Forget Punctuation, Inflection is Everything

Posted on 12/27/2013 01:07:00 PM
I bought this canvas in a discount store a year or so ago before I noticed that every suburban family from here to the west coast has a similar one on their wall somewhere.  I just liked it; I didn't realize it was the living room uniform of the 2010s. 



Whatever. I still like mine.

We had some visitors over the other day who commented on the painting, and The Dormouse decided to read it aloud to show off her impressive "turn every conversation into a Look At me, Me, ME Moment" skills.  Only, when she read it, she read it like this:

"We try our best.

We are patient.

Most of the time we tell the truth.

We support each other..."

There's been a lot going around on the internet lately about the importance of punctuation and how commas save lives but I'd just like to point out that learning where to pause when reading aloud is also quite important.  Otherwise, your neighbors will constantly expect your kids' pants to be on fire.

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Christmas 2013

Posted on 12/25/2013 04:00:00 AM In:
It took me way too long this year to both generate an idea for and execute Christmas cards this year, but we had a little sheltered workshop the day before yesterday and I'm pleased to announce that we mailed cards almost two whole days before Christmas this year.  That counts, right?  I'm totally counting that.  

Perhaps we should start considering now what we shall do next year because based on this year's card, we'll need the time.

We are having a non-traditional Christmas today and trying to make the best of it... reminding ourselves that the real gift of the holiday is spending time together, even if that time together includes being stuck in the same room with a six year old who seems to feel that she cannot be fully alive unless she is making extraneous, non-purposeful noise every second.

Hope everyone out there is having a wonderful day, however you choose to celebrate.




 

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Hey! Unto You a Child is Born!!!

Posted on 12/24/2013 06:30:00 AM
This year I read the Shortlings The Best Christmas Paegent Ever... or rather, I downloaded the book onto my Kindle and then handed it over to The KingofHearts so he could read it to them because I only really get about three sentences in to reading anything aloud before I disintegrate into coughing fits and then it takes about a year to get through a chapter and that makes it kind of hard to follow a story.  But I did the really hard part, right?

Anyway, they enjoyed it. The KingofHearts hadn't ever head the story before so it was new to him too and I hadn't read it in about 30 years or so. We finished the book Sunday night and then Monday morning, I got an email from The Caterpillar's Sunday School teacher saying she'd taken these pictures in their class and maybe I'd like to see.  She looked more like the character Gladys in that book than if I'd dressed her up with that end in mind.


"Did you have a Nativity Paegent in church yesterday?" I asked.

"No."

"No?  Then what did you do?"

"We dressed up."

"Why?"

"My teacher wanted us to."

"But was it for a Christmas pageant?"

"No.  She just read the Christmas story while we sat there."

"Well, that's what a Christmas pageant is, knucklehead.  Did you yell, "Hey! Unto you a child is born!!!"

"No."

"You know, like in the book we read."

"Oh! ... No."

"Well what did you say?"

"Nothing."

"How come?"

"We weren't allowed to talk."

Probably a good thing.  She would have named the play "Revenge at Bethlehem."

I imagine this is the version of the Christmas story where they weren't allowed into the barn because of the possibility of mad cow disease and then some well meaning drunkard in the bar offered, "Hey you can have the baby under this here table."

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Let the Airing of the Grievances Begin

Posted on 12/23/2013 08:33:00 AM In:

I'm not going to get into how tired and cranky I am, because I pretty much whined about that once already this week.  With great rage and apoplexy, here are my top Festivus grievances this year -- at least the ones that are suitable for the internet. You can play too if you like.
  1. When I wake up at four am and think I'm gonna steal a few precious, non-child-directed minutes of a movie I've been trying to watch with the volume turned down so low, I have to unplug the cooling fan that sits under my computer or I can't hear it... and then ten minutes later The Caterpillar wanders, bleary-eyed out of her room and won't go back to sleep.
  2. I have not been able to get time together to come up with an acceptable idea and design a Christmas card yet this year and now that I have a good one, I cannot get the online software at the print shop to accept my files. 
  3. We sucked it up and purchased supplies to put new flooring down in the basement for our holiday we don't gotta go to work project.  Then realized we had to empty the rooms of furniture, and then pull up the carpet, and then pull up the tiles under the carpet, and then while we have the bare floor, we might as well paint over all the patches that were fixed after that pipe burst, but before we can paint, then the walls need to be retexturized, and then trim that we never finished should be touched up, and then we have to get rid of the broken boxspring under the bed, and then we need a thing to put the bed on so we bought a Murphy bed kit, and then... and then... and then...  It's all necessary and/or logical of course, but I just wanted to put in a new floor; I didn't want to rebuild the entire house.
  4. The Caterpillar prefers to be watching TV from the floor directly in front of the television, on her back with her feet bicycling in the air above her.  So you either have to watch TV with the distraction of her constantly writing around below it in your peripheral vision, or you have to yell at her to move about eleventy-bajillion times throughout whatever you're trying to watch, which is equally as distracting.
  5. Oatmeal cookies... with raisins.
  6. That anyone is interested in bad reality TV shows - which we all know are more fiction than reality anyway - and what their overpaid actors think about anything.
  7. At some point in the past five years, I've grown to assume that everything is a touch screen device. It's awkward at times.
  8. Poor toilet paper roll holder placement in public restrooms.
  9. Twerking... and twerkers.
  10. People who say, "see you next year" when you won't see them for a week before January first.
  11. This woman.
  12. That Jingle Bells Batman Smells song and that fact that my children and my husband argue over the correct version of the lyrics.
  13. Half the things on my six year old's Christmas list are as-seen-on-TV products.

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This is Water. This is Water.

Posted on 12/20/2013 10:44:00 PM
When I decided to have kids, I was unsure of my ability to excel at the role.  I'm not a warm-hearted person by nature and I wondered if I'd find the ability within myself to love a child they way it needed and not just the way I needed.  Friends tell me that they didn't realize it would be so hard until they actually had kids.  That they didn't fully comprehend how the lack of sleep and the exhaustion and the time management issues and the taking forty-five minutes now to do what would have taken ten before would affect them until they actually experienced it.  And they're right. How could you?  It's hard, ya'll.  It's exhausting, demoralizing, tedious, thankless, and a hundred other -ings and -lesses.  But that's still not the worst part.

The worst part of parenting isn't the sleepless nights, the diapers, the feedings, the potty training, the laundry, the homework, or the arguing with six year old (or ten year old) logic. The worst part of parenting is that no matter how many of those things you do that you hate, no matter how well or how badly you deal with it today, no matter how many conversations you have about why you have to clean your ears, or why you need to wipe after using the toilet... every time, or how many times you explain what will happen if you keep half-eaten sandwiches underneath your bed for three months, or how much laundry you get done, or how much homework you supervise, or even how ahead of the game you got by cleaning the whole the house today... the worst part is knowing that tomorrow... tomorrow, you're going to have to do every one of those things again.  It's like if you were in the movie Groundhog Day, but the rest of the world just kept on moving forward and it's only you that are stuck having the same conversations over and over again and redoing the same chores that someone undid for you the second you turned your back.

It's not that I think I shouldn't have to do those things, it's just that I think after the tenth or twelfth time I have the same conversation, some of it should start to sink in.  That my ten year old should by now, after hundreds of reasonings, exhortations, and arguments on the subject, should have stopped wandering out into the living room and a crowd of house guests, dripping wet after a shower, wearing only a towel... because I've explained the hows and whys... that the showering process includes drying off and getting dressed IN the bathroom... so many times before.  I love them with every fiber of my being, but I simply cannot get used to why some things simply cannot just... move forward.

It's like Louis C. K. says,

“Any parent who is honest will tell you, you live with that ambivalence. You look at the face of your beautiful, lovely child and you think two things at the exact same time: ‘I love this kid so much that it's changed my whole life. I love other people more because of how much I love her. I love people that died years ago more. My love has traveled through time because of how completely I love her and she loves me back. She’s completely given value to life that didn’t exist before and I regret every decision that led to her birth’. That’s how it feels.”

Once I was giving a lift to a friend in my car and someone cut me off in traffic, nearly running me off the road.  I yelled something at the driver, I don't remember what now, but I'm sure it was appropriately sarcastic and acid-toned.  My friend said quietly -- and without any guile or cynicism whatsoever, without even the Pollyannaish tone you'd expect, "Maybe his wife is pregnant and he's trying to get her to the hospital."  I thought to myself, this person is better than anyone I know and anyone I will ever be no matter how hard I try. Gag. Sure, his scenario is not likely, but you know what I realize now? It's not impossible either.

I'm certainly not the first person to deal with angst, I'm aware.  I think even when we don't have kids, we have to learn to get past the day in, day out-ness of life.   I learned a long time ago at my workplace to make peace with the fact that no matter how hard or how I work, there will always be more to do and conversations I'll have over and over again... even when I write the information down so people will not have to ask me again in the future, they still will... and maybe that's okay in the grand scheme of things.  For some reason, it's easy for me to accept that about my job; not so easy to accept about my parenting experience.  The KingofHearts says he has the opposite issue.  Perhaps that's why he's had more jobs since we've been married than I've had my entire life.  Of course, he's had more marriages too. *I kid, I kid*

What I've been trying to keep in mind is that it's all a choice.  How I feel about the realities of my decisions isn't a foregone conclusion, but rather how I decide to look at it.  To borrow a line, I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I'm going to take a stand. I'm going to defend it. Right or wrong, I'm going to defend it.

My stand is that it's good.  This life.  These children.  This family.  Sure, it's hard, it's boring, it's tedious sometimes, but then I have these moments where we do the Monkees walk together in the Home Depot parking lot, or where I've been woken up - again - to the sounds of a six year old making me a breakfast-in-bed tray of four crackers, six tortilla chips, a yogurt and a Diet Coke.  On paper, it probably doesn't overshadow the other stuff, but I choose to think that it does, regardless.  I choose to love my life.

Even David Foster Wallace wasn't able to keep ahold of this world view all the time and his depression eventually got the better of him.  I don't mean to present a simplistic view of depression.  It's way more nuanced and complicated than just "Stop it!"  I wish it were that easy.  It's not. But for now, I choose to be happy.  I choose to recognize that this is water.

 

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Humbug

Posted on 12/17/2013 09:10:00 PM In:
Last year, I bought one of these Kurt Adler glass ball sets (See how I maturely restrained myself and typed that with a straight face, completely avoiding the Beevus and Butthead style joke that begs to be told in connection with the name of that product? Wait... dangit!!)  for my tree and fell in love with them.  So I bought another.  And then a few weeks later I bought two more.  And then I bought two more a couple of months after that. There aren't many lights on each strand, but they're kind of expensive so I kept trying to make do with one or two, and then deciding I needed more, and then had to wait until they went on sale again.  They twinkle and change color slowly and randomly and I love them so much.  The only problem is the lights are the size of regular ornaments.  What would would make them better is if I had twice as many and they were the size of small LED lights, so I searched far and wide for the rest of the year (read: I Googled it a couple of times) to find a mini-version of what's on my tree.  I actually ordered these other Kurt Adler lights, thinking they were what I wanted (same brand so it's sound reasoning, right?) but when they came, I turned them on and found that their idea of "twinkle" was flashing on and off like a neon sign in a bar that says Eat at Joe's. I looked them too long and fell into an epileptic seizure.  I could be exaggerating a little here, but the end of the story is I returned those.  

I also tried these similar lights, which displeased me as well because they didn't twinkle at all; they just turn on.  But I was too lazy to return those, so I just put them in a bowl.  

Voila.

Instant Christmas decorations.

I have done my part. Can December be done now?




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Noels

Posted on 12/15/2013 07:24:00 AM
This week we braved the whole one inch of snow on the ground and left the house for The Dormouse's Winter concert. I don't have a lot to add about this expect to wonder why recycled material robots were guarding the entrances.


I guess there's a very real chance of Wall-e and his buddies rushing the stage.

The Dormouse played the violin in the second year orchestra. 


And got to sing a solo with the fourth and fifth grade chorus.
 

A soulful solo, from the looks of it.
 

As much as I loathe crowding into the cafeteria with a couple hundred other parents who seem to think that I either a) want to watch the concert through the iPad that they're holding up in front of me (which, of course, only shows a closeup of their kid and no one else) or b) want to watch the concert through some younger sibling they stand on the chair in front of me, this is one of my favorite things about school.  When you're as Bah Humbug about the Christmas season as I am this year, it helps to have someone force your hand.  I'm working on my attitude. Perhaps I'll find some of it by living vicariously through my children.

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Sunrise, Sunset

Posted on 12/14/2013 07:04:00 AM
A long time ago I lived in Arizona.  It was a nice place to grow up, especially since we had Wallace and Ladmo and every day I rue the fact that my kids don't think of those two as family friends like I did, despite my having purchased several DVDs to round out their education.  It's just not the same. 

You know what we didn't have in Arizona?  Seasons.  Oh sure, you might remind me that it's a dry heat and as such, so much better than living in the swamp, but what you forget unless you live there for a long time is that it's never NOT a dry heat.  It might actually get cold a few times here and there, but that doesn't really change any of the vistas and sometimes you get a little tired of the yearlong Season of  Brown and pine for a real Winter or at least for leaves to fall off the cacti. 

That being said, there are many things I miss about living in Arizona.   You don't really realize how the desert becomes a part of you until you leave it.

You know what they do have in Arizona? Sunsets.  I really do miss the sunsets.  But every so often, you find a reasonable facsimile here. Of course, you have to get up at five a.m. to see it.



 

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Mexican Standoff

Posted on 12/11/2013 05:23:00 AM
We've had a couple of days of  winter weather this week, which means the whole area collectively fell to its knees, shook its fist at the sky, screamed, "Why me, Lord?" and then promptly cancelled school and shut down the government.  Then three hours later, the sun came out and melted all the snow off the roads, making us all feel like idiots.  Nature is funny that way.

More locally, the animals seemed to also sense that the end was coming and risked everything for a meal of a cricket.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.


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Sore Throat Tea

Posted on 11/30/2013 09:33:00 AM In:
I don't remember where I saw this but it was last year sometime that I read on the internet how to make a good sore throat tea and we gave it a try.  I barely used it at all last year, but it's since come in handy because my kids keep bringing The Plague home from school and giving it to me.  I've been coughing for a month solid, much to the dismay of colleagues I worked at a conference with last week, who began to be able to identify my location in the hotel from the sound and echo of my cough.  I've been through about three jars and counting since September.

I've since had quite a few people ask me about it and eventually I'll forget what goes in it (yes, I'm aware there are only three ingredients; yes, I still believe I might forget).  Here's the "recipe" and I use that term loosely.

Get a jar, any jar will do, but I like the wide mouth Mason jars better because lemon slices tend to fit in rather nicely.  Also keep in mind that quantities below depend on the size of the jar more than any measurement.

Take a few lemons and slice them thinly.

Take a few hunks of fresh ginger and slice them thinly (Is there a correct word for a hunk of ginger? The internet suggests a thumb, a knob, a finger, and a lobe.  Why does it always gotta be body parts, internet?)

Now take the slices and alternate them loosely in the jar until it's mostly filled.  Don't force them in there. There should be lots of space still let in the jar. 

Now find a jar of honey. The last time I made this I used raspberry honey and it was really good, but usually I don't have that in the house and any kind of honey will work.  Pour the honey into all the space between the lemon and ginger. You'll want to do it bit by bit and allow all the air bubbles to surface, then pour in a bit more until it's all full.  You'll have something that looks like this:



Seal the jar tightly, put it in the refrigerator and mostly forget about it.  Shake it up every so often (I find the lemon juice will surface and needs to be mixed in with the honey).  The ginger and lemon will infuse into the honey after a few days.  This will keep in your fridge for about three months or until the honey starts to crystallize, which I haven't yet seen it do.

When you want a cup of tea, just pour two or three tablespoons (or more, to taste) into your cup and fill with hot water. Additional tip: if appropriate, put a tablespoon or two of whiskey in your cup too... works as a cough suppressant, or to help you forget all your troubles. 

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I Wanna See You Be Brave

Posted on 11/29/2013 07:36:00 AM
Last week on Parks and Recreation we watched Ron Swanson put his finger on a candle to snuff it out.  I really wish I could find a video clip of this scene, but apparently it wasn't the most memorable thing in the episode for most people. Here's a screen shot:


The Dormouse was intrigued by this and assumed they had used some computer graphics to accomplish the special effect.  I said no, that the actor had probably just actually put his finger on the wick.  She was incredulous, so I pulled out a candle and showed her how you could lick your fingers and then pinch the flame quickly to eliminate the oxygen and put out the candle. 

Then she wanted to try it herself. 

Keep in mind that a great deal of time went by before I even decided to get out my phone and film it.


 

If you ever need to put out a candle in your house -- and have a half hour of time to kill -- have I got a kid for you.

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Lessons

Posted on 11/28/2013 06:37:00 PM
Why you should never fall asleep after Thanksgiving dinner in my house.










Here endeth the lesson.

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100 Songs

Posted on 11/28/2013 07:19:00 AM
A couple of years ago, Rosanne Cash released an album titled The List.  The story behind the album was that when she was nineteen, her father, Johnny Cash, gave her "a list of one hundred essential songs in an effort to expand her knowledge of country music" and she chose from that list for this album.  I've been intrigued by this idea ever since and have spent much time thinking about and making my own list of songs my children must know if they are to call themselves my progeny.  I figured out right away that it was easier said than done.  I've been adding to this list for several months and I know that the moment I hit the Publish button, I'm going to think of three more that belong on the list and how could I have forgotten that because that totally belongs on the list, certainly over that

Once, years ago, I attended a master class with Pinchas Zuckerman and he opened up time afterward for questions.  One guy, who was obviously there with his three daughters, asked, "What pieces of music do you always have to play and really hate?"  Zuckerman said something general, like how he appreciates all of the repertoire and there are things he loves more than others at certain times, but he couldn't pick a favorite any more than he could pick a least favorite.  The question asker wouldn't let it go, "Yeah, but what pieces do you see and just roll your eyes at when you have to play them?  What composers do you not value?"  This went back and forth a few times and the guy wouldn't let it go.  Finally an exasperated Zuckerman said, "Look, do you have kids?"  The man looked at the girls sitting with him and sat up a little taller, "Why yes."  Zuckerman glanced at the girls sitting next to the man and then he met the man's eyes and said, "Do you love them all... all of the time?"  And that was the end of that question.

This list is like that for me. 

There is no way I could ever call this a list of the best songs, or best written songs, or best performed songs, or most meaningful songs.  They all mean something to me.  Either they figured prominently in the soundtrack of my life, or I learned some great truth from them, or they were incredible melodies, or well-orchestrated, or I was just impressed with how the writer rhymed It's fop with shepherd's pie peppered witch actual shepherd on top (and already there's a song that belongs on the list that isn't there - make that one hundred and one songs) but they are all important to me for one reason or another.

Let's just say here's a list of one hundred songs for which I am thankful.
  1. Here's That Rainy Day
  2. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
  3. Daybreak
  4. Crazy
  5. When October Goes
  6. Anything Goes
  7. I Can't Get Started With You
  8. Stardust
  9. Yesterday 
  10. I Wanna Be Like You
  11. Corner Pocket
  12. Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay
  13. Route 66
  14. Birdland
  15. Mountain Dew
  16. Mood Indigo
  17. American Pie
  18. Sweet Child 'o Mine
  19. Revolution
  20. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
  21. Thriller
  22. The Sounds of Silence
  23. Twist and Shout
  24. Georgia on My Mind
  25. Summertime
  26. The Girl from Ipanema
  27. Promises
  28. Losing My Religion
  29. Foxy Lady
  30. Lazybones
  31. Sing Sing Sing
  32. Up On the Roof
  33. This Island Earth
  34. Great Balls of Fire
  35. Eleanor Rigby
  36. Private Idaho
  37. Bohemian Rhapsody 
  38. Dream
  39. We Are the Champions
  40. Imagine 
  41. Sister Christian
  42. Whiter Shade of Pale
  43. A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square
  44. God Bless the Child
  45. Love Bites
  46. You Took Advantage of Me
  47. Scotch and Soda
  48. Sometimes Bad is Bad
  49. Angie
  50. Everybody Wants to Be a Cat
  51. Heart of Rock and Roll
  52. Snile
  53. I've Got a Crush on You
  54. Nature Boy
  55. Autumn Leaves
  56. Another Night in Tunisia
  57. Feed the Birds 
  58. Misty
  59. Up the Ladder to the Roof
  60. Zombie Jamboree
  61. I've Got You Under My Skin
  62. Puttin' on the Ritz
  63. Angela
  64. New York State of Mind
  65. Don't Fence Me In (This almost doesn't make the list because it's really a ridiculous song, but listen to Rosemary Clooney's interpretation and you'll understand why)
  66. Sophisticated Lady
  67. Tenderly
  68. Round Midnight
  69. There's a Tree in a Meadow
  70. I Fall to Pieces
  71. Without a Song
  72. Anniversary Song
  73. As Time Goes By
  74. In the Bleak Midwinter
  75. O Come O Come Emmanuel
  76. Fire and Rain
  77. Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone
  78. Wish You Were Here
  79. Comfortably Numb
  80. Yesterday
  81. Sentimental Journey
  82. What a Wonderful World
  83. Not While I'm Around
  84. Foxy Lady
  85. Don't Fear the Reaper (with less cowbell)
  86. The Longest Time
  87. The City of New Orleans
  88. The Devil Went Down to Georgia
  89. Desperado
  90. Kiss Him Goodbye
  91. Route 66
  92. Silhouettes on the Shade
  93. When Sonny Gets Blue
  94. More (the Stephen Sondheim version, not the Mondo Carne version)
  95. Sooner or Later
  96. We Are the Champions
  97. Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby
  98. Jack You Dead
  99. These Foolish Things
  100. I'm Beginning to See the Light
 What about you? What are your songs?

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Stupid Birthday Tricks

Posted on 11/24/2013 06:17:00 AM
Allow me to introduce, the strangest toy I have yet spent money on (and that is saying a lot), Zed the Zombie.



What does Zed do, you say?  Well I'm glad you asked.





 The Shortlings picked this out for the KingofHearts for his birthday. This is what you get from your children when you have a serious zombie obsession, so if you're like the KingofHearts, you might just want to keep that obsession to yourself in lieu of better presents in the future.

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The Arm Saw that Wasn't

Posted on 11/19/2013 05:30:00 AM In:
Hey, remember when we drove five hours out of our way to see an arm?  Or maybe not an arm, but at least an arm grave and possibly an arm ghost?

Well, you could hardly expect me to pass up the opportunity to see the saw that cut that arm off, could you?  No, right? 

Of course right.

That's how Monica and I ended up at The Country Doctor Museum last month.


And the best part about it was that we didn't even have to drive five hours out of our way.

The worst part about it was that we went to the Country Doctor Museum on recommendation of this website, and when we finally got there, we looked everywhere for the Arm Saw and then when we couldn't find it, we asked where the Arm Saw was and everyone was all, "Uuuuuuhh, saywhat?"  

So finally we asked the proper combination of people and found out that they used to claim that this,



was the saw that cut off Stonewall Jackson's arm, but then somewhere along the way, someone pointed out that while they knew that this was A saw that belonged to one of Stonewall Jackson's doctors, Hunter McGuire, they did not, in fact, know that it was THE saw that cut off the arm and while they did know that Hunter McGuire was known to be at the Battle of Chancellorsville, they weren't even completely sure that he was the surgeon who did the arm cutting.  So maybe it was THE saw, maybe it wasn't. 

Provenance!

Aside: A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers brought me a list of "cool words and phrases" he had written out and wanted to use in the marketing materials we were creating for an event and he stood in my office door reading them:

"Be in it to win it.
"Take care of you.
"Your destination for education."

He read off the long list of items he'd written down and then ended by saying, 

"Provenance."

Me: "Provenance?"

Him:  "Provenance!"

Me: "Been watching a lot of Antiques Roadshow lately, have we?"

Him: "How did you know?!?"

Me: "I'll make a deal with you.  If you can use it in a sentence, I'll find a way to put that word in the document we're working on."

Him: "Uh... .... Come and get your provenance?"

Me: "Nope."

Him: "Be in it to win it!"

/digression

Even though Monica and I weren't able to see the actual saw that cut off Stonewall Jackson's actual arm, we did make friends with a Civil War re-enactor who specialized in medical treatment of the era.



Which was pretty good, even without the provenance.

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Oh, I'm a Lumberjack

Posted on 11/18/2013 06:00:00 AM In:
Of all the questionable uses of Paul Bunyan and his trusty companion Babe the Blue Ox (and I've seen many), selling log cabin homes probably isn't the least questionable. But it still seems like he shouldn't be in Virginia for some reason.




Of course there probably aren't less questionable ways to post in front of him.


Or maybe not.

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Speaking of Log...

Posted on 11/17/2013 12:03:00 PM
Here's something else you can do with it:



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This is Ten

Posted on 11/17/2013 10:59:00 AM In:
Somewhere along the way in the past month or two of craziness, this:


turned ten.

I have sat down multiple times to wax poetic on the subject, but somehow words or time, or both, always fail me.

How could that tiny baby that would not grow only a mere decade ago have turned into this brilliant, courageous, self-assured individual who no longer needs me to attend to her every need?


When I look at these photos, I feel a thousand years old. 

We marked her day well, by attending the Renaissance Fair yet another time (!) and getting chummy with all our favorite people there.



A couple of weeks ago I got a text from one of the employees of the Renaissance Fair asking if we wanted to hang out with her and her family after work - not asking if we were going to be there - just expecting it was so, like with all her other work friends.  I had to break the news that we didn't just automatically go to the Renaissance Fair every Saturday and we weren't actually going to be "on-shire" that weekend due to a wedding we were attending in a different direction on the Eastern Shore.  You know you've been to the Renaissance Fair too many times when....  there are so many ways I could finish that sentence, I don't know which to choose.

We also got her birthday gift at the Fair, a baby dragon.


She had fallen in love with green anoles last year at the fair and since the obsession hadn't subsided in over a year, we decided it was time.  That's how I gauge kidpresents these days.  When they see something on TV or hear from their friend that "Log" is "the most awesome toy in the history of toys and I could never live without Log and you must get me Log now or I shall surely expire from this earth mom, and Log mom, mommommmommom, pleeeeeeze Log?", I have learned to use a different tactic.  Instead of going on the immediate defensive and telling them why they can't have Log and how it's not necessarily awesome to have Log and you can find a hundred Logs in the woods behind our house for free and how real Logs are made of wood but this Log is made of plastic it'll probably break before you get it out of the box and if it doesn't you will spend one million dollars on a toy that you'll use at best, like twice...   I instead say, 

"Well... put it on your Birthday/Christmas/FarthestHolidayAway list."  

And that ends the discussion whining right there and then.   If they even remember that they still want Log by the time the next Birthday/Christmas/FarthestHolidayAway rolls around, they probably care about it enough that it might be a good present for them anyway.  Everything else will have fallen out of favor.

The green anole turned out to be exactly that and she has loved and cared for that lizard as if she were a great, green lizard monster herself. (I know that reference is about as esoteric as it gets, but I watched the mini-series V  as a kid in the 80s and have never forgotten it.  For me, all other reboots of this story have paled by comparison. If you don't share the experience, feel free to move right on.)

After the RenFair, we headed over to one of my favorite towns, Hershey, PA and stayed overnight because you know what hotels have? Pool!  Or rather, poolpoolpoolOMGPOOOOOL!  I'm told Hershey has other things to do and think about but I can't remember what.





We kicked around town the next day (you know, after we swam in the pool at 7:39 am) and made candy bars in the chocolate lab. Not all of us enjoyed the lecture about where cocoa beans are grown around the world.


 But everyone enjoyed the chocolate.



Gratuitous unflattering daddy picture:


What can I say about my ten-year adventure with this one?



There is not a day that goes by where she doesn't challenge everything I think I know about being a parent...  or about being a person, for that matter. There's not a day that I don't think I'm failing her in some way.  Not a day where I don't think I've been too hard on her or too easy on her.  Not a day where I don't worry about her.  Not a day where I don't acknowledge how much of a pain she can be sometimes.  She is exasperating, frustrating, demanding, and confrontational.  She is also brave, effulgent, good-hearted, fearless, and I wish I could exhibit even a part of the lust for life that she reminds me I need to have on a daily basis.  This is The Dormouse.  This is ten.  Oh, and did I mention?  I love ten.


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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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