Sunday, June 26, 2011


I had to go into work this morning which was exactly as much fun as it sounds like.  Driving home I caught the tail end of this NPR program:  To the Best of our Knowledge, which I'd never heard before.  At the end they read the short story, Reversal, from David Eagleman's Sum, which was marvelous, and of which I also had not heard - which is one of endless reasons I love NPR.  In it he wrote:   

At some point, the expansion of the universe will slow down, stop, and begin to contract.  And at that moment the arrow of time will reverse.  Everything that happened on the way out will happen again, but backward...

You suspect [your life] will really be understood only upon replay.  But you have a painful surprise in store.  You discover that your memory has spent a lifetime manufacturing small myths to keep your life story consistent with who you thought you were.  You have committed to a coherent narrative, misremembering little details and decisions and sequences of events.  On the way back, the cloth of that storyline unravels.  Reversing thru the corridors of your life, you are battered & bruised in the collisions between reminiscences and reality.  By the time you enter the womb again you understand as little about yourself as you did your first time here.

Which has exactly zero relevancy to blogging.  Ha. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The birthday present to end all birthday presents.

I was carded today!  And the super awesome nice lady who requested my ID was probably in her 20s.  That she'd probably also card our Gigi is irrelevant.  I still liked her.  It was the best 39th birthday present EVER - because I'm easy like that and apparently that vain. 
That is all. 

No, no just kidding.  Not about being carded.  Shocking and unnecessary as it was, that really happened... (Is she STILL talking about that?  Yes, yes I am.  I might casually mention this for weeks.  Poor Matt). ...No, I was just kidding about being done.  More odds & ends:

The internet is a strange place.  There's a post I wrote in February while my girl was in hospital with RSV that still gets more traffic, week after week, than anything else I've ever posted.  I've done that a couple times - saved a post under favorites instead of the home page and then kept clicking back, waiting.  Is someone out there wondering why I haven't written anything in four months?  If so, they're persistent.

Speaking of respiratory issues, I've had a dry hacking cough for two weeks now, it's getting worse instead of better, and it's starting to annoy the hell out of me.  According to Dr. Google I either have lung cancer or, um, a dry hacking cough.  Helpful, that. 

While at the store buying wine which super awesome nice lady thought I might be too young to buy (Still on that?  Clearly, YES!)... I succumbed to the s'mores display and stocked up.  The boy & I already had an agreement wherein if he napped he would be able to stay up for movies & a lightening bug sweep.  Except we're mid-lightening storm so we opted against standing in the wet grass.  We tried both the griddle and the microwave and while the boy was happy, they weren't quite as good as when I was 6 and they were cooked over an open fire.  We have got to take him camping.  Not sure about the girl yet - she's at the height of the toddler-wandering-off stage and walls are useful for the not-losing-her-in-the-forest plan.

And, in one more dizzying non-sequitur, but just because it's funny and I still don't have any other pictures to post, my sister and her new husband stopped by for a night a couple weeks ago on their way back to school from DC (where they'd been working/fellowship-ing/something).   Believe it or not they actually made it across the entire country without any tickets or major mechanical repairs, though I would have put good money down against it.
Yeh-Haw!  San Diego Hillbillies! 
[Photo by the groom?]

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Of Trains, Freaks, Zombies, & Mama Bears

[A post 3 weeks in the making!] 

So the boy and I took Amtrak out to Kansas City for my big race.  A bit over 5 hours but if you factor out the time for airport security and the risk we'd never get on a plane flying standby, and add in the comfy seats and the lure of a train to a 6 year old, it was a great trip.  Plus, it was the boy's birthday present from his uncle and offered incredible people watching for me so win-win.  Any sociologist in need of paper ideas needs to scoot down to Amtrak post-haste.  Bizarre and awesome mix of suburbanites taking their (mostly male) kids on an Exciting Train Adventure and others who, forgive me for making snap superficial judgments, but others who probably don't have the personal auto/airplane options available to them.  Particularly delightful was the contact high I got from the lady who leaned up against me as I was getting something out of our bag & asked if I worked there.  In case you're curious, I was wearing a black T-shirt, not a white button down with epaulets.  I must have that bureaucratic stench about me. 
Also noteworthy was the incredibly creepy guy sitting in front of us.  When we got on the conductor gave us two separate aisle seats & told us to ask someone to move.  Fine.  For a second I was thinking we had to wait for the train to take off, like a plane, so I told the boy to sit down in front (next to creepy guy) for a few minutes but... No.  I'm not making any claims of super mom intuition but it just seemed wrong.  Pasty middle aged guy, my kid... No.  [And, genius, I realized we didn't need to wait to reach cruising altitude].  So the gal next to me agreed to switch and we settled in.  Except creepy guy kept chiming in to our conversations.  The seat backs were high & he couldn't see us but he was listening...  Yech.  I ignored him & took my son with me when I visited the loo so in all it was a non-event but still, maybe a little intuition? 
A LOT of people talk to my kids.  They're both really stinking cute & my son is hyper-friendly (I know it's bizarre, but I'm fairly certain he's mine) but he needs to not tell everyone who asks what his name is & where he goes to school.  We've been working on that.  I've also been trying to tell him that private parts are private... but he's asking for more & more parameters (who? when? why?).  I get the feeling the boys are talking at school...?  I am so very much not prepared for this.  He also asked me again last night how babies get out of the mommies' tummies.  It feels too soon to provide a technical description but maybe it's just me who's not ready?  But then we need to have these conversations NOW because he's 6 (wait, only 6?  What the hell am I talking about?  But then there are creepy guys out there on trains.  Parental confusion!) 
White shirt.  Epaulets.  Official looking hat.  NOT mom in black T-shirt.
Anyway, after we got to Kansas City we did a couple errands (new running hat!), carbo-loaded (my SIL is an excellent cook), and then ventured out to First Friday, which is when the art district opens all the galleries, the street vendors come out ...and the flash mobs emerge.  My first flash mob!  Its mere proximity caused my coolness quotient to skyrocket.  Except, NO.  It was a zombie mob with a freakishly large number of people, who poured a freakish amount of time and detail and gore into their costumes, and who had clearly practiced their freakishly realistic limps and moaning.  We were sitting on a bench enjoying our icees when they started streaming past (passed?) - I covered the boy's eyes because he's just a 6 year old kid and doesn't need those pictures in his head.  Surprisingly, he didn't object.  I was marveling at it all until one JERK reached for my kid, the one with his head buried in my arms, with a dripping brain-thing in his hands.  Good thing I can cuss up a blue streak.  No one ever expects the suburban mom to get rage-y.  I found out later it was all for a good cause but still, not cool.   

However, I just found this video on YouTube and now that my son isn't with me I think it's kind of funny again.  Weird - undeniably weird - but funny.  The 2011 video seems kind of tame.  If you're bored and click around, there are other zombie videos that better capture the lurching & moaning we saw.  Also, on the zombie website above, there are "zombie rules" posted (don't drip on the sidewalk!  don't assault small children!); drippy JERK was not in compliance, so I'll try not to hate on the next zombie flash mob I run into.  [Because clearly running into another one is just a matter of time!?].

I once heard that you spend the first 10 years of your child's life protecting them from the outside world (sharp knives, viruses, creepy train guys, & zombies) and the next 10 protecting them from themselves (binge drinking, sports cars, & the tramp in his english class).  We're 66% of the way through the first part.  It's a little nerve wracking & exhausting, this parenting gig.  Good thing they're cute!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


~~~One of my favorite shows is In Plain Sight which I started watching because I love anyone from West Wing and because Mary McCormack's character is delightfully snappy.  She's pregnant on the show (google reveals she is in real life too) and since I'm home this afternoon with Mystery-Rash Boy, I caught up with my DVR.  Scene with the doctor:  "You're over 35 and high risk [because of your] Advanced Maternal Age..." 
I hate it when my diversions come crashing into my realities.

~~~Mystery-Rash boy either has a severe & systemic reaction to a random bottle of sunscreen, or he has strep (AGAIN!?) except the rapid strep test was negative, except they aren't 100% accurate and it takes 48 hours to cultivate the "real test", or it could be one of a gajillion other "viral rashes".  The urgent care doc didn't seem overly interested in the answer last night.  I'm thinking it's the first option because he's certainly not acting sick (though he looks like he was scrubbed with sandpaper) and the first option will also allow me to go back to work tomorrow - though this will severely curtail his sunscreen options going forth.  I'm whiter than rice & passed along those genes to the poor kid, so this is not an inconsequential concern.

~~~Matt ruined my computer.  We now have to order a "recovery disc" which may or may not work.  Grrrr.  He's supposed to be the techie half of this partnership.  [Non family friendly joke about him no longer being allowed to touch my hard drive].

~~~After all my hand waving about my skirted suburban mom bathing suit, we got the Landsend catalogue shortly thereafter and there were skirts!  And more skirts!  My apologies to Target for not realizing they were more with it than I am, apparently.  [Though it still feels wrong.]

~~~We moved the end table.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Of Transitions & Furniture

Matt called me at work this morning to tell me a little urchin had come into our room to wake him up.  Not the 6 year old male one.  The other one.  My baby. The one I haven't yet moved out of her crib because she never tried very hard to get out of it, it was a safe place to stash her during showers, and because she's a constant whirl of motion whilst sleeping and if we had moved her into a toddler bed she would have just ended up sleeping on the floor. 

My baby figured out how to crawl out of her crib, onto the end table, and safely maneuver herself onto the floor (he watched her do it later).  She figured this out the day immediately after she figured out how to scramble up the kitchen chairs.  She's also bending her arms when she runs now, like a little girl - no longer my baby with her arms straight out, zombie style.

My heart is bursting and I don't know if it's from pride or fear of the trouble she'll get into at 3am, or fear I'll never sleep again, listening for her door, or fear I'll never sleep again because now we'll have TWO kids kicking us in the face in the middle of the night, or fear that she's growing up and starting school in the fall and here were are, about to take off on this grand new adventure.  And I can't figure out what to pack for it.

[Do you remember the dream in college where you had to take a final for the class you'd forgotten you'd signed up for and never attended?  And you can't figure out which room the test is in?  I know I'm not the only one to have that, right?  Well now my stress dreams are about packing:  Can't find the right things to pack, can't find a suitcase, it won't all fit, can't pack fast enough... A shrink would have field day with me.]  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To my dad, my kids' dad, and my kids' dad's dad.

Bonus Girl with Bubble photos:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I wish balloons didn't pop either, buddy.

Notes from our Saturday:

My girl learned how to climb up our alp-like chairs.
You Go Girl! 
 The tall ones that are easily toppled, especially when a toddler is atop.   
....No, wait, Sit down!  Where did you find that knife?  Put down mommy's coffee! SIT DOWN!  Don't push back! Nooo.... Ahhh! 

I think it's only a matter of time before we visit the ER. 
Though our table will clearly stay clutter free going forward. 

In other news, we were woken by the tornado sirens at 4:30 this morning, and dutiful parents that we are we shuffled everyone down to the basement. Which was a wild 'n crazy adventure for them, less so for the rapidly-nearing-40 crowd.  My sister had given me this book a while back, feeding my fascination with the one-off disaster and our reactions thereto.  Some of it was spent on the folks that ignore the fire alarm or tornado siren and end up burned /squished, respectively.  Some because they didn't want to embarrass themselves by panicking.  Or some, who just can't be bothered (me, ten years ago).  Now I don't want to be the twit who stays in her comfy bed, despite the siren, and ends up squished under the bathtub because even though one of us already had our tornado of the year and it would be statistically impossible for it to happen twice (you know that's a joke, right?).  I am QUITE SURE the one alarm I ignore will herald the Actual Emergency (as in "had this been an Actual Emergency...") - because my life IS the one off.  Such were my thoughts at 4:30am.

We went to the company picnic today and we DID have a great time.  Everyone else was busy wrangling their kids - I don't know why I thought we'd be on display.  My fabulous friends were there & one kid short for the day so bonus equal kid:adult ratio!  Also, bonus was the unexpectedly diverse crowd - lots of beautiful saris, a couple wheelchairs, and one kid with a cochlear implant.  Who was sitting next to the deepest puddle my girl could find & insisted on splashing in.  Not that her splashes could have reached his head, but I don't think Julia would approve if we took out a CI system. 
She LOVED the bass & was dancing on stage.  Which I have no pictures of because I suck.


Also, thanks to the 4:30 wake up call, and the jumpy things, and four hours of repeat sugar highs, my son was exhausted.  We were at the last ice cream stop of the day and his balloon thingy popped, resulting in great heaving sobs.  I was going to hustle him off to the car (I mean it was a balloon) but he hardly ever cries like that and it was supposed to be a fun day so I caved and we headed back to the balloon lady.  Managing to hit 3 of the top 5 Poor Parenting Tips in the process.  There was a long line and she was muttering darkly about getting to her next job but we persevered, got a new damn balloon thingy and ... not a full two minutes later it popped too.  GREATER HEAVING SOBS.  The timing would have been funny if he hadn't been so crushed.  We were well past closing time and they'd already broken down most of the equipment and tables so I grabbed the mylar balloons left at what had been the pretzel stand and we dashed casually sauntered to the car.  The first step on a slippery slope to a life of crime.

Also, something about teaching him to handle adversity and disappointment... Clearly not the right moment today in his post-carnival state of exhaustion & crashing blood sugars (Today was a lesson in Mommy will try to make it right, even if it is just a balloon) but this is when it starts, isn't it?  More to come on that, maybe. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to Meeeee

Jack Benny was right
This should be the year that lasts
Freezing time? Botox?!
Still no computer
No baby pix to remind
me of the decades.

And I signed up for
another race to outrun
the drip of time, sweat.

But I had eclairs
for breakfast, lunch with friend, and
shared dessert with kids.

It was a good day.
It will be a great year, as
will ALL my three-nines.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Of towels, picnics, & comments

Matt fixed my laptop last night - and by "fixed" I mean "broke" - in a well-intentioned effort to make it faster.  He assures me the last 6 years of family photos are safe but this is a good reminder to back them up elsewhere as I'm on his computer right now and mine is nearby making sporadic whirling beeping noises despite being closed up and presumably off. 

I was going to post photos of my son's first train ride (10 days ago - yes, am a little behind) but that will have to wait for daddy to dig himself out of the foxhole to work his magic.  This past weekend was the first event-less one in a while but I spent all of Saturday doing laundry and much of Sunday at work, so nothing much to discuss (except to idly wonder how four people can generate three loads of laundry a day.  I swear the towels are breeding - clandestine trysts when the bathrooms get steamy?  Oops! This is supposed to be a family friendly blogspace).  This coming weekend Matt has to work (again! schedule change still forthcoming. gah!) so I'm going to take the kids to the company picnic solo.  My girl's first introduction to corporate America.  This will be the big company picnic, not just my little section with people who regularly see my kids' photos and who, even if few have ever asked directly, have gleaned the extra bit of magic that's in our lives.  I'm completely calm about this now (I've also had a glass of wine)... but I will take great pains on the day of to make sure her hair bows match and her dress is ironed.  I will smile and laugh, the doting mother, while I ignore the second glances and long stares.  I'm sure we'll have a fabulous time.

And since I'm speaking of work, I once made inquiries into our local DS chapter about a company grant but they assured me they are already recipients and that some other parents work there too.  I mean it's a BIG company, but how cool would that be?  Especially since I seem to be striking out in the finding-similar-moms -for-playdates field (partly through my own lack of effort but I'm hoping school in the fall makes it a mite easier). 

And last... I failed.  I went to a lunch with a bunch of co-workers and one used the R-word.  Not someone I know well.  Said in the midst of light hearted conversation.  The witty crushing speech that I occasionally practice in my head?  Was abandoned.  Instead I simply said "Really?  Do you have to use THAT word?"  Granted it was said with tone, but not really the grand defining moment I'd envisioned.  It took the guy a minute to figure out what the hell I was talking about, he apologised, and it was barely a blip.  The thing about my witty crushing speech is that it's not really appropriate for the light conversations in which people would be most likely to use it.  So I need a new comment.  One that I'll actually use, and yet has a bit more oomph than the verbal equivalent of "knock it off".  Any bits of genius y'all want to share? 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Go Bears!

Just a quick story in an effort to catch up.  After we left Montana, we had to fly into Springfield (successfully not dying in the process), where Matt and the boy met us.  This was Matt's alma mater so we toured the campus and Matt resisted the temptation to tell his mini-me exactly what kind of fun was to be had after age 18 21.

Which sorority is that dad?
And by fun I don't think he meant bubbles in the fountain. 
Before leaving town, we visited the mother of all Bass Pro Shops to see the fish (?!.  The boys cooked up this plan on their own before even we landed - I am but obliging wife & mother).  The irony of leaving Montana with nary a moose or bear sighting, only to visit nature at its stuffed & mounted finest in a college town is not lost on me.  Actually it's a bit mortifying, but A/they had salt water taffy and B/I got my bear shot:
If I didn't confess, would you have believed me?
I might not have been able to pass THIS guy off.

Dude, real bears don't wear overalls.  That just isn't dignified.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vignettes & Vino (Or: Part IV, The End)

Getting Ready:
Not till you're older sweetie.
My dad.
"Three down, two to go"
Beautiful Bride, defined.

MOB, aka MOM.
And they're off!  The church's dressing room was in the nursery.
The clown on the wall was awesome.
 ~~~~Photo interlude for the actual commitment segment of this shindig~~~~
[In which hopefully the professionals took cute photos of my girl in her finery because I sure as heck didn't]

The ceremony itself was absolutely lovely and I remember almost nothing of it because I was busy staring at the stained glass trying really hard not to cry.  Little! Sister! Getting! Married!  Ack!  .... Anyway, my girl refused to carry either basket or wee boquet but did walk up the aisle holding mommy's hand.  The plan was to let her run about freely and be adorable, but her first stop upon reaching the alter was to shake the base of the lit candelabra.  Then she wandered over and stood smack dab between the happy couple - which was fine, except she then flopped down and started howling when someone starting singing Ave Maria.  We'd arranged for my brother to swoop in and collect her when we hit Defcon 5, which he did with aplomb, and the (presumably) very nice babysitter then played with her downstairs till the newly minted husband & wife kissed.  We had a plan in place, it was perfectly executed, and I wouldn't have expected any child to sit through a whole service without acting up  ... but I will admit I was hoping she would last more than 6 minutes before Additional Resources became necessary.  But not important because Little! Sister! Got! Married!

Whee!  Off to the races!  Or actually, the barn.  Which was exceedingly cool - twinkle lights, gorgeous flowers, snow capped peaks outside.... and bear traps on the wall.  Not that bear traps were cool, it's just - oh, nevermind.  Look!  Photos! 
The groom....Trapped?

I don't know who this little boy is but I want to take him home.  He played gently with my girl while we got the formal photos done.  Melted my stony heart - she had her own meltdown as soon as we went inside for dinner but there was a kids' area with more (!) babysitters so she was pajama'd and dispatched.  I felt a little bad but... OK, actually I felt terrible.  It had been a long weekend, I was a mass of nerves, and I was handing my whiney child off to strange teenagers.  Yes, I am horrifically spoiled in that I have a plethora of in laws about and I have never hired a babysitter.  She was fine, though, & had a great time playing with the other kids...  as did mommy:
The Fun Five, more (wine) or less.

A couple more, for the family: 
The bride & Gigi

Snow covered peaks.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Wedding, Part III

The Rehearsal:

My sister went Full Girl for this wedding. Notice the flower in the hair? HA! Not her usual M.O. I won’t shame her by mentioning the matching flowers on her shoes. (oops)

Easy to be inspired when you happen to have a retired Manhattan florist extraordinaire on the job.  I would have linked to what is now his son's store, because he was awesome & larger than life, but apparently he's being shy, so as not to annoy the locals.  Neat guy.  Apparently all sorts of shockingly talented people retire to Montana - not that it's not gorgeous there, but I had no idea it was the next boomer state.

We had stopped by [his] home Saturday morning to check out the miracle of Fed Ex's international overnight delivery.  And the miracle of nature ....& thousands of years of human intervention.   

I do ADORE cut flowers.  How very bourgeois of me!

Doesn't she look like ET here?  Wearing Tima's jacket.
Unhappy about something.

Unhappy about something AGAIN.  Did I mention it was a long weekend with my girl?  Loved my time with her, loved seeing my family, but solo parenting in a hotel room, sans yard, toys, or separate room for naptime was not ideal.  She was crankier than usual what with all the extra people, missing toys, & disrupted routines.  And I was maybe less than fully patient as I had all but entirely abandoned my maid matron of honor duties and felt guilty.  Nevermind the skipped rafting trip. 
Maybe I'm unhappy at this ridiculous bow, mom. 
[Also noting the scraped nose while exploring florist's driveway. 
Just in time for photos!]

There we go - a smile!  Feeding the beast sometimes helps

But it was not to last.  The Cranky Baby Patrol, taking her away.

That's my elbow in this picture:

I come by my photo-phobia honestly.  My younger-younger brother:

My middle-younger brother.  That's him about to flip me off. 
Good thing I like his wife.

I have no pictures of the rehearsal night dinner but it's just as well, given how many I already crammed into this post.  I do have LOTS of grainy blurry artistic shots of the reception itself.  If you look close you might even see one of me getting my Elaine on.  Coming soon to a monitor near you.