Monday, July 27, 2009

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, It's Hot

Triple digits. No air conditioning. Visiting in-laws, who I worry are miserable and wilting in the heat. Trying to figure out how to rectify it.

But... but still there is magic. We went to a Mariners game yesterday in Seattle. It was hot, but our seats were amazing, and in the shade and breezy, and even though the Mariner's played horribly, Joe-Henry, they had a Mariner's jersey giveaway for the kids (sweet!), Joe-Henry got to have cotton candy, and the kids got to run the bases after the game, and we had a great time.

After that we headed to Charley's cousin Sam's house for a mini family reunion. It was amazing - their home is so beautiful and homey, and sitting in their backyard chatting was so relaxed. Some of them we hadn't seen in years, and some I'd never met. Stories told of childhood memories, while our children made memories of their own. Just an incredibly special time.

A bit of sight seeing in Seattle today before we came home to the hottest house on the planet. (Have I mentioned that it's hot here? )

Tomorrow is sort of a relaxed day - JH has swimming lessons, and then tomorrow night we're supposed to go to a Portland Beaver's game, where we have really good seats in the setting sun, where I'm sure we'll be slow roasted like spinning pigs on a spit, but then WEDNESDAY, we go to Astoria, OR, my favorite seaside town in the Northwest to cool off for the day. Wheeeeee.

Then my in-laws will head out on Thursday. At which point the heat spell is supposed to break. I'm sorry, Mom and Dad. If it's not too cold here when you come, it's too hot. I promise we don't arrange it that way on purpose.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Memories

At bedtime the other night I was telling Joe-Henry about things I did during the summer when I was a kid. Every summer we'd go to my Aunt & Uncle's cabin at Hayden Lake, ID. It was a one room affair, with beds stashed in the corner, a sink for doing dishes, a pot bellied stove for warmth (an electric range for cooking), and an outhouse. No shower, no phone, a teeny black and white tv that got crappy reception, and every few days we'd drive to get drinking water from a freshwater spring. (The running water for dishes was pumped directly from the lake) At night, I'd fall asleep on the couch, listening to the adults playing poker and laughing at the crazy names they came up with for each new hand. During the day, we'd swim in the lake, get out on the dock and warm up, and get back in the water again. All day long. If it was too cool or too early to swim, I'd hike around the property (by myself!), or walk the dirt road to my other Aunt & Uncles' cabin half a mile away. At lunch time we'd come up and eat tuna sandwiches and Ruffles potato chips on the porch (there were two, which could both be used for accommodating extra sleepers) and listen to the radio. I remember this song playing a lot one summer, and every time it gets uncomfortably hot, I play this song and remember a time when the heat didn't make me crabby.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Small Town America

Growing up in a small town, there were things I couldn't wait to shake off when I left. The gossip for one. I hated the feeling that people just didn't have anything better to do than talk about everyone else. The conformity for another - the most important thing to be was just like everyone else. The older I got, though, I realized that those things happen in the city, too, just on a bigger scale.

So now I'm a grown-up, and by some circuitous route, I wound up back in a small town. I loved the big city, I miss the big city - the pace, the culture, the friends I made there. But I've fallen for the charms of this little burg we call home. I've got some wonderful family here, and friends that I love, and my son is enjoying the charms of a small town - riding his bike around town, playing baseball, and excelling at a public school where everyone knows his name (and not because he's in trouble!).

Yesterday was one of those perfect days. There was a baseball game, first of all.

He's been playing machine pitch baseball this summer and LOVES it. The first three games there are no outs, they don't keep score, and they keep pitching until the kids get a hit. The coaching staff is fantastic, and the emphasis is on learning, teamwork, and most of all, having FUN. It was the second game yesterday, and the thing I love most about watching these kids is that they are all heart. They cheer for each other from their toes, and it's magic to see the looks on their faces when they get a hit, or catch a ball. The field staff always acknowledge a job well done, a good effort and encourage them when they are struggling.

After the game, there was a nap on a big bed by a breezy window, and then we hopped into a car loaded with instruments and headed for Pop Culture, our little mainstreet soda shop hang out for an open mic.

Joe-Henry hasn't performed at an open mic by himself in almost three years. He's going through a serious perfectionist streak, and it's breaking my heart. But he decided he wanted to perform on his yamaha electric piano. He practiced some songs he composed, and he killed. He had his own cheering section - my brother and his girlfriend came, as did two of our good friends. A kid couldn't feel more supported. But it was the rest of the crowd, the ones he didn't know that really made him feel proud. It was a pretty eclectic group of musicians and they all cheered and high-fived him, and his smile couldn't have been bigger when he was done.

Charley performed two of his original songs, too. His songwriting and performing skills are so amazing, and I love hearing him in front of a crowd.

Afterward we stepped outside to see our little mainstreet packed with people watching beautiful vintage cars "cruising the gut".

It was a step back in time, and it made me remember and appreciate all the truly GREAT things about growing up in a small town.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hello, I Must Be Growing Now

Well, it finally feels like summer here. The temperature is heating up after a lovely, cool, breezy June & early July; swimming lessons & baseball practice have begun; the berries are ripe. And my son is either a) exhausted, b) sobbing, c) screaming, d) hungry, e) bored, f) growing like crazy so all of the above. He is also incredibly sweet and snuggly at times, like this morning. This morning at 3:00. Until 4:20.

Seriously, sometimes I think there must be something wrong with the way I'm parenting. Surely other parents don't have to deal with such an argumentative child when telling them to turn off the tvcomputerWii? Surely other children are eager to help around the house and takeouttherecyclingmaketheirbedpickuptheirtoyscleanoutthecatlitter? Surely these children would be thrilled to playa game or go to a movie and not just want to layhereandwatchtv? (Yes, I'm being facetious. I know other parents go through this.) I feel like if I look closely, I can see everything he's learned melting out through his ears.

But oh, when I step back! I can take in how HUGE he is. His legs are SO long. Which makes me laugh, because my husband and I are not known for our supermodel gams. He has our short-ish torso on top of these STILTS. He doesn't have any growing pains, but his KT leg is giving him more fits than usual, getting tired and heavy. I know that it drags him down at times, but I also know he will use it as an excuse if he doesn't want to do something. Going to the grocery store?! "Mom, my leg gets too tired! I can't!" But he can manage to stand in the outfield playing baseball for an hour and a half just fine.

It doesn't help that he has developed a crazy sweet tooth. Not that I let him have all the sugar he wants - I'm no fool. I know that pouring sugar down his throat when he is going through these growth spurts is the equivalent of pouring a tanker of gasoline on a campfire.

Yesterday, I think I saw the worst of it. It started in the usual way: time to get off the Wii. It's a lesson you'd think he'd have learned - he had to go 5 days without Wii, computer and tv because he was disrespectful and not listening when I told him to stop. He'd been on for over an hour, he was turning into a robot. When I gave him 5 minutes to finish his game and told him to come outside with me and read a book, he went sort of nuts. "MOM - there are BEES out there. WASPS!!! I'm NOT going out there". When he made it outside, he cried like crazy. When we came inside, he cried even more - screaming, yelling, SOBBING. I walked away to the dining room, where I tried to gather myself, stacking the mail, trying to breathe. Charley called, and when I tried to tell him what was going on, he said he'd let me go so I could deal with it. I misunderstood - I thought he was giving me the brushoff instead of actually letting me go so I could deal with it. It was my last straw. As I stood there stacking mail, and JH continued to yell at me from his chair in the living room, I said "I quit". As I turned to head downstairs for some peace and quiety, JH turned up the volume, and the sobbing started in earnest. "MOM!!! I LOVE YOU - YOU CAN'T QUIT! YOU'RE THE BEST MOM EVER!"

You know, that shitty parenting sundae just isn't complete until you top it off with a nice, juicy guilt cherry.

But lest you think I'm wallowing, don't worry. I think we're through the worst of it. We actually had a great afternoon after all the sturm and drang. I think maybe he just needed to let it out. He hasn't really cried like that in a long time. And I've noticed since our friend Annie's memorial service, he's been extra clingy, so I think, in addition to all the crazy growing he's doing, he's processing some pretty huge emotions as well. We all are.

Daddy's off today, so JH will get some quality time with him while I go to work this morning. And hopefully, he'll sleep in. So far, so good.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


In Flight I
Originally uploaded by anniemcq


for dayna

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Raspberry Chapeau

Raspberry Chapeau
Originally uploaded by anniemcq
it's summer. the raspberries are huge. also, I'm going a little nutty.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Results Are In...

I love it. It's totally wash and wear, although Brittney did use a curling iron on three pieces on top that are stick straight, but I can handle that.

She's phenomenal that Brittney. If you are in the Portland area, give her a jingle at Parkwest Studio.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A New Me

Ladies and Gentlemen. I am bored with my hair. I'm bored with my shlumpy body. Yawnyawnyawn. So the first thing I'm going to do when I get my ass up out of this chair is take a shower and go pick raspberries. And ride my bike. And workout with a superhunky personal trainer. In my mind.

But first, I need your opinion. It matters to me. I'm getting a hair cut tomorrow. I always go in and give her sort of a vague description of what I want, and she always does a great job. Honestly, she makes me look better than I should. Or actually do. Then when I get home, it all goes to hell. And I'm yearning, as I always do this time of year, for something short and easy to care for. Something I could just run my fingers through and be done with. The cut I have now is a really good cut, and when I leave the salon, it looks fantastic because she actually styles it. With a flat iron and everything. But here's the thing: I have a great natural wave in my hair and I NEVER use the flat iron. Well, maybe I'll use it twice in between haircuts.

And the thing I've noticed is that my hair texture has changed. It's straighter and heavier on top (meaning flat) and wavy on the bottom. Kind of like my body shape. Also, I've got jowls now. I'm really hoping that someday soon, jowls will be in fashion. Like super-puffy collagen lips. I fear, though, that it won't happen.

I"M TRYING TO AGE GRACEFULLY, I REALLY AM. IT'S NOT WORKING. So help a girl out. Help me pick a hair style. I don't know how to put a poll on my blog, so just leave your comment and I'll do the math myself. MWAH. You are all such lovely, beautiful, young people.

Here's me now: notice the gigantic forehead. The angle really detracts from the jowls, but look at the lovely EYEBAGS! And yes, I know, a haircut cannot do anything to take away those eyebags. but still....

We'll call this one A.

So here are some other options:
Option B. This pert and adorable Meg Ryan do.

Option C. Lithe & Lovely Mandy Moore hair

Option D. Spunky Martina McBride

Option E No One I Know

Option F No One I Know 2

Our last hope, uh, option G

OH!, and if you have a minute you should run over to my friend Robin's blog, because not only is she an amazing writer, she has super cute hair, but I'd be afraid to go that short, so just go and read her blog because she's a lovely person and an amazing writer!

If you have more important things to do with your time, I understand, but you SHOULD REALLY TRY TO CONSIDER THIS BECAUSE I'M GETTING MY HAIR CUT TOMORROW MORNING AT 9:00.

Big hairy love to all of you.