Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Miss You, Old Friend

Buddy: August (?) 1995 - November 28, 2006



Monday, November 19, 2007

Taking a break form blogging - need some personal time. : )

Sunday, November 11, 2007

D. I. D.'s

One of the radio stations that we listen to is having a Desert Island Disc play-a-thon this long Veteran's Day weekend. Basically, they asked listeners to send in their lists of 3 cd's they could listen to for the rest of time if stranded on a desert island with a "kick-ass" (solar powered?) stereo system. This weekend the station is playing one song from each of the three cd's from the lists that they received, as well as announcing on air whose list it is. It's fun hearing what people consider their "top three" - much of it not on the station's regular rotation. I think I have yet to hear any [2 bands who shall remain nameless] both of which have been played so heavily that I wonder if payola is really quite dead. This has got me mulling over which three cd's would be my Desert Island Discs. Only three cd's! Until recently, I wasn't listening to cd's. Mostly the stereo has been tuned-in to NPR (the only way I get my news these days) and that station plays jazz and blues. Fine, but not something I can usually sing along to. Lately I have been in a funk with music, and really in general. But last week, I wanted to get some house work done, and needed some "theme music" in the background. Liz Phair. Or Fair Liz, as I like to call her. Oh! The joy of listening to and singing along with music has been restored to me! Yes, I would definitely have some Liz Phair with me. But which one? Whitechocolatespaceegg would have been my choice, but then I started listening more to the 2003 release simply titled "Liz Phair." Initially I wasn't crazy about this one - it seemed a little too "produced" and I like her earlier, rawer sound. But there's that opening track, Extraordinary. Ladies, if you are ever in a funk, play this song as loud as you can stand it and sing along with these words:

I am extraordinary, if you'd ever get to know me. I am extraordinary. I am just your ordinary, average, everyday, sane/psycho super-goddess.
OK, that settles it - "Liz Phair" it is. On to disc #2 then. When I was single and living in Chicago, my friend (who was later to become my sister-in-law! but that's another story) and I spent much of our spare time browsing the shelves at Dr. Wax on Clark Street. Back then it was a tiny, dark, cramped place. Then they moved in to a bigger brighter location, not nearly as edgy. Now I hear that it has closed. Too bad, it was a very cool place. Anyway, much of my record collection is populated with purchases from Dr. Wax. There I explored my burgeoning interest in Folk Music, 70's and 80's pop that I had missed out on, Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson - who were the only two "Country Music" performers that I could stand because I told myself that they were really outside the genre - and a developing musical genre out of my home state known as Grunge. Nirvana. Pearl Jam has it's place in history too, but for me Nirvana paved the road and the road is the same water-y blue as of the cover of "Nevermind." This is the disc you listen to when you are just so pissed that you are on a desert island that you want to smash some shit. And also to keep all the hungry wild animals away. But then you'll need to listen to something else lest you find yourself dwelling too much on Mr. Cobain. Which brings us to disc #3. Well, so far this hasn't been too hard, but now I ony get to pick one more! And it can't be depressing (sorry, Nirvana.) Here is where I'd have to turn my back to the pop/rock mood music and pick something inspiring. Bach. Classical music is timeless. "The Brandenburg Concertos" is a beautiful collection of six compositions penned by Johann Sebastian Bach in the 1700's. It is inspiring to think that these works are just as popular today as they were 3 centuries ago, and this would be just the ticket for getting me pumped to write S O S in the sand, or light my signal fire, or build my raft. This is the music that would make me want to forage for coconuts and learn how to spear fish. This is the soundtrack for survival. Ahhhhhh, Bach! So, what about you? Where do your musical tastes lie? What three discs would you want on your desert island? Edited to add: now with videos!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Blog About It

Do you know this guy?




No? Here, does this help...



Need another clue? Well,
we were all in the mood for a melodeeee and he had us feelin' alriiiight.

Last night TFH and I went to see Billy Joel at the Key Arena in Seattle.
*takes a deep breath*
Billy Joel has been one of my favorite entertainers since forever. He is an amazing musician - his fingers just fly on that keyboard. And you know, he writes EVERY SINGLE SONG HE PERFORMS?! AMAZING. He also surrounds himself with pure talent. Every person in his band is skilled beyond description. The show blew my freakining mind. Yes, I just said freakining.
We had fantastic seats, too. Thanks to this guy



Erm, the one behind the drums. Yeah, I know you can't see him, but trust me - he's there.
I've never blogged about my friend Chuck
before because, although I've known him for about 20 years, I didn't really feel like I had bragging rights. But last night I asked for permission, and was told "Hell yeah!"

Chuck has been a professional musician since as soon as he possibly could. He is a drummer. A PHENOMENOL drummer. Good enough to be hired for the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp Broadway production of "Movin' Out." So good, that Billy Joel hired him as his new drummer. I've seen him in action, really good. For 2 1/2 hours last night, he pounded that drum kit into a bloody pulp. I've seen the show before - I was on a layover in London once when they were playing at Wembley, and Chuck got me a comp ticket. But there is something about being in (or near) your home town, sitting among people you love, and watching someone who you love like your own family finally have the job of his dreams. He has worked long and hard to get here, and he sooooooo deserves it. You just couldn't meet a nicer guy. Chuck is married to my friend Amy, big sister of Elaine who has been my best friend since High School. These are the people I hang out with when I stay overnight in New York. All of them, such talented folks.

OK, back to the concert: there were a LOT of gray heads out in the audience last night, but there were a lot of kids too. I saw one boy, maybe 10 years old, with his Billy Joel album tucked under his arm as we were leaving the arena, and I though "Oh, he wanted Billy Joel to sign that..." There were thousands of us, many of us singing right along with Billy. If you must know, I was one of those middle aged, gray haired people, singing right along with Billy.
Sorry, but if your gonna put me in a room with "Big Shot," and "Only the Good Die Young," and "Angry Young Man," and --- you get the idea, right?
My eardrums and vocal chords may never be the same

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to Me - Part II: Insignificant Other
I'm not really sure how to go about writing this, because it is not intended to hurt my husband's feelings, though he knows that he did indeed hurt mine. And he also knows I intended to blog about it. And he has tried to make up for his mistake. But still, it's hard to recount the events of my birthday without possibly making him feel bad all over again, and that really is not the intent of this post. As I mentioned in my last post, my birthday was October 28th. My blog and I share a birth month! - along with many of you out there in blog-land. Now, I am not a terribly high maintenance spouse when it comes to birthdays, but some small token is always appreciated. Do you want to know what I got from TFH on my birthday? "Happy birthday." Those two words, spoken as he walked groggily past me on the way to the kitchen for coffee. As tokens go, that's pretty small. But we had plans with my folks for later that day, so I figured maybe I'd get a card from him when we were all gathered at their house. We spent the afternoon at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, before heading back to my parents' house for dinner. At one point, as TFH and I were walking arm in arm, I turned and gave him a little peck on the lips. He wrapped his arms around me and I gave him a good hard look... "So, um, what do you want for your birthday?" he asked "Did you even get me a card?" I asked The look on his face said it all. People, he did not forget my birthday - he simply neglected to do a single thing to acknowledge it. Which left me feeling, well, pretty insignificant. I kept it together all through the evening. I even casually, and almost good naturedly, ratted him out to my folks - in front of him - after we'd eaten. The drive home is a long one: over an hour from their driveway to ours. It was also a very quiet one. Still, I didn't cry. I almost felt like I didn't want him to know how hurt I was, like it would seem weak or petty to cry about it. We got home late and Ben had school the next day - I got myself ready for bed and TFH took care of Ben's bedtime routines: the putting on of jammies, the brushing of teeth, the reading of stories. I lay in bed, and oh, here came the tears. Never, in a million years did I imagine that I'd be married to a man who would blow me off on my birthday. TFH must have heard me sniffling from the next room. He crawled in bed behind me and said "I'm really sorry, honey." And I knew he really meant it, though I still don't know the reason for his (lack of) actions. "It hurt my feelings, you know." I sniffed. "I know. I'm going to try to make it up to you. With some presents?" he offered I turned to face him "OK." (Yes you will.) I said. The next part of this story sort of turns everything on its ear. We keep one of our bedroom windows open, because I NEED fresh air when I sleep. There's a constant drone of traffic noise from the highway that runs near our house, and the occasional squeal of tires peeling out from the tavern down the street. We are used to these noises. To be honest, I don't hear them anymore, but my ears perked up that night when I heard a man's angry voice yelling, followed by a woman's shrill screams. TFH's head lifted slightly off the pillow. "Did you hear..." "Uh-huh, a man yelling and then a woman..." "Yeah, a girl or a woman..." "Screaming." We both sat up. "Should I go out there?" He asked "Or dial 911... domestic disturbance?" I said. TFH got out of bed, and I lay there. Suddenly I felt very petty. My husband may have blown off my birthday, but at least he wasn't beating me up. TFH came back in and said that 911 had already gotten a report of a domestic disturbance down the street from us, we figured that must be what we heard. It took me a long time to get to sleep after that. I thought about what we'd heard. I thought about that woman. I really hoped it wasn't her birthday. Ithought about how proud I was of my husband for wanting to take action, and for calling 911. I told him this. The next day TFH did indeed present me with a gift. He didn't have a lot of time to think about it, but it's the thought that counts. I, however, have had plenty of time to mull over the events of that day. Am I insignificant in my husband's eyes? No, not really. There are much worse ways to be treated. I can count among my MANY blessings that TFH is not the type of man that likes to explore those kinds of possibilities.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me(me)

Happy Birthday to Me(me) Part I This Post is Late
Over one week late, actually. You see Sunday, October 28th, was my 44th birthday and I had intended to finally post my "Factoids to the Power of Four" meme that Alpha DogMa tagged me with weeks ago because 44, power of 4... But as it turned out, on my ACTUAL birthday I was not interested in blogging AT ALL. And the reason is a whole blog post by itself (oooooo, foreshadowing.) So without further ado, or to do: TFM's Factoids to the Power of Four Four jobs I've had: 1. Resident Advisor in a dormitory at WWU 2.Park Leader / Day camp Leader (summer job last three years of college) 3.Curatorial Assistant at the Washington State Historical Society Museum (when it was still down by Stadium High School) - this was a temporary job that morphed into a gift shop cashier / manager job. But as I was the only one there, I was just managing myself. Fun. 4.Substitute teacher (a thankless job that sent me on the path to my current job, feeding the hungry, traveling masses) Four movies I could watch over and over: Well, I can think of two right off the bat - 1. When Harry Met Sally 2. The Wedding Singer and since I've seen it more times than I know, and I still like it I have to add 3. Monsters Inc. One more, urgh, this is hard, um... 4.OH! Elf. Still funny, every time. ("Syrup in coffee! Why didn't I think of that?!") Four TV shows I like - reality version: I'm not a big fan of reality television, though for one season I was shamelessly enthralled by 1. The Surreal Life - the one with Tammy Faye & Ron Jeremy. Now THERE'S a pair. I just couldn't tear my eyes away from it, I think I even taped it a couple of times, and made TFH watch it too. 2. Last season, for the first time, TFH and I watched American Idol. But mostly I just like the beginning of the season when they're out auditioning around the country. We watch A LOT of Discovery Channel - the only station I feel comfortable exposing Ben to in the evenings. My absolute favorite show is: 3. Cash Cab. I'm not sure if this really qualifies as "reality" - except that it is not scripted, and the contestants don't know they are on a game show until they get in the cab. But I have memorized the cab's number. And I'll be watching for YOU when I'm in NY, Benjamin Bailey. 4. a tie between Dirty Jobs and Myth Busters Four TV shows that I like - non-reality version 1. the best show of all time: F*R*I*E*N*D*S. Those writers should win an award! What? They did? HOW many times? I rest my case. See above re: evening TV habits. I don't watch much prime-time TV these days. But I have seen and liked very much: 2. Scrubs 3. The New Adventures of Old Christine 4. I saw the season premier of "Shark," with James Woods, and loved it, but I have yet to see another episode. Someone tell me if it's still good, please - maybe I'll start taping it. Four places I've gone on vacation: We moved up to Washington state from California when I was 5, so for most of my childhood vacations were spent visiting family in 1. California We also went camping a lot. My favorite trip was deep into the woods of 2. Montana 3. Arizona (to visit a friend after college, when I was miserably employed as a substitute teacher) 4. Hawaii. We've been to Oahu and Maui. I told TFH that I want to go there every year. The last time I was there was on a layover in 2005. *sigh* Four favorite foods: Many of these are things I try not to eat anymore. (I've lost six pounds and am still working on it. My goal weight is 34 pounds away...) 1. home-baked cake with vanilla ice cream 2. mashed potatoes with gravy 3. chicken enchiladas ( A recipe I must share with Swistle, because it is creamy and chickeny and VERY yummy.) 4. My friend Monica Landry's raw brownies. These are the one sweet treat I am letting myself enjoy right now, and they're doing a good job of keeping me out of Ben's Halloween stash. If I get her permission I will share the recipe with you all. Four web sites I visit daily: Lately I have not been on the computer daily. I find I am losing too much of my day under the spell cast by the Internet and so am limiting my time spent here, but when I do turn it on I fairly regularly visit: 1. Comcast's Home page - unavoidable 2. My blog 3. The Hunger Site 4. There is no other site that I visit daily Four places I would rather be: 1. Hawaii 2. Disney World, because I have never been there. 3. A resort/spa like The Clearwater, or maybe the Lake Quinault Lodge 4. on a masseuse's table Four bloggers I tag: Well, I've waited long enough to do this that these folks may have already been tagged, but I'll take my chances with: 1. Sara (fodder for NaBloPoMo!) 2. Misty 3. Kathryn 4. YOU!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The LAST Post about Halloween for 2007. I SWEAR.

I did not eat any of the Halloween candy. Um, I did not eat any of the Halloween candy... after Halloween. I sent it to school with Ben to share there. Anyway, it was treat bags comprised of leftover favors and pinata candies from Ben's birthday party last August. Don't worry, it wasn't 3 month old chocolate (that never would have made it this long) rather "L@FfY TAfFy and suckers which I believe to be immortal.

Ben went with the home-made robot costume this year, though he struggled with that and wanting to be Darth Vader again. I made arms for the robot/Space Boy costume (featured here) using spray paint and plastic dryer duct tubing.



In the end, Ben's costume looked like this:



which, sadly, made me think of this:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Not a Soul

Not one. measly. trick-or-treater.
But we really enjoyed the decorations anyway.
I added waaaaaaay more spiders. Like 220 or so...




I discovered the best way to get them in there is to stand a ways back and then simply fling the spiders into the web. They look more natural and they stick better too. And it is way faster which is A-OK with me, the impatient one.

Note: I am really freaked out by spiders. LIVE spiders. not plastic ones. We have up here a variety of spider known as the "Giant House Spider." They are about as big, and sometimes bigger than the plastic ones I bought. So, yeah, it is a little creepy looking out the windows at those webs full of spiders, but in a good, Halloween spooky way.

The mantle was really fun this year - I like the way it turned out. One word: cheesecloth. My new Halloween decorating material of choice. I didn't know what to do with the pictures on the mantle. they aren't spooky, and I don't have anywhere to put them, so I decided to drape them with sheets. Then I remembered I had a package of cheesecloth. It looks like thick cobwebs. Cheap. Easy. My kind of decoration. And I liked the monochromatic color scheme. Very drab and mournful.



The eyeballs were a package of super balls from T@rgeT. The skull and white tapers are filled with red wax, so they "bleed" as they burn. But they and the bones both burn very quickly and drip copiously. I'll remember to slip a little waxed paper or foil under them next time.
Next time. A whole year away. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Mission: Enquiring Minds...

Todays mission was: YOU ARE A SUPERSTAR! What are the tabloids saying about you today? I had a lot of fun thinking of all the ways I could go with this, but it's also a little sad that Actual Stars really DO get press like this. Which makes me infinitely grateful that I live in relative obscurity. Even so, here is what they would be saying about me today. Or last week. Or the week before that...

But What We Really Want to Know is: Was She Wearing Any Underwear?
Theflyingmum, or "TFM" as she is also sometimes called, was spotted wearing the same gray yoga pants three days in a row while dropping off young Ben at school last week. While it's well known that some stars will repeatedly wear the same pants out in public in an effort to thwart paparazzi - making it appear that all pictures were taken on the same day - the public is, we think, keen enough to realize that Ben could not possibly be dropped off at school three times in one day. We have to ask ourselves; what kind of message is she trying to send here? Is she just hastily pulling on whatever happens to be draped across the foot of the bed? Or worse... the floor?! Are they even clean? Is she clean? Did she bother to take a shower? And what does this behavior say to young Ben? That it's OK to let your appearance slide just because you think no-one will notice? We noticed, TFM. We noticed. At this point, it's doubtful that Ben will ever pen such a tribute as:
"Mama, thanks for being the best role model in the world. I want to be just like you when I'm older!"
Fans have been suspicious of TFM's hastily conceived "outfits" and rumors are circulating that she is behind on the laundry, and that Ben was down to his last pair of clean skivvies this morning. Some circles are speculating that TFM has been going through a bout of mild depression due to her recent birthday. When her husband (TFH) was contacted and asked to confirm this, his only comment was "No comment." One can't help but feel sorry for poor little Ben, growing up in a household with a slovenly mother and taciturn father and, according to Ben, far to little sugar. TFM, we beg you: go shopping, do some laundry, talk to your husband. And for poor little Ben's sake, bake some cookies! The following have posted their Monday Scandal Sheets as well: 1. A shocking speculation from Painted Maypole 2. Get inside the mind of a Rock Legend over at Sober Briquette (it's better to change careers, than to fade away...) 3. See toddlers behaving badly at Suz's Place 4. Your Afternoon Celebrity gossip Report at 1010 Pippert. 5. Kathryn, a celebrity who is serious, rather than scandalous. (congrats on the Oscar... AGAIN.) Got something for me? Shhhh I won't tell. Wait, yes I will - I'll put a link up to your post, just email or let me know via comments!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Monday Mission

Next Monday is my last as host of the Monday Missions. Painted Maypole has so, so graciously offered to take them on again for November (Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Painted Maypole. Thank You!) Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy hosting, it's just that it's a bit hard coming up with topics. Back before the month started, TFH and I sat outside on the deck at a nearby restuarant and brainstormed some ideas for topics. Man, it was sunny and warm - that seems like forever-ago already. Sheesh. Anyway, I had this little miniature composition book, and we came up with some great topics, some of which you enjoyed this past month (anyone care to guess where I got the idea for "restaurant menu?") But then, I lost the notebook. Misplaced it, whatever. I have not been able to find it. And the only topics I could remember were the menu one and the TV programming one. That's two. There were five Mondays in October. Well, I did remember one other topic, but for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to put "My 4-H project" out there. So, by about Wednesday, I start stressing, because I want to post the topic on Friday so you folks have some time to mull it over and a couple of days to work on it. Then, just when I think I'm tapped out, something will come to me. Such is the case again tonight. This Monday's Mission, open to all who would like to play: You are a Superstar! What are the tabloids saying about you today? Remember to let me know via email or comments when your post is up, and I will provide a link to it here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mousehead Revisited

You were born on this day, exactly one year ago. You were so small, and I really didn't know what to do with you. I was afraid to "go pubic" with you, worried about what others might think. Because, I thought, you are not like them.

"They" all seemed far more developed than you were: smarter, prettier, sager, wittier, profounder (is that a word?)... and I thought,

"What's with all the Canadians here?"

Eventually others stopped by to see you. And soon there were some Americans hanging around the place too. Oh, and someone from NZ. Then a few more Americans stopped by.

By then, I knew that there was no turning back: I was in it for the long haul. I was dressing you up and stepping out with you.

You, who started with magazines and mice.

Happy Birthday, little blog.


Monday Mission: "What is Art?"

Today's mission was to play art critic and write a review of one of your child's creative endeavors. I had fun with this one - hope you did too!

Known to family and friends simply as "Ben," this artist has taken the medium of Play-Dough sculpture to the next level - ground level. His current piece, a work in progress, is titled "Dried Bits in Carpet" and can now be viewed in the home of the artists parents. Ben's vibrant use of color greets the eye, and bare feet, as it spans the floor of the TV room. When asked whether this is a permanent or rotating exhibit Ben's mom replied, "Oh, it's permanent. I've tried vacuuming, but once it's dried it just won't come up." Artist: "Ben" Medium: sculpture Title: "Dried Bits in Carpet" Location: artists home Admission: Free! Rating: **1/2
If you posted for today's mission and would like me to provide a link to your blog, please let me know either in comments or an email. Also, next Monday is my last weekend hosting Monday Missions. If there is anyone out there who would like to volunteer for another round in November, let me know via email or comments. Pleeeeeeeze. Today's Art Critics are: 1.Jennifer (Faking It) 2. Painted Maypole, with "Color My World" 3. Sober Briquette with reviews of 2 up and coming artists! 4. Aljena, with Phoebe Lenore, abstract expressionist

Friday, October 19, 2007

Monday Mission

For Monday, October 22nd: You are an art critic. Your child is an artist. For this Monday's Mission, write a review of one of his/her "creations."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Mission

Transportation Device


This device enables one to be transported to foreign lands in the blink of an eye. With it, one can scale the highest mountains, plunge far below the seas or travel into deepest space. But this device not only transports in this space and time - it enables one to travel back in time or into the future - where one may walk among people young and old: kings and queens as well as the lowliest pauper.

Or, if one prefers to observe nature, this device enables one to safely reside among animals wild and domestic. An added feature allows the observer to enter the minds of any living creature and understand its thoughts and emotions.

Alternate models provide the journeyman an opportunity to understand and work with great machines.

Best of all, this device can be temporarily yours at absolutely no cost whatsoever, or permanently yours for a nominal fee.



***************************************************




added @ 7:00 pm PDT:
My apologies for being late back here, I was out all day and didn't get back til a little after 6:00 pm PDT. And then blogger wouldn't let me edit, save or publish; what is up with that?!
Anyhoo, I'm providing a link for anyone who posted a Monday Mission today, just let me know via email or comments.
Aljena is submitting her poem Requited which was written a few months ago but is just too darn good to pass by. Thanks, Aljena!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Monday Mission

AAAAAAACK! So sorry, people - earlier today when I tried to post the topic for this Monday, our cable was out. (no cable = no internet :( ) Then I, uh, just sort of forgot about it... Anyway, if you have the time this weekend and would like to play along: describe a common object in uncommon terms. Be creative! Have fun! Keep everyone wondering what the heck you are talking about!

Well Deserved

Congratulations, Mr Gore!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Project-ed

Wow! Yesterday was a good day! It was cool and rainy-ish here, so while Ben was at school, I got all project-y and decided to "whip up" some flannel pajama bottoms for him. I've had a pattern for literally years. It's one of those that has like, five different sizes (of which we are now in the largest) intended to grow with your child - as long as you don't forget, and cut out the smallest size, permanently obliterating the larger sizes and your chance to ever use the pattern again. Luckily, I'm smarter than that. Read on...

I recently found some adorable rodeo-themed flannel fabric; all cowboys, broncos, and clowns in action on a light blue background. I'd washed the fabric a few weeks ago, so all that remained was the ironing, pinning on, and cutting out of said pattern, and then to sit at my long-neglected sewing machine (my gift for college graduation. I picked it out. Seriously. And no, I did not major in sewing, home-ec, or any other domestic science) and start sewing.

I love pattern paper. It's all crinkly and fragile, and it brings back good childhood memories of watching my mom sew. I pinned the tissue-y paper onto the cowboys, broncos and clowns and started cutting. Pants are relatively easy to make, only two pattern pieces for the easy elastic waistband kind I was making, so I was feeling pretty confident. Cocky even. And as I cut I was mulling over many witty things I could include in my post about this project when, from some dark, drippy recess in my mind, a Gollum-y voice muttered something about 'right sides facing each other.'
"What?!"
"Maybe we should reads the instructions."
"What? No! We don't needs the instructions! We HATES the instructions!"
*reaches for instructions*
*rustling of paper*
"Shit."

Luckily, the steel trap that is my mind was able to see that once the pieces were cut out, I could peel them apart and put the right sides together and no-one would be the wiser.


Ahhhh.
Thence commenced the sewing. I pinned the "INSTRUCTIONS" to the bulletin board. I really should have read through them first, though. Because I could have saved myself a lot of time and thread if I'd bothered to read the part about only sewing to the crotch, and not continuing on down the leg-seam. Luckily, again, (Brain: *whizz-bang-POW!*) I realized that Ben would, effectively, be wearing a sort of skirt-like tube if I continued that way and quickly - and with only a few bad words - fixed the problem. The rest of the project went well and with any luck, Ben should be able to wear them, accompanied by a white t-shirt, to bed this weekend ( I still need to measure the elastic for his waist-size, and hem them.)

Then last night, TFH's new boss(es) took us out to dinner! Ben stayed with our friend U.K. as kids were not invited, but we all had a pretty good time. And it struck me that in the 12 years that TFH and I have been married, the Navy never once bought me dinner. Then I remembered a few times when I joined TFH for dinner on the submarine while it was in port.

This was WAAAAAAY better.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Mission ala TFH: "Are You Being Served?" (or "Why I Married My Husband")

I pretty much had my post done last Wednesday because I was scheduled to work Friday through Tuesday, and needed to be able to just cut-n-paste my blog to quickly post it Monday morning. Which I forgot to do. Which is why it shows the 4th as a publish date. So Wednesday night, I climbed into bed with a notebook (the old fashioned paper kind) and pen, and started in on it. Now, to give you a little history on how I ended up married to TFH - while I was initially attracted to his rugged good looks - it was his sense of humor that was the clincher (and to a lesser degree our shared love of good beer and coffee.) TFH is at his funniest when he's not entirely awake. Like when he's just waking up in the morning or, as I recently found out, when he is just drifting off to sleep. I was asking for some food-themed puns to "beef up" (SORRY! I just can't help myself) my post, when he offered "Steak Tartare, Well-Done." "I don't get it." I said. "It's a contradiction, you know, raw meat, that's well-done." he said. "You're missing the point" I said "It's not 'contradiction' like a contradiction in terms, but like, 'argumentative.'" I said. "But it's ridiculous." he said "It's not 'The Ridiculous Cafe,' its 'The Difference of Opinion Diner.'" Then I recognized the golden moment of semi-lucidity and acted on it: "So, um, what kinds of foods does 'The Ridiculous Cafe' serve, anyway?" *pause* Entrees Beef con Carne Deep Fried Sushi (as well as the afore mentioned Tartare) Vegetables 10 Eggplants, Overeasy ("that's one of our little jokes")* Wonky-Eyed Peas Celery Stalkers Beverages Wet Martini on Dry Ice Desserts Cotton-Mouth Candy Turkey Pot Pie ala Mode *TFH will award bonus points to anyone who remembers where that comes from.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Monday Mission: "May I Take Your Order?"

Today's mission was to write a post in the form of a restaurant menu.

The Differing Opinions Deli
Appetizers Well, for STARTERS there's: Skins - loaded with jibes and dripping with sarcasm Lotsayella Sticks Pooh-Poohed Platter Salads and (a)Sides: Garden Variety Disagreement Mixed Greens with Envy Sour Grapes Insalata I-Can't-Take-It-No-More-Eh* Cheese -n- Rice! Entrees Food for Thought The Meat of It All: Blackened (Rib) Eye Duck (& Cover) Mixed Grrrrr-ill Crow Dessert Let's Just Finish This With: Humble Pie, with a generous scoop of "I Scream!" Cake, as long as you don't think you can have it and eat it too. Beverages Whine Milk it for all it's worth So, for those of you with an "appetite" for adventure today, (sorry, couldn't resist) please send a link to your Monday Mission post to me either via email (theflyingmum at comcast dot net) or in comments, and I will link you up here! * a nod to my friends (and relatives: Hi Tracy!) in The Great White North Currently seated at the counter: 1. Painted Maypole with dinner at "Chez Maypole" 2. Aljena with "Cereal: It's What's for Dinner" 3. Jen with "Menu"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Next Monday's Mission...

I'm putting the topic up now because I'll be flying this weekend and won't have access to a computer until Sunday, and I just wouldn't do that to you all! So for Monday, October 8th, please write your post in the form of a restaurant menu. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Not for Woosies

These

are the feet of an athlete!


OK, well, actually these feet have athlete's foot. I have been plagued by athlete's foot since elementary school. I don't remember how old I was, but still pretty young, I guess - maybe 3rd grade? Anyway, I distinctly remember my mother asking the pharmacist at the Rexall Drug Store what he recommended, as the "tough actin' Tinactin" was actin' rather poorly. Remember Rexall's? The one closest to our house was in Fircrest, sandwiched between the Manley's grocery store and a Hallmark store. All three were connected together at the back - you could walk from the Manley's, into the Rexall, then down a few stairs into the Hallmark. Huh, hadn't thought about that in years.


OK, where was I? Pharmacist, right. He recommended a product called Isodine which was a two-part product. The first part was a sticky yellow liquid that you painted onto the affected areas with cotton swabs. Then there was a powder, which I'm pretty sure was clay-based, that you sprinkled all over the sticky yellow stuff, to which it, well, stuck. The instructions on the box said to wear only 100% cotton socks, so we had to find a store that sold 100% cotton socks. In the 70's. We did find them - but they were so attractive that I only wore them to bed, after the full treatment. Oh yeah, I forgot: my feet had to be washed EVERY NIGHT before the "Isodine" was applied.


We did this dutifully, and went through maybe a couple boxes of the stuff, which probably lasted a week or two. Well folks I am here to tell you that I have learned a new way to kill the fungus, and it takes about three days. THREE DAYS! Sometimes only two, if I catch it early enough. A friend passed this method along to me, and I don't know how he came upon it, but I will warn you that as the title suggests, it not for woosies.

Rubbing alcohol.

After exiting the shower or bath, and after towel drying your feet, pour about a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol into your cupped hand, and then massage it into your feet and toes. It will sting like a sonofabitch. You might say a bad word. You might direct that word at me. But it will work, and you can wear whatever socks you like.

Of course you will have to de-fungus your shoes and boots - a little Lysol should do the trick. Isn't that what they use at bowling alleys?

This Post has been brought to you by:
Rexall Drug Stores
Isodine
and Lysol.

But not that Tinactin, that stuff is crap.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday Mission

This week's Monday Mission: "Congratulations! You are a top executive at a breakout new cable TV company. TV Guide wants to publish a sampling of your new fall lineup. For this post, please provide them with a description of some of the new shows."

New from the Public Broadcasting Service and Direct TV - The "Parent's Media Service," supported by families, for families. Some of the highlights this fall on PMS: "Don't Put It In Your Mouth!" A Look at some of the choking hazards for the pre-three set. Each week we will focus on a new small object and give an overview on Heimlich and CPR proceedures. "Peek-a-Boo, ICU" A follow up to "Don't Put It in Your mouth," this show covers the many things that could put someone's eye out. "Little Siouxsie Homemaker" - Learn how to cook like a former rock star. Siouxsie Sioux has traded in her microphone for mashed potatoes! "Are You Kidding Me?!" A reality TV show that takes an "intimate" look into the life of two sets of new parents. This show may be unsuitable for young children. Oh, who are we kidding, nothing ever happens. NOTHING.
Well, there you have it, my lame entry for this week's Monday Mission. Please let me know via comments or email (theflyingmum at comcast dot net) if you put a Monday Mission post up today, as I will be providing a list of links right here, with these women who totally rocked it this week: 1. Mad Hatter with "Lactation Nation" 2. Painted Maypole with "Lactation Station" 3. Aljena with AHTV 4. Jen with Show-y

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and Other Stories

Oh! How I wish I had a digital video camera. Or even knew how to do that voice recording thingy that you can then post to your blog, because Ben is in his room singing right now. Our local library has a copy of Robert McCloskey's "Blueberries for Sal" that has an audio recording along with it. The recording must have been done in the 70's. It has the story narrated by a man and woman on one side, and the same two folks are on side B singing berry and (ahem) bear-y related songs. Cheezy songs. I guess not really cheezy to a six-year-old, though.

"...here we go round the blueberry bush, every Monday MOR-NING!"
Books on tape have been a God-send for us. All of our family and most of our friends live over an hour's drive, or a four-plus hour flight away from where we live. Listening to stories in the car, or on the plane helps Ben pass the time. And he LOVES being read to, so it is even more convenient for us, as someone else is doing the reading (snicker, snicker.) But I kinda like the books on tape too. Mem Fox's voice in Possum Magic totally blisses me out, for some reason. And we love that the "Mog, the Forgetful Cat" tapes have additional dialogue written by (the author) Judith Kerr, and that all of the family members' voices are done by different people. Some of the other books on tape we enjoy are: "Witch, Goblin and Ghost" by Sue Alexander, read by Barbara Feldman. Yes, Agent 99 from "Get Smart!" Cool, huh?! "Little Bear" by Else Holmelund Minarik, read by Sigourney Weaver "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" also by Judith Kerr the "Mr Putter and Tabby" series of books by Cynthia Rylant I really wanted to provide links for the tapes, but some of them are no longer available. However, I did find this on YouTube...

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Friday, September 28, 2007

Topic for Monday Mission

For the next four weeks, I've volunteered to host the "Monday Missions" which were originally hosted by the talented Andrea, who subsequently passed the baton to Jennifer, who then passed it on to Painted Maypole, who has now passed it on to me! Anyone who wants to may participate in any or all of the "Missions" (or none of them, for that matter.) There are no requirements (other than publishing on Monday,) this is purely for fun. And so, with that said, here is the first topic for October: Congratulations! You are a top executive at a breakout new cable TV company. TV Guide wants to publish a sampling of your new fall lineup. For this post, please provide them with a description of some of the new shows.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Mission: REJECTED

The following is my submission for this week's Monday Mission, the last of four hosted by Painted Maypole, which was to be written in the form of a rejection letter.

September 24, 2007
Dear Fat Cells, We recently received your resume and application for employment here at C.O.R.P.U.S. Amplus. We regret to inform you, however, that we are not currently taking on any new Fat Cells in the Cellulite department in which your resume indicated you have previous experience. In fact, we are attempting to scale back our entire Fat Cell operation, as we are similarly maxed out in the Hip, Abdomen, Upper Arm and Chin departments. We are directing your inquiry for employment to our sister company C.O.R.P.U.S. Minimus, who may be looking for a few additional Fat Cells. This letter does not serve as confirmation of employment there, personnel will contact you if there are any openings. Sincerely, E. N. Docrine Director of Personnel, C.O.R.P.U.S. Amplus Incoprporated
Painted Maypole has passed the torch on to me for the month of October, so for next Monday, October 1, be thinking of ideas for new TV shows...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hi There.

Remember me? Yeah, I know, I've been a little distant lately. Things have been happening. Yeah, a lot of things. One week from tomorrow, TFH will enter the submarine base for the last time as an enlisted man, and exit it for the first time as a civilian. This is a bittersweet time for us. It is truly "The End of an Era" for him, us, all of us. But it is also a new beginning. Friends, there is just no way to adequately communicate the energy and emotions buzzing around our home right now. I believe, at the beginning of the summer, I may have expressed some concern about my two dearly beloveds being home with me all day, every day. Yes,there were the typical 5 year old crises: the "I'm bored" and "there's nothing to DO." But by and large, the summer was fun! I flew a bit more than I did earlier in the year, but TFH really pulled through while I was away. And I can't help feeling that he's coming away from his vacation with a new perspective towards his roles as a husband, partner, father and role model. TFH did not want to have a formal retirement ceremony. What he told me he wanted instead, was a weekend camping trip. I struggled with that people, because 21 years of service to your country just seems like it deserves something a little more... BIGGER... fancier... I don't know - what? Formal. Camping? Really? I told him as much, but he really stuck to his guns, and being that this was HIS party, I backed off, and supported his wishes. And, so, two weeks ago, all of our favorite people joined us at Millersylvania State Park for a barbecue (on Friday night) and brunch (on Saturday morning) and two nights of sitting around the campfire long into the evening remembering, laughing (drinking...) Not everyone was able to be there for all of it, but they made it when they could. It was truly a blast. When we got back, I said "You know, I was really skeptical about your choice of celebration for your retirement, I worried that it might be sort of a let-down, but now I get it." It was really a special weekend. The retirement ceremony he would have been given on the base might have lasted all of 30 minutes, and most of the people who spent the weekend with us likely would not have made it. He totally had the right idea, and I learned a little something from my husband. There is an open doorway between our "dining" area and the TV/family room. Before we met, TFH had some roommates here and as there are only two very small bedrooms, what we now call the TV room served as a bedroom for someone. TFH installed wooden curtain rods in that doorway and the other, opening into the living room, so that the occupant could have some privacy. The curtains, or sheets, or whatever they used are long-gone, but the rods to this day remain. For the past 12 years, this is where TFH has hung his Navy uniform when he gets home from work. Not in the bedroom closet, not in the hall closet, not even in the bathroom. Right there, in the doorway between the dining area and the TV room. Do I have to tell you how I felt about this arrangement? Do you suspect that I've suggested that once he is out of the Navy, we can store the uniform away, and remove the curtain rods? And yet, right now, when I glance over my shoulder at that khaki uniform hanging over there, I have this HUGE lump in my throat, and it's a little hard to see the keyboard right now (thank you, spell check, thank you!) And guess what?! He's already had a job interview! Two former co-workers (both on their terminal leave, pre-retirement, same deal as TFH) called him and recommended he look into a position where they have already been hired. They also told their boss about my husband's talents with electronics - he may be heading back to work sooner than we expected, and I'm a little conflicted about this. I can honestly say that it has been a pleasure being together 24-7 for the last three months. We only knew each other for 13 months before we got married, and our odd careers have caused occasional rifts in our time together. This summer was not just a vacation, it was a blessing! The potential new job would be, without a doubt, the perfect transition out of the military. He would be working for a defense contractor on the same submarine base where he's been based for the last 20 years. He'd be working with 3 guys who also will be newly retired from the Navy. And the best part: no more patrols! How can I not support that? But still, it sure has been nice having him around. Happy retirement, TFH! Fair winds and following seas... (PS: Um, as you will no longer be The Floating Husband, what should we call you after you retire?)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

There Will be No Monday Mission Smackdown

Painted Maypole and I have finally figured out the whole Monday Mission Muddle and have decided rather than alternate hosting the September round, she will finish out this month, then we'll continue on into October, when I will take over. So if you are interested in paticipating this month, please head on over to Painted Maypole's blog for the topics. I know I will!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Mission: "What I Did This Summer"

Today's Mission titled "What I Did this Summer" had me remembering elementary school essay assignments. Curiously, I was transported back to 3rd grade...

:::::wavy lines - fade to September, 1971:::::


What I Did this Summer
by The Flying Mum



This summer we did lots of things. It was fun. We flew on a plane. We went to Illinois. Then we drove to the Great Smokey Mountains. They were great but not very smokey ha ha. We went for a walk and saw some beautiful butterflies


and a strange bug.


We also saw a mushroom


and a frog or maybe it is a toad.


and some bear poo.



Later in the summer we drove to Canada for camping with some family. It was hot. It was very dusty. My favorite part was swimming in the lake. There was no showers. We were there for 4 nights. When we got home I took a shower.
This summer I planted some things for a vegetable garden.


We ate lettuce and turnips from this garden.



We also ate radishes.



When we were in the Great Smokey Mountains some deer ate the flowers off of the tomatoes and potatoes and raspberries. The tomatoes and potatoes and raspberries had to make new flowers. Now we have tomatoes and potatoes and there are some raspberries growing yum. We get to eat the ripe tomatoes and hoo boy are they good.



I think it was a pretty good summer. I like summer. School is good too.

The End


Painted Maypole is also hosting a round of Monday Missions. This Monday was a horoscope theme, and hers was awesome! (I have yet to read the other entries, but will be doing so asap.)
Also, check out No Whey, Mama's "What I did this Summer" entry.

Question...

When you pull up my blog, does the "Flying Mum" banner stick out of the frame on the right side? We have a wide screen on our laptop and the banner is nicely centered in the frame when I look at it here at home, but when I've pulled up my blog at my folks' or my in-laws, the banner sort of hangs over the edge a little on the right. I'm just wondering if I need to go back and crop it some more. And if I even remember how to do that. *sigh* And I'm freaking out about the Monday Mission I'm supposed to post today. Later. Much, much later.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Fresh Start (alt. title: "Love, and a Leatherman")

OK, I'm back home now. The Leatherman has been found. It was in the pocket of TFH's blue coveralls. He took it from Ben about a week ago, because Ben wanted to play "Plungerman" (?!!) I don't know exactly what "Plungerman" is. No one does save Ben, that is. It doesn't involve the plunger in the bathroom, thank God. Today I dropped Ben off at his first day of First grade - we decided to go with the Montessori this year, as I still have yet to receive anything from the public school where he attended Kindergarten last year telling us when school starts. (The answer is: TODAY!) TFH has doctors appointments all day today, set up by the VA to determine his veterans medical benefits. Look at me! I'm alone! I'm all alone in my house! (shuffle-ball-change, sashay... jazz-hands!)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Work often gives me the distance I need to put my life into perspective. I have been thinking about the whole Leatherman thing. I have been thinking about how I could have handled it - handled my reaction - better. A wise friend once told me to discipline with love, rather than anger. I really want to do this. Oh, I wish I would remember, when I am standing over my small child with my scolding finger up, just how much I love him. I can't imagine that my angry words and demeanor carry anything but a negative message and associated memory for him, or for that matter, me. Like the time I told him that I was so angry at him that I could just about spank him. We don't spank, I personally don't believe in it, but that's what I got for being naughty as a child. However, that's beside the point, because the point is that I don't even remember what he did that made me that angry! I only remember the threat and the effect it had on poor Ben. When I'm at work, like today, and I won't see him again probably until his first day of first grade on Wednesday - I think about how lucky I am: how much I love that boy. And I feel a profound sense of regret for my actions. I have no proof that Ben is actually even responsible for the disappearance of the Leatherman. We may very well find it right where we left it when we used it last. (When did I use it last?!) Or maybe Ben buried it in the dirt. If he did, will I remember to discipline with love? That, my friends, is the million dollar question. For me, anger is a habit that has become a way of life. I'm trying, I'm trying to let it go. There are some things that are helping, like exercising more, and cutting waaaaay back on my sugar intake. But sugar doesn't create angry feelings. It, like hormones, only elevates feelings that are already there. It is entirely up to me to come to terms with my anger, and eventually correct my behavior. Then, maybe Ben will learn to express himself in a loving way as well. Love: it really is all you need. Wednesday, September 5th: I wrote this post last Sunday when I should have been taking a nap before my all-nighter to London. I have a Word Document program on my PDA on which I can compse, then hot-synch with our computer and then cut/paste to blogger. But then I wouldn't have been able to post it until today. So instead, I re-typed it Monday at one of the common internet computers in the crew room at the layover hotel, trying my best to type with two fingers, spell check, and publish within my 15 minute time limit with people waiting in line to use it after me. I forgot to put the title up. Oh well.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hey Everybody, What Time Is It?

Whoa! Where did the time go?! School starts this Wednesday - we made it through the summer! Yeah! As promised, I'm hosting a round of Monday Missions for September (and one on October 1st) The first topic will be for Monday, September 10th and since I know it will be a crazy week, for me at least, I wanted to post the topic early so as to have a week to compose it (and myself!) Topic #1 - everybody's favorite back-to-school assignment: "What I did this summer." Feel free to make a mockery of this, or play it straight. Use of pictures is encouraged, though not required. I'm off to fly the friendly skies - Have Fun!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Permission Slip-Up

My Leatherman Multi-Tool is missing. Normally, it lives in the glove compartment of my Subaru. Today when I went out to run some errands, I noticed that the glove box was open and a cusory inspection revealed that the Leatherman was not there. I was all prepared to get snippy with TFH (who was at the hardware store with Ben at the time) because he has his OWN Leatherman, but later when we were both home and I asked him if he had it, the answer was no. So, naturally, we both looked at Ben. Ben says that he did not take the Leatherman out of the glove box, and I believe him. I believe him because he said that he did open the glove box, and was going to take the tool out to look at it, but it wasn't there. If he's willing to go as far as to say that he was going to take the tool, then he'd admit if he actually had. I got snippy with Ben. He was the last person seen with the tool, and last weekend TFH found some of the new real kid-sized tools that Ben got for his birthday laying out in the yard. I told Ben that being careless with something that that didn't even belong to him was irresposible. And the way I told him that suggested that it was the height of irresponsibility, if you get my drift. I told him that if he could not find it, he would have to buy me a new one, with his own money, which he thought meant that he'd have to make his way to the store by himself, and oh! The confusion, the dismay. I had to go inside to make dinner. TFH was working on the wall that water spilled down in the storm last winter. Ben was told to take responsibility for his actions, and try to find the Leatherman. Standing over the kitchen counter (or in the shower, or driving in the car - alone -) always gets me thinking. And it occurred to me that maybe Ben wasn't the only one who had been a little careless. We have never really talked to Ben about "asking for permission" for something. Ben was/is a dream-child in that he never got into things. He was not one to empty the contents of the plastic food-storage container cupboard. He did not get into the household cleaning products. He didn't climb onto counters. So we've never talked to him about needing permission to do or get something that is normally in the province of the parents. But lately, he's been getting into things. Or, more precisely, he's been helping himself to things. Things that he knows better than to help himself to, or so I thought. Things like... candy. Twice he pulled a little tin of mints off of a shelf in the computer hutch, and though he did share with TFH and me, he knows that in this house of all houses, candy is very nearly contraband. I moved the tin of mints to some hanging wire baskets too high for him to reach, only to find him on his step stool with his "fingers in the cookie jar" as the saying goes. This time he was going for some bubble gum. Every time I have gotten upset with him. This is distressing for both of us. He really hates being scolded, and I hate losing my patience with him. It wasn't until tonight that it occurred to me that maybe TFH and I need to talk to Ben about what things are permissible, and what things require that he get permission from one of us. Maybe we shouldn't take for granted, or assume that he knows this already. Maybe we all need to take responsibility for our actions.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Flight of the Conchords Ep 3 Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros

Why I now want to change my blog moniker to "the mother-flipper."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ta Da!


We finished it a little after lunch.



Ben added some text to the front flap. Obviously, it means that he is a "Bionic Master."

Medicine for Melancholy

What to do when your son is "bored?"

Create a SPACEBOY suit, of course.



All you need is a couple boxes, some rolls of silver duct tape, and a small boy.

(P.S. - it's still a work in progress...)

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's Probably Me...

...but it might not be. My husband, The Floating Husband (TFH for short,) has taken an interest in my hobby. I think it started on one of his duty nights. "Duty" means a shift of about 30 + hours at work, stretching into the wee hours of the morning. Boredom and Internet access led him to my blog. Then to the comments left on my blog. Then to YOU! He's really taken to some of you, and sometimes reads your posts before I do. So - for those of you with site meter - if it looks like I've been lurking around your blog, well, it's probably me... ...but it might not be...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy!

Tuesday August 14th, 2001: I was having mild labor pains all day.
We went to bed at 10:00 pm.
At 11:45 pm my water broke - it was dark and murky: meconium.
We were at the hospital by 12:00 am.
After informing the attending nurse that my Doc wanted an ultrasound before delivery (to check head position due to possibility of Down's Syndrome) I was sent in for an X-ray (no ultrasound tech on duty at 1:00 am, I guess)
We found out you were breach.
Doc arrived looking sleepy and concerned, and informed me that I would have you delivered by C-section.
The worst part was the needle in my spine, and the precautionary statement "Don't move while I'm injecting you!"
Then, everything got warm, and sleepy.
But I had to stay awake to welcome you into the world!
You were born at 4:50 am on Wednesday, August 15th 2001,
exactly six years ago today.
You were pink and healthy as I knew you would be.

And now, with each new birthday, though I may mourn the loss of your chubby cheeks,
though I may look back rather wistfully to the day when you used to pronounce the word "white" "fwite,"
though you getting older means that I am getting older too,
I think about the miracle that is you, and I am thankful to be able to know such a wonderful, funny, handsome, smart, dear, sweet boy.

Happy sixth birthday, Ben!


birthday loot!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Morning Exchange

Me (upon exiting the shower and realizing that my towel is not within reach): "Ben, could you bring me my towel, I think it's the pink one." Ben: retrieves towel and throws it towards the tub. Me: "How many times do I have to tell you not to throw things at people when they ask you for something?!" Ben: "Six?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ripe with Fruit

Maybe I am odd, but I loved being pregnant. To me, pregnancy is the fulfillment of womanhood. This is what a woman's body is made for, why it looks the way it looks and functions the way it does. I was fulfilling my body's purpose.
I did not suffer from morning sickness, I only lost my appetite for sweetened foods, which aren't good for me anyway.
I loved my burgeoning body.
I started exercising for the first time in a looooong time - swimming 3 days every week during the final trimester. I was in the best shape that I'd been in, maybe ever!
I loved all the cute maternity clothes and the fact that I HAD to buy an entirely new wardrobe.
I loved feeling the baby kick inside me.
I loved taking him to work with me, all snuggled down in my tummy like a secret (albeit a poorly kept one.)

Even the trees in our orchard that year were full of ripening fruit.

Towards the end, I often said that I was ready. I was over it - through with not being able to wear anything but slip-on shoes and sandals. But I wasn't. I said I was ready, but secretly, I told the baby in my belly "not yet." A week after my due date, I was sent to the hospital on a daily basis so that they could monitor the baby for signs of stress. The baby turned: though he had been vertex since the eighth month, he did a somersault and wedged his head up under my rib cage with one leg alongside his tummy and one dangling down near my cervix, though it would not be until a few hours before his delivery by c-section that I would learn this.

Everyone tells you how a baby will totally change your life. Forever. But I was smart, yeah, I read all the books and knew "what to expect," right? If you knew me, I may have seemed confident, maybe even smug. But you know what, I was pretty damned scared. Maybe I realized that it was all coming to an end. And I was woefully unprepared. We did not take any parenting classes, no childbirth classes - my Dr. actually told me that our area did not have any parenting programs, though I found out later (too late) that this wasn't true.

I had really never been responsible for an infant before. Never. I had never babysat a baby, changed a diaper, fed, bathed etc. etc. etc. let alone given BIRTH to one. TFH? No help. He knew even less than I did, his education being whatever excerpts I may have read to him from whatever book I happened to be reading. Parents, sisters? All living too far away to be of much help, and both sisters working outside their homes, unable to pop in to check on me. No friends here in town, and no friends with kids living nearby.
I have had a problem, in the past, with extending myself, reaching out for anything. It would have served me well to practice a little humility before the baby came, because I was just a basket case when he finally did.

I had a miserable time with breast feeding, and ended up feeding him formula and supplementing with the few teaspoons of breast milk which I produced with the help of the top-of-the line Medela "Pump in Style" I bought. I saw breast feeding specialists and tried my damnedest, people, I did. Nothing was wrong with me physically, but psychologically, well....

I was doing the best job I could, taking care of my son. I bought a baby food grinder and organic food and made beautiful healthy foods for him. But it was two and a half years before my head was on straight again, largely due to the help of two amazing people.

In three weeks Ben will be six! The time has passed in the blink of an ants eye, and it seems impossible that the small man in front of me was once that baby crying in the video that my husband shot while I was desperately trying to wiggle my toes in post-op. Thanks, Sweetie, you're the best!

Having a baby will totally change your life. Many times and in many different ways. I am eternally grateful that I now see how it has changed my life for the best.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What do you do with a drunken retiring sailor?

My husband the sailor, aka "The Floating Husband," (thank you, Alpha DogMa) has 90 days of leave to "burn" before retiring from the US Navy in late September of this year. His leave started on June 10th, and so far, he only has to go in to work for one week (next week) and a couple of days next month. So, with the exception of a few days away here and there on my part, we are all home this summer. All of us. Together. All the time.

This is actually not as bad as I thought it would be. If any of you read my post about Ben's Spring Break, you may recall that having Ben home for one whole week nearly drove me around the bend. But Ben was less than enthusiastic about school towards the end of the year, and embraced Summer Break with wide open arms. There are, of course, the "I'm bored..." moments, but for the most part, he's pretty darn happy.

And, much to my surprise, I am too. I'm not going to lie to you - I was a little worried about having TFH home all the time. I've heard enough women tell me about what it's like when their husbands retire... "all he does is follow me around the house..." or "...he checks the bank account every. single. day." I think the difference here is that TFH is much, much younger - not yet 40 (cradle robber - I hear you...) and since our place is 4 1/2 acres of "fixer-upper" or "knocker-downer" depending on our moods, there is no shortage of things to do around here.

Unless you are Ben. Then, apparently, there's NOTHING to do. Especially if you are being told not to tease the cat.

Ben recently remembered that he has another pet. Yes, folks! A Tater update! Tater seems to be pretty happy in his big jar, and we, OK, I have enjoyed watching all kinds of other critters mill around in there. I even released a black house fly and a crane fly to the out-of-doors that apparently hatched right there in the jar. Most likely this was brought on by the warmer temperatures once the jar was brought into the house. Tater has even made his presence known to us by occasionally tunnelling against the glass, usually on the side of the jar that sits against the wall.


And in a very cool coincidence, we checked a book out of the library yesterday called "First Grade, Here I Come!" (by Nancy Carlson) and the boy in it has a pet worm! Even cooler is the fact that Ben himself picked that book out.

Ben will be ready for grade one come September. His spelling skills are improving, he is enjoying practicing, and his name-writing has even improved. He is maturing at an alarming rate, at least it seems so to TFH and me. But even the dentist said that Ben seems mature for his age. Probably comes from having to live with us two old fogeys.

I am really surprised at how fast this summer is going by. No lie, I was worried that I'd be pulling my hair out with my two guys here at home all the time. But I've said it before, my ability to go away while at MY job gives me a renewed perspective about just how darn lucky I am.

Friday, July 06, 2007

8 Things You Did Not Previously Know About Me

Hello friends! I hope you are enjoying the warm weather as much as I am. We are having absolutely gorgeous weather here and are spending as much time as possible outside. With our fair freckly skin this means we are keeping the sunscreen companies in the black while preventing our tender flesh from becoming too red. I am back at the computer today because AlphaDogMa has tagged me with the 8 things meme. Here are the rules (which I have lifted from Beck. Lifted: I just learned that from my computer this morning when I read that Avril Lavigne is being sued for "lifting" the melody and chorale progression from a 1970's song called "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.") A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog. SO, 8 things you probably didn't know about me: 1. I have lived in 4 different states: on two coasts and on one of the great lakes. 2. At one point in my life I wanted to have LOTS of children. Later I wanted to have ZERO children, I now have one son who is rapidly approaching age 6. 3. "Nevermind" by Nirvana still totally ROCKS! 4. I cried when Jim Henson died. 5. One of the reasons why I love summer is because my husband takes on some of the dinner making responsibilities. We have grilled 3 out of the past 4 nights! (hooray for summer!) 6. I love birthday cake! With ice cream! 7. I took ballet lessons one day a week every week (except during the summer) from kindergarten until my senior year of high school. 8. When I quit I went up a full dress size. 9.I never could and still can not do a pirouette en pointe. 10. My favorite color is purple. I do not know 8 bloggers to pass this on to - or more accurately, I don't know 8 bloggers who have not already been tagged with this meme. So I will tag No Whey, Mama (PS: Congratulations! Again!) Sara, I know you recently did your "100 Things," can you think of 8 more? Raehan, Swistle, Jennifer (Ponderosa), Jennifer (Faking It), and Misty. Well, that's 7 - as close as I can get to 8 - and I'm not really sure that all seven of you have yet to do this meme. If you've already done it, please accept my apologies, and as always, this is not a chain letter and you will not receive 8 years of bad luck for not doing it, so do it if you like, but please don't feel obligated. ****also, my apologies: I copied/pasted the tags into all your comments because I am just that lazy - only to find that I tagged you all with "tha 8 things meme."****

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Year of Firsts

For Ben, and really, TFH and me as well, it has been a year of firsts: first day of kindergarten, first school concert, first field trip, and today, the culmination of it all - first LAST day of school. As the bus pulled away from the side of the road today, Ben's face was pulled into a knot of despair, tears spilling out of his eyes. Let me clarify something, Ben has not been a big fan of school. His schedule confused even us: kindergarten every Tuesday, Thursday, and every other Monday. It took Ben nearly all year, but in a huff of impatience and irritation, two weeks ago he finally asked me "Is there a pattern to my school days?" - patterns being one of the focuses of his kindergarten year of learning. Frequently, lately, Ben has announced on school mornings that he does not want to go to school, that he wants to stay home with me. I am attributing this to the fact that I am working more. I am away from home for days on end, and Ben is in the care of his father, whose parenting style differs greatly from my own, and normal routine is thus disrupted. For us adults, a disruption of our normal routine is annoying, irritating, and (usually) unwelcome, but we are, for the most part, flexible, and adjust. In my own job, flexibility factors BIG. A perfect example of my need to be flexible just presented itself to me this past week. My trip - normally a three day / multi-leg trip with two short layovers - fell apart on the second day due to mechanical failure of both of our airplane's air conditioning packs. We were on the ground in San Juan, PR with 277 people on board an aircraft with the temperature slowly climbing up to 110* F. The captain made an announcement that we would return to the gate, let everyone off while they tried to fix it or (hopefully) find us another aircraft. We were extremely lucky. There was an airplane that had been sitting - broken, but now fixed - at a gate in San Juan for the last three days. Once we finally got everyone and all their bags and cargo, and mail, and food, etc. etc. onto this lovely, cool airplane, we were no longer legal to finish out our trip sequence that day and had an unscheduled (short) layover in Orlando, and were flown back to base the third day. I lost three hours of much needed time (= pay). But at least I was able to make it home as planned. It was irritating, annoying and unwelcome. But I did not dissolve into a puddle of tears as the airplane finally left the gate. For Ben, this last day of school represents the disruption of all disruptions. There is no schedule for the summer. Due to the fact that we must fly standby on my passes to get anywhere, the planned trip to Illinois to see Grandma and Grandpa is not even definite. Last summer, when Ben was just 4, we tried to fly out to see them for a weekend, but after spending nearly six hours at the airport, walking from gate to gate, and getting "bumped" off of every flight - even trying to route ourselves through Dallas or St. Louis - we finally returned to our car and drove home. Ben was beside himself. It is just so hard for him to understand. And it's hard for me. I still feel so new, so inexperienced at this parenting job. While I am fully able to adjust to disruption in my professional life, here at home we seem to be all about rules, and routines and bedtimes. This is, I believe, very important to the personal growth of my child. I really do believe that if Ben were not able to rely on some sort of routine to guide him through his days, he would be confused, and fearful, and tearful a lot of the time. This is what happened today, I think. We made such a big deal about this being the "last day." Maybe Ben is just not equipped, yet, to deal with such a big disruption, even if it does mean he gets to stay home with me now. This is probably going to be the "Work More / Blog Less" summer for me. TFH is on vacation for all but two weeks this summer, so it is my chance to contribute to our bank account again. I have offered to host a round of Monday Missions in the fall, and I figured we'd start after US Labor Day and do four consecutive Mondays beginning on September 10th and ending on October 1st. I hope you all have a wonderful summer, and I'll try to keep up with you as I can. You have been a terrific well of support for me - you have helped me more than you could ever know. God Bless you all.