30 October 2011

Last night's party portrait: Skol, pop star!

At the Kjos-Njos Halloween Bash last night, V and I had our portrait taken by Robby, who's, like, a real photographer. (Uncle Shaun has a bad cold, and doesn't feel like dressing up when he's sick, so he stayed home).

As a Viking, I always hoped my daughter would grow up to also be a Viking. Since she aspires to be a popstar, I scowl even more than usual.

I made both of these costumes, completely, with the exception of V's microphone and my helmet, both of which we borrowed from my sister's family. I tell you this not to impress you, but to explain any sloppiness.

(And I know that historically, Vikings didn't really wear horned helmets. But it's the easiest way to identify oneself as a Viking today, so I went with it.)

I'll do a more detailed post on V's costume after tomorrow, when she presents the second version of her pop star self.  Stay tuned!

28 October 2011

My blog, my choices.

Yeah, that's right. I changed the background of my blog to look like the background of V's school picture. If you don't like it, get your own blog, and don't do that. But also, I'll probably change it soon enough. Back off, fussybritches.

27 October 2011

School Pictures: Kindergarten

Picture Day! I feel old, because when I was in school it was just us and Larry Harrington and that plain blue background. V's got new fangled photos, with about 40 different background choices. We let her pick which one she wanted, and she picked her outfit, too, so it's certainly...distinctive. But look at how cute she is! I can't hardly stand it! And she's so grown up!

I swear my heart grew three sizes when I saw these. Our own kindergartener.

25 October 2011

Hey, nice tubes.

I know posting's been light lately, but I have a good excuse. I had surgery. Elective, same-day, drug-me-up-then-send-me-home surgery, but still surgery. A tubal ligation, to be specific. It was this past Friday, and I'm recovering well, though I still feel quite a bit like I've been kicked in the belly by a very angry mule. For those of you unfamiliar with fallopian tubes, I provide this illustration, from the 1918 edition of Gray's Anatomy (which you may have to click on to see, because it's not cooperating with me):
We decided, finally, that V would be our only biological child, and Shaun is not a candidate for a vasectomy, due to his cardiomyopathy, among other fascinating reasons. We could've stayed on the pill, or some variation thereof, but as a woman over 35 with a family history of early massive stroke, I'm not exactly the kind of girl that birth control companies are hoping to reach.

So we have our reasons, and made our choices. I felt surprisingly bad, though, because I have a few people close to me who want very much to become pregnant. It seemed wrong, somehow, to undermine our own (potential) fertility when I have friends and family who so want to experience the very thing I'm trying to avoid. I know, it's not like my fallopian tubes have any impact on their pregnancies, but still. I mean, I know I couldn't do surrogacy, so it wasn't that, but it just seemed cosmically...rude, somehow.

Finally, I realized that, like my Peter Falk Lazy Eye theory, perhaps there's only so much fertility in the universe, and by handing in our fertility card, maybe we could free some up for the rest of the world.  So that's what we've done. May the baby making begin! In other people's uteri, I mean.

19 October 2011

Ye Halloween Costumes of Old

You know, it's that time of year again: spookier things than usual show up in the neighbor's yard, my niece resumes her candy corn addiction, and our friend Carla plans a giant pumpkin carving party. As this week's public service Languishing article, I'd like to inspire (or disgust) you with costumes from my past. (In the interest of historical accuracy, these are not in chronological order. I know you folks are into details like that). Enjoy!
  • An awesome inflatable head alien that my cousin Nathan had worn a few years earlier. This is the only costume I remember from when I was a kid. It was mid-October, and I didn’t have a costume yet, so I went over to my aunt Beverly’s house to see if she had any ideas. This goofy, inflatable alien head was my favorite in her costume box. It was made out of the same material as a beach ball, and as such wasn’t all that comfortable, but I loved that I had a head on top of my own head. I saw one kind of like this at the thrift store a few weeks ago, and I felt this tug of nostalgia for a plastic hat.
  • Saloon Girl: in purple satin with black lace. This was the first major costume I sewed for myself, and I got to use a grommet maker for the corset part. I made the mistake of wearing it to work one year, and discovered it’s just a tad disconcerting to have college freshmen catcalling their English instructor.
  • Medusa: I put my hair up and stuck little plastic snakes all over. It made me laugh, anyway, and made for one of my favorite blog post titles.
  • Rosie the Riveter: my favorite of all. I found a denim shirt and a red bandana at the thrift store, and made my own backdrop out of yellow, white, and blue poster board. And put a monkey wrench in my pocket, AND I was happy to see you.
Jesus, Supergirl, & Rosie the Riveter walk into a Halloween party...

  • Fortuneteller. The go-to easy last-minute costume, from upper elementary until today. A long skirt, a flowy shirt, some shiny earrings, and a Romanian accent, I can offend Gypsies near and far. I've actually been a variation of this costume twice in the last six years. But I wasn’t trying to offend anyone: I was a Fortune Teller. I even studied a little palm reading and tarot. I’m all about authenticity, you know.
  • A separated conjoined twin: My friend Bayard and I, who looked nothing alike, except that we’re both white and we both had long brown hair, drew scars on each other’s sides, then pulled down our t-shirts and went out. This was a lovely costume, but it took too long to explain it to the bartenders who kept accusing us of not having costumes.  Later in the evening, when we got separated into different bars, it just got funnier. At least to me.
Consider yourselves inspired. Now I'm off to figure out what I'm doing this year....

10 October 2011

Something rancid this way comes

V and I went out of town this weekend after a very busy Friday. We left Shaunsie home alone and had our own adventures, and wandered home yesterday evening. Mondays are one of my days to sleep in, so I didn't really venture into the kitchen until late this morning. And there was a smell. I mean, a Smell. Like a peach sat in a hot car for a few days, and then you put it on a plate in a small, closed, damp room. Only worse.

At first I thought I'd been watching too much CSI. I could hear Nick say  to Warrick (because in my heart, Warrick isn't dead), "You smell that?" and  Warrick raises his handsome eyebrow and knowingly mutters, "Decomp."

So I looked for the body. The three of us were accounted for, thankfully, and Seven was wandering around by my feet. Ah, the fish! Oh, poor fish. Wait, he's not dead. He was just sitting still. I checked the garbage disposal (ick), took out the garbage, opened and closed cupboards and the fridge, trying to figure out 1. what had died here and 2. where it was, exactly. My mind raced: we've never had mice in this house (knock on wood), and I hate mice with a white hot passion. (I may hate mice more than I hate squirrels. No, I only hate mice when they're in houses. I hate squirrels everywhere.) I swept under the stove. No corpse, but I found that old Martha Stewart's Halloween Issue I thought I'd left at Crystal's.

Then I started to get worried. Hallucinations of smells is a sign of a brain tumor, right? I mean if everything starts smelling like pickles, I'm probably gonna die. But this smell was clearly in the kitchen, somewhere between the sink and the trash, and it certainly didn't smell anything like pickles.

Finally, under a cream-colored kitchen towel on the counter above the dishwasher, I found the source. A baggie with just a bit of raw chicken, somehow left behind from Thursday's supper prep, hidden under the towel. Four days on my kitchen counter was plenty of time for terrible things to happen. I was totally relieved, and totally grossed out, and vowed to keep a cleaner kitchen. For now, I've got four scented candles and some incense going on in there, and I'm gonna go eat some pickles.

08 October 2011

Tami's Place

My friend Tami is an artist and a mama, a poet and a hairstylist. She co-owned a salon for many years, and works independently in one now. And she's also in the process of setting up her own salon in her house. When Jess and I and V were in the Cities last weekend, we got to be among her first customers.
 I love the black and white floor and the in-progress transformation of a regular basement into a whole new space.
Since it was Jess' birthday, she got the whole color and cut shebang.
 Even V got in on it, getting her hair washed in the fancy sink. When Tami washes your hair, it's like a magical massage for your scalp. Really.
Jess looking beautiful.

At one point, I giggled and said "We're totally playing Beauty Shop!" and we all grinned at one another.  So much girly happiness in one place! 

If you're in or around the Cities and looking for a fabulous stylist, Tami's Place is the place for you. Or at least the place for me.

03 October 2011

The First of October

October 1, 1974, I was fourteen months and one week old. Sixty-one weeks, to put it another way. I didn't know what that meant, exactly, until I had my own sixty-one week old child, and suddenly I came to understand my mama in a whole new way. Because when my mama had a sixty-one week old daughter, she brought home a second, brand spankin' new daughter. And oh sweet holy moses that must've been hard.

For me, though, it meant that I would never remember the world before my sister. I will never run out of vintage photos of us together. By the time I could say full sentences, or even walk without a wobble, she was already here.

For me, it means deciding to raise an only child (and I recognize how fortunate we are, to get to make such a choice, and I don't take that fortune lightly) seemed almost unthinkable for many years, because my childhood is so tightly bound to hers. I nearly mourn the baby sister V will never have, largely because I can't picture my life without mine.

We spent this past weekend in Minneapolis, with our mother and her sisters (and their brother), and we got to spend the entirety of her 37th birthday together.

There is no one I would rather near 40 with (well, sixty-one weeks before) than you, Sissy.  Maybe next year we should go to Vegas. Or Sweden. Or at least Hillsboro. Wherever we are, we'll have a good time, so long as we're together.