Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lasterday

"Lasterday" is no more.

Finn retired his neologism--meaning the day before yesterday, or really any day that came before today--some weeks ago. And I know, I know. I should have told you this early, but I've been trying to cope with this reality on my own. Not the wisest decision. It is a big burden to bear. And I also know, as I'm sure you'll remind me, that you could've lent some wisdom or perspective that would have eased the transition, that you could have mitigated my pain.

Finn has been using this all-purpose word for year now. It appeared soon after those first words, blah, apple, and dada. Lasterday was mysterious.

"Mama, do you remember when we went to that big fountain?"
"When?"
"Lasterday."

And that could've meant the picnic we had the day before at the Plaza fountain. Or it could've meant the project Barry did at the fountain two years before. Or it could've meant the trip we took to Niagra Falls.

At first, I was resistant to lasterday. It wasn't precise. It didn't narrow down the temporal frame of possibilities. It just referred to some time before this particular time. And then Finn started narrowing its definition on his own. He found "yesterday," used it, but still kept lasterday to mark anytime that happened before that.

Lasterday worked for us. We started using it as a family. I took it into meetings. And like any signifier marking a previously unlabeled signified, it filled a void. It gave meaning to something that we had previously stumbled around.

And it was cute.

But in March, as we were talking about a movie we had seen lasterday, Finn corrected me.

"You mean 'the day before yesterday.'"
"Nope, it was lasterday."
"Not a word, mama."

And then, right then, I felt the crushing blow. Lasterday had been replaced by practical, conventional linguistic markers. A clunky, unelegant phrase. In that moment, we lost lasterday.

And not to overdramatize (but that's the way I work) I have to wonder what else?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Strange Powers

I think I may be emitting abnormal levels of electromagnetic resonance.

Not a scientific finding. There were no doctors' visits or lab tests. I'm just going by the empirical data, my people. And the facts are these: my mail won't send, I crashed my backup hard drive (and lost all the "letters" I'd been saving since e-mail was born because I forgot to backup my mailchives). I can't log onto the Internet on my desktop computer.

I'm killing the electronics in our house, one small thumb drive, browser, DVD burner, and hard drive at a time.

I don't know if my new superpower benefits me or the cheerleaders, but I do know that the neoluddites can rally around my newfound abilities. And I'm available for e-retaliation should your devices be getting a little uppity.

Watch out Wii. I don't want to take you out, but apparently I can't help myself.


Friday, February 06, 2009

You know you've had enough when . . .

We had some friends over to the house a few nights ago, just for beer and banter.

(Yes, drinking. In the middle of the week. Decadence.)

We discussed her love of writers, my irrational fear of poets, his trip to Sundance, Bear's project in Syracuse. All over Boulevard, killer salsa from Los Alamos, precociously delightful drawings, and some delicious snuggles from both Finn and Eddie.

Then I put Finn to bed, opened another beer, and, in what seemed a logical and perfectly appropriate move, paraded out my yearbooks (years 1986 and 1987).

I think there's a rule about this indulgent display of your past and much like you'd expect your wingwomen to vet your conquests, I fully expect Bear to jump in and provide a little sobering check and balance when I've so clearly fallen off the wagon of reasonable disclosure and into the muddy pond of oversharing.

I've expected it for the last 20 years. Never happened.

So there I am, sharing high school stories and--yes, I'm admitting this--reading my yearbook inscriptions. Out loud. And just when I'm about to launch into one of my drill team hand routines, you know, to further demonstrate the drama of a particular photograph (and still with nary a word, ear pull, cough, or stern stare from Barry), our friends tell us they need to go.

"What?!" I tend to overexclamate after a couple of drinks. "But look at this!! Doesn't he look like Bono! I had such a crush!"

Really need to go.

"What?! It's only 9:30! It's still early!!"

"Yeah, not anymore." And there, understated and after the fact, Barry's confirmation that I'd already crossed the line.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

We got a puppy.

Last week, Finn and I decided we needed to go back for another look at the dogs. After about an hour, we walked out with Edwidge, our new cairpoo puppy.

Yes, we ambushed Bear.

But it had to be done. See, Eddie--as we call her--has one of those sweet faces and a wiry, scraggly coat that needs serious loving (and brushing). I saw her the first day we visited. As I walked by her kennel, she looked at me, raised an ear and tilted her head. She implored me. She had me. So yesterday, we went back to meet her. And she convinced Bear.

Now, I can't say it's been all kongs and kibble since then. That first week was freaking cold, people. And dogs have to potty. Outside. (Or at least that was the theory.) Enough ten minute trips outside and mopping and you got enough to turn a whirlwind romance into a marriage of convenience.

Yet again, we probably should've talked this through with people in the know before we jumped in blind. But that's just the way love is.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Of Puppies and Pomodoro

We looked at puppies yesterday. Yes, on purpose.

The Dog Discussion has been in the works for a while now. Finn wants one--that's no surprise--and we've been stalling.

The prereqs have been varied--and admittedly random: Finn had to prove he could take care of a smaller animal (two Beta fish, the second committed suicide), Finn had to wait until we moved, until we weren't traveling as much, until he could show he could handle responsibility (like loading the dishwasher or making his bed--yeah, I know, but Finn didn't pick up on the non seq), until he could come up with a name that wasn't--and yes, I'm going to write this out loud--stupid.

Finn: We could call her Finn!

Me: That would be confusing . . .

Finn: How about Bouncey?!

Me: Absolutely not . . .

Finn: I know, we'll call her Sushi! Except when we make sushi for dinner, she'll think we're going to eat her! (Cue irrepressible giggles.)

Today's Tomato: Cioppino, courtesy of Rachel Ray

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Week's Worth of Tomatoes


We bought this ginormous can of tomatoes at The Costco. Read it and weep, baby: 160 ounces of San Marzano romas, peeled and bathing in tomato puree. Scrumpdiliocious.

The only problem: now that the romas are freed from their tinny prison, we have to eat them. And I figure, unless you tell me otherwise, that we have a week to do it. Two, if we dose them with citrus.

So forthwithit, we begin the Parade of Pomodori. And we begin with:


Tuscan Chicken with Beans

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Don't Hate the Player . . .

I've been keeping stuff from you. Secrets. Secrets that, had they any juice to begin with, are now dried up on the top shelf of clandestiny. You don't know about the failed diets, my trip to China, my all-nighters, my ill-conceived theories on the fifth Cyclon, and the struggles I have endured to cook, clean, and unpack those boxes that still haunt our hallway and now attic and closets . . . as little as possible.

(You can thank me--just push "Comments." And you're welcome.)

But one little glorious--and yet nettling--thing you missed over the past six months: Finn turned into a boy. And again, I blame the harbinger of my personal depression.

Kindergarten has introduced Finn to a new world of . . . ideas.

I told you once upon a time that he was reading. Well, he put that activity in the slow lane to develop new talents, like incessant talking, selective remembering, bad creative joke telling, dastardly plan hatching, worm squashing petting, sand-in-socks-and-shoes collecting, and . . . wait for it . . . flirting.

It started with a spunky little wisp-of-a-thing in his class. She's all glam-and-roll. Picture sequined Chucks in a zoot suit. Then he butted another girl (that's when you tap someone, rather vigorously, with your rear end), which we found out, after many evasions and even more tears, had little to do with her annoying him and much to do with him trying to "get her attention." Then he started playing dog hotel with yet another girl. (Have yet to tease out what that game is about. Suggestions welcome.) And a few weeks ago, he got a love note. From a first grader.

But don't think Finn is a fickle flirt whose intent is to collect girls like so many Bakugan. (Because I know that's exactly where you were going, "That Five, he's a playah!")

Finn may be experimenting with modes of social interaction, but he has always had just one crush. In fact, he will tell you--as he told me and our dental hygienist just yesterday--that he has and will always love only one girl, a postmodern princess from his previous school. (Cross a Precious Moments doll with a four-year-old Buffy and you'll get a general picture.)

So why the loyalty? What is it about this girl that prevents any other from truly entering his heart?

Well, I just asked him. His answer:

"Just because."

Boys.

Friday, January 23, 2009

So . . . where have you been?

Yeah, I know it's been a long time since I posted anything here. Just shy of six months. And I honestly thought I might get away with just sneaking back in, dropping a post, and scooching out quietly .

Then Carie, that dutiful yet lovely blogger of good hair, outed me.

So here I am, 'splaining myself. I really have you to blame. You, and your contagious obsession with Facebook.

See, after I sent Finn off to school, I signed up on Facebook, aiming to find myself a community of kindred spirits and old, familiar souls who I could find solace with, who could comfort me through the trauma of surrendering my child to public education. I didn't find you so much, but in the months that followed, I did find my slayer army, my troop of rabid vampires, folks who are also defined by the Breakfast Club and White Snake, and people willing to help me populate my nauseatingly cute, virtual rain forest.

I suppose that's something--but I know, not really an excuse. And I don't so much have one of those, except to say that it takes a lot of time to build a truly killer collection of eyesores, figurines, and flair.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stop to Smell the Spam

(and the music and the Pulitzer-prize winning article . . .)

My aunt sent this to me--one of those forwarded e-mails that I often, often, often, delete. This one, though, I stopped and listened to. I like to think that, occasionally, I'm the type of person who would.

"Only then do you see it: He is the one who is real. They are the ghosts."

Violinist in the Metro

A man entered a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a Stradivarius violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written what else are we missing?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

For Today

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

by Langston Hughes

Monday, January 19, 2009

Here Begins the Era of Ham

(So, for those of you who tripped into this blog looking for the son of Noah and the father of Canaan, keep surfing. The "ham" I'm talking about belongs to the unapologetically undignified and hypertheatrical Five, which, in loose Biblical interpretation and delightful analogy, could be just what you're looking for after all.)

Five has taken to impersonating . . . somebody. We don't know exactly who and we definitely fear this may be the first signs of multiple personality disorder, but almost everyday, Finn (as Five and several other characters) comes home with a new gimmick. Heavy rotation hits include what I like to call The Please and Igor's Pout.

The Please, and you mothers will recognize: raised eyebrows, closed eyes, and undeniably sweet and wide smile. Igor's Pout: eyes half closed, hunched shoulders (which actually plays quite comical on Finn's skinny frame) and jutted lip.

I'm a complete victim to The Please, he pulls that one out of his pocket and he gets all the MsMs he wants. Igor's Pout, absolutely immune, in that sense of Five doesn't get what he wants and I revert to sniveling, blanket hugger. There's something about that particular combination of gestures that's a little too turtle, a little too Gollum, and much too Benjamin Button freaky. Instead of buckling to whatever demand Igor's Pout follows, I find myself cuddling in a well-lit corner with Finn's mankie, rocking and incessantly repeating happy thoughts. (Five still loves his mankie.)

We have determined that these aren't originals. How? We asked, he fessed. Five does that. (For now.) But he don't snitch. (Five is chivalrous.) So, through a Sherlockian process of deduction (we wore hats! donned plaid! affixed monocles!), we narrowed down the list of suspects to the folks he shares kindergarten with: a motley group of co-Fives who bedazzle our impressionable impressionist with their Culkiny expressions of slappy surprise, their Knottsian looks of bugged out incredulity, their Carreyesque gestures of faux inanity.

That's not to say that our Five doesn't come up with his own performances. His stuff is decidedly ninja and, well, British. British ninja. Yeah, he's onto something. (Reared on Buffy and Yoda, that one.) But his portfolio is eclectic, a veritable pastiche of his peers. Which surprises me, really. Both in its wide sense of humor and in its ability to take on and completely embrace what his friends are dishing out.

Monday, August 18, 2008

To Finn, on his first day of kindergarten

About two hours ago, I abandoned you in your kindergarten classroom.

I walked you to your room and eased you into the classroom filled to fire hazard with five-year-olds, their parents, and more cameras--video, digital, cell phone--than an AARP tour group on a whale watching cruise.

Then I blew you a kiss, swallowed yours, and booked it out the door so you wouldn't see my inevitable and long-postponed (and planned) breakdown.



Sure, I say "abandoned." Based on your response, hoppy exuberance, and all caps glee--MY OWN LOCKER! and MY KIDS! and PLAY DOH!--I think you might choose a verb like "set free" or "liberated" or "finally unshackled from the oppressive, stifling bonds of a mother hell bent on dissing my vibe."

I've asked you--multiple times a day, unfortunately--if you were excited about kindergarten. And each time I did, you'd open your arms wide, so wide they bent around your back, and say, "Mama, I'm so excited." This surpasses any overextended voguing you've done for a Nana visit (sorry Nana), a playdate with one of your kids, or the promise of a Transformer. This, to date, is the most excited you've been about anything.

I'm so glad you don't take after me.

I always loved school--so much that I signed up for three extra years that I didn't have to--but each first day would put me into such a nauseous tizzy in my anxiety over unopenable lockers, labyrinth hallways, teeming kids and later adults, and germy play doh. Even when I taught school, I'd have to take shots of Pepto just to calm my nerves. First days were never my forte.

But kindergarten looks like it's your element. You have such high hopes for this year--that you'll find like-minded Lego lovers, that you'll do scientific experiments that test the bounds of electromagnetism, and that you'll finally, finally, finally learn to fly.



I can guarantee you'll find your Lego crew--and you'll make new friends who share your interests and open your eyes to new wonders. You'll also learn of the dangers of cooties--and, if you're lucky--one of those new friends my inoculate against further infection by that insidious disease. (Or you can self-mediate: Step one: circle. Step two: another circle. Then three dots. That is the cootie shot.) You'll learn how to follow the crowd and stand up for yourself. You'll witness snark, smarm, and generosity of spirit. You may even find your best forever friend, or your first love, among the kids who share this first day with you. And you've just met the first teacher whose influence and passion you'll remember for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure you won't be doing any Faraday experiments. And sometimes, I'll also guarantee, you'll find kindergarten a bit slow. You already know how to do so much--you can read a little, you make friends easily, you can build elaborate aerodynamic objects d'art with the aforementioned Legos, K'Nex, Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, you crack jokes at a whim. But don't let your talents keep you from accepting what others have to offer. You came into this classroom with confidence, imagination, and wit. Share it. And embrace the talents of others who are different from you--who can tie their shoelaces, who can make savory mud pies, who carry their magic in their hearts instead of in their hands. Discover them, too.

And as for that last bit about going airborne? I think I may have set you up, kid. There's been a lot of Harry Potter, Peter Pan, and Willa Wonka talk in the Anderson household. I hate to disappoint, but you won't be getting a Firebolt this year. Or next. Your teacher won't be distributing pixie dust or popping bottles of fizzy lifting drink. But there's a world out there, Finn, that's just waiting for you, a world of magic and wonder whose doors and windows and chimneys will open to you if you just believe in it.

And I will tell you this--although you may not literally soar through the air on a magic carpet anytime soon, this year, you will learn how to fly.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's 3:11 a.m. and I Can't Sleep

So instead . . .


I check my Facebook account.

I shop the Van's Web site for new kicks for Finn.

I read every single comment to the newest, and quite funny post, on finslippy.

I think about the time I vowed to never go to a mommy's group again, when I had just recovered from my hysterectomy and some mom commented about me being lucky to only have one kid.

I check my Facebook account. Again.

I listen to 30 Days of Coldplay on XMRadio--and realize maybe I don't like Coldplay that much.

I wonder if Finn will be a wedgie-er or a wedgie-ee. Or if he really has to pick a side.

I avoid thinking about Monday. And the first day of kindergarten.

I think of Monday and calculate exactly how much Kleenex I'll need.

I check my Facebook account.

I google myself.

And decide to write a blog post.

I realize that I have to be up in less than four hours for kindergarten dress rehearsal.

I wonder if it's too late to have a beer.

I wonder if we have any.

We don't.

I wonder if I can make this post into a children's story.

And I realize it's probably best to call it while I'm ahead.

And realize it may be too late for that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why I Wasn't at My 20th High School Reunion

Dear 1988,

I'm sorry I missed you last Friday. I'd like to say it couldn't be avoided--that I live too far away or I had a previous commitment or I'm buried in work or that I'm too cheap to book a flight back to my hometown. But those wouldn't be the truth (although the third is nearly literal and the fourth is a close approximation, except for those burgeoning frequent flier miles I have).

The simple fact is this: you scare me. And I really never had any intention of seeing you again.

In 1988, I was a firm believer in Ayn Rand, I was going to be a physics major at UT, and in a few short months, I'd volunteer to help the Young Republicans elect George Bush. (A cute boy was involved. I got short-term rewards.) Within that year, I'd be pretty severely slapped in the ass by my own naivety--and the boy I would eventually marry.

I've often thought ala Richard Bach (at least my reading taste has improved) what it would be like to see you again. If I--the late30something writer, mother, sloppy boobed wife with the especially glorious grey blaze--happened across that young perky breasted, slender-thighed thing who thought she'd never get married, never have children (much less gain 70 preggie pounds, breast feed, and make the choice to quit corporate), never do something so seemingly inconsequential and self-indulgent as "to write," and never leave home without a spare tube of liquid eye liner and an extra large can of Aqua Net stashed in her purse.

(I wonder which Song of the 80s would provide the lyrical drama to our scifi rendez-vous? Please, please not Mr. Mister's "Kyrie Eleison." Can we both agree to that? I thought we could. We haven't grown that far apart.)

My god, girl, what would you think of me? I go to the grocery store without make up. I don't own a bottle of Clearsil anymore. I don't dye my hair. (Often.) I don't tan or watch soap operas. I've been seen listening to select country music. And liking it. I share. My chocolates. Like, with other people.

And what would I say to you? Have kids early and often? Pick doctors based on their actual qualifications not on their likeness to Magnum PI? Maybe learn a little self discipline around the bread basket at Olive Garden? Get a tattoo? Wear bikinis?

To look at you would collapse time in a way that I'm just not ready for right now. It would make me reevaluate every decision I've made in the past 20 years and wonder about paths I didn't take--and if I should have. It would shore up the obvious fact that I plan to avoid for a few more years: that I'm comfortably nearly 40 years old and how you panicked when you turned just 25.

And ultimately, it would let me steep in the past when I desperately need to enjoy where I am.

Oh, right, I suppose I pretty much just did that. Oh well. So much for avoiding the personal demons.

I guess I should've posted this earlier and booked my flight to join the raging drunks that are the Class of 1988.

Maybe that's something 40something beam over and tell me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Just in Case You Were Wondering (or You've Been Revealed!)

So. I just took a peeksie at my analytics, the data about my Web site--who visits, how they get here, where they're from, how quickly they flee to some other site--and I thought it might be interesting to share with you a sampling o' keywords that have actually led the people to my blog.

Just as a Thursday afternoon treat.

(Except for the fact that it's Wednesday.)

  • "his bra"--in quotes
  • buttpenis--all one word
  • cheesy way to say i love you--and why was this person looking for the cheesy ways, not, say, the sincere ways. That will forever be a mystery. (Or will it, dear reader?)
  • fat stick figure
  • i threw out my shoulder--ah, I remember that. First day with the Wii. Good times. I wonder if they found what they needed in my post?
  • i threw out my shoulders
  • kc chiefs t-shirt from urban outfitters
  • mammograph photo boob
  • take off his bra--which makes me wonder why he had one on. And why it was so tricky to remove it that he had to google a solution
  • tori spelling cleavage 2004--a mediocre year for the Ms. Spelling, methinks
  • where to buy heirloom tomatoes in kansas city


And the post popular--any variation on Auden's poem, "Funeral Blues," the results of which I'm sure did help them score mightily on their critical analysis paper.

But apparently, I will be blogging about that more often . . .

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Heart MarioKart (and Parentheticals)

A couple of months ago--whenever it was that it came out in that blur of house fixing, cleaning, packing, staging, selling, packing again, and moving--we bought MarioKart, the Wii's racing game. It comes with a wheel--authentic gaming experience!--and the game itself offers a mess load of fun race tracks.

Now, I must insert here, before I go much further in my story, that I notoriously suck at any kind of "wheeled" game. Go carts? Won't touch them. Bumper cars? Always the bumpee, never the bumper. Computerized racing games? See that moron crashing into the wall and now driving the wrong way and now crashing into a wall again. Yes, it is I.

And I won't say, as you're probably expecting, that MarioKart is different, easy, a revelation in my virtual driving experience.

It's not. I still suck. But now I get to crash into cows and goompas as well as walls. And I can sabotage my fellow drivers and even the odds just a little bit with flying turtle shells and banana peels.

(Thanks to the Wiis connection to the Internets, you can also play MK against your friends and other relatively anonymous competitors worldwide. Which is to say, I'm easy pickins, my people. Easy win.)

Back in our younger college days, when we'd move Every Single Year, the stereo was the first thing to unpack. We'd set up the receiver, turntable, CD changer, and speakers, and soundtrack the entire move and unpacking process with the lilting notes of the Pixes or Sonic Youth.

Now, our life is about diversions, not ambiance, and the first thing we unpacked was the Wii. And we've been playing MarioKart every night (and a few moments inbetween) since we moved in.

Finn loves it. And I love Finn for loving it. One, because he's such a trooper about trying a game that really exceeds his level of expertise. (Really.) And two, because I can beat him, a simple fact about which I harbor no guilt or sentimentality.

Take that turtle shell, my precious spawn. Mama's gonna place tonight!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Rockets--Did You Know They Glare? Menacingly?

When I grew up, the Fourth of July meant slurping homemade peach ice cream and hanging out at the neighbors' pool until one of them got too drunk and threatened to throw my mom into the deep end, which was our signal to pack it up and head home. (When I think back, I seem to also remember a bowl of keys? I wonder . . . )

Of particular note: no sparklers, no flaming pagodas, no conical sprays of fire, no bottle rockets, black cats, snap pops. No real presence of pyrotechnics, big or small. I think I can count the number of fireworks shows I saw growing up, on one hand, with fingers missing. And most accompanied with screaming. But who could hear over those deafening explosions?

This Fourth of July was a departure from what Carrie and Ricky call my decidedly unAmerican childhood. I don't know what our city ordinances are, so let's just say that I spent a lot of time hiding behind the children. And giggling.

Friday, July 04, 2008

If I Knew You Were Comin', I'duv Baked a Cake, Pet a Snake, Built a Lake

We moved. Ergo, the silent treatment and mysterious blogposts.

We've spent the past two week or so frantically packing, frantically panicking, and relocating all our crap (oh my, we have so much STUFF) to Kansas.

Yes, we crossed the stateline, abandoned Missouri to all those who are much more enthusiastic about than we could ever be, and booked it to Dorothyland.

And we love it. Love it. Love, love, love it. (So far. I don't want to get to ahead of myself.)

I have a whole elaborate and karmic moving story to share with you in a later post, but right now, light me just share this moment of Kansas-flavored zen.

Right now, this very moment (or a few moments or days or perhaps even weeks or months ago depending on when you finally revisit my long dormant blog--sorry) I'm baking a cake.

Yes. Baking. Me.

Sum total this past year, I've baked a few dozen cookies. And this cake. "Baker" is not my middle name. Or one that even travels in the same sentence, much less discussion.

And yet . . . I bake. A beautiful and "elaborate" (remember, low tolerance) strawberry shortcake recipe that I stole from Nigella Lawson. (I'm also wearing a skirt. And heels. No pearls.) And as I'm slowly folding in my dry ingredients into my frothy buttery-eggy-yumfest, Yaz's "Only You" comes on.

Sing along . . .

All I needed was the love you gave
All I needed was another day
And all I ever knew
Only you

How beautiful shines 30something domesticity.

Slurp.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Because You, Internet, Are Nothing If Not Thorough.

Okay. So I may have caused a mini panic in my two readers by my last couple of enigmatic posts. Some have you have trolled my archives and wonder if the Event of Which I Must Not Speak is somehow related to things that start with the letter C.

I just want to let you know that my reticence to share things has nothing to do with my health--which, as far as I know, is good and golden for two years and three months running. And thank you for being concerned. That was warm and fuzzy and really, really generous.

(Of course, I have a doctor's appointment next month and just by saying the above that probably means I'm due for some kind of biopsy followed by a period of wallowing and abjection. But that's Next Month. And that's more than a week away.)

No, my limited readership, I am in good health and my unwillingness to share things personal with you (what? yes. I know. NOW I hold back) has nothing to do with health or scariness and everything to do with my firm belief that if you say it OUT LOUD you will GET SCREWED.

Engrave that on a candy heart.

No, good things are lined up for us, reader 1 and reader 2. And we're very excited. And even with that, I've probably said too much. Because the shit will hit the proverbial fan and I will melt into an extreme and sticky depression and I should just be quiet now and let things take their due course. That is, the one I want them to take.

(Oh my, I am so very annoying. All this superfluous mystery. And yet, alas.)

And reader 1, don't you dare allude to what it is I'm talking about in your comments because you know exactly what I'm talking about and now is NOT THE TIME to be flaunting your insider knowledge. So keep your frakking mouth shut.

If you would.

Please.

So kindly.

Thanks. The Mngmnt.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stop. Already. Please Your Begging Is Embarrassing Me.

Okay, okay. I'll write a post. But it won't be about "The Thing." Because we've vowed not to talk about The Thing until It has been committed to paper and signed and sealed with blood other than ours.

So you'll just have to settle for subthings. And I really don't know what those are quite yet because The Thing has been consuming our lives for so long now that I really don't know if other things exist. I'm sure they do. I'm sure they're waiting, anxiously, patiently, with twittering thumbs and bouncy knees to stake their claim. And I'm equally sure, because karma makes it so, that they will make their presence known boldly enough before the month is done. Because they are like that. All jittery and needy and unable to keep their mouths shut. Especially when faced with such bold affront. And yet . . .

Wow. It's been a crazy June. And May. And April. And who knew March could be such a flaming bitch? (Oh, that would be ME. March still has yet to do me right. Review the cancer archives if you need proof. Told. You. So.)

Yes, I'm feeling a bit aggressive this evening. Because I have a lot riding on This Hope that I refuse to tell you about.

Okay, yes, I know. Enough. Let me share things I can.

Uh, let's see.

  • Had a birthday. Ate a pound of chocolate. By myself. That was good. Spent the following 14 days in the gym. Not so much worth it. Because I'm still sore . . .
  • Had father's day. Blew that little piece of necessary celebration--because of The Thing. But I didn't suck totally because I bought the man in question season 1 of Flight of the Concords and . . .
  • Played some Mario Kart, and quickly and subsequently (not necessarily in that order ) realized our five-year-old was addicted to the Wii, and ergo had to implement measures to mediate the Wii.
  • Have gone six months into the year-- a full Six Months--without bleeding or a week-long trip to the hospital. Which means that we'll be admitted next week--just because I've been brazen enough to call out that oversight to the gods. Yes, I am stupid that way.
  • Have listened to the ColdPlay album, unabashedly, for about 24 hours. Straight. It's a bullet point, but I can't say that I'm entirely proud of my admission . . .
  • Made a bullet list in my blog. Oh my. I just made a bullet list in my blog. That must be a sign of apocalyse. At least gas isn't $3 to $5 bucks a gallon. What? Oh . . .

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Nights

From the bathroom: Thump. Thump, thump . . . thump.

Me: You okay?

Finn: Yeah.

Finn: . . .

Finn: But the toothpaste isn't.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And Then There Was Silence

Oo. That stung a little bit.

Okay, so give me a sec here to peel myself off the floor , wipe off, and let my, One Glorious Reader!, know that I have a new article up at the Kansas City Star.

And someone read it. There's a comment . . . there . . .

Friday, June 06, 2008

Okay, Now I Need Your Help . . .

So, I'm going to do this thing. I'm going to enter one of my blog posts in a contest.

Yes, I am. Are too. Are too. Are too. Are too infinity.

I could be crazy. (Already confirmed.) Or just delusion, but I thought maybe it was just about time to bust this audience open to more than just you. And you. Back there. Hiding. Yes, I know you're there. Even though you never say anything and you just peek in for just a minute and then bolt, I see you. Sneering. And I've known you've been there All Along.

So you and you, I need your help. I have to submit my best blog post, and I would like your opinion.

Seriously. Do too. Do too. Do too. Do too infinity.

So care to share? Is there anything I've written that has affected you, in a positive way?

Thank you, my community of two.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Introducing . . . Five!

Finn: "Okay . . . that was bad. Papi! We need some more toilet paper."

I Miss You Guys

Today is my nephew's graduation. Last week my other nephew turned 21. And I'm not there.

I feel like crap. (Leave it to me to take two moments of celebration and turn them into my personal boofest.)

I know, I know, they don't really care if I'm there or not. I'm painfully aware of that. I'd just like to say that I wish I could be there.

I wish I could buy 21 his "first drink." I wish I could give him unsolicited advice that he doesn't want or need because he is already so much wiser than I'll ever be. I wish I could just sit there, and watch him, and hear his stories and laugh with aunt-pride at his jokes. Because he can tell a good one. I wish I could see him in his moment, not even close to the top of his game, with his future splayed hopefully before him, at his whim, and him, ready, willing, and primed, to fly off and conqueror worlds that I can't even dream of.

And I wish I could congratulate my graduate in person. I wish I could tussle his hair and pinch his cheeks and hopelessly embarrass him in front of all of his friends. And then I wish we could sit out on my sister's deck and make snarky remarks about the world and graduating and the college he's going to go to. I wish I could tell him to keep his pillow cases clean, just in case "someone" drops by unexpectedly. I wish I could tell him to keep his eyes open because opportunities aren't so brazen as to actually knock. And I wish I could tell him to, seriously, dude, call your mom often, because she'll be heartbroken if you don't.

And I wish I could be there for my sister, who has tirelessly and courageously and all those other adverbs that describe amazing and unbelievable feats of heroism, raised these two beautiful boys into amazing men. I wish I could just sit in a room, on the far edges, quietly sipping an iced tea and eating her oyster crackers and bask in her celebration, her light, her happy sadness (or sad happiness) as she watches her babies, her toddlers, her kids, her tween, her teenagers, leave home and fly with their own wings.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Today You Are Five

Dear Five,

Welcome to our home. You'll find everything you need here--provided that what you need is similar to what Four needed: the spontaneous appearance of cupcakes, freezer-burned waffles, and the occasional eggs in shell; a teeming vat of Transformers; and the ability to pause Super Why or Ben 10 Alien Force when you find that rare Something Better to Do than watch four hours of television.

But I must be candid with you. We liked Four. Correction, we adored Four. Four has been our favorite so far, and we'll be sorry to see Four go. Four was smiles and happiness and please and thank yous and hugs for no reason at all. Four listened--at least more than Three did--to our requests, reasonable or not. (I can't say Four always followed through. I can't say he always "eared us"--but Four mastered the Look of Listening.) Four was incomplete Knock-Knock jokes, he was scatological (butt I don't have to poo you that), he read to us at night, and he liked to hide, spin, and race, even though it was never really a race and we never really winned him unless Four beated us.

Four wasn't all good times, though. Four liked to whine--and if there's one request (well, a first request) that we'd make of you, we'd like you to park that at the door along with your muddy shoes, please. Four liked to cry at things we found inconsequential--like not being able to have five more minutes with the sidewalk chalks even though we had already given him an hour or not getting a popsicle at demand or not being able to have a cupcake at breakfast. Four had definite and firm ideas about what he wanted--and we're all about definite and firm ideas, but we'd just ask that you, the much more mature Five, maybe ask for those things before you engage the meltdown. We think that would be really cool.

But despite all the whining and occasional tears at the trivial, Four was a boy. We can't remember a week that Four didn't have a new bruise or a scrape or want a pirate band-aid to cover up some skirmish he had with a stick or a stone. And Four wore his boy-ness like a badge of honor. Sure, Four sometimes liked to pretend that he was a baby. He'd fake "waa" and ask me to bundle him and rock him to fake sleep. He'd crawl around the house and "goo goo" (and then, moments later, mysteriously morph into a panting, barking dog).

And sure, as we mentioned above, sometimes the remnants of baby-ness would get the better of him. But when he heard you were coming, he embraced the boy within and started to put the baby aside. He started talking about things that you would like to do, that he didn't: "Five will jump into a pool" or "Five won't whine as much as I do" or "Five will get to watch scary movies and play Grand Theft Auto." (Sorry, Five, that last bit, not so much gonna happen.)

We're excited you're here, Five, and even though we'll miss Four dearly, we can't wait to see what you'll be like. So please, come on in, take your shoes off, get settled in, and, if you need anything, please ask.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And Then Finn Threw His Bra on the Stage. Oh, Maybe That Was Me. My Bad.

We took Finn to his first concert festival yesterday. They called it Jiggle Jam, and it's a weekend full of seedy booth wares and bouncers, miniature hookahs that blow nonstop bubbles, face painting that made every kid look like an extra from Apocalypse Now, the unrated version (joke provided by Dennis!), a water fountain of nymphic decadence (and rather unfortunately, I mean that a little more literally than I would like), the lilting (and now I'm going ironic) jams of kids' music--all topped by a rousing performance (meow!) by They Might Be Giants.

(What is it about musician dads with hipster flair that gets to me? Bear, I think you started it.)

Finn, liberally doused with equal parts sunscreen and sugar, loved it. We met up with a few handfuls of his chums and he climbed, accosted, and boogied his way through about three hours of the festival before we made it to the culminating concert--a full hour of They Might Be Giants' ABCs, 123s, and adult sing-a-longs. (Istanbul!)

I have to admit, I had a lot of expectations for the concert--mainly because I haven't been to a live music anything on this side of forever--and They Might Be Giants fulfilled.

But I had other expectations that, unfairly, were all wrapped up in Finn and his reception of his first "rock" concert.

I imagined him screaming in recognition and delight as They Might Be Giants took they stage with the "Alphabet of Nations." I imagined him clap and stomping with abandon to "Clap Your Hands," sweat scattering in slomo like Peckinpah squibs. I imagine him reaching a banshee pitch, ripping his hair out, stripping off his t-shirt and waving it around, salivating, his eyes full of tears, when they sang "No"--in a feverish identification with a band that finally understands who he is and how much absurdity he has to put up with.

That didn't so much happen.

Finn sat and then later stood, front row center, and watched the concert. He clapped, mostly at the end of songs. And he asked to leave the concert early to get an ice cream.

Maybe it's because he didn't know any better?

To provide context, this is the first full-scale hootenanny we've ever taken Finn to. There have been no monster trucks or Disney characters on ice or other freakishly scary children's concert extravaganzas. (The circus scared him.) And most of that was done with deliberate calculation.

As much as we could, we've limited Finn's exposure to the Wiggles and folk music. We didn't announce tour schedules. And when his toddler buds swaggered into those forbidden conversational territories, drunk off juice boxes and eating out of the dog bowl, we'd whisk Finn off to other, more acceptable topics of conversation. Like, who should Buffy choose, Spike or Angel? (Finn says, "Spike. And Angel . . . Buffy should choose.")

So it's not his fault that Finn didn't lose control when presented with some fortysomething hipster dads. He hasn't been instructed on the art of mania.

Don't get me wrong. Finn throws a good fit. He's well-versed on tantrum. The difference lies in the fine line between excited aggression and aggressive excitement.

Or maybe it's just the difference between what he wants and what we do.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

". . . a delightfully dizzying iceberg-tip tour of Cowtown postmodernism"

Bear and the KC in LA show got a minireview in LA Weekly. Shout it out for my Midwees!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Actually Read This Blog And All I Got to Show for It Is a Lousy Lovely Link

New art review in the Kansas City Star, my people. Check it out. You know, if you want to.

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's Not Really Mother's Day without a Hydra Death Match

I woke up yesterday thinking this year's mother's day would generally follow the direction set out over the previous four installments: I wake up (even though I don't want to), breakfast near bed, receive a homemade something something, and then lay out my trail of incessant and uncompromising desires that have finally broken ground after a full of year of tantrums and whining have beaten them to inevitable yet reluctant surrender.

(I so do love getting my way. At least one day of the year.)

And, for the first three hours, I was right. Mother's day followed a predictable and yet still joyous path. There was an omelette and a bowl of tea. Finn made me a card that he snipped and glued himself. Barry gave me a book of essays (even though I am decidedly not his mother--go ahead and put all those rumors away).

And Finn "gave" me a Golden Compass, from the movie of the same name, that he quickly co-opted, under the guise of "showing me how it works."

But that's not where things went awry. Even I could see that one coming.

After food, card, and treats, we decided to go for a one-mile hike through a nature trail near our house. I decided. (Whoop. Wish equals command.) But with Golden Compass secured safely in its purse and slung around his shoulders, Finn quickly announced the mission: find Narnia.

So we set out. Our water turned into elixir, our path turned to adventure. We were looking for anything out of the ordinary that might lead us to a gateway to another world. We jumped rivers of lava, we hid from ogres, we climbed a mountain. We deftly yet narrowly escaped enchanted nettles that reached out from the ground with their poisonous tentacles. We deciphered clues disguised as a self-guided walking tour. We successful traversed the dangers of the Waterfall of Nefarious Intent.

And then, just when we thought we had survived all the challenges of the nature trail turned evil forest, we met the five-headed hydra, camouflaged under a big pile of glass clippings.


But we weren't fooled. We had our eyes open. Using Finn's magic and my knowledge of mythic creatures (reading is power!), we defeated that hydra and left the forest much better than we had found it. And relatively monster free.

I think mother's day got an upgrade, too.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I'm Pretty Sure It's May Although I Could Be Convinced Otherwise

Yesterday was freakishly cold. I had to pull the winter coat that I had intended for Good Will (but hadn't yet delivered) out of the trunk and button it up full neck.

Which makes me ask--yet again--did anyone let on to the weather gods that it's, like, May? And if you haven't, could you send the memo for me? And be sure to use exclamation points, impassioned expletives (with more exclamation points), and emoticons? I'm a little busy, otherwise I'd dash that one off myself. I apprish.

(FYI, latenighters: Jamie Lee Curtis just babbled something about advanced robotics in a movie I'm not really watching. Which can only mean that I'm up too late. Good night.)

Friday, May 02, 2008

I Know You Doubt My Sincerity . . .

But, someday, I will blog again, and I will fill those few seconds of your day that you may spend here before you bounce somewhere much more interesting with visions of colonoscopies, the madness of preschool, and flashes of my uneventful and boring dreams (which always seem to revolve around not having enough time to make my copies before I start my morning class at the junior high where I used to teach--or finding out that all my degrees are invalid because I forgot to take Health in high school).

And that, my friends, is the absolute longest sentence I have ever written. And this, the shortest.

Psych.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Only Emperor Is the Emperor of Ice Cream

I don't know about you, but I'm caught in some kind of worm hole. I'm having a hard time believing it's already April, an even harder time believing that just three days and not three weeks has passed since my last blog entry, and I'm absolutely bewildered by the fact that Finn will turn five this year, that some of my former students are turning 25 (SHUT UP!), and that my nephew is graduating from high school.

Indulge me in the cliche, or sing along if you must: where did the time go?

If you would have captured me, say, ten years ago and asked me that question (and especially after a few beers), you may have gotten more of an answer than you bargained for. I'm sure I would have "deftly" (quotes for the the adverb applied under the influence) woven, given which year, quantum physics, Taoism, the philosophical aestheticism of soffits and lintels, and quotes from Shakespeare and either Julian Barnes, Italo Calvino or Flannery O'Conner (hopefully I'd already exited my Jeanette Winterson phase) into my answer. Catch me in grad school and I would've coated it all in semiotics. Because I was intellectually capable. And, well, drunk. (Which, in those years, meant pretty much the same thing.)

Today, the answer is much simpler--and possibly more poetic: Fuck if I know.

(Watch the ads turn to public service announcements. Yes. That's what a good expletive will get you. Google karma.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sometimes It Snows in April

I think I just saw flurries outside our window. Because the Lordie Lord knows, I'm not actually going to go out and inspect that myself.

What up, April? I mean, you're April, for God's sake. The month of showers, not snow and hail storms. You are supposed to beget May flowers. But if you insist on this line of action, you will--and rather are--freeze off all the precious buds we have going. And that, April, I'm reluctant to admit-- because of your intimate connection with Mother Nature--will Piss. Me. Off.

(As if that's a threat. Damn meteorological impotence.)

I mean, come on, already. Snow? It's not like we live in North Dakota where this is expected behavior. This is Kansas City. Home of 97 to 100 plus degree summers and subsequent scorched yards. We've already begun to plant our herbs. This is cruel and rather unusual.

If only I could figure out a way to send you to bed without dinner . . .

Monday, April 07, 2008

So That's It? A Switch Just Goes Off?

For the third year running, we're inflicting soccer on Finn. Or inflicting Finn on soccer. And for the third year running, Finn, as new player on new team, has earned himself yet another new soccer ball and yet another new soccer jersey.

The world of sports and overindulgent wardrobing. The excess of it!

We do, however, have higher hopes this year. This year, unlike last year or the year before for that matter, will be different.

Last year, we went into the soccer season fully resigning ourselves to the fact that Finn would probably hate it. Again. And yet, there we were. On the field, ball in hand, pushing Finn into the vicious toddler fray with demonstrative amounts of force. Finn would lag behind the pack of toddlers, cry because he tripped over the ball, and end up picking daffodils or cheering on the team--either his or the opponents, it didn't seem to matter--from the sidelines. Lots of bouquets, lots of cheering, not a lot of playing

But somewhere, deep down, we believed in this. In soccer, in team sports, in pain and torture and forcing Finn to do something he obviously doesn't want to do.

(Did I ever tell you about piano lessons? Yeah, that wasn't always pretty. But do notice the past tense. We are capable of evolving.)

And yet here we are again. At 1 p.m. on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We could be at the park or flying a kite or dueling with lightsabers or hunting eggs--any of the number of things that Finn actually likes spending his Saturday doing. But instead we are playing soccer.

Because Finn asked for it.

What?

Yes, Finn asked to play soccer. Not out of some misguided memory, but because many of his friends from school are playing on this team. So we signed him up, got a new ball, new jersey, and headed for the fields.

And Finn actually played. He dribbled the ball, he got trompled and got back up--without tears, he reveled in grass stains and shin kicks and even asked the coach if he could go back in for more. Yes--instead of cheering.

And the piece de resistance, coup d'etat? Take a listen?

Me: "What was the favorite part of your today?"

Finn: "Well, it's the same things as lasterday."

Me: "Ice cream? Playing Transformers?"

Finn: "Nope."

Me: "Well?"

Finn: "Soccer."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Update Part Two

Bear is friends with David Lynch on Facebook. I am still not friends with Jonathan Safran Foer.

Whence the snoot?

Oh, YEEEAAAAAAHHHH, Baby



I name this week in honor of Battlestar Galactica. Crisp Apple Streudel. All. Week. Long.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Update

Jonathan Safran Foer has not accepted my friend request on Facebook.

Now Accepting Applications to the BPP Club

As I'm about to write about Finn's newest passion, I'm concerned. Not about sharing this with you. No. Because you know by now that I'll share just about anything. Want to hear about my boobs? Done. Want the inside scoop on my colonoscopy or other invasive tests? I am your source. Want to hear about the consistency of baby feces? Oh, well, you should really speak up, then.

No, what concerns me are the Google ads that are about to pop up over there when I tell you about Finn's new club:

The Boobie Butt Penis Pee Pee Poopie Club (also known as the Poopie Boobie Penis Club and dba The Funny Words Club)

The club only has three members right now: Finn, its founder; me (I am the inaugural member, score!), and Bear, who was invited yesterday, after much contemplative consideration. (Finn really had to think that through. Do I expand the club so soon? Will that aggressive growth somehow dilute my mission, whatever that mission may be? Will Papi "get it"? Will he be able to truly share in the club's values and vision?)

I suppose the club was born out of Finn's need to somehow formalize his--what's the word? overbearing? relentless?--love of the aforementioned words, words that he deftly, but most of the time just plain awkwardly, places in any sentence, with complete disregard to the original part of speech.

These words appear as adjectives: "Mama, shouldn't we take the boobie turn now?" "Mama, do we need more poopie bread?"

(In case you're wondering, no. We don't need any more poopie bread, thank you. Well-stocked.)

These words appear as nouns: "Knock, knock." "Who's there?" "Butt." "Butt who?" "Butt penis . . . boob."

These words appear as verbs. Oh, you know they do: "Mama, I butted you." (That really needs a video accompaniment, although if you hang with us long enough, say for more than three minutes, you will see it.)

What they haven't done yet is function as an adverb, but I am truly (sincerely, without irony) looking forward to the day when Finn tells me, "Mama, I love you buttly."

Right butt at you, kid.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Hunt Continues (Parenthetically Speaking)

Bear, Finn, Sarah, and I (two Sarahs, and yes that is just as confusing as you would imagine) spent Easter afternoon in the bitter cold Missouri crosswinds, hunting for eggs (easy pickins) and milking cows (not so easy pickins) at Shatto Dairy Farm.

(Finn literally milked a cow. It may have been the one that gives rootbeer milk. I'd advise you ask if he has washed his hands before you shake. He's four. The only place you know for sure where his hands have been are on a cow's utters. I can testify that that is not the extent of his daring dexterous feats. I'm just saying . . .)

As Sarah (she looked supercool amid the dairy attendees--and she's single! You heard it here) and I waited for the Egg Hunt to commence, Bear filmed the experience for . . . something.

(I'm never sure where that video ends up. But he does record it in high-def. Because he is a geek. He has a card that corroborates that membership. Ask him to show it to you. Next graf.)

Bear weaved in and out of the crowd, trying to capture the ambiance that is northern Missouri on a cold spring day. (Insert irony.) And as Sarah and I talked about Finn's strategy (which ended up being "Yank the egg from the hands of the young and hesitant), I caught a glimpse of Bear across the crowded egg field.

Black Fink jacket. Green stripped hoodie. Aquaman t-shirt elegantly caressing nearly-40-year-old beer belly. Webby Vans. Half-structured bedhead. (Yes, an overaged, overbellied catalogboy for Urban Outfitters.) All cast against Kansas City Chiefs red, baseball caps, bulbous parkas, and Sunday plaids.

And I realized, right then and there, why I married that man nearly 15 years ago.

Still sizzling after all these years.

Monday, March 24, 2008

How I Spent My Monday

How annoying--I'm just going to send you another link. Pshaw!

My third post is up at Art Motel Radio: Check out the project Bear and I worked on.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Really Don't Know What I've Been Doing with My Time

Bear and I spent a good portion of Finn's nonwaking hours playing Super Mario Galaxy.

Well, of course, you say. A perfectly acceptable and, dare I say, obvious choice. I mean, what else is there that one would want to spend his/her time doing except trolling through Super Mario Galaxy?

We could have been, uh, you know, like, cleaning. Because it's spring and I've heard tell that people do cleaning in the spring. They even have a special name for it. Something like, Spring Cleaning.

We could have been working on the lawn. Not so much planting, because it Frakkin' Snowed. (Shut up!) But we could have raked last year's leaves. Or pruned something. Because I think you're supposed to do things like that as a home owner and tender of landscape. But really, I am talking out of the ass here because I don't have the slightest idea what or when those things are supposed to be done. AND THAT IS WHAT COMMENTS ARE FOR. Yo.

We could have been working. Yes, we could have. On a Sunday. On Easter. Really. That was a choice. We are that pathetic.

We could have been napping. Or reading. (I have still to finish my Shakespeare bio.) Or rewatching the first 10 minutes of Darjeeling Limited (for the fourth time). Or watching Finn sleep. (Yes, we do that, too.)

Or blogging. (Well, I suppose I actually am wasting valuable game time doing exactly that when I could be conquering the Rolling Green for the Lumas and Peach. But I figure since I'm writing about it . . .)

But instead, I choose Mario over all of the above. And not just because it's so super cool that I tremble and literally drool with the thought of it. (Anyone have a Puffs Plus with Aloe handy? Nevermind. I have one here.) But because it fulfills a lifelong dream of traveling to fantastic planets, much in the vein (here comes my attempt at the rescue--watch me work it) of Petit Prince or Calvino's Cosmicomics.

When Finn was "younger" (the irony is not lost on me, hence the quotage), we used to talk about how we'd meet in our dreams, how we'd slip and slide through the Milky Way and catch a shooting star to meet on some distant planet and play in the sand craters.

Maybe Mario Super Galaxy is a poor substitute to that imaginative play. Or to reading Calvino. Or maybe, just maybe it is just another catalyst to opening up the realm of possibilities.

Or maybe I overreach. (It has been known to happen.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Uh, ouch.

Finn: Mama, was there a time when I didn't want you to go away?

Me: . . .

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Alternative to eBay

Childhood toys and their drama revisited--with the help of Spike Lee.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Of Course, I May Live to Regret This

Yesterday, Finn decided he wanted to cook. So we pulled out some bowls, spoons, measuring cups, candied sprinkles, glitter, and food coloring and cleared a chunk of real estate on the kitchen floor. And then he stirred sprinkled, and poured for, really, hours. (Or maybe it was just a long series of minutes. But they were consecutively occupied by the brewing.)

He was so involved that I went into the other room and . . . did stuff.

Actual stuff.

Like, on my own.

And then I got worried. Where were the incessant pleas for mama or television? He must have sampled his own concoction and was now quietly flailing on the floor and foaming at the mouth, awash in red-and-blue-makes-purple.

I abandoned my free time--it was a little overwhelming anyway--and peeked into the kitchen to see if I had indirectly poisoned my child with lack of parental supervision.

But there he was, stirring, adding more glitter.

"Whatcha doin'?" That would be me asking.

"Making a transformer." That would be him.

He picked up another bottle, uncapped it, and add it to the brew. What was it? Garlic salt? And what was that beside the garlic salt? Onion powder? Dried basil leaves? Chili powder? Lemon pepper?

Finn had raided the spice rack and was seasoning his little Golem (and our floor) with every salt, pepper, and herby product we had.

It was a complete mess. And I was happy.

Wha?

That can't be.

I am notoriously uptight. And even if that weren't the case (stop laughing, I can hear you), I am genetically disposed to not being happy about situations precisely like this. The Mom would have thrown a righteous and glorious fit. If her spice rack had been within my reach.

So what's with the joy? I don't know. I love to see imagination run wild. I love the independence of my kid. I like glitter and I know how to work a vacuum. But I also love knowing that Finn had an idea and jumped into the spice rack to realize it. I like that my child is not a guest in his own home.

(Of course, that probably means I should lock up the liquor and the porn.)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

We Are So Fond of Our Young Prince

"He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter,
Now my sworn friend and then mine enemy,
My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all:
He makes a July's day short as December,
And with his varying childness cures in me
Thoughts that would thick my blood."

--William Shakespeare, A Winter's Tale

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How Do You Celebrate the End of a Five-Hour Fast?

Cupcakes!

Bear brought home a four-pack of cupcakes from Baby Cakes. My ration: one lemon cupcake with lemon buttercream icing. (Keyword: buttercream. We don't go in for fluffy icing.)

It feels good to be among the food again. Yes, those five hours did me irreparable harm that I will have to make up with a parade of good eats for the next several days, proving yet again the unhealthy relationship I have with food.

In that, I like to eat it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Well, It's about Time

I got memed. By my sister. All complaints should be directed accordingly.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Floor pimp at Chess King
2. Teacher
3. All-purpose Girl Everyday to family business
4. Bookclerk

Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Cinema Paradiso (and I cry every time)
2. Harry Potter
3. Star Wars
4. Lava Girl and Shark Boy (not my choice. Sorry, Mr. Rodriguez)

Four places that I have lived:
1. Houston, Texas
2. Austin, Texas
3. Bloomington, Indiana
4. Kansas City, Missouri (whoop! Let's here it for the Miwest)

Four TV shows that I watch:
1. Pushing Daisies (did that survive the strike?)
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. Lost
4. Charmed (because you'd call me out if I left it off. All hail the Halliwells!)

Four places I have been:
1. Prague during its transition from Czechoslovakia to the Czech Republc, although we were too busy trying to get drunk (trying is the operative word, they diluted the liquor on election weekend) to notice world politics. Ouch. I was smart enough to buy a newspaper, though.
2. Florence, Italy
3. Provence, France
4. The upper levels of Hell!

Four people who e-mail me (regularly, and non-work related):
1. Those who claim that they can enlarge my penis
2. Larry
3. Bear
4. Rosa
(I just noticed. I don't really do e-mails with friends much anymore. Blame it on the Facebook? Huzzah.)

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Mole
2. Pate
3. Ribeye (a new fave)
4. Butterchews

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Almost anywhere warmer than here.
2. On a beach with my sister.
3. In New York for the Whitney Biennial
4. In bed.

Things that I am looking forward to this year:
1. My sister's wedding
2. My nephew's graduation
3. Finn's fifth birthday
4. Any vacation that I can trip on

Monday, March 03, 2008

Putting the "Fast" Back in "Fasting"

I started the Master Cleanse today, also known in more gentle circles as the Lemonade Diet.

You've heard tell: for 10 days you live on laxative tea, brackish water (if the name doesn't sell it . . .), and a maple-syrup-lemon-juice-cayenne-pepper-water concoction. What's supposed to happen: a cleansing (as the title implies), complete with hot eliminations that results in one squeaky clean colon, babies. So clean you could eat off it, if after you opened yourself off to extract the colon you didn't bleed out first.

I started it last night with the laxative tea. I read all the horror stories, but I have a stubborn colon, so I didn't get the party that was promised.

I woke up this morning and promptly skipped the brackish water. If it's going to get buy in from me, it'll need another name. Because brackish by any other name has got to be more appealing.

But I did freshly squeeze my lemons (3 per 32 oz batch) and supercayenne my lemonade. Mama likes it spicy.

I drank that for breakfast, drank it for lunch--and then got desperately hungry, incredibly bored (so soon!) and then grossly irritable and depressed. I wasn't expecting that kind of fun until day 4. But this denial reminded me of the two days before my hysterectomy, reminded me of the 24 hours before my colonscopy, reminded me that I'm permanently scheduled for this kind of fun, and without breaking a sweat, I was out of there and in the kitchen and cooking up some Mahi Mahi Veracruzana.

Yes, my people, your math is right. My 10 day fast lasted a whopping 5 waking hours.

I am weak. But I am happy.

Viva la food.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Mama, What Are "Goals"? (or I Sound So Much More Reasonable in the Morning)

Me: "Well, goals are things you want to do. Like write a book or build a treehouse. Or a goal could be something you want to be when you grow up. What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Finn: "A player."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm Around. Just Not, Like, Here. So Much.

"Dalton Howard stands, sometimes shakily, sometimes with brazen confidence, between the carefully rendered line and the paint drip, between geometry and the doodle."

A new art review. Whoop.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ode to Four and Three Quarters

[I'm stealing this idea, blatantly and with no remorse or apologies whatsoever (although I will cite!), from Notes from the Trenches--and from a writing prompt I used to give my seventh grade students.]

I want to remember how you demand oatmeal for breakfast. Followed by Cheerios. Followed by a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that you end up eating in the car on the way to school.

I want to remember the peanut butter kisses that you then smear on my cheek as I drop you off at school.

I want to remember how you used to cling to my leg and beg me not to leave you.

I want to remember how you used to catch my kisses and put them on your heart--and how now, instead, you eat them.

I want to remember how you now stride off eagerly, confidently, almost forgetting to blow me a kiss goodbye.

I want to remember your curly toes and your adamantly straight hair.

I want to remember how your head smells like roasted marshmallows. And I want to remember how you bust me with, "Mama, are you smelling my head again?" but then sit still and let me inhale those last notes of your babiness.

I want to remember your fake burps.

I want to remember how your giggle lights up the room.

I want to remember how your fingers like to flirt with the holes of your mank and the edges of my ponytail.

I want to remember how you love lip gloss and fingernail polish.

I want to remember how you found your funny in all things that rhymed with "poop."

I want to remember how you turned down soda because your tummy didn't hurt right now and how you'd eye-patch before we could even change the channel.

I want to remember how, at Four and Three Quarters, you fell in love with your mama again, giving me spontaneous hugs, jumping on my back, bestowing your fake burps full in my face, and telling me that you love me more than I love you. Even though, my widget, that's not even possible.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Googled You Yesterday

I don't know what made me do it or what trip down memory lane I felt I needed to travel, but I googled you yesterday.

Is it because I miss you or that I miss the life I had with you (which in my narcissism could amount to pretty much the same thing)? Sure. Is it because I wonder what you're up to and what you've been doing since I left? Sure, that too.

I found out, though, that you're much harder to google than I thought. I had to plug in quite a few search terms to get to you--your full name in quotes, where you live, where you work. I didn't find any kind of personal footprint that you've left behind--no personal Web site, nothing that at least I could find on MySpace. Which doesn't mean you're not there. It just means that I, 37-year-old mother, doesn't know how to find anyone on MySpace.

(And I could be okay with that.)

But I did find out that you've been doing good things. You've won awards. You've been caught on the edges of someone else's photographs. And you look good. Still young. Still spunky. Still sporting that sardonic grin.

(I always hated that grin. I think you could outgrow that now.)

You know, I felt comfortable with you. I felt like I belonged, like I knew what I was doing, like I was some kind of worthy. And I felt like you accepted that, saw the best bits of me--and the rest you just laughed off or slapped straight with a rolled up L.L. Bean catalog.

(That did hurt, by the way.)

It was too easy to leave you. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I always thought you'd be there, waiting, captured in some kind of snow globe, ready for me to shake when I was ready.

Not so much, huh?

When I left, you went on doing your thing. Without me. And apparently you picked up some new tricks. And I suppose that I moved on too.

But still, thoughts of you make me pause. Make me wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't left you.

Would I be happier? Would I have already lost these 20 pounds I've been trying to outrun for past four years? Would they have found me in the first place? Would I have ever discovered the pleasures of the Italian Cream Soda or running my hands through a field of lavender? Would I have fallen in love with Jonathan Safran Foer or Michael Chabon? Would I have found my cancer sooner? Would I even have kids?

Would I have laughed more?

I know I need to let you go. To let that piece of my past go. Because it--and you--have already let me go.

But I do have to wonder, even though I shouldn't . . . I do wonder if you ever think of me.

Sleeptalker, Part Deux

Last night, I went in to Finn's room to check on him, restoke his "fire" (re: humidifier), and clear off the 17 books he had collected on his bed while he was "going to sleep." (Yes, I counted.)

He was rolled up in his comforter, his mank (re: blankie) tucked under his head. As I restoked and cleared off, he woke up for just a second, to give me, with just one word, yet another peek into his dreams:

"Transform."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stepping Out

[Joe Jackson should be providing the musical backdrop to this post. I don't know how to so much make that happen, so please furnish your own score, if you would. Thanks. The MNGMT.]

I have a new post over at Art Motel and a new review over at the Kansas City Star.

Like, finally, dudes.

Wanna check them out? Of course you don't. Let me reposition the ask. Check them OOWWWWT!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sleeptalker

Tonight as I walked by Finn's room on my way to bed, I heard him call out to me.

"Mama?"
"Yes, Finn."
"Can I get an extra water bottle because I'm still very dirty."
"A water bottle?"
"Uh huh."
"Because you're dirty."
"Uh huh."
"I'll get right on that."

So this is what Four and Half dreams about.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today Is Thursday . . . Thursday, Ninth Circle of Hell

Really now, snow. Again? Are the masters of weather unaware that we've already had snow. And lots of it? That snow Has Been Done. A lot. That snow is so very last year?

I don't know if I've mentioned it readers, but I'm over it. Winter. As a whole. And I don't believe I'm judging too quickly. I've "done" winter since 1999. A good, wait, let me tease out this calculation, is that eight? Yes. Eight. Eight years of my life. Eight winters, my people.

And this is the worst. Of the winters I've had. At least.

The first seven winters were enchanting. And the snow, even the one today, still holds a certain wonder and promise. The world completely and utterly transforms, hides, retreats, under this shimmery, pure blanket that at once comforts, smothers, haunts, forebodes, and promises.

But man, my toes. And my hands. And Bears bloody noses. And my toes. We just can't seem to shake the chill. And that's without even going outside.

Kansas City also has the nasty habit of laying down a layer of ice before it brings on its blanket of snow, so that when you clear the drive or the sidewalk, you're met with a rather butt-busting surprise. And I mean butt-busting in the not good way.

We're supposed to get more snow tonight. So I figure you'll either read more whiny posts from me in the next couple--or I'll suck it up and sled out my frustrations into the whirligig of this Dantesque (yes, I just -esqued and made a literary allusion) winter.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Faker!

Finn has found great humor and wonder in the fake burp.

He'll bring it out any old time, after we eat, when I'm giving him a bath, after a particularly good story. Somehow, he knows deep down that it's a gesture of appreciation--a job, a moment, a reading well done. I don't know if he's been hanging with ogres or folks from cultures who revere the burp, but Finn has adopted it as his own calling card and sign of approval.

He enters and exits the day with a belch.

This morning, Bear and I were arguing over who knows what. I've been in a perpetual bad mood for the past four days. Ever since I pulled in all-nighter to finish up a freelance job. Or maybe the funk travels with the nasty little piece of yucky I have to finish for tomorrow. Anyway, I've been bitchy and this morning, I found ample opportunity to let it out on the first person I saw, like some opposite-world love potion.

And Bear was game. He doesn't tend to let me ride through my fits, but to challenge and even CALL ME ON THEM. That bastard.

So today we rumbled over fiber content in my Kashi cereal or if he was going to do this Master Cleanse with me because I know he said he would and he knew he said, "Like hell" or something something, and we hit an awkward moment, where I realized I was being a Master Poo, but refused to admit it. Or speak.

Yes, I pulled out the silent treatment. Because I am 37 and mature.

And just then, when I was still on fumes and Bear was about to revel in his moral rectitude, there came from the peanut gallery a righteous, BEEEEEELLLLCCCHH. Followed by an assortment of bubbly giggles.

I tried so hard, dear readers, to glare, to visually condemn the insolent little muffin who had interrupted my mood.

But all I could do was laugh.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Resolutions: Revised

1. Workout every day every week when I feel guilty about not working out like it.
2. Blog every day more often. Than I did before.
3. Call my sister every Sunday sometime soon.
4. Don't work on every weekends.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables chocolate.
6. Be kind and generous. Every week. When I feel guilty about being mean. More-ish.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Remember Me?

Wow.

So much for that blogging every day.

Right when the proverbial poopfest hit the fan, I cowered, slinking behind my broken desk chair and just watched the days tick by, without so much as a post or thought or even scribble toward the blogosphere.

I do have some pics to backpost, so I'll "cheat" (allowable cheat, by the rules) with some photo documentation of how I spent my days. But if I'm truthful there, most of the photos will depict the scene I'm looking at right here, minus the blogger template: a pile of fall-colored file folders, a Moleskine tantalizingly left open, and Wonder Woman and Rogue action figures, hovering on my periphery, contemplating whether they should jump and make a break for freedom while I'm not looking or if they should whip my sorry ass toward a bubble bath and margarita.

Because 36 straight hours in this chair don't do much for my "aura."

(Stop and listen to the toys, Sarah. Listen.)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Redeemed!

Apparently, if you whine really hard on the 'nets, the voice of Blog hears you and makes things happen. I am living testimony to the Power of Blog.

Complain that your candidate didn't take your state on SuperTuesday? Whoosh bam. The Power of Blog gives it to your candidate two hours later.

Complain that the winter weather is leaving you dry and near despondent? Whoosh bam. You shall be rewarded with business and school closings and all the sledding your cracked epiderm can handle.

The world, says Blog, is yours. Write it.

Coincidence, you say? Shot o' luck?

Oh, you blaspheme, you doubter of Blog.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Again with the Snow?

Missouri is really chapping my butt.

One, it's snowing. Again. Okay, maybe that doesn't bother me as much as . . . two, the state was called for not my candidate. Happy camper I am not.

Especially since my buttocks and other parts are literally chapped, in that curious scaling that happens when dry heat meets 30something aging skin and cannot escape, but must burrow and ferret and claw its frustration into your very flesh. Yes, the air does this. And then the butt and fingers and knees crack and, wait till you hear this, BLEED.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday, circa 1988

That was my first year in college and the very first year I voted. My options: Bush Senior, Ross Perot, and Dukakis (who is not in spellcheck, by the way).

I think.

See I'm not sure who the Democrat was. Because I didn't care. About the Democrats.

I was voting for Bush.

I was a Young Conservative, bordering on Libertarian, steeped in Ayn Rand and objectivist philosophy, and a rather ardent proponent of nuclear energy (in that apathetic, "Oh yeah, that could be cool way," but a supporter nonetheless.) I was studying physics! and living in a co-ed dorm! and using exclamation points with nary a second thought! (and because emoticons weren't quite in full use) and eyeing the, uh, "shapes" my roommate was snorting off my chemistry textbook!

College!

So, yes. I was one of those folks who started the dynasty. And why? Because of some passioned conviction in the Republican ideals? Because of Bush's stand on . . . uh . . . oh . . . right . . . busted.

Okay it was Walter. A short but very cute boy named Walter. Motorcycle-riding, Italian, Young Conservative, Bush-loving, strapping Walter.

He used to tell me, like every time I got on his motocycle, that it was the safest thing I'd have between my legs.

Oh.

OH!

Maybe I misunderstood his, uh, political persuasions.

Monday, February 04, 2008

13 Things I Could Give Up For Lent

  1. Red meat.
  2. All meat but fish.
  3. Meat.
  4. Caffeine. (Now, who's talking silly.)
  5. Sweets. (That would be me. Hello!)
  6. Beer.
  7. TV.
  8. Craziness. In general.
  9. Not calling my family. (Which would probably mean more 6, 7, 11, and 12?)
  10. Leaving bitchy, whiny comments on people's blogs.
  11. Bitching.
  12. Whining.
  13. Whoring.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Puttin' on the Cheese

Have you been to Chuck E. Cheese?

No, you haven't. And for a variety of good reasons. Like, it's magnet for thwarted adolescents, suspicious childfree adults, and snotty children (as in actually full of snot, although there's quite a bit of haught dripping from their sweaty heads as well). And the cheese? Maybe a little too chucky.

And good for you. You keep on keepin' on. And don't you even pester your pretty head about the cheap treats and animitronics you might be missing. You just keep kindling the fond memories o That Other Goodtime Pizza Place of Your Long-gone Youth, of gentle camaraderie and competition for plastic toys that wouldn't even survive the car ride home, of childhood aggression wielded on a subversive mole, and don't even think for another second about reliving your past.

Trust me.

Last night, we and crew of Finn's closest visited The Cheese. It was a reward for meeting his responsibilities (re: child labor). It is not, and I repeat, not payment for said chores. We don't believe in paying for chores. They are part of the family fabric and you must woof and weave with the rest of us.

But we do believe in rewards. Which aren't the same as payments. (No. They are not. Stop it. Are not. Are not. Are not.) Rewards travel as movie nights, as special trips to the museum or zoo, as a Night of Endless Books, sometimes as a toy, and on this occasion, as a trip to The Cheese with some friends.

This was all done in good will for work well done. (And not for extrinsic motivation.) But when we arrived at the first Cheese at about 6 p.m., we quickly realized our mistake. There wasn't a game that wasn't overtaken, a child that wasn't running and screaming and snotting, and no chance in the land of double hockey sticks that a Brobdingnagian could squeeze through the dense forest of Lilliputians to track and trap their kid.

So after waiting in line for 40 minutes, we left. For another Cheese.

Yes, what were we thinking?

Mainly that we love our child so much that we are willing to endure any hell. And that night, hell was populated by a whiny rodent and an 80s pop queen. Pat Benatar's Hit Me with Your Best Shot was on heavy rotation at The Cheese (one of only four songs that The Cheese played over. And over. And over again. My Guitar Hero playlist will have to be amended).

Let me tell you, my people, after 2 hours of that, I was ready to take her up on her offer.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ad-i-licious

It's nice to see someone get diverse about diversity.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Celebrate Good Times. Come On!





















The prodigal AutoBot has returned. From where? He's not talking. (He's tight grille-d.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week, my Sunday rest.

Dear Bumblebee,

Why did you leave me? What did I do?

Did I lavish too much attention on you? Did my repeated and rather incessant attempts to transform, to master your puzzling intricacies put you off? Minute after minute. Day after day. Week after week--for the very short, yet impassioned, time that we had together? For that, I cannot, I will not, apologize.

But did I fumble too much? Was I too awkward in my advances? That, I do regret. But I am only of the four and a half, and although I do apologize, wholeheartedly, I cannot redeem. Is it in my nature. I wish it weren't, for a deeply fear that my love paraded as abuse, and that, misunderstood, I have lost you.

Or maybe you heard another call. Perhaps from the AllSpark? Maybe you missed your fellow AutoBots and felt the longing for them that I now feel for you. For that I am sorry. For now that you have left me, now that I have lost you, either because of my own transgressions or your own loss, I know the pain of being torn from something that you love most. For I, like Rumi's reed, sing my song of separation.

Please hear my lament and return to me.

Nnnnnnooooooooowwwwww.

Eternally sorry and sorrowful,

Finn

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Move over Marcel Marceau: There's a New Mime in Town

It started with an abandoned cardboard frame. (Imagine an unhinged triangle.) I grabbed it and made it into some clamping crab claws. Then Finn grabbed it and made into . . . say it with me now . . . a gun. And we were off.

It's a heart.

It's a steering wheel.

It's a . . . frame?

Real creative, mama.

(My favorite: Finn bumped the two ends of the frame against each other and gave me this hint.

Finn: "It's what you do after you get married."

Me: . . .

Finn: "Dancing!")

When we exhausted the prop chest, we moved into unassisted charades. Bear would whisper "an action" to Finn. He would act it out. I would guess. I can't say I got all his interpretive clues--it is his first go at the fine and respected art of miming.

I mean, who wouldn't confuse skateboarding with synchronized swimming?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Traveling Companion

I work at home. There is no watercooler to gossip around. The office politics can be vicious and one-sided, but they don't flare up too frequently. And although I'm a dutiful handwasher, possibly bordering on obsessive compulsive, I don't so much have to worry about rubbing up against the germs that cube-mate Sheila's first grader brought home from school and generously gifted to her, her family, and each one of her coworkers, like some kind of art-hour macramé craft project.

(Do they do macramé in first grade? Maybe not. But they should. You could demonstrate some fine motorskilling there.)

So when I get on, say, a plane or stay in, say, a hospital for two days, well, those germs just start hopping about fleas on a dog, or a toddler on a toy you've told him you're going to sell on ebay.

They're real friendly like. In fact they were so very friendly and needy that apparently I had to bundle them up and take them home with me.

Which is all just a fancified and laborious way of telling you, I feel like crap.

But even though I felt like crap, I also felt it was my duty to get a start on those resolutions that I haven't even had the time to bore you with. Because there's no better time to feel guilty and inadequate than when you're feeling sickly. (Or so it works out in my head. I tend to kick myself when I'm down.) It's a traveling show of self-deprecation and martyrdom. Book the matinée while there are still seats.

So I headed to the gym. Because that's a good idea. I started with the theory that I'd elliptical through and beyond these germies.

I ended up feeling rather dizzy and nauseous. And, you know, a whole lot crappier.