn't proof of Gymboree's strength in the Force, they are not only matching outfits, but ZEBRA PRINTED. Black cardigans with zebra collars, paired with zebra print dresses for the girls, and a knee-length zebra striped skirt for me. It really seemed like a good idea.

Then the box arrived. I laid out the girls' outfits on my bed, and reached into the box for my skirt. Have you ever bought the wrong size in packaged underware? I know, most of you buy lovely panties by the piece. What I'm talking about here is when you rip open a package of 3 to a pack squishy cotton undies and when you unfold them, they are the size of the main sail on a clipper ship. You think, "Hmm, are these the wrong size?"

Same thing with this skirt. I spread it on the bed, and I'm certain it took over half the mattress. I held it up to me and no, it was actually the RIGHT size. Apparently, zebras are actually tiny, but the stripes make them appear large and fearsome. This was such a bad idea. Matchy-match, and enlarging? No. Not for me.

So I'm off to Gymboree to take advantage of their in-store return policy. Because I love to go to the mall with my children.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Can I Get A Hee?

For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking about some old co-workers of mine. I worked at a company that had two divisions: one produced 'natural' cosmetics and toiletries like shampoo and face scrubs, and the other was working on a cure for Erectile Disfunction. And the president of the Erectile Disfunction division was named Ed. *Snort*

Anyway, these coworkers of mine were hilarious, and made the job fun. We worked in cubicles that were in direct line of sight from the president's office, and he was anal with a capital A. He didn't like to see more than one tidy stack of paper on the desk, and only if you were working on it, right that second. No visible in-boxes. No filing could accumulate. No coffee cups visible. No message pads, no personal items. No pens or pencils were to be seen. Oh, and we were supposed to be silent. At all times.

As you can probably guess from my personality, this is a huge issue for me. I can't shut my mouth off. My male co-worker (I'll call him Joe) and my female co-worker (Let's say, um, Sue) had worked for this company for several years, and were great at following the rules. Joe sat in the cube next to me, Sue across the aisle. For the first couple of days, I kept my nose to the grindstone, and was miserable. The third day, I heard a soft beep and looked at my phone. My intercom line was blinking. I picked up the phone and Sue said "Crazy yet? Wanna get some lunch? Joe and I are going in 5 minutes. Put your pen away!"

The moment we stepped out the breakroom door, squinting and blinking in the midday glare, the conversation erupted. Sue had a wonderful laugh. She was also an excellent mimic, and could imitate every employee. Joe was adorable, and he knew it. He was from a large Portuguese family, and as the weeks passed, took every opportunity to speak Portuguese in front of me, which I assume was supposed to impress me. With his blond hair and blue eyes, he was "...my mother's cutest child, I mean, she took me with her everywhere because people always went crazy over her beautiful blond boy. I'm totally the cutest son in my family."

I love modesty like that.

Sue was a single mother used to adventure. She planned lots of road trips, loved NASCAR and had a thousand stories. She brought me up to speed on all the company scuttlebutt, and taught me how to get around the silence rule (instant messaging, and intercom calls :) Suddenly my days were full of inside jokes. Our human resource lady was really perky. Sue informed me that her maiden name was "Twinkle" (not really, it was something equally cutesy and perky, though) and took pains to announce her arrival ala the "Here Comes Miss America!" with "Now on the runway, Miss Human Resources - Katrina... TWINkle!" Ms. Twinkle would obligingly do a catwalk turn before entering her office. I wonder if she thought it was funny like we did?

Joe was young and naive, and Sue and I had a good time 'educating' this fine young man. Example: A friend of mine was at a bar, talking to a cute guy. Our other friend was sitting next to her, saying "cornhole, cornhole, cornhole" under her breath. Friend #1 was flirting away, when the desired subliminal effect took hold. "I'm graduating from cornhole this year. Did I just say CORNHOLE?" Yeah, the guy was really impressed.

I repeated this tale at work, Sue and Joe laughed appreciatively. The next day, Joe comes back looking sheepish. Apparently, he went home to his mama, and kept slipping the word 'cornhole' into conversation. He thought it was funny, but he had NO IDEA what he was saying. His mom freaked out. And he reported this back to us. And we STILL had to explain what it meant. Ahahahahaha! Can you guess what we nicknamed Joe? Good times, good times.

*note: apparently Joe was not the only person unsure on "cornhole." It's actually a game
but also is a slang word for, uh, the place where you go poopie.

Anyway, then the company hired a new manager. Oh man. She brought her little poodle with mangy butt issues and decorated her office with poster prints like those '80s parrots and jungle cats. She had an unfortunate last name, that with the aid of white-out and a manual typewriter was easily transformed on her business cards to read "Skank." This was Sue's idea. I'm not that wicked.

Anyhoo, Ms. Skank had a braying laugh. She sounded just like a donkey. We were beside ourselves the first time we heard it. Especially since she would break into the braying to say "isn't that HILARIOUS?" and "Could you just DIE?" Sue, ever quick on the uptake, coined a phrase that is part of my lexicon to this day. Anything idiotic was greeted with "Can I get a Hee Haw?" at which point Joe and I would repeat "Hee Haw." And then we'd laugh like donkeys.

As time wore on, the Haw seemed superfluous, and "Can I get a hee?" seemed to do the trick nicely. As luck would have it, I ended up leaving shortly after learning I was pregnant with my first. To this very day, I find myself saying in my sarcastic inner voice "Hee Haw!" at choice moments.

There you have it. A touching recollection of a formative employment experience, which probably scarred innocent perky people and donkey laughing bosses for life.

Me-ow!

It did my catty little heart so much good today to open the newspaper and find a photo of my hubs' first wife standing outside her workplace. It was a full length, shot from the profile, so that her outline was really emphasized.

Did I say MY butt was big? Non, cherie. HER butt is BIG. And the angle, let us say, was unkind in revealing her chin region. Let's make it a double!

I kept my cattiness in my head. I have no business being a cat. At all. Dude, I've seen my own butt. Last night. And we're not talking about my chins. I was getting ready to rush out and donate blood or to clothe some orphans to make up for my lapse in positive thinking.

But then - cue the rainbows and sparklers - my hubs called me from work and said "Did you see the photo of my ex? She looks smaller in the chest. Could be because her butt is so huge. Then again, her butt was always huge. And her face did nothing for me. Must be because you (Me!) are so adorable."

I am, I'm adorable! Abominable, catty and shallow, but adorable. Oh, and I'm not sore much at all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

8 Mile

(No, this isn't a tribute to Eminem)

I walked, get this: EIGHT MILES TODAY. (That makes it 12 miles already this week. And it's Tuesday. Aaaaarrrrrrrrrgh! I'm kicking ass and taking names! And selling wrapping paper for the PFA!)

I'm all triumphant about it right now, but you KNOW I'm going to be so sore tomorrow that every step I take will be accompanied by mewling noises and quivering.

On another note, I've just returned from Back To School Night. I wore a cheesy rayon blend wrap dress that looks fine from the front, if a little hooterific, but I caught a backview on myself, and lemme say that:
  1. I really miss my Crystal Gayle hair at times like this, because lordy I need me some big hair to counter-balance my onion, and this shoulder length hair just isn't froomphy enough.
  2. It's a good thing I'm stacked, but I'm still confused about whose butt has been switched with my formerly cute patootie.
  3. It's a really good thing that I'm walking miles and miles, because I've crossed the mythical border between bootylicious and The Butt That Ate San Francisco.
  4. I do not want to catch any more backviews of myself any time soon.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Hide and Seek

My children do not realize how many grey hairs they cause me to sprout on a daily basis. If not for sweet Feria lovin', I would be the Bride of Frankenstein. Seriously.

I mean, I'm delighted to have spirited chill'en. Three tra-la-la spirited, bright, gifted children. I'm sure that the world is full of highly successful adults who are former spirited children. With all the whiz-banging and rollicking, joyous spirits around here, I'm thinking Nobel Freaking Prize. Next to an Oscar and a Pulitzer. On my freaking mantel.

Of course, I still have to raise 'em up right and all. So far, I seem to be able to keep them stimulated and challenged, by simply leaving objects I will need in the future in accessible areas. Never mind the educational toys and puzzles I provide. They have NOTHING on playing hide and seek.

"How sweet and wholesome!" I know you're thinking it. But no. Les Enfants Terribles of the Circus enjoy swiping car keys, wallets, jewelry, bills... and then relocating them to child-selected safehouses. The FBI has nothing on my yahoos when it comes to fake IDs and relocating to small town Nebraska.

Their penchant for subterfuge started years ago, when my oldest was just over 2. I left my diamond ring on the bedside table. When I returned for it, she covered her mouth with her hand and giggled gleefully.

"Where is my ring?" I asked. "Bookshelf!" A quick inspection of the bookshelf turns up nada. "Where is my ring?" I try again. "Window!" No.
"WHERE is my ring?" I demand. She is getting really excited now, bouncing on her toes and tee heeing away. "Flush. Potty. Bye-bye!" I continue questioning her, and she changes her answer with each round. Three months later it turned up against the baseboards behind our bed. So why? Why all the drama?

My son has picked up the torch, and frequently removes my wallet from my purse in the car while I am unloading or loading things. When I get within viewing range, he will casually flip it under the seat or into the rear of the van. I tear the vehicle apart, while my son looks concerned and says "I think you dropped it at the school," or "I saw it on the sidewalk, Mommy." When it turns up behind his carseat? "Silly Mommy. When did you put it there?" Can you SEE the grey hair sprouting? I think I can actually hear it. It makes little screaming noises.

Which brings me around to this morning. Car keys. Gone. "Where are the keys?" I just start off at a growl now. Kills the buildup a bit, but you know, it's an art - witty repartee' and sometimes a mama just doesn't have time for that nonsense. "Aaah!" offers my son.

"Keys!" I say, emphatically. "Daddy has keys..."ventures the boy. He's quaking under the Eye Of Enraged Mother, but it's a faux-quake. He cowers so well that we have nicknamed him Gollum. "Please. Get. Up. We. Need. To. GO." I try again. Lamaze breathing hee hee hee hoo hoo hoo. At this point he bursts into noisy, cartoonish wailing, complete with thrown back head, gaping mouth and tears that project outwards from his eye sockets in visible dotted lines. "Waaaaaaaaah!"

Every time I ask, I get a different answer, ranging from stuffed in the fireplace to eaten by the dog. None of them lead to the keys. Late this evening, I finally found them. In the drawer of our entertainment center, behind all the DVDs. Because, yes, okay. That makes sense. TO A FREAKO.

The punishment for this crime? I take away favorite toys, assign chores, have VERY. EARNEST. heart to heart talks with my children about the VERY. BAD. things that could happen if I needed the missing items RIGHT THAT MINUTE. They are largely unmoved. They nod, they apologize, the boy even busts out a "Mommy, please FORGIVE me waaaah!" but then a few days pass and those little fingers start itching again.

I close my eyes and imagine myself humming serenely while I dust the Nobel Freakin' Prize and put a spit-shine on the Oscar, while the internationally televised thank you speech rings in my ears: "And to my mother, who lost her looks and her sanity because of me, but never managed to crush my spirit..."

A Moment To Myself

This morning, the hubs took my oldest to Kindergarten, allowing me to wallow in the luxury of not rushing out before eight o'clock. My four year old son started swimming lessons today, but not until ten, so I was able to move at a sedate pace while getting ready.

At nine-thirty, I walked by the mirror in the hall where we place our keys. Mine? Not there. Again. This is a subject worthy of its own lengthy rant. I quickly surveyed the most likely locations for the missing keys. No. No. No no no no. Looks like we are walking to the pool. It's a mile, no biggie. I have time to get there, so I load the baby and the boy in the stroller and head out.

Our heatwave has ended, and in its place, the air was tinged with a crispness that made me want to take big strides and breathe deep. Oh, and wear tweed. But that is another subject worthy of its own entry. My son spent the entire 20 minutes of our walk asking questions. "Are we going to Grandma's? Are we lost? Where is the egg-plant? Are we going to school? Are you going to hop like a bunny?"

Gah.

We get to the pool, unload, boy swims, baby squirms on my lap and yells "WIM! WIM!" and flails herself toward to edge of the pool. At the end of the lesson, we dry him off and dress him warmly, then start the walk back home. Miraculously, both kids fall asleep within a minute or two. Then it was just me and my thoughts.

Okay, granted there was some sort of motorcycle rally going on, and the street I was walking down was full of traffic, but I saw the sun shining and heard the creek babbling and the trees rustling and even with the noise from the surrounding cars and businesses, it was just ME. And I was THINKING. About STUFF.

About a year ago, I had a dream that I had taken up oil painting. I was pretty good too. But in my dream, my three children kept snatching my canvases and smearing them, and try as I may, I could never get away. A startling moment in that dream found me curled in the fetal position while my children pummelled me, literally knocking the urge for creativity right out of me. I woke in a cold sweat, but had to laugh. I have always been a creative person, but lately I just can't get started. Not even a little.

I have come to the conclusion that if I want any vestiges of creativity of my OWN making, I am going to have to fight for it. Being a parent makes for an interesting dilemma. I nurture my family, but allow myself to wither. There is no easy answer, either. Someone is always going to think you're a martyr or selfish. Or both.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Football. Woo.

My hubs bounded out of bed this morning. I raised a bleary eyelid in time to catch him spiking an imaginary pigskin at the foot of the bed, followed by a spirited rendition of his funky chicken engineer endzone dance.

In his best announcer voice, he intoned "Is anybody ready for some football?"

I pulled the covers back over my head. My "hell, no" was muffled, but adamant.

The only thing good about football season is it really does encourage hors d'oervres and dips. I love bellying up to a table with lots of dipping options. And chili. One craves a nice bowl of chili, while one is rooting for one's team.

But the game? Woo.

Giant men crashing into one another. Arg! Ooof! It's good! Sack 'em! And the commercials. Thank you TiVo.

The hubs loves it. Not just for the dip, either. He actually yells at the TV when he gets all worked up. Like that's gonna help.

Granted, I have been known to yell at the TV, too, but usually at Matt and Sheri on Room by Room. They just get me all fired up. And I did the funky chicken endzone dance when they eliminated several people off of Survivor. So it's a family thing. My kids bust out with the Cabbage Patch when they find all three clues on Blue's Clues. The Wiggles encourage air guitar. I've noticed that most of the kids shows we watch encourage dancing and yelling out things at the TV, so I guess we're training 'em young.

Go Team.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

It's CORN, People.

'Tis the season. Every year, from late August through the end of October, traffic along one of our major freeway corridors slows to a crawl for a 5 mile stretch. The culprit lies on the western side of the freeway. It's a large pumpkin patch, with a corn maze.

Granted, we live in an agricultural area, and I appreciate the splendor that is corn. Pumpkins, also. Love them pumpkins. But, uh... do we need to creep by these things at 5 miles an hour? We apparently do. Because year after year, day after day, from the first green shoots to the final hurrah on November 1st when they plow the pumpkins under with big ole tractors, it's brake lights and rubbernecks until you get past the patch. Then, *poof* the spell is broken, and people remember they are on the freeway.

I initially thought people were just watching the school kids and tourists. That's understandable, you know. Awww, kids are so cute, punkinheads waddling around carrying giant orange orbs. But get this: my husband, who drives past this mirage of Autumn twice daily tells me that even when the sun's first rays are just breaking over the hills, the drivers still are compelled to swivel heads to the right, mouths agape. After the floodlights have been shut off, and the gates locked for the night, still the traffic crawls by.

What? It's CORN. CORN. What is so fascinating? Is everyone looking for the Great Pumpkin? Creeping themselves out with memories of Children of the Corn? Honestly, I'd be less baffled if there was some sort of signs or flashing lights to draw attention, but no. It's just CORN. And pumpkins.

So, um, DRIVE!

Friday, September 17, 2004


See?!?

See! I'm Tintin. Also, let's note that it's a shadow on the wall...my eyebrows do not meet in a point on the bridge of my nose. And, my eyelashes are THAT sad and stubby.

Home Again, Home Again, Lickety Split

I think I broke a land-speed record getting my oldest to school this morning. Well, maybe land-speed, while on foot in broken down Target brand sneakers with a huge ass stroller that corners like a tractor-trailer loaded down with sixty-seven pounds of kids plus miscellaneous juice boxes, backpacks and plastic dinos, in hot pursuit of a five and a half year old Evil Kanevil wanna be in a pink princess helmet who mocks the limitations of a girlie bike with training wheels by leaping off curbs with sparkly handlebar streamers flying, hollering "Whee!" kind of record.

Despite my best intentions, we still were running late. Oh, I don't know, could have been my son's insistence on Chicken Nuggets for breakfast. Could have been me forgetting that it was "teddy bear parade" day, necessitating a rush around looking for "Cowie" since my daughter prefers her stuffed cow instead of a bear like normal children. Could have been the three outfit changes for my youngest, who made like Jackson Pollack with her yogurt, and then took a (washable at least) marker to her next outfit. But I'm not going to blame the kids. Really, it's pretty much all me. Me me me me me.

I'm having another cup of coffee. Right now.

In other, somewhat related news: I am growing my bangs out, and had pulled the rest of my hair back into a ponytail. I just caught a look at myself in the mirror and my rebellious, forward growing bangs have poofed themselves up into an elaborate curly-queue. With the rest of my hair pulled back at the nape of my neck, I look exactly like Tintin. Bwahahahahaha!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Random Circus Acts

I drove to the school this morning, so I could continue on to the grocery store. I'm such a cheater. My son obviously slept well, or the toast I served this morning, with his name written in left-over icing, wired him beyond belief. This boy of mine does not respond to his name, nor does he slow one iota, no matter what. He even shakes his head and flaps his arms while he runs, and sometimes makes an accompanying sound like "laller, laller, laller, laller."

I'm SO proud.

Anyway, we managed to get my oldest into class, and despite several break and run incidents, got the boy and the baby back into carseats and headed for the store. We shopped. And shopped. We bought all manner of healthy, nutritious foods, as well as a box of 'fruit snacks' which have no fruit in them, and no appeal either, at least to my sophisticated palate. But they had Dora on the box. "Dora!" shouts my baby. "Booooots!"

"No, honey, we don't eat those. Yucko." I give it a half-hearted try.

"DORA!"

"No, no, you don't want those." I try again.

She makes a sound like an air-raid siren. For a moment, I go to war with myself. Tantrum. Not to be rewarded. Must. Not. Cave. Must. Not. Cave...

"Here, honey, you hold the box." Silence. Bliss.

Back at home, I put away the booty and started smearing the dirt around my kitchen floor, with the excellent aid of my Swiffer battery powered self-lubricating maxi-pad. Ooh, that looks so much better, I thought to myself. The dog, who was watching me from the hall, suddenly raised her ears, and then turned and sprinted, leaping through our open front window. She began leaping and barking at the fence. I stuck my head around the corner just in time to see the box from Amazon.com bounce off the dog's head and land upside down on the cement.

Excellent! "Give it a rest, Donna," I growl as I stroll out to retrieve the package. My new 512MB card for my digital camera. Now I can take zillions of photos and not worry about room or resolution. Woo!

I quickly swapped out the 32MB card from the camera. Just then, my son came bounding into the kitchen, sans pants. "Mommy! You wanna see what I did on the potty?"

"Uh, no, honey, you can just flush it."

"Mommy! There's a sinker and a floater!"

"Uh..."

"You wanna take a picture of it?"

"Uh..."

"Mommy, I'm a big boy! Hey! Wanna take a picture of my dingus? Laller Laller Laller Laller."

Oh, help. It's not even noon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

And So, It Begins.

I was all worried about the care and keeping of a kindergartener. I was certain to be the most disorganized, least fashionable mother. As usual, I was worrying about the wrong things.

We get there on time. We even walk the whole way. In 90+ degree heat. And I don't complain. I have yet to forget about a lunch, or to neglect to return forms. (I know, it's only been three weeks, go easy on me, eh?) I'm good like that.

But then, wham. I peel open the My Pretty Pony backpack today and there it is. FALL 2004 FUNDRAISER! YOUR KID WINS PRIZES THAT ARE A BUNCH OF WORTHLESS JUNK IF SHE SELLS A BOATLOAD OF OVERPRICED CRAP TO YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND EVEN PERFECT STRANGERS! Start stalking your neighbors! Now. NOW!

I hate fundraising. I did appreciate the note that "Children should be accompanied by a parent when selling door-to-door. Children should not knock on the doors of unfamiliar homes after dark." Can't I just write a check to the PTA? Would that speak ill of my school spirit?

And then, the school photo day. You can select the basic package, against a 'slate' background, or for ONLY $2 more, you can 'upgrade' to Arctic, Freedom, Sky, Purple Passion or Fall Colors. I'm thinking I'll dress her like an Eskimo and go with Artic, but then, I'm open for suggestions. They also suggest adding "soft-focus" for an additional $3. Because your elementary student needs a warmer, softer finish. What? Save the Cybil Sheppard lighting for the acne prone teens, okay?

And THEN, I get a call saying my son's preschool has been moved to the center across town. This throws off my whole plan of walking my son to his school. I'm irritated. Now I have to either hustle to find him a new class, nearby, or I keep him home until January. Not the end of the world, but still. I was beginning to look forward to having an hour or two with just the baby.

But, the good news is: my oldest loves her school, and I'm delighted, too. Now, if I can just weasel out of selling door-to-door, and land on the perfect outfit to go with a Purple Passion background...

Who Wants Some Bacon?

I love Kevin Bacon. There. I admit it.

Last night, I was treated to VH-1's presentation of Footloose. I've seen Footloose something like 500 times. In fact, I saw it probably 50 times when it was first in the theaters. So let me see... it came out in 1984, so I was 11 at the time.

It had the potential to be a major, formative influence in my young adolescent life. We lived in the suburbs, next to a shopping center with a tiny, two cinema movie theater. They featured two dollar double features all summer long, to the delight of every mother in town. "Here, take your brother and sister, and have a good time. See you at dinner!" The place was always packed.
It's been a few years since I really watched it, beyond saying, "Hey! Footloose, on TV! I've seen that like 500 times!" and flipping channels.

Anyway, I was fixated on Footloose last night. Kevin Bacon. So hot. Love him. Lori Singer? Girl... EAT A MEAL. OR TEN. I forgot about Sarah Jessica Parker. Hah! John Lithgow? Him, too? Oh, red cowboy boots. I need some red cowboy boots.

And then, I became progressively horrified by the actual contents of the movie. Lots of smoking, underage drinking, references to sex, cussing, lying to parents and other stupid rebellious stunts. And really demure prom dresses. And skinny ties. And that scene where Ariel's boyfriend smacks her around. And the time when Ariel's FATHER smacks her face. What? I don't remember all this stuff.

My memories of Footloose are pretty much confined to the really silly dance numbers. I guess at the age of 11, those other elements were lost in the "Oooh! Kevin BACON. He's so fine he blows my MIND." But, wow. I really remembered it as a much more innocent movie.

And that cracks me up. Have I become a prude since becoming a parent? I know that I view so much of the world differently. I want to protect my children from the majority of the thematic elements from Footloose. I doubt my parents were aware of the content, but at the tender age of 11, the negative elements were not what I remembered about the movie. It didn't even register.
I wonder how long the innocence filter lasts these days? I remember catching some Rocky and Bullwinkle a few years back and found myself laughing at some of the jokes with a new appreciation for the double entendres and subtle adult humor. How much of that is buried in children's programming? My kids watch a variety of television programs (I know, I know, must. kill. television. Flame away.) and although we are careful to preview all programs, and use TiVo to eliminate advertisements, we don't always watch together.

Does Dora ever solve the Grumpy Old Troll's riddle and cross into the next county for some underage drinking? Does Rolie Polie Olie ever stoned and then get into a chicken fight with a tractor? Are those perky Hi-5 singers doing skits about balancing on the window frames of two moving cars? (Actually, wouldn't that be just like the Simpsons?) I have only seen positive role-play come from the children's programming available today. But I guess I had better pay attention. You never know when those Teletubbies are going to start smoking and cussing. And who knows what the hell is going on with those Boohbah critters.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Head Games

It seems that my children have been born into a family with a rich tradition of head games.

My son just announced that his eyes feel dirty. In concern, I dropped to my knees and began tugging on eyelids and cheeks, trying to determine the cause. He giggled, gave me a playful shove backwards and said "No, silly."

In slow motion, he brought a fist up to his eye. When he moved the fist, his eye was closed in a dramatic wink. He moved his fist to his mouth, and flailed the tip of his tongue around the inside of both cheeks, before returning his fist to his eye. Both blue eyes twinkled at me as he grinned. "All clean. Grandpa showed me." Ah yes, the old remove the eyeball and wash it in the mouth trick.

My sister has a special noise that she produces in the back of her throat that makes it sound as though she has a few marbles rattling around inside her head. She accompanies this with wild eye rolling. My children scream with glee at this display of dingbattery. She has even managed to produce the sound so that it sounds like the "marbles" are slowly rocking to a stop. She can also wiggle her ears.

Good times.


Monday, September 13, 2004

In Which She Is Undone By A Load Of Laundry

"No surrender!" I gritted my teeth, squinted like a pirate and tried again. My back spasmed in response to my twisting. I drew myself up to my full five feet and squared my shoulders. That's it. I'm just going to have to stand in mountain pose, forever.

Last Thursday, I stepped awkwardly on a toy and hurt my back. It's been better and worse, and better and worse. My computer chair aggravates it. Walking helps. Sleeping causes spasms. Standing upright is good. Naturally, this causes some frustration in the tired and cranky and blog-hungry spectrum. I've walked my four miles today, and although I'm zingy from the O-so-good coffee (Ha! O! Hee!) I would like to rest on something other than the soles of my feet.

I've been trying to use yoga to cure myself. I'd be lying if I said it isn't fun to watch Pantyman serenely bend and stretch to the sound of new age gongs and flutes. But helping? Not so much.

All things considered, after a 800 mg horsepill of Advil, I felt ready to tackle folding a load of laundry. I could remain mostly upright, and fold gingerly. Had to be done.

Got several pairs of socks matched. Folded a few tshirts. And then *slapping forehead* I reached for a pair of panties toward the back of the pile.

Guh-zzzzzzz! It felt like an electric shock zooming up my back. I twitched, and then landed face down in the pile of laundry. And down I stayed. I was folding on my bed, and when I reached, the mattress caught me mid thigh. So I'm laying there, torso resting on the laundry and stiff legs hanging off the mattress. Uh...

I gave a feeble push with my arms. Ouch.

I wiggled my legs. Ouch.

I tried to roll to my left. Ouch.

I tried to roll to my right. Ouch.

Okay, OUCH OUCH OUCH. Sign me up for the Darwin Awards, folks. I'm fixin' to smother myself in a load of laundry.

Summoning all my resolve, and trying not to laugh, I manage to leverage myself into a cockeyed push-up position, at which point my legs tip to the floor, and before I can get my feet positioned, my stiff carcass slides sideways onto the floor.

Landing with a thud and a weak mewling noise, I look up to find my youngest standing over me. "Mommy boom! Ta-daaaa!" I do my best jazz hands for her sake, and she applauds and RiverDances in my honor. "Mommy TA-DAAAA!"

I roll to my side, and... wait, not painful. I push to a sit. No. Can't be. NO PAIN. Deciding that this moment calls for the ultimate test, I lunge one knee forward and throw my arms into the air. "Supah-Star!" I am healed! I am healed!


Orgasmic Coffee

Oh, it's true, it's all true!

Senseo is really great coffee. Yes! Yes! Yes! Excuse me while I go wash the foam off of my face. Even my hubs agrees. It really is orgasmic. Go on, rush out and get yourself one.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Do You Smell That?

As I was drifting off to sleep last night, I caught a whiff of the past. My old cowboy boots had been shoved unceremoniously under my side of the bed by one of my children. The scent of worn leather wafted up to rest on my pillow, and I found myself standing in the tiny ranch house kitchen of my dear friend and country dancing buddy. I glanced around and saw the pile of wet boots by the door, the fifteen varieties of munchies and the empty coke cans from a 2am refueling. A surge of joy built in my chest and I released a giggle into the still of my bedroom. My husband stirred in his sleep, and I drifted off, awash in recollection.

The sense of smell is a powerful weapon against a leaky memory. I spent a summer in Japan when I was 15 year old. Every couple of years, the air around me will briefly take on characteristics that leave me mentally wandering the sidewalks of Osaka. Each place I've been has a distinct aroma that calls to me. More instinct than conscious action, my brain has catalogued these atmospheric elements.

The beach where we celebrated my son's fourth birthday is the same beach where I took my own first steps as a baby. The tang of the salt air, the smell of drying seaweeds on the gravelly sand are imprinted in my mind. A lifetime of memories rush back to me when we open the car doors on the cliffs above the beach. I become the child who posed with seaweed like a feather boa and scoured the tidepools for signs of life. I become the preteen who wore a bathing suit despite the freezing surf, and the teenager who sat on the rocks and rehashed conversations with friends and talked about cute boys. My first joyful trip to the beach as a mother combines with the long remembered trips of my own babyhood in the sweetness of salt water taffy, bought from a roadside shack.

The sense of smell is remarkable. It entices with the perfume of a passing stranger and causes me to salivate when my favorite dishes are prepared. A baby, minutes old, knows his own mother by her smell. There is comfort in a familiar scent and excitement in an exotic spice. These mental getaways are always surprising. Like a favorite song from an earlier time in my life, certain smells send me on olfactory flights of fancy, remembering in great detail the people, places and events that occurred.

My brother has no sense of smell. He did, before his body was attacked by Lyme's Disease at the age of nine. It has been problematic for him - he can't tell if the gas pilot has been left on, or if there is an unfamiliar smell. It distorts his ability to taste food. I've never asked him about how he remembers things. It makes me sad to think that he has been robbed of the pleasures of smell.

On the other hand, my husband's brother stayed with us last Christmas, and informed me that he eschews deodorant, because he has been told by women that "they love his musky goodness." Okay, look. If he said he was allergic, or that he couldn't bring himself to slather chemicals in his pits, but he showered after major exertion, I MIGHT have some sympathy. But the men of my husband's family generate some serious, knock you down at 1000 paces, nasty, rank, foul, oh my GOD is that coming from your pits kind of stankyness. It's lethal. Musky Goodness. Hell, no. I howl every time I think about that. Then again, I'm happy that there is a special scent for everyone, musky or no.



Essentials

Sunday mornings were meant for sleeping in. My kids can't seem to get with the program, so I've been up for two hours.

I made the coffee, and got a glimpse at the water reservoir. Apparently, it has been too long since I've done the citric acid treatment. Scale as far as the eye can see. Oh, it was nasty. Nasty nasty nasty. I was already through half a cup of coffee, too. Being thrifty and lazy, I drank the rest of the cup.

It is time to replace the coffee maker. And thanks to Lauren of The New Jan Brady, I'm all over the Philips Senseo. I need that machine. And so, I will load up the minivan with the family and head to the Target Greatland. I will embrace the pod system. Perhaps I will enjoy my coffee in new, sensual ways. It's just THAT good. Mmmmm.

My husband just yelled "We need Q-tips!" in a strangled voice.

Uh, okay. Onto the list it goes. Reminds me: on a grocery shopping excursion, long long ago, my mom was pulling out of the driveway, and had made it halfway down the block when she glanced in the rearview mirror and spotted my dad galloping down the street on foot, waving his arms and yelping "We're out of MAYONNAISE!"

Oh, the urgency of it all. Must. Shop.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


When my daughter aimed the gesture at her brother, I was baffled. In fact, it's a stroke of genius: You are looking at the kindergarten sign for "mouth closed, ears open." Hah! I'm so going to be flashing that baby. So much nicer than hollering "Zip yer trap n lissen up, y'all!"

A Sort Of Love Story In Four Parts

Part 1: The Beginning

I actually knew the moment I first saw him that he was the man for me. I knew it on a cellular level. I was sick as a dog, ripping open my second box of tissue of the morning. It was also my first day on my new job. He walked into my office, spoke with the office manager, and then turned to say hello to me.

I was in mid-nose-blow. I finished with a *honk* and returned his smile. He was wearing green slacks, and a green and white striped shirt, and when he said "You must be the new Accounts Payable person." I blurted "and you must be a leprechaun." He looked at me like I was from another planet, and I quickly seized another tissue and resumed emptying my nasal cavities. I do love to make a great first impression, you know. That is why my nickname is Silky Smooth. Hah!

I called in sick on my second day, and he left that afternoon for a four week trip to Japan, China, Indonesia and Korea. I threw myself into learning my job, and continued to go out dancing several nights a week with my friends. He wasn't my type, anyway, I figured. Cute, but nerdy. A hard worker, stable, just nice. Really nice. But not for me.

When he returned from his trip, he made the rounds at the company. He had worked there for 6 years, and all the women treated him like a son or a brother. He brought little gifts back for most of the employees, and I was shocked when he stopped by my desk with a funny little plastic swan. It was the size of a quarter, a gold plastic neck and tail with a giant red plastic gem for the body. "Uh, thanks?" I stammered. I was unsure what, if anything, I was supposed to do with a tiny, but very bling-bling swan. I put it on my desk.

Part 2: Plan of Attack

I was still unsure about my apparent crush on this man. He was so nice. And so nerdy. I learned from the office manager that he had been married for 6 months to his college sweetheart, and that she had cheated on him. Broken-hearted, he filed for divorce months before they would have celebrated their first anniversary. Oh, now he was irresistible. He was all vunerable and stuff, which makes my heart go pitterpat.

I knew he wasn't dating anyone. I asked him out. He said he was busy. I shook it off, and tried again a few days later. He declined again, but said he was free the next night. (I later learned that he was blowing me off because he was playing a very involved Nintendo Baseball tournament with his housemate. See, nerdy, but cute.)

He picked me up the next night for our first date. We've been together ever since. Very early in our dating relationship, he was giving me a foot massage, and spent a minute removing lint from between my toes. That is true love, for sure. We moved in together a month later.

Part 3: All about ME

We passed two years together harmoniously. Then his job took an ugly turn. He was ready to move on. I was marking time in temp jobs, not wanting to do much of anything. We flew together to Portland, Oregon, so he could interview for a job. He was offered the job. He was also recruited for a job in Silicon Valley, offering better everything. My heart sunk. I hate Silicon Valley. It's crowded, it's expensive, it's not where I wanted to be. I was willing to move to Oregon, but the thought of moving to San Jose made my stomach burn. I was torn when he decided to take the San Jose job.

I decided that if we got married, I would go, but if not, I didn't want to leave my family and friends. I broached the subject of marriage, and he rejected it out of hand. "I've already been married once, and we're happy, so what's the problem?' I was a mess. I loved him, but I didn't want to move, and he had made his decision. I sobbed in a heap when the moving truck came and took his belongings away. We decided that we would continue our relationship long distance.

We took turns driving back and forth on the weekends. I got busy with a new job, and he was busy with his. I was still sick at heart about the situation. He figured would propose marriage in a few months and it would be fine. I figured that I would give it another month or two, and then I would be breaking it off for good and moving on with my life. We didn't discuss these thoughts. We were living firmly in the present.

A few weeks after a weekend trip to Monterey, I realized that I was late, and took a pregnancy test. In shock, I took 5 more of them. Lined up on my bathroom cabinet, all my wants and fears and demands were quieted. Those two blue lines made all the difference. We were engaged the next week, and I moved to the apartment in Silicon Valley, with the man-made river and the ducks.

Part 4: We Are Family

We were wed in a civil ceremony on September 11, 1998. Our oldest joined the family in March of 1999, followed by our son in September 2000. We thought we were going to take a break, and were surprised by the arrival of our youngest, born on Friday the 13th in December 2002. It's been one thing after another, and we are ever growing and changing in the rapids of family life. There is much humor and love in our house. We are still learning how to navigate, but our raft is sturdy. Six years, gone by in a blink. I'm looking forward to our Lucky Number 7. There'll be no itching here :)


Friday, September 10, 2004

Kindergarten Dispatch

As my daughter was waking up this morning, I presented her with her outfit for the day, a pink dress.

"Mommy, I like wearing dresses, but..."

"But what, sweetheart?"

"I think pants are better for the playground."

"Oh, you don't want to flash your panties at everyone, huh?"

"I don't care who sees my panties. Sheesh, Mommy. I just don't want to burn my butt on the slide."

Alrighty then. I produced a pair of shorts to wear under her dress.

"Mommy, I want to BUY my lunch today."

"Are you sure? Let's see, it's pizza. Do you want to buy that?"

"YES. Mommy. Sheesh."

I hand her her lunch money in an envelope. "Do you know what to do?"

"Uh, yeah. Duh."

"Honey, it's really rude to say duh when someone asks you a question."

"Even if it's a silly question?"

"Yes. I want you to speak kindly and politely."

"Let me guess, like a fine lady?" She is rolling her eyes at me.

"Fine ladies do not roll their eyes at their mothers." I admonish.

"What about this?" she asks as she curtsies nicely while crossing her eyes and sticking out her tongue.

I had to leave the room to keep from laughing. I fear we need our etiquette DVDs now more than ever. Hah!



The Cheese Stands Alone

We made it to Friday. Er, uh, yes. Yes. It's Friday.

We celebrated my son's birthday (again) with a small party at a local park yesterday evening. With temperatures in the low 90s, the shady park with the nice breeze was a fantastic place for the kids AND the parents to just hang out and relax.

I tweaked my back but good about 15 minutes before the party, so I'm walking like a 90 year old. I know better than to just lay down and suffer though. I'm going to attempt some gentle yoga when we get back from our walk to school. I can't afford to be down a day.

My husband's work is really demanding right now. He's cranky a lot lately. I would be, too. He is the Sales Manager for an injection molding company, and he spends a lot of time entertaining clients and flying across country on a moment's notice to save or cement a sale. He is good at his job, but the long hours and butt-kissing gets old. *Poor Me Alert* Most days he can go into his job a little late, if I have a morning appointment, or come home early. With the huge surge of new business they are working on, he is in early and home late more often than not. So lately, when I need help, I'm on my own. Like today, with my gimp back.

But it's Friday. And my big girl loves kindergarten. She walks out of that classroom with a bounce in her step, and is already running with a posse of little girls, all with crooked pigtails and smocked front dresses. They all have old lady names too, just like my girl, which is hilarious. You can just picture them in their dotage.

My son tells me I'm beautiful, even when he's wiping snot on my shirt. And my baby calls me Ah-hoe with a guileless smile.

Tomorrow is our 6th Anniversary. Six years, three kids. Getting married on 9-11 was supposed to be a joking reference to the fact that I was pregnant at the time. We went to a baseball game the day after we married. We took our oldest to her first game the next year. We weren't able to get tickets the following year... Pacific Bell Park was brand new, and my son was born just days before our anniversary. Our third anniversary found me home on a weekday, staring in horror at CNN footage of the World Trade Center in my bedroom, while my children played in the other room. Since then, it's not really the kind of day where you go out and pop champagne corks. We'll go out to dinner, I think. My mom will watch the kids for us.

Ironically, my husband's divorce from his first wife was finalized on Pearl Harbor Day, two years before we met. We just have a knack for memorable dates.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Haiku For Thursday

Three Sick Kid Circus
Stepped on toy, my back is out
Dog pooped on carpet

Wrote long blog but poof!
Can't sit long in this death chair.
I'm big fat whiner.

No wine in this house.
Only juice boxes and milk
Not even a beer.

Tomorrow I will
Compose funny blog, tonight
Sit around bitching.




Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What Next? The Plague?

Alright. I've had it. Not only has it been nearly 100 degrees for the last week, but now? There are ants. All over my kitchen.

Ants come with the territory. When it's cold, here they come. And when it's hot, the ants come marching two by two, hurrah! Hurrah!

When I rose at 5 am this morning (and don't even get me started on that) my sink looked like a waterpark for ants. They were lining up all over the place. I turned on the water, and used a Clorox wipe to sweep the incoming tourists towards the thrill ride that is my garbage disposal. They just kept coming. They crawled off of the wipe and onto my hands.

Adjusting the temperature to a slight scald, I blister my hands, but remove all the offending ants. I open the dishwasher full of clean dishes, and yep, there's a party going on in there too. Aaaargh. We put out ant stakes and they just saunter around them. I decide that the dishes could use another hot rinse, and watch in horror as the machine spins to life, causing an exodus of ants to spill out the steam vents. And head for the sink.

At this point, I started getting that creeping skin thing. I was twitchy and icked out. I backed away from the sink, ran to the garage, found the ant spray, and headed back in. Adreneline kicked in and I mashed to trigger, coating the sink, the counter and half the dishwasher in white foamy lethalness. I kid you not, it looked like I used a fire extinguisher. At this point, my husband appeared carrying the baby.

"Get away! I have to clean up all these chemicals!" I shout as he heads toward the coffee maker. My husband stood in the entry to our kitchen, holding our daughter and shaking his head as I frantically tried to mop up the dead ants and clean the poison from the tainted surfaces. Every few minutes, a twitch would work it's way down my spine.

From behind me, I heard my daughter say "Funny Mommy."

"Ha ha." I offered, sarcastically.

"Mommy dancing," crows my daughter. "Mommy's got ants in her pants," deadpans my hubs. With that, my girl throws back her head and sings, "Ants-pants. Ants-pants. Ta-daaaa!"

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

There Is No Magic Answer

b4b.jpg My husband opened the car door, and our eyes met. His jaw was set, eyebrows huddling together over worried eyes. I exhaled and grimaced as he grasped my hand and hauled me to my feet.

"We're home," he said. "Home, now." I echoed as I bent to unclasp the straps securing our newborn daughter in to her carseat. I fumbled with the latch. It wouldn't open, and I felt panic rising, burning in my throat.

"Here, let me." My husband gently moved me aside as tears stung my eyes. He removed the entire bucket seat from the car, and we made our way to our apartment. As we crossed the threshold, my eyes raced over the once familiar interior of our home. It looked different, an alien landscape. A small gurgle from the carseat was followed by a crescendo of distress. My husband deftly removed the baby, and I seized her, swaying and bouncing.

"Do you think she's hungry?" My husband looked panicked as she continued to fuss.

She rooted around on my cheek, open mouth and tiny lips searching for milk. I sat on the couch and fumbled around, finally getting her latched on. I looked over my breast, now twice the size of my baby's head, and tried to relax. Yes, we'll have a little milk, and then a nice long nap. My husband fixed a sandwich, and I retired to the bedroom, with my new little peapod.

Thirty minutes later, she awoke with a yowl. A diaper change, and all was well. For thirty minutes. "Waaaah!"

"Diaper again?" said my husband. "She's hungry. Maybe." Every thirty minutes all that day and the next, we frantically sought the magic answer that would allow our baby to settle down, and grant us some rest. The transistion from pregnant to parent was a jolt of ice water into our comfortable lives.

We had read all the books. We took the classes. We had all the stuff. We were ready. And then she arrived.

We gradually became attuned to our baby's needs, and gained confidence in our ability to care for her. Small parts of this new life resembled our old one, but we had a new purpose. We let go of lazy Sundays. Leisurely meals? Gone. My whole body was different. I slept in snatches, troubled by dreams about losing the baby under a huge pile of laundry. All of my passion was spent on obsessive internet research, to prove to myself that my baby was indeed ahead of schedule, and that our parenting was spot-on.

As the months past, life returned to a new version of normal. As she passed milestones, I felt the icy fear slowly warm to a comfortable temperature. I no longer felt that my steadfast attention was the sole reason for my child's survival. My husband and I remembered other common interests, ones that didn't involve diapers. I began to feel competent, even a little superior. I was a great Mommy.

On our first date without our daughter, I got a little tipsy, danced the night away, and upon on return home, we unknowingly made a sibling for our little princess. Standing in the yellow light of my bathroom, the mirror reflected the whole story. My raised eyebrows and tense smile swam before my eyes as the tears of shock fell. The pregnancy test was positive. I inhaled deeply through my nose and heard the rhythmic, metallic sound of my nine month old daughter in her doorway jumper. My husband touched my arm, and my eyes locked onto his. We began to giggle, a squeaking counterpoint to the steady beat of our little girl’s jumping. “It’s going to be a boy.” I spoke without hesitation or doubt. And then I threw up.

This time we were sure of one thing. We didn't have a clue what we were in for, not really. We could lay our best plans, and cross our fingers. There was no fear, not anymore. No illusions of superiority and grandeur. In the place of blind confidence, there was a battle hardened resolve and the weary but joyful knowledge that comes with traversing a difficult path through beautiful terrain.

Soundtrack

I had Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 stuck in my head as I went about my morning ablutions. In fact, I had a big visual of Dolly herownself standing there singing it to me. I fell asleep watching Food TV's visit to Dollywood. She must've seeped into my psyche.

All the kids were up, dressed, breakfasted. I was on schedule. I glanced at the clock, and took a swig from my cup of ambition. "Okay, kids, get your shoes on!" I trilled. Really, I was Snow Whitesque. I could hear the birds trilling in response. I pirouetted into the kitchen, slipped the nutritious lunch I had lovingly packed into the waiting backpack and surveyed the countertop.

I'm back on my flylady kick again. I didn't want to befoul my shining sink with my mug, so I put it in the dishwasher. Tra-la-la! I ran the water and flipped the switch for the disposal. CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK! Frowning, I see the handle of a spoon whipping about in distress in the depths of the black hole. I silence the grinder, and remove one of the teaspoons that I paid something ridiculous for on eBay, so that I would have a complete set of my great-grandma's silverplate.

It was pretty chewed up, but I'm okay. I can hit eBay later and get another. I love me some eBay. I laid it on the shelf above the coffee pot and as I turned from my kitchen window, I saw a flash of fur in the yard. Still in my Snow White zone, I assumed it was something cute and furry. Nope. It was a rat, running along my fence. NOT CUTE! NOT CUTE!

Our neighbors are adding a second story to their house, and since they have had piles of building materials and debris, there have been a few rat sightings. We thought we had gotten rid of them all, but they, or at least one of them, is back. I stroll to the door, and try to convince the dog to chase the rat away. She laid down and whimpered. I'm feeling less like Snow Freaking White every second.

A glance at the clock reveals that we need to start walking. Now. "Oh, my darling CHILD-ren," I sing out, "we need to get going. Are you wearing your shoes?" I hear lots of devious sounding "tee-hees" coming from the living room.

I trot around the corner to find a naked boy, except for the underpants on his head, and a big girl with four different shoes on, one on each hand and foot. The youngest was standing behind the other two, hair standing out like a lion's mane. She beamed at me and said "Hair Down. Aaaaaah!" and shook the ponytail elastic at me.

"Oh, come ON! We don't have time for this, you guys." I am grumbling now. "We need clothes on, and matched shoes. Where are your shoes?" At this point, I started hearing Yello's "Oh Yeah" in my head. I spent 5 minutes on my hands and knees, looking for a matching pair of shoes. We have a designated shoe drawer by the front door, where all shoes are supposed to be deposited. Where were the shoes? WHERE WERE THE SHOES?

As the minutes ticked by, I was in a panic. Now we would have to drive to the school. And that would still take time. I finally found matching shoes for my little offenders, redressed the boy, and rushed off to school. The dog stayed in the yard, cowering for fear of an encounter with the rat. We shoulda got a cat.

We made it there and back. The little one is napping, my son is playing dinos, and I'm on my third cup of ambition. Next up, some weight lifting and trampolining. And then, I figure out what to do about the rat. Oh, yeah. Ch-ka-ch-ka.

Monday, September 06, 2004

M Is For Martha

Take off those white shoes, and pull out your organizer. Fall looms ahead, and we must make a plan of attack.

It's been years since I let my subscription to Martha Stewart Living lapse. I still miss it. She always had that calendar in the front of the magazine that detailed the exciting chores that she would undertake in the coming month. The 16th? Bake 15 pies and polish silver. The 25th? Call Chimney Sweep. The 3rd, yes, let's see... aha! We must organize all of our greeting cards for the upcoming year. Bonus points if they are handmade.

When Labor Day rolls around, I feel a thrill of panic. Shouldn't I be canning something? Making homemade potpourri or decoupaging a gift for each child in my daughter's grade? Shouldn't I be recaulking the windows and airing out the winter clothes? I know I should be knitting RIGHT NOW.

I met my husband at work, began dating him within a month, moved in with him two months later, and got fired (for dating him) about a month after that. All things considered, I was delighted to be unemployed, since I had been supporting myself for a number of years with little time off. I had also recently received a portion of a class action settlement, and was feeling free and easy.

I would rise to see the boyfriend off to work, and then I would watch Martha Stewart on the television. Oh, how I loved Martha. She had clever ideas, specially designed closets with built in sewing machines, an archival system for table linens, service for 500 in 50 different patterns. She used raffia and pipe cleaners and made art.

A dear friend and I would compare notes. We plotted domestic strategy. We met for coffee and talked about putting up vegetables and making herbal soaps. We peppered our conversations with "Its a good thing." She and I had both moved in with our respective boyfriends at the same time. We decided that we would marry said boyfriends (we did), have their children (did that too) and embrace the picket fence, meatloafs and gingham aprons. Seven years have passed since those dreamy mornings spent planning our what-ifs.

Over time, I developed a scorn for Martha. But it was misplaced. Martha parlayed all those domestic things that I imagine they try to teach in Home Economics into hard cold cash. She made otherwise sane women lust after $20 cookie cutters and shop at Kmart to bask in the glow of Martha approved products. Actually, from the looks of her ads, she actually designed, sewed, packaged and drove the truck to Kmart herself. There she was, gleaming in her blue workshirt, a beacon of hope and womanly glory.

I threw myself into Martha's Way with vigor. My friend pointed out that Martha has "staff" who assist, including generating many of the ideas that Martha would demonstrate on TV and in her magazines. Unfortunately, I am not blessed with staff, and I'm all about big ideas, and less about cleaning up after myself. So when I discovered that running a household wasn't all arts and crafts, and perfectly organized laundry rooms, I was disappointed. And I took it out on Martha Stewart.

My Martha scorn started to snowball on her first Martha Stewart Baby issue. Her essay in the back revealed that she had a delightful pregnancy, and continued to model swimsuits into her fifth month. Oh, it was so good to be young, pregnant and Martha. I was a little irritated. Of COURSE Martha would be delightful while pregnant.

That sent me off into spiral of jealousy. Her daughter surely grew up with sandwiches made from Martha's own jam and freshly ground peanuts, on organic bread made from wheat that Martha sowed and reaped herself. Martha surely provided a stimulating, enriching home environment, full of laughter and joy.

Of course, my snarky little heart was pleased to learn that Martha had planted two majestic rows of trees shortly after her daughter's birth, so that she may traipse under their shade on her wedding day. Martha's daughter opted for a big city civil ceremony in a grey pantsuit, and Martha, wedding guru, cut the trees down in a fit of rage.

So Our Martha is not perfect, but I've grown to enjoy that, too. I can't possibly be Martha-riffic, not really. No staff here, right? So it's not my fault that my housekeeping and cooking and everything lacks that final touch, the shot of glitter, not entirely anyway. And with all Martha's troubles, she is likeable. Go forth and decoupage, Martha.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Four Is SO Great!

Happiest Birthday wishes to my big boy, who is now 4.

September 5, 2000 dawned clear and mild. My due date had come and gone the previous week, and despite my eagerness to get on with it, there was no sign of labor. In fact, I spent the previous day watching a 12 hour Labor Day marathon of "A Baby Story" willing myself to get in on the fun. Nope. Not happening.

I had a no-stress test scheduled. My mom picked up my 17 month old daughter, and my husband arrived from work to take me to my appointment. Everything checked out well. I was apparently having fairly regular contractions, just not powerful enough to hurt. TMI, but I had been walking around dilated to 8 for two weeks, and the midwife on duty felt that if I left (again... I had refused earlier offers to induce) that we would be back in short order, and could potentially get stuck in rush hour traffic. We made the decision to allow ARM. I also requested an epidural.

As soon as the midwife left the room, I started having very strong, but still not painful contractions. I was surprised when the anesthiologist arrived minutes later. I had my epidural before I ever had a painful contraction. As the evening settled over us, I lay in the bed, watching Seinfeld and feeling lots of downward pressure.

My hubs was feeling really irritable the whole time. I wasn't sure why, until I figured out that since I wasn't in obvious labor (I was really at peace, and not struggling like my first labor) he thought we were hours away from a baby, and he was still in his work pants. Ahahahaha.

Finally, after several hours, I was 'complete' but my water still hadn't broken. The doctor suited up in his riot gear, and minutes after breaking the membranes, my son was born in one push. It happened so fast that we didn't have time to switch off the TV, so my son appeared in the middle of the day's sports highlights.

He had a cry like a baby cheetah. My hubs and I were both alarmed at the noise this child was making. It was a surprising birth all the way around.

Flash forward to the four year old, who woke us at 5 am, eager to tackle his gifts. The boy who loves dinosaurs, who is melodramatic and snuggles like a champ. He is a riot of hilarity, says his "r" like "aw" and "l" like "y"... I weely yuv you, Mommy.

This child, unlike his feline sisters, is canine in his eagerness and affection. He loves to talk, and talk. And talk. He loves babies, and says he never wants to leave home. He is worried that when he grows up he'll be expected to go to work without me. He is my only son, the child most like me. He is bold, but not a daredevil, outspoken but eager to be liked.

He announced "four is SOOOO great," while we wandered on the beach today. He looks forward to all the changes that are on the horizon. Preschool first, then world domination, I suppose. I'm still wearing the apron, and he's still holding the strings, for now. He presses his nose into my neck when he hugs me. I'm suddenly aware of the acceleration that is snatching the little moments from my grasp. I want to freeze him, inhale him, catalog every scrap of his newly minted four year old self.

So, three, no, make that four cheers to my boy. Wishing you a long and healthy life.


Grrrr! Dinos take over the beach!

For Mindy

For Ms. Mindy, lest she think she is so special...

Oh No You Did Not. You did NOT just call me a mother who keeps her kids from climbing on roofs. I'll have you know that MY kids have been swinging from the chandeliers since they could pull up. They have been leaping from the top of our yard play structure, yodelling, NAKED even, for YEARS. My neighbors probably have the CPS hotline written on their phone-side notepad, just waiting to catch those yahoos of mine in action.

So relaxed am I as a mother that my children are not told "Don't jump!" but instead are reminded to "Bend your knees when you land." We are wild. We are crazy! We eat danger flakes for breakfast! I sometimes even say ASS! Arrrrrrrrgh!

So yeah. Just had to get that offa my chest. :)

And in other, Mindy related news: The Weblog Review posted two very nice reviews about this blog. So let this be a lesson to everyone. First, sign yourself up. Then complain in your blog that you fear slammage. Then get Mindy to comment on the wake of destruction wrought by her reaction to a lukewarm review. Then sit back and watch as they assign kind and friendly reviewers. Fear the Mommy Wrath!

I actually was going to blog about my son's 4th birthday today, but I'll try and get to that this evening. I just didn't want anyone to think I was some sort of sainted mother, yo.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

*Cough, Cough*

About a hour north of our location, and an hour south, there were two large brush fires today. Combined, they threw enough ash into the air that it settled on cars and sidewalks in our neighborhood. The whole day was cast in a reddish glow. The smell made me thankful that we were so far from the burn areas (and also a little nostalgic for camping, for some reason.)

It was about 95 degrees today, but it felt much warmer, and was muggy, too... I did some world class ass sitting today. Then we took a family field trip to Toys R Us to select a birthday present for my son, who turns 4 tomorrow, and followed up with a truly high class dining experience at Burger King. They had one of those jungle gyms, which I abhor but the kids love. The two big kids eagerly made their way up the maze of ropes and down the slide. We held the 21 month old outside, and she screamed and strained and gestured at the ropes for 5 minutes. After she punched me in the nose, I figured, "What the hay, let's let her give it a go." I put her down, and she made her monkey way to the top of the rope maze, where she crowed like a rooster and yelled "Mama! Yeah! Mama! I do it! Yeah!"

Then she tandem slid down the big slide and did it again. And again. There were no other kids there, so it was just my other two yahoos, but okay, this is SO one of those things I would have FORBID my older children to do. And she did great. And she loved it. And I didn't have a heart attack, but I might have if big kids came along. We are SO not going to places with climbing structures for a few years. Ahahaha.



Another shot of the weird sky.

Mommy's Little Monkey.

6 o'clock this evening. The sky is cloudy with ash from two large brushfires, north and south of us.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Diva Legs, Here I Come

I was bragging about my prowess with the stroller, kids, bike and dog when it dawned on my that I have walked a mile and back, twice each day, so that's like 20 miles this week. Me. The kids. 20 miles. On my feet. I'm so proud.

Also, it's Clinique Bonus time this weekend. So I've got to get some beauty rest, so I don't scare the sales ladies with my dark circles.

TWENTY. MILES.

The Entourage, on our way home from school.