Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I explained the previous post to my husband and he said Uh-oh.

I'm tired of looking at that contentious pile of words below, so here's something to break the tension. Madeleine likes performance art. This piece is called "The Funeral." I'm not shittin' you - that's what she called it.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Bizarre thoughts elicited by ABC.

Most of my childhood was spent in small working-class towns in the Northwest, but for a couple years my family lived in Storrs, CT, while my then step-dad was going back to school. This 3-year stint in a fairly progressive, pseudo-diverse college town did interesting things to me during a very impressionable time in my life.

My three brothers, mom, dad, and I lived in a two-bedroom apartment for over a year. I slept in the living room, the two older boys shared a bedroom and the baby slept in my parents' room. This apartment complex was a mix of lower-income single-parent families, young college kids, and college students with families, and oddly enough all of the other children my age were boys. Or, now that I think about it, all of the other kids that liked to play Smear the Queer, baseball and rugby in the big, grassy common area were boys. One of them was my first kind-of boyfriend, and the only black person I've ever kissed (I know it's shameless name-dropping to link to him, but I'm just so impressed with the way he turned out.) He was so cute, and I adored his trumpet case that he wore casually slung over his shoulder by a long black leather belt. Of course this relationship lasted only for as long as we shared homeroom in 5th grade, and soon I was on to a series of no-talking, no-eye-contact relationships with three boys, all named Chris. But anyway, Cheo was the beginning of a lifetime of fascination and adoration of people of color.

I admit I am jealous of people of color. Is this un-PC to say? I have no idea and no perspective. Obviously the hurdles people of color face I will never fathom. Anecdotes I've heard from a black female friend and an Asian male friend make me cringe, but I will not be detered. I love the idea of a rich cultural heritage, and I have none of it. My ancestors were run-of-the-mill white European immigrants. Geneologists eat that shit up, but... zzzzz... oh, sorry, what were we talking about? I want a chieftan grandfather or a concubine grandmother. I want something to make me dimensional besides my off-color jokes and ability to juggle basketballs. I want cocoa skin and an afro, or speak Hindi and look normal with a earring in my nose. And, hey, I don't even want to be a beautiful person of color. If you're an ugly white girl, you're just fucked. If you're an ugly East Indian woman, at least you're still exotic.

And do you know what makes me really sad? That I will never have a little baby of color. And do you know where this all came from this morning? That damn Grey's Anatomy! That's what! The beautiful young black woman giving birth to that gorgeous baby... Cheo, are you out there? Do you and your wife need a surrogate? Maybe I do have a chance...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Concoction

Hooray for me for this reason: I got a babysitter. Today! Causing little stay-at-home-mommmy orgasms! What will I do, what will I wear, will I remember how to drive with both hands on the steering wheel, looking forward out the windshield?

So I'll make this quick. Quinn slept for three hours in his crib, then erupted in a fit of phlegmy, hacky coughs. Back in bed. But, for three hours I slept unmolested. No, actually, I didn't sleep. I was awake the whole time missing the little bugger. But oh well. Baby steps.

And I'll leave you with this. I love it. Whatever it is. The Friday Play Thing

Have a happy day!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hippies Have Guilt Too

The baby still sleeps with us, but not for long. I'm all for cosleeping, if the runt actually sleeps in bed with you. My runt does not. He thrashes around, pulls hair, and sticks his fingers up my nose. This week I've had two bloody noses. He also sleeps in the middle of the bed, which, because it's a king, has a big foam lump, and as a result he rolls downhill into my crevice. Then I'm forced to put my arm up around his head, or under him, or under me, or straight up in the air. My shoulder and elbow now have tendinitis and I can't raise my right arm above the level of my chest without terrible pain. And he wakes up at 5:30 every morning squirming like a worm on a hook, and scratches and rips at the various parts of my face until I push him over to Jim's side. Then he donkey kicks me in the boobs a couple times for good measure. No more you little bastard! Okay, you're not a bastard, because you look just like your dad (Indian name, Pretends to Sleep). I do call you a little asshole sometimes, but only as I'm stuffing a sock up my bleeding nose and trying to protect my boobies from the onslaught. I don't really mean it half the time.

Why have we waited almost 9 months to remedy this, you ask? Because I have hippie momma guilt. I typically try to take the progressive, Patchouli-wearing crowd route with respect to parenting (except for all that La Leche nonsense about nursing children until their first day of Naturopath school). I think hippies think outside the patriarchical box, and I like doing the things that seem to come naturally, rather than what those jackasses from What to Expect tell me. So I've just kept sticking it out, thinking my chi would somehow meld with his Chi and we would slumber as one mother-child being. But no. And now I've got a willful, highly-mobile monster on my hands. I screwed this up bad! Bad holistic momma! Bad bad bad. Now I'm going to have set up the crib and jail my little prize fighter, and I'm a little ate up about it. There's going to be some crying tonight. By me. For all the injury and lost sleep, he still smells so good and is so achingly adorable for those blissful 10 minutes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Are we in that place yet?

When I started writing here several months ago I was full of it (hence the url). I ranted and swore and made fun of individuals and groups and probably even nations as a whole (most likely ours). I was high on myself. I smoked me. I was sure that some spineless soul from BFE Alabama would stumble across my words and *ding* would be transformed into Al Franken crossed with Jeff Foxworthy. I know now that I was playing with fire. Al Franken and Jeff Foxworthy's love children would probably have pubic hair on their head, coke bottle glasses and tell redneck jokes with a lisp.

In fact, what has happened instead is I have made friends. Friends that are like me, but not. Friends that are far away, but close. People that I admire, laugh with, commiserate with, and cry with, but have never met. I'm trying to keep this on the sentimental side of maudlin, but it's difficult, because I'm getting all verklempt up in here. *Ahem*

I tell myself that this is an excellent writing exercise and a worthwhile escape from (what can be) the monotony of staying at home with babies, but that is barely true. In fact, the writing that I do here is more like fast food, compared to the four course meal I feel I should be preparing. But that's not really fair. Just because I'm stringing together letters that spell words doesn't mean I should compare this to my Big Writing Project waiting to be finished. Apples and oranges. No, more like apples and bendy-straws. This has become much more than Writing. You all, whether you comment or not, have become my own private community of people to share a cup of coffee with. Some of you I know in real life, and as I write I'm also thinking of the times we've spent together, which also makes me all warm and fuzzy (really, I'm not drunk! Sheesh, it's only 9:30 in the morning - we don't start cracking beers here until at least after lunch). Again, *ahem*

With all that said, I still yearn to rant about the state of health care, and the scary future of Roev.Wade with Alito on the bench, and the fact that nobody notices that Dan Rather can't say his L's, but I'm wondering now if this is still the forum for that. I worry about alienating readers, which, if you know me, is completely unlike me. I remember as a young girl being told that I don't "pull punches." When I finally figured out what that meant, I was proud of myself. I don't like tiptoeing around issues. I don't like leaving things unsaid. I like to wear my mind on my sleeve, but now I'm in a relationship with so many people I'm starting to censor myself. So I guess what I'm saying is, Do you like me well enough to stick with me if I piss you off? Are we there yet? If you were my boyfriend, could I fart in front of you yet?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I know you all read everything in sight as kids, so...

I'm working on a more serious post (I read a blog somewhere in which she called her posts "columns" at the behest of her mom, which sounds much cooler and professional, as if I weren't sitting here with baby food on my sweater and a pretend cash register in my lap) on the meth crisis in Montana and other rural communities. But in the meantime, Madeleine and I just finished reading the 5th Indian in the Cupboard book last night, and I'm looking for a new series to start. Any suggestions? I'm thinking The Boxcar Children, but as I recall, they're like mysteries and may be a little scary for her. I tried the Junie B. Jones books, but they're too short, and Goddamn that Junie is annoying as hell! We've read Charlie and Choc and The Great Glass Elevator. I tried the Beverly Cleary series but it didn't catch her attention. So anyway, what do you think?

Then and now:

Monday, January 23, 2006

Procrastinators Unite: We Shall Overcome

I'm so dumb today. I haven't actually done anything classically stupid, yet, but I'm just in the holding pattern right now. I painted a wall this weekend, and I think the paint fumes have caused my synapses to sit down together and sing KumBaYa instead of firing. Here's the painting project, before and after (no it's not faux paint - it just needs another coat):

I bought myself a Billy Banks video this weekend, and it's sitting in the other room loaded into the DVD player, on pause. Here look:

Looks like a Gold's Gym, doesn't it? No? What tipped you off, the book shelves? The 3" video screen? The idea of punching and kicking the air at the instruction of a 2 inch man makes me feel a little odd. Like the-voices-made-me-do-it kind of odd. We have a DVD player connected to a real live television, but it's in our bedroom closet, and the baby naps in there. The bedroom. HOWEVER, once the downstairs room is done (this phrase should be followed by a ta-da! noise in your head), the tv, dvd player, billy banks, and my fat ass will all be in it. Here is the current state of the downstairs room:

Now, if you've read this far, and not keeled over with your eyes rolled back into your head from horrifically debilitating boredom, this is the part where I will try to do something good with my super-human boredom-making powers. I want you to tell me what you've been putting off doing and I want you to make a vow to do it by the end of this day. I don't mean finish that PhD dissertation that's been nagging at you or Becoming a Better Person (gag!). I mean like, calling your aunt, whom you haven't spoken to in months, or sending in the form to get your dog his license tags. I'm doing this because I hope by reading what slackers you all are, it will make me feel better about sitting here eating shortbread with Billy Banks on pause. No, ha ha. My deal is, I'm going to finish this post, read it over a couple times and pick at my writing and stress a little about some punctuation errors (like that one), then I'm going to march into my living room, take off my slippers and robe and punch and kick with that tiny man for a full half hour! By God I Will!

So come on, bring it! What are you going to do?

Update: In light of Teeb's comment, I have to say procrastinating at work doesn't count, because that's just a passive-aggressive way of Sticking It To The Man, which I'm all for. So go ahead, diddle away your time at work with my blessings!

Friday, January 20, 2006

We're talkin' 'bout food in here!

I'm feeling a little lazy this morning, so my first thought when I sat down here was "ME-ME"! What better way to kick start your day, aside from a snort of coke? But I keep seeing the same kind of Me!Me! floating around, so after a quick trip to the pantry for some peanuts for inspiration, I made up my own. And it has to do with food, which many people have said they like. Mmm-hmm, food seems to be popular these days.

So here it is...

3 Foods I Hated As a Kid and Love Now
1) Cream cheese
2) Artichokes dipped in stuff
3) Stuffing

3 Foods I Loved As a Kid and Hate Now
1) Mayonnaise (is that even a food?)
2) Balogna (again, is it a food?)
3) Eggs over easy (raw egg yolk can not be good for you...)

3 Foods I Loved as a Kid and Still Love
1) Cheap hot dogs
2) Those pink and white frosted animal cookies with sprinkles that leave an unpleasant film on your tongue
3) Nutter Butters (heaven!)

3 of the Worst Things I Ever Had to Eat
1) A mayonnaise, cream cheese, tomato sandwich (I took a couple bites, then stuffed it down the seat belt compartment of my aunt's Gremlin when we stopped for gas in Astoria)
2) Warm rice pudding with raisins (the raisins popped in my mouth like sweet little blood blisters)
3) Something like yam Jello at a tea ceremony in Japan (they kind of frown on spitting stuff out on their tatami mats)

3 of the Best Things I Ever Ate
1) A seafood meal in which all of the contents were boiled together and dumped onto our table on the Pier in Seattle
2) My grandmother's angel-food cake with whipped cream and strawberries slathered all over it
3) Two giant cheeseburgers, after the birth of my two babies

Okay, now your turn. I tag all y'all!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The shorts that made me who I am.

This Blogher convention and Best of Blogs has created a whirlwind of anxiety amongst us. I'm with WordGirl and SJ; I have no desire to put myself in the middle of all the cloying fans of the rockstar bloggers at the convention, and a quick review of the BoB nomination list has me scratching my head (let's just say I prefer quality over quantity of posts and comments). It's all just too high school. Teebs just posted a hilarious/bittersweet memory of her adolescent attempts to fit in. It's funny, all the people I admire and enjoy now confess to such painful experiences during high school. The other thing I love about my friends now is that we all laugh together at the idiocy of those years. Our misguided attempts to impress. The haircuts? The clothes? The crap poetry we wrote on our PeeChees? When I was a junior I was this close to actually "making it," which is an indication of the colossal effort I made, considering I was in all the nerd classes, didn't have a perm, wore my brothers' old clothes and didn't drink/have sex/listen to Whitesnake. Everything hinged on a pair of shorts.

My best friends in high school were always the exchange students. Doesn't that say it all? I grew up in a blue collar community with a college-sized football stadium and one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state of Washington. We'd moved several times before settling there, which put me at a disadvantage, popularity-wise, but I wasn't ever going to prom queen anyway. If asked, I would have identified myself as a basketball player, soccer player, math lover, rap aficionado, or a hundred other uncool characterizations. Never a cheerleader. Never a dancer (we had a dance team called the Kilties, which most of the school referred to as the Klitties because they were so skanky). Never a partier. So I went to all the proms and formals with Hitachi or Kenji or Frederik or Salvatore. I was actually fine with it, to be honest, and then somehow Aaron started sniffing around.

Aaron was smokin' (they'll be more on him another day). He had frosted hair and was captain of the basketball team. He was going out with the Head Cheerleader, and somehow dumped her to pursue me. Soon after his friends told my friends of this new development, my Swedish friend Maria invited me to a New Years party at her host parents' house. A real John Hughes teen party with wine coolers and lying to mom and dad and boys and girls and everything. Maria's host brother was on the basketball team, so Aaron would be there, along with all of the popular juniors and seniors. My God.

Maria's house had a hot tub, basketball court, an indoor pool and miles of make-out couches. In other words, it was the best over-sexed teenage party pad ever. I hung out in the kitchen with Maria and my friend Shannon most of the time, drinking Coke but pretending it was a mixed drink. I tried to seem drunk, probably copying what I had seen it on Sixteen Candles, laughing uproariously at everything and spilling every so often. Then Maria's brother went running through the house in his underwear, announcing it was time to go swimming.

Maria and I changed in her room with our backs to each other, and when I turned around she was wearing a skimpy, flowered bikini. I was wearing my 4-year-old swim team suit and a pair of soccer shorts. Oh. So we went back out to the kitchen, with towels draped around our waists and just as I'm throwing back another belt of Coke, Aaron walked in the front door with his entourage. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod, he looked at me until I looked at him, then he smiled! It felt like Something Big was going to happen that night. He smelled like beer and Polo as he walked by me on the way out to the pool. My friends and I took a deep breath and headed out after him, where we could already hear hooting and splashing. I gave myself a little pep talk, took the towel off and stepped out onto the tiled pool deck and looked directly into a flapping penis.

Maria's brother was jumping off the diving board butt-naked. In fact, everyone was naked. Cheerleaders and Klitties and partiers, naked everywhere. It was a sight to behold, and I stood gaping for a long time. Maria, no stranger to nudity, shrugged, pulled off her bits of swimsuit and jumped in. Aaron was in the hot tub, probably naked, looking unconcerned and drunk. And before I could talk myself out of it, I reached to pull off my shorts, to join in. I was about to make it! I was excited and nervous and scared, not so much about the nudity, but about what it meant for my future. But they were stuck. I had tied the knot too tightly. So I worked at the knot. And I worked at the knot. And I woooorrrrked at the knot. It would not come undone. I tried desperately to wrench them over my butt. I tried to break the string. I tried to tear the crotch out to pull them over my head. Finally, I ran back into the kitchen to get a knife to cut them off. Still feeling overwhelmingly brave I ran back out with my shredded shorts in hand, and everyone was out. They were all packed in the hot tub, in the middle of some kind of game. Them in, me out. I stood there in the doorway, in my 4-year-old swimsuit, and realized I had missed the window. Maria looked at me and waved. I waved back, walked back inside and sat down in front of their big screen to watch the ball drop. Never in my life have I been more relieved. I saved those shorts, fixed the shredded parts and wore them often. I am so grateful to them. Thank you, blue and white canvas soccer shorts for preserving my dignity and innocence.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My brother and his wife are great people.

Last night I had nice long chat with my SIL, whom I adore, currently living in Shanghai. She's got near-black hair that forms perfect ringlets all over her head and a husky (she calls it man) voice that makes everything she says funnier. We were gossiping like hens catching up on a few mutual friends and a couple interesting and not-so-funny stories came out. Stories that made me miss my brother and SIL immensely, and love them even more...

Story 1) My oldest brother is the kind of guy that makes friends easily, life of the party, popular kid, and so on. But not in an annoying way, because he has a serious dork streak that makes people laugh at him, not with him half the time. His address book is the size of a James Clavell novel, and he does his best to keep up with everyone in it. Whether or not he should, but that's a different story. So anyway, he has this friend from college (TF), a big fat funny guy, with a wife and three kids, and my brother sees him often to play basketball, go out for beers together, etc. This guy's wife is an idiot and a lush, but attractive (therefore, socially acceptable?). Last week my brother was back in the states and went to visit TF and found that Lush Wife had gone beyond alcohol and was nearly strung-out on painkillers and was looking bad. Really BAD. And TF, who never could kick his pot habit, had his head burried in his stash and wouldn't acknowledge his wife's problem or the fact that their three neglected children were having major issues. My brother spent the night there, put all the kids to bed, and stayed up with TF almost all night trying to make him wake up to his screwed-up life. The next day my brother called two of TF's brothers and told them what was going on. Apparently TF's brothers knew something was up, but were so thankful to my bro for bringing it to a head so they could respond as a family and try put things right. I love my brother!

Story 2) SIL closest friend from college, AL, moved to my brother and SIL's town several years ago, and it seemed to be the perfect solution for my SIL, as she was feeling homesick for southern California. With AL and her husband and their two kids in town, my brother and SIL had an instantly expanding social life. Great. But AL grew up on a commune, followed the Grateful Dead for two years with her baby and husband selling bead crafts while her husband sold pot, and therefore was infinitely different from my fairly conservative SIL. But, they had those college times in common, and AL finished her masters in Early Childhood Development (therefore, socially acceptable?), so the friendship held into adulthood. After a couple years AL's husband, P, went to work for a very-high profile ad agency and AL and P started collecting very fancy friends like trendy jewelry. This was still okay with my SIL, because she's hip like that, but AL and SIL drifted apart a little anyway because AL, full of it with her ECD degree, tends to tell SIL how to raise her kids, despite some questionable parenting choices of her own.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. AL's oldest son is now 13 and definitely a cool kid (I like him, he's smart, but his parents do nothing but talk about how well he's going to do at Stanford and what position he's going to play when he's a professional soccer player. Bleh! ) AL checks the kid's cell phone history and she sees four text messages from another boy, asking her son if he can get some pot. AL's husband has been a pack-a-day pot smoker forever, but AL thinks the other boy is so naughty and only trying to get her son in trouble, because her darling would never! ...Huh? you say. Yeah, huh? I say too. So to cut this off, my SIL notes that P has been smoking pot in the house for the entirety of this boy's life and what did she expect was going to happen, the son wouldn't figure it out? He would learn on his own that it was not acceptable for 13-year-olds to be dealing? Anyway, SIL acknowledged AL's poor (oh SO poor!) parenting, and AL raged back at her, and SIL now thinks the friendship is over. But Dammit, SIL finally stood up to this preachy woman, pointed out the obvious and cleared the air. I love my SIL!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Maybe he meant a hero sandwich.

If you think Dr. Phil is a self-absorbed blowhard, read no further. Because I like him. Maybe because he was on Sesame Street, and appearances on Sesame Street have the power to transform my thinking (for some reason I didn't used to like Julianne Moore, but now she's one of my favorites because of the "Far from Seven" skit). I also think Dr. Phil tells it like it is and calls people out when they should be called out. And because he's not like Maury or Jerry or Sally Jesse. The people on his show have real, life-affecting issues and they really need the therapy he gives.

So, with all that said, MFA Mama made a reference to a Dr. Phil idiom the other day and I'm a little stuck on it. Apparently every relationship needs a hero. Is this true? My marriage has very strong roots, leaves something to be desired in a couple minor categories, but in the end is so worth the work and investment. But I'm no hero, aside from pushing a couple bowling balls out my cooter, and I'll be damned if Jim's my hero. So what gives. Does anyone know what the good doctor means? If by hero, he means the person that initiates all of the important talks, then he shouldn't call it a hero, because it sounds more like enabler, which I hate! I admit, I am the one who forces us to talk about why he or I am mad or sad, but I hate the idea that trying to maintain a healthy relationship by bringing up issues we need to discuss makes me a hero.

I think Dr.P has this one wrong. Even if his exact word wasn't "hero", the implication is that the partnership isn't equal, which just ain't right. In fact, that's the single thing that really bothers me about quitting my job and staying home with children. It's the idea that on some level Jim is doing more than I am. Which logically is the opposite of true (I mean really! Troubleshooting the workings of a bed company vs. feeding, clothing, nursing, teaching, guiding, nurturing two kids. Hmmph!). But still, because I was the one with the paycheck for so many years, I got a taste of the stress of financially supporting a family. Because that stress is gone, I now feel like I'm not giving my fair share. I know that's ridiculous. But still.

So back to the hero thing... I don't want my husband to be the hero, because I'm not that kind of girl, and the only time I want to feel like a hero is if I give someone life-saving CPR or warn Jim not to wear his grey slacks with brown shoes. Oh-ho-ho! I get it! I AM the hero! Dr. Phil, you're wicked smaht.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Help! I've got rocks!

My husband and I have reached the critical point in the battle of hoarder/opposite-of-hoarder personalities. As his baby steps are bringing us closer and closer to a finished basement, the shit-sprawl is becoming more and more apparent. Said shit will eventually be confined to a very small unfinished room behind the downstairs spare room, and clearly, this little square will not contain the avalanche. So I've started to chuck and label-for-Goodwill and donate to friends (sorry friends!) all that I deem superfluous. But then the crap seems to be crawling from their designated piles back into my life. Is there a reason to keep an appraisal done on our house when we've had two done in the meantime? Is there a reason to keep two streaky black and white printers that are out of ink? And fer real, yo - is there a reason to keep any VHS movie with any actor by the name of Corey (except Goonies)? These items will have to be secreted away in the dead of night. Or during the 9 hours when Jim's at work. That's probably enough time.

And there's evidence that the hoarder in him runs strong in his daughter as well. This morning I noticed the following scattered in unobtrusive corners around the house:

Friday, January 13, 2006

Concoction Friday

I woke up this morning in a good mood. This is rare for me, for I am typically sub-human until Poohey goes back down for his nap at 9. But I will not question the gods and goddesses of mood-doling for fear they will smite me with crabbiness this afternoon. And as long as I'm feeling so fine, I want to share with you everything that is sustaining this gaiety.

1) Jim got a nice year-end bonus, and I splurged on having our carpets cleaned. Now, instead of walking around thinking, "For fuck's sake, how in the hell did this house become such a foul, grimy shitheap?" I actually enjoy sitting on the floor with my children.

2) And the second thing I splurged on, a marked-down scanner at Best Buy, has allowed me to dig out and share things like this that make me smile (my little brother and I playing train):

3) The smell of Aveda hair products used to drive me insane with their over-powering sandalwoodyness, and now I'm feeling slightly more put-together because of them. To clarify, typically I only smell like Aveda when I leave the salon, because I can't be bothered to go through all those motions at 6:00 in the evening when I shower, because, and it probably goes without saying, what would be the point. But, I just bought this kind of relaxer stuff for coarse hair (mine's like wires), and when I put it on I smell like someone skilled with a hair dryer just fixed me up good All The Time! Sure, I look like Sideshow Bob in the mornings, but olfactory senses are so tied to emotion, I feel like 30 bucks! And that's another thing. An excellent cut and style in the best salon in Missoula is only 30 bucks. I KNOW!!

4) This line of cards makes me laugh out loud and I want to send them to all my new friends. They're never really appropriate for the traditional card-sending events, but what the hell? Why not?

5) The Sun Magazine. I know quite a few of us are aspiring writers, and I'm guessing the majority of us have something we'd like to publish in the works. This magazine inspires me to write like nothing else ever will. I read it and feel hopeful that I will someday finish my collection of short stories and that somebody besides my mom will like them. In fact, I think I will post a notice on their site to meet other readers and potentially start a writing group. Doesn't that sound nice?

6) And lastly, recently Teebs inspired me to appreciate my husband more and I feel it working. He comes home every day and loves on the babies, maybe goes for a run (look at me! I'm not mocking him!), then cleans up, straps the baby to his chest and lets me do whatever I want. Yesterday he took the kids for a walk and I took a 30 minutes shower. When I looked outside, I saw this. I thought Jim was in the grey sweats, talking to a child, but actually Jim is on the right and our 7-foot tall neighbor is on the left. Really. He's 7', his wife's 6'3" and their three children are all over 9 feet tall.

Have a nice Friday! I am!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Can you hear that?

That's the sound of Madeleine, the amazingly loud breathing pre-schooler. Nightlite plus soothing Beattles instrumental album, hooray.
Can you hear that other sound? That's Pooh-y, the snotty, teething 8-month-old. Crying for his mama to bring boobies. Good thing the little fucker is cute as hell.

Who are you. Who who, who who?

Today, as you can see, I'm Sideshow Bob and Mr. Mom (less the facial hair and stink shirt. no, wait, you can add the stink shirt back in). Ideally? Claire Huxtable. Smart, gorgeous, sharp-witted, loaded. Typically? Probably Diane Keaton in Baby Boom (before she got her shit together) or Deborah from Everyone Loves Raymond (the in-laws factor). As for not-mom type people, I'd love to be a grown-up version of Natale Portman's character in Beautiful Girls. How about you?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Happy Birthday DaDa!

Today my grandfather turns 89. He and his girlfriend Bonnie will probably go out and do a little dancing this evening, then he'll come home and turn the TV on really loudly. A car chase in a re-run of Dragnet will remind him of a black Studebaker he worked on once in the winter, a week after my mom's birthday. He'll recall that they hadn't cleaned the streets that weekend and streamers from the New Year's parade and other garbage kept blowing into his door. He remembers the wind blew through Pendleton hard that winter, so hard he had to work with the big garage door down most of the day, which made his clothes smell of gas and oil and my grandma, NeeNee, would make him take off his coat and leave it on the porch to air out. Then he'll talk about how pretty that little Studebaker Coup was, but he'll stop and scratch his head, trying to think of the name of that tall drink of water that bought if from that son-of-a-bitch ex-mayor for $135. This forgotten name will haunt him for two days and he'll be distracted trying to think of it. Meanwhile, he will remember exactly what was wrong with the Studebaker (bad gas pump), where he found the part to fix it (in the office of his service station - The Flying A, on the back shelf behind the stack of Valvoline bottles), and what the guy traded for for the work instead of actually paying his bill (an old carburetor from his mom's Packard). Then he'll remember where that carburetor was stored, until several weeks later somebody else came in with a broken butterfly valve on their carburetor, and he'll remember what size hex-wrench he needed to take the old valve out and replace it. But still, DaDa will fret about his mind going because he can't remember the guy's name from the Studebaker job. Then, finally he'll say, "Oh Gad! That's right! That was old Denny Campbell. How could I forget that???" Yes, really DaDa. How could you forget something important like that! Sheesh!
Happy Birthday DaDa. I love you!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

We're all on the edge of our seats here.

Quinn rolled off our bed on Friday and we've been suffering through a little chaos since. Madeleine's room is now Quinn's, which means it has a crib and a bunch of other randoms (including my desk and computer, a stack of framed pictures that I think are ugly, Christmas decorations that I've been too lazy to bring downstairs and books). The old spare/guest/computer room is now Madeleine's, but also holds all the other junk that didn't quite make it to the garage or basement. (What do you people in apartments do, by the way? How do you contain the shit-sprawl?)

The problem we're having with the transition is not the strewn-about contents of our home, but Madeleine's reaction to it. She's terrified in her new room. During the day it's a large, bright, south-facing, fun center. At night, it's the room of horrifically scary shadows and bumpy scritchy noises. Jim's convinced she'll get used to it, but she's not easy to distract. In fact that parenting method has never worked with her. She really gets fixated on things and is willful to boot, creating this kind of Rainman response to my nighttime soothing. (I just wrote then erased a sample conversation. It was too dull and repetitive. Rainman.) I'm having a hard time with this, because I remember being scared to death in bed all the time as a child and an inordinate amount of time as an adult. I'm still afraid of the dark area under my bed and have never bought a bed skirt because that's just covering up the scary stuff, which makes it way scarier. I sleep with the closets open so nothing can ever hide from me, and closed shower curtains scare the shit out of me in the middle of the night. I think this is the beginning of a lifetime of scary nights for Madeleine and I'm worried and sad for her. Hey!! Did you just hear that ding? I just had an idea... Nightlite! We'll see - I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Where in the world would Carmen Sandiego go with her husband?

So I have to hurry and finish because Gray's Anatomy comes on in 10 minutes, and even though the previews indicate it's some sort of catch-up-all-the-dolts-that-think-they're-too-good-for-another-doctor-show-but-got-hooked-anyway kind of episode, I am an addict and must have my fix. And I snowboarded today and I went for an hour walk yesterday! My ass hurts! Hooray for my ass!

In other news, Jim called me Friday, an hour after he'd left for work with me near tears because the baby woke up at 5 again and suggested that he and I take a vacation. And not to Kalispell, this time. He is certainly making progress. My first thought was China, because my oldest brother lives in Shanghai with his family, but that seems a little too much like an adventure (which I am certainly not turning my nose up at), but what we need is a Vacation. Capital V. So my next thought was Brazil, because we have friends in somewhere I can't spell. But the ignorant red-neck in me wonders if that's safe, when I've got two babies at home, and I know Jim would want to do some weird-ass biology treck into the Amazon and we'd get some kind of leech-generated disease. Or something. So then I thought of Costa Rica. Yay, everyone loves it there right? But suggestions! Please! I really want to leave the country, and relaxing, but with access to some nature-type stuff to do. Tell me what you think, because I know you all know some shit!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I don't want to be a jogger-hater any more

Last night Jim decided to climb the local ski hill before it opened then snowboard down. So as Madeleine and I watched Rudolph the Rednosereindeer he ran up and down the stairs packing, repacking, trying stuff on, sweating and clomping around in 3 different, no wait, 4 types of boots to get ready. Then, all finished with creating a mountain of fleece and gortex next to the front door, he proposed that I climb up/snowboard down on Sunday while he watched the kids. I snorted.

The conversation went like this:
"What? I'm serious. You could go when Pooey's napping and be up and down in 4 hours."
"I don't think so, honey. But thanks for the offer."
"You'd rather go to a movie, wouldn't you." He says, not as a question.
"Uh, yeah. I don't really get excited by a 4 hour hike and a 5 minute snowboard run. What's the point?" I Mona Lisa smiled.
He set down his bowl of cereal, quit chewing and said, "What do you have against exercise?"
I shrugged. "It's weird."
"No really. Tell me, because you seem to make fun of me and everyone else who jogs or works out in any way. What?"

I don't remember what I answered, because I was stunned. He had me. I do have something against people that jog. Every time I see a jogger I smirk to myself, as if they just said "irregardless" or were wearing tapered jeans. As if I know something they don't and I'm just a little bit better for the knowing. I don't like this about myself. I was a college athlete. I used to work out 6 hours a day and be able to run extremely fast and lift incredible amounts of iron. After college I used to jog 5 miles a day 6 days a week in 100 degree weather. But now I laugh and scoff at joggers. I laugh and scoff at my husband! Okay, I admit I like people who jog, but I hate the way I feel about myself when I see them.

I'm worried that it's some symptom of depression because I can't get off my ass to get in decent shape again. Jim always gives me the opportunity to jog or even take a nice walk at the end of the day, but I tell myself I'm not an end-of-the-day kind of exerciser. I tell myself I'm too tired from kids or it's too dark/cold/rainy/sunny. But these are blatant excuses and I've never been that person! I've never made excuses for being so out of shape; I just do what it takes to get into shape. I tell myself I don't have any pressing reason to be in shape now, except that it would improve my self esteem, my health, my relationship with my husband, my wardrobe. Are these things not important enough for me to put on some boots and walk up the hill which is right behind our house? I feel like I need some annoying Tony Little/Susan Powder exercise-pusher to put my sweats on and cheerlead in my ear for me to get my ass moving. And I didn't even make any New Years resolutions. Should I worry this is depression or just laziness? Or like all things that seem insurmountable when you have small children is it "this too shall pass" kind of issue?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thanks Nancy!

See? I did it. I'm not in love with it, because I couldn't figure out how to make the picture stretch all the way across, thus the repeat. But I totally burned through the baby's nap tinkering with it. Did you come and visit while I was in progress? Because for a while the whole site looked seriously fucked up. I also had to learn how to use Gimp - the Mac equivalent of Photoshop. It's really pretty handy, but occasionally shuts down for no reason. But I have Nancy to thank for getting the ball rolling. You must be a kick-ass librarian!

This all vaguely reminded me of taking Fortran for Engineers in college. I had no previous programming experience and I truly sucked the doughnut in that class. I remember crying in the computer lab at 3 in the morning because I couldn't make the program count the number of e's in my Professors name. I don't know when I've ever felt more inadequate, of course, aside from too many moments to count of being a mom. I remember trying to sleep and trying to think of the proper Fortran nomenclature for rolling over (when I wasn't picturing Tetris tiles falling into place - that game still haunts me). Eventually I cajoled my brain through it and passed, but the sound of the word Fortran still makes me tuck my tail and shudder.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Help? Plus Some Other Stuff

Does anyone know how to put a picture behind the title of my blog? I've monkeyed around with the template a little and almost totally mangled the whole thing. So no more monkey-ing!

And here's what I'm listening to today, because I feel pretty, oh so pretty, inclined to sing aloud:
1) Neil Diamond's 12 Songs I'm not ashamed to admit this, because I think this album rocks, except for song #2 which makes my ears hurt.
2) Peter and the Wolf, with Sean Connery. Oh melt. They used to play this for us at Kiddie College when we were supposed to be napping, but it had a little boy's raspy voice as the narrator (I can never find that version - does anyone know what I'm talking about?).
3) The Mamas and Papas. My daughter knows all the words to Creeque Alley. She loves the fat Mama Cass parts.
4) The Bottle Let Me Down, Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides - I guess they're kids songs, but Funky Butt rocks.
5) Old Crow Medicine Show. Madeleine also knows all the words to Tell It To Me, as in "Drink the corn liquor let the cocaine be, Cocaine’s gonna kill my honey dead." But at least she likes bluegrass.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Pissed and Annoyed

A few days ago a letter appeared in the editorial section of the Missoulian spelling out a hypothetical sequel to Brokeback Mountain. It was too long, poorly written and I couldn't really understand the point of the letter until the very last line. Hate speak. Not even thinly disguised. I felt hot and angry, seeing such nastiness in print, and I was immediately irritated at the newspaper for printing such crap, but now I'm conflicted. Is it better for us to see that shit and be forced to respond to it? Does it affect people that don't normally feel when they read the news? I'm still inclined to think it's a waste of newsprint and if it validates that one man's feelings at all, then it was a crime to run it. But the fact that I feel a new sense of purpose in fighting this type of bigotry may be a good reason to print it. See? Confused I am. But still pissed. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'm Busy, Here Are Pictures

I really must pay attention to my house for more that just a glance and a "aw hell." So I'm organizing toys and blogging. No! Not Blogging! Must not blog today! Instead I will start my own meme. Except something about the word meme disturbs me, so I will call it photo-tag. Here are pictures of Madeleine and my junk drawers. I showed you mine, now you show me yours.

And Mrs.Harridan's 5 Weird Things comment about having square feet made me take this picture. Mrs. H, were you emotionally scarred by your Fred Flinstone feet? Should I start Madeleine in therapy now?

Monday, January 02, 2006


Not really a -palooza here, but I have seen a lot of memes floating around recently. I love them, as they provide a reason for gazing into space and thinking about me. In fact, I think I'll start mentally calling them ME!ME!s. So here's one MamaT threw my way:

5 Weird Things About Myself

1. I can't burp. No air ever escapes my throat, which causes my belly to swell up like a bullfrog when I drink beer. It's a great party trick.

2. I can't remember the last time I clipped my fingernails. My teeth are perfectly suited for the job, and although chewing nails is ostensibly a bad habit, mine actually look very nice. And I don't have to file them this way, either (filing nails is so stinky!).

3. I used to be a chemical engineer. Yes, this is a strange enough tidbit I thought about making it stand alone. But actually, the strange part is I have a terrible memory for numbers and scientific data.

4. I love huge crowds. Like the mall on extremely busy shopping days, or waiting in line at the DMV. They afford ample
people-watching and the thought of being jostled around by hundreds of people I don't know is vaguely exciting.

5. I once bruised my kneecap playing football, and the swelling was so bad, my leg was purple from my toes to my hip. This is not an exaggeration. The funny part was, when the swelling finally went down, I peed and peed and peed, as if the fluid went straight from my leg to my bladder.

Now I'm going to tag Everyone!! This one is too fun, so if you're reading, consider yourself tagged.