Friday, July 27, 2007


I was woken up at around 5 am this morning by idiots cruising outside our house with their stereo blaring. It takes a special kind of idiot to blare their bone-crushing bass at 5 am.

Then I finally fell back asleep, and dreamed of idiots stealing a very expensive bottle of liquor that I was supposed to return to a bar, so the hunt was on. I came across some suspicious gang-like idiots, chased them, and they shot at me.

My sub-conscious is telling me, "Remember....these idiots have weapons."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A/C Haiku

Air conditioning
blasts some cool air over me
best upgrade to house

Would like to set it
at 70 or lower
but global warming

Makes me feel guilty
So have to keep it higher
But still comfortable

I love my a/c
Want to carry it with me
wherever I go.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You Wanna Piece O' Me?

1. As I've mentioned, the boys are big into "Toy Story" right now. There's a point where Woody is challenging Buzz and says, "You want a piece of me?" So now the boys are repeating it over and over to each other. Sometimes they're laughing, but sometimes they're really angry with each other. There's not much that's funnier than a pissed-off 2-year-old with a red, raging face screaming at his brother, "YOU WANNA PIECE O' ME? YOU WANNA PIECE O' ME?"

2. This week, A. is attending a day camp at our Shoreline Interpretive Center. Yesterday was Mud Day. The counselors, bless their little non-child-rearing hearts, challenged the kids to see who could get the muddiest. A. is not one to back down from a challenge, nor is his friend W., who also attends the camp. They won. As W.'s mom said, "Sweet."

When I went to pick him up, the head counselor said reverentially, "Man, he got really, really muddy. He had a mud helmet. It was really impressive." When I went outside to fetch his galoshes, the teenage junior naturalist, in almost a hushed voice, said, "Wow. A. got sooooo muddy." Apparently pictures were taken and they are going to e-mail them to us. All I know is that although they'd hosed him down by the time I picked him up, he still had mud in his ears, his nose and his eyes, and the clean underwear I had brought for him to change into was muddy. I didn't even recognize his socks. Teenage Naturalist pointed to a sick-looking gray pile of something on the deck outside and said, "I think those are his socks." The insides of his galoshes had about a half inch of dark, thick mud lining the inside.

They were still talking about it when G. dropped him off this morning. "I got the impression they'd never seen anyone get quite so muddy," G. reported. Well. They've never had My Little Overachiever in their day camp before, have they?

3. A.'s latest blueprints are for a treehouse/clubhouse. That's what he calls it - "treehouseclubhouse." Tomorrow he's going to find "the perfect tree" to build it in. I've already told him that I'm not good at building things and that he'll have to talk to his father about it. Pass the buck whenever possible, I always say.

4. I made really good sangria last Friday night. The secret, I never realized, is to add a liter or so of ginger ale just before serving.

5. In about a week, the four of us are heading, in a Mazda 626 up to Oregon. We will spend about 4 days in Sunriver with G's family, then head to Portland to see mine. We wanted to take 2-3 days to drive up, but there's not a whole lot between here and Sunriver. So we took some books out of the library with names like "Hidden Oregon" and "Oregon: Off the Beaten Path," and found a fishing lodge on Diamond Lake that we'll stop at.

The problem for me is that I like the beaten path. I like not-hidden stuff. I like big towns with parks and movie theaters and ice cream shops. This is going to be like camping with better accomodations. We have a cabin. No bathtub, no internet, but at least there are beds. And we can take the boys out on a boat on the lake with their life jackets. And we know A. likes mud. So, we're all set. Can't wait.

6. A. goes to bed at 8pm. He falls asleep somewhere between 9pm and 10pm. In the interim, he comes out to the family room with all manner of important questions that need to be answered immediately:

A: Mama, have you ever made a jacket?

Me: No.

A: You haven't? Well, do you have a zipper with nothing else?

Me: No.

A: But I want to make my own lunch box.

Me: Well, buddy, you're on your own. I've never made a lunch box and you're supposed to be in bed so goodnight.


A: Mama, where is there a bread factory?

Me: In Oakland.

A: And where is there a sugar factory?

Me: In Crockett, up by Marine World. Why?

A: I just want to know where all the companies are. And where is the banana factory?

Me: Probably in Ecuador. Goodnight.


I heard him go into G.'s office.

A: Papa, do you have a zipper?


A: I need some cardstock.

Me: Why do you need cardstock?

A: I want to make a mug.

Me: You can't make a mug out of cardstock.

A: How do you know? (where does this doubt come from?)

Me: Because cardstock isn't waterproof.

A: Because it has holes? What is waterproof?

Me: Metal. And ceramic stuff.

A: How 'bout glass?

Me: Yes, but you can't work with glass. You're not a glass blower.

A: Why not?

Me. You're not a glass blower and you can't work with glass and I don't want to discuss crafts with you right now and you need to go to bed. Goodnight.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I've done a few rounds of the online game "Family Feud" (and let me just say, if I ever make it onto that show, I'm not taking G. He came up with "picture a soothing place" for "Name something people do when the doctor gives them a shot." Big ol' X on that one.

Anyway, A. loves to watch me play and gets excited when I get an answer on the board. But one of the questions was "Name something people believe happens to them when they die." Yay. Here come a bunch of heaven and decay questions.

A. comes up with most of his "big" questions when we're in the car. I suppose it's the only time he slows down enough to just sit and think. Usually he asks me questions about God and/or Bad Guys, the two big mysteries he's working on right now. Unfortunately, I seem to be the one who drives him around all the time. G. never gets these questions.

A: Was God around before the world was around?

Me: Yes.

A: Then where did he live? On another planet?

Me: No. God lives in heaven. It's not really a place.

A: Who was the first person?

Me: We don't really know - people evolved from apes all over the world so it's not like there was one first person. Over many many years monkeys turned into people.

A: So humans are a kind of monkey?

Me: Sort of. Not anymore, really. But we have a lot in common with monkeys.

A: Does Jesus make all the people?

Me: Well, not really. Mamas and Papas get together and make babies, and then God gives them a soul.

A: A what?

Me: A soul. It's what makes you you, and Ben Ben. It's the part of you that's alive, and leaves the body when you die.

A: Is it in the blood?

Me: No, it's not really in a part of the body.

A: Is it the skin?

Me: No, it's not a part of the body that you can see or touch. No, Benjamin, I can't get you your cup right now, it's in the trunk. It's hard to explain.

A: What happens to your eyes when you die?

Me: They stay with your body. Look! A train! And we're almost home! Yay!

A: Do we go to heaven when we die?

Me: Yes.

A: But our bodies go in the ground?

Me: Yes. Our souls go to heaven and our bodies go into the ground.

By the end of this conversation, which I tried to keep simple, I was really beginning to doubt the presence of an afterlife. I mean, how are we so sure? There is no evidence at all for it. Really, it all points to the most likely option being nothingness. I'm pretty sure there was no Adam or Eve, so why believe in heaven? Pssssh.

Great. Thanks a lot, A.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A's Birthday List

A. will be turning 5 in September, so he's beginning his birthday wish list.

1. Saxophone
2. The Real Woody (from Toy Story)
3. The Real Buzz Lightyear
4. A real rocket I can climb into
5. A harp

A harp?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


VBS stands for Vacation Bible School and most christian church-going folk are accustomed to that acronym. Our neighbors, the Nicest People on Earth, invited A. to come to their VBS this year. As with most things around organized religion, I was ambivalent but G, good Catholic school boy that he is, is all about the religious education and felt A. should be learning more about Jesus, since we're bucking who-knows-how-many years of tradition on both sides of our family and NOT sending A to Catholic school next year.

So the theme is "Take the Plunge" and there are lots of floaties, fish, videos shot at water parks, and surfing dances. On the first day, there was a large life preserver at the front of the church saying "Plunge into Obedience!" and the pastor had the kids repeat the word "obedience" several times. Like good little cult members, Ben and A. shouted "Obedience!" at exactly the right times, making my hair stand on end.

Besides not entirely trusting these people to not lose my child, I was also concerned that the message would be confusing, since we say grace sometimes and talk in very general terms about God. One thing we've been pretty clear about is that different people believe different things about God but there are more similarities than differences and none are better than others, which tends to be the opposite of most denominations. I didn't think they'd be trying to get him to convert, exactly, but I was hoping for more "golden rule" stuff and less "the only way to heaven is through Jesus" stuff.

Of course, A. LOVES it. When we're getting ready to go, he yells to the neighborhood in general, "I'm going to BIBLE CAMP everyone!" He gave up his beloved soccer lesson this afternoon because he didn't want to miss a day.

I was relieved to hear that he particularly loved the snacks which were served in little nets. Today they had ice cream - a big draw. They went fishing for magnetic fish, colored a picture and danced like surfers and swimmers. I'm not too worried anymore. And they haven't lost him yet.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Questions That Make You Go Hmmmm

A: Is there water under the top of water?

Me: Yes.

A: But how do you KNOW?

Me: ............................


A: Why do some people listen to bad guys?


A: Are there bad guys in California?

Me: Yes.

A: Are there bad guys in every state?

Me: Yes.

A: Even Texas?

Me: Yes, even Texas.

A: What is there in Texas besides cowboys and bad guys?


A: Why did God give us toenails? What are they for?


The explosives show in front of our house went well. This photo shows what happens at the end of the Crazy Eyeballs. Ben and friends watched from the safety of the car in the driveway.

Ben and friends also stayed up past 10pm, and did Ben sleep in the next morning? No he did not. In fact, as I write this it's 8:30am and I've been up for over 3 hours already. I got up with him even though it's G's turn because I am an awesome wife. Also because G is super-duper stressed at work and I can barely do this mothering thing as it is and I'll kill him if he goes and has a heart attack on me.

Being super-duper stressed and overworked is not new for anyone, but the problem with working in the mental health field is that if you don't return that phone call today, someone could actually die. Working with suicidal people is an occupational hazard for us, so you can't really lower your standards or let something go because your department is down two staff members. You can't say, "Listen, I'm really sorry you want to kill yourself, but you're just going to have to wait till next week. I don't have any openings until then."

Just my opinion, but when the stakes are that high, you'd think we'd get paid more than an executive assistant (not that good executive assistants aren't worth every dollar).

Anyway, here's my very first try at BBQ ribs. Our oven went on the fritz so I had to bake the cornbread and ribs in the grill. Not bad. I would recommend using something besides a glass pan for the cornbread, because it's impossible to not burn the bottom. Otherwise, it turned out pretty well. We also had red-white-and-blue jello (in the corner), and homemade coleslaw.
And the whole thing is just Americana served on a plate, is it not?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bad Boys, Whatchu Gonna Do

When I was a kid, fireworks were strictly forbidden in my smallish, droughtish, fire hazardish town. You went to the local high school to watch the big fireworks, but no one had sparklers or those spinning butterfly things. NO ONE. So I tend to channel my husband's grandma when these things are around - she was a devout Roman Catholic who frowned on card games because they were too much like gambling. Fireworks seem sort of sinful and bad. When I was a kid, very few towns had fireworks stands, and if we saw any at all, they were in the "bad" part of town.

I admit to being shocked our first July fourth here in our house because our neighbors, church-going Lutherans and the nicest people in the world, set off small bombs in front of their house! Ack!

Thank to two small boys and a husband who turns into a small boy around fireworks, we have a value pack of dangerous-looking explosives on our dining room table. I should note that these are "Safe and Sane" fireworks - but then why are they called "Crazy Eyeballs?" Have you seen these packages? They look like they could blow up the world.

Anyway, the boys needed to make sure they weren't duds and set off a few last night in the street while I was at work. A. was completely beside himself with excitement when I got home.

"They look like eyes! And they spin around and go boom! pop!" he said, waving his arms around and jumping. I think I'm going to do a video of him imitating various fireworks.

After our bedtime book, he said, "I want to explain the fireworks to you again!"

After lights out, he was in there drawing pictures by the light of the hallway for a new fireworks book that he's authoring. Every time we went to that part of the house, he'd call out something like, "I'm gonna make up a sing-along-song about fireworks and make a movie!" He couldn't stop talking.

So guess what's happening tomorrow night? Ben's a little intimidated by the loud noise, so he and I will be inside saying a rosary or something.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Not Great, Not Horrible


Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain

Thanks for the comments. Sarah, it's all the boys. I'm just the reporter. B-mom, much to A.'s dismay, his paint machine doesn't actually work. Although I'm sure he'd help out painting your family room for about 10 minutes.

A. lost interest in the paint machine once he discovered it wasn't actually going to make paint. So we went to the hobby store to check out model rockets, his other idea.

"Which one of these is big enough for me to get in?" he asked.

"None of them. They're just for building and then shooting off. You can't make one that people can actually get in."

"Why not?"

"Because you have to be an astronaut for that, buddy." (Or a millionaire/former boy band member, I guess). The sales clerk snickered.

He left the aisle and headed back to the train tables. Life can be pretty disappointing when you're a 4-year-old with big dreams.

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