Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I think my sense of smell is coming back. The opposite of most pregnant ladies (leave it to me...), my sense of smell pretty much left me when I was cooking the girls. Not totally, you know, but it was definitely desensitized. Probably a defense mechanism against poopy diapers and formula spit ups. But lately, I keep getting hit by these olfactory memories. Yesterday, I got a whiff of Dove soap. I was back in my grandmother's guest bathroom, which always smelled like Dove soap and Estee Lauder makeup. She's been gone at least 16 years now? But it was like we had a little visit. Hi Meme, whatcha been up to? I miss you. How about we meet in my dreams tonight and catch up? It's a bummer, because she hasn't visited me in my dreams in quite a while. I guess she's been busy. She has my granddad up there with her now. Maybe she helps him out during the day while he's painting all those mansions Antique White. My other snoot surprise occurred at Publix. Ever smelled Stargazer Lilies? You would know if you had. That was a great one... me in a big white dress, the doors of the church crack open, I see Cutie Pie standing up there more cute than ever, and the smell of Stargazer Lilies just about knocks me over. Our anniversary is next month, so that was a fun trip.
When we were in Florida last summer, we made a trip to Hutchinson Island. I left my overnight bag in the condo, so when we got back to my parents' house, I used my mom's makeup and perfume for a couple of days. CP and I went out one night, and we were standing on the deck of the local restaurant watching the sun set over the St. Johns River. Romantic, right? I snuggled in for my kiss and hug, and he kind of backed away. Alarming, right? I said, "What's wrong?" He said, "You smell like your mom. I can't kiss you." Ah, the power of smell! At least I know we're not going to end up on Jerry Springer one day.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I Had to Share

How cute are these rovers?! I don't know why, but they made me smile today. I did not, however, buy $25 worth of lingerie to get one of the little pink fellows for "free." I've given up shopping for Lent, you know. But after Easter, this is one of those things I would really, really want to have and squeeze and call George. Although, they are probably way more irrestible and adorable when they are all living together in a pink pack like this. A single pup would just look lonely and forlorn, like an unwanted Humane Society special that some thoughtless rich lady let fall off the back of her yacht somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle... whereas 60 or 70 of them together, peering out the shop window, look too cute for words.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Shuffling off to Buffalo

Whew. I have spent the better part of today shuffling crap from place to place around this house. On the Day of Rest, no less. I know Cutie Pie has been quietly cursing me under his breath all day, as his idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon is a 3-hour nap followed by dinner and a DVD. Hey, I'm not arguing! That scenario is far, far better than unpacking boxes that have been sitting around since we moved in on Halloween, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get busy. I should have done it myself a long time ago, but it was overwhelming to think of doing it alone. Plus I needed someone to do the heavy lifting. We did actually rid ourselves of six or seven large cardboard boxes that we have been stumbling over for months (see the marks in the carpet?). But you still have to find a place for all the stuff INSIDE the boxes to go. UGH. So I had to be ruthless. A lot of it, I just left in the boxes, which I then transported straight to the trash can and dumped. Don't tell my mom. She saves everything, and it's true...if you are ever staying at her house and you, I don't know, twist your ankle and require an Ace bandage and an electric heating pad, decide to throw a tea party and need a spoon shaped like a lemon, or have a burning desire to wear a T-shirt that says "I'm a blood donor" -- you WILL be covered. I admire her Be Prepared mentality, really I do, but I just couldn't deal with it anymore! It was like harboring gremlins. Those boxes just kept growing and growing and multiplying and replicating... and frankly, I was getting scared. Especially since the laundry was doing the very same thing. ( If ever I disappear from the face of the earth, you will probably find me under a house-sized pile of laundry - please take note. ) So NOW, after forcing, I mean persuading, each person in my family to perform a long list of domestic chores ...well, yes, we are still as unorganized as ever. But at least, at the very least, some of those blasted boxes are now outside the house, in good old Big Blue. And, I did find some wonderful things that we have been surviving without since the fall, including a whole box of Big Stuff's books -- which she spent about two hours looking at and arranging on her bookshelf today -- and my vacation scrapbooks. Those brief glimpses of our babies at the beach and ourselves in exotic locales made it almost worthwhile. And also, I can see my garage floor again! Yes, that is definitely something!

P.S. I still have not started on my desk. Perhaps I should give up procrastination for Lent. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday

I'd love to be in New Orleans today. At least in theory. Isn't this picture great? I love the image of arms outstretched and the word Desire in the background. When the kiddos came around, I became more interested in celebrating obscure holidays of every sort. You need a reason to celebrate as often as possible when you're knee deep in diapers, laundry and Polly Pocket dolls. We're doing our part today to celebrate Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday (another cool thing about kids - you start reading up on a bunch of stuff you never knew existed like Shrove Tuesday...for instance, today I was conscripted by two 5-year-olds to read a book entitled "History of the Solar System." My brain hurts.) We fattened up with free short stacks at IHOP this morning, in honor of Pancake Day. Apparently, the custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the abstinence of Lent begins. We couldn't let all the fat, eggs and milk go to waste, now could we? ( Ironical twist: IHOP ran out of milk this morning! ) Later today, I'll whip up some Cajun shrimp and red beans and rice as a show of solidarity with those beleagured folks in New Orleans. Yes, the red beans and rice are out of the box, but what the heck. And speaking of Lent, did you know Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning "farewell to the flesh." What a fantastic phrase. And you know how I love words! "Farewell to the flesh" is perfect. It's rather like a second chance at New Year's resolutions. When my friends and I get together during this season, invariably someone will ask "What are you giving up for Lent?" I'm mostly around Protestant-types these days, and I was unaware that they also "give up for Lent" the way the Catholics do. It's not as stressed in the Protestant churches, but it seems that many people around here do it out of family tradition. One woman I know strictly gives up chocolate for Lent because that's what her mom always did. Even as a child, she noted the sacrifice her mother made as she avoided all the leftover Valentine's candy and pre-Easter goodies.

Below is a suggested list of things to fast from during Lent.

Things to Fast From:
watching television (that's right: No LOST, people)
cussing or using foul language ( not even when the 2-year-old steps on your bare foot with her Cinderella high heels? )
buying new things: clothes, music, magazines, jewelry ( what about anti-depressants? )
snack or junk foods ( Does Starbucks count? )
spending money on entertainment ( Does Starbucks count? )
being angry at other people ( Even people who are eating chocolate right in front of you -- the nerve! )
holding resentments ( who, me? )
gossiping ( even about Anna Nicole Smith? )
being dishonest ( especially about what you're giving up for Lent )

Sure, yeah, I could benefit from abstaining from every one of these items. Tell me again, how long until Easter?!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Can you help me clean up my desk?

Today was such a nice day! The temperature rose to a bearable level once again. We played outside for the first time in many, many days. The birds were singing, the robins were fat. We all have slight sunburns on our cheeks. And then you come home, and the ugly reality of everyday life crowds in on your happiness. I am sending you this picture of my horribly messy desk in the hopes that I'll shame myself into cleaning it up tomorrow. Actually, it doesn't look as messy in the picture as it really is. For once, the camera didn't add 10 pounds (hmmmm, maybe I can put it off for a few more days....) The desk is only an outward sign of the larger mess that I've allowed to build up around here. I've taken a bit of a vacation from cleaning, straightening, budgeting, organizing, planning ahead. Yes, I'll admit I have been ducking my many and unvaried (aka boring!) responsiblities. Which isn't bad in itself, but man, does it pile up on you quick! But today was a holiday.... And Small Fry and I slept until almost 10 a.m. ( I know! ).... And last week it was semi-blissful to let the little invalid sit in my lap and watch cartoons for hours, and feed her soup, and hold her hand, and nap beside her on the couch...... And today it was just imperative that I spend a full hour pushing each one of them in the swings ( Carpal tunnel syndrome notwithstanding). So, it's been time well spent IMHO. My desk, I'm sure, would disagree.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I was recently transported to Heaven on Earth. Yep, time travel is actually possible, despite what Desmond's Physics-professor friend said on Lost last night. All it takes is a single whiff of Limoncello! Who knew?

I was recently reminded of Limoncello by my cousin, somepinkflowers, who wrote about it on her blog. I didn't realize the lovely, lemony libation was available right here, in my very own town, in my very own liquor store down the street. The last time I had it, I was sitting in a cafe on a Roman street with a view of the Colosseum over Cutie Pie's shoulder. The Limoncello was ice-cold (on a sweltering May day), tasty and decadent. When I realized I could have it here in my house (thank you, somepinkflowers), I included it on the menu of my supper club. February's theme, of course, was AMORE, and there is nothing more lover-ly (or cheesy) than a big Italian dinner. My suppermates and I drank lots of Limoncello -- some drank it straight, some mixed it with half-and-half and ice (yummmmmm) -- and I swear, as soon as I smelled it, I could remember with amazing clarity the moment I last drank it. Weird! Long-forgotten sights, smells and feelings were suddenly and oh-so-happily remembered. So, let me tell you about the best lunch ever.

We were in Capri, on the Amalfi coast, and we took a hike. There are many stairs in Capri, as the town is built on the sides of cliffs jutting out of the Mediterranean. I remember shrines to the Virgin Mary built into rock walls. I remember a little Italian girl who peeked at us and smiled. I remember the blue, blue water surrounding us at all times. I remember the sunshine hot on our shoulders. I remember the smell of lemon groves and the sight of bougainvillea everywhere. After a couple of hours, we found the restaurant our innkeeper had recommended. As the lone patrons of the Heaven on Earth cafe, my companions and I chose the best seats in the house -- outside, under a "roof" fashioned of lemon trees. We ate the most spectacular lunch, while gazing out at the sea. It took three or four hours, no lie. That is something I love about the Italians. They take their time. Especially at meals. They don' t know the meaning of turning tables. All of this reminiscing made me want to return to Italy. Tomorrow. Want to come?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

O my luve's like a red, red rose. That's newly sprung in June;
O my luve's like a melodie That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,So deep in luve am I;
And I will love thee still, my Dear,Till a'the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear,And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will luve thee still, my Dear,While the sands o'life shall run.
And fare thee weel my only Luve!And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stupid Cupid

I'm scrambling to get myself into the mood for tomorrow...the Big Day. V-Day. You know, I heart you and all that jazz? I love Valentine's Day, or at least I remember loving it once upon a time. This week I have been far too entrenched in ambulance rides, pharmacy lines and pulse-ox obsessions to remember how I used to love the little holiday tucked into the dead of winter drear. I did make valentines today with Small Fry, as it was a quiet activity we could do without causing my heart to race thinking about her heart racing. Teeny tiny little Winnie the Pooh valentines, plus a few homemade ones for the extra special people. She used lots and lots of glue. Her love of glue is unparalleled. But I digress... We're talking L-O-V-E here. Like the grown-up kind that led to these glue-loving children in the first place. But all I can think about is Cutie Pie's face in the hospital room the other night. The worry that creased his forehead. The tender way he took her from me and rocked her so I could walk the deadness out of my legs and dry out the sweatiness she and I had created between us. All I can think about is how he made a beeline to track down that nurse as soon as he heard that it had been over an hour since I had asked for the Motrin. All I can think about is how he picked up Big Stuff and got her off to school without waking us up, even though he had only had two hours of sleep himself. It's different, this love.

I think I once subscribed to this philosophy: When love is not madness, it is not love. Now I'm more in this camp: Are we not like two volumes of one book? Or maybe this captures it: We loved with a love that was more than love.

Heck, I don't know. All I know is that this guy is IT for me. And I know it's worth it to whip up a frenzy of romance every now and again. I'll work on it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Long View

God sure does know how to give a girl perspective. Remember a few days ago, when I was uninspired and sick of winter? I'm still sick of winter, if you must know, but I got a big shot of inspiration last night during an ambulance ride down 285 in the middle of the night. I've never ridden in an ambulance before, and I do not care to again. Especially when the ambulance is transporting one of my babies to the emergency room. It was nothing to panic about, as scary as it sounds. It was all precautionary and done in a superhuman effort to avoid liability or human error...which I'm all for, by the way. But it was still a heart-stopping, completely silent, can't form a coherent thought, tears-in-the-back-of-your-throat kind of ride. That's my baby back there. What are you doing back there, Mr. EMT? Are you watching her breathe? Are you holding her hand? Are you taking her pulse? Are you looking into her eyes? Don't make me come back there. Can I come back there?

So, allow me to add the following to my gratitude list:

1. Children who are healthy.

2. Children who are healthy.

3. Children who are healthy.

Because do you know what I couldn't stop thinking? How utterly unbearable it must have been for other parents who have ridden in this ambulance, and not as a precaution. I prayed for us as best I could, but it was more like a checking-in kind of thing because I could already feel God's presence around us all night, guiding those doctors and nurses. (Hey Lord, still there? OK, thanks!) I prayed more for those other parents. At one point, I went into the lobby to look for snacks, and there was a literal sea of humanity out there waiting to be seen by a doctor. (Everyone in Atlanta must sick this week - the lines at every doctor's office, pharmacy and urgent care have been crazy!) My heart just ached for all of them, holding their little coughing babies in their laps, trying to get them to drink something. Dads and grandmas slumped down in chairs sleeping. Not the mamas though. They all had that mama-bear look about them, grimly searching their babies' faces for signs of distress. I hope all those babies are at home sleeping soundly tonight, as mine is, thank you God!
Hey Lord, still there? OK, thanks!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

We are Sick with the Desire for the Sun

I am sorely uninspired. I may be going stir crazy. It happens every year around this time...one day I wake up, and Hello! I'm ready for SPRING. Right now! I love my bit of winter (not much of a bit, but a bigger chunk than I used to get in Florida). Fires, bundling up, hot lattes - yes, these are good things. But one day it just happens...and I'm ready for spring. I've been depriving myself of the outdoors for far too long. This year I'm especially excited about warm weather, as we have recently acquired a SWIMMING POOL. I am constantly dreaming of days and nights spent swimming in it, sitting by it, looking at it, skimming it for leaves. (Well, not the last part :-) ) I'm a bit like Clark Griswold, gazing into my backyard. But my mama always says, "Don't wish the days away, OHM." And I generally try to listen to my mama.

I found this: The name February is believed to have derived from the name 'Februa' taken from the Roman 'Festival of Purification'. The root 'februo' meaning 'I purify by sacrifice'. And this: February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March. - Dr. J. R. Stockton. Yep, that's how I'm feeling. Sacrificially passing the time.

Maybe I need to make one of those gratitude journals that Oprah or someone is always talking about. I do actually do this sometimes - it's amazing to literally count your blessings. Here's my top 5:
1. Kids who make Valentine's cookies.
2. Friends who call to ask how I'm doing. And are actually interested in the answer.
3. A guy who washes dishes, clothes and children with very few complaints.
4. Parents who love their grandkids.
5. Sermons that make ya cry on Sunday. And think.

I found two more:
There is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you… Only in winter…can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. - Ruth Stout

Keep your faith in beautiful things; in the sun when it is hidden, in the Spring when it is gone. -Roy R. Gibson

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Personal Trainer

Here I am, innocently trying to work...hopscotching between 900 different blogs and Web sites and Google searches, trying to research the story I am writing. I always get a bit ADD during these searches. There's just so much good stuff to READ out there. (And hours later I haven't even requested the first interview, sigh...) When, to my utter annoyance, I am summoned to change a pair of poopy pants (Mama, she smells again....). I thought it was bad a couple of weeks ago when I was being constantly summoned to look at the bank deposits, one by one as they appeared. And having to cheer for each one. (Nothing makes you feel like more of a LOSER than cheering for poop.) But that was infinitely better than the backsliding, not-going-to-even-bother-trying-to-use-the-potty, week we've had so far. Why is potty training so dang hard? I remember (vividly) how hard it was with Big Stuff. The first time she recognized the urge and ran to the WC all by herself...well, I felt like I had just won the lottery. I knew it would be hard the second time, but you think to yourself, hey we did it once. We can do it again! But apparently we can't. I'm so over diapers. I've been changing them for nearly six years now. I'm so over cheering for poop, doing the peepee dance, doling out rewards (aka bribes) for every call of nature that gets answered. I don't like to hang out in the bathroom. I despise public restrooms. They are best entered only if someone is about to burst and exited as quickly as humanly possible. Small Fry will sometimes just melt into tears if you ask her to try to potty. Tantrums ensue. Irrationality takes over (I want the panties, I want the diapers.... I want my MOMMY) I am not into making her cry. I am caught in the oh-so-delicate balance of trying to guide her to reach a developmental milestone that she is obviously capable of reaching while letting it be her timing, her choice. Because eating and pooping are, of course, two things that mamas have NO CONTROL over. UGGGHHH... I just had a great idea a minute ago while emailing a friend. Potty Training Boarding School! I'll pay $1.4 million dollars to anyone who can have her fully trained in three days (HA, ha..like to see you try). Send her back when it's done. Thanks.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Happy Groundhog's Day

I had the best of intentions. Today it was my turn to read to Big Stuff's class. I've been preparing for days. I was so excited. Big Stuff and I chose a book about Groundhog's Day, in honor of February 2. We had gotten two groundhog books from the library a few weeks back, so it was perfect. One book I did not care for, as it depicted Godfrey Groundhog being kidnapped, tied up and thrown into a burlap bag in order to keep a greedy ski lodge baron racoon in business for six more weeks. ( Why do they write books like this?? ) The other, feauting a groundhog named Geoffrey, was better, with a more desirable message about over-hyping by the media and the dangers of hysterical papparazzi. It also had nicer drawings. Which one do you think made it into my bag this morning? You got it...it was Godfrey. I hope I'm asked back again.

The kids in Big Stuff's class were all adorable, and they asked great, mama-sweat-producing questions, such as "If all the groundhogs in the world come out at the same time, what if some see their shadows and some don't, then how much winter is left?" To which I replied, "What do you think?" Always a good reply to a kindergartener, I've found. After the unfortunate Godfrey finally escaped his kidnapper and did not see his shadow, his friends sat on the racoon and extorted free skiing from him for the rest of the winter. ( Why do they write books like this?? )

Next I was asked to read a book about killer whales. The children all cried out with horror when I read the line about what whales eat: fish, squid, seals and PENGUINS. "You mean like HAPPY FEET? Penguins? REALLY, OHM?" ( Why do they write books like this? ) I hope I'm asked back again.