Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If Only I Watched the News

Paul, Ellie, and I were almost part of a speed-limit car chase on Monday. We were heading south on Interstate 270, going home after dinner. As light, Memorial Day traffic from Interstate 40 merged with us, we noticed a police car. He seemed to be following another car that was merging, and shortly thereafter he turned on his lights and sirens.

The driver ignored the cop.

For several miles.

The cop pulled up next to the coy driver a couple of times. It was impossible that the driver just didn't notice the police car. He seemed to be a big black guy, a little older than me, driving a white, late model Chrysler 300.

As we approached the Manchester exit, the Chrysler pulled over into the exit lane. The cop got behind him. Then the car moved back into the right-most lane of continuing traffic. That happened a couple of times.

Not that there was any traffic. None of us wanted to *pass* so there was a small cluster of cars hanging behind, enjoying the show.

At no time during the "pursuit" did the Chrysler exceed the speed limit.

Eventually, we were going so slowly that Paul felt like he had to pass, so he moved over to the far left lane and did so. At about this time he started entertaining fantasies about doing something to "help" the cop, but he was easily dissuaded.

We continued on past our exit, watching our rear-view mirrors. What entertainment!

Then, shortly before the interchange with Interstate 44, the cop turned off his lights and sirens. Paul was dejected and took the exit, to wend our way back home.

Too soon! What happened next? Was there a roadblock ahead? Had the Des Peres cop who was following the Chrysler called ahead for County cops to take over the chase once he was outside his jurisdiction? Had the driver of the Chrysler called in to explain that he was an off-duty cop - or a judge - and was just waiting for the message to be passed to the officer in lukewarm pursuit? Did he just give up? Is this a reasonable way to get out of a speeding ticket?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

April Showers Bring

May Pneumonia.

Poor Ellie. The cold, the coughing, the intermittent low-grade fever. It is pneumonia. We treated her pneumonia with care: regular doses of Tylenol and/or PediaCare Cold. Delsym every 12 hours so that we could get short episodes of sleep. Snuggles. And a busy schedule including:
  • School Monday, Wednesday, and Friday last week
  • Several play dates last week and over the weekend
  • Quite a few meals out
  • Guests in town for the weekend (my wonderful youngest sister and her equally wonderful fiance)
  • A trip to the Ren Faire in 90+ degree heat
  • A party with 25 of our nearest and dearest for Daddy's (belated) birthday
  • Church (including time in the nursery)
  • Swimming
  • A busy Memorial Day afternoon spent visiting at least 6 different furniture stores and climbing on their wares
  • A boring Tuesday afternoon and evening spent in the doctor's office and the C.A.R.E.S. Clinic at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Poor, sweet little one.

And, to the parents of all the other kiddos we might have inadvertently exposed to this bug, I am very, very sorry.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Other Kind of Nursing

With my nearest and dearest, I don't always have the best bedside manner.

Oh, I was great with my sister during her brain tumor hospitalization. I was thoughtful and entertaining. I told her funny stories of the day she went to the hospital, making her laugh. She never remembered the stories when I began them again a few hours later, so I really had my routine down pat and customized to feature her favorite bits. I solicited the nurses for what she thought she needed (even when it turned out that she was regularly being given baths and clothing changes, she just couldn't remember them).

But when Paul has a cold, I stay as far away from him as possible. I can smell the mucus and sick on him, and I don't like it. I have always quietly rationalized this to myself as a sort of primitive concern about an illness in my big man.

But I'm not great with Ellie's colds either. I think she'll eventually smell like her daddy when she's sick. But I find myself acutely physically uncomfortable when I'm holding her and she's struggling to breathe through her stuffy little nose.

Then I realize that I'm holding my breath in sympathy with her labored breathing.

Or I'm clenching my teeth so tightly that my jaw aches.

Or her restless physical discomfort is causing her to repeatedly kick at me with her sharp little heels and pinch at me with her little fingers.

But the worst is when I hear her repetitive coughs or quiet fussings from her bed and know that there's nothing, nothing, nothing I can do that will make either of us feel any better.

Thank heavens Paul is coming back from his 5 day/6 night business trip tonight. He's better with the colds than I am. He'd just better be healthy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


37% of Americans believe that they can get HIV through kissing.

Yet we should not discuss condoms in school.

16% of Americans believe that they can catch HIV from toilet seats.

Yet we should not discuss condoms in school.

Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, has repeatedly said that the HIV can "easily pass through" condoms. He's not been publicly reprimanded or contradicted by the Roman Catholic Church.

Yet we should not discuss condoms in school.

13% of Americans are African-American. 51% of new American HIV diagnoses are of African-Americans.

Yet we should not discuss condoms in school.

Do we (quietly) think that we know how to avoid getting it, so we can (quietly) keep our loved ones safe from HIV/AIDS, and that's why we (quietly) don't care about this epidemic? It's not people like us who are dying. Is that why there's still reluctance to do what's necessary to stop the spread of this disease? Do we still, after all this time, wait to hear how someone was infected before (quietly) deciding whether or not they deserved to get HIV/AIDS? Do we (quietly) think that this is a Darwinian plague?

We should all be ashamed. We are not doing enough. We could be be doing much, much better.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Peer Group Diversity

Applying to college was a multi-year experience for me. I can't remember a time when I didn't think I would go to college, and when I didn't think about where I'd go. My mom's oldest brother has something like 7 kids (2 by birth, one adopted at birth, and at least 4 foster "kids" with whom he and his wife maintain a life-long relationship). His philosophy about paying for college was, "Sign every piece of paper they put in front of you, and it will all work out somehow."

My parents' philosophy about paying for college was sort of similar - don't talk about it. Perhaps they talked between themselves, but they encouraged us girls to make our decisions without worrying too much about the price tag. We all went to private colleges, we all had scholarships, we all came out with hefty student loans that we might never pay off, and our parents remortgaged the house. It all worked out.

Since I wasn't paying much attention to tuition costs, that freed me up to focus on other criteria.

I looked closely at national ranking, of course. And some of the Fisk quality-of-life type ratings. I also looked very closely at what percentage of the student body lived on campus (high was desirable) and what percentage of the student body was Greek (low was desirable). And I paid a lot of attention to sex and race ratios. I wanted to go to a school that had a good amount of diversity.

I'd grown up in a community where "minorities" were the majority. Late in my sophomore year of high school, we moved to an extremely white and (upper) middle class community where there was very little diversity of any kind.

A high school friend of mine worked with a black guy from a neighboring community. His co-worker came to pick him up one day, in their job's van. He got a little lost. A black guy in a van driving around the block a couple of times in broad daylight? Someone called the cops. That's the kind of community where I finished high school.

But it's hard to tell a lot about a school from rankings and rating and guidebooks and brief campus visits.

Wash U has a lot of racial, ethnic, and religious diversity. But, at least at the time I went there, it wasn't very well integrated. My dorms, most of my classes, my co-ed service fraternity, my friends - mostly white.

Then I graduated and got a job in the community. Almost all of my coworkers are white.

My husband and I drove around town and visited lots of communities. We saw one that looked perfect, and seemed to be pretty nicely integrated. We bought a house. It's a lovely community. Very poorly integrated. The many students of color in the local schools are part of an active bussing program from the inner city.

In short, most of the people at our jobs, our church, or neighborhood, and our peer group look just like us.

Laziness helped this to happen. Going along with the flow, choosing an easy path and not stretching out of our comfort zone. Periodically, Paul and I discuss finding ways to fix this, but we don't know where to begin.

Last night, I was humbled to have a discussion with a friend who's found herself in a similar situation. She sits down a couple of times a year to try to figure out ways to break through the way that this community tends to segregate itself.

She has signed her three-year-old up for classes at public parks in parts of the city that have higher populations of African Americans and other racial and ethnic groups. She's made an effort to take her child places on the bus, when their own car would be more far convenient.

And they do a lot of volunteering, but that's what's really bothering her lately. Most of the people of color who her young son sees are people he's helping, not friends of his parents. And she's very concerned about the message that's sending.

This is someone who's making a real effort. She's a great friend, a great person, and a new role model for me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


I've been accepted into the Summer Writers Institute at Washington University in St. Louis! Hooray!

Now I just have to go about arranging child care and time off work . . .

And I'm thinking - just thinking, mind you - of growing this experience into an application to the MFA program at The University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Paul, it looks like that new computer you bought me is going to be even more expensive than you thought. He's hoping it starts giving something back someday. In the meantime, I've decided not to name this one "Nerd" like its older sibling.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Science Jokes

Scene: a scientist is writing her thesis ("fruksis") to finish up her PhD. It's down to the wire and stress is high.

Astrocytes are Insensitive

I'm losing it. I just wrote "astrocytes are insensitive" in my fruksis and now I can't stop laughing. It's funny...really.

First response in comments: It's just nerves.

HAH HAH HAH! I thought this was so funny that I had to tell Paul right away. He had to immediately call and share with his sister, a high school chemistry teacher.

She responded,

A physicist, a biologist and a chemist are all walking at the beach.

The physicist is observing the waves. Water moving back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. She decides that it's time to do some fluid dynamics experiments with this very interesting new liquid, so she goes into the water - and drowns.

Meanwhile, the biologist is in awe with all the aquatic animals and the algae and all the biodiversity around him, so he decides to go explore the ocean. As he's never been to the beach before either, he drowns also.

The chemist, who has been sitting on the sand nearby, has been observing what the biologist and the physicist were doing, and how they disappeared into the water. The chemist then takes out a notepad and writes down one single observation:

"Physicists and biologists are soluble in ocean water"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I know that I was over-protective when Ellie was an infant. I'd read that perfumes could irritate a newborn, so I immediately stopped wearing anything with scent and implored my cologne-loving inlaws to do the same. I insisted that everyone wash their hands before holding her. I kept her home a lot.

In my defense, she did have a serious heart defect, and I was given to understand that it was imperative that she not get sick her first winter. And it worked; we made it through. Ellie caught her first cold over an April Easter weekend, when she was 6 months old, a safe 3 months after her heart surgery.

Discipline and protectiveness are a balancing act for new parents.

About a month after I started taking Ellie out of the house, we went to a playgroup for kids with Down syndrome. It was held in the gym of what's now Ellie's school. The bigger kids ran around and played with the equipment, while the parents and babies clustered on the mats at one end of the room.

There was a 2-year-old named Phoebe (not really; I was just watching Charmed) at the playgroup that first time we went. At this point, while I loved my daughter deeply and passionately, I was still dealing with a little bit of discomfort about Down syndrome as a large, monolithic, scary thing (was?!).

And Phoebe horrified me. She looked really disabled. And she acted, oh, she acted so horribly. She was sitting with the mamas and babies, but she was in no way careful of the babies around her. When she was frustrated or bored, she'd throw herself down and kick with abandon. And those heavy, leather shoes-over-orthotics seemed monstrously huge to me. When she was thirsty, she'd grab another child's sippy cup and drink. When she wanted a toy - even one of Ellie's specially clean ones that we'd brought from home - she'd grab that toy right out of another child's hands.

And her mother did very little about all this. Mainly, mom seemed to really enjoy relaxing and chatting with the other parents. In retrospect, this isn't so horrific for me, but at the time I was stunned. I didn't go back to that playgroup for a long, long time. It seemed to me that this mom had given up on her daughter ever learning discipline and appropriate behavior and was using her disability as an excuse not to try to teach her.

But now I understand that it was probably a relief for this mom to be in a place where her child wasn't expected to be normal. It was probably a rare occasion for her to get to sit down and talk to other moms who get it.

But at the time, I was scared to death of that child. I didn't want her scary, rough, germy self anywhere near my child, and I didn't want my child to be anything like her.

Of course, as these things go, some others are bound to see Phoebe when they look at Eleanor.

Several months later, we were at a party with friends. One family brought their little girl, who was about 5 months old at the time. Like most babies, Ellie was (and still is!) fascinated by other babies. We had been working on "gentle touch" and she knew better than to hit, bite, or scratch a little baby.

She just wanted to look at this lovely little creature on the floor next to her, and I was keeping a close eye out to make sure that Ellie didn't actually touch the little girl.

But her mama whisked that baby away from Ellie anyway, just as though Ellie were Phoebe.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Don't Overdo

Ellie and I had the best day today. We didn't do a darn thing. She woke up early with daddy, then went back to sleep. Once she woke up for good, I was ensconced on the couch, where I spent much of the day. Angry Housewife Eating Bon Bons, without the angry or the eating. Or the housewife.

I can't remember the last weekday I just stayed home all day. Sure, I made a couple of calls. But we had no activities, no appointments, no field trips, no productivity. It was awesome! But I don't think I'd like to do it very often.

Ellie was totally cute though. I love that she's at the age where I can say things like,

"Oh, my feet are just hanging off the edge of the bed, totally vulnerable. I sure hope nobody tickles my feet!"

And know that my feet will be tickled immediately. And effectively!

I also love that I can say things like,

"Ellie, go get a diaper," or, "Ellie, take your water out to the car with you so that we can meet Daddy at Bread Co. for supper," and have a reasonable expectation that these things might happen!

So cool. I know I say this at every stage, but I do love this age. It's the best one yet.

That said, some of the differences are becoming more pronounced too. There are some things that other kids her age do, but Ellie has real troubles with. And not just gross and fine motor activities, but also cognitive skills. And there are behaviors she exhibits that are different from most typically developing kids too. Sometimes she gets so excited that she roars, and I can totally identify. I know exactly what that emotion feels like. I also know, like most typically developing kids learn very early on, that we don't just roar as a relief valve when we're excited.

We learn to stifle our excitement and keep it shoved down so deep inside that we can release it in smaller, more socially acceptable ways. And we can be much cooler. So I don't really discourage the roar yet. I still love its honesty and innocence.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Niece. Or Nephew.

My sister, who's been trying to conceive for two years, is pregnant. She's due in mid-January, assuming that all goes well. It's early days yet, of course. But it seems to me that those who have such a hard time getting pregnant deserve stress- and drama-free pregnancies and childbirth experiences. If only life worked on "fair" more often.

I hope it's true in my sister's case, even though she's carelessly stomping on my plans to host Christmas here at my home this year.

But life isn't fair to my middle sister. She jokes that she's been smited because she has no morals. I won't comment on that, except to say that she could certainly be a much worse person than she is.

But she seems to be oddly susceptible to cancer. She's 28 years old. She's had "irregular" cells removed from her cervix, and from the bottom of her foot. Oh, and there was that little incident with the brain tumor. So of course it makes me anxious that she used Clomid to conceive, even though there's no hard science to prove a link between the drug and ovarian cancer. It could be that the "evidence" is circumstantial, or correlation rather than causation. I hope so. But who develops skin cancer-like cells on the sole of her foot? And what must it be like to live in her head?

Congrats, little sis. I worry about you. And I wish you all the best. I want you to grow old and fat and happy with many grandbabies.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Gee! Haw!

This week, I lost my last grandparent. It seems that I should be sad, but I'm not. Perhaps it will hit me later. But in reality, it seems that I lost my grandfather long ago, when my grandmother died. I defined my grandfather so much by his relationship with my grandmother, and so did he. I was 13 when she died, and we've been saying a long, slow, painful goodbye ever since. The last couple of years, there was no hint left of the man I remember. It should never be like that for anyone.

My grandfather was born in 1908. When he was a serious little boy, his father bought a brand new Model T Ford. My great grandfather was a farmer, and he worked all day every day with mules. Mules pulled the plows and did most of the heavy farm labor. On Sunday mornings, they'd ride into town to church in horse drawn wagon. Can you imagine? My grandfather remembers with fondness hitching a ride on my grandmother's family wagon. They were such a big family - 2 parents and 6 kids - that their wagon had several benches, like pews.

Anyway, on this particular day, Young Grandpa was out taking a ride in the Model T with his dad. They came to a bend in the road.

"Haw! Haw!" called my great-grandfather.

The car went straight - off the road and into the ditch.

"You'd better drive this thing on home," my great-grandfather said to his very young son. And he never drove that car again.

My grandfather, on the other hand, had many, many funny driving stories. Sometime I'll tell you the one about my grandmother, the dip in the road, and the cigar.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Self Control

I might be off for a couple of days, funeral-going and whatnot. But I have a new laptop and the hotel has free wi-fi, so many things are possible!


I tend to be pretty sympathetic with people I know. But with people I don't know - people who aren't always as real to me . . .

I tend to be most judgmental of others in areas where I'm most judgmental of myself. I assume that's pretty typical.

I suppose it makes sense, then, that my mother often teaches me things then chastises me for them.

Like sanitizing her hands at the door before leaving a visit with my grandfather and then washing thoroughly with soap and water immediately upon arrival at home. And never sitting on the blue chair in his room. But chastising me for being "compulsive" as opposed to "careful" when I exhibit some of the same behaviors.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, my book club's selection from last month. Not once did I think: Snap out of it! Stop whining! Just get out of bed and live your life. And I don't even know the essay authors. That's a testament to their very, very good writing.

Compulsions, Depression, Eating: when it's about me, it all comes down to self control, really.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Beastly is the New Black

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy the women in my book club? And how great it is to meet with these intelligent women who have different tastes than I have, to read things that I would never otherwise have read? Oh. Well, now I've mentioned it again.

Tonight we discussed Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster.

Bitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass,Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office:

Mine is the story of how a former haughty ex-sorority girl went from having a household income of almost a quarter million dollars to being evicted from a ghetto apartment...

My life's a modern Greek Tragedy, as defined by Roger Dunkle in The Classical Origins of Western Culture: a story in which "the central character, called a tragic protagonist or hero, suffers some serious misfortune which is not accidental and therefore meaningless, but is significant in that the misfortune is logically connected."

In other words? The bitch had it coming.

And I am that bitch.

Right. Well, there's certainly truth in advertising here. My favorite part was the line at the end where she says, "I think it's obvious at this point that I haven't learned a damn thing."

That's true too!

Jen Lancaster is funny. Her book is well-paced and interesting. She's incredibly shallow and mean and utterly lacks compassion for others, and she's OK with that.

Personally, I think we've got too much of that in our society as it is, and yet another book suggesting that it's OK to be that way, well, I have a hard time getting on board with that.

I did laugh some when I read it.

But not at the (many! many!) "retard" jokes. Hah hah hah.

I think everyone else in my bookclub liked the book a whole lot more than I did.

The woman who hosted tonight's gathering (lovely woman!) recently moved. It's been said, and it's very true, that St. Louis is a community of neighborhoods. We have many, many suburbs (the city itself is relatively small) and each suburb has a unique vibe. Tonight's hostess and her husband had a huge house in Best Suburb. They sold it and built a new home in nearby Very Nice Suburb.

There's a road named after Best Suburb and the neighborhoods immediately off this road are very nice neighborhoods indeed, as one might expect.

When tonight's hostess gives directions to her new house (gorgeous house!) she always gives them as if one is coming from Best Suburb Road, and as if her home is just off this road. When, in actuality, her house is about 2 blocks from Another, Larger Road and is over a mile from the smaller, wholly residential Best Suburb Road.

But it sounds so nice to live off Best Suburb Road, you know?

Where's your secret Jen Lancaster?


When I was in first grade, I thought that "elemeno" was an adjective to describe the very special letter "P." I didn't know what "elemeno" meant, and I didn't know why "P" was so special, but I was 6 and there were lots of words I didn't know yet. I was used to that.

I knew how to read, of course. But I can't remember a time when I didn't read whole words. The Alphabet Song was a song to me. I got that it was about letters and letters made words, but it's not like I was singing The Alphabet Song while sight-reading in first grade.

I still remember the feeling of incredible confusion followed by clarity and embarrassment when it all became clear. I was working on an alphabetizing exercise and trying to figure out where to place a word that started with L, M, N, or O, and using The Alphabet Song to help me. I ran through the song several times in my head, then decided to "cheat" by looking up at the alphabet posted above the chalkboard. Lightbulb!


I'm applying for the Summer Writers Institute at Washington University this summer. In Creative NonFiction/Memoir. I'm late to this decision, and late to the application process, though I'm told that the Institute isn't full and they're still accepting applicants. I don't know how hard it is to get in. I do know that my sample piece is very new and very rough. But I really, really want to do this. So maybe they'll want my money enough to take me anyway.

Paul's reading my sample right now. He's laughing aloud and riding some emotional waves, but he's not exactly an objective reader. After all, he's reading something that he actually lived, so he's tapping into memories.

Come to think of it, if I can get him to access his memories, most of which he keeps buried somewhere deep in his subconscious or lower, then perhaps I am doing something right after all.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, May 08, 2006

There's No Good Time to Die

My parents called early last week to tell me that it was time for my grandfather to move into hospice. They'd had a long conversation with his doctor, and although it's been years since my grandfather was the same person I remember from my childhood, it was the first time that the word "Alzheimer's" was mentioned. My grandfather always expected - and wanted - to "go" first. Ever since my grandmother died in 1987, he's been talking to her picture daily and telling us goodbye at regular intervals.

But he's remarkably healthy and he hasn't died. He turned 98 last month, but this isn't a glad circumstance. My grandfather has always been a strong, intelligent, and incredibly dignified man. Over the past 10 years or so, he's gradually lost all of that. He would have been devastated to see how he's ended up. And he's outlived nearly everyone he knew. My father visits his dad daily - the nursing home is blocks from my parents house - and I know that this is incredibly hard on him, too.

But on Thursday, Grandpa "failed" his hospice test. You can only be in hospice care for a maximum of 18 months. Thursday was a "good" day, and there was no guarantee at that time that he had only 18 months yet to live. Reprieve.

Then, early Saturday morning, my dad got a call from the nursing home. My grandfather hadn't eaten or had anything to drink since that good spell on Thursday. He was unresponsive. He was agitated. He was moving to hospice immediately. So quickly!

One of his legs and his "good" hand were mottled and purple. They put him on a morphine patch to make him comfortable and ease his agitation. They offer food and water, but he's not "with-it" enough to take any. Now they're talking hours, or days. After so long, suddenly it's all happening so fast!

I don't know if I should go home or not.

On Saturday afternoon, when I got the call, I was on my way to a baby shower. Then there was a BBQ with friends that night. Today I have a meeting at work and had already arranged childcare for Ellie. Tuesday will bring our end of the year party for the bible study I attend and Ellie's last MusicGarten class of the season, as well as my book club. Thursday we have two therapy sessions and I have a night out with friends planned . . .

Of course it's not convenient. It's never convenient to make last minute schedule changes. And he won't know if I'm there or not. Would it be helpful to my parents if I'm there? Or will it be the added stress of company when they're dealing with this on their own, together?

My father would like to have my grandfather cremated, and schedule a memorial service and burial later, when it's more convenient. My grandfather currently lives up near my parents, but he will be buried where he used to live, closer to here.

Death isn't supposed to be convenient. One of the best things about a funeral is that it's always within a certain small window after someone dies. Everyone understands: you drop everything and you go.

If we don't do this now, right after he dies, when will we get around to it? I know my family. Organization and planning are not our strong suits as a group, and there *is* no such thing as a convenient time for all of us to get together.

Also, although I know it's silly and sentimental, I don't like the idea of my grandfather being cremated when my grandmother was not. Togetherness is what's always been most important to him, to both of them, and he would hate this. But it's not my decision, and it's not my father who's dying.

I just don't know if I should go home.


Update. It's all moot now. I'm fresh out of grandparents; my parents are the front-line generation now.

Like hitting "Publish" was a catalyst, my grandfather died moments ago. The funeral will be on Friday.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Well, She Married Well!

Surprise! This isn't a feminist rant.

Actually, it's an accolade for my cousin's husband, Tim, who's just awesome in a number of ways. My cousin is brilliant and awesome herself, of course.

But I think it's especially neat that Tim got his own Yahoo! news bullet and was published in Nature . . . again.

My favorite quote from the article:
To put the trained starlings' grammar skills in perspective, Gentner said they don't match up to either of his sons, ages 2 and 9 months.
Here's a 2004 picture of Ellie with her second cousin the grammarian, and parts of their smartie-pants daddies.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Congratulations to all this week's new mamas!

Crazy Cat Woman

And also to the woman who confessed her secret pregnancy to me. I will not tell until you begin to show! Then all bets are off.

And now I'm off to clean my new desk. Then the bathrooms. For superstitious reasons.

Does anyone know where I could get a chef's uniform cheaply and quickly? Like, tomorrow?

Monday, May 01, 2006


Taking Ellie to school this morning, I saw several lessons in contrast.

I saw a sign advertising a boxing event called "Superbrawl" at the Family Arena next weekend.

I saw a woman pulling away from Ellie's school in her minivan, frantically puffing on a freshly lit cigarette.

I parked next to a shiny, beautiful red Corvette . . . with an infant seat riding shotgun.

Then, back out on the main road, I saw the most honest bumper sticker statement I've ever seen. On the left of the pick-up-truck's rear window was a bright, new-looking W'04 sticker. On the right side of the rear window, battered and looking as though someone had tried to peel it off in little pieces, was an American Flag sticker.

So true.

Don't Choke!

I made a low-carb chicken pot pie for dinner tonight. Ellie enthusiastically stabbed a mushroom slice with her fork . . . and choked on it.

"Are you choking?" asked Paul.


As if we practice this nightly, I stood up and moved behind Ellie in one smooth motion. I picked her up while pressing firmly against her stomach, and out popped the mushroom before I even had her out of her booster seat. It was so fast, she didn't even have time to get scared. Disaster averted!


Also, I didn't realize that Ellie had the fine motor coordination to do threading yet. It turns out that she does; she threaded her own DAFO this morning!