29 June 2008

Today's e-mail to my sister. Verbatim.

Lord, woman, I could've used a break this morning.

I think my child would make Osama Bin Laden cry. Maybe that should be our new military strategy: sic V on him.

Scene: She's playing with her dollies in her shopping cart. I am staring blankly at a newish episode of Little Bill, as it is only 7:30 am. Suddenly things get quiet in the dining room/kitchen, never a good sign.

"V?" No answer. Another bad sign. I start to get up, then I hear something small, round, and chocolatey hit the floor. Dozens of small, round chocolatey things. A whole bag full.

By the time I round the corner to the kitchen, she's got her mouth stuffed TO THE LIMIT with peanutbutter M &Ms. They are all over the floor, my white kitchen floor that I mopped for the first time in a year two days ago. They are all over the floor along with a glass of water she poured over them just to piss me off (I can't imagine any other reason to pour water over M & Ms. Because they melt in your mouth. Or in a glass of water on my kitchen floor).

I pick her up, remove her to the dining room, where she commences chewing. I commence to clean up M & Ms and their rainbow stickyness.

Did I mention this was at 7:*&^#$:30?

I know we should've had the M & Ms higher up or not in the house or just already on the floor, as all of these would've been better options.

Do you mind if I cut and paste this into a blog post? Because I'm too lazy not to, and I don't have any secret M &Ms left with which to comfort myself. This is why I shop for shoes. Because it's the only joy left.


27 June 2008

For yous

I don't have any advertising on my blog, and I don't have a secret deal with Amazon if any of you should buy books through my links (though maybe I should...). I blog for the same reason I made a zine: I have a lot of stuff to say, and talking to myself gets old after awhile.

So this is a little weird, but I thought I'd put it out here and see if any one notices. I am still using up free-photo offers from the online print places like Snapfish and Winkflash and so on. With a child, I find myself printing pictures (for us and/or the grandmas) with frightening regularity, so if I can get decent quality for cheap, I'm all about it. I recently ordered photos from ArtsCow.com, because they offer 400 free prints to new members. Dang, right? Of course, you pay shipping, which for my first 100 was $9.98. You should also know that they split up the free prints as follows,: 100 free prints for each of the next four months, and your 100 prints are 50 4X 6s, 50 5X7s. . Still, though, 10cents a print, including 50 5X7s, is way better than I was geting at my neighborhood Target.

I just placed my first order on Tuesday, so mine aren't back yet...it takes 7-10 days, apparently, since they are coming from Hong Kong. But the reviews I've read are largely positive, and I'm very excited about them! ArtsCow's website is one of the user-friendliest I've encountered, so I look at that as a very positive sign, too. Plus they have fun stuff (a flask with a picture! A wall clock with a snapshot! Magnets in every imaginable size!), some of which may well find its way onto my holiday gift list, if the shipping isn't too terrible and the quality comes through...

Anyway, after June 30, their new member deal may decrease, so I thought of all of you who read this, many of whom have cameras, and thought you might like to get yourself some photos for not too much money. If you use any link from this post, I get a little bonus, too. Again, I can't personally vouch for the quality, but I will report as soon as my pictures arrive. Here's a link to some reviews and discussions of the good and the bad. If you don't have a need for this kinda thing, don't worry about it. I don't intend to turn the blog into a for-profit venture, so I won't be selling you anything else anytime soon. But if the pictures work out for you, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Happy photography, Team Languishing. Thanks for your attention.

26 June 2008

Six Years

On June 26, 2002, Shaun and I stood in our backyard and promised to love and honor each other as long as we both shall live, in front of nine family members, our minister, and his daughter. Afterwards, we took wedding photos and all went out to dinner. It was a perfect day (once I sprayed 3 full cans of Raid Yard Guard to slow down the mosquitoes), and the best kind of wedding we could have had. A year later, we had a gigantic rip-roaring party, with chili and milk and cake and karaoke and vanilla stoli. Oh, mercy, the stoli. We got to enjoy our wedding with our immediate family, rest up for a year, and then enjoy a huge party without that pre-party wedding malarky. It was the best of both worlds for us.

I don't have access to digital copies of our wedding pictures right this second (and I'm kinda too lazy to look for them right now), so instead of those pictures, here's a recent shot of my groom. He's probably saying something profound in this photo. Or talking about farts.

It's been an exciting six years, sweet boy. Let's hope the next six are fruitful and peaceful, full of good health and even more laughter than the first six.

Below is one of the poems we had our siblings recite for us that day. I know most of you weren't at the wedding proper, but I sure appreciate you reading this epic post in honor of our anniversary just the same. For those of you who were at the party, we welcome your comments and reminisces, if you like.

Tin Wedding Whistle
by Odgen Nash

Though you know it anyhow

Listen to me, darling, now,

Proving what I need not prove

How I know I love you, love.

Near and far, near and far,

I am happy where you are;

Likewise I have never larnt

How to be it where you aren't.

Far and wide, far and wide,

I can walk with you beside;

Furthermore, I tell you what,

I sit and sulk where you are not.

Visitors remark my frown

Where you're upstairs and I am down,

Yes, and I'm afraid I pout

When I'm indoors and you are out;

But how contentedly I view

Any room containing you.

In fact I care not where you be,

Just as long as it's with me.

In all your absences I glimpse

Fire and flood and trolls and imps.

Is your train a minute slothful?

I goad the stationmaster wrothful.

When with friends to bridge you drive

I never know if you're alive,

And when you linger late in shops

I long to telephone the cops.

Yet how worth the waiting for,

To see you coming through the door.

Somehow, I can be complacent

Never but with you adjacent.

Near and far, near and far,

I am happy where you are;

Likewise I have never larnt

How to be it where you aren't.

Then grudge me not my fond endeavor,

To hold you in my sight forever;

Let none, not even you, disparage

Such a valid reason for a marriage.

24 June 2008

Please won't you be....my neighbor.

Update on the Joe Homeless front: our neighbor who owns the property (and trailer) came last night and moved Joe Homeless and his special lady friend on out. She called and apologized profusely to Shaun, then came to the door and apologized in person to me. It's hard, because this woman has been kind to us all 6 years we've lived here, but was clearly making really bad choices by hiring alcoholic homeless folks and allowing them to live in our driveway. She promised to move the trailer to another location, to avoid leading the alcoholic homeless folks into temptation, and promised to help us with anything we needed.

So, a tentative resolution to our sticky wicket. Thank you for all the impassioned commenters, too, hey. I had no idea so many of you would offer advice! I should ask for input more often, I guess.

The moral of our story is, um, don't let alcoholic homeless folks push you around. I think.

Community Picnic

Seriously, people, we never do anything. We often go weeks without leaving home except to work and occassionally buy some milk. But tonight we went out for the sixth night in a row, this time to a community picnic put on by the community services folks. There was a polka band when we arrived, hence the dancing. Then there was a carrot photo op.
After the carrots, we had cheeseburgers and gyros and ice cream sandwiches. Oh, and yes, the boogers are back.
To finish the evening, there was playground time with digging and slides and bouncy bridges.

So good. I love summer.


The final chapter of our weekend excitement starts with B and ends in enjamin. This sweet boy was adopted from Russia by our dear friends Ed and Linda way back in December, and it wasn't until this weekend, when they came to town to visit, that we finally got to meet him.
Ben likes to hide. You can barely tell, but what appears to be the right-most flower up there is really Ben's blonde head. V hides, too, but mostly by turning her face to a wall and yelling "Find me!" Ben actually hunkered down and blended right in.

He just turned two, and he's in the best stage: you know, that adorable, learn-something-new-every-five-minutes, so-much-personality-it-hurts, tiny-little-human stage. He's got big old boy paw hands (you know, with the little dimples) and jumps like a superhero. He also was very attached to our lawn ornament.

It was a little odd talking about Ben to his parents, in that it's not quite like talking to a friend who's had a newborn... I mean, it kind of is, in that this new, dependent, demanding life has only lived with Ed and Linda for seven months. So they still have those same nervous "I sure hope he's still breathing" middle of the night moments that I had the whole first year. Though he and V aren't that far apart in age, his parents are still in a sort of newborn phase, and we're more in the toddler exhaustion stage. I don't know quite how to explain it better.

I wanted to tell Ed and Linda that they were doing such a good job, that Ben is marvelous and hilarious and beautiful and clearly loved and loving. Parenthood is so incredibly hard, and I don't think parents hear often enough about what we're doing right. I didn't make this point to them on Sunday, so I guess I'm making it now: You guys are awesome. Ben is awesome. We're so glad we got to see you, and so glad our babies get to grow up knowing each other.
Now I'm gonna go hold our lawn ornament and hide in the bushes.

23 June 2008

Long-time friends

10 months ago, I wrote a bit about August & Zoe being born here. This weekend, they came to town, and we ordered Chinese take-out from the restaurant we've been eating at together for the last 30 years, and fed it to our babies, and talked and laughed and didn't have nearly enough time together. Life just moves so much faster now.
It's funny to see V as the biggest kid of a group: I'm used to her being the smallest, or nearly so. But she's very funny around other kids, especially smaller ones: she is used to being the only child, or just fighting with Will over who gets which truck. But faced with a ten month old, V pretty quickly gives up the Baby Animal Book, despite her desire to have things her way.

I love this picture of my mom reading to her best friend's granddaughter. I hope when Zoe and August (and Oliver and Noah) have children, I can read to those babies, too. Whew...maybe I'm getting ahead of myself a little....
On Sunday, we went out to breakfast together, and despite the screaming (seven grown ups+4 children under 3=big adventures) it was a great way to end our whirlwind weekend together. Plus, there was bacon.
I don't know why I don't have any pictures of Kathy, except that she was probably talking to the tables around us in her joyful, calm, unapologetic way. "So much for a nice quiet breakfast, folks." One of my earliest/deepest memories of Kathy was realizing that she was so good at being positive in almost every situation. That's a crazy thing to notice about someone when you're only five years old...

Before I get more sappy, I'll end this post. It was so good to see you all...I can't hardly wait until we do it again.

22 June 2008

Belly of the Beast

My mother tells me this iris is called the BeastMeister...but my extensive online searching has yeilded no verificiation of this claim. Do with that what you will. Whatever it's called, it is a very striking iris, moreso than I can capture on film. My mom has a wide variety of irises (iri?): her garden is just spectacular this time of year. The thing about irises, though, is they're not really great bouquet flowers, because they don't last once they've been cut.
Unfortunately, this particular Beastmeister has a tendency to blow over in high winds. And once an iris is blown over, you might as well put it in a vase and enjoy it for the next 12 hours, because it will be dead soon either way. Weird, huh?

Mom tells me she still has a couple of stems standing, though, so if you'd like to see the Beastmeister in its natural habitat, just swing by Myra's. Tell her I said hi. And snap a couple photos, if you think of it.

Like a good neighbor...

Remember Joe, the good guy who lives in our driveway? Yeah, me too.

Yesterday, I was coming back into the house from hanging laundry on the line, and noticed something odd. I decided to take pictures for your viewing enjoyment.

This is the north (far) side of the Trailer in Our Driveway Where Random Homeless People Have Been Living. See the orange cord coming through the window?

This is the hitch on the east side of the TiODWRHPHBL. See the orange cord looping around there? That red Buick on the left belongs to us. The little line of greenery coming through the pavement? That's the property line. (See, technically, the trailer is not in our Driveway, but in our neighbor's, which abuts ours).

Anyone see where this is going? Here is a large amount of orange cord on the south side of the TiODWRHPHBL. Across the property line. That hopscotch board? Yeah, Joe doesn't much play hopscotch, I'm guessing. At any rate, that hopscotch board under all that orange cord is V's. And it's all in OUR driveway.

This? This is the other end of the orange extension cord. That outlet? That's our house.

My first thought was utter disbelief. Seriously? We call the cops on these people and a week later they are STEALING OUR ELECTRICITY? SERIOUSLY? My second thought? "Where're my pruning shears." But instead, I showed Shaun, and he unplugged it. We called our neighbor, the one who owns the house and the trailer and apparently allows and/or encourages homeless people with alcohol and anger management issues to live inches away from us. We left a message on what may or may not be her answering maching. I figured that would be it (because I am a simple woman. And I don't want to have to dull my pruning shears).

This morning? This morning it was plugged in again. Like, Joe came home last night, noticed we had unplugged his STOLEN ELECTRICITY, and thought, huh, wonder how that happened, and pluggedit back in. So I sent Shaun out, and he unplugged it, and knocked politely on the door to the TiODWRHPHBL. Luckily (?) Joe (and a bonus lady friend) was still home. "Yeah," Shaun said, diplomatically. "Don't plug your power cord into our house." "Well, this house [whose driveway the trailer is actually in] lost power a couple of days ago." Really, Joe? Really? Because you saying that makes it sound like you think it's okay to just steal people's electricity, or at best borrow it without asking, and I don't care how long you've been homeless and/or drunk, but WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT WAS OKAY? Shaun said, "Yeah, well, don't plug your power cord into our house." He made me put away my pruning shears.

So...ish-da. I mean, maybe we should've called the cops the second time. Maybe we should've .... cut the cord with pruning shears. But we're trying to maintain some semblance of a relationship with the woman who owns the property next door (who, granted, continues to hire RHP to live in our driveway), since we may be here for another decade or more. Any suggestions? Because I'm starting to get really really annoyed with this whole deal.

Fair weather friends

We've actually been so busy, I haven't had time to post (as opposed to usually, when I'm just too lazy). So here's the first of several catch-up posts.
When I was a little girl, our fair ("our" meaning the fair 30 miles from home...close enough) was on par with Christmas for me: it came around once a year, it was spectacularly exciting, and I got to eat a lot of junk. What's not to love? I remember feeling so small among the crowds of people, the noise of midway, and the smells of deep-fried deliciousness. My dad would play this old-school crane game and win us treasures, like tiny oil-lamps and other kitschy stuff, which I adored. We would go on rides and see people we knew and exhaust ourselves. It was awesome.
I was so excited to share this with V. We actually went last year, and it was fun, but she was overwhelmed (she cried through the whole carousel ride) and we didn't stay long. This year, though, she's so much more worldly and brave, and after three hours (and $60! how is that possible?) we had to drag her away. This time, there were no carousel tears, and Daddy was such a good sport that he rode the train, too. As comfortable as that looks, we decided to let V ride alone when the chance to sit next to her friend McKenna came up. Here they are piloting a "Marines" helicopter, with some show-off punk in the back. The girls are concentrating on keeping the bird in the air, yo.
We went to a free puppet/song/something or other show, with an overly outgoing host and a plea to buy stuff at the end to help save the rainforest. It was in a nice, cool, tent, though, and everyone and everything looked weirdly green. See? V thought it was worthwhile enough to sit pretty still for the whole 25 minutes. We also went to the petting zoo (the only farm animals on site were bunnies, 2 ducks, and 2 ganders, which we also saw...cows and horses were coming later in the week) and V was really, really into picking up the pine shaving bedding and throwing it. I was not so much into this. Nor was this pot-bellied pig.
The camel didn't mind, though. (What is it about camel eyes that I like so much? Is it that they always look so laid-back and calm? Or that I suspect she's plotting when to spit at me?)We had such a good time. This fair? Though it seems much much smaller to me, now, and though I didn't win any tiny oil lamps, this might've been the best fair yet.

18 June 2008

The ranting and the raving

So, ah, sorry about yesterday, kids. Tenessa's got a point, and I do sound like a lunatic a little, and you should feel free to ignore me. It doesn't help that I don't seem to have a coherent thought process on saving money. I mean, I do in my head, but it just doesn't come out clearly. Because, you know, I'm a writing teacher.

We went to the fair on Monday, and I'll tell you all about it when I get the photos uploaded. Until then, imagine the three of us having eaten far too much fried food covered in sugar. Plus lemonade. Mmm. lemonade.

15 June 2008


I loved Shaun for 5 years before we had a baby, but that love grew immensely when he became a father. He was worried about fatherhood: what if he didn't bond with her? What if he never felt connected to this little pile of goo? But the second day in the hospital, once we were alone in our room with her, he cradled her in front of him and sang to her. She opened her newborn eyes and stared back at him, and they have been bonded ever since.

He helps me to be more patient every day, and can resist even the worst tantrums if it's for the greater good. When I'm exhausted by 2 year old demands, he points out the sweet-curious-hilarity of it all, and when I still don't see it, he plays a game with her while I have a drink. Or four.
He's goofy & dorky & creative and V is a lucky girl to have him for her daddy. I'm a lucky girl to have him for my husband.
Happy father's day, Shaunie.

13 June 2008

This aggression will not stand.

So the homeless guy who lives in our driveway showed us this picture today, which he had cut out of the newspaper. Then he gave V some chocolate covered graham crackers and explained to me how he is a good guy, and that though he understood why we called the cops on him and his cohorts two days ago, it made him sad.

While he was telling me this, I realized it was 10:30am, and he was already (still?) drunk.

Now I appreciate the plight of homeless people, and I don't even mind too much when they live in my driveway, but since V was born, I find myself less sympathetic when screaming fights break out at midnight. In my driveway. And things and people get thrown around. Right under my daughter's bedroom window.

Because even if he has a thing for unicorns, that doesn't necessarily mean he won't hurt me and mine.

Deer me. What's a bleeding heart to do?

10 June 2008

A few more weekend photos

Arty rock & water photo #1

Arty light & shadow & daughter photo
Extreme close up Arty rock & water photo IIOur usual self-portrait

09 June 2008

One of the reasons I married him

Because his parents live here: and it's only an hour and a half away from us, and they also have a hot tub and room for all of us to stay, and seem to like us enough to welcome us as often as we can make it.
Well, okay, they live in a house with that view, right next to this tree, and today there were these clouds nearby. They don't actually live in the water or in the tree or in the sky.

But close enough.

Last night we had a campfire, and I stayed outside visiting with Shaun's dad after everyone else went in the house, and we heard the loons. My first loon calls of the season. I forget how much I miss them when I don't hear them for awhile.

Makes me feel like Katharine Hepburn. Or maybe Henry Fonda.

Jess and Will came out on Saturday, and we tried out the new double stroller (for Will & his Impending Sibling) and played in the fence and the gazebo and mostly ran around like crazed toddlers. The weather cooperated for such a short time, and we were all thankful.
V calls the gazebo "the clubhouse" and has claimed it as her own, in a way. Hers and Will's: she will happily share with him, as long as he doesn't take her pirate ship. Or the pinecone pirates. Or touch the sand she was playing with. Or look at her too long.Yesterday, V learned how to fish (sort of) and though I hate a lot of plastic things and a lot of product placements, we bought her a Dora the Explorer fishing rod. It's small and easy to handle and adorable, and if I had had one like it at her age I would've been a professional fisherwoman. (I have no connection to that link. I just thought it was funny that womenfishing.com exists, and I love the picture by their title).
Grandpa spent a good deal of time teaching her to reel (she got much better!) and discussing casting techniques. Mostly I said things like "That hook is sharp. Don't touch it." She seemed scared by the first fish--a 3" bluegill--and soon wandered back to the beach to chuck rocks.

But it's a start. Next time, we'll take her on the boat where she can't get away.

In the meantime, we still have lakewater on our skin, and we like it. Hope your summer adventures are beginning as well.