Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dear Martha Sotelo,

Hi Martha - can I call you that? Or maybe Marti? I feel like we should be on a first-name basis, since you are apparently living in my house. It's funny, I haven't seen you, but it's been rather messy around here, and it's entirely possible I've confused you with a pile of newspapers. I really hope I don't turn into one of those old women who can only get from one room to the next by following the path between the stacks of newspapers. Although, of course, that will never happen, because I have WAY more magazines than newspapers, and as you know, magazines are glossy and rather slippery and piles of them would topple over and kill me long before I get a chance to grow old.

But that is a problem for the future, and my problem for the present is where are you?? And WHO are you? I feel this is a fair question to ask, since you are now receiving mail at my house. At first I thought it was just a piece that was placed in my box by accident. That has happened before, and it's always fun to see what the neighbors are buying. (I have to admit, though, none of my neighbors mail is as interesting as my friends' neighbors' mail... she accidentally received an 'adult device' and opened it before she realized it wasn't actually addressed to her, and then had to solve the problem of how to return it to the neighbors without a) being seen and b) having them know that not only does SHE know about their, um, proclivities, pretty much everyone she ever met now knows). I'm a little jealous, really. Marti, you don't happen to subscribe to have any outstanding catalog orders that I should be looking for, do you? Perhaps something, oh, laptop-y? Or Pottery-Barny? Nothing has shown up yet. I swear, NOTHING has.

Well, except for your 15% off Holiday Shopping Pass to Doodlehoppers 4 Kids, which is also one of MY favorite toy stores. It's a wonderful place to shop, don't you think? I always get sucked in when I'm there, and I claim I'm buying all the Hello Kitty toys for my daughter, but I really do love Chococat. It may be why all of my cats are black - they remind me of Chococat. Did you know that black cats are actually the LEAST favorite color of cats? I find that appalling. And I have white furniture. If anyone should hate black cats, it should be me. But I don't. I think they are kind of cute. And they don't show as much dirt as you'd think (although really, if that were my basis for selecting a pet, I would TOTALLY get a calico cat).

So if you shop at Doodlehoppers, then I can only assume that you also have small children. Are they living with you? Are they living HERE? I haven't seen them at all! There are frequently many small loud children running through my house at any given time, and I have a hard time keeping track of all of them. One of two of them could very easily be yours. I hope you don't mind that I've left the Cheetos and Little Debbie Christmas Cakes out on the counter tonight. If your kids come home with a sugar buzz, I take full responsibility. Normally I try to not have Cheetos and Little Debbies in the house, especially since I spent a ridiculous amount of money to lose weight this year, but the Cheetos are for guests, and the Little Debbies are a bribe for my toddler so she'll go to school and not complain. I'm so sick of the whining. I imagine you must be, too, since you're living here. It's probably why I haven't seen you - you've been avoiding the noise. I don't blame you, no ma'am, I don't blame you at all.

Here are a couple interesting death facts, since we were in fact, talking about death by magazine stack - did you know that Bosnia (yes BOSNIA) has a higher life-expectancy than the US? I find that amazing. I am assuming that they are removing from the statistical analysis death-by-genocide. But, you never know. My other favorite death fact: You have a higher chance of dying from an asteroid impact than from dying in a tsunami. I am not making this up. Somewhere in this post is a link to those statistics. Since we know that lots and lots of people have, in fact, died in tsunamis (tsunamai?) in recent years, I can only assume that the movie Armageddon was actually a documentary. Which is kind of disappointing, since it was a pretty bad one at that.

Did you know that in most documentary films, there will be a random dog wandering through across the screen at some point? I watch a lot of documentary stuff (well, I used to, before I had children and hosted random mystery roommates), and that was one of the things I would do to amuse myself when we were at the slow part of the film. Because let's be honest, there's always a slow part. I love documentary film, but there is almost always at least one scene that makes me long for an exploding asteroid. Who knew I was just watching the wrong documentary?!

So, Martha, back to you. Did you honestly think I wouldn't find out you were living here? It's not as if you pick up after yourself. Clearly, you're the one responsible for all the dirty dishes left in the sink at night, and for the clothes that never get picked up. (You really must stop trying on my things and throwing them across the chair - I'm getting rather tired of it.) And the next time you leave toothpaste on the sink, would it really kill you to wipe it off? I mean, come on, you're at the sink already. The water is already running.

And tell your kids to please quit leaving dirty fingerprints on my mirrors. And if you're going to let them wear my chapstick, could you please, PLEASE, tell them to not kiss the television screen??

Okay, Martha, I need to go clean up one of your messes. Apparently, when you had dinner earlier, you didn't tell your children to not eat under the table, and now there is a crumbly pile of cornbread. You know, I was saving that for dinner tomorrow. Thief.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I love six month babies!

This one, oh my, sweet enough I could dip her in my coffee!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble Gobble! Thanksgiving Ramblings...

I asked him, "Hey Ian! It's Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?" (Yes, I was shouting, because I am at my computer on one side of the room, and he's at the other end, playing something called, "War Machines", which I should probably tell him to not play, but at the time, he's happy, quiet, and he's not shouting, "Die punk!" So we're good, right? Right! So, yes, I shouted across the room.

He walks over to me, reciting, "I'm thankful for all of my friends and all of my family... and that means you, too!" It sounded a little rehearsed, like they'd been discussing it in school this week. And I'm okay with that. If the schools are teaching my kids to be grateful they have friends and family, dude, I'm all over that. Yay for school!

I can't ask Josie yet, because it's 8:55 am, and she's still upstairs asleep. (Which leads me right into what *I* am thankful for at the moment!) But I'm pretty sure she'd say, "princesses... and kittens.... and princesses... and pink princesses...." because that is her answer to almost any question you could ask her. "Hey Jos, what did you dream about last night?" "Hey, Jos, what do you want for Christmas?" "Hey, Jos, what are you going to be when you grow up?" Yep, still in that stage.

And I can't ask Scott, because he isn't here at the moment. He is on his way to see his mother. He's stopping at the grocery store for her, and then he's going to see his father, who is in the hospital recovering from some nasty bit of this or that. They live about an hour and a half away from here, so he'll probably be gone most of the day, and that's okay with me. I love that his family is important to him. It's at the top of my "what am I thankful for" list.

Family is such a weird thing. I mean, really. We love them. We hate them. We want to be just like them when we grow up, and we want to be NOTHING like them when we grow up. They drive us absolutely bonkers. Some of them are people we would NEVER choose to be in the same room with if there weren't some sort of pie and a turkey involved. And yet, when we're together, it's all good. It's warm and fuzzy. Because it's family!

The Thanksgiving mornings I remember: It was cold and gray outside, but the house is warm and toasty (and bathed in a soft golden light, although that could be residual memory of the 70's gold rug we had). It smells like sage and turkey (we ate "dinner" at 1pm so mom started cooking EARLY). The Macy's parade was on tv, and sometimes we watched, sometimes it was just on. We would stay in our pajamas until noon, because we could. I honestly don't know what my brother would do, but I would read, or work on my dollhouse (I was constantly remodeling) or watch tv all day. Sometimes we had family living with us, sometimes we didn't. But either way. It was good. Memories are like that. No matter what they were really like, we tend to only remember the best parts.

I really should be cooking the turkey now. It's in the fridge. I think I was supposed to brine it. I forgot. Well, I didn't actually forget, I would just remember at inopportune times. (Like now.) I'm not in a rush. We've got all day.

Josie is awake now. She and Ian have discovered the parade. They're eating popcorn and sharing a leftover McFlurry (don't judge me) and are actually watching it. "Pikachu, Ian! And Spiderman!" They love it! Excellent. Life is good. I'm happy.

Scott should be at his mom's by now. She's been alone in the house (well, if you can ever truly be "alone" when you have four cats) for about a week now. She loves that house. We love the house. It's full of history, both personal and national. I know that one day my kids will grow up and Scott will be away and I'll be alone in my house. There are days when that happens now, but at night, the kids are back and there are the usual noises. It's eerily quiet when they are having sleepovers elsewhere. The house feels so big then. I wonder if the house feels too big to his mother when his father is away? I wonder if she ever gets creeped out by going to the basement to do the laundry? (I know I would, but I always get creeped out by old basements. It's just one of my things.) Or is she like me, where she waits until the day he's coming home and then cleans the house in a flurry? I don't imagine her being that way. With Scott's mom, things get done. She's good that way. So is my mom. They do what needs to be done, and don't waste any time. (wistfully writes the procrastinator.)

Parade update:
"It's the battery rabbit, Josie!!"
"Rabbits don't have glasses.... hahahahahahahahah!"

Here is a little parable about cell-phones. Be careful, because someday, your pants might call your mother. And it will happen at, oh, inopportune times. Like, say, when you're discussing them. (Ack!) You won't know about it right away. You'll be talking about something else - like how crazy it is that we still can't seem to wrap ourselves around dollar coins, and would it really kill our country to finally go metric? And then you'll be talking about this house you're going to buy. And how excited your parents are for you. You'll talk about how they are all getting older, and who will come to live with you first. You'll talk about how when you are remodeling the house you just bought, it's important to have a bedroom on the main floor, because even if nobody comes to live with you, someday YOU will be older, and less mobile, and will need fewer stairs. And somewhere in there, you'll work in a conversation about something totally unrelated on where you want to travel next, Rome, or Africa (who would have guessed Seattle would have won?), and how England would be cool because we could see Hadrian's Wall, which would be so much easier to hike than the wall in China. And all the while, your mom is listening.

Parade update:
"Look at that big yellow bird, Ian! And Elmo!"

A few days later, you're talking to your mom, and she says, "Oh my god, you two have the most boring conversations. I almost fell asleep listening to you." Um, what? Oh no, what did we talk about? Her! Them! I ask if we said anything I should be apologizing for, and thank goodness she said no. And she was glad to hear that we weren't going to kick her to the curb when she got old. Haha. I'll even make sure your socks match, I tell her, If you play your cards right.

It was never a question to me IF she'd come live with us someday. It's always been a matter of when. We always had family living with us when I was growing up. Aunts. Uncles. Grandparents. I loved it when they were there. It was like having a big sister or brother. One who let you borrow their clothes and their 8-track tapes, and read their comic books, but who never teased you. And I loved having my grandparents there. I just loved it.

I miss them, my grandparents. I think about them a lot on days like today. In a little while, everyone would start showing up. Nanny should be sitting at the kitchen table while mom and my aunts fuss around the stove and talk about who did what, and can you pass that? Papa and Daddy and the uncles in the living room, watching football and telling the kids to settle down, can't you see we're watching the game? My cousins were much younger than me (oddly not so much younger now that we're all over 30), so they would be playing with my brother, and I would be off doing my own thing. I used to threaten my mother with the possibility that I'd be volunteering at a homeless shelter the next year, and she'd say, Oh no, you won't. You'll be right here where you belong. And we'd argue over why I could or couldn't do that or something else. Because by then I was 15 or 19 or 23 and I was old enough to make my own decisions. I was going to travel the world, I was going to save the world, I was going to do Big Things. And I could volunteer at a shelter on Thanksgiving if I wanted to! Except I never did. Because my mom wanted me to be home.

Parade update:
"I want to play my Wii games!!!"
"No, sweetie, the parade is still on. It's what we do on Thanksgiving."

And eventually we'd all come together. There was never enough room at the table for everyone to sit there, so Nanny would sit there, and one or two others, and the rest of the family would be spread out around the living room, finding a seat where ever they could. We'd take a plate over to Papa, who was in his Chair. The table would be covered with food - so much food. Turkey, of course, and mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes and raisins under a blanket of marshmallows. Stuffing in the bird and stuffing from the oven. Corn, and green beans and lima beans. Cornbread and biscuits and gravy. Pumpkin and pecan (that's PEEcan, not peCAHN) pies. We would have these huge, heavy plates balanced on our knees, and a glass of sweet tea, because there was always sweet tea, and we would eat and exclaim how good it was, and could you pass the butter, and oh, did you try the pie?

We didn't pause to say grace, because the gratitude was implied. We knew how much we had. We knew how lucky we were to have it. Eventually the noise of the meal would quiet, and we would settle down and get to the business of eating, until we put down our plates and leaned back, full and happy and drowsy.

My uncle would pick up a guitar then, and start playing. Always the same songs...Fly Away (it was Nanny's favorite), The Sweetest Gift (who can resist a song about prison on Thanksgiving?), The Boxer. A lot of Johnny Cash. We would sing along to the ones we knew. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized that almost all the songs Davy played were hymns. To me, they were just 'family music'. Davy spent some time living on the mountain, as they called it. My grandparents had a small farm in NC, and he lived there by himself one summer, teaching himself to play guitar, and no doubt acquainting himself with the cousins with the still. So it would stand to reason that he would be learning the music that was in the house - a hymnal and my grandmother's music books for the electric organ. And Johnny Cash, of course.

Parade update:
The Big Apple Circus is onscreen, Josie is standing as close to the tv as possible and lining her princesses up in front to watch. "Ian, look at that big elephant! He has a ear."

After we ate, and after we sang, and after we ate some more, and after we cleaned up, and after we called the relatives who couldn't be there to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, and after we made our plans for Christmas and drew names for the Secret Santa Exchange (at which we failed miserably - annually) the children were gathered and coats were put on. Hugs and kisses and goodbyes and promises to see each other sooner next time.

We are always sincere - we do want to see each other soon. Because even when we drive each other crazy, even if we sometimes can't stand to be in the same room together, even then... we're family. We've got our own kind of crazy. Our people know all about our crazy, and they love us anyway. In spite of it. Because of it. Because it's family and it's what you do.

Parade Update:
Andrea Bocelli is singing. Josie is crying now that she wants to play the Wii princess game and she has an ouchie on her foot because Ian hit her head. (I saw the whole thing - he refused to change the parade to the Wii... she's a little dramatic.) The tv people mention that Santa will be here soon - I forgot that Santa ended the parade! I run in, "Josie! Ian! Santa will be in the parade!" "But I want to play my Wii game!!!" "Look Josie! Kermit is in the parade! Kermit is real!" (That was from Ian, not me.)

Yep, we've got our own kind of crazy. It's the kind you visit and the kind that lives with you. It's the kind that fights and the kind that sings. It's the kind that comes together when it matters.

And it's what I'm thankful for.

Final parade update: Santa is on. He's lip-synching. They kids don't notice. "It's the real Santa! Not just the guy in the suit!" I love how excited they are about Santa. I can't believe we actually watched the whole parade. I don't know that I ever have before. Ian put on the princess Wii game, and they are playing together and not fighting. I'm off to the kitchen to make too much food, Scott will come home, we will eat and make phone calls and eventually someone has to walk the dog.

It's a good day.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Monday, October 12, 2009

oh ye of little faith...

Make that ye's... Yee's? (what IS the plural of ye?) Nevermind.... we can just go with Doubting Thomas', or Naysayers... go ahead and pick your pleasure. It's all the same really. You didn't think we could do it. And I wasn't sure we'd make it. But we did! Mostly, anyway. :)

This was a long weekend. Ian left school early on Wednesday for a dentist appointment, and then there were two days of parent-teacher conferences before the three-day weekend. So, yes, that adds up to 5 1/2 days off. And we had nothing big planned as distractions, just mostly work and working on the house. That is a LONG time. And my kids are at the age where they fight over EVERYTHING, especially what tv show they are going to watch. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Ian: Josie, wouldn't you like to watch Spongebob?
Josie: Yes! But I'm watching Max and Ruby.
Ian: Okay, let's put on Spongebob!
Ian: MOM!!!! JOSIEBLAHBLAHBLAH!!!! ZEKESTOPIT!!! (our kitten, Zeke, likes to attack Ian at the slightest provocation. It crops up into almost every conversation.)

And so it goes.

So Friday, while we were having dinner, it happened. I'm not sure exactly why, or how. It just did. Perhaps I had just noticed how nicely everyone was eating, and mostly the same things (as opposed to the typical dinner that has added servings of cheese sticks and applesauce for the kids). Perhaps I was thinking that we were going to all be home for several days together, and wouldn't it be lovely if we did things together, like the families in the magazines? Maybe we could bake bread. or do a puzzle. I had a lot of things to do on the house. All of those things, I'm sure, were floating around in my head. And then I said it.

Me: Hey guys, I wanted to tell you about this weekend. We are going to have a no-screen weekend! It's going to be great! No tv, no computers, just doing fun stuff!

Scott looked at me funny, and only later did I realize he was thinking about the Redskins. But he didn't say a word, the sweetie pie.

Ian: So can we play games?? I have a bunch of games we can play!
Me: Sure!
Ian: Cool! Wait a minute, you said I could watch tv after dinner.
Me: Um, yeah, but just one hour, and then it's bedtime.
Ian: Okay. Cool!
Josie: I want a cheese stick!
Scott: You all got that, right? No tv at all, no computers?
Ian: Yes already! Geesh.

I posted it on Facebook (yes, I began my no-screen weekend by posting it online - the irony of which was posted out to me by several people.) and everyone seemed, well, less-than-confident that we could pull it off. So I turned off the computer. (I hadn't done that since the last electrical storm - it felt very strange to do it without the threat of lightning frying my electronics.)

We woke up Saturday with no ipod music playing, no alarms (accidentally - I left my cellphone in my purse), and no fighting from downstairs. Very few sounds at all, actually. The kids got something to eat and then were playing. Josie played in her room, then in the basement. Ian played outside, then read. We did our regular routine, but without the breaks of sitting in front of the tv or the computer.

Ian asked several times if he could watch something, but once we reminded him, he was fine. Josie was a little more persistant. She didn't quite seem to grasp that "no tv" meant, gasp, "NO tv". She tried arguing for different shows.
"I need to watch Maisy!"
"No, you don't."
"But Max and Ruby? Pleasssseeeeee?"
"No." "Spongebob? My brother likes Spongebob!"
"The princess movie on the ipod? That's not tv." (good argument for a 3 1/2 year old, but still,) "No."
Eventually she would storm off. (I hid the remote, and none of us know how to change channels without it. So that's about all she could do.)

We got a lot done. I got more work done on the house and garden than I had in a month of Sunday's. It was great! When I was installing the shelves, the boards were too long, but only by about 1/2 inch. So I got out the circular saw that a friend lent me but that I've been too chicken to try and use (hey, you could lose a finger on that thing!), and cut my boards. I was so proud of myself! They fit! I hung shelves. I put doors on cabinets. We rearranged furniture. And this was just on Saturday. It was great. I basically wandered around the house looking for things to attack with the drill and hammer. I loved it.

By Sunday, though, it was really starting to get to the kids. Ian was done with what he was terming "the experiment". (I had told him that I wanted to see if they got along better with no screentime, and Boy Howdy, did they. They played with each other, nicely! They would disappear into the Basement Of Lost Toys for hours. It was wonderful.)

But eventually (and by "eventually" I mean, "almost immediately") even the best of kids want their routine. Ian told me that his friend came over but went home because our house was boring. Then he refused to come outside, and just sat in my office. I could see him through the window while Scott and I were outside building a raised garden bed from leftover patio stones. I mostly directed, from the swingset where Josie and I were swinging. (Why aren't grownups supposed to swing, anyway? I LOVE swinging. I hate pushing, but man, I still love being on the swings.) We would ask Ian to come out, to play with us, to help with the garden, to play with the dog, but, no, no, no, he just didn't want to. He was having a horrible weekend and we ruined all his fun by not letting him have any screentime, which is the MOST fun in the world and he was done, just DONE with this experiment. So there!

Enh. Whatever. I had a swing and a garden bed that was practically building itself, just waiting for me to take credit for it. ("Why, yes, it IS a lovely garden! We worked so hard putting it together! Oh, sure, Scott helped some." Yes, I would totally do that.)

When we were done in the back, we wandered around to the front, and puttered around a bit there. I'm planning on turning much of my lawn into gardens, and we needed to sit on the patio chairs and talk about it for a bit, while Josie ran around barefoot in the yard, picking dandelions. It was really nice, actually.

The door opened and Ian walked down the steps, carrying his little orange suitcase stuffed full of stuffed animals and clothes.
"You going somewhere?" I asked.
"I'm leaving! I left you a note in your office and you can read it if you care about where I'm going to be!"
"That's MY SUITCASE!!!!" (Josie, of course)
"Is this about the 'no screentime' thing?" asked Scott.
"Yes! You ruined my fun and you're ruining my life and I'm going to find a new family where they let me watch tv when I want!"
"Okay, well, see ya!" I said. This wasn't the first time he threatened to run away. But my usual response had been to tell him how terribly lonely that we'd be without him and that I would miss him so much and blah blah blah. But seriously. Over tv? And we were having such a lovely time.
He took a deep breath. "Goodbye!!" And he walked down the front steps slowly. He looked back a couple times. By the time he was to the driveway, Josie had burst into tears.
"I want my brother to live at our house!!"
"I know, sweetie, I do, too. Maybe if you went to tell him that..."
Ian was halfway past the neighbor's house.
Josie started down the steps. (Scott and I were still sitting quite comfortably in our chairs - no need to get up for this drama.)
I looked over at Ian. He has stopped. He turned and looked at us, then he started sobbing. He ran back.
"I can't believe I lost my mind! I can't believe I was going to lose my family!" He flew into Scott's arms, and Scott began consoling him.
"It's okay, you came back, that's all that matters."
Josie had come back up the stairs. She picked up Ian's suitcase. "Here you go, Ian!"
I was so relieved. I was worried we were going to have to tail him around the block until he came back.

"Can I watch tv now?" Ian looked so hopeful.
"Dude! No! We're NOT WATCHING TV tonight!" Geesh. Ya gotta give him credit for trying.

The rest of the evening was actually fairly uneventful. The kids went to bed. I cleaned and sorted and kept on with my manic frenzy to 'accomplish things'. And eventually, the experiment ended.

This morning, I woke up to the sounds of Nickelodeon.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Normal is good.

There has been much coughing and sleeping and fever in our house over the last week or so. A lot of sleeping. Because to get through the coughing and fever, it's pretty important that you sleep. For me, that's all I can do when I'm sick. I take to my bed like a southern belle with the vapors. I want nothing other than that sweet space between Nyquil and coma. I love that space. Not all the time, of course. I'm no junkie. Well, not since I cut back on caffeine (whimper) but I'm not, I swear.

But sleep. Sleep is good.

Unfortunately, trying to sleep with kids in the house, not so easy. My job for the past couple days, therefore, has been to stay OUT of the house. Because while *I* have had my flu shot, my kids haven't yet. And while they were sick and sniffly and coughing, they weren't feverish or achy. And that was a stage I had hoped to avoid. Which meant we had to avoid Scott, who was smacked upside down by some annoying little flu bug. So Scott was layed (laid? I never get that right) up in bed. He needed sleep. I knew he needed sleep. How did I know? Because my guy, who works until the job is done, no matter how long it takes, actually came home early and went to bed. Voluntarily. And stayed there for so many hours that they turned into days.

And so he slept. And I was out all day with two kids. Easy-peasy, right? Well, sure, except that those were the days that the skies opened up and spit on us. (Thanks a lot, Mother Nature. Right back atcha. ) No computer, other than my ipod and cell phone (hello twitter updates!) No work, because two kids are... um... well... let's just say I was a little tired at the end of the day. (Okay, fine, I passed out in my kids bed every night at 8pm. There, are you happy?) I got nothing done but keeping the kids alive and keeping my Sweet Baboo asleep in a different room. For days. I'm pretty sure that they skipped baths two nights in a row, but nobody actually complained. And now that we have a dog, we can blame a lot on the wet dog smell. (yay!)

And yesterday, the sun was shining, and my sweetie pie got up. He wasn't completely well, but he was definitely better. So laden with bottles of Robitussin, aspirin, and that nasty pink stuff you take to settle your stomach (I swear, I just totally blanked on the name - I have been losing random nouns from my memory for years), he went to work. And stayed all day. And ate dinner. And is officially on the mend.

Which means that today, my life got a little bit closer to normal.

Normal is good. Normal is underrated. I like normal. I like everyone feeling relatively healthy. I like knowing that people are leaving and returning at about the same time every day. I like knowing that if I put on Max & Ruby, I can set off fireworks, and Josie won't notice. (which is how I've managed to babble on for so long - we're on the second episode already! whoo hoo!) Who am I kidding? I love normal. Normal means that Scott goes to work and the kids go to school and playdates and I go to work, and then we come home and we fuss over the homework, and play, and eat dinner, and fuss over baths and bedtime, and struggle briefly with the 'family bed' concept that we should really put an end to, but it's never worth the fight THAT night, we'll save it for the weekend, except that weekend never actually gets there (maybe this weekend?) but eventually we all fall asleep. Maybe not where we planned to be, but all sleeping somewhere. Sometimes spread out in several rooms, sometimes like a big pile of puppies, all on one bed. And in those in between moments when we wake in the middle of the night, when a small sleepy body has snuggled into yours, and you reach out and hold a hand, or press your face into their hair and inhale deeply, these moments, this sleep... this is the sweet stuff of life. This is normal. This is all I want.

[Oh, and since this is technically a work blog, here's some recent pics!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So many new things...

Hello, my faithful 15. I've missed you so. It's been such a fast summer! Has it flown by for you, too? So many things have happened in the last few weeks. At our last little chat, I mentioned I was having weight loss surgery. Well, let me tell you - it's the best decision I ever made. Everything is going well, and I feel great. Thanks to everyone who sent such nice wishes my way!

The studio is hosting a workshop on September 20th from 4-7 pm, on creating an Artist Statement. The cost is $35, and is limited to 7 participants. Writing about your work can be much harder than actually creating the art itself. If you plan on being a working artist (or even a working-at-a-coffeeshop-while-creating-art artist) you will need to have an Artist Statement. It will be fun and painless, I promise. Coffee included. :) Interested? Send an email and I'll send you the registration information.

We have a couple new additions to our home... a dog named Katie and a kitten named Zeke. The general response has been something along the lines of, "TWO new animals at once? Are you crazy?" And many different versions of, "But you're so NOT a dog person!" Yeah, yeah, I know. I don't let my kids wear shoes in the house, I don't let them eat in the living room, and I have a white couch. What was I thinking?? Apparently, that a black kitten and a REALLY furry dog would cure me of any remaining germ phobias. Seriously, though - it just seemed... right. We had researched finding the perfect dog - hypoallergenic, good with kids, etc. And we almost went the way of a breeder. It was more expensive, but we thought it would be worth it. Except I couldn't quite bring myself to do it. We kept looking at the animal rescue organizations' pages, and there are just SO many animals out there that need a home. We called about a few, but nothing really was just right. So we decided to go to one of the Petsmart adoption fairs, with Lost Dog and Cat Rescue. We saw one that looked perfect online, but the foster mom said that she probably wouldn't be good with a 3 year old. As we were watching them come out of the van, this furry little creature walks by us. We make the obligatory, "oh, aren't you cute!" coos and start to scratch her behind the ears, when she drops to the ground and rolls over to have us rub her belly. Well. Apparently, I'm quite easy. I fell in love right there on the spot. We did a kitty test (make sure that she wouldn't attack the kitten), and then brought them both home. The rest is history! Our plans: hypoallergenic non-shedding puppy from a breeder. Our result: a 30 pound, 5 (ish) year old, furry, somewhat stinky love mop. And we wouldn't have it any other way. (And Zeke, of course! Zeke is a black kitty who goes into crazy kitten mode at the drop of a hat. He's a total whackjob, and we adore him!)

If you're considering a pet, PLEASE look at adopting. The perfect dog is out there, just looking for you.

I'll be posting some client work from the last few weeks soon - stay tuned!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big day tomorrow!

An acquaintance wrote this on her page on a forum we're both on, dedicated to weight loss surgery. She said I could quote her, and I wanted to credit her, but I only know her username: Bitchy McSnipe. (Incidentally, I LOVE that username.) Anyway, this is what she wrote:

I love my fat.
It padded me when I fell and kept me warm in the cold.
It gave me non-traditional heroes and even stranger interests.
It taught me that you can get higher quality love interests at 236 lbs with a quick wit, joi de vivre, fierce style, and sincere confidence than you ever could with a tiny ass and a cookiecutter personality.
It introduced me to meet the most creative and interesting friends on the planet.
It trusted me to build my own distinct and evolved style as I was unable to fit - literally - into mainstream beauty standards.
It showed me that when you accept yourself and every inch of your body, you and your lovers will know the ancient pleasures of the courtesans.
It kept me from leading a superficial lifestyle and drove me to travel the world in search of more.
It showed me how to fight back, and where to hide the bodies.
It taught me to wear my scars like jewels.

And now that I've learned all of its lessons, it's time to let it go.

And that's where I am now. In about 10 hours, I will be deep in a drug-induced sleep, having my insides rearranged a bit, with the goal of having my outside look and feel gads better. Eventually. Soon. Not soon enough, but sooner than if I did nothing. And I haven't been doing nothing. For 25 years I've been dieting myself heavier and heavier, and somewhere inside this chubby suit I've created around myself, there's a much smaller and healthier me just itchin' to get out.

So as of right now, I'm officially on a little medical vay-cay. I'm planning on taking a week to really do nothing but heal and adjust to this new lifestyle. And after that, I'll be returning calls and messages again. As much as I'd love to try and work through this, I know I'm going to be on some really good painkillers, and will probably not remember any conversation we had. Or, more likely, I'll hallucinate a conversation that we never had, and I'll be convinced - CONVINCED - that we talked about something. And if you come by, there's a really good chance I"ll put my head on your shoulder and say, "Mmmmmmcozy." Just ask Michael. I did it last week when she drove me home from a test I was drugged for, and she nearly ran off the road from shock when I did it. (I may be warm and fuzzy, but I'm not touchy feely.)

ANYway. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing. Nervous, of course. But strangely looking forward to it. And I will admit - after 8 years of responsible middle-aged mommyhood, I'm totally looking forward to that little bit of time where the painkillers are working their magic and I'm not in pain, but the world is swirling around me. (Okay, so it sounds really pathetic when I write it, but come on, I haven't had a really good buzz in nearly a decade!!)

I'll have my phone and will update the blog and facebook via twitter assuming I can text 2555555#4447777#9335555551 (go ahead, text those numbers, it's not THAT hard to figure out.) :)

Okay. Yeah, I'm procrastinating at this point. I need to finish a little work. I need to pack. I need to sleep. I need to hug my kids, but they aren't here (sleepover at Grammy's house). I need to snuggle with my Sweet Baboo for a little while tonight before I fall asleep. And then I need to get up and start my new life.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Three is the magic number....

Today was a fantastic maternity session. And about 15 minutes into it, I got this song stuck in my head. And now I can't stop thinking about it. Thus is the legacy of Schoolhouse Rock. I loved Schoolhouse Rock. And really, not even in the past tense. I bought the complete DVD collection and got my kids hooked on it. too. I loved Bill (from Capitol Hill) and Lolly (who was obsessed with adverbs), but that was nothing to how obsessed I have been with the number three today. It is, after all, the magic number.

And today, I photographed 3. (Well, three and a half. Soon to be 4.) And yesterday there were three. Three is good.

I'm so far behind in posting images. I wish I could post them all. But there is good news ahead! I actually AM almost done with getting the website running. I know, I know, I've been promising it forever. But now the structure is there, we're fine-tuning it, and I'm about to start uploading images. Whoo hoo! What prompted this sudden return to web-sitedness? (I know, it's not a REAL word, but it works for me.) One might think it was the constant, and never-ending harassment of Michael, my site designer. Or the fact that Stephanie has been talking to Michael behind my back, working up a plan for them to do my site without any input from me (which, honestly, would have been a pretty good site, I'm sure!) Or that Barbi, a photographer I have worked with for a REALLY long time, recently told me that in all the time she's known me, I haven't actually had a website, just a blog and a "check back soon" site. That was a little embarrassing, I'll admit. But really, it wasn't that either.

So what was it? Well, honestly, it was shiny objects. I kept seeing other websites and thought, wow, I want one of those! (You know all the stuff they have at the counter for impulse shoppers? They should have my name on them. I am the reason they sell Diet Coke, Chapstick, and nail clippers at the counter.) Speaking of which, I could really go for a diet coke right now. I have to say, now that my kids are older, I am really starting to miss one of my favorite perks of pregnancy - the willingness of your husband to go out at 1 am for a Slurpee. I just asked. I didn't actually see him roll his eyes as he said, "no", but I felt it all the same. See? Shiny object.

But backto the website - don't check it now. Give me a few days. (Yeah, like you haven't heard THAT one before.) It would have actually been done by now, but, um, er, let's just say I blame Apple and my AmEx points. Together, they have conspired to get me addicted to playing games on my shiny new iPod. I fought the battle and lost.

Until then, enjoy these pics. They are from the last two weeks. There are more, and I'll post them soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

vote for me! vote for me!!!

So apparently, I'm in a contest.  I had no idea until a friend of mine pointed it out.  It's the Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks awards, and I'm up for best local family photographer.  How cool is that??  And just in case I don't win, I'd like to say, It's an honor just to be nominated.  (But really, I REALLY want to win!!  :)  )

So, um, if you happen to think I'm pretty good and would like to send a vote or two my way, please do!  Here's the link:  Vote For me!!  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

All I need is some chicken wire and some seeds

And chickens.  I'd need the chickens.  And  a little house for them to go in and out of.  And some straw.  Chickens need lots of straw, I think.  

I want to raise chickens.  I have been overcome by this desire to raise my own poultry.  For the eggs only, of course.  I call in reinforcements to kill spiders.  I'm pretty sure I won't be up for the carnage of turning semi-pet poultry into nuggets (since that's still the only way my daughter will eat chicken).  I mentioned this to my husband, just wondering out loud really, if we were allowed to raise chickens in Arlington.

"NO.  Absolutely not!  I will not participate in ANY PART in raising livestock!"  

Frankly, I thought that was a bit over the top as far as protests go.  I mean, livestock? Really?  They're just chickens.  People keep birds in their houses all the time.   And these would be in the back yard.  In a coop.  (I'm so suburban.  I see "coop" and I read "Co-op", as in preschool. haha.)

My aunt Judy used to have a pet chicken.  According to my dad (for he's the only one who seems to remember these strange little nuggets of family history on that side), Judy had a pet chicken, and it loved her and hated everyone else.  It would actually attack people.   An attack chicken.  Can you imagine the little warning sign on the front yard?  They didn't live on a farm, either.  This is was in the suburbs.  Or maybe the city.  My dad grew up in DC, and then they moved to Springfield (A VA suburb, for those of my 15 who aren't local) at some point, but I don't know when.   But either way, it wasn't a farm pet.  It was either a city pet or a suburb pet.  Granted, it was just one.  And I want more than one.  I want a coop-ful.

I think raising your own chickens to produce your eggs would be pretty cool!  I have never had eggs fresh from under a chicken's tushy, but I've heard that they are really good when they are that fresh.  Granted, most of the eggs I've cooked have lingered in my fridge for quite a long time.  They are anti-fresh, really (but they peel easier!)  So clearly, I wouldn't need that many eggs at any one point.

How hard can it be to raise chickens?  We don't really have a wolf problem here, and we wouldn't need that many  - just enough so they can keep themselves company.  Do you need to have a rooster if you have chickens?  Roosters might be a problem.  We've been something of a nuisance neighbor for the last year, what with the addition, and the ever present contractor trucks and backhoes.  I think a rooster might just be the last straw for my neighbors.  Neighbors, I'd like to point out, who have been INCREDIBLY nice about the inconveniences we've put them through.  I'm pretty sure that even if I offered them the occasional fresh egg, the rooster might not be acceptable.    Which is too bad.  Because our bedroom faces the back, and a rooster would be a fantastic alarm clock.  (I can hit the snooze button and not even wake up to do it!)

So no rooster.  But the chickens...  chickens would be cool.  

How germy do you think they are?  I am a wee bit of a germaphobe  (I will save the joys of potty training a child who loves public restrooms for another post).  Can you give chickens a bath?  I used to have 4 cats, surely bathing chickens can't be any worse than that.    It's probably not necessary, though.   I mean, you can wash the eggs (when, in the process do you do that?  Immediately after capture, or right before cooking?), and you can use hand sanitizer.  That should be effective enough, I imagine.

I don't know why I want to do this.  It's probably just an extension of my desire, every spring, to grow all my own produce in my own little garden.  We did it one year when we lived in Boston (okay, Quincy).  We had all these raised organic garden beds, and we grew everything.   We had salads every night (tomatoes and lettuce were my big successes).   I've tried growing things here, but we had some problems.  Squirrels.  Raccoons ate my corn.  Cicadas ate everything else.  (It may have been some other creature, but it was when the cicadas were here, so I'm blaming them anyway.)   After that summer, we tore out the garden and put in a swingset.

 We're going to try again this year, though.  We try every year.  I love having a garden.  This time, we're going to put it in the front yard, where it will get lots of sun.  We're going to grow so many things.  Veggies on one side of the yard, flowers on the other.  Cucumbers for Ian. Sunflowers for Josie.  Green onions for Scott (who is totally on board with the garden stuff).  My kids seem so excited about it.  I can't wait until we're out there digging in the dirt together, planting everything.  I want to get them hooked on the experience. (Yes, this is my fantasy.  Because I have done other projects with my children, and I am fairly confident that our 'experience' will also involve much whining, cajoling, and complaining, but that's not part of my fantasy, so it's staying out of the story until it actually happens.)  

Someday, when they're much much older, I might tell them about the summer we almost raised chickens.

Friday, April 3, 2009

We're going to have cake, and be princesses, and have a party, and have cake...

That is what Josie said she was going to do on her birthday.  Clearly, she has the right idea!

She wanted to take a few pics in the studio this morning (no one was more surprised than I was!), so here she is - being three.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

The first step.

Hello everyone.  My name is Liz.  And I'm an addict.  A junkie.  A user.  I have tried to resist, but I can't.  I'm just not strong enough.  It - they - have this power over me that is overwhelming.  I see them, and I MUST have them.   I don't even give it a second thought.  My friends have gone with me to keep me in check, but the moment they turn their back, I'm at the next corner, whispering, "How much?"   I'm supposed to be buying them so I can sell them.  But it's so hard for me to part with them.  I want them all.  I sometimes "forget" to mention that I have any available, just so I can keep them to myself.  

And now, now it's starting to affect my life.  Whenever I bring a new one home, I try and hide it in my office, hoping no one will notice (and if you've ever seen my office, you know that is not an unreasonable hope).  But every once in a while, Kris, my business manager, will have to look for something in the office, and she'll come across my stash.  She gets that look of exasperated disappointment in her eyes.  "Another one??!  Really, this has got to stop!"  But I can't.  I'm an addict.  I can't help it.  

I just love frames.

And I have WAY too many of them in stock.  Nice frames.  REALLY nice frames.  So I think we're going to have a special of some sort.  I haven't figured out what it will be yet.   If any of you, my faithful 15, are going to be having an ordering session coming up, remind me that while I may love my frames, I really need to share the love.  Specifically, I need to share them with YOU.   

I'm going to miss them when they're gone.  Of course, I just ordered new corners for these absolutely adorable frames that I'm going to be offering soon.  (Shhhh!  Don't tell Kris!)  Here's a preview of just how adorably cute they are:


I LOVE them.  (Btw, that's my wee beastie on the right.)

So .... other news...  I managed to squeeze ten people into my teeny tiny studio this morning.  Nobody was more surprised than I was that I actually pulled this off!  This client is one of my favorites - she's been coming since her first baby was born, and now we're on baby number two!  I love it when her family comes to town, because she frequently brings them over for a quick mini-session, and I get a visit!  I get to meet a lot of grandparents when new babies are born, and it's one of those things that has always given me the warm fuzzies.  I love when I get to know the extended families of my clients.  It makes the whole world feel a little big friendlier to me.    So - ten people.  Want to see?   Good, because I want to show off a little bit!!  :)  


These guys were DONE.  They lasted an impressive amount of time!  

It's funny - 90% of my clients bring me babies.   And then they grow up.   I'm starting to have a crop of bigger kids come in, which I suppose, logically, I really should have expected.    But it still is catching me by surprise.  And then there was another surprise - I really ENJOY working with these kids!   [Before I had children, my work was very un-child friendly, as are most photographers when they are first starting out, and trying to be either arty or journalisty (yes, those are real words.  I just made them up, but they're real NOW.)  I was doing a little bit of both.]   My comfort zone has always been the age of my oldest kid, and younger.  Well, my kid will be eight this summer (EIGHT??!!!  More on that later!)  and I'm working with all these BIG kids. Which I thought I wouldn't enjoy, but I do!  They're fun!  They make me laugh as often as I try and squeeze (not literally) a giggle out of them.   This is a great job, I have to admit.  

Eight.  Seriously.  (Okay, in 5 months, but that is much closer than  you'd think). He orders off the adult menu as much as the kid's menu these days.  My daughter is almost potty trained, and by the end of the summer, I'll only need one booster seat.  We got rid of the monster stroller last summer.  No more diapers.  No infant car seats.   No more babies.  They're both kids now.  Just kids.   Although, as long as Josie is still in preschool, I have a little bit longer to belong to the club.  The "Mom's with small children" club.  Which feels much more exclusive when you're out of it than when you're in it.

I think I want to plant a tree.   I wonder if there's a "mom's with young trees" club?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's 10 pm - do you know where your children are?

I do.  Because mine have become, well, barnacles.  I went out of town a few weeks ago, and ever since I got back, Josie won't leave my side and Ian has quit threatening to move.   Not run away, mind you.  He's very methodical about it.  He has packed several bags, and even gave me an actual move date, which, conveniently, kept getting pushed back (the thought of missing the Easter Bunny was horrible).  Where was his dream world where nobody made him do homework and he could watch all the tv he wanted? (Seriously, those were his two demands.)  West Virginia.  I have NO idea how that became the Land of Wonder, but it was.  Until we went to Pennsylvania for New Years Eve.  We drove by Dutch Wonderland, and I was telling him how it was a shame that he was moving to W. VA, because he'd miss going to Dutch Wonderland with us in the summer.  He thought about it very seriously, and then got this huge smile on his face.  "I know!"  he said.  "I'll move to Pennsylvania instead!!" Well, so much for THAT brilliant idea.  But still.  I had hopes that he'd forget about it, even though every time he was angry, I'd hear a door slam and muffled mutterings of, "I'm going to move NOW! Come on, Flat Teddy, we're OUT OF HERE!"  Fortunately, being my child, he was blessed with an occasionally short attention span, and could be easily distracted with a little Spongebob.  Bad mommy, I know.

But as I was saying, ever since my trip, where I was gone for almost a week, well, a week-ish...  I'm not sure, to be honest.  It seemed like forever and it seemed like it lasted 5 minutes, depending on what I was doing at the time.  But I was gone.  And when I came home, both children rushed me at the door.  It's wonderful to be welcomed home like that.  Ian told me he decided he wasn't going to move.  No preamble, no explanation, just. not. moving.  Yay!  Josie showed me how much she missed me in other ways.  Refusing to go to school.  Not wanting to play with Margot (my mother's helper, who is the only reason I get ANY work done mid-week).  Not wanting to go to the sitters.  Not wanting to do anything but sit on the couch and watch Dora with me.  I'd like to point out that while I do enjoy sitting on the couch for various activities, watching Dora is sooooo far down that list that even cuddling with Josie loses its appeal after the first 15 minutes.  Oh, and the biggest thing?  She insists on being near me when she falls asleep.  Which means either I go to bed with her (and I fall asleep, because she is quite warm and cuddly), or she sleeps in the living room.  Which is where she is right now.  In the playyard, snoring away, 10 feet from me.  Scott has managed to get her to go to sleep with him a few times when she's really tired or I have to go out, but for the most part, this is it.  She's a barnacle.  My cute little Sweet Babboo is the barnaclebabe.

I'm not sure why I wanted to tell all of you that.  But it's now 10:30, I'm listening to some cool tunes I found on itunes yesterday (Holly Conlan - very nice music to edit by!) and just enjoying the near quiet  (the music is pretty low, so I don't wake my snoring barnaclebabe).  

She's turning 3, you know.  In about 2 weeks.  And I don't know how that happened so quickly.  I just photographed a baby for her 10 month pics, and it seems like it was just yesterday that we did her newborn session (here's a couple from the recent session, btw.) 


It's going so fast.  I know that, to her parents, the thought of her turning 3 is practically inconceivable.  She's still learning how to stand.  How to talk.  How to find small choking-hazard objects and get them in her mouth before you notice.  You have a long way to go before you're worrying about potty training.  Crossing the street and holding hands.  Preschool.  Ponytail ribbon preferences.  Princess dresses.  

Princesses!  How did we get to princesses so fast?!  It was only a year ago I was mocking the princess thing.  We're so NOT doing the princess thing, I declared.   Uh huh.  I should have just called Disney right there and set up an account with them.  Sleeping Beauty, my least favorite princess, is of course, the Wee Beastie's favorite.  I am fairly sure it's because the dress is pink.  Oh, and that's another thing I was totally NOT  going to do.  Pink.  I wanted her to wear orange, and green, and purple, and red, and yellow, and black.  Lots of black.   But no pink.  And what is her favorite color now?  Yeah.  It happens.  And now *I* love pink.  And *I* am going gaga over the princess dolls with their pretty, delicate dresses and accessories.   I want to buy her a castle tent for her bed and stencil dragons and musketeers on her walls.  I love that she has worn a tiara every day this week (her "terrarra").  I can't help it.  Apparently, there really was a girlygirl in me somewhere, just itching to get out.

And this baby girl that I just photographed.  This 10 month old, who is going to be 3.... soon. What will she be like?  Will we remember what she is like today?  Or tomorrow?  Will she be a princess?  A tomboy?  A daddy's girl?  (mine SO is!)  Will she love pink?  Or will she want to play in the dirt and climb trees?  Will my princess figure out soon that it's so much easier to climb trees if you're not worried about your skirt?  I hope so.  I want her to have scabs on her knees and pine sap on her hands.  I love it when she comes in and her ponytails have shifted and are fuzzy, and she's got dirt on her cheeks, and is missing a shoe.  Because you have to have some SERIOUS fun to end up that way.  I want her to have fun.  I want that to be what she remembers about being a kid.  That she had a fun childhood.  Even if, at some point, she threatens to move to Miami because I won't let her watch Dora all day long.  I can live with that.  I can live with the princess thing.  I can live with her aging at a frighteningly disturbing pace.  I can live with Dora on the couch.  I can live with pink. 

 I love living with pink.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Despite rumors to the contrary...

I have NOT fallen off the face of the earth.  I know, I know.  I've missed you so, my faithful fifteen... my delightful dozen (plus three).... my... okay, I just ran out of words.  I was trying to find a Q word that would work with "quince" but I just couldn't make it work.  I'm sorry.  I feel as if I have let you down, and I'm just getting started.  

But enough of that.  I have some things to show you.  I have some things to tell you, too, but I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone.

Here's a little bit of what I've been up to lately...

I've had a few babies+older siblings sessions lately.  This weekend, I had two.  Two toddlers with absolutely NO desire to be photographed.   It happens.  It's actually kind of funny when it does, because they are sooo determined to not give in.  And they get that lower lip jutting out, and putting their little feet down, and just doing everything possible to NOT do what you want them to do.  You really have to admire their determination!  

Oh!  And this year's convention and print competition!  I did pretty well.  I had three blue ribbon prints, which makes me happy.    I'm having problems with uploading images, but here is a link to them. 

If you're a photographer, and you want to get a little professional educatin' this weekend, Jeff and Carrolle Dachowski are coming down from New Hampshire to teach an all-day outdoor lighting seminar in Alexandria.  I did a photo safari with them a couple years ago, and it was one of the best moves I ever made.  Seriously.  If you're free on Sunday or Monday, you MUST GO TO THIS.  Of course, if you're not a photographer, you don't HAVE to go.  It would be a little strange, really.  You show up, and they start talking about scrims and fill and asking you which model you want to work with, and finally you say, "Um... I'm an accountant.  I was told I HAD to go to this.  So here I am.  Got anything for me to audit?" 

Well, it *could* happen, you know.

Interested?  Excellent!  Drop me an email and I'll send you the brochure and contact info. 

That's all for now.  I have to go do some mom stuff for a little while, and then I'll be back.  I'm always back.  You know I can't stay away for too long.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

You've got the cutest little angel face.... (sing it with me!)

Okay, so I swear, I was going to talk about how tomorrow I have a one-year session with a baby that I photographed while she was still a belly bump, and several times since, and how we change so much that we hardly notice it every day.  But I got a little sidetracked.  And I had a newborn session today that was part-two of a belly/baby package.  I LOVED this belly shot and wanted to show you.  But again - got a  little sidetracked.  (Seriously, I am worse than a crow - there are distracting shiny objects everywhere!)  This was such a fun client.  I had a ball during the belly session.  We tried and tried to get some sleeping pics, but this little girl was having none of it.  (We'll have another little mini-session when we proof on Friday, because dang it, I *like* the sleeping baby pics!  I want to do them!)

Until then....

let's start with the belly....and then the baby!

Ch ch ch changes....

So is anyone else excited about the "DC Event" that will be happening on Tuesday?  I'm calling it that, because that's what the highway department is calling it, which I think is *really* funny.  (Seriously - the blinky signs on 395 say, "DC Event....take public transit".)  I love how they've taken what is the biggest thing to happen in this town in, well, just about ever, and reduced it to 'take public transit'.  It's so... understated.  And I just find that funny.  Because that's about the ONLY place that isn't buzzing with excitement.

The world hasn't changed.  We will still be in the same stinkin' war we've been in for almost as long as I've had children.  Our economy is doing about the same, and I don't think it's going to miraculously recover after Tuesday.  Bad things will still happen to good people.  And yet... it's different.  It just feels different.  It feels like how I imagine it feels when a war is over definitively.  When they announce it on the news and the radio.  We won.  We're coming home.  You can relax.  Everything will be okay now, and you can sleep soundly at night.  

And I think that it is a little bit of that.  But this wasn't so much a war between political parties.  It wasn't between any particular groups at all, really.  It was a war of cynicism and fear versus hope and faith in the possibilities of... of.... of possibility.   And finally, after years of hearing about how awful everything is and how we should be afraid of everything, finally, it feels like maybe it's okay to look for the happy ending after all.   Instead of looking down at your feet when you pass someone unfamiliar, you want to smile and say, "Hey!  how are you?"  It makes me want to buy the world a coke.  It's going to be a good day today.  And tomorrow.  And maybe even the next day.  

I really hope this feeling lasts.  I love this feeling.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm back - did you miss me?

Because I have missed you.  Really, I have.  All 15 of you!  (the 15 of you that I'm not related to, that is.)  August.  That was the last time I posted.  It's shameful, it really is.  I go and start a blog, have a couple people who actually read it (I know!  Nobody was more surprised than I was!) and then... poof!  Off the planet I fall.  Into the mist.   

Last year was a good year, but toward the middle, it got complicated.  My son has some issues that, the more we learned about, the more time we found ourselves focusing on.    The house thing - well, let's just say the house thing is ALMOST done (and I'll be posting to the house blog soon with pictures!  I know, I know, you're not holding your breath.  But I really am going to.  This time I mean it.)  I cut back tremendously with work.   I love what I do, but when  you have to decide between your kids and your job... I'm just so happy that I'm in a position that I CAN choose my kids first every time.  I know how lucky I am. 

Okay, this is starting to sound all serious and near-weepy.  Totally not the direction I wanted to go!  So lets recap.

August - my last post.  Since then... my great aunt Lois (who I totally adored) got really sick, I went to Columbus for a marketing blitz, Lois died while I was gone (not because of Columbus), I sang at her funeral (THAT was a new experience for me), we went to Chincoteague with the kids, immediately vowed to never take another vacation with them again (and that was before we even got to the Bay Bridge), school started, I had to pick out doorknobs and lights (it takes longer than you'd think),  our fish died one by one, until there was only one left, and after we turned off the filter (soooo much like when they turn off the machine that goes ping), Cop (yes, my son named the fish Cop), floated in the exact same place for about two weeks, until we could no longer stand that we had a zombie fish in our kitchen and we scooped him out and tossed out the tank, and while I was so worried that Ian would be freaked out by the whole dead pet thing (he was a little freaked out by Lois' funeral), it turned out that he wasn't freaked out by it at all.  His reaction was more of an "Oh well.  Can I play outside now?"    

So the death thing was fairly present for us last fall.  And yet, it wasn't.  Lois did something very few people ever get to do - she actually got to direct her own death.  She was ill for a while, and in the hospital for about a week before she realized she wasn't going to get better.  Until then, none of us even knew she was there.  Then she asked her daughter to call the family, and one by one, we showed up and sat with her, and hugged her, and sang to her, and ate ice cream with her (the woman LOVED ice cream), and said our goodbyes.  And when everyone who could come had done so, she had them stop giving her the medication that was keeping her blood pressure artificially high.  And it started to drop.  She fell asleep.  And then she fell into a coma.  And then her heart stopped.  I never understood the idea of a good death before, but I'm telling you, when it's my time to go, I want to do it like Lois.  80-something years old, eating ice cream and gossiping with my loved ones before I died in my sleep.  (did I mention that before the goodbyes, she wanted a rundown of family scandals?  Ya gotta love her.  :)  It's not quite like Elsie from Cabaret, but it was a pretty good way to go.

So, are you still with me? Surely you didn't think I'd come back with just a hi, how are you, here's a picture, catch you next week, kind of post, did you?  I mean, it's ME we're talking about.   I'm chatty.  And I had a lot of iced tea with dinner.

It's strange - almost all of my photographer friends are in Phoenix right now, at the Imaging USA convention.   They've vowed to drunk dial me every day.  (They're very good friends.)  I'm a little jealous that they are there and I'm not, but as long as Steff calls me every 15 minutes from the tradeshow to tell me about the cool new stuff, I'm happy.  :)

Okay, enough of my babbling on.  When I said I was back, I was serious - I'm back.  As I mentioned, the house is about done, my life has managed to get back to a somewhat normal routine, and I'm booking sessions again (despite what it says on the website, which I SWEAR I'm going to finally finish by the end of January.  My goals for January - new tv, new president, new website, new elliptical machine, roughly in that order.)

I'm no longer on vacation - and had my first official session of the year.  I totally adore this family - they came in last year when their wee beastie was just a few months old, and I LOVED their session.  They are wicked fun to hang out with and talk to, and I couldn't wait for them to come back.  And they did - today.  The babester is almost walking, and soooo ohmygod cute.  I love her curls.  She was a little nervous, especially when we got the cake out, but a few Pocky's go a long way.  Have a look!  (And Julie, I'm sorry you had to read so much before you got to the pictures!!)