Friday, December 11, 2009

LL Says:

Lulu counted to 12 the other day:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, (we held our breath because she usually gets hung up right here) 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19... um... TWELVE!!!

We are so proud of her!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Second Assignment

I was about 12 or 13 when J ran away. It wasn’t unusual for him to disappear, but one day he was really gone and we didn’t know to where. I admit that I did worry for a moment, until he called from Colorado and told us that he and D had left to get away from the crowd they had been hanging around with and that he was okay. Mom and Dad told him they would send him a bus ticket whenever he was ready to come home and reminded him to keep calling and checking in. That was that for me. I was in junior high had other things to worry about than my middle brother, who may have been infinitely cooler than me but was in no way smarter than me. He would come home. Mom and Dad would handle the worrying. I wasn’t going to miss him teasing me or being obviously embarrassed by me or telling me to go away. I wouldn’t miss the police cars dropping him off in the morning or the green ink stains on the bathroom rug from where he’d tried to dye his hair again. And honestly, it was nice the way the kids at school reacted when I told them my brother and D had run away. Concern, amazement, awe. Finally I had something interesting to talk about.

Eventually he and D ended up in California. They got clean and learned to surf and make bagels. Then when he did come home, he had changed. He was still way cooler than me but now in a way that I actually wanted to be. He was clean and healthy and confident. He got a smart, pretty steady girlfriend and ran for student office and won. What a loser…

Things changed at home, too. Mom and Dad started fighting more. They went to counseling. And when Dad’s contract at the college expired and he got another teaching job in a different state, he moved and we stayed behind. We stayed so J could finish high school and Mom, who had just gotten a promotion, could get a little experience in her new position. The plan was to move to be with Dad after J graduated.

Dad came home for the weekend sometimes. I would come in the front door after school and hear the vacuum running and know that he was there. And I would feel disappointed because that meant I couldn’t watch “Santa Barbara” and that there would be fighting that weekend. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my father or miss him; it was just easier, less tense, when he wasn’t there.

One evening, somehow, Mom, Dad, J, and I were all sitting at the table eating dinner together. My oldest brother wasn’t there, but he had moved out and rarely ate dinner with us. We were eating and talking and the tension was building, like it usually did when we were all in the same place together, and then my dad broke his tooth. He exploded. He swore and then shouted, “YOUR MOTHER WANTS A DIVORCE!”

That kind of ended dinner.

My mom came into my room later to check on me. She had already talked to J; I’d heard her go into his room and knew she’d come to me next. I was doing something random, reading on my bed or lying on the floor or something. She said, “I’m sorry, sweetie. That wasn’t how we wanted to do that.”

“That’s okay,” I said. And it really was.

“Why aren’t you crying? Everyone else is crying?” she asked.

“Everyone?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “Even J.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I guess I’m just not surprised.”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

First Assignment

Dad and I had an early dinner and headed out to my piano lesson. It was dark earlier than usual because the sun had gone down behind thick snow clouds. He parked the car behind the church, and as we got out and started across the street to the building that housed the church offices and Sunday school classrooms, we could hear the gentle tap, tap of the first snowflakes falling on the holly bushes that lined the side wall of the church.

The front door of the renovated old farmhouse stuck a little. It always took the slightest extra nudge to pop it open. My stomach jumped with the sound of the door un-sticking, and the butterflies that had been fluttering just a little became more forceful as we went in and started up the wooden stairs. I was always a little nervous before my piano lesson, but this night, each step up to the next stair just increased my nervousness because I knew that Holly would know that I hadn't practiced what she had assigned for me. Plus, I needed to cut my fingernails.

The lesson before mine was just finishing. I could hear the last few notes of a piece and then Holly's voice. My nervousness turned to a guilty dread as I listened to the sound of a folding metal chair scrape the floor and then the student's mother's voice getting nearer as they came toward the door. I hoped that they knew they could take their time. There were the usual hello's and how-are-you's when they opened the door and came out and my father and I went in. I took my time crossing the long room to the tall antique upright in the far corner. I sat on the round-topped wooden stool and was relieved to feel that it was too low. I stood and postponed my lesson a little longer by spinning it higher. Very slowly. Eventually, though, I had to sit down. It wasn’t that I hadn’t practiced at all; I just hadn’t practiced what Holly had told me to.

I sat and turned to Holly. “Before we start, can I play something for you?” I asked. I had read ahead in my lesson book and knew that I could play the next piece well. She agreed, and I opened my book.

I don’t remember the name of the piece or the way the notes looked on the page or even the melody. I have a vague feeling now that the piece was in the key of D Major. Maybe D minor. What I do remember is that when I started to play, I felt the music fill the room. I don’t know where it came from. The music didn’t come from inside me. It felt like came through me. It flowed out of me as if I was the instrument and the music played me. And while I played, I wasn’t full of butterflies anymore. I was confident and comfortable and whole, engulfed by the music.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Can You Help?

Would you do me a favor? Would you leave a comment describing the sound of snow falling at night? Thanks!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Stuff

MN, Didn't You Mention a New Writing Project? Remember when I posted about NaNoWriMo and mentioned that I had another thing I was going to be working on (Rae @ Us in Tejas is doing NaNoWriMo, by the way - and The Grandpa)? So Thursday before this last one, it started. My new project.

What?! What Is It, Already?! I joined a writing program at my church called "Writing Your Spiritual Journey." The end goal is for us to each create a rough draft of our own spiritual autobiography by the end of the... um... seminar (? I'm at a loss for what to call it... It's not really a class...). I joined because I thought it might help me answer the question, "Why am I a UU?" but I'm not so sure it's really going to do that. So far it looks to be an exploration of our definition of "spiritual" and events in our life that we might call spiritual. What's cool is that everyone in the class seems to have a different definition of spirituality so there is bound to be some good food for thought.

Huh? So at our first meeting, the leader had us draw a picture of a place from our childhood that we considered spiritual. I drew the mulberry tree in Moomie's parents' front yard because at my grandparents' house I felt safe and free and in touch with my spiritual self. Then she gave us the assignment to write about a moment from our childhoods when we felt spiritual. It seemed like this moment might possibly have happened in the spiritual place (for lack of a better term, but you know what I mean, right?), but I couldn't think of one there (until later). The moment I have chosen to write about didn't even happen in the same state. But it was. Spiritual. And it has been followed by similar spiritual moments throughout my whole life, and when those moments are missing from my life, I don't feel quite whole.

Are You Bored Yet? I am not sure that I am going to come away from this with a "spiritual autobiography," as she claimed, because to me that should include the questions in addition to the certainties. But I think I will at least have a clearer idea of when I feel most spiritual and will be able to explain it to other people. Better than I'm doing now. Hopefully...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oh, hey! I Changed My Alias

I'm not Mommy's Nintendo anymore. I chose that name for a purpose (so PSP would know who I was), but now I'm just gonna be me. So you know.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To Answer a Question

The Grandpa Asked "Are you doing NaNoWriMo?"

It Didn't Work Last Year I thought about it. I got a little more written last year during the month of November, but I got nowhere near the 25,000 words they encourage you to write. So maybe I'll commit to write but not to track my words...

Besides Starting Thursday, I will be working on another less fictional and more personal writing project that I will probably be filling you in on as it progresses.

How About You? Have you got 25,000 words to get out during the month of November? If you're doing NaNoWriMo, leave a comment and we'll follow and encourage you!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Natural Remedies and The Crud

So it turns out that adrenalin and sheer will power are enough to keep a cold at bay for at least 2 weeks. For the last 2 weeks of rehearsal before the Follies, I was ignoring something. It caused me to wake up with full-fledged laryngitis one morning, from which I recovered before rehearsal, and had me singing in the tenor range the morning of the show, but all the happy-energy chemicals one produces when in the presence of like-minded friends doing something incredibly fun made it possible for me to sing in the right octave well before the show. I refused to be sick and so I wasn't.

Unfortunately my life has returned to the same old same old (for the moment) and my adrenalin supply seems to be waning and so now I am sick. And the stupid virus is apparently ticked off about having to wait. But no fever. So no flu. Just The Crud.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For the Love of God (or the deity of your choice)...

Huh? What's That? I'm a UU*. One thing UUs do well is make fun of our faith. Or lack of faith, in some cases. Like this joke:

Q: How do you run a UU out of town?
A: Burn a question mark on their lawn.

When I told my Catholic friend that I was going to a church where you don't have to believe the same thing as everyone else to join (or anything at all, really), he asked, "What's the point?" Which is a good question. And the UU answer is that the point is whatever you want it to be.

So? What Is the Point? For me, it's about fellowship. You might remember I signed up for a theory class and also joined the choir (normally I'd insert a link to a previous post here, but I'm feeling lazy so you should click the tag that says "church" if you're interested in reading more about it - although the link probably would have taken less time than typing all of this). The theory class ended and the choir turned out to not be quite what I hoped for, though, so my plan to make musical friends at church fizzled. But then I saw a short paragraph in our monthly newsletter about a little production called "Follies."

I Am Braver than I Thought, Apparently Getting involved in Follies required me to contact a person I had never met before. This is something I'm not good at. Although, I'm better at it than I was before therapy (click the "PhD" tag). Thank goodness he gave his email address and I didn't have to call him or this post would not be happening. I sent him an email and he called me back and said that all the parts had been cast but that he could write me a few lines in scene III and I could be in the opening and closing numbers and could I come to rehearsal the next day. Whew! Three lines and a part in the chorus. Very manageable.

Really, I Carried the Whole Show I think I was possessed at my first rehearsal because I raised my hand when he asked if anyone wanted to sing a solo. And at the next rehearsal I volunteered to take over a part he was thinking about cutting from the show because someone had dropped out. And the next day he called to say that someone else had dropped out and could I take their part too, which required him to rewrite scene III again so I wasn't talking to myself. So I went from 3 lines and singing in the background to a bunch of lines and gags and dancing in more than half of the scenes and a solo "hula dance" at the end. Plus, I bowed 3rd from the last and got a great big cheer. And if you ask someone who saw the show about Zuzu? They'll know who you mean. 'Cause Zuzu is awesome.

I Am Zuzu, Hear Me Giggle What I discovered doing this (SRO, btw) show, where I made more than a dozen new friends in one fell swoop and became a familiar face to people I've never met before (like the dad who I still don't know who said what a good job I did when he saw me on my way out of Lulu's school this morning), is that I love audiences. LOOOOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE audiences. I may have already known that, but I had certainly forgotten in the past 15 or so years. I was so comfortable in this highly amateur but still well-written and produced production. I relished hanging with the cast at late-evening rehearsals and giving input and making jokes and planning new gags. Rehearsals are a small sort of audience experience, where you can try out your stuff. And the night of the show, after the sanctuary had FILLED UP, when the opening number ("Dueling Banjos" played on banjo & tuba) was finished and I heard them for the first time, the crowd, the applause and the cheers, it felt so right that I almost cried. But that would have ruined my entrance so I didn't. Because I'm a professional. So to speak. From there it was a whirlwind of excitement and laughter and music and fun and energy, and I barely remember it. But in a good way. The way a person might barely remember saying their wedding vows or 18 hours of labor or other such powerful stuff. It was perfect.

What's Next? I didn't actually get to see most of the show because we only had 2 full run-throughs and I was on stage or backstage most of the time, but someone is making a video and we're all going to get together and watch it soon. I am not-so-patiently waiting for that little party. And I've made clear that they can call on me whenever they need someone to participate in anything creative. Or in anything, really. Like writing the Follies next year. And maybe I'll try choir again since I know some people now. And other things... If I can continue on this brave and rewarding path...

Go me!

*Unitarian Universalist

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Katie Says:

I know you don't know Katie (she's in Lulu's class this year), but I had to share this with you.

I was sitting with Lulu and Katie and some other kids while they ate lunch the other day and we were talking about names and I was trying to get Lulu to say her full name so I said the only thing that seems to work, "What do I call you when you're in trouble?"

Katie piped up then with this: "When I'm in trouble, my mother calls me 'terrorist'!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh, Where to Start... Where to Start...

Did you miss me? Oddly, while I've been away, I have found me. More on that later. For now, here's what my Facebook status says tonight:

[MN] was totally confused when the girls and I got home from [Pete]'s piano lesson this evening and found [Husbandguy] cleaning the kitchen. I had asked him to take care of dinner because whatever virus had been stalking me last week is finally catching up (I made it wait until after Follies), and the first thing he said was, "There is a showing at 6." I couldn't understand why he was thinking about going to a movie! What movie? And what about dinner? It was 5:00 when we got home. And what about [Lulu]? Was he thinking we'd take her? She had fallen asleep (hard) in the car so was he just thinking he and [Pete] would go? It had been so long since we'd shown our house that it didn't occur to me that he meant potential buyer was coming to look at it! Anyway, fingers crossed... It's not too late to postpone the piano tuner yet so I doubt this is the one...

To catch you up, the Follies is what I'm going to tell you more about later, our house is still for sale and we haven't shown it in about a month, and I had been waiting to call the piano tuner because I didn't want to get it tuned and then move it and have to get it tuned again right away but it was almost torture to play it so I called him on Monday and he's coming next week so if we do get an offer from this buyer, I still have time to postpone the tuning and not pay twice, thus preventing the cosmic practical joke. Also, that is too many characters for a fb status so half of it is in comments (just in case someone clever wants to call me on that...).

Welcome back, MN!

Friday, September 4, 2009

LL Says:

HG sent Lulu to look for something in her room and she yelled screamed at him that she couldn't turn the light on, and he said, "Is that going to help?" and she said, more calmly, "No. But you are getting up," which was true. He was on his way to turn on the light. Ah! Fine and consistent parenting in action.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Abby

Hey! Who's in Charge Around Here Anyway? Husbandguy doesn't think this is as funny as I do, but it's easily corrected so I'm enjoying laughing about it. Abby isn't sure whether she or HG is more dominant in our little "pack." On Monday, after he got home from work, great big HG had some trouble from our less-than-3-pound-puppy. She was doing this move near, not on, his feet that he didn't think girl dogs do (but they do) and which is an attempt to prove to the movee that the mover is more dominant. I think it's hilarious! The tiniest living creature in our house thinks she just might have more pull than the largest living creature in our house. HG, like I said, doesn't think it's as funny as I do. Yesterday I had him give her her dinner, and I am encouraging him to feed her and give her treats whenever the opportunity arises so hopefully the question in Abby's tiny puppy brain will be answered zippity quick. She didn't do it yesterday...

The Second Grossest Poop Experience I've Ever Had This morning, Abby correctly moved her bowels in the right place and everything, and when I was fumbling for her little puppy jerky treat, she turned and basically swallowed her... um... movement in one gulp. EW! SERIOUSLY?! EW!! The vet said to put meat tenderizer on her food and that would make her poop taste bad and she would stop, but I didn't have any meat tenderizer until I went to the grocery store yesterday so hadn't had a chance to try it and... EW!! SERIOUSLY?! Obviously I didn't give her the puppy jerky. And I did spike her food with MT this morning. I had suspected that she might be one of those dogs because of the way she was really, really interested in her poo, but I hadn't seen her actually do it. I wonder, though, if she's done it and we just didn't see because she didn't seem to be pooping much and her breath yesterday was very, very sour. Still, EW! But also, we love her and will fix it.

Color Abby's breeder thinks she's actually going to be a creamy tan color when she is all grown up. Right now, her fur on her back is creamy tan near her skin with black tips so she looks black unless she's ruffled. Does anyone know? Will she eventually lose the black. I don't care what color she ends up being. I'm just curious. HG won't speculate with me about it. He thinks it's a waste of time...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Catch Up

Lost in Translation At the veterinarian on Friday, the girls and I were waiting in the waiting room (as opposed to the bathroom, right?) and a lady came in with the scruffiest little poodle mix dog. His name was Ziggy. He was the cutest ugly dog I've ever seen in person. When the receptionist asked Ziggy's mom what was wrong with Ziggy, I could have sworn Ziggy's mom answered, "He's got boogers coming out his ass." I was shocked! Alarmed, really, that she would be so blunt, especially since there were 2 small children in the room with us (Pete and Lulu). I hoped they hadn't heard, or at least hadn't understood, her. But then the receptionist said, "Ziggy's got boogers coming out of his eyes? We'll have to do something about that!" Jeez, lady! Don't confuse me like that! I've only lived in this city 16 years. How can I be expected to understand the accent?!!

Wait, MN. Why Were You at the Vet? So you're probably wondering why we were at the vet, right? Because last you knew we didn't have any pets. I could tell you that we were just visiting, for old-time sake. But that would be a lie. Remember we were Eagerly Expecting something? Well, it came. And it's wonderful and fuzzy and... Oh! Just see for yourself!!
Her name is Abby. She's a dog. A maltipoo, to be precise. And she's teeny-tiny. Husbandguy wanted us to get a cat, but I wasn't interested in the cat hair and claws so I got us a cat-size dog. She weighs 2 pounds right now. Pete's a little afraid of her. Mostly because she's unpredictable and kind of mouthy, like most puppies, but she's a sweetie and follows both girls all around so I think Pete will get over it pretty quickly. So now we're I'm potty training and teaching her her name and getting her comfortable in her "room," which is our bathroom with a gate across the door. So far, so good. She's been here almost 4 days and has us pretty well trained, meaning she only has potty mistakes when we're not watching...

So there you go. That's what's new. And also, we've had pretty good traffic through our house. Even though it feels like sometimes our house is more on a tour than on the market, we're still hopeful...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday

I love the day
Gray.

We move the plants
From under the gable,
Watch the rain glance
Off the leaves, not able
To find the dusty,
Dry crust
Of soil below.
"It was your turn to water, you know."
"I am."

The sky
Moves by
On gray days.
Flowing,
Blowing
Fluffy puffs
Of laundry lint
With just a hint
Of denim
In them.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pete Says:

The other day, Pete was looking for her black pants in a pile of laundry I was folding. When she found them, she noticed a little bit of grey fuzz on one leg. She dropped them back into the pile like they were slimy and this happened:

Pete: Ew!
MN: What's wrong? Oh, that's just lint.
Pete: It's yucky!
MN (brushing lint off pants leg): It's just a little lint from the dryer. See? It's coming off.

Pete (looking for something else to wear): I don't look good in lint.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Waiting

Is It Just Me? I keep getting this feeling like I'm forgetting something that I was supposed to do. But when I really pay attention to what I'm feeling, I realize that it's actually more a feeling of constantly waiting.

Eagerly Expecting A week from this coming Friday something very nice is supposed to happen, but that's all I'm going to say for now because I don't want you to judge me until it's been done. I know you don't know what I'm talking about, but that's kind of the point. And if you do know what I'm talking about, shhh.

Anxiously Anticipating Maybe this makes me a bad mom, but I am going to admit that I am looking forward to school starting. It's not just that I am ready for my girls to be gone from the house for several hours and not be constantly fighting with each other or pestering me to turn on the TV. Also, school starting means PTA and volunteering and SOMETHING ELSE TO DO. I think maybe I need a job. I'm glad we don't home school.

Suspensefully Supposing I am always waiting for the scheduling agency to call and tell us we have to leave our home for a couple of hours so someone can show it to its next owners. That hasn't happened nearly as much as it should be. Maybe it will happen more after the broker open house. Our agent promised a free bottle of wine to the first 6 agents who arrive. Hopefully, then, we'll get at least 6...

Finally Finished On the other hand, we got our own computer back yesterday, after more than a month of it being held hostage by some guy in the tiny town where Poppop lives to be "fixed." Again. After he fixed it wrong the first time.

I am hoping that this means that you will be hearing from me more often. Thank you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Phooey!

First... Thank everyone for the help with our showing on Tuesday. It went so well that they immediately scheduled a second showing on Saturday. Tuesday was the wife, and Saturday was her bringing her husband by to show him what she'd found. Cool! We made the list!

So... I thought about asking for your positive energy again on Saturday but decided not to since I've been a terrible blog-friend, barely posting, rarely reading, never commenting. It felt like I was using you. I didn't like it. I was afraid you wouldn't like it. And also we had another first-time showing scheduled for Saturday. It looked like a potentially really great day.

We cleaned up and cleared out... We spent the afternoon with Moomie, who kept apologizing that she didn't have anything for me to do, but I was enjoying the company that is so pleasant and so rare for me during the summer and didn't mind at all. I showed her how to play Farmville on Facebook...

But then... I called home to check our messages after the 2 showings were scheduled to be over, and... sigh... the second showing had canceled. They didn't even come back at all. I don't know why. Maybe they found the perfect house among one of the few they saw before ours. Maybe the lack of extra energy had a muffling effect on the brilliance that is the life-to-be in this house. Maybe St. Joseph's feet need to be buried more than just by mulch (he's all the way up to his ankles in dirt - I just couldn't get any deeper). I don't know. I just don't know. It was discouraging, though.

'Sokay, tho The other showing did happen. I know because I left a dozen chocolate chip cookies on a plate on the (brand new, super cool) range, and when we got home there were only 8 left. We haven't heard anything about that, but it was just yesterday and today is Sunday so I'm not concerned or anything. And also, the house has only been listed for 10 days and this is only the second weekend we've been on the market and our agent has a broker open house scheduled for later this week and 2 showings in 10 days is pretty good in this market I think.

Still... It would be nice if this is a unexpectedly short experience rather than a tediously long one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Would You Do Me a Favor?

Hey.

Could you send some positive energy our way mid-morning tomorrow (Tuesday)?

Someone is coming to see our house.

St. Joseph is buried in the flower bed, the kitchen is spotless and uncluttered, the bird feeder is and will be full (of seeds and birds), the flowers in the front haven't given up yet, and the porch and shutters are freshly painted, so hopefully we won't need too much of a boost, but if you get a moment, would you help us out?

Thanks.

MFI*

Warning Prepare yourself for a supremely boring post.

Where Have You Been?
I am sorry I have been absent from the blogosphere. I hope you haven't abandoned me. I've been a little busy. Just a little...

On the Market We're selling our house. We spent last week (with Nana and Poppop's help) making it look like a model home. Well, as much as a house lived in by a family of 4 can look like a model home. We did a fantastic job, too. Our house looks awesome. Now if only someone would come look at the awesomeness...

Our Next Home Yesterday we spent some time looking at neighborhoods on the other side of town. I have been hesitant to actually look at houses because I didn't want to find the perfect one and not be able to get it since we still have to sell our house, but there is this one neighborhood that several homes for sale sort of in the area we are considering, and on the map it looks like it's right next to the highway (it is) and we wanted to see what effect that had on the neighborhood (just a little noise). While we were over there, we looked at another neighborhood nearby that we liked better (it has sidewalks!) and walked through a couple of open houses and really liked one and want it and now need our house to sell ASAP because the agent said they're taking the one we like off the market next week if they don't get any offers.

That's That See? Boring. I told you.

A Sad Off-Topic Remember my friend Dawn's puppy Cosette? She apparently has a liver defect and isn't going to make it. I am very sad about that. Poor puppy.

Anyway, I'll try to do better about writing now that we're done cleaning out the house. It would help if Poppop's crappy computer guy would give us our computer back.

*Missing From Internet

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pete Says:

Yesterday, while wandering through the "mall" that connects the "tall buildings!" downtown (or uptown depending on who you ask), Pete noticed one of those doors that goes round and round and said, "I want to go through the EVOLVING door!" We let her take a turn all the way around, but I honestly didn't think she seemed any more evolved when she came out than she was when she got in. Oh well...

Monday, July 13, 2009

And then? There were these pigs? And they all had wings!


Clean? Really? Nuh-uh! I should have taken a "before" picture because the "after" photo is way more impressive if you know what it was like... um... before. Let me try to paint you a picture instead. Close your eyes. NO! Wait! Don't do that. That won't work. First, read and memorize this description and then close your eyes. See how there is carpet on the floor, all around the bed, even under the window? Imagine, if you can, that you cannot see the carpet. Instead what you see everywhere is one big pile of dolls and paper and blankets and animals and books and teenytiny toys. In some places, the pile is 2+ feet deep. Now imagine that the carpet has been MIA for weeks, no, for months. I had stopped going in there, really. Since I couldn't get to the bed, Pete hadn't had sheets on her bed in weeks. I gave her the sheets and told her I'd help her put them on if she cleaned up enough for me to get to the bed. See now? It's all made up. See? And it only took about 3 hours of work to find the carpet!

Buried Treasure We found all kinds of stuff in there. Pete's been complaining that she doesn't ever have any pencils to write with. We found a shoebox full. One at a time, we found them and put them into the shoebox. We found raisins and lollipops and ew. They have all been thrown away and the no-food-in-your-room rule has been reiterated. Speaking of throwing away, we found 2 kitchen-size trash bags full worth of trash.

What Happened? So why the sudden change? After months of living among the mess, why did Pete decide now that her room needed to be cleaned? This: Husbandguy and I bought the Hannah Montana Season 3 Soundtrack and put it on a high shelf in our closet and told Pete she could have it if she cleaned her room. That's not exactly a bribe, right? Because we probably would have gotten it for her anyway at some point. But it was her idea to actually do it. She got up yesterday morning and said, "Mom? Would you help me clean my room today?" and I said yes and then we sent HG and Lulu away and dove in. When we finished, Pete wasn't all give-me-my-CD-now like I thought she'd be. She just seemed satisfied that we'd finished her room. In fact, it was several hours before she even asked for it.

Basking Each of us, Pete, HG, Lulu, and I, have found ourselves wandering around in Pete's room, enjoying the clean just because we can. Pete's pretty proud of herself (I am too) and looked a lot better rested when she emerged this morning than she has all summer. Who knows how long the clean will last. I'm going to try to remind her to put her things away, but it's really up to her.

Comments from People Who Saw the "Before"
the Grandpa said: "That can't be her room!"
Moomie said: "Good thing you took a picture!"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Meme

Septembermom did not tag me for this so I stole it (and I am not taking it personally that she didn't tag me since I've been terrible about posting...).

The Rules for this meme:

1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog. Replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, and add one more question of your own.

2. Tag other people.

What is your current obsession? Cosette. She is all I can think about. I can't wait for Dawn to send more photos. Next week she'll be big enough for us to go and see her in person. Aw! I can't wait!!

What are you wearing today?
My comfy old shorts with purple paint stains (that the guy at the pottery place said would come out when Pete accidentally painted me but which didn't) and a hole where Howie's claw caught them. Also my blue 3/4-sleeve shirt that I love almost as much as my stripey 3/4-sleeve shirt.

What’s for dinner?
Not sure yet. The girls had sandwiches of their choice, but I'm waiting for Husbandguy to get back from Pete's swimming lesson and we'll eat together.

What would you eat for your last meal?
Hmm... That's a tricky one... Would it include meat? Probably not. Probably something southwestern flavored with black beans and cheddar cheese. And chocolate cake, moist and dark with little or no icing, for dessert.

What relaxes you the most?
I had a funny answer, but it might raise alarms. It has to do with a prescription my neurologist gives me when I'm on steroids. Actually, it is accurate to say that Xanax relaxes me the most, but not the most often. That honor would go to reading, I think. Or a quiet house with no conflict...

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Maine. On the beach. With my notebook.

Which language do you want to learn?
Spanish. Definitely Spanish. Then I could talk to the neighbors. And anyone else who speaks Spanish but not English.

What do you love most about where you currently live?
Our next-door neighbors, even though we can't talk to them without an interpreter (something thankfully usually available in the form of a grandchild). I am on a mission to move to a bigger kitchen house in the very near future and wish I could take them with us.

What style is your current home decorated in?
Early Boarding House. This is a term I heard from someone when I was younger (Moomie, if it was you, take credit in the comments, okay?) and it is appropriate, I think.

If you were a time traveler what era would you live in?
I would want to go to the future and see how everything works out. Far enough into the future that some of the big questions have been answered.

What is your favorite color?
Blue. I am a big fan of just about any color, but blue is the best.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
The shorts I mentioned above. They are comfy and fit just right.

What were you doing ten years ago?
I was still technically a newlywed (1.5 years) and enjoying my 20's. No kids. No curfew. *sigh*

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on?
Cosette. Shhh...

What are you going to do after this?
Put Lulu in a bubble bath and finish folding the laundry that I washed on Monday and Tuesday (don't judge me!). I might write a little if I am inspired.

What are your favorite films?
I really, really like "Ever After." Maybe that's cheesy, but I'm a sucker for Cinderella. Oh! Also I love "Cinderella." And "The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh." And I loved those movies even before I had daughters. I can't think of any grown-up movies right now.

Your favorite books?
My 2 most favorite books of all time are "Little Women," which my dad introduced me to when I was in the 2nd grade and "A Prayer for Owen Meany," which I discovered on my own as a result of raiding my oldest brother's bookshelf. He didn't have that book, but he had a bunch of other ones by John Irving and I had to have more! (Do you want those books back, by the way, Big Brother?)

Do you collect anything?
I used to collect elephants and still have an elephant collection and welcome new elephants as gifts, but I don't actively collect them on my own at the moment. Oh, but I do collect recipes. And then I don't follow them...

What makes you follow a blog?
Humor, good writing. I also follow the blogs of people I know personally, which usually also include humor and good writing, which says something about the circles I move in, maybe.

What was the most enjoyable thing you did today?
I had a veggie sausage on a mini bagel for breakfast. It was kind of downhill after that, unfortunately.

Ann's Question:What makes you comment on a blog?
If something in a post really strikes me, I usually leave a comment. I also like to leave comments every now and then to encourage bloggers I enjoy to continue blogging.

Amy's Question:What is your favorite thing to do when you have some free time?
Writing, reading, baking. Not in that order. Not sure what the order would be, though...

Tonya's question:What is a talent you wished you had?
I wish I knew more about decorating. It would be nice to put a name to my tastes and be able to find more things that appeal to me.

Gena's question:As you may know, I am all about "Serene Moments", so what is your "Serene Moment"?
I am woefully short on "Serene Moments" these days.

Noelle's question: If you could go to heaven who would you see, and why?
My grandparents. I miss each and every one of them and don't feel like I learned as much from them as I should have.

Vickie's question: Who is your favorite actor?
Oh, I don't know. Oh yes I do! It's Lulu. She is SOOOOO dramatic!!

Kelly's question: What was your favorite subject in school? I really enjoyed my language classes. English, Spanish, and Latin. It was fun to learn the history of the languages and their literature.

My Question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Or if you've already achieved that goal, what was it? I would like to be a published author. I think I'd like to see my children's fiction published, but even getting this most recent short story in a journal or something would count. I'm not trying very hard to achieve my goal, yet. Guess I should grow up...

Do I have to tag someone, even if I stole the meme? I guess I should. I'll tag Princess Sparklepants, ...45+aA, and Mommy T. You know, if you guys want to...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

And if there's time, I might even finish it!

It's Like It's Writing Itself! So there's this story in the writer part of my brain, and it keeps on writing even when I don't have my notebook, which is really inconvenient! But I know that it's really a story, the story, because I can remember and write down later what gets written when I am tablet-less. I am concerned, though, that I won't have the time for writing that I had this weekend. We spent the weekend at Husbandguy's parents' house, and I just secluded myself to write when I got tired of being The Mom, but tomorrow it's back to all the usual stuff, which doesn't include writing. *sigh*

Not to Bring You Down - I will find time, though, because I suspect that this story is coming from the steadily growing puddle of discontent that surrounds me, which I will address at another time, and since I don't see that evaporating any time soon, I am certain that the story will continue to flow forth until it is finished. I guess I will just need to take my notebook to the dentist and the zoo and piano lessons so I don't miss any of it.

Now for Your Thoughts: This is the first paragraph:

"Mom! Answer your phone!" the voice of a 4 year-old girl called out. The command repeated 2 times before she got to her cell phone and answered it. She had considered changing the ring tone to something less personal but had just never done it.

So? Do you want to keep reading? I think you should, but I'm the author and that's kind of like how parents are supposed to think their kids are all sunshiny and stuff, right? Are you bored by the beginning? Or would you be willing to try out the next paragraph? And the next? Want to know who's calling "her"? What do you think? If it helps any with your decision, this story is not about my life. Except that the main character... Well, you'll have to wait until I finish it...

A First, of sorts... I would like to be able to finish this one. I think it might be worthwhile, maybe even publishable. I think this because, as I am writing I am thinking about the fact that my first draft is very rough. I never, never ever, ever think about editing. Everything I write is "good enough" in the first draft, in the raw. Not this. My rough draft is so rough I'm looking for my emery boards right now. But also I'm writing it out longhand so the editing will have to wait until the story is finished and I'm ready to create the digital copy. I am hoping this will help contribute to the actual completion of this project, something I'm not known for...

Time Off: To finish it, I think I'm going to need to get away from my life. Spend some time as Not the Mom. Blasphemy, I know, from The Mom, but also I would like to be The Writer, and right now the 2 roles don't work well together. It sucks. Seriously. So Meme and TG, you may be getting a call from me in the next couple of days about your weekend plans and whether me, by myself, writing furiously in my little marbled notebook at your kitchen table or on your balcony-thing would interfere with them. Just a heads-up!

Wish Me Luck! Seriously. Just wish me luck...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

De-Evolving

Remember I mentioned before that I believe cleaning is not good for a person; I mentioned it a couple of times. Turns out it might be hazardous to your intelligence too. I realized yesterday, while I was cleaning, that my lips were dry and I was very thirsty. And then I realized that I always get that way when I'm cleaning. Then I realized that I was breathing almost exclusively through my mouth. And isn't "mouth-breather" a term that a person might apply to someone they felt was less evolved than everyone else? So I'm not going to clean any more (except washing and drying but not folding clothes) because I don't want you to call me that.


*Sorry I've been MIA recently. It's been nuts since school ended. I promise to do better and hope you don't remember this post from a while back...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Musical Me

Enough Already with the Nostalgia! You're probably tired of my "I used to be..." posts. Although, I haven't done one in a while... So here. Here's another. I used to be known for my musical ability. I was considered a musical person. I played nearly all the instruments in the band (I think saxophone was the only one I never attempted any version of), I took piano lessons for years and years, I sang in the chorus - even made it to All-State, and at church, I was in the voice and handbell choirs and did many piano or flute or voice solos. Ah, the good old days. When it wasn't unusual to hear things like, "I'm/We're singing/playing-the-[instrument] at/for [something]. Can you accompany me/us?" or "Our tuba player graduated. Now what will we do for the bass line? Oh, maybe you could..." "You" meaning me, of course. *wistful sigh*


Gone! It's All GONE! *tears hair* But then I moved here. What's the musical difference between NH and NC, you ask? I dunno. But for me it's big, apparently. Because here I am not known as a musical person. I'm known as a good baker, the person who increased PTA membership by 75% this past year, the mom of 2 brilliant and beautiful girls, and to some extent, a writer, but musical? Oh? You played the piano? Hmm. That's *snore* interesting... My one musical friend moved away years ago (and now is moving even FARTHER AWAY >:-P), and our piano stood neglected for many, many, many years. Until Pete started lessons. Yay for Pete! The poor piano was soooo lonely.

Slowly but Surely... Remember that I joined the church to join the choir. I think I mentioned that before (click the tag that says "church" below to read all about it). And then I decided not to join the choir because I don't want to have to go to the late service ever. That's too much of my Sunday away from the family. But then my need for music wasn't met by joining the church like I hoped it would be. So when I saw in our newsletter that the choir director was offering a 3-week music theory and sight singing class, I signed up. A little review would be a good thing, I felt, and just maybe...

Teacher's Pet? In high school, my band director invented an award just for me: The Most Instruments Played Award. I was honored. I earned it. I had talent. He knew it. I have been, now, to exactly 1 theory class and have already made a name for myself. We introduced ourselves and talked about our musical background, and the choir director seemed maybe a little impressed by mine. That felt good. And then he started the class, and all of the sudden I was again the Most Musical of People. The first class was, of course, very basic theory: note values, major and minor, key signatures, etc. Stuff I remember. By the end of the class, he was asking questions for us to answer and would say to me, "I know you know this," and then he'd call on me only if no one else answered. It was cool. Maybe I don't need to take this class... But he promised to cover chords and everything later, which I do need to review, so that will be good, and I know I can use practice sight-singing. And maybe he'll ask me to help out with the music in some way some Sunday.

Plus, it feels good. To be Most Musical again. Oh, and I stayed for choir practice...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sleeping Like a Baby

It's All a Blur: What does that mean, anyway? "Sleep like a baby." Neither of my girls had consistently peaceful sleep as babies. Pete suffered first from night terrors and then from actual nightmares. She also had many ear infections, for which the only indication she would give us that she was sick was that she wouldn't go to bed. Now she wanders around the house all un-awake (but she's not a baby anymore). Lulu just refused (and refuses) to go to sleep at night. I don't remember exactly what the problem was (probably because I've been in somewhat of a sleep-deprived fog for 3+ years), but I do remember having this conversation with her doctor several times at check-ups: Dr.: "Is she a good sleeper?" Me: "Oh no! She's a terrible sleeper!"

The End of an Era: One thing about sleeping babies: they take naps. Naps are nice, especially if you're not the one actually napping. They are times when another, not-napping person can get things done - showering, folding laundry, watching grown-up TV, blogging... Lulu, until recently, has always been a pretty good napper. Suddenly, though, she's all anti-nap! No way is she sleeping while the sun is so high in the sky. Oh, she'll pretend to rest until I close the door, but when I go in to check on her 10 or so minutes later, her big-girl bed will be empty, and she'll be sitting in her rocking chair or the big bear-shaped hamper thing we keep her animals in, not sleeping. And on the days she actually does sleep, getting her to go to bed on time or to stay in bed past 5:30 the next morning is pretty much impossible. So, executive decision, no more naps for Lulu. Except on special occasions.

So Far So Good: She gets really tired mid-afternoon, and had to be roused in the car on the way to Target after dinner last night so as not to spoil bedtime ("Don't you dare go to sleep, young lady!" said Mom, noticing that the weight of Lulu's eyelids had apparently become unbearable. "Giggle, giggle," said Lulu, pretending to sleep again. But it worked).

Night Vision Necessary: It's hard on me, though. I think I'm going to have to give up "All My Children" because I don't want her watching that crap with me, and Husbandguy doesn't like it enough to watch it with me after bedtime every night. I mean, he'll watch it, but through his eyelids, and I'd have to turn it way up to hear clearly over the snoring. That's probably for the best, come to think of it. But blogging? Showering? Folding laundry? *Sigh* Once upon a time I could do those things when the sun was high in the sky. Not barely breaking the horizon or on the other side of the earth...

The Importance of Family: If I scratch Pete's back, sometimes she'll let Lulu play near her for a while. That's what's going on right now. But Pete is 7 and prefers to be secluded, and also their Cooperative Play seems to frequently end in an emergency meeting about Peaceful Conflict Resolution. So not a perfect solution.

What's Next? With it being summer and us not signing anyone up for camp this year, I'm having a little trouble with the whole no-nap thing because I don't get any alone time. At all. Even those few minutes in the bathroom when alone time can usually be expected are often interrupted by knocking or barging-in or wails of, "MO-OM!" from the other room. Husbandguy has promised to take the girls to the park or the mall or whatever from time to time on the weekends, but so far he's always looked hurt when I've tried to get out of coming along. So that hasn't happened. Yet. I'll figure something out, though. I've got church, and I start a music class tomorrow night that is every other Wednesday for the next few weeks (3 classes), and that's just me. Also, Moomie has offered to take the girls overnight to her house, and I think that's going to happen during the week so I'll have a few hours to myself after they leave and before HG gets home.

Perspective: Two months from now I'll be getting all nostalgic and weepy because school will be looming and my special time alone with my girls will be nearly over. But then I'll have more time for you!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dad

Happy Fathers Day, Grandpa! We love you!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Loving Vicariously


This little cutie lives with my friend Dawn. Dawn let me pick a name for her. I picked Cosette. Doesn't it suit her? Can't you see her singing "Castle on a Cloud"? She's not quite 3 weeks old now, and Dawn promised to send me more photos as she grows bigger and fluffier. See the tip of her tail? It's white. That just makes me melt.

I just had to share. Last year at this time we were seeking out Howie, and even though I still think surrendering him was the best thing for our family, I do miss having a furry little sweetie around.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meatless Whether They Like It or Not

Last night for dinner we had "Southwest Fettuccine Bowl" which I found in my Betty Crocker vegetarian cookbook. I really like black beans so I loved it. And everyone else seemed to like it too. Except Lulu, who doesn't like much, really. Pete even expressed surprise that our meal was meatless and good. Me being a vegetarian is really a Great Big Adventure in Eating New Things for her. That's cool.

Husbandguy, who is the biggest resister to the whole vege-meal revolution but who would, frankly, benefit the most from it, said it was "fine." When I pressed ('cause that's what I do), he admitted that it tasted "good." I asked if he felt satisfied and he said, "I guess. I don't know." But when I asked if he felt like he had eaten a whole meal, he said that he did not feel like that. So I would say that he didn't feel satisfied. Wouldn't you? Then, as soon as the girls were in bed, he made himself a big bowl of my cereal, which I bought for me and which is healthy with fiber and organic things in it and which was on the shelf right next to the Froot-O's, which I bought for him and which has ick in it, and he finished the box. Of my cereal. And didn't put it on the shopping list.

This morning I cooked vege-sausages for the girls and me, and since they're 2 to a pack, I popped one in the nonstick frying pan for HG and toasted him a couple of leftover silver dollar pancakes, which I had in the freezer because I always make extra to freeze for easy breakfasts, and made him a little breakfast sandwich. He whined said this: "But I don't usually get hungry in the morning," and I said this: "That's because you don't usually eat breakfast, but you should. If you start eating a little breakfast, eventually you'll be hungry in the morning." So he took his little sandwich with him in the car, but he wasn't happy about it, and who knows what he did with it. He probably ate it...

Also, I packed his lunch today (cold salmon noodle salad, cherries & carrot sticks, and pretzels). Hopefully he'll eat that instead of going out for 4x as much fat and calories.

His doctor is concerned about his weight and cholesterol, and so am I, but he isn't. I don't want to force him to get healthy, but I make the menu and do the shopping and cooking so...

I've been resisting it for years, this transformation in to the Healthy Eating Tyrant, but I think it's happening. Guess we should all just get used to it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Oh, Did I Mention?

The stink and fly problem in my kitchen (remember?) was caused by a deceased mouse (gross) behind the dishwasher. Husbandguy and his dad took it out the day before we had a houseful of guests here for Lulu's birthday party. Good thing, too, because HG's dad said it had maggots in it and so was probably on the verge of releasing a bundle of fresh mutant flies all over the birthday cake. Talk about a birthday to remember!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Do I Have to Do to Earn Your Love?

It took me a moment to decide why this sign in front of a nearby church creeped me out. The sign said, "Come visit us and we will love you." It's a nice message, I suppose, with a good intent, but it threw me, made me uncomfortable. Then I figured out that what really bothered me is how manipulative it could seem. Sort of like an abusive partner or a 7 year-old girl. I am sure the church doesn't mean to say, "We will withhold our love from you unless you visit," but there must be a better way to say what they're trying to say that can't be misinterpreted that way. Maybe even simply, "We love you. Come visit us." Who knows, though. Saying it that way might get under someone else's skin for some other reason...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I believe I've mentioned this before...

...but I just wanted to remind you to not get a chronic illness that requires you to take a "specialty medication" that costs thousands of dollars and requires "specialty coverage" unless you're way more patient and way less reactive than I am (which isn't hard to accomplish, but still...). I'm just saying.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

LL Says:

Last night at dinner, Lulu was chatting up the older couple at the table next to ours. I only half listened to what she was saying once HG and I determined that she wasn't bothering them. But I did tune in when I heard this:

Man: "Are you going to be a ballerina when you grow up?"
LL: "Yes! When I grow up I'm going to be all the rage!"

Friday, June 5, 2009

What's Up?!

Husbandguy should really learn to ask from time to random time what I'm up to. Here's what it is. Some of it he might want to know.

First, today I entered this.
Also, I am in love with this.
I am thinking about baking this.
I bought this.

There is probably more, but I can't think of it right now. If the links don't work, let me know. And don't worry, being in love with something isn't the same as acquiring that sweet, tiny, fuzzy, adorable thing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

There was this movie on the other day about mutant flies that swarm people and bite them and then they die and make more flies

Three weeks ago there was a terrible smell in my kitchen. I checked my onions and potatoes and refrigerator and ran the dishwasher and the disposal and looked everywhere for whatever I had neglected that caused this problem. It was very stinky. Husbandguy even noticed it and he has a limited sense of smell (which is probably actually an average sense of smell but which seems limited when compared to Pete's and my Super Sniffers which we inherited from Moomie). We eventually decided that the smell was coming from behind the dishwasher, but HG couldn't get it out of the counter by himself and promised that he would have his dad help him after they put in the new range and micorwave. The range and micorwave took them all day to do, though, and the smell problem was neglected. It had gotten less stinky and HG couldn't smell it anymore and probably thought it was all better. It wasn't all better, but it was less noticeable, sometimes even I didn't smell it. It's lazy, I know, and gross to leave it, but give me a break, okay?

The thing is, though, that yesterday we started getting these GIANT FLIES in our kitchen and all I can think is that they've come from whatever was making the smell. Oh it's terrible. On the plus side, they're attracted to the windows so are easy to find and they're slow so are easy to suck up with the vacuum hose and HG's dad is coming next weekend and now HG is committed to finding the problem.

I'm a little concerned that what they'll find is our poor kitty who disappeared last fall (click here to read about that). Please keep your fingers crossed that they don't.

If we were to call a professional to help us with this. who would we call? A bug guy? Some kind of contractor? Does anyone know?

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Air Literally Vibrates with her Excitement

Oh, I loooove when Lulu gets excited about something. You'd love it too. I know because strangers witnessing it have stopped and commented on how adorable it is. I got to see it again just the other day.

It was raining and the sun was shining at the same time, and as all hearts-and-unicorns as I am not, a sunny shower gets me all worked up. "Oh, where's the sun? Is it raining hard enough? Everybody look that way. Do you see one? There has to be a rainbow. Keep looking!" This time my persistence paid off, and I found one. And I showed it to Lulu.

It was her first rainbow. And it was awesome.

She instantly stopped walking and became perfectly still. And her whole body clenched up with the thrill of it all. And then she squealed and exclaimed, "A rainbow! I seeee it!! A REAL RAINBOW!!!" And her whole tiny body began to tremble. There she stood, glued to that spot, frozen in the moment, chin raised to the sky, quaking from her blonde hair to her purple flip-flops with excitement. "A REAL RAINBOW!"

Oh, it's fun to watch. You've got to see it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hip(?) Hop Dance Class

I'm so proud of my Pete. She's a lot like me, but also she's her own person.

Last night, she started a parks and rec hip hop dance class. Since it was the first class, I got to stay and watch, and... I'm not sure how to say this... Um... Oh! I know! At one point I was mentally rehearsing my answer for when Pete finished last night's class and wanted to quit. I wasn't completely opposed to the idea. That sounds bad, I know, but she has my coordination and Husbandguy's mom's grace. She was the kid on the wrong foot going the wrong way most of the time. I didn't cringe, much, but I also didn't find myself glowing with pride like I usually do. But then, about 2/3 of the way through the class, something happened. It wasn't a miracle or anything. She wasn't suddenly music-video-ready, but as she got comfortable with the routine, she did better (duh, MN! of course she did!). Her feet still pointed the wrong way and she was still one of the most rhythmically challenged in the group, but she clearly felt like she was doing better and relaxed and wasn't terrible.

If I was 7 (or 35) and took this class, I would have wanted to quit after the first time. I would have complained that it was hard and I didn't know anyone and I felt stupid and I didn't want to do it anymore. And if I was my mom and watched the class and heard that, I would have said that I needed to take one more class before I decided whether to quit or not. And then I would have taken one more class and quit.

But not Pete. She wasn't glowing with pride afterward either, and she said it was hard to remember everything, but she said she likes it and wants to keep doing it. She's not a quitter. She's not a dancer, but more importantly, she's not a quitter. You know what she said? She said that she needs to practice.

Huh. Practice. Huh. Again I am struck by how different we really are. Practice? Not quit? Huh.

Thank goodness for free will!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

LL Says:

Lulu was on tonight! She was zinging them out right and left!

My favorite was when we were eating ice cream at an outside table. She looked up and said, "Hey Mom! There's an umbrella! Now a bird won't poop on you!!" (Unfortunately the pooping-on- me thing has happened to me enough times that I usually refuse to sit outside at restaurants.)

The other funny thing is probably more funny if you've actually met Poppop, but I'll share anyway. First, a little background: Poppop has a detached retina in his left eye and, due to the surgeries he's had and other things, his eyelid is mostly closed all the time. Well, Lulu's ice cream cone came with 2 little candy eyes plopped on the top, and after she ate the first one, she held her little cone up to Husbandguy and said, "Look! My ice cream is POPPOP!!" Poor Poppop... Tee hee...

Sorry if you had to be there to really appreciate these little gems, but I had to share.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sorry. I've Been... Um... Yeah.

Right. So our computer has been all sucky for more than a week but really sucky for the last week. At the moment... Nevermind. I don't want to jinx it. But I thought that I'd check in while I can. Probably everything will crash while I'm writing this. If that happens, I'll post it next week. If my shiny little laptop doesn't break when I throw it against the wall...

Just a couple of new things to report, nothing big. Just stuff.

First, Husbandguy bought me us a new range/oven. Kind of out of the blue. It's awesome. We went to Best Buy the other day to ask about the computer and when we were waiting for the Nerd Herd guy (who looked nothing like Chuck, unfortunately - google it), we wandered over to look at the appliances and found a nice one that will work in our tiny awkward kitchen that was marked WAAAAY down, almost 50%, the lady called it "closeout." We didn't buy it right then because we needed to measure and stuff, but HG went back later and bought it and made arrangements with his dad to pick it up and install it on Saturday while Pete and I are at the ballet. I think I've mentioned before that a new oven is one of the main things on my wish list and now I can cross it off. Yay!

And also, septembermom, whose blog is also SUPER, gave me an award. I've never gotten a blogging award before so that was cool and unexpected and I am very honored to have been honored. I think I'm supposed to pass it on, and I promise I will. Next chance I get...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Ham's Cheesiness

Lulu is a character. Seriously. Her Self is WAAAY too big for her tiny, 3t-size body. Which is probably why she's always bursting with something mirthful or terrible. The terrible gives me a headache and sometimes tears, but the other cracks me up. An example:

The other day I waited all day for Pete to get home from school so we could bake a cake together, but when she got home, she didn't want to help me. I was disappointed. I had been looking forward to Pete helping me with this cake. So I said so, but Pete really didn't want to. Sigh... Lulu, though, was watching the whole thing and came to my rescue. My not-quite-3-year-old stood all of her 32 inches up off the floor and strolled over to where I was sitting. Gently placing her hand on my shoulder, she looked into my eyes and said in her most calming and serious voice, "I'll help you, Mommy," like she was caring for someone on the verge of a breakdown. Then she took her hand off my shoulder and explained, in that same tone with unhurried gestures, all about how she would help, and when she was finished explaining, she put her soft little hand back and said, "Okay, Mommy? I can help you make a cake. Okay?" Of course she helped. How could I pass up such a sweet offer?

I sure do like that kid...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Unique?

The Grandpa, over at The Word Mechanic, found this fun search. So of course I tried it, and what I discovered is that I should have kept my maiden name when I got married if I wanted to avoid getting someone else's mail... I checked Pete's and Lulu's names too. Oh and HG, who had 153 same-namers or something but I didn't copy that here.

HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
3
people with my married name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?




HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
1
or fewer people with my maiden name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?




HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
10
people with Pete's real name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?




HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
53
people with Lulu's real name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Also, a google search shows that I am also a heroine in a sci-fi novel.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Working Papers

See what I did there? With all the people getting their "walking papers" (including Husbandguy last fall). See? I turned it around (in the title), and made it "working papers." Smart, huh?

Because today? HG came home from work, where he has been a contract worker for the last nearly 6 months, looking slightly more relaxed than usual. You know, less stressed and stuff. And he wordlessly handed me a little stack of papers, 2 or 3 pages, and wandered off to get a cup of water or something. And when I looked at the papers, it said, "Dear [HG], I am pleased to offer employment to you the position of Engineer 3..." and a bunch of other stuff about money and benefits and not having sick time and everything. Awkward syntax aside, this answers our most pressing question. They like him! They really, really like him! ... Or they at least need him. So I said something clever (and apparently forgettable) and he said, "I haven't decided if I'm going to sign it or not."

haha. veryfunny.

He's teasing me. I'm 99.9% sure of that. So if you see him, congratulate him, okay? Or you can send me an email (<-- click there or look at the right hand column for the address -->), and I'll forward it to him. That'll teach him to tease me!

Mom Fun

Most of the time, I really enjoy being a mom. Waiting for the bus this morning with Pete, I was reminded of one reason why.

You know that magic trick where the magician tucks something into her palm and makes a fist and the other person blows on the fist and the thing in the magician's hand disappears, only to reappear in the other person's ear or someplace? Pete loves that trick (Lulu does too). And she doesn't know how I do it yet so, for her, it really is magic. The look on her face when I ruffle the hair above her ear and pull out Lulu's yellow bead, which only moments before had been in my hand... You've seen it on some child's face, I'm sure. Isn't it fantastic? And my favorite moment this morning was when I didn't find the bead right away. Where did it go? I wondered. Pete actually felt behind her ears, on top of her head, in her socks and bellybutton but didn't find it. Hmm... That's weird. Usually it's there somewhere... Oh, look! It's on top of Lulu's head! And then Pete said, "I actually saw it there!" and I wished I could see what she thought she had seen because I bet she really did "see" it. It's magic, after all.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Despues de la Fiesta

This afternoon we were invited to the neighbors' house to help them celebrate the marriage of their daughter. When Vecina (am I using that right?) came over with her grandsons (handy translators, those boys - and handsome! and I mean that not in a creepy way because they're 8) earlier in the week, she told me the fiesta would start a la uno so we showed up a la uno y quince and were still about 3 hours early. Why can't we be late anywhere?

Vecina served carnitas y arroz con tortillas. I knew she would (it's really good - I ate it last time) and wasn't concerned that I couldn't eat it this time because we live right next door and I could run home if I got so hungry I couldn't go on, but when she found out I don't eat meat, she got all worried, even though I said again and again, "Está bien," and ate arroz y tortillas. Eventually she found these tamales deliciosos y dulces that tasted like creamed corn (only better) and were vegetarian. I ate 2 (with Pete's help), and she wasn't worried about me anymore.

We don't speak Spanish. I know a few Spanish phrases in the present tense (I asked Vecina, "Necessita Usted ayuda?" and she knew what I meant, and I could talk to the very small niños well enough), but I don't know enough to converse with the grown-ups or even eavesdrop, and mi familia knows even less than I do. So we don't mingle well with our neighbors, but we got by. The grandsons' prima, Ana, was a big help. When I mentioned to her that I felt like I should be talking to someone, she introduced me to her brother and his wife, who both spoke English and had children, and I felt more comfortable. But I also still felt like I really need to be taking Spanish classes so I can be a better neighbor.

Overall, though, we had a very nice time. The girls did fine because all of the other children were bilingual, and play is sort of omnilingual anyway, isn't it? The party is still going on, but the girls needed showers so we had to leave. They hadn't cut the cake when we left, which was an issue for Lulu, but Ana said she'd bring some cake over for us after they cut it, and Lulu reluctantly agreed.

After I post this, I'll be checking the community college's course listing to see what my best option is for learning mas Español before the next fiesta. So you know...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Just One More... Today...

Beautiful

"I'm beautiful!" she declares.
"I have beautiful shoes and
"A beautiful dress
"And beautiful hair."

She's two years plus,
Almost three, you see.
"Aren't I beautiful?"
She demands of me.

"Yes. You are," I respond
To my tiny blue-eyed blonde.
She smiles up at me,
My mom's mom's glow,
And says, "I know."


I think I was actually one poem behind for NPM... Plus, it's kind of hard to stop...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

LL Says:

The other day, Lulu was perched precariously on Husbandguy's legs. He warned her several times to sit still or move over because she was liable to fall if she didn't. And eventually she did. Fall. HG reached out and grabbed her just in time to keep her from cracking her head on the coffee table and Lulu said, "Good catch, Daddy." Like they were playing ball or something.

Poems in Our Pockets

What poem did you pick to carry with you today? You should check out Rene over at Not The Rockefellers. She's always got a poem in her pocket!

I chose A.A. Milne's "Vespers" and Pete is carrying her "Pocket Song." When I asked Lulu what poem she wanted to carry, she said, "I love Mother Goose," and since I knew she was referring to the whole collection and not the nursery rhyme called "Mother Goose," we narrowed that down to "Humpty Dumpty" (click on the title and check out the little history lesson below the rhyme). And of course, Husbandguy is characteristically disinterested.

So? What have you got in your pocket?
Termination

In conclusion
I will simply add
Go forth
In rhyme and rhythm
Without fear of judgement
Or failure.
This is your
Commencement,
The end of my challenge
And the beginning of yours.


Even though today is the last official day of National Poetry Month, please keep writing and posting poetry. I will. Check back regularly. I'll be checking up on you too!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tomorrow

Remember that tomorrow is Poem in Your Pocket day. I am thinking about carrying "Vespers" by A.A. Milne. What poem will you be carrying?

Closer and Closer to the End

Downhill

Maybe
Sisyphus was grateful
For the break...
While the rock rolled,
He rested.
For only a moment, I know.
Then back to the push.

Or was he tempted
To tumble down after the rock?
Always easier going downhill...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Imagery

At her piano lesson this afternoon, Pete finished playing one of her pieces and then said, "Mrs. H? You know those music sidewalks that you walk on and they make sounds? When I played that piece, I felt like my fingers were a ballerina dancing on one of those sidewalks." Beautiful and fitting.

Three Days Left

The End of
National Poetry Month

In sight:
Finish line,
Tunnel-end light,
Twenty-nine...
Then thirty...
Then it's done!
Next is ONE!
A new calendar page
Poems step off stage.
Let's make a deal, though,
For real, you know?
Let's keep posting our poems!

Don't Forget

Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day is April 30. That's Thursday. You can always carry Pete's Pocket Song from last year if you're having trouble picking a poem to carry.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sneaking

Pepperoni?

Jostle the trash can -
The old grapes almost cover the package.
What else can I throw away today?

Pizza Night is going vegetarian.
Shh...

Slap my hand and call me a failure!

Not really. But I can't believe I missed posting a poem yesterday! Or at least posting one first thing this morning and back-dating it. Oops! Guess I'll have to post 2 today...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

saturday in the sun

"Pull the stem, not the berry."
"Look for the ones that are dark red all over."
"Watch out for that puddle."


Pick-Your-Own

Muddy shoes and
Hot pink cheeks.
Fingers and chins stained
With juicy dribbles,
Scarlet and sweet.
Little girls
In the berry patch.

Why I "Spill" a Little When I Fill the Bird Feeder



video

This little guy isn't allowed to eat from the actual bird feeder. He (or she) just ate and ate and ate after I "spilled." Lulu also likes the little birds who eat off the ground. I need to look up what those are when Pete gets home with her bird book...

LL Says:

Lulu said, "I found a great idea. A lightbulb came on in my head." I, of course, cracked up.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last minute poeming

Uh-oh!
One minute to go!!
My poem today
Was almost a NO SHOW!!!

What's the Term for This?

Husbandguy has no use for church. Even the UU church, which is in some ways designed to attract people who have no use for church. When I started going in January, he actually seemed kind of annoyed that I had this new thing, this new pointless and useless thing, to do and wasn't particularly helpful with getting me ready and out the door. He couldn't have cared less. Even when I took Pete with me and didn't leave him to "babysit" both of the girls on his day off (don't get me started about days off - that's another issue for a person whose job is 24/7).

This past Sunday, I decided to take both girls with me because our UU church now offers a RE class for 2-3 year-olds and Lulu wouldn't have to be in the nursery with the babies for a hour-and-a-half. She could participate in something. That appealed to me and she was interested. But when Sunday morning actually came around, Pete and Lulu were more interested in playing than getting ready to go. I wasn't pushing it. I didn't feel like there was any reason to freak out about it. They knew that I was going and that they needed to get around if they wanted to go, and if they didn't want to go, they didn't have to because they could stay home with HG. Not a big deal. Why stress?

You should have seen HG, though. He was in SuperDad mode. He got the girls wrangled and interested in getting dressed and made them breakfast and found their shoes and sweaters. He was all for (almost) everyone going to church. To him, it was not optional for them to miss it. He even put on his own shoes and zoomed his car out from behind mine in the driveway (normally I have to move his car myself so I can get out). I am pretty sure that the last time he was so accommodating I was giving birth.

But I can't think of the word. Is it hypocrisy? That seems kind of harsh. But it's accurate. He finds value in attending church when it affords him some alone time. So much so that he bounds (yes, BOUNDS) out of his normally blase mantle, dons his jersey with the big "D" for Dad on the chest, and magically motivates two young children to put down their toy pots and pans and eat a bowl of cereal.

As much as I appreciate it when he helps me, I'm a little bit annoyed that it seems like there has to be something in it for him.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yay! A Guest Poet!!

Thank you to the Grandpa for sending this for me to share with you. Thank you, TG!!



Mocking Birds at the Site of a Former Novitiate
By the Grandpa

With random noise and gnat-like wending,
They flit against the graying west
Recalling the Holy Ghost descending,
Only small and meaning less.

What flits against the graying west,
With songs as haunting as sirens’ at sea
Are only small and meaningless
Silvery specks above the trees.

With songs as haunting as sirens’ at sea,
Their white tails echo their spreading wings
Where silvery specks among the trees
Repeated songs they heard the others sing.

Here white veils echoed the spreading wings
And recalled the Holy Ghost descending,
Repeating songs that others sang
With random noise and gnat-like wending.

© copyright 2009 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic Blog. All rights reserved.

For Lulu

Early June

Lilies'
Citrus colors
Decorate, celebrate.
We anxiously carry you home,
Newborn.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pantoum

Check out septembermom's pantoum. You'll be glad you did!

I admit that I hadn't heard of pantoums before, but after reading hers, I had to try it myself. It turns out that it is the perfect form for the suggested topic from a couple of days ago.


The Girls at the Beach in December

They wade in for wet sand
Chasing the waves away.
Castles grow and are toppled,
Chased away by waves.

They chase the waves away
With the sound of girlish giggles.
Then the waves chase them away,
Shrieking, laughing. “Help me, Daddy!”

With the sound of girlish giggles
They leave dainty footprints in the sand.
“Help me, Daddy!” they shriek, laughing
As they scatter the gulls into the wind.


Just because there's only a week and a day left in National Poetry Month, that doesn't mean you can't still get in on our poem-a-day fun. I challenge you, whether you consider yourself a writer or not, to post as many poems between now and the end of this month (and then as much as you are able when the month ends).
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