Thursday, May 31, 2007

One reason I miss LA...

...and believe it or not there are a few. Mostly, I miss my friends, my dear creative, fabulous mom friends. And I miss the city itself, the burnt tawdriness of it. I DO NOT miss how desperate it feels to be there. You might think I'm talking about getting the job, and you'd be wrong, because from the minute I set foot there, I knew that artistically it wasn't my mecca. No, it was more about everyone around me - it was so hard to see what that city could do to people I loved. It was painfully expensive to live there, too. My husband tells me about the old days, when there were little pockets of affordability, but we saw that go out with rent control. Also, there is a lot of hot air in LA. I'm talking about the weather, hot, hot weather that I manage to sweat like a pig in, but also just about the amount of talking that goes on - about screenplays in process, about auditions and such. I could never muster up enough to say about myself and my process and my art. I was an actor who never acted. Something long ago I never, ever thought I'd be.

I am not at all bitter about it though. Truly. I have an incredibly rich life here in my little town, and it seems ripe with possibility. I feel more creative here, and more excited about what might be the next chapter of my life than I've felt in a long time.

But there is one thing I miss and I'm a little embarrassed to admit it. It is one of the less hip things about me, in a loooong list of things about me that are unhip, but this just feels more embarrassing. Anyway - here it is...

In LA, it is entirely possible to spot a celebrity EVERY SINGLE DAY. There are some that you don't want to see; Kato Kaelin springs to mind. But while we lived there I saw some true heroes of mine, and it made me feel like I was about ten years old: Bonnie Raitt hiking in Runyon Canyon, Steve Martin in the same canyon on his bike (he actually said "hi" to me - he saw me first!), Steve Carrell after "Anchorman" and before "40 Year Old Virgin" at the Grove, hanging out listening to some A Cappella group with his kids.

But today my best pal Jana called me, breathless, saying "Guess who I saw at Barnes and Noble? I had to call you - I knew you'd appreciate it! DWIGHT!"

She was right - I screamed. And I missed LA so much. But I missed Jana more. It would have been so much fun to see him and dish about it after.

Hello to summer

It was in the 80's here yesterday and promises to get into the 90's today.

Not roasting by Texas standards, but for here in the temperate NW, pretty dang hot.

So this is what we did yesterday...

Later today there is an audition for the talent show at school.

I promise to let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

now THAT'S funny

Snuggling in bed tonight after reading and chatting about this and that...

We talk about one of his classmates who had been absent for a long time and was back today for the first time, and had a hard time. I guess he had a tantrum when his parents left. Joe-Henry felt really bad for him, and we talked about ways he might be able to be a good friend to this little boy.

"Mom, I'm so proud to be me. Are you proud to be you?"

I guess I'd better be, huh. So I answer in the affirmative, and we lay on the pillow, and I tell him how proud I am of him, of his smart brain and good, good heart.

He's quiet a moment, then says in a voice filled with real emotion

"Mom, I love you so much.

I love it when you smile at me, your big smile.

And of course, your nostrils....

Come on! It's comedy!"

It's not fair, but it doesn't matter. I'm a sucker for the funny guys.

I once was lost

But now I'm found.

And this is how you found me....

From the run of the mill-

"spiderman costume"

torrent "Jack's Big Music Show"

buddy booby's birthmark

andrew zimmern


7 random things about me

to those in need of a cocktail -

"Can beer effect pregnancy test"

"mommy's time out red wine"

to those in need of a little therapy, perhaps?-

"I am not overbearing" "love you"

Who's Your Mommy torrent

mommy's little boy outfit

to the downright creepy -

Poke mommy’s ass

"dildo mother son".

to the folks in this last category, I don't mean to be un-Lutheran, but you're not welcome here.

smart boys rule

No. I mean it. They rule like Kings. No, Dictators. Pesky Dictators. Dictators with wacky demands like "More Saltines!" and "One more game of Jeopardy!"

It's our fault. Back in the bad old days before we blessed with our child, Charley and I were Jeopardy! freaks. Then we sort of stopped watching tv for a while when the baby came because we couldn't keep our eyes open past 6:00 p.m. But after awhile, I thought it might be okay if we watched it one night during dinner. I did really well for a while, keeping the television off during the dinner hour, making us eat at the dining room table, having conversation like normal people. But one night, Charley was working late, and I got lazy, having spent the day answering 20,000 questions about how doors open and what is a heart attack (?!) so I turned on the tv, and there was my old heartthrob, Alex Trebek. Oh, Alex. If you only knew.

Anyway, Charley walked in the door just in time for Double Jeopardy and we were all glued. Joe-Henry was hooked, and we thought it was sooooo cute, the way he made us answer everything in the form of a question. "What is BEDTIME, Alex?!" We would play Jeopardy! in the bath, and we would make up all sorts of questions and be kind of blown away by how sophisticated he was getting.

So the other night, Charley got the incredibly great idea of picking up the Jeopardy! board game after work and bringing it home as a surprise for JH. Unfortunately, it was the adult game, so until we could figure out how to make our own template and make up our own questions, JH was stuck being Alex Trebek. Which was fine, really, he makes a great Alex (and Johnny Gilbert, too, although he can't think of any other way to introduce me than "JOE-HENRY'S MOMMY, ANNE MCQ!"), and as he said, "wow! I'm learning a LOT being Alex!",still the whole point of getting the game was to find fun ways for him to learn, and let's face it, get ready for kid's Jeopardy!, then go on to the adult game, and win lots of money so he can keep us in the old age home of our choosing.

So do you know what I did yesterday? ALL DAY YESTERDAY? I played Jeopardy!. That's what. And when I wasn't playing, I was chained like a prisoner to my laptop, coming up with clever categories and even more clever questions. He was home from school, of course, with the holiday, and at one point, I saw into the near future. There I was, sweltering in the summer heat, muttering under my breath, the Encyclopedia Britannica open next to me, hammering out the next round of Jeopardy! questions.

Guess what I'm doing today while he's at school? If you think I'm writing Jeopardy! questions, you'd be dead wrong. I am enrolling him in enough summer activities to keep him out of my hair for a couple hours a day, so that I don't go stark raving mad. That's what I'm doing today.

Oh, and he's now wavering between Dwight from The Office and Alex Trebek for Halloween.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Thank you

Sergeant Herman Cyrus Christianson, Communication Specialist, Army Air Corps
aka Dad

To all those who've proudly served, and to all of those still serving our country, Thank You.

Happy Memotional Day

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

what kind of flower are you?

I took one of those personality tests today, and found out I'm somewhat rare.


Anyway, they had all kinds of tests to take, and I figured I could waste a lot of time there, but time is something I didn't have this morning, because I volunteer in JH's class on Wednesday mornings.

I would have to wait until I got home to figure out what animal I'll be reincarnated as, or what planet I'd be in the solar system. (I didn't actually see that test, but you know it has to be there.)

As I was leaving the class, the teacher handed me a bunch of the most gorgeous irises I've ever seen in my life.

Are they not the most exquisite things you've ever seen?

As I walked the half mile home, I felt like a beauty queen, just carrying them. And I got to thinking about what kind of flower I'd be. I definitely wouldn't be these. I'd aspire to be these, but I'm just not tall enough, or mysterious enough, or passionate enough to be these irises. At least not on the outside.

I'd have to settle for being this rose.

It's kind of different, and quirky and peppy and beautiful in it's own funky way. I'd be happy being this rose. I really would.

But, still. On the inside of my stripedy rose body beats the heart of a dark purple iris.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Joe-Henry is such a vocabulary nut that the other day I got really nostalgic for the old days, when his words were new. He had kind of a parallel language to the one we speak, like most babies do, doing his best to match up the sounds he could make with the words he wanted to say. The way he grabbed at language, lustily, giving name to every person, place and thing in his world. The first word he actually communicated (besides mama and daddo) was "Lello", for yellow, which meant "Cheerios". He was babbling from his highchair, and I was absentmindedly saying "yes, sweetie!" in what I'm sure to him was a completely unconvincing impersonation of a mother who actually understood what he was saying. So he very forcefully said, while pointing directly at the BRIGHT YELLOW BOX OF CHEERIOS "LELLO!!!" It was like a lightbulb went off over my head, and I realized that those noises he was making might actually mean something. Something important to him, and perhaps I should try to listen instead of just babbling back. Soon after "lello" came "lalo" which meant "balloon", which he would shout every time we drove past the Union 76 Station with their big orange ball out front.
And from there it was like we were on a waterslide of words, shooting around every hairpin turn at breakneck speed, laughing all the way.

The reason I was thinking about all of this is that he actually mispronounced something yesterday. He hasn't done that in such a long time, and it was so endearing to me, and so embarrassing to him. He asked me when "Memotional Day" was. I stopped in my tracks and the lightbulb went on again over my head, but instead of lighting up new ideas, it was shining a light on all those memories. The memories of my baby, so grown up, but still....

Tonight going to sleep he rubbed his eyes and after a moment said "Mom, is my eye bleeding?" "No." "Whew. I guess it's just my eye grease."

goodnight my little wordsmith. sleep tight.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

new friends

I have struck up a friendship with the mom of one of Joe-Henry's school mates. This boy is one of the first kids to have approached Joe-Henry at the park one day last spring, soon after we arrived here in this small town. We knew no one, save my family, and we really missed our friends with kids. So did Joe-Henry. But this little boy with a megawatt smile and fun-loving ways, won my slow-to-warm boy over. We were so excited when we found out he was in Joe-Henry's kindergartten class.

His name is Mubarik and he and his mom and dad moved here two years ago from Ghana. His mom spoke broken English, but was trying to learn, and has attended English classes while Mubarik is in school. We've had them over a few times for playdates, even though at first I was afraid to call because I was afraid I'd mispronounce her name.

The first time I had them over, she thanked me as she left, saying that people she'd known since she first arrived never invited them over. It was the first time she'd been to anyone's home but her own. "I think you love me", she said as she gave me a warm but tentative hug.

As we get to know each other, she reveals more. Her husband works 7 days a week driving a cab. She doesn't drive. She likes to garden and cook and makes a peanut stew that she has promised to make at my house sometime. She likes Joe-Henry because he's nice to Mubarik. Sometimes at the park, kids won't play with him because of the color of his skin.

Two weeks ago she told me someone had called Child and Family services when they first arrived because her son was playing across the street at a park without her. She could see him out the window of her house. She was so scared that now she doesn't let him out of her sight. She didn't speak English well at first, but could understand what they were saying. They would take her son if it happened again. It's different in Ghana.

That day she seemed nervous about something as the boys played. Even though there are gaps in our conversation due to language differences, it's never because we don't want to talk. We just need a rest. But this time it was different. I could tell that she was weighing something.

Last week we met at the park. She brought a cooler filled with drinks and a bag of crackers. The boys played with another little boy. He was Hispanic and didn't speak English, but he was wearing an awesome Spiderman costume. Spiderman needs no language. They had a blast. She and I sat at the table, smiling at our boys when she finally blurted out: "We are Muslim". She looked down at the handkerchief she was holding, smoothing and straightening it, folding it into small squares only to spread it out again, smoothing and straightening again. "Were you afraid to tell me that?" I asked. She was. She's afraid to wear her scarf here in this small town. "Some people don't like Muslim people here". I told her I liked her very much and was so grateful for her friendship. We talked about the differences in our beliefs. None of them seem insurmountable. We both believe in kindness. We agreed that there are people of every religion who seem too eager to use their beliefs to opress others. And we're both good moms. We both like to cook and our sons drive us crazy at times. Well, mine does. Mubarik seems to mind his mom better than Joe-Henry minds me. She makes me feel less lonely here. Her warmth and kindness have made me feel less lonely here. She has made me feel at home in this town. Finally.

Coming back from the store yesterday, I heard this song. It's from a new cd I got for Mother's Day. I had to play it again because I needed to hear these lyrics one more time.

"We won't be afraid to be alive anymore
And we'll grow kindness in our hearts for all the strangers among us
Till there are no strangers anymore"

"No Bad News"
From the new Patty Griffin cd, "Children Running Through"

Friday, May 18, 2007


Last night I had a dream that Nancy Pelosi asked me for dating advice.
Apparently men are threatened by Madam Speaker.
But she's just another "gal", so down to earth.
She wanted to hang out with me and go bike riding.
She was really funny. She made me laugh out loud.
I don't remember what she said that was so funny. I wish I could.
In my dream, I could tell we were going to be such good friends.

Then Joe-Henry woke me up because he had to go to the bathroom.

This morning I had a dream that I was an astronaut, with a bunch of other astronauts.
When we landed back on earth, they let us pick out dresses to wear to the prom.
Mine was grey and looked like it was from the fifties.
But the slip that went under it, even though it was also grey, was really pretty and sparkly and frilly.
When we got home, I found out Charley was breaking up with me and I didn't have a prom date.
I didn't care about the prom, I don't look good in grey anyway.
But I was devastated he was breaking up with me.
He said it was because he had a thing for Norah Jones.
In my dream, I thought, "Doesn't he know that I'm an astronaut?"

I woke up earlier than usual, so that I could wake up enough before he does, so that I don't punish him for being such an ass in my dream.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Love Language is Quality Time

I feel loved when...

The Five Love Languages

My Primary Love Language is Quality Time

My Detailed Results:
Quality Time: 9
Acts of Service: 8
Physical Touch: 7
Words of Affirmation: 5
Receiving Gifts: 1

About this quiz

Unhappiness in relationships is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. It can be helpful to know what language you speak and what language those around you speak.

Tag 3 people so they can find out what their love language is.

Take the Quiz!
Check out the Book

In other words, I think this means I'm kind of high maintenance.

brought to you by the colors...





Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

because it's such a simple wish...

...and because it's a much better use of the internet than anything else I can think of

...and because he's such a brave kiddo

....and because the world needs more kindness

...and because his missing teeth remind me so much of my own son -

everyone in the McQ household is sending Shane Bernier a birthday card in time for his birthday on May 30th.

Thanks, Tracey for bringing this sweet kid to my attention, and thanks Kimberly for the "one wish" tag. I'm going to ruminate on it, and I'll post in the next day or so.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

This weekend began on Friday evening when our friends Anne and Anita arrived from Seattle with their beautiful children, Hazel and Gabriel. Hazel is two months older than Joe-Henry and the two of them get on like gangbusters. Gabe is ten weeks old, and really, there oughta be a law against babies so cute.

He is turning my shriveled old ovaries into dance halls, where I picture my beat up old eggs in faded flapper costumes, with cigarettes hanging out of their painted, wrinkled mouths saying in a gravelly, whiskey soaked voice "Hey, Sweetheart! Ten cents a dance! Ya can't beat that with a stick, know what i mean?!" All that to say - he's just a little lovebug.

Saturday morning we woke and Joe-Henry and Hazel played Cadoo while I fixed us breakfast, and Charley made coffee. We sat around in pj's gabbing, catching up, and talking about how amazing it is that we were all friends before we married, before we had kids, and here were our offspring, these gorgeous, smart and kind-hearted children of ours, playing together like the best pals they are.

We then wandered into "the 'Couve" for the Farmer's Market and got a few extra goodies for dinner that night, and I got some tomato plants for the garden. The kids played at the park with Charley, while the girls, and Gabe (by virtue of the fact that he can't walk yet and was fast asleep in the snuggly next to his mommy's heart) wandered in the market, looking at jewelry, plants, purses and people, free from sleeve tugging and whining. Saturday afternoon took them into Portland, and Joe-Henry and I attended a birthday party for a little girl in his class. He went swimming, they ate cake, and he got to get his face painted like an endangered grey wolf.

Saturday night they came back with their lovely friend Stephanie and Charley made us all pizza and we had adult conversation, interrupted only occasionally by short superhero spys.

Then came Sunday morning, Mother's Day Morning. Hazel and her Mom's had picked out a book for Joe-Henry called The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip (which is now my favorite book of all time), and I read to the kids while my husband, my amazing, talented, handsome, funny husband made us the brunch to end all brunches. There was bacon and potatoes and coffee and a fruit salad as tasty as it was beautiful and the most amazing baked French toast I've ever eaten. I gained 10 lbs just looking at it. Joe-Henry and I had painted coffee cups at the glazing studio in town for Anne & Anita for Mother's Day, and the kids all gave their moms gifts they'd made.

My husband, who didn't let me in the kitchen for twenty four hours, (which really was all the gift I needed), also got me a gift certificate to an amazing garden store in Portland called Garden Fever. After brunch we all drove over there, where we shopped around a bit, and then had to bid our houseguests adieu, as they were going to meet Gabe's father's mom for the first time. Joe-Henry and Hazel hugged and kissed and cried, and my little boy was kind of sad for the rest of the day, but he still gave me lots of love and hugs, and tried his very best to mind his mom for one whole day. When we got home, we did an iChat with Charley's Mom, and got to say "hi" to the family that we miss so much.

The day ended perfectly, with a snuggle from my boy, and something even better from my husband. Let's just hope those ol' dance hall girls don't get any big ideas.

"the darling 'buds' of May"

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Perfect Gift

I love to get presents. I love to be pampered. And I love to give presents, too. So I have no issue with these made-up holidays. But as mother always said, the best gifts can't be bought in a store. My mother said this very thing the Christmas I made her a pencil holder out of a juice can, green clay and red rick-rack. She said it was her very favorite gift. It was ugly as sin, but you know what? I believe she meant it.

In honor of mother's everywhere, I give you my top five MOTHER'S DAY GIFTS THAT CAN'T BE BOUGHT:

You let your kids watch too much t.v.? You let them eat candy? Or God Forbid, FRUIT SNACKS? This is the perfect gift for you. The blame will be assigned somewhere else when the dental-doctor-therapist bill/failing report card/police car comes.

Your child is behaving badly at the park? Sick with a fever? Failing in school? I give you one day of sunshine, fresh air, and a seed to plant in your heart that will grow into this knowledge - IT WILL BE OKAY. Take care of yourself, go for a long walk, notice the sounds the birds make.

I don't pretend that this will actually work. I myself own the title "Worrier Queen", so I know you can never truly give it up. But that's what I strive for, and that is my wish for you.

"Mom, do you love my stuffed animals as much as you love me?" "Mom, are we almost there?" "Honey, did you remember to mail that thing?" "Yes, I do." "Yes, we are." " Yes I did."

And not a second thought.

"Where do babies come from?" "What makes the rings around Saturn?" "Why is there war?" "What is Heaven like?" "Why does the sign at Taco Time have a cactus and not a taco?"

You will have the answer to all these questions and more dancing on the tip of your tongue.

I didn't say they'd be the right answers. Just go on back to number 3 and ponder that for a second.

Mothers are often too badly tested, too unappreciated, and treated too much like the maid. I wish for you a day when you can see beneath the punk attitude, the forgotten kiss, and the dirty socks on the floor. A day when you remember those heady first days with your newborn, that first smile, those times when you have been their whole world. Those days will pass so quickly, as they will and as they should. But those memories. Those are the things that get us through the rough.
Every day. I wish for you a head and heart full of those sweet memories, and the certain knowledge that under all that other crap beats the heart of a child, your child who loves you madly.

Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

a new day

At 2:30 a.m., he wakes, vomits again, cries, then wants to discuss heaven. What is it? Does everyone go? Does everyone believe in it? Also, why do they advertise Taco Time with a cactus and not a taco?
Life's big questions. I'm glad to talk about it, but have no answers that satisfy him.

When I woke yesterday morning, it was too early, my eyes too red and dry from no sleep. I was pacing in my worry cage. Joe-Henry moaned in bed, begging me to help him feel better, to make it stop. He complained of hurting in his shoulder, his neck, his heart. He was unable to keep anything down. He ran a fever, his face so hot to the touch, his cheeks so flushed and pink they reminded me of two hot coals. I give him tylenol, telling him it would make him feel better soon. (But not soon enough for me.)

Then yesterday at 4:00, the miracle happened. He had kept down the jello, the soda crackers, the gatorade. He had slept through the afternoon. He woke, hair damp, cheeks a more beautiful pale pink, his eyes glittering with mischief. "Mom. Better get the basket! Nah.... I'm just kiddin'"

I left the room laughing. His voice, his strong voice, clear and sparkling. The tears came quickly, but didn't last. They were indulgent, the tears of a tired, grateful parent. Done with the vigil, on to the next task.

I am guilty of over-worrying. With his syndrome, I always worry that it's a blood-borne infection, and not just some random, horrible childhood virus. I spend at least twenty four hours, sitting on my worry, waiting it out, tricking myself so that I won't call the doctor again. Read another story, attempt another sip, administer the tylenol. Worry, distract. I pray my clumsy prayers, not even sure what I believe, but remembering the peace it gave me as a child. It doesn't give me peace, but it feels good to admit my failure, my utter helplessness.

This morning, after a good night's sleep, we are both new. Pancakes, juice, water. I can see all of it in his tummy, his body so skinny from the last few days that I can make out this bite of pancake, that bite of veggie sausage. One more day home from school, but there are plans to get dressed, to go to the post office to mail Grandma's mother's day present, to stop at the Walgreens and get him the rocket launcher that he gave to the boy next door for his birthday. It was the promise of this last thing that helped him turn the corner, I admit. I told him when he was at his worst, that we would get him one when he got better. And since it worked, I will fulfill my part of the bargain. I don't bribe that often, especially with "stuff", but I was ready to make any deal to get him to the other side.

Gratitude for the new day, for the annoyances, the dishes to be done, the laundry to be sorted, washed folded. The healthy boy on the couch watching tv.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

a good read

I am off, off, off, people.

I was up with my poor, bedraggled, vomiting boy all night. He is a limp dishrag of is former self.

And so now, I must list my apologies, in order:

I am so sorry to D., who came for a visit. Joe-Henry threw up on Friday afternoon, and then seemed fine. I really and truly hope you don't get this.

I am so sorry to all the people who had dinner at our house on Sunday night. I thought Friday was just bad cheese.

And I am so sorry to his kindergarten class, who on the day he got really sick after school, had perfect attendance for the third time all year. I sent him because he wanted to go to school yesterday, and didn't have a fever, and he hadn't thrown up since Friday. He just seemed a little tired. What with all the houseguest we were busy infecting, it's no wonder!

I did have the good sense to cancel the playdate for yesterday, and unfortunately, my date with my amazing husband to see Nickel Creek at the Roseland. A Capital B Bummer. But necessary.

I promise to blog something amazing in a day or two. Or something half-way decent, at least. That is if I don't start hurling myself. (Dear God. Please, no.)

In the meantime, I send you here, to read Catherine Newman's weekly blog at wondertime. She is hands down, my very favorite writer, on the subject of parenting, and her post this week is, as always, hysterical, moving, and right on the money.

I'll be back soon. With any luck at all.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

embarrassing our children

Joe-Henry has entered the age, too early, I think, where I embarrass him. I remember being embarrassed about my parents much, much later. Junior high, maybe even highschool. But apparently it starts earlier now. Like puberty, I guess. Our neighbor boy was having kind of an all weekend birthday party with his buddies. He turned ten, and they were all running around playing war (I know, I know), and Joe-Henry beeeeegggggged me to let him go over there. But here's the thing. He wasn't invited. I let him take over his present, after he basically walked out the door with it when I was in the bathroom, and the boy was very nice about it, and he even let Joe-Henry play for five minutes. I plan on talking to his mom tomorrow and apologizing for JH trying to crash the party.

The thing is, when I called him home, he was so mortified. Like he wanted these kids to know that he lives over here by himself, eating whipped cream out of a can and staying up 'til 10:00 p.m. watching tivo'd Noggin shows. It's not like I said, "Hey, Junior Baby, come home! It's time to nurse!" I just reminded him that his five minutes were up, and I had some things for him to do. I didn't really, but I thought I'd help him save face a bit with an excuse. Honestly, I just didn't want him crashing the party. Because the boy next door is an older boy, and it's important not to have to entertain a six year old at your own party. Anyway, Joe-Henry was rolling his eyes like a professional teenager, and at one point he called me "Polka Dot Mom Face!" As you can tell, he was really mad. It was so hard not to smile. But I didn't dare, because he was so mad, and soooo soooo serious.

He was also embarrassed by me when I tried to horn in on his action with our houseguest, D, and also tonight, his cousin Heather. She's in her mid-twenties, and he adores her, and it seemed that every time I opened my mouth to say any motherly thing, like "eat your dinner" and the always popular "time for your bath", I got some serious stinkeye.

What's it going to be like when I ACTUALLY become an embarrassment? When he's in Jr. High and High School and I hear a song I like at the grocery store and sing along out loud and dance down the aisle; or try to talk to his friends in hip kid lingo; or talk about the penis surgery he had as a baby to his first girlfriend? Oh, the plans I have.

We're having a playdate tomorrow with a boy from his class, and I'm looking forward to him acting his age. If he acts like my little boy again, I promise to go light on the mortification.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

our good cat

Lulu's gotten a lot of bad press lately, but I think it's time to write about her good qualities.

Ummmmm.... she's persistent?

In any case, I think I should give some space to our "Good Cat", the one who doesn't crap on the floor, or sneeze in your food while you're eating. His name is Pould (rhymes with "would" or "should") and he's a grand old man. We got him as a kitten shortly after we got married, so he's about 13. He's diabetic now, but still very regal. He used to be pretty feisty, but now he's just kind of tolerant, in his own way. Lulu bugs him, but he puts up with her for the most part. And he's nothing if not photogenic. He was very patient as he posed for these photos in his sunny spot under the skylight.

It's never enough, but it still fills me up

We had our beautiful friend D. here from Chicago, recovering from a seven hour meeting in Portland, en route to see her Grama in Seattle. I've known her since we lived in the same apartment building in Seattle, so probably about 13 years. She makes me realize the true meaning of "salt of the earth". Precious and necessary. Joe-Henry loved her, and even rose from his sickbed, where he had spent the afternoon withering away like Camille after having thrown up all over the front walk right after school. Luckily, I think it was a touch of bad cheese and not the full on barfing flu, but we'll take it easy today, just in case.

Anyway, as soon as the beautiful Ms. D walked in the door, Joe-Henry was on his "A" game, like a six year old Oscar Wilde with the witty retorts. Of course, it's hard for six year olds to distinguish between "witty" and "obnoxious", but she knew just how to deal with him. He was putty in her presence.

EvenLulu* felt the benefit of her visit, because D.'s the kind of friend who can see the grace and good in everyone, even in wheezing, sneezing, inappropriately pooping cats.

She just left our house to make the drive to Seattle, and I'm feeling her presence rather than her absence. Great friends are like that - no matter where they are, the distance is irrelevent. I'm so fortunate to have a few really great girlfriends like that, and those friendships become more valuable to me with each passing year.

Like every mother everywhere, I only wish we could have had one more uninteruppted conversation. Thanks, Friend. Safe travels, until we see you again.

*And seriously, D., I think the weather in Chicago would make all the difference for Lulu. Just maybe don't check your trunk until you hit Centralia!

Friday, May 4, 2007

7 Random Things About Me....

I was going to list five things that I love about my son today, because my pms is waning, and so is his, and he's being really sweet to me again. But I got tagged by Tracey over at More Than A Minivan Mom to list 7 Random Things You Don't Know About Me, and I thought, "Screw the kid. Let's give the people what they WANT! More about ME!"
Tracey also mentioned in her blog that technically these kinds of lists are called "memes", but it just doesn't sit right with her. I know! And that's the first random thing about me....

1. The word "meme" makes my skin crawl. It reminds me of an old lady with tight pincurls, who always brings a Lime Jello mold with mayonnaise, celery and pimentoes to the Lutheran Church luncheons and she smells like baby powder and old lady, and her lipstick is on her teeth.

2. You'd think from number one that I have a thing against mayonnaise, just like my friend Tracey. But you'd be WRONG, my friends. Honestly, this could qualify as the number one random thing, but the other just was a better lead in. In any case, my favorite comfort food is.... (Tracey - you really shouldn't read this unless you're sitting near a wastebasket) Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich with mayonnaise. I don't eat it often, just when I'm feeling really awful about life. My mom used to make (Tracey, have you recovered from the last one? Then really, just skip down to number three and don't read this. I don't want to bear the burden....) Peanut butter and BROWN SUGAR AND MAYONNAISE sandwiches on Wonderbread. My mom, rest her soul, was actually a great cook, but she was raised during the depression, and they did what they could with what they had. Or she just really wanted me to die of a heart attack at ten years old.

3. I had a best friend in highschool who turned out to be kind of a psycho. We became best friends after her old boyfriend and I broke up. We hung out all the time, we even got the same summer job, and she applied to go to the same college as the one I was going to attend. When the old boyfriend and I started to become good friends again, she started telling me about a friend of hers that she wanted to set me up with, telling me what he looked like, what kind of music he listened to. He wrote me letters (telling me what an amazing girl my friend was), and even sent me flowers for my highschool graduation. We were supposed to meet, and my friend kept telling me that she had a bad feeling, that something was going to happen. I went to see her one morning and she had a huge cut on her hand where she had broken a glass in the night because she had a "vision" that her friend had been in a car wreck. Then later she told me her vision had come true, and he had died. I put it all together and realized that she had made it all up. I wound up in the hospital with an ulcer at 18 because I didn't really know who to tell or what to do. I didn't see her after that because I was really afraid of what she'd do.

4. I have an addiction to pulling weeds. I love how it feels, I love the sound of the weeds being ripped from the ground, I can completely lose myself in it.

5. I understudied for the first production of London Suite by Neil Simon at the Seattle Repertory Theater. During tech, I would sit in the audience in the dark and listen to him talk about writing and actors and theater and I knew my life was as good as it would get. He kissed me on the cheek once in a very fatherly way and he smelled really good.

6. As wonderful as it was to get kissed by Neil Simon, the smell I love the most is my son's breath in the morning. I can't get enough. It's better than expensive aftershave, new puppy smell, new car smell, and WAY better than peanut butter and jelly with mayo.

7. I have an irrational fear of being thrown from crazy rollercoaster rides. I still go on them, but only after sitting down with my inner therapist. This is different from my very rational fear of throwing up on the crowd below.

That's my seven. It was hard to come up with them, because, you know, I'm so together. For a girl who was raised on mayonnaise and peanut butter. It's hard to believe that ever last artery, vein and capillary isn't clogged with cement.

I tag Big Mama, Kimberly, Anne, Lolabola, & Donna. You're supposed to tag 7, but I don't think there are 7 people who read my blog, and of those Tracey tagged me AND Franklin, and Suttonhoo is coming here for a visit tonight, so I'll get 7 wierd things out of her in person after a glass or three of red wine! Feel free to join in the fun, even if you aren't on the list!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

the company we keep....

We are recovering from a wonderful visit with the World's Most Generous Grandparents, and we're anticipating the arrival of our dear pal Suttonhoo, who arrives tomorrow for a too brief stay on her way to see her Grama. Then next weekend will be the Mother's Day weekend to beat all Mother's Day weekends, as we will be having our dear friends Annie and Anita here with their two kids Hazel & baby Gabe.

I am completely, utterly braindead from this past week, and I'm nursing cramps and a migraine, and since I don't have anything worthwhile to say, having spent all my valuable braincells commenting here, and since I don't have any cute little movies of animals doing tricks (although I'm tempted to have a motion-sensing camera set up on the hallway downstairs to catch Lulu in the act), so I'll leave you with these pictures to make you smile...

That's my sassy husband, trying to make the picture before the timer went off. He is poetry in motion personified! And this is Joe-Henry, as "six" as they come....

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

An Amazing Age

I started my day by reading a great post at my pal Suttonhoo's blog about The Economist article that says internet search sites are taking over porn sites in popularity. I've been thinking about the fact that my son knows that "Google" can be a noun or a verb. The other night after reading a book that we love called Buddy Booby's Birthmark, we Googled "red-billed booby" & "Galapagos tortoise" and he was able to see more pictures, and learn more about their habitat.

And this afternoon, I checked my email and noted that in the slew of email I get from the k-t support group that there was a live webcast of a vascular anomalies clinic from Boston Children's Hospital, and all I had to do was click on the link to watch these incredible doctors, some of the top doctors in the country, going over cases of children from all over the country with rare vascular disorders. The term Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome tripped off their tongues like they talked about it all day, instead of wondering how to pronounce it. I couldn't help but be fall on my knees grateful for this wondrous technology that is making this world smaller, more accessible, so that my son, by the time he is old enough to start making his doctor's appointments, will be able to say "here are a few websites that will give you the information you need", or "you can check out the webcast", or even just find others like himself.

Support, contact, knowledge. What an amazing age we live in.