Friday, February 29, 2008

we're fraternal

We've had lots of fun in the past with celebrity look-alike posts, so I thought I'd offer up mine.

Now, the picture I took with my phone of a National Enquirer cover last month was too distorted to use in the blog, so I was forced to scour the internet for images that will confirm my twindom with Kirstie Alley. Mind you, I only resemble her when she weighs 260+ pounds. When she's thin she is quite beautiful. And I definitely don't fancy myself having her kick-ass hairline. But there is an undeniable similarity when she's heavy.

See for yourself.:

this one captures my ever-present scowl

this could be either of us

wanna get in my drawers?

B is my most fervent cheerleader, in all realms, and I am hers. This is especially true in matters of the home front. We encourage each other to forge ahead on days when we're dog tired and uninspired, and we have a wonderful reciprocity with grace for those times when it's just not happening. But mostly we keep each other going, and relish each others' successes.

Our primary method of mutual inspiration is our use of "challenges." When one or both of us is lagging, the other throws out a loving, creative, and clever challenge, proportional to what the other can reasonably handle in the moment. When B is out of coffee and the kids are sick and the dryer is melting all of their clothes, for instance, I would never challenge her to clean her whole house. But I would challenge her to spend a half an hour in her garden, rejuvenating. This was one of her challenges this morning, along with spending a half an hour cleaning something inside the house. In turn, she challenged me to study up on lapbooks and introduce them to Quinn, as well as clean one surface/cupboard/drawer that has been seriously neglected. (Yes even ocd mamas neglect some things.) I've posted before and after pics of the drawer I selected. Man it was grody.

Since we spend a lot of time in each other's homes, we can set awesome challenges with ease. B knows the top of my refrigerator is getting cluttered again, and will crack the whip on it, and I know that clean towels are becoming scarce at her house, and will challenge her to do a load of them right away. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not romanticizing these challenges. Sometimes they downright suck. This is particularly true when I've just sat down for my Lost reruns, or when I'm so tired my eyes are crossing, or when my ocd is flaring up and I'd sooner burn my f-ing house down than try to clean it. My least favorite challenge was to clean off our hillbilly white trash porch, and then paint it and wash down the back door. I'm still a little bitter, even though she did come over to help with the painting. My favorite challenge came last weekend when I was feeling sooo resentful and obstinate. She told me I had to put away 15 things, throw away 15 things, and wipe down 15 things. Sheer genius! I immediately made a list, and within one hour had crossed all 45 things off. My house still has a little sparkle from that one.

Uh oh, I'm getting dangerously close to a novella. Sorry guys. I could talk cleaning all day. Instead, I think I'll clean all day. B, this challenge took five minutes, got anything harder? (No painting please!)



these things come in threes

I swear this is short. I'm just looking for a pat on the back.

My kids spent Wednesday night at my mom's, so I hung around B's house all day trying to will $2.51 into $20.00 so we could eat really bad delicious food. We wondered if there were any merchants who might accept magic beans from the garden, an I.O.U., or one of Addison's rock necklaces as currency, but ultimately were stuck with the classic Krap Macaroni & Cheese vs. Top Ramen debate.

Anyway anyway, I personally did nothing constructive the entire day. That is, until later when I picked up my kids. I whisked them home to get jackets, and got cajoled into allowing not only a bike, but some jumpy trampoline shoes of Quinn's. We headed to McKay track, where we met my mom for a mile-long walk just as it was turning from dusk to getting-mugged dark. After sprinting, speeding, and bounding around the track, we took my ma home and the kids and I went to the Courthouse gym, where I signed Brandy and myself up for a two year membership (yea!). Then I took my kids out to eat, and brought them home to say goodnight to their dad. Finally, we went back to my mom's to watch Lost, because hello, "My name is Cheyenne, and I am a Lostaholic." There we were treated to beef roast and (only a dollop I swear B!) of mashed potatoes, and an hour of Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), who may have surpassed Sayid's lead for my unswerving devotion.

Anyway, not a shabby job of bringing up the caboose of a mostly unproductive day right?

i might rather pour honey on my head

Late at night I become susceptible to a sort of ethereal reasoning and say and do things that feel monumentally wise at the time, and then in the morning I want to slit my throat.

Tonight, I'm copping to the fact that I hate the Gilbert House. That's right, I hate it. I know my crunch factor just dropped by ten thousand recycled hemp points, and I don't even care. I know I'm supposed to dress my kids in uncoordinating Hanna Andersson sweat suits until they are fifteen, and encourage them to memorize every exhibit, if not create some of them, and I know I ought to spend every sunny day there. But I just can't. Because I hate it. I'll try to restrict my explanation, as I've already hogged most of cyberspace tonight, but okay, I can't handle not being able to see my kids for thirty minutes at a time. Nor am I fond of them disappearing into some labyrinth of broken necks, into which I could not fit if I tried, and would therefore fail at rescuing them. (If you're wondering if know I'm crazy, I do, and I take a lot of pills, but I can't shake the pervasive safety phobia.)

Fortunately for my kids, we have a lot of friends who guilt me into going, paying little mind to my delicate mental state. The kids instantly enter that cage/maze/chamber, and are not be seen for half an hour, when they emerge asking for hot dogs, another fear of mine. So we go, and they run, which is wonderful, and they visit the exhibits and punch and choke each other in the shadow room, and I try to get a colorful educational vibe rather than a dank desperate vibe. I know one mom who agrees with me, and she had BETTER come forth in unity, for I fear after this gets posted, she may be my only friend left.

I don't want to get too detailed about why I'm uncomfortable there, because 40% of my friends either built it, or run it, or consider it a member of their family, and I'm not aiming to hurt anyone. But it's specifically configured to choke and/or hide your child(ren). I always want to take everyone into the baby room and sit safely amongst the shape sorters, but nine year olds are prohibited, and they get pissed when you try to hold them there. They want to be slopping around in that sticky bubble bullshit, or assembling people's garbage into crafts that must be brought home and cherished forever. I just can't take it. But, I'm a mom, first and foremost, and I shan't deny my kids these liberties just because I'm scaredy cat with ocd. So, if you're not busy setting fire to my house for this act of treason, and you happen to be headed to AC Gilbert's soon, and everyone else on your list turned you down, and you hate me, go ahead and call me. We'll probably come.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


A friend and new blogger recently posted a question to our moms' group about so-called blogging etiquette, how personal to get, etc. And since I have three minutes to kill before rushing to my mom's to watch Lost, I thought I'd give it a vast deal of thought and bore the shit out of all of you with my musings.

First of all, newsflash: discretion is not my strong suit, so most things are going in. I yam what I yam and everything. Obviously I make an effort not to upset the people I care about, though I must confess to using far less caution not to offend the people I don't care about. It goes without saying that private things are private, be they actions or opinions, and I don't reveal these truisms unless I drink .000005 ounces of alcohol, or unless I'm emotional and call Sam, or if it will make someone laugh, or like me better, or be my friend, or get me invited to a party. In short, the real dirt gets dished in person.

But my method isn't as haphazard as it seems. I am fairly calculated about who is reading my blog, and what they see, but I deal in probabilities rather than exactitudes. My mother-in-law, age 79, is probably never going to suddenly stop grooming cats everyday and buy a computer and learn to use it and intuit the name brilliant monster and catch up on years worth of posts, and happen to see that I've maligned the clothes she picks for my kids. Probably.

That said, my high school best friend/current persona non grata is quite likely to have patchworked his way here via B's MySpace blog announcement, and I'm sure he's delighting in what he sees as my fat, ordinary, non-flying-to-Beliz, life. Though sickly, he's jealous of my nervous breakdown because he always wanted to have one, and he'll mask his envy with a slathering of judgement.

OMG, what am I talking about?

Speaking of high school, I am reminded of a time wherein I was really burdened everyday by a friend's chronic bad breath. It was a quality of life thing. I could think of no acceptable way of alerting her to this problem (and frankly, was flabbergasted that she didn't know), so I sat our entire group of friends down and announced that "one of us has bad breath." Appropriately shamed, I promise never to do that in my blog. ("Ahem, ONE of us is always late. Or for that matter, never shows up at all, and doesn't even answer her phone. Or care. Deborah!" Again, she'll never see that.)

Good Christ, am I still writing? Sorry, I got a late energy spurt. (note to self: I hate the word spurt.) The good news is I'm going to throw in the towel on this roving post. The bad news is, I'm going to blog something else.

There Kendra, if I can post this horse shit, you have carte blanche.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


A word to the wise:

If you don't cook or bake, and rely on the ambition and generosity of others, namely your mother-in-law, to bestow pies upon you, you'd be wise to use caution about one thing.

When you've sliced yourself a piece of the scrumptious pie in your sleepy morning haze, so eager to wash it down with the aforementioned 64-oz. coffee, and you see a tupperware container of hand-whipped cream in the fridge, I URGE you to make sure it's not mashed potatoes before heaping it upon your pie.

I mean, for what it's worth.

no country for sissies

B and I are on a little movie kick these days, and last night we selected No Country For Old Men. Critics gave it an A, and the film and its crew were showered with Academy Awards the other night. Plus, Tommy Lee Jones is really cute, so how cold we miss?

Within eight seconds of our arrival, my blood was running cold. Set against the backdrop of the dreariest old western landscape, Josh Brolin was making one gruesome discovery after another. Soon he made the fateful mistake of absconding with two million dollars he liberated from a rotting carcass, and the hunt began.

Enter the creepiest m-f-ing villain you have ever laid your tender eyes upon. Dark and silent, tall and relentless, with eyes can that could turn you to stone. Or at least make you cry. Granted I am prone to some exaggeration at times, but this man was so sinister I wanted to leave the theater. His gaze bore a hole straight through my heart, and I literally trembled throughout the entire movie. As crazy as it sounds, his face was not his most frightening feature, nor was his modified oxygen tank murder weapon. It was his hair. When a fraction of my terror subsided a bit, I was commenting to myself that his medieval pageboy was really the source of my fear, and that's when Brandy leaned over and whispered, "What's up with that Prince Valiant hairdo?" It was the only smile I was afforded the entire night.

So grim guy tracks dumb luck guy, in search of the money, and our audience was breathless for two hours. This pursuit was so chilling, so hopeless, and so so bloody, no one made a peep. You could actually hear my nails tearing the flesh of B's arm.

Spoiling the ending isn't really a problem here, because A) the Coen brothers spoil their own endings, and B) this post is about Javier Bardem being the most ominous son of a bitch in the history of my cinematic life. So disturbing is he that I refused to believe, when Sam told me, that he actually had a name. That he could have an actual mother, or worse, that he is walking around somewhere. I think he should be imprisoned just for looking like that.

After dropping B off and managing to make it home without him popping up in my back seat, I immediately Googled him to see if he was in fact human. Surprisingly, he is, and does have a mother, and even smiles! This latter fact was the only reason I got any sleep last night at all.

So, do I recommend the movie? Um...yes, if you like to lose control of your bowels, no if you require satisfying endings.

But I consider it a badge of honor to have survived. B, sorry I mutilated your arm. Go heavy on the Neosporin!


There's a bit of notoriety surrounding the coffees I drink each day, and I wanted to show everyone why. I start out each morning with a tumbler full of joe, that is, when I can't get to Starbucks to settle for their meager portions.

In my heyday (of mania in full-swing), I was drinking two or three of these a day, and was always delighted to have Brandy over because she'd match me gallon-to-gallon, until we were both writhing on the floor with coffee heart attacks.

So here it is, my morning ritual, the jolt that enables me to make beds, start laundry, do dishes, roust sleepy munchkins from their beds, and, when I'm lucky, take a shower and run 665 errands.

You should try it. I'll even make you your first one for free...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

not your grandmother's bingo

Today I need to lament that my once promising cerebral cortex has atrophied into a pitiful little blob I have come to accept as my latent mind. You see, my exceptional children, tender little parasites that they are, managed to bilk me out of virtually all the functioning brain cells I'd worked so hard to amass during my formative years. It's not enough that they left me with a gelatinous alien flap for a stomach, oh no, they had to suck every cognizant molecule out of my grey matter as well.

They say that a mother loses brain power with every birth, but I only have two children, and am lucky if I can string together words with more than three syllables. So either my precious bundles were particularly greedy, or I wasn't as smart as I thought I was to begin with. Obviously, I refuse to believe the latter.

It is true that I speak with less confidence, for I know that key words will elude me at critical moments, and as anyone can tell you, I forget everything I see/hear/read/say/buy/etc. I was never like this before. I competed on the varsity Street Law team in high school, got a free ride to Willamette University, and could annihilate almost anyone in a verbal confrontation. Sadly, I took great joy in this and did so often. But I digress.

One thing that reminds me daily of my ever-dwindling brainpower is our Scrabble Deluxe game. It beckons me with its swirly letters, burgundy tiles, and velvet pouch. But ours is an affair best forgotten, for I can no longer score even a fraction of what I used to. My mom taught me how to play when I was very young, and I fancied myself somewhat of a natural. I've only bingoed twice, and I'm semi-ashamed to confess that I've phoneyed zillions of times (typically with lesser-known proper nouns--like cheeses and such). I'm an excellent blocker, and I even admit to some brailing in my younger days, but payback is a bitch when you're staring at a hopeless nongo.

God how I miss it.

My mom always has her Scrabble welcome out for me, but we have a fairly fierce rivalry, and I don't think my ego could withstand being trounced right out of the gate after five years. But I see certain word orders everywhere I look. License plates, babies' blocks, things my children write that are words, unbeknownst to them. I've slayed people using AA, AI, HM, and JO. I am reminded of a time my mom got like a thousand points playing DOJO on a triple. I naively thought there was no way she could play off of a hanging J with only one square open. Drats! Of course, nothing beats SUPERNOVA. See why I can't play her when I'm so raw? I seem to recall sticking my neck and playing her a couple years ago, and she QAT-ed me twice, and drew most, if not all, of the ten powers. (The two blanks, four esses, J, Q, X, and Z)

You all know that Q is typically the coveted letter, right? And that people will hold onto a U even if it's their only vowel, in hopes of drawing the Q. It's worth mentioning that, as one of only two letters worth ten points (the other being Z), naming my son Quinn was no coincidence.

Anyway, I really miss Scrabble, and I REALLY miss being able to play Scrabble. I was never going to play in a tournament or anything, but one can derive a lot of confidence from throwing down BANJAX to an unsuspecting opponent, and cresting 300 points.

Then again, one can also derive pleasure listening to Raffi sing Les Petites Marionettes. All I know is, Quinn and Reilly had better put my brain to good use!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Last weekend when B and I were shopping for Pam & Gab's party, we happened into Claire's, that heinous accessory store full of cheap, made in China trinkety crap. Ostensibly, we were there for a hair clip for B, which I concede is totally legit. But somehow, in this sea of gawdy horror, I found myself inexplicably reaching for a headband. Somehow I felt it might accent my outfit, in spite of its distinct contrivance, and the fact that it is about ten years too young for me. Maybe even fifteen. In any event, B liked it, and being that I was all caught up in pre-party grandiosity, I bought it. And wore it. And, as long as we're being honest, I took it off halfway through the party.

Cut to today. I was preening for an appointment and noticed this headband I thought I retired onto a shelf. Somehow, it spoke to me again, insisting it was just what my outfit needed. I was helpless against its persuasions, and before I knew it, I was wearing it. But I'm skeptical about wearing it to this appointment. I'm afraid this specialist will take one look at my teeny-bopper headband and immediately attribute all my problems to my apparent need to pretend I am fifteen.

So against all my vanity-borne objections, I am posting pictures of it here and letting you guys decide whether or not this look is edgy or desperate.

And, you know, don't let my extreme vulnerability become any kind of factor...


don't fence me in

It must be in the air. B is tiring of her homeschooling routine, and I am once again straddling the homeschool/public school fence, and let me tell you, the fence post is, well, right up my arse. (Sorry Gail)

I go through this approximately 85 times a day, but every so often I start to lend serious thought to the notion of sending my kids to school. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that I spend an equal amount of days unschooling as I do teaching, and I am fundamentally NOT an unschooler. I too am bored with our lessons, and I am easily swayed off course by factors such as rainy days, sunny days, and windy days. And the first sign of sniffles entitles us to at least five days off. But there are other reasons too. My kids desire to be around other kids. We have a little co-op, and those nine kids are pretty tight, but (insert reason here), and we don't see them as often as we used to. Also, I think the structure might be good for them. I think my unpredictability renders them somewhat frazzled, and never knowing what to expect. I make up for this with Ambitious Mondays, whereupon I announce that we will be completing 105 pages of math, to compensate for my complete and utter failure.

I assuage my guilt and shame by reassuring myself that my kids are bright, and learning a vast array of things even when we're not slaving away at formal lessons. But come on. Even I know it's a cop-out.

The school my kids would go to if we went that route, is Pratum, a tiny two-room country schoolhouse with two teachers per grade, and three grades per room. So, six teachers in each room. A dear and trusted friend, whose son has attended Pratum since kindergarten, and who is also a teacher there, was just telling Todd how the kids are very close-knit, welcoming of newcomers, not prone to bullying or other loathsome public school behavior, and that she thinks Quinn and Reilly would do very well there if we opted to try it.

The post up the arse is really starting to ache now.

And, in what is both a blessing and a curse, this decision is mine alone. Todd has always entrusted me with the choice of where and how to school the kids. And while I appreciate the privilege, I am drowning in indecision and doubt. B, my most revered and trusted advisor on the subject, says to make a decision and stick with it boldly and with confidence. Sometimes I wonder if she's ever met me. It's very difficult to act with such resolve when everyone in my life, and their grandmothers, are telling me what I ought to do, and all the input is conflicting. Todd's a libra, and even though he doesn't believe in being a libra, his position is at a solid 50/50. My mom, libra. Sam, libra who knows this internal tug-of-war better than anyone. My mother-in-law never fails to espouse the virtues of public school, and wonders when, if ever, I will outgrow this phase she no doubt attributes to my wacky hippie upbringing. My beloved homeschool friends insist that we're doing fine and should stay the course (in the non-President Bush sense). And I remain adrift in the midst of all these opinions, with little hope of relief from this fence post. I just keep weighing every option, every factor, every outcome, every everything, hoping and praying that one scenario will emerge clearly enough to persuade me.

Hmmm...I must have libra rising...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

eating crow never tasted so good...

Suffice it to say, my grand departure didn't stick. Instead I just hurt people's feelings and made a jerk of myself. Around here we call that "the usual."

But on a brighter note, I was welcomed back (or, in some cases forced back at knife point) into open, loving arms, and I think that's worthy of a celebration. Of sorts.

I have discovered the most decadent treat on earth, and I'm indulging today in honor of A) my return to the grind, and B) the fact that I am 30 years old and can eat whatever I want. Officially I gave up sugar to support B, but she gave me her full blessing on this one.

Introducing the vanilla cupcake from Starbucks. Words can't describe it, other than to say, the frosting is as tall as the cake! I recommend this above all other desserts.

On second thought, they tend to be pretty scarce, so would you mind ordering the coffee cake instead? Thanks.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

bowing out

So it turns out I'm not of the blogging ilk. You don't have to act surprised. I've seen real blogs, in fact there are scores of blogs I enjoy daily, and mine is by far the runt, and perhaps handicapped to boot.

It's not enough to be verbose. I am reminded everyday, many times, that my writing is sub-par, and let me just be frank.: Trying to write after reading one of Adam's essays is like having to heat up fish sticks the night after Wolfgang Puck cooked you dinner. I also lack the technical prowess to keep my blog groomed and show-worthy like the others I admire. While some blogs feature type and pictures in coordinating colors, mine offers a scheme-less array of mismatched imagery that I may have picked up at a yard sale.

If blogs were lawns, mine would have plywood stacked atop cinder blocks, a broken-down Chevy Nova, and maybe that wet couch I lifted from B's neighbor. It really lacks an aesthetic, and that fact assaults me every time I log in.

Furthermore, I am always simultaneously winded trying to keep up, and acutely aware that my prolificacy, or lack thereof, is wholly irrelevant.

Since I can't afford to have my blog landscaped, and since having someone write for me defeats the whole purpose (and since the two people I would hire already have beautiful, shiny, well-written blogs of their own), I'm letting it go to seed. Maybe a thousand years from now when my life is my own and I can learn me some technological skills, or maybe when Adam's laptop breaks and the bar isn't so goddamned high, I will try again. But for now, I'm tapping out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

cuckoo for those castaways!

Listen, if you're not offering your theory as to the sixth survivor, or as to why Sayid is apparently working for Ben, then I'll have to catch you later, because my brain is permanently locked on Lost, in all of its painfully implausible splendor. Nevermind that the women seems to get makeovers everyday, and that the men's facial hair only grows to a rugged stubble, and nevermind the fact that each of the 46 survivors managed to locate a vast wardrobe upon crashing. Let's look past the endless supply of food that was miraculously acquired, and the other resources which appear to be multiplying (most notably: axes, shovels, hammers, and nails). I can even forgive them their romances despite not having brushed their teeth in 100 days, because, I am sickeningly, rip-your-hair-out-in-anticipation, speak-of-nothing-else, in love with each of these ridiculous people. Even bug-eyed Ben, whose death I have been yearning for.

It's likely that I never would have bonded with these supremely unrealistic characters had I not had my appendectomy last year, for it was during my convalescence (once again at) Kinch Manor that Adam happened to rent the series on DVD. Thus we became hooked. I tried to resist, on the grounds that I abhor sci-fi, and did dutifully sleep through the first few episodes, but all it took was one close-up of Sayid and I was down for the count. I'm ready to go toe to toe with anyone who suggests that he is not the finest specimen on the island. Right now. But Jack is a very close second. I'm having a hard time awarding third prize because I'm ashamed to like Sawyer, not because he is a homicidal con man, but because his hair is positively unforgivable. And because I am also swooning over Desmond, with his lovely brogue and habit of calling everyone "brotha." Honorable mention must also go to Charlie, who can never be handsome because he is A) 4'11" and B) forever a hobbit, and Hurley, who won't be crowned king because his hair is a triangle. Jesus. I could go on all night about these fictional folks, and already have.

As long as I'm being honest, I have to confess that I also have a crush on Locke, but he is in a league of his own because I can't decide if he's the savior or the freaking anti-Christ, but his eyes are mesmerizing and he's awfully spry for a man his age. One thing though, when they crashed, he wore those awful peg-legged sheeny-type slacks, and in subsequent episodes he has had several pairs of regular trendy cargos. Hmmm...

This brings me to one of my most frustrating puzzles.: Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a backpack, which I find patently ridiculous. It's as if everyone packed for a plane crash.

Also, how did Claire trim her bangs? With one of the myriad axes?

It just seems like they went from hunkering together under pieces of refuse, to enjoying a shangri-la beach-front getaway.

But who cares?!?!? I'm dying to know if Juliet is good or bad, same with Locke, and the most elusive tidbit of all, who is Ben?

After tonight's episode, I'm wondering if Kate's baby is deformed, I couldn't quite tell, and the thought of the rescued six leaving the 40-something others to rot on the island is gnawing at my brain.

Clearly I'm in some trouble with this show. I fake injuries so I have an excuse to watch the reruns, and our regular lessons have been replaced by continuous pop quizzes about various plot lines, character histories, and essay questions speculating on the future.

You could say that my kids will have PhDs in Lost. I'm not proud of this, in case you were wondering, but it can't be helped. I know of no antidote. Perhaps there's a patch to curb the craving...In my mind, it has a big picture of Sayid on it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ducks, dares, and dexter, mr. president

I may as well just confess it. I don't feel compelled to spend sunny days outdoors. While my friends are taking the day off work and whisking their kids off to various parks, I am at home, utilizing the extra rays to kick my cleaning into overdrive.

So yesterday, Presidents' Day, was no exception. Todd got off early and swooped home to take the kids to Silver Falls, and I was muy contenta to fold Mt. St. Laundry and watch reruns of Lost. But no. Having heard of my abandonment, those kindly Kinches took pity on me once again and invited me to join their duck-feeding excursion. Even with all the ambiance of the state penitentiary, I had serious misgivings.

You see, I fell for this once before, about five years ago. A friend cajoled me to bring my kids to feed these same disease-riddled fowl, and, long story short, we slogged through five-inch bird shit until my kids' Brazilian-made Nubuck suede shoes were ruined, as were their pants, and I was reduced to a thumb-sucking infant for days. (I have OCD remember?)

So I was hardly clicking my heels to meet B & Co. at what I have come to call Duck Shit Acres. But I didn't have my kids, and I felt I could safely roam the outskirts without spoiling their fun, so I went. No sooner had I pulled in than a dreadful scowl etched itself onto my face. My reward for this immature behavior? Adam used his high-powered camera lens to capture it. I could feel the stench being absorbed by my pores, and my shoes were literally sticking with each step, and I had to peel them off. (Imagine a loud sucking sound.) I did my best not to tarnish their fun, but failed miserably, and we left rather soon.

Back at chez Kinch, I was confronted by Brandy with my promise to let her stick me with her new insulin needles. True to my cowardly form, I grabbed Adam's arm and offered him up first. After a little squirming, he let her do it, which pretty much set me swaying. Then they both turned to me expectantly. The periphery turned black, and I was too dizzy to run. B had that needle screwed in in about .00001 seconds, and began grabbing for my arm. She was serious about getting down to business. My short data file of plausible excuses shuffled through my brain, but alas, I was left with no choice. I'd love to make a big fat deal of how brave I was, but the truth is, the science behind these syringes is phenomenal, and it didn't hurt at all. 0%. This makes me feel so much better for B, but a little sad for myself that I lost out on any kind of courage award.

As if frolicking in seagull shit and getting stabbed with needles wasn't macabre enough, next we rented some Dexter, and settled in for a little homicide at sunset. Maybe on Memorial Day we can swim in the Willamette River and then engage in a little group cutting...

Monday, February 18, 2008

so sweet i might get a cavity

I couldn't have asked for a sweeter rebound from the science fair debacle. This is what I saw when I peeked into the kids' room just now as I was vacuuming. As delightful as it is to see my children reading voluntarily, I was over the moon to catch them practically nose-to-nose while doing so.

(And can I just add that they cleaned up the entire house so I could vacuum, without being asked?)

Broken hearts are swift to mend.

it's not rocket science

I've just been demoted from Master Multi-tasker Extraordinaire to Mediocre Mama. And that's being generous.

We missed the homeschool science showcase today, because I thought it was on Saturday. I just saw an email from the coordinator inviting everyone out to the Gilbert House to enjoy the exhibit today, and she did note that they were light on entries. Of course they were, because B and I both got the date wrong, so they were four displays short.

My kids are so disappointed. I don't normally get my dates confused, so they were wholly unprepared for a bombshell like this.


But, true to form, B has already formulated a brilliant alternative plan, in the scant six minutes since we learned of our mistake. Nonetheless, we feel awful for our friend, the coordinator, who has always been able to count on us, and was left in the lurch today.

I kind of want to fall apart, because I am so unaccustomed to failure where time management is concerned. I'm used to calling my friends and family to remind them about their various dentist/hair/therapy appointments, so dropping the ball on a major event for my kids feels like I've been punched in the stomach.

Not to worry, we'll make it up to them. My kids are already eager to get to work on the new plan, so maybe I won't have to be stripped of all my mama medals (not that I've earned that many)...But it is worth mentioning that perhaps we should tattoo the date on our faces, just in case.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

it's in the blood

Having officially survived the grueling demands of this weekend, I am finally at liberty to address the weight pressing on my heart. It's a text Brandy sent me from the doctor's office Friday, and I haven't been free to contemplate it until just this minute.


I won't soon forget the expression on her face as she walked in with a tester, needles, a handful of prescriptions, and the knowledge that, at thirty, she was insulin dependent. But the look was fleeting, for she immediately set to work on all of the madness to which we had committed ourselves this weekend. To say that B is stoic is to say that the ocean is big. She is a warrior. When gang members bludgeoned someone to death on her street, she chased them away without pause. When I got a tumor last year, she carried my entire family through the week during which we didn't know if it was cancer. She even goes after those meaty, hairy-ass spiders, when I vote to call 911. But this was a blow. A big one. Insulin. Forever.

A lot of people are diabetic and have to take insulin shots. But a lot of people aren't important to me. Sorry, but they're not. She is.

As if insulin weren't bad enough, she has inherited a little collection of setbacks from her parents that makes things even harder, though she'll never complain. She will henceforth be adhering to a diet so strict as to make you cry, all the while whipping up a magnificent, indulgent dinner for the rest of us. And with a smile.

Later she disappeared into her room to puncture herself for the first of a million times, and I admit to feeling really sad seeing her bleed. Worse yet is the sight of her sticking a needle into her stomach. I could easily have passed out, but not B. She was singing a lullabye to Maia the entire time, cool as a proverbial cucumber. I am a huge needle-phobe, so I'm sure my reaction was extreme, but it's still hard to know that she'll be enslaved to this ritual for most of forever.

I know this has jarred her, but not because she has said so. She's shaking it off and moving on, and I am immensely proud of her. As an act of solidarity, I've given up sugar, which I know doesn't compare to a needle, but it's my way of sharing in the sacrifice. I suppose I could also let her stick me... She swears it's no biggie, and she really wants to. Something about the new needles being so small, blah blah blah (feeling faint). Okay B, what I'm trying to say is that I'm so impressed with your strength, resiliency, and good attitude that I'M GOING TO LET YOU STICK ME WITH YOUR NEEDLE!

Hope it helps.

Love you.

(Can I have a cupcake when you do it?)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

the card i was dealt

I hate to pull rank, but it's my blog, and if I want to post fifteen pictures of the Valentines day card my kids gave me, that's my right. And if I want to get really emotional as I post them, and cry a little, so be it.

But seriously, I am the luckiest mama in the world.

the envelope. please note the dixie chicks at the bottom:

Rei holding the card:

please excuse her stepford expression:

they personalized some of the hearts. rainbows are my favorite:

on second thought, he's my favorite. and MY valentine, so back off:

my monsters with hearts of gold:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

i heart you with all my heart

(Please insert superbly-worded diatribe about the corruption/commercialization of holidays here, paying special attention to the fact that shitty, worthless greeting cards cost $5.00 apiece!!!)

Thank you.

That said, I am every bit a slave to commercialism. Well no, I'm amending that. I'm a slave to sentiment. There we go. Sentiment. That's it. My kids want for nothing, save someone to get rid of some of the extraneous shit in their room so they can play with the same raggedy form-less stuffed animals they've had for ninety three years. And yet here I sit with Valentines day breathing down my neck, and far be it from me to let it pass without some measure of fanfare. Now, I say I do these things to make my kids happy, to show them I love them, and it's true. But there's a serious disconnect when I find myself in Fred Meyer for the THIRD time in one day, just to make sure everyone has a trinket, a thing of candy, and strike me down, one of those blasted heart-shaped mylar balloons! People, it's those balloons that get me. Their simplicity and charm cast a spell on me, and pretty soon I'm buying heart-shaped candy, heart-shaped erasers, heart-shaped bath mats, whatever. It's worth mentioning that these festive little treasures are only a dollar, so I don't have to dig very deep to drag a handful of them home to remind my kids that I love love love them.

I'm a little embarrassed about my attachment to holidays, but in my heart-of-balloon-hearts, I defend it. Granted, I need to manage my time a little better so as to spare myself the maddening jaunts to Fred Meyer at eleven o'clock, whereupon I buy the balloons in secret, forced to wedge them under the Obama rally signs in the back of my Jeep, and hope they don't pop up once I pick up Reilly, who is busy at my mom's, putting the finishing touches on surprises of her own. I'm sure a better mom would observe Valentines day by watching the story of stuff with her kids, before taking the recycling out, and dusting all the PLAN toys, but damn it, those balloons get me every time. In fact, they are so important to me that tonight, I attempted for the first time in history, to go to the store in pajama bottoms. (buries face in hands) I was even undeterred by the absurdity of my clown-sized clogs juxtaposed against my sheer, never mind way-too-short, and definitely not passing as regular pants, pants. I had fully succumbed to the pajamafication of America, a movement I have passionately opposed, all because I needed the balloons. (Oh, and was too freaking lazy to put my jeans back on.) I got as far as the entryway when Todd asked, rather incredulously, "Um, isn't that a wee bit, um, casual?" His words were like a smelling salt, and I quickly retreated to my room to lug out the jeans.

What I am trying to say is that Valentines day, like its cousin holidays, is a total pain in my ass, but the sentimental benefits outweigh the dark side (ie- spending $8.00 on balloons I may forget to recycle, and trying to wear lingerie to acquire said balloons.) It's worth it to see my kids' faces in the morning, and to know that amidst the INSANITY that is our life, they can count on Mama making a fuss over these silly little days. And they know I love them...even when I'm screaming as I trip over the sagging, days-old balloons, with my feet caught in the strings.

Happy Valentines day everyone.

Monday, February 11, 2008

rainy days and mondays always get me down

No carafe, not to laugh. Just a little reminder.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

park it

Picture it: Yesterday after rendering myself nearly comatose by consuming five times my share of carbs at breakfast, I was just nestling into my couch when I received a fateful, and rather unwelcome phone call. It was Brandy, oozing with energy and motivation. She had walked seven hundred miles to find a new park with her kids, and insisted that we drive over and meet up with them. When I balked, trying to stretch my carb-induced lethargy into some real-sounding maladies, she only got perkier, which I resented. She then proceeded to throw down the ultimate mother-to-mother gauntlet, and reminded me how good it would be for my kids to get out and enjoy this exceptionally beautiful day. I was defenseless against this admonishment. I thought I might try to injure myself to validate my selfish, lazy need to stay home, but that too would require getting off the couch. You cannot imagine how badly I did NOT want to go to the park, but I looked into the faces of my children, and was totally convicted by her words. I s-c-r-a-p-e-d myself up off the couch, grabbed our coats and a soccer ball, and went. What began as sheer torture at the hands of my closest ally, ended up as a splendid day in which our five kids ran and ran and laughed. I concede that she was correct in prodding me to come, but I will say this.: Next time I flop down onto the couch, I'm silencing my phone.

Giddy up Quinn!

The one time Reilly stopped running.

First time on a merry-go-round.

Quinn, Reilly, Addison, Rose, Maia, and Brandy

Friday, February 8, 2008

can't wait to call her first lady!

death by dexter

For anyone who has emerged from their cave after I did, and has yet to discover Showtime's critically acclaimed drama Dexter, I am here to laud its genius from the rooftop. Except, I am actually under my bed, shaking uncontrollably, with images from this brilliant show flashing through my mind, and I have no idea when I will be able to come out. You see, embedded into the series' wickedly smart plotline are ghastly crime scenes, which render me almost catatonic for days and days. Each time I watch an episode, and then spend the night rocking in the fetal position, I vow never to watch again. This resolve lasts until daybreak, when I become so preoccupied with the storyline that I find myself back at Blockbuster, shelling out four dollars to scare the (beep) out of myself yet again.

It began innocently enough. Brandy, Adam and I were looking for a new series to watch, as Big Love failed to win us over, and all of our friends were raving about Dexter. We were told, correctly, that he is a blood spatter expert who is also a serial killer. And we were told it was pretty graphic. I'm rather sensitive when it comes to grisly murder scenes, being that I wrestle with a vast array of phobias, but this wasn't always the case. I was heavy into true crime back in the day, devouring every Ann Rule book ever written. I even considered forensics as a career after visiting the Oregon Crime Lab in high school, and being fascinated by the severed hands in plastic bags, and how they linked the perpetrator to his crime. But halfway through my first pregnancy, I became pathologically averse to all things macabre and beyond. I theorize that my maternal instinct kicked in, and tried to insulate my baby from the unconscionable atrocities running rampant in the world. I then had another baby, and became completely unable to stomach any gore (except Al Gore in 2000).

This makes Dexter a dicey little dilemma. The tautness of the story is enthralling, but when I watch it, it's all I can do not to pee my pants. I've lost hours of sleep revisiting his crime scenes and murderous pasttime, only to find myself tingling in anticipation of the next episode. Last night I bravely endured the horror for two solid hours, and then spent the next four trying to find a happy place so I could get some sleep. Making matters worse is the fact that the storyline has just taken a hair-raising twist and I will think of nothing else until I can watch more. On the other hand, the sun is starting to set, and palpitations are starting. The ones borne of my fear of this show. I'm so afraid I'm going to pick up the next disc tonight, binding myself to another four-episode minimum commitment. My co-viewers aren't fazed by the barrage of severed parts, nor by the copious amounts of blood, so I suspect I will just have to be big and soldier on. So please don't judge if you see me sucking my thumb, or dragging a blanky around. And whatever you do, don't spoil the ending!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

the oh reilly factor

While watching some riveting campaign videos online tonight, my daughter Reilly started asking me some questions about the candidates, and this begat a rather lengthy discussion about politics in general, including the differences between Republicans and Democrats, the war in Iraq, September 11th, oil, delegates, and more.

As I became impassioned about our current president, and what a disaster he has been, Reilly interjected coolly, "And let's not forget about Cheney..." This was no lucky guess for her. Reilly is an extremely active wildlife advocate, and she knows that the animals are in danger specifically because of the Bush/Cheney monster. She got a terribly upsetting email all about it a few months ago, and literally gives every dollar we allow her to give to save those animals. It was important to her that I not prance about my soapbox without naming all the names.

Later, as I tried to paint a picture of the exciting time we're in with the election, and how it all works (minus the mind-numbing super delegates), and how either Democrat will serve us well, and why I care so much, Rei asked me, "George Bush can only be President twice right?" I nodded. Then she added, "Is it possible for him to sneak in and become President again? Is there any way he would be able to do that?" Honestly, I wasn't sure what to tell her. I talk to my kids truthfully, but I'm in no hurry for them to become conspiracy theorists. I figure that will happen in due time, if they use their eyes and ears on any sort of regular basis. So I told Rei that it would not be possible for George Bush to sneak in and be President again. She seemed pleased.

I just hope I'm right...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Strange bedfellows indeed. A lifelong nemesis, I never thought I'd get within an inch of math of my own volition. (Yes I know that an inch is a mathematical term.) But last night, with the pundits ready to coronate Hillary for taking California, math was all I had to keep me warm and hopeful that Obama could close the gap by morning. And what a worthwhile tryst it was! With those oh-so-baffling super delegates trickling in, our boy not only closed in, but he has pulled ahead! As I type, Obama has 910 delegates to Hillary's 882, and I am trembling with excitement.

Of course, math is no slave to sentiment, nor does it make promises. And don't forget that pledges aren't carved in stone.

But there is a surge of hope rising up in me the likes of which I've never felt. Hope that he can restore America's luster, and her shine. Hope that the majority will vote for change. And hope that math will make it a reality.

He has already shown that he has what it takes to lead us to victory.

California who?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Yes We Can

From Karen. I'm too emotional to describe it, just watch.:

Friday, February 1, 2008


Turns out our humble little house party was just a cover. Tonight was electrifying. Granted, we weren't exactly turning people away at the door, and our donations won't make any headlines, but I can feel the inspiration in the marrow of my bones, and I have never said that in all my years as a voter.

I've known for weeks that I'd be bidding adieu to John Edwards, and was fully prepared to shift my support to Obama, but in preparing for this party, listening to our guests, and re-watching some kick-ass speeches online, I have been infused with a fervor that almost defies description. You see, I am a half-hearted Democrat who believes that the system, justice, even the voting process, are all so corrupt as to belie the freedom we hold so dear. I think even the good politicians are crooked, that the ones who might actually make a difference die in small plane crashes, and I have serious doubts as to many of events we are taught as historical fact. I think we're in it pretty deep, and it's going to take a lot more than some shiny Democrat to muck us out. So you could say I have a pretty thick crust of apathy around my heart these days, and that is what I brought to the table tonight.

We on the left have some serious barriers to contend with if we're going to conquer what has become our collective voice of cynicism. The media's for sale, the voting is rigged, the good guys aren't much better than the bad guys, everyone's in it for the oil, and so on. Enter Barack Obama. While I applaud Hillary Clinton's global strategizing, I am moved almost to tears by a man who has a plan to strengthen the bodies, minds, and homes of every American, so that before long, we are the voice of power, not the elites, that we may see a restoration of the America that once was. His focus is on building up our rapidly deteriorating country one inner-city street at a time, and giving voices back to those of us left reeling and empty by the haves.

Ordinarily I would hesitate to say this because I try not to lose credibility by the gallon when I can help it, but I believe Obama's words. I believe that he is about more than a platform, and I can honestly see him rolling up his sleeves to fight for what he's promising. He's not being compared to and endorsed by the Kennedys for nothing. This guy's the real deal, and I encourage everyone whose apathy has paralyzed them to take a gander here.

Read it. Repeat it. To anyone who will listen. Thanks.