Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Can you believe this boy is sebben?

Havoc, the baby who's not such a baby anymore, used to say (= insist) he was sebben when he was really only three.
Now he's actually sebben and darn happy about it.
Doesn't the dimple slay you?

See his hair? He fixed it himself. See his clothes? He picked them out himself. I had to insist he go back and put jeans over the boxers. Awwww, mom.

Many happy returns of the day sweet boy!

Wasabi as a rug, front view

Wasabi as a rug, top view

Blame it on the Hangi

I am having a perfectly vile day. Here is how it unfolds -
First I have a stress tiff with Sweet Hubby because he's been a little remote lately. His response is he's a little grumpy due to lack of sleep caused by his wife who frets (actively and loudly) while having nightmares. This is somewhat unexpected news. I didn't know I was having nightmares again until he said so. I'd really like to blame it on the Maori Hangi because it's an awfully odd dish - but I can't, because a) I liked it and it wasn't as odd as the pistachio-encrusted, sweet potato cake thingie in the second course (ahhh! Don't you just love parties at bistros?) and b) I have the same nightmares every time I start churning about the same couple of things. And a-churning I have been.

The vileness got viler when I was trying to figure out how to talk to my VBGF (=Very Best Girlfriend) about how remote she's been - when, what do I get? An email from my VBGF needing to share her feelings about the last couple of days.
Eeep. She's right! S.H. is right! Here I am all sad at their remoteness and feeling all alone in my churniness - and what have I done but churned and pushed at them in weird ways. What am I, fourteen again??

Then while I'm trying to respond by phone and email - the puppy goes NUTS. Not barking - but whining and running back and forth to windows and then running down the hall. While following him down the hall, I hear a loud, glassy, startling smack back in the office. Puppy and I go racing back. Nothing. Maybe a bird flew into the window - it was that kind of short, thuddy sound. I close the door to my office in an effort to curtail the dog's wandering and get some more writing in - but he will NOT settle. Feeling frustrated and stompy - I scoop up the dog and carry him toward the laundry room (i.e. puppy time out) at the other end of the house until he scrambles out of my arms (almost spilling my coke cup in the hall.) I chase him down only to have the holy bejeezus scared out of me when there is another such glassy thud at the sliding door two feet away from me. There stands a large lurky man dressed in dark blue (and a Dallas Cowboys** ball cap) motioning for me to open the door. I just barely manage NOT to throw my glass through the door at him - but then I have to wipe up the all coke I spill on the floor from so forcefully NOT throwing my glass at him and by then my hands are shaking and I am quite discombombulated. Scary man (in a Dallas Cowboys cap - **I HATE, LOATHE, and DESPISE** the Dallas Cowboys) tries to smile reassuringly at me and explains loudly that he's from the power company and he's here to check on the power outages we had complained about. He wants to know if he could turn off the power. I explain to him (still not opening the door) that I need to go save everything on my computer - could he give me a few. Yes of course - he'd give me five minutes.
Then the phone rings (you know, the only phone we have - the cordless - electricity powered phone - you see where this is going?) The dog is still going apeshit - barking at the power guy - barking at the phone - tripping me. The phone call turns out to be the gal who was supposed to work for me today saying her grandmother had died and she wouldn't be able to *click*....
How is my seven year old birthday boy going to feel when his mom doesn't show up for lunch at school like she promised?
Then just to make sure things were really, really, really vile...
The power guy wants to show me something. See here where all the wires are burnt up - yes sirree - you're lucky your house didn't catch on fire - that's what's causing your outages - you better call an electrician right away!
I think my bursting into tears startled him.
By 9:30 am, my day is already full to overflowing with hauntings of old trauma, remotenss by the two I love most, the bad mommy-ness of failing to show for my birthday boy's lunch, the adrenalin of an unexpected, scary man at the door, the threat of my children burning in their beds, and the impossibility of stretching the budget to cover Christmas AND an emergency electrician. I try pulling myself together - but I'm not sure I'm convincing. The power guy turns my electricity back on and backs away assuring me he hadn't meant my house would catch on fire TODAY, necessarily....
The returned-to-life phone rings. It is my 13 year old calling from the school office. His morose 13 year old voice says, "Hi mom. Mr. Moore wants to tell you something." I find out my son is being "written up" again for not having his gym clothes again.
Again? Again? When has he been written up before? When has he not had his gym clothes?!!
Oh, the bad mommy-ness of not only failing to ensure that all morose middle schoolers in the household are provided with appropriate jock attire and forced to port said attire actually all the way to school - but of not even knowing the lack of jock attire has gotten to the repeating stage!!!

I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. According to Judith Viorst's Alexander , some days are like that. Even in Australia.
Must be the proximity to the Hangi.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Somewhat Current Lilymane Look

Oh hey. This is a closer-up pic of me (just in case you don't have eyes that can zoom in 400%). I post it just in case my old buddy Steve stops by. More on the coincidence of running into him on the web later. If you're there, Steve - this is what I look like (hanging upside down off of a friend's couch.) Any resemblance to the girl you knew in '82?


I particularly loved (note the tense) my new, black, knee-high boots. Soft kid leather, long and zippery = sleek. I've worn them twice and felt fabulous both times! Tonight I go to put them on to go to a potentially fun (but very hard to dress for) dinner - and can you believe it?! They are tight on my calves! I have gained weight in my calves over Thanksgiving! I didn't know that was possible. I know I should be mad at the extra helping of Company Grits (my grandmother's recipe and which I only eat once a year darn it!). But I am mad at the boots. Mad at my pinchy, bunchy boots. Now what? I don't have any other shoes that are dressy while pretending to be casual. I don't have anything that remotely qualifies as chic enough for a wine tasting at a bistro with board members from New Zealand!! Oh Goddess of the Boots - please send me a miraculous stretching (of the boots not of the calves!) Please, please, please!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Great Piece of ....

Sweet Hubby just called me from the road to report a worthy bumper sticker sighting:

Democrats are SEXY! After all, who ever heard of a great piece of elephant?

Thrasher and the Land of Cow Poo

I have a new nephew. Let's call him Thrasher (because his mom, my only sib, aka Tidget will hate it. :D) Even though he lives (in my opinion) way too close to the North Pole, I went to visit him last weekend. Thrasher is the smartest baby alive. Do you know what he did? He got over his colic two days before I got there! I went up expecting to hold a screaming, crying, inconsolable (yet beautiful) boy and instead I got to play with a delightful, wonderfully mannered, cooing, happy baby! Even though my sister is a first time mom at 35 - she is not the easily flappable type. For the first two months she didn't even let on that she was dealing with a baby so colicy that he now has a herniated belly button! I have lots of experience with babies (did you read the part of my profile where I have five children?) - and of the three I actually gave birth to, exactly zero of them had colic. (Colic being extremely rare after the age of five - I didn't have to deal with it in my other two kiddos either!)
Here are two things that helped Thrasher - a vacuum cleaner cd (which, you guessed it - plays for 60 minutes the digitally recorded (in stereo) sound of a vacuum cleaner) and Thrasher's radio station (which you can receive anywhere in the country - in fact the further out in the country you are the better your reception - just turn your radio to the first loud station that plays nothing but static). Thrasher may have been soothed by all that white noise but he doesn't get that gene from my end of the gene pool. White noise makes me cranky! I am not a background noise kind of person - AT ALL. I know (too) many people who turn on a tv or radio the second they get home because (they claim) it helps them "unwind". If you define "unwind" as "to become postal" then yeah, it does that for me too.
Returning to our muttons (or Moose as the case may be)...
Thrasher has spent his first few months in the state that is home to Ben & Jerry's - a claim to fame which in no way makes up for the fact that it is insanely cold there. It was 19 degrees when I was there and the Vermonters were all running around outside talking about what an incredibly beautiful day it was! Tidget explained to me that they were saying this because the sun was shining and it wasn't snowing. Hmmm - did I mention is was 19 degrees??!!!
I then learned about the seasons in Vermont. I officially missed "Leaf Peeper Season" which by all accounts wasn't its usual self this year anyway. Leaf Peeper Season lasts three to four weeks. Next comes "Stick Season" which also lasts three to four weeks. From personal experience, I can tell you that Stick Season is fine if you like being able to see lots of exposed rock (which I DO - I LOVE ROCKS!) and if your definition of a "beautiful day" does not require any warmth whatsoever. After Stick Season comes "Snow Season" which lasts 9 months. There has not been enough money minted in history to tempt me to visit during this time of year but if you are a polar bear I hear it's dandy. Next comes "Stinky Mud Season". Errrr?
Tidget explained to me that when the snow starts to melt her world becomes one big mud puddle. Ok - and um, the stinky part? "Well," she says, "that's the time of year when everything thaws. EVERYTHING. The dog poo thaws; the cow poo thaws. Nine months of frozen cow poo thawing all at once gives off a powerful stink."
Egad! That can't be healthy! Thrasher, you have my express invitation to come spend the seasons with ME!

Thoughts on Being a New Puppy Mom (or 10 Things I LOVE about Wasabi the Wheaten Terrorist)

Thing 1) He's hypoallergenic. They make hypoallergenic dogs! Who knew? Not that anyone we love is allergic to dogs, but still, it's fun to have a dog that doesn't shed.

Thing 2) Another fun fur fact: Wasabi's fur is SOFT, like a cat (which we don't have because someone we love IS allergic to those.)

3) He scampers. Scrabble, scrabble, whoosh, whoosh, pant, pant. He goes flying, ricocheting off of walls and door frames, sliding between peoples' legs, soaring over beds, making crazy loop-d-loops all through the house.

4) After he scampers, he sleeps! And when he sleeps I can get maybe 15 minutes of writing in. Yay!

5) Wasabi lies like a rug - literally - with his back legs splayed out, his toepads turned up, and his fat, little, furry belly bulging out on both sides.

6) He does quintessential dog things - like burying bones! He runs to the courtyard, digs like a maniac, and then looks around to make sure no one is watching him(which of course we are because he's hilarious). So he slinks under the hanging ivy, digs like a maniac again and then drops his treasure in. After that he scoops dirt with his nose to cover it back up. I thought only cartoon dogs buried bones! (Can you tell this is my first dog???)

7) He doesn't lift his leg to pee. Wasabi trots to his "spot" and while looking to one side, streeeeeetches his legs. Then he non-chalantly wanders away from the little puddle he has created without acknowledging it. He is very suave about his peeing.

8) He gives sweet dog kisses. I always thought it was completely gross that dog people let their dogs lick their faces - eeeeew! I suppose it's just less disgusting when it's your own puppy because I think my dog's kisses are endearing (EXCEPT when he's been chewing on his bone from the butcher and then it is still totally revolting!)

9) Wasabi is freaking brilliant! Soft coated Wheaten terriers are known to be clever (although not necessarily obedient) but I tell you my pup is way smarter than the average bear. He's four months old (on Thursday) and we've only had him three weeks and already he knows how to sit, to stay, what "go outside, go potty" means (not that his understanding means there are no messes inside :-S), and he does this trick where he plays dead! Sweet Hubby (AKA Top Dog) holds Wasabi like a baby (which he loves) and Wasabi looks around and licks Top Dog's face and then Top Dog says, "Play dead!" and Wasabi flops back like he has no bones and lets his tongue loll out of his mouth. He's brilliant I say!

10) My dog is a Leo. Aside from the fact that my smart puppy had the good sense to be born the day after my birthday, I find it amusing that my dog's 'sign' is a big cat!!!

In the words of my soon-to-be-seven year old son "I love my new dog named wisoby!He is soft coted weatin teareor. He is so cute. You would love him. Do you have a dog?"

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Touch of Technophobia

It is amazing how much I love the idea of new technology and how much I resist (out of abject terror) the implementation of it in my life. I get completely hung up on being able to "do it right" (aka perfectly) before I take step one. It is paralyzing.

When I am faced with incorporating a new technology, say, a cell phone that takes pictures and plays an obnoxious array of customized ring tones, my amazing procrastination abilities come to the fore . I delay and pussy-foot around all the while expressing delight, excitement, and enthusiasm for said new technological wonder. (Can ya' tell I'm Southern?!) I am loathe to acknowledge (outloud) how inadequate I feel when faced with a small (yet expensive), time-saving (hahahahaha), culturally imperative device. I can think of things that must be looked up (like which obscure tv show has the theme song that goes hmm, la la, be dah). I can think of people to poll ("What do you think of my new V-tech turbo 1.2 Qhz titanium hulled communication modulator?") I can find magazine articles to read comparing column upon column of incomprehensible features found in all the latest doohickeys like mine (like mine but different - probably exactly like mine but cheaper, more powerful, and "easier to use" if only I could decipher the symbol key for the rating categories!). I can refuse to leave my house therefore obviating the need for a cell phone at all! The list of things I can find to do while I'm fixing to get ready to think about getting started to use my new can't-live-without-it (although I did until just now) thingy grows and grows. It is my defense mechanism for putting off the inevitable moment I start finding out all of the things I CAN'T (but should be able to) do.

For instance, during the recent cell phone replacement ordeal, I discovered that what I can't do is turn my cell phone on when I want to make a call (or turn it off so that it stays off when I'm in the movie theater.) I can't set up my voicemail, let alone check it. (Though I'm tempted to take that one off the list as it's turned out to be an unexpectedly pleasant lack.) I can't take pictures or save them as "wall paper" on the"desk top" of my PHONE! (When exactly did phones get walls and desks??) I can't set the alarm feature to remind me of appointments or wake me up on time while traveling, but somehow I did manage to set the silly thing to go off at precisely 4:13 (a.m. - natch!) every day.

I should say for the record that I am married to a man who would be the first to sign up to have experimental neural enhancing cyber thingies implanted in his brain. He was in "IT" when he was 8 - and they didn't even have "IT" then - just a bunch of brilliant nerds who took apart toasters and put them back together in a way that enabled them to hack into the Dartmouth something something network. I broke out in hives the first time someone IM'd me (two years ago)(even though I'd set it up, pinged them, and sat awaiting a response).
You know, I wasn't always haunted by phones and panicked by messages. In fact, I used to think of myself as quite savvy and technologically daring. And then I had children. Wee bairns who, even though pre-verbal, were never the less able to make my attempts at electronic media manipulation look pathetically clumsy compared to their graceful assimilation. My children as a herd, absorb new technology. Literally - they glom over it like amoebas (amoebae? amoebi? See? I'm doing it already! I am fixing to stop writing this - my very first post - because I can't remember the difference between Latin and Greek plural forms nor from which of those two languages the word 'amoeba' originates. I feel compelled to stop and look it up or apologize for not already knowing it - but I'm not going to do either because the POINT is....) My children suck new things up into their tentacles and voila! They instantly understand what to do even if the new technological widget has twelve different control buttons. Presumably, the Geeky Widget Inc. product development staff understands that my children do, in fact, have tentacles and are therefore fully capable of using twelve buttons (and a random number of joystick toggle hoojer-ma-boppers) simultaneously.

For a while there, I was under the delusion that as soon as I took the time away from my reading/crafty hobbies/wincing at the decibel level of the many media machines propagating in our "family" room, that I, too, would quickly intuit the how's and wherefore's of the modern electronic world. I'm a sci-fi fan for heaven's sake! Larry Niven! Vernor Vinge! William Gibson!!! I can get this stuff.

And the machine universe replied, "Silly rabbit! That is the equivalent of saying that because you loved Snoopy as a kid, flying his dog house while pretending to be the Red Baron, the FAA should give you a pilot's license!" Fact - at the age of three, my youngest could x,square, and triangle circles around me. I've never been able to catch up. (Digression - it's exactly like that lesson in compound interest over time where the very wise 15 year old puts $5 a month into an account for a year and leaves it completely alone and then the 30 year old schmuck who didn't start saving early enough slaves to put $500 a week into savings for the next 30 years and he still can NEVER catch up!! That's the kind of gap I'm talking about!)

But there's HOPE!! And maybe it's the technology equivalent of winning the lottery. I have discovered a small loophole in the cyberese small print of my official contract with Technophobes R U. Daily, I already sit smack dab in the middle of quilt studio cum office - typing away at my computer. In all the time that I save by not being able to play Crimson Skies and Robot Death Monkeys, I do research. I write letters. I journal. I blog without blogging. I'm a master at blogging without blogging! And now I'm blogging! Getting photos and linky things attached in all the right places may be more challenging - but I'm up to it. After all, what's the worst that can happen? (Now mind you, I can usually come up with a bazillion and two horrible things that can happen as a result of any action or non-action I may take but for once... I can't. ) Is this a sign of things to come? Is the grip of technophobia loosening? Have I finally taken my sweet hubby's advice (delivered in his best Scooby-Doo voice) to 're-rax'? Is blogging really all it's cracked up to be? Dare I dream it to be so? (The answers to this and other completely irrelevant questions will undoubtedly be the subject of future posts.)