Thursday, April 30, 2009


I love taking pictures of Lily when she's asleep. There's just something so peaceful and beautiful about her little face with its impossibly long eyelashes and rosebud mouth. Plus, she doesn't even stir when the flash goes off.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

David and the Mega-Church

See the blurry figure? That's David Sedaris giving a reading last week. My divine neighbor L got tickets and took me as her plus one. I've seen Sedaris read at least half a dozen times, but this was L's first time, and she wasn't disappointed.

With the exception of a piece that was in The New Yorker a few weeks ago - "Author, Author?" - everything he read was new material, at least for me, which was great. I was a bit worried he'd read from his newest book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, which isn't my favorite of his works.

Much of what he read was made even funnier by the location. He gave the reading at Riverbend Church, one of Austin's biggest mega-churches. It's on a large "campus" west of town, and it has a coffee shop, book store, meeting facilities, a separate chapel (where Jessica Simpson got married), and a "healing garden." The main sanctuary, where the reading was, has theater-quality sound and lighting systems. It's a fairly liberal church, for being Southern Baptist, but I'm betting there were a fair number of church members who were not so pleased that an openly gay man was allowed to give a reading there. And even though it's fairly liberal, I still got the creepy crawlies being in there, especially after I heard church ushers inviting people to join them for services on Sunday.

The president of the Paramount Theater, the organization that sponsored the reading, came out on stage to introduce Sedaris and compared himself to the king's official food taster. He figured that if he didn't get struck by lightning being there, Sedaris would be safe. I think that since the church didn't burn to the ground with us in it, god has a pretty decent sense of humor.

I also got a case of the giggles when L leaned over and told me to take a close look at the podium and ferns on the stage and how they were set up. Go back to the picture and take a good look, I'll wait. It's a rather phallus-like arrangement, don't you think? I wonder who was responsible for it.

Despite the church's "liberal" leanings, I'm still betting it's the only time someone has talked about condom shopping with his brother-in-law and said "thank fucking god" on stage there.

And I'm guessing it will be the last time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Date night

Two weeks ago, B took Ella to Arlington for a climbing competition, just the two of them. They left Friday evening, spent the night in a hotel ("I can watch SpongeBob in bed!" said Ella.) and came home Saturday afternoon after the competition. Ella placed 6th out of 12 climbers in the 12-and-under category.

Since then, B has been looking for a way to spend some one-on-one time with Lily.

Last Monday, as we were getting ready to go to her ballet class, she sidled up to B and said, "Daddy, remember that time you took me to ballet instead of Mama? I really liked that." B clutched his chest as though she had just stabbed him in the heart. I chuckled at how non-subtle she was being.

So yesterday B took Lily to her ballet class and then he took her out to dinner afterwards. He wore nice clothes, and I packed Lily a pretty dress to wear after class. On the way to ballet, they discussed where they should go for dinner. Lily requested McDonald's, but B told her they were going somewhere that had real food, and real tables, and real napkins.

When they got to the restaurant, B opened Lily's car door for her and explained that's what gentlemen do (nevermind that he never opens my car door). She giggled, but when they got home, she asked if he would open her car door again. He said that since a date didn't end until the gentleman walked her to her door, he'd definitely open the car door. Then he told her that she should never date anyone who didn't open car doors for her.

She looked at him, puzzled, and said, "But daddy, I haven't been on any dates yet."

And he told her things would stay that way until she was 30. She just giggled and twirled into the house.

A big thank you to everyone who commented or sent e-mails. Your words of support mean a lot to me. I love my bloggity friends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taking a break

I can't believe it, but after more than 600 posts, I'm feeling a bit burned out on blogging. There are posts jumping around in my brain - like one about seeing David Sedaris give a reading at Austin's largets Sounthern Baptist mega-church last night - but I just can't seem to get them from my brain to my computer.

I'm just sort of overwhelmed by life and everything it involves right now - three medical emergencies in less than three weeks will do that to a person - and I need to hunker down and focus on what I HAVE to accomplish each day.

It's a shame that this has happened to me right now given that I currently have 40 readers each day, which is a record high for me. I hate to take time off just as I've gained new readers, but I hope everyone will come back when I snap out of my bloggy funk.

See you in a bit.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I've been on a knitting tear lately and finally have something to show for all my work.

First, I finally finished B's socks. I knit him a pair a year and a half ago, but they felted when they got thrown in the wash accidentally. Ever since then, he's been begging me to knit another pair. I cast these on in January and just finished them this week. I don't know why they took so long. The wool is Arucania, and it's soft and lovely to work with, but knitting row after row of grey got tiresome. But now they're done, and I'm on to other things.

I knit this hat, modeled by Elizabeth, for Ella's rock climbing coach, whose wife had a baby girl TWO MONTHS ago. It's basic cascade 220 in a k5p5 traveling stitch, 90 stitches on size 5 dpns. This hat went really quickly; I cast on Saturday and finished it Wednesday. There was something soothing about the knitting and purling. I'm about to cast on another for a friend who's having a girl this summer.

Today I'm going to place an order with KnitPicks for yarn to knit a tea cozy for a friend, and I'll probably cast on a pair of socks out of the MiniMochi I bought when my mom was here in February. So many things to knit, so little time.

The Evil Bunny is still in a heap in the corner, though.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The boy ain't right

See this boy? With his curly hair, blue eyes and dimples? See him?

I sent him off to preschool yesterday morning for the first time in almost two weeks; bouts of pink eye that turned out not to be pink eye and the penis incident had prevented his going to school lately. I turned to B and we smiled at the silence in the house. I managed to get two solid hours of work done while Elizabeth napped. It was a very good morning.

And then the phone rang.

It was Campbell's preschool director calling to tell me that Campbell had fallen and bitten his tongue really badly and that I needed to come get him. All I could say was, "Well, of course he did." When I got to preschool, Campbell was back in his classroom crying and trying to eat his lunch. Applesauce was the only thing that didn't hurt his tongue when he ate. His teacher had him stick out his tongue to show me the cut, and I gagged when I saw it.

I put in a call to our pediatrician, but the office was closed for lunch, so I had the answering service page the doctor. He called back and had me bring Campbell in right away. Fortunately, it's a clean cut, no jagged edges, and while it is pretty wide, it doesn't go all the way through his tongue, so no stitches are needed. Campbell gets to take another round of antibiotics and eat ice cream for a few days. He's completely digging the ice cream part, but he screams every time I come near him with anything that looks like medicine.

It's funny - when Ella was little, we joked about how we would need a frequent flier card at the ER for her given her climbing escapades. She's never been to the ER (knock on wood, turn around three times and spit), but Lily's been once, and Campbell has been three times.

I think for my own sanity, though, I'm going to make Campbell wear a helmet, pads, mouth guard and cup any time he's up and around. It just seems safer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pure-D Evil

This is all my mother's fault. She started it. She knit this bunny for Elizabeth, and it was just so cute I had to give it a try. I will admit that she warned me that the bunny was evil. But when she sent the bunny to Elizabeth, she sent me corrected instructions and some fun fur nylon yarn with which to make one. I figured I'd knock one out over the weekend and hand it off to Ella's rock climbing coach, whose wife had a baby TWO months ago, when Ella went to practice on Tuesday.

Things went just swimmingly through the body and the arms, although I did feel as though I was wrestling with the yarn, which has NO give to it at all. But when I got to knitting the head, the EVILNESS kicked in.

I followed mom's modified instructions, which she lifted from some other knitter, and had about 8 rows of the double knitting done when I realized that I had dropped a stitch somewhere. Because the yarn is so fuzzy, I couldn't find the error, so I had to rip back to the neck. I was sitting in the waiting area at Lily's ballet class when this happened, so I couldn't swear openly. Instead, I was reduced to muttering words about evilness and bunnies and evilness.

But I pulled myself together and started the head again. I had about half the head done when my mom called. I asked her if the head was supposed to be so narrow or whether it stretched out when it got stuffed. That's when she asked if I had forgotten to double the stitches after reducing them for the shape of the neck. I read through mom's instructions, and there was no mention of doubling stitches. Turns out she forgot to include that row when she retyped them.


I had initially said I'd put the bunny in time out and knit on a hat I started this weekend, but then I decided I couldn't let knitting something like a cute little (evil) bunny defeat me. So I attempted to rip back the head again. Turns out, you can only rip back fun fur once before it becomes so fuzzy that you lose all home of being able to see individual stitches.

The evil bunny is now in a heap in the corner of my room, behind the reading chair. It may sit there for a long time before I throw out the body and donate the remaining yarn to the girls' craft box. I'm never knitting one of these bunnies again.

They're evil.

A very good egg day

Since we're pretty much heathens around here, our Easter celebration is limited to finding eggs and devouring chocolate for breakfast. We opted out of B's family's Easter brunch years ago, preferring to spend the day with just our little family hanging out instead of being crammed into uncomfortable clothes and trying to keep the kids from destroying B's grandmother's house. So Easter is about as low stress around here as any day with four kids ages 8 and under can be.

When the Easter Bunny woke up at 4am to feed the baby and set the eggs out in the yard, she discovered that it was raining and thundering. So she left a note for the girls that said, "It was raining when I came, so I couldn't hide the eggs outside. Your mom and dad will hide them for you." The Easter Bunny thought this was a brilliant plan until Ella pointed out that the Easter Bunny has the same handwriting as the Tooth Fairy (dammit).

Once all the kids and B were up, I hid 27 eggs in the front and back yards and then we let the kids loose. It turns out Lily's egg finding skills have improved vastly in the past year, plus she's more willing to throw elbows in the scramble to get an egg, all of which ticked Ella off to no end. Lily wound up with more eggs than Ella, which made Ella pout. Keep in mind, that the only prize for getting more eggs was - more eggs. We hide the hard boiled decorated eggs around here, not the plastic, candy filled ones.

Campbell just wandered around, picking up eggs and putting them back down again while announcing that the egg was wet. Maybe next year he'll understand more.

Eww - Ella found an egg with a hitch hiker on it.

Campbell had just put the pink egg back on the ground next to the tree, right where he found it.
Once the weather cleared up and the day turned beautiful, we headed to the neighborhood park. Campbell rode his tricycle the whole way there - about half a mile. The girls are way ahead on their scooters.
Lily showed us that she has mastered the monkey bars. She's quite proud of herself, and rightfully so.

And Elizabeth slept in the jogger.
It was a good day, all the way around.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Elizabeth has been eating cereal for a month now, and she mostly likes it. We're now adding new foods to her diet, like carrots. This was her first experience with carrots, and, as you can see, she's not sure what to make of them.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Another ER visit

So last week B had his jaunt to the ER, and yesterday Campbell had his. It was his third in two years. Unlike the one for the head donk or the one for the pill that he probably didn't swallow, which were both nerve wracking enough, this one was really scary. And instead of going to the ER at the Heart Hospital down the road, I went straight to the children's hospital.

Warning, gross stuff ahead. Read at your own risk.

Campbell was out riding his little scooter yesterday afternoon, and he took a tumble. I initially thought he had just banged his hands and knees. When I picked him up, I realized he needed a new diaper, and since I had a box of diapers in the trunk of Martha the Maroon Moose, I put Campbell up in the back to change him. When I pulled off his diaper, I saw that something was wrong with his penis (and I have now said and written that word more times in the past 24 hours than in all my life). The best we can figure is that he banged his crotch on the side of the scooter when he fell down. I called B out to take a look, and he told me to call the doctor.

While I was on hold with the answering service, B carried Campbell inside and set him on the sofa on a towel, with his legs spread. Our doctor's nurse called me back and told me to head straight to the children's hospital.

Unfortunately, B had a meeting with a client he had already canceled once due to his ER visit last week, so he couldn't go with Campbell. So I headed out with Campbell and Elizabeth, and the girls went to a neighbor's house.

The nurse in triage at the ER winced when she opened Campbell's diaper and again when he started screaming in pain when he peed. All of the nurses gathered and laughed in an "Oh isn't he so cute" way when we finally walked back to an exam room - Campbell was walking like an 80-year-old cowboy after a full day riding a horse. I didn't think things were quite so amusing.

This is where it gets gross.

The doctor said that it looked like when Campbell fell, the blow pushed his foreskin too far back, and the membranes underneath were exposed and started to swell. The swelling prevented the foreskin from retracting to its proper position. The fix was for the doctor to pull the foreskin into place and shove everything else back inside. All done with Campbell screaming in pain while being restrained by an EMT and a nurse. It took the doctor at least six tries to get everything to stay where it belonged, and by the time she was pretty much finished with the worst of it the pain meds finally arrived.

I wanted to punch the doctor every time she told me she couldn't wait for the pain meds because if the swelling got any worse, the problem would be harder to fix. They didn't seem to be worried about time and swelling while we spent 40 minutes in the waiting area watching "Hannah Montana" (I do not understand the appeal of the show at all).

The doctor also called in a pediatric urologist to take a look, and I wanted to punch him too. He came in, took a quick look and announced that the injury wasn't because of a fall; it was because I hadn't been doing a good job of cleaning Campbell's penis. Then he rattled a bunch of stuff off at me, told me to make a follow-up appointment with him in three weeks, and walked out.

Through all this, I had Elizabeth with me, which made things even harder. Every time Campbell screamed in pain, she'd start screaming. So one of the nurses took Elizabeth out in the hall, but I could hear her crying out there. I took turns going between the two, comforting one at a time the best I was able.

After three hours, we were discharged without another visit from the doctor, which was actually fine by me. By the time we left, Campbell's pain meds had kicked in and he was stoned. He thought everything was hysterical. On the ride home - in a booster seat because it hurt him too much to buckle his car seat - he was pointing out different colored buses and laughing hysterically. "Look! Red bus. hahahaha. Look! Boo bus. hahahaha." I couldn't help but laugh with him.

Once I got home and got the girls settled and B got home from his client meeting, I kind of fell apart. I'm still not recovered. Campbell is just fine this morning, except when we have to change his diaper, but I'm a mess. I am grateful, though, that nothing more severe was wrong and that he will be fine.

But I think I'm buying the boy a cup to wear at all times.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Just what I needed

I rolled out of Austin at 10:30 Friday morning and returned at 11:30 Monday morning. It's the longest I've gone since having a child who could talk without having someone yell "Mommy" at me a zillion times a day. Elizabeth went with me, but since she can't talk yet, she doesn't count.

I also went four days without e-mail and Internet, which is a record. I was only twitchy for a few hours.

My dear friends L and H and I went to Greenville, TX, to H's parents' lake house. It sounds luxurious, but it isn't really. The house is a real log cabin, made out of big East Texas pine trees, and it's probably 100 years old. The kitchen and indoor plumbing aren't original to the house. Rustic is probably the best word to describe it, but it is the most restful, relaxing place I've ever been. The house is under big old trees and the lawn slopes down to a lake. You don't hear traffic or sirens or anything but the wind in the trees, the lapping of the lake, and the birds. And the occasional dog.

H and L spent Saturday at the big flea market in Canton, but Elizabeth and I stayed out the house. I took a morning nap while Elizabeth slept and an afternoon nap while H's mother took Elizabeth for a walk. It was divine.

Sunday I took another morning nap, and then H and I took Elizabeth for a long walk. Elizabeth slept for almost four hours Sunday afternoon, so I spent those hours dozing on the sofa, reading on the back porch, and having afternoon tea with H.

It was so lovely to be able to sit and read or do nothing and not feel as though I SHOULD be doing laundry or vacuuming or cleaning or any of the other zillion little chores that make up my day.

I came home yesterday morning rested and relaxed and ready to face life again. I felt like I had beaten back a bit of the big, bad D-word that has been stalking me for the last few months. Unfortunately, I came back to a sick Campbell, bickering girls and a mountain of laundry. But I feel better able to cope with all of it having had a break.

And now to get caught up.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Thank you to everyone for your e-mails and comments after my last post. B is recovering nicely, and he had a very good doctor's appointment yesterday. Basically, he has something called atrial fibrillation, which causes his heart to go nuts once in a while. It's something he will have for the rest of his life, but with some lifestyle changes and medication, he should be able to lessen the effects and avoid more hospital visits and sessions with a defibrillator.

I'm off for a much need girls' weekend away with two friends. I'm not taking my computer, so I'll be offline the whole time. I may go through withdrawal.

See you next week.