Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sick is No Fun

Maddie isn't feeling at all well. Not at all. In fact, she feels rotten.

Maddie's daddy writes:

"Put the child in her crib at 7:30. She screams for an hour. We finally pick her up, rock her to sleep for an hour, put her in her crib. She wakes up instantly, screams for half an hour. We pick her up from her crib, take her to the chair to try to rock her back to sleep. It's now 10:00. She rolls off the chair, hits the ground running, races to the living room, digs a book out of her book basket, walks to our bedroom, climbs into bed, pulls up the covers, and settles in with a book.

She's now back in the crib, screaming bloody murder because we expect her to sleep at night. But look at the pictures and tell me you can't see the next seventeen years in your head."

Is it bad that I read this and think, "wouldn't it be nice if Iain would climb into our bed, pull up the covers, and read?" Yeah, it's bad, right?

Last of the Dahlias

Daddy, is this the vase you were looking for? Safe and sound at my house, and much loved.

These are the last of the dahlias for this year. As you can see, they've shrunk as the weather turned cooler. The biggest ones were the size of a large bread plate, but now they're about 3-4 inches across. Still quite lovely, though.

I had to bring the lime tree inside, as it's forecast for 43 F tonight. Lovely for people, but not so great for citrus. And I intend to harvest the limes this year for Charles's Coronas. Yum!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ooo...Being Bad

Daddy's away, the mouse will play!

In other news, US Airways brought us a lovely present tonight. Film tomorrow...

Bletchley Saved (for the moment)

Bletchley Park, which we so enjoyed last summer, has gotten a reprieve. Yay!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Love at the Bookstore

I went to the bookstore on Sunday. Of course, they have more than books. They have a train table, for instance:

I did not go alone to the bookstore. In fact, I took my Number One Girl, Miss Callie Bizzle. Note Callie's adorable blue bow. Yes, she's a winner. I have excellent taste in ladies. See how we're sharing? I think it's love.

The staff even took video of Callie and me playing at the table.

After we exhausted the charms of the bookstore, Callie and I ordered the chauffeur to drive us home. There, we enjoyed a dinner prepared by Callie's cook, then played while The Staff watched some program about people who have to make "deconstructed" foods. It was interesting, but not as good as Elmo. Lalalala!

Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

[type type type, tap tap on the mouse pad, type type type, muttering about Microsoft, making a to-do list...]

Iain is hard at work. He had the staff raise the office chair so he can use the desk, and he's getting the hang of billing hours to clients. It's hard, though, bringing home the bacon when you're only 17 months old.

Oh, wait. Let's get another angle on this hard-working young man:

Big bird? Elmo? You're not working!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hungry, Emmo?

This morning, Iain tried to feed Elmo with one of his little spoons, offered Elmo some milk from his sippy cup, and (as you see above), read to Elmo. He had a tissue ready in case Elmo needed it.

Of course, he also wrapped his hands around Elmo's eyeballs and sort of squeezed them. But every relationship has its ups and downs.

Dinner Last Night

Baked organic tater tots! Steamed broccoli with melted cheddar! (ok, full disclosure: he didn't like the broccoli. But I ate it and it was GOOD!), and for dessert:

I made pineapple jello in little cups. I thought I'd unmold them and serve it like flan, so Iain would have an easier time eating it. No dice. It came out looking more like a dead jellyfish. So I made a bowl of cut-up fruit (plum and banana) and slid the pineapple jello (which had slivers of red grape in it) over the top. Not beautiful, but Iain was delighted. He dug around in the fruit, eating bits with jello clinging to them, licking his fingers, etc.

Once he was abed, I roasted a butternut squash, peeled it and mashed it with brown sugar. That'll be part of tonight's dinner, to be eaten at Callie's house.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Part Two: When Babies Attack

So Iain refused to nap. I should have known.

By 2pm, after 3 failed attempts, I was done with staying home. Even though it was pouring, and even though we'd have enough rain to flood Mt. Kilamanjaro, we needed to go OUT.

So I started cooking up errands. We needed gas. And maybe something for me to make for dinner. And we had stuff to go to Goodwill. And Boris needed new blankets.

Oh, and one other thing. Notice anything different about the picture above? Different from this morning? Here's another look, a little closer:

Why, yes. Now that you mention it, he does look a little different, doesn't he? A little less, as Callie's Dad would say, "like a hippie."

Errand #1 was dropping into the kid haircutting place and either making an appointment or just getting it done. Amazingly, on a rainy Saturday after a depressing week of rain, rain, rain...what was I talking about? Oh, right: they were pretty much empty.

They popped Iain into a pretend airplane, turned on a DVD of the Teletubbies, and handed him an orange balloon with a grape lollipop on its end. Genius. He sucked on that lolly, watched some weird stuff go on with the tubbies, and tolerated the clippers and scissors. Of course, he drooled enough grape drool to make it look like he'd wet his pants (with grape juice), but that's a price I'm willing to pay.

And it took 5 minutes. No lie. 5. Amazing.

So with his excellent new 'do, we headed out for more errands. Next stop: Goodwill. We dropped the stuff to give away, then headed inside to look for bedding for The Big Dog. And sure enough, Goodwill had what I needed. Extremely ugly, extremely inexpensive blankets for $2.50 each.

They had something else, too. Did I mention the laundry? Oh, yeah. I folded Iain's laundry this morning in my search for some way to dull the pain of NOT NAPPING. Iain promptly pulled the Elmo pajamas off the pile and started walking around with them, putting part of the bottoms in his mouth. It was weird.

So I was already pretty much convinced that he needed an Elmo toy. Something to satisfy the Elmo need (one sign of his total devotion is that at random moments he breaks into song: "La la la" the rest is, of course, "Elmo's song!" but he can't say that yet.)

And what should be sitting atop the bedding rack? NO, really:

And it's not just an Elmo toy. It's a Tickle Me Elmo (you will recall the insanity surrounding this item 3 or 4 years ago at Christmas). Iain is unmoved by the giggling, but he instantly reached for that thing and clutched it to his bosom. Since it's in excellent condition, I figured: sure.

How much? $0.50. But I think they guy forgot to ring it up (despite my carefully pointing it out and him telling me the price), because I bought 4 blankets at $2.50 each and paid $10.60. Now, I'm no mathematician, but I think the numbers don't quite add up on that.

Psst! Elmo is watching...

Rain, Rain, Go Away

This morning, Iain was stuck inside because outside nature was reenacting the early part of The Flood. So he drew a little, screamed a little, threw a tantrum or two, and generally expressed his frustration that Outside was so awful.

But I was calm about it. Just wait until noon, I thought, and he'll nap. Then you can relax and from the wake-up it's all downhill.

Nope! Just like last weekend, no nap was the name of the game.

So stay tuned for Part Two: When Babies Attack. Coming soon...

9:23 AM

India called. They'd like their monsoon back.

Friday, September 25, 2009


This is what my grandfather could do. The important bit is at 45 seconds in, but it's all pretty awesome. The dancers you see here are called Barynya (link is to the dancer who is flying up in the air in this video).

Missing Youuuuuu

Before he departed for Cali, Charles found a photograph that he could cut up to make wallet-sized. That way, when people are all, "what does your spawn look like?" He can provide some instant gratification.

He left the remainder of the photo on the desk, along with the scissors. Iain can now reach the top of the desk (and pretty much anything else. I figure it's a matter of weeks before I find him standing in the open refrigerator door, trying to make his own breakfast).

So he reached up, grabbed the scissors and photo, and began to examine said treasures. His noises of delight alerted me that Something Was Wrong, so I took away the scissors. That left the photo.

"Daddy!" he said. Yup. That's him. And ever since he's been walking around with it, holding it up, crinkling it, etc.

I think he misses The Dad.

Iain's New Favorite Song

Iain's great-grandfather was Russian. He could do that dance. You know the one, with the leg-kicking and everyone going, "Hey!" So this music is in his blood, I figure.

Yesterday, Netflix sent me a Sesame Street disc, so Iain's been kicking it old school (ahem) since then. This is on the disc, so I tracked it down on YouTube in order to be able to watch it anytime he wants.

But as such things so often go, YouTube also has an edited version. Someone bleeped out the word "count" and it turns out that because The Count enunciates so carefully (ie, "CounT"), when you bleep it out it sounds like he loves to...well you can look it up if you're so curious. This version is the original, thankyouverymuch.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Remember last October, when I lost my voice? Remember? Huh? Ok, here's the post, in case you missed it.

So guess what? Guess! No, Guess!!

Ok, I'll tell you. I lost my voice! AGAIN! No, it's true. I had a cough, I was otherwise feeling mildly poopy, and then, after my 11 o'clock lecture, poof! Bye-bye vocal chords. It was scratchy (I like to think in a kind of hot way) until about 8, then completely gone when Charles called at 9.

The good thing is that I don't have to lecture again for more than a week. I have a group discussion on next Tuesday and until then I can rest the chords. The bad thing is that the last time, my voice was gone for like 4 days. That will not be fun, especially when I need to say "NO! You may not squeeze Boris's eyeball while sticking your tongue in an electrical socket, Young Man!"

Could I get some more exclamation points? I seem to be running out.

Garden Update

The garden has officially given up on summer (which seemed to last about 2 weeks) and embraced the onset of fall. Starting Monday, the days should be in the mid-60s and the nights in the upper 40s, so that's perfect weather for fall crops.

Some things are still going strong, like the thyme. As you can see, it simply will not be contained to the garden and has burst through the rabbit fencing:

But other plants are happy to stay in their place, and seem invigorated by the death of the obnoxiously-large tomatoes. Case in point, the chard:

I've also planted some fall crops anew. Below, sugar snap peas, which should mature in time to eat in November. On the other side of the bed I planted green beans, which I thought were pole beans but they don't exactly look like I expected. So we'll see. Gardening is an adventure, right? If they turn out as I expect, they'll be the kind of skinny, dark green bean Charles especially likes.

Here's the garden, overall. If you blow it up, you'll see some last bits of dahlia producing smaller but still-lovely flowers, lots of scraggly marigolds (love those!), a huge rosemary shrub, absolutely incredibly flat-leaf parsley, impressive sage, and some very leggy, seedy, flower-y oregano.

The bamboo poles will support the beans and peas, while two of the blueberries are hanging on in the corners. One has a disturbing tinge to its leaves. I'm not sure if that's just fall, or if it's sick. If the latter, I may have to buy some bigger, more mature plants in spring and try again.

Of course, you have to imagine this with a nice coating of leaves, as of today. We had another incredible, unbelievable, insane rainstorm. It blew down a ton of leaves, so the entire yard looks a mess.

Luckily for me, I was driving on the freeway at the time. When it's raining like the end of the world, what you want is to be in 70-mph traffic playing control-your-momentum with big trucks. Good times.

Funny Babies

Inspired by Sarah over at Oakbriar Farm, here's a Cuteness(tm) that Iain provided last night.

Background: At daycare, his teacher Miss Donna likes the kids to learn how to say "I love you" in sign language. So you point to your eye and say "I," then cross your arms across your chest and say, "love," then point at whomever and say "you!"

Last night, Iain demonstrated that he's starting to learn how to do this. He pointed and said "I," then waggled his fists near his chest and said, "wuv," then Charles said "Who do you love? Mama? Daddy?" and Iain said, "Donna!"

Oh. Ok. Maybe next time it'll be me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Yo! Have you seen what this crazy plant is doing? Have you? I think we need to explain about September, and how after September comes October.

I count at least 10 peppers! I mean, I can't count. But if I could...


Look at all the leaves, Mama! I think I'll just sit here and enjoy the feeling of rainwater slowly seeping into my diaper from below. Ah...I love being "owssie."

Let's feed the fish! First, I will shake the can vigorously. Then, I will walk around with it for a few minutes. I will totally ignore the fish. Finally, I'll permit you to take it and feed the fish, which I'll watch but only for about 5 seconds.

Hey, nice yard. I mean, except for all the poop. You gonna clean this up, or what?

April, 1865

Check out this bit from Harper's Weekly, April 22, 1865:

"Probably no one will dissent from me when I assert that, of all unpleasing members of society, a disagreeable girl is the most objectionable. I may with safety opine that not one who glances over these lines can affirm that he or she has had the good fortune never to have met with one of the

class. A disagreeable young man is bad enough, but then he is more readily to be pardoned, as it is

not his vocation to render himself attractive, and one does not feel so much delicacy in snubbing one of the ruder sex as in hinting to a disagreeable young lady that her room would be infinitely preferable to her company.

There are many varieties in the genus disagreeable girl. There is the sulky, the giggling, the defiantly ugly, the spiteful, the stupid, the forward, the prim, the loud-voiced, the affected, the—nay,

dictionaries might be ransacked for terms whereby to designate the multiform aspects under which the disagreeable girl presents herself."

But wait, there's more!
How about an example of the things "spiteful" girls say?

“You made that dress yourself?” she says to a friend. “Ah! I thought so: one can see directly the difference between a thing made by a dress-maker and an amateur.” Or, if the dress has passed through the hands of a

dress-maker: “I must say, dear, that she has by no means done justice to your figure. What a pity! How many yards did you say you gave her?” Then, with a look of incredulity, followed by one of compassion, “My dear, she has certainly robbed you. She has not given you half your stuff. We all know how these people crib. Why did you have blue? It is horridly unbecoming to you. Why did you let her put in that sleeve? that shape has quite gone out,”

This struck me as quite funny when I read it. It reminded me of the advice we received from The Best History Teacher EVAR, Dr. Carlanna Hendricks. Prior to the first big dance (!), she sent out a tipsheet with advice about things to say at a party. It included statements like, "My dear, your glasses are just atrocious." I think she'd been reading Harper's, don't you?