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Jan. 21st, 2011

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Relocating

If anyone is still reading after my long absence, I hope you'll join me at my new home.

Nov. 7th, 2010

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Turn, Turn, Turn

That goldfish I mentioned about six inches down? He didn't make it.

I took Alden to the grocery store so Damon could, ahem, take care of business. When we got home he told me he got wrapped up watching The Karate Kid and forgot. I'm upstairs now, having just put Elliot down. I hope everything is resolved when I get back down there.

Poor goldfish. I hope he didn't suffer.

I wanted Damon to take care of it while we were gone because I didn't want Alden to find him shoulder deep in the tank trying to take out the body. Here's the thing: I really don't want to talk to Alden about this at all.

When Zoe died I put on my big-girl pants and told him. He made me expain over and over about how Zoe was very old and that her body stopped working. And how she was never coming back. He held his hand over my mouth while I talked, his buffer against uncomfortable news. Each time was a little torture as I blinked back tears and tried to distill this loss of my 22-year-old cat to my 2-year-old boy. I didn't want to lie to him. I didn't talk about rainbow bridges or kitty heaven.

Then a few months later I got to tell him my dad died. That actually went down a little better. He didn't know my dad well, and now had experience with the concept. He was mostly distressed by how sad mommy was. Still is. And I still have to endure that shock of grief every time my well-meaning boy walks up to pat my hand and say, "Don't worry Mommy. Grandpa will come back soon." Sometimes when we leave for school he asks my why Grandpa's car is in our garage.

So I don't want to talk about the goddamn goldfish. Enough. Enough of these conversations.

I'm going to put Alden to bed in about half an hour. The fish tank sits on a chest in our bedroom and we usually take a few moments to admire White Orange while we drift off to sleep. I could get very lucky and he might not look over there tonight. And them maybe he will forget we need to feed the fish in the morning. It's possible both of those things will happen and I'll get a reprieve. If they don't, I have no idea what I'm going to say.

Nov. 6th, 2010

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Life List: Get a Fish Tank

All it took was one afternoon out with Alden, sans Damon's supervision.

When I was a little girl my dad put a huge saltwater fish tank in my room. It sat up on high wrought iron legs and had to hold at least 75 gallons. We had seahorses and starfish, along with clown fish and angel fish and other fish I could never identify.

Now I do know the difference between my dad's skill level and my own. He had a deft touch with living things. All his plants were lush and happy. Sometimes my coworkers come take my office plants away to give them a break from me.

So the other day Alden and I went out to pick him up some new winter pants. We went to Once Upon a Child and snapped up a ton of cords (There are always lots of cords. I am the only one who wants them.) but were still feeling frisky. So on the way home I was looking around for something interesting and then up on our right came Fins and Skins. One hour later we drove off with a 10-gallon tank, some pretty rocks, a fake ship wreck and one goldfish.

So far little White Orange (as Alden insists this is his name) seems content, although I fear he's lonely. If he continues to not die I will get him a goldfish companion.

Although, when I fed him today he was kind of... non-responsive. Maybe he was sleeping?

Also, having a goldfish is a pain in the ass when you're going out of town.
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Kid Math

Damon just called from Kentucky to hear how Elliot and I are getting along. I could hear Alden goofing off in the background.

I told him that Elli and I slept in until 9. Then we had breakfast with a chocolate chaser, played with the rocking horse, stacked some blocks. After a few hours we had a little nurse and now he's having a champion nap.

This weekend is making me realize that it's a ton more work to wrangle two kids. Genius, right? But here's the surprise: It's a ton more work even with two adults. Single parenting Elliot is so much easier than tag-team parenting both of them. Even with two pretty-good-natured boys. It's still a constant chorus of jealousy (Pick ME up!) and competition (Look at ME!) and squabbling (I want ALL the cars!). Alden is the only one who talks, but they're both clearly sending the message.

So what's the solution? Do we split them up in the evening? One upstairs with mom and one downstairs with dad? Doesn't that kind of defeat the idea of, you know, the family?

I will say that we do all enjoy our near-nightly dinner. I think that has a lot to do with both boys being strapped in their seats.

I'm confident this will get easier as they get older. I think the key will turn in the lock when Elliot is a little more amenable to conversation. Right now Alden will try to reason with Elliot for a moment, "Elliot, please don't mess up my tower." (poor Alden) before giving up and bashing him in the face with a block (poor Elliot). And they both fight bedtime like rabid pumas (poor Mommy and Daddy).

Nov. 4th, 2010

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The Internet Is in a Swivet Today

I try to stay current on which way the digital wind is blowing, but the reality is that I'm usually the one who can be heard to say, "A rabbit! With a pancake on his head!" about five years after everyone else.

But today I followed two eruptions in delightful real time.

First is Nerdy Apple Bottom's awesome, in-your-face defense of her cutie pie son.

To all the Boy Daphnes out there: C'mon over to my house! Bring your cool moms!

The second was that a writer had some of her content lifted directly into Cooks Source magazine. The fact that it its a print enterprise is a little surprising. I think more lifting happens directly onto the web. But what was even more surprising was the editor's response, when contacted.

Holy polished pitchforks, did the internet respond. I actually work for one of the companies that seems to have also been copied. Normally I'd get all cc-ish to our legal team but I think if Neil Gaiman is on it then I probably don't need to be.

Nov. 1st, 2010

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The Age of No Reason

Three years ago I had a little boy baby. He was a sweet and funny little lump, not walking until he was 15 months old and never bothering to crawl. You know where this is going, right? It's such a cliche. Heavens! My second baby is not like my first baby! It's just that I'm in a constant state of "Whoa" with little Elliot.

He runs. Like one of those zombies in 28 Days Later. And is just as destructive. He just turned 13 months old. A few weeks ago I brought out Alden's out music table for him. He jetted over, flipped it and ripped off a leg.

By this age Alden was good for a little chat. Elliot has two words. Both verbs. Always expressed with an exclamation point. "Look!" which he picked up after a week at Disney World hearing us say, "Look! Goofy! Look! Segways! Look! Fireworks!" all day long. Recently he added, "Up!"

Come to my house and watch Elli run to me, shout "Up!" then, once lifted, yank my hair and yell "Ow!" (Does that count as a word?) and then burst into tears. He cries when he hurts me, which often means you can find me forcing a cheerful smile through watering eyes after he's crashed his head into my face yet again.

I know I'm painting a picture that isn't quite right. Elliot is also a big snuggler, very laid back, cheerful. He's not a tornado. He's just often cheerfully fast-motion monkey climbing up the stairs or scaling the desk. And he only knows two words. "No" isn't one of them.

That's the root of my amazed consternation. By the time Alden was really mobile, I could reason with him at least a little. Elliot is unreachable in that way. He gobbles cat food and craft supplies, bangs on the oven door, jabs his fingers at light sockets and in no way acknowledges "Hot! No! Danger!" I mean, he knows when I'm telling him to stop doing something, but he considers all those admonitions specific to the moment they're being given. The sockets are fair game in his mind five minutes later. He's just still got a baby brain in a very capable and energetic little body.

He's only five pounds lighter than Alden. Did I mention that?

So yeah, Elliot is blowing my mind. I'm grateful for his goofy, gangbuster self. He's teaching me a whole different way of mothering.



This is the only picture I got of Elliot at Boo at the Zoo. I spent the rest of the night racing after him. He ran down every dark path, waving Alden's witch broom in his left hand, hollering like Braveheart, and ripping off his costume with his right hand.

Sep. 24th, 2010

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(no subject)

Last night. Oh last night.

Alden didn't nap, and his parents weren't too bright in not factoring that into our plans. We have a houseful coming to celebrate the boys' birthdays this weekend and so we decided we should just grab dinner out and then hit the grocery store.

It was so early in the night when I felt everything unspooling, but we didn't seem able to get it back. We absolutely should have abandoned ship and gone home. But we silly parents were convinced we could get it back. We could not.

Picture this: Alden has peed on the floor of the deli. Damon takes off to go buy fresh clothes since we forgot to bring. Alden's crying. He(understandably) does not want to be in wet clothes. He's also upset because I won't put him on my lap because I (understandably) do not want to need a change of clothes myself. Dinner is rapidly cooling on the table. I'm swabbing the floor when I look over to see Alden has pulled his pants and underpants down, but can't get them over his shoes. He's crying again. I sit down on the now clean(ish) floor and put my arms around Alden and rock him back and forth, which calms him. I pat his bare bottom and try to maneuver him so he's not mooning the restaurant. Elliot is starving in his high chair and he starts to cry. Also, he can reach my hair and starts yanking it all out of my head. So now I'm trying to free myself and at the same time rip up little bites of pizza for him, all while still holding on to Alden. Alden wants pizza. I give him a piece (the last one of his tiny kiddie pizza). He drops it on the floor, bottom down. I brush it off and give back to him. Not my finest moment. Two bites later he drops it again, cheese side down. This time I can't do it. The pizza goes away. More tears.

This is all happening in a restaurant at least half full. I'm taking some comfort that 1) it's a super-casual place and 2) at least I'm keeping the disaster contained to our table and the volume is low-ish. But really, you couldn't miss us.

What would I have given for one sympathetic smile? I didn't expect anyone to leap up and help me clean the floor. I know our kids are no one's problem but our own. But we were attracting attention and it would have taken my stress level down a few notches to get a little "solidarity sister" gesture among the open stares at the freak show going down.

I promise that if I ever see a mom or dad in those shoes I am going to go hold that baby. I'm going to help clean the floor. I'm going to give the crying two-year-old a piece of my pizza. And if my help isn't wanted I am at least going to say, "I have been there. Just get out alive. You'll be fine. Also, your kids are really cute."

Sep. 18th, 2010

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Life List: Progress Report

That c25K program that I'm supposed to start Monday? Yeah, travellight, I need to talk to you about that.

We're friends here, right? Promise you won't try too hard to picture me if I tell you I have a raging infection in both eyes. Odds are middling that I'll even be able to leave the house as soon as Monday, and nil that I can go get my running shoes by then. One week deferral?

I've never had pinkeye, corneal scratch, detatched retina, or anything else occular I can muster. Why now? Who knows? I place the blame on preschool. What I do know for sure is that it's gross and when Damon sees me standing in the shadows (which is always since the light hurts my eyes) he says I look like a vampire or a demon.

There are two other Life List items pending. The herb garden, I confess, is dead. I did grow the herbs, but then I got discouraged when I learned that the cilantro has such a short life. And more discouraged when I started harvesting basil leaves and soon wound up with a little stick plant. I did something wrong there.

It leads to the question: How do I consider an item on my list complete? I know I don't think I did the garden thing properly. I think I need to start over and trust that I'll know when it's accomplished.

As for the recipes, I have a documentation issue. I started by just recording the recipe, the cookbook, and the date. That's not very satisfying. Do I take a picture of each one? Do I record who ate with me? Tell a story? I don't know.
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Sep. 11th, 2010

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(no subject)

Last week's to-do list is still sitting on our kitchen counter. It says things like "Get Crocs for Alden" and "paint toenails" and "find sun hats!" Within the next hour or so I need to swap it out for one that says, "Pack pinchy fashion shoes" and "Finish sales presentation" and "Deal with the reality of 800+ email in your work inbox."

Hey, remember that place where everyone seemed so dedicated to my leisure and enjoyment? That's the place where I ate two desserts a day and then Damon would rub my feet, because all that having fun is hard work.

Time to start planning our next vacation.

Aug. 26th, 2010

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Life List: Run a Mile

One. Mile.

This is a modest goal, at least for normal people. I, however, don't exercise. I've flirted with it, but only in that I'm-backpacking-through-Europe-and-you-don't-speak-English kind of way. I never meant it for more than a few days.

When I was a pre-teen I had exercise-induced asthma. It's easy to recall all the fine details of an asthma attack I had in a health-club bathroom, alone and laying on the floor like a landed fish. Thus ended my Jazzercise period.

Bopping around to music can be a little bit fun, until it is miserable. Running starts miserable for me. I feel awkward and graceless, like maybe I'm doing it wrong. Not in the sense of imperfect technique, but in the sense that I might be putting my feet down out of order. My arms huddle in by my sides and my shoulders scrunch up around my neck. It's less like an adorably gangly Bambi on the ice and more like a duffle bag full of laundry falling down the stairs.

Which is why I want to run one mile. I'm so far below average. I just want to rise to a place that isn't quite so ridiculous. And if I'm a little fitter at the end of the process then that's a nice bonus.

I think I'm going to try a beginner running plan I found on the Women's Health site, but I remain open to suggestions. I plan to start, and now it's in writing, the third week in September.
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