Saturday, December 31, 2011

You found me how?

Every so often, for my own amusement, I log in to my Google Analytics account and review the keywords/phrases that people used to find my humble blog. The results are, um, interesting.

A sampling of recent searches that led people to my blog:

can i superimpose a photo of my dad with the american flag and an eagle? - No, no you may not. I hope that settles it. But if you do, be sure to put a tear in the eagle's eye.

mom pee - EIGHT people used this keyword phrase to find my blog this year. EIGHT. I do not know what to say about that.

"my kid bit another kid" - We definitely went down that road a few times when A was a toddler. I'm not sure which is worse - when your kid is the biter or the bitee.

"plastic poop" - I'm starting to think my blog is a lot less sophisticated than I thought it was.

"you farted" "i did not" - And now I'm sure of it. I'm as low-brow as it gets.

booger back - Oh, for the love of . . .

childern and dogs - You keep them there younguns away from my dog.

don't want to be a girl scout cookie mom - I'm with you, sister. Right there with you.

I also saw every kind of spelling of alabaster that you can imagine (a lot of people are probably looking for the city of Alabaster but wind up at my blog instead). I found entries for alabster, alabastor, aalabaster, and so forth.  My blog also came up under various searches for eye dilation and nausea. I guess I'm not the only person who was treated to this fun little optometric adventure.

I hope you'll come back and visit my blog next year. I am planning to find new and different ways to talk about bodily functions in 2012. That's my pledge to you, fair reader. Happy new year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Au Revoir, 2011

Here it is, the obligatory year-end review.

Good stuff that happened this year:

  1. We visited DC in July and spent time with my middle sister, her kids, and some of my other relatives.
  2. My baby sister visited in August and brought her kids and husband along. I was thrilled that I got to see both of my sisters this summer.
  3. I won $10,000 for my favorite charity from Michael Moore. Although the money was awesome, an unexpected benefit was that I picked up a few more blog readers. My blog post about patriotism ended up on Michael Moore's Facebook page and Twitter feed. I was gratified to receive so many nice compliments from those who read it. It is hard to get noticed in the blogosphere (particularly with a blog as low-key as mine - maybe I should consider having myself vajazzled and then writing about it intricate detail or something), so it was definitely a boost. At least once a week someone asks me, "When are you going to write a book?" The answer is that I don't know. Part of me is pretty sure that I'll never be published (in as much as I never submit anything for consideration). This blog may be as ambitious as I get.
  4. I saw the Pixies in concert. This was definitely a highlight of my year. They played Doolittle in its entirety. I have had Doolittle memorized for over 20 years so it was a like a dream come true. They also played a bunch of other favorites as encores - Where is My Mind, Holiday Song, etc.
  5. I reconnected with my daughter's birthmom this year. I've sent her some photos and we've exchanged a few emails. She told me that she could not have chosen better parents for A, and that made me happier than I can adequately express in words.
  6. I added two nephews to my nephew collection (which now stands at six). One was born in Virginia and the other in Oklahoma. There are a lot of penises in my extended family. It's kind of funny because my mom always said she was glad she had girls because, and I quote, "I don't know how to clean poop off balls!"

  1. I didn't get a handle on my weight. I had good days and bad days. At this point I am not sure if I will continue with Weight Watchers or not. I also belong to Sparkpeople, which is free, so I may try to delve into that a bit more. Honestly, I am just tired of thinking about it all the time.
  2. I still can't do the wheel. The wheel is a yoga pose. It looks like this. I had hoped that by the end of the year I would be able to pull myself into a wheel on my own, but I can only do it if the instructor hauls me up by my ribcage. I think it comes down to my unremarkable upper body strength. Oh well, there's always next year.
  3. I now wear bi-focals. Pllllbbbbt on that.
I think my daughter had a more exciting year than I did. She lost her first tooth, got tubes in her ears, was elected to student council, and got her ears pierced. One challenge is that she just failed the hearing test at school, despite having tubes in her ears. I am not sure what to do about this, but I have an appointment scheduled with her pediatrician next week.

P and I thought about going out for New Year's Eve but then we remembered: our property taxes are due (so we're kinda broke), we have no babysitter, and we don't really stay up that late.  I know, we're craaaaazy up in here. Happy New Year!

A few of my favorite photos from 2011:

Cousins on vacation

Daddy-Daughter dance in February

Lakeside reverie

My favorite face in the whole wide world

July trip - competing for Granddaddy's attention

Cousins having ice cream. It was about 4,000 degrees in Washington that day.

Mother-Daughter weekend in September

Fairies and snakes, oh my

Sleepover = no sleep, but lots of fun

Vacation "up north"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The post I insist on writing every year, even though it is of interest to no one but me

I get pretty excited about this time of year. Not because of half-price Christmas candy or because the new year is upon us, so full of possibilities and magic, but because music critics publish their "best of" lists. I love to read the lists, compare the music to what I already have, and download new stuff I missed.  I can't say that 2011 was a remarkable year for music, but there were some notable tunes.

My daughter got into some new music, too. The only trouble with her is that kids love repetition (any parent alive will swear to you that there are only seven episodes of The Backyardigans because they have seen every episode a hundred thousand times). So, when my daughter gets stuck on a song . . . the child gets stuck. on. a. song. That's why she forced me to turn on this little ditty every day for six months:

So yeah, I hate that song now. Here are some 2011 albums I liked (in no particular order):
  1. The Decemberists: The King is Dead. Favorite tracks: "Down by the Water," "June Hymn," "This is Why We Fight"
  2. Cut Copy: Zonoscope. "Take Me Over" has been on heavy rotation on my iPod.
  3. Grouplove: Never Trust a Happy Song. I was dismayed to learn that "Tongue Tied" was featured in a commercial but I still dig it.
  4. Beth Ditto: Beth Ditto- EP. I love Gossip and Beth Ditto.
  5. Fountains of Wayne: Sky Full of Holes. On the Amazon version, they included a cover of "The Story in Your Eyes." I love it so and listen to it at least once a week.
  6. Tune-Yards: Whokill
  7. Washed Out: Within and Without. More mellow than my usual fare, but maybe I am getting old? Don't answer that.
  8. Peter Murphy: Ninth. The dude's still got it; I don't care what anyone says. 
  9. Muppets: The Green Album. Alkaline Trio singing "Movin' Right Along"?  Yes, please. 
A few 2011 songs I've been digging (I don't have the full album for any of these so I can't vouch for anything beyond the songs I bought):
  1. Givers: Up Up Up
  2. Say Hi: Devils
  3. The Black Keys: Lonely Boy. I know it's only a matter of time until I'm sick to death of this one, but it still has some traction for me at the moment.
  4. The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow
  5. The Joy Formidable: Whirring
  6. Fanfarlo: Deconstruction
  7. Peter Bjorn and John: Eyes
Thanks for humoring me. As you were, soldier.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Recap

It's hard to believe this was my daughter's seventh Christmas, in as much as I could've sworn we were just slathering her tiny heinie with A&D Ointment and shoving far more diapers into the Diaper Genie than it was ever meant to hold. But, she is growing up and doesn't want to be slathered with anything. A lot of people have asked me how she liked the vanity I painted for her. She loved it. In fact, I think this was the first Christmas where she actually realized that I/we put a lot of effort into the things we do for her. She came to me yesterday afternoon and said, "Thank you for the vanity, Mom. And thank you for everything." Maybe all those "giving is more important than receiving" talks actually took hold in some small way.

One of my daughter's favorite Christmas gifts is called "Irritating Ethel."  She was a gift from my mother. Ethel burps, farts, laughs, and screams (when you poke her in the eye). She will also record your voice and play it back with a sort of munchkin effect applied to it. And here is the beauty of Irritating Ethel: she has no "off" switch. Thaaaaaaaanks, Meemaw. You do remember that I will have a hand in choosing your nursing home someday, right? As I write this, my daughter is dancing around the living room in her undies (it is 2 p.m. and she has not bothered to get dressed) singing made-up songs about our Christmas tree, which Ethel is recording and playing back to her.  It'll be such a shame when Ethel's batteries die. Such a shame indeed.

Other than all the burping and farting coming from Ethel, we had a good Christmas. We went to church on Christmas Eve.  We've also made it a little tradition to stop by a house whose owners take Christmas decorating to a whole new, wonderfully tacky level.  I'll include a photo below, although it is hard to do justice to it in a photograph. Bedtime on Christmas Eve went remarkably well this year. Earlier in the day, my friend Beth posted the link to the NORAD Santa Tracker website. I pulled up the site. Santa was in Japan! I brought my daughter into the room and we kept an eye on it throughout the day. As Santa drew closer and closer to the U.S., my daughter knew that she had to be asleep before he hit the Midwest.  So, she brushed her teeth and hopped right into bed. A Christmas miracle!

I did videotape my daughter's reaction to seeing the vanity and whatnot on Christmas morning. If I ever learn out to edit video, I'll post it. She actually had to open her gifts fairly quickly as we were due at my brother-in-law's house for brunch at 10:30ish. A opened the gifts from Santa, us, Meemaw, and her aunts. I knew she wanted one of those Monster High dolls so my youngest sister bought it for her. ("Hey, I mailed her that ugly doll she wanted.")  I sent my sister a text yesterday morning: "It's hideous!  She loves it!" The kid also received: art supplies, bath stuff, Barbies, earrings, games, and Polly Pockets. I think Polly Pocket is the root of all evil. I mean, her shoes can fit in my nostril (no, I haven't tried, it but I'm pretty sure). They are almost microscopic so I'm reasonably certain she will be barefoot for the rest of the winter if the vacuum cleaner has anything to say about it.

After going to brunch at my brother-in-law's house, we came home and resumed the battle to liberate plastic toys from their packaging. I also took the quiet afternoon as an opportunity to clean out my daughter's room and make space available for some of the new toys and games.  I tossed out some old stuff (such as "Hi-Ho Cherry-o!" - I know for a fact we can't play this one anymore because the dogs ate most of the cherries and shit them out in the back yard last summer) and found spots for new games like Sorry and Bananagrams.

As for me, I received some nice goodies for Christmas. My mom made me a robe (it's almost enough to make me forgive her for sending Ethel to my house . . . almost). She also sent me some jewelry, yoga pants and shirt, bath stuff, etc. P got me some of the items on the list I helpfully gave him, including a Belgian waffle maker. So, we decided to have "breakfast for dinner" and I made waffles.

Since I doubled my weight over the holidays, I headed straight to the gym this morning. It was nice to have an extra day off after Christmas to unwind and . . . yell at our daughter to get dressed. She is making progress. She is now wearing tights and underwear. I just feel like I should apologize to her future husband now. I hope he likes being perpetually late everywhere he goes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ta da!

The secret project is done and, after some cussing and sweating from my other half, has been hauled into the living room.

Before photo
In-progress photo

See the chair? I picked it up at a consignment shop for $6 and then painted it. There's just one wee little problem. It doesn't actually fit under the vanity. Doh! So yeah, I'm hanging up my paintbrush for a while as I don't think I'm cut out for this sort of thing.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Home Stretch

I took a break from the holiday craziness and went to yoga Tuesday night. I was the only one there. I felt a little bit guilty about having the instructor (who also owns the studio) wasting her evening on a single student, but she didn't seem to mind too much. I was glad she was willing to go for it because I felt like I really needed the class. The holidays are taking their toll. My mental health has been suffering a bit lately and yoga always seems to help. It was a good class. And I don't mean to brag here, but my instructor complimented me on my chaturanga (which sort of sounds like something dirty, doesn't it?).

Speaking of mental health, my middle sister and I were comparing notes on boneheaded, absentminded stuff we've done lately. She bought her boyfriend a UVA beanie for Hanukkah.  Just one problem, though - he went to VA Tech, not UVA. She does have a newborn and two other kids to look after, so I suppose she deserves some slack. The reason I called her to begin with was to confess to her that I may or may not have shipped a tin of cookies to her home.  I mailed a box of gifts for my niece and nephews.  For the life of me, I cannot remember if I put a tin of homemade cookies in that box. Last week I was just shipping stuff and sending out cookies like mad. The problem is that I was not supposed to put cookies in the box headed to my middle sister's house.  The reason? Those cookies are full of nuts and my nephew is allergic. "Merry Christmas, sweetie! Here's a box of death for you."  Anyway, I called my sister to warn her. If I did send her cookies, she is either going to toss them out or let my niece smuggle them to school or something. This is worse than the time I gave a bottle of Christmas wine as a hostess gift . . . to a recovering alcoholic.

As we get closer to Christmas, my daughter has been making a last minute push to impress Santa with her good behavior. This morning she got out bed when her alarm went off.  Trust me when I say this is a major accomplishment. I immediately accused her of being a pod person who replaced my usual daughter. She also tells us she loves us about eighty times a day. Yesterday she picked her shoes up when I asked her to, which basically solidifies my pod person theory.  One of my aunts had a personalized Santa letter sent to our home a couple weeks ago.  The letter informed my daughter that she is "near the top of the nice list." I've told her repeatedly that I'm pretty sure this was a clerical error, but she remains committed to the idea. She believes that despite the fact that there are literally millions of children in the world, only three or four are ahead of her on the list.  She said she wished she knew the names of those kids. I had the distinct impression that she was thinking of bumping them off in order to rise to the top of the list. I'm pretty sure Santa would frown on that, for sure.

Yesterday morning I attended the holiday concert at my daughter's school.  She had been practicing for weeks on end, so I think I'd memorized the songs myself by Halloween. Many cultures! (clap) One world! Many countries big and small . . . I was particularly excited to attend this year because I knew she'd been selected to hold the microphone and announce the first song. Before I left for work that morning I told my daughter that I might just stand up at the concert, point at her, and yell "THAT'S MY BABY!" at the top of my lungs. I could tell from the look on her face that she was vaguely concerned that I might just do it. P was threatening to yell, "That's my daughter!  She used to poop in the tub!" I'm pretty sure our child is going to petition the courts for legal emancipation any minute now. Anyway, she did a great job with the announcement and the singing, too. One benefit of her being so short: she's always in the front row of the risers and I can see her easily.

If I may be indulged in one last little brag, my little genius brought home her first report card of the year yesterday. It contained the following note from her teacher:

A is a joy to have in class. She has wonderful insightful responses in our class discussions. Her helpful friendliness, as well as her positive attitude, helps make our classroom a happy place to be. Continue to work hard and be a shining Sharpie. I am proud of you. A is reading at Level K which is advanced at this time.

I'd love for Mrs. S to see the "positive attitude" we get every morning when we attempt to get the kid moving. I am very proud of my daughter, though. No doubt she gets her genius from me (and her inability to sing song lyrics correctly from her dad - you should have heard those two butchering Holly Jolly Christmas while they brushed their teeth this morning).

If you squint at this photo, you can see my kid with the microphone. I tried to get a closer seat but the other parents are pretty hardcore and I was afraid of getting a knife in my ribs.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Judean Shepherd #2

My daughter was in a Christmas play at church today. The kids in the fellowship presented "The Scottish Shepherd's Story." Essentially it takes a different spin on the Christmas story, focusing on shepherds instead of the Wise Men and such.  In years past, my kid had various walk-on roles in the annual production, playing angels and other random extras that didn't require any lines. Now that she is older and can read (and so fluently, too!), she landed a talking part. She played Judean Shepherd #2. Apparently there was an actor shortage, as she was also cast in the role of Judean Shepherd #3. She gets really pissy if you forget that she is both.

"Listen, Judean Shepherd #2, it's almost noon and you still haven't made your bed."

"Also #3, Mom! Judean Shepherd #3!"

"Well, the fact remains that you have not made your bed."

She brought home her script on Wednesday and we ran through her lines. I must say she read them with great gusto and much animation. She was disappointed in my portrayal of the other shepherds when I read their lines, though.

Lately it seems like my daughter's schedule is busier than mine. Last week I had to pick her up from a student council meeting on Monday, drive her to church for play practice on Wednesday, and drive her back for another practice on Saturday.  I kept thinking, "She's still just six, right?"

Speaking of being six . . . we picked up a friend of hers yesterday and took the girls to a local Christmas celebration. It was held at a historical park where they have reproductions of a blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse, etc. The volunteers wear costumes from days of yore (maybe from my own childhood, which my daughter refers to as "the olden days.")  For this event, they had popcorn stringing, a shadow play, horse-drawn wagon rides, and so forth. Towards the end of the day, my daughter and her friend were talking to each other while they munched popcorn.  Her friend asked, "Truth or dare?"

My daughter, without hesitating for half a second or even taking a breath said, "Dare!"  The fact that she automatically chose dare without even thinking about it makes me fear her teenage years terribly.  The good news is that the "dare" was "I dare you to kiss your mom."  And of course my daughter gave me a kiss because she does not yet think that kissing one's mom is uncool.  Also, when truth was chosen on the next round, I was relieved to find that the questions consisted of stuff like, "Did you see the new Muppet movie?"  Whew!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Boy

Five years ago this month, I adopted my Giddy. His story was a sad one. He was left in a crate on an access road that runs past a humane society. He weighed around 38 pounds (Boxers typically weigh at least 55 pounds) and had some fresh scratches on his face and nicks on his ears. My friend (and fellow rescue volunteer) Kim took a call from the shelter and retrieved this skinny fawn-colored boy. His age was estimated at around two. We'll never know for sure because most of his teeth had been knocked out, which made it difficult to determine how long he'd been around. A veterinarian surmised that the dog had probably been hit by a car at some point. His left foreleg had been broken but not repaired, leaving the radius and ulna bones permanently twisted. Most of his top teeth were broken off at the root, resulting in exposed nerves and lots of pain. It was too late to fix the foreleg, but we sent him in for surgery to remove the broken teeth. Today, he compensates for the broken leg by walking higher on his toes on that side. He only limps when he's been playing and running a lot.

Kim had named him Reed. I met him when I was at her house for some reason or other (I can't remember now why I was there). My Lucy Annabel had died recently and I had started thinking about adopting a new friend. I knew I needed one who was nothing like her, as any sort of resemblance would have been too painful. I started asking Kim lots of questions about Reed. He seemed like a gentle soul and I liked his face.  "You seem interested in him," she said. "Why don't you just foster him?" This dog was technically a stray and I had an eighteen-month-old daughter at home. We tend not to place strays in homes with small children, simply because we don't know the history of these found dogs. However, I like to think I have some instincts when it comes to dogs and I knew he would not harm my baby. I decided to take him home. 

My husband was not thrilled about having a new dog in the house. Lucy hadn't been gone long and I really think he only had eyes for her. To this day I am not sure he will ever fully accept any other dog. I, however, was immediately smitten with this new boy. Something about his face just sent me (and still does). And, his story made my heart hurt. I couldn't imagine how he must have suffered when his leg broke. I kept picturing him holding it up and hobbling around as the bones healed in their jumbled way. I wish his former owner had surrendered him right away, as we could have had his leg fixed immediately.  Based on his body weight, I'm sure finances were a concern.  About a year later, I took him to visit with an animal communicator and she seemed to confirm this theory. She also said that Giddy lived with a family where the lady loved him but the man did not.

It didn't take long before I began lobbying my husband to make the new dog a permanent member of our home. I don't think he was ever really a foster dog to me. In those early days I would lie next to him on the floor, run my hands over his protruding ribs, and try to imagine all that he had been through.  P put up a minor protest but knew I would never let the dog go.  My next step was to give my new boy a new name.  I didn't care for Reed (just to show you how oddly my brain operates: the name Reed made me think of Robert Reed. That, in turn, would cause me to think about the Brady Bunch and also how sad it was that Robert Reed had to hide his homosexuality all those years. Then I would start wondering why the Bradys had astroturf instead of real grass. And since they had astroturf, why was Mike always telling Greg to mow the lawn? It just didn't make sense. And so on it went.)  I made a list of new names and asked my friends to vote. Ultimately I decided on Gideon, which is frequently shortened to Giddy, Gids, Giddy-up, etc.  Gideon was an important figure in the Old Testament, but I have to confess that I wasn't really thinking of the bible when I named him. I simply liked the name.

We finalized the adoption on January 1, 2007. My rescue friends got together and paid the adoption fee in memory of Lucy.

So, that is the tale of how Giddy came to be my boy. Gretchen is my daughter's dog and Giddy is mine. I absolutely adore him. Sometimes, when he is sleeping, I call to him softy and say, "Are you my boy?" and without opening his eyes, he will wag his nub. Yes, I am your boy.

I took Gideon to obedience classes shortly after adopting him (and later helped him obtain his Canine Good Citizen certificate).  However, he is neither obedient nor a particularly good citizen. He jumps up on visitors, barks and drools in his crate, flings himself at the back door if I don't let him in fast enough, and carries on at mealtime by jumping high into the air as I scoop the food. I believe he suspects that if he doesn't complete the jumping routine, this will be the time I finally decide to stop feeding him. He is a complete goofball, albeit a harmless one. A running joke at our house is, "Watch out for Giddy. He might just bite you with his tooth." He has separation anxiety and has been kicked out of boarding (after breaking out of two crates - apparently he dismantled them completely). His farts are so potent they could "knock a buzzard off a shit wagon" (to borrow a colorful phrase from my stad). I have no explanation for my utter devotion to this silly dog.

Happy five-year anniversary to my sweet boy. I don't know how old you are (your expressive eyebrows are suddenly grey), but I hope you are immortal. I need you to stay with me. Good boy, Giddy. Good boy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I had a few topics in the early stages of development for this particular blog entry. I thought of writing about Michelle Duggar's miscarriage (I find it a wee bit appalling that people are applauding a death - sure, the lady has more kids than anyone needs, but geez). I thought of writing about my Boxer boy Gideon, who came to our home exactly five years ago (I would still like to write about him soon). And finally, I had a few loosely-formed but completely unrelated ideas about meditation, Weight Watchers, and mortality.

However, based on the pile of unwrapped gifts in my basement, the urgent need to color my roots, and an unwatched episode of Hoarders on my DVR, I decided to go with a weighty (ha!) topic indeed: baked goods.  My daughter and I spent the entire day baking. Well, not technically the entire day.  After church we went to the hospital to visit an elderly member of our fellowship who just had a minor stroke. Later, A told me, "It was so nice of us to go and visit Miss Lois."  I must remember to cover modesty with that child. Also, phone etiquette (I didn't really think about that one until I heard her on the phone with her friend: "I know you called me, Claire. What did you want to say?")

After the hospital visit, we baked five different types of cookies. We then packaged them up to send to various family members along with the other gifts we are shipping to them. During our baking session I learned that it's not wise to hand a sifter full of powdered sugar to a six-year-old and say, "Sift this lightly over the cookies."  Does. Not. Compute.  Between the volume of powdered sugar and the eight different types of decorations, our relatives may not live to see New Year's Day. Nothing says Christmas like the heartfelt gift of Type 2 diabetes for your loved ones.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

They call him . . .

We took our daughter to see Santa last night. I feel compelled to show you the photo and require you to admire it, because we paid $25.00 for it. Seriously, I don't know how the little elf girl kept a straight face when she told me that a photo (technically, one 5 x 7 and four wallet-size) would run $24.99 plus tax. Pure crazy.

I am sure it is only a matter of time before our daughter announces that she is too old or too cool to sit on Santa's lap, so we didn't mind taking her. You never know when it is the last time. She was so excited about getting dressed up in her fancy red and black ensemble, including shoes that have the tiniest hint of a heel. We drove to the mall in separate cars because I was headed to yoga class after we were done. When we got to the mall, I watched my daughter grab her dad's hand and I walked behind them in the parking lot. Her little heels clicked on the pavement and her curls bounced behind her. At the risk of being a little sappy, that kid takes my breath away sometimes. I may be biased, but she is beautiful.

We waited in line for Santa while the kid danced around, talked to strangers, etc. When it was finally time for our daughter to visit with the man in red, her dad and I waited for her by the exit. I tried to listen to what she was telling Santa but couldn't quite hear. Later, she told me she had asked him for Polly Pockets.  Now, why is it that kids always tell Santa they want something that they had not mentioned in any way prior to that very moment? I am pretty sure that Santa had not been planning to buy Polly Pockets but now I guess he'd better consider it, eh? After visiting Santa, we dropped off the gifts we bought for Bianca (through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program).

The annual trip to visit Santa was just part of our December festivities, of course. A and I are having a baking extravaganza on Sunday (she loves to bake but doesn't like baked goods, a fact that boggles my mind beyond all belief because I would kill a man for a particularly good brownie). We're getting our tree this Saturday. The kid is also participating in a Christmas play at church. All kinds of good stuff going on. 

After I picked her up from Kindercare yesterday, I asked my usual questions: "What did you learn today? Did you eat your lunch? Did you get in yellow?"

"Mrs. S read a book about Jesus today," she told me.

"Yeah?" I responded. "What did you learn about Jesus?" (I am happy for my child to learn about Jesus but wondered how it was presented to her. She goes to public school, after all, so I was just sort of curious. I'm hopeful that she is learning about a lot of different traditions - we have a Hanukkah book at home, for example.)

"Well, we learned about when he was a baby. And they named him Jesus. With a J."  (I'm certainly glad we're not confusing Jesus with his n'er-do-well brother, Gesus.)

I nodded. "Sure, and did you learn about Mary and Joseph?" 

She responded, "Yes, Mary was pregnant."  She didn't seem to remember a lot about the book beyond that.

"Jesus grew up to be an important person," I said. "He was a great teacher and wanted people to be kind to each other and to help those who are less fortunate." 

My daughter got kind of excited at the mention of Jesus as a teacher. But of course in her head, a teacher has a single definition: someone who stands in a room full of first-graders and covers addition and subtraction. "Mom!" she exclaimed. "When Jesus was a teacher, do you think they called him Mr. J?!" 

I started to explain that he wasn't that kind of teacher but decided that it was easier to let it go, at least for now. "No, probably not," I said.

And then, thankfully, we started talking about whether or not she could have a Gogurt when we got home.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

So, I had this idea, see . . .

He who won't go to bed on time
It was November of 2010. My wee baby sister was trying to wrestle her two toddlers into bed. My sister is a redhead, as are her sons. The boys are sixteen months apart and the younger one is particularly feisty - and resistant to this crazy concept known as "bedtime."  (By the way, there is a third ginger boy on the way in a matter of days, so things are about to get worse.) Anyway, as I watched this scene play itself out, I jokingly declared, "The redder the head, the earlier to bed!"

My sister thought it was funny and sent me home with an empty wine bottle with the newly-devised slogan scrawled on it in Sharpie. A couple months ago, I had my friend Kate embroider a totebag with the slogan. I added some baby lotions and such to the tote and sent it to my sister so that she can use it as a diaper bag of sorts when the new kid arrives.

At some point I started thinking, "Hey, maybe I could foist this idea off on other people. Complete strangers even!" So, I opened a Cafe Press store. My friend Dave helped me with the artwork (I think I may have loosely implied that I will hook him up with a huge commission once my store takes off). My mom has suggested that she is also due for a payoff in as much as she made my redheaded sister. In reality, I will probably only make enough money to buy an ICEE and popcorn at Target. And everybody knows I don't share food.

However (and here comes the shameless plug), if you know any parents of redheaded children, I would be delighted if you would send them the link:

Update on the "labor of love" project

My daughter's Christmas gift is coming together nicely. Better than expected, really. Again, just don't look at anything too closely (not that taking photos of it in a dimly lit storage room in the basement is doing it any favors either).  I have a few tasks to finish before Christmas. I need to do some touch-up painting around the mirror. I also want to buy a jewelry box and a few other things to make it look as girlie as possible (for my pretty, prissy, fabulous kid). I picked up the dresser scarf at an antique shop. I still need to find a stool or chair of some sort.