Monday, April 30, 2012

When it rains

Oy.  You know those days where the BEST thing you can say is that no one lost a limb and you managed to park the car without driving it through the far side of the garage?  That would be today.  
     (Extended) Family crisis?  Emphatic check. 
     Hurt feelings? (mine, over something silly)  Check. 
     Troubling work issues?  Check. 
     Sprained hamstring forcing me to give up my precious heels?  Check.
     Small child who has refused to sleep for two (!) nights in a row
     because of the #$%^&* rainstorms?  Check.
     Blown Plumbing Gasket-y thing?  Check - Oh no, wait, that was last week.  


Two Mondays ago I came into work to find waterlogged ceiling panels strewn across my desk.  Shortly followed by a day of huffing mildew.  This past Saturday I was - wait for it - at work when Matt called to announce a pipe or something had broken in the upstairs bath and the light fixtures were dripping.  Things seem to have gone downhill from there.

Today is the type of day to remember the important stuff.  Like bathtub art.
Oh, look!  It's a water theme!

And sweet girls

And sweet boys

And missing teeth
[Tooth Fairy Inflation:  What happens at 5am when you realize you fell 
asleep without running up to the gas station for change]

And grown up boys 

And family trips to the zoo.  
The Girl with her Aunt & Uncle.

Six other random good things:
- I didn't get a ticket tonight driving home at 70 with the cop behind me.  70 in MO is like 85 in SoCal. Maybe 90.  I never got a ticket going 80mph in SoCal.  Here? I'm passing 94% of traffic at 70 and got pulled over once going 72.

- Matt is secretively planning a weekend away.  I'm not supposed to know about it.  He's good people.

- When my brother & his wife came to visit they brought home-cured salmon.  YUM.

- I played "zaniest" in WWF for 81 points.  Heh.

- When The Girl fell this weekend and cut her lip open she didn't need stitches, and when something small and fanged left a bunch of huge angry welts on the The Boy they were better by this morning - which I knew because I'd marked the edges with Sharpie (that would be spelled p.a.r.a.n.o.i.d.).

- The flood resulting from the broken thinga-ma-bob dried more or less without ruining anything.  Or so the professional insurance guy says.  If I start getting unaccountably cheerful, it's probably because I'm huffing mildew.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Drive by

I probably should have clarified in my last post that The Boy's Drive By IEP was a full 6 months ago.  No, I'm not that far behind (on most things), I was just going to write about The Girl's IEP and realized I'd never finished his story.  There was going to be a clever segue but... yeah.  Sometimes the pillow calls.  Also?  Bonus, rare readably short post!
Give up on the ears already, mom! 
You know what else I'm behind on?  Easter photos.  Not that has anything to do with anything.
A Cousin, the Boy, and seriously goofy grin.

The Girl's IEP was last Wednesday and she "qualified" for summer school.  Something I was vaguely aware of but struck me as astonishingly asinine once I got the details:  she only qualified for summer school because she had shown regression during a two week flu+random break absence.  Sorry to be blunt, but she's already delayed - in whose minds is it even remotely acceptable to let her tread water for 3 months during the summer?  Wouldn't we, um, want to continue to build her skills?  No, we're going from 90 minutes/week of speech to 30, just so she doesn't lose the precious few sounds she's picked up.   We're not going to bother adding to those sounds, or try to turn them into, ohidontknow, WORDS.  Thanks to that great American pioneering spirit we're now going to have to figure out how to pull another 2-3 hours of private therapy up out of our scraped-all-to-hell boots.  [What is a boot strap anyway?  Aren't boots, by definition, strapless?]

I've emailed a couple people about this and general consensus is that it's SUMMER TIME and kids should be down by the poolside or picking up ticks in the backyard.  It's just... I don't get the summer off myself, so must warehouse them somewhere for three days a week and would be happier if they were learning something or exploring their creative halves and not, you know, sitting in a warehouse.  I have a feeling CPS might frown on the warehouse idea. 

[Noting for the record: I actually LOVE The Girl's ware, er, home away from home.  I could not wish for a warmer, more welcoming place or a more enthusiastic bunch of teachers.  It'd be nirvana if they provided speech therapy & OT but, alas... no.

I also realized that I'd be a lot more down with the pool idea if my girl could verbally express her interest in said pool.  I KNOW she's making progress -she really, really is- but sometimes that little whisper reminding me that we have no words yet snowballs into a shrieking harridan and I have try to breath through it.  

Mommy's funny when she starts shrieking! 
Eating more chocolate helps too.  
Ah, thanks honey, is all that for me?  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Loose Tales

I've been in a bit of a funk lately - so much so that when Matt suggested a weekend away I actually sighed, and thought about all the laundry that would be waiting upon our return and all the extra money that could otherwise go to that neverending list of stuff that we need or need done.  First world problems, indeed. 

It'll pass.  In the meantime, since I can't be bothered with a cohesive post (when can I ever?), I thought I'd clean up a few unfinished tales.

Remember when The Boy's school recommended speech therapy?  Because Mr. Chatterbox's R's and Th's were mushy?  And this recommendation came around the same time that I was fretting that The Girl hadn't yet said "Mom"?  [6 month update:  Nope.  Still hasn't].  It was really more funny than anything else because The Boy is a talker - last night he asked me what the "requirements" for something were while spinning some wild plans to build a robot.  He's 6 (at least for another month). 

We nonetheless rolled into an IEP evaluation and after the comprehensive physical/social/cognitive/blah/blah walk thru, the school's SLP said R's and Th's weren't really expected for another year or two and he wasn't even close to qualifying for anything.  At 30 minutes, including the BS-y weather/traffic/coffee chit chat, it might've been the shortest IEP in all of history.  [And not that I'm complaining, but she couldn't have said that up front and saved everyone a meeting?].  Also?  Here's to failing! 

Ridiculous dimples
 A quick shout out to The Boy's teacher here - over this last school year she taught him to read.  Really read.  At the beginning of the school year he would unhappily fumble thru sounding things out and had a short sight word list but too many words strung together in a sentence and he'd lose interest, resulting in some frustrating and unproductive Mommy/Boy/book times.  And my efforts to explain the mysteries of English grammar were likely terrifying:  Well, son, the ai sound as compared to the ei sound in this particular subset of present perfect verbs*....  Now?  He reads EVERYTHING and has internalized the elusive power of the vowel - sheep/shape/start?  No problem.  He's even grabbing my fancy new phone from me to help during WWF.  If only we had another 'E' we could spell READER.  Not a problem buddy, I already have one.   
   *Totally joking.  I wouldn't know a passive subjunctive adverb if it bit me.

Also, reminding myself to remind myself of all the little happy things (HUnt the Good Stuff = HUGS  i.e. the worst acronym EVER), this was taken with my camera phone during the walk w/The Boy, above.  Geek out man.  

PS.  Dear Blogger - Your update sucks.

PPS.  Dear Readers - I cannot fix the line breaks or upload a cute video I had.  If this shows up 30x in your Reader because of my efforts to fix said line breaks, my apologies. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Last of the Randomness.

The ever lovely Starrlife posed some meme-y questions:  

1) What is a favorite memory from childhood?
Starting off light, are you?  As kids, we were forced-marched up Mt. Tamalpais, which is probably steeper and taller in my head than in reality, but when we reached the top the folks would buy us ice cream sandwiches from the little concession stand.  There's probably a morality tale in there about hard work and reward, but I just really really liked those ice cream sandwiches.  

2) If you could go anywhere in the world for a week where would you go?
Anywhere with a lounge chair and a nice boy to bring me drinks, rub SPF 175 on my back, and reposition the umbrella every 2 hours.  

Completely unrelated photo.
We are sadly not heading off to any place with a lounge chair in this shot,
but you wouldn't know it from this kid's grin. 

3) Some of your favorite two colors together/next to each other?
Periwinkle blue and brick red.  Saw it once on a little house nestled under some massive trees in Alaska.  It was charming.

4) What famous person would you like to spend time with, doing what?
My cabana boy, doing nothing except enjoying my lounge chair and umbrella drinks.  Then
I would write about him and post his picture on this very blog, where he would be seen by Uncle Mike, who would cast him in a movie.  He would then become rich and famous and remember me fondly, even after he later slid into drug use, cheap women, and his agent dropped him.  

5) Why did you start blogging?
Ha!  I started so Gigi could get her great-grandkids' photos more often.  Then I started writing little captions.  Which grew into longer captions.  Then I abandoned all pretense and called it mine.  One of the best things I've done in a while - I love y'all and this little online community.

6) What is  your astrological sign and what trait can you most relate to/reject?
Gemini - the twins.  One more "Ha!"  I can't even begin to list all the contradictions and ironies in my life... Blogging, for example.  5 years ago I would have sniffed something about public narcissism.  Now?  I have my very own URL (well, Blogger loaned me one, but same thing). 

7) Who was your best friend when you were in elementary school, tell us about them?
Gosh, I was such an awkward kid.  There was a whole string of girls but they were always moving or in a different class the following year and I spent a lot of time reading.  My mom, oddly, can rattle off all their names AND runs into their parents all the time.  That's not weird at all.  

8) Describe your most transcendent experience?
Not "most," just the one time. 

I must have been about 7 months pregnant and just found out my girl had Down syndrome.  Amid all the tears, I saw her.  And she was beautiful.  It was going to be OK.

Matt's the mushy one in this house and rank sentimentalism usually makes me itchy so call it insight, foresight, a sign from God, or some base mama bear instinct - doesn't matter.  It was magic.  I'll always be grateful for that moment.
Lucky girl.  
Me, that is.  Because I have her:

9) What was the first book that you ever remember reading?
The Old Man and the Sea.  No joke.  My dad wanted me to read the classics so in addition to the usual first grade material, he assigned Hemingway.  To a first grader.  Surprisingly, he didn't think I fully appreciated it on the first pass, so I had to re-read it several more times.  That I didn't turn into a rabid book-burner is one of the many mysteries in my life.   

10) How popular were you in high school?
Not at all (see #7) - but it might not have been as bad as I remember it.  Ignoring junior high, which was eating-alone-in-the-library HELLACIOUS, I had a group of good kids I hung out with, I was usually dating someone or other, and I remember some fun outings - camping on the beach, school dances, etc.  One of the guys I dated now works for the same humongous company I do, which I discovered accidentally one day while reading some notes in a file.  Funny stuff.  That said, I have zero desire to ever attend a high school reunion.  

11) Do you prefer white painted walls or colors?
There isn't a single white wall in our house so I think I'm going to have to say colors.  Pretty much any color - we have yellow, red, espresso, pastels - you name it.   My son's room is a deep blue with one construction-orange accent wall, to match his road sign decor.  It's enough to trigger a migraine but I love it.  We've been in this house 7 years though, and all the walls have been scraped to hell by tricycles, dogs, and the occasional flying lightsaber, so let's call them colored with a chance of drywall.

There!  I'm done!  Who knew I could manage to drag that out over 10 days?  Cheers!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Me(me), Nos. 10-11.

I've been struggling a bit to figure out what I should wrap this meme-business up with.  Organized people get it all done in one post, so there aren't these scraggly tail end items that cause everyone to yawn.  I'm also behind on my pictures, so will oh-so-casually drop some in from the park last weekend, to liven things up.

10.  Not that we've had much occasion to travel without them, but Matt and I aren't allowed to fly together sans children.  If the whole family crashes, that's fine, but I don't want the kids orphaned because we flew off to Fiji for a weekend (because we jet off to exotic islands all the time).  I'm not sure if this was nature or nurture - when I was young I would fly as an unaccompanied minor while my mom & two siblings flew separately.  My dad, sitting out another trip to his in laws at home, didn't want to be the lone survivor should something happen.  I loved this rare, oldest child perk and considered myself quite the independent little jet setter.

It never struck me as odd till I mentioned it to a couple people who looked horrified at the dark, dark crevices of my psyche.  Almost everyone points out the most dangerous part of flying is getting to the airport.  That statistic always struck me as silly though, because two family sedans sideswiping each other, even at 65mph, will most likely not result in a fatality.  A jet going 500mph sideswiping the ground?  Different outcome.

Contemplating the Delta V of a landing plane

11.  Nothing new here, but I would love to adopt another kid or two.  Or three.  From domestic foster care?  International?  Reese's Rainbow?  How do you look through 100 pictures and pick just one kid?  Only offer your family to one child, knowing that the other 99 may never end up with someone who loves him best of all?  No one to kiss his boo-boos, cut his sandwich in triangles not squares, or rub his back during the flu?  I wouldn't even know where to start.  Should we go with the special need we know and love or be more open minded?  What about accessibility and our stairs?  If we adopt a child of color should we move into a more diverse neighborhood?  What about leaving all the cousins who live right next door?  What if we can't manage to bond?  What would be the one thing we really, really couldn't handle?

I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about these things and reading arguments for/against domestic/interracial/international adoption, but the truth is we're barely hanging on over here.  Squeezing money out of our budget for more daycare would be like squeezing a diamond out of charcoal - never mind the adoption fees or additional medical & therapy.  It also doesn't seem really fair to take someone "into your family" only to warehouse them in day care 10 hours a day.  I can't imagine that helps the bonding process (not that it's fun for our bio-kids either but it IS only 3 days a week and I doubt they worry much whether anyone's going to pick them back up again).  I also don't feel like I'm giving enough time to my current two, what with all the Saturdays and late nights at work.  Then again... doesn't having your own imperfect family trump foster care/orphanage?

All this would be solved if I could leave my job but soooo not happening.  *big sigh*


Well, that kind of ended on a down (ha!) note, didn't it?  Here's another picture of my girl climbing on her own - ever moving forward & up.  I should take notes.  


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Me(me), Part II.

Update:  Still exhausted.  I fell asleep on the couch last night at 7:30 and was upstairs in bed properly asleep by 9.  After sniping at my husband for breathing.  In the same room.  I KNOW, RIGHT?  I'm such a charmer.  I may be flirting with a virus.  Or... A shrink might tell me this is some post traumatic depressive episode because of how I feel about April in general and this week, especially tomorrow, in particular but I am a [Familial name] and we don't believe in such emotional pishposh. 

So we will continue with the frivolity and fun that is my MEME!

Eleven Random Things, Part II:
Yesterday I had the day off and thought I might have time to scrounge around in the basement for all my old Paris-Alaskan-LAPD pictures to scan them for yesterday's post (charming and organized!) but when I wasn't waiting in four different carpool lines I was barefoot in the kitchen making a pot roast for the family and...

7.  WW's zero point vegetable soup.  Because I started a diet on Monday.  Is that really a Random Item?  Doesn't quite measure up to "Hey, I used to be armed & dangerous!" but this is a real thing.  I'm 7-9# over the high end of my usual 5# swing, which is close enough to 10#, which is pretty darn close to TWENTY pounds over where I was last year this time. Which was still an egregiously large number over where I was in college.  UNACCEPTABLE.  I've only formally "dieted" a couple times post-baby - I usually just scold myself in the morning while on the scale, eat a salad or something for lunch, but then end up stuffing my face at night.  Every now & then I manage to not stuff my face after 5 and call it a good day.  Ineffective.  This time I stole borrowed a little notebook from work for a food diary, wrote down my goal weight, meal plan, etc.  I am turning.... ah hell, might as well say it... FORTY years old this year.  It's only going to get harder here on out.  I have scaled walls, gutted fish, and patted down a homeless man.  I can do this.  

8.  The first time I met my dear friend Aunt Mary, I was yelling at her friend & high school classmate, my little brother.  I don't actually remember this but she swears it's true.  Her aunt used to be my next door neighbor when I was a little thing; later she was my 7th grade English teacher when I was going thru the most godawful painful pre-teen year ever.  She was very kind, even though I wore a lot of black eyeliner and Aquanet and never did my homework.  Given the probability we met at her aunt's pool when I was little (ignoring the yelling-at-brother story), Mary & I have known each other for 30+ years - though we didn't really become friends till she caught a ride with us on the way to my brother's (college) graduation and we stopped for ice cream.  The words "Dairy Queen" still crack me up, ten years later.

The first time I met my awesome sister in law, Auntie Em', I was also yelling at someone.  All evidence to the contrary, I'm not really an angry person.  Really!  Or maybe just not anymore, given the wisdom of my  almost *gulp* 40 years.  My brother and his then new(ish?) girlfriend had driven half way across the country to visit and had parked in someone else's spot at our apartment complex.  The renter of said spot became completely unhinged over the inconvenience of waiting 3 minutes for us to move his car - but I must have looked even more deranged because her husband literally pulled her back.  It had been a long day and she was being ridiculous.  Apparently I make an impression.

E & M - I love you both.
No yelling!

9.  If you are ever in a serious car accident, I will be able to provide you my professional opinion as to the approximate value of your spleen, fractured arm, or arthroscopic knee surgery.  No one ever asks, though, which is probably a Good Thing, but it limits my social usefulness.  Talking about such things at cocktail parties (because I go to so many!) is not encouraged so I end up doing a lot of smiling & nodding.  Donchya wanna be friends with me now? 

I have a particular issue with motorcyclists and their body parts.  In the past 2 years, various riders have managed to misplace a kidney, a testicle, a left leg, and all movement in one right wrist.  Every time we pass a bike, I talk to my son about road rash and head injuries to program deep into his subconscious the horror that is riding along at 70 mph unprotected by sheet metal and airbags.

This is my favorite cartoon.  I'm probably breaking all sorts of copyright laws so read it quick before I get a cease & desist letter & have to take it down.  I should also get to work so... more tomorrow! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I have been so so very tired lately.  I loved the chance to visit with Gigi last weekend but the truth is I don't see my kids near enough as it is and after getting home at 1:30am Tuesday morning I dove right back into another week of work and I am EXHAUSTED.  I don't think it's a good sign when I'm hoping I have mononucleosis, just for an excuse to stay in bed.  And, yes, tomorrow I will have been back a week but it may as well have been just last night for all the unpacking I've done.  Blech.

Also, despite all the pretty flowers and baby bunnies and rebirth, I loathe the month of April....
Friday would have been Brennan's 8th birthday.

But any-whoodle, there was Fun this weekend, including a trip to the park and another cooking experiment gone hysterically disastrously wrong, so it's not all bleakness and misery around here.  Also, I was extremely flattered to be tagged not once but twice in the same circling meme, by Starrlife and Ellie's mom.  My very first meme!  I can now claim my bloggy credentials.  I'm particularly grateful for the timing since I could use a fun distraction this week.

There are Rules, posted below.  I'm supposed to tag 11 other people.   Umm, any takers?  Combined, Ellie's mom and Ms. Starr have already snatched up the obvious contenders (on the Ds-mommy circuit) and other people are busy growing babies or taking care of babies... or I'm not sure they'd be "meme" people (is there a type?).  This isn't technically breaking the rules (yet) since I will formally tag in the next post - this is only Part I (she wrote ominously).  You knew I couldn't been concise, right?  Please let me know if you need post material (Cate!).

Eleven Random Things:

I could list all my prior jobs and exhaust my list but that might be cheating so I'll just hit the highlights.  I was full of adventure back in the day - now I live in the suburbs and work in a cubicle.  whee.  It's not actually as disconcerting as it should be.

1.  I spent my senior year of high school in Germany and my first two years of college in Paris, here.   Sadly I have ZERO talent for languages and can speak neither German nor French.  Learning ASL with my girl is my only hope at being bilingual.

2.  After running out of money, I returned to CA and while finishing school spent two summers on a fishing tender out of Ketchikan, Alaska.  That probably warrants a whole post, huh?  I went up after seeing one of those "Earn $10k" ads in the college papers and wandered the docks looking for work only to find not that many women actually fished (I did meet some later).  So I talked myself into a job as a cook on a tender - the owner realized soon enough I was a lousy cook but I worked hard and by the second summer I'd been promoted to "deck boss" (a pleasantry - I supervised nothing and no one).  It was a good chunk of change for a college student and landed me more than one job interview later on.  It  took me years to start eating salmon again.

3.  After graduating and a couple of terrible gigs, I found myself doing basically the entry level version of what I'm doing now.  Except then I left and joined the LAPD.

Betcha you weren't expecting that, were you?  Proud member of the 6-98 class, right here.  And I graduated with top honors in academics and tactics.  (I'd explain why that isn't as impressive as it sounds but for now I'm just going to own it.)  I lasted 4 weeks in the field.  I knew about half way thru training it wasn't for me but damned if I was going to quit.  You know how they say no one in the nursing home ever regrets the things they did, only what they didn't do?  This was my thing.  I very briefly had abs of steel and I will never ever have to wonder about the path not chosen.

4.  Matt stood me up on our first date and then, after a very romantic second date, he kissed me... on the forehead.  He also doesn't read books or like Star Trek (*gasp*) and has this peculiar predisposition to lean right politically.  We've been together almost 16 years now.  Go figure.

5.  That second romantic date was on the same day my baby brother was born.  My dad remarried (twice, actually, but we don't discuss the Middle Wife) and has 5 kids - three over 33 and two under 18.

6.   With my sad little Bachelor of Arts and Parties, I am the least educated person in my immediate family.  I'm also the only one with a blog so HA! Guess who wins THAT contest?

(Don't answer that)

I'm going to have to take short break because I just realized it's 1am and I prefaced this piece by complaining about how tired I was.  No wonder!

The rules, for the record:
1) Post these rules.
2) Post 11 random things about yourself.
3) Answer the questions set for you in the post of those who tagged you.
4) Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5) Go to their blog (or email them or tweet them) and tell the people you tagged that you’ve tagged them.
6) No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.”   You legitimately have to tag 11 people.  [Noted!]