June 29, 2009


I'm frequently sleep deprived for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to having a light-sleeping toddler and the fact that sleeping just seems like a big waste of time and I don't want to do it. I have a lot of things I'm trying to accomplish around here.

Over the past 2.5 years since Tristan was born I've adapted pretty well to not sleeping and generally avoid having it interfere in my life too terribly much. Except yesterday.

I was really groggy getting up that morning and reluctant to get started. I could feel the bed calling me like a coaxing lover with a sweet embrace. Oh, to be wrapped up in soft, downy comforters with the ceiling fan swirling cool air around me.

About that time I hear, "Juice, Mommy."

To which I respond, "I'm on it." Except it came out more like, "mymawllit."

At the fridge I began a cascade of yogurt avalanche and while I was picking those up, Tristan sneaked in behind me and grabbed the top of the sippy cup and started saying, "Na na git meeeee..." Normally that's slightly cute, but that morning it was just annoying since my body parts seemed to have mutinied from the Commander-in-Chief up there in my head.

After about two hours I was ready to leave for work having lost an hour somewhere. I never did figure out what happened to that. Rob called twice saying, "Where are you? Are you coming in?"

I told him I was in the kitchen. The second time he called he asked where I was and I told him in the kitchen. He said, "You're still in the kitchen? Why are you in the kitchen?"

I said, "I'm in the kitchen because my phone is in the kitchen."

He said, "Oh. I thought... nevermind."

I asked, "Did you think I have just been standing in the kitchen since the last time you called?"

After a pregnant pause he admitted, "Well, I wasn't sure."

I laughed, but then immediately stopped laughing after realizing I hadn't gotten much accomplished at all and maybe I actually HAD been in the kitchen all this time, asleep standing up.

I got Tristan's shoes on and got him to daycare. The daycare lady said, "Tristan, you've got your shoes on backwards." I looked and sure enough he did. Obviously on backwards, not like the kind of shoes where it's hard to tell the right from the left. How can you not notice putting your kid's shoes on backwards?

At work, I knocked a stack of folders off my desk. After cleaning that up, I went to the kitchen to make a pitcher of lemonade and as I'm about to mix it together Rob says, "Hey, that's green."

"What's green?"

"How long has it been since you've changed out the water in the filter container? There's something green in there."

(As a side note, you can tell how we handle things like this so differently. He calmly points out that I've been drinking algae water for the last two days. When I see it, I start running around in circles yelling, "It's green, it's green, it's green. AAAAAH. greengreengreengreengreeeeeeeennnn.....")

Maybe if I slept more I wouldn't be such a hysteric. I know my kid would certainly be dressed better.

June 28, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #15

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you! MR. LINKY IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST. PLEASE LINK TO YOUR ENTRY TODAY, NOT YOUR MAIN PAGE! Also, please be sure to link back to me so people can go check out all the other people who are playing.

The weekend before 4th of July is traditionally reserved for our Archey Fork Summer Festival. We all gather downtown at the park, enjoy over-priced carnival rides and food, a fishing derby, an awesome car show, local musicians and other lovely small town mayhem. It's awesome (except for the heat this year) and one of the highlights of our year.

I've included a ton o'shots below that give you a flavor of my small town...

Saturday starts off with a fishing derby for the kids. The Game and Fish Commission stocks our pond for us. There are 350 hungry catfish waiting for the killing to begin!

This year we had a great place to fish. Usually we dam up a small creek (Town Branch) that runs through the middle of the city. Last year the dam broke twice and the Mayor decided it was too dangerous to try to do that again this year. The city was going to have to pay almost $10,000 to come up with some dam system that we could re-use but there was nothing in the budget for it.

One member of the city council wanted to build a pond, but again money was an issue and we weren't sure there was time to dig a pond even though we have a great place for it. Turns out a business in the city who uses a lot of excavation equipment volunteered to dig our pond for us at no charge to the city. It's probably a $40-60,000 project that got donated for free to the city. Oh it's the awesomeness of small town cooperation!

Julius sits on the bank and waits for a catfish to bite. He's never caught a fish before.

We use "power bait" which is very smelly, but catfish like smelly stuff. In fact, the city was giving out free bait when kids signed up for the derby. It was basically fish blood and guts and pieces of crawfish pressed into this tater-tot shape powerhouse of horrific stink that you could smell all the way to the parking area. I got tickled because my brother's girlfriend, when she finally realized what smelled so bad, pointed to my brother and said, "Oh, I thought it was you."

Julius catches his first fish!!

For some reason, Julius felt compelled to poke the fish. I was having some trouble with the fish lying around gasping. Fishing seems really barbaric, to me, if one is not properly prepared. I would have rather had a stringer or bucket. It's still a little cruel, but I don't have a problem with it if you are eating the fish. It's food, it's natural. I was hoping he would just measure it and release it but he wanted to keep it. We actually ended up giving it to an old man who was there with his granddaughter and I'm sure with this one and the others they caught they had a great meal!

Julius's catfish is 15-3/8". The prize winning fish for the day was 16-7/8".

Mary (my brother's girlfriend) and Tristan check out the fish. All morning Tristan carried this fish in a bag and kept walking up to other people who had fish demanding that they put their fish in his sack.

Late in the afternoon the ride part of the festival begins.

A guy is there with his snake. His girlfriend had a tiny snake that she was wearing around her neck.

Important safety tip: WEAR SUNSCREEN

The rides were horribly over priced. One trip down this slide was $2 per kid. EEGADS!

Tristan is a chick magnet.

I like looking at all the carnival workers.

Great day with a big fireworks show at the end. I'm saving that for next weekend!

June 26, 2009

Trip to the Doctor II

Last Thursday was lithotripsy day, the day I took my mom to the hospital to get a super sonic vibroblast to the ureter. In some ways that could almost sound sexy except that 1) it has to do with my mom and 2) the doctor could have been my grandfather and 3) let's just not go there now that I think about it further.

The day started fine and was without incident until we got to the hospital. The parking was horrendous and I ended up having to hoof it all the way from the parking deck at the other end of the hospital complex. By the time I got to the waiting room where my mom was she was freaking out thinking I'd gone to the wrong place and her cell phone isn't holding a charge anymore. She was sure I was lost.

After waiting a while a tiny little Asian woman came to get my mom and as I started to get up and go with her she said, "Let me just ask her a few questions and then she can come back." So I assumed she would ask a few questions and I'd see her again. Twenty minutes later I was informed by a very old volunteer guy in a red vest that at some point in the future they would call and let me come back. Apparently the little ninja nurse was holding my mother hostage back there and I was trying to decide if I should be obnoxious and stealth back there or just wait patiently. I'm better at waiting than being sneaky (what with my girth and all) so I figured I'd wait a little longer before I stormed the castle.

To my right was an older couple. The man was reading the newspaper and his wife was just sitting in the chair next to him looking around the room. Every now and again he'd remark on something in the newspaper and she'd make strange hostile responses. For example:
Him: There's a car show over at Petit Jean this weekend.

Her: I don't car about that. I don't have an old car, I don't even like old cars. I have no interest in old cars at all. Why would I want to go to something like that?

After a few of those outbursts I moved to another section of the large waiting room where I encountered Crazy Scissor Lady. (You can read the real-time phenomenon here and here.)

As I was reading and phone blogging Scissor Lady kept wandering around picking up magazines and trash cans. She had scissors in her hand and was slowly, carefully, deliberately cutting pictures out of magazines. I pretended to be very interested in what was on my phone so I could get surreptitious glances of what she was doing. A few minutes after I started watching her her head started nodding. I thought she was getting down to some imaginary music but it turned out she was falling asleep.

She was still poised to cut her papers and her head would bob slowly down toward the pointy end of the scissors until her eye was nearly on the sharp end of the scissors. I was concerned she was going to end up stabbing herself in the face. And then someone would slam through the pre-op doors next to her and she'd jerk upright and keep cutting. Watching the whole thing was very stressful and yet I couldn't help myself.

Finally someone called me and said I could go back. I wandered into the chasm of pre-op to find my mother in a tiny little cube with five or six cotton balls taped to her arms. She waved her arms toward me angrily. "Would you look at this?"

Apparently they had a little trouble starting the IV. I asked her if they finally got it and she snorted at me. "No! And I told them they weren't sticking me again. I have a two-stick policy, you know." As soon as I got there the nurses scattered like frightened ants.

We waited for a quite a while with various adventures ensuing that I don't feel energetic enough to enumerate. They involved cold wash cloths, vomit pans, a surprised nurse with a carrot, a doctor threatening to stab my mom in the neck to put her to sleep and one wardrobe malfunction. But let's gloss over those pedestrian tales and skip directly to Mr. Ryman and his penile implant because that's a WAY BETTER story.

You know all this hubbub about HIPAA? I can tell you it apparently doesn't really apply in a pre-op setting such as where we were.

Allow me to use Mr. Ryman as an example. According to my best guess he was lying on a gurney about six feet from my mother separated by little more than empty space and a flimsy, non-descript curtain. Once Mr. Ryman's doctor arrived on the scene they went into great detail about his upcoming procedure. I now understand exactly how a penile implant proceeds as well as a good working knowledge of all the parts (organic and non-organic) as well as the recovery times and when Mr. Ryman will report back to his doctor for instructions on how to "pump it up" and, presumably have some sort of test drive. I also can tell you Mr. Ryman's unfortunate condition was due to radioactive seeding of his man-parts for prostate cancer and also that his wife is REALLY HAPPY that he's having the procedure and can't wait to get started.

Fast-forward several hours later to when I'm accidentally drooling on pictures of the Jolie-Pitt twins after nodding off in the waiting room. I was startled awake by post-op reports about Mr. Ryman whose doctor didn't bother to take Mrs. Ryman aside for a private conference thereby inflicting me to his lewd insinuations about Mr. Ryman's post-op recovery aided by the diligent ministrations of his eager wife.

Half an hour later when I was on the brink of madness from watching an Oprah episode with some normal middle class family who ended up as homeless people (THIS COULD BE YOU), my mom's doctor came in and said, "We had some problems as if you didn't notice." There were more stones and bigger stones than they thought. Nothing too horrible, but it took them longer to do everything they were supposed to do.

Again, they didn't want me to go back and see her which was a bummer because I promised her I would record her in her drunken anesthetized stupor so we could enjoy it for later. By the time they let me go back she was pretty much her normal self.

I only half listened to the instructions they gave me for after we left the hospital because they foolishly assume my mother listens to those types of things and follows along with them. Silly mortals.

Instead we did the exact opposite of what we were supposed to do and hit a Wendy's drive-thru and ordered a burger and fries to split and two Frosties. About 20 minutes later we were pulled over at the side of the road with my mom throwing up next to someone's garbage can and me pretending not to notice.

All in all, a successful day if you define "success" by how much of a blog post you can squeeze out of it.

If any of you would like me to accompany you to the hospital just let me know. It might not be great for you, but it will probably work out just fine for me.

June 24, 2009

The Old Becomes New Again

Mary's Mom over at Mom's House Book inspired me with a confession she made recently about wearing a certain article of clothing of which her family is not fond.

Her story reminded me of an old T-shirt I had that Rob hated PASSIONATELY. First I have to say, he's not a clothes snob or picky about the stuff I wear in any way. I'm sure there are many cases where he hates what I wear but doesn't say anything. (I'm just about the worst dressed person EVER.) He's a great sport.

However, I had this awesome and amazing tie-dyed T-shirt that I got when I was in San Francisco. Berkeley, actually, from a street vendor. I was madly, passionately in love with that T-shirt. It was comfortable, but beyond that it was more a representation of something that was important to me. When I looked at it, wore it, I was reminded of the creative spirit, the freedom of expression, the hippie culture of the area where I bought the shirt. It wasn't a T-shirt, it was a symbol that had a life of its own beyond the weave of the fabric.

Unfortunately, it was hideously ugly on me and Rob couldn't stand it. In fact, he'd remark hesitantly at first that he didn't think it was very flattering. I conceded the fact that that might be true and pretty much stopped wearing it outside the house. I then used it as my "bum around the house" shirt. After a while the constructive criticism became more blunt observations about the shirt. Then there was actual terroristic threatening toward the shirt in which a plan was unveiled that involved making the shirt "disappear". I've seen enough action adventure movies to know what that means.

Finally, I could see that my beloved t-shirt was in grave peril, so I did what I had to do...

I cut up the shirt and made it into a quilt for our first baby thereby endowing it with the special, magical "baby's first blanket" power that is so strong it can never be destroyed.

I think they call that compromise, although probably my husband called it something else.

June 22, 2009

How to Become a Vegetarian in One Easy Step

The other night at dinner we sat down as a family over some delectable, juicy pork loin, stuffing and vegetables.

We talk of the days events, life, or whatever the kids want to talk about.

As we're sitting there, Julius (who is our science guy and avid learner) asks, "Is pork a pig?"

"Mmmhmm," I said as I stuffed more in my mouth.

"What part of the pig is the pork chop?"

I glanced over at Rob, not being up on my pig anatomy and all. He looks back at me for a minute. I can see the wheels turning.

I ventured a guess. "Shoulder?"

He nodded. "Pretty sure."

Julius stuffs another piece of food in his mouth. "This is really good pig shoulder, Mom. It's very juicy."

My mouth suddenly dried up.

Julius chewed a while. "What part of the pig is bacon?"

"His belly, I think." I glanced over at Rob who nodded.

"What about ham?"

"Oh, well, that one I think is his hip, kind of right here..." I motioned from my waist down around to the bottom of my, well, bottom.

Julius put down his fork and laughed and laughed. "Ham is pig butt, ham is pig butt!"

"Pig BOTTOM," I corrected, pushing my plate away. My appetite was decidedly diminished.

Rob eyeballed my plate. "Are you gonna finish that pig shoulder?"

"Um, no, definitely not."

June 21, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #14: Special Guest, Michael Harling

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you! MR. LINKY IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST. PLEASE LINK TO YOUR ENTRY TODAY, NOT YOUR MAIN PAGE!

This week I've got a very special guest who is doing my post for me. His name is Michael Harling and he's the author of Postcards from Across the Pond. Michael is currently on his whirlwind virtual tour across America and today offers his own version of life in a small town...

* * *

21 June 2009


It's good to be down in the south, and in a place I've never been before. I drove through Arkansas once a long time ago, but that's all, so I've never formed an impression of the place. Until now.

I was raised in the country and, as such, I'm more comfortable in small towns--the smaller, the better--and Wendy's place suits me just fine. She's been quite hospitable, as well, has Wendy, showing me around, introducing me to folks, taking me down to Archey Creek where we caught some craw-daddies and threw rocks at the water moccasins just to see them get annoyed. It was a real fine day, even if I did make the whole thing up.

It could have happened, though. In my day, I used to go down to the creek and fish out snapping turtles for my mom to make into soup. Sometimes we'd gather black caps and dandelion greens to have with dinner, or go into Ray Meyer's field to glean for potatoes that the 'tater digger missed. Those, too, were some fine days, and I didn't make them up. On the other hand, I do point out to my incredulous acquaintances--after assuring then that, yes, I really did grow up that way--that we stopped living like The Waltons as soon as they built the big supermarket in Greenport. Living off the land doesn't necessarily make you noble or mean you're trying to save the planet, sometimes it just means you have no other choice.

Still, it's nice to sit here on the porch with Wendy and Rob and Blogger the cat, feeling the breeze from the electric fan, talking of days gone by and exchanging recipes for dandelion wine and possum pie. And Rob makes a mean mint julep, I can tell you.

It's strange about the south, how the laid-back ways get to you almost before the heat and humidity does. Whenever I venture below the Mason-Dixon line for more than 12 hours, I start saying things like, "Y'all fixin' ta go down to the Winn Dixie?" Whereas I've been in England for seven years and I still speak like a Yankee. That'd be a Yankee by Wendy's definition--anybody north of Kentucky, and we're not sure too sure about them--not by the world's definition, meaning anyone from North America. (I've always wondered how offended a Southerner must feel when he's called a Yankee by some twit in a tweed coat and a clipped accent.)

In the southern states, there's a palpable sense of hospitality, something I sorely miss in this reserved and overcast land I now inhabit. Those times I did visit Dixie for an extended period, I felt as if I was being sucked into a vast vat of warm molasses, and I just wanted to melt and become part of it. That's how strong the feeling of friendship and hospitality is down here. They're all such wonderful people. No really, I mean that. I love you guys!

(Awkward silence.)

I'm okay; a gnat just flew into my eye, that's all.

Sorry, I guess it could be the humidity, or the mint juleps. Why, sure, Rob, I would like another. Thanks for asking.

Would you like to participate in the
Visit the Tour Page to sign up or view The Tour progress.

Michael Harling is an American author living in the UK,
touring the blog-world via the kindness of strangers.

[photo credit: minuk (mint julep), and Scott Abelman (snapping turtle)]

June 19, 2009

How to Deal with a Bully

You've had self-defense advise from Tristan. That advice was, of course, filtered through big brother Julius. Apparently, not only does Julius know about what to do when a burglar breaks into your house, but he also knows how to deal with schoolyard bullies.

There was an incident at boyscout day camp last week that I'm only now finding out about.

As it was told to me over a lovely dinner of homemade spaghetti and salad, a very troublesome boy came up to Julius and put his fist very close into Julius's face and said, "I'm gonna bloody your nose!"

Julius's response was to grab the boy's fist with both hands and bite it really hard. The boy ran away crying.

I couldn't help myself, but I laughed so hard spaghetti flew across the table.

I know as a mom I'm not supposed to delight in my son biting another boy and making him cry. But on the other hand it's nice to see my son stick up for himself, too.

When I was a kid, the party line about fighting at our house was "never start a fight, but always finish it." I don't know if that's right or wrong. I don't like violence or condone it. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who don't stand up for themselves when I think they should. I don't want my kids to look for a fight, but I also don't want them to shy away from one when it's time to stand their ground.

A few years ago we had Julius enrolled in a mixed tumbling class that teaches kids to balance, roll and other basic physical skills. One couple brought their two little girls and the dad looked really familiar. I could tell that he thought I looked familiar, too.

In fact, Dwayne remembered me very clearly. As we were talking he said, "You were the only one who would let me sit by you on the bus." As he said that it all came flooding back to me.

Many years ago, Dwayne and I rode the same school bus together. I was in high school and he was probably in middle school. I was one of the first kids on the school bus and got my pick of seats. I was a voracious reader and mostly just hunched down with my knees pressed against the seat in front of my so all you could see was the very top of my head.

Dwayne was a shy and skinny little feller and by the time we got around to his part of the bus route there were very few seats left open. There was always one next to me because I was one of the older kids and I think maybe they didn't want to bother me while I was reading. Or maybe I just smelled funny.

At Dwayne's stop, he'd climb those dreaded steps slowly and at the top of the steps his eyes would sweep back and forth across the aisles like a guy with a metal detector searching for treasure. He'd ask kids to share their seats. Denied. Denied. Denied again. It happened over and over. Nobody would let him sit down. Finally to my seat, always halfway back, always on the driver's right.

"Can I sit with you?" And my only answer was to slide over. Not the warmest person to this scrawny, abused creature, but apparently he was grateful as evidenced decades later by his admission that I will never forget as long as I live...

"You were the only one who would let me sit by you on the bus..."

I smiled to myself as we watched our kids tumble and roll. He sat next to me in his nice slacks and shirt, him a department manager at a big store, him with his attractive wife and his gorgeous girls. I think about how well he's done compared to many of those on the school bus in those days and I chuckle.

He looked sideways at me, probably a little afraid. I laughed.

I said, "Sorry. I was just thinking how nice your life has turned out."

And he said, "Yeah, me too."

We watched the kids continue to tumble and roll.

June 17, 2009

Trip to the Doctor

Yesterday was the day to take my mom to the urologist. It's an hour and a half drive and we brought Julius with us. I was certain at some point we'd have a conversation that entailed her telling me how I really need to buy a fly swatter to use on the kids and how they run over the top of me all the time. I mean, after all, how long can you be in the car with your mother without the topic of fly swatters coming up? That's normal, right? (The answer, by the way, is about 17.5 minutes.)

We made it to the doctor's office without incident. The doctor's office was like nothing I've ever seen in my life. Part of my mom's loathing about going to this doctor was that she felt like his office was a "mill".

"They just mill people in there," she said vehemently. "In, out, in, out, as fast as they can." I pressed on the gas pedal harder and hoped there were no police cars out there. Although maybe if I got pulled over I'd be lucky and he'd have a mother that was an angry-doctor-visitor. Maybe he'd understand.

When I walked into the building I could see what she was talking about. The full length of the huge lobby was lined on both sides by individual, sculpted counters. Behind each counter was a tight-lipped receptionist. Little paper signs on each counter announced the number of each "pod" and what doctor belonged to that pod. As if all the doctors were sleek and porpoise like, slicing through the medical waters with grace and ease. As if.

We stood at "Pod 6" and stared at the receptionist who said our appointment was at 1:15, not 11:45. So after driving an hour and a half we'd have to sit around for another two hours because we're freaks who like to arrive early, even to the doctor's office where they make you wait until are so weak you'll submit to nearly anything if they will just agree to talk to you for five minutes.

Pink Nurse couldn't understand why there was foam coming out of my mother's mouth and I didn't feel like explaining it. So, off we went to find something to eat and kill time.

Upon our return, I dropped my mom off at the front and parked. Julius and I walked into the foyer and there was an old guy in front of us, shuffling along like Tim Conway. He was not even halfway across the foyer and I thought Julius and I could just scoot around him and go through the door ahead. It's not like I was actually cutting in front of him -- it was a big foyer and we'd be there a good five minutes if we just stood behind him and waited.

As I passed by him I looked over and smiled so I didn't come across as some impatient whippersnapper, which I obviously did since he yelled at the top of his voice, "Well... EXCUSE ME!"

My stride stuttered and I glanced over at him and he scowled at me with his angry old man face. I was surprised he didn't shake his cane at me. I just kept walking because what do you say? I thought about apologizing except I didn't do anything wrong and my mom was, by now, all the way at the other end of the building waiting for me.


And then my mouth started moving and words came out. I didn't actually do anything myself, it was just my mouth which said, "YEP, REAL BIG HURRY, SEEEE YAAAA!" (You can see the real time post about it on my family blog.) And I just kept on walking.

Amazingly, the actual consultation with the doctor turned out remarkably without incident, without the usual routine where my mom beats up the doctor and makes him submit to her will and I good-naturedly cajole him into discussing my mother's treatment again. (Your basic good cop/bad cop routine in which I am an unwilling participant.) Instead, she smiled and joked. He smiled and joked. I was just grateful there was no actual flirting going on.

Of course, then she had to mention uva ursi and the asparagus and 6-pack of classic Coke treatment for kidney stones at which point the doctor got a strange look on his face, walked out of the room and never returned. After a few minutes mom and I looked at each other and shrugged.

The nurse scheduled her for lithotripsy on Thursday which is where they use a sonic blast to vaporize your kidney stone. I think I saw that done on a Superman cartoon once.

On the way out, Julius decided we were to only walk on the strips of dark green carpet. I went along with it. Mom walked up and stepped on the light part of the carpet. I said, "You can't do that. You have to walk on the dark part."

She looked at me like I'd lost my mind. "We're walking on the dark part?"

I nodded as this guy about my age walked past. He had dark hair, a beard and was loaded down with three bags. He wore socks with sandals. He smiled, indicating he'd overheard us and glanced down at the carpet.

I pointed to him. "You, too. Only the dark parts."

He hopped on to the dark strip that was in front of him and turned to follow it all the way across to the other side of the lobby where another green strip ran perpendicular so he could walk to the other end of the building.

I fell into line behind him, then Julius, then Mom, all of us walking in this crazy single file down the dark green strip of carpet. I could feel all the Pod Mistresses staring at us.

Mom says, "What happens if we step on the light part?"

I said, "Alligators will eat you."

"Oh," she said and kept following.

We were nearly at the door when another green stripe made a T at the stripe we were on. Sock & Sandal Guy did a little sidestepping, grape-vine maneuver sideways back across the lobby to the other side where his family was waiting. I gave him the thumbs up. I think he probably does line-dancing on the weekends.

At the lobby doors the three of us remaining stopped and looked at the great expanse of light carpet before us. There was no way to get from here to there without going into the pit of alligators. I leaned way over and waved my papers in front of the door sensor to open it and told Julius to try to jump across while I held the door open.

The Pod Mistress behind me laughed. I said, "One... Two... Three... JUMP!" He, of course, didn't make it. I didn't make it either. Even my mom with her kidney stone tried to jump. She is the only one who made it, claiming she stepped across on the back of the biggest alligator.

The glass doors slid shut behind us and we headed to the car.

"Don't step on the cracks," Julius said. And we didn't.

June 15, 2009

Monday Montage

Lately it seems like my life has been a lot of little amusements strung together like a hodge podge of broken seashells, sea glass, driftwood and smooth, colored stones. Apart they are little gems that don't amount to much, but together make something more substantial. The building blocks of life, I guess.

What better spot for them than a montage?



* * *

On an early morning ride to drop Tristan off at daycare, my mind wanders. I am deeply lost in thought, so deep that, frankly, I don't even know what part of my brain I was strolling through.

I tuned out the usual backseat chatter of the kids bickering, "STOP THAT!" and "MINE!" and "NOOOOO, MIIIIINE!", etc etc.

After a couple of minutes I tuned back in to listen and realized with a start that Tristan was alone in the backseat and the entire argument he'd been having was with himself. Or maybe an imaginary play friend. Imagination-induced schizophrenia.

* * *

A series of phone calls in which I discover I am better informed than usual (which is rare in my life since I'm almost always the last to know anything):

Phone call #1:

Bob: Listen, I have to tell you something that isn't really ready to be announced, but you need to know.

Me: Okay...

Bob: [blah blah blah] they're doing a study of our town [blah blah blah] I was hoping you could help...

Me: Steve already called and asked me to be on the steering committee.

Bob: [sighs heavily] I was supposed to be the one getting everyone. I wish he'd told me he'd done all this already!

Phone call #2:

Darren: Hey, I need to show that house of yours [blah blah blah] around 6 or 7. I have a golf tournament, though. The guy showed up unexpectedly. I'll call you later with a more specific time.

Me: Sounds great, I'll let the owners know.

Phone rings about two minutes later...

Linda: I need to show that house of yours [blah blah blah]. Darren has a golf tournament so I'm going to show it for him. The guy showed up without calling again. Can we show it at 6?

Me: Um, yeah.

* * *

The metamorphosis of various things as related by my 6-year old.

"Mom, did you know that crawdads turn into lobsters when they get big?"


"Mom, this juice is half orange and half grapefruit juice. That makes pomegranate juice."

* * *

My signature dessert around our house is strawberry shortcake. It's a family favorite and awesome for someone like me who has very little cooking talent. We had some leftover poundcake and a new batch of strawberries and after I got everything ready I realized we had no whipped cream.

I came up with this brilliant idea that I'd make some HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM which is basically, you know, cream that's whipped. Clever, I know. Just 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Whenever Rob and I are in the kitchen it's like this dueling dance of power. He's the cook and I'm just basically a hack that fakes her way through a meal. However, our approach to cooking frequently reveals our approach to life and our levels of optimism about the world around us.

For example, he's a recipe studier, analyzer, follower. I'm a recipe skimmer, jumper-inner, winger. His attention span is long when it comes to cooking. He's fast and adept and flings food around while he's stirring. I am slow and agonizing, taking twice as long to do everything, frequently do it the hard way and always keep everything inside the pan. He washes as he goes. I do not. I assume it's all going to work out fine, he's certain it won't work out at all.

So, when I got out the whisk to start whipping the cream, I hear from behind me, "Oh no. No, no, no." He got out the electric mixer. I will admit that is a far better choice but for some reason the thought of getting the mixer out and finding the right little metal whirligigs seemed way more trouble than standing there three times as long with a hand whisk. I'm just screwed up that way.

* * *

During dinner, Tristan was his usual spastic self. It's hard to keep him in the chair for the duration. At one point he ran through the kitchen and into the living room where he started spinning in circles until he fell down. I was certain vomit would shortly follow.

Julius sighed, "Little kids are sure a lot of trouble sometimes."

I nodded and said, "Yeah, but sometimes they are pretty cool, too."

He nodded. I continued, "Do you think you'll have kids someday?"

He shook his head violently. "NO WAY!"

"Well, what if your wife wants kids?"

He gave this quandary some serious consideration and after quite a pause said, "Well, I would let her, but I AM NOT CHANGING ANY STINKY DIAPERS!"

* * *

The homemade whipped cream was completely fabulous and I highly recommend it over storebought. The children went berzerk, licking metal whirligigs, then devouring plates of cake and strawberries and whipped cream.

After a moment of sitting in front of his empty dessert bowl Julius says, "Mom, I didn't like that. Can I have some jello?"

I said, "Are you kidding me?"

He said, "Well, it's sugar free."

I said, "No, definitely not. You'll explode."

* * *

I had to call my mother, of course, and brag on how fabulous the whipped cream was. (I know, good grief, it's just whipped cream but it was a first for me!) I tell her how awesome it was, how great a job Rob did on it.


While mom was still on the phone, I rudely yell back, "YOU DID IT. ALL I DID WAS GET THE RECIPE."


My mom was irritated. "What is he yelling about?"

"Oh, he's trying to give me credit for it, but I didn't do anything. He's the one who did it. He gets the credit."

She says, "So you're arguing over giving each other the credit?"


I can hear her rolling her eyes. "You're such a nice married couple."

* * *

Over dishes (me washing, him doing everything else) Rob opens the fridge door. Something flies out and he growls, "Argh, would you eat some of this food already?"

I said, "Stop complaining. There are people starving in China." Then I realize that didn't sound right. "Or Africa. Or wherever people are starving right now."

My level of human compassion and global awareness is truly stunning.

* * *

I think with some effort and a little more time, this could be us in a few years...

What tidbits from your life can you share with me today?

June 14, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #13

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you!

I'm a little late posting STSS today what with the hospital situation and all. My post today is sort of a strange "Part Two" to last week. By the time we left Mountain View we were really tired and, while I wanted to take pictures I was feeling too lazy to stop, so I shot pictures out the window as Rob kept on driving. As you can imagine there were mixed results!

Hopefully next week this will be a little more polished and organized. Til then, I hope you have a great Sunday wherever you are!

Be sure to leave a link to your STSS post for the week with Mr. Linky below...

June 12, 2009

Urinary Tract Adventures (UTAs)

Between my son's particular medical condition which gives us periodic trips to the hospital and my mom's occasional adventures in health care, I rack up a lot of frequent flyer miles in doctor's offices, hospitals and waiting rooms.

It started Thursday with a trip to the emergency room. My mom called me early in the morning. She said she was on her way to a town that is about 2.5-3 hours from where we live. She had a kidney stone but she was nearly to the place she was going and as soon as she met with the contractor she needed to see she would turn around and head back. She said she wasn't sure she would make it. I made arrangements in case I needed to drop everything and head down to meet her and bring an extra driver to get her car back.

She eventually made it to my office. (She's one tough cookie.) I had the car waiting as she pulled in and I drove her the rest of the way to the hospital. For a change we got in really fast and the doctor came into the room before the nurse was finished getting her history. I was feeling really optimistic about this particular visit. Quick, pleasant (as pleasant as it could be anyway) and the doctor seemed concerned and conscientious.

And then my mother started talking.

This is basically where it pretty much all goes wrong. And as it generally always happens, she manages to drive a seemingly pleasant doctor to the brink of rage and madness. I stand there with my hands shoved deep in my pockets and look up to the ceiling, inspecting it carefully for any small flaw that might occupy me so I can pretend I don't see the train wreck happening in front of me.

The very nice nurse started an IV while the doctor was outside breathing into a paper bag. And when I say "started an IV" I really just mean "stabbed my mom in the arm" which resulted in blood pouring out of her vein, down her arm, onto the bed, onto her clothes, onto the floor, up to the nurse's wrists and, in fact, so much blood the tape wouldn't stick. So much blood she told me to go get another nurse to help her.

We traversed the many issues we must traverse to get my mother treated. There are so many medications she can't take because they either have no effect or a bad effect. Finally after a long negotiation period the doctor ordered a CT scan, but wouldn't let her have anything for pain until the scan was over. So I sat there with her, this woman who LOOKS like a sweet older lady but is actually a lot like a cat that someone is trying to dunk into a bucket of water.

This sometimes necessitates me yelling out the door to the nurses station, "HEY, can't you get her something for her pain??" I try to be the bad guy so they'll be nice to her. I think that might make me an enabler.

After about three hours of this kind of fun and the doctor confirming that she does have a kidney stone, she gets a hypodermic cocktail of darvocet, toradol and morphine. Within moments she's slurring her words and pointing weakly around the room as she talks. I can't help myself but I start giggling which gets her giggling.

"What are you laughing at?"

This makes me laugh harder, which makes her laugh harder. "You. You're slurring your words."

She seems amazed by this. "I am??"

I nodded. She continues telling me some story about a mouse in her car that I'm not sure is completely true. She pauses for a moment to ask me what that is that's crawling on the ceiling. I stand up and walk over to what I think she's referring to. I tell her that it's a little piece of fuzz that looks like blown-insulation that got trapped between the ceiling tiles and the wall.

"No it's not. It's moving, Wendy."

"Mom, it's not. It's insulation."


I roll my eyes. My mom is totally trippin'. So, I talk to her like she's hard of hearing, as if that will somehow help. "MOM. IT'S INSULATION. IT'S. NOT. MOOOOVIINNNNG." I wave my hands around for added effect as if it will give my words more credence.

She stares at me, weighing my words with serious concern. Her eyes go back up to the insulation. "I really think it's moving."

"I know you do, but I promise... it's really not moving."

I sat back down and there was silence for a moment. She turned her head toward me and said cheerily, "I can see why people do drugs like this."

Another 45 minutes of bizarre conversation went by during which the nurse checked on her twice and Mom once accused me of not letting her finish the crazy mouse story. The doctor finally said we could go, that the scan showed her stone was borderline and he thought she'd pass it on her own. I took her home.

* * *

The following day I had no babysitter. I had to run to a neighboring town to take some pictures of a house. I did this quickly and decisively, packed a snack for Tristan and headed out assuming my life would proceed in an orderly fashion. (This proves that I am an eternal optimist because I still assume the best despite several decades that prove my life is just one surreal moment after another.)

On the way I called to see how mom had made it through the night. She said she had a fever. It was 80 degrees in her house and she had two blankets on because she was freezing. She didn't want to go to the hospital. Her arm was itchy where the nurse had stabbed her. I put a call into the doctor and drove on figuring I'd go get my pictures and be back by the time the doctor got around to calling us back.

While in this town I stopped by the park to let Tristan play for a moment in exchange for being a good sport and putting up with the ride. He mentioned that he had to pee and I said, "okay, let's go pee." Then he denied having to go because he didn't want to leave the playground. By the time he mentioned it again it was too late.

We took off running to the bathroom and he kept grabbing the front of his shorts saying, "go pee fast, mommy!" The bathrooms were all the way on the other side of the park and I knew there was no possible way to make it. I grabbed his arm and hauled him off the sidewalk and over next to a big shrub. It crossed my mind that me yanking my kids pants off in the middle of a public park was a really bad idea, but the other half of me realized that I hadn't packed a change of clothes for him and was ill-prepared for the consequences of an accident. Which then happened.

As I was pulling his shorts off he started peeing. A lot. All over his shorts, his shoes, his underwear, his mom. My foot, my hand. I watched toddler urine pour over my wedding ring that we bought in Vegas from a nice man who gave us marital advice and had bars on the windows of his store. I wondered if a policeman was about to arrest me for my naked toddler peeing on a public shrub. To my right, a skateboarding kid flew off his ride and crashed to the ground and I wondered if it was my fault. Or more accurately, Tristan's bare ass's fault.

Tristan summed it up succinctly. "Wet, Mommy."

"You sure are, buddy."

I have to say there are occasional advantages for being slack about cleaning out one's car. In this case I found a ziploc bag with diapers and underwear in it and a big t-shirt belonging to Julius. No shorts. I wiped Tristan down and dried him off, dressed him. He looked like a buddhist monk in robes and sandals.

* * *

Just a couple hours later I'm back at the hospital with Mom. This time they admitted her to stay over. She has an infection. The stone isn't moving. The doctor wants her to stay for a while to give her IV antibiotics. She's obstructed. I have one person in my life with too much pee and one person with not enough pee.

The nurse who drew her blood at the doctor's office might possibly be psychic. She drew an extra tube "just in case" which is why I was carring a biohazard baggie with me into the admissions office. I had just dropped mom off at the nursing home side of the hospital which enters at the second floor of the building. She would walk to the nurse's station from there because she can't ride the elevator. Claustrophobic.

Meanwhile, my biohazard baggie and I were at admissions with a girl named Jasmine who just kept staring at the doctor's admission orders as if she had blanked out from a seizure.

Finally I said, "Everything okay?"

She looked up at me slowly and said, "Everything would be okay if I could just read this one word." I had this horrible feeling that somehow my mother's future depended on this girl being able to read the doctor's writing and translate his orders correctly. My blood chilled.

"Let me have a look. He read them to me when I was at his office."

She handed me the paper and pointed to the word she couldn't read. I squinted at it and said, "It looks like 'nephrolithiasis'. You know, like nephro as in nephrology, the study of the kidney and lithos like the greek word for stone and then some vowels and consonants on the end to make people want to pay doctors a lot of money. She has a kidney stone."

Jasmine said, "Yeah, that's what I thought."

* * *

And so we wait it out, all these adults standing by while a tiny little 4mm rock rolls its slow and painful way down through my mother's body while she's forced to endure endless meals of tiny cups of jello and bologna sandwiches.

Maybe tomorrow I'll sneak in some Taco Bell.

[photo credit: geoftheref]

Racial Unity Through Furniture Sales

I shamelessly stole this video from a cool blogger named Chris who writes over at his very witty blog Diary of Dadness.

It's way too bizarre not to share. Beyond that, I'm pretty speechless at the moment.

June 10, 2009

How to Pick Corn

I love cruising the produce section for old ladies. Seriously. They know stuff. They are the magic keepers of all food and cooking knowledge such as how to pick out a good ear of corn, how to pick brussels sprouts and make a mean chicken soup. They are also a great source of hilarity.

Week before last an old lady gave me a stern talking-to about how I needed to be VERY CAREFUL about Kroger's 10 items for $10 bargains because sometimes they are more expensive than the dollar store. She leaned into my bubble pressing me back into the cold glass door of the ice cream case. Before she let me go I had to agree to be as diligent as possible about that extra 20 cents I could be saving by driving across town to the dollar store.

This week I wanted to pick up some corn on the cob still in the husk. I'm making a so-far-futile attempt to roast it on the grill. I realized despite living in the South for nearly my whole life I didn't really know how to pick corn in the husk in the produce section. When I was growing up my grandparents grew corn and you ate whatever was on the stalk whether it was good or not. You picked around the worms and you cut out the bad parts. Growing up in the Old South is fun. Don't even get me started on blackberry picking. None of this stuff applies to my own offspring since we live in the "New South". Sadly, as much as I joke about how I was raised and who raised me the place really has lost quite a bit of its charm due to modernization, environmental changes, technological advances and more.

It's still good though, especially with the old timers in the produce section.

Out of the corner of my eye I spy an old lady poring over a pyramid of oranges. She walked by me to get a plastic sack. I sprang into action.

"Excuse me, can you tell me the best way to pick out good corn?"

She sized me up to see if the question was worth answering. "You need to get the ones from Florida or Colorado. Where are these from?"

"Um..." I glanced around for stickers or signage. Nothing. I glanced sideways at her to see if she might be joking. Definitely not joking. I looked at the corn. It looks like every other piece of corn in existence. Feeling like a big failure for no reasonable reason I said, "I have no idea where this corn is from."

"You have to open them to see if they are good."

That seemed really wrong and impolite, like undressing your prom date when she greets you at the door just to make sure she looks good first before you go to the dance. Once you open the corn you can't just close it back. It turns disheveled and unkempt, ruffled and wasted and untidy.

The Corn Lady's hands grabbed roughly at the corn husk and ripped one side down with a shredding noise. The produce guy was just a few feet to my left and I figured he'd launch himself airborne over his box of artichokes and knock down the corn assaulters. He was oblivious to us over there roughing up the cobs, so to speak.

I gently peeled the top part of the corn down enough to see the top. Good color, firm kernels. In a pageant for good looking corn this one would be Miss Iowa or maybe Miss Tennessee. Another one had a pointy shriveled tip. The Corn Lady clucked with disdain. "Oh no, don't get that one. It's moldy. YOUNG MAN!"

I blinked. Who addresses anyone by "young man" anymore? The produce guy froze for a second obviously processing the auditory input. Finally he looked up. "Yes ma'am?"

"Where is this corn from?"


The Corn Lady nodded to me with much satisfaction. "Any time you see corn from Florida or Colorado, get it. It's really good. We had corn from Florida last week and it was sweet and excellent."

"Florida or Colorado. Right. Well, thanks for showing me about the corn. I learned something new today and any day you learn something new is a good day, right?" God, did I just fall out of a 1950's television show? What is wrong with me?

Campy dialogue aside, though, it's true, right? What new thing have you learned today?

June 8, 2009

Amazing Characters

My life would be really boring were it not for the interesting characters I'm blessed to know. You've met my immediate family and my notoriously quirky and opinionated mother.

What you don't know yet is that I have two mothers-in-law. TWO. And fortunately, both are fabulous.

Today one is worthy of mention because I just opened an email from her that contained a video of naked dancing men. I mean, if that's not hip I don't know what is.

I didn't embed the video as a courtesy to those at work, but if you're not at work it's definitely worth watching. Even if you're a guy. Because if you're a guy you might pick up a few tips. (No pun intended.)


June 7, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #12

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you!

This week I had the opportunity to go to Mountain View and spend some time photographing Blanchard Springs. There is no possible way to do the place justice. I don't see how landscape photographers do it. Each picture I took just looked like a plain old snapshot of nothing too special, so I ended up just picking detail shots for my selection. The hills looked small, the creek looked narrow. I just never could get it.

However, enjoy the rest! I'll be doing a two-part STSS this time around. Part One (today) will be the creek. Part Two (next week) I'll post shots of the trip back.

This is the bridge right before the swimming area. We went through the small town of Mountain View (about 2300 people) which is an idyllic, fabulous place nestled in a gorgeous valley.

Enjoy your Sunday, no matter where you are!


June 5, 2009

Non-Specific Ethnic Fire Drill

My failings as a mother are many against all my best intentions. I think it's normal to feel this way, but it doesn't make it any less disconcerting to know that I'm just one of a gazillion moms walking around, shoulders slumped and beating themselves up for how little broccoli they served this week.

If I had to pick one thing I could change about my parenting skills it would be to have more patience. And to be better organized. Okay, two things.

Take this morning for example. At first my intention was to blame this morning on the cat, who adds about 8 more minutes to my finely-timed morning routine which I have down to THE MINUTE like an architect of some well-orchestrated military operation (complete with guttural yelling and copious use of the pejorative "maggot"). Upon further reflection I realize that every morning is pretty much like this and it all seems to hinge on when Tristan wakes up in the morning.

Sure, I could get an alarm clock and establish some actual ROUTINE to our routine, but why do that when I can just complain about it instead?

When Tristan wakes up in the morning he comes in and wakes me up. In the beginning this worked out really well because it was generally around 5AM which gave me time to get up, bump into the doorway a couple times, recover from stepping on Legos with my bare feet, write a little and eat cookies without anyone noticing. This also allowed me to get a shower and get ready before Julius gets up at 7AM.

Now Tristan is sleeping later so I sometimes don't get started on this whole process until closer to 6:30 (or later!) and sometimes that means Julius is up and has to motivate himself to get dressed while I'm in the shower. That rarely works out well as he's not a morning guy AT ALL. And also he refuses to wear his new shoes because they have regular laces and he doesn't like to tie his shoes. So, today for example, he wore an old pair of shoes with the toes worn out looking like someone shot through them with a pistol from the inside. (Insert punchline ending in "shoeicide" here.)

So, the poor child's day generally starts with me telling him to get dressed 343 times in 30 minutes with Tristan mimicking me which makes for a sum total of 686 times he hears that before he can escape my presence. The time I've allotted to getting my own shoes on, packing up my bag, finding my phone and keys, etc got hijacked by Brutus Blogger the cat who has to be put out on the screen porch, have his food and water moved, litterbox relocated, and patted on the head before I sweep him out the back door with my size 8.

That necessitates me barking orders out like a drill sergeant, "Move move move boys! Julius, get the lights. One of you grab my phone. Tristan, where's your shoes buddy? Get on the couch. Hurry hurry hurry. Julius, look for the keys." At which point Tristan starts crying for his blanket because his nice, soft mommy has gone away and been replaced by something that seems way more like the Tazmanian devil complete with flinging saliva and, today at least, coughing up persistent phlegm that might be caused by bronchitis or perhaps pneumonia.

As I whirl past, dust storms trailing me, I glance sideways at my husband who's lying in bed rolled up in a comforter like a hot and tasty man-burrito. For a moment I rethink our unspoken arrangement about him getting to sleep late in exchange for doing the majority of the housework. Then for half a second I fantasize about shooting him with a big super soaker until I realize that would also get my side of the bed wet. Then I sigh and whirl on by yelling, "GO COMMANDOS GO!" as I race back down the hallway, slip on my ugly crocs, grab my bag in one hand and the strap of Tristan's overalls in the other and exit the building with superhuman speed and strength, slamming the door behind me (which has the satisfying added bonus of waking up Rob).

The children, shell-shocked, are quiet in the backseat for once. I'm sure they are back there dreaming of a mom who lovingly strokes their faces as they wake gently from their slumber, who makes hot breakfasts, who has their color-coordinating clothes from Baby Gap and J.Crew laid out in their fabulously decorated room. As I pull up to the school I wonder how many years of therapy this will be good for.

Julius scrambles out of the car and starts to run for the door so he'll get there in time for crappy school breakfast and I yell, "Hey, Jules... try not to be too handsome!" He turns and smiles, the heart-melting dimple appears in his left cheek. He looks slightly embarrassed, but highly pleased and I hope for a small second that I've redeemed myself.

Until tomorrow when we start all over again.

June 3, 2009

Two Open Letters

An Open Letter to Hummer

Dear Hummer,

I realize that you're not really marketed as a "family car". However, I was wondering the other day why it didn't occur to anyone to put a few family-friendly features into your car during the design process -- stuff that wouldn't really make it too "girly" or turn off the ruggedly masculine single men who purchase your vehicles.

Just little things, really, unnoticeable things like CHILD SAFETY LOCKS. In case you are not familiar with these, on most cars that are manufactured it's a little switch on the end of the door where the latch is that make it impossible for a two year old to open the door when you are going down the freeway at 65 miles per hour.

These days I'm sure my family's safety and your own liability are the farthest thing from your mind what with being bought by the government and all. I suppose that could work in our favor in the way of subsidies when my son is riding the short bus to school after he's gone ass-over-tea-kettle down the I-40 because he's experimenting with the door latches.

I'll apologize in advance if I have missed the child safety locks in some gross oversight on my part. However, I will tell you that when you're freaked out because your incorrigible toddler will not stop pulling on the door handle it's sometimes easy to be distracted. Especially when you're standing at the side of the freeway with semi-trucks passing within about three feet of you traveling 78 miles per hour which makes your vehicle rock violently from side to side.

We also took the time to call the Hummer dealership to ask about the missing child safety locks. Everyone there seemed equally bewildered and, hence, unhelpful. At least the call wasn't a complete waste. What with the hysterical laughing in the background I'm sure we really brightened someone's day there.

If you are considering adding these safety features in the future, please let me extend the offer to have my son test them as he appears to be quite thorough and rigorous in his endeavors.

blah blah blah, etc.

An Open Letter to Duck Products

Dear Duck Products,

I would like to thank you for the wonderful duct tape that you manufacture. While I think everyone in the universe knows how versatile and indespensible your tape is, I would like to point out that it can also act as a safety measure during times of emergency.

For example, if you have a toddler who likes to open the door while you are driving down the freeway at high speeds and then discover there are actually no safety locks in your car, you can use duct tape to fix the problem.

However, I recommend that instead of taping the toddler into his car seat it uses far less tape and is, so I've been told, more socially acceptable to simply tape the door latch down. Works great!

Very truly yours,
blah blah blah, etc.

June 2, 2009

Thank you Blogger (and thank you, um, "Blogger")

I must pause for a small moment for an administrative break. Your (ir)regularly scheduled posts will continue tomorrow morning as usual, however, I have to pause to catch my breath and mention a couple of things.

First of all, thanks Blogger for putting me as a Blog of Note. I am delighted.

Second, I have to say thanks to my mom and to her cat Brutus Blogger whose name I recklessly and unwittingly bartered. Um, yeah.

Meet Blogger the Cat (formerly known as Brutus)

Thanks everyone for stopping by -- new people and old faithfuls. I'm still reading blogs, still visiting, still causing mayhem on and off The Porch. It's just taking me a little bit longer to do it. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're not afraid to take the laptop into the bathroom with you.

And now, I return you back to your regular programming...

June 1, 2009

So Blue

Motherhood is a sorority. I assume Fatherhood is a fraternity in the same way. I have seen the way my husband bonds with other dads in a cool and sexy, "hey, look at us, we're cool dads" kinda way.

As members of this motherhood sorority I expect certain privileges such as some level of camaraderie, loyalty and tolerance. Am I completely naive? (Probably.) And if I can't get THAT, at least there should be an unwritten rule that goes something like "Thou shalt not sabotage another mother." Is that asking too much?

The reason I'm even thinking about all this is because my kids are blue. Not emotionally. Literally blue.

Let me flash back to being at Wal-Mart. There I was with the brilliant notion that what my kids really needed was a sandbox. Nothing elaborate -- just a cheap $10 pool and some sand. I wasn't sure it would go well because Tristan was a big sand-eater last year. You'd think that after the first handful of sand he'd lose interest in eating it, but not that boy.

So I get the little pool all picked out and as I'm looking around for the sand I run across this other mom who sees what I'm doing and she says, "You should get the blue sand. It's really cool." She said it wasn't that much more expensive than the regular sand and the kids just love it.

And she was right. It was pretty cheap and the kids loved it. What she neglected to mention, or possibly in a more sinister way purposely avoided telling another member of the Motherhood Sorority is that blue sand turns kids blue. Blue. Lady, wherever you are there is lice or bubblegum hair in your future. I'm certain that the karmic wheel turns 24/7 and your home address just got pinned to it. (Unless, of course, having blue kids is karmic payback for me... but surely not!)

Now what I'm wondering... is it bad to use an S.O.S. pad on your kids? There's nothing on the label that says you shouldn't and, see... well, my mom is still out of town so I don't have anyone else to ask.