BlogHer Reviewer

MeKate's got a new Etsy store. Gorgeous paintings!

A dear friend is selling ADORABLE handknit baby clothes. If you're in the market, have a look!

free counters

Small Things 10-31-13

1.  Halloween party yesterday–which Hen was oddly nervous about–went fine.  Days when something ‘new’ is on the schedule, he seems to be up a half-dozen times in the night with bad dreams.  Poor little guy letting his anxiety into his nightscape.  And the night before the party was a doozy, and he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to do it, but we hustled him off.  Turns out he liked the validation that being in costume gave him (because before that he wasn’t sure he liked wearing weird clothes, either.)  And he liked his own costume best of all (yay, me!) though he thought that a witch costume (that the only non-princess little girl was wearing) was pretty cool too.  Maybe next year, he thought, and I agreed that would be a fantastic costume for next year.

This year’s ghost costume consisted of yards of tulle basted to a big white shirt, with a cowl hood he refuses to wear.  Black & white & orange striped jammie pants sticking out underneath.  No makeup, but relatively ‘ghosty’ looking.  The Boy says it’s his ‘ballerina outfit’, but Hen & I know it’s his awesomely spooky ghost costume.  He’s three.  He’s lucky I didn’t just throw a sheet with two holes for his eyes over his head & call it good.

Trick-or-treating was much anticipated, but he was happy after 5 houses and wanted to get home and gloat over all that candy!  We were happy to let him call it a night–it was rainy and foggy–and I told him he could eat 5 pieces.  Weirdly, he chose the five smallest pieces, but seemed to enjoy them immensely.  We figured he’d be wild for hours, but he went to bed at exactly the same time he always does.

That’s one awesomely happy (& spooky!) ghost…

2.  It had to happen, but Hen’s obviously been hearing stuff at school that we’ve kept from him.  Like “only girls wear dresses” and “pink is a girly color”.  He’s been trying these ideas out with us and we’re trying to navigate, um, delicately.  I don’t want to invalidate what he’s hearing when it obviously does reflect societal mores, but I also don’t want to agree with such stereotyping gender-conformity statements unconditionally.  So we talk about it.  How some girls like dresses & some boys do too.  Probably more girls than boys, but it doesn’t mean no boys like dresses or that there’s anything wrong with a boy in a dress.  Sigh.

If I get half a chance he’ll still be a witch next year for halloween.  An awesomely happy (& spooky!) witch.

3.  We made Jack-o-lanterns today, and it was a blast.  First time I’ve ever used the nifty mini saws–I’m a long time, cut-yer-arm-off-with-the-dull-kitchen-knife pumpkin carver, so it was rather revelatory.  We had two small pumpkins from the garden and one big one from a farm to cut up–next year, we’re growing a crop all for ourselves.  Can’t wait to go nuts with the carving!

4.  iGoogle is going away tomorrow.  This is devastating even though I’ve known it’s coming for 18 months now.  But I’ve had an iGoogle page as a homepage for years and years and years and I did love having my weather & email & sticky notes and calendar all together on one page as a jumping-off point to online exploration.  But then Google reader disappeared, and I survived, so I suppose I’ll survive this too.  Change is good.  Or so I keep telling myself.


5. Hen’s taken to explaining to me very seriously each afternoon that he really can’t sleep, he’s not (yawn!) tired at all, and that perhaps he should just play quietly by himself for a while.  I agree that that’s all fine, and a good idea, but that first he needs to put his head down while I sing 3 songs.

He agrees happily, chatters on my shoulder for about a minute, and is crashed out, utterly unconscious before I even reach the end of the first song.  Whereupon he sleeps for an hour and a half.

I’m not sure why I find this new naptime ritual so hilarious, but I do.  It amuses me far more than it really should, no doubt, but watching him try to keep himself awake, only to be betrayed by his favorite sleepy song (which apparently has the power to send him instantly to snoozeville) is pretty funny.

I’m still willing to let him decide if he’s truly not tired, (but just saying it out loud won’t make it so, kiddo!)  I guess the nap is going to be around for a while longer.  Which is fine by me.  Dozing for five minutes while he sleeps draped over my body is still one of my favorite parts of the day, and I was sorry to say goodbye to it for those few days he wasn’t sleeping.

6.  Henry loves school now, which is really quite wonderful to see.  Such a huge relief, such fun to watch him get excited about school days instead of dreading them!  Two of his playgroup buddies came by to tour the school today, and he thought that was pretty fun to see them there.  Keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll end up enrolling.  I adore these two brothers and would love nothing more than to have them in Hen’s class for the next couple of years!

7.  Annual exam, annual mammogram.  I qualified for one of the nifty 3-D scans, which are apparently much better at detecting cancers in folks like me.  And also, much less painful than previous Ms have been.  So yay on that, though it’s a bummer it’s going to take them so long to read the 150 or so views.  2 weeks instead of 2 days.  Yikes.

Of course, the other side of that is that I called to make an appointment for this procedure yesterday and they were able to get me in first thing today.  My appointment was at 9, I was a bit early because I’m annoying like that, and they got me in early.  I was out of there by 9:05.  There are some things I miss about New York, but the wait for basic health care, the sheer exhaustion of dealing with doctors who are ridiculously overbooked, so that a 15 minute appointment might not start for an hour after it was scheduled?  (Not to mention the attitude of so many health care practitioners in the city?)  Not so much.


The prodigal cat is ready to go upstairs and so am I.  Happy Halloween, everyone.  Spooky ghost pictures Saturday, I promise.






And the cat came back.

At 2am.

Meowing to wake the dead, desperate to be held and cuddled and fussed over (though I did sniff cat food on her breath–she ate before she came upstairs to find us!)

She lay cuddled up with us–rare for her–the whole night long.  She panicked once when my husband came back into the room from checking on Hen, and flung herself across the room before she realized it was all ok.  Then she came back, curled up, went back to sleep.

And she got up with us this morning before coming downstairs to put another huge dent in the cat food supply.  And then she went back upstairs to curl up in her little cat bed & sleep safely.

I had given her up.  I knew if she couldn’t find her way back here in 4 days, that she wouldn’t be able to do it in 5 or 6.  But she did.  Power of good thoughts?  Power of the used cat-litter stink that the rescue folks told me to scatter around the perimeter of our property?  Power of spending most of yesterday out there hollering myself back into laryngitis?

All of the above, I think.  And a lot of luck.

And now I have to go take down some missing cat notices.  And pull some ticks off her.  And call the vet & the NHSPCA.  And edit my craigslist posting.

_DSC0822(Don’t do that again, Mattie, ok?)

Small Things 10-28-13

1.  Henry’s puke-fest from last night which I attributed to some rest-stop milk that might have soured, revisited us this morning after his morning milk from our own fridge which I know was fine.  After the yech-episode he felt fine, and ate like a horse, so now I’m left wondering if it was a leftover bit of food poisoning? A sudden onset of lactose intolerance? Desperation to avoid PT that manifested itself as pukyness?

Whatever.  It’s over, it was really disgusting, and I hope it doesn’t come back tomorrow.

Oh, and while we were both standing there, dripping, me trying not to yech from the stink, Hen says in a small voice, “Mommy, I think I need to go find a book to tell us about vomit.”

Um, no, kiddo.  I actually think you have mastered this subject quite comprehensively.

Blech.  A+ little boy.  A+

2.  On a much more upsetting note, my Mattie catty is missing.  And yeah, I’ve done all the things that one does–contacted every animal agency in the state to notify, verified that the microchip place has my correct contact info, spent many many many hours wandering around calling her name, dumped used kitty litter all around the property so she can maybe sniff her way home if the wind brings her a hint of familiar pee smell.

But really, all I can do is wait and worry.  And worry.  And worry.

Damn, I hate this.  I’m still hoping she shows up, but I think no more cats for me.  This is too brutally hard, having just gotten her back to health from her car-encounter, to lose her now (again) is just too much.  My heart can’t lose critters like this anymore.

3.  Laryngitis over the weekend in Brooklyn.  Yay for not having a voice.

Not really.  I dislike laryngitis, which is a shame since it seems to hit me with alarming regularity these days.  If I get sick enough to cough, I will be effectively mute for at least one day.

I’d rather a lost voice than a fever, though, so I shouldn’t complain.

4.  After six months of playing board games with glee whether he won or lost, Hen has realized that he likes winning enough to be a bit pouty when someone else pulls way ahead & looks likely to win.  Which is sort of funny–he’s not being truly sad, but mocking it with slumped shoulders, declarations of woe: “I am SAD, Mommy.” (said in a very earnest tone of voice) and shuffling steps (for the little boy does not sit to play a board game, oh no–he’s running around, dropping in to play each turn.  Except when he’s losing.  Then he shuffles…)

I still won’t cheat for him, but I’ll confess I’m cheering internally every time I get sent back to the beginning of Candy Land or Chutes & Ladders.

5.  Hen was desperate to go grocery shopping with me this morning.  As a result of his usual whininess when it’s shopping day, I’ve taken to doing the weekly shopping while he’s at school.  But this has, apparently, made him realize how much he loves grocery shopping.  How much he longs to help me shop.  How the grocery store is the best place in the world.  Why do you want to come with me, kiddo?

“Because we’re shopping buddies, Mommy!”  What am I going to say to that? No?

To show me how serious he was about wanting to be included in the trip, he didn’t even pop out of the car cart every time I put something in the cart today–usually he’s so bored that he’s trying to ‘help’ me by wanting to be the one to put the groceries in the cart, or to examine every sort of thing we never buy there.  But today, on his best behavior, we got out of there as quick as if I were there alone, which was pretty amazing.

Be really really good, Hen, or I won’t let you come grocery shopping with me next week.


I wonder if I could convince him that bathtub scrubbing is as desirable an activity as grocery shopping.  It’s only a matter of time before I get him to pay me for the privilege of helping me paint a fence somewhere…


If you believe such things, please send good thoughts for the safe return of my kitty, eh?  It’s cold out there tonight.


Small Things 10-26-13

1.  Getting back to normal, getting used to (sort of) the nebulizer routine (Man, oh man, he hates this part of his day.  Hoping this gets much better/easier for both of us.)

And the illness induced crankiness is gone, and my sweet boy is back.  (thank goodness!)  Where the first part of the week was all growled commands (his), annoyed ‘what did you just say to me?’ demands (mine), and huffs entered into by the both of us, today was lovey kisses and smilesmilesmiles.  We had a long slow day in Brooklyn town, since I am now battling the dreaded lurgi, and my voice is nonexistent.  He thinks my whisper-voice is pretty funny, but he’s also been quite solicitous of my health.  “Perhaps you should have another sip of water, Mommy.  Water can help you not to cough, you know.”  and he was perfectly happy to spend much of the day just lying on the bed with Mom & Dad, all of us reading books or playing quietly with trucks.  We had a fun excursion with one of his sisters to Chinatown for dinner, and he came home & happily fell asleep, looking forward to tomorrow.  When he hopes to ride a subway again.  Because really, what greater joy can this life hold for a 3-year-old boy than a ride on the F-train?

He spent the wait for the train excitedly telling me why he was pretty sure the subway trains were ‘steamies’, and that I needed to stand well back from the edge and hold his hand carefully so that I would not fall onto the tracks.  That would, he assured me, be dangerous.  He was positively delighted once inside the car, getting to loudly admire everything from the very shiny poles to the beautiful orange plastic seats.

Ah.  To be so easily made happy, eh?  He was made super-happy by his subway experience and I was made super-happy by him.  Kids are awesome.

Now if I could just get my voice back, all would be well.

2.  I did venture forth from the basement during his nap to buy a NY-authorized toy garbage truck for a much-coveted Christmas gift for a certain little obsessed boy.  Anyone who’s never been here, NYC is pretty much garbage truck central.  Unlike at home, here, there are garbage trucks to be seen in the neighborhood pretty much every single day.  There’s a reason Hen thinks Brooklyn is the coolest place in the whole world and it’s not entirely because this is where his sisters live.

3.  Speaking of Brooklyn and ‘cool’, I feel really old (and uncool, obv.) when I come here to visit, because never before has hipster-fashion seemed quite so young to me.  I dunno–full beards, guys?  Really?  On every single one of you?  Don’t get me wrong–I rather like beards, and I know a couple of guys–my step-son-in-law for one–who’ve had a beard forever, and none of them fall into this category of crazy-self-conscious beard-wearing.  But honestly, in our neighborhood EVERY male between the ages of 25 & 35 is sporting a full-on beard, & it’s kind of funny–I want to walk around handing out plaid woolen jackets and non-ironic timberland boots.

But that’s probably just because I’m elderly and don’t appreciate these young kids’ fashions anymore.  Chainsaw, anyone?

4.  Hen has started offering compliments on the darnedest things.  “I like the color of your hair tie, Mommy.”  “I like those skeleton earrings, Mommy.”  “Those are very nice purple socks, Mommy.”  I honestly have no idea if he’s trying to apply lessons from a book he has called “Poindexter Makes a Friend” (in which a shy pig & a shy turtle read a book with lessons like ‘smile’, and ‘say something nice to someone’.  I hate it but he loves it) or if he’s mimicking my deliberate habit of trying to make sure he hears me saying nice things about people at least as often as he overhears me muttering something snide, or if he just really likes things these days.  Dunno, but it’s adorable.  I may not appreciate the concept of the mandatory beard, but I have fantastic taste in hair elastics, sugar-skull earrings, and wool socks, dontcha know!

5.  My grandbaby is beautiful and perfect and it’s killing me that since I don’t want to infect her with this nasty cold, I am restraining myself from covering her body with kisses.  Because really–kissable!  Cuddleable!  We got to see her on Friday & will get to see her again tomorrow before we go, and she really is just a tiny bundle of ‘darling’.  I am so lucky to have stepdaughters who are willing to include me in their lives, in their kids’ lives.

Small Things 10-22-13

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with crises and blessings both large and small.  And I’ve been lazy and haven’t posted any of it, so I’m just going to keep going til I run out of things to say…

1.  “Who farted?” Hen comes out with this at the dinner table.


We’ve been practicing pronouncing that most difficult of consonants: ‘R’, so he made sure to growl it very clearly “Who Fahhhhhhhted?”

Um, Hen?  We say ‘toot’ in this family. And it’s not ‘manners’ to talk about tooting at the dinner table.

He looked at me, completely uncomprehending, turned to his father and said, “I didn’t fahhhhht, did you fahhhht, Daddy?  Maybe it was Mommy?”  Bwahahahahah!

Oh the glee.  Oh the little boy joy.

(Oh the foreshadowing of what the next ten years are going to be like.)

Seriously, the influx of other people’s input into his brain has begun.  Which is cool, and as it should be, but also sort of bittersweet.  I have to ask him, now, where he heard things from; I don’t know what books he’s read, whom he’s spoken to, what his favorite part of the day is, unless he chooses to tell me.

He’s decided to be a ghost for Halloween.  When asked if he’d be a scary ghost or a friendly ghost by the nurse yesterday, he pondered a moment and then said, “I think I’ll be a blue ghost.”  And that is Hen all over.  No outside influence there.  Yet.

2.  He’s a little high energy today because of all the steroids he’s taking.  Yeah.  Steroids.  His viral-induced Reactive Airway Disease came back with a vengeance this fall.  He had a cold (another cold) over the weekend which, between one breath and another, turned to wheezing and gasping for breath–gasping until he got panicky.  I took him to the pediatrician who measured his blood oxygen and went to find a nebulizer quick–and then found one I could take home with us and wrote me a fistful of prescriptions.  *sigh*

Apparently they’ve been studying kids who do & don’t progress to full-on asthma with this sort of pre-asthma, and found that lung tissue can break down/scar up with this sort, too, so they want him on a single low dose of pulmicort daily (2ce daily when he’s sick), albuterol every 4 hours when he’s sick, and an oral dose of steroids for the next 2 days.  And he’ll be on the daily treatment til spring, and we’ll play it by ear each year until (oh, how I hope!) he grows out of it.  And in the meantime, the steroids are making him believe he’s superman, flying high!

He doesn’t like the breathing treatments–it’s a little like smoking a water pipe–but he simply wasn’t tolerating the inhaler with spacer-mask option.  So the breathing treatments are boring, but not scary, and we read books, so it’s not the worst way to start the day.  He likes being the one to turn on the machine.  He treats Real before each treatment, which makes it easier.  He’s already bored with the new routine, though.  (As am I.  Man, I hate having him on a daily anything.  It sucks.  But watching him gasp for breath?  That really really sucks, and his doctors seemed pretty adamant that this was what we should be doing for him.  Dr. Google seems to concur that this is standard best practice for this sort of thing, so…)

He actually napped well today, is currently sleeping fine, his mood is fantastic, and his attention span is better than I’d expect, but he cannot hold still–worse than usual for my wiggle worm.  Hoping this effect lessens once he’s off the oral dose, though, because his energy level is through the roof and he’s hard to keep up with when he’s floating around the stratosphere.

3.  Touch-a-truck.  It’s an annual charity event in Portsmouth that was better than Disneyland for this child.  It’s exactly what it sounds like–40 or 50 municipal & private big rigs gathered in one huge parking lot for kids to climb on, pretend to drive, and generally revel in.

IMG_0792It was awesome.  We’ll be making an annual pilgrimage to this event.  At least until the love of all things ‘truck’ is over.

4.  A horrible scare regarding my 94-year-old grandmother’s health turned out to be nothing that wasn’t fixable.  Had a really bad few days, but am so relieved that she’s out of danger.  Oi.  And my mother’s healing up from her fall.  And things are currently back to ‘ok’ with all my family members.  Which is nice.  I love where I live, but I hate being so far from my family–especially when things are scary.  There’s only so much you can say over the phone when a hug is really what’s needed.

5.  Henry said, “School was really quick today, mommy!”  and “Xander isn’t afraid of being left alone at school anymore.”  (Xander being a little boy who may or may not exist, whom Henry has taken under his wing whenever Xander gets afraid at school–usually that his mommy won’t come for him.)  And “I don’t think Real Bunny needs to go to school today.  Maybe I will bring Gray Bunny instead so he has a chance to go to bunny school.”  All of which are Henry-codes for “School is fun and I like it there and it’s not scary anymore.”  When I thought yesterday that he might have to miss today’s schoolday, he was very upset by the thought.

Therapy, on the other hand, he was delighted to miss…

6.  Naps are hit or miss these days.  Yesterday, we tried to nap, but the breathing was so bad that I just tossed him in the car & drove to the doctor instead.  He never did make that nap up, and he never did get cranky with the tiredness.  Today, he was all set to play quietly–said he didn’t want a nap–but when I went to leave him to it, he changed his mind and slept for 2 hours.  We’ve been working on ‘waking up happy instead of sad’, because he was getting into a really bad habit of crying when he woke up–not hungry or tired or headachy or sad or scared or anything.  Just crying because he was awake & still dopey from sleep.  And I have to say that crying I can’t do anything to fix?  It makes me nuts.  So I’m delighted to have him nap when the end of the nap is cause for smiles instead of tears.  He can decide this one for himself, as far as I’m concerned.

7.  I went to a local orchard, bought a half-bushel of fallen apples on the cheap, and came home and canned applesauce.  I also have a quarter-bushel or so waiting in my kitchen for me to make the time to do one round with our ugly but tasty apples.  Next year I’ll start the applesauce project earlier, and if Hen’s current obsession with the stuff continues, he’ll be getting homemade every day in his snack bag instead of Mott’s.

8.  Made a batch of tortillas last week and they were divine.

9.  I scored a brand new copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s brand new book, Flight Behavior at our library’s books-for-sale shelf for $2.00

I had thought I’d have to wait til Christmas for this one–I tend to ask for ‘respectable’ books for Christmas so I don’t have to defend my execrable taste in stories to anyone–urban paranormal, or zombie thrillers I’ll buy myself and enjoy thoroughly, but explaining why I like it to anyone sort of takes the joy away, you know?  BK definitely falls into the ‘not ashamed to be caught reading it on the subway’ category, so I’d planned to ask for her latest book for Christmas, but now I get to read it in October instead!  Woohoo!

10.  We ate the last of the garden tomatoes this noon (though I haven’t checked the garden, and for all I know there are another few out there waiting to be plucked.)  I think it’s supposed to freeze one of these nights, though, and I can’t say that I’m sorry.  It’s late October and we’re eating garden tomatoes in New England.  Just ain’t right.  I know.  Everyone should have such horrible problems.  But still.  I’m ready for stew, not caprese salad.

11.  Read the new Robin McKinley book, Shadows–(I simply couldn’t wait for this one).  And it was very satisfying.  Not, perhaps, my favorite ever, but thoroughly enjoyable and nicely open-ended (ie: I know there’s more that will happen to these people even though I’ll never get to read about their future adventures) without feeling like I was left hanging. (occasionally a problem with my favorite author’s books, though it pains me to say it.)

12.  Finally got to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and liked it rather a lot.

13.  I was all excited about Apple’s free OSXMavericks upgrade today until I realized that not only was my OS so far out of date that I would first have to upload an older (but newer than my current) OS in order to  to access the page that would allow me to download the free newest OS, but that my ancient Mac can’t even handle the new OS.


See, I tend to use my beloved belongings until I just can’t use them any more.  I once had a Toyota pick-up with well over 300,000 miles on it when I sold it to buy a car with a backseat so I could carry myself+another person+dog.  I am currently wearing my favorite jacket in the world, which is little more than tattered threads held together by my imagination.  I wear my jeans until they have actual holes in the patched knees and I’ll patch them again until the crotch seams finally start to go before I’ll admit they’re done.  And my computer is going on 6 years old, and very little is being made any more that will work on it–except for everything I do on it all day long…  So I’m loathe to throw down a thousand bucks when I have the perfect writing machine right here, working perfectly; but really, it would be nice to be able to update my browser/iTunes/OS and I’m sure I’ll give in to the company’s planned obsolescence ploys one of these days.

But not today.



Small Things 10-12-13

1.  Canned another batch of salsa today because, damn, the garden is still kicking out tomatoes.  It’s the middle of October, fer cryin’ out loud!  Not really complaining, because I figured while I was at it, I should make another batch of pico de gallo, and then while I was on a roll, I made some guacamole, and then I went all out & bought lard & made flour tortillas.

And our dinner (all that + spicy black beans) was flat-out divine.

2.  We had our library insulated this summer.  When we bought the place we noticed that for all the beautiful woodwork inside the library, the contractors did some bizarro work where it wouldn’t be seen (using upside-down wall insulation for under-the-floor insulation in the crawl space) that basically made the space under the library the perfect nesting area for skunks, raccoons, squirrels, etc. All that lovely fiberglass batting + an area not being used for anything + not inconsiderable amounts of heat coming down from above = perfect winter resting place for stinky critters!  So we had solid insulation installed down below & blew in a few inches of foam in the attic space to see if we could make this giant room a bit more comfortable in the wintertime.  But since it was summer, we sort of didn’t know if it would actually make a difference.

Boy did it ever.  It’s only getting into the 40s, but still, library’s getting warm & staying warm.  Woodstove is having an easier time of it, too, and the cat?  Cat’s never leaving this room again, as far as I can tell.  Yay for insulation, yay for getting to use our favorite room year round instead of just when the weather’s lovely.  And yay for feeling snug instead of cold.  All good things.

3.  Hen napped today–but in the middle of the afternoon instead of late morning.  I think we’re going to be playing it by ear for a while, let him set the pace & decide if it’s a napping day or not.  I can live with that.  I got to go shopping with my grocery buddy at noon–which was s first–he’s always napping by noon.  So that was kind of awesome.  Lots more time to get stuff done if the nap is negotiable.  I think I might like this stage!

4.  He is deep deep deep into ‘pretend’ play, which is a blast to witness/be a part of.  Most conversations now consist of him telling me things he’d like me to pretend–usually things like “Mommy, pretend you’re afraid of ghost-es.”  or “Mommy, pretend you’re afraid of getting your face wet in the swimming pool.”  And then he proceeds to reassure me, ie: teach me how to do whatever it is that’s worrying him at the moment, or scare me.  “Mommy, are you afraid of monsters?”  “No.”  “Will you pretend that you’re afraid of monsters?”  So I will, and sometimes he reassures me and sometimes he becomes a monster and chases me.  Either way, it’s a hoot to see his imagination working like crazy all the time, no matter what else is going on.

5.  When we bought this house, the very small master bedroom had a king-sized, canopied, extremely ornate brass bed.  Which I can only assume the owner couldn’t figure out how to disassemble, because she left it for us to deal with.  Long-time readers might remember that we instantly dubbed it the QE2. We figured we’d sleep on it until we could figure out how to get it the hell out of our bedroom, since the mattress was practically new, but then, during the nights of co-sleeping–the boy, me, the baby, and the whippet–realized we really loved the bed.  At least we loved the way it felt when we stretched out on it, not so much because of the way it looked. So soon after we moved in, I took down the canopy framework.  Because really, too too much.  (She liked shiny a lot, did the nice little old lady we bought from.  This year, we finally got around to replacing the chandelier in the dining room, which used to feature weird brass dragons, flowers painted on china, and lots & lots of beadwork–all of which sounds weird enough to be cool, but it wasn’t.  It was just very very shiny.)

Anyway, I also finally got around to buying a rug for our bedroom, and in trying to maneuver it underneath the enormous, unwieldy brass bed, I was reminded how much I hated its wrap-around brassiness, and its largeness.  So I pulled off the footboard and the wrap-around parts of the headboard and find that I rather like the (comparatively) simple, plain brass headboard.  An enormous king-sized bed doesn’t seem to take up nearly as much room without all that visual furfeleuing, and the room looks cozy now, instead of overwhelmed.  Very nice.

And the rest of the QE2 is now living in various places up in the attic, (right next to the chandelier) where it’ll be the problem of the people we someday sell the house to!  Hahahah!

Small Things 10-9-13

1.  A busy day today with…no nap.

Gulp.  It might be here.
The end of the nap.



2.  Apparently Hen spent much of the time today telling his therapist all about the Halloween costume he does not have, but has been dreaming of.  He’s going as a cement mixer driver, apparently and he couldn’t explain to her exactly what a cement mixer driver costume looks like–which is a shame, because, really, all I’m coming up with is blue jeans and gloves  Maybe boots and a trowel/smoother thingy?  Not exactly easy to differentiate from, say, an excavator driver, without a prop–like a cement mixer?  Ack.

I miss the last couple of Halloweens when I could slap him into a lion costume, give him a five minute lesson in ‘roaring’ and call it a day.

3.  The indoor playground where we go always has certain staple activities–bouncy house, climbing maze, shopping area–but it changes other sections around every few months.  Today, the area previously designated for ‘playing house’, is now for ‘playing doctor’.  x-rays on light screens, lights for peering in throats, coats and masks and stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs.

Hen was in heaven, getting to handle all the gear he’s been subjected to over the last few months.  He and a little girl played quite happily–he used that light to x-ray her ‘broken’ arm, show her over and over (and over and over) again where it was broken on the x-ray–he really coveted that xray–and apply a cast made from a doctor’s white coat to her arm.  It’s the first time I’ve really seen him engage in pretend play with someone else.  Very cool to see.  This afternoon at home, he fixed my broken arm many times.  A large stick was the xray machine and also the saw (!) he used to cut my arm open, a crazy-dance sufficed for the stitching portion of the surgery, and he pronounced me all better–though it will hurt for a month or maybe a year and I would have to go to therapy and do things I do not want to do.

Yep.  I guess that pretty much sums up medical care from his perspective!

4.  It’s mouse season.  How do I know this?  Because the cat–whose stated purpose in life is to kill rodents trying to live in our kitchen–has started bringing them in from outside.  Our own population of mice being, apparently, not large enough for her.

A couple of mornings ago she brought one upstairs in the wee hours, whereupon it got away.  I found it huddled halfway down the kitchen stairs the next day and chucked it outside.

Found another one under the couch where it apparently expired from previously acquired injuries, along with a live and very healthy chipmunk.  (That one might actually have gotten in through the basement vents, rather than the cat’s mouth, but still–why is she roaming outside when we had a chipmunk in our living room?!  Yuck!)

Also? I couldn’t find her when it was time to take her in for her annual vaccination & exam.  Mattie Catty needs to get her act together.  Grrrr.

5.  I have 3 hours to myself tomorrow while Hen’s in school and I can’t decide how to spend them.  Shopping? Walking? Yoga? Writing? Cleaning? Jogging? Gardening?

I know what I should do. (Cleaning & gardening & shopping & jogging.)

I know what I want to do. (Writing & walking & yoga.)

I know what I’ll probably do. (Writing. Basic bathroom cleaning.  Vacuuming.)

That’s kind of like accomplishing everything on my list, right?

Seriously, the house could use a deep clean.  The garden needs to be pulled/hacked/macheted down (since we’re apparently never going to get a hard freeze.)  With xmas time coming up, with the knees of almost all my pants wearing (or worn) through, I should put in some time at the mall even though I’m the world’s worst shopper.  And I should be jogging.  I just should be.  I need to get back in shape so I have the chance to live long enough to play pretend with my son’s kids someday.

But there’s the book.  And a short story I’ve promised to submit.  And I do love walking when I have a free hour with nothing to make me hurry faster than I want to.  And I’m becoming a fan of the YogaStudio app that Mel recommended a few months back–as a non-joiner, yoga has always seemed far too high-pressure for me.  Classes?  Not happening.  Get dressed up to do yoga?  Hah.  Competitive, crazy-makin’ yoga?  Double hah.  But I am enjoying the routines and the pacing offered, and–well, being able to do it in my jammies if you must know!

Oh well.  Everyone should have so many not-horrible-at-all problems, eh?

Woodfire.  Tummy full of delicious food.  Darling husband beside me, darling son upstairs fast asleep (and I DO mean fast asleep.  Kid conked out almost an hour earlier than usual!)  Cat waiting for me upstairs (I’m hoping she does not have either an indoor or an outdoor mouse to share.)  Dog waiting for me to help her under the covers because she’s just that cold and just that lazy.  Leaves are turning brilliant outside.  I have a book to write, a short story to submit, and a whole slew of ideas for what to do with myself tomorrow.  Life really is good.


Small Things 10-7-13

1.  3-year pediatrician’s appointment today.

42 inches tall
40 pounds heavy

“Big.  Really big.”

Um, yeah.  I know.

That would be the comment from both the aide who led us back, & the nurse who did all the weighing, bp measuring, etc.

Um, yeah.  I had noticed.

You know why I like his pediatrician & deal with the rest of the office staff, and their occasional forays into bad practice?

Because the dude is like 6’7″ and never makes inane comments like “Wow, he’s really tall!” to me.  Besides being tall himself, he has tall kids (duh) so he knows how annoying it is to have someone talking excitedly about your kid’s bigness (or littleness, or anything else that you & kid have absolutely no control over).

Also, because today he showed Hen the massive scars on his elbow where he broke his elbow when he was four.  Back in the pre-pin days.  Hen was duly impressed and wondered if it still hurt.  The dude might not be as touchy-feely friendly as, say the lady therapists Hen sees & likes, but he knows how to win over a little boy.

2.  Speaking of hurt–flu shot.  Hen did not like that.  I offered to let him come with me to the grocery store to get mine, thinking he might appreciate a little bit of his own back, but there was no way no way no way he wanted anything to do with that.  Sweet kid.  I was startled at how little it hurt, honestly.  Needles no longer hold anyfear for me, but really, I didn’t even know she’d already zapped me.  That painless.

But hoping to avoid another flu year like last, where it just dragged me out for weeks.

3.  And yeah, I think the nap is on its way out.  :(  He’s getting sleepy later, and staying cranky longer after he gets up.  Used to be he’d get up from a nap & be very happy.  Now he gets up & he’s just whiny til after his bath–which sort of shoots the whole afternoon if we’re going from meltdown to meltdown.  So we’ll soon start trying ‘quiet time’ and we’ll see where that gets us.  (Quick trip to the loony bin being a distinct possibility).

4.  Henry only just recently figured out that other people–like mommy!–have birthdays, too.  He’s been offering me all his most prized trucks (and occasionally Real) as birthday gifts when the momentous day arrives, which is oh-so-sweet & oh-so-hilarious at the same time.  Truer love hath no person, than a son willing to part with his best beloved excavator to give his mommy a perfect birthday.  Seriously cute.

5.  He told me very seriously–with quivering lip, even–that when I tell him I don’t have time to play with him, sometimes it hurts his feelings.  Since I was doing nothing but reading the news on the computer at the time, I felt like a schmuck and immediately got down on the floor & made vroom vroom noises with him.  It was a good reminder that he still takes even very small rejections very personally–as a rejection of his whole self.  We had a long talk about how just because Mommy couldn’t–or wouldn’t–play every time he asked, doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be asked, and doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to.  Sometimes I have other things that just need to be done.  But I also told him I’d try harder to say ‘yes’.

My sensitive little boy.  I hope you always want to play trucks with me, and I hope I always at least try to say that I will. 



Small Things 10-3-13

1.  Apple picking field trip at Hen’s school today.  So, tractor ride, apple picking/nibbling, new playground to explore and animals to gawk at made for a happy group of preschoolers today.  Including Hen.  Here’s hoping to more weeks like this one!

2.  Naps, though still very much needed, are seeming to get a bit shorter.  Yikes.  Actually, it will be nice to have a bit more midday freedom, though I’ll miss that time-out in the middle of the day when it disappears–my actual productivity might (might) go up, but then again, it might not.  And my stress levels will certainly go up when I don’t have that bit of alone time in the middle of the day.

3.  A very disappointing harvest–if I can even call it that–of the sweet potatoes.  Granted, it was not an optimal year for sweet potatoes, and I probably planted them out a bit late, and I could have located them better in the garden–but still.  Wow.  Very disappointing for all those vines to have grown from nothing but some straggly roots barely worth calling sweet potatoes.  Of course, I’m Still harvesting tomatoes.  I’m going to go buy some more chiles tomorrow so I can can up another batch of salsa, because, really, I simply can’t stand to let this many tomatoes go to waste.  I’m totally growing this same sauce tomato next year, I just won’t grow half as many of them!  Yikes.

4.  I finished Hen’s quilt, and I’m pleased with how it turned out.  Even more pleased with myself for actually getting it done.  I realized that while I love the finished product, even using a machine to cheat the quilting part, I just don’t enjoy the process enough to make it worthwhile.   Which is a shame since, as I say, I think the finished product is about the coolest thing a person could make for their home.  I did like sewing on the binding.  And I guess I like piecing the bits together.  But really, once the never-ending hand-quilted quilt I’ve been working on for, (honestly) 10 years off&on, is done I do not think I will ever start another one.  Not until I’ve knit everything I’ve ever wanted to knit (which would likely take me approximately 3000 lifetimes…)

5.  Been reading books from the library again, and enjoying myself thoroughly.  Last year was a very little reading year, and it was an odd way to live, entirely in the reality of the moment.  I think I prefer my head in the clouds, somewhere, dreaming of a story when not otherwise occupied.  Nice to have that escape back.

Small Things 10-1-13

1.  And then, he had a great day at school.

(Massively deep exhalation of relief on my part.)

Part of it was being allowed to bring Bunny in.  His teacher sees how instantly Real Bunny soothes him when he’s getting anxious, and has said he can bring Bun as long as he needs to.  Part of it is that we’ve been deliberately singing songs from school, saying The Pledge of Allegiance for fun (?), and talking through different scenarios that have, apparently been worrying him.  Part of it is the teacher understanding that some of his refusals haven’t been contrariness but his deep-seated dislike of being messy.  The fact that he says, “No, thank you.” when something is offered that he would like to refuse isn’t hurting.  Yay for teachers who appreciate well-mannered kids!  Or maybe it’s because he had a bit of a breakthrough with his thumb yesterday (more on that to come) and was still feeling the joy of realizing he could do more than he could yesterday.  Or maybe it was simply the bribe of getting to go to the indoor playground tomorrow if he was a brave boy and didn’t cry today.

Whatever.  All of the above, I suspect.  But he had a big smile on his face when I picked him up this morning, and I’ve never been happier to see my boy looking so happy.

He talked about school all the way home with very little prompting.  He mentioned a few things that Real Bunny was concerned about at his bunny school.  Things like the words to songs, not knowing anyone’s name, etc.  But he had many more good things to say about playing, and conflict resolution, and being the one who got to turn out the lights at recess.  Thank heavens for loveys.  Thank heavens for teachers willing to bend the rules when it’s obvious a kid needs a bit of help.  And thank heavens that he’s possibly through the worst of it.

I was really worried we were going to have to pull him from school, mostly because I know how much he’s actually going to like it.  He’s desperate to be around other kids, and he is a little sponge these days–he needs a bit more stimulation than I am giving him, I think.  In the last couple of months, he’s learned the names of the states from his puzzle map.  I think I was in college before I was entirely sure which was Arkansas and which was Alabama.  Also, he’s SO verbal and so very tall that he’s already being assumed to be older (much) than he is.  I suspect this is just going to get more pronounced.  I don’t think red-shirting this kid will be a good option, just for that reason–he’ll be the hulking kid in the back row even if he’s the youngest in the class.  If he were the oldest as well?  Yikes.  And at this point in his life, I really think he needs to be around more people his age, and so the idea that he was disliking school was hard.  Made me feel all failure-y.  Like I’d seriously erred by giving him such a good life at home that leaving it even for a few hours was traumatic.

But it’s (I do fervently hope) sorting itself out.  He likes his teacher, he loved being able to show mommy & daddy around his classroom and tell us all the things he knows (damn, this boy likes knowing that he knows).  I think he’ll be ok.  I think he’ll have fun and get what we wanted him to get out of this year of preschool–namely, a love of school as ‘a good place where you get to go and learn new things’.  He’s started inserting bits of dialogue and such into our interactions that he must be getting at school “I’m stretching high as a giraffe!”  This is what school is, and it’s what I hoped for, but it’s still a bit bittersweet trying to bow out gracefully as the complete arbiter of his world.

At his open house this afternoon, when it was time to leave, all he wanted to know was when he’d be allowed to come back and play.  His teacher overheard, and grinned.  Yeah.  Me too.  OMG, the relief.  And yeah, I’m sure we’re not completely through it yet, but since I was seriously wondering if we’d have to pull him from school last week, having him react much more like a normal kid with normal levels of separation anxiety–ie: not thrilled with walking away from mommy, but willing to be distracted once he’s there–is such an amazing relief I can barely describe it.  It was a rough weekend since last Thursday!

2.  A follow-up appointment with his surgeon yesterday went well.  Elbow is completely healed, and while she’d prefer the nerve damage to never have occurred, she reiterated that it does seem to be progressing, which I absolutely agree with.  She was trying to get him to move his thumb & he said he couldn’t, even though we were watching him twitch it against her hand.  Then that night, after dinner, he got a huge smile on his face and held his hand out to me, “Look, Mommy!”

Kid curled his thumb all the way in to his palm.  “Cymbals!” he cried as he gave himself a weak round of applause, inviting us to join in.  Boy, did I ever join in.  Henry’s left thumb has come back into the world!  It’s still weak, it’s way unreliable, but he’s been using it like crazy today–occasionally so well that I wasn’t even conscious of the fact that he was using his not-so-good hand to do something.

Again–the relief…

3.  Went out to dinner in Portsmouth & remembered why I liked that town so much.  It’s only half an hour away–I really need to spend some time getting to know that city.  Delicious seafood, eaten right on the river where we saw a seal, lots of seabirds, some junkyard cranes, and a whole fleet of tugs.  Best place to take a little boy to dinner ever.

4.  Finished the quilting part of Hen’s new quilt–need to slap a binding on that sucker and it’s done.  Not that he’ll ever need it–temps are supposed to creep back up into the 80s this week.  Crazy.

5.  Going to go try to get some sleep.  No.  Scratch that.  Going to go upstairs, sleep like the dead until my son creeps in and whispers, “Mommy, my clock is yellow.  It’s time to get up.  Here, take my hand and I’ll lead you to where I live.  You can play with me if you like.”

And then we will start our day of playing with trucks and trains, talking about construction vehicles and ‘grabber claws’.  Trying to answer the age-old questions of whether sharks are actually mean or just very very cranky (cranky), and if fish like to be eaten (who can say?)  Do shrimps have eyes? (yes.)  Am I still 3? (for a long time, you’ll be 3, little one.)  Did you see what I just did, Mommy? (I did.)  Did you see? (Yes, I really did.)  Which is your favorite truck, Mommy? (Probably the street sweeper.)  If you like the street sweeper, I will like the stump grinder.  Would you like to play a game with me?  (Always.)  Do you love me more than airplane contrails?  (Oh yes.)  What about more than pink contrails.  (Even more than the pink ones.) I love you too, Mommy.  More than sharks love taking baths. (That’s a lot of love, Hen.  Thank you.)  You are welcome, Mama-kitten.

Am I the luckiest woman in the world? (Oh yes.  Yes indeed.)