Tuesday, January 31, 2006

There will be others

I forgot to mention that, in our weekend outings, we drove past our dream house. The one that we originally looked out with the fabulous florida room on the back and the great landscaped gardens. We would have put a contract on that one in a heartbeat back when we first looked at it. Back before we realized just how much work would need to be done to this place in order to sell quickly.

It wasn't much of a loss at the time, since the original owners decided to pull it off the market before we ever got a chance to even see if they'd consider waiting for us to get our place on the market.

Well, it's back up for sale now. Which is sad in so many ways. It means that the wife has passed away now. That's what they were waiting for. She had terminal cancer and they were planning on moving back up north to be with family in her final days. But she was really too sick to move, so they decided to stay put.

It's sad because I know she's gone- that sweet old lady who talked and talked with us, telling us about how they'd picked out the house, and how they'd tended the gardens. The sweet lady with the sadness in her eyes because she knew it was almost over. And her wonderful husband who picked us fresh tomatoes to take with us when we left. I ache for them because I can't imagine the loss.

But I also ache for us because I know that the house will never be ours. Had I ever thought that it would be so soon that they'd have the place back up for sale, maybe we would have moved quicker on our own repairs, but we after it was no longer available, we just sort of gave up the idea of moving completely.

But there will be other perfect houses, I'm sure of that. Now it's just a matter of finding that motivation again, and actually getting this place back into shape.

So, even though I can't remember your name, sweet homeowner lady, I hope that you've found peace at the end of your life's journey.

Taking the ferry down

This is a line that's been stuck in my head for several days now. No idea why, or where or how I came up with it, or where it belongs, but I keep repeating it in my head in different variations:

We took the ferry down...

Ok, not an earth shattering line is it? But it opens a world of possibilities. Where are we going? Why are we going there?

But I don't have the answers to those questions. Just this ferry ride that never goes anywhere. And that, my friends, is frustrating.

Not to mention that the only ferry I've ever taken anywhere is the silly little boat that takes you in and out of Disney. You know, you can ride the monorail, take the boat, or, there's a third option that eludes me right now, but that's how you get into the park.

In other news, I went and bought Jonas two new pairs of shoes today. I admit it, I have a kid shoe fetish. I can't go into a store without browsing the kid's shoes department. But I can justify it by saying that last night, when I took off his shoes, there were red crease marks on his toes- a sure sign that he needs new ones!

So we got a new pair of sneakers, with velcro for once! I've never been able to buy him velcro shoes before because he's got such a high instep that they won't close over the tops of his feet. I can't tell you how exciting it is to think that I may not have to lace and tie a pair of shoes onto his squirmy feet again! We also bought a pair of brown slide-in shoes that I adore. Neither were very expensive, and I had a gift card to this particular store, anyway, so why not?

The funny part is, I only own two pairs of shoes myself, and both need replacing, but I have no interest in buying my own shoes at all. I only do so when the soles start separating.

I've made almost no progress on the candle flame shawl. Between work, Jonas and the fact that I screwed up and had to rip out a good chunk of it, I'm still in about the same place I was Sunday afternoon. Let me tell you, it's agony to have to rip your knitting, even if you know it's the only option.

I've got an appointment with the dentist in the morning. Just a filling, nothing major. After all these years of neglect, it's a wonder my teeth aren't in worse shape than they are. I'll still need to eventually have three crowns done. But I've known about them forever, and they've got temps on them that have been there for years with no ill effects, so I'm in no rush to get into that yet. (Although the dentist sure is!)

Afterwards I may take advantage of my time without J to enjoy some coffee at my favorite little shop and maybe get some more knitting done... or even *gasp* try and write something. Maybe something that includes "we took the ferry down". You never know, right?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A backpack and a box

I finished up the little backpack I was making for J-man this afternoon. It's essentially just a little drawstring bag with a strap sewn to the back. Nothing fancy at all. I'm not a big fan of the straps either. I think that if I were to make this again I'd switch to a smaller set of needles to make them, and perhaps decrease the number of stitches in each row. They just seem too wide for such a small bag.
Here it is, just sitting on the desk.

And since Jonas wasn't willing to be a model, I put the teletubbies to use. The little Po doll that's in the bag is about 9 inches tall, for scale.

And here's a picture that I shared with Laura earlier this weekend. Jonas delights in a box ride with Daddy. Of course, notice the fancy wagon in the background. I guess that goes to show that you don't have to spend a ton of money to make your kids happy, eh?

I also started working on a Candle Flame Shawl. My sister in law found this pattern and is making one for my grandmother. It's so beautiful I couldn't resist trying it myself. I'm making mine for the mother in law. Her birthday is in April. Hopefully I'll be able to accomplish this by then. Amanda, hope you don't mind my link, and my jumping on board with this one.

We went shopping

Yep, we did, yesterday afternoon. But my son is starting to exhibit the early signs of bratdom.

* Meltdowns over every toy and gadget we pass.
* Not wanting to sit still in the cart seat.
* Not wanting to sit still in the cart part of the cart.
* Not wanting to walk nicely along side or behind cart.
* Pulling every box within reach off of shelves and then having a tantrum when they get put back.
* Re-arranging an entire endcap of valentine themed pillows and throws.
* Throwing things from the cart
* Screaming at the top of his lungs, even when getting his way, just because he liked the way his voice echoed with the high ceilings.

Yes, my son has become one of those children that illicits understanding smiles from older women, looks of disgust from single men and couples with no children, and instills absolute terror in the hearts of expecting mothers perusing the baby department.

Don't worry women, your children will one day act this way, too-- and then may the world look at you as if you are the world's worst parent.

See, I'm already chuckling.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Little Fairy, um... boys?

So Laura and I have been making some plans for J and I to come up for a visit, and as if it's not cool enough to just get to hang out at Barnhenge, there's also a Fairie Festival the weekend that I'm going up and we're so there!

What's even cooler is that her friend and her friend's young son (about the same age as Jonas) are going to be going too. So not only do we get to go to a festival full of hippies, celtic music, food, games, and all that jazz, but Jonas will have a playmate his age.

So I was looking at the site, and I couldn't help but notice that most of the people choose to come in costume. While I'm not really one to play dress-up, I thought it might be fun to make little costumes for the boys. Only problem is this: How do you make fairy costumes for little boys without them looking, ummm... fairy-ish? I mean, I'm not one to assign gender roles to kids, and if Jonas were old enough to ask for glitter and wings, I'd give them to him without hesitation, but it seems kind of wrong to put him in a girly costume without his consent. I mean, those are the things kids end up in therapy for thirty years down the road, right?

Sure, I could make a greenman costume, I suppose. It probably wouldn't be all that hard. Or Pan, if people can get over the fuzzy legs and little horns. :) Or I could go with something more mainstream, like a peter-pan sort of thing, but that seems so generic.

So what DO you dress your little boy in to go to a fairy festival? An suggestions/patterns, etc. would be most appreciated.

And L, if Morgan would like one, (whatever one turns out to be) I'd be happy to make one for him, too. Just need to know his size. :)

Of course, this isn't happening for, what, four months. But being the world's worst procrastinator, I probably need to get started now!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

OCD meme

otherwise known as the Five Weird Habits Meme. I pilfered this from Erin's blog and the only reason it's taken me so long to do it is because it's hard to narrow down the top five.

Here they are, in no particular order.

1. When I sleep at night I can't stand to have my feet under the blankets. Not so strange, I know, but the strange part is that, while I can't stand blankets over my feet, I also can't stand for my feet to be bare, so I always sleep in socks.

2. When I'm driving and I have to make a turn across traffic, whether pulling off a side street, or crossing from a turning lane, I have to roll the window down in order to judge the distance of the oncoming cars. Yeah, I know, the window really doesn't skew your view, but for some reason, I truly feel like I can't tell how far away things are unless I have an unobstructed view. It's this same thing that keeps me from tinting my windows and makes me avoid driving the hubby's car which doesn't have automatic windows.

3. Whenever we leave to go anywhere, whether just to the store at the end of the road or a long road trip, when I put Jonas in his carseat I have to kiss him and tell him I love him, just in case it's the last time I ever get to do so. It's not that I'm a terrible driver, or that I drive in constant fear of death, but you never know.

4. When using a public restroom, even though I'm certain that I locked the door, I still have to go back and check it a time or two, just to be sure. Even after I've commenced doing my business, I still keep an eye on that lock as if it's going to magically come unlocked and reveal me in a compromising position.

5. I can never make up my mind where to eat when dining out. If there were only one restaurant in town I'd be the happiest girl on earth, but since there are hundreds, the choices are just overwhelming. Seriously, I just can't decide. Usually Wil throws his arms up in despair and we end up somewhere that I don't particularly like, but I'd rather eat there than have to choose for myself.

Ok, so there are the top five. Feel free to share yours if you'd like, but I refuse to tag anyone with anything.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

For Sale

I am worth $974,856 on HumanForSale.com

Geez, I can't even get a million?! So much for Indecent Proposal, eh?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Progress and Change

The lot next door is naked now. Stripped bare. They didn't leave a thing. Apparently the trees that I thought were on my property were actually right on the property line because I came home yesterday and they were all gone, save for the one left in the pictures. It looks so lonely and bare all by itself, bare on the side where it stood with it's mates all these years. I sort of wish they'd taken that one too, just for symmetry.

But that's progress for you. They come in, strip it bare, build a house on an unsettled foundation of sand, and call it an improvement. They even took my aloe plants that were growing on the boundary line. I'll miss them. But I suppose I should focus on the positive. We'll have a brand new house next door. Something with high value. I guess that'll improve our property value in some way. Either that, or it'll make our house look like more of a dump. Either way, not much I can do about it, except miss the privacy we've enjoyed all these years.

In other news, my friend Mary had her baby yesterday morning. She was a quick delivery- only 36 minutes of labor! I'm insanely jealous! So welcome little Devonne! Wil was able to sneak a visit in on his way to work yesterday, She says the baby is beautiful, Mary is exhausted and Adam, the dad, is a big mushy mess. I couldn't be happier for them. I was going to try to visit today, but I don't think dragging Jonas to the maternity floor is a great idea. Especially since he's all snotty right now. Besides, I know how I wish people had just given me some time alone after Jonas's birth. My room was like a circus! Maybe I'll wait until she's been discharged and I'll show up with some dinner or something.

And as far a changes go... I made the mistake of buying Jonas generic Claritin this week. You'd think that by now I'd know better than to try and cut any corners with him! Ever since we switched he's been sneezing and coughing and feeling miserable. So we had to go and buy a bottle of the real stuff today. It's amazing to me that the generic stuff doesn't seem to help at all, even though it's the exact same ingredients. I feel like a bad mommy, though, putting a couple of bucks before my son's health. Won't make that mistake again.

And finally, I've cast on for a little backback for Jonas. He loves to try and carry his own diaper bag, but it's too big for him to manage. I thought he'd really love having a little bag of his own to take along when we go places. Of course, at the slow rate that I've been knitting lately, I may never get it finished. :)

Oh yeah, if the pictures I've posted look like crap I have no idea. Either my video card or my monitor is getting ready to croak. All of my colors are wrong, and everything is dark. If it's the video card, I guess that new computer we've wanted for so long is going to become a reality a little sooner. Wil doesn't want to sink any more money into this shitbox we've got. To be fair, we've had it for about five years. That's not bad for today's disposable technology, I suppose.

We'll probably build a desktop on our own rather than buying one at the store. But I'm dreaming of laptops. I've wanted one forever, and if we're going to make the leap into a new computer, maybe now is the chance to do that. And it'd be so nice to get rid of this monstrosity of a desk!

Anyone out there have an opinion on trashing the desktop alltogether and just having a laptop? Reality tells me that I'll probably want a desktop, even if I do get a laptop.

Anyway, J-man's napping and I'm going to try and get a little more work done on this backpack.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Yesterday started out as a repeat of Friday. Wil got called out to a patient's house at 5:00 am, and didn't make it home in time to take over Jonas so I could be at work at 7:30. So I had to call up my parents at the ungodly hour of 6 to beg for a babysitter. I really hate doing that, ya know. Pawning my kid off on the spur of the moment like that. I'd almost rather not go to work at all, but there's only three of us on Saturday, so I didn't have a choice, really.

They were kind enough to take him, even though they'd had no sleep themselves. Ugh. I know what a terror Jman can be. But they said that he was good, and he was napping when I got out of work, so I guess it wasn't all bad. I even managed to get a little knitting done while he was napping.

Last night Wil, Jonas and I went and had dinner at this little Latino restaurant in town. It's a tiny little place with old cafeteria style tables and benches and gaudy laminated postcards on the walls for decoration, but the food is incredibly good, and the people there are even better. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable dinner.

They even had three guys with guitars playing some classic Puerto Rican (I guess you'd call them folk) songs. Jonas was in love! He'd clap and dance along and they ate up every bit of his attention, coming over and playing just for him.

The food was great. I had a pastelon de pollo (a dish made with layers of mashed plantain, chicken and vegetables) with beans and rice. Wil had bistec con cebolla (skirt steak with onions) rice and beans and tostones (fried green plantains that are squashed flat and fried again). Jonas ate most of my beans and rice, and even sipped on dad's Malta, which, if you've ever tasted it, you'll know why I'm surprised. It's certainly an acquired taste!

The thing I loved most about dinner last night was the fact that they really catered to Jonas. Most of the time when we go out to eat, and I've found this to be true of all people with young kids, they only seat you in the back corner where your kid is not likely to disturb other diners. Don't get me wrong, I'd never take Jonas to some upscale, linens on the table kind of place because I do have some level of decency and respect, but I'm talking restaurants that are noisy, crowded, big chain family type restaurants. We've even been denied seating at one place in town, even though there were tables open, simply because they weren't in the "kid zone".

So to go to a place so small, not owned by any corporate beasts, and to be treated so well was quite a refreshing reminder that the whole world hasn't gone sour. Our waitress even took Jonas's sippy cup to the back and washed it for us before refilling it with a different beverage. Just a little thing, but certainly going out of her way. And the musicians really treated him like royalty. Jonas really believed that they were there just for him.

After dinner we went to Target and picked up a few things, and then home we came.

Jonas was wound up so tight last night that he didn't even fall asleep until after 11 pm! Ugh! So much for getting anything done around here. But that's ok. The house isn't that bad. I just need to catch up on the never-ending laundry.

And on tap for today? I've gotta hit up the craft store, and maybe the shoe store since Jonas seems to ruin a pair of shoes a week. Sunday night dinner at the parents, and then early to bed for work in the morning.

Hope y'all are enjoying your weekend, too.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Today sucked!

It was just one of those days. No need to elaborate on any one specific event. Sometimes it seems like the world is full poisonous snakes, and no matter how gently you tiptoe through their nest, you're sure to have a couple strike.

Clients are nasty, cruel, and are intent on making you feel guilty for a million and one things that are out of your control, like the fact that they're pet needs $600 surgery for a completely preventable (yet, neglected by their owners) condition that went too far without treatment.

Doctors are often worse than the clients they see.

I need one of those jobs where you're secluded in a little room all to yourself with a computer or something. I can't handle society anymore. Never was good at it to start with.

And to top it all off, paradise is gone. Not that this was ever truly paradise, but I enjoyed the seclusion of our home, surrounded by woods on all sides. Came home this evening to find the woods completely gone. Not a thing left, except the one tree that really should be cut down due to it's sickly condition. Bare grey earth and a bulldozer outside my livingroom window. Soon we'll have a house parked so closely to the property line that I can knock on their window from where I sit.

All I can hope is that they're nice people. Maybe a couple with a kid around Jman's age. That would be nice, and perhaps even worth the sacrifice. But I'm not holding my breath.

The only good thing about today is that it's almost over.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Last Night

was the first night that I've left Jonas overnight with someone. Ok, there was that time that I had the stomach flu, and my mom watched him while I puked my guts out. But this was the first time that I've left him so that I could have an "adult night".

You'd think that after a year and a half I'd feel ok about that, but I still have little pangs of guilt and this aching lonliness about not having him here.

But the night was fun, and relaxing. We went to our friend Mary's house for dinner. She's about two weeks away from giving birth to her daughter, and just went on disability as of Monday. I find that amazing. I was on bedrest for over a month and I'm a fairly healthy person. She, on the other hand, has hardly any kidney function at all due to a botched surgery as a child. She should have died during this pregnancy, but instead she's been incredibly healthy and beautiful. She's not actually due to have Devi until Feb. 22, but we all know she's not going to go that long. She's ready to pop now!

So we had a nice and relaxing dinner together, and great conversation, and we took the grand tour of the baby's room and the rest of the house. She had significant damage during the hurricanes of '04, and is just now getting her house back together. As a matter of fact, this was the first meal she's cooked in her own kitchen since they got the cabinets replaced. Imagine cooking in your garage for a year and a half! Ugh!

After dinner Wil and I were able to come home and have some alone time together. I'd forgotten how nice that was. Coming home, cuddlng on the couch, just talking about our lives and re-connecting after what seems like an eternity of being so distant.

Of course, the sex was great, too. But the true highlight of the evening was just being together, period.

This morning I made myself get out of bed at the usual time, and I got the bathroom painted. Now all I have to do is put the shower head and handle back on, and we should have a usable bathroom again! Yippie! This has been the most nightmarish home improvement project I've ever taken on. From now on, I'm hiring ONE person to do the whole damn thing, from cutting out the old to trim-painting. No more of this waiting on seven different people (including myself) to get things done.

So anyway, it's nearly 11:30 and I'm missing my son so badly that I'm about ready to cry. I'm really proud of myself for being able to let go of him like this, but at the same time, I don't think it's something I'll be ready to do again any time soon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


It used to be an important part of my life. Once, what seems like years ago, I couldn't get through a day without writing something. Sometimes it'd just be a thought scribbled on the back of a napkin while at work and then fleshed out into something larger at another time. I still have some of those little napkin scribblings tucked inside the front cover of a notebook I used to keep nearby. They fall out sometimes and I hold them for a few minutes, read them, try and remember what it was that sparked that thought. But it's over now.

I'm as rusty as my grandfather's barbed-wire fence. Just like my mind, it no longer holds anything inside. The cattle have been shipped off to new homes and slaughter-houses.

And I say that it's because I don't have time anymore. That I don't write because of Jonas. But I don't know if that's really a reason, or an excuse.

Sure, having a kid does change a lot. And even when I do try to write, it seems to always come full-circle back to him. And if you think cheesy love poems are insufferable, try cheesy love poems about someone's kid. Ugh. No thanks.

So how does someone go about reclaiming what once was theirs? How do you go back to writing when you don't have an idea in your head?

And just for the record, that old phrase about using it or losing it... yeah, it's true. I've forgotten everything I might have once known about writing, including about half of my working vocabulary.

Mommy minds turn to mush. A scientific fact.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The life cycle of bread

Two loaves ready for the oven.

Two loaves out of the oven. One became garlic bread and eaten with spaghetti that evening. The other one sat around all lonely until it started to get stale.

But sometimes there's a diamond in the rough. That poor stale loaf became the most delicious bread pudding with bananas and cranberries. It probably would have been better with a splash or two of rum, but I wanted Jonas to be able to eat it, too.

And here it is, all served up with a warm vanilla sauce. Delicious! (shh... I had it for breakfast this morning, too.)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Early outs

It's amazing how much of a difference it makes to leave work just a few minutes early. It was slow this afternoon, so I ducked out about 45 minutes earlier than normal. I really should do this more often. I mean, 45 minutes doesn't sound like all that much, but because of the lighter traffic at that time, I was able to get home in under half an hour, and the sun is still out!

It's sort of refreshing to be home before the sun sets. I mean, I drop J off in the morning before sunrise, and usually don't get home until after dark. It makes the days seem impossibly long. Just getting to see daylight had sone wonders for my attitude today. And that's a good thing since I'm putting in an extra shift tomorrow.

Today is my nephew's birthday. He's seven. Good lord... seven. He's not a little boy anymore. And he's always been so good to Jonas, but the reality is, soon he's not going to want anything to do with him. There's just too much of an age disparity there. I mean, he'll always be a good cousin to him, but the days of playing together are pretty much gone.

His party was yesterday. Nearly 30 kids running around in my parents backyard. It was total chaos, but it went pretty well. Only one busted lip and very few arguments amongst them. They all seemed to have a good time, which goes to prove that you don't have to spend an absolute fortune to have a good birthday party for your kid. Of course, after it was all said and done Wil and I agreed that Jonas isn't allowed to have that many friends! Ten or twelve seems manageable, I think.

In other news, my dad's having an MRI today. We joke that they're just looking to make sure he still has a brain, but the reality is that the doctors are concerned that he may have a tumor in his brain. And although my family is the type to act as if everything is peachy, I find it downright scary that it's even a suspicion. I'm anxiously awaiting a phonecall to tell me that it's all a load of crap and that he's perfectly normal. But that call hasn't come yet, and it's 5:40 in the evening. That leads my over-reactive mind to think that there really IS something bad going on, or else they would have called to let me know already. Either that, or they just don't realize how on pins and needles I am to know.

So anyway, the sun is STILL out. At least for a few more minutes, and it's not too chilly outside. I think it's time to take Jonas and the dog for a little walk and kill some time while I wait (eversopatiently) for a phonecall.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Rambling Saturday

The farmer's market was a dud. Three booths huddled together on the north-west lawn of the city complex. I guess the incredible wind today, and the cooler weather kept most of the vendors tucked warmly in their beds. But Jonas and I managed to sample some fresh local honey products, and we sniffed some yummy herbal concoctions, and we pet a rooster (my second one in a week) and we bought some fresh veggies simply because the smell was intoxicating. Lucious juicy tomatoes, peppers the size of of small cantaloupes, some garlic and green onions.

It's amazing, the difference between fresh, real produce and the waxed, pale, tasteless stuff they pawn off at the grocery store. Not to mention the fact that the grocery charges premium prices for their tasteless junk.

I'm determined to get a small garden planted this year. Not because I am foolish enough to think that by growing my own stuff, I'll save any money. But because I have a deep appreciation for things that come from the earth, and the intense flavors of things not stuffed full of chemicals and picked long before prime. That, and I'm a total closet foodie.

Yes, I watch food tv as if it were porn, I drool over things that I'll never even attempt making, and I'm perfectly happy about it. Although Emeril (as much as I dislike him, I have to LOVE his recipes) made an incredible raspberry coffee cake the other night. Yes, I might actually make that.

Where the heck am I going with this post?

I don't know. It's really an uneventful sort of day. We went to market, we came home, we've cleaned the kitchen and organized toys. We've stood in the sunshine, wind battering our faces and whipping our hair, and that makes today a good day.

It feels like spring, only we never really had winter at all, and that makes me long for gardens and flowers and evenings where the light seems to stretch out fragile and tender vines in the sky, climbing it's way toward summer.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

On Strike

My son is on an anti-sleep campaign for the past week or two. I mean, fighting it tooth and nail to go to bed at night when it used to be as easy as just laying him down and kissing him goodnight.

Last night it took physical restraint and a temper-tantrum that lasted nearly two hours to get him to finally doze off. It's not good for him, it's not good for me, and I'm not sure how to fix it. This mother is now researching some new sleep strategies.

Everyone knows that we've co-slept with him since he came home from the hospital. At first out of necessity during the hurricane evacuation/homeless/transient phase of our lives when none of us had a bed, and then just out of convenience while breastfeeding, and then out of routine and the fact that (I more than)he needed the cuddle time together that we missed out on during the workday. But I'm starting to think that, at 17 months today, it might be time to start phasing out this habit and allowing him, and us, the pleasure of our own beds.

Yes, I know that this is going to be a hard routine to break, and honestly, I could care less if he slept with us for the next 10 years. I love having my little boy cuddled up to my chest with his soft little curls tickling my nose all night. And he finds comfort in us being there for him at all times. But I suppose that at some point I'm going to beed to start introducing new options to him, and since his schedule is already screwed up right now, why not throw another wrench in the works?

So tonight I'm going to give it a shot. For the first time in his life, he might actually sleep in his crib. Hey, at least I can say it got ONE use, eh?

Any suggestions out there from the parents on how to best transition a child from one routine to another with the least amount of stress and anxiety?

And no, I'm not one of those parents that buys into the "cry it out" routine. Perhaps it's because I remember my own unanswered and lonely middle-of-the-night crying jags as a kid and I don't ever want my child to feel as alone and unloved as I remember feeling at those moments. And I'm big enough to admit that it's probably a downfall to my own parenting, but I intend on sheltering my kid from everything in the world for as long as possible.

Anyway, off to give this a shot. Wish me luck, eh?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Quack quack Cock-a-doodle-doo!

A Bearded Buff Laced Polish bantam cockerel

This is what we chased down in the parking lot at work on Monday. Him and his little black duckie friend. No idea how a rooster and a duck ended up in the parking lot of our office, at the corner of a very busy intersection with no homes/farms nearby.

I thought of Laura, and how they'd probably get along fabulously at her place, and then realized that there must be some sort of regulations regarding the shipping of fowl, and instead called animal control to get them. Hopefully someone is truly missing their feathered pets and claims them before they become dinner.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Black Hole

In the past 24 hours I have lost:

One Debit card
a set of keys
a putty knife
two dollars
a book of stamps
two balls of the most beautiful blue wool yarn
three hours or more spent looking for the above items.

I'm convinced that this house sits at one end of an eerie black hole.


Today I am going to drop Jonas off at Granny's,and I'm going to get this bathroom thing finished! I only come here to tell you that because somehow, by telling you that I'm going to do it, I stand a better chance of actually getting it done.

I'm also going to sweep, mop, dust, and otherwise clean this house. I'm going to finally get the christmas stuff back to the shed because I'm tired of tripping over it at the front door.

And then, if I still have time, I'm going to go to the local hardware megastore and buy a new assembly for the shower, a masonry drill-bit, and have my sister stop by with her fancy drill to drill me a couple of screw-holes. Isn't it pathetic that a family of crafty people doesn't own a drill at all? And the one I borrowed aeons ago was finally returned a few months ago. Figures.

So drywall, paint, hardware, floors, christmas mess. That's my agenda. Ugh. Doesn't sound like a fun day at all.

But the results are always something to look forward to, right?

Hope y'all have a great and productive day as well. Check back later to see exactly how far I got on my list. Chances are good I'll still be sitting here in a pair of Wil's boxers and an old t-shirt grumbling about the stuff I SHOULD be doing.


As of 1pm I have finished filling the cracks in the drywall, have caulked the seams of the shower, have sent the christmas stuff packing to the shed. I've swept the tile, and dusted, and taken a ton of stuff out to the trash. I don't know why I hang on to some things. Like these damn diaper boxes. Sure, they're useful, but I don't think I'll be needed three of them any time soon. I'm a packrat, I can admit that.

Next on the agenda is lunch, since I'm starving, and I'm waiting on wall patch to dry before I can do anything else in the bathroom. Ok, I take that back, I COULD be in there trying to get all of the tile dust out, but a break is deserved, I think.

And in other news: I've lost my bank card. So if any of you out there should find it, please don't spend more than $50 or you'll over-draw me. Thank you very much. Now to figure out how to pay for gas without it... You mean I have to go inside and pay with cash? I don't have any of that... oh, so I have to go to the bank first and withdraw? Guess I can't do that at the ATM without my card, now can I? Damn, are we a spoiled nation, or what?

Monday, January 09, 2006

ten minutes

I've got roughly ten minutes to sit here and enjoy the quiet of a sleeping house. Of course, it's not totally sleeping. The dog is already up, had her breakfast and is waiting for her walk. The cats are up to their usual kitty early morning nocturnal behavior, batting J-man's stray socks around the house. To be fair, I woke Chloe in order to reclaim my computer chair.

So what's been going on at casa de Angie? Hmm... a whole lot of not much. Yesterdy was fairly productive, Jonas and I managed to get his big red wagon home from Granny and Daddy Dave's house. It required a borrowing of vehicles, since it wouldn't fit in either of ours. While we were gone Wil did some home maintenance stuff that was long overdue. He worked on the water-softener, and now we have less stinky, less staining but still undrinkable well water. He tore down and replaced our dangerously rusted, leaning and non-closing mailbox. The new one is a huge improvement. The mailman is going to cream his shorts, I think.

And to top off my evening, he brought me home a fancy new vacuum cleaner. Wahoo! I know... you're not supposed to buy your wife things like appliances for gifts or some such nonsense, but this thing rocks! We really don't have a whole lot of carpet in our house, but this one does bare floors well, and it also has a self-cleaning electrostatic duster attachment. Very very cool since I have to be more religious about the dusting now tht Jonas has been diagnosed as being allergic to everything!

And on that topic, I can't really tell if the Claritin is doing him any good or not. He still seems congested and he still runs like a faucet most of the time, but the circles under his eyes are a bit lighter, and he seems to sleep better at night. Hmm... could be related I suppose, but how can you tell?

Anyway, 6 am approaches, and I must now go dig for appropriate clothes for Jonas to wear and get him ready for school. It sucks when it's 40 degrees in the morning, and by mid-day it's 75. No idea how to dress him. Last time I layered him, daycare left him layered all day. He must have sweltered in the afternoon!

Yes, I AM the over-protective mom.

A good morning, and a good week to you all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Total Indulgence

I spent almost $200 yesterday at Victoria's Secret. What a lush I am! I don't think I've collectedly spent that much money on under-things in my entire life, but it was pure self-indulgence and I loved every minute of it. Well, every minute except the ones where Jonas was emptying entire drawers of silky, well folded little panties onto the floor.

Cute kid. He's got good taste.

But seriously, there's something so marvelous about expensive, sexy underwear. Makes you feel like a whole new person, and it's something I haven't really experienced before. We've always been the broke-ass, buy your shit at Wal-Mart type of folks. But Wil took Christmas as his opportunity to spoil me a little and bought me a gift certificate to VS so that I HAD to do this.

I loved every minute.

In other news of self-indulgence, my craft store gift certificate arrived in the mail yesterday. I'm already lining up my knitting projects for the year. Mainly, two baby blankets (ok, so both of those baby's momma's read here, so I guess that's no longer a secret)a felted bag, and a couple of little busy-work things. I've got a ton of ideas and patterns that I'd like to try, but I have very limited time to knit, and I don't want to line up so many projects that I start feeling pressured. The blankets will have to be first if I want to give them away sometime before the babies are adults. So I'm going to go today and blow that certificate on yarns and needles and other such things that very few of my readers, if any, will understand.

I read on a website somewhere that the average knitter will spend some ridiculous figure each year on yarns. Something like $3000. I thought that was totally ridiculous at the time, but the more I knit, and the more I love knitting, the more I see that as a reality. Ugh! I'm going to have to get a second job just to finance my hobby!

Jonas had a recheck at the doctor's office yesterday morning. His ear infection has nearly cleared up, but he's still incredibly stuffy and coughing and just miserable in general. They now suspect that he has allergies, (No shit, really?) and sent nasal cultures out to a lab. They also suggested I try giving him Claritin daily, or some sort of equivalent. I wish that stuff was still a prescription drug. It would probably be much more affordable as a co-pay drug. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right? And I almost feel guilty that my son has suffered nearly 17 months of sinus/allergy problems and the cure could be as simple as a dose of medicine daily. Heck, the kid even LIKES taking medicine. I guess it's just a routine he's used to. Poor little guy.

So I'm off to the craft store, and the pharmacy, and wherever else the wind blows me today. It's my last day off before returning to work tomorrow. Ugh. I don't think there's a person in the world that WANTS to go back to work, but I can't help but feel like I'm the only person in the world that LOATHES the idea.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Now and Then

These two pictures were taken exactly one year apart. Isn't it amazing how quickly a person can deteriorate?

Where to begin?

I knew this would happen... I'd wait too long to start writing down all of the events of our trip, and then it would start to fade away, become less intense. That's exactly what has happened, and all of the things that I wanted to tell you, needed to share, they're just dull rememberances now. But I'll try.

I knew that just in going, and the fact that my dad bought the tickets for us to do so, I was treading a thin line between the two sides of the family. Imagine a four day tight-rope act. Ugh. Hardly a vacation at all. But my brother and I had sort of mapped out a plan before either of us arrived so that we could try to maximize time with everyone and try not to hurt any feelings along the way. And although we stuck pretty well to the plan, that didn't happen at all.

So we arrived at the airport and stepped out into the crisp and familiarly foul air of the city. I don't know what it is about Memphis, but that first breath of city air always smells a bit like hot garbage. Maybe it's just psychological, but it's fitting.

So we go to Mom's house where we gather with my brother and his family, and my Mom, little sister and grandmother, and we try to enjoy a relaxing evening together. Of course, Jonas is out of sorts and clingy being in unfamiliar surroundings, and wanted nothing to do with anyone but me. I barely even got to talk to my Tooter,(my mom's mom) because I was too busy trying to keep Jonas happy and playing nice with his cousin Aaron. Thank god that Aaron is good at sharing because Jonas totally hogged all of his toys.

So we visited for the evening, and went to bed.

The next day, sometime around noon we all managed to get showered and over to my step-mom's family. It was an extremely short visit where I spent most of the time out in the back yard as the kids chased the neighbor's cat. Again, very little true visiting was done, but we made our appearance, which is really all you can do when you're trying to fit everything into such a short period of time. It's only now that I realize that I didn't even get any pictures of that side of the family. Not a single one. The neighbor's cat, however, has the spotlight in several photos. Go figure.

From there it was off to the country to visit Mema and Daddy Dean, my dad's parents. Daddy Dean is the one that's been diagnosed with cancer. He's the reason we really came at all. It's weird going to visit someone you haven't seen in a year, not sure what to expect as far as his health. And the illness hangs like a big heavy cloud in the room, yet no one wants to talk about it. We all want to pretend it's just another visit, ya know? Everyone says he felt better that day than he had in weeks. He had just started steroid treatment and chemo that morning, and apparently the steroids were doing a world of good for him.

But damn... if that's good, I can't imagine what bad feels like. In a year's time he's totally wasted away to this frail old man. He's gaunt, bony, tired, barely able to speak at times.

It was a sad visit, not because we didn't try to enjoy ourselves, not because we didn't laugh and put on that general facade of cheer, but because I think we all realized that it was the last time we'd all be together, or that we'd ever sit in that familiar and cozy livingroom again.

We walked the land and soaked in as many memories as we could. Dad and Daddy Dean went and measured the tractor for a crate. It'll be moved out to Dad's new property up in Dresden soon enough. The house will be sold in the spring, and that'll be it. Some developer will come in, demolish the place, and all of it's memories. They'll fill in the pond, level the trees planted by my grandfather's hand more than 40 years ago. The barn will become a heap of scrap and a new development of fancy houses will go in with their equally phony name, Macon Woods, or Serenity Acres, and no one will ever know how much work went into making that place what it was. No one will ever look over in that now cleared patch off to the east and remember the tomato vines that grew 8 feet tall, or the speckled butter beans that grew in that plot there, or the watermelons that were sweet and ripe and tasted like sunshine.

We drove back to mom's that night in near silence. The original plan was to drive out to Dad's place in Dresden that night, but for some reason that didn't happen. I think we were hoping to get back to Mom's early enough to squeeze in another visit with Tooter. Or maybe it was that I was trying to avoid some guilt for not giving Mom another chance to visit with Jonas. In hindsight I wish I had just gone out to Dresden with Dad and let Brian return to Mom's alone. But this is just the start of my regrets.

Next morning we packed into Amanda's borrowed van and took off for Dresden.

Dad's property there is 40 something acres of gorgeous, located just adjacent to another roughly 300 acres owned by two of his uncles. Dad is happy there, and I can already picture him retired there, walking the woods, drinking coffee on the porch, enjoying the simplicity of a slower lifestyle. So can he. It's the first time in his life I've heard him speak of retirement, and while I'll be sad to see him move away, I can't help but be happy for him.

We drove the goat (a sort of four-wheeler, cart thing) around the property, stopped to admire some of the largest deer I've ever seen grazing in a meadow, ate simple food, drank homemade wine, laughed, relaxed. It was a wonderful time. I can totally understand why he chose this place. That, and the fact that we've got family scattered all through those hills. It's like coming home for him.

My sister fell in love with it, too. Is talking about moving up there and starting over herself. I think it might be good for her, but I could never do it. There's just the reality of my life being so vastly different from the rest of theirs. My son could not get along in their small-town environment. They're nice enough, but I'm not stupid enough to think that racism doesn't still run deep in those hills. The first time anyone laid eyes on his daddy, he'd be ostracised, and what sort of job could Wil do? Who would hire him? Just not a reality. I tried explaining that to my dad, but he didn't seem able to get it. Maybe he'd had a few to many drinks, but he was adamant that we'd be fine, and then the next minute he was telling me how Uncle Terry had laughed and told him "You know a nigger installed that a/c of yours."

Yep, we'd do just fine, wouldn't we?

So just one of many realizations during my trip that I'm that extra little puzzle piece of the family that doesn't quite fit anywhere.

So my dad expected us to stay that night up in Dresden, but my brother thought it best for us to return back to Memphis so that we could visit with Tooter in the morning. So I went with them because I really did want to see Tooter one more time. But it infuriated my Step-mom and my Dad that we left. They didn't say so, but body language sometimes speaks louder than anyone realizes.

And I don't understand how a trip home to visit a dying relative can turn into such a power struggle about where we slept and when, but it did, and we all sort of lost sight of what was important. But it was that night, driving home in the dark, that I started to really fall apart.

The next morning we loaded our suitcases, got everything packed, and then enjoyed some actual quality time with Tooter. We got some decent pictures of her with her great-grandkids. Pictures that we'll probably cherish forever. You know, she's not been diagnosed with anything, but she's getting older, too, and I know that the reality is, she may not be around a whole lot longer, either. So I'm really glad that we got that last visit in, whether it pissed off other people or not.

That afternoon we went back the Mema and Daddy Dean's for a family dinner there. The rest of the family came out as well. Cousins and Uncles that I haven't seen in three or four years. It was nice seeing them, but we didn't even really socialize. We all just sort of hung out in our respective groups. Once again, I was left feeling like an outsider, and hanging with the babies while everyone else did their thing.

Daddy Dean just sat in his chair and observed quietly. I can only imagine what must have been going through his mind. Knowing this was the last time he'd see most of us. Drinking in his family, absorbing the details of each of us, etching us into his mind for the last time.

As the evening drew on, and he grew tired, we all started preparing ourselves for goodbyes. My brother and his wife made the first exit, since they still had two other places to get to. I cried as they left. Not simply because we don't see enough of each other, but because, well, because I've sort of realized that despite how much I love him, and them, we aren't as similar as I might have thought we were, nor are we as close. It's as if, with each visit we made around town, I sealed in another brick in the family wall, isolated myself a little more. I can't really describe it, but it was just reaffirming that it's all over.

Daddy Dean was hurting so bad that he begged us not to hug him. So when it was my turn to say goodbye, I took his hands in mine, and for the first time in my life, I met his eyes. Blue, so soft, and sad and blue, and I wanted to take the pain away from him. Wanted it to be over for him.

He smiled weakly and told me "You come back to see me soon." A lie that both he and I knew would never happen. I'll be back soon, but it'll be for his funeral. He knows that, I know that. The whole room knows that. He went on to tell me that I had a beautiful little boy, and I told him how much I love him, and then I was piling into Dad's rented van to trek back to the hotel with them.

I forgot to mention that while at their house my step-mom and my brother and my husband and his wife spent a good hour out in the driveway having it out. Of course they didn't include me in thier conversation, but of course, I was the root of it.


I had hurt dad's feelings.
I was the disprespectful child.
I was the one that caused this or that.
I should have done this or that.
I have no respect or gratitude for my father.

On and on. I am the bad child. And it seems that no matter what I do to try and win favor, or try and keep things fair and even, I'm the bad one.

Back at the hotel my sister and split a six pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes and we sat up all night having a soul-purging talk that's long overdue. We talked, we cried, we held each other and we got out all the demons. It's what we both needed, and it did me a world of good.

I think, if anything, this trip revealed to me the fact that I am neither a Woodruff or an Emmons. I don't fit in anywhere in this strange family of mine, and no matter how hard I try, I never will be. So I'm done. I'm not trying anymore. And if I have my way, the only time I'll ever set foot in that city again will be for funerals. Sounds harsh, but for god's sake. I've spent nearly three decades trying to be who everyone else wants me to be, and it's gotten me nowhere but hearbroken and hurt.

It's time I lived my life for me, and for my son.

My brother said in the car on the way home from Dresden, "This will be our last normal Christmas."

He's so right.