My son, talking about his late, great-granny’s funeral: “It was the best ever.”
“We had donuts!”
Steve: “And up in heaven, Margie is smiling.”
We like sweets.
(Photo by Steve Rawley)
My son, talking about his late, great-granny’s funeral: “It was the best ever.”
“We had donuts!”
Steve: “And up in heaven, Margie is smiling.”
We like sweets.
(Photo by Steve Rawley)
(Photo by Steve Rawley)
I got this note from my husband last week, as the kids and I were heading out to dinner and the movies:
love you back, see you later, enjoy the show and please keep hands and arms inside until the ride comes to a complete stop.
And that kind of sums up our whole marriage. (big smile.)
May 9th will be the 16th anniversary of our first date; one of our kids turns 11 (elevenyearsold!!!!) next month; the other one turns 14 (fourteen!!!) in September; 15 years of marriage for us right after her birthday; “the sun is up/the sun is shining/the yellow sun/is over the house” — Dr. Seuss; baby, it’s spring again; and love… love was long overdue, and I’m glad it showed up when it did.
ps that was a song my friend wrote, a long time ago: “Love is Long… Overdue.”
(Photo by Steve Rawley)
* busy taking care of kids
* spring is almost here!!!!! hello, narcissus, i love you.
* paying bills
* going for walks
* watching movies
* but not blogging much.
What’s up with you?
Hey smarmy Seth MacFarlane and idiots from the Onion,
You want to fight? Sure. How about you go out in the street and practice falling down for awhile, first.
Like we used to say in my old neighborhood: Two hits. Me hitting you and you hitting the floor. It wouldn’t even take a hit. I could tap you with my finger and you’d fall down go boom. Or you’d call me a name, let’s say, the “c” word.
Abby: Did you call me?
Abby: I heard dumb bitch. I assumed you were talking to me.
Roy: I was talking to her.
Abby: Your name is dumb bitch TOO? No wonder I keep getting all of your mail! You know, we could be related. There are a lot of us dumb bitches here in LA.
– “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”
You’d be all, “C word!” and I’d turn around and say, Perdon? and you would… dissipate. Spontaneously combust, or maybe just implode. There would be a little pile of lint, that’s all that would be left of you.
You’re wussies, that’s why. Not just those garden-variety wussies, either. You’re the next level of wuss, my friends. Remember that trucker from “Thelma and Louise”? Now, he was your garden-variety wussie boy.
Thelma: I mean really! That business with your tongue. What is that? That’s disgusting!
Louise: And, oh my God, that other thing, that pointing to your lap? What’s that supposed to mean exactly? Does that mean pull over, I want to show you what a big fat slob I am or…
Thelma: Does that mean suck my dick?
Trucker: You women are crazy!
Louise: You got that right.
You’re the kind of wussies who make certain people (moms, women, little girls, men who aren’t wussies) totally lose their shit. “Oh, what, you don’t have a sense of humor?”
Yeah, I like jokes.
When they’re funny.
1) You guys aren’t funny. You’re assholes and…
2) You can run, son, but you can’t hide.
Here’s a New Yorker article, because it’s all on the damn record now, isn’t it?
And then the Culture Vulture weighs in.
Also, a thoughtful post from Happy (or whatever).
On the one hand, I would like to pretend, like I have so very many times before, that this was just another bad date. You called me a slut, I went on my way, but you know what? We need to have this conversation, right here, right now. On the record. Because I’m not going anywhere.
But you are.
You guys said what you said, and acted like you acted, and it was bullshit. Old boys’ network and bwah-ha-ha and jokes about Jack Nicholson’s house and women’s “boobs” and calling a sweet little girl a horrible name… And really? Fucking really? More of this shit?
The difference this time is…
Everyone knows. And your way (the old way) is on the way out.
And that gives me, and my sisters, and our daughters, and all of those guys who aren’t wussies like you, a really good gift…
And a big smile.
So head on out to the street now, would you?
You know how when you hear someone is expecting a baby, you feel compelled to share all your wisdom with them? Even if you haven’t actually had any babies? Uh, yeah. Most of us do it. Except the dog and cat people out there, who skip the advice and just chime in, I love my cats/dogs, they’re so much easier than babies.
No, they’re not.
For instance, our creaky, kind of kooky 15-year-old boy cat, Wacky Cat 2, (you may remember him from such blog posts as this one, or or this) decided to stay out all night last night and stressed Steve and me the hell out. “Stressed me the hell out” is a phrase I use way more often when talking about the cats than when I am discussing the kids, fyi. I went out on the back porch and called for him, and miaoooow!! There he was. Steve: “He never comes when I call him. I can’t believe all you have to do is call, Here, kitty, kitty, and he trots right up.” Me: “Yeah, after 2 1/2 hours!” Seriously. I was all, Woog! Woogie! Boogie! Here, kitty, kitty! starting at 6 a.m. Our poor neighbors. Miaooooow!! And he won’t tell us where he was. It’s maddening, really.
Next: Kids generally tell you before they throw up. Once they’re verbal, that is. Before that, all bets are off. You will not get that kind of notification from a pet.
My friends, a couple I’ve known since college, who are just adorable and yummy and live in the Bay area with their exciting life, have surprised us all by announcing they’re having a baby girl in a few weeks. I should have known, because they bought a house, and then they got a dog. Breeders. (Kidding. Congrats to the three of you, and blessings. You will both be great parents.)
They even posted pix of preggo mama on Facebook to prove it to us. Wow! Pretty woman. Love her. I promptly sent them a list of the top 5 items they shouldn’t forget to pack in the bag for the hospital (nail clippers for the baby, because the hospitals tell you because of “health codes” or something they won’t/can’t do it; sleeping/nursing bra, without underwire; the baby book, so they can put the footprints in that when they do the state birth certificate; a couple of sizes of clothes for baby; a couple of sizes of clothes for mom) (oh, and I told the dadd-o, for god’s sake don’t eat pizza or a peanut butter sandwich when she’s in labor. Just sayin’…), They promptly sent me back a note that said what they really need is 4 or 5 binders to gather up all the “helpful advice” they’re getting from everyone. My response to that was, Yeah, we’re all obnoxious, sorry. PS it usually takes about 3 weeks to get the hang of breastfeeding; it’s not exactly the most natural thing in the world.
Next time I hear a close friend is having a wee bebe, I’m going to keep my mouth shut. Because why shouldn’t they re-invent the wheel? We all want to. (Except me. I figure, that wheel looks good enough, I’ll use it.) Seriously, I like checking in with other parents, grandparents, nannies, bartenders… whoever… about child-rearing. I didn’t realize my first baby was teething until a mother of triplets pointed it out to me. (See: drool. See: cranky face. See: gnawing on hand.) I didn’t think babies started teething until… later. What the hell did I know? I was also surprised that she started scooting at 4 months and crawling at 6. Both of mine walked on their first birthdays, which was kind of hilarious. “Developmentally, you’re right on track!” were the first words out of my mouth. Kidding.
A friend’s husband also told me, worried, Well, be sure you don’t leave her on the table. (Cuz he did, and his girl went boom on her head.) Just… damn. Don’t leave them on the bed/couch/table/changing table/anywhere high up, unattended.
Some of them start rolling and flipping over from birth, it seems like. (It was three months and younger for our 2.)
“It’s just a matter of time before they’re locking you out of the house.” — my great-uncle to my great-aunt, when her kids were toddlers.
Truer words were never spoken. To wit: The time my kids locked me out. And the other time. And that one time when… Then there was the incident wherein my son smashed his Thomas the Tank Engine bang into my nose, stating calmly, after the fact: “Train coming.”
“It’s like those books, ‘You Never Know What to Expect…’” — my girlfriend Zip, when I was asking her for more advice. “That’s not even what they’re called! They’re called, ‘What to Expect…’” Her response: “Well, they should call it what I said, instead, it’s better.”
What is it, this desire to “share”? I think we all struggle with parenthood, especially that first year. Especially those first few months. Especially those first few weeks/days/hours/minutes. We want to make it easier for others than it was for us, maybe. Some people (Steve) take to it like a duck to water. Others (me) have to have the obvious pointed out to us. Some advice, however, is messed up.
* My granny, calling every few days while I was pregnant with Wacky Girl. She’d yell, Spina bifida, spina bifida! at me, then hang up. She was making me cry. So I finally said, Granny, I took my folic acid… I’m still taking it… My baby is not going to have spina bifida! “Oh, OK.” (click.) That was my granny, God rest her soul.
* The cow I worked with at Fred Meyer, who told me I really should have another baby right away (our daughter was 1 at the time) because what if something happened… And then she went off on it. Made me cry, just like my granny. I was hormonal at the time, due to the fact that I was already knocked up again and didn’t realize. Sheesh. One child can never replace another child, just fyi, cow-lady.
* You know what I told my friends who are soon-to-be parents? That I used to know so much about parenting. But what I know now, you could stick on the head of a pin and still have room left over for the Pledge of Allegiance.
* The only real advice you’ll need is what our ultrasound tech told us, excited, at the same time she was flipping out about my advanced maternal age 1) “Oh! My kid is 3. I’ll tell you everything I know about parenthood. It’s not the terrible 2′s, it’s the terrible 3′s. 2) Do you want to wear the green shirt? Or the blue one? 3) Do you want the yellow sippy cup? Or the red one? 4) After the baby comes, your dog… is just a dog.”
OK, I’ll add one more, cuz I can’t resist. If you want to make a baby or a little kid laugh, put something… anything… on your head and say, “Look! It’s a hat!”
“Don’t be yourself. Be someone a little nicer.” — Mignon McLaughlin, journalist and author (1913-1983)
What happened to that book reviewer, Wacky Mommy? She must have taken the summer off or something…
Here I am, and Chet the Architect is first up on the review list. (“Chet the Architect” is a companion set from Butterfly Artistic Media, 2012. The learn-to-draw book is $14.95. The map and guide to nine New York City museums is $12.99. Unpaged. Both are written and illustrated by Kathryn Koller.)
Man, do I love New York. I haven’t been in many years now. This set of books makes me long to go back, and take the kids with me this time. “Chet” is a good introduction to art and museums, even if you don’t have a trip to New York scheduled in the near future. (The map is pocket-sized and handy to use.) You know what inspired my love of New York museums? Yep. “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” Thank you, E.L. Konigsburg.
Chet McGraw loves to draw. Follow his lead in this built-in sketch book, and learn about NYC’s Museum Mile along the way: Museum for African Art, El Museo del Barrio, Museum of the City of New York, the Jewish Museum, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, National Academy Museum & School, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Neue Galerie New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Have some fun with these books! Your budding artists will enjoy them. The books are aimed at younger children, but I think would be useful for big kids, too.
I am a little enamored of “The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors” (written by Chris Barton, with illustrations by Tony Persiani, Charlesbridge, 2009, unpaged, $18.95). I came across this book a few years ago, when it was first released. Did you know that Day-Glo colors were created by two brothers, in their family’s basement, circa 1933? I love a good biography, and this one fits the bill. Brother Bob was destined for medical school, but had a bad injury that damaged his eyes and memory and gave him seizures. He had to heal in his family’s darkened basement. Brother Joe spent time with him, trying to figure out more about light and fluorescence, in the hopes of coming up with some new effects for his magic act. They built an ultraviolet lamp, started playing with chemicals (I feel the need to insert, Kids don’t try this at home… even though it worked for the Switzers…) and voila.
It’s a great story for kids — and creative scientists — of all ages.
“Our House is Round” (written by Yolanda Kondonassis, illustrated by the aptly-named Joan Brush, Sky Pony Press, 2012, $16.95, unpaged) arrived in time for Earth Day, but got covered by the litter on my desk.
Sad but true. Ms. Kondonassis, a Grammy-nominated harpist, has released 17 albums; proceeds from some of the records have gone to environmental groups. She is founder and director of Earth at Heart, which is a non-profit organization “devoted to increasing earth awareness through the arts.” “Our House is Round” is aimed at the 5- to 9-year-old crowd.
Wacky Boy’s review: “It’s a good book and it’s good for all types of kids, but especially little kids. It uses not-too-big words, and teaches them big words, too.” The glossary is helpful, and the list of things that people can do to make a difference right away.
Our guest reviewer says that the ideas for helping to protect Earth are “good sense, and not too big of things. They are things that kids will be able to do.”
Guest reviewer 2, Wacky Girl, says, “‘Our House is Round’ is a good book for little kids to learn about pollution and how it’s bad for the Earth. The illustration are nice.”
This is from last year (June 20th, 2011) and oh yeah that’s right, we’re going for it again this summer!
i’m copying everyone else, cuz they’re coming up with such good ideas. I’ll cross them off as we do them.
* celebrate last day of school with dinner out, ice cream, a trip to Powell’s and staying up all night (grown-ups will sleep)
* eat fudgsicles
* did I mention swimming?
* trip to Denver to see grandma ??? (maybe she will visit us here instead)
* trip to
Iowa Central Oregon to see grandpa and grandma
* house party!
* eat the first fresh strawberry from the garden
* go for walks in the neighborhood and look for deer, hawks, snakes, frogs and… ???
* picnics at the park
* read on the chaise lounge
* drink iced tea and lemonade and iced tea with lemonade
* go to the drive-in
* farmers market!
* go see live theater outdoors. somewhere. where???
* visit the zoo
* go camping
* go to the beach
finish proofreading my novel finish writing new novel I started (Young Adult)
* get it published
start next book (cookbook) then start writing another book!
* celebrate my daughter’s birthday, my birthday and our wedding anniversary
yay to summer.
ps the comments are from last year. hi girls! i can’t figure out how to allow comments on this post again, so sorry.
I’m speaking, of course, of the kid and his mom, whose picture ran on the cover of Time. I’m not giving Time a damn link — go look it up if you haven’t seen it yet. Talk about Ways to Traumatize Your Kid.
Here’s my problem with the cover: The kid is 3-going-on-4, or 4-going-on-5, who knows, but looks like he’s 8. Just call him Milkman. His mom has the most defiant look on her face, it’s a little creepy.
I call it “We Are the World/We Are the Parents.”
“If you can breastfeed at 4, why can’t you breastfeed at 36? The age I am?” — Russell Brand on the Ellen show, 5/17/12
The whole mess reminded me of this post, the aptly-titled, “Unless You Push It Doesn’t Count,” wherein I tell other mommies “get off your vaginal high horse and shut the f#!k up.” You know when you need to criticize another parent? Pretty much the only time? If you see them hitting their kid. Or if you see them forcing the kid to do meth or something. Seriously. Those are about the only times you should say something. Tell them to knock it off; intervene if you can; call a cop.
I find a how-to parenting post that I just love, that makes me say “ouch” and “i can do better” at the same time. This is one of those. (Thanks, C, for calling this to my attention.)
Those of you who have been reading me for a while know how much i love Stephen and Tabitha King. They are gifted story tellers, funny people, and I just get a little pissed that they don’t get credit where credit is due.
Also, Stephen just published this over on the Daily Beast and it’s a good read. Hear, hear. I finished his latest, “11/22/63,” a couple of days ago. I read the last two chapters first thing in the morning, because I had read ’til late-late the night before and it killed me that I keep nodding off and couldn’t get to the last bit. (One more reason to get a Kindle: When you fall asleep and the Kindle slips out of your hands, it is not nearly as bad as beaning yourself in the head with an 800-pound, 800-page Stephen King book. Just sayin’.) I loved this book as much as “The Stand,” and there is hardly anything in life, with the exception of my husband and the kids, that I love as much as “The Stand.”
Then I got in a lousy mood for the rest of the day, because I didn’t want the book to end. Even though it was 800 pages long. It is not often that a book I love as much as I love “The Stand” comes along. In fact, this is probably it now, for the rest of my life.
When that realization hit me, then I got a little aggravated. Because I still have a few decades left, but really, what’s the point now? (Kidding. I might only have a few years left, who the hell knows when their time is going to come? Just ask the Kennedys.)
There you have it.
“The New Jim Crow” is excellent. Get a copy and please STFU about how we’re living in a “post-racial society” and how racism “isn’t a problem for me!” Yeah, maybe cuz you’re white and not in jail, didja ever consider that? The author worked very hard on this book and it is fantastic. I can only read a few chapters at a time — it’s a lot of stats and info to take in. But you need to read it, and buy copies to hand out to your friends and family, and your co-workers who need a clue.
Stupid things I’ve heard white people say:
“Race isn’t a problem anymore, is it?”
“Race isn’t a problem for me.”
“She takes the whole race thing a little too seriously.”
“They need to stop playing the race card.”
“Black babies are soooooo much cuter than white babies.”
“Maybe Pablo will bring us some more towels.”
And that was just members of my extended family I was quoting there, not the general public. Woooooooooooooooooot!
Now, on to Dickens, because why not? I am not even going with the segues, I’m in a hurry.
HOW I LEARNED TO GET OVER MYSELF AND START APPRECIATING CHARLES DICKENS
I’ve kind of never read Dickens, to be completely forthright with you. Yes, I was an English major, thanks for asking! (Focus on women’s fiction and contemporary writers. Also Shakespeare. The End.)
I kind of thought Dickens was a jerk. My ma was all “‘Tale of Two Cities,’ oh it’s the best book ever oh you have to read it!” etc. and throwing a copy of it at my head and knocking me unconscious. Parents, heed my words: It is generally the kiss of death for an author when a parent says, Best book evah! and recommends it to their kid.
I loved that episode of “Cheers” where Frasier wants to educate the guys at the bar, and starts reading aloud to them, It was the best of times/it was the worst of times…
Cliffie is all, Boy, make up your mind, Dickens, which was it? And Norm is all, That Dickens, he really liked to cover his butt, didn’t he?
So Frasier gets creative and adds in “a bloodthirsty clown that rises out of the sewers” and the guys were all, You had me at bloodthirsty clown, fully engaged. And I was all, I (heart) Stephen King. (See: Review above.) My point…
It’s that damn Kindle. You can get Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, and many, many others for free. Best of all? You don’t have to actually read the books. You can just look busy and important, oh yes, I downloaded “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” I believe I’ll tuck into those this weekend. Then I’ll polish off “War and Peace” after that. So. Who knows why, but I actually started reading “Great Expectations” a while back. I think I was feeling cocky cuz I finally got through “Anna Karenina.” (Brilliant, by the by.)
I tried reading “Oliver Twist” and “A Christmas Carol” aloud to the kids. No go. They told me they saw the movies, and my son recited the entire plot of “A Christmas Carol,” complete with crazy accents and his own interpretive dance, to us in the kitchen and that was that.
Turns out, Charles Dickens was something else.
Turns out, I love “Great Expectations,” although it’s taking me a bit longer to get through it than I thought it would, due to the fact that…
Turns out, “Masterpiece Theater” did a slam-bang mini-series of “Great Expectations,” which I accidentally (season pass on my tivo — blame “Downton Abbey”) tivo’ed
Turns out, I had to watch the whole thing, thus creating a little bit of a spoiler for myself. Whatever, it was so worth it.
Peeps, I am now a Dickens fan. Also am eighty percent through the book, go me. Dickens does his own variations on the bloodthirsty clown, quite nicely. Lovely, really. Yeah, you start throwing around the English-speak, once you’re enthralled in Dickens World. Where I want to go, by the way.
Yeah, the kids know all about him. There is no hiding my newfound love. This was me, tonight, to my son, who was complaining cuz I took his videogames away:
me: “Yeah, try being Charles Dickens, how about?”
my kid, laughing: “Dickens, heh heh…”
me: “You don’t have it rough, he had it rough. You know why? Cuz his dad went to prison. Cuz he didn’t pay his bills. And guess who went with him? That’s right. Dickens’s mom. And his little brothers and sisters, oh yes they did. How would you like that? And Dickens had to go work in a factory, even though he was only 12…”
my kid (already down the stairs, going to bug his sister): “Uh-huh.”
xo happy reading xo