Monday, March 31, 2008

Don't Mess with the Redhead

Elena just yelled at my dad since he interrupted her. She put her hands on her little hips, set her jaw, and saltily snapped back:

"BOPPA! You just got right in the middle of my question!"


I Have Teeth Again!

I am happy to report that as of 9:30 this morning, I have "teeth" in my gap. The temporary bridge is installed. I was a bit punchy at the dentist, having hopped out of bed, rushed around to get ready and be there at 8 am. It was actually sort of fun and funny. When I got there, I said to the doctor, "I took three Advil, I know you're going to be drilling around in there, it's not going to be a problem, is it?"

He chuckled, smiled his twinkly smile, patted my arm sweetly and said, "Awwww, honey, not at all, we have Vicodin and Valium here if you want to be even MORE comfortable."

Now THAT'S a dentist!

My teeth are a teensy bit crooked, but I keep reassuring myself that this is a temporary prosethic, so I shouldn't worry. My mom got a haircut last week and the bangs were cut too short and slanted downhill, I keep telling her my teeth are just like her haircut. Can you see what I mean about the crookedness, or am I just being picky?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Need to Clear Something Up

Apparently, in my drug induced posting last night, I failed to mention that I will indeed be getting a replacement set of teeth for the gap. I go tomorrow morning at 8 AM to get a temporary bridge, and then, in six months or so, I get a permanent one affixed. I don't know too many more details, but when it comes to big dental work like this, I am better not knowing. I just show up and and am along for the ride. I am truly happier that way.

From the looks of that area of my mouth right now, however (and you will have to excuse the ridiculously poor joke here), this new dental appliance will be like a bridge over troubled waters.

ACK! Postscript! I just went and googled bridges! ACK! Scary process ahead! Stay tuned. I should have followed my own advice and just gone with the flow. ACK!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Toothless and Fancy Free...

Well, minus the fancy free part. I am, however, toothless in one part of my mouth. I had teeth #9 and #10 extracted on Thursday. For all the dentists who read my blog, you know which teeth these are. For everyone else, if you are staring at me it is my front right big tooth (#9) and the adjacent bicuspid (#10). I would break out the picture of the sockets, but nobody would be happy with that. In fact, I suspect I would get hate mail.

As part of this wonderful experience, I have been on Percoset. This immediately transports me to the feeling of recuperation after each of my c-sections. Happy, pain-free, spacey, drowsy, and completely out of it. I think my friend put it best when she described being on painkillers after having her wisdom teeth pulled as "losing days." I feel like I am in the midst of my own lost weekend over here.

Plus, to add to the weirdness, I seem to be obsessed with looking at myself in the mirror and oogling my swollen face. I look like I have the mumps. I have been, affectionately of course, calling myself Ratboy after the main character in the 1986 movie of the same title. In short, my face and sinus are so swollen that I look like I am wearing a prosthetic rodent nose. Add to that the fact that I am missing two teeth, so the one I have left sort of sticks out. I can do a mean impression of Ratboy.

So, due to my medicated state and this funny comparison, I find myself saying things like,
"Ratboy hungry!"
"Ratboy loves Percoset."
"Ratboy is in a little bit of pain."

My mom asked me why I had to be Ratboy and I couldn't be Ratgirl. Because there was no ratgirl, duh!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Good Craugh

In our family, we have a family tradition of craughing. This is a combination of laughing and crying. It happens when you are so tickled by something that you laugh so hard you start spurting tears. Anyhow, we all had a good craugh together tonight over this test.

I took the test and it said I was left brained. I am not always the most analytical, but I usually test in the middle on these types of tests.

Then, my dad took it and the ballerina was going the other way! I was incredulous! Dad is a CREATIVE TYPE? Well, he is somewhat creative in many ways and he is like me. Maybe I am just jealous that I was not right brain.

Both Dad and I entertained each other for quite a few minutes by watching the ballerina turn. Then, we realized we could get her to shift direction. That was more good clean fun.

Then Mom took it and she was just like me. Only that darn ballerina would only turn counter-clockwise for Mom. It wasn't a big deal until my Dad was calling out from the other room:

"She's going clockwise now...wait, wait, she's turning the other way. Oh...wait! She's switching at the half turn!"

Ok, ok, show-off. She's doing the hokey-pokey. Obviously, your brain is a finely tuned machine that you can switch from left to right at will. Bravo Dad!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Or Maybe, Idiot Savant?

I just posted about my dense beauty, my little grunting boy. He, like his sister, has been a bit on the slow side acquiring language and instead, relies on a sort of combination of hand signals, grunts, physical pushing and inflected "question" noises. Oh, that and the word NO which he has down pat.

Anyhow, tonight, he walked up to my laptop, pointer finger rigidly outstretched and questioned me about the keyboard. Mmmmmmnnnnnhhhhh??? Mmmmmmnnnnnnhhh??? He said while pointing at various things on the screen or keyboard. Then, all of a sudden, that precise little finger hovered right over the number nine key, pressed it repeatedly while he annouced, clear as a bell, "NINE...NIIIIIINE....NIIIIIIIIINE."

"Um...Yes Liam, that is the number nine. HOW THE HECK DID YOU KNOW THAT?"

The rest of the evening I have had the Beatles White Album refrain from the tripped out version of Revolution in my head...Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine...

My Little Dense Beauty

My sister coined that term for Liam, because he is not the most communicative of children. He seems to have gotten all the looks and is not long on the smarts. He's engaging and sweet, loving and outgoing, but just plain hard to understand.

Ump! Die! Ain!
Does that not sound like he is reaching back to his Germanic language roots? He seems to be dropping all the first consonants from his "words" (I hesitate to call them that when they are a bit more like "sounds with some context").

Anyhow, Ump! Die! Ain! are used quite frequently. See if you can figure them out. I won't expect miracles, however, since it took me a good week to figure the third one out. Have fun with the dense beauty challenge!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Elena's Opinionated Animals

Elena has taken to assigning her feelings to her animals. I think she has done this off and on for a long time, but it seems to have reached a peak lately. Over the last week, the "sensitive" animals have expressed love, neediness, dislike, fear, unhappiness and anger for Elena.

"My animals are tired and DO NOT want to see anybody right now. They need to be sleeping. They are in cranky moods."

"My animals need to be taken care of, I am going to be very busy today taking care of my animals."

"My animals are very afraid of Grammy Gill"...and then, "My animals are going to be MAD at Grammy Gill." (poor Grammy Gill seems to get the brunt of the animal fury). Often when Grammy and Grampy Gill are planning on coming Elena is VERY busy. "I am going to be VERY busy later when Grammy and Grampy come taking care of my animals." Those needy animals are always stealing her away from her grandparents Gill.

My favorite was when the sitter came on Saturday and she was completely thrilled to see her, she said, "Loosa (Melissa)!! Today is my lucky day! I don't have to take care of my animals!" (with the I can spend the WHOLE day focused on and playing with you).

Tonight she is clearly happy and loving Easter she is preparing eggs to hide for her animals because, "This is what I am 'posed to do for my animals on Easter! My animals like eating jelly beans." (you don't say?)

A little while ago she came up to me with the stuffed bunny she got in her Easter basket and said, "My bunny loves me and my bunny loves you, Mommy."

I sure love my bunny.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lady Macbeth Dyes the Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs 08 096, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

Easter egg dye is the debil. I have been doing silk tie egg dyeing/dying (sp? which is it?), Tonight we had some friends over to dye eggs the old fashioned way. When I said not to worry about getting her hands in the dye a bit, this is NOT what I meant.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Where's the Nard?

Last night I attended our Maundy Thursday service. This is a service where we celebrate Jesus' last night on earth, as a mortal. Wednesday night's gospel told of the first Christian who annoints Jesus with nard, a very precious ointment.

He was staying in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper. And while He was at the table, a woman came in with an alabaster vial of pure nard ointment. Very expensive. She broke open the alabaster vial, and poured it on His head.

Now some became outraged among themselves, saying, “Why was this ointment wasted? It could’ve been sold for over three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her.

But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are you causing her trouble? She has done a good thing to Me. You will always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want. But you will not always have Me.

“What she was able to do, she has done. She has anointed My body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever this Good News is proclaimed, in all the world, what she has done will also be told, as a memorial to her.”

Then, last night, Maundy Thursday, we celebrate the eucharist and we wash each others' feet. We imitate Mary's actions at the last supper when she washed Jesus' feet and wiped them dry with her hair.

When we got ready to get our feet washed, I took off my shoes. I had stinky feet! Horrors! I was embarassed. I found myself thinking about that vial of nard and how we needed something to cover up the smell of our feet...our humaness. But then I realized that having stinky feet probably heightened my sense of humility in the moment. And that was a good thing.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tie Dyed Silk Tie Dyed Eggs

I love this time of year. I love dying Easter eggs. I love Easter services. Tonight we dyed a test batch since tomorrow night I am having a small Easter egg dying party. I bought some of the regular dye for those who like a more traditional egg, but I also hit up the Goodwill store to pick out a bunch of silk ties for egg dying. I did this last year and was thrilled with the outcome...this test batch was G-R-E-A-T. See what you think:

Easter Eggs 08 close up 7

Easter Eggs 08 close up 6

Easter Eggs 08 close up 4

Easter Eggs 08 close up 5

Easter Eggs 08 close up 3

Easter Eggs 08 close up 2

Easter Eggs all in bowl

Easter Eggs Vertical

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Meme - Words you Love, Words you Hate

I take my cue from Shelly's blog here. She created a meme about words you hate and words you love. Really simple. Turns out my family is sort of obsessed with this particular discussion topic. I can tell you right now that MOIST is at the top of my sister's most hated list. I used to know a bunch more hated and loved, but hopefully they will pipe in with comments and leave their favorites or least favorites there for the record.

Merriam-Websters did their own study of favorite words and came out with this list:
2004 Top Ten Favorite Words

Anyhow, without further ado, my assignment:

5 words you love:
GARROULOUS (not because I am, but because of the sound of it)
TACIT and TACTILE (there is something about the sound of them)

5 words you loathe:

A word you use way too often:

A word you can't stand to hear mispronounced:
I pretty much agree with this whole list.
And, another, it's a phrase actually, "CHAMPING AT THE BIT" SO many people say "CHOMPING AT THE BIT"
Oh, and a shout out for my sister who hates, ORIENTATED.

Words that are new to you and their definitions:
APHORISM. From the Greek word aphorismos, meaning ''definition.'' Aphorism: poetic form of definition.

QWERTY. We can dispatch of qwerty quickly, for it is the word to describe the typewriter keyboard (the top row of letters from left to right).

FROTTON. The word frotton is on the list--and is taken from printing. It is a "dabber or burnisher used to press the damp sheet upon the inked block." The frotton is a small cushion of cloth stuffed with wool. But the French word frotter means to rub, and because the early 20th century was obsessed with sex (any different from today?), the root frott increasingly became used to speak about sexual perversions or "rubbings." Though frotton was coined in the 1870s, it was driven out of use by Ellis's book on the psychology of sex (1933) where he said: "The special perversion of frottage..consists in a desire to bring the clothed body, and usually though not exclusively the genital region, into close contact with the clothed body of a woman." It is, a later writer tells us, a "morbid development of the normal sexual excitatory effects of touching."

Another blog meme asks:

what are your favourite words, and why?
what does that tell us about you?
write about it on your blog and invite other bloggers to write about it.
link back to this blog (change therapy at and i’ll
gather the words and contributors in a list and publish it
stumble your “favourite word” post (as long as they meet my stumble criteria, which shouldn’t be difficult with a post like this)

I will handle that one later!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Zen and the Art of Bob Ross

Bob Ross slays me. I mean he totally cracks me up. He's the perfect blend of simple and amazing, interesting and dull, talented and trite. He's famous for his lexicon of silly little painting terms..."happy little trees" and "a nice gentle cloud that pops right out there." His show is punctuated by the sound of him thwacking his brush against the legs of his easel in the most comical way. He paints for thirty minutes and completes an oil painting that could easily feel at home in an art sale at the local Hilton on a Saturday.

I am watching Bob Ross right now with my father. Below are actual quotes from the show I am watching. However, if you haven't seen him before, you owe it to yourself to catch him on PBS or cable tv some night.

"Work in layers, one at a time, one at a time, don't get greedy."
"Maybe we just put some dirt in there, some rocks and twigs. Whatever, whatever. Let that float along, barely touching. That's right...perfect"
"This tree needs to really pop out. Let's go back in and give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend. You know I always say that...everybody needs a friend."
"This brush is not as much fun to clean off as the big one. I like to clean the big one and everyone back stage goes running."
"I get a lot of letters about my easel, asking if they could have an easel like I have. This one is just an old ladder! You can make one at home."

I tried to find a video for you on youtube, but alas, he is so easily ridiculed, there are almost exclusively Bob Ross parodies out there, instead of his real shows. It's a tragedy.

When Dad is stressed at all, Bob Ross is his refuge. I remember his interest in this show in the early 80's and then the late 90's, both challenging times in my father's career. Now is another challenging time. So, almost as a harbinger of the recession, Bob Ross has been coming more and more frequently to our tv set. It's the art and the amazing way he puts color onto the canvas, but it's also the hushed, hypnotic tones with which he speaks. Right now, I can almost not hear him for my dad's gentle breathing beside me. He's asleep. Thank you, Bob Ross for relaxing my father. R.I.P.

I'm So Tired

Cue the Beatles' song of the same name. I am just having one of those very sleepy weeks. I suppose it could be the rip roaring weekend we had. My father's band, Intraction, had its debut gig. Dad was calling it a "coming out" party until we recommended that he use some different lingo to describe it. Anyhow, it was very cool to see my dad wielding a 1971 Fender Precision bass and making music. They were good, too! It's always a little awkward when you invite over a hundred of your family, friends and acquaintances, but the band proved worthy.

Dad said one of his friends left him with the comment, "It's great to come to an event like this with low's really easy to be blown away. You were great!" Not so sure that's the highest compliment I've ever heard, but hey, the rockstar liked it, so that's all that matters. (There was actually a little discussion in the family about that comment. The crux of the contention was: Would it make you happier to hear that you did a great job in comparison to low expectations or high expectations?) No matter, though, a great time was had by all. See what you think...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Momzilla Archive

Since I figure I may always be posting stories about my ex-mother-in-law I would like to reprise some previous tales of Momzilla from years past. I am so looking forward to the day when my divorce is final and I can get (somewhat) free from her double-taloned hold and screeching voice...So, without further ado, I give you Momzilla:

Originally posted in August of 2006...Momzilla Comes for a Visit

My mother-in-law is Momzilla. She's just horrid to her son. She's alright to me because she believes I am "a bit of a take-charge girl." I'm sure she talks about me behind my back, because she does that to everyone. She is just really unhappy in her own skin, so she has to come down on every other living soul around her. The only one in our family who is exempt is Elena. Thank God, because if she ever levied a blow at my baby, I would tear Momzilla limb from limb.

Last night they came over to visit the baby. By the time I got home from work, and they had only been there one hour, poor Patrick was a complete frazzled mess. The average person pushes Patrick's buttons. His mother plays ragtime on his. She knows every weakness and insecurity and preys upon them like a velociraptor. She frames lines of questioning meant merely to back him (or me) into a corner. An example would be these exchanges from last night:

MZ: "Patrick, you're working now?"
P: "Yup."
MZ: "What days?"
P: "Not sure, it changes every week."
MZ "You have to be more clear with them. They will take advantage of you!"
P: "No Mom, they know what times I can work and what times I can't, they are setting the schedule up to accomodate."
MZ: "Why are you not the one setting the schedule? You should be managing that store!"
P: "I don't want to manage the store."
MZ: "I don't understand why you could be so unambitious and lazy."
P: "Mom, I am not lazy. I watch Elena."

Then later to me:
MZ: "Does your mom come down to help Patrick out with watching Elena?"
Me: "Yes, most days she comes for a few hours in the afternoon."
MZ: "Why?"
Me: "To give Patrick some time off and to spend time with her grandaughter."
MZ: "What does he do while she is watching Elena?"
Me: "He'll run errands, do a project, take a nap...I don't..."
MZ: "WHAT!? A nap? I watched three children and never needed a nap. What is wrong with him? He's soooo lazy!"
Me (warning: I LOST MY SHIT!): "Mary! Please don't put your son down anymore in front of me. I love him dearly and I want you to know that he is an excellent husband and father."
MZ: "But...I don't put him..."
Me: "Yes YOU DO! You roll your eyes. You call him lazy. You say he is not using his schooling. You put down the fact that he is home with Laney. I love him and you are hurting my feelings. Please, please stop."


Post Date: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2005
Mary Popped In

Yesterday, Momzilla (my mother-in-law see previous post here) called around eleven in the morning to see what we were up to and to see if she could come visit "her" baby. Well, I said, you can, but I have a friend coming into town and we are going to go shop, walk, eat, so if we are not home, we should be back by three or four. Oh, she said, I'll call you when I know if we are going to take a drive down or not. OK, I said.

Fast forward to 4:40 PM. I am feeling safe and sound. Melissa and I are sitting on the couch sharing the laptop screen, looking for boutiquey costumes for Elena. I decide that in order to be a good hostess, and to have an excuse to break my diet, I will prepare a peach cobbler. Being a very good wife and mother, a few weeks ago, I peeled and sliced about twenty ripe, sweet fleshed, local-grown peaches and froze them. I pulled them out, made an oat and brown sugar topping and put it in the oven. Fifteen minutes from peach cobbler showtime, I heard a horrifying sound.

It was a loud knock at the door. I was secretly hoping it was the pesky UPS man who annouced his arrival in that same manner. My hopes were dashed when the door opened on its own. My in-laws had popped in. Despite the fact that I was in pretty good shape, awake, showered, dressed, baby dressed, baby not wearing ugly stained outfit, baby napping, coffee brewing, sweet smells filling kitchen, peach cobbler timer dinging...I was still put off by their showing up unannounced. I knew there was a "chance" of them taking a drive down to our neck of the woods, but I kept playing the earlier phone conversation over and over again in my head to see if I had missed when she said they would be down and that they would not call first.

My mother-in-law prefers the pop-in. The pop-in should be outlawed. Pop-ins are always unwelcome. Today, for example, I stayed up late with friends last night. We even slept over at their house and then got up early and, although it was fun, I was completely bankrupt of all energy. As we were all crawling out of the car and into the house and into our napping positions, Derek-from-down-the-street came riding by on his bike and shouted to us. Please GOD, let him just be saying hello. Please GOD, make him stop talking and GO AWAY. I had three bags of overnight luggage and groceries hanging off my arms, one half-asleep trundling baby and one grouchy husband at the self-proclaimed "end of his rope." We finally herded the whole family inside, sans Derek and I wanted to cry I was so happy to be home.

I had a sudden need to use the bathroom (the kind that being back in your own home will inspire) and proceeded to spend some time in there. DING DONG...OH NO!!! Yes, the doorbell. It was Derek. "I can pat your dog?" Damn pop-ins.

Post Date: SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2006
Big Underpants

This one goes out to my friend Tiff. She's had a bit of a rough month, so this story is dedicated to her sense of humor. She once told me that mere mention of the word underpants can send her into hysterics. It comes from a high school variety show where one of her peers did a comedy act centering around the word "underpants." Classic Tiff. This is the story of some underpants...some BIG ASS panties.

So one day, my in-laws came over. They come over a lot and visit with Elena and help us out. My mother-in-law is a primo bargain hunter so she always has a few gifts to share. This particular visit, she had been to the local Filenes which was closing. They had "slim-pickings," but she was able to find a few things. She brought me a bra that could have doubled as a baby sling for the new baby. I think it was a 44 DD. I may be a bit more buxom while pregnant, but no where NEAR that size. I politely declined saying that lace bras with padding make me itch. Phew...that was a near miss.

She rummaged in the Filenes shopping bag some more and produced three pairs of underpants. I was looking down at the time, going through some pictures. She annouced that these were for when I "get big and pregnant." They were a size 12. Well, size 12 is smaller than my regular size of pants. Apparently, underwear are sized very differently. A size 8 is the equivalent of a size 16 pants size. So, a 12 is a touch bigger...Here is what a size 12 in underpants looks like:

Post Date: SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2006
Painting the House

I don't really know if it's appropriate that I write a vent here about my in-laws, but I've done it before, so why stop now?

Anyhow, for awhile now the in-laws have been making their visits when I am at work. This is nice because I either don't have to see them or I get to come home for a short visit, which is just enough. Well, Momzilla is on a campaign to get us to move out of this house. She is convinced that we have to paint the house if we ever want to sell it. So, she has offered to pay for the painting of the house, inside and out. Very kind offer, right?

Well, you would think so, wouldn't you? There are parameters to the offer:
1) It must be done by THEIR painter
2) It must be done quickly
3) We will owe them the money or it will be a gift depending on the conversation

The conversation we had yesterday went like this:
Me, "$7000 is too much money. We can't be on the hook to you for that much money. We'll never be able to pay you back."

MZ, "It's a gift to you. You don't have to pay us back."

Me, "Well, if it's a gift, I would rather we take the money to use for maternity leave, so I don't have to sell my car to pay for my time off."

MZ, "We don't have $7000 just floating around!"

Me, "Then don't paint our house for us! I would never ask you to! I haven't even talked to Patrick about it, so we will have to discuss it and decide, but I do not think I can accept's just too much."

MZ, "Well, I have to tell the painter NOW. He would come and do the painting in two weeks."

Me, "If the answer has to be today, then it is no."

MZ, "When can you have an answer? Maybe we should just do the interior stuff, that's only $1200."

Me, "Maybe, we'll see. I have to talk to Patrick and I would want to get another quote."

MZ, "Well, this guy was going to do a lot of repairs."

Me, "I was wondering because $7000 seemed like an awful lot for a little house. I would rather paint it ourselves or give a credit to a buyer when we do go to sell it. It's seems frivilous to do it at this point. It's not urgent."

MZ, "Oh! You have a lot of rot and mildew! It's in bad, bad shape."

Me, "I just don't want to think about this right now while I am 8 months pregnant! I can't imagine cleaning the house to be able to enable ceiling painting throughout. Just let me talk to Patrick about it."

MZ, "But, I want you out of this house and neighborhood."

UGH!! Yes, I know you want us out of this neighborhood. I know you don't like diversity and want us to move away from it. I know you look at our neighbor, who is a 16 year-old hispanic girl and imagine she is a crack whore. She's not, she's a good girl. "But, I saw her hanging all over BOYYYYYYYYS," you hiss. That's what 16 year-olds do!

OK readers, what the hell do I do?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Momzilla Behind the Wheel

Momzilla, Magilla, the mother-in-law still drives. She has had cataracts removed recently which SHOULD, in theory, have alleviated some of the seeing issues that have made that pesky chore of driving at night NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE! Ugh...How do you stop someone who is super stubborn and bossy from driving? That, my friends, is the question.

One day, I was driving with the soon-to-be-ex-husband and we came up to an interesection. Across the way was Momzilla, edging out into the intersection, looking ticked off that the cars speeding by didn't part like the Red Sea for her. We watched as she inched forward more and more until she was hanging out in the interesection. It was frightening. It was devestating when we realized our daughter was in that car with her. I would argue with her, but honestly folks, that requires some degree of fortitude I just don't have in me right now.

Elena has only twice gotten car sick. Both times in her car. You know why? She has a lever-foot acceleration problem. Have you ever driven with someone who you figure must have a hinge in the middle of their foot because they push down on the accelerator, only to back off again, push down again, off again. It makes for a ride far more like a boat on rough seas than a Jeep riding down a smoothly paved highway. It makes me instantly sick.

And yet, this woman is the world's best projector of EVERY driving issue. It is not HER fault, it's that idiot or this moron who has no idea how to drive. It's that car up there going so fast, weaving in and out that made it hard for her to merge onto the highway (not, of course, the fact that she freaks out merging onto said highway and backs off the accelerator). She's highly critical of anyone else's driving. Suffice to say, I cannot drive her anywhere without her gripping the dashboard, drama-style, a panicked, incredulous face turned towards me, "You ALMOST didn't make that turn!" Anytime I coming up to their house, it is a game for me to figure out when to call to make it appear as if I drove the speed limit or under the whole ride, or I will get an earful. "You must have drove like a bat out of hell to get here!" "My goodness!!! How fast did you go? You're going to get a ticket."

To all that I reply, people in glass know the rest.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Few Funnies

Liam has a car toothbrush. I thought this was a great idea, initially,, until you focus on the fact that my son likes to brush teeth IN the bathtub and gets confused as to whether it is a toothbrush or a car. I got kind of grossed out tonight as he was "driving" it the grout of the bathtub.

I was sitting doing work today in my room. Elena was jumping on my current "bed." I put bed in quotes because I am currently sleeping around at my parents' house (where I, embarassingly enough, live)...the bed, to which she was referring, is the playroom futon where I logged a few nights this week while Sissy was in town. This futon broke a few weeks ago, so "futon" isn't the exact right description of it, no, it more like a floor pad. Anyhow, I was sitting at my computer doing my work and I heard, "Mommy, I peed on your bed last night, but that's ok, wight?" Sigh...I suppose it's fine, Elena. Here she is, snuggling in my "bed":

Must publish...eighteen-month-old attack...............ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Monday, March 10, 2008

Commemorating Sister

Today my sister is 32. She was a bicentennial baby. I remember well when she came to live with us. She was hardly impressive at first, just stealing Mom's lap and attention, but over time that all changed. We became friends.

When she was born, I was just going to kindergarten. Soon after, I would learn to read and read books to her all the time. We would take our evening bath together at night and she would laugh at my splashing silliness. So many pictures snapped over the next years would capture her beaming face, squished in the crook of my arm or squeezed in a sideways hug. On Saturday mornings, we could be found making graham crackers with peanut butter for breakfast and trying to avoid waking our parents as we would sneak down to watch our favorite Saturday morning cartoons. (Anyone remember Fred and Barney Meet the Schmoo?)

She would always be up for my games and shenanigans. She was a captive audience when I wanted to sing, dance or put on a show. Then, she would become the best at putting on shows ever, far surpassing her less theatrically-inclined sister! She and I would seek out fun wherever we went, swimming in the Lake, sliding down the stairs on a crib mattress, playing with Dad's microphones, destroying the house with "Mandy and Jenny" and their escapades. She was the best gift my parents ever gave me!

So, this weekend as we celebrated her birthday with a big karaoke bash, I watched with pride as she put on a show for us. As she had done for me, so many times before. I was proud. She was gorgeous and talented and it was wonderful.

We were sisters before we were friends, but friends we are and friends we will always be. Happy Birthday, Sissy!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I Knooooooooow, Riiight?

I have a new visitor. It's kind of like a disease. It's contagious like a yawn or a childhood illness.

It's a simple, three-word phrase I picked up after spending time with a friend who uses said phrase...

I know, right?

It came on like a pox. First once, then twice, then several times. As I got tired, and over stimulated (not that that happened at all, what with going to Foxwoods, getting no sleep, partying in Boston...nah...), it came on full force, a full-blown infection.

Every conversation I have had for the last two days has been interrupted by this new invader. Apparently, my tired, involutary mind is convinced that, "I know, right?" is the perfect insertion into any conversation. My voluntary mind, however, is warring against it. So, now, I sound like I have Tourettes Syndrome.

My sister: "We have to do another about Buttercup, it rocks!"

My Involutary Mind: "I know, right?"

My Voluntary Mind in my head: OH NO! SHUT UP! There it is again. I totally wish I could stop saying that!

Me, out loud: "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr..."

My sister: "Eventually, you will give it up, it can't go on forever!"

I know, right?

When Beaches Attack

You know when you have a really bad cut or scar and you can't stop staring at it, desptite the fact that it nauseates you? That's sort of what our tv selection has been like this morning. We just spent an hour of time, we will never get back (mind you), watching When Beaches Attack. It was entertaining. Apparently, I should never go on a beach vacation again, due to the potential sea lice infestation waiting to pepper my bathing suit area with embarassing spots, or the rip tide lurking just offshore.

The show was entertaining. From the man who talked about drowning in deadpan monotone, to the guy who described a jellyfish sting as a "jack-in-the-box which, instead of holding a fun little puppet, holds and surprises with a venom-filled harpoon." (I'm paraphrasing here) He actually mimed spinning the handle on the side of the jack-in-the-box and sang the song...doo, doo, doot, doo, doo, doo, doo, doot, doo, doot, doo, doot, doo, doot, doo, doo, doot. It was great.

My favorite part of the show, though, was the expert who was featured giving his opinion on every hazard. He was the voice of gloom and doom, mixed with a firm mastery of the obvious. He cracked me up. First, he was so boring. How can you take someone seriously when they are talking about how beach pollution can kill?

I found I spent the whole time imagining how little fun all these experts would be on a "beach vacation." Can you imagine the scene with their families? I can imagine being the wife..."OK hon, that is ENOUGH about the damn e coli! You're scaring the kids!!"

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Feeling Like a Real Growing-Up

I cannot tell you how incredibly free I feel today. I am in Boston WITHOUT THE KIDDOS!!! Thursday night, I dropped them off with the in-laws and their dad. They happily separated from me. There was only one, possibly even imagined, moment when Liam came at me as I was leaving and seemed sad to see me go. He had his arms outstretched and hugged me, leaned against me, and said, "Nooo" in a quiet little voice. He then tried to throw himself out the door with me, but other than that, it was a smooth getaway.

I went home, had a night of sleep. I cannot say a GOOD night of sleep. I awoke at one thirty and could not fall back to sleep until four. I think I was mostly excited by the prospect of time alone, a business meeting three hours away in the morning and a weekend of fun with my sisters, celebrating the middle one's birthday. It made me realize how important it is to refuel now and then with some ME time.

I got in the car the next morning at seven thirty and hit the road with a new music mix. It was darn near heaven. The weather put on quite a stunning show for me, it seemed. First, everything was shrouded in a high fog, hills and trees coquettishly showed their outline, like a women in fine cotton sans slip. Then, the sun began to break through in motes, rays that look as close to a manifestation of the Holy Spirit as I could ever imagine. By the end of the trip, there was a blinding sun in a cheerful blue sky. It reminded me of a six-year-old's depiction of "sunny day."

The meeeting went well. Met Sissy for lunch of sushi, other Sissy joined us and we got the hairbrained idea to head out to Foxwoods. Not so much hairbrained as AWESOME. It was so fun. Broke-even in the end, but that was after four hours of playing and lovely dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. I feel like such a "groing-up" (which my sister has just informed should be "growing-up").

So, I leave you to continue my growing-up weekend with a karaoke birthday party. What song shall I sing this evening?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Liam's Road to Nowhere Part II

See the first blog for the story, but here is the video:

Splish Splash

Liam was taking a bath...

God Validation

I love the moments in my life of God validation...when instead of imagining God as an overarching ruler hanging out, separated from me by a universe. In these moments, I feel Him here, close, reaching down and stroking my hair as my mother would. It's a wonderful feeling, to be open enough to feel a moment like this. It reminds me of the warmth and elation associated with the first days of spring, when the sun is warm on your face and the breeze still refreshingly cool. These moments say, "Do not worry, I will provide."

My first God validation was when I was about twenty-seven years old. I was working for a company in Manhattan and it was my first real, groing-up job. (groing-up is what my three-year-old calls grown-ups and I just love it!). About four blocks South of my office was a church called Grace Church. I found it, by the grace of God, starting attending, by the grace of God and rediscovered the Christian part of me that craved church. I found community and a spiritual home there. These, however, were not my God Validation moment. My moment came one day, during a Good Friday service, where the ministers of my Episcopal church, and several others in the city, were preaching on the various Lenten readings.

One of the readings, was the story of Jesus' baptism. The minister talked about how we are loved by God and repeated the line, "You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased." And, for the first time, I felt this unconditional love. This was my first time God was validated for me. This moment was spiritual, logical and emotional, all at once. I ended up in tears. Crying for the grace of a God who saw me, His broken little beloved, as pleasing to Him.

Fast forward to last night. I promised a friend of mine, who is going through some difficulties, that I would pray for her at this lovely little healing service I attend on Wednesday nights at St. Stephen's Church in Ridgefield. I went up for healing, was annointed with oil, and I prayed for her heart to heal, for her boys, for her anger to dissipate. It was today that the validation came. I almost broke into tears, as she relayed the story to me of how she had had a turnaround evening last night. I said to her, "Oh my! Remember when I said I would pray for you? That was last evening." He is good. He is there. God Validation.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Antique Dress-Up

The other day, I came down to find Elena wearing a dress that my grandma had made for me when I was three or four. She had it on in, um, her own style as only Elena can do.

Then, in preparation for Easter, we pulled out some of the family smocked dresses and tried them on for Easter. Elena fits in about four of them at present. Here she is now and in the dresses in the past...I even found one of her aunt wearing one of the dresses!

Elena at one in a dress:

Elena at two in a yellow one:

Elena yesterday:

Aunties in dresses:

I just love these dresses and I have so much fun imagining my great grandmother (the original Grammy) making and hand smocking these dresses. I picture them sitting in a fancy living room, rich, Easter-egg colored fabrics draped around, cutting out little-girl shapes and hand stitching them together. What conversations might they have had while they sewed? Was it a "stitch and bitch" session about husbands who irritate and annoying housework? Were they in quiet reverie? I long to be there for just a moment, to peek into the past. But alas, I am relegated to fingering the soft, aged cotton and imagining.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

It's 9:14 AM and 20 Degrees Outside

And I'm contemplating taking the kiddos out to play. I just heard my sister call from upstairs, "Are you losing it?" which was evidence that I am, indeed, losing it. The kids are at such difficult stages. Liam is fully in that pre-two-year-old-wants-everything-and-wants-it-now stage and Elena has lately completed all the requirements for her sibling rivalry badge.

The day goes something like this. Wake up. Get Liam up. While I am getting Liam up, Elena comes into the room, shouting "NO WEEUM, DON'T [fill in the blank here with ANYTHING he is doing]." I have to keep them away from each other to keep her from hurting him and keep him from bursting into huge fits of rage, tears and screaming. He's my vocal child. Crying for him is not a quiet effort. It's a cacophony of screams and wails. You would think someone had parked a pick-up truck on his foot with the amount of noise he makes.

Eventually, something will trigger the screams, and being non-verbal (although very LOUD in his non-verbalness as I may have mentioned), the fit will ensue. This when I pretty much want to check myself into the looney bin. Then, Elena decides it's time to throw in her two-cents. I think she is actually picking up on my distress and trying to stop it, but in her three-year-old brain, the best way to stop it is to yell, even louder than Liam, at him.

So, I now have one screaming child and one bossing screaming child competing for air space. Sometimes, I can tune it out and sing "la la la" in my head. Other times, and I know full well that this is NOT the best method for curbing the behavior, I yell louder than all of them.

My lungs are bigger.

My voice is louder.

And, I am scarier, so they cry...and I cry...and then, the air is cleared and things seem to right themselves.

Does everyone have these devolultions?

There's Just So Much about Autism...

...that we are still learning. Great article here.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I, Me, Mined

All through the day, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
All through the night, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Now they're frightened of leaving it
Everyone's weaving it
Coming on strong all the time
All through the day I me mine

I-I-me-me-mine, I-I-me-me-mine
I-I-me-me-mine, I-I-me-me-mine

All I can hear, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Even those tears, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
No-one's frightened of playing it
Everyone's saying it
Flowing more freely than wine
All through the day I me mine

I-I-me-me mine, I-I-me-me mine
I-I-me-me mine, I-I-me-me mine

I am constantly getting this song wedged in my head. It's mostly because this is my life now. Having two kids, two years apart, makes everything, be it toy, scrap of paper, piece of trash, unwanted bread crust, errant newspaper, clipping of toenail, or A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G, a precious commodity to be battled over. Elena can be seen streaming through the house screaming at the top of her lungs, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! THAT'S MINED!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (I have to spell the way she says, because it makes her serious emphasis of it that much more ridiculous. She continues, "LIAM, THAT IS MY NAPKIN! YOU CANNOT HAVE IT!!!!"

I have not found a magic solution for this behavior yet. My parental instinct is to heave a huge sigh and look crestfallenly (if that can be an adverb) at these two little cherubs whom I birthed. Can you two do nothing but snark at each other? Can you not don a sharing spirit and love each other? Can you not..........siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh?

Need I even report that Liam has mastered the words, Me and Mine already at the age of 18 months? I don't know if it's early or age-appropriate or late, but I do know that there was no escaping these words. Verbally labelling is means of survival in this house.

And you know what? I bet "NO!" is next. Oh joy!