Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Playing by my own rules

There's a rule on this blog that if Niobe suggests it, I do it.

Tomorrow, National Blog Posting Month begins. I'm not signing up officially, or anything. But I'll give it a whirl.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


There's a lot of stuff going on for me just now and it's sort of not so good for me to be writing publicly, I think. I'll be back when I get through it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Unwelcome perspective

Today, at really just the moment I could least use this particular insight, I spent 20 minutes looking at myself in the video screen at the credit union.

Here's how it works at the credit union: the tellers are off in a different room, but there are these screens with a pneumatic tube on the right, for your deposit, and a phone on the left to talk to the teller, who only appears on the screen briefly: once to tell you she got your tube and once to tell you she's sending it back. Since there are more screens than tellers, there's always a wait, and unless you're organized enough to bring a book or your knitting, you just stare at the screen. There's usually a sequence of credit union ads and weather and sports reports and factoids about Hollywood movies and wire service blurbs, but for the first time in the three years I've been banking there, it was down.

Instead, the screen showed what the tellers must see when they look at you: the view from the camera right above the screen.

That camera is more or less pointed at your forehead. To look at the camera is to look above the screen. To look at the screen is to appear on it as though you are looking down, crestfallen and shifty and ashamed of yourself.

Twenty minutes of that would do anyone in.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Z. adores pumpkins. This is something that arose spontaneously in her, as though by instinct. Last year, the first Fall she had language, she was able to tell us about her passion, and gamely, we introduced oil pastels and glitter into our household, because how else would a one-and-a-half year old in a cast decorate a pumpkin?

Eventually, those fabulous pumpkins began to go the way of all things, so we moved them to a corner of Z.'s digging box, which is a raised vegetable bed that we just left unplanted the past two summers.

So the pumpkin vines that have been taking over our garden are not quite volunteers. If you put a giant native squash, full of seeds, on top fertile earth and let it rot there, and turn the earth over it when the resulting mess becomes unsightly, you cannot feign surprise when vines push their way up the following year. But we have been startled at how many vines, and how vigorous, our non-planting produced. We have thinned them, and pulled them out, and cut them back, and in the end, we were left with only one pumpkin, which is as many as we need, though not nearly as many as Z. wants.


This weekend, we took Z. to a Fall Festival at Nearby Arboretum, co-sponsored by The Co-op on the Corner. It was humid and in the upper 80's, but we rode up from the improvised parking lot in an air-conditioned shuttle bus with one of Z.'s daycare classmates, Articulate Girl with Perfect Braids, and when we got off at the top of the hill, the autumn smell of straw was in the summery air from the scarecrow-making booth, and the lawns were abuzz with parents and young children.

The Festival had a great, great many pumpkins, all of adorable size, all waiting eagerly to be painted and beglittered. Z. chose one of near-perfect roundness, with a marvelous stem, and set to work. Another daycare classmate, Exquisite Girl with Long Straight Hair, set up her pumpkin next to Z.'s and they daubed tempura and sprinkled mylar with absolute concentration for longer than you would think possible. Z.'s technique was to incorporate each sprinkling of glitter in with a new application of paint, which resulted in a muddy, purplish effect and was not easy on paintbrushes.


I just plain like that muddy, sparkly little pumpkin. Even indoors in the dark evening, relegated to a Safe Place on top of the broken stereo, that little pumpkin shines.

Friday, October 5, 2007


S: Hey, Z., do you know what we're going to do today when the stores open?

Z.: (looks expectant)

S.: We're going to run some errands!

Z.: We're going to get new play-doh!

S.: And we're going to make a package for Charming Boy and take it to the post office. It's his birthday in two weeks. Not even two weeks. Do you know how old he's turning?

Z.: Two!

S.: No, Three.

Z.: (in tones of awe) Thrwrweeee! We can get him a thrwee.*

S.: Should we get him a three?

Z.: Yes! And he can hold it tight!!! in his hand so it won't get brwoken.

*a three-shaped candle.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wanna de-lurk?

Edited Friday morning: okay, lurkers, I'm getting impatient. So far no one has commented for the first time on this, and I know some of you have clicked through. You think I can't see you out there?

Okay, it's not the third anymore; I should have done this yesterday, but I am lame and distracted. Still, even a quiet little blog like mine has folks who read silently in the background, and I wanna hear from you. Since I am a statcounter addict, I know that you're out there in Somerville and Vancouver and Indianapolis and other places. Won't you speak up?

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

Here's my audience participation question, just to get the ball rolling--this being me talking, you know I'm going to get all introspective and shit on you.

When you're overwhelmed with people and work and dogs and doctors' visits and life and all of the rest of it, where's your refuge? If you've been reading me awhile, you know I take to the water or hole up with yarn and mystery novels, if I can.

How 'bout you?

And if you remember how you found the blog, I'd be interested to know that, too.

Oh, and regular commenters, don't be shy--I wanna know your route to me and your self-indulgent caretaking habits, too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

First smile in awhile

I passed this bumper sticker while making an emergency naptime delivery (of Puppy Pie) to Z.'s daycare:

Will somebody please give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Today, the dog bite on Z.'s left hand is pretty much healed, and it's her last day on antibiotics. She may not even have a scar, when the redness fades.

Oh, yeah, her left hand: the same arm that was broken last year. It didn't make me happy to see her favoring it again, though she only favored it for a couple of days. And it shocked me back to the NICU to smell antibiotics in her diaper--the first diapers she ever wore in her life reeked of amoxicillin, too. Not that I was allowed to change those, since they were still attempting to get a urine sample from her at the time and it was very easy to dislodge that little bag, but I smelled them when the nurses took them off. I recognized the smell last week from how it smelled 2 1/2 years ago. I recognized the smell then from my own pee earlier that morning, in the maternity ward across town where I'd given birth and she'd been taken from me. Those needless chemicals passing through our bodies and our separation were just two of the long list things that I hated about having wound up in the hospital to birth her.

And the dogbite itself, well it flipped my mother out, thirty-odd years after I was bitten as a toddler.

It was a week like that. Everything and everyone set on edge. I've been seized by an irrational need to hold Z.'s hand everywhere we walk.

So when I was riding in a friend's car this weekend, and I watched the sequence unfurl as we were hit by another car turning left? It was just the next shoe dropping, you know? It was the thing I'd been expecting from the moment I got in the car, the thing I expect whenever I get in any car. The only thing surprising was that when we looked for damage, there was hardly a mark to be seen: the fender had done its job well.

I only wish every collision left so little to regret in its wake.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Back home

Hey all, we're back in Philly and wiped out. Trying to unpack while already launched into another short week at day care, and, you know, carrying on.

It was a lovely weekend in New England. Better weather than we could have hoped for, and Z. had a marvelous time playing with all the kids. She thinks we should drive to Massachusetts daily.

Today I received a piece of snail mail from a blogger (thanks, Magpie!), and that snail mail included a link, so I'm completing the circle here. Click through to the various projects listed to see them. Very cool stuff if you like numbers and yarn. (But--alas!--not the best pictures in the world.)