Tuesday, May 31, 2005

cat calls

We were getting ready to leave the house to go to the Children's Museum (today's adventure) and I told Max he looked handsome. Then I let out a whistle. Joey looked at me and said," I can't whistle". He made a little "whoop-woo" with a high pitched voice. Then Max gave a real cat call whistle to match mine. Joey looked at my lips and said, "Put your air in me", and he opened his mouth and put it right over mine. I whistled, and then he used my air to try to whistle. Nice idea, even though it didn't work.

Monday, May 30, 2005

gelato is yummy Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

unemployed, once again

Just a few brief notes about Summer Vacation - Day 2.

Today was my last day taking care of young Adam. The kids and I all went out for gelato and had a fun time, laughing and taking pictures of our last day together with our little adopted baby brother. Around 1:00 I handed him over to his lucky mom who gets to hear all his new words, watch his early steps and runs, and develop his personality as a wonderful stay-at-home mom. I wasn't as sad as I thought I'd be, because now Toni is free to hang out with me during the day! We have plans to go walk at Town Lake as much as we can next year, so I'll get to keep my eye on young Mr. D.

I thought that I'd be noticing lots of empty space in my cabinets and house after I packed up Adam's gear for Toni, but surprisingly my house is still as tiny and cramped as ever!

After Adam left, I appreciated the fact that my three kids are really pretty self-sufficient. They kept themselves busy while I did a major bathroom cleaning. It's one of those little freedoms in life that I'd taken for granted before having Adam. (Maybe because Joey was little then, I never had this freedom) It's the freedom to start a big, messy job with kids in your care. While Adam was here I never felt safe getting the Comet out, having toilet brush accessable, and making a big mess full of chokables in the bathroom. But today, I strapped on the iPod (love it!) and rocked out while I did a power scrub. I felt light, happy and productive.

Joey wandered in and eventually we were sitting on a stool, each of us with one earphone, listening to music. Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits came on. It's a song about two lovers, but some of the words made me tear up as Joey grinned and hammed his way through the music. We got to the line: "I love you like the stars above, I'll love you till I die", and I was just so happy to be there, singing with my kid.

"I can't do everything, but I'd do anything for you - can't do anything 'sept be in love with you"

"I'd do the stars with you, anytime"

"You and me babe, how 'bout it"

Being here has it's moments.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

First Day of Summer

Today the kids and I:
Went to the mall, so Emma could take her report card to her new, favorite, overpriced girls' clothing store, Limited Too. With a report card of passing grades you get a five dollar discount on a $24 t-shirt. I am starting to get a glimpse of the difference of raising a daughter versus two boys who don't care what they wear.

After the Limited Too, we went to Picture People for our free sitting and portrait. I have used a coupon to get my one free 8x10 about 6 times now and I don't even think they try to sell me prints anymore. They check out my history on the computer and give me this glance like, "cheapo...." That's their problem, if they keep putting coupons out where I can get them. Anyway, I usually stick to the white background shot of the three kids. The Chipper Photographer always tries to talk me into colored backgrounds and props, but I know I'm not going to even consider buying them. Nor am I in the mood to buy shots of each child individually, but after explaining this to Chipper 18-year old Photographer for the sixth time, I decided she could knock herself out and shoot whatever the hell she wanted. Ultimately she got Joey to take his shirt off and put his sunglasses on top of his head and pose on a mini surf board. Whatever. Joey is such a ham, he jumped on the board and immediately struck a surfer dude pose. After that we went out into the mall to kill an hour and wait for the prints to be developed.

From there we visited Build-A-Bear, Pottery Barn Kids, a bookstore. Then, when it was time to check the pictures, and I'll be damned if the Joey on the surfboard wasn't the cutest thing I've ever seen. I ended up falling into the trap for two extra sheets of prints, so maybe Chipper-18 year old-Photographer knew what she was doing.

Then it was off to the Capitol for lunch at the Capitol Grill. That is my kids' favorite restaurant. It is a very utilitarian type of place. The food appears to be subsidized because you can get a whole club sandwich for about two bucks. And the decor is very corporate-looking. But this is where the movers and shakers make our laws. A lobbyist even came over to say hi to us. They have pizza, hot meals, sandwiches, salad bar, but best of all for the kids, a soft serve ice cream machine. The first time we went there it was a Friday afternoon, and they were cleaning out the machine and you could fill up a bowl with as much as you could possibly stuff in it, for about $2.00. I built a structurally sound confection about 8" tall. Since it wasn't Friday today, we just paid by the ounce, but the kids still dream.

Besides the ice cream, they love the building itself. Emma always fantisizes that we've moved into the Capitol and it is our house. Max loves to lean way too far over the railing in the upper rotunda making my legs feel weak. Joey likes the stairs. Then there's the best part of our visit, the vast expanse of thick lawn to run on. Undulating hills of green. I ought to just drive over every day and enjoy all that irrigation the citizens of our great state have paid for.

Our last stop was an art gallery. They loved it, but we were all getting tired, so we came home. The first day of summer celebrated. I dream that we can have an adventure a day this summer. But who knows, I get lazy, the kids get tired. But we'll see what we can do, stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

yippee! yikes!

It's the last day of school!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

my book club

This morning I dropped the kids off at school. I saw my very funny friend, Robbin, and told her that this weekend we should meet for margaritas. (Since she missed the big birthday bash she's owed me a bit of her time for about two weeks.) She countered with, "Group of moms, Santa Ritas, tonight for margaritas, it's a power meeting from 8 to 9". Later I got her email,

Ladies-lets fortify ourselves with a quick rita tonight at Santa Ritas @ 26 doors. Not a late night but a deep breath ! hope to see you there ! robbin

I invited two extra friends to join us. One was a parent whose child Max has become good friends with this year, and one was a mom who I know from the preschool.

When we got there, my two guest mommies met the crowd of regulars, and we immersed ourselves with 'ritas and conversation. And while I listened and chipped in on the various conversations, I realized that women in any group find a common ground to talk about. We represented the spectrum from struggling to financially comfortable, from ultra liberal to ultra conservative politically, but what we had in common to talk about was mothers and friends with breast cancer, our kids during the summer, hunky guys on Desperate Housewives, our libidos, our Mommy Altzheimers--dubbed "Half Heimers" by one mom.

I've gotten togther with several different groups of ladies this year for celebratory margaritas. Always different groups, different reasons. They included once, after finishing the big fund raiser at the preschool, once for my birthday, once with my Par-tay trip girls, and now, for celebrating the end of a school year and beginning of summer with the kids. In each case, the women appreciated a chance to knit a web of support a little tighter.

I worry about husbands that don't make a safety net. Maybe it's just that men don't need it, or ignore the need, but it's as if Moms feel and appreciate having heard and told the stories they all share. That sounds corney, but I can't describe it any better than that.

Anyway, we decided tonight that we needed regular meetings-- especially this summer-- weekly!

Perhaps a we'll have a field trip thrown in for good measure, like tubing -- without kids -- on the Guadalupe, swimming -- without kids -- at Hamilton's Pool. We laughed that we could call the weekly meetings for margaritas our Book Club. (But since David reads this weblog from time to time, that won't really work for me..) But I'll call it the Book Club anyway. Because even if it's a ruse for drinking margaritas, a real Book Club, a Bunco night, or whatever, we all need it. All us Mommies need to get out and visit and cuss and relax. Like we learned in High School with our girlfriends, like we will be continuing as we get older and older, needing the women in our lives to tell stories to and find out that we're all going through the same stuff.

Monday, May 23, 2005

This is for the friend who couldn't see this picture when I emailed it to her. Posted by Hello

Poor Bree, poor Rex. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

pretty pretty try-its... Posted by Hello

Joey and his wonderful preschool teacher on the last day of school. Posted by Hello

David is horning in on the show. Emma after her triumphant dance recital. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Merry Christmas

I ran into a mom who I hadn't seen in a while. We were comparing how overwhelmingly busy our schedules are this week..... baseball trophy parties, Brownie Awards, Splash Day, Field Day, Pizza Party for Max, Picnics...... aargh. Then Connie pointed out what another mom told her. The end of the school year feels as stressful as the holidays, without the big joyous payoff OF a holiday. Amen, sister.

too much junk

OK, Elisa was reading my mind when she posted her idea about de-cluttering her house. I'm on a tear right now. I am currently eyeballing the toybox in the TV room. I had to dig to the bottom yesterday looking for a hackey sack we used to own. En route I found that all those toys are just stored there, never played with, and really not that great. Of course, the hacky sack, was not present.

My kids have always been more interested in drawing, making tents and teepees, outside toys and now, video games, than playing with any specific toys and I couldn't be happier about that. I especially noticed it after Max's birthday. People asked, what does he like? And I really couldn't name anything. Sure enough, after the party, we had a stack of gifts, and he was sort of indifferent about opening and starting to play.I quietly put the unopened items up in my closet, thinking I'll pull them out over the course of the summer, but now I wonder...

One day I took a box of little knicknacks out of Max's closet, and went through the box with him, asking if there was some stuff we could pass along to other kids. He very easily picked out about 50% and never looked back. David was worried that Max was saying yes, to my repeated "can we get rid of this?" just to make me happy. So David would follow up with Max, "are you SURE you don't want this ....". Max was always sure.

I remember seeing a talk show (like Oprah) or something a long time ago. It had a man who was a dumpster diver. He might have been homeless as well. The interviewer asked him, how can you live without having any stuff? And this guy said, I'm like everyone else. I have sentiments, but I can have the feelings without having the object.

I notice clothes in my closet that I will never wear again,. that I save because I can remember wearing them to a party, or to an old job, or when one of my kids was little. I have a lot of kid stuff that falls into that category. But I've got the kids! And in my life right now, I spend a lot of time with all the objects in this house, cramming them into every available nook and cranny I can find, buying bins, and boxes to sort and organize and stack. When right there, waiting for me, are my three kids. They've proven they don't care about that junk, they'd just rather be building a fort -- with me! -- instead of watching me clean the room.

It's all going away.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Brownie Sundaes

Our last Brownie meeting is coming up on Thursday. So I spent the afternoon yesterday getting all my girls' badges ready for the "Court of Awards". I am unexperienced with Cub and Boy Scouts (that's about to change) but as for Girl Scouts, the trinkets, and badges and prizes are a big part of the program. I don't know if my kids (especially my daughter) care about getting the badges, but I've been very motivated to fill up their little vests this year. Did I mention that I was a competative little badge junkie as a child? So last night, I took ribbons and stapled all the girls' badges down them, affixed the one year star pins, then their cookie patches and camp patches. Fourteen ribbons full of loot looked so pretty all spread out on my living room floor.

We will be having an ice cream social for the final meeting, and brownies to eat.

It's really wierd, Emma is starting to do things that I can remember doing as a kid. Brownies, hand clapping games, knock knock jokes, lip gloss, having matching shirts and shorts with a best friend. Sometimes I worry about what's coming, the big hurt of losing a best friend and feeling adrift, and later, losing a boyfriend. Ouch. But right now it's just the cute, easy girl stuff, and brownie sundaes.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

waddya want honey?

Here is a really cool website that will tell you what kind of English you speak.

I clocked in with 65% General American English, 30% Dixie and 5% Upper Midwestern. How did I get any Upper Midwestern? Must have been the Minnesota people who worked in our Seattle office. Polluting my speech patterns!

Anyway, just recently I was having a conversation with a friend. They had a potluck volunteer appreciation meal at the kids' school on Friday. I am a potluck junkie. I love them, and I was telling this to my table mate. We also talked about how cafeterias (Luby's, and Furr's) are like potlucks, with the salad lady saying "waddya want honey?' over and over. Then I told everyone that I made a big discovery during my decade in Seattle. They don't have cafeterias up there! In fact, when I asked about where to locate one, my friends looked at me like I was crazy. Someone said that I could go to the hospital, that they had a cafeteria there.

No, no, no. I explained what I meant, Luby's or Furr's, the lady with the hairnet and "waddya want honey" and my coworkers still looked at me like I was crazy and making a story up about cafeterias. I must have just remembered this after taking the English quiz, because they also said "soda" instead of "coke" when referring to a 7-up or Dr.Pepper. They had weird pronunciations of common words, a-DULT instead of how I say AD-ult. I started off saying re-con-ize and ended up leaving Seattle saying re-cog-nize. David thinks the "adult" and "recognize" were always mispronunciations on my part, but he grew up in Austin, and they don't even drawl much down here. Of course, "ya'll", "fixin' to" and saying "hey" for "hi" made my Seattle friends comment as well.

My friend at Friday's potluck grew up in New York. She said there aren't any cafeterias up there either.

Beyond the time I've spent thinking about cafeterias, it was a pretty busy weekend. Baseball game for Max, dance recital for Emma. This week will be insane, lots of end of the year activities crammed in the last full week of the school year. I'm counting down the days......

Friday, May 13, 2005

somewhere south of Temple, I think Posted by Hello

there! Posted by Hello

almost..... Posted by Hello

my sweet ride

First off, once I start reading people's blogs, I want some fresh news DAILY. (are you listening, sisters?) Anyway, so now I sort of feel a nagging sensation to write some bit of junk each day to keep my legions of fans happy.

A few weeks ago I made reference to my red Subaru wagon, and I intended to post a photo of it (with my political stickers on back) right away. I've almost feel like I've been neglecting my car by not making good on that promise (am I weird, or what?) and I still can't post a photo today. The only time I remember to take a picture is when I'm typing late at night, and you know, it's dark out there.

But I do have a significant photo of the interior of my car. It was the instant she rolled 100,000 miles. I was driving the kids up to Mom and Dad's and we were on I35 North. I decided that the moment the odometer rolled over I'd do something significant, like take a photo and name the car. So, behold the photo, and know that my car is named Ruby. The kids were very underwhelmed as we had the naming ceremony, and I think Julie's term for me when I got to the Metroplex was "dork" or something like that. Mom and Dad just pointed out how dangerous it is to take a photo while driving the car.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lame on iPod

OK, so I've had my iPod mini for a week as of today. And between the two computers in the house, one is not hooked up to the internet and has a skipping CD player, the other hooked to www but with an old operating system that I can't load iTunes into, I'm stuck. So I'm waiting for Amazon to send Windows XP, and loading up some of our CD's through David's skippy CD. Anyway, last night I went looking around Yahoo Music for songs to download when I (ever) get my computer running.

I surfed around old songs that I remembered from growing up: ELO (Telephone Line), Kansas and Styx Greatest Hits Albums. Then I delve a little further back, looking for music that used to play in my Dad's Pharmacy in the late 60's early 70's. I was specifically thinking of "Up, Up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon". I found that, then found an album called "25 All Time Bubblegum Hits" or something like that. BINGO! It has songs like Sugar, Sugar by the Archies, and "artists" like The Partridge Family and The Monkees. I know Sugar, Sugar was my all time favorite song when I was around Max's age. Bubblegum Hits led me to the group, The Strawberry Alarm Clock and their hit "Goodmorning Starshine". My mind was reeling as I jumped to "Pettycoat Junction Theme Song" (All Time TV Favorite Hit Theme Songs) and the K-Tel and Ronco catalogs.

I filled up two sides of a piece of paper with scribbled names, arrows, titles, albums, artists. I even had "Halloween Sound Effects" on the list. And then it hit me. I can go backwards to a wealth of personal music heritage, but since having kids, I can't think of more than six artists that I have "discovered" to listen to. I'm being generous with myself about there being six! I think whatever I've bought new, has been a later (lame) album of someone I knew and discovered in college.

David listens to a Seattle Public Radio station through his work computer. I listen to KUT (where eclectic means Ethyl Merman mixed with Gregorian Chants) or KGSR which seems to be stuck with me in the Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson zone. I used to be so cutting edge and now I'm writing emails to mom to borrow her music!!!! And sadly, when I discover someone I like (ever heard of Beck?) I'm picking up albums of groups that have already disbanded, or put out their breakthrough albums 5 years ago.

lame, lame, lame.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Bad Word

Riding in a car with Max.

Max: Mom, what's that very bad word?
Mom: Which one?
Max: The "f" one.
Mom: Um, you know a bad "f" word? Why don't you tell me?
Max: No, mom, you say it.
Mom: I don't like to say bad words, tell me the word you are thinking of.
Max: It's that worst one.
(I'm thinking -- what did he hear at school today)
Mom: Tell me the letters...
Max: f
Mom: Yeah
Max: frt

(sigh of relief) Mom: Yes, you're right, that's a very bad word, because it stinks, don't say it too much.

Max: What's that b word?...........

Monday, May 09, 2005

Haggy Motrs Day

OK, even I'm getting sick of celebrating me. Since Thursday, I've had lots of attention, so much that I'm feeling a little guilty. The birthday was Thursday, Anniversary was Friday. Yesterday, my girlfriends enjoyed margaritas with me at El Arroyo. Then today was Mother's Day.

I decided to let my poor husband off the hook and told him that we would do something for his mom today, dinner and a small gift. I was satisfied with all my birthday stuff. Darling David still treated me nice, letting me skip church and taking all the kids with him so that I could read the whole Sunday paper on the couch in a quiet house.

When the family got home, Joey came to me on the couch, grabbed both my cheeks and said, "Mommy, you're so sweet". Max gave me a handmade card that said, "Haggy Motrs Day" because the P's in happy were written backwards. David had fun calling me Haggy Mother. Emma's card spelled out the word M-O-T-H-E-R inside with the following words to illustrate me....
Morvolis mom!!!!!!!
Ousum mother!!!!!!
The best one ever!!!!!!
Heroic to all kids!!!!!!
Extra special!!!!!
Relly nice to everyone!!!!

Made my day, I'll just have to hang on to this proof of love for one of our future fights during her teen years!
Haggy Motrs Day to all you moms reading this!

Friday, May 06, 2005


When David and I were dating in Architecture school, we used to have a professor, Lance. Everyone we know considered him the best design professor, but David and I used his expertise in another field. We pumped him for information about the best Italian restaurants in Austin.

I still remember the best one he ever told us about, it was in a strip shopping center waaaaay north of town. Inside was the best Italian food, including a dish David loved called Chicken Valdostano. When we moved to Seattle, we bugged the Turners for their favorite Italian joints. I fell in love with a pasta dish at one that had smoked salmon ravioli in a lemon caper sauce. Once I ordered that, I never tried another item on the menu, because I knew I'd hit the apex of Italian cuisine.

Yesterday, my Brownie troop gave me a gift certificate for a restaurant, Vespaio, here in Austin. It is very fancy, but not super expensive. It was the perfect choice for two Italian restaurant loving people celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary. Here is a recent review by Dale Rice on Vespaio.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Big Four-Oh

I have to say, turning 40 is one of the most fun things I've ever done.

I had a superb day today. Actually, I have to consider that my birthday celebration started during the wonderful par-tay weekend with my girlfriends. They gave me the gift I'd specifically asked them for, a cookbook of their best recipes. I've made three lovely dinners so far, Tilapia with Mango Salsa (Julie's), that pretty chicken number that I posted photos of, and Chicken Picata (both Mary's). I can't wait for Earthquake Cake, Parker Puffs, and Bourbon Baked Beans (thanks Missy). The girls also bought a cake for Julie and me and then let me take home the extra. Yeah!

Fast forward to today's celebrating. I woke up to two nice emails. Found out my baby brother gave me panties for my birthday! (It was a gift card, actually, he works for Victoria's Secret), called my sister who shares my birthday, got new clothes which I'm currently wearing from my wonderful "boss", got flowers delivered to me by a neat friend, and got treated well by the kids I dress each day and send to school.

Later, some birthday cards, phone calls, and my Brownie meeting. The moms had been acting suspicious for a week or so, and today I found out why. They gave me a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant and a babysitting coupon! So, that fulfilled my second birthday wish, a date with my husband.

Then tonight was tap class, always a treat. I have to admit, I feel my age on tap night. It's not because it's hard physically, I love the tapping. It's just that I have no memory. We've been working on our recital dance since Christmas and I'm starting to lose the little I actually had remembered up until now. But that's another story.

My third birthday wish, an iPod-mini is about five minutes away. As soon as Emma finishes her spelling words (it's still a school night) we eat my favorite chocolate sheet cake, and open the gift I've been not-so-subtly hinting at for weeks.

All this happiness and there's still more to come, I'm heading out for girl time on Saturday afternoon with several friends who make my life easier and more fun. We'll drink Margaritas! (and Mom is paying!)

Tomorrow is my 10th Wedding Anniversary, Sunday is Mother's Day.

I love my life.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Inside a teepee. Posted by Hello

Tent city Posted by Hello

This is the new teepee city that has been established in our front yard. Emma has been very interested in Native American life. She checked out a cool book from the school library, and it showed how to make a teepee. So the kids have been playing in these for a week now. Yesterday I was able to pick my own Indian name, "Stinging Bull Nettle". My Mom and Dad, "Moonflower" and "Whooping Crane" lunched under the teepee with "Growling Bear" (David), "Raven" (Max), "Green Leaf" (Joey) and "Running River" (Emma). More photos coming... Posted by Hello

This is possibly the prettiest dinner I have ever produced. And it tasted terrific even though I left out two important ingredients, so it's virtually fool proof as well as lovely. Mary Kay gave me the recipe in my new book compiled by my best girlfriends.  Posted by Hello

One more Leftist Rant

OK, I've composed about three blog entries in my mind this weekend. And believe it or not, they weren't all about politics. But this one is, sorry.

I was thinking about Anonymous' last comment. He's supporting W's call to drill in Alaska, etc. because there is not viable energy alternative yet. Very true. But you know what might actually make this ol' Demo girl actually admire George W. Bush on some level? A plan.

Kennedy inspired a nation with a plan to go to the moon. Not a Democrat plan, not a NASA plan, but a plan that all Americans got behind. We will run out of fossil fuels someday. We can spoil every seashore, arctic wild place, and wonder of God's creation trying to extract that last drop before we run out, but eventually we will run out. Bush, like Clinton, like Bush, like Reagan.... all kept us moving down the same path, running out of oil, and not really doing much about it.

If George W. took his "vast mandate of the voters" (I'm being a little snide with that) and said, "We've been to the moon, now we are going to fuel the world in the 21st Century" I would be very pleasantly surprised. Our scientists are the best, our innovators are the brightest. Why not have a little vision, and then back it up like we back up the Gulf War, with a billion dollars a week? We would have the Middle Eastern countries worried about their long term grip on our country. Prices might even drop in the short term, in an effort to derail our sure success. We would be developing a way to reduce long term funding of terrorist countries, perhaps a better use of defense dollars than Iraq Warring. And we would get back some of that USA Mojo that seems to be in short supply. And wierdest of all, I'd admire Bush.