Friday, December 30, 2011

Shopping List

On my shopping list:

30 small toys for a magic fishing pond
sparklers (which might be outlawed in San Diego county but I'm crossing my fingers)
veggies and dip
glow bracelets
colored paper

Our party for tomorrow night is going from 6-8.  At 8 pm we are going to light sparklers, make a lot of noise and pretend like it's midnight.  At which point we will all go home and put our babies to bed and be in bed before midnight.

Doesn't that sound dreamy?

Happy New Year's to you as well.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

All is calm. All is bright

The chicken fajitas were amazing (we're pretty traditional at our house.  We like to save Chinese food for Easter)

And the evening was made even more perfect when Nikki, Ila and Taylor stopped by unexpectedly.

Friday, December 23, 2011

You can count on Grandpa

Yesterday Claire was running from the kitchen to the TV room (an activity she loves at my parent's house where there is so much more space than there is in our tiny apartment).  After several runs back and forth and back and forth she stayed in the TV room.  My mom and I were cooking and we could hear her chatting away with Grandpa.  Claire was conversing by mixing the few words we can understand with her near perfect impression of conversation's inflection.  Grandpa was talking in an animated voice and I thought maybe he was reading her a story when I overheard......

"Well, the next thing you know Ol' Jed's a millionaire.  Kinfolk said, 'Jed move away from there.' Said, 'Californey is the place you otta be.' So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly."

I tell her stories about three little pigs or a girl named Cinderella and Grandpa tackles the tough stories of families striking it rich and trying to fit in in new situations.

I guess it really does take a village

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When you picture Christmas this year...

Christmas eve at my parent's house has always been a musical affair.  After dinner my mother moves to the piano and the box full of jingle bells, tambourines, castanets and other clanky noise makers is passed around and we sing Christmas carols.  A couple of years ago my mom bought us all felt reindeer antlers to wear while we were singing.  Luckily, right in the middle of our celebration our friend, Tien (who is from Vietnam and understood only enough of Christmas to know that it would be important to us), came by with a gift.  My mother was thrilled.  She handed over her own reindeer antlers and a set of jingle bells.  Tien left in a hurry after a couple of songs that he had never heard before (I guess Joy to the World isn't big in non-Christian households) and has never since made the mistake of stopping by on Christmas eve.

The two grandchildren who will be attending Christmas eve at my parent's house this year are aged 1.5 and 2.5.  They are great friends and great enemies all at the same time.  For just an instant we thought about doing the nativity scene with the two of them.  Two Marys, two baby Jesuses, parents running interference but we quickly came to our senses and decided that a puppet show would be a better option.

We're using this printable (which I clearly stole.  From here) and during the course of the evening we'll be cutting out the puppets and sticking them to straws which people can hold or which we'll put into a flower pot filled with rice.

If you are interested in puppeteering we are still accepting applications though you are going up against a little girl who walks around the house pointing at everything and yelling, 'MINE" (I am actually considering making two sets just to avoid confrontation).   You can also feel free to just stop by.  Maybe there will be a set of reindeer antlers and some jingle bells in it for you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Lights

This is what it looks like when you go see Christmas lights in San Diego.

And this is what it looks like in Utah.

Once again that's San Diego

And Utah (that's a close up so you can see that Grandpa really is wearing a Russian-style military fur hat)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Club: Jane Eyre Pt 2

Didn't you love this book?  I did. This isn't the first time I've read Jane Eyre and there was something about already knowing the story that made some other things easier to spot in the book.  I've done some reading online about what other book clubs have discussed (they mostly just compare it to Pride and Prejudice and really, other than them both being written by British women I don't see too much of a connection between them.  And, for the record, they all liked P&P better.)
I'm going to list the themes that I saw in the book and a couple of thoughts on each.  Feel free to comment of these themes or whatever it is that you thought about when you read the book

Psudo-science. Ahhhh the science of Phrenology.  I loved it.  I loved how they sized up everyone's character with the shape of their heads. In some ways it reminded me of Moby Dick and Ismael's description of the whale class and family distinctions.  Everyone believes and subscribes and it is so totally wrong. I have undertaken the study of my own head shape.  Here is a helpful graphic for you to discern your own character.  

As an advertisement at the time ran--know yourself.

Gothic Novel:  This is one of the things that, in my mind, so distinguishes this from any of the Jane Austen books.  This novel is a refreshing thriller of sorts.  There's not too much blood or gore but it is tense.  The descriptions of Bertha that are things like "the clothed hyena," "the maniac," "that purple face," and "the lunatic" are downright scary.  And isn't "the clothed hyena" such a great description? 

Coming of Age:  This is another theme that distinguishes this book from the Austen books.  We get to see Jane grow up.  She goes from a young girl who yells at her Aunt Reed and is tortured by her cousins to a well educated, thoughtful, informed pleasant young lady.  I love how we get to see that in the book.  Sure, she skims over much of her Lockwood experience but we still get to see her come of age. 

Religion/God: This is a problematic area for me.  Jane refuses to go with Mr. Rochester on moral grounds but she is not really a pious person.  Jane does seem to have some mysticism in her though. She shows an uncanny knack for seeing the future.  She knows that if she goes with Mr Rochester he will fall out of love with her.  She knows that she and St John wouldn't be happy if they married.  These seem like religious premonitions but religion doesn't really play any other role in the book and the two examples we have of clergy are hardly flattering (St John and Mr Brocklehurst)

Passion and Love: I have to start out by saying that this read through any page that contained even the mention of St John was painful to read. He's just  And arrogant.  He drives me batty.  And Jane even thinking about going to India with him made me sick. 
St John is passionately in love with Mary Rivers and he won't marry her because of the passion. Jane and Rochester are passionately in love but, as I mentioned before, Jane knows that if she goes with Rochester before they are married it will be ruined. 
That being said, when Jane and Mr Rochester finally are reunited the dialogue that ensures is one of my favorite literary moments of all time. Here's just a snippet, 

"This St. John, then, is your cousin?"
"You have spoken of him often: do you like him?"
"He was a very good man, sir; I could not help liking him."
"A good man. Does that mean a respectable well-conducted man of fifty? Or what does it mean?"
"St John was only twenty-nine, sir."
"'Jeune encore,' as the French say. Is he a person of low stature, phlegmatic, and plain. A person whose goodness consists rather in his guiltlessness of vice, than in his prowess in virtue."
"He is untiringly active. Great and exalted deeds are what he lives to perform."
"But his brain? That is probably rather soft? He means well: but you shrug your shoulders to hear him talk?"
"He talks little, sir: what he does say is ever to the point. His brain is first-rate, I should think not impressible, but vigorous."
"Is he an able man, then?"
"Truly able."
"A thoroughly educated man?"
"St. John is an accomplished and profound scholar."
"His manners, I think, you said are not to your taste?--priggish and parsonic?"
"I never mentioned his manners; but, unless I had a very bad taste, they must suit it; they are polished, calm, and gentlemanlike."
"His appearance,--I forget what description you gave of his appearance;--a sort of raw curate, half strangled with his white neckcloth, and stilted up on his thick-soled high-lows, eh?"
"St. John dresses well. He is a handsome man: tall, fair, with blue eyes, and a Grecian profile."
(Aside.) "Damn him!"--(To me.) "Did you like him, Jane?"
"Yes, Mr. Rochester, I liked him: but you asked me that before."
I perceived, of course, the drift of my interlocutor. Jealousy had got hold of him: she stung him; but the sting was salutary: it gave him respite from the gnawing fang of melancholy. I would not, therefore, immediately charm the snake.
"Perhaps you would rather not sit any longer on my knee, Miss Eyre?" was the next somewhat unexpected observation.
"Why not, Mr. Rochester?"
"The picture you have just drawn is suggestive of a rather too overwhelming contrast. Your words have delineated very prettily a graceful Apollo: he is present to your imagination,--tall, fair, blue-eyed, and with a Grecian profile. Your eyes dwell on a Vulcan,--a real blacksmith, brown, broad-shouldered: and blind and lame into the bargain."
"I never thought of it, before; but you certainly are rather like Vulcan, sir."
"Well, you can leave me, ma'am: but before you go" (and he retained me by a firmer grasp than ever), "you will be pleased just to answer me a question or two." He paused.
"What questions, Mr. Rochester?"
Then followed this cross-examination.
"St. John made you schoolmistress of Morton before he knew you were his cousin?"
"You would often see him? He would visit the school sometimes?"
"He would approve of your plans, Jane? I know they would be clever, for you are a talented creature!"
"He approved of them--yes."
"He would discover many things in you he could not have expected to find? Some of your accomplishments are not ordinary."
"I don't know about that."
"You had a little cottage near the school, you say: did he ever come there to see you?"
"Now and then?"
"Of an evening?"
"Once or twice."
A pause.
"How long did you reside with him and his sisters after the cousinship was discovered?"
"Five months."
"Did Rivers spend much time with the ladies of his family?"
"Yes; the back parlour was both his study and ours: he sat near the window, and we by the table."
"Did he study much?"
"A good deal."
"Ah! here I reach the root of the matter. He wanted you to marry him?"
"He asked me to marry him."
"That is a fiction--an impudent invention to vex me."
"I beg your pardon, it is the literal truth: he asked me more than once, and was as stiff about urging his point as ever you could be."
"Miss Eyre, I repeat it, you can leave me. How often am I to say the same thing? Why do you remain pertinaciously perched on my knee, when I have given you notice to quit?"
"Because I am comfortable there."
"No, Jane, you are not comfortable there, because your heart is not with me: it is with this cousin--this St. John. Oh, till this moment, I thought my little Jane was all mine! I had a belief she loved me even when she left me: that was an atom of sweet in much bitter. Long as we have been parted, hot tears as I have wept over our separation, I never thought that while I was mourning her, she was loving another! But it is useless grieving. Jane, leave me: go and marry Rivers."
"Shake me off, then, sir,--push me away, for I'll not leave you of my own accord."
"Jane, I ever like your tone of voice: it still renews hope, it sounds so truthful. When I hear it, it carries me back a year. I forget that you have formed a new tie. But I am not a fool--go--"
"Where must I go, sir?"
"Your own way--with the husband you have chosen."
"Who is that?"
"You know--this St. John Rivers."
"He is not my husband, nor ever will be. He does not love me: I do not love him. He loves (as he CAN love, and that is not as you love) a beautiful young lady called Rosamond. He wanted to marry me only because he thought I should make a suitable missionary's wife, which she would not have done. He is good and great, but severe; and, for me, cold as an iceberg. He is not like you, sir: I am not happy at his side, nor near him, nor with him. He has no indulgence for me--no fondness. He sees nothing attractive in me; not even youth--only a few useful mental points.--Then I must leave you, sir, to go to him?"

Okay, that quote turned out to be really long.  But isn't that just so romantically perfect?

Love it.

Okay.  How did you feel about Jane Eyre?  What struck you?
And for next month we're reading A Visit From the Goon Squad.  It's back to the Pulitzer prize winners people. I just downloaded it on the new Kindle I got for Christmas.  Thanks hubbs.  You're the best. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sh** Girls Say

Have you seen this yet?


Though I would add to the "did I lock the door?" the housewife specific thought of, "did I turn off the stove?"

And really.  While she's eating the potato chips she's being WAY too still.  I know that when the hubbs and I are sitting on the couch there's a lot of wiggling.  He sometimes compares it to sitting next to an egg beater.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just another reason to love my mom

My mom retired from full time work a couple of years ago.  Before I had Claire and I was working full time she would call on a random weekday morning around 10 and ask if I wanted to go get a pedicure and lunch or see a movie.  I had to remind her that I was working and, sadly, could not just up and leave whenever I wanted.

Seeing my mom in retirement has once again reminded me that I was raised by inspiring and incredible people.  Now, when I say retirement I have to tell you that she's hardly retired at all.  She still works probably 20 hours a week as a contractor but in the free time that she does have she and her friends do yoga three times a week.  They have a private instructor who tailors the class to retired bodies.  They have a water-color painting group and they meet twice a week to paint and give feedback and instruction.  They also sometimes go on painting or yoga retreats.  My mother also reads and writes and has book clubs and a writing group to keep her busy.

The reason for our whirlwind trip to Utah last week was that the painting group was having their annual tea party and art show.  This year in addition to the several tables full of treats that were all made by hand, the art show included a book--so I guess it was their book release party as well.

Here are my mom's pages from the book (if I had more computer sense than I do I would know how to merge this together and keep the quality good enough to still read it.  As it is, that is not the case so you're stuck with two different images but at least you can read it)

Oh, please, oh please, let me be the kind of retired lady who throws elaborate tea parties and self publishes a book of my artwork and writing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book Club: Jane Eyre pt 1

So remember when we used to read and talk about books on this blog?  Me too.

The trouble is that 10 days ago Jane Eyre was walking toward the church with Mr. Rochester and I just couldn't go on.  I couldn't bear to think of the two people waiting for her inside and the terrible secret locked in the attic.

I let it sit for a few days and just this afternoon (cuddled in a chair with a heating pad and the smell of a Christmas tree wafting around me) I finished.  So can we talk about Jane next week?  Maybe on Friday?  Does that give you enough notice?

Good.  Friday it is.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Newest Blockbuster

Remember when March of the Penguins came out?  I do.  I was in graduate school and one of my roommates and I went to go see it.  We sat near the front of the theater in the small town where we lived and cried our eyes out.  Remember when the egg cracks?  Dang.  That's powerful movie making.

I feel like we could make a similarly spectacular movie entitled The Great Ornament Migration.

Because really, where have all the ornaments (and even lights) on the lower half of the tree gone?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A warning to the hubbs

The hubbs is an incredibly good man.  He works hard, helps around the house, loves playing with Claire and is a stone fox to boot.  He however, isn't without his faults.  He is terrible at pretending like he is enjoying something when he is not.  You'll know straight off if he doesn't like something you cooked right away by the gagging noises and copious amounts of water he needs to get it down.  You'll also know if you've picked an activity he doesn't like by the unreal number of eye rolls coming your way.

One activity that inspires such eye rolling is reading together--especially if it's touching and inspiring holiday stories that I'm making him read out loud.  The good news is that I have put enough time in the last three years watching college sports that he owes me {big}--so I'm going to put on my blinders to the eye rolling and read on.

Dear hubbs, get ready.  In no particular order here are the stories that we will be reading {out loud} this holiday season (get your eyeballs ready):

  • The Christmas chapter from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (the one where Francie and Neely get the tree thrown at them.  It's 26 if you're looking for it.  Warning: there are curses in it)--Betty Smith
  • A Christmas Memory--Truman Capote
  • The Gift of the Magi--O Henry
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever--Barbara Robinson

Okay literary people.  What am I missing?  What are your go-to Christmas stories.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm back

I just checked my phone to see what kind of awesome pictures I amassed while on a whirlwind trip to Utah for 48 hours (my mom and her painting friends were hosting a tea party/art showing/book review for their art work and Claire and I made the 1.5 hour plane ride to be part of the action) and there was not even a single picture there.

The newest pictures on my phone were from Saturday when we put up our Christmas tree (can Saturday really only have been 4 days ago?).  The good news is that the pictures are pretty awesome and show just how helpful of a girl Claire can be.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reality Bites

What actually happens around here:
I empty the dishwasher.
Load the breakfast dishes
Wash the hand dishes that I left soaking from dinner last night
Put the table cloth and napkins in the laundry
Get in the shower

What Claire thinks happens:
Mom plays in my favorite machine for a while and she gets to turn on the sink whenever she wants.
She loads the sink with water and plays there for a while (she doesn't let me play even though I cling to her legs and cry).
Mom heads to that other room where the machine fills with water.  (She also refuses to let me play in the water even though I cry)
Mom then goes to bathroom where she gets to play with more water while I bang on the shower door and scream.

Oh, and guess who learned to do a summersault?

Friday, December 2, 2011

She's got personality!

This article has been making it's way around Facebook. I read it earlier this week and have been thinking about it ever since.  Then this morning on Cup of Jo there was this.

I am an introvert.
The hubbs is not.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss

It's a good thing that the vast majority of my siblings refuse to read this blog because I just stumbled across the perfect Christmas gift for my sister and I am 90% sure that all of you are going to want to buy the exact same thing for your sister (unless you come from the kind of home that gives useful, appropriate gifts for Christmas in which case you will think this is crazy.  I come from a family where the greatest gift in memory is a pair of boxing nuns that our Uncle Dick sent from Chicago when I was 10.  This gift just might push Uncle Dick out of 1st place)

Behold The Sweater Boys Calendar

Men in hilariously awful sweaters striking sexy poses.

Sign. Me. Up.

You can order it here.
And all the proceeds go to help the people of Vietnam so you don't need to feel bad about ordering lots.


I am not the kind of blogger that posts every day and I don't feel the need to apologize or explain my absences but I just wanted to let you know that the reason I wasn't here yesterday is because these thighs were visiting.

Ahhhh how could I even tear myself away for one second to sit at the computer while those chunky things were kicking and cooing?  Not possible.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oh the craving.....

Is it just the fact that I am on a very strict holiday diet (to ward off the unwanted holiday pounds, make sure that I fit into my dress for the hubbs' work Christmas party and be swim suit ready for the cruise in Jan) or does this look like the most delicious bread you have ever seen in your whole dang life?

If you like amazing food and blogs written by incredibly talented bakers you should follow Caroline's blog (which is where I stole this picture).  Any of you who are not on a diet should make this and let me know how it turns out. And did you know that Cooks Illustrated had a baking version?

Baking Illustrated?!?!

Oh do not even get me started.

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's the most.....wonderful time of the year?

Do you ever feel like you're standing on the precipice of your own life?  Looking down into a canyon of activity that is deep and swirling and and terrifying and lovely?

That's how I feel about the holidays.  This two-hour nap time that I am sitting in right now (watching a movie and typing and emailing) is a small quiet window and looking out from it I can see the next two hectic weeks.  

Today I dropped off my Brother-in-law at the train station. He spent the Thanksgiving weekend with us, down from Palo Alto.  He was a wonderful guest and Claire loves him.  

Every night this week has plans.  One of my favorite cousins will be visiting with her 4 kids for the weekend (and we are so excited to see them.  Her husband is one of the hubbs' favorite people and the only person in my family who loves sports as much as he does) and next week I make a quick trip to Utah for the unveiling of the book that my mom and her painting group are putting together.  In between those events we will be decorating a tree, reading stories, making dinner and trying to figure out what to get the hubbs for Christmas (I am taking suggestions).

The frenzy is daunting but exciting (and will only be followed by another trip to Utah for Christmas and a family reunion Cruise in January).

Does anyone else feel like this about this time of year?  I love it, but sometimes just thinking about it makes me feel dizzy.


And, in a total non sequitur* here is a Thanksgiving quote my mom read to me over the phone this morning.  And some pictures of the weekend

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  
~H.U. Westermayer

*I just had to use google to figure out how to spell sequitur.  Spell check didn't know what I was talking about but google did.  Google always knows what I'm talking about.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A first time for everything

Today I ventured out into shoppingdome for the first time on a Black Friday ever.  I typically avoid the tradition like the plague and here are my reasons

1) I love sleep
2) Why would I want to spend a Friday off of work crammed into a store with a million other people?
3) Historically all of my Black Fridays have been spent in places where the weather this time of the year can be summed up as "snowy" and I don't like being cold.
4) I don't have any money to spend

The last one may seem downright Un-American but my fear of eating dog food for my whole retirement outweighs my love of cheap goods at bargain prices.

This year was a little different.  The church I belong to has this really amazing women's group called the Relief Society.  The purpose of the Relief Society is to do just like what it sounds like: provide relief.  As a group we recently read a really inspiring book about the kinds of things that women who belonged to the organization had done in times past (which included starting a hospital to specifically serve women and the disabled, raising wheat that would be sent to Europe after World War 2 to feed the starving people etc, etc etc).  After our discussion about the book one of the women in the group raised her hand and said, "This book made me want to get to work.  I haven't done anything worthy of being written about in this book."

So we decided that we are going to do our best to be book-worthy.

We still don't have a long term relief-providing project picked out (or even thought up.  We are taking suggestions) but until we do we are busying ourselves providing relief in smaller less book-worthy ways.  This Christmas we are providing care kits for families who will have to be in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on Christmas.  One of the women in our group had a baby born at 23 weeks.  Charlotte lived in the NICU for 7 months (you wouldn't know it now).  Another one of the women works at the NICU so it's a cause that's near to our hearts.

Our very own Claire spent her first 7 days in the NICU.

Hands down, the worst 7 days of my life.

I had a baby born at 41 weeks gestation.  She weighed 7lbs 15oz and I knew that her stay in the NICU would be a short one (her next door neighbor only weighed 4 lbs) and it was STILL an awful experience.  The nurses were nice, the doctors were kind but walking away from the hospital and leaving my brand new baby there with an IV taped to her head and an oxygen tube was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

On Saturday we have a service extravaganza to make everything that will be needed for the care packages.  We will be busy making baby leg warmers, blankets, silky soothing blankets and crinkly toys.  We're trying to make 40 of each.  Our children are making the cards to go with the packages*.

 Making all of those crafty things requires a lot of crafty materials.  And the one thing that could get me out of my bed and to the mall before 8 is the thought of those babies in the NICU and their moms whose hearts are breaking and who have to walk away from their brand new babies on Christmas day. So for my very first Black Friday experience I hit up Joann's Fabric.  I geared myself up for pushing ladies out of the way to get all of the flannel I needed and I loaded up my purse with snacks.

Totally unnecessary.  The cutting-line was long but you just had to take a number and wait your turn (which took about an hour). The employees were nice and everyone in line was discussing their next project.  And believe you me, when it came to buying fabric in bulk I had nothing on those ladies (yes, that is one lady's cart and pile on the counter).

Would I do it again?

Only if there's a group of babies who need our help.

*If any of you are interested in joining us for the baby-supply-making extravaganza just email me.  We could always use another pair of hands.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Without sounding all lovey-dovey-life-is-perfect like I would just like to acknowledge that I have much for which I should be thankful.

And I am thankful for you.  And this blog. And the strange and wonderful opportunity it provides me to stay in touch with old friends, meet new ones and share a little of our life story.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Something I should have thought of before this morning

My turkey is soaking in brine as we speak.  Something to think about.  If you volunteer to cook the turkey for your Friendsgiving at one point you are going to have to stick your hand inside an animal corpse and pull out its neck.  Dry heaving might ensue.

The recipe I am using (which is from Our Best Bites and you can find here) says that tomorrow I have to separate the skin from the body so as to be able to slather the thing with butter.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

I have no objection to the butter but there is no way I am going to rip the skin off and jam my hand up there. Maybe I can talk the hubbs into doing it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

That's what love is.....

Love is wanting to share your greatest successes and happiest moments with children.

You know, like your love of walking around the beach on a Monday in the middle of the work day with your metal detector.  And really, who has 4 child-sized metal detectors?  

(No, Calvin is not learning to use a metal detector.  Like most people, he is just at the beach to play in the water, dig holes and chase seagulls.  The kids with the metal detectors are behind him to the right.  Grown-up and 4 kids huddled around some kind of treasure)

If I were better at taking pictures this would have been WAY funnier.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ah.....Mr Shel Silverstein

There are days when this poem hits a little too close to home

*Someday I will tell the story of the time my sister met Shel Silverstein when she was a waitress on Martha's Vineyard.  There's cursing in the story...but only enough cursing to ensure that the interaction went down in the annuals of family history never to be forgotten.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Club: Update

This is just a little weekend note to say that Clarissa picked Jane Eyre for us to read.  There are so many things to love about Jane Eyre.
1) Mr Rochester
2) A love story where the girl is not the most beautiful girl on the block and where she is determined and follows her own heart
3) You can download it for free to any reader or mobile device.

You have 3 weeks.


Oh.  And Happy Weekend. I am just back from seeing "Breaking Dawn" with a group of ladies and it is everything you are hoping:  terrible acting, weird moody/painful glances (see below), vampires with too-white makeup, men who remain shirtless for no apparent reason and 100% wonderful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Let's call the whole thing off

Last night I had such a horrific kitchen disaster that I had to go buy new drip pans for the stove.  True story.

And, while I was yelling obscenities and pulling the pan off the stove Claire peed all over the living room carpet.

On the upside, I texted the hubbs to let him know what was happening (he was out with a friend visiting a new family in the neighborhood).  His friend sent him home with a bar of homemade man soap which I have been coveting for weeks (did you know that it takes 7+ weeks to make your own soap).

So I guess we're going to call the evening a wash.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Ritual to Read to (and parent) Each Other

At one point last night I was sitting around a table with 7 other women. Most of our children were home sleeping but some of them were playing on the floor.  We were talking and laughing and making ourselves really decadent cups of hot chocolate (mine had nutella and marshmallows in it).  There may have also been donuts present.

We were telling stories and jokes in the way that women do and the story of the one time that my friend Lu got attacked by a bear in Denali National Forrest came up (she survived the incident with nothing but some scratches but the story is incredible).  Some of us had heard the story, some had not.  Another friend said, "I took Casey (her 3-year-old) hiking the other evening and she got so scared of bears that I had to tell her your story and I reminded her of how you were protected.  When I finished it she had me tell it again."  They had been hiking on UCSD campus and the library had been visible the whole time they walked along the paved path.  We all laughed at the imagined fear of bears that a child can illicit in a major city. 

Lu cleared her throat to begin telling the story for the friends who hadn't heard it when from the corner of the table came a tiny little voice.  Casey, dressed in pink footie pajamas which she had then crammed into brown Mary Janes--the very image of Cindy Lu Hoo--started to tell her story.  It took her a few minutes to get out the details.  They had been hiking.  She was scared.  It was night.  It was dark. And when they were done their dad picked them up in the car.  As Casey was telling her story I looked around the table.  Every one of women there was completely focused on the story she was telling.  There was head nodding and verbal acknowledgement of the dramatic parts.  No one rolled their eyes as if we just had to get through this part to hear the exciting bear attack story. 

It brought me to tears.

Being a parent is humbling. 

Being in a room full of women who are taking the time and effort to collectively love and parent another child is a reminder that we don't have to do it all.  There is a whole crowd, a whole room of people who are there to help you along. 

And when I came home I read this poem:

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

William Stafford

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A picture paints....

Do remember when cell phones were just cell phones?  They didn't have the internet or cameras or anything like that?  I remember being in high school or college and seeing a TV ad about a camera on a phone.  The man was showing a girl in a bar what she could use it for.  It mostly had to do with taking pictures of unattractive men and saying to her girlfriends, "I just found your new boyfriend."

I remember thinking the ad was crazy and there were just not enough moments in the world that would necessitate a camera on a phone.

Obviously my strength is not forecasting.

Sometimes at night, after Claire has gone to bed, I scroll through pictures of her and watch videos.  Looking at pictures of herself as a baby is one of Claire's all-time favorite activities.

Here are a couple of random shots from my phone.

She's a shoe girl.  

My little brother introduced me to the Chuck Norrism.
I texted this to him last week.
I'm still waiting for a response

I also texted this to my little brother.
Also still waiting for a response

World's scariest ad that's at the gym right now.
Have we really reached a point in society where that hair is supposed to
make us want to buy things?

Camera on a phone?  Brilliant.

What about you?  What's the best picture on your phone?