Saturday, December 31, 2005

Christmas Bits

We (Me, G., A., and Ben) visited my mom's grave in December (it was the 19th anniversary of her death), and it was very hard to explain that we were visiting A.'s grandma, kind of.

"But I don't see her, where is she?" he asked.

Well...she's sort of there and sort of not. I didn't want to say "she's in the ground," because I was afraid that would freak him out. So I said she died, but this is where we go to remember her. He came to his own conclusion and told someone recently, "Sometimes people die in the ground." As we left the cemetary he said, "That was fun!" He's nothing if not positive.


Everytime we went somewhere Christmas-y, like Major HMO's Work Party, A. wanted to know if Baby Jesus was going to be there. He couldn't figure out why the kid never came to any of his birthday parties.

This happened at least five times during December:
We'd see a nativity set and I'd point and say, "Oh look! There's Baby Jesus!"
He'd repeat, "I don't see him," until I was practically climbing into the display to point him out.
A. looked at me like, "We're celebrating a statue and we go to visit grandmas that aren't there. Great."


He is very confused about snow and Christmas. How could Christmas Day have come and gone and there still be no snow?


"I can't go with you to the store, Mama. I have lots of work to do," :::heavy sigh::: "How am I ever going to get all these puzzles done?" Fortunately Grandma was there (the live one) to help.


Yesterday we went out in between the rains to ride bikes. We came upon something flat in the road in our court. Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be a hair net or scrunchy of some sort.

"It's dead. Let's leave it there," suggested A. He gave it quite a wide berth for the rest of the afternoon.


A. was running around my sister's coffee table, and my nephew grabbed him and tickled him.

"You can't do whatever you want to do!" A scolded. Hey, the kid's actually listening to me.

The next time it happened, A. told him, "That's not a conversation!" We plan to set him up to conduct sandbox seminars on social skills this spring.

Friday, December 30, 2005

More SleepTalking

G (grabbing me as I start to roll over): Heyheyheyheyhey!

Me: What?

G: Stopstopstopstopstop!

Me: WHAT? I'm just rolling over!

G: No no no no no no.

Me: Let go. I'm just rolling over. I won't fall off the bed.

G (leaning up on one elbow): What's the problem?

Me: The problem is that I want to roll over and you won't let me.

G: Oh. Yeah.

(flops over and goes back to sleep)


It was the middle of the night, and I was awakened by the bed shaking. As a native Californian, of course I thought it was an earthquake. When you think you feel an earthquake, the first thing you do is pause to see if it stops. Many times the earth jolts and that's it. But if it continues, you have to act. I knew that if it continued, I needed to run to A's room, grab him and then head to the strongest part of the house. According to G., that's where the most walls join, so that would be at the entrance to our hallway. Anyway, I sat up to see if it was a jolt or a real earthquake.

G. also sat up, grabbed Ben, who was sleeping between us, and yelled, "C'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon!" at me like an order. In a split second, I wondered why he was yelling at ME to get Ben when a) he was already holding him, and b) he was closer to the doorway, therefore closer to the safe spot.

The shaking stopped, and I rolled over and nursed Ben back to sleep as he had been so rudely awakened. Such is the life of a Californian.

I checked the paper the next morning, and found no mention of an earthquake. So I asked G., "Did you feel that earthquake last night?"

"Oh, yeah, that wasn't an earthquake. That was me thinking Ben wasn't breathing."

We've been through this before. When you want to check to see if your child is breathing, there are several options. You can hold your finger under their nose. You can lay your hand on their chest and feel it rise. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PICK UP THE CHILD AND WAKE HIM UP. Unfortunately, during these times, G. is asleep and not in complete control of his facilities. Something else occurred to me.

Me: "So why were you yelling at me?"

G: "I wanted you to start CPR."

So that was the earthquake. It was G. hallucinating in his sleep.

(last night; once again I am trying to roll over in the middle of the night)

G (grabbing me): Hey hey hey hey!

Me: I'm just rolling over. Relax.

G: Yeah, but I don't want....I don't want....I don't want something heavy to fall on his head.

Me: I don't either, he's in the pack 'n play, and I'm just rolling over.

G: Well, OK.

Now that I type it out, I wonder, was I the heavy thing that G. was afraid was going to fall on his head? Perhaps I should be insulted AND sleep-deprived.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Day After

Last night in bed (in G's childhood bedroom) I figured out that of the 8 winter holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) we've celebrated since A. was born, six have been spent traveling, and two have been spent at home. We've spent two Thanksgivings in AZ, and two Thanksgivings as well as two Christmases in Portland.

It's exhausting, especially with two children, both of whom turn into Demon Spawn when overtired and overstimulated.

So. Anyway. We looked at a house today across the street from G's sister here in Portland. Very nice neighborhood, big ol' house, lots of very dark floral wallpaper and rust shag carpet. It's not exactly for sale, but the guy is a widower who knows the house is too big for him and is thinking about moving out, eventually. His son showed us the house, and gave us a price that the guy would move out tomorrow for (for which the guy would move out tomorrow?). A bit of a stretch for us, but a pretty good price considering the size of the house, the lot, and the considerable resale value if we updated it. And it's not THAT much more than our house in CA would sell for.

Sigh. I'm all for relocating as long as it's hypothetical. But as soon as it moves into the realm of the possible, I freak out. On the whole, I'm opposed to change. When we returned from looking at this house, G. dove into real estate and job listings. I busied myself collecting recipes and happiness tips from several years of my mother-in-law's Family Circle magazines, ignoring any large decisions that might need to be made.

It rains here. A lot. It can get really cold and there's ice storms, too. I do not know how to drive in snow. You have to put a coat on when you go outside. And yet, everyone has detached garages. Go figure.

Driving in California, you have to get the hell out of the way to avoid accidents. Driving in Oregon, you have to stop. In the middle of the street, sometimes, because that's what everyone else expects you to do.

The idea of getting a driver's license from another state is freaky to me - I feel like such a wimp but I've literally never been more than an hour from SF. Can I hack Northwest Life? Do I want to leave all my friends and my sister down here? Well, no, of course not. But I don't think they'll all come with me.

A. has a cousin just 7 months older than him nearby in CA, and in OR, Ben would have a cousin 7 months younger. I guess that's how we'll decide - which son do we love more? (just kidding).

I have a feeling that when we return to CA, this will move back into the hypothetical arena and we'll occasionally bring it up as a possibility sometime in the future and I won't really have to make any decisions. Just how I like it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Just Call Him Addie

Anyone who grew up in the 70's probably saw the heartwarming TV movie, "The House Without a Christmas Tree." That was our house until tonight, minus Jason Robards.

I didn't think we should have a tree because we weren't going to be here over the holiday and it would just turn into a super tall fire hazard in our absence, or we'd have to haul it outside before we left, and who wants to get rid of their tree before Christmas?

But G. really thought A. should have a Christmas tree, so he went and bought one today. He called from the car to tell us that he'd bought an "A.-sized" Christmas tree. When he told A. it was "A-sized," A. responded, "How 'bout we get one you-sized?" Too late - G'd already bought it.

A. could not contain his excitement. He wanted the tree right in the middle of the floor in the family room. He tried to help with the lights, so they all ended up on clustered on the bottom left-hand quadrant of the tree. G. spread them out a bit, and then it was time for ornaments.

Because it was an A.-sized tree, we couldn't fit all our ornaments on it. So I picked out the best ones, and A. dug in and picked out random ones, and they all made it onto the tree. Here's a photo of four ornaments on one branch:

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Polls are In

OK, so not counting my sister since we're from the same house, we've got 5 wrapping Santas and 7 Santas too busy to wrap. Hah. Not exactly the 95% blowout G predicted, eh? Although it's not a landslide, I'm feeling quite validated.

Still not sure what we should do, though. It's not going to make sense that Santa wraps the gifts he leaves at Grandma's but not the ones at our house. Yeah, and the rest of the story - a big guy fitting down all the chimneys in the world on one night - is so logical.

We visited Santa at the biggest mall around here on Saturday night. We coached A. well, and when the elf approached us in line to ask which overpriced picture package we wanted, he blurted out, "I want James and Edward!" I told him he was supposed to tell Santa what he wanted, not the elf.

I did lots of, "Oh, look at those cute girls on Santa's lap! I think he just gave them a candy cane! Doesn't he look nice? Do you want to walk yourself or do you want me to carry you? This is going to be fun!"

He said he wanted to walk, but as we approached the big guy, A. freaked and bolted. He's not fast enough, though, and I caught him and wrestled him up to the Santa throne. Santa said, "Oh, I could tell this was going to be trouble." Thanks, Santa, aren't you just a jolly old elf.

A. calmed down if I was holding him, though, so he did manage to tell Santa that he wanted James and Edward (key players in Thomas the Tank Engine's world), and showed visible relief when that part was done. And he wanted his candy cane. But we still needed our photo, so I sat on one knee holding A., and G sat on Santa's other knee holding Ben. I felt sorry for Santa.

Then the camera got stuck or something, so we all had to wait several minutes. Ben kept looking backward over his shoulder at Santa like, "what the hell....." but he did smile at the appointed time. A. opened his mouth and said, "aaahhhh!" and I look like I haven't had any sleep in a week, but G and Ben look cute. And now we have our 2005 keepsake of the yearly torture we subject our children to.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Does Santa Wrap His Gifts or Not?

Does he or doesn't he? This is a yearly debate between G and I. At his house, Santa's presents were always wrapped and tagged (written in handwriting eerily smiliar to G's mom's...and G still believed until about 25 years old). At my house, Santa came in and dumped his bag of unwrapped gifts around the tree. It was understood that Santa was way too busy to wrap all his gifts, and that's how we could tell what was from Santa and what was from Mom and Dad. It saved a lot of time, both Mom's and everyone else's who didn't have to wait for the kids to unwrap every goddamn thing.

So at your house, did/does Santa wrap his gifts to you or not? (G predicts that Santa wraps his gifts 95% of the time - will he be right?).

In other Santa news: I love that we have kids to believe in Santa Claus. I love the whole Santa thing. I remember I figured it out pretty young but pretended for a long time, because I was afraid that if I let on that I knew, the loot would diminish. But c'mon - if Santa has a workshop, why do all the toys come labeled by Mattel? And how come he wraps presents at some houses and not others?

But I point is that we're expending quite a bit of effort preparing Aidan to meet and talk to Santa Claus without screaming. Not for his benefit, of course, but because we have photos of three previous Santa visits, and I don't intend to miss this one. So we're talking it up big time.

He doesn't watch commercials on TV, so he doesn't know about the tons of toys out there he could ask for. All he wants are James and Edward to add to his Thomas engines. I asked if that would be enough, and he looked at the family room, waved his arm and said, "We have lots of toys." So I suggested maybe Santa could bring some clothes, and he agreed. How cool is that?

I love this age.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Today's Rant

I heard on the radio that the American Family Association is recommending a boycott of Target. I'd noticed a bit of uproar here and there accusing retailers of "banning" Christmas and forgetting "the reason for the season." And I thought, Who the hell do you people think you are???

From the website: "They (Target) are fearful they may offend a small minority who oppose Christmas, but they aren't concerned about offending Christians who celebrate the birth of Christ as the Reason for the season. Therefore, they banned the use of Christmas."

OK, deep breath.

I don't understand why the AFA would be offended by Target calling this the "holiday season." No one wants Christians to stop celebrating Christmas, and I can guarantee you Target doesn't want Christmas to go away. In fact, although they're calling it a holiday season to be all inclusive and such, I saw a huge department of Christmas trees and nary a menorah on my last visit there (maybe I was in the wrong section).

They're not saying Christmas is BAD, they're saying, "Gee, not all of our customers celebrate Christmas, and if there's a chance to take money from those that aren't Christian as well this December, hey, we're there."

No one is offended by Christians celebrating Christmas (well, I guess I can't say no one, but not the majority, anyway). What's offensive is the assumption that everyone celebrates Christmas, or at least should celebrate Christmas, you know, if they want to go to heaven and all. I completely understand why my Jewish friends roll their eyes at the Christmas excess and take off for Mexico over the holiday. I'd do the same thing if the roles were reversed.

If you want to put a nativity on your lawn, go for it. We've been teaching A. that the reason we celebrate Christmas is to say a big ol' "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. I can't wait until he's old enough to play a sheep in the nativity play at church. But don't you dare erect one in my government buildings and don't tell me I have to have one on my lawn. And don't tell me that Christmas is the only holiday worth celebrating. Oh, yeah, and while we're at it, don't try to convince me that everything started with Christmas. I'll go "Christ-was-probably-born-in-the-summer-and-you're-actually-celebrating-an-ancient-pagan-rite" so fast on your ass you won't see straight.

Deep breath.

I just think it's very sad. And so not in the holiday spirit.

"But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." (~Dennis Miller)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Let's Conversate

I dated this guy once who used "conversate" as a verb. Drove me crazy, but I'd had really long dry spell and was desperate for any guy who wanted to be with me. He also wore a plaid blazer and was a Republican, which was OK until he kept telling me over and over how he hosted a group of inner-city kids at his college and told them what ivy-league life was like. "See! I'm helping the needy! " That little romance didn't last long.

Now A. is heavily into "conversation." Whenever we're sitting down, he'll say, "Let's have a conversation!"

I say, "OK, what should we have a conversation about?"

He usually has something in mind. Over Thanksgiving, he wanted to have a conversation about sinks. So we did. Later that afternoon, he climbed up on the sofa where I was hanging out with my sisters and decided he'd like to talk a bit more about sinks. I muttered that I really thought we'd already said all we could say about sinks that morning, but he was undeterred. Fortunately, my sisters and niece hadn't been in on our previous conversation, so they had some fresh ideas about sinks, although my niece felt a bit put on the spot when A. decided we should go around and say what our favorite thing about sinks was. They rallied and we all gave sinks a thumbs-up.

Today he wanted to have a conversation about potatoes. Apparently you can turn potatoes into chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. They're good to eat. And you peel them. Into the sink.

Needy Lunasea

Got this off Kynoord's blog. You google your name with the word need in quotes, and list the first 10 responses. Like, "Lunasea needs"...(don't forget the quotes). I used my real name, though, because "Lunasea needs" doesn't come up with anything.

So let's just say Lunasea needs....

1. US!! (this off the "drinking liberally" forum)

2. to come back and hook up with Scott.

3. support to do some of her schoolwork.

4. a new computer.

5. to provide details re; the in-line, in situ filtration.

6. specialized service for a patient who is psychotic and has a personality disorder...

7. a Job

8. a hotel liaison for Capclave '07.

9. to work on her:. •. computer skills and speed. •. timing. (ed. note: and, perhaps, punctuation)

10. to know what your priorities are.

Very weird how well it knows me. Wish everyone would just get off my back regarding the in situ filtration thing, though.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Maybe Mr. Nose Could Get Me a New One

Our local mall's Santa display has been taken over by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with lots of tie-in merchandise. Poor Santa looks a little lost. And you know the song Burl Ives sings, "Holly Jolly Christmas?" The line, "Oh, ho, the mistletoe, hung where you can see..."?

A. was singing it tonight as, "Oh, ho, Mister Nose, la la la la la..."

template by