Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just the Facts, Ma'am

They've hired a teacher to replace Mrs. W, or so Mrs. W told me when she called me this evening. (She called because we didn't get to talk today during recess when I was volunteering and she wanted to catch up with me and how I think N is doing. Man, I'll miss her.)

The kids got the first of the year's three report cards today. Em got her usual: lots of 3s (at grade level) and even a few fours (above grade level). N got about half 3s and half 2s (approaching grade level). I think that's accurate in terms of the work he's brought home and that he does in class, but not accurate in terms of what I know he has inside him. Still, I was pleased, especially since he got all Es (Excellent) in the social/listening/cooperation category, with only one S (Satisfactory). They both got the traditional good-report-card presents (usually something vaguely educational), so everyone was happy.

I had lunch with two of my buddies/colleagues from ParentsConnect today. I love hanging with those guys. They're both brilliant and funny and interesting to talk to.

I had a session of my Reintroduction to Judaism class this evening, from 7:30 until 9:30, but I wound up hanging around and talking for another half hour. The time flies in that class. I'm not only learning boatloads of stuff, both trivial and substantive, but I leave there feeling almost physically full, what with all the food for thought it provides me.

I have more work and social commitments coming up in the next four or five days than any one person should even THINK about having.

NaBloPoMo is over. Let the slacking off begin.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The End Is Near

Tomorrow is the last day of the month, and it's sort of making me sad. Because, you know what? I've really enjoyed this whole NaBloPoMo thing. Like, a lot. As for NaNoWriMo? Not so much. Things got interesting at ParentsConnect for me this month (more work, more to my liking, changes a'comin'), and I just didn't have the time to churn out 50K worth of words on a piece that's pretty hard for me to focus on, what with it being about a topic that makes me either hyperventilate or want to hide in a cave.

In other words: I didn't get anywhere near 50K. I didn't even make 10K. But I did do some work on it this month, which is more than I can say for other months.

But back to the BloPo thing. I'm making no promises of continuing to blog daily forevermore. That's...unlikely. Highly. But I am going to try to blog more daily than not. Like, I'll take off the days like yesterday, where I realized at 11 pm that I hadn't put up a post and dashed one off, watching the clock, trying to get it in under the wire. Too much pressure, dude. It could have waited until this morning, you know? And I'll take off the days like today, where I'm in danger of boring you all to tears.

But otherwise, I want to consider this part of my daily to-do list. It helps me with the flow of ideas. It's nice to keep up with stuff, somewhat at least, for a change, rather than keeping a three-mile-long mental list of things I want to say and then never getting to them.

So, watch this space. I still have stuff to say.

By the way, I'm closing in on 100,000 visitors. It'll take a few more weeks at my traffic's normal rate, but I'll get there, and maybe before the end of the year. So, how should I commemorate? Other authors send out copies of their books for things like this, but in my case, it seems sorta like a downer: "Hey, here's a book about mental illness for ya! Thanks for being my hundred thousandth visitor!"

In other words, suggestions will be much appreciated...especially by visitor number 100,000.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sad Little Boys

So I asked N, as we were walking home from school today, if he'd heard some important news that day.

"Oh, yes," he perked up, all proud to be able to tell me something I didn't know (as far as he knew, that is).

After he'd told me that Mrs. W is "never, never, never, never, never" coming back to My Kids' Elementary, I asked him how that made him feel.

"Sad," he said. "But not as sad as Trent. I just did this," [he put his face in his hands to hide it, one of his characteristic gestures], "but Trent cried."

This almost broke my heart. Trent is the tough kid in the class; the one with attitude, the one who constantly gets his name on the board for a reminder and/or has his 'super star' taken away from him. (Ten super stars earn you a prize from Mrs. W's treasure chest.) He's the one who gets pouty and sullen when you play a game and he doesn't win. He's the one who brags about all the Big Boy things he does, things that are much cooler than what anyone else might do.

And he cried when his teacher told him she's leaving.

The official note she sent home today was a heartbreaker, too. It started with "I've enjoyed getting to know all of you, and we've become a family. That's why it's especially difficult to make this announcement." But what really got me was the part where she said, "I have already told the children about the impending changes, and what I will be doing in my new position. I also told them that I will find the best teacher who will continue to love them and prepare them for First Grade."

Continue to love them and prepare them for First Grade...

No wonder Trent cried.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Goodbye, Mrs. W


Oh, sorry Mom. Did I say that out loud?

Phone call from Mrs. W, N's kindy teacher, this afternoon. (They had YET ANOTHER DAY off of school today, for report-card prep. That means they haven't been in school since LAST TUESDAY. But I digress.)

You know it's not going to be good news when the teacher says, "Are you sitting down? I have something I have to tell you."

Mrs. W, Teacher of the Year at both our school and in our school district, is leaving My Kids' Elementary. As of the end of December. In other words, in about three weeks. (Winter break starts on the 19th, or thereabouts...I don't have my calendar at hand right now.)

It's a great move for her. She's going to be administering a new program for our school district, which has a HUGE Korean population (our school is 53% Korean, for instance) that will be promoting Korean/English bilingualism in both Korean- and English-speaking kindergarteners. At least that's what little I understood of what she was saying through my sobs.

She sounded kind of broken up as well, and admitted that it had been a really tough decision for her, because of having to leave this class, "and especially N, who's come so far," midstream.

She was funny about it, actually, though inadvertently so. Kept trying to be really upbeat, saying things like, "I'm sure N is going to be fine," but then being unable to stop herself from tacking on things like, "at least, I hope so." I hear ya, sister.

Since this literally came up in the last week, the hunt is now on for a kindy teacher who can show up by the first of the year and be ready, willing, and able to take on this class so that they don't have to deal with the upheaval of a series of substitute teachers. But there's no one in place yet, and no guarantees.

Can you imagine? My kid? The one who is only now really raising his hand and participating in class? The one who still often needs to whisper answers to Mrs. W, and still needs to hold her hand most days in order to make the transition from walking up to school with me and going in to the classroom by himself? Can you imagine him having to deal with a new face at the head of the class every couple of days? I can, and it's not pretty. It makes me want to weeeeeeeeeeeep. And, as you can tell, curse violently.

She's going to be sending home a notice tomorrow to the parents (I don't know how many of them she called personally like she did me), and she's going to be telling the kids at the end of the day, she said. She asked me to hold off on talking to N about it until then, because she wants to be the one who tells them about this herself; she feels, she said, like she owes that to them. She has already rehearsed what she's going to say, because she basically recited it for me (short, sweet, simple, reassuring). And, as she does, she gave me little parenting pointers about how to handle it when he gets home. ("Whatever he expresses about this, whether it's positive or negative, just let him get it out," she said. I've come to enjoy these 'teaching' moments from her, even though at first I found them a little condescending. She really does care, and she really wants to help.)

My guess is that we're going to be throwing away a lot more chewed-up shirts in January, after a few months in which the shirt-chewing had slowed to almost nothing. But, hopefully, N has gotten far enough in these few months that he'll adjust to whatever the school throws at him.

And if not? I shudder to think.

As I was typing this upstairs in my bedroom (don't ask; did I mention the kids have been out of school for the past SIX DAYS?), I heard the following exchange downstairs:

Baroy: N, did you take the sugar off the counter and eat it?
N: Yeah, I did. I'm just so sneaky!

Now that I think about it, maybe Mrs. W is just saying she got a new job...

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

From One Extreme To Another

Em and I went to spend a few hours today at a local botanical garden. When I say that we had the following three conversations, in this exact order, in the space of half an hour, I am in no way exaggerating. When I say that after each one of them I had to say to myself, "She's NINE?" I am in no way exaggerating. And when I say that I almost choked on my tongue trying not to laugh after the last one, considering the two that came before, I am in NO WAY exaggerating.


Em: Mom, why have you been sleeping so much lately?
Me: I don't really know, sweetie. I just can't seem to get up in the morning, and I'm tired all the time. But you don't need to worry about me. I'm fine.
Em, after a moment's consideration: I know. But do you think you should go see your therapist again? Maybe she can help you figure all of this out so you don't have to do it by yourself.


Em's friend's cousin D is 15 and is, to put it lightly, troubled. Em loves following her antics. Recently, she acted out by cutting off all her hair.

Em: D is complaining that everyone at school is making fun of her about her hair.
Me: Oh, really?
Em: Of course they are! What did she expect? (Rolls her eyes.) Talk about your natural consequences!


Me: I'm excited about Christmas at Uncle Marc's and Uncle Glen's house.
Em: Me too. But I haven't thought about what I want Santa to bring me this year. There are some things I know you won't buy me that I think I'll ask him for...


Saturday, November 25, 2006

At Least I Tried

N is outside playing with the 'big boys' next door, who are 9 and 11. He suddenly comes running in to the office.

"Mrs. V asked me if I want to come inside her house and have something to eat," he announces.

"Well, would you like to?" I say.

He hesitates. "No, not really."

"So what do you think you should tell her?"

"I think I should tell her 'I don't want to eat in your house,'" he announces.

My face shows doubt at that response.

"Maybe I should tell her 'I don't want to eat in your house RIGHT NOW?'" he asks.

I shake my head. "Try again."

"Oh, I know! I'll tell her 'No, thank you!'"

I smile. "Perfect."

Apparently they do learn. Even if it takes a few false starts before they get to the right answer.

All I wanted to do today was go, by myself, to the Shabbat morning service at my temple. The rabbi, during our Reintroduction to Judaism class, has been urging us to attend Saturday morning services, since we're reading the relevant Torah portions in class along with other texts. Besides, I have some books I need to pick up at the temple office, and there's no religious school tomorrow, so I would be killing two birds with one stone.

Mostly, though, my motives were pure.

Of course, this means that everything both in heaven and on earth conspired to screw it up for me.

First, Baroy--who is a week away from another half-marathon and is determined to hit his under-2-hours goal this time--went out for a 14-mile training run. He left at 7:30, so I figured he'd be back in time for me to make the 10:00 service, even if I was a few minutes late. Unfortunately, I didn't bother telling him I would be waiting for him to return so I could hand off N (Em is still at a sleepover) and head out, since I knew his run would take less than two hours. This meant that he didn't think twice about going for a muffin and taking a few minutes to catch his breath before coming home...at 10:30. Unreasonably pissed, I almost literally pushed past him as he came in the door, telling him I'd be back by 1 or so.

I was less than half a block away before I realized that the thunking sound I heard was coming from my car.

Right rear tire. Totally flat.

And so, instead of synagogue, I spent the morning playing "let's line up my toy cars and make driving noises" with N, while Baroy took my real car to the tire place to get them to honor the "good for the life of the treads" policy we'd bought when we got those rear tires three years ago.

All I was trying to do was go to services! Be a good Jew! Worship God, for crying out loud!

If I didn't know better, I'd think this was a message warning me away. But I will persevere. Not this week, but someday.

I'm just that kind of stubborn.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

More Malaise, Emphasis on the Laise

I fell asleep at around 11, putting N to bed. Considering it couldn't have taken him more than 30 seconds to pass out, this means it took me no more than 31.

I woke up at 1:30 to stumble up to my bed, noticing that Baroy had done ALL the dishes, returned the kitchen table to the kitchen, swept everything, even cleaned the counters. I love that man.

I woke up at around 8, hearing the kids downstairs. Since nobody seemed to need me, I turned on my work laptop, which I've been keeping up in my room, and checked emails, etc. Baroy, coming up to get his shoes on to take Snug to the dog park, laughed and said he was pretty sure that this was what the Pilgrims did on the day after Thanksgiving...lazed in bed and surfed the Web. That man mankes me laugh.

While he was gone, the kids came upstairs and climbed into bed with me. They scratched my back and then laid on it (and is there anything more heavenly than a warm, heavy body stretched out on an aching back?), and cuddled with me until they got bored; after I responded to a request for homemade french toast with "I'm not cooking for a MONTH, thank you very much," they went downstairs and got themselves some cereal. I snuggled back under the covers, heard Baroy return home, and promptly fell back to sleep until 12:45. I love that man.

Now it's 6:45, and I'm fighting valiantly to stay awake. I took a walk in the brisk-for-Los-Angeles late afternoon air, but it's done me no good. I'm TIRED. I'm LAZY. I'm MALAISE-Y.

Damn that tryptophan is good. Sleep tight, everyone.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tryptophan Rocks

There were 11 people in my house today, and a 22-pound turkey. And gravy from the pan. And my special home-made cranberry sauce. And what will forevermore be my standard mashed potatoes, the make-ahead recipe I got from a Betty Crocker email. And my already-standard sweet-potato recipe. And a fabulous brussels sprouts and garlic recipe I pulled out of Vegetarian Times. And stuffing made by my awesome and lovely friends Marc and Glen. And cornbread that Em made, all by herself, and was incredible. And the apple pie Baroy made. And the rice-krispy-treat turkeys WeeyumWise's mom made, along with the pumpkin pie she made as well.

There was wine and beer and sparking apple cider and coffee. There was a very happy puppy who got to hang with us until there was nowhere to put the food but within his ravenous reach, but who then got plenty of smuggled-out-to-him-in-the-backyard turkey from a number of different people who thought he was being neglected.

There was talking, but no arguing. There was laughing; so much so that there were tears as well. There was a kids' table, populated by N and WeeyumWise. There was a very proud and happy Em at the adults' table.

And there were thanks. Lots and lots of thanks. Lots and lots to be thankful for, with the top two being friends and family, both those who were able to join us, and those who are only geographically far away.

Now, to sleep. Because holy moly am I ever full. And tired.

Yup. It's Thanksgiving, all right.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving, The Song

{Composed by Em and N Coconut]

Em: In a couple of days it's going to be Thanksgiving, with stuffing and turkey galore
N: People are laughing and having fun
Em: And they are telling stories of the past and feasting on their food so good
Together: Thanksgiving is the time to have fun
N: Tell me what you're thankful for
Em: I am thankful for my family and friends
N: And I am thankful for WeeyumWise
Together: Thanksgiving is the time to have fun. And I'm glad it's almost here

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Love My Job

As part of a project I'm working on for ParentsConnect, a PR firm I'd contacted sent me a pitch letter, a press release, and a...I kid you not...Know Your Mucus Fact Sheet, complete with a set of "Fun Facts About Mucus."

These are the perks of my job. Other people get jetted off to the Virgin Islands to attend 'conferences'; I get to become more intimately acquainted with the literal ins and outs of snot than any human being could want to be. But here's my secret: I love this sort of shit. (Though a conference in the Virgin Islands wouldn't be bad, either.)

I won't leave you in the dark any longer: here are the purported fun facts, unedited and unexpurgated. (I'll leave it up to you to decide whether they're actually fun or not.)

• Adults produce about four cups of mucus a day.
• A sneeze travels out of the body at about 100 miles per hour.
• The digestive system eliminates most of the mucus people swallow.
• Consuming dairy products will not thicken mucus. However, dairy products make mucus more white in color when people are not feeling well.

Go now and amaze your friends and family over your Thanksgiving turkeys with all you've learned about mucus today.

You don't have to thank me. It was my pleasure.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

A Milestone

Against my will, I took Em for the Big Thanksgiving Shopping Expedition to the supermarket on Sunday morning. And something absolutely amazing happened while we were there: She helped me. Not just helped; she made the shopping go more quickly. She went running to the baking aisle while I picked out brussels sprouts; she went over to get the butter while I pulled milk off the shelf. She helped me dig through the turkeys, looking for one big enough to feed the 11 people descending on my house on Thursday and to leave sufficient leftovers to satisfy Baroy, who lives only for cold turkey sandwiches.

It was the most wonderful shopping trip I've ever taken, bar none.

If you aren't a parent, you're looking at me with your head cocked to one side, trying to figure out what the hell I'm talking about. If you're a parent only of children under the age of eight, you're assuming I'm joking. But I'm here to tell you: that Promised Land you hear so much about, the one where your children make life easier for you on occasion? It exists. And it's just as wonderful as you think it will be.

I know. It's not going to last. But I'm going to enjoy it while I'm here.

In some ways, it seems like she's growing up way too quickly of late. She's started averting her head when I kiss her, so that kisses land on her forehead rather than her lips. That's fine with me, to be honest, but it doesn't mean I don't tease her about it.

Recently, we switched chores around the house, and I gave Em the task of clearing off and wiping down the bathroom sink and counter every couple of days. Knowing that she would probably let too many days go by, I told her that if I noticed it becoming dirty in there, I'd remind her to do her job. She was fine with that.

And so, last week, I left a post-it on the bathroom sink: "Clean me!" it said. "Love, The Sink"

I thought it would make Em crack up, but instead, she came to me and asked me, all seriousness, to please not leave her such baby notes, that just saying, "Please clean the sink" would make the point.

"I was just trying to keep it fun," I said.

Today, the sink was messy again. I decided that I wasn't going to let a 9-year-old take all the fun out of my life, and left another note. "Help me! I'm getting dirty!" it said.

When I was leaving her room a few minutes ago, after we'd done some reading together and talked for a few minutes, Em called me back. "Oh, by the way," she said. "It's OK if you leave those funny notes for me in the bathroom. I think I kind of like them now."

Thank goodness. I'd hate to think she'd out-matured me before she'd hit double digits.

Truly, in these and many other ways, Em is an absolute pleasure these days. To be honest, she's been an absolute pleasure for several years now, but it keeps getting better.

When Em was an infant, my friend C came to visit with her infant son, her 5-year-old son, and her 10-year-old daughter, Sam. After the little ones were put to bed, C sat with me on my couch, and we talked. Throughout our conversation, Sam lay curled up between us, her head on C's lap, C playing with her hair, absolutely quiet, just enjoying time with her mom.

That has stuck with me over the past nine years, and I'm neither lying nor exaggerating when I say that a huge number of my parenting choices have been made based entirely on the fact that what I wanted was that precise kind of relationship with my daughter: trusting, close, comfortable.

Not so long ago, a friend of Em's told her something in confidence about some stuff she thinks her brother might be getting up to. Em relayed the story to me. I pointed out that perhaps her friend didn't want her to tell me such things. "But Mom," she said, dismissing my fears, "all my friends know that you and I tell each other everything. I'm sure they know that when they say not to tell anyone, it doesn't mean you."

That couldn't have been any more satisfying a moment if she had climbed onto the couch next to me and put her head in my lap for me so I could play with her hair.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Another Reason to Regret My Attempt At Anonymity On This Blog

In short: The picture I took last night of Baroy, sprawled out across our Big Comfy Chair, "resting his eyes" while the kids watched Spy Kids 2 during Family Movie Night, with N's Spongebob Squarepants doll nestled in the crook of his arm.

Hilarious. And just the piece of ammunition I need for Thanksgiving dinner when he threatens, as he always does when there's a fresh audience, to trot out that old story about how I once unwittingly tried to kill my cat.

What? You mean to tell me that the stability of your marriage isn't based on a strategy of Mutually Assured Embarrassment? Well, where's the fun in that?

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Sense Of Ownership

I fell asleep on N's bed (again) last night. Before Baroy went to bed, he came and shook me awake. This is what we do. This is fine.

I stumbled out to our office/family room, remembering that I'd left my computer (an iBook) open on my desk, and wanting just to close the cover before I went to sleep. It was off. This is what Baroy does. This is NOT fine.

He and I have had this conversation about a million times before. It is my computer, I'll tell him. There are often reasons I don't want it shut down...programs that are open, documents I haven't saved. But that's not even the point. The point is that it is my computer. Mine.

There are so few things in this house that are mine. Baroy and I share a room, a bed. (Not that I'm complaining, mind you!) We share an office, which is also our family room. The food in our refrigerator is everyone's; if I buy myself a treat, it's just as likely to be gone when I go for it as it is to still be there for me. Em is already at the stage where she likes to borrow my clothes (they're still too big for her to go out in, but she often sleeps in my shirts) so I never know if something will be there when I want to wear it.

Of course, Baroy and I own this house together, but somehow, in one of those ways in which I've not quite fulfilled my earlier-life dreams of self-sufficiency, I do not feel like it's really mine. I don't know how to fix things, or even where everything is in the house and how they work. I've abdicated that responsibility to Baroy in certain areas, and I'm OK with that. Same with "my" car, which has both of our names on the registration, and which Baroy takes care of in terms of maintenance, etc. But it does make me feel like a fake in many ways. Not a real grownup. Real grownups have ownership. I'm being taken care of.

A lot of the 'big' things in our house are someone else's. Our big old plasma-screen TV was a present for Baroy's 50th birthday, and he treats it as his. (That's fine with me; I no longer watch regularly anyway. There isn't a single series on TV right now I'm interested in.) The TV in the family room is one we bought for the kids last year, so they would have something to watch when Baroy is settled in front of the plasma. I sometimes almost feel like I need to ask permission to sit down and watch a movie on a DVD player; it's a stupid feeling, but a feeling nonetheless.

There are a few things I feel ownership over, and I guard that jealously. There is my iPod. There is my Blackberry. And there is my computer.

I waited until this morning to say anthing to him.

"Baroy," I said, swallowing hard so it didn't come out sounding nasty, "I have a favor to ask of you."


"Please don't turn off my computer at night; there's usually a reason I still have it on."

"Oh," he said, looking genuinely surprised, genuinely confused. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."

It's the same thing he says every time. But I just thanked him and went on my way, secure at least in my ownership of feeling like a big old baby.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

The Meanie

Last night

N: Can I watch some TV?
Me: Sure, but you're going to have to go put your pjs on before you can turn the TV on.
N, stamping his feet and screaming: You're mean! (Pause.) AGAIN!

Well, you know what they say, kid: Practice makes perfect.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Inner Beauty

WARNING: There's going to be a discussion of breasts, guys. And it's going to be decidedly UNsexy. About as unsexy as discussions come. Enter at your own risk.

In a recent entry, Jane was taking to task those of us women who wear less-than-flattering undergarments. Oh, why try to be demure about it...bras. She was unhappy with the bra choices made by many women. I believe the phrase Saggy Fitztitsalot was used. I believe I laughed a lot. But then I had to take exception.

My exception-taking went as follows:

I wear cheap, crappy bras...and only when I absolutely must. (At home, Iam all floppy the second I get in the house. But then again, my shoes also come off the minute I get inside, so you'd already be disgusted with me.) When I'm going out and I think I can get away with it (read: any event that won't earn me money), I go with a comfy old sports bra or somesuch. Because all those wires trying to haul my fatty boobs off my stomach HURT!

The thing is? Anyone who doesn't like the way my tits look in my clothes is free not to sleep with me. In all other cases, I just don't care. If the perkiness of my breasts makes a difference in my relationship with someone, then I'm probably better off without him/her.

Except for you, Jane. Of course, except for you. When we finally get to meet, I'll be sure to buy the best bra they sell at Nordstrom's. I promise.

When my sister and I were younger, we used to have a sort of perpetual argument over why we would dress the way we would dress. My assertion was that I dressed either to please the guy I was dating, or to attract a guy I wanted to date. She said the person you should have in mind when you get dressed is your best girlfriend, because they are the only ones who even bother to notice.

You can tell that neither of us were Teen Feminists, can't you?

Today, I dress for nobody--or, rather, I dress for myself. And myself doesn't care if my breasts are hanging down a little lower than yours (or your wife's or whoever's), so long as I'm comfy and cozy and not digging at myself, all cranky and uncomfortable. You know? And if Baroy doesn't like it, well...He knew what he was getting when he married me, and I'm pretty sure he's OK with the deal he made. It's not like I was ever an impeccably turned out fashion plate. Hell, it's not like I am usually even decently turned out...except for those times when my sister hands me down her more-fashionable-than-anything-else-I-own wardrobe. And even then, she often sighs deeply at me when she sees me and says, "TC, I cannot believe you're still wearing that shirt! I must have given it to you eight years ago!" (Of course, she only says that because I make sure she doesn't see me wearing the things she gave me 12 years ago.)

It's not that I don't care what I look like so much as...well, I guess I don't care what I look like. But it's not like I go out of my way to look like crap. What it is is that I simply won't go out of my way to look either good or bad. I won't do anything, style-wise, that requires either a significant effort. I have THINGS to do, you know? I wear makeup less than a half-dozen times a year and haven't done anything except airdry my hair in years, if not a decade. and I won't do anything, style-wise, that makes me uncomfortable. I hate having anything touch my throat, for instance, so turtle necks have and always will be out. And I hate having anything constricting my chest, and so...I do the best I can with my bras, but if they hurt, they're out. And if I can get away without one...

I've always wondered why it is that these sorts of things don't interest me or bother me or motivate me. I've always wondered why it is that I don't care about this sort of thing...and whether it would somehow have made my life better, or easier, or richer if I did. I wonder.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

In Lieu Of A Long Post, Since I Have Work To Do...

I give you this, a photo of myself (the oldest, tallest one), my younger sister (the one dressed like me), and our not-yet-as-of-this-photo, but-is-now stepsister.

I have a couple of photo albums of pictures from my 'youth,' but this is one that I had not seen in...maybe forever. If you'd asked me before I'd seen this today if I'd EVER worn a hair ribbon, I'd have laughed in your face.

And, yes, it was the '60s. Or, rather, the early '70s, since my sister was born in '67 and she must be at least four here.

Something about this photo really got to me. I'm not sure why, or in what way, but it did. So I'm sharing it with you.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

N's Hairdo Revisited

Since I posted about N's experimentation with self-barbering, I've had several people ask to see the photographic evidence. But then there was that whole "I don't want my kids too recognizable on the Internet" issue for me to deal with. Melanie suggested I have the kids draw N's new look, which made me laugh in delight...and then decide to go her one better. I hereby give you N, with his new haircut, and a cleverly hand-drawn diguise created by Yours Truly (because we all know that the eyes are the windows on the soul):

If that doesn't make you laugh, then I hold out no hope for you.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Glad That's Over With

[WAH! I had this post all written out, and then went to put N to sleep, and fell asleep on his bed with him, and so missed posting it yesterday, and now I'm worried that I'm going to be ruthlessly shunned by all other NaBloPoMo participants because even though I'm keeping the original posting date of the 13th, this really didn't go up until the 14th, and I feel so INADEQUATE! Damn that decision to be a mother; it screws up everything!]

So: My car. Nearly $900, a new water pump, a new radiator, an engine flush, a fluid replacement and an oil change later...It looks like I've been spared. There aren't that many times in my life when I will be willing to admit that dropping a grand (if you add in the cost of the rental car) is being "spared," but when you consider that I'm less than two months away from losing two-thirds of my salary, and a major engine overhaul would have probably meant we'd dump that car and get a new-to-us/used one instead, no doubt taking on SOME kind of monthly payment in addition to the health insurance we're now going to have to pay for...well, I call that spared.

I have been spending such an inordinate amount of time thinking about/worrying about/obsessing about money lately. And yet, I've come to realize, I'm kind of a hypocrite about it, because I don't really want to take anyone's advice on how to solve some of the problems-to-be, since that would involve doing things I don't want to do, and/or giving up on things I do want to do, like staying home.

It all came home to me about a week and a half ago, when I was working in the kitchen of my synagogue during Mitzvah Day, making ziti casseroles for families in our community who are in need. I was talking with one of my friends there, telling her about how I was losing my job, and she went straight into "I'm going to fix this for you" mode. And me? If I'd been furred, you'd have been able to literally watch my hackles rise. Instead of thanking her, I argued with her about how I really did have a plan, I really did have it under control, that I didn't have to give up my working from home just yet, that it would all work out in the end. I'm sure she was completely confused by my reaction; I know I was. In retrospect, I'm not even sure the words 'thank you for your concern, though' came out of my mouth at all.

Ah, well. It's not like any of this will stop me from kvetching about it constantly; I'll just have to watch who I kvetch TO. Like you guys. If you all start giving me advice I don't want, I can ignore you. It's harder to do that, though, when you're elbow-to-elbow in a small kitchen, hands sunk deep in marinara and ricotta cheese.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

N's Best Day

N had a great day on Saturday.

The trip to the dog park and the half-hour of climbing and sliding at the next-door-to-the-dog-park playground was OK, but it was on the ride home that the fun really started. Smoke! Pouring out of the back of Mommy's car! Cool! And then the car stopped dead in the middle of the street on a major boulevard. Even cooler! But the Best Thing Ever came after Mommy called Daddy in New York (where he was spending the weekend celebrating Uncle B's 50th birthday) and got the AAA number (only to finally find that her copy of the card had been tucked behind her license all the time). That was when THE TOW TRUCK CAME. And N (and Em and Mommy) got to ride in a tow truck WITHOUT CARSEATS! And everyone laughed at Snug, who had to ride in the towed-behind car, and sat, looking quite proper, in the front passenger seat.

It was also fun when the man from the mechanic's shop gave everyone a ride home, since N got to ride in yet ANOTHER car without a car seat! But there was still more to come...

After Mommy heard from the mechanic (HUGE crack in the radiator; they'll have to replace it on Monday, and only then will be able to see what, if any, damage was done to the engine during the failed oh-my-god-the-car-is-totally-overheating-and-sounds-like-it's-about-to-explode, I-have-two-kids-and-a-dog-in-the-car-and-my-husband-is-in-New-York, wonder-if-I-can-make-it-just-another-mile-or-two-so-I-can-get-them-home-before-the-car-dies experiment), she called a rental-car place to come pick us up so that the three stranded travelers would have a way to get to Emmy's last soccer game of the season, which she would be just DEVASTATED to miss. And when the guy came to pick said travelers up, guess what he was driving? A CONVERTIBLE! Once again car-seatless, N drove to Enterprise in style, hands fluttering in the air, whooping and hollering as if he were in a parade. (Em, freaked out by the smoke, was very, very quiet through all of this, although she has managed to appreciate the convertible in retrospect.) And then they all got to drive home in a NEW CAR, which N persists in calling it, no matter HOW MANY TIMES his mommy tells him it's not their car, and they're only keeping it until tomorrow, since Daddy's home now.

So, car towed, rental car procured, soccer game played (a tie, but everyone makes the playoffs in the U-10 league), the weary gang arrived home, and Mommy gathered up the mail and brought it inside. She was sorting it onto the kitchen table when she suddenly gave out a shriek. There, climbing up her arm after coming out of hiding from between two bills? A black widow spider. N thinks black widow spiders are really cool.

So, let's sum up: A dog park. A playground. A car billowing smoke. A ride in a tow truck, a convertible, and a cool new car (because cars you've never been in before are cool, right?). A black widow spider. And all of that before 3 pm!

To a 5-year-old, that is like your birthday, Christmas, Chanukah, and Halloween all rolled up into one on the fun-o-meter scale.

Me? I sent an email to my husband cautioning him to be careful on the plane the next day (the last time I'd found a black widow in the house on my own was on September 10, 2001). And then I added a single P.S.: Please bring alcohol.

[I apologize in advance for the overly precious third-person/childish tone to this post, but I couldn't think of any other way to recount our day yesterday without breaking down into a heap of why-hast-thou-forsaken-me anxiety and hysteria. Trust me, this was definitely the lesser of two evils.]

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Can You Help? (#4)

I've explained this concept in the past. This week's edition, however, has only one request for help, and it's for me.

Can you help a mother who's at her wit's end with her adorable, irrascible, emotional, trouble-making kid? The one she's starting to think may actually be unsalvageable? The one she's starting to worry may be The Bad Seed?

For example, today alone we had the I'm-going-to-stand-here-and-eat-this-even-after-you-just-told-me-no defiance (a trip to his room after the forceable removal of said food item from his hand did little or nothing to help), as well as the moment where he walked right past Em and me and out the front door without saying anything--a no-no in its own right--and when we turned our heads to look out the window we saw him pull down his pants and pee against the tree. When asked if he thought that was OK, considering how often I've told him it's not, he replied, "Well, I did it twice already but you didn't see before." And then smirked.

The fact that he's still alive is a testament to my superior willpower, don't you think?

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Jennie Garth Looks Like Me

I almost didn't get this post in on time for NaBloPoMo today, what with the time-suck inherent in being the World's Greatest Mom and all.

No, I'm serious. You know how there are days when you think, darkly, that foster care would be better for your kids than what you're providing for them? And you know how there are days--the majority of them, if you're lucky--when you feel like you're just managing to scrape by? Well there are also the rare, rare days when you look back and you think, "Hey, I'm not half bad at this." In fact, I'd probably really be patting myself on the back for today if it weren't for the fact that I wound up slapping Noah's hand tonight, right before bed, after he tried to push the cat off the bathroom window sill. (His behavior lately has been a tad...what's the word again?...oh, right. Horrific.)

But back to the good stuff.

After a picking Em up from an impromptu, hey-you-don't-have-school-tomorrow-so-why-not sleepover at her friend's house, and a subsequent hour-long conference call, Em, Noah and I headed out to our local Toys-R-Us where, on a tip from one of my beloved ParentsConnect cronies, we had been invited to a special event to kick off the Million Toy Drive for Toys for Tots.

There were only 15 kids involved in this event, and omigod, did my two enjoy themselves. They got to hear a story (read to them by Jennie Garth, of 90210 fame, and more on that later), they got to go shopping for needy children with a young, dress-uniformed Marine bearing a gift card from Toys R Us, they got to have cookies and juice, they got to be filmed and photographed to their little hamboned hearts' content (there was a film crew from the Dr. Phil show--something about Jennie Garth being on a Christmas show of his--and there were store photographers as well as two reporters from our local paper, for whom N decided to pull out all the stops), and then...Well, then they got a goody bag with a book, a stuffed animal, and a cool Crayola craft. (So much for being all about the poor kids who have nothing.) They were in heaven.

But, really, I think the best part for N was the fact that he got to walk around the store with a Real Live MARINE. (The awe in his face would have amused D, one of our best friends, who is a Marine himself but somehow doesn't make the cut in the awe department.)

And Em took it all really seriously, telling me later that "doing something nice for someone else really made me feel warm inside." She spent her alloted money on a stuffed rabbit for a needy child, explaining, "If I didn't have a lot, I'd want to have a stuffed animal, because that way I'd always have a friend." She then went on to name her little Gund bear from her goodie bag "Mitzvah," to commemorate her getting him as a result of doing a good deed.

For me, the thrill of the day was seeing Jennie Garth looking like ME. Except, of course, for the fact that she's still really beautiful. But she has child-broadened hips, mom arms, had minimal makeup on, straight, simply brushed-out hair, etc. (Yes, I know she just had a baby--her third--like two months ago; work with me here.) Plus she had her nine-year-old in tow, and since *I* had *my* nine-year-old in tow, I felt like we were buds. Except for her being beautiful. And rich. And a well-known actress. And postpartum, and thus clearly only looking like this for the time being. Oh, nevermind.


After we got back, the kids got down to some serious Crayola crafting, then went outside to play with the neighborhood gang. Looking out the window, I realized that it was now or never for the fallen leaves in our yard, so I called out to said gang (three boys, N and Em) and let them help me rake and gather leaves into a big ole leaf pile, which they then spent the next hour diving into, sliding into, stomping around in, and throwing up into the air like confetti. And I just smiled and watched and took pictures. (See? See my greatness?)

After a while, Em's friend J came home, and we invited her over for dinner and--much to Em's surprise, I even suggested she stay the night. Not only that, but I offered to let them sleep IN MY ROOM. IN MY BED. Because...well, because then I could have the whole downstairs off the house to myself. But you'd have thought I'd offered them the moon, the way they carried on. And now they're up there, sound asleep, after giggling away for ages and ages, and I'm here having a beer and thinking that, aside from the hand-slapping moment, I showed my kids a pretty good day.

I wonder whether Jennie Garth agrees.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Conversation with Em

--Mom, do you think our family is unusual?
--In what way?
--I don’t know. Like we’re messier than other families.
--Is that what you mean by unusual?
--No, not really.
--So what do you mean by unusual?
--I don’t know.
--Well, I guess, no, I don’t think our family is unusual.
--You don’t think we’re unusual because all the people in our family are writers, and you’re kind of famous, even if people don’t recognize you on the street or anything like that?
--Well, if that’s what you mean by unusual, then yes, I guess we are. But it’s a good kind of unusual.
--Yeah, I guess so.
--But you’re not sure.
--Because you didn't mean that kind of unusual. You're still thinking about the messy kind of unusual.
--(Sheepishly) Yeah.
--You do realize we aren’t the only people in the world with a messy house. We’re not even the only people we know with a messy house.
--Yeah, but ours is the messiest of all.
--That's SO NOT TRUE.
--Yeah, mom. It is. Deal with it.

I would hope it goes without saying that she's exaggerating. Our house is NOT the messiest of all. (My car, on the other hand...) Then again, I've learned never to assume that ANYTHING goes without saying. After all, I would have thought that N's new 'do would have been obviously his own doing, and yet when he told his teacher, "My mommy did this," she BELIEVED HIM. (He wasn't actually lying, of course; I did even it out, but only after he'd made the first cuts.)

Damned kids and their damned honesty. They're lucky they make me laugh.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Rich asked, in response to my two-days-ago post about N's self-grooming attempts, "You don't really consider your blog anonymous, do you?"

Funny he should ask that. A good number of weeks ago, I'd started to write the following entry after several of you noted that I'd posted the first-ever photos of myself on this blog:

I started this blog in complete anonymity, and for more than a year, I kept it there, sometimes by sheer force of will. Blogging is such a personal act for me, and it seems wrong, somehow, to stay hidden behind a pseudonym, to remain unseen. Plus, to be blunt, I’ve never been one to shun attention, and yet there I was, trying to balance my need to be read, to be heard, and my need to keep myself and, more importantly, my family, out of sight.

All of this, of course, was because of her. Stalker Girl. It’s hard to visualize the border between realistic caution and true paranoia when there really is someone out to get you or those you love. I’d witnessed Stalker Girl not only track me down via my maiden name, but also track down one of my sisters-in-law. I’d experienced the terror of knowing there was a paid investigator out there, somewhere, watching me, Baroy, and the kids. I’d tried to live with the uncertainty of what else, who else, she might pay for, and what task she might set for them.

I got interrupted or distracted or something right at that point, so never finished the post. But what I'd wanted to say, what I would have probably said better when the thought was fresh in my mind, was that I knew and had always known that I am not Stalker Girl's target. It has taken me this long to take that to its logical conclusion; to ralize that photos of me on this blog are neither part of the problem nor part of its solution. What I'm trying to do is to keep Stalker Girl from finding and reading this blog, simply because I don't want her knowing anything about me and my family or gathering information she can use to hurt us. And so I won't ever trumpet my full name from these pages, because I see no reason for her to be here unless she's led there by a link like that. But a photo of me? What the fuck. I'm gonna live dangerously.

I've even gone so far as to post photos of the kids. But, you'll notice, not photos that would let you really know what they look like. Photos where they're in costume, or wearing hats, or where their faces are obscured. Photos that tell you about their personalities, but not photos that would let you recognize them if, say, you saw them on the street; if, say, you were planning to take them, or hurt them. Not that I think about that much, of course. Only all the time.

And so it's a dance. It's not only my dance; it's the dance of every blogger out there. Some of us use our full names; others use our first names; some use pseudonyms. Some of us go to great lengths to hide even the state we live in; others practically give out our phone numbers and addresses. We do these things for various reasons; we get slammed for those reasons, all the time. But we do what we need to do, to find the balance that lets us do what we love to do--to write, to reach out, to meet new people, to talk things out--without sacrificing the people we love.

Or at least that's what I'm trying to do. I know I'm not anonymous here. I know I'm barely pseudonymous any more, what with that permanent link to my book over there. But I'm still not ready or willing to stand here with a big flashing arrow above my head, screaming, "Hey Stalker Girl! It's me, Real Name; wife of Guy You Stalk! Over here! Come and get me, beeyotch! I dare you!"

As Baroy often says, I may be crazy, but I ain't stupid. I'm just trying to do the best I can. And not give up the things that make me happy, and keep me sane.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Non-Post Masquerading As An Actual Post

I'm much too busy right now smiling broadly at the television, in stark contrast to the tears two years ago, to spend much time on the computer blogging tonight. (As I type this, the Dems just took the House, per CNN. My friend B just commented on AIM that Nancy Pelosi is now one hearbeat and one cold, machinelike evil pacemaker away from the Oval Office.)

There's still time for frowning, however, since California's polls aren't yet closed, and there are a few propositions I'm worried about. But for now...

[She goes off into the sunset, singing "Happy Days Are Here Again..."]


Monday, November 06, 2006

N Scissorhands

"I think N may have done something he wasn't supposed to," Em says quietly from her computer, where she is checking to see if her social studies textbook is online yet.

"Why do you think so?" I'm wary; the two of them have been at each others' throat lately, and I can't necessarily trust every tattle that comes my way. Still, this doesn't sound triumphant or angry. It's just a statement of fact.

"Well, he just went walking past, covering his face with his hands."

We hear the door to his room slam. He never goes into his room on his own. We look at each other, and I sigh. I immediately wonder what he's done to himself, having recently spent almost all of Saturday morning scrubbing permanent magic marker off his arms, legs and face after he put "dec'rations" on himself. Apparently, now that he's five, he's making up for all that lost time when he was two and three and didn't do these sorts of things.

"Thanks for the warning," I tell her. "I'd better go see what he's done."

Knock. Knock.

"Who's there?"

"It's Mommy. Can I come in?"

"OK." His voice is muffled now. I walk in, and he has a pair of sweatpants over his head. I try not to let the laughter into my voice.

"Uh-oh," I say. "It looks like there's something you don't want me to see or know about. Did you do something you're not supposed to?"

"Yes," comes the voice from within the pants. "I cut my hair with the scissors from the kitchen."

Now here is where this whole pseudonymous thing, this whole thing about trying to be reasonable about how much of your child you expose to the ridicule of the entire web comes back to bite me in the butt. Because I'm DYING to put up the picture I just took of N at the kitchen table, doing his homework, after I did what I could (not much) to fix the 'cut' he'd given himself. ("My hairs were boddering me," he said by way of explanation when I asked him why he'd done it.) Instead, you'll just have to trust me: He looks simultaneously ridiculous and scrumptiously, vulnerably, edible.

And if you don't want to take my word for it, take Em's. "Oh my goodness!" she squealed when we emerged from the bathroom post-fix-up-cut. "N! You look so CUTE!"

"I told you Mommy," N said, looking up at me in smug satisfaction. "I told you everyone will still think I'm very cute."

The problem is? He's absolutely right.

What AM I going to do with this child? Aside from eat him up, that is.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ferget It

Sticking that NaBloPoMo post at the top here was interfering with Bloglines somehow, and annoying the crap out of me. So, never mind. I'm doing it. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Our current health insurance is going to run out by the end of the year, unless we sign up for Cobra, which will run us...wait for it...over $1400 A MONTH for the four of us. This, at the same time that our family's for-sure income will be dropping to under two grand a month...less than we owe in mortgage payments. (That makes it sound more dire than it will be; I've always done ample freelancing, and expect to continue to do so. And Baroy's been working steadily on a freelance project that will continue into early next year. But none of that income is guaranteed, so while it's good to have, I can't really spend it on a month-to-month basis, you know?)

Let's just say that I'm not signing up for Cobra.

I did this whine in the past, when I thought I was quitting my job earlier this year, and it turned out OK; we ended up getting accepted at a fairly low monthly rate by Blue Cross on one of those huge out-of-pocket plans that would probably work out OK for us. But I've been hearing so many ugly stories about Blue Cross since then; about them pulling benefits retroactively on people for flimsy excuses. Considering N's disappearing/reappearing testicle and the Hernia That Wouldn't Leave, I see issues for us in the future.


So...Have any of you recently applied for private insurance? Is ehealthinsurance.com (or whatever it's called) any good? Has anyone used a broker lately? I'm somewhat spoiled in that I really don't want to have to go Kaiser after years on a really good/expensive PPO; in fact, I'd rather stick with a PPO than an HMO, but I know that may not ultimately be possible.

Your advice is requested...and will be appreciated.

P.S. Could this post BE any more boring?
P.P.S. That was a rhetorical question, thankyewverymuch.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Student Again

Baroy eyed me suspiciously as I sat curled up in my favorite chair, my legs pulled up underneath me, my book--what many people call The Book--open on my lap.

"You're not going to become one of those Bible-quoting zealots now, are you?" he said. "Because I don't think I could deal with that."

It was meant as a joke. Except I know, and he knows, it was also a serious statement. Maybe even a vague, unformed threat.

Over the past year, I've found a community at our temple, which is sort of the quintessential Little Temple That Could--tiny in size, overshadowed by bigger, wealthier congregations on all sides, fighting for survival (and new members). My kids adore the place; N actually threw a fit a couple of weeks back when I decided I was too tired to take the 20 minute drive on a Friday night to attend a potluck/Shabbat service. Even Baroy has made friends--in particular, our rabbi, with whom he shares a rabid interest in all things leftly political. We all look forward to spending time there. It's hard to ask for more than that, isn't it?

But I want more. I want more than a sense of community--I want to actually belong. And to do that, I need to be able to do more than mouth the words without understanding what I'm saying, what I'm feeling, what I'm pledging. And so I took advantage of an offer the rabbi made to teach a class to those of us looking for 'more' out of our experience of our religion.

This class, called Reintroduction to Judaism, will be meeting every couple of weeks throughout the year. There were about a dozen of us at the first class; we'll see how many keep coming, how many join, how many drop out.

The first thing Rabbi told us when we sat down--before he went over the syllabus, the books we need to buy, the dates we'd be meeting--is that he believes that being a Jew means questioning. That the only way to have a relationship with God is to question.

I don't know what kind of relationship with God I want, if I want one, or whether I will ever have one. But I am finding the class fascinating, even just the introduction. I am reading a "study bible" for the first time--not just a biblical translation, but a detailed commentary on the meanings and questions about the text--when I'd never read any bible at all. I am reading a fascinating book called Jewish Literacy, by Joseph Telushkin. I am studying. I hadn't realized how much I've missed studying all these years. I hadn't realized how much I missed being a student. I hadn't realized how much I missed learning. I hadn't realized how much I missed questioning.

So when Baroy challenged me, however lightly, I laughed, but refused to back down. "I make no promises," I said lightly, then sobered a bit. "I'm enjoying this right now. It's something I want to do. Please don't make it difficult for me."

He laughed it off, but I think there's more of this sort of discussion to come. And not just with him, with any number of people, depending on where I go with this, where I take it. I don't expect to become religious in the sense of seriously observent. Right now, this is more intellectual to me. But it also speaks to me on a deeper level, all of the ritual and the optimism and the positivity of blessings and prayers. So I don't know.

All I know is, I can't make any promises. Not even to Baroy.

And that, I think, scares both of us, if only a little.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

A Boy And His Dog

One of the amazing things that has happened in this house over the past six months is the relationship that N and Snug have built with one another.

There's the classic boy-and-his-dog stuff, of course. N's too young at five (and too small, being the size of someone younger than his actual age) to handle a dog that outweighs him by probably close to 20 pounds now, so he doesn't get to walk the dog. But they do romp around together in our backyard. A particular favorite game is for me to pitch balls for N to hit, and have Snug play "outfielder"--which means he retrieves the balls that N hits, as well as the ones he misses, and brings them back to me. It's adorable.

But even cuter is the downtime these two spend together. N spends the first hour or so of almost every day after school, the time between kindy dismissal and upper-grade dismissal, curled up on our window seat by our front picture window, thumb in mouth, head on Snug's middle, rubbing Snug's fur the way he has always played with my hair...for comfort. He'll seek Snug out at other times, as well, when he just needs to chill out a little.

N was having a particularly difficult day yesterday: He was cranky and obstinate, and pushing all of Em's buttons, causing a constant flow of bickering between them. After a couple of hours of non-stop obnoxiousness, I excused myself and went upstairs for about half an hour, leaving the two of them to fight it out over their computer in the family room.

This is what I found when I returned to my desk, next to which Snug's doggie bed is crammed. (It's the spot Snug claimed as his own within weeks of joining our family, so we made it more comfortable for him, despite the inconvenience for me, since this is where all my files and papers are kept.) What got me, aside from the exquisite cuteness of my boy laying atop his dog, was the fact that Snug was clearly awake, clearly not as comfortable as he'd like to be...and CLEARLY not going to move unless forced to.

Of course, when you're a Labrador, the rustle of a paper bag--food, food, food, could that be food?--is the equivalent of being forced by gunpoint to get up, so after I'd taken the above picture and gone into the kitchen to prepare dinner, Snug apparently wiggled out from underneath his sleepy buddy. Not hearing N complaining about Snug's absence, I returned to my desk and the doggie bed to see this:

All I can say is that I'm glad I wash that cover frequently. Oh, and that I'm so so so glad that Snug came into our lives.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Body Count

In case you were wondering...since the initial tally just two weeks ago, I've had to clean up/dispose of/gag over the tiny corpses of three more no-longer-breathing birds, not to mention shooing away the one that somehow flew in through the window on its own steam (I assume, since it was unharmed).

Today's carcass was clearly that of a very young bird. Its feathers are all over my sleeping bag, on which Benni was lying when I came up the stairs, and which was spread out because that's where Em fell asleep last night while we talked together for a while. (I keep it by the side of my bed at all times for night-wandering children; you never know who's going to show up when, and I'd rather tell them to spread out the bag and plop down than get out of my bed and take them back downstairs. Self preservation, my friends. Self preservation.)

The good news: No new rats, and no new lizards or lizard tails, dead or alive. If you can call that good news. As I drag my vacuum cleaner up the stairs, realizing I've sucked up enough feathers recently to stuff a duvet, I'm finding it hard to look at it that way.

Damn cats. They're lucky I love 'em.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lemme See If I Can Explain This

Rich is confused. Poor Rich. I'm going to try to unconfuse/deconfuse him.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. You can visit it at http://nanowrimo.org. The idea is to write, from scratch, a 50,000 word first draft of a novel (or the first 50,000 words of a first draft of a novel). I'm participating this year, except I'm not really following ANY of the rules. I'm working on a piece of nonfiction--a memoir of sorts, about Stalker Girl and what has come of and from having her in my life, as it were. And it's not from scratch, either: I've already written 20,000-plus words of it. But I am trying to add another 50,000 words to it this month, knowing that I've got thousands of compatriots hitting the keyboards along with me.

NoBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month. You can visit it at http://www.fussy.org/nablopomo.html. M. Kennedy, Fussy's headmistress and a blogging SUPERSTAR, inaugurated it this year. It's essentially a challenge, both to NaNoWriMo participants and those who aren't interested in NaNo at all, to write a minimum of one blog post daily. She created a logo/banner for the challenge that had a line drawing of a gun pointing directly at you with a latinate saying underneath that, as I said, means something on the order of "Blog or Die." It was funny, but it bugged me to have that gun staring off of the blog page, so I went with her alternate logo, created for wussies like me.

Does that make any more sense?

Did you even care enough to read through this?

Is anybody out there?

I'm In

So I'm doing NaBloPoMo in addition to doing (but not really because I'm working on my already started nonfiction piece rather than an unstarted fiction piece) NaNoWriMo this month.

Yes, I'm crazy. Read my profile.

I'm also technologically illiterate and can't figure out how to put this banner up in my sidebar or wherever. So I'll just be including it in each and every post.

Consider this the first of 31 in a row.

The ones that will follow will be better than this. I promise.

After all, they'd pretty much have to be, wouldn't they?

[Edited to add: Hey, Hilary, the gun pic didn't sit well with me either, even if it was totally sarcastic in tone...the caption basically meant 'blog or die,' which is appropriate for a contest to blog every day for an entire month. So I've put up her 'alternate' logo. Also, I've added links to the relevant hompages for both NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).]

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