My online journal.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Two weird-but-true little stories for your reading pleasure

Gift mystery

So the day before we left for Lutsen, our former realtor called, all jolly-elf-like, which didn't fool us because that's exactly how he is... as long as he doesn't have your house listed and it isn't selling... anyway, and he mentioned that he was going to drop off a little gift for us at our house. We returned from Lutsen and found no such gift; however, our Friday newspaper was also missing so we thought maybe both items had just been pilfered from our front steps. Or, we thought, the realtor had simply thought better of driving across town to drop off a present for us. Either way, no great shake.

Except that since then, there has been what appears to be a gift sitting on the top step of the house across the street (formerly known as the Watson abode). It's been sitting there for over a week. People come and go from the house, and the giftlike object remains. I am sooooo tempted to wander over there and take a peek-see. I'm not sure how it got over there, if it is indeed our gift. And I'm not sure why the neighbors have simply left the mystery item on their porch... but we haven't met them so I can't really speak regarding their motivations.

So, should I wait until dark and go peek? Should I go over there under the pretenses of introducing myself? What do you think?

The Marmet Technique

For all my breastfeeding-Naziness, I've never learned to hand-express milk. It's a little too "earthy" for me, especially when Medela makes a perfectly good machine to do the job when necessary. However! My son apparently has Marmet down pat. He finds great joy in unlatching himself and then squeeeeezing... as long as the spray goes delightfully over his head and not right into his eye.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm such a housewife!

Okay, I have never done this before, but I was trying to make cornbread, and the cornmeal I had wasn't self-rising, but the recipe I was going to try required it, so you know how they have the company's 800 # on the side of the box, and it says "For questions, comments, or recipes, call..." and I always go "Yeah right! Like I'm just going to CALL and be like 'Hey, I just wanted to comment on your cornmeal!'" ... well anyway I went out on a limb and I DID.

I talked with Regina at Quaker (the phone actually answered "Aunt Jemima" but my cornmeal is like 5 years old so I'm sure there's been some phone-number shifting since then) and she was delightful and helpful and a real person and she gave me exactly what I needed, with no rigamarole or sales-pitchiness and I am SO happy I called because now my cornbread is going to be fabulous and if you get here by 6pm tonight there may be some left!

Also! Jean and the kids and I went to the indoor playground at Woodbury's Central Park this morning. It's a little wild, and somewhat dark, and it will be funner when the kids are older, but we still had a pretty good time and I think we will go there with some frequency this winter. So that's good!

Also! Remember from my Christmas letter how I am having SUCH issues with Craig's List? Well today it has been totally redeemed -- I got rid of a large amount of old computer equipment and it was unbelievably easy and painless. Thank goodness.

Okay gotta get poppin' on the cornbread. Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Silly Kid Tricks

Actual conversation at the dinner table tonight:

Lucy: "Daddy Daddy Daddy!"

Daddy: "I'm sorry, Daddy is talking to Mommy right now."

Lucy: "Meantime, I eat my jubbalos!"


And in The Second Child is Different, Part XIV:
Shortly after learning to put anything in her mouth, Lucy learned that in order to get food in, her nuk would have to come out. She'd see food coming at her face, and dutifully spit out the nuk to make way for the good stuff.

Ed? Not so much. Yesterday I gave him a graham cracker; three minutes later, I checked back, only to find him repeatedly banging said graham cracker on his forehead. Nuk still in mouth. Facial expression just a little... concerned.

A Good Day
Today was just that -- maybe the best one so far, meaning that I didn't groan in agony when I heard the kids stirring from their naps... and meaning that I wasn't counting the moments until Joel walked in the door. The Watsons Three came over for a morning playdate, and we had such a lovely time. There was actually plenty of lunch, prepared in a timely fashion (this is huge, for those of you who don't have toddlers), and as an added bonus, nobody suffered a bleeding head wound. Hurrah!

Heads Up: A Performance!
I am fairly certain I'm going to be performing in an "open mic/open stage" night at Maplewood Community Center on January 20. It's not exactly "open" because we're all planning our acts ahead of time; perhaps "cabaret" or "vaudeville" would be a better description. Anyhoo, you should plan to come! I'm going to be in a few numbers, at least one of which I'll be choreographing. Watch this space or email me for more info.

Apologies Abound
So, in my concerted efforts to be personal and inclusive and not just sign cards "The Gronaus" without even mentioning the persons to whom the card is intended, though, like, if you do this on your cards, it's fine, I know, I'm a Christmas-card Nazi and I'm harder on myself than I am on others...
What was my point? Oh, I accidentally left out some important people. I'm sure they don't even read this, but if you talk to them, maybe you could let them know that I acknowledge and regret my mistakes? Thanks.
Hey Tom and Mary Fuller, I'm really sorry I omitted Patrick from the Christmas card.
Hey Doug and Julie Dahlheimer, my sincerest apologies for omitting Tim from the Christmas card.
There are various other misspellings that I am not going to apologize for, because in some cases I already did and besides there are still some family members who shall remain nameless who keep adding an "e" to "Gronau" even though there is no "e" in Gronau because it is not French, it is German, and "Gronau" means "green meadow," and if it was "Groneau" then it would mean something like "green water" and that is a little disgusting. :) :) :)
I also wanted to thank everyone for the glorious outpouring of cards this year! We have heard from so many people and our mailbox has been teeming with non-junk-mail. It is so very fun.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy morning!

Early-morning grandparent update: tooth #4 is in. Poor little dude!

It's a very overcast, dark, gray day here. Trying to decide if we should attempt a trip to a local indoor playground... hmmm...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Can this bleeping year please be bleeping over?

Ed's third tooth made its appearance over the weekend. It is a really large one, top left. His left. He's kind of a grumbly, drooly mess because #4 is right on the brink as well. Can you imagine getting your first four teeth, all within two weeks? It's a good thing he'll never remember this.

Jean, Ellen, Joel and I returned from Lutsen, mostly in one piece. On the 4th run of the first day (Saturday), Jean fell (mostly because Joel fell and she wanted to check on him) on her back onto a very sharp piece of icy snow, and knocked the wind out of herself and cracked a rib. She had trouble breathing and the ski patrol took her in on a snowmobile and then we took her to the ER in Grand Marais. The doctor was hottish (a little scrawny if you ask me, though nobody was asking me) and possibly single, which made the trip far more intriguing... and we only really lost maybe 2 hours of skiing. Jean was having a heck of a time, since laughing hurt the most and when the four of us are together that's just about all we do. She developed a super-scientific method of snapping her fingers whenever she was afraid that our acute hilariousness was in danger of forcing a laugh out of her... it generally worked, until our own guffaws drowned out her pathetic little finger-snaps.

Eddie's crying so as usual this is cut short. Anyway, Jean will be fine, we got some great skiing in, and I think that's it! Oh and I left my entire toiletries bag up there so I have no makeup and no glasses until Joel can choreograph some kind of exchange for the room key I also accidentally stole.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Victor Vito / and Freddie Dasco / ate a burrito / with lotsa Tabasco...

We have new songs in the house. Thank you, Laurie Berkner Band!

Lucy's new favorite food is vegetables. She calls them "jubbalos." She likes to tell Daddy she has "jubbalos in my pocket."

Which is sometimes confusing, because after her bath I usually put into her superfine, prone-to-scramblies hair, some leave-in conditioner, which Daddy and I call "product." As in, you know, hair product. She loves that, but calls it "pocket" too. The other day she was VERY upset because she wanted "pocket" and I was totally baffled.

P.S. I know some of you have gotten your Christmas cards. The rest of you will. SOON. I promise. The list was done in no particular order, so just because your last name is high in the alphabet doesn't mean I did you first.

If you never do get one and you're insulted, just let me know. And then I'll really insult you. No, just kidding.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Comments to the comments!

Okay, so I was so tickled to awaken this morning to FOUR comments from yesterday's post that I am energized to post again!

Went to a jazz dance class last night at Alesso's studio on Grand Ave. Best $12 I ever spent -- the class was challenging but not over my head, the instructor was a sweetie but not afraid to give some really great pointers, I got a great workout, and I got to dance. Hooray!

Oh, so back to the teeth: Ed has now slept until 5 or 5:30 AM three nights in a row. This is big, happy news, people. Awesome. I am a new woman.

And no WAY is the world short on hygienists; I swear, every college-age girl I talk to is going into dental hygienistry. Or wait, maybe it's dental-assisting, is that different? And maybe none of them are graduating. I can imagine, it's super hard. I observe (and experience!) the work they do on my teeth, and I have relatively-decent, occasionally-flossed teeth.

And actually, I'm going to choose "hilarious." Well, this week anyway!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Toasted bread is good

Not to be outdone, Lucy chose this week to start sprouting her "two-year molars" -- the last four teeth to complete her baby set. Fabulous!

Ed also grew his second tooth yesterday. The other bottom one.

In further dental news, I had an appointment this morning and no cavities! Except the hygienist was sick again somy dentist had to do the cleaning. I don't know if he was crabby about having to slum it, or if he's just extra-thorough, or if he's just not used to cleaning teeth, but it was not the most pleasant experience of my life. Although, I was out of the house sans children, so that was a bonus.

So here is what I need: some, like, "housewife shoes" is what I want to call them: something with support for my arches that I can slip on and off. I am walking around my house (which is mostly hard flooring) all day and I don't think it's good for my feet. I don't want a real bulky gym-shoe. Anybody have any thoughts? Oh, wait, like my Crocs maybe! Worth a try.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ed, I am SO sorry

I also forgot to mention that, at long last, Ed has grown a tooth. It was two days ago. I am a horrible mother.

Oh, bottom right (that's his right, or your left if you're facing him and sticking your finger in his mouth).

Friday afternoon

Hi there.

Please send some *power* to my friend Nikki and her family; her grandfather passed away earlier this week. Also to my cousin Kate, who had surgery and is going through some health issues.

Ed had his 9-month checkup today. He is the exact same height he was 3 months ago. He has gained a normal amount of weight (he's almost 22 lbs) but his head did not grow very much either. The doc says Ed looks okay (like, he doesn't look like a too-short pinhead), and he thinks as long as the trend doesn't continue, it's nothing to worry about. My theory is that Ed's been so busy learning to sit/crawl/stand/cruise/jabber, that he forgot to grow. Either that, or all the jumping has compacted his spine. Just kidding.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Joel's Christmas Wish List

Joel emailed his Xmas list to my family this year. And I present it, here, for your edification:

To: The Ryans
From: Joel
Re: My list

When I was young I couldn't wait for the JCPenny Catalog to come out. I would pore over everything in the catalog and make lists upon lists. There was the wish list. Which, of course, were items that were too expensive and/or I knew my parents would say were just ridiculous, i.e. an actual 4-wheel-drive jungle buggy. It was great; it had nubby tires, rollbar, etc. Which is probably why my mom didn't like it, ghast my son would actually roll onto his head with this thing (Donna maybe didn't understand the concept of the "rollbar." Just kidding).

The A list. This was a list where I couldn't help but get excited that I would get everything, but knowing full well I would (maybe) get 1 item. Usually a GI Joe Guy or a flotilla of GI Joe Vehicles. Maybe that's why I don't know if my name is Joe or Joel. Meg can verify. Also my recollection of serving in any number of uniformed commissions around the world. I'll call it childhood flashbacks. Or I'm just crazy.

The B list. Items I needed, truly appreciated, and wanted. I knew a majority of gifts would come from this list so I tried mixing it up. Socks, underwear, shirts, a Scooby Doo lunch box, switchblade comb, BB gun, Star Wars posters, and a bubble gum dispenser. Is it irony or a potato chip that I actually got a BB gun with which I shot my sister Jamie in the butt and shot up the walls in the basement, cleverly removing pictures from the walls and then shooting where the pictures had been, before returning the pictures to their original location. Only to get busted when we moved out of the house and removed the pictures. I probably would have been better off getting the 4-wheel-drive jungle buggy with the nubby tires and the roll bar. Huh Ma?!?

So with that being said, here is my list:
- Dress Shirt size XL 17-17 1/2 neck 34-35 length sleeves. Hey Jean I wrote Sleeve... Ew...
- Underwear. You may think Ellen's birthday present addition was a joke but it's reality. (Clarifying note: Joel wrapped my sister Ellen's birthday present in a (washed) pair of extremely well-worn hunter-green boxer-briefs. You wish I was kidding.)
- Dress Socks. I'm good on sport socks this year. Black, Beige, designs are welcome as well.
- Electricity tester. I lost mine for some reason. It just lights up if there's electric current to the wire. They're pretty cheap.
- Sport shorts. Knee length, solid manly colors yet slimming and smooth.
- Sliding shorts. Mine have a huge hole in the crotch. I really do give my unmentionables a workout I tells ya. Or Maybe it's...Unmentionable??

Hey was I supposed to comment after every item?? I'll stop.

- Caribou Coffee GC
- Long sleeve white or gray undershirts. For softball, or outside insidewear. Fine if it's a little tight I gotta show the guns off.
Sorry about the comments, I forgot.
- Bologna.. er no. Cologne, I'm out.
And a partridge in a pear tree....Love ya all.
Fat Daddy JG

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Leading by example

So I'm checking my friends' blogs, and... nary an update for wayyy too long. And then I realized, I have been even worse about writing recently. Well it's HARD! My new job doesn't come with regular breaks!

Okay, so also I'm trying to write my stupid Christmas letter. "But Meg!" you say, "You don't have to write a Christmas letter! I don't write a Christmas letter, and I manage to sleep at night! I'm a good person!"

To which I would respond: Think again, buckaroo.

I do like providing the complete package in my Christmas card (which, by the way, is probably why I didn't send any out last year): 1. photo of the whole family, 2. letter, and 3. something short and handwritten. I have a rating system for Christmas cards, not unlike my rating system for weddings. It's a system. It's very scientific, and I would be delighted to regale you with it at some point in the future. If you buy the coffee.

Speaking of coffee! I have a story. I'm going to fudge the chronology of it because it will be funnier this way (I think), also because it all happened in the middle of the night so, you know, minutes feel like hours and all that rot. But I assure you, there will be no exaggerations, nor stretchings of the truth. These are the facts.

Thursday night: I played volleyball with a team I am sometimes on, but usually not, in Apple Valley. Afterward I helped Jean with her arts-and-crafts project for work and returned home around 11:30 PM. Joel was, to my dismay, up with Eddie, who'd been crying intermittently. I took out my eyeballs, nursed Ed, and retired to my bed around midnight.

12:45 : Lucy is crying. Joel goes down and apparently she is inconsolable, because he brings her back up to bed with us. She has never slept in bed with us, and this night is no exception -- except that on previous occasions of never sleeping in our bed, at least she wasn't physically in the bed at the same time. So she's wide awake, wiggling, wrestling our pillows, wringing her bankie, flipping and flopping and causing great disturbance. I'm wide awake too, and at 2:30 she says something like "Mommy, my bed" and I take her downstairs and retuck her in, resing "mommy's song" and rekiss her little nose. I return to bed.

3:30 : I awaken and open my eyes to the sight of a little blond head staring right at me. "Lucy!" I say. "I go downstairs!" she replies, proudly (she has "up" and "down" confused). "I need water." She says. So down we go again.

Joel follows. He can't sleep, he claims, and rightly assumes that I won't let him watch "Cops" in our bedroom at 3:30 AM when I haven't had more than 30 minutes of sleep yet. Something about the constant siren background music to that show, I don't know, call me crazy, it's not conducive to sleep.

About 15 minutes later, I hear thumping and, um, maybe jumping? And a little crashing and for sure some stage-whispered obscenities. Well, one stage-whispered obscenity, repeated. Joel saw a mouse. I come running downstairs (again) and sort of watch as he sets six traps up in the living room. I go back upstairs and 20 minutes later the various mouse-viewing noises start up again. He caught one! He asks if I want to see it. I politely decline, but peek a little as he carries it by. It was bigger than I expected and had a longer tail. But it was still relatively small. If there is one thing I am grateful for, it is that my husband is not the type to pick up a dead mouse and then waggle it in my face, or fling it at my head, or put it under my pillow.

I'm having 17 people over for Christmas dinner next weekend. Any brilliant thoughts on how, exactly, we're all going to eat? Where are the people who lived in this house for 52 years --
I want to talk to them and see how they did it (even if all they did was avoid hosting Christmas for 52 years). Because, I'm telling you, it's not going to be pretty.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Do you prefer raining and 50 degrees, or 15 degress and sunshine? I can't decide.

Guess who fell down the stairs today? Not your likely first three guesses, I can tell you right now. Yup! Me. I slipped and bumpety-bumped on my back and bottom down about 3/4 of the stairs this morning. I tore a pea-sized chunk of skin off my hand, but I think I'm okay. In fact, if you like the feeling of having had a terrific workout but don't care for the sweat or for actually having to go through the exercising part, I highly recommend falling down the stairs. I ache like the dickens, mostly in the neck, back, and rear-end area. Especialy those butt-muscles, oooee, feel the burn!

After I hit the bottom, I just kind of sat on the bottom stairs, in shock at my own stupidity. Lucy (who had seen the whole thing) came right over to give me a big old hug. Love that gal. Last night we were all at JCP returning some of Joel's shirts (he forgot his size when he bought them originally) and Lucy's attention was enraptured by the escalator.

"What'zat, Mommy?"

"That's an escalator. Can you say 'escalator'?"


"Wow, great, honey! Good job! Now can you say 'existentialism'?"

"Eggs." (huge grin)

The saleslady folding pants behind us got a big kick out of that.

Ed is moving and shaking like, well, like he just learned how to move and shake. He's now pulling up to standing and we even took about 10 steps "toodling" (see Lucy, July-August 2005) today. Yesterday I was chopping veggies for dinner and heard Lucy say, very calmly, from the hallway: "Mommy, come here." I rounded the corner to find Lucy laying, head on a wadded-up blanket, straight across the sixth stair (which was funny in its own right)... and Eddie on the second stair, with clear designs on getting up to where Lucy was. Yow! So his motor skills are progressing.

We had an awesome playdate with Joel's aunt Doris and two of her girls this morning. Honestly, all it takes is one good playdate to make me feel like a living human again. The kids were all terrific (by which I mean "absolutely crazy") but Doris and I had good chats (well, as good as can be expected while chasing after four little ones) and really good coffee and oh MAN I just realized I only fed her half a sandwich for lunch. I'm a dreadful hostess. I'm sure she's starving. I'm an idiot.

I'll try to post more often -- as you can tell, anything that involves brainpower is sooo not my forte right now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

...and so is ALL the meat!

My dear sister Jean is planning to train for the 2007 Twin Cities Marathon next fall. As preparation, motivation, and affirmation for her efforts, she has set up a blog to report on her quest. Click here to check the sucker out. Okay, okay, so I wrote the first post for her. And she hasn't actually started her training regiment yet, so I can't vouch for the frequency of her updates...yet!

P.S. Both 'Moulin Rouge' AND some special on the behind-the-scenes of 'American Idol' are on TV right now. How is a girl to decide?!?!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hey, what?

That last post I wrote, that says "Monday"? Did it seriously not show up until today? Sometimes I do not think Blogger is my friend.

It's 3:23 and I am NOT going to be the one to wake up my children. You cannot make me. I am going to sit here on my comfy couch and think about making chicken chili, but am I going to start? No! I am goingto sit here and enjoy sitting here. And write a little. I do love to write a little.

I was checking my own blog from when Lucy was Eddie's age now (did I say that right? ...when Lucy... was the age that Eddie is now. Yes, that's what I meant) and it's hilarious! And educational! Admittedly, it was about the time I was getting pregnant with Ed, so there's all that hilarity thrown in. But it's amazing ot see what I thought about having one. Like, apparently tears were actually shed when Lucy started to crawl! I am not sure anyone even blinked when Ed started crawling. Sorry, second baby... know that you are no less loved and no less miraculous than your sister. There simply isn't time nor energy for dramatics, but you are just as wonderful as she.

She, by the way, is a laugh a minute. She's been commanding me to draw for her pictures of houses and cars for the last couple of days. I'm decent with a pen, and I finally figured out that "houses" could include tepees (houses for certain Native Americans!) and beehives (houses for bees!) in addition to standard colonials, ramblers, and split-levels. But cars? I ran out real quick. I can do a truck, and a Beetle, and a sedan that really looks more like a UFO on wheels, but that's about it. Cars are hard! All those windows, and wheels, and sculpted fiberglass. Oy.

Ed is amazingly mobile: low-army-crawling, still, but often breaking into a steadily-stronger real-crawl too. He's pulling himself up on everywhich thing, and is much more fascinated by electrical cords, floor lamps, and sharp corners than Lu ever was. "A boy!" you say, and you would be right. When he catches up to this little red football we have, he hoists it into the air with a triumphant look on his little face. The less-fun news: he is not sleeping well these days, waking up in a fit about twice a night.

I'm hosting book club tonight, so I should probably try to pick up some of the food remnants from lunch, and maybe try to get myself a little organized. Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 13, 2006

I don't want to talk about it.

Joel and Jean and the kids and I drove to Chicago on Friday. The normal 5.5-6 hour trip took TEN (10) hours. Blizzard. Wanted to rip my eyeballs out. Actually it could have been worse in so many ways -- the kids were relative angels; Jean helped out by entertaining Lucy and changing diapers as needed; we had food and plenty of gas and we were not in the ditch, unlike many others.

The reason for the trip was my cousin Dan's wedding to Holly. They are an adorable couple. (Dan is Bridget and Kate's brother.) The wedding was very fun; we danced lots (especially Joel, to my great delight!). Thanks to my parents' friends Mrs. Strass and Mrs. Weimhoff for babysitting!

We also had tickets to The Pirate Queen in Chicago. The show is... not great. The show itself, including the music and lyrics, needs some reworking before it goes to Broadway, and many of the acting/directing choices were questionable. But the dancing! I could watch Irish dancing all week and into the next and never get tired of it. The singing was incredible too. I just lovelovelove live theatre.

So, it's back to the grind. Lucy's going to be part of a U of M research study on temper tantrums. Ed had a rough weekend, not sleeping much at night and awakening very unhappy. Joel and I are trying to u..n..w..i..n..d... after the long weekend. 'Zat's it!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cutting to the chase

Okay, so the entire last post was just a lead-in for what I was going to actually write. Obviously, my luxury of lead-ins has been revoked!

My family is going through an extremely difficult time with my mother's mother, Grandma Jake. She's living here in the Cities but will be moving in with my parents in IL after Thanksgiving. Please think kind thoughts for us as we go through this stressful and complicated transition -- especially for my mom and dad, who just got rid of their last roommate last spring (teasing, E$!) and who are taking on an unbelievably huge responsibility.

We just got home from dinner at Alley Joel & Cara's new loft condo downtown St. P -- it's awesome! They've done a great job cozying up the space, and it's such a neat place. They were brave enough to have us AND the Watsons (all kids included!) over for dinner. The food was fabulous, surpassed only by the company. The twins and Lu are a hilarious little picture, three little towheads toddling all over. We had such a nice time.

Signing off for now...


Hello. It is 4:00. My children are sleeping, there is laundry in the dryer, and I have a warm laptop on my, well, lap. It's lovely.

But it's not always lovely! I have not posted because I have been keeping VERY busy chasing after the rugrats! Also because we haven't been up to too terribly much.

Ed is, well, not crawling actually -- "crafting" my folks call it. I call it a "low Army crawl." Kind of pulling himself along with ihs arms while his legs kick wildly and ineffectually behind him.

Alas! The phone rings, Ed cries. Bugger, bugger.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wait, I've seen this movie. Only I'm prettier than Bill Murray.

It's going to be difficut for me to adjust to every. Day. Being. The same.

I am not sure what I had thought -- that I was going to get to go to work this weekend? Or, like, on a vacation somewhere? Because I was a little shocked to find that Saturday and Sunday were eerily similar to the rest of the week. Only, with a large blond man also taking up space in the house. And goofing up my feeding/nap schedule.

Oh! Okay, I have held this in long enough. Have you seen those new McDonald's billboards?

"Let us add the cream and sugar."


I'm no marketing guru, but I don't get these ads at all. First of all, who's the the "us"? Is it McDonald's, as in, "No, no, let US do it!" or is it like a collective "us," as in "Let us all rejoice and together we will add cream and sugar!"

So I happened to be at McDonald's for breakfast shortly after these ads came out. (They're mostly billboards here in the Twin Cities, and they are omnipresent.) And I ordered a coffee, and because the ads seemed so blasted adamant, I said:

"... and a small coffee. With LOTS of cream, and a little bit of sugar" (because this is how I like my coffee, and I'm particular about it, it has to end up the right color or I cannot drink it)

and the girl kind of squinted at me and said "Do you want to just do it yourself?"

YES! Of course I do! I don't even trust the "baristas" at a place that specializes in coffee to add my cream and sugar; I'm sure as heck not going to entrust the creaming-and-sugaring of my coffee to a McDonald's employee.

So anyway, totally hate the ads. They just make me want coffee, which I'd honestly prefer not to get at McDonald's anyway.

And! We rented "American Dreamz" last night. It's a movie. With Hugh Grant and Dennis Quaid and a bunch of other people I really like. The movie is cheesy, to be sure, but JG and I LOVED it. Okay, now, I know that I also really like "American Idol" which the movie is sorta based on, but it was just a really cute movie and oh man the baby's screaming gotta go...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Whoa-oh, here she comes...

...She's a bon-bon eater!

Joel just called me that. Mostly because I am not completely exhausted at 10pm. ANYWAY! I made it through Day Three!

I promise these posts will become less child-centric in the very near future. In the meanwhile, though, I feel like a starving child who has been given a free pass to Old Country Buffet. I have been given this amazing gift of Unlimited Time with my young'uns and I am gorging myself.

Long stories short:

On two separate occasions, either Joel or I has injured ourself (that is NOT the right tense but I can't figure it out) when Lucy's been nearby. (I stubbed a toe -- I don't know what happened to JG.) Lucy immediately, upon recognizing our pain, ran over to each of us, knelt down, said "Come-here" and gave us the BIGGEST hugs. Her empathy (er, wait, sympathy?) is astounding.
Also! Guess how many dirty diapers I changed today? Only one. Ed's. Why? Because Lu went in the toilet TWICE today. Both her morning and her afternoon #2s were perfect bullseyes. I can't believe it! Awesome!

Okay, okay, two photos for you guys, I can't resist...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Step One! (We could have lots of fun)


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It's generally not a good sign when you're quoting Charles Dickens and New Kids on the Block in the same breath.

So, today had its ups and downs.

Up: We all slept until 7:45.

Down: That includes Joel, who was consequently late for work. I must have forgotten to alert him to the fact I will no longer be setting my alarm to get up for work.

Up: We got all bundled up and actually made it out to the park!

Up: We had no freak-outs over food and I actually had healthful meals and snacks available in a timely fashion throughout the day!

Down: We had no nap. Okay, wait, Pie-Oh-My took about an hour-and-a-half morning nap. Pants? No nap.

Up: We (and when I say "we" I think you know who I mean) only had one, very small, timeout.

Down: It was due NOT to a screaming/whining fit but rather to a stubborn refusal to help me pick up her toys before dinnertime.

Down: Um, this is a Big Down. We are dogsitting for Hobo until Tuesday. Now, I frequently second-guess decisions I have made -- in fact, I typically second-guess ALL decisions I make. Drat! Should have made a double-batch of AP Bio cookies. Drat! Should have bought the real Philly-brand cream cheese. But the decision to end our status as dog-owners? Best Decision Ever. Of course, it brings up the point of the original decision to get a dog in the first place... never mind! Let me ride my high. Where was I? Oh, right, so we're dogsittting. Total flipping nightmare. He's going home tomorrow and it will not be soon enough, believe me you.

UP (saved for last because it's a Big Up!): Pants WENT in the TOILET. I went in to change her diaper mid-nap because she said she had done a #2. Took off the dirty diaper and she said she had to go. I asked if she wanted to use the toilet and she said "Okay." And she DID! I sat her up there, and she did a #2 and then I asked if she wanted to do a tinkle and she said "Okay" and she DID! She was all smiles and I was caught totally off-guard -- how/when does wiping happen? Who does the wiping? Should I still use wet wipes, or just TP? How much praise do I give? Because I'll tell you, I was pretty dang excited. It was hard for me not to go all wiggy. Anyway, I totally forgot to tell her to wash her hands so that's something to work on for next time.


...That was me trying to wipe a huge sneeze off Eddie's face about 7 minutes ago.

So here I am! At home! The weekend preceding was a bit of a challenge -- Saturday was actually all right (got in a walk with Jean and a visit with Great-gram) but Lucy woke up with a vomit on Sunday and spent most of the day moping between the couch and her bed. She never did have a fever, but she kept saying her "bee-bo hurts". Today, she seems fine. Oh, except her new thing is awakening in the middle of the night and screaming for one of us. Oy.

Ed is most likely teething. He's whiny and clingy and unhappy which, as you know, is not like him at all.

Ha! Lucy's eating cereal right now and she was staring at her bowl yelling "where's my spoon??"
The spoon was in her hand. Hilarious.

Signing off! Wish us luck!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Email! Heads up!

Hello there. Just in case you have been living under a rock, please note that tomorrow (Friday, 10/20) will be my last day being able to access any email account you may have for me which ends in:

I will not be able to get any emails sent to those accounts after about 4pm CDT on the 20th. Any emails sent to those accounts will most likely be picked up by my manager.

From now on, please use my yahoo! email address. If you do not have my yahoo email, you can get it by looking at my profile on this blog.

Thanks so much for your understanding!


Snot in my brain

Hooeee, that was one long night.
Ed did not sleep last night. Well okay. He went down at 8 and slept until approximately 11. Then he was up until, maybe 1? It's all a blur. Anyway he was awake again at 4, I think. Alternating between crying and just talking. He just wasn't sleepy. It was very weird.
And of course Lucy was up wanting a drink of water at like 3.
And I am very tired.
And I have a cold, blast it all.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why I'm staying home

That title is kind of a misnomer. This is actually Joel's story, of how his mornings go when taking the kids to daycare. I thought it was entertaining and totally accurate. This was today:

Usually they are gems in the morning. Eddie was whiney a little bit when you left but really he hung out in his office happy as a clam until I was ready. Then we got ready on the floor in the living room, then perfect timing Lucy turned the doorknob and we got ready and out the door.

As you know it's just one of those days when time is a-tickin' and nothing is going right, eddie's hand gets caught in his shirt sleeve and he twists and you can't get his shirt on and then you can't get his socks on and tick tock tick tock lucy is calling for daddy pounding on her door tick tock tick tock. Then you get eddie in his car seat and trying to get lucy ready.

She wants to play, eat cereal skwirm around while diapering... tick tock tick, and then getting them into the car tick tock tick tock. Lucy falls down in the kitchen. tick tock tick wants to zipper her own jacket tick tock tick tock. Eddie's happy in his car seat. Lucy wants to close the door, its cold outside eddie's giving funny windy faces.. Tick tock tick

1...3...8 count the steps .. 1 2 3 4 8 13 5 3 count the steps to the car... Tick tock tick tock. Lucy wants to get in the car first.. Wants to open the door.. Get eddie in the car. Tick tock tick tock.. Need I go on... It's funny. Nothing bad it's just strange how like I can feel my stress level, (10 is the highest) at a 13 before I even get to work. Very weird. Okay enough about that.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sort of like a second honeymoon?

We dropped off the kids with Joel's p's on Saturday morning and had 30 FULL HOURS to spend with ourselves this weekend. It was awesome. On Saturday, we went to see Theatre Latte Da's Gypsy at the Loring Playhouse, we got dinner at Donovan's by the Lake, and we went to see The Departed.

Gypsy was great. Different, but really enjoyable. I wasn't familiar with the show but my friend Katie played June and it was fun to see her. We were extremely undecided about where to go to dinner but decided on Donovan's because every time we drive by it Joel says "Someday I'll take you there!"

So he did! Apparently it just reopened about three weeks ago. We got there at 5pm and had an entire dining room to ourselves, with a lovely view of... Tanners Lake? Some lake. The owner came out to talk to us and ask what we thought. The food was really incredible and it was a great dining experience.

We were really disappointed with The Departed. Like, I think maybe we didn't get it. I think it's the kind of movie that improves upon repeated watchings.

Sunday, we did laundry and moved the kids' beds away from the cold, exterior walls in their respective rooms. Woo-hoo, I know, can you even handle the excitement?

We also bought a new car seat for Lucy with the intent of moving Ed into Lucy's convertible seat. That huge box will be sitting in our kitchen until at least Thanksgiving, I think.

Lucy is slimming down a little, looking and acting much more like a little girl than a baby. Well, except for the temper tantrums. Joel and I decided we are going to have to start teaching her deep-breathing relaxation exercises or she'll have an ulcer by second grade.

Ed does not crawl, but that doesn't mean he's not mobile. On his tummy, he pushes up into, well, I think it's called "downward dog" in yoga. And he can kind of tuck his legs under his body to inch along like an inchworm. Only far less gracefully. Just about yesterday he started standing, holding on to things (typically, the shirt-front of the person monitoring him at the time). He's just delighted with himself. I still desperately want to try a crib bumper -- I think that would do the trick to keep him from A. losing his nuk and B. finding himself with his face pressed against the bars at 4am and screaming his lungs out.

So I'm in my last week of work! Hurrah!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hi, what's new?

Well, I had my Psych midterm last night. I didn't do any "studying" but I had read the text and taken notes and defined all the vocab words and rewritten each chapter's "summary points" and answered the prof's essay questions she'd handed out (all of which are required for this "notebook project" she asks us to hand in later in the term). Anyway, the test seemed really easy. I even went back and checked all my answers (because I was done in, like, eight minutes) and found a couple answers to change -- cripes, I probably should have done that in undergrad, I might have done better.


I was talking to a gal in the class before the test started and she sounded JUST LIKE ME. Except, with more money. She's a financial adviser and she's just totally sick of corporate America. She's got one kid and wants more, and wants a career with more flexibility and in the healthcare industry. It was really interesting talking with her. Basically our situations were almost identical except she and her husband earn approximately twice (soon to be four times!) what us Gronaus do. But you know what? She had all the same concerns, all the same issues. Okay, she probably owns a dishwasher. BUT she also works like 60-80 hours a week. It was just really fascinating. She had done some job-shadowing in a hospital and I gave her my email address. I hope we'll stay in touch.

The kids are great. Ed has not been sleeping really well lately, but last night he only got up crying once... or maybe twice. Instead of letting him cry it out (because he just gets angrier and angrier!), I kept rocking/bouncing him to sleep. I also gave him the undershirt I'd been wearing all day, in hopes my stink would soothe him. And I think it did the trick.

Autumn has hit in full effect here -- it's mad windy and really cold. I have NO idea where all our hats and mittens are -- a project for the weekend, I suppose. We are mailing the kids off to Monticello for about 24 hours this weekend, and Joel and I are going to see Gypsy and then maybe do dinner and a movie. And of course we will find time to reorganize the garage so we can get both our cars in there! House-for-sale be danged, we need to reclaim some of our "real life living," including a place to store boots and hats and mittens by the back door.

Thanks to everyone who has posted, emailed, or spoken to me in person with words of encouragement for staying home with the kids. Your kind thoughts and "you can do it!"-ness means the world to me, and I have really been pleasantly surprised at how supportive everyone at work has been, too. Unfortunately for you, this just means I will be calling YOU for help when the dirty dishes/crayon on the walls/food splatters get to be too much. Ha! I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Read this book!

For those of you who may not have heard, my friend-from-high-school Alison Strobel Morrow (Al, I'm not sure that's really your name but it gets the point across) has written (and published!) two books. She's currently in the process of promoting her second book, Violette Between.

Buy it here:

Read the first chapter of the book online!

You can also read Alison's blog here. (

Here's a quick synopsis:

Violette is the quintessential artist: passionate, emotional and full of life. After suffering a great loss, she finds herself enamored with a new relationship and asking if it is truly time to move on. Christian lost his wife years ago and understands Violette's pain firsthand. He offers her a chance to love once more, and hopes to build a future with the spirited artist. But just as Violette and Christian begin to feel something unexpected, tragedy strikes again. Violette retreats into her past -- and she finds that she may not want to come back. This is a captivating novel that asks what is more precious: the memories of one who is gone... or the memories waiting to be made with someone new?

Al, I want to apologize for the uncreative post -- I got to work an hour late and have been in spaz-attack mode ever since. I am so proud of you and your writing. This is an awesome accomplishment!!

Monday, October 09, 2006


In a fun little twist of events, "I Did It" is the title of this post for two reasons:

1. It's Lucy's new favorite thing to say. If you have been paying close attention (that is, if your name is John, Donna, Ray, or Leslie), you'll remember that Lu had been using "my" as her first-person pronoun of choice, i.e. "My scared," "My eat now." Recently, she's upgraded to "I". And she really likes to say "I did it!" It makes her sound very empowered.

2. Now for the big news: I have given my notice at work. That's right, boys and girls, at approximately 4pm on Friday, October 20, I will officially be a stay-at-home mom. I'm excited and scared, of course! And I don't know what to say besides that -- though I'm happy to entertain questions, as always.

In other news, we had a lovely weekend in Chicago. We went to Dennis and Sally's wedding reception (they were married in Tuscany over Labor Day) and got to hang out with some very dear friends we don't see too much. As always, it's good to be home. Okay, I really have to go work now.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What a lovely weekend it was!

I mean, A) the weather was simply gorgeous. Just the perfect fall weekend, but a little warmer than you'd expect. Beautiful.

B) We took the kids to Como Zoo on Saturday. We saw the animals (Lucy had very little interest in the animals, but she loved running around), and we took Lucy on some of the Como Town rides. She took one look at the rides and said "Round and round!" and she was very excited for "Aladdin's Magic Carpet" but when she found out she was going to have to go alone, she got a little teary-eyed. "My scared," she said, very matter-of-factly,* and we moved on to the Teacups. Which she loved. Then I took her on the train. It's so nice that they have some rides where parents can ride too -- it was just a great experience. AND, we discovered, it was the last day of the season! What fortune! We ate a PBJ picnic, did some people-watching, and headed home. I LOVE little outings like that. They remind me so much of my childhood -- only with shorter drive-times. And smaller crowds.

C) We got to hang out with the Curtis family on Saturday night. Dave and Jen were in our birthing class when we had Lucy, so they have a little Mandy who's just about to turn two. The two girls were very cute together and we had a very nice time.

D) Joel got to go golfing(!) with Pat Daly and some Brians, while

E) The Daly girls and Jean and the kids and I got to see the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday. We sat at, like, Mile 24.5 on Summit Ave. Jean and I each saw someone we knew (she some doctor from her hospital, and me Tasya Rivera who I was on the WSU dance team with like, a million years ago; I am pretty sure I read somewhere she just got married), and us three grownups had one good tearful moment when a husband jumped out of the crowd to cheer on his wife, saying something like "You can DO this, honey!" and it was just such a cool thing to watch.

F) We had a showing(!) last night(!). Amazing. And we have another one tomorrow, which may or may not be the same people. *sigh* I don't know if I'm really ready for this.

G) The Twins Actually Won the Cental Division. I don't think anyone in the entire state can believe it. After ALL THAT. And, (G1!) Joel and I get to go to Game 2 on Wednesday!! Hooray!

*Seriously, I just think she is at such an interesting age. She's not afraid to tell you the exact truth, she isn't afraid of any consequences, and has no sense of shame or deceit. It's so wonderful. And she's so curious... as we were driving around over the weekend, she'd frequently ask whether we were going to Jean's house, or Dee's house, or the doctor. On the way to the Curtis's house, she even asked if we were going to see Paige, her little friend who lives in the same neighborhood. Now, Lucy's been in that neighborhood maybe twice, tops. How on earth did she know that's where we were? Amazing.

Side note: we gave her a Ziploc baggie of Cheerios in the car on Saturday. Instead of getting frustrated about being unable to open the zipper, and instead of asking us to help, she chewed right through a corner of the bag to get the Cheerios out.

P.S. I am in desperate need of a crib bumper for Eddie. Anyone have a cheapo/used one we could borrow for a few months? I am totally unpicky of color/decor. The poor kid just needs something to cuddle up to -- we find him every morning all wadded up against the railings, usually with a limb or two dangling out the side. Help!

Friday, September 29, 2006

...So I can end my time with you

We were talking about teen sexuality in class last night, when the instructor brought up the Meat Loaf song "Paradise By the Dashboard Light." Apparently there are people in this world (or at least in community college Psych class) who have not heard this song. I admit, it's dreadfully and inappropriately overplayed at weddings... and it's a little weird to imagine a now-59-year-old-Meat-Loaf singing it... but the fact remains that I DO know the song.

So the professor starts singing it. And then she insists that the rest of us join in. Well, the 20-year-olds in class mostly demur. But I sit next to this maybe-45-year-old biker chick, who's got spiky platinum-blonde hair and a nose ring, and I know that SHE knows the song. So me in my little business-casual twinset and pearls, along with spiky-biker-girl, join our voices in song with "..prayin' for the end of time, that's all that I can do, woo, WOO!!..."

It was a little embarrassing. But what the heck, life is too short not to sing along with Meat Loaf.

Anyway, my dad came up yesterday to hang out with the kids for a few days. He looked a little dazed by the time I got home at 9pm last night, but I'm sure he'll survive all day today.

Happy Friday, y'all. It's going to be a looong, slow day at work, so you should comment or email me or something.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Joel went golfing with his dad yesterday -- thanks to my p's for his Third-Favorite Birthday Gift Ever (the house we bought for his 27th, and the Lucy he got (a few weeks early) for his 30th are 1st- and 2nd-favorites, respectively, or at least they ought to be).

I subbed for Jean's mad-competitive co-rec softball team last night and, miraculously, made not a fool of myself. I caught one fly ball in the outfield (I always thought I liked left better but I'm getting quite comfy in right field) and got a few hits, including... (drum roll)... a triple! I think it helps that the mad-competetive people we play with have mad-expensive bats that hit mad-well. Afterward, we went to a bar to watch the end of the Twins game (that's two nights in a row for me, I'm such a swingin' socialite!).

We had an open house over the weekend and thought maybe we had an interested party, but they have not "brought their realtor" as promised. *shrug* Meanwhile, you would be appalled at the assortment of bags/shoes that has accumulated by our back door.

I think I have a new hangnail record -- hangnails on all 10 fingers! "Hangnail," in this case, being a euphemism for what's actually going on with my fingers. It's pretty bad.

The kids are great. Of course, I haven't seen them much in the last three days. Ed keeps us on our toes with his random pattern of sleeping through the night and then waking up three times a night. Hungry? Lonely? Cold? Nightmares? Who ever knows.

Convo with Lu this morning in the van on the way to Dee's.

Lucy: Go Dee's house?
Me: Yes, we're going to Dee's house.
Lucy: No picking. (She has this owie on her cheek that she picks incessantly. It's been bleeding on and off for a couple weeks. Hmm, why does this sound familiar?)
Me: That's right. Don't pick your face, and don't pull off your band-aid.
Lucy: No, man.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Baseball. Baseball. Baseball.

Repeat after me: Baseball. Baseball. Baseball.

I know, it's like 40 degrees out, and I know the leaves are falling off the trees. But we are in a PENNANT RACE, people, and if I have to hear one more word about the stinkin' Vikings or whatever other football team you care about, I am going to put my index finger right up to your lips and go "Sssssshhhhh. Shh shh sshhhhhhhh."

People like it when you do that, right, Jean?

Also, I was reading an article the other day about people having too many home-grown tomatoes and not being able to find anybody who will take them. Let it be known: I will take them! It's probably not even tomato season anymore. Whatever.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bleepin' blargin' rassafrass!

And Manny Tanner!

I have lost my cell phone. I fear it may be gone for good this time. Therefore, if I have not returned a call you've made since Sunday, you know why.

And if I NEVER call you back, it's because your number is IN MY CELL PHONE WHICH IS LOST.

Drats and double-drats.

Crazy Time!

Sorry, work was so busy yesterday I didn't get a chance to post stuff. So!

Joel's AWESOME Aunt Denise sent us a lovely package the other day under the pretense of a belated birthday present for Lucy. And there WAS an adorable and much-appreciated present for Lu, but there were also... FOUR brand-new fluffy red bath towels!! Sweet!!! Thank you SO much Aunt Denise and Uncle Charley.

In other Joel's-cool-family news, Joel's uncle Don was inducted into the Monticello HS Alumni Wall of Fame last night, honoring his service in the military. It was a very lovely little ceremony and it was good to see some of the extended family and meet some Monti people who knew Joel back in the day.

Pat Watson took some lovely pix of the kids the other day. Need a photog? Isn't he awesome?
(Edit: I'm growing increasingly uncomfortable posting pix of the kids here. Not to mention, I'm thinking of using some of these recent photos for Xmas cards and I don't want to spoil the surprise! If you would like to see a couple photos I can email them to you. If you are certain I have your email address, just let me know via comment/phone call/whatever; otherwise, click on my photo and then click on "Email" to email me. Thanks for understanding!)

Happy Birthday to Joel! I don't know if he wants me to tell you how old he is. I love you Beefy.

Our poor Realtor -- a whole week on the market and not a single showing. I truly feel for the guy.

Actual conversation with Lucy (some of you may have already heard this story):
We're in the car, driving home. Radio is on.
Lucy: Too loud!
Me: I'm sorry the radio is too loud, honey. I'll turn it down.
Lucy: No down. Turn it off!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My kids are the smartest children alive, blah blah blah.

Went to the doc yesterday for checkups. You want to feel like a superwoman? Take 2 kids in for checkups at once. Yow.

34" tall; 31.4#. She's a very average-sized 2-year-old. I am guessing at some point she will ask me to knock it off with the height and weight updates. Maybe now is a good time. :)

29.25" tall (still ridiculously long for his age; 99th percentile -- looking at the chart, there are some perfectly normal 15-month-olds who are the same height Ed is now. YIKES. But Joel says he was 5'10" in 4th grade, so there you go.); 19.25# (75th pct.).

Amazing that I can still lift them both at the same time.

My cell phone has gone missing, AGAIN. I had it at the in-laws' on Sunday afternoon, but I haven't seen it since. It's probably sitting in their driveway.

Had the open house on Sunday, and a whole three parties walked through. There's supposed to be a "realtor tour" this morning and another open on Sunday. It's funny to see the things our realtor changes when he's there. Hiding the soap... hiding the alarm clocks... I'm on the verge of canning the whole thing. I'm just not a model-home kind of gal.

It's getting chilly these days -- after Ed's midnight feeding last night, I put a little hat on his melon to try to keep him cozy. He kicks off his socks and loses his blankets thru the night, and with all the hardwood floors in the house now, it just feels COLD on the main level. Anyway, my point was, when JG checked on him this morning, Ed was fast asleep with his Nuk in his mouth and his hat pulled right over his eyes and the bridge of his nose. Super cute.

Lucy's still Lucy, which is just the way I like her. Sometimes when we suggest a nap, or bedtime, she responds very seriously with "No ni-night. My 'wake now."
She's also taken to calling me "Mom" sometimes. Did I mention that already? I don't know why it's so different from "Mommy" but it cracks me up. "Hi, Mom."

Oh! Lu now sings her ABCs ("ABCD song!" she calls it) all the way through. I'm sure she has no idea what it means, but it's very impressive-sounding, if I do say so myself.

I thought I had more to write about -- well, I'll let you know if I think of what it was. More raving about the miracles I've produced, I'm sure.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Teacher's Pet, I Wanna Be...

Had class last night -- we're in a section on genes and how they affect development. I had just read the chapter at lunch, so I felt pretty up-to-date on the material. In fact, I spent a lot of the class thinking "CRIPES, I could be giving this lecture, and making it a lot more interesting!"

At one point the prof completely lost track of what she was talking about. "Sex-related characteristics," she said, "I have that written down, but what does that mean?"

There was a long enough pause where it got uncomfortable. So I piped up.

"It means traits that are carried on the X chromosome, so you get them from your mother." Seriously, I was only trying to keep the lecture moving along.

"Wow, somebody did the reading," the prof said.

Embarrassed, I made a little show of ironically/dramatically pumping my fist in the "Yess!" gesture, as though my team had just made a triple play.

Which, I forgot to mention, Joel's one-pitch team did Wednesday night. I missed it, but I'm sure it was cool!

Which reminds me, How 'bout them Twins!!??! But oh boy do their radio announcers drive me bonkers. Cuddyer gets his 100th RBI, which is a Big Deal, and it took them like six minutes after it happened to tell us! And LNP gets a double with the score 2-1, to move our insurance run over to 3rd, and the call was so monotone you'd think it was June and we were ahead by about 40 runs. PEOPLE! We are in a Pennant Race! It's not possible to get too excited. Let's go!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Singin' to the Oldies

Hauled the kids along to Joel's softball games last night, where we met up with some of my book club gals and their babes as well. What a fun time! Despite the constant threat of getting beaned by foul balls, the kids jumped right in to playing together. There were seven kids aged 3 years to 2 months -- the older ones played on the jungle gym (well, except mine, who was content to sit in the rocks and sift through them) and chased each other around the pavilion (which Lu DID partake in). Us moms actually sort of got to talk to each other! It was great.

Lisa and I volunteered at the Roseville Presby Home yesterday at lunch. Usually we just push the wheelchairs to and from chapel, but this time Lisa and I led the singing. We did "Amazing Grace" and "For the Beauty of the Earth" and we skipped the third song because we were unfamiliar. We were a little rusty but it was very fun, and we apparently get to go do it again next week!

In other news... there is no other news. Looking forward to a lovely autumnal weekend.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

We're On.

Our house is on the market. I still can't really believe it. (Link has been removed. If you would like to see the listing, please email me.)

There are a couple errors (i.e. the square footage) that will be corrected ASAP (I hope!).

Monday, September 11, 2006

This will be boring if you are not, like, a relative. And maybe even if you are. Sorry.

Realtor cancelled/changed not one, but two appointments this weekend. Yaarrrr.

He and his realtor-buddy came over late Saturday morning to hang up pictures and move furniture just-so. They blew lots of smoke up our be-hinds about how "adorable" the house is -- blah, blah, blah. The house is now devoid of any sign that actual humans live there. Honestly, it looks great!

It rained miserably all day Sunday, so JG and I dropped Lu off at Jean's house for naptime and took Eddie to nine (count 'em!) open houses. Oof.
#1: Very nice, but wayy too cramped for space.
#2: A disaster -- destroyed hardwood floors, unfinished cabinets in the kitchen, cat urine upstairs, totally gross and priced ridiculously high
#3: I didn't actually go in this one (Ed needed to eat). Similar to #1.
#4: Actually loved this one. Not GOBS of space, but well-laid-out and a nice yard.
#5: A little spendy, but TONS of space.
#6: Nice, but a little cramped -- and so cluttered it was really hard to tell what the potential was.
#7: Cute, but way too much like our current home.
#8: Bizarre doll-house -- the 1/2 story upstairs had seriously a 5'5" ceiling. And the basement felt like it was going to cave in at any moment.
#9: Kind of nice, but a little too chopped-up space on the main level. Teeny yard.

I can't believe I remembered all that! Wow. Jamie came over to babysit in the evening so JG and I could go out but we were thwarted once again -- this time by me being so exhausted and frustrated from the last couple weeks that I couldn't stop crying. Arrgh.

Our photos got rain-delayed. With luck, we'll be able to reschedule soon.

In kid news: MAN are our kids neat. Ed slept great the last two nights -- he's (finally!) learned how to sleep on his tummy, and we even found him with his bottom up in the air (a-la-Lucy) on Sunday morning. He's also just starting to get up on all fours and "rock." I don't remember Lu doing this, but it's hilarious.

Lucy herself is just awesome. She sings along with her crazy Karaoke machine, and she serves us tea, pizza, and lettuce from her little kitchen. She continues to be gentle and loving with Ed... and to exert her will upon us at every available opportunity.

She likes to go down stairs by herself now. If I even make the slightest motion to help her, I get "MY do it, Mommy." Or, occasionally, "Mom," which sounds so serious and makes me giggle. Oh, so she gets to the bottom of the stairs, and the railing runs out, so she grabs the wall to get to the bottom step, and then reaches for the railing again, which is now out of reach, so she goes back UP a step to grab the railing, and then tries to get back to the bottom step... I can see she's confounded. Like, "I know I have to use the railing. So I go up to get it, but then the bottom of the stairs gets farther away!"

Joel took her to Menard's over the weekend and she was a little scared by the Halloween display, and told me so when she got home.

Oh! I'm sorry, one more thing she's into now: "Hide!" She gets all excited and runs around the house, yelling, "Hide, hide!" And then she pulls a blanket (or a curtain, or my shoe) over her face and stands there waiting for you to find her.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Made it through the weekend. Barely.

This is not my finest writing. Really, I just wanted this weekend documented somewhere.

Realtor came over on Friday night to drop off some paperwork and go over the "Competitive Market Analysis" which will determine the price of our house. He brought spaghetti, we ate in the gazebo, and he convinced us to paint our 1/2 story upstairs. And the kitchen cabinets.

Saturday morning: made two trips to Menard's before 11AM. Jean saved the day by stopping by Hirshfields for us and by spending the Entire Day helping us paint and watch the kids in rotation. We painted the kitchen and my folks arrived at noonish, bearing Subway (mmmm, perfect timing).

My memory of Saturday afternoon fails me. Alas! Saturday night, I made cupcakes and prepped egg bakes for Lucy's party on Sunday. I think we may have started priming the upstairs walls on Saturday night.

Sunday: Joel's p's arrived at 8AM and then met my family at Jan's to help them move her belongings into storage. Everybody came to our house around noon for Lucy's bruncheon party -- which went swimmingly. Papa and Gramma G and Grampa & Gramma Books (we are at a loss for nicknames here) were there, as were Jean and my Uncle Bill, and Grandma Jake. Ed slept through the whole thing, which was probably good because there wasn't any extra room in the gazebo for his high chair! Lucy was a total doll and received an embarrassment of riches in birthday gifts. She spent the rest of the day playing as though she's been waiting two years for some decent toys.

Everybody except Donna and the kids and I made another trip to Jan's to unload things. Donna did all the dishes and watched the kids while I finished some laundry and tried to put away some of the bday gifts.

Sunday night: Joel and I really tried to finish the kitchen cabinets but we were so tired I ended up goofing them up.

Monday: Joel went to his fantasy football draft, and the kids and I hung out at home. We tried to hang some of the kitchen cabinets and then we all took much-needed afternoon naps (except maybe Joel). The Dalys stopped by in the afternoon, and I don't recall much except that Carol's hair looked really cute. In the evening we decluttered much of the upstairs as well as Eddie's room; after the babes retired, Joel and I finished priming the upstairs.

I am covered in paint and am, surprisingly, neither tired nor divorced today.

Fun conversation from the weekend, repeated several times:
Jean/Me/Joel/Anybody: Lucy, how old are you?
Lucy: Cakecups!
J/M/J/A: No, honey, two! You're two!
Lucy: No. Four!

Oh! And something else. Joel and Lu were watching Nemo the other day. Guess what Marlin (the daddy clownfish) says to Nemo? You guessed it:

Friday, September 01, 2006


Dearest Lucy:

My darling baby girl, you are going to be two years old tomorrow! I feel terrible that I have not properly prepared you for your birthday -- I forget that you don't comprehend things like that yet. I often forget that you're still so little. You do understand so much, and it's so fun talking with you now. The other day you told me "I'm going to take a bath now." Do you know how awesome that is, that you can say that? Do you have any idea how much my heart melts every time you say "Mommy"?

You're the big sister now, and you are so perfect for that role. You're so assertive and yet so gentle. Daddy and I love how you cup Ed's little chin in your hands and kiss him. We love how focused you can be (like selecting rocks to pick up), and we love watching your thoughtfulness when working through a problem (like whether or not to let me cut your toenails).

I adore you and look forward to growing and learning and building our relationship together. Happy Birthday Baby.


Sweet Eddie:

You are the easiest-going little guy -- you have made life so wonderful for us the past 6 months. You're sensitive, loving, and eager-to-please, and it's amazing how much we can tell about you already. Yup, we sure we have you pegged -- so don't go proving us wrong!

You, too, are getting so big, so fast. We had to move the seat of your "office" up not one, but two notches the other day. But you're still such a little guy. Last night you were fussy around 10pm, and I swear it wasn't that you were very hungry; you just wanted to nurse a little. I'm so happy we could share that time together. Of course, you were fussy again at 3AM, and then again at 5, and you could cut all that out any time.

I am so excited to continue to get to know you, and I am so filled with joy that you are a part of our family.

The Milk Truck

Dear Joel:

You're not so bad yourself.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh, and my psych class is fine too.

Lucy loves yogurt. She calls it "why-gurt." Or, maybe, "Y-gurt." Kids today and their slang!

Here's the sitch on our house, for those out of the loop. Which is probably you, since even Joel and I are barely hanging onto said loop.

We're not 100% sold on selling. And we have not found a new place to go.

We are putting our house on the market sometime betwixt September 8 and 12. We're going to give it a month or two, and if it doesn't go, then we'll sit tight and enjoy our newly-clean living space for a few more years! If we get anything resembling an offer, we'll start looking for places in South St Paul and West St Paul.

So Now:
We are madly cleaning and touching up paint and tightening pipes in preparation. We know the market is lousy. We are sticking with our Realtor, who was starting to worry us a bit but we realized is just kind of a "creative," with which we can deal.

And finally...
Apparently, you CAN take the City out of the girl.

Well, I've lost my mind. (This is not news.) Went downtown Minneapolis yesterday afternoon, around 2:00, for a work get-together at Brit's. I often complain about Minneapolis: how it's "scary" and how I avoid it. I thought I was kidding. Until I tried to go home after Brit's and:

1. Couldn't find the parking garage
2. Didn't have a check or cash with which to pay for my parking
3. Nearly lost a hubcap and even-nearerly killed a pedestrian trying to get out of the ramp after some kind anonymous good Samaritan behind me offered to pay the remaining $4 I owed after I scraped together $3 in change from under the seats in my van

I mean, really, you would think I'd never been off the farm before. I was so dreadfully embarrassed and SO ashamed about the parking (how can a place that charges $7 for 2 hours of parking not take Visa!?!?). And I get to work this morning only to discover that my "anonymous good Samaritan" was none other than my friend Kate from work! Kate, with whom I'd just been lamenting a few hours earlier that I hated going downtown and paying for parking. What are the chances of that? That of all the ramps downtown and all the people using them at 4:15 on a Tuesday, the person behind me ends up being Kate. Who happens to have $4 on her person when she goes downtown, because she was not raised in a barn. Wild.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hives, Attitude, and Ed keeps smiling

Brief report: Since last Thursday, Lucy has this recurring rash thing all over her legs, arms, and occasionally bottom and face. It looks like hives (raised, irregular, with yellow/white centers), it's hot to the touch, and it comes and goes mostly in the evening. Took her to urgent care Friday night because she also had a 102 temp at the same time (that was our "date", hooray) and the doc said it was a virus that would come and go over the next few days.

No rash all weekend -- but yesterday evening it came back. And then went away again, within a couple hours.

Also, she's been screaming. And not just a wordless scream (which would be bad enough), but she's actually screaming unkind things like "GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW MOMMY!" and "NO EAT NOW NO WAY JAMIE!" in a very nasty tone, like you or I might use if our child was about to run into oncoming traffic. Not a scream to be used lightly. So, obviously, she's hearing this language and this tone somewhere.

So we're a little freaked out by these developments.
And we're supposed to put our house on the market in 2 weeks.
And Joel's out of town this week.
And I'm starting class this week.
And Lucy is turning 2 next week. Can you believe that? Two. How did that happen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Fed Eddie cereal for the first time last night.

Or, that's what would have happened in a normal family.

What actually happened was: Ed was fussing at dinnertime and Joel thought maybe it was NOT because he was desperately tired, but rather because he liked the looks of the leftover-chicken-and-veggies that the rest of us were eating. However, I hadn't actually purchased any baby rice cereal, and all we had was a jar of "Stage 2" turkey puree.

Which we fed to Eddie, only microseconds after I found the camera and deleted a bunch of old pictures because the memory card was full and he may be the second child but I'll be danged if I don't get a picture of his first bites of people-food.

Anyway, he hated the turkey (and who wouldn't? It's GRODY!) and I'm going to Target to get some rice cereal today.

P.S. Lucy, sometime between teeth-brushing and bedtime last night, put on her own Crocs (this is new) and insisted upon wearing them to bed. I love that.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Joel Annals

That's ANNALs. With TWO "n"s.

Okay, so Jean and Joel and I are driving home from Rent last night. It was at the Ordway (which is right downtown St Paul, so we just take 3rd street all the way down. And it was so good. I cried lots.). So anyway, we're driving home; it's 10:45 PM. Now, 3rd Street between downtown and our house is NOT the best neighborhood. Nay, it's maybe one of the worst two neighborhoods in St Paul. But, you know, we just keep driving; it's not like it's the South Side of Chicago; don't-live-your-life-in-fear, all that rot.

So Jean's driving, and Joel's shotgun.

Joel: "How fast are we going?"

Jean: "30."

Me (piping up from the back seat, because that's the only way to talk from the back seat): "Joel thinks he can run this fast!"

Joel: "No!! I said, like, 20!"

(Aside: this is referencing a conversation Joel and I had a couple months ago, in which he claimed that, at his top speed in like high school, he could hit 20 mph. Or maybe 30.)

Me: "Well, either way, you can't run that fast."

Joel: "Can too!"

Jean: "Here, Joel, get out of the car and run. We'll drive next to you and tell you how fast you're going."

At which, Joel actually unbuckles his seat belt and pops his door open. Mind you, we are still driving. Jean quickly pulls the car over to the curb, and Joel hops out and takes off down the street ahead of us. I don't know how Jean is able to drive, because I am laughing so hard my face is starting to cramp up. But she starts the car moving, and soon is going about 10 mph.

I stick my head out the window to holler our speed at Joel, who is tearing up the street in his dress shirt, dress pants, tie, and dress-shoes-with-the-holes-in-the-soles-because-he-won't-take-himself-shoe-shopping.

Me (as we approach him from behind): "10! Honey! We're going ten miles per hour!"

Joel: "Ten!! No prob--"

At which point, of course, Jean and I had already FLOWN by him, zipping by at the blazing speed of, of course, ten miles per hour.

But was Joel discouraged by the fact that his top speed topped out around 4 mph?? NO! He immediately (and joyfully) started handicapping himself.

"Well!" he says triumphantly, hopping back into the car, "that was in dress shoes. With holes! AND I have that broken ankle. There's 6 or 7 mph right there! And I was only jogging -- my top speed is at LEAST double that."

Within about 15 seconds he managed to talk himself back up to "about" 20 mph again.

I love that guy.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Heavy for a Friday!

I'm getting a lot of forwarded emails these days with this quote appended at the bottom:

"If you can read this, thank a teacher! If you are reading it in English, Thank a Veteran"

I totally agree with the first part.


Countless thousands of U.S. Veterans have given their lives so that us Americans can enjoy Freedom: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. All rights, which were self-evident to Thomas Jefferson 230 years ago and remain so today.

Notice that "The English Language" doesn't appear in the Declaration of Independence, nor the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights. And last time I checked, English is not the official language of the USA (I'm not even sure it's the official language of England, but that's another Wikipedia search, for another day). It's pure happenstance that English is the language that Americans speak today. There's no reason to believe that the American version of Democracy (which I believe, is what our military is defending), could not have sprung from people who speak French. Or Mandarin Chinese.

English is not, in and of itself, superior to other languages. It so happens that in the world today, English is a "common language" that many people around the world learn as a second (or third, or fourth) language -- this is mostly due to American culture permeating the entire globe. So what if American culture spoke Arabic instead?

I guess the reason the little quote bothers me so much is, it sounds like xenophobia. Which leads to racism, stereotyping, misunderstanding, and fear of people different from "us." Which leads to problems. More war. More bigotry. More senseless hurt.

Maybe this is more appropriate: "If you're reading this without fear, thank a Veteran." But maybe that's too esoteric of a concept for an email forward.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Preserve your mammaries

I swear, I don't mis-hear things on purpose. But I was half-watching TV, half-reading about the Twins and I heard that in the middle of a commercial for a scrapbook or something.

Saw the Dalys (Dalies?) tonight for only the second time since their new bebe was born. I miss them! We've been seeing a lot of the "Wats" recently too -- trying to cram in as much face-time as possible before they move to the 'burbs. The kids are all so adorable together. Toddlers are just incredible.

I've been chewing my fingers off this last week, stressing about work and the house. When am I going to learn not to sweat it? Why can't I just accept that things happen in due time, and that I can't control everything? Anyway, to console myself I am attending a Twins game on Friday and Rent on Saturday. I cannot decide which I am more excited about. Plus I have book club Sunday. Our Realtor is after us to repaint the kitchen and our bedroom, but I'm sorry, two people (and by two, I mean Joel) can only do SO MUCH while holding down a 40-hour-a-week job and keeping two babies clothed, diapered, and fed. At some point we have to simply say: this is it; this is the best we can do.

There is a lovely breeze in our living room as I type this. We don't get a lot of lovely breezes in our house. I'd better go do some dishes. So goes the battle.

Monday, August 07, 2006

"Projects... We Got Projects"

Or... "Would You Buy A Book Full of Little Anecdotes Like This?"

We own three good towels.

They’re not GREAT towels. I think I paid $10 apiece. But they’re big, and fluffy, and red. The red that matches our shower curtain. The red that is the accent color of the bathroom.

So we needed to paint the bathroom, and Joel took some time off work to do so (in addition to tackling about 35 other projects… and if you think I’m exaggerating, I will list them for you). And when I got home to inspect his work, I found that the paint looked fabulous on the walls (and ceiling, long story) of the bathroom.

I also found that the paint did NOT look quite as fabulous on my towels. And on my shower curtain. And all over the sink. And the toilet. And various other bathroom toiletries and accessories that were apparently too much trouble to remove from the bathroom prior to beginning a painting project.

So, like, the toiletries and shower curtain, I could see -- because the shower curtain can be bunched up in the middle of the rod, away from the walls and, ostensibly, safe from paint splatters -- and, oops, a big splatter, oh well. And paint, of course, can be scraped off a sink, floor etc.

But the TOWELS!?!? Need I remind you, we do not have some wild uber-high-tech bathroom where towels float in midair. Nay, when they are not bunched up in a puddle on the floor, our towels generally HANG FROM THE WALLS.

As a side note to other husbands who may be tempted to try this trick: interior latex paint does not machine-wash off of terrycloth.

Someday, Joel is going to be arrested and charged with murder or some other heinous crime. And he will be found Not Guilty by reason of Chronic Insanity. And all it will take... is my testimony.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

OK, OK catching up...

My darling, darling son's new fun trick is waking up every two hours throughout the night. 11PM, 1AM, 3, 5... yessir, just like the sweetest little alarm clock you ever did see. He's also learned to grab things and jam them in his mouth. Which is adorable when it's his own foot, or his shirt or blanket. Less adorable when it's my hair or glasses, or the sewing shears Lucy left on the floor.

Lucy (besides being a precocious seamstress) is... Lucy. A little volatile, a lot wonderful. Her Cabbage Patch Baby is her obsession. Baby eat now. Baby ni-night. Baby milk. Where Baby? Baby soap. Baby eat again. She puts Ed's diaper on Baby, then takes it off and wipes Baby's bottom, then pantomimes putting Desitin all over Baby, from bee-bo to be-hind. We have to keep reminding her to use "pretend wipes" and "pretend soap (Desitin)", but she's awfully good about it. At dinner time, Baby sits in Lu's booster seat and gets a plate too. Lucy's lots into the pantomiming: pretending to eat cookies, drink milk, etc. which is very fun to watch and play along.

What else? Oh, we're getting the floor refinished in the living room and hallway today. And Joel's on a Projects Rampage, working late into the night finishing up the basement bathroom and various other jobs we've been putzing on for the last couple of years. He's great, albeit tired. It's been raining for the last 12 hours or so here, and it's cooled off beautifully outside. And... that might be it for now. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Meg is an Idiot

In which I attempt to burn down my house and kill my entire family in their beds

Replacement breast pump parts: $30
Replacement baby bottles: $13
Replacement favorite nonstick 8-quart soup pan: Who even knows; it was part of a set.
One call to Poison Control: Free, actually, it's a toll-free number.
Waking up to the smell of noxious fumes and thinking "why does my bedroom smell like noxious fumes?" and going back to sleep for a couple hours: Priceless!

Need I continue, or are you getting the gist? I got home from softball last night at 10:45 and thought it would be a good idea to sterilize my pump parts, plus some of Ed's bottles, while I showered. Only, I forgot to turn off the stove, and went to bed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Where is tall-man?

Ed had his 4-month checkup today. He's fabulous (and very handsome, according to the doctor). 17 lbs, and a whopping 28.75 inches tall. Which explains why he's dangling out of his car seat AND why we had to raise the level of his "office" yesterday.

Update: I am NOT taking Chem this fall; I am taking Lifespan ("Developmental") Psych. Only one night a week for three hours (rather than two nights a week for eight total hours) -- MUCH better.

Other than that, we're just taking everything one day at a time -- working hard at communicating with the Pants (small victory today: she was eating a banana in the car on the way to the doc and then decided to drop the banana on the floor. But then immediately realized that that meant she could no longer reach, nor eat, it. She had a FIT and I explained that she could have the banana back once we got to the doctor's office. And that if she wanted to eat it, she shouldn't drop it. And I swear she stopped crying and said something like "Don't drop 'nana, can eat it." And I was like "YESSS!")... and enjoying our soon-to-be-departed neighbors and our Twins victories while we can. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Go Gone Went

Congratulations to Carol and Pat and Josie, who have a new baby (and sister, respectively)!
Genevieve (Eve) (not sure if I'm spelling that right) was born late Monday. Mom and baby are doing great!

Here's a quote I liked, found on my cup of Starbucks yesterday:

Wrangling fear is the biggest challenge the world faces now and the challenge we all face, now and again, at our crossroads, in the dark moments, at those times we are asked to compromise, at those times when we know deep down that we must revolutionize our own lives.
-- Holly Morris, Author of Adventure Divas: Searching the Globe for a New Kind of Heroine.

I have one of those air-conditioning colds I sometimes get in the summer. After three whole winters without a cold, it's an unpleasant surprise.

Lessee, what else is new?

Ed is still the wiggliest little guy. He flips himself onto his tummy in his crib and then gets mad when he can't get back over. He squirms over to the edge so he's sleeping with his legs hanging out between the bars. He's getting a little fiesty while feeding too -- pounding me with those tiny fists, and writhing his whole body. The other night he was playing this game while eating -- he'd look up and over to where Joel was sitting, wait for Joel to look at him, then smile a huge grin and quickly latch back on.

Lucy started saying either "I hate you" or "I hit you" last night. She said it (whatever it was) very clearly to both Joel and me, on three separate occasions. It was very creepy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy Thursday

Okay, sorry if I got anybody too excited: that is not really Lu and Ed on Time. It just really, really looks like them. ***Dreaming of royalty checks...***

Get this: Eddie DID roll over last night. Back to front. Grampa R was there to witness. Yay Ed!

JT and I are going to see Liriano pitch tonight and we are BESIDE OURSELVES with excitement. Go 'Cisco!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Oh! And just in case you missed it...

My kids are on the cover of Time this week!

Really, though, the resemblance is kind of striking.

Hold me closer, Tony Danza.

Eddie is STILL not rolling over. Both Grandmas have told me, in no uncertain terms, that it'll be "any minute now." I think he's strong enough, but it's really just a question of motivation. He'll do it when he wants to.

I forgot to mention that when G&G Ryan were in for my bday, Lucy went tinkle in her little potty. Once. Under Gram's gentle encouragement. We were VERY surprised and delighted, though we have not yet been graced with an encore performance.

We can really understand what Lu's saying about 85% of the time now. It is truly amazing. Yesterday we were in the living room watching Elmo and I was feeding Ed, and Lu says, "Mocha-meese?" Which means, milk please? And I said, sure, honey, you left your milk on the kitchen table. And she said "Mommy get?" And I said, no way no way, if you want it, you get it yourself little darlin' and she sat there for a bit and thought, and then got up and got it. So cool.

I've been listening to Elton John at work this week. MAN do I love his songs! And they put me in SUCH a better mood than the 1979 recording of "Sweeney Todd."

So I'm registered for a Chemistry class (lab and lecture) at Century College this fall. Am I mental? Anyway, I had to get my old WSU transcript in order to enroll, and it was SO interesting looking at that thing. I took some weird classes. In fact, there's one class on there I have NO recollection of. Some Hallmark thing for Advertising... three credits and I got an A. Fall of 1997, I think. What??

Also! Remember Erin Davidson, who was in our wedding? Right, I barely do either. Anyway, Ellen apparently saw her on some crazy cable-TV "Pop Culture Tournament" or something, competing for like a quarter of a million dollars. Honestly, if there's anybody besides Stu who KNOWS pop culture, it's Erin. Or it was, when I last talked to her 6 years ago. So I hope she did well.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I've been reading "Pride and Prejudice" for the first time; or rather, trying to read it. I'm sure it's an awesome book and I know it's a classic but for some reason I can't hardly make heads or tails of what half the sentences mean. I guess it's been a long time since I really had to concentrate on reading comprehension, and I can't say it makes for especially pleasurable entertainment. But I'm getting the gist of the story (I think) and I really want to see the movie(s).
Good God, someone rescue me, I've been swallowed by pop culture. I swore I'd never say "I can't get the book... bring on the movie!" Egads.

The 'Stones song "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is on the radio right now. This song always reminds me of a tongue-in-cheek radio conversation I heard once, where they were debating what exactly the refrain ("Jumpin' jack flash, it's a gas gas gas") was about. E.g. "Jumpin' jack flash is neither a solid, nor a liquid" or something like that.

I am so sorry I've been such a bad blogger. Life just isn't easy these days. "No one said it would be easy... but no one said it'd be this hard" is the Sheryl Crow line that keeps running through my head.

Let's talk current events for a stitch here. The death of Ken Lay really has me thinking. For one, I'm thinking maybe he faked it. That aside, let's say he really did pass away yesterday. What are we supposed to learn from this? That yup, you should go ahead and steal from your employees because you could die before you get sentenced? Isn't that terrible? I know the government is still seeking something like $45 million in damages from him. What happens to that, now that he's gone? What about the decades of prison time he was facing? Am I really to accept that it all just gets wiped away? I don't know, the whole thing really has me down on our justice system, and the justice of life in general. Of course, life's not fair. Worse people have probably gotten away with worse. But it really discontents (I looked it up; it's a transitive verb -- who on earth remembers what that is?) me. I'd be interested to hear what your thoughts are on this -- whether from a religious standpoint, a moral standpoint, or just a concerned-citizen's standpoint. I know my thoughts aren't really well-thought-out, for which I apologize.

This looks like enough for a post. More later, perhaps?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The fastest thing on three legs

Photos of Marnie and me, dominating our building's three-legged event yesterday. Note our intensity... and the largeish, long-legged men we vanquished.

Also note the guy on the far right in the second photo (and far left in the third photo), who, in his defense, also had to battle a couple trees.
Also, I have the race final on video, which does better justice to the actual excitement of the event. I think I can email that to you, upon request.

"How To Win Three-Legged Races and Influence People" seminars coming soon to a convention center near you!

Monday, June 19, 2006

I've received a thinly-veiled threat of being fired for internet usage at work... so I'm blogging from home.

Joel wanted to say a few things. But he won't write, so I do it for him.

We went to a movie in Alexandria over the weekend -- DaVinci Code, actually. It was decent. Cheesy... but not dreadful. As it turns out, Jesus really was a woman!
But seriously, folks, we were especially impressed by the etiquette of our fellow moviegoers. It was a teeny little theatre, with maybe only 15 rows of seats. Maybe 10. Anyway, we like to sit toward the front, but not too close, which in this case was about Row Three. Unfortunately, there was Couple #1 seated near the center of Row Four, and we thought, gee, we shouldn't plop down right in front of them. So we moved a few seats in, and sat.
So another couple comes in behind us and goes to sit in our row, but that would have landed them directly in front of Couple #1. They immediately realize this, about-face, and proceed to Row Two. It was such a lovely display of congenial Minnesotaism. I am so proud.

Okay, this next story isn't Joel's. But it's Happy To Be a Minnesotan Part Deux.
So Donald Trump was giving some get-rich-quick seminar in Minneapolis and... why am I typing this? I can just link you to the story. Click here. Okay, wait, that article doesn't exactly explain what happened... apparently only like 4,000 people showed up. Anyway, I love that.

Back to Joel's stories. He also wanted to share that this morning he popped his head into Lucy's room to wake her up, and she was sitting up in bed, so he grabbed her clothes and diaper and then went to put on his shoes and socks and gel his hair, all the while singing "Where is Thumbkin" to her. He went back into her room to get her and... no Lucy. So he peeked in the living room and there she is, laying on her back, feet in the air, just waiting for her diaper change. You have to picture it in your head, it's cute, honestly.

We had a fabulous evening tonight -- our Neighborinos had some people looking at their house, so Neighborina and the Neighboriños (plus a bonus Neighb-amiga) came over for chili *dinner. We dined in the gazebo, scarfing chili and sipping wine in between referreeing three toddlers perched on telephone books. The tods did their hilarious-toddler thing, much to our delight. After several fits, of course, regarding the proper way to serve chili (i.e. the toddler-preferred ratio of one teaspoon chili : one cup sour cream, which is not Mom's first choice).

*Chili! I invented a chili! It could NOT be easier, and so I present to you the recipe:
3 cooked, cubed chicken breasts (or three cooked, cubed small steaks)
1 small chopped onion (but I've made it without)
1 can corn (tonight I used 1/2 pkg frozen spinach, thawed, instead)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black or kidney or any other kind of beans. Or a combo, if you're doubling the recipe.
1 Tb chili powder
1/2 Tb dried cilantro
1 Tb "It's a Dilly" or dill seasoning... or not.
1 tsp cumin (but I think my beans had extra cumin in them, so maybe a little more)Shakea-shakea Tabasco, if that's your thing.

-->Make sure the meat is cooked, then sauté up the onion and add in the spinach to cook it a little, if that's what you're using. Then throw in everything else. Bring it to a boil, or don't, and then serve. You can't go wrong.