••• Thursday, October 30, 2003

What's That Funny Smell?
I have a keen sense of snout and drive my husband crazy with the daily query "What's that smell?" followed with "I can't believe you don't smell that!"

A couple of days ago he tells me that the whiny whiffing is becoming rather unpleasant. That I'm turning into a smelly nag. A trifling whiffler. Fueling the complaint, I believe, is the fact that my husband couldn't sniff his way to a pig farm on a hot August afternoon.

But his point was well taken and I promised to put a plug in it.

Yesterday after work I had a dentist appointment and arrived home de-tartared, polished, flossed, tired and hungry. Hoping to find dinner piping on the stove, I instead was greeted by a smell. A bad smell. A lay-an-olfactory-smackdown-on-my-delicate-scentsibilities- smell.

And this wasn't the malodorous essence of the usual suspects like a musty dishrag or petrifying garlic clove.

I smelled poop.
A load unloaded.

But a promise is a promise, so I said nothing.

While giving my husband a dental update, I simultaneously puzzled over how I could ask about the stench without breaking my stinking resolve to be less whiffery. I next wondered if I was rapidly morphing from the woman who smelled too much into the wife who couldn't say "shit" with a noseful. I don't stink so.

"What is that smell? I blurted. "I can't believe you can't smell that!"

"I don't smell anything. "

I quickly snuffled my way to the basement to find not one but two heaping piles of labradoo-doo. I then called Mr. Ismellnuthin to clean it up.

Today I came home to the normal smells. Still feeling a bit nostril-shy from the previous day's malfeasance, I ran a quick visual sweep of the environs and spied this in the living room:


I cuss out the dog while I go for the poop bag and hold my breath as I make my approach for the scoop. Closing in on the prey, I recognize what I'm dealing with and don't know if I should laugh with relief or cry at the reality of my deteriorating eyesight. 'Cause I was about to bag me some beaver.

Bundling Excitement
I've become quite smitten with the Smocking on the Move sweater in the recent edition of Interweave Knits. While I need another project like I need another hole in my head, I picked up this mohair, silk and wool blend by Harrisville Designs from a local yarn shop with the hopes of making a smockery of it.

At the yarn shop, I thought I read "Orchid" something on the label, but the labels on the batch I brought home identify it as Soft Spun Yarns. It's a good deal at 8 bucks a skein with 245 yards per. The color is called Copenhagen Blue but in the real world looks to be Periwinklish. True hue is sorely underrepresented in this picture, even taken in natural light.

I have Friday off and plan to do nothing but snuggle with a tender toddlegoblin and knit.

So, put that in your pipe and smock it.

••• Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The Unimaginable
We all have days when it feels as though the world is against us.

In southern California the world has literally turned against itself and its inhabitants. Our blogmate Amy and her family are caught up in the this fiery maelstrom. sidenote: They're all okay, but I was worried yesterday.

If you haven't yet, you really should read her harrowing tale (Trial by Fire, October 28), which is accompanied by some incredible photos.

And her story is just one of many.

I can't imagine...

••• Monday, October 27, 2003

Things that Frost My Muffin on a Monday Morning
It's a crazy time at work right now. It's the end of the first marking period and the end of the month (I have to log a specific number of client contacts per month and the last week is ketchup time). It doesn't help that I took a sick day last week and lately have had to attend an inordinate amount of time-sucking meetings.

Additional time swipes this week include a half-day in-service on Thursday (no students, but more meetings) and Friday we have off. Of course, having a day off should be nothing to complain about, but on this particular Monday, the thought of Friday off only adds to the stress and pressure. The school schedule is unforgiving.

I work in a high school guidance office, and sometimes college recruiters bring the counselors and secretaries yummy treats for all their troubles. Today's treat was a bag of bagels and flavored cream cheese.

While waiting for a late appointment, I fixed myself a toasty snack, which included a thick slathering of a caramelly flavored cream cheese. I wolfed the whole thing down, standing in the break room. No one was the wiser. So I thought.

After I finished my snack, I scooted downstairs to the mailroom to check for incoming and scooted back up to my office, where my next adolescent challenge awaited. He's one of my favorite kids. An upperclassman. Intense, passionate and an over-thinker. On a good day, he's a joy. On a bad day...well... thankfully he doesn't have many of those anymore.

Anyway, he's already sitting in my office and starts giving me crap about being late (kidding, of course, because he was the one who was late, which enabled me to dash to the mailroom). I walk past him to my desk and turn to sit down.

"Ummmm...Mrs. G. ...I don't know how to say this... ::impish grin:: ...you have something on your pants."

I look down. There on my black pants, on the front of the very most crotchety place, at the most holy apex, is a quarter-size blobble of caramelly cream cheese.


In a high school,
Filled with teenagers,
I've been walking the halls
Foaming at the crotch.

As The Cakers would say "Oh, May-n!"

I wiped it off with a tissue, said "how embarrassing" and neither of us spoke of it again. I did, however, have a moment of regret over the waste of a perfectly good caramelly cream cheese blob.

Active Aran
I took this shot of The Cakers a couple of weeks ago and found it on a recent camera purge. This is Falick's Baby Aran pattern. It's gotten plenty of action over the past year. And I wish I had made it a little longer.

This is the finished back of the Minnies seed stitch cardie. I finished the front left last night. It's going fast but the seed stitch is tedious.

The Knitter Barney Fife Can Dream, Can't He?
I received my Interweave Knits in the mail today. There are some incredibly beautiful, texture rich pieces in this edition. I especially love the Stop-Traffic Circles by Kristin Nicholas. I know I could pull this one off, if only I could send Barney Fife on a 6-month sabbatical. What I love about this pattern is that the color work uses only two colors but the chain stitch embroidery gives the appearance of more intricate color detail. I love that kind of chit. And I do know how to chain stitch.

My other favorite is the Smocking on the Move by Teva Durham. I love the asymmetrical sleeve patterns. I looked over the pattern and think I could manage that one too...if Barney takes an extension on his leave.

Oh May-n! Daylight Wasting Time just caught up with me. I gotta get to bed. My apologies. I can't even muster a cheesy signoff.

••• Saturday, October 25, 2003

Shawly Goodness......

......and Marcy

This is my second attempt to showblog the new "do" but it still doesn't show the full impact of the tousle. It should show both blonde and blood bling, but it looks like the red has faded with uploading.

I've developed a strange ritual with my new "do." Every morning I spray the fly paper coating on my hair and muss it up. But, for whatever reason, I still can't leave the house with my hair looking like that. So I pat it down to normal.

The fly paper effect sticks with me all day at work. During my first bathroom run, I get courageous and run a mangle tangle with my hands. After that, every time I "go" I muss it up a little mo'. By the end of the day I'm wild and woolly.

And next morning, I undo it all over again.

I haven't blocked the shawl yet, but have succumbed to peer pressure to post pictures prematurely. ::okay, I confess: Ah love an alluring alliteration:: It's a good thing Rachael and I live 3/4 a continent apart. Living in the same time zone, we'd be a tad dangerous.

The bug I suffered this week was relatively mild in form, but definitely required a day of homebound vigilance to fight it off.

In addition to fighting a virus, I faced battle with this for that.

And another skirmish with that over this.

I've beaten the virus and currently have the remote in my possession. As evidenced by the following photo, I'm 2 for 3.

Bella Boosky Rules

The above featured Piece de Bella is a Jil Eaton seed stitch cardigan pattern from Minnies. The yarn is a new Encore Chunky. It's knitting up quick and easy on size 10's, but I'm here to tell you it's ill advised to go from Cascade Indulgence to seed-stitch on acrylic. My wrists are sore and my fingers feel puky.

P.S. Thanks to all for the healthy best wishes!

••• Wednesday, October 22, 2003

All My Head's a Booga Bag

Not feeling well
All hot and clammy
Like a Tango pair
In South Miami.

I uploaded pictures of the shawl and my "do" but neither turned out and now I'm too thick in the head for "do" overs. Maybe tomorrow.

::Feel so blah, can't think of a shawl pun::

I've made a committment to this illness by calling in sick for tomorrow before leaving the office today. That feels kinda good, in a kinda sick way.

••• Monday, October 20, 2003

Weekend Retrospect

1. Wrapped the Shawl (need to block)

2. Got a new, chi-chi "do" with two tone bling, styled in a mild version of the tousled, Sharon Stonesque, "I got outta bed for this?" look.

3. Lots of fun and fresh air with "The Cakers."

4. Domestic coup: Homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Made enough to freeze for a future meal.

5. Pleasant surprise: Sunday morning airing of "To Wong Foo..."

1. I had to uncast-off three times. (Isn't it supposed to have even a mildly scallopy edge like the beginning?)

2. I love my new "look" but don't like going out in public wearing it because:
a) To get "the look" I must spray my head with a substance that turns my hair into fly paper. I live by the creed "Never return home with more creatures than you left with."
b) While I love "the look" in the bathroom, whenever I leave the house, I fear peeps are looking at my head, wondering if I know what's going on up there. I end up patting it down in the car (still in the driveway) with a prayer that no flies have yet landed.

3. Cakers and I went on Sunday afternoon stroll. Two blocks from the house, she threw down a Sunday afternoon hairy. I had to carry over 30 pounds of wailing-flailing-chunk-of-funk for one block. For the last block, she reverted to "dead weight," which is worse carrying than the flailing. With flailing, I at least get adrenaline aid. Today, Ibuprofen is my friend.

4. My husband "took care" of the leftovers before I could get them safely to the freezer.

5. Missed the beginning of the movie.

May your Monday be blessed with all things worthy of putting off 'Til Tuesday.

••• Thursday, October 16, 2003

Baby, You can Drive My Car
With all my domestic preoccupations this past week I have neglected to share an update on the boy's driving status. First of all, two weeks ago I found out homecoming was October 11th, not this coming weekend, as I originally believed. We immediately upped the daily mileage and Cam made haste to get an appointment with the "tester."

Soon after we make the appointment, my son confides that he's feeling awkward with his girlfriend because he doesn't feel the same about her, but she doesn't know. He feels obligated to take her to the dance anyway but dreads trying to keep up appearances without hurting her feelings.

I did some social worky mama mojo on him and he came to the mature decision that she had a right to know about his change of heart before the dance so she could make an informed decision about going with him. He immediately made the phone call and she decided not to attend the dance under the new conditions. So,no homecoming dance.

This was a real tough one for me, as my heart ached for both of them, for varying and similar reasons. And while he was relieved to have made the decision, the night of the dance he admitted to feeling some guilt about her sitting home. They chatted on-line that night, so evidently are still friends.

Since the appointment was made, we decided to proceed with the road test. Here in Michigan, you no longer go to the DMV or Sheriff's department for your road test. The state has now "privatized" by contracting out to local driving instructor companies. This particular "company" is a tiny mobile shed sitting in the back of a large parking lot behind a cosmetic orthodontics office (are there any other kind of orthodontists?). It's kind of cheesy.

In front of the "shed" are several positioned "sticks on traffic cones" used in the parking portion of the test. The parking test comes first, and the road test will proceed only if enough points are earned on the parking test.

Cam is instructed to beep his horn after he completes each parking maneuver. I'm nervous, so park my butt on a log that sits where the parking lot meets a wooded area. After sitting a minute, I realize the area smells faintly of pee and stale booze. I hope and pray the stank is coming from somewhere behind me, and not the log.

I can't watch, so put my head on my folded arms. I hear the car move, move then a beep. Another move and a beep. Next I hear move, move, move crunch, snap, plastic squeak, pop, crunch. I look up and see that in his attempt to parallel park, he's taken down the sticks of all three cones on the passenger side.

The tester is trying to extricate a stick from the front wheel-well, and my son's head is resting on the steering wheel, likely in mortification. I yell "Beep!" Cam looks up laughing hard, honks the horn and I give him a thumbs up. He shakes his head and returns the gesture.

Despite the demolition, he earned enough parking points to move on to the road test. Momma's gotta sit in the back seat and keep her mouth shut unless spoken to. Momma appreciates being distracted by the continued scent of pee and booze and wonders if she's now wearing it on her rear.

Cam did very well on the road test, under some difficult conditions. For a portion of the test, he was instructed to drive through a highly populated residential area. He was told to turn a corner where there was limited visibility until the turn was complete. Here in the road, just feet in front of us are about 7 kids playing football. I yelled "whoa!" and slapped my hand over my mouth.

The tester joked that the kids were on his payroll. Two blocks later, a boy riding a bike down the sidewalk darted out in front of him. I gasped, and silently slapped myself again. Two minutes later, on a very busy road, a large group of kids walking and on bikes, moved slowly along the curb. Suddenly one of the bikes teetered. I was silent. The tester finally said "we didn't pay all these guys."

As we were nearing the end of the test, we drove past an intersection where a huge black labrador was standing in the middle of the adjacent road, staring at the path in front of our vehicle as though thinking..."the middle of this road is good, but I wonder if that one is better." I thought "don't you dare, dog breath." He stayed put. None of us spoke of it until we were back at the "company" and debriefing. We talked about all the "obstacles" and the tester admitted it was the worst he'd seen. I asked if everyone had seen the dog and we all laughed and said yes, but had been too frightened to even mention it.

This part of the excursion made me think of police shooting drills where the mommas with babies jump out of trash cans to test the cop's visual acuity and self-control.

He also did very well on the expressway portion and I was glad we had the little heart-to-heart about merging. Some people seem to believe that "merge" and "magic" are synonymous. You know these drivers. As they descend the entrance ramp they close their eyes, speed up, and go "wheeee!!." After they open their eyes, they find themselves magically merged amidst the appreciative honking of fellow drivers.

Well, "we" passed. And every night since, he's asked if I need something from the store. I remember how fun that was (at first), so I always think of something he can fetch. I'm glad for his new found independence, but it certainly opens up a new can of emotional worms.

From the Mouths of Pigs
I haven't measured my shawl in a while, but I think I have about 10 inches to go. My Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick (how is that pronounced?) arrived in the mail yesterday. It's a very cool collection, although I haven't really had time to truly savor each page.

I've caught the Booga J fever, and may be putting that on a to-do list real soon. The Cakers needs a new something for fall...so I better hoofing it. ::squealing outta here::

••• Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Who Nose Why We're Here?
Earlier today, I was summoned to the Purly tombs by my Editorial Staff. Although they were careful to not come across as snooty, they minced no meat in sharing their concerns that this is a knitting blog and I've not touched on a knitty topic for days.

And it's making everyone smell bad.

Although it feels a bit like mud-slinging, in my heart of purly hearts I know my chublets squeal the truth. I understand why they're getting their feet in a pickle. Aside from a wee wave here and a shilly shell there, there's not been much shawl knitting anywhere.


There's been pie baking,
Chicken soup from scratch making,
Teenage driver test shaking,
And toddler lovin' time-taking.

There's also been this.

That's my picture and I'm hanging with it.

::If you try the mandela paint thangy, try moving the mouse in vertical strokes, across the field...Is that dang! or what?::

::Sausage Linkage courtesy of my blog sis Amy::

••• Sunday, October 12, 2003

The Pie that Launched 1,000 Snits
Yesterday my husband and I went to the farmer's market. It was a gorgeous day with fall harvest in full swing.

We try to go to the market weekly during the summer (it became more trouble than worthy after The Cakers became mobile and refused all things stroller). But the fall market is my favorite. It's crispy and busy and colorful and just so...I don't know...fertile.

Yesterday I was shopping for pie apples. Northern Spies, for perfect pies. ::I know, that was so easy, it's almost unappeeling:: Fresh picked that morning.

Spies are available for a limited time around here and you can't get them at the grocery store. Many farmers have quit growing them because demand has decreased over the years. And although you can purchase less than fresh, sweeter spies later in the season, there is a small window for the perfect pick, and yesterday that window was wide open.

My mom makes the best apple pie in the world. And there's a tiny story that gets passed along with her infamous recipe. Way before I was born, my mom and dad were eating dinner at the home of a favorite couple, and apple pie was served for dessert. My dad's compliments to the chef included something to the effect that the pie was the best he'd ever eaten.

My mom was stunned, crushed, then pissed. The legend goes that they fought all the way home and there was significant poutage for days after.

My mother wanted that recipe, in a bad way. Back in that day, however, it seemed that homemakers were a somewhat competitive lot, and prize recipes weren't shared with just anyone. The friend said "no" to the request, and my mother continued to seethe.

Somehow my dad joined the mission, likely with two agendas. One, to make peace in his home and two, to bring that pie into the house, forever.

I really don't know the rest of the story, except that my father somehow procured the recipe, much to the delight of my mother, current and future offspring and their offspring. My father was an incurable flirt, and I've always wondered how that factored in.

My mom doesn't bake much anymore, and neither of my sisters do much baking (although they are both very good cooks) so the apple pie torch has been passed on to me.

And I'm here to tell you, 'tis a powerful thing. In my hands, this pie recipe has inspired impromptu marriage proposals (which I declined and suggested that the issue be reconsidered by all parties when not under the influence of pie nectar) and another snit between a husband and wife. The latter occurred when the elderly father of a friend proclaimed "This is the best pie I've ever had!" in front of his elderly wife, who immediately slammed down her fork and briskly began clearing the table. Despite a fire in the hearth, there was a definite chill in the air for the rest of that evening.

But there's been way too much talking and not enough pie, I say. So here's my autumnal gift to you.

The Pie

  • About 8 cups of tart, firm apples (Northern Spies work best, Wolf River are second favorite), pared and sliced thin.

  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on personal preference and apple tartness)

  • 2 Tablespoons flour

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Dash of ground nutmeg (I overdash to 1/8 teaspoon)

  • Dash of salt (A couple of pinches out of my palm)

  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter

  • Pastry for 2 crust 9-inch pie. (My favorite is the ancient standby, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Crisco or butter and five Tablespoons of ice water).

  • If apples are not tart enough, sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Combine dry ingredients and mix with apples. Fill pastry lined pie plate with apple mixture. Dot apples with chunks of butter and cover with remaining pastry. Seal, flute and puncture top pastry to allow steam to escape. Bake at 400 for 50 minutes or until nicely browned and juices are piping.

I protect the crust rim with foil or one of those cool pie crust ring thingies.

Here's what one of mine looked like today. I'm not great at "artistic" presentation with my pies. My crusts tend to be hard to manage (which means they're perfectly flaky in the end) so I often end up doing patchwork. The angel is my pie trademark. (I collect angels, and even have a "pie angel" in my kitchen)

Warning: This recipe should be used only by responsible adults or maybe teenagers with adult supervision. It's not a plaything.

P.S. I love the legend of the pie because I don't remember many details about my parents' interactions with one another (outside of lots of kanoodlin' in the kitchen). This story makes "them" as a couple, so real to me. And flavorful.

••• Friday, October 10, 2003

Tag Team Blogging
Sometimes the Universe provides.

Not that I think inspiration for knitblog topics is high on the Divine Interventionist's to-do list, but it just could be that the Divine is subject to slow days, like the rest of us. And if I happen to be an unwitting recipient of a Divine slacker day, so be it.

Mariko has a Basenji and yesterday she blogged the dog a couple lines of fame. A while back, Mariko and I had an email exchange about Basenjis, which she cryptically alluded to in the same post.

In case Super Eggplant aficionados are linking here looking for a Basenji story, here it is.

Not long after I was divorced and happily settling into my new digs, my sister, her four young children and their Basenji, Zoe, moved in with me on an emergency basis. I should have journaled this adventure, as the often surreal particulars are fading with time.

Basenjis are breed of dog, but I wouldn't be surprised if one day a new, other-worldly species is named for them. I realize it's not fair to judge an entire breed by my experience with one, but it's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Zoe was an amazing creature. She didn't bark, she bathed like a cat, and she answered to no one, unless that no one happened to be slathered in lard. She had a cute, curly tail that nestled tight and high on her rump, like a fashionable cinnamon bun.

Basenjis are out of Africa and I belief they are of ratter ilk. Zoe had a delicate system and her diet consisted of a highly specialized canned dog food and the crotches out of my underwear. I'm not talking just ripped crotches, she consumed in three inch strips.

Zoe often escaped from the house and would run the neighborhood, terrorizing neighbors, children and pet bunnies. At least twice a week a neighbor would come a callin', asking me to fetch the beast from their garage/yard/kitchen/laundry room.

Zoe knew no fear, and would run in and under 5:00 traffic, with a pack of wailing children in hot pursuit. The only way to get her back would be to entice her with a stick of butter. Basinjis have incredible sense of smell and Zoe would respond to this lure from a block away.

My sister was not often home so the kids and I developed our own efficient, emergency search and rescue response routine. At the sound of the alarm (a shrill "Aunt Marcia!!") I'd drop everything, grab a "stick" and the car keys (she ran far, fast) and we'd run the drill.

The butter worked like buttah, and did wonders for her skin.

If Zoe stole a food item off the table, it was hers. She'd fight to the death over a pork chop. Although I objected to the principle of a dog eating off my table without invitation, I quickly learned not to sweat the small meat and to pick my battles. Occasionally I might distract her from the objet d'salivation with a stick of butter, then drop an ever ready laundry basket over her (think Mousetrap Game), which allowed me to safely whisk away the booty.

Zoe was eventually adopted out to some people who live on a farm. These folks were better equipped to deal with her special issues, as they were professional dog trainers.

This is only one of many tales, mind you. The stories about living with my sister and her kids could could easily supply a sit-com season. ::Think the early years of Malcolm in the Middle, with a sisterly twist::

My son fondly speaks of those crazy days as the most fun of his childhood. I'm sure Zoe also looks back with fondness. Back to The Days of Butter.

Point of Interest Post Note: I found a website devoted to this breed. They have an entire photo section titled "Destruction." 'nuff said.

••• Thursday, October 09, 2003

Heh, no one has mentioned that my list in yesterday's post is 10 songs going on 14.
I should get a prize or somethin.

Seriously, I've hit a bloggin' dry spell. I've not a thought left in me.

I can't even think of anything to say about having nothing to say.

And don't call me Shawly.

••• Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Gimme Shawlter
(Amy, ya done provoked me)

I've only completed a couple more inches on the shawl, due to a hellacious couple of days at work, which spilled into to a hellacious couple of evenings of work, at home. I think I'm through the worst of it, except for the obligatory, post-hellacious obsessing. I've learned that this form of "dwelling" is easier to allow to run its course instead of fighting.

On a Lighter Note
A few weeks ago, The Curmudgeon listed her all-time favorite songs. I thought this a cool idea, and found her list interesting and somewhat surprising.

So without further adieu, here's a list of my all-time top 10 songs. For the record, I had a hard time narrowing the list to 10, but thought the exercise in discipline do me good.

The songs are not necessarily in any order, but Van Morrison is definitely one of my all-time favorite artists.

1) Into the Mystic- Van Morrison
2) I'll be There-Jackson Five
3) Tiny Dancer - Elton John
Z) Under Pressure-Queen and David Bowie
4) Losing my Religion- REM
E) Until You Come Back To Me - Aretha
5) Don't Leave me This Way - Thelma Houston
6) Down to Zero - Joan Armatrading
L) Break Your Heart - Bare Naked Ladies
7) Spiritual High (State of Independence)-Chrissy Hine with MoodSwings
J) Hello, It's Me - Todd Rundgren
8) Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith
9) Girl of the North Country - Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash
10) Missing - Everything But the Girl

Wow. That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

I did go through a hip-hop phaze shortly after I was divorced. I still enjoy a hip hop but none of the genre favorites were worthy of this list.

Speaking of hip-hop, I'll never forget the time my son and I were waiting to be seated at a local, church-lady type eating establishment (Daphne, it was Arnie's) and he asked loudly "Mom? What does it mean to be 'a freakin' and sell it on the weekend?' "

What could I say but "it's none of your bizniz?"

••• Sunday, October 05, 2003

Updates on the Shawl-of-I-Ran-
in-Here-to- Post-a-Picture-of while my husband left the computer free to take a shower, but here he comes now.. quick, publish!

Got lots done after hours last night, knitting on hype (n mebbe sum rum) from the birthday events.

I'm over half finished with the shawl (36 inches). If I go 60 inches, I'll have at least a 3/4 skein left of that "stuff." Planning a use for that is going to keep me up nights. Although I'm sure Rachael has some great helpful ideas for me.

The Man Who Takes Too Short of a Shower hovers near. He's needing to earn a living here and I need to clean up toddler toy barf in the living area.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Cameron, born 17 years ago today, on a beautiful Sunday such as this. In fact, he was born on the first sunny day, following 14 days straight of hard, havoc-wreaking, record-breaking rain. When younger, he loved hearing the story, over and over. "Momma, tell me again how I brought the sunshine. "

I love you honey. You're still my Boo and still bring the sun.

And I know about the desk drawer full of dirty dishes. Please bring them back. Mind not to delude yourself with the belief that a filthy room will keep me out.

••• Friday, October 03, 2003

Happy Birthday, Babies
I won't be posting much over the next few days. I'm going to be partying. Tomorrow The Cakers turns 2 years old. The following day big brother turns 17.

The only thing weirder than this polarized picture of motherhood, for me, is this actual picture, of me, taken exactly two years ago tonight.

I have to admit, the shot doesn't capture the enormity of the situation. I was a walking, talking torpedo. A veritable freak of nay-cha.

People would stop and stare. Once, a grocery store cashier just busted out laughing at the sight of me. She was immediately embarrassed and apologized over and over. She was young. Unaware of the danger.

Another time, a stranger apologized for staring, then sheepishly explained that he was merely trying to figure out how I wasn't falling over.

For size perspective, under that shirt, I'm wearing a size DD bra, the cups of which my boobs wore like tiny yarmulkes.

My husband is the only surviving child of his parents, and married late in life. His folks had all but given up on the hope of having grandchildren. Needless to say, they were thrilled with the news that I was carrying.

I became an instant family celebrity. A heroine. A holy vessel. They brought me gifts of balm, clothing and trinkets.

And best of all, they brought me gifts of beef.

Beef was my gestational fancy. I craved it. I dreamt about it. I consumed burgers and steaks with wild abandon. As I salivated over the thought of a Steak-n-Shake Frisco, I could smell the fires of my cave dwelling foremothers and heard their collective grunts of approval.

I did eat a balanced diet. My other craving was canned green beans. A serving dish of which I could hardly get to the dinner table without sticking my face in it. I know...what the yuck?

But I'm not going to apologize for any of it. Only results matter.

Not bad for "ol raisin eggs."

Here's to old ladies having babies.

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••• Wednesday, October 01, 2003

My brain is sore
My thoughts are fried.
Upon eye balls
Soft lens have dried.

Work is crazy right now. A good kind of crazy that keeps me focused and excited but also occupies much brain space, even after hours. So bear with me.

I haven't done much knitting on the shawl, but it's now 28 inches long.

Go Left, Young Man
The clock is ticking for the Homecoming dance, October 18. My son needs to log 9 more hours before testing for his license, hopefully before the dance.

It's a pain in my tired ass to take him out every night for an hour's worth of driving, but once we get going I'm glad for the chance to have him all to myself and we always have fun.

I particularly enjoy watching his driving skills and confidence improve. He no longer waits for no oncoming traffic before completing a left hand turn. And tonight, he made what I called a "calculated but ballsy" lane change. It was no where near reckless, but indicated to me an upgrade in his confidence.

Each outing, I try to introduce him to experiences and "concepts" that he wasn't exposed to in driver's training.

One night I put him through the rigors of the Steak 'n Shake drive-thru. Negotiating the Drive-Thru can be complicated stuff. You must plan your approach, think about your order and ignore a mother car-dancing in the passenger seat, all without losing a side-view mirror. ::For a driver in training, intensity is the mother of competency::

His maiden drive-thru voyage left something to be desired, so I thought it best to revisit the exercise the following two evenings. That I had to sample three milkshake flavors in as many evenings was a minor sacrifice. But I'm his mother. I signed up for this. Off topic: Steak n Shake's Chocolate Mocha milkshake rocks.

Tonight's driving adventure included a quick trip to the outlet mall and a lesson in safe passage through the most notorious and unwritten of traffic dangers: The empty parking lot.

Parking lots scare me because there aren't any rules. There are no posted speed limits or lane markers. Just acres of asphalted danger. In fact, a roller skating rink has more traffic rules.

In a parking lot, cars can (and do) come whippin' out of no where, from any angle, at any speed.

Case in Point: Two cars heading toward each other at 45 degree angles, in a nearly empty parking lot. Speed is 25 mph. Estimated collison point: 200 feet diagonal from Chuckie Cheese main entrance.

Who turns first and in what direction? What if you turn toward each other? Should you use a blinker?

Stop you say? Okay. Stop. You both stop, and wait for the other to go. And wait for the other to go, some more. Finally one of the drivers starts to cry, resting her head on the steering wheel. That signals the other to go, with a finger in the air.

In a parking lot, you're only as safe as the next a**hole is intelligent.

It's vehicular anarchy.

Anyhoo, we managed to make it safely through the asphalt rodeo and enjoyed a quick run through TJ Maxx where I found some nice flannel sheets. While waiting in line at the checkout, I picked up a nifty black "distressed paint" picture frame.

The cashier who waited on me spoke with a thick Eastern-European accent. When she picked up the picture frame, she rubbed her finger over the edge of the "distress" and said "you see this?"

I said "it's supposed to look like that." She said "but look," and continued to rub it with her finger. I said "that's how it's supposed to look, it's the style." She shook her head with authority and said "Broke. Please put back."

I looked at the finger pointed at the pile of frames from which my prize was recently plucked. I thought to argue one more time. But I didn't.

Maybe there was more to this. Maybe the clerk was already on probationary status for letting "broke" goods get by her one too many times.

Maybe one more "broke" item out the door meant certain termination of employment causing a loss of immigration status which would, of course, lead to her immediate deportation.

I pictured her at the airport, carrying crying babies through a gauntlet of teary-eyed host-families as she headed for the tarmac, to board destination hell.

I put it back.