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.