Sunday, December 31, 2006

Out with a bang


Tonight we're going to put fire crackers in it, and blow it up.

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ho Ho Hooooooo


So this is the kind of crap ass vagrant that passes as "Santa" in this country.

I shit you not. They call him "Nisse" here, and consider him more of a mischievious gnome than an all powerful, jovial saint. But the general idea remains the same: He sits in a little hut, crouches behind a rickety old desk, and scrawls your children's christmas wishes into a giant ledger with a greasy, feather quill. His teeth are yellowed, his fingers stained with tar. Children cringe and stutter in his presence, while eager parents hover in the wings whispering encouragement and taking blurry snapshots.

We caught him here on a coffee break. God only knows how much whiskey he jacked into that cup before he headed back on duty.

The Alpha Grandma wants credit for the picture. Mr. Alpha Grandma fervently wishes you to know that the coffee was made over an open fire in a 10 gallon cauldren and stirred with a still burning log. JEDA wants you to remain patient, keep checking in, she will get back to you as soon as humanly possible. Also--she's currently slurping the dregs out of her 4th glass of wine for the evening and already peering about the room for more...

Our Holidays are happy. How are yours?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

M-5

You'll have to ask Mark what in the hell that's supposed to mean.


So we're, what? Half-way through the to-do list? That hideous, holiday hullabaloo that so effectively gets in the way of quietly enjoying the season?

Yes, about that. Let's take stock and regroup a bit, shall we?

  1. Parents are here and settled. I've already made two apple pies to quiet the caged beast that is my step-father. They keep raising eyebrows and making snide remarks about the apparently vast quantities of wine I've swilled since their arrival. And yesterday, Bergen celebrated an illustrious 50 straight days of pissing rain. All tolled, those are three of the finest basic ingredients for jule tide joy you could ask for, so we're well on our way.
  2. Missy's appointment with Dr. Smarty-pants did not go as smoothly as anticipated. Dude actually thinks there might be a "problem". It probably merits an entry all to itself, and I will eventually get to it, but for now the crux of the matter seems to be an alledged shortage of growth hormone. Nothing life threatening, to be sure, but we may be looking at an entire childhood and adolescence of injections to help her reach the lofty heights of, oh, I don't know, say 5'5"? 5'6" maybe?
  3. Christmas Tea and Concert: equal parts tedious and sweet.
  4. Ditto The Nutcracker. Glad I went, but glad it's over and done with.
  5. Tree is hacked, fully decked, and patiently awaiting the massive pile of pretty packages which will eventually be tossed under it. And hey--we got a spot in the local newspaper out of the deal! So that went well. No seriously. As we were walking out towards the fields to pick our tree, we were approached by a reporter and a photographer, and asked if we would mind if they followed us along for an article they were doing about the tree farm and the tradition of cutting down your own tree. They took all sorts of pictures, interviewed Elder Miss, and subversively coerced me into picking a tree in record time. All went well though--the article was sweet (a whole page no less), and the tree is regal and gorgeous (tallest we've ever had). Toss me a comment if you're interested, and if I like you I'll forward the link to the online article. It's all in Norwegian so you won't understand a word of it, but at least you can see the pretty picture.
  6. Shopping and wrapping: eh, mostly done. We have too many presents. Really. It's just obscene.
Items still on the list:
  1. Gingerbread house--which by unanimous accord has become a gingerbread train this year, is baked and constructed, and will be decorated this afternoon when EM gets home from school. It's going to be adorable. Stay tuned for pictures.
  2. Jilly's birthday.
  3. Finalizing the menus for Friday's party, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, then grocery shopping for said menus. This is going to be a hugely unpleasant, not to mention pricey, operation and I'm not looking forward to it. But it must be done. So do it I will--probably Thursday, with the perishable bits to follow on Saturday.
  4. Big party Friday night--decorating, cleaning, cooking, baking......yeah, should probably get on that.....
For the most part, all's well here. Hope all is well there, and there, and over there as well.
The busy-ness can't be helped. The crowds can't avoided. The expense can't be spared. It's all part of the season. And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. It helps if you don't give a shit what your parents or your grumpy husband says, and you go ahead and have that second glass of wine anyway.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas is Upon Us

Get it off!!!

This is it folks. From now through the new year we get busy. Very, very busy indeed.

I offer the following list as a warning/excuse as to why there may not be much action around here over the next few weeks.
  1. Parental units scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning. Frantic cleaning of harth and home to commence...like, any minute now.
  2. Long awaited appointment with the smarty-pants tummy ache specialists to discuss Missy's stunted growth and frankly-more-than-the-usual amount of bloated "button" * early Wednesday morning. (It will amount to nothing--she's genetically doomed to be short and stocky like her paternal grandmother, plus she whines a lot when she has to poop. I, in my infinite wisdom correctly diagnosed her ages and ages ago, but Mister refuses to believe any but a medical professional--so off to Haukeland we go).
  3. Boy's Christmas Tea and Concert later that afternoon. Cakes and sandwiches to be made.  I don't know when. Tomorrow maybe?
  4. Nutcracker with Boy's class Thursday.
  5. Tea (if I can schedule it) with friendly neighbor lady Friday.
  6. Annual hacking down of the Christmas tree Saturday.
  7. Trim it, garnish it, plug it in Sunday.
  8. Shopping
  9. Wrapping
  10. Baking
  11. Decorate another fucking gingerbread house so the kids will finally just shut the fuck up about it!
  12. There will be parties and jule nonsense with Elder Miss's class next week, but I don't know what and/or when because nobody sees fit to tell me, The SCARY Foreigner, anything.
  13. No doubt more shopping
  14. More wrapping
  15. Jilly Baby's birthday on the 21st--I think I've secured the honors of taking her out and getting her loaded because Mr. Jilly is a grumpy birthday hum-bugger.
  16. Big ol' blowout of a Christmas party at my house on the 22nd (La Dragon, you are so invited if you could just get your skinny ass over here). Kids, presents, glogg, carols, cavorting, and general merriment to ensue 'round about 5-ish. It'll kill me dead, but I'm looking forward to it, nonetheless. No seriously...I am!
Is that it? Could there possibly be more?

There is. There will be.

I will try to check-in. Give you something new to look at. I know there are many of you Stateside who will be wondering how Christmas is playing out over here. I might even get a post or two out of The Alpha Grandma, with pictures and sound bytes.  You never know.

But what I'm saying is--don't hold your breath or anything. I'll get to 'ya, when I get to 'ya.
In the meantime, Happy Holidays to the lot of you! Shop in peace. Play nice in the parking lots! And for God's sake, open another bottle of wine! It's Christmas! Enjoy yourselves.
* "Button hurts, button hurts Mommy." This is what Missy says to me when her stomach hurts. I hear it often. A little too often, which is why I'm having her checked out. Mostly they'll be looking for food allergies. I took her in 2 weeks ago for blood and stool sample tests--looking for, among other things, levels of growth hormones--I will get the results of those tests at the appointment on Wednesday. But like I said--much ado about nothing.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Extended Family



Boy's preschool class has been delving into the subject of "Families" this week. His teacher asked him if he could tell her any of his family members. He thought long and hard about this before he replied, "There's Mommy, Daddy, Eefin, and me."

"Ethan?" asked his teacher, a little confused, since she knows our family well but has never heard of an Ethan before.

"No. Eefin. He's my favorite cousin. But he only lives with Grandma in America."

"Okay. Do you have any other family members? Someone else you live with?"

"No."

"Are you sure? A couple of sister's perhaps?"

After another long, thoughtful pause he answered, "Actually there's Missy, but she can't stay when Eefin comes to visit. Eefin doesn't like her."

"But who else is in your family? Don't you have an older sister?"

"No."

"Boy, I know your family and I know you have an older sister. What's her name?"

He gave her a level look and said, "It's just Eefin, and me."

It's true he does have a cousin named Ethan. But God's honest truth folks, he's never met him. He spent the entire summer looking at pictures of him on Grandma's walls. He asked every single day why he couldn't play with Eefin. He never fully understood the fact that Eefin lives far away in another city, and therefore couldn't drop by for a visit.

When I took Boy into school this morning, I noticed the hallway outside his classroom was covered with the students' drawings of their various family members, but under Boy's name there was only a list, written by his teacher, of the kin she could get him to admit to: Ethan (and in paranthesis next to it-- LIVES WITH GRANDMA GAY), Mom, Dad (then in paranthesis at the bottom-- 2 sisters).

I asked him why he hadn't done a drawing. He rolled his eyes at me and said, "M-o-o-o-mmmmm! I don't do people! Don't you remember? I can't!"

So, I spent part of this evening sweet talking him into trying to draw his family. The picture above is the result of my efforts.

Here is, I kid you not, word for word, his description of what he'd drawn, told in excited bursts as he carefully drew out each part:

"This is Eefin. He has two eyes. He's sad because he lost his teddy. Eefin has short hair because he's a boy. This is me. I'm happy because I found Eefin's teddy. IT WAS IN THE BED! I only have one arm because I'm very old, and I'm going to die soon. But Eefin will give me his teddy and I won't be scared."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

An Abbreviated Cast Of Characters

It occurs to me that I spend an awful lot of time talking about Jilly Baby and The Vibrant Ms. Michelle and other sundry characters, but I've never really taken the time to introduce them.  So without further ado:

Anna Nancy La Dragon: La Dragon is a lovely girl. You'd like her. Everyone does. La Dragon is someone with whom I got drunk 7 or 12 dozen times while we were studying in Italy. She's Boy's Fairy Godmother--a title which she still struggles to completely understand. It's crystal clear to me though. What it means see, is that La Dragon is, in fact, Boy's true Godmother, but I'm not allowed to call her that because Mister has this daft notion that such titles must be reserved solely for blood family. A notion I somewhat 'get', but do not totally agree with. 

In my eyes, La Dragon is far and away the most worthy title holder. She sends him a Christmas ornament every year, and defends him unfalteringly whenever I write to say what a dip shit toddler he's being. Blood Family Member does neither of these things. Plus I never once saw Blood Family Member light a cigarette with one hand and slide the cork out of her third bottle of Chianti with the other in one seamless motion, so ya' know...it's not even a fair contest.

I don't talk much about La Dragon, but only because she lives half-way around the world, and is therefore unable to ever meet me at IKEA for cheap breakfast and power shopping. We miss La Dragon.

Jilly Baby:  Jilly, while being hilarious and generally just fun to hang with, tends a little bit toward the bossy/opinionated side. So much so, in fact, that she drives crazy princesses far, far away where we no longer have to listen to their whining and carrying on. This is actually a very good quality to have. She has two kids (Hamish 3 and Heather 6); a peculiar need to iron EVERYTHING textile; and very stong feelings against patterned tights (something we tend to butt heads on, as I kind of like them.)

The Vibrant Ms. Michelle: The most pertinent thing to say about Ms. M right now is that she's pregnant again. She's pregnant, and she's leaking pregnant hormones which are fucking with my mind and body in ways that I don't particularly appreciate--I'm talking zits, I'm talking nausea, I'm talking weirdly aching hips and back. I feel these things after a day with her, and I shouldn't. She's cursed. Depsite all this and the mood swings, Michelle is mostly cheerful and bright--one might even say...VIBRANT...and she's nice to have around because she speaks the local lingo like a fucking pro. To date, she has two kids (Sanne 2 and Mathias 6, Jamt the third is due early April); she's chronically late for everything; she always asks for tea or coffee but never drinks more than  half of it; and she's got a criminal record (which would be absolutely hysterical if it weren't partially my fault).

Apart from my children, these are the three people that occupy me most these days. I spend a lot of time writing e-mails to La Dragon. I spend a lot of time drinking coffee and bitching about crazy princesses with Michelle and Jilly. Three things I'd happily do more of if it weren't for my three children, whom I spend far too much time mothering. Oh yeah--and there's Mister, of course.  I spend some time making out with him, but we don't need to go into that here.  I'm rated R for strong language, but I haven't been cleared for light erotica yet. Maybe next year...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Matter of Life, And One Of Death

Mister has been away on business for a few days. He came home early this evening while I was fixing dinner--snuck up behind me, scared the shit out of me, then buggered off upstairs to toss the kids around for a few minutes. They were thrilled to see him.

About 10 minutes later I called everyone down to dinner, and asked Elder Miss to set the table. As she was carefully laying out our colorful array of mismatched utensils, she was adamant that Daddy sit by Mommy tonight.

Odd, usually she insists that Daddy sit by her and only her.

Once all the glasses were filled with water and everyone's meat was cut, I sat down in my assigned seat next to Mister and started filling my own plate. Elder Miss looked over at us with an impish, greasy grin and asked, "Aren't you going to kiss?"

I looked at her. He looked at me. Her eyes danced between us, waiting.

Weird game, Miss. But I'll play.

I rolled my eyes, turned to Mister, and planted one on him.

Hsss-s-s-s-sssss. Snicker. Snicker. "You guys are in lu-uvvvvv!" she sang. Then more hissing.

Both Mister and I let it pass with out comment, and turned to Boy. We started playing the what-does-such-and-such-begin-with game (he's getting really good at it). After a few minutes of being ignored, Elder Miss couldn't stand it anymore. In a breathless, wide-eyed rush she cut in, "But know what? Today I heard a story about a mommy and a daddy--well they weren't a mommy and a daddy but they were a boy and a girl only they were grown ups--but they took all their clothes off and they KISSED! Without their clothes! And they were in love. And THEY KISSED! Totally.Naked."

"Who told you this story, EM?"

"My teacher--and after they kissed they hugged and then they had a BABY!  But...it was only an animal."

This last part was said in a deflated, disappointed tone. Like she had understood that someone had pussed out and deliberately fudged the punch line.

We didn't get into what she thought "hugged" might entail, or indeed, what any of the rest of it was supposed to mean, because suddenly Boy crowed triumphantly from the other end of the table, "Kiss starts with a k-k-k-Kicking King!!!" and the moment passed.


Also of interest today:

Elder Miss and Boy spent some time alone in her room this afternoon. I don't know what they were doing. I don't know what they were talking about. But at one point Boy came slumping out--head down, feet dragging, two fingers hooked limply in his mouth for that extra touch of pathos.

He climbed up into my lap (I had been sitting on the stairs folding clothes).  He tucked his head under my chin. I expected him to start whining to me about how EM was being mean and wouldn't let him play, and was, once again, trying to come up with a nice way of saying, "Oh for Christ's sake, Boy, grow a fucking backbone, would ya'!"

But instead he whispers, "EM told me that when I get really really old I have to die. How long 'til I'm old?"

He's been asking me this question for weeks now. How long 'til I'm old? How long 'til I'm old? He wants to be old enough to ride a skateboard, see. And he's seen a snowboard in the Toys R' Us Christmas catalogue. He understands intuitively that these are the toys of the "big" boys. He wants to be one so bad he can hardly stand it.

But today, for the first time, he seemed to sense (also intuitively) that age is as much about loss as it is about gain. Today, he was sad, not afraid, when he asked, "How long 'til I'm old?"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Caveat

The Boy's triumphal, uncut return to school yesterday was somewhat marred by--let's call her Nora--Fucking Nora, to be more precise.

Fucking Nora is a class assistant from whom I've been getting much insider information on the exact nature of the horridness that was about to ensue. Her older son had just had the same operation done a little over a month ago, so she was well within The Know.

When she saw Boy and me in the hallway she blinked twice, raised her eyebrows, and looked not even a little bit happy to see us. So I explained the situation, that upon further examination, the testicles were found to be present, if still rather high, in the scrotum so the surgery wouldn't be necessary after all.

Nora nodded sagely, wise in the ways of these cocky, know-it-all doctors, "Yes, we went through the same thing with my son. Then two years later when they still hadn't dropped any lower, they decided to do the surgery after all."

Fucking Nora!

Then I was reminded of a critical detail that I had not thought of before. The urologist at the hospital who actually put Boy on the waiting list back in February, examined him while he was standing up. She got a hold of both testicles and pulled them slowly, geeennnntly down into place. When she let them go, they bounced back up--one faster than the other. She told me then that the connective tissue attached to the left one was not long enough to allow it to drop down and stay in place which would necessitate surgery. But she thought probably the right side was fine.

The surgeon who examined Boy on Monday had him laying flat on a table. He did not attempt to pull the testicles all the way down into the sac, he only located them and assured me that they actually were in the scrotum even if it didn't look like it.

Whether or not any of this is relevant I do not know. Like I said, I didn't remember any part of it until yesterday morning. Probably I should call someone and ask. As I type it now and reread it, it's ringing all kinds of bells and whistles. I was an idiot not to have thought of it while I was standing there with the surgeon. But I didn't. And the moment passed.

I kind of like it here on the foothills of doubt, so I'm thinking I'll just let it slide for the time being. He'll be called in a year from now to be reexamined. It's not like he's going to be needing them between now and then anyway...

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Case of the Not-So Missing Nads


Or, M'Boy Has Balls!



I've been drafting this entry in my head for over a week now. Frittering away countless hours in silent composition, wasting gallons upon gallons of extra water in the shower, losing sleep, and over cooking the pasta--all in pursuit of the perfectly pitched narrative of what was sure to be The Boy's defining childhood trauma.

Alas, all for naught. What was to be the climax of my multi-chaptered tale of woe was summarily cancelled early this morning. My literary thunder all fizzled and stolen. The hapless object of pity and concern transmorgrified into a wee, red-headed Scottish lad barely three years old.

Allow me to explain--

Up until, apparently, 10 o'clock this morning, Boy's manly bits were missing--not the essential Bit, obviously, but the jewels, you know...Nowhere to be found. They were both present and accounted for at birth. But after that initial roll call, they evidently thought better of their assigned seats and retreated back into the murky depths from whence they came. The doctors at his 3, 6, and 12 month check-ups where all unable to find them despite extensive, concentrated, and (I think) unnecessarily rigorous groping.

At 13 months he was examined via ultrasound, which revealed one low in his abdomen, and the other one a bit higher, nearer his kidney. "Mostly normal," said the doctor, "But that one near the kidney may be questionable." (Questionable in the sense that it may not descend into the scrotum of its own accord. It may require surgical intervetion).

By the time he was 3 years old and they still hadn't made more than a handful of brief appearences during fevers and long baths and such, I started asking around. I cornered unsuspecting mothers in the super-market, asking "You have a boy, right? Tell me, have his bits descended? What do they look like? Do his balls swing low? Do they wobble to and fro?" I was genuinely surprised when the answer invariably turned out to be, "Well, um. Yeah, actually. They do."

So then, years pass.  Phone calls are made, appointments a met, referrals are followed through. Blah blah blah...late February of this year, I finally get him in to see a urologist at the hospital who confirms that certainly the left testicle is going to need to be surgically placed in the scrotum. Probably the right one is fine though. Don't call us. We'll call you. Then she literally washes her hands of the whole problem.

Finally, last Monday, I get a letter saying his surgery is scheduled a week from Tuesday.

Today--after much fretting, and fussing, and pawning off of extraneous offspring--I took the heretofore unmanned Boy in for his pre-op consultation. We waited for over an hour in a playroom stuffed to the gills with anxious parents, insecure children, and moldering toys of dubious sterility. Then, after a brief, albeit thorough, examination, the surgeon assured me that both testicles were very obviously already in the scrotum and surgery would be unnecessary. We were sent home forthwith.

Voilá! Instant manhood!

The upshot of the whole thing is this: Jilly Baby's Lad has, by bizarre coincidence, the exact same diagnosis, and must have been right behind Boy on the waiting list. Within maybe 30 minutes of us being sent home, the hospital was on the phone with Jilly saying there had been a cancellation, and would she like the spot? Of course she took it. And, unfortunately, his pre-op consultation (conducted late this afternoon) confirmed that the surgery would be necessary in his case. So now it's Jilly's wee lad who's fasting and resting up for the horrors that tomorrow has in store.

Of course, I'm relieved--both for myself and Boy--that we dodged the bullet on this one. I was not looking forward to any part of it. And of course I'm anxious and sympathetic for the situation that Jill has been thrust so unceremoniously into. I send out to them cyber blessings for a seamless proceedure and a smooth recovery.

But.....God dammit!!!!! It was my story first!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Oh, Mister, My Mister



Mister has been making noises lately about wanting to see my blog. Up until very recently he hasn't seemed to bother about it one way or the other. But clearly, something has piqued his interest, and now he wants to know just what it is exactly that I get up to here.

There have been questions:

"So, what? You just write stuff? And people, what? Read it and stuff?"

"Yeah. Basically."

"What do you write about?"

"Stuff."

 He audibly exhales through his nose. I graciously opt to throw him a bone, "The kids mostly."

"Me?" There is a wistful, breathy catch in his throat. I'm almost postitive he wants the answer to be yes.

But, "No."

"Oh."

"Welllll..." It seems I have one more bone in my cupboard, "There was the one time.  But you were being a dip shit about the rain pants.  Probably you wouldn't see the humor in it."

"Oh." Not the bone he was hoping for, apparently.

Time passes. Just when I think the subject has been forgotten, he says, "So how do I get to this blog of yours?"

"What do you mean?"

"What's it called?"

"You wouldn't get it."

He squints and purses his lips. He wants to be angry, but he also wants information. So I watch as he calms himself and steels his nerves against my stubborn pig-headedness. All the while he's hedging around with these pokey little questions, I'm silently debating with myself whether or not I really want him here. I've just about decided not.

"You call yourself JEDA, right?"

I'm genuinely impressed he's managed to pick up on that much, "Yes."

"What do you call the kids?"

I get distracted by this last question and I begin to think he might actually be interested in...I don't know...the tone? the voice? the identity? I've created for myself here. So I start telling him all about Elder Miss, and Boy, and how Little Miss is mostly just Missy. How I arrived at JEDA, and why I find it so liberating to write behind these anonymous monikers even though 98% of the people who read me know perfectly well who I am and what my kids answer to. And blah blah blah, maybe he really would get the joke in the title.

Then it dawns on me that all the while I've been chattering away at him, he's been pulling out, plugging in, and booting up his laptop. The clever bastard has been gleaning information for a Google search!

Jokes on him though. Ha! Google couldn't find me. Turns out JEDA is an outrageously common acronym in the business world (something about jobs-economic development and joint environmental analysis yada yada yada) as well as a fairly common word in several European languages. Seems I'm safely buried within the vast haystack of the ca. 32 700 other hits for JEDA. He gave up after just 20 minutes of searching.

Part of me kind of wishes he would keep tyring though. Make a more determined effort to hunt me down, and surprise me with a comment in the busy body gallery. If he reads carefully, he might even learn something new about me.  I'm not sure what.  But something. Tips for the perfect Christmas gift, maybe? Ipod Advice on how to be a better lover, perhaps? More breast action My unguarded and inner most thoughts regarding his manhood, even? Nice enough guy. Shame about the car though..... Oh for Chirst's sake!!! Not that manhood!!!! It's fine Pull your collective heads out of the gutter! Grab my shoes on the way out, will ya'? This is my husband, my partner, the father of my children probably we're talking about! He deserves a bit more respect than that!

Now everyone play nice, and make him feel at home. And talk me up a bit.  He's going to be mad after reading this.....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

UN-dress Rehearsal

As you may or may not know, Elder Miss is fascinated by all things physiological. It started about a year ago this time with 6 billion questions about, "What would happen if we didn't have bones?" And it's progressed all the way to her most recent obsession, "What's it called when your intestines get blocked and you have pain and you have to go to the surgery place?"

She wants to be a doctor. She's asked several times, "What are all the schools I have to go to before I can be a doctor?" She's not even a little bit daunted when I tell her she'll be at least as old as I am before she'll be a fully documented MD.

Given all that enthusiasm, I must admit, I'm a little surprised that she hasn't gotten to the, "Where do babies come from?" bomb-shell yet.

Not to worry though. I've been practicing. What with The Vibrant Ms. M being knocked up and starting to show it, I figure EM can't be too far away from the realization that such a thing as a baby must have some point of origin. And I plan to be better prepared than Michelle who fed her poor deluded son some bullshit line about God and angels and true love, or whatever.....pfft!

So here's my speech:

"Well EM, inside the mommy's bodies there are tiny little eggs. And inside the daddy's bodies there are tiny little things called sperm. And when the daddy puts the sperm inside the mommy's body, the egg and the sperm join together to make a baby."

I suppose it's too much to hope that she will be content with that answer and not progress to the next logical question, "How?" Or worse, "Why?" Getting into the mechanics of genital engagement with a 6 year old seems somehow...gratuitous.  But I fear I may have to. So here's what I was thinking:

"Well EM, the egg lives in the mommy's vagina. And the sperm lives in the daddy's penis. And when the mommy and daddy love each other very much they can put these things together to make a baby. Now run along, dear. Mommy has to make dinner."

I realize that answer may be a little misleading, but keep in mind, the aim here is to get her to shut up and go back to the TV and Sponge Bob where she belongs. "These things" is both redundant and ambiguous. It will force her to go away, mull it over, and hopefully come to her own, wildly misguided conclusions. That's okay, right? I mean she's in the public school system. Surely the punks she socializes with will fill in all the gaps. That's what they're there for, right?

Actually, now that I think about it, after all this stressing and worrying over exactly the right tone and wording, she probably really will learn everything she needs to know about reproduction from her friend who grew up on the horse farm up the neighboring valley.

And I won't be able to use my carefully prepared speech on Boy either. He'll remain blissfully ignorant until 13 or so when his biology teacher will do my job for me. He'll come home jittery and pale, refusing to eat the milk and homemade cookies I've lovingly set out for him. And I, being the thoughtful, tuned-in mother that I am, will ask, "Honey, you look troubled, what's wrong?" In a frantic rush he'll confess to me the graphic horrors with which his teacher has filled his pure, modest little mind, and in the end he'll ask, "Is it true, Mom? Do I really have to...to t-t-t-touch them?" And I, in my gentlest, most reassuring of voices will answer, "Well dear, the breasts are optional, but I highly recommend it."

No. It will be Missy--ever fiesty, ever contrary--Little Miss who will confide to me over her Cheerios one morning, "So-and-so's big brother showed me his penis the other day. I didn't know what to do, so I slapped it twice and hocked a logie on it. What should I have done?"

That will be the day I swallow my unprepared, unrehearsed tongue and die.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Price of Fun


Turns out, it was my idea.

Hey, let's go to my mother-in-law's cabin for a weekend, I said. Maybe even a long weekend, I added. What a lark that would be. What a gas!

Of course, when I made the suggestion the sun was shining, there was an over abundance of fresh air, and all the kids were off playing somewhere far far away so the noise they're capable of was not immediately apparent.

At times of such good will one simply does not do the math. One does not think it through.

It wasn't until last Wednesday when I started to calculate the amount of food (or more specifically--alcohol) that would be necessary to sustain three families for three days in the very back of beyond that the full horror of the situation began to manifest itself in my mind's eye.

Allow me to summarize my thought process: 6 adults, 7 children, 1 toilet. FUCK!

I admit it, I wasn't looking forward to it. The week before we were to leave, all the kids started getting sick and I thought--yey, must cancel! Then they all recovered, but the rain was terrible and I thought--phew, must cancel! Then it was Friday and I'll be God damned if it didn't clear up, and I thought--fucking snakes on a fucking plane, must start packing.

The stress and pandemonium involved with getting to that first ferry was, honestly, the worst part of the whole trip. Once that was over with, and Jilly Baby had got her damn ipod and had made it safely on the ferry as well, I started to relax. By the time we were on the mountain and I was watching the very same Jilly dragging her posh roller luggage over the soggy, muddy, half kilometer walk (which I bloody well DID tell her about) to the cabin, I was positively giddy with the hilarity of it all.

I got drunk Friday night. Was more hung-over than I've been in years all day Saturday. Michelle's pregnant hormones got the better of her Sunday, and a silent battle of egos was waged all day Monday as a result. Hard to say who won, but it doesn't matter because we kissed and made up today, and life is good again.

In between those low points we cooked, we hiked, we laughed, we made fun of our lazy ass men who did nothing but fish and swill beer. And a good time was had by all. I'd do it all again. Someday...later...next year...maybe...you know, if the kids aren't sick...and the weather cooperates...



Tuesday, September 26, 2006

At Least She Has Her Health

Elder Miss has been sick since early Sunday morning: moderate fever, seemingly debilatating headache, and "stingy" sore throat.

Naturally, I kept her home from school.

Yesterday, around 1 p.m., I shut her in her room for a little nap. I had my doubts as to whether she'd actually sleep, but at least the TV was off and she was out of my hair--hopefully long enough for a shower and a cup of tea. Alas, about an hour later, I heard some tell-tale thumping and rustling coming from the general direction of her room.  It would seem my all too brief interlude was coming to an end.

Sure enough, she soon opened her door, walked fully dressed into the living room (first time she'd been in street clothes since Saturday night), and announced, "Mom, I'm very sorry but I pee'd on the floor. I felt it, and couldn't even stop it. But I think I'm feeling better!"

And so she was.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cough Into The Uncomfortable Silence


Here's a list of topics I've recently considered writing about, but ultimately rejected for one reason or another:
  1. My son's growing fascination with his foreskin
  2. The swanky, faux suede chair I've ordered in burnt sienna for the living room--delivery date: Thanksgiving-ish, because it's just that damn hard to make a decent chair these days
  3. Bush's incompetence
  4. Some steamy fan fiction involving a three-way between myself, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert
  5. A 4th child, because my friend Michelle is all fertile and shit
  6. Nursing school
  7. The identity of the anonymous commenter who insinuated that I might be actually a very nice mother (I blush.....)
Interesting and worthy topics all, but...meh.

I'd rather sink my teeth into something I'm sure my rapt readership really wants to hear. Plus also, some comments would be nice (insert cheeky emoticom here).

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Toof


Elder Miss....or, Elder Miff, as she'd be calling herthelf at the moment....finally lost her second front tooth this afternoon. It quite literally just fell out of her head and onto the pavement.

She was full of questions tonight. I fear she may be cottoning on to the folly of the tooth fairy myth. Where does the tooth fairy come from? Why does she want our teeth? What does she do with all of them? Does she ever give them back? Is there only one fairy? Or does everyone have their own? Why do I have to be asleep before she comes? What if the tooth is too heavy? How does she get in? When does she sleep? Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Sleep, my darling. Just go to sleep and believe.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

From The Sublime To The Absurd

*Heard recently in the car, on the way to school:

Mom?

Yes, Boy?

Do all little boys have hearts?

Yes, Boy. All boys have hearts.

But my heart hurts a little more than other boys' hearts, right?

It's possible you have to know The Boy personally, have first hand knowledge of what a tender-hearted, sissified, little lover he is to fully appreciate the beauty of that moment.


*And, from Elder Miss, budding fashionista, while watching the Glenn Close edition of 102 Dalmations for the first time:

I don't know why they're being so mean to her. Her cloths are GORgeous!

I blame Bratz. I really do.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Business As Usual


The trip home was one of those proverbial 'doozies' you're always hearing so much about. The whole luquid bomb thing really got under my skin. Wound me up tight like a coil, and the unwinding has been somewhat unpleasant. Three migraines in as many weeks. What's up with that? My shoulder seized up. Plus a sinus thing.

Eh, bitch bitch bitch.

Believe it or not, I didn't come here to bitch.

Just wanted to reopen shop. Let you all know I'm home, safe and sound.  And maybe brag a little on my new kitchen.  All done now, and all dreamy.  Though there were some scary, uncertain moments in the middle there...




Monday, August 07, 2006

Summer Highlights


Grandma takes us to Disneyland.
We love Grandma!

Minnie agrees EM chose the best (e.g. most expensive) mouse ears available.
EM loves Minnie!
Boy collapses in utter exhaustion during dinner after a long day of rides, lines, and churros.
He rallies later, but only long enough to vomit into my hands during the electric light parade.
JEDA loves Boy anyway.
Daddy stays home to make our new kitchen.
We keep in touch with webcam dates.
We love Daddy!

Did I ever mention my genuine, palm-sweating phobia of birds?
That's my youngest child about to be eaten by one badass, mother-fucker of a goose.
Vindicated much? I think so.
No one loves birds!
EM gets all her lovely hair cut off, and manages to look just as adorable without it.
Boy agrees.

Missy gets her cast off in time to enjoy a few days of swimming before it's time to go home and see our new kitchen.
We love summer!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Totally Bitchin' Rad

I spent some time last week digging through a box of my old school stuff, and came across my Jr. High School yearbooks.

What a gas! What a lark!

I suppose it's possible that I'm the only one who'll be amused by any of this, but I'm going to share a few highlights from the signature pages anyway--14 year olds are ever so witty and eloquent, how could I not pass on a few of these gems to you?

"So sad it was so rad....."

"Have a gnarly summer. Don't get frost bite (haha)......"

"Hopefully your summer is long and useful, like toilet paper."

"Let's do stuff this summa' K?"
 She used summa' twice in the same message.  In my head, I hear Timmy from South Park.

There were many, many references to Crisco and sexual fantasies the significance of which I have totally forgotten.

"Your sexual fantasies were awesome!"

"Hey Crisco, tell me some more stories, your so sexy!"

 I swear to God, no idea. But I shudder to think what filth I might have been filling their minds with.

"Too bad I hated you through so much of elementary school."

It's fine. Turns out, she had good reason to hate me.

Loved this one: "You are so cute you make me sick!"
But it was slightly tempered by this on the very next page: "Stay sophistcated (haha)"

This one was lovely, from a very sweet person I wish I had spent more time with: "I hope you reach your intellectual high this summer."
But then some jackass wrote this right underneath it: "You have no scruff and I hate you." Actually, Andy, who I'm sure is a 1st counselor in the sainted Church by now, wrote vile, nasty things to me all three years. Betcha' he totally liked me.

The picture galleries were a veritable orgie of mullets (of both the male and female varieties) and 3" mall-rat bangs, but those were the days, damn it!

In the 7th grade book, I came across a picture of John Stockton looking all of about 16 years old.  I still remember the assembly he hosted. People were all a-buzz that day because we knew a Jazz player was coming to the school and everyone hoped it would be someone big like Mark Eaton or maybe even Frank Layden. Then we got there, and it turned out to be this tiny little rookie, there to talk to us about setting goals and reaching our full potential. What.Ever wee white boy.  He was nothing but heckled and ridiculed.  Who knew, eh?

For the three years, 1986-1988, I counted a total of 46 "Stay cute and cool"s or "Cool and cute"s, plus this slightly more painful version "You are like really chicky and cool! Like stay a chick! Ok?"
I'm happy to report I'm still way chicky and really cool, so like, mission totally accomplished!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Chad's Incompetence

On this, the eve of the day Missy will finally have her cast removed, I offer--for your edification and general amusement--a true and accurate account of events and dialogues which took place the sunny Friday morning just over three weeks ago that the frail, fractured leg was set.

The Scene: Mid-morning, 10ish. I'm in the car with Missy and my mother, driving home from the orthopod's office. We're late getting home because, although we had had an 8 a.m. appointment, a routine x-ray taken after the cast was set revealed a fold in the wrapping which, if left, would have devastated the skin under the cast. Thus Chad--the long, salt and pepper haired, goatie welding assistant who had done the first cast--had to be re-summoned to saw it off, and start all over again. Missy hates Chad.

It has been an emotionally draining morning. I need coffee--badly. Mom is driving.

Cell phone rings. It's Grandpa Dale calling from home.

JEDA Hello?

D. Hi! How is she?

JEDA She's fine...blah, blah, blah...(recount saga of Chad's incompetence*)...Traumatized, but fine.

D. Good, good. Listen. You need to call Mister as soon as you get home. He's been calling here every 15 minutes for the past two hours. He really needs to talk to you.

JEDA Oooookay. Is everything okay? Did he say what was so urgent?

D. No. Just said he needs to talk to you. Probably worried about Missy. Wondering how the appointment went. Something like that.

JEDA Sure, yeah, okay. We're on 13th now, so we'll be home in 10 or 15 minutes.

D. Great! Bye!
Curious, think I as I hang up the phone. What on earth could be wrong? Trouble with the kitchen? Trouble with the house in general? Did my cat die? Surely if it were anything more serious he would have told Dale what was up. Very strange indeed. I'm in the middle of briefing Mom on what Dale had said when the phone rings again.

It's my dad calling from his cell.

JEDA Hello?

Dad Hi! How is she?

JEDA Fine, fine...blah, blah, blah...(again recount saga of Chad's incompetence)...Traumatized, but fine.

Dad Good, good. Listen. You need to call Mister as soon as you get home. I'm at the park with EM and Boy right now, but apparently he's been calling the house. TJ just called me to tell me that he's called two or three times. Apparently it's pretty important.

JEDA Really? Shit! And he didn't say what was wrong?

Dad I only know what TJ told me.

JEDA Hmmm. Well. Okay. We're only like 5 minutes from home now, so I'll call as soon as we get there.

Dad Righty-o, then. Bye.

Curiouser and curiouser. I'm not exactly panicking, but I'm on the verge of genuine disquiet. I tell Mom to hurry it up a bit.

As soon as we walk through the door, I hand Missy over to Grandpa Dale to admire her gregarious pink cast with orange candy cane stripe, rush straight to the phone, and dial home.

Mister (answers on 1st ring) Hello?

JEDA Hi! What's up?

Mister Where are my rain pants?

JEDA ...I'm sorry, what?

Mister WHERE. ARE. MY. RAIN PANTS?

JEDA Rain pants? That's what this is about?

Mister YES! I've got three rain jackets right here in front of me, and not a single pair of rain pants to go with them. I'm supposed to be fishing this weekend. It's pouring rain out there. I'll be soaked. Where are they?

JEDA Ummmmmmm, I really don't know. Have you looked...

Mister (rudely interrupts) I've looked everywhere!

JEDA Missy's fine, by the way.

Mister What? Oh. Yeah. How'd that go?

JEDA Fine...blah, blah, blah...(once again recount the saga of Chad's incompetence, only this time investing the story with a bit more emotion and personal anguish. Because, you know, this is my life partner I'm talking to here, and it really was kind of traumatic to see our baby hurt that badly TWICE without being able to do anything about it, and...I don't know...I guess I was just looking for a bit of comfort, or something.)

Mister (has heard nothing I've just said) It's just so frustrating. I've been searching for over two hours. I was supposed to leave an hour ago. Now I'm going to miss the ferry. I guess I'll just have to be wet all weekend.

Boo-fucking-hoo

He bitched some more. I suggested more places he could look. He pouted, and insisted that there was no point because he'd already looked everywhere and they were nowhere to be found. I asked if he was suggesting that I was dumb enough to have thrown them out with the trash when I cleared out the closets for demolition.

No.

I wondered if he were trying to accuse me of deliberately hiding their where abouts from him.

No.

I pondered the possibility of the pants miraculously having gotten up and walked out of the house of their own accord.

No.

JEDA So they must be in the house somewhere.

Mister No. I've looked everywhere!

JEDA Cuz' ya' know...sometimes...you have a tendency to just sort of glance around without actually looking under things.

Mister I'VE LOOKED EVERYWHERE!!!

JEDA Fine

Mister Fine

Mutual hang-up

The next day I received the following SMS:

FOUND EXTRA RAIN PANTS AT CABIN. RAINING SO HARD AM WET ANYWAY. CAUGHT MANY FISH THOUGH. LOVE 'YA.


*I don't actually blame Chad for the bum first cast. I'm sure Chad is a perfectly kind Dead Head, and able orthopedic assistant. Clearly the fault lies entirely with the flirty nurse who was assisting the assistant. But Missy blames Chad. Plus I just like saying Chad's name. Thus we arrive at "Chad's incompetence".

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm"

I've just discovered something interesting about MSN Spaces.

You can use all manner of obscenities in the body of your text. You can link to sites the contents of which would make even the roughest of Hell's Angels grumble with grudging approval. You can even post pictures of aroused genitalia in various acts of engagement.

But you can't say "Dip shit" in the title.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In Which The South Beach Diet Cookbook Lay Abandoned On The Kitchen Counter

One of the few advantages to living abroad is you get to play delusional mind games with your weight. Allow me to elaborate:

As you may or may not know, seeing your weight in kilos is a lot less painful than seeing it in pounds, thus making it easier to fool yourself into a false sense of security. Even if you fancy yourself one of the smarter expatriates (which I do) and you readily reckon that 1 kilo is roughly equal to 2 pounds (which it is), you can still fairly easily content yourself with the....oh....say.....70ish kilos you see on the scales, because 70 x 2 is only 140, and 140 after three kids ain't half bad. Right?

Right.

Only problem is see, that the actual conversion isn't quite so clean cut. If you want to get all technical about it, you'd have to multiply that 70 by 2.2046, and I'm here to tell you that the .2046 starts to add up.

Go ahead, do the math. I'll wait.

...........oh, alright, FINE!

You lazy bastards! It's 154.322.

70 kilos adds up to 154.3 pounds.

Not quite so good, eh? And even worse if that '70ish' you were fumbling around is actually closer to 75...ish.

See where I'm going with this?

I knew that I had put on some weight over the past year. I was uncomfortable and unhappy with that fact, but it was only 5 or 6 kilos--barely 10 pounds--easily discarded if I ever decided to really buckle down and work at it. Then I got home and stepped on my mother's scales.

I nearly swallowed my tongue.

The diet started that very day. I went jogging. I skipped the potatoes at dinner. Had toast and grapefriut for breakfast the next morning. I was focused. Intent. Determined.

The next day I read the copy of The South Beach Diet my mother had kicking around and figured, "Three weeks no carbs? 10 to 20 pounds just like that? Doesn't sound so bad. I think I can manage that...."

That night at dinner I skipped both the potatoes and the breadsticks. Had ham and eggs for breakfast. Went jogging again. Focused. Intent. Determined.

I lost 5 pounds in the first 3 or 4 days.

Then there was pizza night. Followed shortly by taco night. Missy broke her leg. At one point, I really needed a beer for one reason or another. Things just lost focus, got decidedly blurry.

I remain quite faithful to the jogging. I went out and bought a pulse watch and have had a grand time tinkering around with that. Just last week I managed 5k in 35 minutes, which I realize isn't exactly competition ready, but it's a significant improvement over what I was capable of just over a month ago.

But, ya' know--Dr. Arthur Agatston and his South Beach Diet can go right ahead and kiss my carbified ass because life's just too damn short to go depriving yourself of pizza night!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

57%

Good Morning America did a piece yesterday on America's attitudes toward breastfeeding. I've been fuming about it all day.  According to their poll, 57% of the American public don't believe women should have the right to breastfeed in public.

57%

And please pay particular attention to the wording of that statistic. It's not 57% don't like to see women breastfeeding in public. Or even, 57% believe women should be discrete when breastfeeding in public. No, no, no.  It says 57% believe women should not have the right to breastfeed in public.

I knew that many Americans were a bit puritanical and old fashioned on this issue, but 57%?  I had no idea!  And that they feel so strongly about it as to start restricting my rights?  Jay-sus!

They interviewed one woman on the street who said that breastfeeding was disgusting and immoral.

Immoral?  Immoral?

So, to sum up:

War in Iraq? For the greater good.

Gas guzzling SUV's? Hey, safety first....

Walmart's questionable business practices? Whatever, dude. Shit's cheap.

Universal healthcare? Fuck you, Socialist, Commie bastards! Not on my watch!

Breastfeeding? Immoral.

Obviously.

I think it might be time for me to go back to Norway now.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Proximal Tibial Fracture

It sounds like it ought to be the beginnings of some grand metaphor, doesn't it? Proximal Tibial Fracture. It could be a sad saga of regret and woe that ends with the legs (if you will) being knocked out from under a once loving relationship. Or maybe a cautionary tale of a toxic crack in the foundation of an already rocky friendship. Or, more boring, but perhaps more apropos of my actual life and leisure, a sudden derailment in the current kitchen remodel.

Happily for you, the story I have to tell today is strictly literal, so you need not suffer any further strained and pitiful attempts at literary gravitas. It's a medical thing, see. The diagnosis is my little Missy's.

It happened Sunday night. She was *cringe* jumping on a trampoline **gasp** with her *cower* brother and sister **shake head disapprovingly**. Although there were four arguably responsible adults on hand, including *bite lower lip* myself, we were all *cover face in abject humiliation* sitting on the patio--just out of sight--drinking a glass of wine **exhale, mutter "My God, what kind of mother are you?"** toasting the long awaited, official engagement of my little brother and his blushing bride-to-be **ahhhh**.

I can only assume (because I didn't actually see it, and neither Elder Miss nor Boy have been very forth coming with an accounting of their actions) that what happened was this: Missy either fell down or was purposely lying prostrate having the shit bounced out of her (as is her wont), and Elder Miss--jumping far too close, as usual--came down, both feet landing hard on Missy's shin and ankle.

I knew immediately that something was very wrong. Like most toddlers Missy has a wide repertoire of wails and howls, but I had never heard anything quite in this ear piercing, soul seering range before.

We all assumed it was her ankle that was the trouble since it was visibly bruised, scraped, and swollen by the time we fished her off the trampoline. My future sister-in-law, who is a nurse, did some poking and prodding. She moved Missy's foot this way and that, then confidently declared it a sprain. I very much wanted to believe this benign diagnosis, so we gave her some ibuprofen, put some ice on it, and commenced with the tut-tutting and shush-shushing. After an hour and 40 minutes of uninterrupted sobbing, I let the frantic mother in me take over and insisted that my dad drive us to the after hours clinic.

To their credit, no one there so much as raised an eyebrow when I explained that my 2 year old had been jumping on a trampoline with my 4 and 6 year olds, and somehow managed to hurt her foot. I was, and still am, completely mortified despite their discretion.

It wasn't until the doctor examined her whole leg that it became clear that the real problem was closer to her knee than her ankle. X-rays were taken. A diagnosis was made. Missy finally stopped crying (four hours later) when they put the splint on.

My poor dad was flabbergasted when I told him that her leg was actually broken. He had bought the tramp for the kids at the beginning of the summer, and I know he was feeling partially responsible.
The next morning, after a fairly horrible, sleepless night, Elder Miss gently petted Missy's Ace bandage and said, "I did this. And I'm very sorry." I, of course, made it clear that it was an accident and that it certainly wasn't her fault. That we, as the adults, should have been watching more closely and that we never should have allowed Missy to jump with the big kids. Elder Miss readily absorbed everything I said and hasn't mentioned it since, but it was still sweet to see her acknowledge her part in the drama that way.

Missy's current status is stable. She's more or less used to the splint now. She's clearly bored and frustrated at not being able to move around at will. But she doesn't fight it. And she's not in much pain anymore other than a few twinges now and then when it gets bumped or moved too quickly.
Life goes on
She'll get a cast put on early Firday morning. I'm told it will take 4 to 6 weeks to heal. I'm hoping against hope that the cast is off by the time we have to leave in August.

So you see, in the end it was a sad saga of regret and woe, as well as a cautionary tale, and of course, it's all very apropos of my life and leisure as having a gimpy baby means I don't have much of either. Still no workable metaphor in there, but it all makes for a pretty good story.

*actions to be preformed by me, the narrator*
**exclamations to be made by you, the reader**
***and, just in case any of you are as ignorant as me, and don't know what proximal means, I looked it up: situated near the point of origin or attachment, as of a limb or bone. So basically there's no displacement, just a tiny crack in the tibia just below her knee. The doctor explained that it's a small crack, but it's a big bone, so it hurts a lot***

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Basic JEDA 101

Here's a little something that's been kicking around as a draft for quite a while now. The idea was not mine. I stole it outright from some nice lady's blog I stumbled upon late one dark, rainy night. If she, in turn, happens to stumble upon mine and be pissed at the thievery, chill already! I mean, it's kind of a compliment, right? And besides, chances are better than good you yourself stole the damn thing from someone else, who stole it from his cousin, who still it from her college roommate, who stole it from her dorky little brother, and so on and so forth back to the first blogger's first blog.

Anyway, it felt like a good exercise in introspection and self-discovery, so I thought I'd give it a try. Turned out to be a bit more onerous and taxing than I had bargained for. Glad to be done with it.

Enjoy. Hope you learn something new about me. Hope even more that you still think fondly of me when you're done.

1--I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah.
2--I am annoyed by people who try to label me a mid-westerner because they don't know where Utah is.
3--I am not a Mormon. Don't believe any church registrar who tries to tell you otherwise. The baptism didn't take, a'ight? I shook that shit off. I'm free. FREE I tell you!
4--No, I doth not protest too much. I'm just sayin' is all...
5--I was a straight A student in high school.
6--In college....not so much.
7--I can't parallel park.
8--I have an androgenous name that I am not particularly fond of.
9--I'm not very pretty in pink, a fact for which I partially blame the name.
10--I read magazines from back to front.
11--I have a tendency to be overly negative
12--Overly sarcastic
13--And overly defensive.
14--But deep down inside I'm a dreamy romantic who wants nothing more than to see fairies dance by the light of a harvest moon.
15--Tacos and beer are my favorite dinner.
16--I like Joe better than Steve.
17--I envy anyone who doesn't understand the above reference.
18--I appear to be most drawn to the color green, though I wouldn't consciously call it my favorite color.
19--Sage is my favorite color of green.
20--I am a cat person.
21--I am not a people person.
22--I will never join the PTO.
23--I prefer my lattes, my bagels, and my cream cheese plain.
24--Once in college, an insufferable bitch told me that this made me a narrow-minded, unimaginative Republican.
25--The above accusation is patently untrue.
26--I tend to stay up way too late because I'm genuinely daunted by my inability to fall asleep easily.
27--I have never had as many friends as I do right now.
28--There are many, many things about me (facts 150 through 330, for example) my friends will never know.
29--Fact 331 regards the reason for my preference for Emma Woodhouse over Elizabeth Bennet.
30--I assume no one cares, so I won't be sharing that one either.
31--I believe in angels.
32--But I have shockingly little faith in God.
33--None whatsoever in religion.
34--I have a silly, school girl crush on Mark Wahlberg.
35--I'm a terrible speller.
36--I need to believe people who tell me this has nothing to do with intelligence.
37--I'm a sleep nazi--this means I'm snarky and judgemental about parents who don't let their children get the sleep they need.
38--Speaking of children, I love mine.
39--But I have very little patience for their neediness.
40--I'm a terrible housekeeper.
41--I do NOT do windows. Ever.
42--But I'm very good a stain removal.
43--Mine is a dry wit.
44--I want to see Macchu Picchu before I die.
45--My 7th grade locker combination was 7-13-9.
46--I like my handwriting though it is not particularly neat or pretty--just distinctive.
47--I'm not overly sentimental.
48--I know that my lack of sentimentality has, many times, hurt the feelings of those closest to me.
49--I feel bad about this, but I can't seem to help myself.
50--I'm extremely intolerant of stupidity--especially my own.
51--I prefer roses to daisies
52--Gold to silver
53--Folk to country.
54--Apparently, I'm a wee bit pretentious.
55--I let my children watch way too much TV.
56--I watched way too much TV myself as a child, so I'm confident they'll turn out okay anyway.
57--Mint is always a good idea......most especially Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.
58--I have never seriously contemplated suicide.
59--I have to have a pillow between my legs to sleep.
60--My favorite dreams are the ones where I discover something I thought I'd lost forever.
61--I like to psycho-analyze myself and I believe the above has something to do with my parent's divorce.
62--I'm pushing at a size 12 and it's killing me.
63--Though others pretend, I believe I actually do have it in me to write children's literature.
64--I lack the disciplin and confidence to actually try.
65--This blog is meant to be a step towards learning both.
66--I've never had a cavity.
67--I kill houseplants.
68--I crochet, quilt, and scrapbook-- but never very consistently, and none of it very well.
69--I love to crack the spine of a new book.
70--If I could relive my childhood I'd insist on ballet lessons and a second litter of kittens.
71--I loath chewing gum.
72--I avoid confrontation at all costs.
73--To this end, I have imaginary arguments in the shower with the people I'm mad at.
74--I hate zoos. 'Natural habitate' is just a fancy way to say cage, and cages are not nice.
75--I believe that vulgarity is an art that must be practiced to be perfected.
76--I have a simian line.
77--I spend far too much time online.
78--Nothing makes me happier than watching a toddler try to dance.
79--I am an expert at passive-aggressive warfare.
80--I've lived in Europe long enough that I no longer need ice in my drinks.
81--Other relics of my stay abroad: hairy pits
82--A fondness for bitter beer
83--And a somewhat relaxed attitude toward public nudity.
84--Objectively speaking, I'm 98% certain I have the cutest children on the planet. And by "cute" I mean attractive. Behaviorally, they rank barely above average.
85--In high school and college I was a closet smutty, historical fiction fan.
86--I haven't read a bodice ripper in nearly 10 years now. I kind of miss them.
87--I cheat on crosswords. But usually only to confirm the spelling of an answer I already know.
89--I've never had sex outside.
90--I'm genuinely okay with that.
91--People tend to think I'm smarter than I actually am.
92--I'm okay with that too.
93--The sego lily is Utah's state flower. Yesterday, I saw one for the first time. They're really quite lovely.
94--I have an over-active imagination that hears ghosts and sees spiders in many a shadey corner.
95--I like to eat raw potato.
96--I'm a terrible liar.
97--I think gradual self-tanning moisturizers are one of the greatest inventions of the modern age. Right up there with, you know, the internet and digital technology and shit.
98--I laugh when I'm nervous.
99--Dark chocolate, which I love, gives me a headache.
100--It took me well over a month to complete this list.
101--I find that rather pathetic.

EXTRA CREDIT

102--You forgot lazy, ugly, and disrespectful.
103--Shut up, bitch! Go fix me a turkey pot pie.
104--I pity anyone who doesn't understand the above reference.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Jinx

I wish to take a moment to address a minor miracle that has occurred in the past week since we arrived in SLC. But first, a little background for those few of my rapt audience who may not be aware of the full magnitude of the situation. Also, for the sake of posterity, lest I ever forget the horror.

The crux of the matter is this: The Boy has leaky pipes. Very, very leaky, often 5 pants a day, pipes that have been the bane of my existence for nigh on a year now.

On August 3rd of last year, just shy of his 3rd birthday, I embarked upon a cold-turkey potty training regimen that rocked his little world right to its tender core. He wasn't ready. However, I had little choice but to plow forward as he was set to start a pre-school program that required its students to be out of diapers. Deposits had been paid, school clothes had been bought, the time had come anyway--he was going to start school, goddammit!

The first two and a half months were the worst. He was sent home daily with 3 or 4 bags of soiled clothing. I had meeting after meeting with his teachers who eventually backed down from their threats of expulsion after I made it clear just how loudly and publicly I'd complain if they didn't shut the fuck up and just deal with it. Turns out I had excellent grounds for my hard-assedness as none of the literature or by-laws for the pre-school said anything anywhere about a zero tolerance policy towards accidents. Plus I had some inside information about ongoing behavioral and toileting troubles that several other students were having, and I was fully prepared to use it. Why they were singling out my barely 3 year old son's inability to stay dry as freakishly abnormal, I do not know. But it pissed me off, stressed me out, and (I blush to admit) embarrassed me every single day.

Sometime in October he stopped shitting his pants, and life became marginally more bearable. I don't know how or why, but one day he decided that poop was vile and belonged in the toilet. Thereafter, he started taking care of it on his own without any prompting or urging from me or his teachers. Not so the urine.

The number of bags coming home to me went from 3 or 4 soiled and wet ones, to 1 or 2 just wet ones, but this pattern went on unaltered for months on end. It wasn't until after Christmas that he'd manage the odd perfect day at school. But then he'd invariably piss through 6 pairs of pants the following day when he was home with me.

I cannot even begin to calculate the number of hours I've spent over the past 10 months dithering and worrying, justifying and speculating, arguing and rationalizing with Mister and friends the why's and wherefore's of his stubborn refusal to even try to stay dry. He clearly knew what needed to be done, because he was able to pull it off on the odd day or two. Back in January, there was even a near fortnight where he stayed dry, but then he had a bad day and it all went to hell all over again.
Whether it was physiological, psycological, or just plain laziness, none of it ever made any sense to me. And I had long since resigned myself to another 3 or 4 years of this bullshit.

Then--maybe 3 or 4 weeks ago, he started peeing standing up. I guess he had had enough of just watching the big boys at school pee this way, and he decided he had to have a go at it himself. I'd further speculate that his first attempt was successful, because folks, it made all the difference in the world.

Mind you, he still had his fair share of accidents. Mostly in the evenings when he was tired or busy playing with his sisters. But for the first time I saw signs of embarrassment and remorse at having wet himself or the floor. For the first time he seemed eager to get to the toilet on his own to try this new trick of his. For the first time in months, I had real hope.

And now for the miracle. Since we got here....not one.....not one single drop of pee anywhere but the toilet. No damp undies. No piles of wet clothes kicked furtively under the bed so I wouldn't find them and scold him. No puddles around the toilet because he couldn't get his pants down in time (this type of accident, by the way, I'm okay with, and fully expect to see again....I'm just sayin', it hasn't happened yet...)

As the title of this rather lengthy entry suggests, I realize I may be crowing a bit too soon on this one. After all, we have been here before. Hell, it hasn't even been a full week yet. But somehow, this feels like the real deal. I've even seen him get up from playing with his trucks saying, "I have to pee," and scurry off to the toilet. And today, he got off the trampoline because he had to pee. Two months ago he wouldn't even have bothered to acknowledge the sensation of a full bladder, let alone taken steps to relieve it.

It took 10 months, but by George, I think he's got it!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Summer Starts Now

There were moments of awfulness. Two moments each of kindness and cooperation. Many, many moments of exasperation. Finally, in the end, there was nothing left but exhaustion.

We did not meet the Duke of Notkickingseats, as I expected, but we did have the pleasure of flying with the Countess and the High Priestess of Coldcabincrew. So that was a special treat.

Fucking bitches--seriously--to look at them you'd think that a smile would interfer with the navigational equipment or something. I don't care how many times Missy pushed the attendent call button, a little levity would make everyone's trip a little easier. No?

Anyway, we're here. We're whole. We're still pooped, but we're already having a fine time.

I must say, though, that the weather has been a bit of a shocker. When we boarded the plane over yonder it was a brisk 50 degrees and wet. Today in SLC was toasty warm in the upper 80's--not exactly sweltering, I know, but quite a shock to the system if you're neither used to nor particularly fond of such heat.

The kids are a little wilted by the abrupt change. Boy is crabby and refuses to eat. Missy keeps pulling at the sweaty curls at the nape of her neck and whining, "Drrr-tee. Drrr-tee." While climbing into a blistering hot car after a quick trip to Walmart to stock up on flip-flops and tank tops, Elder Miss, always my serene little stoic, merely remarked, "Fwww--it's quite hot in America, isn't it Mom?"

Yes lovies, it's finally summer.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Request

If, tomorrow, you should per chance find yourself traveling your nation's airways, and you happen upon a mother traveling alone with three small children, please, I beg of you, think only the kindest of thoughts.

You'll know her when you see her. She'll be the one with stringy unkempt hair, grimly clinched jaw, and khaki cargo pants stained at both knees with what must be apple juice. She's sure to have a dazed, hallowness about her eyes as if she's spent the night watching air crash documentaries; reckoning and re-reckoning her own limbs divided by the total number, mass, and area of offspring, and imagining the worst.

Her children will shuffle limply in a tight arc around her. Wilted with fatigue, yet jittery with the bustle of modern jet propulsion, they'll communicate in a series of low, churning grunts and whines that will manage to be indecipherable yet lyrically eloquant at the same time. Their mother will be doing her best to ignore them entirely. You should do the same.

Yes. If you should happen upon this poor, haggard woman and her strange, keening brood, please spare them your impatience, your exasperation, and your churlish discontent. Rather, smile benignly and let them pass. They mean you no harm.

And alas, weary traveller, if you've been forsaken by the beneficence of St. Christopher, and you find yourself seated in front of this little family----

Hey look buddy, they're going to kick the seats. She's 6. She's 2. He's 4. And I'm holding it together with silly puddy right now, so that's just the way it's gonna be. Now I suggest you turn your evil-eye towards terrorism because I have nothing more to say to your sorry ass. Good day, Sir!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Kill Me Now

I just finished what was left of the birthday cake.

I do not deserve to live.

Also, I have a headache. And I have to drag 3 children across an ocean and two continents on Thursday. Alone.

It's not to be bourne, I tell you. It's simply not to be bourne.....

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Two Years Ago Today

Right at this very moment.....

I was in labor with Missy the Younger. Early stages of it, mind you. Mostly hot and nauseous and panicking as my body started to remember the pain of real contractions, but things were on their way to happening and I remember it being a bit of a tussle to get any of the midwives to pay me any heed when I told them, "Yes, I know I've laid utterly stalled in this curséd bed all day long, but I'm telling you I'm in labor now, goddammit, and when my body decides to go into labor it does not fuck around. I will be pushing now, thank you very much."

We had her party this afternoon. And a very merry party it was.

Chaos reigned supreme upstairs and the kids--all 13 of them--tore the place all to hell. The carpet in Elder Miss's room will never be the same thanks to a rather unfortunate gift of something called Window Crayons. Three rolls of toilet paper were ultimately sacrificed to the cause of fun. And puddles of punch have been sopped up from every nook and cranny imaginable.

Clearly there was a conspicuous lack of adult supervision, but happily there were no fatalities. Clever children.

Personally, I had a great time. And I'd like to say, without getting too sappy and sentimental, that I'm very grateful for the friends I have found this past year. They helped make what might have been a very dull, obiligatory event into a truly fun and joyful memory.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Lift Me

Living in a country with a state religion definitely has its advantages. Turns out you get actual bank holidays for such obscure biblical events as Ascension and Pentacost. Yesterday was Ascension Day.

Every year Mister and I have this absorbing debate as to whether it's the ascension of Christ or Mary we're celebrating. Every year we quickly conclude it must be Christ, as who but Dan Brown and his ilk really give a damn about Mary anyway. And every year Mister ends the conversation by asking, "Now was this before or after He went to Mexico?"

After, surely....?

Coming up on our annual weekend o' birthday parties, so it's going to be a busy one for us. Wish I could say I'm looking forward to it.

Everyone wish my lovely ladies a happy, happy birthday. Elder Miss wants Bratz Genie Magic lipstick, and Missy the Younger fervently wishes her diaper rash away. Now close your eyes and blow.......

Monday, May 22, 2006

Phase I

As any half-way decent carpenter worth his salt will tell you, the first part of any remodeling project is demolition. Actually no--I tell a lie. Surely a good carpenter would, at this point, clear his throat and gently remind me that before the demolition the site must be cleared. But we are not in the habit of employing good carpenters, are we? This is Mister and his father we're talking about, and these are fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants kinds of builders. Fuck protocal. Let's get the job DONE! We're talking about the man who carved a hole in the ceiling directly over the computer without bothering to move the thing or even cover it with a sheet, just because, well, the roof was on and by Christ he needed to get upstairs!. Whatever. It's really not the point. The point is, I got to do a little demolition yesterday. And it was fun.

While I was strickly forbidden from slamming any holes in the walls just yet, it was nonetheless very absorbing and empowering work. I even got to use my swank, girly tools with the pink handles that my mother sent me for my birthday. How cool am I?

Actually--ahem--not very. All I managed was to disassemble three cheapy, free-standing, IKEA-esque wardrobes that were standing in the way of the real work. And while Michelle has laid claim to the smaller of the three, in the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should point out that the bottom of the middle drawer is warped and dogdey from wet raingear having been stuffed in it at some point in its life, the doors are misaligned and slighty askew cuz' it's so damn cheap, and the rod was held in place by duct tape and electrical wire (I forget why). So there. Can't say I didn't warn you. Not my fault you only occasionally take the time to read me......

Rain has been forecast for the entire week, so it seems that I will be hostessing a birthday party in the midst of our demolition. We were hoping we'd get a nice day for Missy's birthday so we could have a picnic at the lake--roast some hotdogs and marshmallows, maybe a little scavanger hunt for the kids--such a nice idea once again foiled by shitty weather. Not to worry. The kids really don't give a damn about the mess, and the parents have been warned to disregard the worst of the clutter; simply step over the more trifling bits. It'll be fine. Fun maybe. And this new plan comes with the added advantage of extra hands to move the piano out of the construction zone.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Northern Lights

We're getting to the part in the Nordic program where the light is really starting to adversely affect my sleep. It's just after 6 a.m. and the bloody sun is way the hell up and all like "Hey look at me! Sunny day! Sunny day! Woo hoo!"

Sun or no sun (as is often the case) it's been full on daylight for hours and hours now. The birds start in around quarter to 4. And basically I'm tired enough to kill something right now. But no-oooooo, it's spring and everything's lovely and green, and a front porch full of bird corpses so early in the morning would probably disturb the children. 'Course, I could blame it on the cat.....

Elder Miss climbed in bed with me yesterday morning, put her arms around me, and said, "You're getting nice again," After a big kiss on the cheek, she added, "I love you when you're nice."
Pfft--so much for unconditional love!

Turns out I have to be nice to get the cuddles?!!! Goddam fickle chidren!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Historical Footnote

So I've been hemming and hawing over the past few days, wondering what to write about next.
In the meantime, I've been poking around other folks' spaces doing some reading, some mocking, some what-the-fucking.....as you do.

Now, I know I'm not the hippest, trendiest skirt in the closet. Two years ago this time I wouldn't have had a clue what a blog was or where to find one if asked. I became sort of vaguelly aware of their existence during the 2004 election cycle, but it was months and months before I realized a blog could be anything more than a political bashing ground. I entered the wider world of mommy and infertility blogs maybe 6 months ago by following links from the various discussion boards I hang out on.

Anyway, my general assumption has been that this whole blog thing is a relatively new phenomenon, and yet a lot of these blogs I've been visiting through MSN have archives that go back 3, 4, even 5 years! And now I realize it's all been said, and done, and covered about a thousand times before.
So, once again, I find myself in the position of unoriginal hack, plodding down the well trod path of younger, hipper hacks who had the good sense to jump on the bandwagon long before I ever knew it existed. This depresses me. I wanted to have something interesting and fresh to add to the discussion.

Before I go continue my sulk, I'd like to offer this little history lesson for...well, ahem, anyone who might be interested...coughJillycoughcough...

Norway never declared its independence from Denmark. Denmark lost its sovereignty over Norway as result of the Napoleonic wars. 17. Mai marks the day in 1814 that a constitution was signed establishing an independent union with Sweden. The union was later dissolved in 1905 when Norway finally achieved full independence.


Also, Elder Miss wants to know why mirrors have to copy us.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Spawn

Day four of The Great Spider Hatch 2006.

Tuesday morning (day one) I woke up to find the ceiling in the basement covered with hundreds of tiny baby spiders. Spiders, spiders, everywhere spiders.

It's okay. It's fine. It's happened before.

I gaped, slack-jawed at their prodigious numbers. I marvelled briefly at the evolutionary triumph of such large scale breeding. Then I vacuumed the little bastards up and went about my day with the itchy, heebie-jeebies crawling up my back.

Woke up Wednesday morning to the same sight. Again Thursday. And yet again today, albeit in significanly smaller numbers--hardly even a hundred to hoover this morning.

I must admit, it's beginning to feel a little like an arachno-conspiracy is unfolding in my basement. I'm having visions of digitally animated spider generals marshalling their infant troops for yet another doomed onslaught. "Once more into the breech dear spidies...."

Boy cries and whines when he sees one hanging in his path.

Missy nonchalantly pinches them between her fingers, holds them out for inspection, and says, "Ew, ick."

Then she goes looking for another one.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Immigration

So I went to the police station today to get my visa stamped in my new passport (something that should have been done two years ago when I actually got my new passport...but whatever...not really the point).

When we (Michelle and I) arrived, the queue stood at number 86. Ours was number 130. Clearly we were looking at a long wait. And wait we did. And we waited. And then we waited some more. All tolled we stood around probably 90 minutes, maybe more. When we finally got our turn at the window, we explained what we needed, the woman said, "Fine," shoved our pictures and passports in a little Ziploc, and said, "Come back Friday to pick them up."

Over and done with in all of 30 seconds.

The efficiency is rather astounding, no?

90 minutes of foreplay. 30 seconds of wham-bam-thank you Ma'am.

Inexplicable, inscrutable, absurd.

For those of you who know the chorus, sing it with me.....FUCKING SOCIALISTS!!!!

Though I suppose I shouldn't complain too much. As Mister oh so reasonably points out to me-- bureaucracy is bureaucracy all over the world. You can't beat it so why bitch about it. Which is his way of saying, "I tire of your story, now pass the Parmesan."