Thursday, August 31, 2006

Collected Quotes

It's time for another A. quote post:

(while sitting on the potty): "I'm embarrassed I drank so much milk. It makes me difficult."

"What state does Jesus live in?"

“Ben came out of your belly. I came out of your belly. And you came out of Papa’s belly.”

(giving me a flower) “Here, you can wear this and it can remind you of your son.”

"Is Mama's mama in the grass?" (while passing a cemetary)

"Mama, where is your mama?"
"She died a long time ago. But I was already grown when she died."
"You could get your own food?"
"On a plate?"
"Wow, you were a big kid."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

During the Emmys....

(specifically, the tribute to Aaron Spelling)

Me: Hey, was Stephen Collins on Dynasty?

G: No.

Me: How would you know?

G: I watched Dynasty.

Me: You did not.

G: Oh sure, I followed it.

Me: You did not.


Wow, you think you know a person, and then you find out that the guy you married who doesn't follow anything in the entertainment world actually watched Dynasty. Wow.


Other thoughts:

Joan Collins better stop the plastic surgery before her eyes are on the back of her head.

See, look at Helen Mirren. She looks NORMAL.

I love Tony Shaloub, but saying you never win anything on your 3rd Emmy acceptance speech is a little disingenious.

That Bob Newhart bit was the funniest thing in the whole show.

Conan O'Brian has freakishly long legs.

I wish I had cable. During the Emmys is usually the only time I wish I had cable.

It's weird to see "The Office" people all dressed up.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Next Time, He's Chaining Himself Up There

G and I are both annoyed with the fact that our neighborhood streets have very few trees on them. Many of the trees that were here when we moved in have been cut down because people don't like raking leaves. We're living in a cement jungle. There are other neighborhoods in our cities where the houses are similiar to ours, but the neighborhoods are so much more pleasant because of the tree-lined sidewalks.

So he was pushing the stroller on "his" day (Wednesday) down the street and noted that most of the trees that are left had big X's on them. He was incensed, so he called the streets division guy, who explained that those trees were slated to be cut down because all the sidewalks in our neighborhood were being widened to 4 feet and those trees were in the way. He then suggested G call the landscaping department and complain to them, since they're the ones who decide which trees are going. He also said that the trees probably weren't going to be cut down for another couple of weeks.

So G did, and Mr. City Landscaper had the brilliant response of asking G to be on the tree-planning board - what a way to shut a complainer down! Make him feel useful, and if he doesn't take the position, he can't really complain because after all, he was offered a spot on the planning board. Brilliant.

Anyway, Mr. City Landscaper also had a bit of information about the trees - if the homeowners who are slated to get the tree in front of their house cut down want to save the tree, they can sign an easement and allow the city to move the sidewalk onto their property and actually go around the tree instead of cutting it down! G asked if it would be OK if he contacted the homeowners and advocated them signing this agreement in order to save the trees. Mr. City Landscaper said, "Sure."

That was Wednesday. G, never a procrastinator, attempted to contact all the homeowners and found that either they weren't home or the people living there were renting and he would need to contact the owners. I told him that I would get him a T-shirt that read, "SAVE THE TREES" and start calling him G. "Butterfly" Lunasea.

Guess what happened on Thursday? The contractors who had been working on the sidewalks in our neighborhood diverted away from the sidewalks and began cutting down all the trees that were supposed to last a few more weeks. Guess the city won on that round.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Shoes Are The New Horse

Mystery of the week: Almost every afternoon, we have a gaggle of neighborhood kids in our playroom. They've gotten used to talking off their shoes at our front door, and we certainly haven't discouraged them (although there are times when their feet are dirtier than the shoes and then I'm not sure what to do). When they leave, they generally put them back on again. It's a fine routine.

Last night, they put on their shoes and went on their way, as usual. But outside on our doormat, I was left with two shoes I didn't recognize - one black, one white/blue, both left shoes, different sizes. I called the kids back and asked whose shoes they were, and was met with completely blank stares. We deduced that the black shoe was a large boy's shoe, and the white/blue one was probably a woman's shoe. Both were too big for the kids that had been here, and they weren't ours. We still have no idea where they came from.

Our best guess is that one of the toddlers (who isn't allowed over because 1. he requires way too much supervision and doesn't speak English and 2. we suspect no one would ever come to retrieve him) has gotten used to seeing the collection of shoes on our doormat and decided that that's where all shoes, no matter who they belong to, go.

G called from work last night and I asked if he had any idea where the shoes had come from. He didn't, and added, "Lock the doors!" Because we all know that finding an unmatched pair of shoes on our doormat is the new version of finding a horse's head in your bed. But I did lock the doors, because it was weird.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Oh, I Almost Forgot...

G's sleep-talking again. Actually, he's always doing it, but it's often just a midnight tackle and a plea not to fall off the bed. But a new theme has emerged - time (as displayed by my bedside clock) as omen of evil.

Last night.....

G. (sitting up, peering over me at the clock): Oh My God! It's 12:15! That's bad, that's really bad! (shakes me fully awake)

Me (rolling over): Why? Why is it bad?

G: That's really dangerous!

Me: Why? What happens at 12:15? Huh? You woke me up so you should tell me now.

G: Ummmmm.

Me: Really. What is so dangerous about 12:15?

G: You could have a full bladder.

Damn him. Even if I didn't have a full bladder, I would've had to get up and go just because of the suggestion. I came back to bed, he was already snoring and I stayed awake for the next 40 minutes.

Just Doing My Part

There are people who arrive at this blog who do so intentionally, for whatever reason.

Then there are people who are looking for Kristin Chenoweth's breast size. Lots of people, in fact, unless one person is doing a lot of traveling and using many different computers. But that wouldn't explain why he/she continues to visit my blog when the answer hasn't (until now!) been located here.

Anyway, I decided I should do some volunteer work, so I looked up some pictures of the "pint-sized pixie" (poor thing), and based on my personal experience of being about the same height as she is, and having a mother with roughly the same size boobs, I am quite confident in my estimation that she is a C cup or maybe even a big B. OK? OK. They look bigger because she's weighs about 95 lbs. and is in a bunch of poses where she's smooshing them together.

You're welcome.

In other community service: There appears to be no definitive answer on whether or not Tom Netherton is gay. I always know when PBS is running old Lawrence Welk shows because I get lots of hits from that query (along with the desperate plea to know why Guy and Ralna divorced).

I've always found it sort of odd that celebrity gossipers are eager to tell us all about someone's drug habits, affairs, and all other sorts of nefarious behavior, but won't dish on whether or not someone is gay. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not in favor of "outing," but why respect their privacy on this issue and nothing else? Just curious.

Anyway, the rumor certainly is that he is gay (probably because he is blonde, blue-eyed, handsome and apparently perennially unattached), but that might not play so well in Branson and Lawrence Welk doesn't do drag, so if he is, he's keeping it under wraps. Personally, I think he's probably just never gotten over his crush on Norma Zimmer.

Friday, August 18, 2006

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out With That Thing!

My sister usually cuts the boys' hair because she's willing to and she does it for free. I won't cut it anymore because G. breathes down my neck every time I try. He really wants me to only use safety scissors (with the rounded tips - that don't cut anything) and can't believe that more children aren't walking around missing eyes when women insist on using sharp scissors so near their little faces.

It reminds me of learning to drive with my mother in the passenger seat- she'd see a stop sign or red light 200 feet ahead, gasp loudly, stomp on the imaginary brake pedals over on her side and flatten herself against the door. Imagine your husband doing that while you're cutting your kid's hair. I don't need the aggravation.

But, Hair Mistress Sister is currently starring in a local production of "Footloose," is very busy, lives kinda far away and the boys are getting used to tipping their heads up so they can see out from under their hair.

So I made an appointment for both of them at a kid's salon that has gotten very good reviews. G. asked if they'd be using sharp scissors, or did they use rounded scissors, and I seriously didn't know how to answer. I figured "the sharp ones" was the answer he didn't want to hear, but I was pretty sure they didn't use toddler scissors, since everyone knows those things don't cut anything. So I just asked him how he thought kids manage to walk around with both haircuts and intact eyes.

The haircuts were remarkably easy. Ben kept leaning away from her, but she was used to it and was really fast and skillful. I crouched down in front of him and kissed his tennis shoes, which he found amusing. He didn't cry, he just found it sort of annoying. And he wouldn't wear the poncho, which was fine. Both boys were done in less than half an hour, and A. got a lollipop, which endeared him to the whole process forever. A little pricey, but definitely a good experience.

They look soooo freakin' cute. G. just called to ask how it went, and I told him that "Ben ended up with an eye patch, but his hair looks really good."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oh Yeah Baby

Scrapping mojo returns.

A. gave up his dream of "night-before-christmas" cookies and settled for slightly underbaked (forgot to remind his father that the oven is about 50 degrees off) chocolate chip cookies. The party at school was very cute and a little Montessori-over-the-top. They put a candle on the floor to symbolize the sun ("But can we get this close to the sun? Noooo.") and then looped a yarn around it in an "ellipse," put little signs with the months on them around the ellipse, and A. carried the globe ("which continent are we on? Yes! North America!") around the "sun" four times. Ben was a complete goofball and very hard to settle so I spent more time chasing him around the room and trying to keep him from taking all the shells off the cardboard they were so carefully affixed to, than I would have liked.

At one point, while I was washing Ben's messy face in the corner, the teacher read a book about making a birthday cake, and asked A. at the end, "And what do you think they did with that cake after they were finished baking it?"

He answered, "Put it on the boy." She said, "What?" He repeated himself. "Put it ON the boy."

She said, "Oookkkaaay, maybe, but I bet they ate it!"

Great. Now she thinks we have weird birthday traditions at home. I think he got that idea from all the photos of his and Ben's first birthday parties where they were covered in chocolate cupcake.

Gotta get off to bed - have another 9 clients tomorrow. It's a good thing I love them all.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Desperately Seeking Night-Before-Christmas Cookies

"Hey, A., we're going to have your school birthday party next week because it's the last week of the summer session. We have to bring cookies instead of cupcakes - like, we could do chocolate chip cookies. So...what kind of cookies do you want to make?"

"I want Night-Before-Christmas cookies."

"I don't know what those are." (Having never spent Christmas at home, we don't do a traditional cookies-for-Santa thing, which is the first thing I thought of, too).

"They're the ones that are shaped like trees. And they taste like chocolate."

"Oookay. I think we can do chocolate cookies."

"Yeah, yeah, they look like trees."

"I'm not sure I know about chocolate cookies that look like trees."

"And they have a green lightbulb on them."

"Okay, now you've lost me. Is there a picture of them somewhere?"

"You know, they're the Night-Before-Christmas cookies. Those ones."

Well, if I get started now, I might be able to come up with chocolate cookies shaped like trees with green lightbulbs on them by next Tuesday. Riiiiight. Dude, you're lucky I'm not just buying the purple bag of Albertson's Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Let's Have a Favor Bag Bonfire

Added to the list of people I'm annoyed with (along with whoever invented that stupid strip of tape that seals the tops of music CDs): The person who came up with the idea of giving out favor bags at kid's birthday parties. A. has had several b-day parties at school and each time comes home with a bag of candy, gum (which he can't eat because he swallows it - this is a class of 3-year-olds...c'mon, people!), and cheap toys that break into tiny choking hazards as soon as he brings them in the house.

I'm beginning to plan A.'s 4th b-day party next month, and I'm trying to keep it low-key. We've got lots of years in front of us to rent jumpy houses, clowns and spend thousands of dollars. Last year on the invitations we put "No Presents," because he's got plenty of toys and doesn't really want much. He also doesn't get the whole "Because it's my birthday, people bring me presents" thing, yet, which I consider a blessing. He just wants Cars-the-Movie plates and cups and cupcakes for everyone.

So this year I'm seriously considering putting on the invites: "Let's make a deal: You don't bring my kid a gift and I won't give your kid a bag of candy and cheap toys."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I'm Getting Through

I wrote a bit down below about how I'm uncomfortable with gun play, but not sure if it's wise to ban it altogether. So when one of the kids comes up to show me the new gun he created, I'm apt to say, "You did a good job, but you know what? I don't really like guns very much." Inevitably, the kid will ask why, and I reply, "Because their only purpose is to hurt people." Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know - you can also hurt animals, but none of us live on the frontier and I don't understand hunting for sport. I also don't understand the appeal of boxing, but then again, it's been noted before, I am a girl.

So yesterday G. was on duty and we had the usual contingent of 2-4 neighbor kids over (Finally! My house is the cool house!) and he heard A. say to W.: "I don't think we should be playing with guns inside the house. Don't they give you germs? Let's play something else." That's right. Guns outside the house only, and make sure they're antibacterial.

In other news, I had 9 clients last Wednesday and 7 in a row yesterday. I've got referrals coming out of my ears because there just aren't that many therapists who will accept insurance. It's weird - I realized last week that I haven't been stressed about work in ages, so it's a familiar but mostly-forgotten feeling.

When A. was born, we decided that we wanted to avoid daycare if at all possible. Part of the reason for this was that we heard too many scary daycare/nanny stories (G. actually had a client whose baby had Shaken Head Syndrome from a nanny) and the other part was that we knew they would be little for a relatively short time, and we didn't want to miss anything. The time would come soon enough, we figured, when they wouldn't want to hang out with us so much, so we wanted to take advantage of the Mama/Papa-worship for as long as we could. The final reason is that it's just way expensive and would eat up so much of my income that we wouldn't get very far ahead.

Since therapists can, and usually have to, work at night, we figured we could put together some kind of staggered schedule so one of us would be able to take the kids at all times. We share the private practice office so only one of us could use it at at time, anyway. We overlapped just one day a week, when I had some hours in another city, and we had nearby friends who offered to take the boys that afternoon. They liked it because it gave them some of the benefits of having babies (they had a 12-year-old son) without all the mess. We liked it because they did it for free and we trusted them.

On the whole, it's worked out well. We don't have to worry about having to call in sick when the kids are sick, we don't have to worry about what to do when the daycare provider is sick or closed. The kids seem pretty well adjusted, and both G. and I have been present for almost everything important. I never feel like I don't spend enough time with them. I work two days a week and that's been enough to keep our heads above water financially and keep me feeling like I have an adult life. G. is on-duty by himself for a half day on Monday and a whole day on Wednesday, which I think has strengthened his bond with them.

But we're poor. And I'm tired of being poor. I'm turning away referrals because I just don't have any appointment times available and it seems silly to turn down work when we have no retirement savings, they boys' college fund is funded entirely with birthday and Christmas checks, and I can't afford new shoes, let alone a damn iPod.

It's also very hard to have any time off - if I don't have the kids, I'm working. If I'm not working, I've got the kids. Same for G. We both have Saturdays off, but that day's usually spent running around getting stuff done.

OK, we're not poor. We have two running cars, we own a house and we have plenty to eat. We have health insurance since G. took the half-time job at Major HMO. We splurged and bought a digital video camera after Ben was born. We pay for a private preschool. We have what we need.

But I want more, frankly. I want to buy a few new clothes every year. I want to eat out every once in a while. And I want an iPod. And a Canon digital Rebel (or comparable nice camera), and a bigger car. A vacation to a tropical isle would be nice. And I think that would do it for me. I don't think that's asking too much, do you? Oh, and a housekeeper - just like twice a month. That's it, really.

So I'm adding some hours on Sunday. How many people want to see a therapist on Sunday? Apparently a few, since I already have 3 people willing to come in on Sunday afternoon. G. already sees people Sunday morning. I'm hoping it will take some of the pressure off during the week, too, since seeing 7 people in a row is not ideal. It's exhausting in a whole different way than taking care of kids. Seeing 9 people on one day is not a great thing, either. By the end of the day, I don't want to hear any more stories. So I'm hoping to spread it out a bit, and maybe make enough to pay off our debt a bit more quickly and then, damnit, I'm buying myself an iPod.

P.S. I know I'm getting old because it's actually getting harder for me to read the font on this blog. That's why I made it bigger. Just trying it out.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I took a couple of hours last night and finally figured out how to get videos from our digital camera to the computer. Then I figured out how to edit them and upload the finished product to the web. If you wanna see my first movie, an under-2-minute "Best Of A. and Ben,"* let me know in the comments and if I recognize you (and if you've ever commented here or I knew you on the Knot or a playgroup or scrapping board, chances are I will recognize you) I'll send you the link. Just wanna know who's looking.

*Here's a quick synopsis: A. dances, I sing and Ben's on rhythm to "Mahna Mahna," Ben gets hysterical belly laughing about cars, and G. knocks A. off his bicycle. You totally wanna see now, don't you?

Accidents Happen Now and Again

OK, it wasn't that bad. Not the best pic of the boys, but it's fairly good of G. and I, so we admitted we were powerless in the face of the merchandising giant and bought it.

It helped that we got there at 8am and had tickets for the very first train ride. Parking was easy, getting on the shuttle was easy, getting on the train was easy, and the place was only mildly crowded when the ride was over. We rode in the last car, which was a cool vintage coach.

All the other activities were free and we might as well have skipped the train ride, saved $60 and just hung around Thomas-land for free. You can still have your photo taken with Thomas, use the bouncy house, get a temporary tattoo, meet Sir Topham Hatt (which we skipped - he was scary), watch the train set, climb on the Thomas made out of Legos (see below), and, of course, buy Thomas merchandise, all without a ticket.

Afterward, we went to Capitola and had lunch. G. bit into an omelete and broke his tooth on a shell or something. Really broke it - chipped off a whole corner of his molar. Now the sharp edges tearing up his tongue so he'll have to have it fixed pretty quickly. And they didn't even comp the omelete.

Then on the way home, we stopped for a potty break and while pulling out, a big pickup loaded with stuff backed up into us. It was not nearly as bad as all of us were expecting, given the initial super-loud CRUNCH.

Recently, G. has had lots of problems with a delusional boss, gotten a ticket for not stopping fully and completely at a stop sign, lost a job opportunity he really wanted, and now he has a broken tooth and a chipped bumper. Poor guy was shaking his head in the parking lot, saying, "What is going on? What is going on?"

But he did get to see Thomas, without incident, which I'm sure makes up for at least some of it. We rode in the last car, which was a cool vintage coach.

The title of this post comes from a horrible but catchy Thomas song called "Accidents Happen" with lyrics like:

Accidents happen now and again, just when you least expect
Just when you think that life is okay, fate comes to collect..

...Sometimes you will slip and slide if that's Lady Luck's intent
One minute you're riding high, the next you're on the ground...

Lots of negative energy in that song, but you know, sometimes life is just like that.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Shoot Me Now

We're going to this tomorrow. We've tried to keep this event out of A.'s awareness until now because we knew that once we went, it would become an annual must-do. But now he knows about it and has been counting the days till he can see the real Thomas. By the time I went online to get tickets, the only ones available were for the very last car at 8:30 in the morning.

I imagine it will be like the Beatles' early concerts, where girls were crying and fainting at the sight of the Fab Four except this will be a more male crowd and they'll be shorter.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ha ha ha bless your soul / You really think you're in control.

The ant invasion continues. This time they're coming from inside the opposite wall. I wanted to blow up the house, but G decided to go underneath the house to see if he could find the nest, with no luck. They turn their little black noses up at our ant baits and seem undeterred by the fact that we kill masses of them every few hours. We can't find the nest because it seems to be inside the walls.

I did some more research, again, on non-toxic pest controls, and found a product called Terro. We bought a box of the liquid stuff at the hardware store and now have it strategically placed around the kitchen. The box says it will kill "Argentine ants, Ghost ants, Cornfield ants, Pavement ants, Acrobat ants (?), White footed ants, Little black ants, Odorous house ants, Crazy ants, Big headed ants, and other sweet eating ants. " The poison is supposed to work slowly enough that the ants have time to bring the food back to their colony and kill all their homies.

It doesn't say, however, that it will kill Stupid ants. Which is unfortunate. Because we have Stupid ants. They liked the Terro very much, and swarms surrounded each drop of the liquid like some sort of "Hands Around the Terro" ceremony and each ant gorged himself until he died. Right there at the edge of the Terro lake. Which means the rest of the ants have to remove the happy little ant corpses in order to reach the golden nectar themselves. I guess I should be glad they're stupid, though, because they don't seem deterred by the fact that their buddies are all dying after eating the stuff. "Hey, Dude, just means more for me! Heh heh."

2. Right now, I have 6 boys under the age of 8 in my playroom. Nothing good is going to come of this, but at least Ben is sleeping so whatever happens won't involve him. Oh dear. Now I hear them saying they're playing Doctor. Perhaps I should check on them.

Ah, "Doctor" involves one child jumping on a blue blanket, pretending he's drowning, and the other two pretending to "reel" him in with a fishing pole. Kids! Isn't it cute how they reenact everything about the doctor's office?

3. Boys are a complete mystery to me. A. and his friend W. were playing some sort of game earlier where one says to the other, "I killed you!"

"No you didn't."

"Yes I did."

"No you didn't."

"Yes I did."

"No you didn't 'cause I have super powers."

"Yes I did 'cause I have really super powers."

and so on and so on. No matter what super powers A. came up with, he couldn't kill W. It was starting to annoy me, but what am I going to do? "C'mon A., if he won't let you kill him, maybe you don't want to play with him."

Give me a tea party problem and I can solve it. Barbies not getting along? I'm your gal. But I'm helpless in the face of 4-year-old boys.

The whole "killing" thing bothers me anyway. We're super-pacifists and would prefer they play "hunger strike" or "peaceful protest." At first we tried saying "We don't play guns in this house." That worked until our 8-year-old neighbor returned from a trip to D.C. with a Union soldier uniform and a Civil War addiction, and began recruiting all the neighborhood kids to reenact the Civil War on his front lawn. It was actually pretty funny, because W. got to hold the flag (always hold it up off the ground! Even if you die!) and A. got to beat on the drum hanging around his neck. The two of them next to Drew, the coordinator, Civil War expert, and owner of a genuine toy bayonet, were a pretty funny tableau.

A. and W. were the youngest (except for Ben who, at 16 months, was put in charge of ammunition which involved him holding the stuffed animals they used as cannonballs) and they kept killing each other even though they were supposed to both be Union. Poor Drew, the neighbor, choreographer, and Commander in Chief of the Union forces, was very patient with them and with the Confederacy, who were two rather hyper little boys from down the street.

Anyway, when I'm playing trains with A., I try to avoid playing out the crashes and instead make all his engines kiss each other, but he's still turning into a little boy who likes rough stuff.

He and W. are now making guns with their tinkertoys.

"Mine is a pellet gun and yours is a BB gun and pellets beat BBs," (this from W. who goes hunting with his dad and knows from guns).

W. is super-competitive and I can't keep my mouth shut.

Me: "Why can't you have the same kind of guns? Why does one always have to beat the other?" Perhaps missing the bigger question regarding why they have to have guns at all, but whatever.

W: "OK, we both have pellet guns, but mine is stronger."

Me: "Why does one have to be stronger? Why can't you have the same kind?" They both walk away quickly. I am clearly not trusted to comment on the game.

W: "Mine is a pellet gun 2000."

A: "Well, mine is a pellet gun 2000 and 3 and 6!"

W: "Mine is a 2000 one million and a thousand!

Aaargh. I have a feeling I've got many more years of this.

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