Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Ring

If you’ve been hanging around here very long you might remember a year or so back when I had to cut my wedding ring off with a pair of tin snips or risk losing the finger itself to my own fatness…

But that was 25 pounds ago. Today I sent the DaughterDriver downtown to pick up the repaired (to its original size) wedding ring:

And yes, it fits! (By the way, my seven year old thinks I have “grandma hands”… Is that a compliment?)

Just for fun (and maybe to rebut the seven year old’s opinion) here’s the ring, seventeen years ago:


Still Standing, Part II

The sixteen-year old got her license yesterday, which meant I didn’t have to drive to soccer practice. You realize what this means, don’t you? I saved two hours last night. Two hours.

I may never run another errand–or at least not until the novelty of driving wears off. It’s amazing.

Of course, she also thought of a pressing reason to burn another half a tank of gas or so running around this morning. C’est la vie. Such is the price of having your own personal valet, I suppose. I’ll find out later today exactly how much that price is, when I add her to the insurance policy. Eeek.

On another note —although, not really, because if she hadn’t been driving, I wouldn’t have had time—I had my first encounter with a treadmill last night. And yes, there was much snickering from the peanut gallery as I tried to stay on my feet for a while.

I never claimed to be the most co-ordinated outfit in the closet. Just persistent. And it paid off. I even figured out—after about 45 minutes—that I didn’t have to walk or run at one of the 12 pre-set speeds. That’s what those big up and down arrows under “SPEED” are for. Right next to the incline button.

I climbed 650 feet and traveled 4 miles. In 75 minutes. Egad. I know. What happened? I swear their calculations were off. That or mine are for real world distances. And according to the display, I only burned 450 calories. Yeesh. What is that? One bagel? And another thing–why does it take me an hour to really get warmed up and feeling good? One can only dedicate so much time to these things. Why can’t I feel that good a bit earlier on in the process?

As far as actual treadmilling, though, I have to admit that I’m pretty much won over. Besides the obvious weather/daylight factors, my joints and shins loved the cushioning, and it was really nice to have water within reach without worrying about how fast my body was going to process it, if I drank some. The biggest problem I foresee is that there is never a good place for a treadmill. Ever. It will always be big, ugly, and in the way. Then again, the other option is that I’m the big one….

When Windex Ingestion Reaches Toxic Levels…

It’s a good thing Washington State DEL has such strict standards for hand, dish, and toy disinfecting procedures. Because, you know, otherwise the kids might share germs…


Bailing Sludge

When I opened the door to the daycare room this morning at 6 am, I was assaulted with that dreaded something-died-in-the-kitchen smell. You know what I’m talking about. I ran lots of hot water down the drain, checked for forgotten rags and rotten potatoes to no avail.

And then I opened my dishwasher.

Which I last ran on Friday afternoon.

It didn’t drain.

At all.

Fortunately it’s still under warranty. Unfortunately the repairman can’t make it out here until Friday. Which means I’m going to be bailing sludge today…and even then I have my doubts about that eliminating the smell…


I have an official interpretation for my dream.

It came to me as I was standing in the middle of the road, watching the taillights of a newer model, compact car I’d never seen before recede into the distance.

Well, not then exactly. At that point, all I was really feeling was a crushing sense of failure.

My daughter was in that car. In her homecoming dress, with her hair carefully curled, and I can only assume, dressed to the nines.

I don’t know, because I wasn’t here to see her off.

I was across the street with my boys in the apple orchard.

It wasn’t that I’d forgotten tonight was the homecoming dance; that fact was brought forcefully to my attention when I pulled in after class at 3:45 and realized I hadn’t picked up the boutonnière  from the floral shop that closes at 3:00 pm. Fortunately, the florist was a compassionate soul. When I called the store in a panic,owner said he’d hold the doors open a bit longer. (Three cheers for Moses Lake Florist in the Garden!)

I brought the little bitty thing home and deposited it in the fridge. I ventured into the holy sanctuary of the bedroom from whence the smell of singed hair emanated and made small talk with the teenage friends. Not too much, but enough to exchange the essentials: including the fact that she would be leaving at 5:15.

And then I just… forgot. Forgot what I was wandering around the house waiting for. Forgot why I wasn’t starting dinner just yet, or running to the store for milk until later. I forgot–to meet my daughter’s first date. To see her in her dress, and the final product of the session with the curling iron.

And when I remembered, I was too late—-all eight weeks of long distance training aside, I could not sprint up the hill fast enough to beat that little green car out of my driveway. (Where, by the way, according to those who were home, it had been sitting for quite some time.)

I was left, panting, in the middle of the asphalt, with leaves in my hair and guilt settling like a stone in my gut.

(I considered crashing the photograph session down at the Japanese gardens, but I figured that might be a little bit stalker-Momish.)

The momstone got heavier as the evening progressed. My youngest son wanted to attend his cousins’ baptism and having nothing left at home to hold me, we went early. As I sat there in the chapel, listening to the prelude music, it hit me: I missed her first date. Her first real dance. I missed it. MISSED. It won’t ever happen again.

It wasn’t exactly the best situation to break down in heartbroken sobs, either.

I did a lot of wide-eyed blinking and deep breathing. And what ifs.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but I was about as waterlogged as I’ve ever been.

And then I realized this:

The water wasn’t turned into wine because there was anything extraordinary about the water. The water wasn’t turned into wine because it would make the water happier. The water was turned into wine because God saw a need to be filled, and there was no other way to fill it. The water wasn’t extraordinary; the need was. And God filled it.

And that is the promise.

No matter how sub-par my parenting is–no matter how watered down my efforts might be, God will recognize important needs. He will fill them. He will make my water enough. More than enough. He will make the noblemen raise their glasses in astonishment at its savor. In some inexplicable way he will change it into something more fitting, and the celebration will go on.

Not because of anything extraordinary about me or my efforts, but because he loves those who I am attempting to serve, all of my life.

On my own merits, I have nothing but water to offer. I will always be forgetful, absentminded, thoughtless.

I’m sorry.

But I know this: If you really need the best sort of wine, from God’s hands, you’ll receive it in spite of me.

And I’m okay with that.

Water Into Wine

I awoke, bolt upright in the middle of the night with this crystal clear thought: If God can make water into wine, he can transform you into whatever the situation demands, too.

No idea where that came from, or for what purpose, but there it was.

Coodoo Monster

What language does/did your toddler speak?

My oldest daughter had her own unexplainable dialect: Cereal was “lie-lah” and cousin Shamee was “Bean”, etc…. You get the picture. My son replaced the “ey” ending of any word with “doo”. Movie became “moodoo”. Cookie became “coodoo”.

Here’s the deal. I’m working on a Master’s project with the Applied Linguistics program of Heritage University here in Washington state–and I need your help! LOTS OF HELP. I’m looking for 3000 unique parent responses in the next month or so. We are looking at the underlying rules that govern language acquisition in toddlers.

Do you remember any words your children came up with as they began to experiment with language? Would you be willing to share? Please? Do you know anyone else who might be willing to participate in this study?

Words and language DO NOT have to be English–just include translations if you send me anything in Swahili, okay?

There’s a copy of the survey I’m handing out to people here in the physical world on the “Language Acquisition Study” tab up there at the top of this screen, just to give you an idea of the information I’m looking for, but you can send it to me in any format you like–comments work just fine!

Thanks in advance!


Not My Dog

Got on my (ridiculously short) athletic pants and my new sneakers again last night, after a week and a half off. Feeling quite a bit better, I says to myself. Get out there.

Things I had forgotten, but won’t, again:

1) Never drink a lot of water, shortly before going out the door.

2) If it feels a bit breezy as you head out, and the sun is on its downward track–it’s probably not going to get any warmer. Probably.

3) The “Not My Dog” sign I’ve been meaning to make. I figure I can wear it around my neck–maybe sandwich board style, so that fuming motorists in both directions will not be tempted to run me off the road rather than or along with the neighborhood canines who decide to accompany me the entire way. My fellow trotter last night never strayed far from my side unless a car was coming. At that point, the cunning little mutt would study the velocity of the vehicle and the intelligence in the eyes of its driver, and if he judged (and he always judged correctly) that the driver was an alert, cautious type, he’d trot out into the middle of the road. He’d never look directly at the driver at this point. He’d feign intense interest in something off on the horizon, and then he’d stand there, looking everywhere but at the now stopped car and the frustrated driver–who usually looked at me and threw their hands up in the air like, “What is your problem lady? Get your dog out of the road!”

I thought only three year olds acted like that…

Youth of The Noble Birthright

Earlier this week, a teen we know asked if she could throw my daughter a surprise sixteenth birthday party.

At my house.

You realize I’ve been deathly ill, that I work twelve to sixteen hours a day, and I’m going to school more than double full time.

I said “Sure! That would be so awesome! She won’t let me throw her one! What day?”

Thursday. (No school Friday.)

That’s cool. I can con somebody into cleaning up the living room, right? They don’t need to see the rest of the messy house. I mention to my kids that some classmates are coming over Thursday night. (I didn’t say whose classmates.) And offer monetary rewards for a little housecleaning help. They roll their eyes and shudder. Mom’s having friends over? Ewww.

Teen friend calls back Wednesday to let me in on what they are planning. About the only thing I catch is that they want to do a whole house scavenger hunt. After that, I pretty much went into whole body shock. I think my husband could sense this. I can’t think of another explanation for his sudden ability to maneuver a vacuum cleaner and dust counter tops.

My sister-in-law says she’ll make caramel corn. My father-in-law volunteers his homemade rootbeer. My sister-in-law of the amazing cake skills thinks she can whip out a cake. Not to mention edible markers, so that the teens can all sign it. The teens are bringing toppings for an ice cream bar. All I have to do is make up thirty two clues for the scavenger hunt.

On Wednesday night it occurs to me that I should probably buy the ice cream. NOW. I let my oldest son in on the secret, and he goes with me to pick out snacks. (Which was a really good move–he hit it, dead on.)

On Thursday, I have eleven babies and toddlers show up for twelve hours. Husband cleans the house. Oldest son cleans the bathroom. Daughter does the laundry. (Well, she always does the laundry–something about the teen need for clean aparel, I don’t know. You quit doing it, long enough–they’ll take over.) Husband takes children out to dinner.

I throw out some table cloths and bowl the snacks, and the teens begin arriving.

Sixteen of them. A fortuitous number, for a sixteenth birthday, really.

Daughter comes home, sees the lights and hunkers down in the garage loft with her brothers to wait out Mom’s party.

Nice try.

ANYWAY. Point being: It was amazing. Those kids–eight boys and nine girls, counting my daughter–were the most well-mannered, articulate, intelligent group of people I’ve ever associated with. Unbelievable. They’d come up my stairs in groups of three and four, smiling, laughing, talking, all over the room. There was caramel corn, three kinds of ice cream, hot fudge, nuts, toppings galore, chex mix, potato chips, cake, root beer, candy corn, chocolate everything you can name–and not one kernal or wrapper or drip on my floor. Not one.

Not one argument broke out; not one youth left to themselves. They divided themselves into eight co-operative teams for one game and two teams for another game–which they came up with, organized and directed themselves. I didn’t have to do a thing. I had to point out the ice cream scooper and look for some matches. That’s it. The volume was incredible, but it was a joyful noise–and we’re not talking eleven shrieking toddlers joyful, either. Just healthy, harmonious noise. I’ve never, ever, seen anything like it. After all their game ideas were exhausted, they asked my nine-year-old (who’d come up to see what the ruckus was about earlier, and had been corralled into one of their games) what movie he wanted to watch. And by eleven thirty, they were all gone, of their own accord. My house might have been cleaner when they left than when they came. I kid you not.

If these youth are the future of our nation and our planet, it is in amazing hands:


I signed up with facebook… many years ago. When it first came out. Most members of my family live really, really far away and it was  a good way to keep in touch without much effort.

But then everyone joined facebook. It got so that I felt obliged to accept friend requests from people I hardly knew, and then I was bombarded by information I didn’t care about.

About three years ago, I signed off. Phew, what a relief. But then somebody in one of my classes suggested we start an online group, and it is a good idea–there are some crazy assignments and lots of times I wish I could just throw a group question out there.

So I tried to sign in this morning. I no longer even have the email account I signed up with, so I can’t request a new password, but after about twenty attempts I finally hit on the right one.


I have friend requests piled up from half of the living breathing universe. Suddenly I was again stressed about what they must think of me, that I never accepted their requests. And needing to sign on and keep up with everyone and and and….

I clicked the x in the corner in a panic before it could suck me into its death spiral.

I’m pondering now: do I have what it takes to be a facebooker? Can I ruthlessly delete all the people I don’t really care profoundly about and just use it for the essential things I originally signed up for? It got to be the same way with my blogroll, for a while: I felt guilty that I wasn’t commenting on every post every person made. When Vox went belly up, I almost quit blogging all together.

And then I decided that I blog for me, primarily. This is my mental maytag, my journal that I cannot misplace. Of course I love it when somebody else enjoys it, and comments. I like reading other people’s blogs, too. But a lot of times that’s on my ‘Pod, and I can’t easily comment. This is the season of my life, right now. It’s a bit nuts. Most people understand that, I guess.


To facebook or not to facebook, that is the question… On my own terms.