Friday, June 27, 2008

Censorship---reading to Muffin Man Edition

I was reading a chapter of The Four Story Mistake to him. I've never read this book before, but I loved The Saturdays (the first book in the series) and we'd finished that so I ordered this one and the next one, And Then There Were Five, from Amazon.

Anywhoooo, I was reading the chapter that is about Christmas week and one of the characters says that she wishes she still believed in Santa Claus.

I didn't read that sentence out loud.

I skipped it.

MM still believes in Santa Claus and I like it that way. So I skipped the sentence about NOT believing in Santa Claus and the book was fine without it. We finished that book 4 days ago and now we're on And Then There Were Five.

A new character has been introduced in this book, Mark Herron. He's being abused by the horrible cousin he lives with. And I'm reading it to MM.

We've been playing Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii, so I've let him see the movies and reassured to him that it's only pretend. People aren't like the Thuggees in real life (plenty of time to explain about Abu Gharaib and Auschwitz when he's older).

But I censor the idea that Santa doesn't exist.

In a world where grown people hurt children they're supposed to be caring for, there'd goddamn better be a Santa Claus.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I carry him

I lift him out of the deep bathtub. Wrap him in towels. Carry him to his room and cuddle him while he dries enough for pajamas. For one small half-hour, he is my baby. Everytime I carry him in my arms I think, "This may be the last time. This may be the last time. Smell his hair. Cuddle him close. Hold him tight."

One foot to go and he will be as tall as me. Who knows how many days I have left before he thinks he's too old to cuddle with me, too old to be carried, too old to be my baby.

I carry him and cuddle him and coddle him on bath night. Which is slowly becoming shower night, getting closer to the day when he does it all himself. Getting closer to the day when he no longer calls me mama. Getting closer to the day when he calls me mooooooooom, complete with eyeroll and head toss.

I refuse to hold him back, but I'm taking my chance while I can get it. I carry him, I cuddle him, I hold him tight.

For one small half-hour. My baby.

The fact is...(last post about this for a while, I promise)

That I really have no clue what I look like. I see other people and can tell them how they look and what clothes look good on them and even go to a rack of clothes on hangers, pull 7 dresses off them, send an acquaintance into a dressing room with them and be spot on about ALL 7 DRESSES.

I could be a personal shopper. I have that talent. I'm just sayin'.

But I have no real sense of how I look. None.

I'm still surprised to see myself in the mirror or on film.

The parts of my body I see most (legs and arms) look exactly the same as they did when I was 95 lbs and a Si cup. Let me repeat that..My arms and legs are EXACTLY the same as they were when I was 30 pounds lighter. They are what I see when I'm not looking in a mirror.

The rest of my body has changed and I can't tell what it looks like. Which is why I feel like it's two bodies sewn together: the arms and legs from the body I still think I have and the core from the body I really do have.

I expected my body to change as I grew older. I did. I expected that my middle would thicken, that things would sag or be less elastic. I expected I would wear larger pants sizes but that my bras would stay basically the same (if perhaps more supportive). Instead I find that my pants sizes have stayed static for the last...oh...8 or maybe 10 years (barring maternity) and my bras that have grown ever bigger. I didn't expect or want to stay looking like I did at 16 or even at 26. But I had a concept of what I would look like as an older person. I expected to look like my mother. I expected to have her body. Instead, I find myself in my Grandma Hilda's body, and she died when I was 5, so I can't ask her about her experiences. I don't know if her rack continued to expand forever.

Do you have a true sense of what you look like? Do you look like you imagined you would when you got to be the age you are?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Skinny legs and all

Blurry pictures of my bits and pieces. Bad light and a cell phone camera. Today I feel pretty congruent, all told, but I wanted to illustrate what I was talking about here.

Hi! See what I mean about the arms being overwhelmed by a superior force?

Side. Barbie arms.

Yes, those are my bony ankles.
Sometimes I feel like someone sewed me together out of two totally different bodies. But you know what? It's alright. My body is strong and healthy. I can pick up my son and twirl him around, flip him upside down, and tickle his tummy. Today, I feel beautiful.

And by the way, this is what 4'11'', 125 lbs looks like.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I can predict the future

MM is in Posh Place's summer camp. Their summer camp is basically four field trips a week with one day back at the Posh Place building doing a cooking project and playing in the fun sprinkler garden.

Last week - Thursday, in fact - the field trip was to the entry-level casino otherwise known as CEC (y'know, the place with the pizza and the very large singing rat). That morning I said, "Oh fireplace! He's going to CEC. He'll have a cold by Saturday."

We've emptied 5 boxes of tissues since yesterday. His nose is red and crusty and it has a constant flow of green goop coming from it. Thank God he's adept at blowing his own nose and likes the idea of carrying a box of tissues around with him.

Still, he has no fever. He's cheerful and energetic. The only symptom he's got is his oozing nose. So I'm sending him to camp tomorrow with a big pack o' Kleenex (tm) and antiseptic wipes. And chapstick. And I'll keep him home from camp the next time they go to that germ-infested starter home for gamblers.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


He enunciated each letter and smiled slyly. When I nodded emphatically, he went on...I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U.

And then I melted into a puddle of goop.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bum Ba DUM PA Bum Ba Dum

It's now all Lego Indiana Jones all the time here. Generally much easier than the Star Wars games, except for Episode 2, Chapter 4. That one is a bitch and a half, let me tell you. We weren't able to finish it last night (and holy heck, I'd forgotten how much Young Sherlock Holmes stole from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).

We're using strategy this time -- going through the whole thing on story mode AND THEN we'll take the points and buy something. Preferably something useful like invincibility, if they have such a thing in this game. And only one of each type of character. MM agreed that this made sense since story mode doesn't let you bring extra characters along anyway and he does like having invincibility when he can get it, yes he does.

And, aside from watching an episode of Gilligan's Island, anyone know of a good way to get the Indiana Jones Theme out of my head?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cooking from the Victory Garden

Tonight it was Pesto made from 2 kinds of basil, parsley, mint, and romaine - all home grown.

The romaine is our newest AeroGarden crop and the basil, parsley, and mint are growing in big clay pots by our front door.

The pesto came out yummy, a bit milder than my usual due to the addition of the romaine.

MM had seconds.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cooking With Emergency Rations

We try to keep a couple months supply of canned goods on hand, just in case of emergencies. Mostly they're things that need no heat or can be cooked over a sterno if need be. We started this practice about 6 months before Y2K, because although we knew that nothing was going to happen on Y2K, we thought that people might panic just BEFORE it, and that therefore there might be a run on groceries.

We're planners, we are.

The key to good emergency rations is they've gotta be something you'd eat anyway. Otherwise you're going to be throwing out a ton of expired food and waste is Not A Good Thing. You need to circulate through your rations and replace them periodically.

Sunday night, I produced an Emergency Rations Casserole that was a rousing success. MM asked for seconds. He then asked for thirds. He PRAISED THE PEAS. First time EVER.

So here, with no further ado, is my recipe for Emergency Rations Casserole:

To serve 4, you will need...
1/2 package regular spaghetti
Butter or Olive Oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can Snow's Turkey
1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 can Le Seour Peas
Freshly Grated Parmesan (though the Kraft stuff will do)
Bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cook the spaghetti. While it is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the turkey. Stir until the turkey is broken up and thoroughly infused with the lovely aroma of onion and garlic. Add the soup. Stir. Add the peas. Stir. Add some milk. Stir. Turn off the heat so the peas don't over cook. For God's sake, don't overcook the peas!

Drain the spaghetti and place it in a greased casserole (I use my round brown pyrex). Pour the turkey/soup/peas mixture mostly into the middle and poke it around with a spoon to get the sauce well mixed into the middle, but leaving the noodles around the outside kind of sauceless*. Now pour more milk over the whole thing. Then sprinkle the top all over with the cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and some of the noodles are on their way to being crunchy.

Serve immediately.

Don't expect leftovers.

*Joy of Cooking uses this technique in the recipe for Turkey Tetrazini, which this dish slightly resembles in flavor.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Horror! The HORROR!

Today I drove MS to the Metro station so that he could go into DC for a meeting and I spent my time waiting to pick him up wandering about The Big Mall That Has The First Ever LL Bean Store Outside of Maine.

Dear Lord. The 70's are back. And they're out for revenge.

If you ever catch me wearing any of that, you have my permission to shoot me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Talking, once again, about the tatas

Bad body image day. I'm guessing I'll get a visit from the crimson tide tomorrow.
From the front, I seriously look ginormous.
l( )( )l

the little l's at the sides are the outer edges of my Olive Oyl arms.

But I realized the other day that from the side, I look much much smaller

l l l )

The three l's are supposed to be my back and Olive Oyl arms.

So the impact of my front-view is, in great part, due to the fact that the breasts mostly obscure my practically non-existent upper arms.

Not that G is not ginormous, it is. But G in combination with upper arms that have the same circumference as a soda can odd pairing indeed.

Add in some narrowish shoulders and it's no wonder that I have a hard time buying clothes.

When I look at my front-view in the mirror I don't see a body, I see a collection of parts. It's like looking at branches, leaves, trunk and never seeing a tree.

When I look at myself in profile, I see myself as a whole. I am not a collage, I am a sculpture, made from one marble slab.

I'm 39. How old do I have to be to feel at peace with my body?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An announcement

"Please join us for Kindergarten Graduation

As we celebrate

Posh Place's Class of 2008

Thursday June 12, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

Large Auditorium, 11111 Down The Rd.,

My Neighborhood, VA.

Refreshments to Follow.

Please RSVP to Sweet Director"

They are going to wear caps and gowns, people. CAPS and GOWNS!!!!

I'm not ready.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Today was Primary Day here in VA

And I was at the polls for oh...about 5 hours. In 100 degree heat. Yahg.

I stayed relatively cool, though. I stayed in the shade waiting for the pathetic number of voters to show up, and had a big jug of icewater and iced juice pouches and a wet washcloth in the cooler bag with the ice packs and salted cashews to replace the saline lost through sweat and sunscreen and an umbrella.

And two books.

I was out there from 9-10:30 and from 3:30 to 7:00. The whole day, only 136 people came to vote at the precinct I was at. 56 Dems and 70 Republicans.
The wet washcloth was wonderful. It actually had little ice crystals on it!

My guy lost. I am so bummed. He tied at my precinct and he won my county, he just didn't get enough votes in the other parts of the congressional district. So we're stuck with a very nice woman who lost last time by 16 percentage points. Sigh. Though she's raised over a million dollars so maybe she's got a chance this time.

I still think my guy would have had a better chance against our Bush-lite Congressman-for-life.

Monday, June 09, 2008


I might be going back to work on the contract I was working on when I started this here blog. The folks who had it originally (and who I worked for for two years) won it back from the company who won it from them (and who I worked for for two years) and they're looking for folks who've worked on it and want to come back.

But the commute may be nasty. I'll have to work out how to get there on mass transit, 'cause friends? I am NOT putting off grad school just to pay for the gas it takes to get to work.

Friday, June 06, 2008

As seen at Ham-I-Am

Capture the Moment. Rules: Take a picture of yourself RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

Hi! Please to notice that it is right humid here abouts. Thus the little curlies.

And here is a picture of me from yesterday.

I was soaked. Just a few moments before, I was standing under a waterfall thing at the Amusement Park while MM got dumped on.


MM runs and runs and runs and runs and runs until he sees his friend being carried and then he wants to be carried too.

MM wins a teddy bear, picks the pink one, and then protects it from evil villians by wielding his imaginary light saber.

MM puts on an Avatar baseball cap and is immediately Ang, the last Airbender.

MM is bored by the hokey musical show that we go to see in the middle of the day. His friend (LovesHighSchoolMusical) loudly declares that she thinks being in the show would be the most wonderful job IN THE WORLD. LHSM's father comments to me sotto voce that LHSM is a wonderful dancer - amazing innate talent - but that, unfortunately, she has inherited his singing voice.

MM loves rollercoasters, the bangier the better. He's just an inch shy of being able to go on some of the bigger ones.

MM stands right where the 40 foot high HUGE bucket of water will dump out on his head. Then he does it again. And again. He is disappointed that he is an inch shy of being able to go on the water slides.

He runs and runs and runs and runs and runs.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Genius! Sheer unadulterated genius!

MM and me on the train from NYC. He's the one in the shirt with the pocket. The colors are all as close to what he actually saw as his abbreviated marker pack would allow.
I'm having a few issues with the scanner at the moment, this was taken with my camera phone.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Ruminating on my hair

When I got accepted to Nearby U., I stopped cutting my hair. I wanted to grow it long for graduation and grow it long I did.

In November of 2005, my hair looked much like it does in the photo that is my avatar over there on the right. Maybe just a bit shorter.

Today it hangs down past the middle of my back.

I had planned to cut it right after graduation and donate it to Locks of Love or similar organization. But it's been two weeks and I still have it on my head. I'm not ready to give it up.

I was trying to figure out why. Why am I not ready to cut off this hot, heavy hair? Today I figured it out. Today it hit me, smack in the puss.

Because then, how will I ever get to meet Jo(e)? Only people with gorgeous long hair get to meet Jo(e). People like Phantom Scribbler! So first I need to visit Jo(e), then I can cut off my hair!!!

Fire! Fire! Fire!

This morning we woke up and we knew...

That for once we'd actually be able to make it to the local volunteer fire station's monthly pancake breakfast. So we went and there was much climbing about on the fire truck.

And then we remembered it was the OTHER local volunteer fire station's annual open house! With a helicopter! And rides on the fire truck! And a "fire safety house"! And sno cones! And face painting! And a breathing dummy that the EMTs use to practice all sorts of life-saving techniques on!

IT WAS AWESOME! (a direct quote from a six-year-old I happen to know).

And when we got back, do you know what we did then? We played Lego Star Wars.