Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That's not how it works, son


"ship to shore" she says
grandma's on speaker and you
want to eat the phone

Monday, September 29, 2008

35

Thirty-five years ago today, my parents stood in front of their friends and family, said their "I do"s, and started building a life together.

These days, when something like 40-50% of marriages end in divorce, my sister & I are fortunate to have grown up with parents who managed to stay together and make things work. I'm not saying it was always easy. There were certainly times when the simplest course of action (emotionally, if not logistically) would have been to call it quits, walk away, hit the reset button, call do-overs. But each time things got close to the breaking point, they ultimately found the right words for each other, decided to give it another try, to keep working at it.

What this taught me, growing up, and even now as I have set out with my own young family - and pardon me while I nerd out here for a second - is that a marriage really is like a thermodynamic system. In a closed system (one with no input of energy) disorder increases over time. Energy must be introduced into the system, usually in the form of work, in order to maintain a steady state. Energy requirements in a marriage vary over time, of course, which is part of why I think the trouble spots take us by surprise. If initial conditions are satisfactory (I love you, you love me, we are compatible and happy), and external factors are good (any financial, work-related or other emotional stresses are minimal), the system can chug along perfectly well with minimal input. However, if the bills start piling up or the kids start testing your patience or life just starts getting more hectic and draining than usual, that extra energy lost from the system needs to be replaced. Sometimes it takes a little while to realize that the work requirements have increased, and sometimes you decide that those requirements are more than you're willing to put in. But other times you find the strength to keep going.

My parents found that strength, time and again. As a result, they seem to be happier together today than they've ever been. Mom & Dad, congratulations on 35 years of marriage. Most people would say the deck was stacked against you, getting married as young as you did, but you've beaten the odds and forged a partnership that I can hold up as an example for my own life. Cheers to you, today and every day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What's that, Pete Carroll?

You underestimated the Beavers again? You forgot that you lost 2 of your last 3 games (before this week's) in Corvallis? And that the victory in 2004 was by only a couple of points? Remind me again who broke USC's 27 (Pac-10) game winning streak in 2006. Oh that's right. THE BEAVERS!

Beavs 27. Trojans 21. Boo-friggin-yah, biatch.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This was supposed to be a video post

But it's not. Because I can't find the little firewire-to-firewire adapter that I oh so cleverly tucked away someplace "safe" so it wouldn't get "lost." Go me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mom should get a kick out of this, at least

Last Friday, I was out shopping for dinner fixings and was listening to NPR in the car. Our local affiliate was running a blurb about the annual Sound of Music singalong, held at the Hollywood Bowl. Apparently, Charmian Carr (Liesl from the movie) has been leading these events for the past 8 years, as well as judging the costume contest. She was talking about how the costumes have gotten more and more elaborate over the years.

This person, because I couldn’t tell if it was a male or a female, came on stage with little tiny black balloons. They were blown up really small and they were glued to her entire body, or his entire body. And I pride myself on being able to guess so many costumes ‘cause I’ve done so many sing-alongs. I didn’t have a clue. And so I said, “Who are you?”

“I’m the lonely goat turd.”
One of my company's new products is a folic acid softgel. Remember the jelly bean-looking vitamins I wrote about before? Well these ones are brown. And on a night like tonight, when I'm running short on sleep, I have to remind myself that though they may look like delicious chocolates, they most certainly do not taste like delicious chocolates, and that plucking one off the production line and popping it into my mouth would be extraordinarily ill-advised.

After hearing the NPR blurb though, I have a new - far less palatable - thing to which I can liken these little suckers. And when I move on to continue the rest of my rounds, I'm humming "The Lonely Goatherd" under my breath.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baby Photo Shoot


I spent some time this afternoon taking some updated pictures of the boy in various outfits people have given him. He was not in the best mood for picture-taking, mostly because his nap schedule got a little screwed up today, and he passed out before I got through all of his wardrobe changes. But I got through most of them, and he was a pretty darn good sport for putting up with his Mamarazzo. ;) Check out Flickr for the rest.

Mission in Progress



drooling on the cat
just part of his mission to
pre-digest the world

Monday, September 22, 2008

No News = Mellower Sue

Things got out of hand for me a little bit last week, mentally. The combination of not getting enough sleep and reading too much depressing crap in the news made me have crazy-vivid unpleasant dreams, and then when I was awake, my mind seemed to be constantly spinning in the sort of way usually reserved for 2am worry binges. You know what I mean; insomnia brought on by the inability to make your brain just stop freaking out about the dumb stuff that will inevitably be waaaay less troubling in the light of day. I was turning into borderline existential crisis girl. Not. So. Awesome.

So I stopped reading the news. Well, I at least stopped going to CNN. And if NPR started getting a little too heavy, I shut it off and found some music to rock out to instead. Part of me hates this sort of news avoidance because I don't like feeling uninformed. But really? I started sleeping better, and my waking hours were less troubled. Sure, the big stuff still got through, but in headline form. And you know what they say about details being the residence of the devil and all that.

Some things that made me happy this past week/weekend:
1. The clouds on Thursday morning (see below).
2. Watching Tom make Soren laugh.
3. Receiving a very thoughtful and completely unexpected handmade gift for Soren from Tom's & my high school English teacher.
4. The tasty sliders we made.
5. My wonderful husband washing all the dishes, sweeping AND mopping the kitchen floor, and bathing the boy, all while I napped this evening.
6. The really pleasant breeze this afternoon.
7. A good, long (and long overdue) talk with FarmerMegan.
8. Cuddling with my son in the mornings.
9. Strolling on campus with Shay & Bella.
10. Tom.

I'm sure I'll go back to reading the news before too long. If nothing else, I do want to stay up on my election coverage, and if I'm not mistaken, the VP debate is happening this week sometime. But I think I'll extend the moratorium on CNN-reading just a bit longer, for my sanity's sake.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday Night Sliders Dinner

No, not the '90s sci-fi show. I'm not sure what a Sliders-themed dinner would include, actually. Alternative reality asparagus? Multiverse mojitos?

Anyway.

Last night we made tiny burgers. We thought it might be fun to try multiple varieties of gourmet burgers, so they obviously had to be small. Enter the slider. We made three different kinds: teriyaki pork burgers (with hawaiian roll buns), gorgonzola sirloin burgers with bacon and tomato, and chopped steak burgers with goat cheese and mushrooms & onions that had been fried in bacon grease. Oh my, they were tasty. We were full by this point and didn't even get to the steak burgers with avocado & pepper jack. Oh well.

Sadly, though I brought my camera I didn't get around to taking any pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it - delicious.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Year in September

I love the fall. I love the freshness in the morning - yes, even here - and the way everything cools down in the evening. I love the breezes, the fog, the first smatterings of rain. There's something so energizing and refreshing about the season, which is perhaps a bit counter-intuitive, what with the plants losing their foliage in preparation for winter and all.

Tom made a good point a few years back. This sense of renewal we get in the fall, the feeling of a fresh start, has so much to do with the beginning of a new school year. As a little kid, I loved school. Even in middle & high school, when this love was dulled a bit by social awkwardness and boredom, I never lost that beginning-of-the-year optimism. Fall meant a fresh start, new challenges, new adventures.

It also meant we were done with the blazing heat of late summer. Down here the heat lingers a bit longer, but it's no longer 90 degrees by 9am. When I leave work in the morning the cool air feels refreshing and pleasant. Sometimes the fog shelters me from the blinding sun as I drive home. Mid-afternoon still feels like summer, most days, but the mornings hold fall's promise - cooler days are on the way.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When we nap


when we nap mid-day
sometimes he falls asleep here
sacked across my lap

Monday, September 15, 2008

Little Diaper(s) of Horror

Fair warning. This is going to be a post about poop. Baby poop. If that's not your thing, come back another day.

All right, here we go.

Sometime last week, Tom came home with two tiny jars of baby food. Organic "Baby's First Peas" and "Baby's First Sweet Potatoes." The ingredient list on the former: peas, water. On the latter: sweet potatoes. For 4 months old and up.

For a while now, we've been letting Sir taste things. He's licked juice bars (lime, mmmm) and vanilla ice cream and popcorn. He had a teeny tiny taste of my corn mush when we went to Chevy's for lunch with Gram Gram. At 5 months old, there isn't really any need yet for him to be eating solids (usually babies are fine to be exclusively milk-fed until about 6 months), but the pediatrician said it was perfectly fine to gently expose him to different tastes if he showed an interest.

So then Tom brought home the tiny jars. And then last Thursday night, just before I left for work, he opened up the sweet potato one and decided to see if Soren wanted any. Immediately the dread began to settle in the pit of my stomach. I've heard the stories. Breastfed babies' little poopy emanations, while not exactly as fresh as a mountain spring, really don't smell all that bad. But once you start feeding them "people food," it's all over. Thus I began to anticipate what was to come.

The diaper of horror.

It became a running joke over the next few days. Because oh yes, by the way, breastfed babies apparently have the capacity, after a few months of age, to sort of store up their poops for a few days and then explode. This is considered perfectly normal. So when Friday came and went with no diaper of horror, and Saturday brought only some particularly noxious toots, I was certain that Sunday all of the wiggling and belly gurgling would yield the object of our dread. But no. Today was to be my "lucky day."

I'll spare you the details, but the diapers of horror count is now up to 3, over the last several hours. I can say the little man has been visibly more comfortable with each expulsion. ("He's as light as a feather! He's...he's as merry as a school boy! He's as giddy...he's as giddy as a drunken man!") And while it hasn't been quite as bad as I expected, I think we'll be holding off on opening that jar of peas for a little while. ;)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Discovery

Yesterday evening, under the bright lights of the bathroom, I noticed that much of Soren's new hair is coming in blonde. Entirely possible he'll go through a towhead phase like Tom did as a youth. That'd be pretty amusing, me toting around a little blonde thing.

All-Time Allstars (Final Three)

Well, you're in luck. As I've been pondering which songs to pick to round out my 15 or 20 All-Time Allstars, it's occurred to me that I have strayed into "love them mostly because I haven't heard them in forever" territory. They wouldn't necessarily meet my "any time, anywhere" requirement. So I'm just going to list 3 more and call it done.

11. Counterclockwise Circle Dance (Lay-O-Lay Ale Loya) - Sacred Spirit Compilation Album
Lyrics are in Navaho, so...yeah
Not much to say about this one. I just love the way it sounds. It also reminds me of some good times, a road trip I took right before I started college.

12. Run - Collective Soul
"Now in this world of purchase, I'm going to buy back memories, to awaken some old qualities."
Summer anthem of 1999, also right before I went away to college. Sara & I spent most of the summer out at Caitlin's farm, and it seemed like this song was always on the radio during our drive. Hearing it once I was away at school was about the only thing to ever make me homesick. Again, this is one of those songs made better by positive association.

13. In Other Words - Ben Kweller
"If only time could reappear, now's the time."
Hard to go wrong with a song that sets the butterflies a-fluttering in your stomach every time you hear it. Even 6+ years after you first heard it.

There you go. I shall bore you with these no more. ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday Randomness

I seem to be getting my ears tested rather a lot lately. Yesterday morning I had my fourth hearing test in 18 months (one with my pre-employment physical, two annual on-the-job exams, and one when I had my bout of Bell's Palsy last year). I notice that my gaze shifts slightly to the left or the right, depending on which ear is being tested. I suspect that's not unusual, though. Or very interesting.

Moving on.

For most of the afternoon yesterday, I had Bran Van's "Drinking in L.A." stuck in my head. Actually it's still running through my head now. No particular reason. I think I last heard it a couple of weeks ago. Before that, it'd probably been a year or so. There's a line - "But we did nothing, absolutely bupkis that day..." - and for a long time I thought they were saying "buckets" instead of "bupkis," which reminded me of the SNL sketch with - Who was it? Travolta? Google is failing me - wherein it is declared that "bucket" will be the new slang word for "cool" in the coming school year.

Anyhow.

Not half an hour after I'd changed Soren out of his pjs this morning, his shirt was soaked - SOAKED! - with drool. I took it off and left him shirtless for a little while so he could air dry a bit, though this was something of a fool's errand since he just continued his slobber production and was soon slick from his chin to his belly button. But the shirtless little dude, with his little pants on, looks for all the world like a tiny movie martial artist. A miniature (very pale) Bruce Lee. It's ridiculously cute.


See?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

When he sleeps


when he sleeps he's like
a tiny ambassador
of adorable


(That's Adorable - comma - fictional land of. Just so you know.)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Smile, kid


You're 5 months old, today!

Chinese Food Lunch

ML: Nobody trusts me to do anything!
Alice: You're trying to chop meat in a blender!
Max: After not being able to start the food processor...

And so it began.

This afternoon we descended once more upon Max's apartment to make delicious foods. This time, in honor of ML's return from Beijing, we made Chinese food for lunch. Pork dumplings, chicken fried rice, sauteed greens, and pork-stuffed baozi bread were on the menu.


Dumplings


Rice


Baozi

I can't offer much in the way of recipe or food preparation commentary, as I spent the pre-lunch time on Soren duty and didn't make myself useful until the cleanup, but everything was delicious. As always, a fine time was had by all.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ready to Go


Just look at those dogs, will ya? This boy's a bruiser.

Sweet New Ride

No great surprise, the little sir continues to grow (see?). He has essentially outgrown his infant car seat, which means our awesome snap-and-go stroller can't be used any more either. This past weekend, then, we trekked to Babies R Us in search of a new stroller.

We didn't want anything too giant or bulky. Unfortunately, the first several light strollers we tried were apaprently intended for older/bigger kids, as the straps wouldn't tighten enough to keep the boy snugly in place, something we couldn't tell until we actually sat Soren down in them. Finally though, we settled on this one, the Graco Ipo. (Interesting fun fact...my best friend's first VW Beetle was named Ipo.) It's like a chocolate bar on wheels. It folds up nicely and even has a little handle on the side so you can carry it like some kind of crazy briefcase. Handles nicely. Sir seems comfortable in it. All good things.

I miss the cup holders on our old stroller (I used them for my keys and phone, mostly), and this new one doesn't have as much storage space underneath the seat. But Soren seems to like facing forward and checking everything out. We went by the turtle pond while we were on campus a couple of days ago, and he actually got to sit and watch the turtles for the first time. So that's cool.

I know all this stroller talk this is positively riveting. Not to worry. This afternoon, I'll post a cute picture of the little man enjoying his sweet new ride, which I realize is what you'd rather see anyway. ;) Hopefully I will have something more interesting to write about as well, but no promises there.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Grammar snob, much?

Is it bad that I get a little twitchy every time I hear the phrase "Change you can believe in" because it ends in a preposition?

Storyteller


storyteller boy
sharing his slobbery tales
way way way too cute