Thursday, 30 August 2007

grace, I think

I was always the clumsy one in my group of friends in high school. I like to think it was because I had so much going on in my head at the time,(I was a poet! Thinking poetical thoughts! And about that hot junior! And....stuff!) but in reality I rushed through everything and so scored some really incredible pratfalls.

I remember being the only person not drinking at an outdoor party and falling down. (Okay, it was all ice and we were partying on the surface of a frozen lake. But still, THE ONLY ONE TO FALL DOWN.)

Graduation Day my co-marcher and I had started out when I noticed she was gripping my hand so hard she was leaving welts on it. 'Leggo! Are you nervous?' I said, trying to pull my hand away. She shook her beautifully made-up head at me and hissed 'No, Jessica. I am holding your hand because if you go down the football team (who were right behind us) will step on you.'

I once put my contacts in and scratched myself in the eye so badly I had to wear an eye-patch. Of course, I would do that right before what are now refered to as the 'Pirate Family Pictures' were taken. Graceful to the end.

Thankfully, after a few years I seemed to outgrow most of that. Oh, I still manage some spectacular idiotstick stuff (skewering my hand and jumping full force onto a bit of broken glass come to mind) but it's not an occupational hazard to be near me anymore.

Or maybe it is. Nature does abhor a vacuum. Now it's after B.

B has been sawing down trees in our back forty. He wants to have the logs planed and shaped (yes, and I know that's not the actual term for it...milled? whatever) and use the boards to build things. Last night I took the two friskies and went into the woods. For exercise, y'know. We watched as B toppled a few trees and cut the limbs off, the kids ran all over and looked at things, it was fun.

B was wearing his safety helmet with the face shield pulled down. He went past a tree and the branch flashed back under the face shield and knocked him in the eye just hard enough to bug him. His eye wasn't tearing up, wasn't irritated, didn't hurt - just a little double vision - until about three hours later, when it wasn't getting any better. Into town we went, where the doc told him to take it easy for the next few days and blink a lot*, and now....well, I'm not enjoying the lumbering off-kilter person who squints at me and occasionally walks into the kitchen door so much.

It's giving me some distressingly familiar flashbacks.

I think I'm going to start calling him Grace.

*It wasn't patched. No special meds. Obviously not a horrendously big deal. Just owie. Therefore, I get to poke fun.

Monday, 27 August 2007

(bad) construction sight

The region has been working on putting new sewer lines and water hookup to a part of town for what seems like forever (and is actually a matter of months now) and my kids love the flagmen. Love to wave, love to have them wave back. I hate the waiting. The site is dusty, dirty, and too long.

Today when we pulled up I was distracted (concentrating on my day ahead) and didn't notice there was a new flagmen. Cass noticed, though. From his seat behind me came 'Rosey, look! That's not the guy from last week!'

Rosey pressed her nose up against the window and agreed.

They were both waving as we got to the head of the line (stopped again, damnit) when C faltered.

'Mom....' (a pause, then a steathly whisper)

Rosey! Look at his pants.

Rosey considered, nodding. Poiple, Tass. Poiple. See, Mama?

'Oh! I guess they are!' They were actually kind of mauve-ish....

We all studied the flagman in the poiple pants. He was sort of squat and square, barking into his transmitter, turned toward the other flagman, who was busily waving at the kids. Cass said, flatly, 'Those aren't purple, Rosey. They're pink. Mom, why does he have pink pants on?'

'Maybe he likes pink.'

Then the worker turned around and waved us forward - and suddenly the pink pants made sense. Because the flagmen was a squat, square, hard-hatted, steel-toed wearing woman.

Rosey rolled down her window. 'You're a girl!' she told the surprised woman as we thundered by.

(I'm pretty sure at that point I was the same color as her pants.)

And I'm very sure that on the way home, we'll be taking the other road.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

wrinkly pages

I was reading in the livingroom today while Cass watched a movie, and became gradually aware that I knew this, I did, and what the hell? I had to be wrong.

Surely noone had taken that bright and shining book and pressed it dry and lifeless into a movie, had they?


Stifling an impulse to ram my fingers into my mouth and burble Why, God, why? I watched helplessly as the plot was turned inside out and back around again.

It was cleverly done - the effects were quite good, and someone spent a sh boatload of money on hiring established stars...but if you're not going to remain even a little true to the book, what's the point?

Cass was oblivious to my distress. He loved the movie, and was disappointed when it ended abruptly (and what the hell is up with mystery tv? They take old movies and break them up with so many commercials [advertising what's coming on that channel, natch] they have to stop the movie in the middle.) and now we'll have to hunt out a copy somewhere, I suppose.

I think if I just wait a few weeks I can read him the book and he'll never connect the two.

Update: Halloween costume red alert: He's changed his mind. Now he doesn't want to be a pirate ship (thank god) but.....

he wants to be a dragon. Preferably one like he's seen used for the Chinese New Year.

I'm so screwed.

Friday, 24 August 2007

they both can't wait to get in

Cass starts primary next month. And he's thrilled. He's got big plans - how he's going to sit with the bigger boys on the bus and run really fast in gym and share all his toys and raise his hand and gets straight A's in everything.

He has requested a backpack with a dragon on it and a lunchbox with a knight. (Although I'm thinking we could probably win him over with dinosaurs, since that will be so much easier to find. Right? Crap.)

We paid a flat fee during his orientation that covered all his pencils and pens, crayons and notebooks, so getting him ready for his first year in school! seems anti-climactic.

The biggest thrill on the first day, every year, for me was sorting out all my new trapper-keepers and deciding which color folder best suited each class. Remember how pristine everything was? It was almost as if having a tidy notebook was going to help you be smarter.

And for weeks before school started I'd flop on my bed with Seventeen magazines and a pair of scissors, cutting out words and pictures for my locker. (Okay, that was later on - I'm quite sure I didn't have a locker until junior high.)

But he's excited. And while I admit to being a little worried that he'll be bored*, knowing that he thinks of this as an adventure soothes me out a bit.

I'm not looking forward to the six weeks in between Cass starting school and when R starts pre-school, though. She's mad enough that we won't let her go now (despite the fact that even the teacher isn't there yet) that the wait for her third birthday is going to be excruciating.

In the meantime, we're having conversations like this:
Me: Rosey, where are you going?
R: (headed out the door, my purse slung over her arm) I need to go to school, Mama.
Me: But school hasn't started yet.
R: (drops purse, stubborn look.) Wess**, Mama. It has. I go.
Me: Nope. Come back and show me how you sort these numbers.
R: (jaw juts out) Mama, NO! I GO!
Me: No.
R: Wess! Wess! Wess! WESS!
And then her head whirls around and she gives me the evil eye and stomps out to the kitchen. Rosey has spoken. I should be fearing for her teenage years, right?

*C missed the cut-off date by four days last year, and so will turn six this October. While he isn't a wunderkind, he has had a lot more exposure to reading and numbers than some of the kids have. And he's totally over the rest period idea. Woe be to the teacher that tries to make him lie down on his little rug.

**Rosey can say You and Yellow and Yoyo and Yuck. She can't, however, say Yes. It's Wess all the way. (My Germanic ancestors applaud.)

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

nope, I didn't tell him

And I got home last night

and there had been NO zerberting. NONE. ZILCH. ZERO.

Which made it doubly-exciting for B when we dog-piled him and everyone blew simultaneously.

(Ah, my husband. He's pretty sure he married a loon. I counter that it takes one to know one. And he shakes his head and gives up.)

Sunday, 19 August 2007

nothing cures the blues better *edited*

Bath time tonight was a wild and woolly affair - the kids were half-worn out with sunshine and running outside and sloshing each other was screamingly fun....

Until C got a face-full and bumped his head on the side of the tub.

Usually, Cass can handle the lumps and bumps. He's a Big Boy. But half-worn out and hyped up, he burst into fragile tears and demanded a hug and the duck towel in rapid succession.

I was petting and soothing when he turned his wet head into my shoulder and blew out a shuddery breath right into my skin.

A huge b-r-r-r-r-a-tttt! noise filled the air. Rosey's jaw dropped. Cass went absolutely still.

Then he burst into peals - no, howls - of laughter. And did it again. And again. And again.

By the time I chased them off to bed, he had taught R to zerbert too, and they were both trying it out on their arms, legs, feet, hands.....

and not a mention of his goose egg.

**edited to add: R just padded downstairs, slid onto my lap and zerberted me again. Except she calls it I tooting on you wif' my mouf'! all gleeful grins and belly chuckles.

I go off to work tomorrow and the kids stay with B all day. Think I should warn him?

Thursday, 16 August 2007

looking for a wench

I belong to Freecycle. We've gotten some nice things off of it, and given some away - it works well out here as a grass-roots 'If you need it, someone has one' sort of thing.

However, I'm certain I don't have what this guy wants:

i am looking for a wench for a 4 wheeler if you have one your not useing you can email me.

At least, I hope we don't have one hiding out in the shed.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

stuck in between

9:13 am - Maybe, just maybe, I can sneak in a few pages of the book I've been reading at stolen moments - the new one from Joshilyn Jackson (well, at least the close-to-new-one) I watch the kids eat cereal and respond with a variety of humms and really? as I struggle not to fall under the book's spell. It's hard - this is a really good book.

10:07 - There is a game of catch going on in the livingroom. Instead of a ball, Cass and the dog are using one of R's beloved baby dolls - and she is shrieking at a frequency normally only used for sonar. This does need an adult referee. (sigh)

10:17 - The dog is....UP ON THE SOFA. This is Defcon One disobedience, and much flapping and stern-ness from me is required. The Brown Evil One caged, I send the kids to do their morning room tidies and dive back into mah book.

11:04 - I think they're dead. Or dismantling the bathtub. Or something. There is silence from above, and this is odd enough to make me put the book down (no, no, don't really wanna!) and go upstairs, where C and R are blissfully making Lego towers and toppling them with toy cars. Wah-hoo!

12:00 - Rosey wants to read my book now. Staring at the pages, she tells me a tale of 'lephants and Haspa, and a girl that lives on the moon, which is so compelling that I don't notice that she's lost my page and waved her peanut-butter sandwich all over it until the end.

12:30 - Naptime. Or as it's come to be called, My Reading Time. This afternoon, I must pay more attention to the kids. Besides, I've only a few pages left. Maybe the park....

(weeping) She died? The little girl DIED?

voice at my door: Mama, why you crying?
me: The book made me sad, honey.
R: Is a bad book?
me: Sometimes book make you sad.
R: Like Babar?
me: (oookay. No elephants died, but...okay.)Like Babar.

R then took the book away, threw it down the stairs (my budding literary critic!) and replaced it in my (stunned and) outstretched hand with The Little Engine That Could.

R: Here's a good book, Mama. No make you cry.

Now I had to read The Little Engine while sneaking glances at Between (Which is damned good, and needs to be read in one unbroken strip)and this is not working and augh!

The Little Engine won out, of course. I had to read the last few (heartrending) pages of my book hiding in the bathroom later.

After I took the kiddles out to the park and the pool.

Friday, 10 August 2007

sometimes a pratfall makes you think

Sometimes clumsiness likes to follow me around.

This morning I managed to get all the way to the gas station without rendering myself or anyone else insensible, then I tripped over the doorjamb and nearly cannonballed into a man buying bananas and his buddy, who switched his toothpick from one side to another and asked if I needed a hand.

I sorted myself out and went to pour coffee, where I nearly spilt the entire jug of milk over everything, slopped coffee on the counter, and dropped (then kicked) my car keys.

The attendant raised her eyebrows at me. "Bad day, Jess?"

I waved her off. "No, a good day. Just a bad start."

I'm amazed at all the comments on my last post. Thank you, my friends.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007


And now, after a few false starts, a couple of rounds of 'where did the appointment go?' and a tense last week, I can finally report....

the boobages, they are normal.

Monday, 6 August 2007

anatomy of a (short) nap

Ahhhhh...peace. Peace and quiet and nothing but the white-noise of the room fan. A mellow blissed-out cat beside me, snuggled into my pillows, everything's getting softer and rounder around the edges and there's a hollowness to my thought patterns...zzzonk.

Except. Except what was that? The bed moved. And then again.

Eyes still closed, I registered reluctantly the second bump! had been the cat jumping down huffily, which meant the first....

"Hi Mama. I can't sleep in my bed." Flinging her blankie over my head, she climbed over me and sprawled out.

I reluctantly opened one eye. "Hi."

"I 'member, Mama. I sleep in your bed if I quiet and not move around a lot."

Had I promised her that?? Really?? Oy, she was here now.

I turned my face back into my pillow. "G'night, Rosey."

"G'night, Mama."

Peace. Peace and quiet and nothing but the white-noise of the room fan. Ah, bliss.

Except. Except the foot in my ribs. Girlie was listing to the side off her pillows.
Straightening her up, I yawned and said (mildly for someone who had now been woken up twice) "Mama's sleepy, Rosey. Lie still and naptime, okay?"

"Okey-dokey, Mama." Then she sealed the deal by patting my shoulder. Vigorously.

Wham! Pat pat pat pat pat.

Leaving behind any real hope of sleep, I sat up in bed. I frowned. I opened my mouth...

and she spoke.

"No send me back! I be quiet now." She curled into a shrimp-like ball, thumb in mouth, blankie in fist.


With September -and school - fast approaching, I wonder how many more times she and I will nap together. And how on earth did Cass got so big so fast and she grew up without me noticing?

Saturday, 4 August 2007

superhero worship

Wal-Mart To Sell Christian Action Figures
Retailer Claims Demand High For Faith-Based Toys That Include Talking Jesus Doll

(AP) Wal-Mart said Tuesday it will test sales in some stores of biblical action figures whose makers say they are aimed at Christian parents who prefer their children play with Samson, David or Noah rather than with a comic book character or Bratz doll.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien said the toys made by One2believe, a Valencia, Calif., company, will be offered in 425 of Wal-Mart's 3,376 discount stores and Supercenters.

One2believe Chief Executive David Socha said his products were part of a "battle for the toy box" with dolls and figures that he said carry negative messages.

"If you're very religious, it's a battle for your children's minds and what they're playing with and pretending. There are remakes out there of Satan and evil things," Socha said.

Wal-Mart's O'Brien said the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer believes there is demand for faith-based toys.

The toy line will be on some Wal-Mart shelves starting in August, mainly in the Midwest and South but also in California and as far northeast as Pennsylvania, O'Brien said.

"It is a test. It's not a national rollout," O'Brien said.

The toys, based on biblical stories, include a 3-inch figure of Daniel in the lion's den, a 12-inch talking Jesus doll and 13-inch Samson action figure.

Wal-Mart has always carried some faith products, mainly stationery, books and music, but this is the first line of toys with a faith theme, O'Brien said.

"I think there is an interest in faith-based toys and we are testing it in our stores," O'Brien said.

It is a leap in scale for One2believe, which so far has mainly sold its figures directly to churches and ministries and through its Web site, Socha said. 4 August, 07

See, I don't know what to say about that.

At my house, though, I would give it two days (max) before Jesus would be Spidey's new sidekick, borrowing Superman's cape and kicking some Philistine butt.

And what does the talking Jesus doll say???

Thursday, 2 August 2007

my kids watch too much tv

Cass, out in the kitchen, begging to be able to plug in the toaster by himself:
"But Mom! I'm such a chef with toast and cereal!"

and while he and I were enthusiastically debating his turning on electrical appliances without me there, Rosey ran in with the tv remote. Pointing it at my chest, she whammed on the buttons.

I was side-tracked. "R, what on earth are you doing?"

"Too loud, Mama. Too loud."

Yup. She was trying to turn my volume down.

Yarn over and over

Someone, an old babysitter maybe, taught me to crochet when I was six. I remember making long braided loops of yarn and thinking how pretty ...