Sophomore English 2.0

Without looking at the book, try to recall or reinvent the first sentence of the following classics:

Camus's The Stranger: I'm French and the world is terribly depressing.

Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: I'm hanging out with rich people and the world is terribly depressing.

Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: I'm a kid in the Deep South and the world is terribly depressing.

Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: I'm living in the future and the world is terribly depressing.


Just Peachy

Saw these lovelies on my afternoon walk today:
so gorgeous they didn't even require an Instagram filter
I have to admit: peachy-pink roses are some of my favorites.
bonus: they smelled divine, too


Stepping Out

Today is the first day of my company's 4-week "Keeping Up With the Joneses" challenge.  We're doing it in teams of six: you had a choice to create a team, or be randomly assigned.  I chose to be randomly assigned, in the hopes of making new friends.  The goal is to get an average of 8000 steps per person, per day, and so far I am on track.

Of course, I woke up this morning to find that the team in first place had already logged over twenty miles.  Per person.  It's kind of discouraging to know you've literally lost before you've begun.  Especially since the day is winding to a close, and three of my teammates haven't logged any steps at all.  Frustrating, to say the least.  But I've decided that I just need to shift my focus onto my own personal goals (such as getting the health insurance discount for participating) and never mind the rest.

(But the Competitive Beast half of my nature is probably going to send a few, um, encouraging emails tomorrow if there's still no stepping... it's one thing to be on a team that doesn't place, but another thing entirely to be on a team that can't be arsed to even try.)


Severan Obeys an Order

Night was well and truly upon them by the time the three of them cleaned the last of the wolves' gore from their gear and themselves.  The twin bonfires were still burning brightly, keeping their chosen site well-lit and warm, and discouraging further predation, but Severan still insisted on taking the first of the night's three watches.

Anastasia ignored her insistence, informed her that there would be two watches, and that Severan would keep neither of them.

"You said you've already been set upon three times in Ashenport," she said firmly, plaiting her still-damp hair back out of her face. "Which says to me that it will behoove you to be well-rested when you return to the Guild Hall in the morning, and fully recovered from today's fight, in case you find yourself set upon yet again."

Severan opened her mouth to argue that the two of them needed rest, as well- they'd each killed three wolves to her one- but Thane cut her off with a grin and a friendly pat.

"Besides which, you'll be the one hauling all seven of these raw and horrifically smelly pelts back to town, since we can't be suspected of having helped you.  So do as the Captain bids you, little meat-shield, and rest up."

Severan glared at the older man, but she'd spent too long in the merc company not to recognize (and obey) sensible orders.


Bold as Brass

So today was my One Official Visiting Day with Mom, and it was made even better by a spontaneous visit from my brother.  The three of us took Neeps out for a walk in the park, and it was a jolly good time, indeed.  It made me realize how rarely we actually get "just the three of us" time these days (yes, yes, Neeps was there, but he slept through most of it).  I was grateful for the interlude, however brief.

In the evening Mom stayed home with Neeps while Nathan and I went out to (finally) see Star Trek: Beyond.

It was excellent.

I mean I really just enjoyed the heck out it- pure entertainment.  And I appreciated seeing how Kirk is evolving as a character.  Good stuff, good stuff.


Secrets and Lies

It's a well-known fact that my marital motto is "Secrets and Lies".  (It's well-known by people around us, anyway.)  My mom heard Nathan say it, and was Greatly Amused by it.  She shared the phrase with her father, and he not only found it hilarious, but adopted it to apply to our family in general, thus expanding the marital motto into an over-arching House Motto.

We are a chaotic, entertaining bunch.

Anyway, Opa asked my mom to come up and visit, which is why she flew into town today with less than 48 hours warning for us.  Of course, Opa doesn't want Oma to know that he's summoned their daughter on such short notice, and so the Official Party Line is that she's visiting me.  For, like, one day before she goes up to see them for a week.

(No one ever said the Secrets and Lies had to be particularly plausible.)



Inspired by Neeps's love affair with Chicken TV, I give you the next illustration:

("Jiggins" because last night, when I told my Katie what I was drawing, that's what she thought I said.  Confused hilarity ensued.)



I'm standing in Fred Myers at nine o'clock at night, glancing back and forth between a little list and an enormous wall of school supplies.  I'm on a mission to fill up a backpack for the School Supply Drive that our church is having, and the list is very specific, which is baffling to me, because when I was in school nobody dictated the brand of pencils or colors of folders we got: we were given a basic list of this, that, and the other, and then we went crazy getting whatever Truly Represented Us (that our parents would actually spring for).

I finally manage to cross the last item off the list, and pop into line behind a small family that is also buying school supplies, most likely for the school-aged child that is part of the group.  I smile at the baby.  She crosses her eyes at me.  Babies are like that.

They finish, and now the cashier is ringing me up.  In classic Cashier Form, he says the most obvious thing possible,

"Back to school shopping, eh?"

"Yep!" (I don't feel like explaining what I'm actually doing, but I'm game to small-talk.)  "It sure has changed since I was a kid!  They're very specific about things now."

"I'll say," his voice is bitter.  "I hate that my kid will use like one glue stick but I still have to get five."

"Oh," I say cheerfully, since he's obviously misconstrued my consternation. "I don't mind providing extra for those kids who might not have-"

"It's not that," he interrupts.  "I was one of those underprivileged kids who couldn't afford supplies.  People should totally help out.  They just shouldn't make it mandatory."

"Mmm," I say, and we finish my transaction in silence, which is good because what I want to say is,

"Oh, it's exactly 'that'.  You think 'people' should totally help the underprivileged.  Just as long as it's other people.  In other words people who aren't you."

It makes my blood boil.  He knows what it's like to be a kid who can't afford a glue stick, he benefited from people who gave a little extra, and yet he begrudges doing the same for this new generation.  It would be one thing if he couldn't afford to spring for extra supplies, but to be able to do it and then just complain about it?  I don't understand people, I really don't.


I Am Weirdly Possessive of My Son's Hair

The other day Nathan made a joke about cutting Neeps's hair, and I... may have got a little panicky and snapped "Don't you dare!"

Which sort of took me aback.  I had no idea I has such strong feelings about my son's hair, of all things.  But apparently I do.  So.

I'm not sure why, exactly, but it's probably tied up in not wanting to change his physical perfection in any way.  Which is, of course, ludicrous, because I trim his little razor nails on the regular.

I'm wondering when it will feel okay to me to cut his hair.  Certainly not before he's walking.  Probably not before he's one.  Maybe not even until he's closer to two, if he ends up with particularly sweet baby curls.

Aw heck, let's call it 40.

(I am kidding.  Totally kidding.)

I'm hoping I'll know when it's time.  I'm hoping that the weird possessiveness doesn't warp my sense of what's actually cute and keeps him in the wispies long after he should have been shorn like an adorable little lamb.  I guess I'll just have to rely on Nathan to gently inform me if I cross over from appropriately protective into Norma Bates.


Missing Koopa

I woke up thinking of Koopa this morning, for no particular reason that I can discern.  I lay in bed, in the early morning light, examining those feelings.

On the one hand, there is sadness.  Sadness for my baby girl that died, that I never got to meet.  On the other hand, if she'd lived, we wouldn't have Neeps.  And I don't want to not have Neeps.  So there's also guilt.

It complicates the grief somewhat.

But I'm not unused to that sort of conflict- after all, I miss my dad and wish he hadn't died, but if he hadn't died, I wouldn't have the life I have.  And I like the life I had.  So.  Yeah.


And then in the evening I got on Facebook and saw everyone freaking out (with delight or dread) over the new Anne of Green Gables adaptation, and many, many females of my acquaintance (and their acquaintance) expressing an identification with Anne.  One friend-of-a-friend in particular said, "Anne is me."

I clicked on her comment to say in a joking sort of way, "I certainly hope not, given what happens in later books!" but then I realized that her avatar was a picture of an extremely-familiar sight: a fetus far too tiny to ever live, cradled in the palm of her hand.

"Oh," I thought.  "Oh, my poor sister."

Because yes, Anne is her.  And Anne is me.  And Anne is everyone who has ever lost their baby.  I remember reading that book in the bath, and bawling, because suddenly Anne and I had more in common than I'd ever dreamed.

There's no clever quip to end this entry.  Just a dull and complicated sort of sadness, and a fierce gratefulness for the joys that balance it out.



"I think this Sunday would be a good day for your quarterly appearance."

That's what Nathan said to me earlier this week.  He backed it up by saying there would only be one service, and it was to be followed by a luau, and since I am a sucker for delicious food and honestly it has been a while since I showed my son off at church, I went ahead and accompanied my mate.

Neeps probably spent more time being passed around than being held by us, but he did get a chance to eat some pulled pork in our company.  And he must have liked it, because he definitely wore some of it like a hat:
Like any good parent, I didn't bother to point it out.  Just took a photo.  To his credit, Nathan did notice EVENTUALLY,


Joyce Summers Reconsidered

I started re-watching Buffy, and I find myself with a newfound sympathy for her mother, Joyce Summers.

She can't be more than 40 (ie a measly five years older than I am now), she's newly divorced and new in town, with no friends and nothing close to the funds she's used to having.  Her daughter has been indulged all of her 15 years, but now Joyce is determined to be an involved, present mother for the first time in her life, all in an attempt to keep her daughter out of the trouble that forced them to relocate in the first place (::coughcoughburningdowntheschoolgymcough::).  Obviously said daughter is not reacting well to this sudden-interest, but Joyce is trying so hard, reading books and learning to say "No".

That's... kind of a raw deal Joyce has going on there, regardless of her own contributions to the situation.  But having recognized her past mistakes, she never stops fighting for her child- and that's admirable as hell.

Here's to you, Mother of the Slayer.  You're far more bad-ass than teenage me ever realized.


Cloud Warrior

Neeps did more art:
The title, appropriately enough, was "Clouds"
 I really liked it- felt it was appropriately Pacific-North-Western, a nice little reminder of of the silver-grey days that will soon fall across our current shimmering summer sun.  So I added a bit to it, because that's how he and I roll:
Pew pew pew!


Rough Draft from a Dream

Last night's dream I found a powerful magical artifact made of rose quartz (one of two "keys" that had to be combined to actually be used) and was rescued by an elderly witch who told me I'm a witch, too.  She helped me escape the bad witches chasing me for the key, using long-step magic to get us to Scotland.  We turned ourselves into dogs to run better, and I was beginning to turn into an Irish Setter (for my hair) until I realized that's not who I am, and instead turned into a large silver pit bull with powerful jaws (I very specifically thought about my powerful jaws).  We went to her house, where her husband was, and my baby was there with him, his diaper being changed- but her husband gave us a wink and a nod so we knew that the enemies had beat us there, and then they revealed themselves and even though I was in human form I stood over my baby growling and snarling and knowing I would literally crush the throat of anyone who came near him.

(We did escape, and I managed to get the other key, and fit the two of them together.)

And if that's not a damn fine story seed, I don't know what is.  Although I suppose it would be helpful if I'd gotten to find out just what, exactly, the artifacts did... the fact that I thought of them as "keys" implies that they opened or unlocked something... perhaps greater power?  Hmm...



I didn't pay much attention to the first flyer I saw- I was running late for work, and hurried right past the photo-copied sheet growing damp in the morning mist.  There's no shortage of this sort of fluttering plea in our bustling downtown- pitiful little scraps asking if anyone's seen a lost pet, rebellious mini-posters screaming about an upcoming indie show, the occasional obscure image expressing some post-post-postmodern street artist's ironic sense of humor.  Usually I'll take a moment to read the pet ones, and keep an eye out for at least a day or two, but like I said- this morning I was in a hurry.

By the time I headed out for my lunch-time walk, I'd forgotten about the flyer.  The mist had strengthened to rain over the course of the morning, but had since dissipated to the point where I felt comfortable leaving my rain jacket in the office in spite of the threatening clouds.  I walked briskly, however, and almost missed the flyer a second time, thoroughly soaked now and clinging to the telephone pole like a scared child.

But something about it caught my eye, and I slowed myself enough to peel up a corner and see if it was an animal, after all.

It was not an animal.

I stared at the picture, my face burning with a curious combination of rage and shame, my stomach a block of icy dread.  Because it wasn't an animal at all, it was a girl.  A girl I knew.  A girl around twenty-five, with waist-length red hair done in four french braids.  A girl wearing a shiny black wetsuit and laughing as she clutched a surfboard that towered above her head by a good three feet.  A girl standing in front of a wild sea of grey and green and white.

A girl that was me, ten years ago.


The word was large and messily scrawled in sharpie above the image.  It continued beneath:

goofy-girl.  swimmer-with-seals.  wave-worshipper.  fellow-frolicker.
if seen, please tell her i miss her.  please ask her to come home.
i want to go home, too.

There was no contact information, but I didn't need it.  Because I was probably the only person in the whole world who knew who Ruli was.

What Ruli was.

Except apparently someone else must know, too, because there was no way an 8'5" mini-longboard could have gone around town posting missing posters for her- for it's- owner.

Could there?


You wake up one morning to find your face plastered all over town on a "Missing" poster.  Who posted the signs?  Where were you last seen?  What were you wearing?


Sefi the Quiet

I've been reading The Red Rising trilogy, and I am loving it.

I mean, it's utterly eviscerating my soul, but I'm still loving it.

There are lots and lots of great characters, so naturally I've been doodling:

That's a scalp she's holding.  It's not canon, but it seemed appropriate.


Mrs. Coverlet

One of the things we did while staying at her house was go pawing through a storage closet.  And what should we find but a box that I'd filled up with Important Books From My Childhood!  And one of those Important Books was actually an Important Book From My Father's Childhood, or at least I assume it was, since it was from his parents' house that I liberated it as a much younger child.

The book, you ask?

Mrs. Coverlet's Magicians

I loved that book.  Loved it.  I mean, obviously, or I wouldn't have felt compelled to keep it for so many years for my eventual children to discover.  But I was always bothered by the fact that there were adventures referred to in that book, adventures that I wanted to read about, but couldn't, because this was the Days Before the Internet, and we had to just cross our fingers and hope every time we wandered into a library or book store.

Needless to say, since I didn't even know what the name of the First Book might have been, I never did have any luck tracking it down, and in time the urgency faded.

But when we pulled that slim volume out of that box at my mom's house, it was to a Bold New World where the Internet is fricking ubiquitous, and so my mom and I immediately hopped on Amazon and she ordered me my very own copy of While Mrs. Coverlet Was Away for the entirely reasonable price of $12.*

And today that book arrived:

Matched Set
I'm very much looking forward to settling down and seeing just what exact circumstances led to the Persever Children having spent the entire summer without adult supervision...

*(While we were hunting we also discovered that there's a third volume, Mrs. Coverlet's Detectives, but it runs like $50 and I'm not that nostalgic)


On Being Great Parents

We're in Las Vegas on our layover.  Nathan and Neeps have been diligently doing laps around the waiting-area, with the occasional waving-pit-stop (waving is a brand-new Neeps skill as of today, and I'm pretty sure a direct result of all the attention he's been receiving).  Slowly but surely the two of them make their way back over to me, as it's drawing near to boarding time.

An airline associate comes up to our small family group and says he's been assigned to help us with pre-boarding.

"Gee, how did you know it was us?" I grin, gesturing with my crutches.

"Well," he says with laugh, "In my twenty years of working here, you're the first 'wheelchair-with-infant-in-lap' I've ever come across."


Neeps smiles and giggles for the various strangers who are more than willing to be charmed by him on their walk down the aisle.  He nurses lustily during takeoff, and is plenty pleased about being passed back and forth between Nathan and myself once we reach cruising altitude.  We have an empty seat next to us, so sometimes he just looks out the window in wonder.  Sometimes he fusses a bit, so we we play the, "Who can you see when I hold you up high?" game, which seems to work pretty well as it generally results in peals of laughter and reaching for strangers.  Sometimes he sleeps, and I balance my tray-table on the curve of his little rump, my magazine perched on top of that.

After the flight multiple people come up to us, to compliment us on what great parents we are.  It feels good to hear, but we also feel a bit like frauds- as I say, time and again, "Thank you, but the truth is that we're just lucky: he's a great baby."

And he is.


Urgent Care Again

Whelp, we ended up missing the wedding we flew cross-country to attend.  So.  There's that.


The doc saw a "shadow" on my X-ray, so she's not really sure if my ankle's fractured or not, but until we hear back from the specialist they sent it on to, I'm to treat it like a fracture.  Which means a boot and crutches and no weight-bearing which is fine because I can't put any weight on it anyway!  Woo!

The drive home from Urgent Care was painful enough to make us realize that it simply wasn't a good idea for us to go to the wedding, since the site was almost two hours from where we're staying, and we have an infant to care for.  It sucked, but sometimes you just have to make hard decisions.

Instead we've spent the day with my ankle iced and elevated, watching the Olympics.  Plus Nathan brought me some Vietnamese food from one of our Old Haunts to comfort me.  And also some cupcakes because I am really sad about missing wedding cake.


My (Young) Heroes

It's been a while since I've really injured myself- not since before I got pregnant, really- so I suppose it was about time.

I wasn't doing anything particularly awe-inspiring or epic this time (although my climbing bros made up an elaborate story for me via text, involving angry bears and bees) not even running.  I'd been running, playing Chase with Grasshopper and Elk in the cul-de-sac outside their house, but when I went down I was just... walking.  Walking along all innocently, when a curb-gremlin reached out and grabbed me.

Down I went, with a POP and a shriek (kudos for me because I did not scream obscenities in the presence of my 5-and-2-year-old nephews), immediately rolling to my back like a cockroach and yelling "Get your Uncle Jeff!"

Now, this must have been a supremely confusing bit of instruction for the boys, since their uncle is Nathan, and Jeff is their father's name, but Grasshopper dutifully took off at a run to get help, and little Elk came over to me (still writhing on the ground) and held my hand so I wouldn't be scared.

My sweet little heroes.

Soon enough both Nathan and Jeff appeared, by which time I'd managed to sit up and discover that my ankle was 100% non-weight-bearing.  So it was good there were two of them, because they both carried me up the ridiculously steep hill to the house (and Jeff cemented himself as Best Brother-In-Law by saying, "Why, you're not heavy at all!")

The timing on this is... not ideal.  We have a wedding to go to tomorrow, and a flight home the day after that.  And I'm beginning to suspect that I'm going to need to go back to Urgent Care in the morning, because I still can't put any weight on it.


Can't say this vacation hasn't been exciting, anyway.


Old Friends: New Babies

I got together with an old friend today, primarily so we could admire one another's babies (but also so she could hand down some toys- woo hoo!).  There was a time (in Jr. High, to be specific) that she, my Katie, and I were inseparable.  And now all of us have the world's most beautiful children.  Apparently lots of Elfquest and elaborate story-telling in your youth leads to better looking children in your thirties.  Who knew?  (Get on that, Science.)

Mom made our ancestral food (schnitzel) for dinner, and Neeps loved it.  Obviously.  And after he was in bed the three of us (Mom, Nathan, and I) went out to watch the shooting stars extravaganza.

It was not what I'd call even a qualified success, since Mom was the champion Star Spotter with a grand total of two.  Stupid cloud cover.

Oh well, there's always next year!


Visiting Ghost Opa and Other Bonding Experiences

Today I did something that is, no getting around it, pretty damn weird.

I took my kid to a cemetery to take smiling photos with him on my father's grave (and also over my grandparents' graves).

Yeah yeah yeah, understandable, whatever- still weird.  Get use to it, kid: yours will be a lifetime of this sort of weirdness.

Anyway, after that we came back to my mom's house and did the A#1 thing I had planned to do while we were in Alabama in freaking August:
 Yaaaaay!  Now granted it started raining literally the moment we got in the pool, so we were not exactly having the sun-soaked experience I'd envisioned, but whatever we were swimming.  I even put my new suit to the test by doing a few dives: it held up.

After Neeps was put to bed, Nathan and I hit the town- specifically a nice little pub downtown.  We spent much of our date marveling over the fact that we were able to be on it in Prattville: this little town has changed a lot since we were teenagers.

We shut the place down (not hard to do on a weeknight) and then went for a walk on the waterfront.  Eventually we sat on a bench and creek/moon/pokemon-hunter watched for a while.  All in all, not a bad way to spend an evening in a (no-longer-)small southern town.


Melting, and Other Discomforts

I should have saved yesterday's title for today's entry.  Ye gods.

We met up with our old friends, the Coopers, to swap out family portraits (ie canceling out the "Photographers have no photos of themselves" curse of being a photographer).  It was murderously hot, so we did them as quickly as frigging possible.  That being said, we still got some great shots out of the session (Thanks Meredith!)
Before I gave up and took my and Neeps's shirts off.  Not even kidding.
The place we met up was actually the neatest little planned community, which reminded me of nothing so much as a fusion of the military bases I grew up on with an old European city (which, technically, I guess I also grew up in).  It was a really, really well-done place, and Gentle Readers, I looked on it with Lust In My Heart.

Which has sort of been a theme, lately.

Nathan and I have said repeatedly that we made a mistake planning back-to-back vacations staying in people's much-larger-than-ours-houses.  It's been making us feel... well, discontented.  And I don't like feeling discontented.  I like feeling like I have the best little house in the world, in the best little area in the world.

But seriously I might shiv someone for an extra 1000 square feet, and the ability to let Neeps eventually play outside with a pack of neighborhood kids/run free on about five acres.


I comfort myself with the thought that my house will go back to feeling perfectly-sized once there's no longer Giant Baby Things (like highchairs and bouncers) everywhere.  And my neighborhood is in the middle of being revitalized, so I'm sure that more young couples with kids will be moving in soon.  And although I'd like to live on a stretch of land someday, today is not that day, because I love being able to commute by bike, and being so close to the culture/conveniences of downtown, including the airport, which we need to be close to for all the traveling that we can afford to do because we chose to buy a small house in a borderline neighborhood.


Too Hot to Handle

It was not what I'd call an ideal vacation day.

Neeps started up a fever yesterday, and when he woke up at two this morning it had risen to 102.7  It later broke the 103 threshold (a first for us), and so I bundled him up and took him to Urgent Care. My sister-in-law, in her infinite mother-of-three wisdom, posited that it was an ear-infection; I found myself inclined to agree, and was not at all surprised when the doc confirmed it.  So then I just was happy it didn't hit him until after our flight, and that, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine (ie a round of anti-biotics) he will be all better before we board the next plane, a week from yesterday.

What I'm not happy about, however, is the fact that, thanks to some ridiculous shenanigans between the Urgent Care Place and the Pharmacy, it took us over an hour to get his antibiotics (sitting in Walmart, kicking my heels both figuratively and literally), which resulted in us not getting to go to Makarios as we'd intended, if we wanted to miss Rush Hour south (which, obviously, we did, because if you think Portland traffic is bad, friend you've never been to Birmingham).  Boooo.

But I suppose there's always later this week, when we return for the wedding.  After all, our child needs some delicious Lebanese food, and we've yet to find anything that can compare in our current neck of the woods.


Sweet Home (No More)

It's an unmistakably Southern Evening; the deep blue air of twilight is almost too warm, heavy with the scent of honey-sweet blossoms, and cicadas are droning on in that timeless summer soundtrack.  A firefly winks at me from beneath a distant tree, a promise of the dance to come, and I laugh, delighted by his magic.  How could I have forgotten fireflies?

Moments like this, perfect moments, remind me that as much as I do not miss living in the South, I do miss certain aspects of it.  There is a deep and abiding nostalgia that will never fade- nor do I want it to.

But loving memories of a time and a place is not the same as wanting it back.  I am far happier in the corner of the world I've claimed as my own, in the life I've carved for myself from cold mists and silver rains.

(But I do wish the fireflies would visit.)


First Flight

One week ago my son traveled by sea- today he traveled by sky.

All in all, I'd say he's off to a good start, as far as the life of an Adventurer goes.

Reach out and touch the sky
It's difficult to explain how I felt as today drew near- it's not so much that I was nervous about flying with an infant it as I was feeling like I should be nervous about it.  The media would have it that anyone flying with an infant is basically a martyr- that your baby will scream and people will hate you, but there will be that other faction who will tell the first faction to leave you alone, because you are Noble and Suffering and Human Too.

But I had a sneaking suspicion it was probably going to be Alright.  And, honestly, what the hell could I do about it, anyway?  Nothing.  So why stress?  Except that I felt like I should...

As it turns out Neeps was a pro, so stressing would have been a complete waste, anyway.  He nursed on all the take-offs and landings (except the one he slept through) and generally was just very smiley and charming towards everyone in both planes.

(I will admit, however, that at one point another baby started crying, and I couldn't help but do a tiny, internal fist-pump because not mine!) (But then I did my best to exude support for them.)


GISHWHES and Mommy Guilt

A pack of my friends is participating in GISHWHES this year, which is a lovely thing.  I was invited to play along, too, but I had to be very honest with myself that I would not have the time and would only drag the team down.

(based on what I've seen my friends scrambling around doing, I made the right call.)

Anyway, one of the items on the "scavenger hunt" was to do five chores for a mother, and my Katie called dibs on doing that one, and then reached out to me.

Now listen, this is not the first time over the past year that someone (generally speaking, a female) has told me that they are more than happy to come over to my house and help me with chores, cooking, cleaning, whatever.  I have almost never taken them up on it.  Not because I don't deeply appreciate the offer, not because I don't desperately need the help, just because... well, because of many complex layers of guilt and inferiority and pride.

But here's the the thing.  My Katie told me about this scavenger-hunt-thingy she's doing, and I was able to actually take her up on her offer of help because her helping me was me helping her.  Just enough of a semantic play to trick me into being able to accept that help.  Which, again, I needed.  We leave for Alabama tomorrow, and my To-Do list was ridiculous.  But Katie did five items on that list- little things, really, because I couldn't trick myself enough to ask for help with anything truly arduous- and the impact of those five little things?  Huge.  I got home from work and my floors were swept and vacuumed and I literally wanted to cry because I didn't have to do it.  I could just enjoy it while I moved on to the next To Do.

So thanks, GISHWHES.  Thanks for absolving me of my Mommy Guilt.

(And also thanks to my Katie, who took out my freaking recycling.)


366 Days Later

One year ago today, I went Internet Public with my pregnancy.  Let's do a little comparison, shall we?

-he still hasn't worn the bib I embroidered for him.  I, uh, may need to remedy that in a near-future-photo-shoot...
-I'm definitely back to blogging.  Maybe not quite as timely as I'd hoped, but I am getting the sheer volume done, so go me.
-he was totally born earlier than the 12th, just like his witch-mother foretold
-he is still a boy
-we gave him a fantastic name (a wizard name), which was on the list, although I'm still just a teensy bit sad Nathan wouldn't let me name him Odysseus.  And he remains Neeps on the Internet.
-I still haven't blogged about Scotland.  Damn it.

It's weird to think back to being pregnant.  To tell the truth, I only sort of remember it- it's a blurry sort of time in my memory banks.  (Thanks for the mental protection, Mother Nature!)  Mostly I remember how that little bugger loved to dig his heel into the upper-right portion of my rib cage, right near my sternum.

And now he loves to lean onto whatever exposed flesh I have, zerbert it, and start laughing.  Much better.


Rainbow on Rainbow Action

In keeping with the whole Rainbow Nebula Fox Theme:
(Is it bad that I refer to this thing (and others of its ilk) as my son's "chew toy"?)


Harry Potter and the Delayed Gratification

Like any good Harry Potter Nerd, I pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It arrived yesterday, but I didn't start it, because in this season of my life, sleep is one of my most valuable commodities, and I knew that starting the book would be antithetical to getting a full night's rest.  I was feeling a bit grumpy about it, but I comforted myself with the thought that I'd have plenty of time to read it next week while we're in Alabama.

But then Boozeday was cancelled today, and I found myself at loose ends.  You see, Nathan and I trade off bedtime-routine nights, and Tuesdays are one of his nights, since I'm (obviously) usually at Boozeday.  Now, you might be thinking, "Oh perfect!  She could just curl up with the book at home!" but you would be wrong, Gentle Readers, because it is a truth universally acknowledged that if I do not physically remove myself on my "off" nights, I don't actually get them "off".  I end up doing chores, and generally most of the bedtime routine, just because I'm there and I can't help myself.  So I have to absent myself from the scene.

Only trouble is, I didn't know where to go.  I didn't want to go to a cafe or a bar, because I didn't want to spend any money.  And I didn't really want to go to the library, because it feels weird to bring in an outside book to the library.  And anyway I needed to remove my toenail polish because I am going to a wedding next week and planning on wearing open-toed shoes.

I could go into the office and be assured of quiet privacy, but that would be just... pathetic.

I was literally in the car, pulling out of our neighborhood, not knowing where I was going, when I resigned myself to being pathetic.

Yes, I was so desperate to be not in the house that I was going to go sit in the place I'd already sat in for near on nine hours.

But then, on the way to the office, I had a sudden brilliant brain-flash.

I could go to the park!

And I did.  I did go to the park, Gentle Readers.  I went to the park, and I settled down in a nice shady spot, and I removed my polish while devouring the new Harry Potter story, and it was glorious.  I moved with the sun, keeping in the shade, until it started to get cold, and then I kept to the sun.  I read and I read and I read, and I finished it, and came away feeling so damn relaxed and refreshed (and satisfied with the story, by the by) that I feel ready to deal with the rest of this insane week.

(Possibly the best part was being surrounded by laughing, playing children, and knowing I wasn't responsible for a damn one of them.)

So now I know where to go when I need to escape.  Not a bar.  Not a cafe.  The park.  Dear stars, the park.


Life Lessons from an Infant

If there's one thing I can honestly admire about my infant son, it's his ability to take one full in the face, and just keep on going.  Don't get me wrong- sometimes he needs to cry a little bit first, sometimes he needs a little comfort-snuggle- but then he gets the hell over it and gets the hell on with it, bold and fearless as ever before, face-planting be-damned.

Most of us could all stand to be a little more like that, I think.