Sunday, November 30, 2008

All Grown Up

Yesterday afternoon, after puttering, crafting, and driving playdates to and fro, I decided I needed a playdate of my own. With that strapping husband of mine. So I called in the cavalry, and my brother came over to hang with Joe-Henry. I bribed him with leftovers and pie, but honestly, I think he would have done it without it. He's just that nice.

So when the man came home, we headed out to see Quantum of Solace. With this yummy slab of man-pie:

Then we came home and watched Casino Royale, which I hadn't seen.

Two movies where no furry animals talked. In one night.

And then.... we had some fun.

I had sweet dreams last night.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bubble Man

Bubble Man
Originally uploaded by anniemcq
His name is Ron Winter, and I met him when I tagged along with my guys today. They had wanted to play some football, so I took the camera, knowing that Officer's Row in Vancouver always offers something to photograph, no matter when you go.

Today I struck gold when I met Ron, who introduced himself as Ol' Man Winter. He was making these magical bubbles, and I was mesmerized. He told me he started doing it when his kids were younger (they are in their teens and twenties now). He was peaceful and methodical, and told me the best book to get (the Bubble Book on Amazon), the best time to make bubbles (not when it's sunny, not when it's rainy, not when it's too windy) the best tools to use, the best formula, but honestly, I had lots more fun just watching him. It was so serene and zen-like, and the pictures made me squeal when I saw them.

Thanks Ron, for the serendipitous magic this afternoon.

check out the rest of the set here

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How We've Spent Thanksgiving So Far

How We Spent Thanksgiving
Originally uploaded by anniemcq
We started our Thanksgiving early. I made a feast for our little unit yesterday (we're going to my sister's today for seconds of everything!), and last night we broke in our new Monopoly board.

I HATED Monopoly as a kid. I never "got" it. I always lost. The only thing I like about it was getting the little thimble.

Now, even though I pretty much mopped the floor with everyone, I have discovered, that it's not that much fun to win, either. It's not a good time to be wealthy. People resent you. Also, I feel guilty for making people pay $600 when they land on New York Avenue. Perhaps I'm just too much of a bleeding heart liberal to get it.

But I will say this: no matter who won or lost (and officially, the game, which started last night, went for 3 hours, and went another two this morning is not over yet) it has been SO much fun to sit around the table with my boys and the kitties, laughing our booties off.

Grateful, is what I am.

Just plain grateful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks Giving

Originally uploaded by anniemcq
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Author Unknown

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Cowboy & Green Pipe
Originally uploaded by anniemcq
Joe-Henry found out a bit about his ancestry this weekend when we watched "The Searchers" with John Wayne. My husband's grandfather was a stuntdouble in the old Westerns, and they even named a character after him in that movie.

Charley McQuary's cowboy hat was given to his grandson Charley, who then gave it to his son Joe-Henry today. We had a spare hat around when his friend stopped by. He'd gotten some cap guns as a prize for being brave during his flu shot (after suffering through a week of the stomach flu). They've been playing at it for hours: they've set up a tent, a "campfire", playing mandolin & ukelele to keep the frost and loneliness at bay, and have been keeping us all safe here at the homestead.


Saturday, November 22, 2008


Nothing sweeter than kisses, unless they are kisses from an adorable French child.

Kisses to all of you!

Love(ly) words from Capucha on Vimeo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

HeadSong Friday: I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow

I was going to post another song entirely, something far cheerier, and something from this exact movie, but divine intervention popped this little gem right in front of my face on youtube before I could even look for the other one.

Sometimes, it's just that simple.

Now I know that George is never prettier than when he is being funny, but there is also something incredibly sexy about normal looking guys who can play the shit out of a guitar and enjoy playing music together. So, to top off the ice cream Sundae of silliness that is O Brother, Where Art Though?, I give you Dan Tyminski & Ron Block from Union Station. Dan was the voice of George in the movie.

Funny + talented = I feel all better now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Got Nothin'

I've been trying to come up with a post for a while, but we're still recovering from the crap. He's been to school this week, and seemed to be getting better, having one brief episode of diarrhea (which is one of my very least favorite words to spell), but still the occasional, brief tummy ache. But last night, he woke up in the middle of the night with explosive diarrhea, the last bout being very bloody. It was another long night for he and I, and Charley stayed home with him and took him to the Doctor (who said "he seems fine") and sent us home with a kit to collect a stool sample for the lab. The funny part is he DOES seem fine, although thinner, and he isn't having diarrhea anymore (well, of course not because it's not the middle of the night), and he's just chipper as all get out. He and Dad built Star Wars Legos today, and he and I had a little nap when I came home from work, and well, life, it just goes on.

But I can't shake the worry and it's just mine. No one else seems upset or worried, and honestly I don't want them to be. I just feel like I need to be isolated and I'll come out when things get better.

I'm frustrated and angry and tired. I'm entering the irrational worry place that comes with his syndrome. I know it's probably fine, and the blood was most likely irritation (although there was enough that it was pretty alarming), but I just wanted the doctor to say, "you know what, let me run some tests" to make sure it's not some nasty bacteria. I WANT it to be just bacterial. I don't want to think about what else it could be, but there it is, and it's all I can think about.

So that's what's in my head. I'm sorry.

On a positive note, I've been getting a lot of great reading done at night. Middlesex, by Geoffrey Eugenides. It's a fantastic read.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Sweet Boy

From this tiny baby

To this Big Kid

in the blink of an eye.

I love you so much, and feel so honored to be your Mom.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A New Day...

....and a full nights sleep. Which means good things, mostly. The good news: Joe-Henry woke up hungry, asking for a donut yesterday at around 4:00. I gave him some soup, which he kept down, and then some toast (with a tiny bit of jam....I know - risking it!), and he started to sound a little bit like his old self. No more moaning, he didn't sound weak, and in fact I could tell he was hungry because he was really obstinate. He slept all night, I did too (more on that in a minute) and wants to go to school today.

Good news, yes? I will send him to school, I will go to work, and of course, the bad news is I will spend the whole day worrying about him. Never mind that I know he'll be okay. I'm still going to worry.

I'm worrying also about my husband, who is suffering a really low period now. I can't say more than that - it's his story, not mine, but suffice to say that he could use some good thoughts. After the kidney infection and lack of sleep this week, there wasn't a lot of me left to offer any support to him.

It did feel good to get a full night's sleep, even though I wound up in the kid's bed again (I just fell asleep there and didn't move the rest of the night) and my back is killing me today. I'm hoping it's just from sleeping in his bed, and not the kidney infection rearing it's ugly head.

But sleeping a full night left me to dream, and I have to share a bit of the dialogue that I woke up with. I worked as some kind of numbers cruncher for a large company, but I had my hand full of tiny kid's books and stuffed peechee folders. Tom Hanks was my boss, and had given us a pep talk and a middle school friend that I haven't thought of in years was a co-worker. I was trying to organize my work, and put it in piles and I said "it feels so good to finally get that organized!" My friend lamented that she didn't know, exactly, what it was we did. It was like a slap in the face, a huge existential crisis in my dream. What DID I do? Then she repeated what Tom Hanks said to us, and it was his voice coming out of her mouth. "I understand that God's Tit is funny, but how does it pertain to what we do?"

Then my alarm went off. I hope you have as much fun trying to figure it out as I'm sure I will.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Worry Update

Managed to get through the whole day with no vomiting. Ate half a soda cracker, drank some water to stay hydrated.

Vomiting again tonight. He's so weak and flushed. Doctor tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is what being a parent is about.

The day had gone pleasantly enough: after staying home from work Monday, seeing the doctor and getting the needed antibiotics, I was feeling better. I'd had a great nights' sleep, and was looking forward to spending the day with my boy. It was a holiday, and we had things to do, but no real timeline to get them done.

We lounged in pj's until after 10:00, then dawdled some more. At about 11:30 we left the house to run errands. Goody bags and the loot to fill them for his party on Saturday; some decorative brads for a Christmas gift project. Then a stop at the bowling alley/arcade where the party would be. You see, we've never been bowling before. I was afraid we'd never find shoes to fit him. So we put it off, and then one day he talked us into going to the arcade, then I had the great idea that we should do a birthday party there. We didn't have it in the budget to pull off the normal birthday at Disneyland (we had been spoiled when we lived in LA and it was a reasonable thing to do, then managed to do a couple more after we moved to the Northwest, then this year with the economy we couldn't justify it), and he agreed that it sounded like fun. Except I had a worry deep down that we'd get there on Saturday and in front of all of his friends he wouldn't be allowed to bowl because there were no shoes that would fit him. So we fit in a "dress rehearsal" yesterday afternoon and found out that there ARE shoes that will fit him, and that we will be just fine. We didn't get to bowl though. It was a holiday and the lines were long. He was disappointed, screaming at me through tears that I was so mean, and I told him that when he turned eight years old he would have to find a new way to deal with disappointment, because tantrums were so beneath him.

We got home, he invited over the boy next door, but it was too rainy to play outside. The boy next door is ten, and will only play baseball or football with Joe-Henry, and only if he wins. He also has a Myspace page and a girlfriend and a cell phone and a way of letting Joe-Henry know that he is just too young to understand. The boy next door is a post all his own, and this one doesn't belong to him, it belongs to my boy.

He played with Legos after the boy left, he played on the computer a bit (a Lego racecar game - he doesn't have a Myspace page - I told him he has to wait until he's 30), I fixed dinner. It was a delicious meal: burritos with roasted corn, peppers and onions, black beans and shredded pork and melted cheesy goodness. He ate it all - every bite, which is, again, the subject of another future post. Getting this boy to eat is becoming a struggle. But last night, he ate it all, and earned the dessert he had wanted - Halloween candy, one piece.

After bath, he got into bed, we read a book, he wrote in his journal, we chatted about our day, and he went to sleep.

An hour later, I was in my own bed, watching SVU and drifting off to sleep when I heard him make that sound. The one that lets you know immediately that you will not sleep at all that night. He didn't do it in bed, we got him to the bathroom, and he managed to get it everywhere. I have to say, having done this for almost eight years now, last night's bout with the stomach flu was impressive for two reasons: it's smell, which was overpowering. It wasn't until this afternoon, after mopping last night, and scrubbing and cleaning that I finally found the culprit that kept hitting me in the face everytime I walked in the bathroom - two errant black beans and and three kernels of corn wedged under the tub. The second reason it was impressive was this: it didn't panic anyone. I repeat: none of us panicked. We all clicked into our appointed roles: Charley scooped up the towels, the rug, the clothes and hefted them down to the wash; I stayed up all night, holding his head, offering sips of water, sending the appropriate emails/calls to my employer, making myself comfy at the end of his bed; and Joe-Henry rolled his eyes everytime he felt it coming, like a teenager enduring a parent's embarrassing story for the hundred and third time. Even the kittens knew better than to pounce in the middle of the night. They slept curled at my feet like purring slippers, mewing when he would stir, then settling down again when he did.

After round number five (or was it eight?), when he had nothing left but dry heaves, he wiped his nose and sighed.

"This sucks, Mom."

"I know."

"Would you read to me?"

"Sure, sweetie. What do you want?"

"Nothing about food. How about Winnie-the-Pooh?"

So I did. I read Winnie-the-Pooh, and Shel Silverstein. Poetry, all night long, feeling a bit like a Mommy-Sheherazade, reading to keep the barfs at bay. We both even managed to come up with extemporaneous poems about the other, his rhyming "beautiful mother" with "another", and mine rhyming "vomit" with "comet". It got a weak laugh.

At five a.m., he finally, finally slept. Fitfully - there were two more rounds to go before we'd see the end of it. At 10:00 a.m. we crawled into our bed and he watched Sesame Street and Maggie and The Ferocious Beast. He hasn't watched them in almost two years. I managed a small nap, and he finally drifted off at 12:30 and is still asleep now at 3:15. He'll wake up hungry, I hope. But he's asked that we not have burritos again for a while. I'm in complete agreement. We'll start with some broth and crackers and see how it goes.

Staying up all night with a sick kid is never high on my list of things I want to do; seeing him suffer rips my heart into tiny pieces. But it's an honor, just the same.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lead Us.

Much has been said about our new President, and the job that hangs like the Sword of Damocles above his head. There is so much mess to clean, not to mention the day to day job of just running the country.

But we must remember - we elected him only to lead the way.

The hard work is not his alone.

It's up to us to put our hands and our brains and our hearts to the task.

We have a leader. Now it's up to us to not only follow, but follow through.

Photograph uploaded from Flickr
Joe Crimmings Photography
Young Obama Supporter in Des Moines, IA

Monday, November 10, 2008

Laughter, The Best Medicine.

So, last night, I was feeling a little bloated about 8:00 p.m., and by 10:00 had a back ache, and by 11:30 I was in so much pain I couldn't get comfy. The doctor thinks it's a a) kidney infection or b) a kidney stone. The pain was excruciating while lying down, but when I got up and moved around and took a bath it got better. Which meant I slept about an hour last night.

So today I stayed home from work, and slept and caught up on 30 Rock and some Daily Show goodness, and watched my kittens pounce all over each other.

I am so in love with them. They have very distinct personalities, but together we call them Action Kittums! They have a theme song and everything.

It goes like this:

Action Kittums! They're Kittums of Action! Action Kittums - Watch out - here they come!

So this is Bosco - she is the sweet one. She has lots of fun pouncing and can hold her own in a tussle, but she loves the lovin' and has the biggest motorboat purr you ever heard.

She loves to chase things and gets REALLY distracted by her tail. I once watched her chase her own tail for five minutes. She is very curious and loves to look out the window at the birdies.

This is Stripes.

She has two speeds: hyperdrive and off. She wakes up and goes - fast and furious - and I'm convinced that should the curtains decide to attack one day, they will be no match for her.

Both cats are polydactyl, or have an extra thumb on all paws. Which will come in handy when tax time rolls around, or when they need to open the refrigerator in the middle of the night.

And if you need a dose of something that's good for you: how about some kitty lovin'? These little girls, curled up next to you in bed, both motors going? As my dad used to say, "it's good for what ails you!"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dear Mr. President

This letter to President-Elect Obama was written by our dear Rodius, and might be the best thing I've read in a long time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

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I'm too nervous to come up with a title.


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Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Art of Listening

From the musical "Working", based on the book of the same name by Studs Terkel, who died this week at 96.

He reminded us that listening to one another can be an art. Thanks, Mr. Terkel. You were a rare bird in this cynical age.