Tuesday, October 30, 2007

good to know

Talking to an LA friend last night, who has met George Clooney, and spent some time in his company ( how did I not know this? perhaps it's because they knew if they told me I would sit on them until they told me every last detail, like how does he SMELL? and is he FUNNY? He must be - look at 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' ), and this I know is a really long and poorly constructed sentence, but bear with me because there is a great payoff:

He's really nice. A good friend. Compassionate and caring. And nice. Did I mention that he's nice?

But how does he SMELL? Never mind -

You don't want me to sit on you, do you?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Botanical Suicide

a yellow leaf,
not satisfied with merely "falling"
threw itself under
my moving car,
making sure
to get the job done

Cruel World.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

in other words, I'm a mom

I visited Lolabola's blog today and took the quiz that she took to find out what Astrological Sign I REALLY am. But I didn't like the answers I got (I took it three times), so I found another quiz. I guess that proves I'm a Leo.

This one was fun, though!

Your Superpower Should Be Manipulating Electricity

You're highly reactive, energetic, and super charged.
If the occasion calls for it, you can go from 0 to 60 in a split second.
But you don't harness your energy unless you truly need to.
And because of this, people are often surprised by what you are capable of.

Why you would be a good superhero: You have the stamina to fight enemies for days

Your biggest problem as a superhero: As with your normal life, people would continue to underestimate you

Friday, October 26, 2007

So Proud.

I am going to boast here, not about myself, but I am going to go all Un-Lutheran on your unsuspecting asses, and sing the praises of my child. I am going to pull out all the stops, because while I will sometimes post about something cute or funny or crazymaking that he does, I have a hard time going full out Bragging Parent.

But here's the thing - I am so proud of him, so honored to be his mom. With all the mistakes I've made in raising him, with all the times I've doubted myself, he has, thus far, turned out to be a talented, smart and funny person, who is as kind as he is beautiful.

We had his first grade conference today, and although I wasn't worried about getting bad news or anything, I still wasn't prepared for how enthusiastic his teacher is about having Joe-Henry as a student. With Joe-Henry sitting right there, she told us that he is the best listener she's ever had in all her years of teaching. She said he is her touchstone in the class - if he doesn't understand it, then she didn't explain it correctly. She showed us a few of his papers that had mistakes, and pointed out how he learned from them, and how much he's improved since the start of school. She said he is a role model in his class, and that the other kids look to him to know how to behave. She said he is a friend to all the kids in his class, and is always respectful to the students and staff.

When we left, he was floating on a cloud. He said it was the best day of his life. And his dad and I told him that even if he was struggling, as long as he tries his best, we will always, ALWAYS be so proud of him.

When I got home there was an email from his teacher - right after we left, she found out there is going to be an assembly at his school on Wednesday. The topic is RESPECT. Joe-Henry is going to get an award, and will get to go up on the stage to accept it and shake hands with the principal and the school counselor.

But the reason I am so proud of him? The real reason, is this. When I asked him in front of his teacher if there were any problems with other kids, he said "A. used to hurt my feelings, but he helped me stack the chairs the other day. I felt really honored that he wanted to help me. And we finished the job together."

His kindness and ability to look past differences teaches me so much. I am going to try my best to learn from him.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

what I'm listening to...

....right this very minute: Raising Sand, the new collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

My new favorite song is "Gone, Gone, Gone", tied for first place with "Please Read The Letter" and "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson". Oh, and "Killing The Blues". And the other nine songs on the album.

So. Damn. Good.

Catching Clouds

I have two days off work because there are student conferences, so I got to sleep in until 7:00 a.m. this morning! It was so foggy and cold, I convinced Joe-Henry to put on some warm clothes over his pajamas and bring out his camera and we'd go take pictures together. He decided that would be a great idea, but even better was his idea to catch clouds.

I emptied out a Texmati Rice container, and he caught clouds, and his breath,

until he got so cold he started screaming at me.

A trip to Starbucks for a cinnamon roll as big as his head remedied everything.

Now I just have to catch up on, oh, everything. Luckily, I am fueled by coffee and a big jar of clouds.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

An Embarrassment of Riches

What a start to my weekend! On Wednesday, I told you about my freaky phone conversation with my long lost friend from my other life who is now a PTO mom just like me in our small town. That was one of those cool things that could have lasted me for at least a week or two.

But the goodness just kept going: on Thursday, Joe-Henry and I had dinner at our favorite spot in Portland with some dear friends who were up here scouting the area from LA. I met my friend Shannon when we were in the same theater company down there. She is one of those women: frighteningly gorgeous, amazingly talented and one of the most intuitive and loyal friends you will ever meet. She is one the friends who saved my life when we were getting ready to move here. She is one of the friends I missed like crazy when I got here. But now, NOW, oh, I'm almost too excited to type the words: they are moving to the Portland area. They have their reasons - his daily four hour commute, better schools at more affordable prices, and yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever, they're moving up HERE! They had planned the rest of the weekend to scout Seattle, but they aren't even making it up there - they're going to hunt in earnest here! Wooooohoooooooooooooooo! And can I say, right here, right now, I am itching to help her on this end, because lapsed Lutheran girls are like elephants: we never forget a kindness, and returning the favor is a necessity.

As if THAT weren't enough to make me dance around like a freaky balloon on tainted helium, I got to go on a date with my husband last night! It was so perfect, and so needed. My week at school was trying, my cold still hanging on, my voice shot, and my last good nerve was twitching. He had worked late all week, and I was asleep before he got home almost every night, and darn it, I missed him!
So I called in the troups and my niece and her husband came over for pizza, they brought a movie, and entertained Joe-Henry while we headed out for a grown-up evening. And we got to go out for a quick dinner: it had to be quick, the movie started in an hour and the restaurant closed in 10 minutes, so we got it to go, took it to the car, turned on some good music and sat in the dark in the rain and talked about everything. We haven't steamed up the windows like that since we were dating. Then, we saw one of the best movies I've seen in YEARS. We went to see Michael Clayton. It had everything, it was a thriller AND a character study AND just a flippin' good story. Well written, brilliantly acted, and perfectly directed. So. damn. good. It reminded me of those movies from the seventies that took their time telling the story, and where you wind up at the end is miles from where you thought you would at the beginning. Oh, and did I mention it had George Clooney? In a suit? For the whole movie? If the movie wasn't so brilliant, I could have done my review in one word:


But the movie WAS brilliant, so I am telling you - if you like grown up movies where the bad guys aren't stereotypes that you can spot in a crowd, and the good guys are morally ambiguous (and look like George Clooney), and the story will leave you thinking about it for days, then run, don't walk to see this movie.

This morning, I'm tucked in on the couch, great coffee, great music, my favorite almost seven year old playing with trucks on the floor, my handsome, smart, witty, sexy husband downstairs building a fire while the rain taps away on our roof, wondering how I got so lucky.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

When Worlds Collide

Tonight I was putting Joe-Henry to bed and the phone rang. It was a parent from his school (one of the few that I actually feel like I have something in common with) calling about volunteering. I had put calls out earlier in the day about a couple events coming up and she was rsvp-ing. We'd talked briefly before - she has a son who is deaf, and she teaches ASL at the School for the Deaf in our neighborhood. Previously we had talked about ASL lessons, and her Etsy shop, and I knew that she was a committed parent AND a crafty girl. And very, very bright.

So, while we're having this conversation, she mentioned that she used to live in LA, and I pounced - THAT's why she seemed so familiar! But while we talked about shows we worked on and things we did in LA, even though we lived fairly close, I knew that wasn't it. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

When Charley and I lived in Seattle, right after we got married, we got hired to do recurring guest spots on a short lived television show playing a couple getting married. He needed a heart transplant, and there was lots of drama and tears, and it was really a fun job to have, being newlyweds and all. I got to wear a big poofy wedding dress and feel okay about it, because it wasn't actually MY dress. I remember having long conversations about marriage with the costumer, who was also getting married, over a weekend when we weren't shooting. She was adorable and friendly and open, and both Charley and I loved her, and thought she was the best part of working on that set.

Well, you see where this is going, don't you? When I finally asked her if she lived in Seattle, and if she had ever worked on Medicine Ball, she took a deep breath in - and we had that moment of forehead slapping, "OH MY GOD THAT WAS YOU!"

And here we are, on the PTO of an Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington. The world just doesn't get much smaller than that. We are definitely going for coffee to catch up on this new life, where what we have in common is even more exciting than showbiz.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I am home from work today, after having gotten good and sick this weekend. Honestly, I tried to save my "sick days" for the weekend, when I could at least hang at home in my sweats, without having to talk as much. I sound like the offspring of Brenda Vaccaro on a ventilator, and a circus seal. My body is sore from coughing all night, and yet my husband had to sit on me and hand me the phone this morning to call in. There have been a lot of absences at work lately, and I hate being one of them. I'm causing stress there, and I feel lousy because of it.

So I'm punishing myself by watching the diy channel and learning everything there is to know about scrapbooking.

If this doesn't absolve my guilt, what will? Perhaps by the end of the day I can make a beautiful pop up card involving used tissues and the empty foil packs for my tylenol cold pills, all stuck on a lovely card stock with my own phlegm.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Woe, Nellie

Having hit a brick wall by Friday of this week, having had every ounce of energy sapped out of my body from the cold I've been fighting and the kids I've been loving, I begged my husband for a day off today. He gave me the kind of hug that I needed, a full body, filled with love hug, and said "Go!", while he got down on the floor to make a playdoh breakfast with Joe-Henry. I'm not sure if I've written yet about how much I love this man, but, man, do I love him.

I packed up my camera and my tissues and a bottle of water, and headed out into the morning mist to "shoot stuff". I am by no means a photographer, I can barely manage to pull what I want into focus, but the act of it, the getting out and looking is so satisfying, and the "click" makes me happy beyond words. If I have ten photos out of a hundred that are useable, that is deliriously successful.

And, now I'm bathed and fed and ready for my nap. Have a wonderful weekend all.

Friday, October 12, 2007

help me out here

Hey all,
JH has been having a tough time with a kid at school who has been doing a lot of teasing. The kid seems to be Capital T Trouble, and I'm sure JH isn't the only one getting teased. His teacher is aware of it, and I'm just trying to arm my son with an arsenal of fabulous comebacks. I've given him "I'm rubber, you're glue, what bounces off me sticks to you" (which seems to get him confused and he winds up saying "you're rubber and I'm glue"), the shorter "get a life", and "I know you are but what am I?", which doesn't always apply grammatically. Because of my lapsed Lutheran conscience, I am blocked when it comes to anything remotely witty or stinging. What I'd really like to do is bop the kid on the head myself, nothing harmful, mind you, just to let him know I mean business, and short of that have him removed permanently from the classroom, but those aren't options.

So- were any of you teased mercilessly as children? Could you pass along your best retorts? It needs to be first grade friendly, and if it makes JH laugh, so much the better.

Thank you from an exasperated mother.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

do you hear what I hear?

Are those the hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Because I just read a new post over at The Franklin Five.

Repent, NOW!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Chairman of the Board

It was, finally, picture day at Joe-Henry's school today, and he wore his new shirt and tie. He looks like a million dollars, if I do say so myself, and he hasn't taken it off yet, even with a trip to the grocery store and dinner. I think he'd wear it every day if he could, even if the little trouble maker in his class almost made him cry because he called everyone over to look at him and said "we're not going to a wedding!" He feels good about himself, and that is something we could all do with a little more of.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Just killing time

Conversation overheard at bathtime...

Joe-Henry: "Dad, I want to live until I'm 7,000 years old."

Charley: "Wow. What are you going to do with all that time?"

Joe-Henry: "Smoke a pipe."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

turn, turn, turn

This weekend was spent roughing it in the wilderness, which is what my husband really, really wanted for his birthday. And by roughing it, I mean we stayed in a cabin that had a jacuzzi and direct tv, and we had to walk twenty whole yards from our front door to get wi-fi. I mean, come ON.

But it was glorious to be out of town, out of reach, (because our cell phone service was iffy), smelling the fresh mountain air, eating chili baked potatoes and playing one hundred and eighty five games of UNO with the undisputed UNO champion of the world.

I started reading a book, we napped (and by we I mean Charley), we noshed, we wandered, we laughed. We drove around and Charley would stop the car while I got out and took pictures of old barns and longhorn bulls.

Joe-Henry loved our cabin, which had a tiny kitchen where he could play, a window that he could slide open at hip height and pretend to be working the window at McDonalds, and wonder of wonders, a murphey bed, which he put up all by himself before we left today. The lovely woman who owns the cabins brought us hummingbird cake (banana and pineapple) with creamcheese frosting fresh from the oven for dessert last night, and we thought we had died and gone to heaven.

Everything was so green and gold and red - vibrant and exhilarating, and when you breathed in, you felt the clean go all the way to your toes. We took a tiny hike down the Little White Salmon river and watched some kayakers push off, and wandered on a little trail under steep cliffs, rocks covered in emerald moss, happy to be with each other in the wild.

We got huckleberry pie (for me), huckleberry cobbler (for Charley) and a banana milkshake for JH at a small diner that looked like something out of a movie, there were hunters all eating up after a day in the forest, doing what hunters do. Charley's kilt was the talk of the town, but hey, there isn't a lot you can say when you wear camouflage and bright orange.

We drove back today, all of us pretty quiet, storing it up to last until we can do it again. Usually I feel tired after a weekend trip, but this was so peaceful, I actually feel rested and ready for the week ahead. It was heaven to be with my little brood, just the three of us. If I have to rough it, I want to rough it with these guys.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

If October 4th Is Your Birthday

You survived the wretched normality of a suburban childhood, and it gave you a penchant for creativity. You spend your early adult years unaware of your own hotness, and while you think you are only the "friend", it is really your own cluelessness that saves you from the clutches of many ill-fitting matches. You spend your early thirties running away from a tenacious redhead, but this just makes you more attractive, and you will wind up married.

You find balance later in life, but not on a bicycle.

Your forties finds you struggling with the satisfaction of domesticity and the pull to create, but it is in your role as a parent that you shine. Your shimmering mind and loving heart are just two of the tools in your parenting tool kit that make this job so perfect for you. You are admired and adored by your family, and your perserverence and attention to the needs of others are an inspiration to the people in your life.

You are adept with words, and your talent in this area needs to be given more attention as you move into mid-life. Your family is supportive of this endeavor, and will do what is necessary to help you achieve your goals.

You are incredibly sensual and sexual and there is little (if anything) that turns you off. You attract others like moth to a flame with your wit and self-deprecating sense of humor, and your sexy, sexy legs which you choose to show off in middle years by wearing a kilt. This is a very good choice for you - few people can pull it off like you can.

In fact, your "animal magnetism" is so strong that you do share an unspoken love with another species - mornings are especially important, and you must do your best not to let this "love" know of your commitment to your family, as he is jealous, and furry, and will hiss when unhappy.

Oh, and if October 4th is your birthday, you might just be my husband. And that would make me the luckiest woman alive.

Happy Birthday, my sweet love. You are the light of my life.

With apologies to Ellin Dodge.

In a State of Overwhelm

I knew this would happen. I expected it, but it still took me by surprise last night when I took to my bed with a migraine. It was brought on by the storm front coming in, but also by the stress of this new job. A job I love, but being a fairly emotional person, one that is taking quite a bit from me. I haven't collapsed in a sobbing heap or anything, but I almost wish I could, because these kids can break my heart. The last two days have been a trial for everyone - new staff, which is a great thing, as they are really good, but changes for anyone is difficult, and for kids with autism, well, it's just a lot more stressful.

Also, I am still riding a really steep learning curve, and want so badly to do the right thing always. I don't want to make mistakes, but since there hasn't been a lot of training, mistakes are going to happen. I'm grateful for them, because I know it's the best way to learn, but still. They make me feel really humble. I know humble is supposed to be a good thing, but I think humble is overrated.

Then to top it off, I come home and feel like I'm just not enough. Not enough mom to engage my son, not enough wife to have the house in somewhat decent shape. Just not enough of me to go around. I know, I know, welcome to the world of working parents. But honestly, it's not the time thing, where there isn't enough to get it all done, it's an energy thing. I am pretty emotionally drained when I walk in the door.

I know I am going to have to fit in some kind of exercise program somewhere, because I know that is the answer to a lot of my problems. It will help with the stress AND my energy level. But where will I fit it in? THAT is the question. Well, I'll just have to figure that out because if I don't, it's not going to be pretty.

Another thing about feeling this way, is I feel apologetic about EVERYTHING. I almost typed an apology for this post - "Sorry I'm such a downer, and I don't have anything to say..." Then I just start to sound pathetic.

On the bright side, one of my kids who hadn't spoken to me in days asked me if I wanted to have a playdate today.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

An Update

There is no picture day today - it is NEXT Tuesday. I don't know quite how I got that wrong, because, well being wrong isn't something that happens to me very often ;)

Also, got my SpotBot yesterday, and I'm here to tell you - I LOVE it. I need to get more special solution because it only comes with a little bottle, but it does the trick very nicely. My favorite part is that you set it on top of the spot, push a button and walk away while the little fella does all the hard work. It comes with a manual scrubbing attachment, but I've done enough manual scrubbing of Lulu's poopy place to last a lifetime, I'll just be hitting that automatic button, thank you very much.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. If that means an actual post here, you might have to wait - it's kind of a busy week!