Sunday, April 30, 2006

Before and After

Here's before: old white cabinets with about 6 layers of paint on them, and some sort of wood-grain formica stuff. The sink is over-mounted, which means lots of crud gets underneath the lip.

And here's after. Better, eh?

And here's the nicest faucet I've ever used in my entire life. Seriously, this is probably Julia Robert's faucet. It's G's indulgence, and it cost more than my brand new double jogger stroller, and while I think it might be a bit grand for such a small kitchen, the sprayer is so smooth I could stand and spray all day.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Cautionary Tale

Some advice for new moms: Here's what you can expect if you wash your baby's hair and then put him down for a nap.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Will Someone Please Explain to Me....

the fascination with Kristin Chenoweth's breasts? At least once a day I get a hit from a search using the terms "Kristin Chenoweth breast" or "Kristin Chenoweth breast size," so I figured if they're coming here anyway, maybe someone can enlighten me.

Hah - I just ran the search myself and figured out why they're coming here. Although there are several results more pertinent to Kristin Chenoweth's breasts above my blog, the result for my blog says..."More Posts about Breasts. I just want to make it clear that I was not on the top ... Oh, by the way, if anyone saw it tonight, did you see Kristin Chenoweth ..."

Despite sounding totally dirty, it was an entry about people finding my blog on a search for "saggy redheaded moms," and, later, the West Wing's latest episode.

Oh, and I got a hit from someone looking for the dirty lyrics to Rolie Polie Olie? I did my own search and came up with nothing. If there are dirty lyrics, I want to know. more question. I have HaloScan comments, which annoy me because they disappear after a month or so. Do Blogger comments stick around for longer? I suppose I could go look it up, but if someone would tell me, that would be much easier.

Assorted Morsels

In a fit of uncharacteristic efficiency, I've totally cleared out the kitchen cabinets and drawers in anticipation of the new kitchen cabinets and countertop arriving this week. And now we can't find a damn thing. Woe to the man who wants a spoon to eat his cereal with, let alone a bowl to put it in.


See the sweater A's wearing in the photos of him and his pizza down there (couple posts down)? He's worn that same sweater for THREE years now. Ah, the benefits of having slow-growing children. Except I think someone (Mom? Is that you?) intervened on his behalf Easter morning and made the sweater disappear. Seriously, it literally disappeared for 24 hours, we had to dress him in something else, and it reappeared the next day. The little-known 37th Commandment: Thou shalt not dress thy child in the same sweater three Easters in a row.


G. scrubbed the kitchen floor to within an inch of its life over the weekend, and now it's incredibly slippery. We can't wear socks on it because we'll go sliding all over the place. We have to barefoot and it's kind of cold in the mornings. He put some MopnGlo on it to replace the top wax, or whatever it is, but it's still really slippery. Any ideas? I think it's plain old vinyl.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Am A Benevolent Analyst

This is an interesting test, but I was a little concerned about being a therapist and only getting "average empathy." (Move the cursor over each color to see what it represents and how I scored). But I think the questions they used to test empathy were a little off - they asked if you felt the way others around you feel, like do you feel sad if others are sad, etc. That's not necessarily empathy, that's codependence or having boundary issues. Empathy (at least the way I teach it to kindergartners) means you can understand how others feel, not that you necessarily absorb that feeling yourself. Also, being a therapist, we have to learn how to have empathy with some boundaries or else we'd burn out in a year. I also don't think I have low openness, whatever they think that is. I think I'm pretty open, but I don't spill everything all the time to everyone. Low style...yep, that's pretty much right on.

And the validity questions (where they ask you questions like, "Sometimes I get mad" that most people would answer yes to if they were being honest to see if you're faking good) were all lumped together instead of interspersed throughout. Anyway, I still think the results are pretty.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It Was a Double CD Set

For Easter morning, G. insisted on making a treasure hunt for A. He hid clues in plastic eggs, with each clue leading to the next, and the final one leading to the baskets. What's more, the clues had to rhyme. So we're sitting on the floor the night before, filling baskets and looking for words that rhyme with "oven."

A. loved it, except he threw us a curve by taking one of the clues and telling us, "Now I read the clue and you try to find it." He can't read, but he pretends he can, and so he made up a clue, non-rhyming, that led to G.'s office, where there was no egg. But with a little sleight-of-hand, G. dropped another egg in his office, slipped the original clue out, read it out loud and the hunt continued. Phew.

We were bad Christians, though. We knew we'd be up early, so we'd planned on attending 7:30 a.m. mass. But after the 6:00a.m hunt, we looked at each other and said, "Nuh-uh." I went back to bed, then got up and relieved G., who slept for another three hours. We did watch "The Story of Jesus for Children" on DVD and listened to the Bible songs on their new CD, so hopefully God will forgive us.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

More Easter Tragedies

"I am not a monster; I am a BUNNY!" We had ONE barely warm afternoon last week, but it was too much for Peter Rabbit, who was hiding in the trunk of our car. I didn't discover the tragedy until tonight, of course, so crisis intervention was necessary and substitutions found.

When I was about seven, my much older sister was about 19 and suggested, to my horror, that we have fruit in our Easter baskets instead of candy. Can you imagine? She probably doesn't remember it, but let me tell you, I saw my life flash before my eyes. Huge cognitive dissonance occured for me because I thought she ruled everything, and usually would have gone along with whatever she said. But no little chocolate eggs? I couldn't go along with that. So I think we ended up with oranges and chocolate eggs.

At age nine, I was selected to sing a solo at Easter mass. David was to sing the first verse of "I Am the Resurrection", I was to sing the middle verse, and Dennis was assigned the third verse. The children's shoir sang the chorus. So there I was, in this huge church packed with people, in my pretty blue Easter dress with curled hair. David, Dennis and I stood at the front of the choir. David sang his part, we sang the chorus and I stepped up the microphone, opened my mouth....and started singing the verse David had just sung. When I realized what I'd done, I gasped and threw my hands over my mouth. The director, our fourth grade teacher, was playing the guitar and hissed, "Keep singing! Keep singing!" So I stepped back up and started over with the correct verse*. Fortunately, the organ player was a versatile and adaptable eight grader and he was able to compensate. Afterward, everyone told me that I did such a good job recovering that no one could tell. Looking back, I find that hard to believe, but everyone really united in a rare show of solidarity to convince me that no one noticed.

The first Easter we were in our house, I got G. an Easter basket as usual and hid it. He found it, turned pink, thanked me, and excused himself. He rustled around a bit, and then told me I could look for my Easter basket. What I found was a basket grabbed hastily from the garage with 2 cans of Diet Coke thrown in it. I thought it was funny, so every year since then, I insist he put Diet Coke in my Easter basket.

*Which, by the way, is firmly embedded in my brain now, never to be forgotten again: "In this world, all men shall come to know; it is love that makes the spirit grow. If you believe, then you shall live." I believe it has been changed, though, to "In his word, we all shall come to know..." Odd that the one girl chosen to sing was given the "all men" line, back when we were politically incorrect. Perhaps my bohemian teacher was trying to make a statement. She was a bit of a loose cannon - I wouldn't put it past her.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Random Sightings

I came home from an errand and found that while G. was changing Ben's Personal Best Poop, A. had colored on both his cheeks and his arms with a green marker. I was about to begin the "We only color on paper" speech, when A. threw his hands in the air and exclaimed, "Sometimes I just like to be colorful!" Well, OK then.

There is a most extremely cute baby reflected in the CD player, and he likes to get some tongue.

A. was eating his pizza at the mall when I said, "Hey, you know what that looks like?"
He looked at it for a moment and answered, "Portland!"
Well, I was thinking Africa, but didn't say it.

Then, because he can read my mind (it's scary), he takes a few bites and says, "Now it looks like Africa!" Really. It was weird.

Me getting my last CT scan. Not the most flattering angle, but I had become friendly with the machine and wanted to remember it.

And finally, proof that I live on the wrong side of the tracks. Found in the food court where A. was making topo maps out of pizza.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Chocolate Bunnies and Contemplation

In Catholic school, we were always told around Christmas time, "Now, you know, as good Catholics, you have to realize that Christmas is not our most important feast day. Easter is much more important."

Easter is very important in the Catholic church, because Christianity is based on the miracle of Jesus' resurrection. Without the resurrection, Jesus is just another tree-hugging liberal.

I've been looking for kid's books explaining the whole Easter thing. It's hard to find one that isn't macabre. Of course, Easter wouldn't be Easter if it weren't for that messy part about the murder. It would be nice if we could skip over the death part until he's a bit older, but the resurrection doesn't make any sense without it.

So I tell A., "Well, Jesus died, but then he wasn't dead anymore, and that's Easter. See, usually when someone dies, they stay dead. But Jesus didn't - he died and then three days later he was up and walking around and everyone was so happy to see him!" He humors me and pretends to listen, but really, if you believe in the Easter Bunny, a guy who dies and then isn't dead anymore is not that impressive.

What I'm really having trouble with, though, is that all the books I found have some version of, "Jesus died for our sins." The problem is, I either don't understand this or don't believe it. It's possible that I don't believe it because I don't fully understand it.

It was explained to us as children that because Adam and Eve ate that apple, we've all got Original Sin on our souls. So because we're sinners from the get-go, we'd go to at least purgatory, if not hell. I think they didn't say hell because they didn't want to scare us. Don't know why not - never stopped them before.

Anyway, in some sort of weird deal God made with us, Jesus came along and because he died ("for our sins"), we're saved and have a chance to get into heaven. I've heard that Jesus died so we don't have to, Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins, etc. etc.

I tried very hard to understand this trade-off, but no one could ever clearly explain it to me. I thought I must be missing some sort of Catholic gene, because the missing logic didn't seem to bother anyone else around me. I stopped asking but now I'm asking again.

Because what makes sense to me is that Jesus died to show us a different way - to show us how to react to enemies with love and integrity instead of retaliation. Is that the same thing as dying for our sins? It doesn't sound the same.

My favorite explanation of Easter takes place in a French class in David Sedaris' book "Me Talk Pretty One Day." The French class is trying to explain, in halting French, Easter to a Moroccan woman:

"It is a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus and...then he be die one day on two morsels of lumber....He die one day and then he go above my head to live with your father...He weared of himself the long hair and after he die, the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples."
"He nice, the Jesus."
"He make the good things, and on the Easter we be sad because somebody makes him dead today."
..."Easter is a party for to eat of the lamb..One too may eat of the chocolate."
"And who brings the chocolate?" the teacher asked.
..."The rabbit of Easter. He bring of the chocolate."

Then it goes into the difference between Americans, who have a rabbit deliver chocolates at Easter, and the French, who have a bell that flies in from Rome.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I am a Calif-oh-nee-an

But change is the only constant, right?

G and I decided that he'd apply for a position with Major HMO up in Portland. It's the same position he has here, but that one would be full-time. If he gets it, we're moving to Portland this summer. We've talked about it for several years, but we're finally making plans to actually do it.

The good parts:

Big Sister and Big Niece (and little grand-nephew) both live there.
All my in-laws live up there: more babysitters, and we can go home to our own house on holidays.
I've been there enough that I kind of already know my way around.
It's beautiful, especially in the summertime.
Would still have access to beach and mountains.
Cheaper cost of living.
Could get a nicer house.
Could live in a nicer neighborhood.
Kids could go to a better school.
Would have some $ for investment/retirement.
Slower pace.
Pizzacato is pretty good.
They have a good zoo.
Neighborhoods are cool.
No sales tax. Things cost what the sticker says they cost.

The bad parts:

Have to leave Middle Sister (and family) in California.
Have to leave all my friends here.
Have to leave my clients here.
Can't do private practice up there until I get some referral sources.
Have to work in an agency.
G would have to work 10 hour days.
It rains. A lot.
It snows. I've never lived in snow.
They don't let you pump your own gas.
San Francisco isn't up there.
They drive more slowly.
The freeways only have three lanes.
This is where I had my babies - they're not even going to remember CA.
I have to get an OR driver's license.
I've become attached to the flamingos at our zoo.
They don't have Barney's.
I have never lived outside of the Bay Area.
Have to leave my Ob/Gyn (women with a good Ob/Gyn would understand this)
I like this house.
I hate change.

Monday, April 03, 2006


A. does lots of things that I love…but I think the thing I love the most is that when he’s angry with me or I’m angry with him, enough that he’s about to lose it, his eyes tear up and he holds out his arms for a hug.

“Mama, I need you!”

I love that he trusts me enough to know that of course I’ll hug him. Of course he can come to me for comfort, even if one of us is angry. I love that he has that basic trust in my love for him.

One of my friends complained once that her toddler got clingy during or after a tantrum. She didn’t want to give in to his requests for affection because she felt it was like rewarding him for bad behavior.

I see it so differently. Toddlers have tantrums because they can’t tolerate frustration. It’s our job to teach them to self-comfort, but to do that, they have to be comforted by us. I don’t give him whatever he’s having the tantrum about, so it’s not like tantrums work to get him what he wants. But I do comfort him because it’s really hard to be a toddler. I want him to eventually learn to internalize my comforting and do it for himself.  

Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe I’ll feel differently when Ben gets to that stage, but for now, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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