Friday, June 27, 2008

Word


classing up our toys, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Perhaps yesterday's malaise was the result of a delayed reaction to news of the death of George Carlin last Sunday.

Now, I'm not what one would call a devotee of his nor could I honestly say I enjoyed his humor ... appreciated might be a better way of phrasing.

I appreciated the cleverness and quickness of wit. I appreciated the down in the dirt, lay it on the line tack it always took.

It made you think differently. Even for just a minute.

But as old as I am I wasn't old enough to really understand what he did when he - and others like him - stood up and swore up and down for free speech.

I know there are lots of people out there who think the way we use our words has changed the world we live in; made it a meaner more hateful place. They might be right. I don't know.

What I grew up being told, however, was words can't hurt you.

I think about this because I send my child to preschool - a place I've here and there referred to as "The Marilla Cuthbert Academy for Unspeakably Charming Children" for all its gentle molding of its young charges -- in the hopes of jumpstarting the work of making model citizens.

Making model citizens is a lofty goal, and one that people like me - parents who have gone through their entire adult lives wearing the same uniform -- T-shirts, casual sweaters and blue jeans (well excepting for that very brief window of time in the late 80s when *shudder* stone and acid wash BLACK jeans were all the rage) have rebelled against.

We have stalwartly refused to march to the beat of the professional drummer. "Be your own person." "You don't have to wear a suit and conform." "You don't have to play by some lousy, corporate hack's rules. YOU CAN BE SUCCESFUL AND BE YOURSELF."

Of course there are naysayers. There are those who ascribe to the school of thought that in order to achieve success one must dress for it; one must speak its language; one must put away childish things and act with mature refinement.

We shrugged our shoulders, made a kind of half-snort, half-meow sound and said: "make me."

Then we set out to make our own way in this world - which had now become a horrible place where crimes were recorded in times per second and no one gave up their seat on the bus to either the elderly or the pregnant. A place where parents were raising their kids in bubbles and the kids were coming out worse than before. ... That world. Who cares if it really doesn't exist? We think it does therefore it was created.

But I wonder ...

Have words lead to this?

I shake my head. I don't think so. I can't think so.

No. I don't think the world is any worse off because aint slipped into the dictonary. The world didn't stop turning when women left the home in droves, headed for the workforce. And it won't spin backward because I refuse to wear a business suit, or force my kid comb her hair and wear matching clothes. Giving my kids home haircuts isn't an act of abuse.

I don't care if my kid's arms are marker covered or if she's got splotches of popcicle on her shirt. We all choose our battles. And the crusty dirt between her toes is a rite of passage.

Yet, I worry.

Am I making a mistake by not making more of society's norms? To hover ... not to hover?

I've already felt the sounds of mild alarm raised in the eyebrows and clucked tongues in my direction; the doctors and teachers ... other mothers.

Carlin said it, and maybe it applies to me, too:

"People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think."

Since becoming a mother I have to admit there is really no longer a vast luxury in "not caring what people think," because there are people - Little People - who are depending on not only WHAT but also HOW we think.

And we all believe thoughts are shaped by what?

That's right, WORDS; Big words, little words, good words, bad words and even sounds that make no sense.

Of course Carlin, in addition to being a tweaker of notions, was proably best known for his ability to knit four-letter words into warm sweaters of intricate patterns.

Swearing is fun. It makes us feel powerful and in command. I don't want my kids to think that there are "bad" words. I don't even think I want them to think there are inappropriate words. Only that there are alternate words, which might make the message more readily received.

As satisfying as a good curse word is, too often used it becomes difficult for people - even willing people - to hear you above the din.
We must remember that the individual words should never be more imporatant than their collective meaning.

I think Carlin understood that.

I hope I can help my kids understand that.

As a parent, it just feels so odd to wonder: "What Would Carlin Say?"

I'm sure he'd say this was all full of shite. He'd leave off the e.

** In any event we are off to Maine for a week of rest and relaxation. I'll tell you all about Silas' birthday party (or at least show you pictures) when we return.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Some days ...


automatic, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Some days it seems as if this here rambling, online journal writes itself.

Not today, though.

Today feels uninspired.

What's worse, I suppose, is that this lack of inspiration is also causing me to have a bit of an unwanted epiphany about the value of keeping track of every little thing about what is just life; writing it down while attempting to embed artful flourishes into what otherwise is utterly banal.

Could it be the blues? The blahs?

I don't know. I can't really put my finger on it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh the mystery


"Mama? Why are our windows punctuated by skinties?"

It was unusually cold this morning. There was condensation on the windows of the car. Maybe she was asking about that. I don't know.

I told her to ask her father. He's dyslexic. He'd know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Now we are one


now we are one, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


I don't know about you but whenever we have to go to doctors I can feel my blood pressure go up.

Even if I know in my soul of souls there is nothing wrong with my children that two shots of tequila (for me, not them) couldn't fix.

It's when I feel this way that the blindsiding always happens.

It's always when the doctor points out something you overlooked ... or missed while you were looking elsewhere ...

"So. How's he eating?"

"Well I suppose he's eating just breastmilk and air ... but he's still gaining weight."

"Yes, he is ... but according to this he's slipped off the weight charts."

My children have a tedency to do that. They hover low on the lines until they start walking, and then they walk right off the grid. You can't even hear the little thud when it happens, evidently they really are THAT small.

And yet, he's got good baby pudge. He's not the plumpy plump that looks so adorably edible on wee babes, but he's not skinny. He's just scrumptious. Since the nurse had made an error on his height (missing an inch of growth) the doctor had him weighed again, too. No error there.

My meditation begins: Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom. Don't worry mom.

Eventually I drown out my thoughts.

Until the nurse comes in with Annabel's chart and reads a notation that her hearing and eye tests weren't noted from her four-year examiniation back in December.

"I'm sure they tested her eyes," I say looking at the chart on the wall, "But I don't recall a hearing test."

A few minutes later, the nurse reappears with a box that looks like a portable record player and some earphones. She hooks Annabel up and tells her the rules to the game.

At first Annabel seems to play by the rules. She drops a block into the bucket whenever she hears a sound. She gets so good at this game that she starts to drop blocks even BEFORE she hears a sound.

Backing up the process. Let's do this again.

Now she's not playing the game. Now she's lining up the blocks against her leg and ignoring the sounds. When the nurse asks her if she hears it ... she says "I think I hear it." When the nurse asks her which ear the sound came from she points.

The game continues. But the rules have changed.

I think I hear the sound. ... This ear ... she points again. This time the nurse is silent. "Ok. This ear," she says, pointing to the other ear.

"That's not how it works, " the nurse says.

Back and forth ... sometimes she seems to hear, sometimes she just plays with the blocks.

She asks when the game is over. She's tired of it.

The nurse can't tell if she has a hearing problem or if it's just her age: that horrible fourth year, where truth and fiction become almost indistinguishable.

They want to retest her when Silas comes back in three months. Until then I'll be trying to force-feed the Champ and wondering if Ittybit is going deaf or just ignoring me?

Sigh. Oh, look. Just below. ... Rock show. no earplugs. ... Double sigh.

THE STATS:
Silas: One Year
weight: 17 lbs., 12.5 ounces
length: 28.4 inches
head circumfrence: 45.8 cm

Monday, June 23, 2008

Playing with the band


they are darlins, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


If you were to ask me what I want Annabel to be when she grows up, I couldn't really say.

I could only tell you all the clich├ęs, and you've probably already heard them: I want her to be happy. I want her to have integrity. I want her to be kind and loving and generous. I want her to use her mind and never let people with ill-intent screw with it.

One of the most difficult things to explain to a four-year-old (or even a forty-year-old for that matter) is the question: "Why don't they like me?

I hear my own mother's voice come out of my throat: "Honey, they just don't know you."

It breaks a mother’s heart to watch her child run from group to group, hoping to be included and finding only quizzical faces and flying hair as the bodies attached run in an opposite direction.

"Why won't they play with me?"

I know it's because kids are like that. Even she can be like that. There's nothing to be done but hold your head up and move on.

There we are she and I, sitting hip to hip, rocking on the hillside. I have no words of wisdom. I have no advice other than to tell her to persevere.

But I know she doesn't want to just run with the gangs that flock from hill to hill. She doesn't want to just be in their general vicinity. She wants to lead them and influence their play. She's got big ideas.

"Maybe if I play with my play picnic food someone will come up and want to play with it, too."

But as the minutes went by in our staged picnic of wooden meats, fish, cheeses and vegetables, no one was enticed.

"I know! I'll get my stickers and hand them out. Maybe then they'll play with me."

I pull the sheets of colorful stars from my bag and she runs toward the children. She wordlessly holds out her offering. Some of the kids come closer. Some of the younger ones, prompted by their mothers, wordlessly accept. Others just say "No, I don't want any stickers."

And this becomes the game she plays with herself. She no longer needs the children. She just needs the stickers.

"I have to find more people. I have to make sure EVERYONE gets a sticker!" she tells me. And then she's gone.

I catch a glimpse of her teal shirt, which, from a distance, looks perfectly free of cherry-ice stains and ground in dirt. She is milling about the clusters of adults sipping wine from glasses and waiting for the line at the buffet to draw inward, asking them if they'd like to chose a sticker.

Most oblige.

Who can say no to a little girl bestowing gifts?

Finally, she meets the only girls at the party willing to play.

Those Darlins.

And they were. Darling.

From their patch of grass in front of their performance space, the girls played with Annabel. Their friends juggled for her and played with her picnic foods. They accepted stickers. They danced with her and played hide and seek. They made sure to find her.

When it was time for their show to go on, she danced in the front row.

She was walking on air.

They dedicated a song to their biggest (and littlest) fan.

And she took every opportunity - every lull in the performance - to hug one of them around the knees (often encircling their guitars, too).

It's not every mother's dream for her children to reach for the stars, I suppose. ... But I don't really mind. I just wish Annabel didn't have to be so literal.

"I know it looks like play, Annabel, but really it's work."

Friday, June 20, 2008

I love

I love the fall when the leaves turn, and, at dusk when there's a deep blue sky, the trees look like they're lit from within.

I love going for long walks with Silas in the sling.

I love Annabel's voice; particularly her recent phone conversations.

I love the feeling of water coming out of my ear after swimming.

I love taking photographs.

I love getting into a warm bed.

I love the way Silas lights up whenever he sees me; I love that he crawls as fast as he can to reach me.

I love the sound of Canada geese.

I love walking oceanside in the morning with a cup of coffee. I love watching the dogs play in the surf.

I love naps.

I love reading again.

I love stouts.

I love taking my son to work with me on days he has doctors' appointments.

I love baking with Annabel.

I love when the kids play together.

I love a clean floor underneath bare feet.

I love the smell of clean laundry.

I love when the dog bows her head into my lap for a pat.

I love PlasmaCars and overalls and McDonald's toys.

I love that Annabel calls Kung Fu Panda "Pan Flu Panda."

I love that Silas tells me "NO" and "RAWR."

I love when someone nodds their head and says: "I know exactly what you mean."

And I love this:

playground swings and princess things

and this:

swing

and this:

On the morning of the day he was born, one year later

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The sound of Silas


invite, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Dear Silas,

How can a year have gone by so quickly? I remember your birthday as clearly as if it were yesterday.

I remember the heat of the day as I checked into the hospital. It was five o’clock in the evening; I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since 8 a.m. The staff all clucked their tongues when the head nurse told me the doctor was delayed. It would likely be another two hours or more before the show would get on the road.

Scheduling a caesarian section at night is just mean, I overheard one nurse whisper to another.

I hadn’t even thought about it until the night before when I tried to wrap my head around the radio meteorologist’s prediction of breathtaking heat.

How was I going to get through the day without being able to drink water?

How was I going to get through the day with my mind racing always to the darkest thoughts?

Everything about you seemed so stealthy.

The day before you were born the pre-operative check-in folks blinked nervously as I stood behind the glass window. They couldn’t find my name in their records. They didn’t want to say I wasn’t listed. It wasn’t until I told them I was having a planned c-section that they understood; I was in the wrong place. I should have gone to the maternity floor for that kind of pre-operative check-in.

Your father and I laughed that they couldn’t tell I was pregnant.

Stealth baby, that’s what we called you.

And you were stealthy, almost until the very beginning of term when your kidneys lit up our attentions and sent our emotions into a talespin.

That last day with you swimming around within, I lay in bed and hoped for the best but prepared for less.

It’s hard to think back to that day and the feelings of dread that wore on through it: The phone rang; it was the furniture store with “bad news.” They couldn’t get the bookcase I’d ordered for you along with a dresser.

“Bad news,” I snorted. “They have NO IDEA what bad news is.”

Bad news is not enjoying the last hours of this much anticipated pregnancy. Bad news is not playing with my first born on this, the last day of her being an only child. Bad news is what we were expecting. Being able to accept and move on was what we were hoping for.

But bad news is NOT what we got.

We got you; A healthy boy with a wonky kidney.

And had it not been for the handful of urology visits, and a couple of unpleasant tests, nothing would ever let on that you weren’t perfect in every way.

You have also cemented my belief that children are their own individual people from the moment they enter the world. You, my dear boy, are joyous and interested, cautious but willing to forge ahead into the unknown. You laugh with vigor and babble boisterously. Even in the early weeks of your life you were a strong force, one to be reckoned with.

We laughed at how you growled at your sister if her hugs were too tight. How you smiled and laughed whenever you opened your eyes.

I called you Mr. Seri-Oh-SO! and spun you like a clock – tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. It always made you laugh.

You said Mama amazingly fast: Amazingly. I know it was your first word in much the same way “Hi” was your sister’s first word. It was just a sound you made that we all knew to be a word with meaning.

We noticed last January that you hated the sound of Happy Birthday being sung. It made you cry then as quickly and surely as the word "NO" makes you crumple up and sob now, no matter what volume you hear it.

Mostly, though, you are a quiet soul. You are unconcerned with a hefty majority of physical discomforts. Nothing short of overtired makes you short tempered. I know when you’ve reached your end when you slip and fall, and just lay there sobbing quietly, not attempting to get up. I know when your limit has been passed when you stand up in your crib – a makeshift bed at best – and scream at the tops of your lungs.

You are accustomed to the warmth of a body as you sleep.

You are a stunning child; a watcher and a mover. You are non-stop and observer all in one. You test us with a fine sense of humor.

Each day since you came has been another in which we all seem to wonder what we did without you.

Without your happy kicks, without your joyful giggles, without your ‘what, you think I’m eating that?’ dismissal of virtually all food groups besides those that fall into the “berry” category, we are not whole.

You are like a puzzle piece we didn’t realize was missing.

Sleep comes easier with you in our lives. Annabel won’t rest until she hugs you goodnight.

Even Maddy must wonder how she managed to eke by each day without you sharing most of your food with her.

Of course I’d also like to know how it is that you’ve managed to keep up -- almost neck and neck -- with your sister on weight gain, and, in the final throes of your first annum, even pulled ahead. She was a powerhouse when it came to trying new foods, while you seem to thrive on air.

I suppose we will learn more about you as the years go on; we will pull out our hair and suck air through our teeth. There will be shouting matches and screamfests and many, many, many standoffs around unfinished plates. All those terrible things that make people wish they could have chosen their families… but don’t worry. There is love.

There may not be singing, but there is lots and lots of love.

And there will be ice cream.

Lots and lots of ice cream.


Have a happy birthday, kiddo!

With love and zerberts,

Mama


P.S. And one more thing: Please tell Annabel (when she asks) that you will NOT call me “MOTHER.” K? Thanks.

XXOO

P.P.S ... We'll be celebrating Silas' first year on Saturday, June 28. We'll be throwing things for both vegetarians and carnivors on the grill around 2 p.m. If you're in the neighborhood and would like to stop by, please do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ding-a-ling-a-ling


phone interview , originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Hi, Mom? I have a question for you: Who's picking me up at Amah and Papa's today?

I am.

Oh, Good. When are you going to come?

I'll be there in about a half hour.

How many minutes is that?

A half hour is thirty minutes.

Oh, O.K. I have another question for you. ... How would we get out of our house if there was a fire? Would we have to go out of the window?

I'm not sure. My guess is it would depend on where the fire was located. We'd probably just go down the stairs.

But we'd have to probably crawl on the floor, right?

That's good thinking. The best air will be low to the ground.

Mom, I have another question for you: If there was no toilet paper at the farmers' market. And there was no toilet paper anywhere else, what would we use for toilet paper?

I don't really know. Maybe we'd use leaves.

LEAVES? That's just crazy. ... Hey, do you have to go back to work?

Not just yet, I can still answer questions.

Good. I have ANOTHER question for you: Are we gonna eat dinner at Amahs?

Yes, we're eating dinner at Amah's

Oh GOOD! I was hoping you'd say that.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hard work


sleeping bean, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


I thought today would prove, finally, that Silas is too old to be coming to work with me. I was sure that he would be too demanding; that I wouldn't be able to get things done.

He had another follow-up examination with the urologist; just an ultrasound and consultation to see how the hydronephrosis is doing. Although from the way he carried on during the ultrasound one might think he was being poked with sharp sticks.

I know the medical people like to go from good side to not-so-good side when they are making comparison images, but geesh! He was only mildly put out while the technician scanned his right kidney (which is normal) and REALLY pissed off by the time he got to the left side. Really. Pissed.

The good news is the doctor says his stable if not slightly better. Of course the "improvement" could be a normal fluctuation in fluid swishing around in there but the doctor was adamant that it was "certainly no worse."

So 'yay' for progress.

And once we got back to the office, as you can see from the photo above, he slept like a baby.

Until he woke up and then reacquainted himself with his good ol' friend, Recycling.


Recycling, magnets, cars that zoom, balls and foam ballistics ... even something as simple as emptying out my wallet can occupy him for hours.
I just hope when it's quitting time, I'll be able to find my keys.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The broad brush


this is how we roll , originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Boys are non-stop. Or so people like to say.

Yet, Silas isn't as non-stop as he is on-going. Quietly on-going at that.

Although he makes his needs known, bleating in low-level alarm incessantly if his hands get stuck in the video player or the toy he's playing with rolls under the couch.

He's taking more and more steps; now choosing to walk places slowly when only last week he would have dropped to his knees and, head down, gone barrelling forward to his intended destination.

He's found the joys of riding toys; or more specifically he's found the joys of sitting on toys and waiting for a push.

He's found the chink in his sister's armor. The place where she will not good-naturedly let him take over. In internet gaming site starfall. When she's online choosing storylines and painting faces green she wants nothing to do with him and his meddling ways.

MOM!! He's pulling on the computer screen.
MOM!! Pick him up.
MOM!! Will you take him away?
Please?
Maybe he needs a time out.


So I pick him up and take him into the kitchen. He pulls on my pantlegs and roots through the drawer of plastic containers. He rearranges the cabinet that contains soups and dry goods. He takes magnets off the refrigerator and spirits them away under the kitchen table. He eats leftover cereal bits the dog missed from breakfast.

He is content.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Road work


sun-shiny-day, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Chatham has been going through some changes lately. Roads. Sidewalks. You know, paved. Streets, meanwhile, have been closed to traffic and difficult to traverse on foot.

It's been talk of the town for some time since many businesses here really depend on foot traffic to stay afloat.

It's kind of nice, though, to be able to let Ittybit run wild on the streets of Chatham without fear of her getting flattened by a truck.

Whatever you're doing this weekend, may you have sun-shiny-days.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Joyride


joy ride , originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Since we got these Plasma Cars at Goodwill last month, the hallways have been buzzing -- night and day -- with the whirring of their wheels.

Up. Down. Around. Repeat.

Silas usually rides with me while Annabel races on the power of her own steam.

But this week Annabel got to drive her little brother around for the first time, and I'm not sure if you can really tell from this photograph (to the uninitiated eye she looks slightly crazed) but boy was she excited.

To actually play with him and be in charge is HUGE to her. HUGE.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I can READ! I can READ!

So I learned I can still read books. But apparently I can only read books people send me for my birthday. Figuring out what's out there on my own is apparently too difficult.

What? It's been more than four years since Annabel was born and I've read a total of four books in all that time?

Four years, and the number of books written for people beyond the age of six that I've read can be counted on one hand. Good times, hey?

Well let's cut to the chase, shall we?

Jill Smolinski's "The Next Thing on My List" is everything the back cover says it will be: It's a fun read; it's quick; It's light hearted; and it ends all neat and even. In other words it's poifect.

It's the youngish woman's version of The Bucket List. Only the protagonist doesn't bother us with her own glorious dreams she's racing to accomplish before some unforeseen or tragic end befalls her ... because that would just be creepy.

Instead Smolinski gets the tragic stuff out of the way first thing. Our lovely leading lady, June, has an accident in her car and kills a woman - a virtual stranger - she'd offered a ride. Afterward she finds the unlucky person's list of things to do before she turns 25, and, out of a sense of guilt (or maybe just early middle-aged-but-not-yet-started-her-own-life enui) decides to complete the tasks in honor of the dead woman.

Because that's not at all creepy. No, not in the least.

I have to say the book is predictable, silly, lightweight and with a charming off-Hollywood Hollywood ending that brings it all back to our heroine reclaiming her own life. No way is it literature but who cares? It ends well.

Take this one to beach, folks. It's a page-turner that will bring a smile to your face on at least four separate occasions. You might even laugh (or at least chortle). I did.

(SELF) PUBLISHING UPDATE


The books I ordered from Blurb arrived. Cheapy-shipped and all, they arrived in time for the big dad day, and in perfect condition as well. They are each 20 pages hardbound with pictures imbedded in the covers (rather than a dust jacket).

The only thing that would have made them better is if I were a better page designer (within Blurb's templates of course) or if I was a better phographer/photo editor. Some images I selected, upon reflection, weren't terribly good. So I guess that's what? Cut and paster's remorse?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Because I wanted to put the HIP in our PEE


diaper change challenge, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


In 1961 ...

John F. Kennedy became the 35th president of the United States;

The Beatles performed for their first time at the Cavern Club;

The Peace Corps was established;

The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, allowing residents of Washington, DC to vote in presidential elections;

The Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba begins and fails in two days;

A Freedom Riders bus was fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama and the civil rights protestors were beaten by an angry mob;

The British protectorate ends in Kuwait and it becomes an emirate;

Ernest Hemingway commits suicide by gunshot in Ketchum, Idaho;

Construction of the Berlin Wall begins, restricting movement between East Berlin and West Berlin and forming a clear boundary between West Germany and East Germany, Western Europe and Eastern Europe;

Digital photography invented by Eugene F. Lally presented in a technical paper at the American Rocket Society's Space Flight Report to the Nation in New York;

The Fantastic Four #1 debuted, launching the Marvel Universe and revolutionizing the American comic book industry;

Catch-22 is first published by Joseph Heller;

"Barbie" gets a boyfriend when the "Ken" doll is introduced;

AND

Ann Coulter, American author, political commentator and attorney was born.

Not all of these things were bad. Some of the developments of that year were downright wonderful.

Proctor and Gamble also introduced the disposable diaper in 1961,

Of course the Pamper - now just a slender, soft, chemical laden, cloth-esque, urine soaking titan of its former self - has the unique distinction of being loved AND hated. Beloved because it freed women from the drugery of piles of poopy laundry but reviled because its padded puffs have added to our disposable economy and tipped the balance on our beleaguered landfills.

Over the years the lowly Pamper has gone from looking and feeling like a pile of paper towels wrapped in a plastic bag to a thin piece of padding "that gently gathers at the legs" and holds a literal shit load of liquid. It has confounded upstanding grannies of all ilk with its easy tab closures ... (cartoon character in the front, yeah?) ... because (some of them) didn't have such novelties when they were raising their children.

So in honor of 1961 (also the year of George Clooney's birth) I've made some small changes that might mean BIG changes. I've invested in cloth diapers.

For $150, I've purchased eight different diapers, two diaper covers, four inserts, four cloth wipes and a wet bag.

I'm starting slow: Weekends and vacations at first. (I don't want to scare the babysitter). But hopefully - at home at least - we'll see a little less of Ernie and a little more of our earnings. We might even help save the Earth. Anything is possible.

I mean, truly. If I'm excited at the prospect of washing poopy diapers ANYTHING is possible.

Monday, June 09, 2008

This is a stick up


stick up, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


No. Really. Get it?

Stick?

Up?

*Crickets*

**CHIRPING**

Wha? These are the jokes here ... what can I say ...


Anyhoo. I don't really have anything nice, good, funny, compelling, serious, sobering, enlightening, uplifting or even mildly quixotic to say.

So I will share this:

MomsTeam is having a photo contest wherein you needn't even WIN to get a prize. All you have to do is be among the first 2,000 to send them a picture of your kid doing something - anything at all apparently - and you will get two boxes (36) Cliff Kid Z Bars.

Nice score, huh?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Guru says ...


love guru, originally uploaded by toyfoto.



It's quittin' time.

And what are we doing this weekend?

Same thing we do every weekend, try and take over the world of

Laundry
House cleaning(ish)
Grocery shopping for the week

Of course we have some kharma points to recover, too.

Remember these guys?

Well, I didn't really have the guts heart to mention that we're on our second replacement team. Well the original orange one (AKA Poppy) has survived but its partner -- the white one (AKA Marigold) -- and the subsequent two "dalmation" ones we added only a few weeks ago have been sent to retrieve their final reward in the septic tank.

This story isn't helping me feel any better either.

It also may explain why our freakishly fast "Poppy" swims to the top of the tank looking for food every time one of us walks in a room. She knows us big'uns are good for a pinch here and there.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Adding 'publisher' to my resume ... (I kid, I kid)

With Father's Day fast approaching I thought I'd give you all a preview of what the dad in this house will (hopefully*) be getting from Blurb come the third Sunday in June. I say "hopefully" because my cheap thrifty ways may thwart this goal since I refused to pony up the 20 smackeroos for speedy shipping.

The lovely and talented (and really and truly published) Binky from 24/7 turned me on to the idea earlier in the year when she posted about her experience creating a book for The Partner's birthday.

Back then I had been trying to get a Blurb book going as kind of an official hard-copy record of this here site, you know should something happen in the technical universe that slurps all this stuff off the page forever? But it was SO Slllllllllooow.

I had e-mailed Binky to see if she could walk me through the subtleties of Blurb's interface.

Turns out she used the good old cut and paste method while I tried the less than eloquent "slurp" feature. Slurp, in a word, sucked.

So I revised my objectives and decided to break in Blurb by making a much smaller book for Jed celebrating Father's Day. (Don't worry, he won't likely see the book before it arrives in our mailbox because he doesn't read these here ramblings of mine).

Blurb was still slow, but it worked. The photos were a little easier to work with than the text, but all in all the process wasn't that painful. I was a little shocked at how little I've written about my husband that HE would appreciate (hense why he likely doesn't read here) but I was kind of glad, too. Working with text was pretty clunky and on occasion made me want to push the laptop off the couch.

The best news, I guess, is that once I started working with it it seemed to get easier. I realized how long things would take to upload. I knew not to upload too much, and to have folders ready with images. I also learned that when text overflowed onto textboxes on the next page, editing in the original page didn't necessarily make it go away on the overflow box. Cutting without pasting was necessary. In other words, it forced me to be somewhat organized.

I was getting so comfortable with it that I made another book. For my dad.

Now, I can't tell you how they turned out just yet, (remember I'm too cheap for anything except parcel post atop the slowest of slow moving snails) but I thought if you were willing to take a risk (and aren't adverse to shelling out for a more speedy delivery) you might want to just throw caution to the wind this Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And now for something completely different


and he's off ... damn, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


He's walking here. He's walking.

... a few steps anyway.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bounce


web , originally uploaded by toyfoto.


I check my blog statistics all the time. It's a sickness. So I (literally) know where some of you are coming from.

For instance, I know some people are visiting from New York, New Jersey, California, Georgia, Oregon, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Louisiana, Virginia, Florida, Washington (both DC and the state), Kansas, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin, Texas. ... Some of you even stop over from Canada, London, France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, The Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, Italy, India, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

Most of the visitors stay for a second or two; no doubt following their search engines recommending this place for such puzzling mysteries as "How do I check the pulse in my foot" or "sisterhood of the traveling boobies."

Truly, I can understand why someone looking for "Ubermale" wouldn't necessarily find much to interest them here.

But some of you do come back. And whether you comment or not, your presence is felt and cherished. I have always felt as if I've known where you are coming from (figuratively), too.

I'm honored so many of you spoke up and said your piece recently. Honored that you felt you needed to console me in my struggle to understand a thoughtless comment. One that was probably never meant to be taken as I took it.

I just wanted to thank you for your words. Every last one. They really do help me bounce back.