Monday, June 27, 2011

Righteous living or dumb luck

When I got to work this morning, I came thisclose to parking next to my coworker in the front parking spaces by the fence. But instead I drove the extra 20 feet to the staff parking spaces even though there was a good chance I'd be walking to my car in the rain later. Around lunchtime a storm blew through, and when I left for an errand in the afternoon I discovered that a not-gigantic but damn-well-big-enough limb had fallen 40 or 50 feet from a huge sweet gum tree and landed exactly where my car would've been parked. That sucker would've gone right through the windshield and / or the sunroof of my car, had it been parked in its path.

I also had a too-narrow escape from a traffic ticket the other night. I am hesitant to even write about this because it still makes me have that sort of panicky oh shit! feeling. I was driving home from my parents' house in the evening, having gone over there to pack up some books that I wanted to donate to a charity sale being held to benefit the dog rescue that saved Indy. On the way back my mind was wandering a little and I ended up running a red light. Now, it wasn't a horrible near-crash kind of running a red light or anything like that. Between my distraction (bad, I know! BAD!) and the dark, I misjudged how far I was from the intersection and how close the light was to turning. I ended up being in that awkward half-committed spot (or so I thought) when the light turned yellow and so I sped up to make a left turn through what I'd call an orange light, honestly, only to have it turn VERY red before I'd completed my maneuver. I sort of did that thing where you mentally slap yourself in the forehead and started to go on about my business and then I look in the rear view and there is a cop car right on my ass. And guys, I am SUCH a goody two shoes. I have been in a car that got pulled over twice in my life ever and I wasn't even driving either time. So I'm instantly sort of freaking out and thinking "OH MY GOD WHAT DO I DO HOLY SHIT AAAHHHHH!"

I had turned from a busy east / west street onto a busy north / south street that intersects our not-busy street, so I usually go up to our street and take a right. I realized I had screwed up and thought, "Shit! Act normal!" (God, so stupid.) so I made a very sedate right turn onto one of the side streets that parallels ours, and then a very slow and polite left onto the tiny connector street that runs through all the parallel neighborhood streets. And this whole time, the cop is right on my bumper. And I'm thinking, fuck, did he flash his lights at me in the intersection and I just missed it? Should I pull over just in case or will that just make me look guilty (guiltier)? By this point I was driving like the most polite, well-mannered, mousy granny driver you have EVER seen. By the time I meticulously navigated two stop signs, I guess the cop decided he'd made his point, and he took off and left me to drive very carefully home, cursing under my breath the whole way. I probably did deserve that ticket just for stupidity alone, but goddamn am I glad he decided not to push the issue. I had to wonder if I was reaping some kind of good karma for the dog-rescue donation. After today's near-miss with the tree limb, I feel like I'm either living right or I'm overdue for sacrificing a chicken.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stuff and things

1. First of all, let me apologize if you've been here in the last month and experienced auto-playing music. I hate websites with auto-playing music and I'm so irritated that mine was doing it behind my back. The site where I get the playlist widgets has an option for no autoplay and I always select it, but I guess they changed something this time around. I think I've fixed it, but let me know if it happens again. (Aaaaaack)

2. I had Tuesday off this week and took Nico to the children's museum with my old work friend Julia and her little son who will be two in July. The boys seemed to have a great time and they interacted well. We took them to lunch kind of spontaneously and they both sat in the booth like big kids. It was simultaneously adorable and keeeeeling me to see them perched on the benches instead of sitting in high chairs. Sunrise, sunset!


3. Have you guys seen Easy A? We got it from Netflix on a whim and ended up loving it. I think we watched it about 15 times before it was dropped from the instant list. It was so much better than we expected and totally quotable.

4. While I'm definitely not reading as much as I used to now that I have a highly mobile child, I have had a good run of books lately. I read three in a row that were page-turnery enough to keep me up late and off the computer - Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon, and Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore. Now I've got the new Stephanie Plum and while I'm not expecting it to blow my socks off, I probably will sit down and rip through it pretty quickly. I'm hoping to do at least a short review of the first three at some point, but we'll see. In the meantime...reading! Yay!

5. My new job keeps me much busier than my old one did, and I'm not on Twitter or gmail chat much at all during the day. I like keeping busy and I like the work, but I miss talking to my blog friends and geographically-present friends. I've been a little bit lonely lately, truthfully. Things will probably settle down a bit once summer is over, but until then, slightly sad panda.

6. On the other hand, the bibliophile called me on Friday evening and we went to Barnes & Noble after Nico was in bed and played this really cool card game until the store closed. I had a really great time and I want to get the game (or this one) for Nico in a few years. Actually, I want it for myself now but I'll share it with him later.

7. I made these awesome cookies for the first time in ages last night and they are so good. I ate them like crazy while I was on maternity leave because someone told me oatmeal is supposed to help with lactation and I could pretend they were healthy. I always think of them as Clara cookies since she's the one who linked me to the recipe. I use butter instead of oil, only all-purpose flour, and always make a double batch since (a) one is not worth the trouble and (b) they are too damn good to only have two dozen. Trust me.

8. Does anyone have any fun plans for the holiday weekend? We are planning to take Nico to visit his Kentucky family and revisit the pool where he had his first swim last Fourth of July. (OH MY GOD, you have to see the CHUB in those photos.) It'll be his first out-of-town trip since becoming bipedal, so I'm sure it'll be a bit crazy, but I think it'll also be great fun. (Seriously, now, go look at the chub.)

Reading:  Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Playing:  The King is Dead by the Decemberists

Friday, June 24, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Classic rookie mistake

One would think that after 17 months of raising this child, I'd know better than to leave him alone in his room so I could take a quick shower. One would be mistaken:

Reading:  Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore

Playing:  Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This makes me so happy I almost cannot stand it

Go the Fuck to Sleep as read by Samuel L Jackson:

Probably not safe for work, obviously.

Edited to add: I have no idea why the company bothered to have the video yanked from YouTube, because they're offering it as a free download.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Before Nico was born, I worried some about what kind of mother I'd be to him. I knew my failings, could list them out without much hesitation: quick-tempered, easily frustrated, prone to Type-A overplanning, occasionally besieged by doubt. I was shocked by how mellow I became during my pregnancy, but chalked that up to hormones and didn't expect it to last. I was surprised to find that I remained mostly low-key throughout his infancy. Part of it, I'm sure, was due to the fact that he was an absurdly easy baby. Once we got past our initial breastfeeding struggles, things were pretty great.

Over the past two months or so, Nico has truly begun to embrace his toddlerhood. He's asserting his independence, expressing his own opinions, and just generally testing the waters. I think the weeks since he started walking have been both the most exciting and the most challenging for me, as my easy sunny even-keeled baby morphed into a grown-ass child who is sometimes sassy, opinionated, and downright whiny. (If I had a nickel for every time I've heard MB respond to a full-on toddler whine with "Nico! Use your words!" I'd have a lot of nickels.) So far, I feel like I'm doing okay. I'm usually patient, almost never lose my temper with him, am able to let things slide and go with the flow more than I think I ever have before in my life.

If Nico had a blog, I bet he'd complain about my reaction to his beautifully theatrical tantrums. When thwarted, he will fold dramatically to the floor, wailing. Once prone, he writhes about, looking for toys that he can pick up and throw. He'll sometimes come over to me and lift his arms, only to slide pathetically and intentionally from my lap as soon as I've picked him up, as if to demonstrate how unbearable it is to be in my vicinity. And nearly every time, I laugh. I realize that will probably infuriate him when he gets older. Probably I should stop doing it before it psychologically damages him. But really, staging such an extravagant performance because I wouldn't let him rip the keys off my laptop / play with my phone / dance on the couch is pretty funny.

One thing is for sure, though...all bets are off now that toddlerhood is here. Sometimes he takes two epic naps a day, sometimes he won't nap at all. Sometimes he hoovers up carrots and pasta and a banana at lunch and is asking "Eat cereal?" two hours later, other times he seems happy to subsist on rice puffs and dry Kix. Sometimes we take him out to dinner with us and he charms the entire restaurant, other times he howls in the parking lot and then has periodic crying jags at the table that require me to pull him into my lap and rock him, lest we become the people that child-free people complain about on the internet. I take him out to the backyard to play with his lovingly assembled turtle sandbox, and he spends fifteen minutes marching up and down the sidewalk carrying the dog's empty water dish. I walk him to the playground down the street and he refuses to ride in the swing or climb the slide, instead rambling around the grass with his favorite board book clutched in his hand.

But then we can take him to Target without a nap and he merrily kicks his feet until he falls asleep in his stroller, snoozing through 45 minutes of shopping. I take him back to library story time after their month-long hiatus and he remembers and requests the shakers as soon as we walk in the door. I stand him on the side of the pool at swimming lessons so he can practice jumping in, and he is so overcome by joy that he scrunches up his shoulders and laughs uncontrollably. Basically his mission in life is to keep us guessing, I think.

I did take him to the playground tonight, and he did wander around rather than try out the swings or the slide. While we were there, a handful of teenage boys were playing basketball in the adjacent parking lot and I realized that in no time, God willing, I'll be looking at my firstborn as he approaches 18 years rather than 18 months, he'll be walking down to that playground by himself to play basketball with his friends while I sit at home and try to remember what he was like when I first took him to that playground to play. I want to weather his tiny storms with calm care. I want to wait out the tantrums and praise the good behavior and manage not to fret over the barely-eaten lunches. I want to be present for him, to rarely tell him "Mama's busy, not now," when he brings me a book or a truck or a plastic spoon. I want to catch all the moments of now, hold them up to my face, breathe them in, before they slip through my fingers and this beautiful, inquisitive, sometimes impossible little boy is just a memory in the wake of a nearly-grown man. Some days I'll succeed and some days I won't, but always, my heart is so full.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Not dead

Wow, I am not very good at this lately, am I? I wish I had a really good excuse, like writing a book or going on a cool vacation, but I don't. I simultaneously don't have a lot of time to blog and don't feel like anything interesting enough to write a whole post about has been happening. And I meant to do a post of a bunch of little things, but then we turned on a movie and I forgot to actually write it. So instead, here's a video of my kid, who is hardly a baby anymore (oh, heartbreak!):

He's wearing those orange shoes because he saw them on his dresser when I picked out his clothes and said "Shoe tie? Shoe tie? Shoe tie?" in his little voice until I agreed to put them on his feet. I feel like my heart grows three sizes every day thanks to him.

Reading:  Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

Playing:  Narrow Stairs by Death Cab for Cutie

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Hurricane in short pants

Reading:  Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

Playing:  Showroom of Compassion by Cake

Friday, June 03, 2011