Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blood simple

Blood simple

I've been getting these weird little spots off and on for a few months, mostly on my torso. They start out looking like bug bites that don't itch, then after a few days they get scabby and kind of gross and sometimes they'll be a little sore. No one else in the house is getting them, which gives me hope it's not something horrifying like bedbugs. I got a new one while we were in Memphis, which makes me suspect it's not something I'm encountering at work. I can't think of anything that's changed diet-wise or household-product-wise that would cause an allergic reaction. Clearly googling "tiny lesions" or "ulcerating bug bites" would be the worst idea in the history of the internet, so I finally made an appointment today at the health clinic provided by MB's workplace.

The nurse practitioner said it's probably just an allergy of some kind, but to be safe she'd do a biopsy. She had a little gadget that can take a tiny core sample of your biopsy-needing area that's small enough to not require stitches, so she used that and it didn't hurt or anything. I had three band-aids criss-crossed over it -- two that she put on and one I added at work because I noticed it had bled quite a bit -- that I decided to take off before I got in the shower this evening. Apparently I'm still a total wiener about blood even when I'm expecting to see it and it's not a surprise, because once I took off the band-aids and looked at the blood on them and at the little core sample spot, I got all lightheaded and barfy. Which, seriously…is there a stupider biological response? What evolutionary purpose can this possibly serve, other than to save all the other people in your hunting party? "I've been mildly gored by this predator…instead of fighting valiantly or running swiftly away, I'm going to throw up and pass out!" Uuuuuuuuuseless!

I'm really hoping this doesn't mean I'll be totally incompetent when it comes to dealing with Nico's bleeding injuries, because it's pretty clear that's eventually going to happen. I guess he's a pretty typical toddler in that he likes to run full-tilt across a variety of land surfaces, but sometimes his feet get away from him. Thus far I think we've been spared a lot of scraped knees by the simple fact that I love to dress him in long Calvin-style shorts. (Nico's aren't quite that long, but I always think of that strip when he's wearing his oxymoronic long shorts.) His shorts definitely saved his knees at our Memorial Day cookout, when he bit it right on our backyard sidewalk and came away happily unscathed. He's pretty good at shaking it off when he falls, but I really expected that one to leave a mark.

The cookout overall was lots of fun and marked the first non-Nico-birthday party we've had that was attended by more than one extra toddler. There were five little kids including Nico, and they all ran around together all evening with nary a bludgeoning incident. The biggest hits were the sandbox and the roasting pan of bubble solution. Even though all the kids seemed excited about our minuscule wading pool beforehand and even though I know that at least four of them have enjoyed splash parks in the very recent past, none of them would play in the sprinkler and only one spent more than a few minutes in the pool. Overall, though, the event was such a success that I think I'll feel emboldened if the opportunity arises to host another toddler-friendly gathering. I think (hope) the adults had a pretty good time, too. And our garden wasn't ugly! So far, summer, you're shaping up all right. Other than the blood.

Sunday, May 27, 2012



We spent four days in Memphis last week and it was fabulous. It was our first real vacation in six years and our first actual vacation with Nico other than short weekend camping trips. We took all day Friday to make the six-hour drive down and all day Wednesday to make the drive back, and that was a very smart move. We didn't have to rush to get anywhere, we were free to stop when needed, and it left us with four full days to do fun vacation stuff.

Nico was an absolute rockstar for the whole trip. I was a little concerned about the long stretches of car time, but he did great. We stopped in MB's hometown for lunch on the way down, which is about 2 hours into the trip, then stopped again 2 hours later to eat and stretch. We decided to just hit Wendy's since we didn't want to spend a lot of time or money and luckily there was only one other couple inside, who were very understanding when Nico literally ran laps around the place for the first ten minutes we were inside.

During the car ride, Nico did a little bit of coloring with this Color Wonder sound studio toy that he got for his birthday, which I put away at the time due to his overabundance of gifts. It was perfect for the car and I think if he was a little older, he would've been even more into it. After lunch we broke out the big guns and let him watch a Spot DVD on a borrowed car DVD player. This was a big deal since he gets to watch kid shows at Grandma's but not at home, and he was pretty pleased. We made it almost to Memphis before Nico cracked (and at that point MB and I were equally convinced we were never going to get there) and started shouting "GET OUT OF THE CAR!" at regular intervals. When that didn't work, he tried telling me he needed a diaper change (he didn't) and that he was "stuck" and needed help. I had to tell him that being buckled in is not the same as being stuck, but gave him points for creativity.

On Saturday we visited the huge and very nice Memphis Zoo. On Sunday we took a ride on an old fashioned trolley and went to the very cool scale model Mississippi River at Mud Island River Park. Monday we visited the Memphis Botanic Garden. Tuesday we went to the Fire Museum of Memphis, the Lichterman Nature Center, and Mud Island again. There are so many neat places to visit there, we could've easily filled several more days. There are also lots of great places to eat if you're not a picky toddler. Our favorites were the original Huey's in Midtown and Central BBQ.

When planning out our visit I picked things I thought Nico would enjoy, but I'm happy to report that MB and I ended up having a really good time, too. Part of it is that the places we went were overall pretty neat, but a lot of it was enjoying watching Nico have new experiences and adventures. Adventure was the word of the week, and we told Nico every day we were going on one. Pretty soon he was walking with us to the car chirping, "We're going on a aventure!" I'm stupidly grateful for how well-behaved and flexible this kid of mine is. He seems to take changes in routine happily in stride and I know this is something to acknowledge and appreciate. True, he had his moments of whining and subsisted mostly on grapes, blueberries, and applesauce all trip while we stimulated the Tennessee economy with our purchase of many uneaten kids' meals. But overall, the kid was a champion traveler.

It was great to be traveling again, it was fantastic spending time with BoMB and Nie, and it was really wonderful to get to share so many cool experiences with our kid. I want to show him that the world is an amazing place, and this trip felt like a good lesson in awesome for all three of us.

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(I posted more vacation photos on Flickr if anyone's so inclined.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mud Island River Park

Mud Island River Park

Our vacation has earned two tiny thumbs up so far.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Peace comes dropping slow

Peace comes dropping slow

For P, who is now at rest. I will always be grateful for the gifts she gave me.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree ~ William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012



I hate it when I slack off around here and then come back full of excuses, but it's the craziest three weeks of the year at work, I've been spending a lot of time in the garden, blah blah excuse cakes. I wanted to sit down and write something really brilliant about how much I'm enjoying my kid these days, but I don't think tonight is the night to do it justice. Instead, have some disconnected bullet points.

>> I inexplicably lost five pounds over the last month or so. It's definitely welcome and long overdue, but I really can take no credit. I am pleased to report that, thanks to this surprise weight loss, I bought a pair of cute cargo capris for the summer from the JUNIORS DEPARTMENT the other day. Granted, it was the largest size they make in juniors, but still. And they're not sad, slutty juniors pants, either…they're cute and quite age-appropriate. Huzzah!

>> We added a dozen or so itty bitty toad tadpoles to our aquarium this past week, courtesy of one of the volunteers at my workplace. So far no one is trying to metamorphose, but I anticipate much excitement later in the summer. Probably from me.
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Nico using his magnifying glass. "Tadpoles are big!"

>> My Mother's Day was low key yet awesome. MB and Nico made a card for me, which was way better than flowers. MB made pancakes for breakfast and let me order pizza for dinner, and in between he built another raised bed out in the garden for me (more on that later).
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>> I took Nico to the zoo yesterday and let him play in the fountain at the entry for half an hour before we left. I was feeling endlessly smug over having an entire dry outfit in the car for him, but I'm feeling less smug now that it's 36 hours later and his only properly-fitting pair of non-Croc shoes are still soaked. We may be hitting up Target on the way home from swimming lessons tomorrow.
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>> I have been plugging away at our ugly garden, and am actually pretty pleased with how far it's come. I've planted six tomato plants and a whole passel of peppers. We have one plant each of red bell, green bell, sweet banana, red chili, poblano, jalapeƱo, serrano, habanero, and Cajun belle. I also have four zucchini plants, which will probably be three too many if it's a good growing year for those. The store where I got my plants only had zucchini in a four-pack, though. I posted some pictures and a more thorough update over at the garden blog, if anyone is interested.
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>> I read The Bloggess's book and it was really good. It literally made me laugh out loud quite a few times, and not just because it included my favorite post - which I can no longer find on her blog - about leaving a series of increasingly hilariously aggressive post-it notes for her husband.

>> In case I don't find the time to get back on here before Friday, let me go ahead and tell you guys that we're leaving Friday for our first-ever family vacation (other than weekend camping trips, which I don't count). It's also the first real vacation MB and I have taken together since my friend Kate got married back in 2006. As in SIX YEARS ago. We're going to Memphis for five days to visit BoMB and Nie and I suspect it's going to be awesome. Other than the six-hour drive with a toddler, that is.

I'm sure I'll send an embarrassing number of photos to Twitter every day, but I don't know if I'll be posting here or not. I'm not planning to take my laptop, so it depends on how motivated I feel to tap out posts on my phone. I promise to take lots of pictures of my cute kid doing cute things to share later, though, for those of you who are just here for the curls.

Reading:  American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation by Eric Rutkow


Friday, May 11, 2012

Monday, May 07, 2012

Hair, other stuff

The only problem with my new hair - which I still love - is that there is absolutely no dignified way to wear it for the gym. First I tried the ever-classy Pebbles ponytail:
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Then I had the top cut a little shorter and tried two little ponytails and one of those stretchy headbands that I've seen sporty girls wearing:

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The first night I wore this one, I came home and MB looked straight at me and said, "What is wrong with your hair? It looks ridiculous." He was not wrong.

Now I've got it a little shorter yet and just use the stretchy headband, which leaves me with sort of a sunburst array of hair sticking straight up from my Tyra Banks fivehead by the end of class. I'm so sexy you cannot even stand it.



Other things we've been up to…we swankified the tadpole tank with a plant and some gravel:

Swanky tank
The tadpole doesn't seem to care either way, but it's supposed to keep me from having to feed him (since he can nibble on the plant and eat algae from between the rocks. The night I put the gravel in, I started adding it while he was still in the tank, but MB told me I should scoop him out before I gave him a heart attack. I scooped the tadpole into a plastic cup and set it on the buffet, and once the gravel was all in I left it up there for a while to let the sediment settle. It was right behind my head while I was working on the computer, and I completely forgot it was there for about half an hour, then it flipped around loudly in the cup and scared the bejesus out of me. I guess that was its revenge for dumping gravel into its house and stuffing it into a party cup.

I took Nico to the farm supply store to get plants for the garden and we took a few minutes to visit the baby chickens.

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"Black chickens! We gonna buy one!" (Spoiler alert: we did not buy one.)

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I built a compost bin!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Testing, testing

Testing, testing

Playing around with a possibly-usable blogging client…nothing of importance to say, but here's a kid picture: Photo 4

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Other places, other faces

I am chafing under the crappiness of the new blogger interface, you guys. It is so bad. I usually try not to bitch about upgrades to stuff like Twitter and facebook and eventually get used to whatever bullshittery they throw out, but seriously…this is SO BAD. If anyone knows of a good blogspot-compatible client for Mac, PLEASE let me know.

Meanwhile, I have new posts up other places, if you're so inclined.

>> an update on the world's ugliest garden here

>> a new book review here

>> a seasonally-appropriate (non-sponsored) swim diaper review here

And now, I'm off to sulk about blogger some more.

Reading:  Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Playing:  this song, over and over, per Nico's request (he calls it "the Oh Song")