Saturday, May 31, 2008

honor guard

I went to a funeral this afternoon. It was in remembrance of the sister of a woman with whom I attend church and volunteer for Habitat. The same woman who was my sixth grade teacher, oh, say, 7 years ago. Maybe it wasn't 7 years. Moving on.

I didn't know the woman, Jane, who was being remembered. Jane was a daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt who was really loved by her family, and they honored her life today. Jane had a career as a sergeant in the United States' Air Force; her job was tracking missiles and other dangerous things. She was so good at what she did that many US policies regarding missiles and things of that sort (which I do not understand so you will have to bear with me on this), were based on her recommendations and strategies she made up. Even Great Britain's RAF studied her ideas and implemented some.

Jane had received many a commendation throughout the course of her career, and the final recognition from the USAF came today at her service.

The Honor Guard.

I have never been to the funeral of a military person before, and the experience of watching the two men handle the American flag was really profound. I was sitting in the sanctuary of my church, between The Mister's Mama and Bec. The room had the quiet hiss of whispers, but with the first click of the Honor Guard's shoes, silence fell. The men slowly marched to the front of the church, approaching the altar, and turned right to stand in front of Jane's family. One held a folded American flag. He turned to face the second of the Honor Guard, and in a series of purposeful movements, inspected the flag, and presented it to the second man, who also inspected the flag.

They unfolded the flag, first untucking the end from the triangle, then took it from triangle-shaped to thin rectangle revealing the red and white stripes, then a wider rectangle (folded in half), finally unfolding it. At the moment the Honor Guard was standing with The Flag displayed between them, Taps began to play.

I think every person in that room had difficulty breathing.

When Taps ended, the Honor Guard re-folded the flag. Rectangles, then triangles, the red and white disappeared with only the blue field with white stars remaining. The end was retucked, the folds smoothed, the flag inspected. The second man presented it to the first.

The first member of the Honor Guard gently took the flag and knelt down before Jane's mother, and said, On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of Sergeant Jane G...

He said more, but the sniffling drowned out his words.

It was beautiful.

The formality of the flag-folding made me wonder what the specific motions symbolized, and why the flag was folded just so. All of the websites I read had the exact same information, so I am sharing it with you.

The first fold in our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur "Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all of her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.

The ninth fold is in tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's motto: "In God We Trust."

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a tucked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and of the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who was followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today. This final condition represents the thirteenth fold.

This tradition is so old that there is nobody on record as The Author of the Flag Fold. Now we all know that I've been wrong before, but all of the info I have read says that nobody knows. So if you are that blessed individual who has That Sort Of Information, correct me gently and point yourself in the direction of the Smithsonian, because they care.

The beauty of the tradition lies in the remembering and the honoring. Our society does not value remembering and honoring the way it used to. The simple act of folding our flag honors so many.

Every time our American Flag is folded, it honors God. And that is a lot to think about in this time of, well, whatever this time in the hereandnow is. So think about that, and get back to me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

putting in beans

This isn't a picture from today, but it is indicative of the sort of activity that has been consuming much of our time lately.

In other news, we were at the East Aurora Farmers' Market this afternoon, and there was




So we had asparagus/spinach/rhubarb crisp for dessert. Except I left out the asparagus and spinach, and just used the rhubarb. And it was fabulously tart. You will find the recipe here as soon as I get it posted.

Eat fresh. Eat local. Eat lots.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

cinco de mayo, part 2

Well, I had just told him I really wanted to be friends.

It was a quiet ride home, that evening in late April, 2001. It was April 15th, if you must know. Have a look if you don't believe me. And awkward. But I'm going to be real, real honest with you: things are forever awkward between a boy and a girl who ought to be making out, but aren't.

And yes, things are forever awkward between a boy and a girl who have been making out when they shouldn't, but I am not talking about those people right now, am I? And we are using the phrase "making out" because my brothers read this, and I feel certain that at least one of them is still slightly grossed out that I got. Pregnant. Three. Times. (Sorry, man.)

I probably had that entire week off from teaching.

Pardon me whilst I endure the nausea brought on by that statement.

Better now, thankyouverymuch.

I don't remember what exactly went on for the next two weeks at all, I was most likely working, and teaching piano lessons, and watching badgood Lifetime movies, and drinking on my balcony with my French roommate. I probably tried to have a phone conversation with The Mister, but he's practically deaf, and I really don't like shouting on the phone, so the chats were likely abbreviated. And to this day we avoid talking on the phone at all costs. And by we, I mean he avoids talking to me on the phone at all costs.

I don't take it personally. I know for a fact that he likes me way better in person. I might totally be winking suggestively right now. Fortunately you can't see me, and don't know if I am a sly winking person or not.

I eventually returned to my little hometown. By this time, my father had R U N N O F T (name that movie, so things were even weirder (more weird? at an advanced level of weirdness?) that I REALLY needed to be at the pub. With The Mister. Naturally. Because I wanted to be with The Mister, I was just a big, fat, lying fraidy-cat.

Now you know the real truth. But I am over that, already, so keep it quiet. I have a reputation to keep up over here.

I was just looking for an excuse to not be involved with The Mister. And much to my chagrin (hear that sound? It's all of the English teachers cheering.) I couldn't actually find any excuse. So I started splitting hairs.

Except I didn't actually need to do anything to split The Mister's hairs. He had done it all by his veryownself. And this is how he did it: NO HAIRCUTS FOR 10 YEARS. AND NO SHAVING.

I am not kidding here, people. The man had unruly hair. And a moustache that the big black devil himself envied. It was long, and pointy, and The Mister had a habit of twirling it between his fingers when he would talk. At least, I think he was talking. There was noise coming from his head, but I couldn't see his mouth moving because HIS MOUSTACHE TRAVELED SOUTH PAST HIS BOTTOM LIP. I can't make this up. It is the honest truth I speak to you. Some of you have even seen him in This Condition.

Anyway, we went to the pub on Cinco de Mayo. And I suggested to him that I was unable to pursue a romantic relationship with him due to the current status of his face, covered with hair as it was. I considered it, and came to the conclusion that should we have a romantic relationship, I would be unable to kiss him because there was no evidence of him having an actual mouth. And one-sided kissing is a drag, you know?

He suggested to me that it was quite possible that he had a mouth, as he recalled brushing his teeth, and also that if I plied him with enough liquor, he would shave it all off.



Interesting (read: made me throw up in my mouth) piece on Vitamin Water at The Cleaner Plate Club.

Please tell me you'll never touch the stuff again.

Monday, May 26, 2008

a little bit of the mister

As I was sitting on the concrete benches that are our mini-Stonehenge this afternoon, watching The Mister mow the lawn, I smiled.

Because that guy has great arms.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

look what i made

One of these:
This is a four layer chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate-sour cream frosting. Because it's health food when you use bittersweet chocolate. Antioxidants and some such nonsense. And it's better. That's why.

And then, I made some of these:

They are pretty things made of dark chocolate. Because things are prettier when they are made of dark chocolate. Just ask Willie Wonka. Because he knows, that's why.

Acquire some nasturtiums. Then, pick some violets. Because they are pretty and edible, that's why. It's a two-for-one kind of deal. And we all like a bargain.

Then close your eyes, count to 10, and say, There's nothing like chocolate. There's nothing like chocolate. Oh, and also, click your heels together three times. Because it worked for Dorothy, that's why.

Like a bunch of two year-olds, all this why-asking.

And, voila!

The loveliest cake ever.

I call it that, because that's what it is, that's why.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

they gave her money

...for Preschool Graduation, and she bought a Webkinz.

Please be advised that I am biting my tongue regarding the following topics:
  1. Preschool Graduation
  2. Webkinzes (webkinzi?)

(let's pause for a moment, whilst I bite away....still biting...)

Okay, I'm back. Tonight I had the pleasure of putting each of my children to bed, one at a time, thanks to a lovely Child Delivery System carried out by The Mister's parents. Let me explain, no, that take too long, let me sum up (name that movie): HB and I came home, Jacks came home with Grandpa, O came home with Grandma...and now I blog.

I asked O what she named her black Webaddictionkinz, and she said this:

Blackberry. Because he sparkles on the outside of him like a sparkly blackberry. I call him Black Sparkleberry, because his coat is so shiny sparkley. He just glistens. Black Glisten Sparkleberry. Or just Sparkleberrycoats for short. Or Sparkleblack. SparkleBlackBerry. I want to sleep with you tonight because when Jack is asleep and I am not do you know what I hear? I hear him snore. And I just cannot sleep when I am awake listening to him snore. And you and me don't snore, you and I, we don't. Just Daddy and Jacks. Henny doesn't snore (to which I raised my eyebrows). Oh, he does snore? It must just be stinky boys that snore. Not us girls. So I'll just sleep right here with you.

That is some train of thought. Maybe mine would run a little better if I had more water and juice and less of this. The first one on the list. I've had a few tonight. But I worked really hard today. I'll show you the pictures tomorrow.

Friday, May 23, 2008

overheard in a public bathroom

I know the title alone will bring me traffic.

Yesterday, whilst using it alone (and by alone, I mean, nobody else actually in the stall with me) at the Strong Museum, I heard the following conversation:

Little girl, probably 5 years old, most likely with a January birthday: I've got you.

Little boy, probably 2 years old, most likely with a July birthday: Wift me up a wittle higher.

Girl: Okay. I'm lifting you.

Boy: Am I high enough? Can I go?

Girl: You're up. Pee. PEE!!!

Boy: Okay.

(then I heard the sound)


Boy, with a sorry voice: No I peed in the toilet.

Girl: Mommy, hurry up and get out of there, because we've got a mess to clean up over here.

I thought I recognized those little voices.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

metaphoric mac and cheese

We were driving (quickly, and to a friend's house to pee, if you must know) while doing a gazillion errands today, and passed the local Catholic high school. There is a grotto outside with a waterfall (?) and O asked about it. I explained it as simply and as best I could, and somehow the topic of the Virgin Mary came up. O said, Those people believe in Mary. And the Those People was in the tone of voice people use when they are talking about Those People.

I was not excited about the tone of voice, a technique she had perfected well before she turned five. And really, Catholic is just another barely differently-flavoured version of Christianity than the flavour of church we attend. So being the educator I was trained to be, I brought this up with O.

Me: We believe in Jesus Christ, so we are Christians, right?

O: Yep.

Me: Well, this is a Catholic school, and they believe in Jesus, too. So they are Christians.

O: But they believe in Mary. (emphasis: Mary)

Me: Do you believe that Mary is the mother of Jesus?

O: Yes.

Me: That means you believe in Mary, too. Get it?

O: But we don't believe what they believe, right?

Me (scrambling in my brain): We pretty much do. It's like... it's like... uhh... macaroni and cheese.

O: What?

My brain: What?

Me: You know how there are all different kinds of mac and cheese. There's the Aldi brand, and the Tops brand, and the Spongebob kind, and the Dora kind, and the kind I make. You follow?

O (quite possibly thinking I had really lost it this time): Uh-huh.

Me: Well, no matter what kind of box it comes in, or how you make it, or what it looks like, it's all still macaroni and cheese.

O: (thinking hard)

Me: It's like churches. When it comes down to it, if you believe that Jesus is God, and that he died for your sins, it doesn't matter so much about the little things. It's all pretty much the same.

O (with an enlightened-sounding 'oh'): So it doesn't matter if sometimes you talk to Mary or other guys in the Bible if you believe in Jesus?

Me: Pretty much.

O: Well, that helps, doesn't it?

Me: Yeah, I guess it does. We're all not as different as it might seem.

O: Well, that helps that people are a lot the same.

And that, dearies, is the Five Year-Old Profound Statement of the Day. It helps that people are a lot the same.

Monday, May 19, 2008

just a volunteer

Aside from the ninety gazillion things I do each day to keep our home running, and the people fed, and clean (well, you know, as clean as possible), I do some volunteer work. Some of you know I have served on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County, NY--I have to say NY, because there's an HFH Genesee County in Michigan, too. I am on committees at church, and I also 'do' a newsletter for another local organization of which I will fail to mention its name.

I fail to mention the name for a few reasons:
  • This is not an innately bad organization (duh, or I wouldn't be volunteering my time with them)
  • I am reeeeaaaaallllyy unhappy, no I'm actually feeling seriously insulted, and the less I say, the better it will be. (so don't tell me I'm blogging about it and ruin my venting. Because I need to vent, and you know that's why you read me.)

There might be more reasons to my madness, but that's all I've got at the moment.

So I do a newsletter. I guess you could call me the editor, but I don't actually get much material to edit, so I have come up with about 80% of the material for the past two years, with the exception of the last two months when the employees of the organization gave me enough material to get the job done. And it's not a ginormous publication, just a four page Publisher document with cute fonts. Even so, it has taken me as little as 5 hours and up to 10 hours to complete each month's paper. And that adds up to a lot of hours out of my life that I will never get back.

But I volunteer. I enjoy being useful, and contributing to the greater good, and using my skills to help out. I do not volunteer to receive awards, I don't do it to be recognized, or so that people applaud me. I am not into that. Sure, I do appreciate being appreciated, but I am not looking for a bunch of feathers for my cap. I serve because my faith requires me to be a servant to others. And if you would like me to explain that further, let me know.

This month's newsletter was late. In fact, I thought I was not going to be able to complete it at all. I couldn't even start the thing because I lost the packet of information they had given me. I admitted it as soon as I realized it was really, truly lost. I apologized. I described the effort I had made to find the paper. (Are you wondering why they don't email me the information? Because I wonder that, too.) The Person In Charge said, Well, if you can't find it, it wasn't meant to be. Now I didn't take that to mean, Ah, whatever. Stop looking, we don't want the newsletter this month. I figured it as more of an, Oh well, we're disappointed, sorry to hear that, sort of thing. So I kept looking.

Last Thursday, I got a phone call from the Person In Charge, and the Person pretty much ripped me a new one about losing the information. And during the course of the tirade/patronizing suggestion offering/calling me irresponsible, the Person used the phrase just a volunteer.

And that, my friends, is where I signed off.

Here's a little advice for anyone who deals with volunteers as a part of their job:


Here is an equation you should employ: VOLUNTEER = DONOR.

I have donated hours and hours of my time and brain power, limited as both may be, which translates into thousands of dollars worth of time. Volunteer time is valued at $18 an hour. At least. I got that number in the summer of 2006 at the HFH National Leadership Conference, so I am sure it has inflated by now.

And do you ever have moments when little things catch your attention because you're torqued about something else? Little things that you'd really not care about under normal circumstances, but because you're pretty much pissed off, get under your skin like a sliver?

Yeah. Me too. Like this: The organization just celebrated its yearly Volunteer Recognition Week. There was a big poster, and a nice luncheon, and presents, I'm sure, because they're really big on gifts. Guess who was not invited to a nice grown-up lunch? Guess who got no recognition? And no presents? Yeah. That'd be me.

And like this: There was an event hosted by the organization, and scads of volunteers were mentioned. Ninety gazillion of their names were crammed on a half sheet of 8.5x11 inch paper, in 12 point font. Guess whose name was not there? Yeah. That'd be my name.

But I'm Just A Volunteer. Those other people must be Real, Live, Actual Volunteers Who Are Actually Important. So thank you, Organization in Which I Was Formerly Just A Volunteer.

I am taking my seriously underappreciated self somewheres else, people. If I am JUST anything, I'll be just my kids' mom, and just my husband's wife. Because if I'm going to be underappreciated, dammit, it's going to be in my own home, where I can at least make them sit in the corner. Because I am the Person In Charge over here.

So there.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

l'histoire d'aujourd'hui

J'ai voulu travailler dans mon jardin aujourd'hui. Tristement il pleut.

Friday, May 16, 2008

my headless children

I just really don't know what this is about. They came with heads. I know for a fact they came with heads. Big, big heads. Big round heads.

Where have all the heads gone?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

something lovely

2013 is a long time away, or war sucks

This was SO not what I was going to blog about today. However, I read this and this on, and it just plain rubbed me the wrong way.

By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom.

The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension.

Those were forward-looking statements made by Senator John McCain, about what we can look forward to at the end of his first term in office. Dear Lord, I thought, is he serious? Where's the plan to actually end this horrific war? Equally important, is there such a thing as an end to sectarian violence? I feel like there might not be an end. Look at Israel and Palestine, Britain and Ireland, South Eastern Europe. Sure, they might not be suicide bombing each other rightthisveryminute, but I bet they think about it. I bet they talk about it. I bet they plan it.

Anti-War dot com has an easy-to-read/understand chart of the number of casualties (read: mamas, daddies, uncles, aunties, somebody's baby, somebody's love) at various points throughout this war. The number of American soldiers who have lost their lives is breathtaking, and in more of a Deep Breath To Keep From Barfing sort of way. But the estimated loss of Iraqi life is disgusting: 1,209,263.

*I would have you know this: I have the highest respect for the men and women of our Armed Forces. I would not be able to do the work they do. My opinion of our Commander-in-Chief should not be mistaken for my opinion of the people in the military.*

By continuing our military presence in Iraq for 5 more years, Senator McCain is saying that it is just fine with him to have more than 30,000 Americans wounded. 30,000 people who have one hand. Or one leg. Or one half of a face. Or a mind that has ceased to function. He welcomes the idea of destroying 4,100 more families by putting their loved one in a situation that continues to prove itself deadly. And he is giving a green flag to the deaths of 1.2 million more Iraqis. Now, these numbers are based upon what has already happened in Iraq. It could be worse.

I don't think I can say with good conscience that it can be better, because I find it hard to believe that any person who loses a loved one is comforted by the fact that somebody else's baby didn't die.

I can't vote for war. I just can't. And here's why: killing people is wrong. Killing people in the name of Justice, or Protecting Our Interests, or whatever the damn reason of the week is... it's still killing people. People who believe that killing is wrong should say so.

So say so already.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

cake, please!

Today is my birthday. And here is the good news for me: I am not feeling older.

Here is the bad news: It has been my birthday for fifteen (15) hours now, and there has been no cake.

Here is some more good news:

This is my bestest present ever! We got a very good deal on it that included the body, the 18-70mm lens and the crazy powerful zoom lens. And I got the salesman to throw in a nice, padded neckstrap for free. The receipt said the price was $0.01, but I'm just going to put that penny somewhere else and call it free.

It takes lovely pictures.

It does help to have gorgeous subjects to photograph, though, I must admit. Aren't they lovely? And that smiling guy? Yeah. Mine.

But if you bring me cake, I'll let you ogle, and I'll pretend I'm not even noticing your drool. Maybe I'll even let you hold my baby. You would need to bring really good cake for that.

Here's an aside: We went to the grocery store today for chicken breasts (hopefully not the kind grown in a Petri dish), and Olivia kept telling me over and over We are not eating dinner at home. We are eating at church. To which I replied, Dude, it is my birthday and I want some chicken cooked on the grill and some tossed salad, and that is what is being served at my house, so if you want to go to church and forage for food, suit yourself. This was not my initial reply, or even the reply given after half an hour. But an hour into the "you're not making dinner tonigh/yes, I am/well just bring the chicken to church if you want it so bad" (yes, that was O, there, busting out with the attitude) conversation, that is what I said. Because really, I want some grilled chicken.

Later she told me that there was some sort of surprise going on for somebody, but she wasn't saying who the surprise was for, or what the occasion was. Hmmmm.....this is me, not guessing. I just hope there's cake.

P.S. I invite you, whoever you are, to leave me a little happy birthday comment. Even if I don't actually know you and you think it would be weird, leave me a note. Because I know you're out there. I'm getting lots of hits from cities around the world every day, and many of these cities keep popping up again and again. And I'm dying to know who you are. We could play six degrees of separation. It would be fun. Especially for me. And it's my birthday, so throw me a bone. Or comment. Or cake.

Monday, May 12, 2008

on mothering

What an interesting life this is. I sit here, shaking my head and racking my brain (yep, I checked, that's the right word) trying to figure out where to begin.

Today I was emailing a friend, and sent it off mid-thought, because The Bookaneer Test skit was on Sesame Street.

Leader of Bookaneers (Tina Fey, in real life) What's a pirate's favorite letter?

Allen, of Mr. Hooper's Store, in his best pirate voice: R!

Pirate #1: No, that's an old joke.

Pirate #2: Now you're just buying into stereotypes.

Leader of Bookaneers: No, No, a pirate's favorite letter is F.

Pirate #1: Aye, that's right. Pirates love F-words.

It must just be my fondness for f-words myself, but I laugh out loud at that skit every time I see it. I look forward to SS reruns. I actually made my children stop playing and watch TV at the Strong Museum of Play because the Bookaneer Test was playing in the Sesame Street Theatre.

It is an interesting life.

I never would have appreciated Thinly Veiled Humour For Adults Masquerading As Humour For Children as much, if I didn't have children.

I never even thought that poop came in 8718791324658432 varieties before I had children, and I wouldn't have kept such scientific scatological records.

I would not have heard this sentence: That necklace really makes your jeans look better. What? Is that even possible?

I would still think my cats are cute, if I had no children.

Had I not been pregnant three times, I would have a significantly flatter stomach.

I would not understand that one, short syllable (ie. Mom) could be said 8718791324658432 ways, each in a different tone of voice, each meaning something different.

I would not believe that a person had the ability to say one, short syllable (ie. Mom) 8718791324658432 times in three minutes. I still have a hard time believing it, even having experienced it every day for the past four years.

I would not believe that a woman could forget what it feels like to be in labour if I hadn't done it myself. But even now, a year and a half since I had HB, if I watch a television show, and a woman is giving birth, my abdominal muscles clench and bear down with her. And it doesn't hurt, but I feel it.

I cannot imagine the grief of losing a child. I have tried to imagine what my life would be like if one of my babies wasn't in it...not because I want that, heavens no. I have friends who have lost babies, and when it has happened, I found myself wondering what I would be doing if I had no kids, or who I would be if I only had Olivia and not the boys. And the only thing my mind can find is a vast wasteland of emptiness. I would guess that description does not even register on the losing a child scale, but I do know that it causes me to thank God for my beautiful and healthy babes.

Before I had children, I thought I understood the sanctity of life. I thought I appreciated what my birth mother had done for me. I thought I appreciated my mom.

Before I had children, I didn't understand loving somebody so much I would kill or be killed for them. Now, I love me my Mister, but it had never occurred to me that any situation would arise in which I would be required to maim for him. It seems that Turning Mom has done crazy things to my brain. So don't screw with my kids, ya dig?

Before I had children, I had no idea what myveryown crying baby would do to me. I didn't know that a miserable, sweaty, feverish, teething babe would reduce me to the same miserable, sweaty, feverish, sobbing state. I didn't understand when people would talk about being 'up all night' with the sick baby. He's sick, he should be asleep, right? Yep... Or not. I would not have guessed that watching nurses try to put an IV into the hand of my 8 month-old would make me vomit. I didn't understand how scary anesthesia can be until my baby was put under. I didn't know how repulsive the phrase put under really is.

But before I had children, I didn't know what it feels like to have myveryown baby fall asleep on myveryown chest. I didn't know about first smiles or wet kisses or sweet potato raspberries. I didn't know a lap could be so comforting. I didn't know my husband would be 90 gazillion times more sexy with our babies hanging on to him.

It's true that I have never worked as hard at anything. It's true that I have never been more exhausted. But I have never experienced such... I don't even have a word for it.

Olivia just told me good night. I said, When you see me in the morning I will be much older than I am right now. I'll be the same number as Daddy. She said, You'll be the same, though, right? I laughed and said, I'll be so much the same I will probably wear these same clothes tomorrow. Her eyebrows wrinkled and she said, But you won't be sleeping in that necklace (the one that makes my jeans look good), will you?

Of course I won't. Because I don't sleep in my jeans. That's weird. And uncomfortable.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day. But I will let you in on a little secret: There's some Mother's Day going on every day of my life. And if that's not good news, I don't know what is.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

i got a birthday present!

But sadly, I am too tired to tell you about it today.

Also, the gift was not a big, crusty pile of poo.

Bonne Nuit!

Friday, May 9, 2008

google this

Here are some of the more interesting searches
that have led readers to my little old blog:


teeth clacking during sleep

how to bake fiestadas


what is the time now at dayton

content of this blog objectionable

national pickling cucumber

naughty drawings made normal


rhino love
Here is the Best One Yet
pi of people butt hole
Seriously, what the heck, batman?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

argh. (where i pound my head against the desk and contemplate how other people allow the media to dictate their opinions)

I have been reading a blog by a mama I met at MOPS. Every now and again, she posts a video. So today, on my daily trip over there, I watched a piece about Senator Obama, and what a wretched person he is.

I set my personal feelings about Senator Obama aside, because I was anticipating something that was completely anti-Obama, but I found it incredibly easy to form an opinion on the video based solely on the video. Now before I get up on my soapbox, I want to just say that I really value other points of view when they make me think about my perspective. I enjoy being challenged to re-evaluate on which side of The Line my soapbox is placed. And I think it is awesome that as Americans, we are not required to pay homage to things that don't deserve it, and that we are practically baited to stand up and proclaim. (Thanks, Blogger!)

The media plays such a crazy and ridiculous role in every part of our lives. And unless you live in a hole, under a rock, in a cave, at the North Pole (which, incidentally is a dangerous place now that there's only one year's worth of ice covering it), the presence of the media is inescapable. There's always a television, or the radio (you know, the little talking/singing box with buttons and/or knobs) clamoring in the background, the draw of the internet, the bold headlines on the paper. The media is like breathe it even when you're not thinking about it.

This video, which I will not post because it is so very Over the Top, was carefully edited by a man who claims to have invented the internet. But he's not Al Gore, so I was a little confused. Here's a basic schematic of the points it tried to make:
moot point, incorrectly researched
moot point
racist/moot point
valid point
valid point
moot point, out of context
moot/already discussed too much point
overpublicized gaffe by wife/moot point
incorrectly researched point
seemingly valid point, but taken out of its original context, rendering it invalid
incorrectly researched point
lots of anti-Muslim sentiment
more judgemental sentiment

I commented, because it is exciting and fun to get comments (hint, hint), and also because the first person who commented said 'that was very informative to us politically ignorant people!'. That, my dearies, was just as alarming to me as the mostly hateful rhetoric in that video. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. (Luke 12:48) We have been given an amazing right by the First Amendment to our Constitution. But there's a lot of people out there who exercise their Rights with malice. Part of the responsibility of the First Amendment is to consider the source of speech, the intention of the free speech, and the accuracy of the free speech. One sound bite is not enough foundation on which we should build a solid opinion. We have a nation of politically ignorant citizens who are making snap judgements. Black. Socialist. Too old. Woman. Conservative. Liberal. Watch a video, and automatically believe everything it says? That is insane.

As crazy as the whole watch-a-video-form-an-opinion thing is, it is so true. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Ithaca for a Habitat for Humanity of NY State conference, and one of the afternoon speakers was teaching us about utilizing our volunteers based upon the generation to which the volunteers belong. He discussed belief systems of each generation, what motivates members of each of the three predominant generations, and how each generation utilizes technology. I was struck by the technology-media dependence of people born between 1980 and 1999, or GenY. They have a really technology-centric culture. (I say 'they' because based on the characteristics, I am more of a GenX-er. And I was born in the 1970's. That makes me sound old. Well, old for me...)

I said all of that to say this: GenY must be even more diligent than the baby boomers and the GenX-ers regarding what they read on the internet and see on TV. There is so much ridiculous garbage out there. (Do you like how I didn't say 'crap'? I'm working on not saying 'crap' so much because I've passed it on to my children, and I desire to be a proper mama.)

I would suggest that if your only source of information regarding Senator Obama is the conservative media's 'Hussein Spin', it is likely that picture is inaccurate. If your only source of information regarding Senator McCain is the liberal 'rag', it is likely that picture is inaccurate. It makes sense that we, as responsible citizens, would make an effort to read up on both sides of the story. Read what the Presidential Candidates have written. Listen to their speeches. I've read some writings of each of them, and for me, that has been better information than any other media source. Note: I wouldn't recommend Senator Clinton's writings if you are more clever than a third grader. Unless you want to take a nap, then go right ahead.

And this whole process of becoming more informed and more educated should not be limited to the running of our country. I don't think I needed to actually say that, but I'm just covering the bases, here.

What America becomes is up to us. And hopefully we will not be sheep who believe everything we hear from the media whether it be liberal or conservative. In John 8:32, the author says 'The truth will set you free.' If we want to be set free from politics and media as they have become, we need to be diligent about getting as much of the story as we can. Information is power, and is it right to let the media industry decide what information we can and can't have? I think it is not.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

counting with jack


I. A. Good. Counter.

Right, Mama?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

hot dogs, mac and cheese, magic

You never can tell what those shortykinses will come up with. We were just sitting at the kitchen table, eating lunch like normal people, when the Great Debate Regarding The Authenticity Of All Things Magic, Including Our Lunch Menu And The Tooth Fairy began.

Mama: There is something so very good about hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.

Olivia, with zeal: It's the best!

Olivia's BFF: It's so good it's magic.

Mama: Magic. Hmmm. I never thought about it like that before.

BFF: Oh, it is magic. Just like Santa and The Tooth Fairy. (BFF has already lost teeth. She's dentally advanced, that one.)

Olivia: The Tooth Fairy isn't magic. The Tooth Fairy is just pretend.

Mama, staring at O with a horrified look, mouths: Stop!

BFF: No, Olwivia. The Tooth Fairy is REAL!

O: Come on, your parents just tell you that so you get excited. Magic is fun to pretend, but it's not real.

BFF, not persuaded by O's logical take on things: No, she's real. She left me really real money.

Jack and BFF's little sister, chanting like sing-songy monkeys: Money, money, money, money...

O: Well, maybe The Tooth Fairy gave you your parents' money. Or your parents gave you The Tooth Fairy's money.

BFF: The Tooth Fairy gave me her own lots of money.

Mama: Anybody want some more magic mac and cheese? Or a hot dog? They're magic for sure, and really real, too.

O, staring at me like I am completely crazy, actually says nothing.

BFF: See, Olwivia. Even your MOM thinks magic is real. So it is.

Jack and BFF's Little Sister: I want more hot dogs! I want more macawoni!

BFF: Now let's talk more about That Tooth Fairy.

Monday, May 5, 2008

cinco de mayo

Once upon a time, back when the milennium was newish, the Mister and I weren't married yet. We weren't even dating. We didn't even like each other. We hadn't even actually given the other the courtesy of a fleeting thought since he graduated high school. And yes, he is MUCH older than I, just in case you were not clear about that. MUCH OLDER!

We started hanging out in January of 2001. The Future Mister had befriended my wee brother, Uncle Benna, and I was keeping as close track of said brother as I could, despite living so far away. And why was I being such a pest? I know you are wondering. You are just going to have to wait for that story. It's a good one, though. Not actually good, but as far as stories go, it's about an 8 out of 10. Back to being a pest. I wanted to have a chat with the Future Mister about something, mostly to see who Uncle Benna was keeping company with. With whom? With who? Whatever.

Well, me and that guy started to chat, and gab, and blahblahblahblahblah... and then he asked me to join him for coffee. And since one of my major life rules is "Don't Turn Down Coffee", I had to go.

And because I am a moron, I didn't know that the Future Mister was considering this A Date. And also, I was dating two guys back in Far Away Land, and that was kind of a lot to juggle, with work and scheduling them in and all, I was just busy with other things. But mostly I am a moron.

So I was traveling back and forth every weekend, Childhood Home to Far Away Land, to keep tabs on the Childhood Home Situation, which was going swiftly and steadily downhill. I could only handle being in the Childhood Home Situation for thislong so I would make the Future Mister take me to the bar. Because he was the only person I knew there besides Uncle Benna, who was inconveniently too young to take me to the bar and ply me with Guinness. Jerk.

This scenario went on for MONTHS.

Easter rolled around (in April, happily unlike this year when Easter was the week after New Year's), and after my big family shindig, we went to see a movie in the Big City. I honestly can't remember what we saw, but I bet if you clicked over to the Mister's blog and left him a comment asking, he'd be happy to provide you with all of the details that I got wrong and/or are fit to share.

After the movie, I was driving us back to our little town, actually, I was getting on the On Ramp to the highway. And out of nowhere in particular, he blurted out something like this: I am in love with you and... It was not a long declaration, but he put it out there and I got stuck on the first part and the rest just ended up sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher. Being the classy dame I am, I stared straight ahead and gulped. A lot.

And told him I just really wanted to be friends.

monday evening, alone

My back is once again killing me, and the Mister was kind enough to kick me out of the house whilst he filed the short people away to their respective night-time holding pens. I went out to "walk it off" like a tough guy. Walking didn't exactly fix my back, but the time alone was glorious. I feel much better about things in general.

One of the supercool things about my town is that one of our neighbors, who passed away a few years ago, gave almost every homeowner in the village a flowering crabapple tree. This man loved my town, raised his family here, and left so much more of a legacy than just the trees. The first week of May is my favorite week of the year, because the trees bloom. It is breathtaking to drive down our (two) streets and see one gorgeous tree after another. They look and smell absolutely amazing. These trees have a subtle, yet intoxicating scent, and the air is steeped with flowering crab. It's divine.

Here are some of the beautiful things I saw tonight.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

i will be older next tuesday

Mother's Day is 1 week from today. My birthday is two days later. This situation is similar to those people whose birthdays are unfortunately close to Christmas. Except for those who don't actually celebrate Christmas, but I digress. Mother's Day and My Birthday have coincided before, and will again, I am sure.

I have compiled a small list of items that I would love to have,
but most likely will not.

Store-bought birthday cake.

I know I can make better cake than the store, but oh, how I love store-bought cake.

An iPod.

It would be especially useful for listening to music in the car, even more so now that NumberOneSon has permanently damaged my CD player by cramming 13 CDs in a single player.

Thanks, man.

A pressure cooker.

To facilitate the consumption of more beans, and also rice.

And beans and rice.

An improved clothesline situation.

Or a new clothesline. I am flexible.

A digital SLR camera.

With fancy lenses.

A pile of manure.

No, really. I want a big, crusty pile of poo for my garden.


Because who doesn't want some of those?

food journal for saturday, may 3, 2008

Well, I woke up yesterday and my ass said to me, "I think I would like to be 40% larger than I am right now."

Being the compliant person I am, I ate a this:

And then I ate some of this:

And for lunch I ate one of these little guys:

And for dinner, part 1, I ate two of these:

And also some salad. Yay, me!

Then I went to the pub to celebrate a friend's birthday.

And I had:


And then I had some more

Followed by a cake that is made from a dozen eggs, 2 cups of sugar, a pound of chocolate and 3/4 of a pound of butter.

Friday, May 2, 2008

fuzzy, fuzzy, funky. like daddy.

So this happened last Friday. It was a week ago that I got me some boys. Well, I had the actual boys, but now they look like boys. Real live little boys. No more babykins. I think NumberOneSon runs faster now. And HB, well, he seems to be falling down a lot more. But I can't explain that.

He's ready. This is going to be good.

What is that buzzing in my head?

Put that tongue away before it gets carpeted.

Is it a little scary that the fella with the clippers has a finger injury? And what is with the extreme mullet?

That's a pleased little man right there.

But wait...there's more...

Oh no, NOT THE BABY!!!!!!

Oh yes. Yes, the baby, too.

HB: What is this fascinating little tube with this fascinating little cap?

And by the way, I would like to point out the spectacular tan I have achieved by hanging my laundry on the clothesline. Also feel free to be distracted by the tan so that you do not notice the completely un-clever expression on my face. Tan. Tan. TAN!!!!!

I am completely ignoring you tall people and that buzzing thing in your hand.

Ummm, guys? What are you doing to me?

Note the hesitant smile and outrageously adorable dimple.

Tip me over and pour me out! Dang, I never knew getting my hair cut would be so much fun!