The Moment I've Been Waiting For

Posted on 8/31/2008 09:40:00 AM
I am more thrilled about this than all the other recent milestones put together...



because it means an eventual end to the screeching... oh the screeching! This one simple sign carries with it, great significance: it means that my sanity may return before she's two after all.

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As Seen in Pennsyltucky

Posted on 8/31/2008 09:26:00 AM
Ah, I love it when places of business have a sense of humor.


At least I hope that's what that means.

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Mommy's Little Mountain Climber

Posted on 8/29/2008 09:18:00 AM
Now that we don't have preschool anymore, morning life has changed in the Underground household. We used to leisurely eat breakfast, take our time getting dressed, and show up to school whenever it was convenient and we wanted to leave.

Now we have an actual school with an actual starting time and an actual bus to catch. The KingofHearts leaves for work unbelievably early and is not around to help with the morning routine. So for the past several weeks, I've been trying to beat into submission, force encourage The Dormouse that when she gets out of bed in the morning, there's a routine to begin and follow. And it needs to be done quickly. No longer is the following conversation acceptable:

"Honey, are you finished with your breakfast?"

"No."

"Why not?"

*sigh... repeating what she's heard a hundred times in monotone voice* "Because I'm messing around."

The Caterpillar is usually up before The Dormouse (because she never sleeps) so I've been able to deal with her needs in the morning before The Dormouse is out of bed. Once she gets up, I put The Caterpillar down on the floor to play and block off all the dangerous and undesirable areas of the house (the stairwell, the bathroom, respectively) while I deal with getting The Dormouse dressed, groomed, fed and all those other things Child Protective Services would be none to happy to find out that I didn't do.

The Caterpillar usually makes her way into their shared room, where The Dormouse's toys are all on the ground and within easy reach. I've long since weeded out all the Polly Pockets and any other small choke-able and/or dangerous items so I let her wander around in there with only minimal supervision.

Now with that long background explanation behind me, I can describe this morning's events with a clear(er) conscience. I was yelling at helping The Dormouse to finish her breakfast, when I heard The Caterpillar crying. Not help me, the world's about to end crying, just her normal I've been forgotten and I'm a bit miffed about it crying. I let it go for a minute while I finished cleaning up the mashed banana mess The Dormouse had smeared all over her face and hands from breakfast and then went into the girls' room to see what The Caterpillar was distressed about. I looked around on the floor and couldn't see her. I looked under the bed and couldn't find her. I glanced back over my shoulder to see if she'd gotten into the bathroom, but the door was still closed and locked. Then suddenly, I heard a plaintive cry coming from above my head.

This is what I found.




I figure there are two possible explanations for how she got up there:

Explanation 1
An unidentified alien craft descended to earth from outer space and abducted her into their spaceship to perform experiments on her with their creepy long alien fingers and stare at her with horrifically over sized alien eyes. After poking, prodding, and probing for an unspecified amount of time (we don't know how long because, obviously, time seemed to stop for everyone else in the household), they learned all they could about our species from this single specimen and they returned her to the approximate location from which they picked her up (missing it by only a few feet), so as not to tip off the human populace of their plans for eventual world domination.

Explanation 2
She climbed up the ladder by herself.


Somehow, Explanation 1 gives me more comfort.

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Baby Laughs

Posted on 8/29/2008 05:24:00 AM
Yeah, I know the video sucks. Just close your eyes and listen. It will totally improve your day. Or maybe that's just me.


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The Self Control - It's Amazing

Posted on 8/28/2008 01:35:00 PM
Things I did not buy (but desperately wanted to) when Monica and I went on a road trip to an auction in Pennsyltucky the other day:

This bar set would have gone so well with the red speckled Formica bar that was in our basement when we moved into the house. We only took it out because we never thought in a million years we'd be able to find a set of chairs with a bunghole that would go so perfectly with it. Also: I enjoy saying bunghole and having it not be dirty. Bunghole, bunghole, bunghole.


I was thinking this would make a great birthday gift for The KoH, and I actually considered bidding for it. But it went for $1600. $1600!!


If this thing hadn't been made of paper-maché, it would totally be sitting at the entrance to my driveway right now.


But this guy seemed to like it more than I did.

If you ever find yourself bored and looking for something fun to do, I highly recommend attending an auction house event. Honestly, I didn't purchase a thing and yet I don't feel like a drop of gas was wasted on the drive there. Prime people watching opportunities!

I'm thinking it's a really good thing I'm not monied... otherwise my house would be filled with a lot of crap.

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Kicking Against the Pricks

Posted on 8/27/2008 05:51:00 AM
I realize I've done a log of bitching about the rolling over, pulling up, crawling and walking all before it's absolutely necessary. And I've been criticized for that. "This is what she's supposed to be doing." "Her job is to learn these things!" "You should be happy that she's reaching the milestones that are necessary for her to go on with life." Blah, blah, blah, yeah, I get it.

And yes, I really do get it. As nice as it is to be able to put the baby down, leave the room for a second and then come back and find the baby exactly where you left it, I get it. She should reach these milestones. If the alternative is not reaching them, then that's much worse. I understand.

It's not that I'm ungrateful. It's just that this is what I've been trying to avoid:


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Me to KoH, sitting at the breakfast table, thrusting an empty glass in his direction: "Milk me!"

KoH: "..."

Me: "I'm thinking about rephrasing that."

KoH: "I wish you would."

Me: "Pour me some milk, please?"

KoH: "That's much better."



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A Little Piece of Me Just Died While Looking at These Photos

Posted on 8/25/2008 04:42:00 PM
Because, seriously, LOOK!

First day of kindergarten.


With a backpack chock full of supplies for any eventuality.



I picked her up a little early today because I wanted to hear about her day and give her a chance to see a familiar face in case it was more difficult than she anticipated. She was angry with me. Because she didn't want to go home. They were getting ready to go outside and play in the aftercare program and she was POed that I'd had the audacity to cramp her style and show up when she so clearly was not ready for me to be there. So... yeah... that's about what I should have expected.



Between the time I dropped her off at her first day of school this morning and when I picked her up this afternoon, she has aged about seven years. How is that possible that one day of school can be elicit such a change? I'm going to be a mess when she goes to high school, aren't I?

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Laying Groundwork for the Future

Posted on 8/25/2008 06:25:00 AM
Hey you! Anything happens to my daughter,
I got a .45 and a shovel, I doubt anybody would miss you.


- Clueless


"Where's Uncle Matty?"


"He's on a date, honey."

"Will he be back before I go to bed?"

"Probably not. He'll probably be back late."

"Why does Uncle Matty stay out so late on a date?"

"Well, sometimes when adults go on dates and they stay out late."

"When I'm older, will I stay out late on a date?"

"Well, you could.... but... what time is bedtime?"

"8:00."

"And what time is bath time?"

"7:00."

"So you can go out on a date, but you have to be back by bath time otherwise you won't be able to get a bath."

"Oh. Ok."

Now if he can just keep her convinced until she's thirty-five. Or is that unlikely?

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Hero Worship

Posted on 8/24/2008 06:33:00 AM
For reasons which I cannot even begin to understand, my four year old is obsessed with Barack Obama.

It started with this conversation.

In response to her question, I tried to explain the political process in a way that seasoned citizen of four years could understand. Then I showed her pictures of John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, who were the three main folks in the race at the time and the names she kept hearing on the radio. While I have definite feelings about the political process, the two party system, and most other issues facing the country these days, I simply tried to explain the concept of "running for president" and how we vote to her without bias or brainwashing. I didn't tell her who should win and I didn't tell her who I wanted to win. I'm not saying this to justify my response or her pure intent or anything like that... just to reiterate that this new fascination baffles me.


Since then, she has watched election news with a keen eye. When Hillary Clinton dropped out she cheered... because that was one less person who was running against Barack Obama.

When John McCain shows up on television, she tsks and reminds me that he is not The Guy. The Guy is Barack Obama.

When she sees a photo of Obama somewhere and I haven't noticed it, she points it out to me. "There He is! Barack Obama!!"

I honestly don't get what makes him so special in her eyes. It's kind of like the
Chick-Fil-A obsession, I don't really have a problem with it, I just don't understand why it appeals so to a four-year-old.

Last night, we attended a party thrown by a family in our church. Their son recently came home from serving a full time mission in Ecuador and it was a welcome back party for him. There were photos of him in Ecuador along with other missionaries he knew. In one of the photos there were about fifteen missionaries, all dressed in suits with their church-approved haircuts. One of the missionaries in the photo was Latin - probably from Ecuador - had very short hair and slightly large ears. We walked past this photo and The Dormouse suddenly began jumping up and down excitedly, grabbing at my shirt, and shouting, "Barack Obama! Barack Obama! Look it's Barack Obama! There's Barack Obama on his mission with Jacob, YAY!!" Much to the dismay of a rather large group of staunch Republicans in the room.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not welcome at the church playgroup anymore. But then, was I ever?

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Why I Love Ken Jennings

Posted on 8/23/2008 06:52:00 AM
The end.

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Save Ferris

Posted on 8/22/2008 04:07:00 AM

Last weekend, we took the Underground crew to one of the many county fairs going on in the area. The Dormouse experienced another right of passage because she was allowed to ride the ferris wheel for the very first time. I took this shot of the big wheel while they were up in it.... because I? I sat under the ferris wheel trying to discreetly nurse a cranky Caterpillar while the noise from the nearby ride that looks like a roller coaster but only goes around and around with a slight lift to one end caused me a subdural hematoma as the boom, boom, boom of the bass shook my brain inside my skull. What is that ride called anyway? And WHY must the music always be deafening? Is that somehow integral to the 'round and 'round experience? Like if they overstimulate you badly enough, you won't notice that all you did was travel in a circle?

After the infamous ferris wheel, we sat down to eat nasty but oh-so-desirable carnival food from the Fried Dough Hut and she announced, "This is the best day of
my whole life!" Sometimes kids just make you feel good about yourself.

Yesterday, I took The Dormouse school supply shopping. Let me repeat that for emphasis. I TOOK MY BABY THAT I BIRTHED FROM MY VERY OWN LOINS TO PURCHASE RANDOM OFFICE ITEMS THAT SHE WOULD THEN TAKE WITH HER WHEN SHE LEAVES MY WARM EMBRACE AND GOES INTO THE COLD, CRUEL WORLD OF PUBLIC SCHOOL. Am I being a bit too melodramatic? I do not think so. I think this situation warrants exactly this much melodrama.

Because I am a lazy mother and because The Dormouse is a control freak, we went to Staples and I gave her a basket, the supply list the school sent to me, and a pen. If I'd been smart, I'd have taken the camera and shot video of her trudging around the store, feeling very self-important, tucking the pen behind her ear, looking for the exact right pencil box, then dutifully pulling the pen from behind her ear, placing a giant check mark (which can only be done with sound effects: "cchhhhheeKK!") next to the list item when she found the Best Pencil Box In The Whole Wide World, then capping the pen, carefully replacing it behind her ear, and moving on to the next item.

*****

"It says 'One pair of Fiskars brand scissors, or similar, with metal blades (not plastic).'"

"There are some scissors over there, honey."

"But Mooooommmmm! Those do NOT say 'Fiskars' on them!"

*****

"One regular bath-size towel for rest time."

"You can probably just bring the blanket you bring to preschool now."

"But Mooooommmmm! It says right here, 'bath towel. No quilts or beach towels.'"

"OK, but I don't think they sell towels at Staples."

"OK, Momma, let's go to Target and get a towel now."

"Hey, here's an idea, let's get the rest of the things on the list and THEN go to Target."

"But
Mooooommmmm! We have to get this before I can go to the next thing on the list. The towel is before the crayons."

****

Who allowed this kid to learn to read? It was a completely bad idea.

The only time she wavered was near the end, when she picked up the full basket and exclaimed, "Wow, momma, this is heavy. Shopping is Such. Hard. Work."


I also allowed her to purchase... pause for dramatic effect... AN OUTFIT <cue angels singing> Laaaaaaa! </angels singing> She picked out a couple of nice, even-acceptable-to-me tops in greens, blues and browns. I turned around to look around for some pants to go with them and by the time I turned back, she had predictably abandoned them for three new shirts from the pink palette. How is it that this child has half my DNA?

Now I just need to win me some Hanes underwear from the nice people at PBN, because I don't think I can go through that again.

After that lovely experience, (which I'm pretty sure could replace waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay) we went to her kindergarten orientation and met her new teacher. I was actually quite impressed with the woman -- who seemed enthusiastic, well-spoken and not at all a child just out of kindergarten herself -- and I didn't want to scratch her eyes out as she continually referred to my baby as one of her kids.

My mother always tells the story of my first day at school, when I got out of the car, said "Bye, mom" and didn't look back. No tears, no clinging. I expect little else from this adult-child, who is so beside herself with grown-upped-ness, the ferris wheel is now only a thing of yesteryear to her. But for me, it was just six days ago.

If pride is a sin, color me guilty, because I'm completely proud of this little thing that wouldn't grow four years ago and the girl she's becoming. Yet, at the same time, I feel this twinge of sadness because I know this is a very real milestone that forces me to say goodbye to her babyhood and hello to years of peer pressure, mean girls, teachers who give her bad marks, disappointments and sadness. I know it's a necessary part of life... a growing experience... and there will also be hundred percents, great performances, best friends and successes. But I hate the thought that she'll go through any of the Bad Stuff and I want to shelter her from it all. Really, I just want to ride the ferris wheel with her and have that be enough to be the best day of her whole life.

Preparing for the first day of school is something I always knew would come. But wow, I didn't expect it to come so soon.

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New Use for Dominoes

Posted on 8/21/2008 06:32:00 AM
She is so ready to start school next week.


If I ever had any doubt about petitioning to have her start kindergarten early, this last month would have completely erased them. Her math skills have increased exponentially (exponentially... math... get it?) in the past couple of weeks and yesterday she read an entire page out of a novel I bought for myself to read. It will probably take me weeks to read that whole page. As I've said to a bunch of people, I'm not so into the idea of her starting kindergarten early - I couldn't care less about this being a bullet point on her resume - I'm more concerned that if she waits until she's almost six to start kindergarten, that she'll be a big ol' handful of behaviors for any teacher. Without some classroom experience and soon, she'll be bouncing off the walls like Happy Fun Ball... and she'll be just as dangerous.



We finally got a letter from The Dormouse's new school, telling us when and where she would start kindergarten in a little less than a week's time. I guess I should just be glad to have received it before school starts. When I opened it and mentioned to The KingofHearts that we'd finally gotten some information from the school, The Dormouse perked up.

"What does it say, Momma?"

"It's just information from the school."

"Does it say I'm well-behaved?"

"Yes, and you're house broken too."

"I knew it!"

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This Doesn't Surprise Me At All

Posted on 8/20/2008 08:57:00 AM

Using your browser URL history to estimate gender.

One of the things that I always wanted to do but never got around to was to analyze a user’s browsing history to estimate age and gender.
My results:

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 50%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 50%

SiteMale-Female Ratio
yahoo.com
0.9
youtube.com
1
wikipedia.org
1.08
ebay.com
1.11
imdb.com
1.06
weather.com
1.08
funnyordie.com
1.27
reddit.com
1.33
endless.com
0.59
deseretnews.com
1.35
bzoink.com
0.39
smarthome.com
1.56

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Quittance

Posted on 8/19/2008 06:35:00 AM
All the sleep problems get a lot easier to deal with when this is the face that greets you after a nap.

Sudden realization.


Unrestrained joy.


This look says, "Pick me up now or this happy face will turn to an ear piercing screech in three seconds."

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There May Be Some Gaps in Her Education

Posted on 8/18/2008 07:22:00 AM
I think we've had this conversation before.

KoH: Here honey, do you want this watch to play with?

DM: I can keep it?


KoH: Yes.

DM: Yay! Can I put it on my foot-wrist?

KoH: You mean your ankle?


DM: Yeah, can I put in on my ankle?

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Tongue in Cheek

Posted on 8/17/2008 08:05:00 AM
I think the tongue thing is genetic.


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I'm Walkin, Yes Indeed

Posted on 8/16/2008 05:44:00 AM
I know this is quickly turning into a Hey look at my kids blog this week, but I'm a little brain dead and lack the ability to form witty retorts and string them together into posts right now. (You may disagree with my assertion that there were ever any witty retorts on this weblog and that's your prerogative.)

Normally, the summer is considered the "slow time" where I work. Which really just means that everyone else takes a vacation. Basically, my "slow time" is just "normal time" but everyone else isn't there to stop me scores of times each day asking how to make something bold on their computers. But this summer, I've had three big time, large, super humongous, book editing projects. Add to that the duties of a couple of staff who are out on extended sick leave thanks to a tiny eight legged culprit that gave them lyme disease and what you get is someone who works fourteen hour days and then takes a bunch of pictures of her kids every so often just so she can remember what they looked like.

I figure later, I'll tell them wondrous stories about the summer of twenty-oh-eight and how we had such fun together and I was such an involved parent and they won't really remember, but I'll have the pictures to prove it so no one will be the wiser.

I finished the biggest (and most ridiculous time line) of the projects this week and sent the book off to the printer, all the while doing a Pontius Pilate and symbolically washing my hands of the entire thing because it is no longer in my lap. WOO HOO! I'm pretty sure that Pilate wasn't able to feel such a grand feeling of accomplishment during his famous act, but wow this one felt good to me. I took about three minutes to breathe deeply, feel the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders, and think about all the freedom I would now have to... move on to the next book. And now it's back to the grind.

In the meantime, on the home front, The Caterpillar started walking yesterday. And this, I think, counts as real walking, not just the pre-walking that I posted before. She is incredibly excited about the whole thing; I'm just wondering how long it will be before I can get her to run and get my documents out of the printer.





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My Girl

Posted on 8/15/2008 08:36:00 AM

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Five Guys and No Atlas

Posted on 8/14/2008 09:15:00 AM
The local burger joint, Five Guys, has this gimmick... I've written about them before.

Here's today's sign:


Ignoring the obviously poor photo taken with my camera phone (what, may I ask, is the point of putting a camera in everything if the best it can do is take photos like this??), can anyone apart from my mother spot the blatantly glaring mistake here? Because I know she'll catch it.

No?

Moses Lake is in Washington, not Idaho.

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Finally, Some Walking Pictures. Or Maybe Just Standing.

Posted on 8/14/2008 08:13:00 AM
If you want to encourage your baby to work on her walking skills, I highly recommend putting her in the grass. It's an excellent motivator.
















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Swinging Styles

Posted on 8/13/2008 08:53:00 PM
She loooOooves to swing.

The Coy Baby


The Criss Cross Applesauce


The Frankenstein

The Feet Up On the Desk Casual

The Easy Peasy


The Oh, I'm Surprised to See You Here

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Never Too Old?

Posted on 8/12/2008 07:44:00 AM
I'm just getting around to pulling some photos off my camera, so I had totally forgotten about this until I saw these. We took the girls to the local park a couple of weeks ago for a picnic and The Dormouse couldn't play on her favorite springy horsey because of this guy... who sat there for a half hour despite the fact that he obviously was aware of our presence (Between The Dormouse and The Caterpillar, we don't tend to go anywhere quietly).


I am amused to think of what he might be discussing on that phone... and whether or not the person he's speaking with knows that the adult man he or she is talking to is sitting on a tiny metal springy horsey. I'm guessing: not.

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The Nose Knows

Posted on 8/12/2008 07:19:00 AM
Our local park put in some new playground equipment which included this new climbing wall that The Dormouse refers to as "The Nose Wall." It took me a minute to understand why she calls it that. Don't see it?


Try a closeup.


I remember when she was born, savoring and relishing all the "firsts" that she experienced. It was great fun. First rain storm, first snow, first car ride, first vacation, first plane ride... lately it's seemed to me that she's done with her firsts and there's not that much new to relish. But in the past couple of weeks, The Dormouse has experienced a whole new wave of firsts -- she learned to ride a bike, she's getting ready to start school -- and it's been fun for me all over again. There's nothing like living vicariously through your children.

The Dormouse learned to climb The Nose Wall this week and she couldn't have been more proud of herself.

Here's where you have to forgive me for being an idiot with a capitol I and turn your head to the left, because I constantly forget that when I put my camera on video mode, I can't turn it sideways and rotate the picture later. Also because I had it set on Automatic Portrait mode so the excessive focus and refocusing is a bit distracting, but I loved her self talk in this little snippet, so I'm posting it anyway, with a transcript below:



...right there inside.

Woah.

Where am I gonna put this foot?

Probably right here? Like this.

Me: There you go, good job. Coming back down?

Alright.

Now go right here, up high.

Apparently there... we go.

Scared.

Alright, alright.

Can I do this?

Scared.

Oh so scared.

But.... I know I can do it.

Like this!




Sometimes, this little girl who never (and I really mean never) stops talking and making noise makes me crazy and I'm inclined to loan her to a Chinese sweatshop, just to get a little peace and quiet for a few minutes.

And other times, most times, she makes my heart melt.


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I Have Weird Coworkers

Posted on 8/11/2008 09:08:00 AM
"How was your weekend?"

"Well, I took my son and his friends to the movies. I wasn't allowed to sit with them so I was going to go see a movie in a different theater, but there weren't any others starting at the same time so I just watched the movie they were watching and I sat on the other side of the room where they couldn't see me."

"What did you see?"

"Hellboy II."

"Heh, heh... how was THAT?"

"It was cute!"

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Bad Hair Day

Posted on 8/10/2008 07:51:00 PM

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2,008 Drummers Can't Be All Bad

Posted on 8/09/2008 08:13:00 AM

I love the Olympics.

I always have.

There's just something about achieving the very best that humans can in any given event that appeals to the portion of my brain where Ayn Rand philosophies are stored. I'm more of a Winter Olympics type-o-gal than Summer (I love me some curling), but I also used to play volleyball in junior high school before I broke a bone in my knee and had to quit. So I often spend hours glued to the television during the Summer Olympics, watching the volleyball matches and lamenting my lost youth. (I could have totally been one of those beach volleyball chicks if I hadn't hurt myself in ninth grade... and if I had stuck with it after my knee healed... and if I was the athletic type... and if I took care of my body... but other than that, there but for you go I.) One year in my youth, I met
Sinjin Smith who was making an appearance at a local mall. He gave me an autographed poster which I hung on my wall and moved from place to place in college until the corners ripped off.

But I digress.


Normally, the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics leave a lot to be desired for me. I usually end up remarking at some point during the evening, "Someone ought to call a janitor... there's a bunch of cheese spilled in that stadium." I know there's been a
lot of controversy surrounding China's hosting of the events this year... weather, pollution, human rights, trying to kill our children with lead-based paint... but if you go solely on the ability to create and execute a brilliantly fascinating Opening Ceremonies, in my opinion China wins hands down.

Check out these amazing photographs of last night - you'll be glad you did.

Also: Can anyone help me get The Dormouse to stop pronouncing it "the Olimbics?" Because it's really starting to bug me.

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Awesome Products

Posted on 8/09/2008 07:26:00 AM
There should be a box to check for "few phallic symbols."

fail owned pwned pictures

Thanks to Monica for this fun link.

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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