Friday, February 29, 2008

improv at the church

follow-up to the day we served communion.

i was a little nervous. for all the times i've received communion, i focused on what i'm supposed to say when i accept. i panicked trying to remember what the stewards say when they offer.

when the pastor called us forth, we ended up being the last couple to arrive. she served the stewards first and then because kisu and i were last in line, she simply handed us basket and cup. since i was last last, i got the wine grape juice.

great. because of her congested nose, or because of the blood pounding in my ears, i didn't hear clearly what she said over the wine. it sounded like, "a cup of His love".

i'd never heard that variant before, but i figured, hey, we're a progressive kind of church, why not?

so i went with it, but about halfway through i started feeling like an airplane stewardess at de-planing; i started mixing it up.

a little "cup of His blood," some "His blood for you," here and there a "blood of Christ".

i didn't get any funny looks, even though we got a lot of the older, maybe not-so-progressive members in our line, so it must have been alright.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

extreme sisters

because my sister has failed, as yet, to kill me, she has vowed to take me skydiving. she bought me a plane ticket to go to to florida for her birthday, so that she could torture me away from the prying eyes of our parents and my husband.

should i survive the parachuting, she has also lined up the following backup plans: throw me off a cliff (rock climbing), drag me behind a horse (riding), feed me to either sharks (surfing) or alligators (canoeing), blunt force trauma (wallyball and/or paintball), and as a last-ditch effort, drowning (backyard hot tub).

all of this in 4 1/2 days. if any single activity fails to do the job, i'm sure simple exhaustion will finally do me in. no doubt i will sleep on the flight there--i may not get another chance until the flight home.

although our mother has nixed the skydiving (based on the argument that my children are too young to lose me, although i am free to attempt it when they are in their teens), i am giving the greenlight to all the other activities on the agenda.

when i said i was done spectating, i was serious.

now if you'll pardon me, i need to call my insurance agent...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

big girl, visual evidence

holy crap, i still can't believe she's 6.

on molds, and breaking them

pam is the adventurous sister. the one who takes risks, throws caution to the wind, and bears no regrets in the wake of her living.

i'm the quiet one. the studious, educated, over-thinking-'til-the-opportunity-passes-me-by one.

allison is the....well, she kind of defies categorization.

recently our parents had a dinner party during the course of which the attendees played a game of my-kid-is-more-witless-than-your-kid. they took turns trying to one up each other with stories of foolish mistakes made by their offspring. pam and allison each had an entry (or two), but i did not.

that is a source of both pride and, paradoxically, some shame.

although i don't habitually make new year's resolutions, i did come to a belated decision this year. the decision that i am done being a spectator in my life. for too long i have watched days fly by, none of them the perfect opportunity to get off my butt and try one of the many adventures that call to me. the money's too tight, the kids are too small, my body's too tired.

in reality any one of those days, or all of them, was the precise moment to spread my wings.

i shared my revelation with kisu and he agreed. whether it be as simple as more frequent family outings to the museum, the zoo, or the bowling alley, as radical as braving the sphere, or as involved as our budding scheme to host a couple's paintball battle this summer, we are going to DO something.

well, then pam called and challenged me to put my money where my mouth is. she has been my instigator on more than one occasion. this time i think she'll find me a little less resistant to her wild and wacky schemes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

excuse me while i kiss the sky

sometimes i am stricken with a sudden fear of heights. depending on my mood, i may or may not actually ride any of the roller coasters at an amusement park. but at no time would i ever willingly be rocketed straight into the sky, and then just as dramatically sent to examine the earth's molten core.
well, there was that one time....

a few summers ago i was unemployed and found myself conspiring with my older sister to convene at our mother's house, offspring in tow.

we spent a week hanging out and having fun, and generally driving gamma crazy.
one of the things we did (twice) was make the trek across the canadian border to visit marineland. her kids may have been underwhelmed, having been to seaworld several times, but pooka was pretty thrilled.

both days have singular events that fix them fondly and firmly in my memory. the second day we got a chance to hand feed the beluga whales. they are called the canaries of the sea for good reason. they talk almost as much as bug does.

but the first day, that's the day i vowed never to speak to my sister again.

she cajoled me into riding the sky screamer with her. normally i would not even look twice at a ride like that. being with my sister the dare-devil, i felt galvanized.

i should have know from the twelve half- mile hike up the hill that i wasn't going to enjoy what followed. and there was a line, so it's not like i didn't have plenty of time to reveal my yellow belly and back out. when i saw children barely older than my daughter laughing their way to the exit path, i steeled myself and grew a spine.

we finally got strapped in and were duly warned to keep our heads against the back. 10 seconds later we were still waiting and so dropped our heads. that was the precise moment that we were launched into space, screaming the whole way.

obviously, this is how they got the name of this infernal 'amusement'.

at the top, they gave us just enough time for our internal organs to regain their natural positions. then they dropped us like a rock.

there was more screaming.

when i finally dismounted, i could barely stand nor breathe. pam immediately went to rejoin the line. after a choice word or two, i went to buy myself a bag to hyperventilate into a water bottle. so badly was i shaking that i merely held out a handful of coins for the attendant to pick out the required fee, like a baffled tourist who can't comprehend a foreign money system.
i was so grateful to still be alive, i promptly reneged on my vow to disown pam.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

inch by inchworm bug *bump*

i like to see how the baby is growing from one month to the next.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

10 essential steps to survive locking yourself out of your house

1. dig through the the detritus of autumn behind your air conditioner for the fake rock that holds the spare key, which you haven't seen for 3 years, scratching your hands in the process.

2. fail to find key, wake up your father to come and rescue you, because your husband is the only person on duty at his job and can't leave.

3. load kids and their heaps of paraphernalia into vehicle in garage, kicking yourself for not pre-heating the truck like you normally do.

4. huddle together in back seat to stay warm, wondering if you need to retrieve the blanket from the emergency kit.

5. reassure the 6-year-old when she tearfully asks, "is this my fault?"

6. then defend yourself when she demands, "why did you do this, mom?"

7. play "i spy" with the plethora of garden tools on display in the garage. (i spy something that is silver!)

8. envy the baby in her fleece-lined zip-up car seat cover. plan on buying one for the driver's seat.

9. hug father upon his arrival, apologize, get keys, proceed with morning routine only slightly late instead of the slightly early you thought you miraculously might be.

10. spend rest of day trying to thaw out your buttocks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

let them eat (cup)cakes!

have i mentioned that pooka loves to cook and bake?

she got another miniature baking set for her last birthday and she was dying to try it out last weekend. i finally relented when i realized that these things are barely a single bite-ful and i could send them to school with her.

so sunday afternoon we got the ingredients out and, while bug crawled around the kitchen floor (and under pooka's chair), we measured and mixed.

pooka thought it was really cool how i added a drop of food coloring to the batter before baking to get a swirled cupcake.
the part she really wanted to get to was frosting, though, so she could use her fancy frosting gun. like a caulk gun, only sugary.

i demonstrated and then let her take it away. she's frosted before, with a piping bag, so i knew she'd get the hang of it pretty quickly. soon we had a tray full of adorable treats just waiting to be photographed inhaled savored.
we each had one to try and that's when i remembered that this company's recipes are very dense. (next time, i'll use my own recipe.) pooka didn't even finish hers.

but they got sent to school and pooka looked like a princess for her trouble.
check out her skills:

Monday, February 18, 2008

music critic

driving home from work last week, i heard a song that shook me up a bit. on the one hand, i rather liked the music and the rhythm, but i was dismayed by the lyrics.

(as if anyone was inclined to misidentify him) the singer declared "i'm not Jesus. Jesus wasn't fair."

sure. life isn't fair. Jesus wasn't fair. Jesus was extremely unfair. Incredibly biased--towards others. what did he do to deserve his punishment? everyone else gets out of eternal damnation. yeah, that's fair.

then he goes on to say, "your God is looking down on me" and "i'm not Jesus, i will not forgive."
i have grudge-holding issues myself, but i always aspire to be better. this guy is just wallowing in self-pity and rage for whatever was trespassed against him.

religious blather aside, i suspect that the songwriter made a syntactical mistake. he says "I’ve thought you talked to god. Your hippocratic messiah and child abusive turned satanic."

i can't help but think he means 'hypocritic' here and it just makes me crack up.

(for the record the band was apocolyptica.)

but let's disregard my issues with lyrical malapropism and enjoy the irony that was created with the juxtaposition of the next song; one diametrically opposed on a theological scale. nickelback's "If Everyone Cared".

i love that song. musically, it's like an empty-calorie snack, but i love the message and i can't help but feel uplifted after hearing it.

Singing Amen, I, I'm alive
Singing Amen, I, I'm alive

If everyone cared and nobody cried
If everyone loved and nobody lied
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
Then we'd see the day when nobody died

don't you just want to hug someone?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

leave me alone

no buggy loves me

bug has recently learned to give moochies. so far, daddy has been the major recipient of them.

i was holding her in the kitchen the other day and he got about 6 in a row.
when i tried to get some, she wouldn't even look at me. (i think it has to do with perspective and eye focus, she rarely looks at the person holding her on their hip.)

so i handed her off to daddy and succeeded in getting one moochie. ONE!

i guess that since i no longer spew forth milk, she loves me not.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

people who think they're superior annoy those of us who really are

i am an impatient driver. i will admit that freely. i am also, in car culture terminology, a 'spirited' driver. 

that means that i like to go fast. not crazy fast, but at least the speed limit or as fast as traffic and conditions will allow. (in michigan, posted speeds are considered suggestions more than strict limits, per se.)

but that last part there, "conditions," is subjective.  some people don't have the confidence in their vehicle or in themselves to drive as fast as others.  the oh-so-helpful road signs advise us to drive with caution in wintry conditions.  but apparently, most drivers go right past caution and drive with terror.

i don't like being around those people. 

take last night for example.

they see snow falling, as it does in michigan in the winter, and people slow down.  that's reasonable. but why are we doing 5 mph on the freeway? seriously? i understand we can't do 80 as usual, but how about 50? 40? 

if we all put down our cell phones and pay attention, i think 40 is a sustainable, safe speed to travel. know when your exit's coming up and start moving towards it in advance and you won't spin out or cause spin outs trying to make the ramp at the last second.

it took me 2 hours--TWO HOURS--to make it to daycare last night. a trip that normally takes me 40 minutes.  

once my path diverged from that of most other cars, i was able to drive at a quicker speed, while still staying safe.  sure, in a couple spots the roads were coated and even a tiny bit slippery, but for the most part it was sheer timidity (or stupidity) that slowed everyone down.

if i were in charge of driver's ed. i would make sure that everyone practices driving in extreme situations so that they can do so without annoying everyone else confidently and safely.  i would also make your car slap you if you left your turn signal on for more than 1/4 mile.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

something about laughing asians

dude, you've not seen creepy until you've watched the wiggles in chinese.  

pooka declined breakfast at home this morning to watch tv. 

there was an animated segment on showing the chinese version of the characters (murray is female in china). all the idiosyncrasies of the people stayed the same, though, so listening to that foreign language, followed by the captain's kooky laugh was just plain weird.  

kind of like that new guy on trading spaces. kisu and i watched last night and we both just wanted to smack him. we didn't like his design so much, either.

Monday, February 11, 2008

mommy in the middle

pooka's party was a lot of fun. jungle java is a great place for the kids to let off steam, while the adults can have conversation. it was a lot less work than last year, and no clean-up, but there was so much sensory stimulation and shmoozing, i was still exhausted afterwards.

i think the guests responded admirably to our mandate on gifts. since this party was also a celebration of pooka's end of treatment, we asked the kids not to bring a gift for pooka, but instead a donation for the oncology clinic. (i will admit i had the ulterior motive of NOT adding to our obscene collection of junk toys.) some of the parents tried to sneak in something for pooka, but they all came through with toys and crafts for the hospital. additionally, all the kids had hand-made cards for pooka, which i thought was much more meaningful. i'm glad that it worked out as well as it did. pooka was not happy about losing out on the booty, especially after she insisted on at least looking at what she wasn't getting, but she handled it decently.

something odd happened at the party, too. i spotted a woman who looked very familiar, and she was looking at me as if she felt the same way. as we were leaving, i approached her and asked where i knew her from. she confirmed that she did, in fact, feel like she knew me, too, but after exchanging names, occupations, and several hobbies, we could not figure out how we could be acquainted. this is going to puzzle me for awhile.

gamma and grandpa came in. they haven't seen bug since october, so that was quite a treat and a surprise for them. the weekend was very busy, however, and i didn't get to spend as much time with my mom as i would have liked. i constantly felt like i had to rush through chores and errands to earn a chance to sit and just chat with her. we always have a good time together, sometimes crying as much as we laugh.

thinking about it, i realized that in some ways, i'm still a little kid, trying to get time with my parents. between my mom's visits and dinners with my dad, i get to regress a little. i don't even feel like we have to be doing anything specific, just being together. it's almost like i'm trying to complete something that was left unfinished. but are you ever really finished being your parents' child?

now i realize that i need to spend more time with my kids, so that when they become grown, they can move on with their lives, instead of trying to recapture a relationship they didn't have. and yet, i hope that even when they are grown they will still want to spend time with me, without needing to spend time with me. i think that would be the mark of a job well done.

Friday, February 8, 2008

my recurring nightmare

you know how sometimes when you look in the mirror, you suddenly see what you really look like?

not how you look with your hair styled, or with make-up (not me, anyway), but how you truly look.

did that ever scare the crap out of you?

i looked today and saw some giant gray bags under my eyes. my immediate thought was: i need more sleep.

i have been saying that for as long as i can remember. it's like my mantra, and my cause, at least in part, for everything from memory gaps to weight gain to disregarded housework.

i did some thinking and realized that, for one reason or another, it has been 7 years since i have had regular, restful sleep.

i think i had about 6 months worth while pooka was 2, but that's it. i can't imagine why, between 2 pregnancies, midnight nursing until the babies turn(ed) one, night terrors, and leukemia, i don't sleep well.

so if breaking a mirror brings 7 years bad luck, what causes 7 years of bad sleep?

oh, yeah: kids.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

the mystery of the stolen snow

last week, when we had some significant snowfall, i was prepared to go out and shovel, or force kisu out the door to use the snowblower.

but before i got the chance, our snow disappeared, and i ain't talking about melting away. although that frequently happens in michigan, that was not the case on these two (not one, but two!) instances to which i am referring.

at first, i thought that kisu had hauled his own butt outside and cleared it, but then i remembered that he was down with whatever loathesome, unrelenting virus is plowing its way through the populace this season. (i would have forced him outside anyway.) it has to be bad if it's affecting kisu, he has the strongest constitution i've ever seen.

after it happened a second time, we discussed it before dinner, and pooka said, "it's just like the mystery of the stolen monkeys!"

uh, yeah, someone stole our snow.

kisu and i speculated on the details of who and how.

the city? no way.

a neighbor? not likely. we don't associate with most of them, and the one we do only has a shovel for a tool. the sidewalk looked like it had been cleared in a single pass with a blade equal to its width. so, even a snowblower was not the right fit.

i proposed that someone must have a quad with a plow attachment. kisu was skeptical; who has one of those?

last night as we came home, we saw a guy on a quad, plowing out a few driveways on the next street over.

that's gotta be him! let's go over and say thanks.

by the time we got out, he was making his way up and down the other sidewalks, as well. i figured i'd start on our driveway and wait to see if he came down our sidewalk. by the time i realized he wasn't going to, he had already disappeared. (on a sidenote: pooka will do anything to postpone bedtime, even clear 3 inches of snow out of the driveway with a shovel that's only 6 inches wide.)i have no idea where he lives. pooka and i walked around looking for him, or signs of him, to no avail. none of the cleared driveways showed any tracks to betray the quad's resting place.

i am completely at a loss for how to thank this helpful neighbor. i'll have to try and catch him in the act again.

tonight's forecast calls for more snow. if you need me, i'll be sitting at the window all night, waiting for the snow bandit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


pardon my shouting, but pooka's done with treatment.


Monday, February 4, 2008

bleedin' to thrive

thrive is not going awesomely well.

thoughts this morning include:

  • who the hell scheduled a weigh-in for the day after the super bowl??!!
  • i should have taken a laxative yesterday
  • too bad my blood donation appointment isn't before the weigh-in
  • wish i could've done a 'last-chance workout' this morning at 5 am
  • i hope my teammates have dropped a LOT of weight

i do have a small loss to show, but now that bug is about 90% weaned (and i am about 75% healthy) i look forward to kicking the gym time into high gear.

already, my eating habits are shifting. in the face of all the snacks we bought for the game last night, what i wanted to eat was granola, dried cherries, apples, and peanut butter.

so, one team member is out today, two others gained, and i...

lost 3.4 lbs (since the last weigh-in 4 weeks ago).

Sunday, February 3, 2008


kisu was all about the pats perfection. in my heart of hearts i guess i was rooting for the giants.

i'm just tired of hearing about new england; the video-taping issues left a bad taste in my mouth. and also, i'm an underdog kid of girl.

i think it's interesting that the mannings have won back to back titles. next thing you know, ol' archie's gonna come out of retirement and get him a ring, too.

pooka didn't know who to root for. somehow, although i never said a word, she thought we were rooting for the giants, so she made a sorta-bet with granny. once kisu explained that he was rooting for the patriots, he talked her out of canceling the bet. too bad, she would have taken granny's dollar.

ultimately, since neither the bills nor the lions played (nor the cowboys) i didn't really care who won (or lost, in the case of the cowpats), and it was a pretty good game overall.

Friday, February 1, 2008

i shall call her mini-mom

pooka is a really terrific big sister, despite her tendency to take bug's toys away. (i start to wonder if pooka is really trying to interact with her sister or merely regressing.) it's not always to play with them herself, though, she just wants bug to focus on her instead of the toys. she doesn't realize yet that you can't force a baby to pay attention to you.

she also tries to manhandle the baby; in her mind, it's cuddling. early on, we wouldn't let pooka hold her too much due to the lack of neck control, etc. now that that is well-established, and pooka has a greater appreciation of bug's delicacy, we allow it more; however, bug doesn't allow it so much. she's at the stage where she is persnickety about who holds her and when. she wants to be moving, exploring, and doesn't like to be controlled. this frustrates pooka and sometimes makes her sad.

she is sometimes quite helpful with feeding bug at the table. sometimes the novelty of having her sister in front of her is enough to convince bug to eat when she otherwise might be too distracted or just plain crotchety. the other day, pooka sat in for me as i cleaned the kitchen. she was singing and trying the vehicular methods of food delivery. (airplane, choo-choo, etc.) i tried to capture it on film, but by the time i came back upstairs with the camera, she had stopped singing, and when she saw me, she devolved into a complete ham.

essentially, pooka acts like a mini-mom to bug, with all the facets thereof. occasionally, she tries to overrule us, bug's actual parents. and she thinks she's entitled to snap at the baby when she's doing something she shouldn't. if bug tries to stand in the tub or crawls to something she shouldn't touch, pooka's voice will get sharp. that shames me a little, even though it is a normal part of parenting. when you see your children mimicking you it can be a source of pride or of chagrin. they hold a mirror up to your soul and it reflects the dirty as well as the shiny.

i asked her how she learned to be such a good big sister and she replied, "from you." well, melt my heart. except, she's never seen me be a big sister. perhaps she's confusing sistering with mothering. in which case, yay! she thinks i'm a good mom. (obviously, she's forgetting the many times i've spanked her, taken away her toys, and refused to let her have dessert.)

but really, isn't her opinion on that issue the only one that really counts? in the future, bug may have a completely different take, maybe even considering pooka to be more of a maternal figure than myself, but for now i'm going to take a moment to bask in the glow that is my daughter's approval.