Friday, February 29, 2008

The Reality Of My Surroundings

It was 1992, or maybe it was 1993. I had recently graduated from college and, like many in my generation had, moved back home with my parents.

I was dating a man who turned out to be the last in a long line of ill-fitting, long-term boyfriends. "A nice guy," I always tell people, "but not for me."

He had everything a woman should avoid but tends to want to fix: Depression, poor self esteem, non-existent job skills, the inability to get his life moving forward. And he had a chip on his shoulder. He was too smart for his measly, under-employed, existence. He felt sorry for himself and couldn't dig himself out of the hole he'd planted himself into.

He lived with a bunch of guys he knew from his old didn't-finish-college days. I paid his rent. And his insurance. And for all our entertainment and food. Anything that cost money came out of my wallet.

I didn't mind so much. He brought it up constantly.

I knew how to pick them. The traits were similar in each new relationship. Needy, misunderstood but nice under the surface. Always his hidden insecurities would outweigh the insecurities I wore on my sleeve.

He taught me to appreciate (but never really like) Led Zeppelin, Yes and other "mind expanding" purveyors of insite from the psychedelic 70s. He opened my eyes to Ravi Shankar, hot house Jazz and the folk music of my Irish heritage.

But I knew the five-year relationship was doomed a year into it. Why did these relationships always drag on?

Convenience maybe? Laziness? I had no long-term plans, and finding a social life was hard enough.

Independence perhaps? A controlling nature? I seemed to be attracted to men who didn't drive, couldn't keep jobs and didn't really seem all that ambitious in the world outside of their imaginations. They also didn't really seem that interested in me. Socially, I felt like I was always waiting. Waiting for someone to talk to me as he cruised the bar, trying to be noticed by other members of the band.

Confidence, as mentioned, was definitely part of it. Men didn't flock to me. People in general found me standoffish. I was painfully shy and afraid of rejection. I was also painfully aware of how those hurts felt and didn't want to be the breaker of hearts.

So I stayed many years past the expiration date. Feeling guilty. Feeling I was wasting time; my own and his.

The reality of the relationship's eventual demise wasn't lost on him, nor on any other paramour who had been in his place. It bred contempt.

When I began to listen to the music of the 90s, he knew he had lost me. His fears slipped out in short bursts of contempt; escaping in little comments spat out in bitterness.

But I didn't know it was over until the moment he flew into a rage, hurling hurtful accusations my way as I mindlessly tapped my foot to Fishbone's "Pray to the Junkymaker."

"DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TAPPING YOUR FOOT TO?" he bellowed as I looked up from the backgammon game I was losing to his roommate.

I didn't.

"In a cold sweat you will
In a deep need you will
In the rock house you will
With a dick in your mouth you will
In a mental rage you will
When your body craves you will
Demonic let’s make a deal
In the hospital you will
P.m.r.c. you must be
In the business office you will
In the limousine you will
In the white house in a !
In the school house you will
In the church house you will yes !
In the police station they do
Shippin’ to the ghetto you devils
As long as you’re married you will
Rocked up in the kitchen you’re trippin’
Sellin’ your child for the rock pile
In a straight jacket in a !!!
Forced for a divorce of course
In the jail house you will
Way black in the plantation
Trippin’ in the bum bus station
Mental m-m-masturbation"

He hammered out every syllable, hoping to shame me with the lyrics.

But he didn't really want to shame me. He wanted to stop me from moving away from him. Because he knew it was going to happen.

That's when I knew it was over. A song that had no real anthem in my life on a social level had nonetheless changed it entirely.

I didn't need to apologize for tapping my foot.

*** This was written as part of Flashback Fridays, a writing prompt extended by the brilliant and talented Catherine of Her Bad Mother. Play along why don't you? You might just learn something about yourself.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Worth the wait

suspense , originally uploaded by toyfoto.

"Can I have some blueberries?"

(stares at small pile of frozen blueberries placed before her.)

"You gonna eat those?"

"I'm waiting for them to turn into raisins."

"That's going to be a very long wait. Grapes turn into raisins."

"I thought that was plums."

"No, plums turn into prunes."

"I guess only Violet turns into a blueberry."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The space between us

what can I say? He's lickable, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Dear Annabel and Silas,

I was looking in the mirror the other day noticing the new lines gouging trenches along my forehead and between my eyes, and wondering where the time goes.

You'll do this yourselves one day: wish time would stand still. But it won't. It can't. Time has to move along a it's own pace. Sometimes it seems slow and sometimes frighteningly fast.

I know you, Annabel, can't wait to be older. You tell me practically every day how many people you'll be inviting to your birthday party when you're five. You sometimes tell me you'll be seven when the party rolls around.

As for Silas, who knows nothing of age and maturity, the rapid pace of outgrown sleepers and shoes and seats is upon him. He just really started moving, crawling and seeking to grab the world outside the confines of his kangaroo pouch, sharp edges, pointy ends and all.

Every time I see you two together, though, it makes me smile. Whether Annabel is singing to Silas or jumping around to make him smile, or Silas is squawking at the top of his lungs to draw her attention. It's a remarkable thing.

Even in the more delicate moments I have to fight the urge to laugh: When I catch Annabel licking her brother or when Silas reaches out for a fistful of his sister's finely matted hair.

You are good to each other.

I'm just eating this up right now, because I know there will come a day when the space between you may seem insurmountable. Time goes by so quickly.



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Start your engines

creepy crawlie

"MA!!!! MA!!!! MA!!!!!

"MA!!!! MA!!!! MA!!!!!

"MA!!!! MA!!!! MA!!!!!



"He's crawling here."

"Holy babygates, batgirl."

Monday, February 25, 2008

And then the Big Bad Wolf ate the Little Pig

video confer with grandma, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Things I learned while on a video conference call with the in-laws.

1. The kids will melt down two minutes into the conversation for no apparent reason.

2. The older kid will melt down any time the video feed cuts out and she can no longer view the person to whom we are conversing.

3. A nursing mother WILL have part of her anatomy exposed unbeknowst to her during three-quarters of all conversations. (Note to self: CHECK over clothing coverage before answering the door from NOW ON).

4. One adult will IMMEDIATELY need to use the bathroom upon opening up the conference call window. And there's no MUTE button in the world that's going to be successful in letting THAT happen.

5. There is NO WAY four people can comfortably fit in the space alotted to a laptop. Someone will eventually lose an eye.

6. Any books read by preschoolers to their grandparents during video conferences will be long and filled with stunning insite into the depravity to which her parents have fallen:

"The wolf eats the first pig, whose house is made of straw.

"And then he eats the second pig, whose house is made of sticks.

"But then the pig who lives in the brick house goes to get turnips, and apples and to get a butter churn so he can eat the wolf when he comes down the chimney."

What? You let your kids read that santized stuff where in the little pigs go scurrying to the increasingly better fortified houses of their siblings? The one where the wolf and the pigs become friends?


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sisterhood of the traveling boobs

public display of affection, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

TAP, TAP, TAP …. !!!

What time is it?

Two Thousand Eight you say?

Oh. … Really? ‘Cause after the hoopla at the New York State Museum recently, I could have sworn it was half past 1600. You know, when the Puritans started putting roots down in New England.

It seems that a woman breastfeeding an infant alleges someone wearing a badge told her to move her baby’s snack into the loo, and further threatened that she’d better hop to it since another employee had already gone to report the incident.

What’s interesting (to me) is that it appears when the woman and her husband complained about the treatment to museum authorities, instead of receiving an apology they were told simply that the admonition wasn’t leveled by one of their employees. Can't you just see the collective shrugging of shoulders?

Museum officials contend that if the mother was approached by anyone it could have been one of the many state employees with ID tags who regularly walk through the museum as part of their daily walking route. The incident - as reported - they explain does not reflect the policy of the museum or the actions of its staff.

To bastardize paraphrase a little more; the official stance is we're not saying it didn't happen, but we're saying it wasn't one of our people. And we can't control the unwashed public.

The results were predictable.

Outraged mothers assembled grass-roots style - prompted by posts in online forums and bulletin boards - for a nurse-in to protest the museum’s handling of the incident.

As a nursing mother I may get drummed out of the corp for suggesting nurse-ins seem a little silly to me, especially in light of the potential that some random state employee threw some weight around they shouldn’t have. But I understand the sentiment.

I mean, I'd much rather put my energy into boycotting malls and other places of commerce shielded from such state laws because in fact their halls are private property.

But I’m not an organizer, nor am I terribly organized.

In an instance like this I’m someone who says: ‘YOU with the pointy finger! Bring your boss to me! Let's settle this here and now." Because I know the laws are on my side. I know that I can nurse my child in any public place because our state specifically says I can.

I don’t have to change anyone’s mind.

I don’t have to admonish the puritanical mother who doesn’t want her prepubescent son to see that kind of thing. I don’t need to tell her to ‘Grow Up’ and in the process let her know she could better educate the video-game obsessed fruit of her loins to the notion that breasts aren’t reserved only for the pages of Playboy magazine.

I don’t have to nurse in a toilet.

I don't have to plan my errands better.

I don't have to pack a folding tent in my diaper bag for camouflage.

I don’t have to express milk and bottle feed.

I don't have to feed my son formula.

I don't have to stay home until he’s weaned.

I don’t have to do any of that because the laws already say I have the right to nurse in public.

It doesn't even say I have to practice discretion.

Lord knows even without a baggy sweater I'm showing less than J.Lo walking down any red carpet. And really, my theory is people who stare do so just because the know what's happening whether they can see it or not.

From a public relations standpoint, if it were me on the end of the complaint line at the museum I’d have apologized immediately and apologized profusely. It may very well have been someone outside of the museum’s employ who took it upon themselves to admonish a fellow patron. But it was someone who seemed to be in authority, and it happened at the museum. Is there anything else that really matters?

In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if the state worker at fault is someone working in the collections or someone pushing pencils around their desk waiting for the clock to strike five?

Seems to me, people shouldn't be worried about who’s held accountable because everyone pays a price.

There are a lot of boobs out there, many of which aren't even lactating.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Battle of the Sexes


What HE Thinks

battle of the sexes 2

What SHE Thinks

simple truth


battle of the sexes

That's my story and I'm sticking to it ... Cough ... coughcoughcough ...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Da da da da da

the hunk, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

HIM: "You didn't tell me he was saying 'Daddy'."

ME: "He's not."

HIM: "Well when I picked them up at the sitter's house she told me he was saying 'dadadadada' all day.

ME: "Those are just noises, he doesn't mean them."

And so begins (some may say continues) the competition.

Man vs. Woman

Mano e Mujer

HIM vs. ME

Sometimes it gets downright mean.

ME: "You realize he's been saying 'MAMA' since he was four weeks old, right?

HIM: "Yes, but Annabel said Dada loooooong before she ever said mama."

ME: "Well watch this. ... When I look at him and say 'mama' he smiles.

HIM: "That's gas.

ME: "Oh, the expert speaks."

HIM: "Oh, don't kid yourself, you could give lessons, too."

And then he comes out with the knockout punch; The shot that proves the real hurt runs deeper than superficial jokes.

"You know, I've been telling people about your blog - giving them the address and everything - so I decided I'd probably better read it. ... I'm kind of the butt of all your jokes," he says, downtrodden.

How can a person catch their breath after that?

I'm never going to be able to be all flowery in love. I'm never going to be the person who drools out compliments in prose. It's just not me.

And, yet, the sad part for me is that the foibles and the inconsistencies, while admittedly mind-numbingly annoying at times, are also things that endear him to me most. And to me they represent what real love is. ... loving the flaws almost as much as the fortes.

In my mind, if you love only the good things about a person you are destined for disappointment. You have to admire some of the weirdness and not-so-lovable traits as well, otherwise you spend your life wishing the person was someone they aren't, and may never be.

And this reasoning turns upon itself. It proves, at least in some strange way, he's wishing I were someone else. Someone, perhaps, more able to say those lovey things in words. Things I most definitely think and feel, but can't actually articulate. All I can do is show how I feel through pictures:


But in words only this comes out:

"I'll admit it. Your son is saying 'da da'."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's pretty easy being green

green smoothie, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

A banana
A cup of plain lowfat yogurt
A splash of orange juice
A fistful of spinach

What they say is true: you can't taste the greens.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday Tunes

morning commute, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

"There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don't know why she swallowed the fly, probalee to get a spider she swallered, or maybe the bird. that was ab ... ab ... ab.

"MOM! What's that word?"


"Oh Yeah. A bird. She swalllered the bird to catch a fly to eat a spider.
and then the old lady ate a cat to catch the fly or the spider and maybe a bird. But a bird doesn't eat a cat. So that's just weird.

"Oh I don't know why she swallowed the fly. Maybe to get the dog ... or the hog.

"MOM! What's a HOG?"

"It's like a pig, Annabel".

"Well maybe they should just say pig.

"OK that's pretty big, to swaller a pig. Maybe it was to get the goat.
And that rhymes with coat but not cow or horse, which comes next. But then she's fat. And that is that."

"Are you sure that's how the song goes?"

"Yes, because Silas likes it."

Monday, February 18, 2008

We've been working on some things

train kept a rolling, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Oh sure. I had grand plans for the weekend. With our free Saturday we were going to go skiing or sledding or just somewhere outside.

When I got up at 7 a.m. and realized the wind was blowing, the temperatures were frigid and my husband was pretending not to hear me calling his name above the din of his snoring, I decided if anyone was going out it was going to be me.

As soon as he dragged himself out of bed and started to make pancakes, I told him unequivically, I was going out and I was GOING out to do some banking, shopping and lollygaging at the coffee shop.

Because he is a good man, and wined and dined a client without me the night before he did not protest. All he asked was that I "top off" the boy before I made my escape.

Oh, to be a suburbanite with Cabin Fever. (You can stop reading now, I know this is going to be as dry as the desert ...)

After I fueled up the car (without having to play peek-a-boo through the tinted window or endured the heart wrenching cries of a girl who just wants to help pump the gas, I decided to waste some of the petrified dinosaur juice on a trip to my bank's newest branch (approximately 12 miles from the nearest branch).

Ohmygawd. ... I think a little spittle escaped the left corner of my mouth as I stood in the vestibule of the banking establishment and tried to remember what I was supposed to be doing.

Smack-dab in the middle of the room were four computers (presumably hooked up to the internets) a huge flatscreen TV, some comfee leather chairs, a bookcase filled with reading material and


I didn't want to look. I didn't want to believe.

That I could cash my checks, update my accounts AND get a cup of mochachino for FREE.

When I finally got home - after buying diapers and things we don't need at Target - I found that my children were enjoying their morning without the mom, too. ...

Silas was working on his mobility (as evidenced by the above photograph). He's currently bouncing his little being forward and backward and almost ready to take off.

And Annabel was working on buttoning her new sweater, a gift from a friend.

Maybe next week we'll go to the slopes.

And maybe we'll invite our NEW FRIENDS.

Because I think they like us. I mean really like us.

** And I saw purple snowshoes under a bench in their mudroom.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sunshiny day

Sunshiny day, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Strange things happen when you have two children and no life.

You can get a sitter - go to dinner and a movie - but it's not as fun if you know that the big kid won't go to bed and the little kid might not stop crying until you return.

You could go to a restaurant that doesn't mind if your kids hang from the chandeliers and shoot peas from their noses. But that's not really relaxing.

Even if you stretch out on the couch after you manage to cajole the children to sleep, there's really no need to have another conversation with your spouse; you can already finish their sentences.

So what are parent's supposed to do?

I'll tell you what. They're supposed to try and date OTHER PARENTS who have kids 'roundabout the same age.

That's what we've been doing; courting folks who seem friendly and interesting, and who don't mind hanging out with us for a few hours on a weekend.

It's been tough. Scheduling has been more tight than JFK's flight patterns. Until this weekend, we'd been striking out. But then we got a bite. A nice family that owns a local ice cream shop invited us to dinner Sunday.

God, I hope I make a good impression. I hope I don't break anything or shoot beer out of my nose from laughing. ... That would be horrid.

I mean I'm already breaking the first set of instructions: Don't bring anything aside from yourselves ... **


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Sift flour and next 8 ingredients into medium bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in glass measuring cup. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until lightly and fluffy. Add egg and beat until will blended. Add molasses and beat will. Mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Arrange pears in bottom of prepared pan. Pour batter over.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and cool 10 minutes. Using small knife, cut around sides of pan to loosen cake. Turn cake out into rack and cool slightly. (Cake can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.)

Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

**I hope it doesn't suck.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ode to a weekend

Oh ... I love me some weekend.

Two days that bookend the week's comings and goings.

Two days we don't have to be anywhere.

Two days in which motivation isn't measured by paychecks and commutes.

Two days we don't have to do anything or be anywhere.

Two days in which we will try to fill five days' worth of used up commotion.

Two days to catch up with friends, photographs, laundry and dust bunnies.

Two days to look out the window and hope for a warming trend.

Two days until I realize it's over and I start to think again about the next two days.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sock it to me

hands on, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Last night when I got home the house was silent.

For exactly seven minutes I was alone in an almost empty house. I quickly went to work preparing to turn my hard day's work into milkcicles, and spent the next precious few seconds of alone-time ignoring the dog (who was jumping around like a crazy tumble weed trying to get me to feed her) and sifting through the mail.

Mmmmm. Bliss. (Too bad it was only circulars and catalogs).

Then, this seven-minute sojourn ended with the muffled thud of the car door and the rapid pounding of a tiny mitten on the window glass.

"Hellllllllllllllllllllllllllllll-O," she calls. "Anybody there?"

And it doesn't stop until bedtime. ...

"I have a great idea! Why don't we do a project together. You can get down the craft box from the closet and we can do something together. I know. Let's make valentine's cards for Lori and Great Aunt Maureen (whose cards were waiting for her when she got home). Or ... I know ... Let's make a sock puppet. I'll get this old sock from my drorer and you can watch me. Sit right over there. No. Not there. HERE. Ok. Well maybe not this striped sock. That's not good. Will you go get me a sock that's good? Oh. That's a great one, Mom. Good JOB!

"OK. Now. I will put on the eyes and the nose like this. You could sew it for me, I guess, but I'm thinking it would take too long. And glue is better. I like glue. So I will just use glue like this.

"OK. Now he needs a collar. I think he would like a ribbon that is here. See. Pink. You wrap it around and then glue it. ... Well I'm having some trouble here. Could you help me here? Just glue it down. No, not like that. More like around it rounder. Yes! That would be perfect.

"OK. Now we need some pom-poms. I would put them around her just like this. But they will fall off. So I don't think this glue is really working for it. Maybe we need some of that other glue. This one here. The GLUE STICK!!!! That's what we need.

"OK. Now we need some feathers for arms. And I think the glue stick will be perfect for this job. I tried to get the pink and the blue and the red feather on. But it won't stay. And it needs arms and head feathers, too. Will you help me with that? No. It needs to go here. And you have to have them stand up. Not OUT. UP.

"THAT IS BEAU-TEE-FUL. You are doing great WORK!

"OK. Now I have to go to the potty. Can you just wait here? Maybe dad needs to get you a rootbeer.

"I'm back. Daddy said he didn't have any rootbeer but that he would make you a ritamargo if you wanted. Oh, I don't know. Did you see I wrote my name on the em-bell-ope all by myself? I'm going to let the sock dry now and then I'm going to put it in the bag so I can take it to school sometime. I think that would be a great idea.

"Later if I take a shower will you let me splash you with cold water? I promise it will be warm. I promise it's true. I'm being true!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I think I have Suburban Dwelling Fever

bundled up to get the mail, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Growing up, I heard the term "Cabin Fever" at lot at this time of year.

Usually it was someone trying to describe why mom was in a funk.

I always wondered why they called it that: CABIN FEVER.

It sounded so … rustic; so quaint.

I suppose it must have something to do with a simpler time when log homes dotted the landscape and a quick trip to the corner store took four days and a team of horses. Once the snow came, going out into the world just wasn’t an option.

But how, one might wonder, has such a quaint term survived as equine ingenuity evolved into combustion engines, and cabins in the woods became a horseshoe drive of split-level ranches tucked neatly into bedroom communities.

We have all manner of technologically-enhanced togs that makes it easy to withstand winter’s worst. Aside from the elemental snow and ice and cold, there’s really nothing that society hasn’t tamed in winter. For example, there’s really no such thing as seasonal produce. Want fresh strawberries in the dead of winter? Someone’s growing them somewhere, so they’re never more than a truck ride away.

There’s so much to do out in the world during all seasons, especially with our modern all-wheel-drive and all-hours-merchants, how is it possible to get cabin fever?

Now I know exactly what causes it. And it's not the length of the day or the angle of the sun in the sky.

Children cause cabin fever.

You thought their germy little mitts spread only the common cold and minor cases of typhoid, didn’t you?

As I look at my firstborn, dressed in a tutu and cleats as she dusts the house with her cache of tiny toys, it becomes apparent how my sloth has set in.

“Let’s go for a walk,” I say, amplifying manufactured excitement. “We’ll get all dressed up, put The Champ into your old bear suit, and we’ll walk into the village for some cocoa!”

“No. It’s too cold. We can do that when it’s spring,” she answers.

Children, with their slow-motivating natures and their inability to withstand any one activity for more than the time it takes the commercial to change – not to mention the inevitable happenstance that once you get them dressed in their layers of socks and thermals and snow pants and winter jackets and five-fingered mittens and hats and scarves, someone is going to have to PEE -- are festering Petri dishes of the bacillus that causes the mind-wasting illness, Cabin Fever.

Eventually I end up grateful she’s not the outdoors type. By Februrary's end the idea of corralling two kids in the muck and slop for a wintry beverage she won't drink anyway, not to mention having to keep track of hats and gloves and boots on the trek over to the shop, makes me an immovable object staking claim to my favorite end of the couch nearest the woodstove.

Grateful but also guilty.

While others are getting out into the world breathing in really cold air and exercising their minds and bodies, we are listening to bad television and trashing the house. The only exercise I get any more is climbing and reclimbing the stairs to do the previous week’s worth of laundry.

That's why I've decided this was the weekend to turn off the TV, forget the linens and head for the slopes.

That’s right, folks. We’re going skiing ... or snowshoeing or something.

(OK … You can stop laughing. It could happen).

It is entirely possible I'll get the kids all bundled up -- that Ittybit will actually wear her hat -- and we'll go out into a wintery wonderland.

I'll admit, there's an equal shot we may only make it to the mail box. But I swear I won't care either way. Getting outside has to be a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hearsay vs. photographic proof

My husband really thinks that I once handed him a carton of milk and asked him to "smell this. I think it's bad."

Ever since this mysterious request (because I do not recall EVER asking ANYONE to smell-taste-test ANYTHING that I thought had turned toward the dark side) he's been playing the role of a martyr and trying to exact revenge.

In my defense I would like to offer the following items:

Exhibit # 1:
I don't drink milk. Don't even put it in my coffee. I put YOGURT on cereal. I DON'T DRINK MILK.

Exhibit #2:
I am a tosser. I will toss things that have gone a few days past their expiration date even if they look and smell fine. I will toss TUPPERWARE: I don't care how much I paid for it if the science project inside sounds like it has a heartbeat. I have no qualms about waste. I don't care if people are starving in China, there's NO WAY I'd send them garbage to eat.

But does he care?


He still wants to get even. He even finds new and spectacular ways to twist the knife.

"Here! Smell these socks. I don't think they're clean."

Monday, February 11, 2008

vomity ... sleepy ...

sick today ... but still cute, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

but still cute. ...

And still able to be entertained by his big sister, some bamboo spoons and Pampered Chef hats drums.

Friday, February 08, 2008

What will I wear to the commencement?

Because I have just graduated - magna cum laude - from The Dr. L.S. Google School of Medicine after surfing around for an eight-year stint.

Last night, having nothing to do but worry, I decided to find out exactly what the doctors were looking for when they performed this test.

I Googled lasix renogram and compared pictures from Silas' test to a results from a test of a kidney with an known obstruction.

Before we turned in last night (early, so we'd be able to get up before the crack of dawn today for our consultation with the Big Kahuna) I said to Jed: "You know. I'm not a doctor or anything, and I could be wrong, but I think we're going to get some good news tomorrow."

I was right.

*does happy dance. *twirls. *knocks stuff over. * picks up objects. *tries to right them. *doesn't work. *aw, who cares? *GOOD NEWS!

Doc Kahuna says the boy's kidneys are BOTH functioning well and he expects the kink will dekink itself at some point without intervention. He can't say never about surgery, but he's scheduled our next appointment for June and made it an in-office scan as opposed to a hospital one.

The only sad news in there is that since we won't be going to the main hospital for tests anymore we won't be stopping at Starbucks and treating ourselves to mocha lattes either. We'll have to be happy with the Green Mountain Coffee they sell in the cafeteria downstairs from the urology practice. Oh well, at least we'll be saving money.

*** oh. Almost forgot the FUNNIEST WORST part. The part that signals unequivocally it doesn't matter WHAT you name your kids, someone is going to get it horribly wrong.

You might remember last time we were at this office and the name on the boy's chart somehow got changed from Silas to Elias? Well this time when the nurse called his name she pronounced it Cialis. Oh yes she did.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I took this yesterday ...

self, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

In the pump station.

It was one of several arm-length shots I did for my mug that will be plastered in the new magazine's signature page.

I felt pretty good.

Today, I feel a little like 10 pounds of poop in a five pound bag.

And still there's tomorrow to look forward to.

*pay no attention to the visible bra strap

**le sigh.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mercury in retrograde

scan 3, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

It must be a coincidence, but it's starting to creep me out a little.

The last time I had to deal with something BIG ... namely the birth of our son ... Mercury was in retrograde.

The thinking on this phenomenon is that since the planet Mercury rules communication things in that department get a little haywire during the four times a year when the planet appears to slow down and move backward.

So it turns out Mercury is again in retrograde, which, were I the superstitious type, in my mind would account for the slight mixup today at the hospital where Silas had his procedure.

We kind of ping-ponged back and forth between the nuclear medical department and radiology looking for a rather elusive pediatric nurse capable of installing an IV.

A very attractive nurse from the pediatrics floor was finally found and, after a somewhat torturous ten minutes, was able to get a 20 guage line in on the boy. He ended up smiling and flirting with her at the end of the ordeal, but who wouldn't? She was terribly cute.

The technician in charge of inserting the catheter had problems, too. Making me a little crazy with her question about whether it had been difficult to catheterize him the last time.

Well, yes and no.

Yes, there was a problem the last time. The catheter was defective and had to be replaced. And No, the process itself seemed to go well.


Aside from that, the test went much better than I had envisioned. He cried. He'd be a robot if he didn't. No one likes to be strapped down, pricked and have a tiny hose snaked up their privates.

But then he stopped crying and fell asleep during most of the hour-long procedure.

The technician who actually took the radioactive isotope out of its lead case and sent into hurling into the boys kidneys so it could be recorded going through his system for the better part of an hour was a doll.

She made the whole thing much easier for us, the worried parents.

Silas made it easier, too. He was a trooper. Total rock star. Once he was free from the tubes and the contraptions he smiled as if nothing had happened; as if the whole day was just starting again. He even giggled a little for his reluctant torturers.

Of course it wouldn't be OUR story if the doctor's office didn't call on our way to the test and tell us that they were canceling our consult. The Big Kahuna was down with the flu. Probably the same one that had me in the turlet for six hours last week.

So we don't know the results of the test and we'll be drumming our fingers until Friday.

I hope Mercury is back on track by then.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A little blue bird of distraction

yup smiling at me making clicking sounds

Dear Silas,

What a strange child you are. A baby and a boy and an old man tucked into one little body.

You cry and I melt. You laugh and I melt. You look at me with what I know intuitively is LOVE and I turn into a melty puddle of goo.

Just the other day we all went as a family to a children’s theater production of one of our favorite books "Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus." As the house lights dimmed I wondered if you'd get scared. The thought had occurred to me as I was buying the tickets, but I knew that whatever happened – even if your screaming filled the auditorium – it wouldn't be the end of the world. Someone -- probably me -- would take you down the aisle and out the door and walk you around the lobby until the fears were replaced by something as astounding as a ceiling fan or swivel chair.

A minute or two before the music boomed loud signaling the beginning of the show, your sister pirouetted out of her seat and landed chin first on the floor. She wasn't hurt, but she wanted her mommy. Your father reached out for you and you sat happily with him while I calmed Annabel and watched your face for signs of angst.

You sat stock still, eyes riveted on the stage. Wherever the players went your gaze followed. You never once looked in my direction. Every time the blue pigeon, with the cockney accent, pecked her way on stage saying 'coo-coo,' you chortled.

It was strange to sit next to you in the theater. That hour of comfortable silence, with not so much as a peep or fidget from you a seat away, made me see you how others tell me they see you, too. How people marvel at your ability to "just hang out." You are the fabled child I've heard stories about; the one who tenaciously tries to get that thing just out of their reach without getting frustrated. You just quietly get on with the business at hand.

As we get to know your personality, there are other things we've always known. Things always at the back of our minds.

Lately I've been writing around what's been going on in my mind: Your left kidney.

Instead of writing about the Lasix renogram we have scheduled for tomorrow, I’ve been obsessing about the state of perpetual Christmas in our house, one-liners and one-hitters that could make me NOT think about the fact that for at least two hours tomorrow morning somebody in a white coat is going to strap you to a table, prick you with a needle and watch as radioactive isotopes go snaking through your tiny body.

As my heart breaks listening to you cry, these people in scrubs will just be doing their jobs.

I agonized over this decision to go through with the test. I asked all the questions I could ask of the people who file your charts in their offices. I even finished my eighth year of schooling at the Dr. Google Academy of Second Guesses and came to terms with the procedure.

If you were older (like as old as me) I believe this test would be a snap. But you are not older. And I can not take the test for you. And the test may very well seem like torture.

Its difficult to be the parent right now because of the impossible position: I want this test to prove that you are fine and your kidney is functioning well, but I don't want the procedure to have been unnecessary. I didn't want to see you strapped down ever again, and yet I can't be your mother and not keep my eyes open the whole time.

I just wish there could be an irreverent blue pigeon to waddle into the middle of it all and take our minds off it.



Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dances with tree

tree dance, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

It's official. Christmas is over.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Don't know what to give your sweetie for Valentine's Day?

wax nostalgic, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

How about recycled wax buildup?

mmmmmm. So good.