We Are Former Residents of Siam

Posted on 5/30/2009 09:39:00 PM In:
We decided that the challenge of having two members of our household being barely verbal and small enough to trip over wasn't enough for this family, so we added another couple family members today. Meet Nellie... or Maggie... we're not sure about that yet:


And Benjamin... or Sweeney... or Barker... or Sam... we haven't quite decided what his name is either:


Since we lost Lizzy last year and our tomcat Hank a couple of years before that, we've been considering getting cats again, but hadn't quite gotten around to it. I'd had Siamese cats before and always loved them so I commissioned my animal breeder consultant, Mr. Google, to handle the case. I only had a few criteria: I wanted a kitten because with the kids in the house we really wanted to have a cat that grew up with us and developed the bad habits we were willing to overlook and not a cat that came to the table with a lot of baggage from past experience. Though it wasn't the only option, I really would love to have a Siamese. I had one as a kid and have always loved them. But I didn't want one of those triangle headed Siamese... I wanted the traditional apple head Siamese that I had as a kid and had such a great temperament.

I started with the local shelter websites. No luck. Then I scoured five or six Siamese rescue sites for months with no luck. When I finally found a cat that met my meager criteria, it was generally in East Winnemucca, Tennessee or whatever and I wasn't really willing to drive halfway across the country to get said cat. All the local places had lots of adult cats, but few kittens. After a few months, I gave up finding a Siamese kitten from a shelter or a rescue and considered purchasing a cat from a breeder (which kind of goes against my grain as I'm not looking for a cat with papers or even a pure bred cat). Sure they're expensive, but they generally come with shots and spaying or neutering already performed so I reasoned that the cost of the kitten was amortized somewhat by the vet bills I wouldn't have to incur. Then I started looking at alternate breeds I also liked like Bengals, Ocicats, and Egyptian Maus. I even found an Egyptian Maus breeder in my town and email her, but when she came back saying their kittens start at $900, I swallowed my tongue and stepped back from that idea.

Finally, I went back to the county humane society site, giving up the idea of a Siamese at all. Maybe I could just get a random mutt cat after all. And suddenly a whole bunch of Siamese rescue cats came up from woman less than twenty miles away from my house. There were a couple of kittens and I took The Caterpillar out to meet them last week. There were a couple of cats there, but the foster owner didn't feel like either of them would be good with a toddler for various reasons. Apparently, she had no knowledge of our last cat and thought that maybe the kittens would scratch and we wouldn't like that. Pshaw, I cover my mouth with my cat-scratch scared arms and I laugh at your concern.

Anyway, we'd finally about convinced the foster owner that we were worthy cat holders and she'd contacted all my references (REFERENCES!) and decided that we could maybe just maybe take one of those cats. Then I got an email from her saying she was getting six new kittens this weekend and maybe we'd like to meet those cats and see how that went.

Long story short, we went, we met, and we came back with not one, but two kittens, who are now, even as I type this, climbing up and down my chest and trying to help me type by walking back and forth across the keyboard. They are brother and sister from the same litter, we think and are all of eight weeks old.



The rescue had named them Ling-Ling and Sing-Sing or some other such Asian sounding name that I can't remember and couldn't have told apart if I tried. I would have ended up calling them both Ling-Sing and Sing-Ling interchangeably. We are currently trying on names for them. So if you want to help, here are the rules: All our animals are named for serial killers. Yeah, that's the only rule.

For Benjamin and Nellie, we were going with a Sweeney Todd thing (Nellie and Maggie are two of several reported first names of Mrs. Lovett). I'm not so hip on calling a cat Benjamin though, so I remain unconvinced. I suggested Barker, but The KoH doesn't like that one. I like Leopold and Loeb, but we can't figure out which would be Leopold and which would be Loeb. So if you have another idea, I'm all little seal pointed ears. Leave it in the comments. Until such time as we settle on a name, they will heretofore be known as That Girl Cat and That Boy Cat:


My own personal Cute Overload.

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A Wink's as Good as a Nod to a Blind Bat

Posted on 5/29/2009 06:44:00 AM
When I was in college, I worked part time at a nursing home with Alzheimer's patients. I think technically, my job title was "activity services" or something like that but basically I was there to keep the residents busy after 5:00 pm when the real, college-degreed, therapists went home.

I could spend all day telling stories about that place, like how we had this crazy system with a list of all the patients' names and a series of letters next to each like: C M A S O W L and each one was supposed to stand for some approved goal that everyone should be working with the patients on like
Cognitive tasks, Memory work, or Activities of daily living. I can't remember now what they all stood for. We were then supposed to circle the corresponding letter next to each person's name if we'd worked on that area of focus during the evening. This was the brain child of one of the actual, degreed therapists there and was what passed for charting and documentation of care. If the powers that be didn't feel enough letters were circled at the end of the month, we'd all catch hell for - get this - NOT "not doing enough with the patients" but rather, "not circling enough letters when charting" and we'd be instructed to go back into the month's records and "circle more letters." I'm pretty sure that facility lost their JCAHO approval shortly after I left.

Digression: One of my favorite memories there was of a woman who was pretty severely affected by the disease and when she talked she'd often get stuck on a word or a phrase, saying it over and over until someone did the human equivalent of bumping their hip up against a skipping record player. Then she could go on and finish her sentence. One day another resident had his grandchildren who were both under five or so visiting and they were running all around the day room. This woman saw them and her face softened as she watched them chase each other. She patted me on the arm and said, "Awwwwww! Look at the little-ittle-ittle-ittles!"

/digression

Getting to the point, I did a lot of music related activities which were really effective but sometimes when there wasn't time or space for anything else, it was a good cognitive exercise to just sit down with the people and talk. Plus, so few people really had a conversation with these folks, it was no wonder their memories had atrophied even without the disease. There was a spiral notebook that we carried around with ideas for conversation starters and memory work and one whole section was just a long list of proverbs and sayings. We'd start one off by saying, "A good man..." and see who could remember the rest, "is hard to find." Some couldn't remember, some had never heard That One, but either way, it would often be the jumping off point for a discussion about whether we thought that saying was true or if they remembered an experience from their earlier lives where they learned that lesson. I don't think I can count the hours I sat around with those folks with a list of proverbs in my hand just shooting the breeze while we waited for dinner to be served. It was actually one of my favorite things to do in that job.

I was reminded of that place the other day when I came across a list of proverbs on some website. I wondered how The Dormouse would complete them, so we sat down with the list together today. I gave her the first part and asked her how the rest should go. I'm afraid this list is a little long. I originally meant to take a small selection of the best ones, but the more I went through the list, the more I wanted all of them saved for posterity - meaning hers. Because Grandma will have to have SOMEthing to blackmail Momma with one day when she has kids of her own. That is all to say that I realize this list is hella long so feel free to skip around if you like. But here are the answers in the World According to Dormouse. Enjoy.

  • A chain is only as strong... "as steel"
  • A fool and his money are... "rich"
  • A friend in need is... "poor"
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with... "an airplane"
  • A leopard cannot change... "colors"
  • A little knowledge is... "great"
  • A penny saved is... "one cent"
  • A picture is worth... "a hundred dollars"
  • A place for everything and everything... "is good and you like the places"
  • A rolling stone gathers no... "bumps"
  • A stitch in time saves... "eighty dollars"
  • A watched pot never... "gets dirty"
  • A woman's work is never... "unclean"
  • Actions speak louder than... "the person's voice"
  • All good things come to... "Jesus Christ"
  • All that glistens is not... "unprotected"
  • An apple a day keeps... "you working and healthy"
  • Beauty is in the eye of... "Heavenly Father"
  • Beggars can't be... "foolish"
  • Behind every great man there is... "great stuff and great dreams"
  • Birds of a feather... "helps the bird fly"
  • Blood is thicker than... "ice cream"
  • Boys will be... "handsome"
  • Don't bite the hand that... "is on a zombie or a living person"
  • Don't burn your bridges... "by fire"
  • Don't count your chickens before... "lunchtime"
  • Don't put all your eggs in... "a bowl"
  • Early to bed and early to rise makes a man... "grow"
  • Every dark cloud has... "rain inside of it"
  • Fish and guests smell after... "they poop"
  • Fools rush in where angels fear... "nothing"
  • Good fences make good... "wood"
  • Good things come to those who... "be kind"
  • Great minds think... "that they will be kind and loving"
  • He who laughs last laughs... "greater than a fish"
  • He who lives by the sword shall die... "if they lie all the time"
  • If a job is worth doing it is... "good or great"
  • If at first you don't succeed... "keep answering the questions"
  • If life deals you lemons... "make lemon juice every day"
  • If wishes were horses... "the horses would be invisible and you couldn't find them when you needed them"
  • If you can't beat em... "just relax at home"
  • If you can't stand the heat... "fan yourself off and get some ice cream"
  • Into every life a little rain must... "drop"
  • It never rains but it... "will show lightning and thunder"
  • It takes a thief to catch... "a fish"
  • It's better to give than... "take away"
  • It's better to have loved and lost than... "steal"
  • It's not worth crying over... "a toy"
  • It's the early bird that gets... "ready for school"
  • It's the squeaky wheel that gets... "flat like a pancake"
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and, you... "cry"
  • Laughter is the best... "way to say something is funny"
  • Let sleeping dogs... "rest"
  • Let the punishment fit... "in"
  • Life begins at... "Heaven"
  • Lightening never strikes twice in... "the world"
  • Look before you... "fish"
  • Man does not live by... "Satan"
  • Money makes the world go... "quicker"
  • Music has charms to soothe... "the way people feel"
  • Never judge a book by... "their pages"
  • Never put off until tomorrow what you can... "do"
  • Oil and water don't... "mix together"
  • Old soldiers never die, they just... "kill themselves so we would be safe"
  • One good turn deserves... "a rest"
  • Opportunity only knocks... "on the door"
  • Out of sight, out of... "smell"
  • People who live in glass houses shouldn't... "touch anything except they doorknob because they'll get fingerprints on the glass"
  • Pride comes before... "walking"
  • Put your best foot... "up"
  • Spare the rod and spoil... "your mind"
  • Speak softly and carry... "nothing, it's easier"
  • Stupid is as stupid... "egg cartons"
  • The Devil finds work for... "Heavenly Father, but Heavenly Father makes the devil do it himself so it's like he found the work for himself"
  • The darkest hour is just before... "midnight"
  • The hand that rocks the cradle... "moves back and forth a lot"
  • The more things change, the more they... "don't really change"
  • The pen is mightier than... "the pencil"
  • The way to a man's heart is... "good"
  • There's always more fish in... "the pond and the lake but not the backyard"
  • There's more than one way to skin... "the dead skin off your foot"
  • There is no... "monsters or ghosts"
  • Those who do not learn from history are... "stupid"
  • To err is human, to forgive... "is a flower"
  • Too many cooks... "spoiled my soup"
  • Truth is stranger than... "thieved"
  • Two wrongs don't make... "three"
  • Waste not... "our heart"
  • When the cat's away... "she doesn't scratch us or poop on the floor"
  • Where there's a will... "we keep our hearts with us"
  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can't... "lead the horse to food"
  • You can't get blood... "from spiders"
  • You can't make an omelet without... "cheese"
  • You can't teach an old dog... "to scream like a girl dog"
  • You catch more flies with honey than... "bees"
  • Youth is wasted on... "my heart"

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Batman and Cinderella

Posted on 5/28/2009 06:16:00 PM
In the car, on the way home from school The Dormouse, who is sitting in the back playing with a Cinderella doll, says:

"Right now, Cinderella's a sidekick."

Me: "Really?"

"I mean, she's not a sidekick when she's wearing her ballgown or when she's dressed up, but when she's doing chores and stuff, she's a sidekick."

"Ooo-kay."


"But when I take off her ballgown and she just has her underclothes on, she's a sidekick."

"Do you even know what a sidekick is?"


"Sure, I do."


"Explain it to me."

"A sidekick is someone who does karate and stuff."

*pause*


"So what you're saying is, a sidekick is someone who... Kicks. To. The. Side?"


"Yep, that's what it is."

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Duck Dodgers in the 21st Century

Posted on 5/27/2009 11:58:00 AM In:
I guess bankers have a lot of time on their hands these days:



But you just gotta love a guy who takes care of the little ducks.

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A Little Mayo Music

Posted on 5/26/2009 11:50:00 AM In:
Fran and Marlo Cowan have been married for 62 years. Marlo is 89-years-old in this video. And both found themselves at the Mayo Clinic.

There happens to be a piano in the clinic’s atrium, and the Cowans decided to play.

There is more cheer and energy in this couple than many 20-year-olds. And they fill a hospital with laughter and smiles.




Thanks to Bits 'n Pieces for the link

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In Memoriam of Memorial Day

Posted on 5/26/2009 08:18:00 AM In:

Thirteen Things I Wish I Had Not Done This Holiday Weekend

  1. Spent more time in bed than out of it.
  2. Slept not more than ten consecutive minutes at any given time.
  3. Switched positions in bed at least one thousand times to help clear out my head.
  4. Watched six consecutive hours of Land of the Lost on the Sci-Fi channel.
  5. Answered way too many five-year-old-girl's questions about the back story of and/or how they made the series Land of the Lost.
  6. Used three full boxes of tissues.
  7. Consumed three full boxes of cold medication.
  8. Fed my kids scones and bananas for three meals straight.
  9. Lost my patience with my children one too many times.
  10. Gone to a movie theater with my sick self and my sick baby thinking that we were well enough to not make the whole experience regrettable. Other than that, Night at the Museum was pretty good.
  11. Wished for death as a preferable alternative to my current health status -- or at least swine flu.
  12. Claimed I did not need to go to the doctor last week when I started feeling badly.
  13. Cursed day care and school and church and any other place my kids could have contracted this virus and kindly shared it with me.

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You Learn So Much From TV

Posted on 5/24/2009 05:36:00 AM
Apparently, how to spell is not one of them.


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Bilingual Education

Posted on 5/23/2009 07:07:00 AM
The Dormouse brought home a math paper from school yesterday where she apparently, for some unknown reason, decided to try and complete her answers in Spanish:

2 + 3 = "cinco"
3 + 3 = "sias"
1 + 2 = "tress"

and my favorite:

4 + 5 = "nuwavey"

I'm assuming that by "nuwavey" she meant nine and wasn't trying to describe the music of the Sex Pistols in the 70s and early 80s.

I love that her teacher just graded the paper based on what she intended her written answers to mean and didn't say a thing about the attempted Spanish. Of course this is the same teacher who let her sign all her school papers "Molly" for a two weeks when she decided she wanted to change her name. So I'm not sure if she's humoring my daughter, or she's just seen it all and this isn't enough to get worked up about.

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We're All Mad Here

Posted on 5/22/2009 01:41:00 PM In:
Internet diversion of the day:

Visual Poetry - ImageChef.com

Make your own here.

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Rings on Her Fingers

Posted on 5/21/2009 01:01:00 PM
When several rounds of a little game I like to call Lookin' For My Stuff At Local Pawn Shops failed to produce my wedding rings from the bevy of bagged bounty missing after the burglary, I was left without any proof that I was married and argued that this meant my practice marriage was officially over and I could start dating again. The KingofHearts seems to think there is a statute of limitations on such things and disagreed. My wedding rings were actually in the house at the time because I haven't been able to wear them since The Caterpillar was born without having them resized, and well, me = lazy. Also, me = stupid.

My original engagement ring diamond, we bought at a diamond show. It was modest, but of very good quality and unusual. We designed the rings to go with it and I liked them. They were pretty, had meaning, and a cool inscription. I know that if I'd even suggested it, the KoH would have bent over backwards to replace the rings in whatever fashion I wanted but once we got the check from the insurance company, a paid off car seemed a whole lot more attractive to me than a new wedding ring. Call me a romantic. So instead we used the dough to create one less monthly payment in our lives. Be honest, you think that's hot too, don't you? No? Just me? Okay then... moving on.

Anyway, I didn't intend to replace the rings at all. I hadn't worn them for over a year and have never been very good with jewelry. But then I thought I'd get one cheapo one so I could have one when it seemed appropriate. And then I found about a katrillion rings online that I liked and couldn't make up my mind. So I decided instead to have a collection of cheap rings that I'd wear as a wedding ring. This way I could switch things up and wouldn't worry too much about losing them or banging the stone into a granite counter top and breaking it or getting it stuck on my finger by banging it with a hammer and putting it out of round. In my life, all of those things have occurred at least once.


I happened to find this tension ring for $3.98 on ebay and a little while later, picked up this little eternity ring to dress it up a bit - $2.79. They're just sterling silver with cubic zirconia stones. Ka-ching! In both cases, the shipping cost more than the ring. I like them both a lot. They're much more modern than my other rings and I'm less likely to catch a setting like this in my hair and get my hand stuck there while driving. So they're safer too!

Yesterday, while at an office lunch, a friend sitting next to me noticed the rings and asked me about them. So I explained and we started talking about our jewelry. And because we are both girls, we started taking off our rings and passing them to one another for inspection. She told me the story about how her original wedding ring was lost entirely when she was visiting her mother and put them in a box to wash dishes... her mother threw the box away later and she never found them. So she has replacement wedding rings too. My boss noticed our little scene from the other end of the table and when she asked what we were doing, our reply was, "Oh, we're just commenting about how neither of us has our original wedding rings."

"Yes, but both of you have your original husbands. That's a lot less common."

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Business Opportunity

Posted on 5/20/2009 07:45:00 AM
Yesterday, The Caterpillar took her leftover banana from breakfast, shoved it in her baby doll's mouth and then handed the whole gucky mess to me six hours later, saying, "Bee-bee, eat!"

Is there a company that makes a cleaning tool about the size of your average baby doll's mouth? Because I'm thinking that could be a niche market for some enterprising young entrepreneur.

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Talking Points

Posted on 5/19/2009 03:06:00 PM
I've been closely monitoring The Caterpillar's verbal skills the last eight moths or so. While The Dormouse started calling me a cracker at seven months and using complete sentences by eight, The Caterpillar has been decidedly less interested in the form of communication known as Verbal, preferring instead, to shriek, moan or just use her demon voice.

While I learned my lesson about encouraging The Dormouse to talk (once she started, she never quit, live with
that for awhile and see how you like it), I did start to get a little concerned when The Caterpillar hit twelve months and still did not use anything remotely resembling civilized communication. I made the mistake of mentioning this to one or two people who all pooh-pooh'ed the idea that her language might be delayed in any way and told me I was being silly. Told me second children learn to talk later. Told me any number of other made up statistics and bogus old wives tales and said I was overly concerned and irrational.
I'm not going to say I was worried, that's not the right word. Let's just call it aware. I knew that some kids talk later. I'm fully aware of the fact that two children won't have exactly the same developmental milestone time line. And I wasn't trying to put the my own expectations on The Caterpillar, in fact just the opposite. But here's the thing: as a parent, you have to be concerned about that stuff. They way I looked at it was this: even if nothing is wrong a little extra intervention definitely won't hurt and if something is wrong, it might make a huge, giant, cavernous difference. I'm painfully aware that she's "only one" like so many people reminded me. And if I wasn't aware, the constant wiping of her butt and getting up in the middle of the night should have been a vivid, stark reminder. I just wanted to be on top of it. Better people than me have written about it:

Whenever I write stuff like this I invariably get comments reminding me that "he's ONLY three!" like I need a refresher course on my kid's age, or like I'm expecting him to be mapping the human genome as opposed to sitting on the stupid blue carpet at preschool. I used to get the same comments when he was "ONLY two!" Does anyone know at what age people stop hassling you for trying to be proactive about your child's developmental and educational issues, or for taking advantage of early childhood programs that EXIST FOR A REASON? When he's ONLY four? Seven? When he's dropped out and knocking over convenience stores at ONLY 16?

Frankly, even without the possibility of a speech delay, the screaming was getting to me. I needed a form of communication and I needed it now. So I was patient and we worked with her and we watched and waited and finally a respite came: she started picking up on some signs. GLORY HOLLY EULA, as The Dormouse says. We finally had a way to communicate! That made life easy enough that that nagging concern in the back of my head went away for awhile because she was finally getting the hang of communication. In other words: using a symbol to express a thought in whatever form that symbol took. The Gestalt light bulb came on over her head and once she figured out, "Hey, I can tell people what I want and I can avoid all that pesky screaming and kicking my feet and then after all that still getting a green bean instead of the banana I wanted in the first place," more and more signs came. Then shortly after that, words. Or at least the baby speak equivalent of words:

  • no (as in "Give me a kiss" "NOOOOooooo!" *runs screaming from the room*)
  • no (as in "What's this in the middle of your face?" "No")
  • tow = toes
  • upa = open
  • dow = down (or maybe "Dow Jones Industrial Average," I can't be sure)
  • sigh = outside
  • bee-bee = baby
  • DA! = dog (never said without the emphasis; also accompanied by high pitched squeal and/or kicking of legs)
  • shoosh = shoes
  • joo = juice
  • pees = please
  • mmmm = milk
  • wa-wa = water
  • ba-ba = bottle

Can I just say here how much it amuses me that the list above is full of such stereotypical baby words? The closest thing we got to a baby version of a word with The Dormouse was "bop" and "Je-Je," which she insisted was the real name of Jesus -- and that might just be his gang name on the streets, so I'm not sure it counts.
Today, The Caterpillar's got a vocabulary of about twenty "words" and thirty signs. I don't know where that falls on the developmental milestone chart and I'm not going to get worked up about that. I just want to make sure she's making progress. These days we're getting some occasional two word phrases and her speech is coming along nicely. It's still no where near what The Dormouse was at her age, but because I'm seeing progress, I'm less inclined to run down to the DSHS office and start yelling "I want my Early Intervention Services and I want 'em now!" I am, however, more likely to employ some of the therapy concepts that I picked up in college getting that $40,000 piece of paper that's hanging on my wall.
So the question I got the other day was, "See now? Don't you feel silly for worrying about it before?"

And I think I can reasonably answer, "Absolutely not. Not even for a minute."

First, because, as I said before, I wasn't worried, I was aware. There's a whole world of difference between wringing your hands and running in circles yelling 'The sky is falling' and keeping in mind to watch for something that might become important later. And second, because here's the thing: you're a parent. It's your
job to watch out for that kind of stuff. It's other people's job to say she's alright. If she did need some kind of intervention, I would have been able to start working on it right then rather than wait until she was sixteen and wonder why she was only saying "Uuunh, uuunh" when she wanted to borrow the car. I would have been ready to pounce like an alley cat on a half full can of tuna the minute she was eligible for any extra help from the educational system and with no time wasted. I knew that it was possible, probable in fact, that she was fine and developing exactly as she should (and, incidentally, how her sister developed is not necessarily how she should). But I chose to keep a healthy sense of urgency along with a healthy sense of restraint. Do I regret that? Not on your life. Will I change that approach now that she's saying a few words? Sorry, no.
She's still not to the point of saying words correctly, the way they're meant to be said in the King's English. Very few words have endings on them and she needs to be prompted to put two words together most days. When she's tired, she will resort to her Beaker-like, "Mi mi mi mi mi"* moaning when she's upset or simply screeching in ultrasonic frequencies when she wants something and you're not getting what it is. (The neighbor's dog loves that. I consider it payback for the weeks on end of barking at falling leaves.) But yesterday, I got a honest-to-goodness, real life, purposeful, put-the-beginning-and-the-ending-on-it word from her.

I'm puttering around in the kitchen, making some dinner for
the girls.

She enters the kitchen and stands, horse stance, in the doorway. "Mommm-mommmm-mommm?"


"What's up baby?"


She stares wide-eyed back at me, then her face goes red, every muscle in her body tightens and she grunts, then relaxes and raises her index fing
er in the air and says, plain as day:

"Poop."

Ah... the words every mother wants to hear.



*when I found this video The Caterpillar was in the room and began squealing and dancing around while singing "Mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi" along with the song. Egad, I've created a monster.

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How to Be a Lazy Mother

Posted on 5/18/2009 07:51:00 AM
The other day I mistakenly told The Dormouse that if I could get The Caterpillar to take a nap, we could make some cookies together. It's always an iffy proposition to promise The Dormouse anything because a) we pretty much hate to make a promise that we don't keep, b) she never forgets anything that even remotely resembles a promise, c) we realize that in our house, events and circumstances change at a moment's notice so you may or may not be able to get to it later when you say you will, no matter how well-intended you are, and d) we are aware of the fact that if you tell The Dormouse anything, even if you're just speaking in the hypothetical, you will hear NOTHING ELSE OUT OF HER MOUTH until you provide whatever it is you said. It is for this reason that we:
  • didn't tell The Dormouse I was pregnant until a month or two before The Caterpillar was due and then only because I had to come up with an explanation for some stuff and "Mommy just ate a whole lot" was starting to become less and less believable
  • refuse to discuss travel plans such as purchasing airplane tickets until after she goes to bed
  • never under any circumstances mention it to her any time Uncle Matty says he's going to come over because Uncle Matty is perhaps flakier than a sixteen year old hyperactive girl from California and even if he says he's definitely coming, it's really just a big question mark and is generally thought of as just a starting point for negotiation
  • speak in code when were are discussing what we'd like to do today, such as "Would you like to go to the place created government funded public recreation today?" (the park) or "How about we consume mass quantities for our afternoon banquet at the place of the thin cut of yard bird?" (eat at Chick-fil-A) -- Aside: Oh how I long for the days when she could not spell. On the bright side, she'll probably have a twenty thousand word vocabulary by the time she's in second grade and by third grade we may have inadvertently taught her both Spanish and Arabic.
among other things. Basically, we don't tell her anything and surprise her with it all. Were it not so, we would be subjected to the following: "YAAAAAAAAY! Can we go? Can we go now? Can we? Can we? Huh? Can we? Can we? Huh? Huh? Can we? How about now? Now? I think it's time now. Now is the time. Let's go. I'm going to get my shoes on. Now. Now? NOOOOOW???????"

"No dear, we're not going to St. Louis until November and that's six months away."

"Aaaaaaaaaaaw, I want to go NOW." *walks away crying and/or moaning*

Then fifteen minutes later, we find her in her room packing her suitcase so she 'will be ready when we do go.' Repeat everyday for the next ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DAYS.

Don't even get me started on the time Grandma said to her out of the blue on the phone without checking with us first, "Would you like to come see me and go to Disneyland?"

So anyway, out of guilt for being a crappy mother that morning, I told her we could make some cookies together, but by the time I finally got The Caterpillar down, I really wasn't in the mood to completely dismantle the kitchen that I had only hours before gotten clean for the first time in weeks. So I decided to pull some pre-made cookie dough out of the freezer. Of course the only thing for her to do at this point was just to put them on the cookie sheet. Boooor-ing. Plus she'd already pulled every cookie cutter she could find out of the drawer. The cookie cutters didn't really work on the frozen dough and the directions said to bake them from frozen, so I cheaped out and told her she could arrange them on the cookie sheet in different shapes... see? Two cookies for ears one for a head and you've got Mickey Mouse. I know. So totally lame, right? I would never have fallen for that as a five year old.

But one of the best things about The Dormouse is she is such a champ at dealing with my lame parenting skills and only really wants to spend time with me. So she was a good sport about it all. And then, an amazing thing happened. We were playing with the cookie shapes and she decided to put a few of them together to make a caterpillar. So then I started helping her add cookies to her caterpillar and we started talking about how it was the Very Hungry Caterpillar. So I dismantled Sad Tiny-Headed Mickey Mouse and added the pieces to her caterpillar. Then I remembered some red and green decorators' sugar left over from Christmas in the cupboard. So the Very Hungry Caterpillar took on some color. He needed eyes, so we cut up some pieces of marshmallow for that with some mini chocolate chips for his pupils. Then The Dormouse pulled some lollipops out of the candy jar for antennae and announced he needed legs. I broke up some pieces of fettuccine for that and suddenly we had ourselves a cookie version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar Cupcake Cake. Here he is before baking:


I was pretty sure that he would come out of the oven in a big, blobby, unrecognizable mess, but he actually baked up better than I expected. Here is the final product:


Not one trip to the grocery store. No flour and eggs on the kitchen floor. Not one dish dirtied (well, one pan). How awesome is this?

Now I'm intrigued by how many other things you could produce with frozen cookie dough. The solar system? A bunch of balloons? Pac Man game board?

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Some People Just Don't Appreciate a Good Joke

Posted on 5/17/2009 07:21:00 AM
"Momma, can I have a Now 'n Later?"

"Not now... maybe later.......... bwa ha ha ha!"

*pause*

"I don't think that was very funny, Momma."

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Wonderland Sex Shop

Posted on 5/16/2009 06:47:00 AM
I think Baby and Donkey might need to be separated when we leave the house from now on.


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Note to Self: Next Time Just Say 'I Swear'

Posted on 5/15/2009 09:05:00 AM

aver
/ə-vɜr/
Pronunciation [uh-vur]
-verb (used with object), a-verred, a-ver-ring
1. to assert or affirm with confidence; declare in a positive or peremptoy manner.
2. Law. to allege as a fact.

Last week I took off work early to go to my daughter's program at school. While I was gone that afternoon, someone applied for a scholarship program using an application form I created. Without going into too much detail, because, you know, YOU DON'T CARE and stuff, this person was ineligible for the scholarship. But because everyone wanted to make sure this person had nothing to complain about when the application was rejected, my colleagues took a close look at the application she submitted. That's when they saw this text at the bottom of the application form:

"By submitting this electronic application form, I aver that I am a current member in good standing and meet all the eligibility requirements for the program."

The person was not a member. That was the only problem. But instead what my office got stuck on was the word "aver" in the text of the application form. I heard the story second hand several days later, but I can imagine this is pretty true to how the conversation went:

"What's that?"

"What?"

"A-ver?" *Continually pronouncing the word a-ver instead of it's proper pronunciation: a-ver. In fact, they still pronounce it that way.*

"I don't know."

"It must be a typo."

"Well what word do you think it's supposed to really be?"

"I don't know."

"Maybe have?"

"That doesn't make sense."

"Well, we don't want to reject the application form without an explanation for this word. What if the person thinks it meant membership wasn't required? How do we explain that?"

"Well, it's pretty clear even without that section that membership is a requirement."

"Well, we'd better apologize for the typo, just to be safe."

"But no one's complaining about the typo."

"Just the same, we need to figure out what the text should be and explain it was an honest error."

At this point in time, emails are sent, people are questioned about how this got by everyone who edited the document, and apologies are made for the typo that no one noticed. I, however, still am not in on the conversation because I am getting a potted plant handed to me and my likeness superimposed on the kindergarten wall at that moment.

"Well, let me call my lawyer husband and see what he thinks we should do."

"Do you want to call your lawyer husband and ask too?"

"Maybe I'll do that."

Phone call to Lawyer Husband is made; colleague reads the text to him.

"So I just need to know what word it should be instead of aver."

Lawyer Husband: "That's the word."

"I know, but what should it have been?"

LH: "No. That's what it should have been. That's the word."

"But what's the correct spelling?"

LH: "It's spelled correctly because That's. The. Correct. Word." *LH then launches into a diatribe about the history and etymology of the word as well as it's use in legal speak, which no one cares about but listens to politely because they've just bothered him at work and owe him the courtesy*

I'm not completely sure how long this went on. Here's the thing. When someone thought to finally tell me about the whole exchange it a week later, my response was "Oh. I wrote the word aver in that section because that was the word I meant to write. Did no one think of looking it up in, oh I don't know, A DICTIONARY? Like maybe the one sitting on that desk right there? And by the way, it's pronounced a-ver."

Colleague: "Well after I talked to my Lawyer Husband, I Googled it. Turns out it's a real word. Who knew?"

Me: "Me! I knew! That's why I wrote it!"

And I don't even have a lawyer husband.

Sigh.

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Priorities

Posted on 5/13/2009 08:42:00 AM
Me: "Oh, by the way, I got tickets for us to see Mike Birbiglia when he comes to D.C. later this year."

KoH: "That'll be fun for you."

Me: "You don't want to go?"

KoH: "Oh, you mean you and ME?"

Me: "Yes. What US did you think I meant?"

KoH: "I thought you were talking about you and Monica."

Me: "Don't you think I would have said 'me and Monica' instead of 'us'?"

KoH: "Maybe. It's just that most of the time when you do something like that lately you mean 'you and Monica.'"


Me: "Just because she and I have a non-sexual lesbian lover relationship, it doesn't mean I can't think up things to do with my husband. I want to spend time with you. And I knew you wanted to see him before, so I bought tickets on the day they went on sale."

KoH: "Oh. OK, we'll that's nice."

Me: "Besides, Monica has seen him twice already."

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Bubbles La Rue

Posted on 5/12/2009 06:27:00 AM

The other day I was home with The Caterpillar and realized that she had banana in her hair for approximately the sixth straight day and desperately needed a bath. I desperately needed a bath too (but as to whether or not I had banana in my hair, I ain't sayin') so I decided to make bath time a little less run of the mill and stuck about a quarter bottle of dish washing detergent in the tub, then I climbed in with her and we made Martha Washington wigs with the bubbles. The Caterpillar humored me for a minute... but only a minute before she was all "Dude, get yourself a baby doll or something. I am not your plaything." But little does she know that that is exactly why we had her.


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More Conversations From Church

Posted on 5/11/2009 06:00:00 AM
Speaker during Mother's Day talk: "My mother had an angelic alto voice."

Me whispering to KoH: "Angels aren't altos. Has he never seen an opera?"

KoH: "Maybe they are. Maybe that's why there are so many human sopranos."

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No Really, I Was Thinking of a Movie with Charleton Heston

Posted on 5/10/2009 03:21:00 PM
Speaker at church during Mothers' Day talk: "I found out that the word 'mother' has multiple meanings. It can mean a female parent, but it also means to have the characteristics of a mother. Another definition is someone who protects and cares over something else. And the word mother can describe other things, like mother bird or mother board. Or mother lode -- which means the very best you can find of something."

Me whispering to The KingofHearts: "Um... that's not what mother lode means.

KoH: "Uh huh."

Me: "Is it wrong to be thinking what I'm thinking right now?"


KoH: "Yes, yes it is."

Me: "Were you at least thinking what I was thinking?"

KoH: "Yes, yes I was." *pause* "Wait, were you thinking mother lode of crap?"

Me: "No. I was thinking of another word that starts with mother."

KoH: "Yes, yes that is wrong."

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The Holiday of Guilt Goes Both Ways

Posted on 5/10/2009 07:50:00 AM In:
Mother's day is a holiday that makes me uncomfortable at best. It's not that I think it's a bad thing to celebrate motherhood... maybe it's just that this is a day that tends to get over celebrated at my church and all the self-flagellation rituals are a little much. Ultimately, my opinion is if you want to show your mother how much you appreciate her and you're only doing it once a year on a holiday so manufactured that the creator of that holiday grew to hate it and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration, you have missed the point.

I was explaining my anti-Mothers' Day stance to a colleague right before I left work early for the Mother's Day Program at The Dormouse's school on Friday, and she said, "Well, you better get used to it now... you've got a few more of these to live through in the coming years." Don't rub it in, lady.

Not that I wasn't looking forward to the school program. I knew it would be adorable and it was. First, all the parents were invited to the classroom where each child had a special recitation about why they love their mothers. This was what The Dormouse read and presented to me after her spot in the show:


I'm just happy she had more to say than what most of the kids said which was, "I love my mom because she gives me food."

This was the other side of the card:



I'm not sure where she came up with the words "loving" and "special" but I swear by everything good and holy that she has not heard those words come out of my mouth. While they did that, their teacher put up on the opaque projector for all to see, a picture each child had drawn of his or her mother. This is me:


And this, inexplicably, is the other side of that picture.


I'm still not sure what Freudian tenant she's exhibiting with that. Maybe I prefer not to know. That was probably the real Mother's Day present of the day.

We got goody bags with, yep you guessed it, a plant in them. Of course this plant was in a terra cotta pot that had been expertly painted by our children so at least there was some thought in that. There was also a poem designed to make us all feel guilty and regret every time we ever yelled at our kids for making a mess or leaving hand prints on the television.

Then all our little devil children met in the cafeteria for a program of songs like Button Up Your Overcoat, where I learned if I eat a lot of candy I'll ruin my tum-tum (payback, I suppose for all the kajillions of times mothers have told that to children over the years), Please Don't Take My Mommy Away, and weirdly, Skinnamarinka Dinky Dink. I'd complain about them using songs that were written thirty years before any of the kids were born, but I knew all the original lyrics to the songs so I'm going to have to remain mute on this one.

I have little else to say on the subject except that when I got to take The Dormouse home from school early after the program (apparently this was also a holiday for teachers) we stopped for ice cream and I manged to score one of our famous interviews with The Dormouse about Mothers' Day. So here you go... everything you ever wanted to know about Anna Jarvis' life long ambition.

Why did God make mothers?
So the boys would have somebody to marry.

How did God make mothers?
He used a miracle.

Really?
Or tape.

What ingredients are mothers made of ?
Bones and skin. Duh. (It's nice that she has such respect for me.)

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
He didn't give you to me. Daddy just picked you to marry. That's how you became my mother.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
You were different than me.

How different?
8%.

Why did your mom marry your dad?
Nothing. Dad picked you. (Oh, honey, someday we'll have a discussion about the phrase, 'He wore me down.')

Who’s the boss at your house?
The grownups. (Damn straight!)

What’s the difference between moms & dads?
Dads have short hair and Moms sometimes have short hair. Sometimes Dads have long hair like girls. Sometimes Moms wear dresses and skirts - stuff like that - and Dads only wear a shirt and pants or a suit, but sometimes girls wear a suit too. (Should I be worried that this level of focus on clothing might signal a gender identity disorder?)

What does your mom do in her spare time?
She does things with me.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
My mom is already perfect. (You know what's nice? That I have such an intuitive child who sees straight through to the truth.)

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
Probably her hair. (Me too, kid, me too.)

How would you change it?
If I had magic or a wand.

No, I mean what would you change her hair to be like?
Red strips and some green strips of hair and some sparkly pink strips of hair and then the rest of the hair would just be all blond. (Apparently, she's also an 80s punk band reject... further proving that this is my child and not the mail lady's.)

What is a mother's job?
Making money. Having children. That's it. (I wish.)

What does a good mother do?
Takes care of their children.

What would you do differently if you were a mom?
Nothing. Except name my baby Mary or Lanatayia. (And little Lanatayia will someday have a discussion with her grandmother about why her mother was focused on such odd names and Grandma will say something to the effect of 'Dude, just be grateful you're not named Enola.')

Whom do you like better, mommy or daddy?
Both. (This girl knows where her bread is buttered.)

What is something your mother is good at?
Cutting and snapping. (Many aren't aware that I have a bachelor's of science in Cutting and Snapping.)

I love my mother because.....
She takes care of me and she gives me hugs.

Why is Mother's Day such a big deal?
I have no idea.

Tell me about it, kid.

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Stupid Kid Tricks

Posted on 5/08/2009 05:27:00 AM In:
She just started doing this -- all on her own. Perhaps a career as a gymnast in the making?



Or bondage queen.


This, plus the pink go-go boots, doesn't bode well for her future.

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Caught!

Posted on 5/07/2009 05:55:00 AM
Well now... this is new:


It's too bad she doesn't even see the obvious problem that's going on here. Makes it very hard to scold her. It reminds me of that episode of Mad About You where they come home and find the dog on the dining room table.


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Baby Leaves

Posted on 5/06/2009 09:00:00 AM

They remind me of pussy willows. And now..., I will leave all those of you who have the same sense of humor as a pre-pubescent boy to snicker at that like Beavis... or Butthead: heh heh, huh huh.

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What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Posted on 5/05/2009 07:04:00 PM In:
This will make you mad unless you watch to the end. So in defense of this guy's honor, I'll suggest you watch it to the end.



What I want to know is what dude in the classified office of the local paper misheard the home owner when he was placing the ad, and thought to himself, "Yeah... I'm sure that's what he means?"

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Go-Go Girl

Posted on 5/05/2009 05:57:00 AM

Should I be concerned that my nineteen month old chooses to walk around wearing what amounts to thigh-high go-go boots and a micro-mini? Or should I just worry that she stole these out of her sister's closet?

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Momma's Little Momma

Posted on 5/04/2009 06:46:00 AM

The Caterpillar has recently entered that beginning stage of imaginative play that I love so much and has been preoccupied with "Baby" and what Baby needs. Baby apparently enjoys eating, watching TV, being carried around by her feet and is a burgeoning nudist. Why is it that Baby doesn't seem to need clothing? I continually dress baby and as soon as I hand Baby back to her, the dress gets angrily ripped off and thrown on the floor.

Overall, it's cute, but the cutest thing is how she tries to play the way we play and when she gives the baby a bottle, she also has to make the smacking sound that I make when I'm pretending to suck on that bottle.


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Musical

Posted on 5/03/2009 05:56:00 AM

Perhaps she will become a concert pianist one day and then I will be able to fulfill all my childhood dreams vicariously through my progeny. Oh wait... I never had that dream.

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Hard Hearted Hannah

Posted on 5/02/2009 06:51:00 AM
I am not a sentimental person. One time, shortly after we were married, The KingofHearts and I were driving along near Christmastime to look at inappropriate and gaudy Christmas light displays and that awful song Christmas Shoes came on the radio. He asked if I'd ever heard it before and I said no, so he turned up the volume. We drove around on a peaceful December night, looking at the stars and people's expressions of love and joy for the season, and I managed to listen in silence until it got to that climactic part of the song where he sings:

Sir I wanna buy these shoes for my Momma please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry Sir?
Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus tonight

I involuntarily suppressed a gag reflex and yelled at the top of my lungs, "GAAAAAH!! WHAT KIND OF CRAPPY SONG IS THAT?"

He still reminds me of that and a few years later when my stepson announced that his favorite song was Christmas Shoes, it was a bone of contention in the family for weeks.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to explain this song that made the rounds in my church community during the 70s to The KingofHearts. Everyone played it, everyone talked about how wonderful it was, and every youth leader tried to work it into Young Women's lessons any chance they got for the big finish where they bring all the teenagers to tears. I'm told there was a filmstrip that went along with it; I do not remember that. What I do remember is that my mother bought the record (yes, I said 'record,' not 'cd,' - you wanna make something of it?). Anyway, my grandmother and my aunt were both visiting at the time and my mother had just picked up the record and put it on for the first time for all of us. By the end of the song, my mother and my aunt had bawled great tears which were now pooling at their feet, so touched were they. Grandma and I were all "Puleeeeeze... so what?" That's the first time I really knew I carried her genes.

Coincidentally, just a few days after I was trying to describe the incredible cheesy-ness of the song to my husband, my mother found the video and emailed it to me. I'll have you know that she now thinks the song is a cheesy as I did back then. I, however, think it's much worse. Created in the 70s, I'll Build You a Rainbow describes the Mormon belief that families can be together forever. So I'll put it to you:




Awwww, sniff sniff?

or

GAAAH?

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May Day

Posted on 5/01/2009 10:00:00 AM

OK I admit it - these are Easter pictures that I never got around to posting because I couldn't come up with anything to write about them other than "look how cute [I think] my kids are." However today, it does remind me of a story.

When I was in first grade, my teacher taught us about the wonderful holiday of May Day. We learned to dance around the May Pole and how it was the custom to take flowers and put them on someone's doorstep on May Day, ring the doorbell and then run away so the person would have a lovely reminder of Spring as a surprise. My teacher had us all make a paper basket of paper flowers that day to take home to our parents. We even spritzed them with perfume for the full effect. I was six and I believed everything everyone told me back then. I had no way of knowing we were learning about a holiday that few people even knew about anymore, much less celebrated. So when I got home from school, I carefully placed the handmade, smelly flowers on the doorstep, stepped back, rang the doorbell and then ran to hide behind a bush in the yard, waiting expectantly for my mother to answer the door, look down and find my gorgeous bouquet, then weep tears of joy.

No one came to the door.

I rang the bell again.

No one answered.

This was repeated three or four more times until finally, I could see from my hiding place behind the bush that my mother was coming to the door. I waited with halted breath while she opened the door, stuck her head outside and yelled at me to STOP RINGING THAT DAMN DOORBELL!

Later, when she found out what I was really trying to do, she felt badly and I believe she has saved those paper flowers to this day. She still talks about how guilty she feels about that incident and how it wasn't one of her proudest parenting moments... but after having heard The Caterpillar push that Staples That Was Easy Button about one-thousand-seventy-three times in the past twenty minutes, I know exactly how she must have felt.

Happy May Day, everyone!


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Lazy Summer Afternoon

Posted on 5/01/2009 05:36:00 AM
The Dormouse wanted to go outside the other day to enjoy the summer (SUMMER!) weather and we acquiesced, despite the fact that none of the rest of us wanted to go outside with her. So we let her assert her independence and hang out in the yard without an accompanying parent. This may sound like she was unsupervised, but she was actually never out of our presence for more than four minutes. Here's how next half hour really went:

"I'm going outside now."

"OK."

"I think I'll change clothes first."

"OK."

"I want to be dressed appropriately."

"OK."

*enters bedroom, puts on winter boots*

"OK, I'm ready to go outside now."

"OK."

"I'll see you in awhile."

"OK."

"Have a good time."

"OK."

"I'll just be in the yard."

"OK."

"Bye."

"Bye."

*finally leaves
*

*door closes*

*two minutes go by*

*door opens*

"I need a glass of water."

"OK."

*leaves with water and door closes*

*one minute goes by*

*door opens*

"I'm going to take a book outside with me."

"OK."

*leaves with book and door closes*

*two minutes pass*

*door opens*

"I need a pillow."

"OK."

*leaves with pillow, door closes*

*one point five minutes pass*

*door opens*

"Where is the umbrella?"

"In the closet."

*gets umbrella, leaves with umbrella, door closes*

KoH: "What do you suppose she's doing with the umbrella?"

Me: "Beats me."

Four minutes actually pass without the door opening, so I get up to make a quick check through the window. This is the scene:



Who needs summer camp?

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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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