Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to Basics

You know that Monday Night Football song where they scream "Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?!" I always felt slightly pleased with myself, because for me the answer was always a quiet, self-satisfied "nope", and I felt so happy knowing that I didn't have to be ready for some football, because my husband, bless his heart, didn't watch it. Oh, he played it in highschool, but he's just not one of those sports guys. We go to baseball games sometimes, and occasionally we'd catch basketball on the tube, but thank God, we didn't live or die by what games we got to see on television.

When I was growing up, my dad and my brothers LOVED watching sports. And it used to scare the bejesus out of me, because they were SCREAMERS. They'd get so worked up, they'd yell and shout and I was just a delicate flower and it made me jumpy. I HATED it when sports were on. I'd retreat to the back bedroom and play "Cockles and Mussles" on my chord organ, or head downstairs to play Barbie dolls.

So imagine my surprise when our son started to like sports. He's this sensitive, artsy rocker kid, but last year my brother-in-law and nephew watched him while my sister and I hit the sales. On Super Bowl Sunday. That was it. He had to watch the rest of the game at home, and for the last couple months has been BEGGING me to get him some kind of a football jersey. Well, we did a little school shopping the other day, and I picked up a Seahawks jersey on sale. How was I to know they suck? I don't watch football. But the neighbor kid informed me, but then added, "it looks nice though!"

Today, JH and his daddy were out playing a little football, so I took out the camera. And it's weird, because even though it's not a ritual here, it felt like Autumn had arrived.

Decision '08

Thank you, all, for your sound opinions. I will be sticking around here, as much as I would love to grab "flingingjello" while it's still available. Maybe that'll be the name of my sitcom about a wacky, aging, lapsed Lutheran mom and her adorable son and brooding, sensitive, kilt wearing husband. And their hijinx.
Or something.

You have all given me so much support and so much to think about (I'm so glad it was Rodius in line for the Dark Knight and not me, because you may have read about the mayhem the next day in your newspaper). Of course, your comments only point out what I've already known all along. That I'm so lucky to have stumbled across you all out in the ether, and I SO want to be Suttonhoo when I grow up. I'm just not there yet. I agree about the snark - I'm not comfortable around it even when I agree with it - and I know that I have been very snarky about Ms. Palin.

So instead of being sarcastic, I'll stick to the issues. As I've thought about it more today, I am more than sure that she was chosen, not because she's a woman (although that is icing on the cake), but because she will appeal to Evangelicals. And as such, that threat, as we know is far too real to not take very, very seriously.

You choose....

Dear Friends,
I am figuring out that, while I DO write quite a lot about my family, I get very emotional about topics I care so much about. If you came here and started reading on, say this day, you might be taken aback by what I wrote yesterday.

The thing is, I usually try to keep my "big feelings" (that's mommy code for "temper tantrums") out of my blog. I will occasionally bitch and whine about this and that, but for fear of making my guests feel uncomfortable, or worse unwelcome, I don't normally go there. But here's the deal: there is something that happens to me every four years. Something you have yet to witness here on my blog. I get very heated about politics. I believe strongly that it's not just politics, it's personal, and I take it that way. I try, oh, how I try, to keep my tongue, to speak civilly, to keep myself from getting heated over a hot topic, but I can't. It's physically impossible for me, and if I'm going to talk about it at all, I will not, no, CAN not hold back.

In the interest of keeping my in-real-life friendships (and some family relationships) intact, I have in the past, had to just forego talking politics altogether. I wish, OH HOW I WISH, that I could just make the wise choice and simply smile and say "well, I guess we just disagree", and believe it, and go on my merry way. But if I were to even open my mouth, just that tiny bit, I wouldn't be able to help myself, and you would get hit with a torrent of passionate, hard-wired Democratic thinking, and well, shoot, there goes the neighborhood pot luck. I'd never get asked back.

So that's one reason I'm thinking of starting another blog in addition to this one. One where I could rant and vent, and not offend those of you who come here to check in on my amazing family. What do you think? You could come here, get your dose of the antics of Joe-Henry and my spectacular kilt wearing hubby, and if you were brave, or like-minded, and wanted my opinion on politics, you could go to one of these blogs (these are the names I'm toying with).

Or is the Ass out of the bag on this? Should I just keep it all here, in one messy package? If you are a reader who just likes to hear about my take on parenting a seven year old while navigating the white waters of menopause, would you be willing to put up with me for another few months? Because once the election is over, I'll probably shut up about all of this.

But I make no promises.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Here You Go, Little Ladies

Hey, Friends! Guess who's stopped by my little blog? It's John McCain, he has a little present for us!

"Hi Girls! Here's a little something just for you. Too bad about Hillary, but looky here! Isn't this just super news?!

Isn't that just so gosh darned neat that she said Hillary showed "determination and grace" in her campaign? She didn't really mean it when she had said that Hillary was a whiner.

But, Golly girls, just, never mind that. Look at this - she's just plain folks! You like that, right?! A mom, just like you, she's just so used to being busy and productive. Holy Moly, I love her, she's just a breath of fresh Tundra air!

Isn't she adorable?

Okay, ladies, I had better skedaddle. I have big important man business to attend to. Gotta figure out who I'm going to appoint to the Supreme Court so we can get that pesky Roe vs. Wade overturned and that so-called "torture" deal okayed!

Enjoy your new Playmate!

I mean, play mate! Sorry, I got a little distracted there..... It happens a lot at my age! But don't worry, I've got just a Super Duper back up in Sarah "Snow Bunny" Palin to run this country if anything should happen to me. "

Thank you for stopping by, Senator McCain.

This is just WAY too generous of you.

Friday, August 29, 2008

HeadSong Friday: It's a TIE!

A blast from the past, a look at the future. In Honor of the Future President of the United States, Barack Obama - Ladies and Gentlemen, Sly and the Family Stone!

And just in case you McCain fans want to know what I think of his Vice Presidential choice:

Barack Obama at Invesco

Goosebumps on my Goosebumps

They are still there, over twelve hours later. I have to laugh at the conservative pundits who are saying things like, "he's too popular" to lead the country. Isn't leading all about inspiring people to follow? Or is it, as it has been for the last eight f*cking years, about saying "I don't really care", or if you want the actual quote:

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.


RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

Yeah.... well, I think people are pretty tired of these bandits who have laid waste to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and poo-poohed us when we protested their doing so.

No, it's not that he's popular. It's that he's listening to us. And that's something that hasn't happened in eight long years.

Oh, and mom, this is for you: McCain's choice for VP, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska? While she is young to complement his old, and female, to draw those Democrats who are disappointed about HIllary not winning the nomination, she is firmly anti-choice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Women

Image hosted @

1. Dolores, 2. Mom in the Snow II, 3. Getting a bath, 4. Pennsylvania Front Porch

I have been so lucky to have so many amazing women in my life, and to have come of age during a time of increasing opportunity for women in these United States. We're not there yet, not by a long shot, but we can see it from here, and it's up to us to keep the flame burning, not get complacent and let it go out. But that's another post.

This post is about Hillary and Barack and taking our country back.

My mama, and her family, were all yellow dog democrats. But I also recall, from my wee memory of her, that she was not entirely liberal in her views toward race, so I'm pretty sure that she would be spitting mad that Hillary is not the choice for the Democratic ticket.

That said, I think she would have been moved by her speech, and had she lived long enough, she would have come around on so many issues. But she died before the 70's, so she didn't get to see the progress that I've been privileged to witness.

My mother-in-law is a HUGE Hillary fan, and no supporter of Barack. But I know she missed her speech last night, because the woman just CAN'T slow down, and she had plans last night.

So this is for her. Mom, the only commentary I'll add is this: She was not just being gracious. It is a call to arms for the Democrats. And I promise you, she'll be around in four years.

What follows is the complete text of Hillary's speech at the Democratic National Convention:

I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win.

I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights at home and around the world ... to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president.

Tonight we need to remember what a presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you — the American people, your lives, and your children's futures.

For me, it's been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. Your stories reminded me everyday that America's greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people — your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.

You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and ... you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.

I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn't have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care.

I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care and said to me: "Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there ... and then will you please help take care of me?"

I will always remember the boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn't know what his family was going to do.

I will always be grateful to everyone from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush Administration.

To my supporters, my champions — my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits — from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

You never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history.

Along the way, America lost two great Democratic champions who would have been here with us tonight. One of our finest young leaders, Arkansas Democratic Party Chair, Bill Gwatney, who believed with all his heart that America and the South could be and should be Democratic from top to bottom.

And Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a dear friend to many of us, a loving mother and courageous leader who never gave up her quest to make America fairer and smarter, stronger and better. Steadfast in her beliefs, a fighter of uncommon grace, she was an inspiration to me and to us all.

Our heart goes out to Stephanie's son, Mervyn, Jr., and Bill's wife, Rebecca, who traveled to Denver to join us at our convention.

Bill and Stephanie knew that after eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home, and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead.

Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation's history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.

Putin and Georgia, Iraq and Iran.

I ran for president to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.

To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green collar jobs.

To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no longer have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance.

To create a world class education system and make college affordable again.

To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality — from civil rights to labor rights, from women's rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. To help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.

To make America once again a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.

To bring fiscal sanity back to Washington and make our government an instrument of the public good, not of private plunder.

To restore America's standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home and honor their service by caring for our veterans.

And to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.

Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.

Those are the reasons I ran for president. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.

This won't be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don't fight to put a Democrat in the White House.

We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a President who understands that America can't compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can't solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy.

We need a President who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.

Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. He knows government must be about "We the people" not "We the favored few."

And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.

He'll transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. He'll make sure that middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I can't wait to watch Barack Obama sign a health care plan into law that covers every single American.

Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home _a first step to repairing our alliances around the world.

And he will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama. Anyone who saw Michelle's speech last night knows she will be a great first lady for America.

Americans are also fortunate that Joe Biden will be at Barack Obama's side. He is a strong leader and a good man. He understands both the economic stresses here at home and the strategic challenges abroad. He is pragmatic, tough, and wise. And, of course, Joe will be supported by his wonderful wife, Jill.

They will be a great team for our country.

Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.

He has served our country with honor and courage.

But we don't need four more years ... of the last eight years.

More economic stagnation ... and less affordable health care.

More high gas prices ... and less alternative energy.

More jobs getting shipped overseas ... and fewer jobs created here.

More skyrocketing debt ... home foreclosures ... and mounting bills that are crushing our middle class families.

More war ... less diplomacy.

More of a government where the privileged come first ... and everyone else comes last.

John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn't think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it's OK when women don't earn equal pay for equal work.

With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.

America is still around after 232 years because we have risen to the challenge of every new time, changing to be faithful to our values of equal opportunity for all and the common good.

And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. I'm a United States senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women's rights in our history.

And so dawned a struggle for the right to vote that would last 72 years, handed down by mother to daughter to granddaughter — and a few sons and grandsons along the way.

These women and men looked into their daughters' eyes, imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment. To brave violence and jail.

And after so many decades — 88 years ago on this very day — the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote would be forever enshrined in our Constitution.

My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for president.

This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

How do we give this country back to them?

By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad.

And on that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice.

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they're shouting after you, keep going.

Don't ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.

I've seen it in you. I've seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military — you always keep going.

We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.

I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.

We've got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.

That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great — and no ceiling too high — for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other.

Thank you so much. God bless America and Godspeed to you all.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Little Bird Told Me:

Hummingbirds have always been my talisman. They always remind me of my dad - he loved to watch them, their busy little bodies, their delicate wings, their sense of humor. When my dad died, we had just moved to Los Angeles from Seattle days before, and I was questioning the rightness of our move. I felt lonely and removed and so, so sad. I was hiking in Runyon Canyon near our apartment in Hollywood, and one hummingbird came swooping down to my eye level, hovering there for about a minute, staying with me as I hiked. Soon it flew off, then returned with a friend, and they kept me amused all the way up the hill. I was so comforted by their presence, and took it as my dad's spirit telling me all would be well.

For the past few days we've been visiting family in California, but we've been waiting on pins and needles for news from our dear friends in Seattle. As I was sitting in their front yard, not one, not two but THREE hummingbirds spent an entire afternoon entertaining me. I knew in my heart that the news would be good. If you'd like to read something really uplifting, that will make you smile and cheer your heart, this is about the best news ever.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kitchen Shrine

Kitchen Shrine
Originally uploaded by anniemcq
I need every little bit of inspiration to do dishes and return, again and again to the kitchen: fix breakfast, fix snacks, feed cats, do dishes, fix snacks, get lunch, etc....
A while back I found this picture of my mom giving me a bath in the sink. It was just what the kitchen Goddess ordered. It makes me feel connected to my mom, though she passed nearly forty years ago, and it makes me feel connected to my son, knowing as I do that we both have sink baths in common.
The kitty was a gift from my sister-in-law. And the little vase with the heart that says True Love? A Valentine's gift from my husband. You bet it's true love - I'm doing the dishes!
That mundane task is a little easier, a little more soulful now.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Heaven, Heaven is a place
a place where nothing
nothing ever happens.

Talking Heads

This has always been one of Joe-Henry's favorite songs. So you would think that those lyrics might have influenced his ideas about the great beyond.

You would be mistaken, my friend.

According to my son, Heaven is a HAPPENIN' place. There is much to do, lots to see, and I for one hope I get in.
This is the conversation we just had at bedtime:

Him: "Mom, what do you think Heaven is like"

Me: Using my supermommy powers of deflection of tricky subject matter when I don't have all my wits about me "Well, I don't know. What do YOU think it's like?"

Him: "I think it's really beautiful. It's like a castle. Like the castle of Naboo, only prettier. And there are tombs there. But not, like, Mummy tombs, but tombs where you can pick them to be your favorite color. And they have them in a special room and you can sleep there if you want. And there's Angel Guards..."

Me: "Do you mean Guardian Angels?"

Him: "No, Angel GUARDS. They protect you and keep the bad guys out. And some of them are on top of the castle, and some of them row the kayaks in the river, and you can jump from this cool bridge that opens up like this (demonstrates his arms pulling away from one another) and into the kayaks and go for rides. And there are these faeries who wave these special wand things. They fly, because if they walked they'd step on the tombs and be all like 'ewww, get me a towel, I just stepped on a tomb'. But they wave their wands and dandelion poofs go out into the sky and it's really pretty."

Me: "It sounds so nice. I'd like to go to that Heaven."

Him: "Be good mom. I bet you'll make it."

Me: unspoken "I'm already there."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wanderin': For Kari G.

Since Kari G. took me to Neil Diamond last night (metaphorically speaking, of course, I don't want you all to get jealous!), and much mention was made of The Ray Conniff Singers, it set my mind wanderin' a Mighty path. I started thinking about The New Christy Minstrels, and I was outta control from then on.

My brain went from here:

to here:

to (warning: easy now) here.

Happy Sunday all. Have a great week!

Friday, August 15, 2008

HeadSong Friday: She Blinded Me With Science

You might remember, or you might not, because it shamefully happened so long ago, our gifts from The World's Best Mechanical Engineer. He is a dear friend of Suttonhoo's, who, at her sweet request, answered some questions from Joe-Henry OVER A YEAR AGO. Joe-Henry was going through that phase that some kid's go through: "How does this work?", and almost all his questions revolved around Max Train Doors. I was doing my best to keep up and answer them, but since I went into the arts for a reason (I suck at science and math), I was coming up short in the explanation department. Suttonhoo happened to be in town, and while nursing a bottle of wine, we discussed this and that, and it came out that she was on her way to visit The World's Best Mechanical Engineer. "Man, I wish I knew a mechanical engineer. Maybe then JH would be satisfied with my answers about how the doors on the Max work" She kindly offered to take JH's questions to the man himself, and lo and behold, it became this amazing series.

We managed one of the experiments, but then life intervened, and a combination of disorganization (having some but not all the items needed for the experiments), shifting interests (riding his bike, music, Star Wars, tying his shoes - just kidding about that last one - just wishful thinking on my part) and his new phase, which is basically "I won't do anything you tell me about, no matter how amazing or cool it is." have prevented us from going further.

And I have felt guilty about this. Because he's not just any old mechanical engineer, he's THE WORLD'S BEST, for Pete's sake, and he went to so much time and trouble to answer these questions. And the BOOKS! Do you remember these books that were a gift from he and Suttonhoo and his brother? We have been beyond blessed by the generous spirits of people we've never even met, and I can't make him do ONE EXPERIMENT.

So today, I got a gentle reminder from Suttonhoo, and darn it, we were going to do this experiment. We had all the items needed, except for the Mountain Dew bottle, but we managed to substitute that with a 2 liter Talking Rain bottle. We were all set, until I realized the duct tape had vanished. And it didn't matter how hard I worked to find it, it wasn't going to be found. And because it's so hot today, and someone in this house is having some kind of hormonal melt-down (and for a change, it isn't ME!), we did not get out the door to the store to get more duct tape. BUT, I did put in an order with Mr. Husband, and he will bring it on home to me, and we will all do this experiment this weekend, I SWEAR TO THOMAS DOLBY. And there will be pictures and a post.

But in the meantime, because Joe-Henry had gotten used to the idea that he was going to do something that didn't involve a computer or television, he was feeling a bit let down (this is where the hormonal screaming and crying come in), and "I WANT TO DO AN EXPERIMENT WITH FOOD COLORING! BWAAAAAHHHHAAAAAAAAHAAAAA" followed by many tears was on the bill for the floor show this morning. So, we did. An experiment with food coloring. And life is good again.

Food Coloring & Milk Experiment (I ran across this in The Oregonian a few days back, but can't find the link...)
with visual aides:

What you'll need:

Milk, food coloring, a shallow dish, Qtips, dish soap (and a paper towel nearby - there's milk and food coloring after all)

The original experiment said to use 2% or higher milk, but that's not how we roll around here, so we made do with 1% and it worked fine

Now pour the milk into the dish, and add a few drops food coloring of different colors. They said to make it not too far apart, so we did about an inch or two

Then take a Qtip and touch it to the middle of the milk. Nothing happens, right?

Now, add a drop of dishsoap to the other end of the Qtip

WOW! The drops scatter and move, making really pretty patterns in the milk

As you can see, it was a hit. And we managed to not get food coloring over every inch of the house.

The theory behind this is that the proteins and fat in the milk respond to the soap. It's all sciency and stuff. But it's really fun to watch. If you care to do this yourself, you can do as recommended by The World's Best Mechanical Engineer himself, and play this song while you perform some Mad Science....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Originally uploaded by anniemcq
Oh, yes, it's nearing the end of summer. How do I know? Because my son has had ALMOST enough time to learn how to press all my buttons at once. But it backfired on him today, in a great way. While looking for a movie to watch - even though I had told him we weren't going to watch a movie during the day because he really CAN get through the day without his face glued to some kind of screen - he discovered this Star Wars paperback. It was on the shelf, next to the family friendly dvd's.

All he said was "Wow."

Then it was dead silent in our house for over an hour. At about the half hour mark, he managed to climb up into the giant comfy chair, where he read upside down for another half hour. I'm marking it down on my calendar. Today is the day he first got completely lost in a book. He has always loved to read, but it's always done at bedtime - it's hard to get him to do it during the day for some reason. We read at night, and he's always begging for "just one more chapter", but during the day he gives reading the cold shoulder.

I don't know if he'll ever do it again - I DO know I can't tell him to, because that's a surefire way to make sure he'll never pick up another book - but I'm going to see if I can strategically place more inviting reading materials amongst our movies and computer games.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

HeadSong Friday: Kiss From a Rose

God, it's been an intense couple weeks. I can't really go into it much, because I'm completely wiped out, but it started with our fabulous friends visiting us from Seattle. That was wonderful.
They are the most loving, incredible people, and she has this shitty cancer, and cancer is just, so, well, it's just fucked, is what it is. I hate being so far away, and I really hate that I don't have a cure for cancer in my pocket. Because if I did? I wouldn't even care how rich that trick would make me - it wouldn't compare to healing my friend. But with all that money I'd make, I'd take us all to Paris, and we'd eat our weight in cheese and chocolate.

Then this week, a friend called, frantic, saying that people were following her. Her English is on the low end of the scale, so I wasn't sure what was up, but we raced down there, and as I spoke with her I realized she was paranoid. I managed to get her into the clinic today, no mean feat (and I am officially counting my blessings for health insurance - depending on the state or county for that stuff is like swimming upstream with a giant rock around your neck), and convinced her to speak to her husband. I did as well. They are from another country, and talk about watching what you say and how you say it. Man. I was so nervous that I would step outside the cultural boundaries and make things worse. But he's on board, and I'm hoping we'll be able to find her the help she needs. She's been a good friend to me, and her son is one of JH's good buddies.

So tomorrow, we have another round of out of town guests, and I'm giddy with happiness to see them, but I'm a little behind in having the house ready. But I figured that it might be better if I were relaxed, and somewhat normal, so tomorrow morning I'm going for a massage. A long overdue massage.

And tonight, I'm going to go to my happy place, Paris, and take you with me.
I'll set the scene.
Here is the view out our window....

Charley and I have been several times pre-JH, and those times were all so incredible, and romantic and culturally uplifting, but the visit to the City of Light that I was thinking about as I lay in JH's bed, eyes closed while he read out loud, was the time we went with Charley's mom, dad, sister and JH. It was for his parents 50th anniversary, and they took US, and we all stayed in an apartment near the Champs-Elysees. There were, since we were traveling with family, some interesting times. JH threw up our first morning there. All over the bed. My mother-in-law got sick. All the adults had little temper tantrums at some point, like you do when you travel with people. JH was an absolute DREAM to travel with. He stayed awake during the entire trip over the ocean, and when we landed spotted Tour L'Eiffel from the air, he said "MOMMY! I stayed awake all NIGHT!" But aside from his feeling yukky that first day, he was the perfect travel companion. He did all the museums, he helped us find some amazing parks, he loved the Metro, and he ordered one scoop of Vanilla ice cream every day. In French. Aside from trips to the ER where he was exceedingly brave, I've never been so proud to be his mom as I was on that trip. He charmed every hardened French waiter we had. They were a puddle of melted Vanille Glace in his hands.

So tonight, join me, won't you? We'll sit outside at Maison du Chocolate, and sip red wine, and eat some of these delicious morsels

and take in the sights and sounds, and feel the cool evening breeze on the streets of Paris. This song will be playing, because for some reason, every time I've been to Paris, they've been playing something by Seal.

Ahhhhh. Oui.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


There has been lots happening here at Casa McQ: A birthday, a visit from dear friends, a visit TO dear friends, a day trip to a major league baseball game, and oh the list goes on. We are preparing to host another round of dear friends this weekend and next, and are counting our lucky stars that far flung loved ones will come visit us in, "The 'Couve" (it's a local thing), or as my husband says "Vantucky".

Summer is waning, only so many days left until school starts and these long mornings will be a memory. I'd best git crackin' on the things I promised myself I'd get done during the summer. My to-do list isn't getting any shorter. The only thing getting shorter around here is my patience. Hot days + whiny, bored kid = Mommy needs to double her dosage. Or something.

But last night, I think I got a clue about JH's recent irritability. You know, in addition to the lack of sleep, lax schedule, etc. As I was passing his room, I peeked in to make sure he was asleep, and it looked as though he had been replaced by a basketball player. He will always sleep under the covers, even in summer, but last night it was so warm, he had kicked them off, and his legs! His legs were SO LONG. SO, SO LONG. He's been growing like crazy.

Yesterday as I played with my new lens that my sweet, amazing, studly husband got me, I took this pic. JH's sweet, fuzzy cheek. The one I used to playfully gum when he was a baby. It's still as inviting as a fuzzy peach, and I know before long, in a blink, it will be more manly, covered in whiskers instead of that silky fuzz. But I will always want to kiss it. That is the only thing that will never, ever change.

Friday, August 1, 2008

HeadSong Friday: The Secret O' Life

I thought about "Angel From Montgomery" today, the first line of which is "I am an old woman", but thought this really suited my mood much better.

As we say around our dinner table: "Thank you for the blessings"