Saturday, February 28

Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Foolish

So, my friend Jane had this little problem yesterday. Her daughter, Maggie, spilled most of a bottle of syrup on the kitchen floor. Jane was beside herself. She already wasn't feeling well, since she'd awakened this morning with the family cold she'd been trying to avoid. Maggie had previously ruined one dinner before it was eaten, so this mess on the floor was just about all Jane could take.

In her brain-addled state, Jane left the mess on the floor until she was able to think of an effective cleaning method. She sent Maggie into the bath tub to wash her hands and feet of the goo, which was now collecting all the stray bits of dust and hair from the carpeting.

After the bath was complete, both girls of the house sat together with the day's movie running a second or third time through. Jane wrote to all her friends on the internet about the big messes she'd encountered over the course of the evening. Unfortunately, although she'd been able to help her brother with an algebraic equation earlier in the day, she neglected to figure the variable M into the cleaning equation.

Yes, folks, it's sad but true. Maggie, left to her own devices, decided to spread the puddle around the kitchen to cover more floor space. Through the fog that was her thought process, Jane heard a suspicious slurping sound coming from the kitchen. She called out, "Maggie? What are you doing?"

"Just playing," came the high-pitched answer. Jane hauled herself off the chair in time to see her little sticky-handed (and -footed) child backing away from the smeared syrup AAACK onto the dining room rug!

Another bath was in order. Jane left her daughter splashing in the tub to investigate the further damage. Actually, it wasn't that bad, she decided. The pool was bigger now, but not nearly so deep. While Maggie finished her bath and got ready for bed, Jane filled a plastic bowl with hot soapy water and grabbed the sponge from the sink. She found that the plastic scrubby side worked wonders in scraping off the bits that had already dried. The smooth spongy side cleared it all off and was easily rinsed out in the bowl. It even worked on the carpet.

As the evening came to a close, order (or what passes for it in Jane's house) had been restored. Maggie slept comfortably. Jane decided to laugh rather than cry and, for the hilarity of us all, I--uh, I mean she chose to share her continued adventures with the internet at large.

Friday, February 27

Soup ... Nuts!

The soup didn't turn out so well. My daughter did a great job of cutting the carrots and celery. She only needed slight direction in keeping the pieces of similar size. I cut the onions and garlic myself. We got everything into the pot, seasoned and simmering. Then my unofficial ADD kicked in. I mistakenly left the jars of thyme and bay leaves on the counter rather than putting them back up in the cupboard. I'd set the timer so that I would remember to stir the soup after about 15 minutes. When it went off, I discovered my daughter had been adding her own signature touch to the dish: the rest of the bottle of thyme. I sent her to her room while I dumped dinner attempt #1.

I decided not to try for another soup, but to just make some pasta and cheese. I set the water to boil and left the kitchen to sit back down. My daughter decided that another visit of her own to the kitchen was in order. While I was watching watching a movie and browsing the internet, she was smearing Karo syrup around on the kitchen floor.

And right now, it's still there. I haven't decided how best to clean a quarter-inch-deep puddle of corn syrup off the vinyl tile. Any ideas?


I'm trying hard not to be down for the count. I don't think I'm making it. At least things aren't this bad here. Yet. We don't have that many eggs, though, so we may be in the clear ...

My daughter has been learning knife safety the last couple of weeks. Maybe I'll let her make me some chicken soup. I just asked and she liked the idea. I don't believe my comfy chair fits in the kitchen for oversight though. Sigh. Guess I'll just have to camp on the floor against the bottom cupboards. The one next to the dishwasher is the imaginary doctor's office anyway (or maybe it's the hospital, I've forgotten). Sick dolls get taken there, anyway. Perhaps it will work for sick mamies as well.

Wednesday, February 25

Not Sick Yet

Still wondering if I'll be coming down with the family cold, but so far I'm in the clear. In fact, I had a wonderful morning on my own while Adam and our daughter lay low at home.

Among other things, while I was out, I started getting caught up on my 2009 Reading List updates. Check out the list for new reviews of:



Tuesday, February 24

Fat Tuesday

Quick, you've got nine more minutes to eat chocolate.

I haven't decided what I'm doing Lenten-wise. I feel completely out of the liturgical loop.

That and I'm expecting to get sick tomorrow. We've had a nasty head cold making the rounds here. My daughter spent most of the last hour and a half before bed just completely unhinged from being sick and overtired.

I may be missing for a few days. We'll see how it goes.

Have a Blessed Ash Wednesday.

Monday, February 23

Sometimes It's Hard

I want to be consistent in my parenting, but I want to pick my battles.
I want my daughter to obey, but I want her to think for herself.
I want to encourage reading, praying, using the bathroom, asking questions; but I want bedtime to last 15 minutes rather than an hour and a half.
I want my daughter to know I am always here for her, but I want some time away from her.

Before I became I parent, I didn't realize what a balancing act it would be. Family time, me time, dependence, self-sufficiency, creativity, task completion, attachment, and on and on it goes.

Some nights, I'm just tired.

Sunday, February 22

The Songs They Sing in Sunday School

As all the parenting books tell me, I am my child's first teacher. As we plan to homeschool, I've often thought of myself as being my child's only teacher. I realize today just how wrong that concept is.

Since she was about 18 months old, our daughter has participated in Sunday School classes. To a greater or lesser degree, each of the classes she's attended have been age appropriate, theologically sound, and empirically accurate. Today, those lesser limits may have been stretched down a bit.

Driving home from church, I was treated to a song they apparently learned in Sunday School this morning, sung to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round."

The bears in the jungle say
'Thank You, Lord'
'Thank You, Lord'
'Thank You, Lord'
Roar, roar, roar

And on that last line, she put her little hands up and flexed her fingers as if to make bear claws of her fingernails.

Saturday, February 21

Wonder Drugs

Attention boys and those of you for whom frank discussion of bodily functions is distasteful: this post is not for you. Save yourself the trouble and just go now. I promise I'll have something else for you to read another day, but you really won't appreciate this one.

Are they gone? Okay, good. Now we can talk about cramps. Period cramps, I mean. The yucky, nasty, I-just-want-to-curl-up-on-the-bed-in-the-fetal-position-and-whine kind of cramps. I've got them ... or rather, I had them this morning. Then I took a couple of Excedrin. Et voilà I'm feeling so much better. And you thought Excedrin was just for headaches!

Actually, I did, too. Then I took this trip to New Zealand. Funny story, really. I was visiting my friend from high school who'd moved there with her family. For some reason, international travel always brings my period early. I don't know why, but I understand it's pretty common.

Of course, while I was visiting for 10 days, my period showed up. I'd had some light cramps in the morning, but nothing bad, so we heading off for our day excursion. There we were, visiting some little touristy village or another, and I found myself suddenly having trouble walking because the pain was so intense. Not wanting to cut our day short, we stopped in at a gift shop to take a look at their selection of pain relievers. I didn't know any of them and my friend only recognized one brand. We asked the clerk which would be the best. She asked what the trouble was. I explained and she decisively set one package on the counter. "You want this one," she told me. "It's the strongest."

The box was labeled Panadol. My friend shrugged, and we paid for the pain reliever and a bottle of water. I took two tablets. Within about 20 minutes, the pain was completely gone. I was ecstatic. We spent the rest of the day walking and wandering and having a blast. I took the box home with me and used the pills with care, trying to make them last.

Several months later, a woman at work was complaining about PMS and nasty cramps. I told her about my miracle medication from New Zealand. I said I'd never seen it here, but it worked wonders. The box listed paracetamol as the active ingredient, but I didn't know what that was. I also mentioned my sadness at the fact that my stash was just about gone. My coworker looked up paracetamol on the internet and came back to tell me it was just another name for acetaminophen. All this time, I'd been hoarding the Kiwi version of Excedrin!

The next time "Aunt Flo" came to visit, and pretty well every time since, I was all stocked up. I don't always get horrible cramps, but when I do, I'm ready. And as an added bonus, Excedrin works great headaches, too.

Friday, February 20

In Which I Babble Like a Brook

Adam's new work schedule started this week. Now, rather than working eight hours a day Sunday through Thursday, as he has been since the end of December, he's working 10-hour days Friday through Monday. It's been a very strange week so far. On the plus side: he now gets three scheduled days off each week rather than two, the pay is slightly higher, and we have plenty of regular working hours to take care of personal business. The only negatives I've seen so far are that we've now lost our whole weekend (and all it's associated social activity), and the days he works can get pretty long. Overall, I think we come out on the positive side of things, or will, once we get used to it.

One of the pieces of personal business we were able to take care of this past midweek was a visit to the eye doctor. Both Adam and I are waiting for a trial pair of contacts. Wa-hoo! I haven't worn contacts regularly in several years, but I've been missing them lately. Now that we have good vision insurance, I'm excited to get some new lenses.

I've been getting behind in my book reviewing. Are you all reading and appreciating them, or should I just offer the list and the smilies? Right now I'm four books behind. If there is great interest, I'll be happy to make the effort to keep reviewing, but if not ... well, to the best of my knowledge, there aren't any health benefits to book reviews. Unless you're reviewing a book about good health, I suppose.

The last couple of years, I've been thinking I need to muster up a greater appreciation for sports besides football. I find myself set rather adrift after the Superbowl, not really knowing what to do with my Sunday afternoons. For several years I tried to like hockey, but I just didn't understand enough of it to make it really interesting. Basketball is okay. It's probably my second-favorite, but the score changes too fast. Maybe I should just stick to football and consider the rest of the year "Crochet Season" where I pop in a movie on Sunday afternoon and work on my crafting.

Thursday, February 19

Mrs. Gray Goes to Pierre

A Day in the Life of a Would-Be Lobbyist

On Tuesday I went to listen to the debate of a bill which would have allowed Certified Professional Midwives to be licensed in the state of South Dakota. Unfortunately, the debate never happened as the bill was unexpectedly shot down after a successful smoke out last week. Although the visit was exhausting and disappointing, the trip was also rather a unique experience for me. I expect I will be visiting the capitol again in the coming years, but here is what happened the first time.

5:30 AM

I hear the alarm go off in my bedroom. I am not in my bedroom. I'm on the computer in the living room, checking my e-mail. I'd had a change of heart late last night and didn't want to go to the House session today. Adam and I talked about my reasons and, at about 3:30 AM, I finally decided we should go. We wanted to arrive by 11:00 AM, so we were getting an early start. I had tried to sleep for a few hours, but was too restless.

6:00 AM

We head out the door. I am surprised by how few people we see getting ready for work and driving on the roads. I guess I'm really not in the suburbs anymore. If everybody needs to be to work by 8:00, they wouldn't have to leave the house until about 7:30.

7:00 AM

My daughter needs a potty break. We're about the same distance away from home as we were the day we drove to the Corn Palace. In fact, just as I think this, we pass the exit to the little town we stopped at that day so she could use the rest room at the general store. I tell Adam I don't suppose that store would be open quite yet. We ask our daughter if she can hold it and she says, "No." Adam pulls off the road at the next exit (near a rare clump of trees) and gets out of the car with her. Adam and our daughter stand and squat, respectively, outside. After a few minutes, they return to the car. Apparently, it wouldn't come out. Climbing back into her carseat, my daughter shares, "My little bum is very cold."

7:15 AM

I spot a sign for a rest area and ask if a bathroom is still needed. We pull off and visit the facilities. It comes out.

7:30 AM

I ask Adam if it would be okay with him for me to take a nap; I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open. He says that's fine and I drift off into that light sleep you find when you're exhausted, but can't really get comfortable.

8:30 AM

Adam is pulling the car into a gas station as I wake up. I ask if we need gas. He tells me we don't, but he needs some caffeine. He pulls into the drive-thru lane at Arby's and rolls down the window. No one asks what he wants. I tell him I don't think they are open for breakfast. He say, "Oh, it is only 8:30, isn't it?" and pulls into the parking lot. We take a group trip into the store where he fills up a cup with tea and the rest of the party visits the ladies room. While he waits in line to pay, we check out the gift section of the store. My daughter finds a two-headed puppet she wants to buy. I am amused by an orange baseball-style hunting cap with "Die Birdie" stitched across the bill.

10:00 AM

We arrive in Pierre. Turns out I was right--we could have just driven into town and looked for the dome. We are pleasantly surprised to also find a McDonald's Playland location nearby. Once we get to the capitol building, we drive through the parking lot and past several side streets, but the only spot available has been designated for 30 minutes only. I suggest we take it, find our group, and if it seems like he needs to be there more than 30 minutes, he can move the car.

According to the e-mail I was sent, our group leader's daughters would be meeting us at the back door and directing us to her. We walk around each floor of the building, past every entrance, and don't find our group leader or her daughters. We also don't find the house floor, which I expected to be in the middle of things. Finally, I suggest we take one more look around and if we still can't find them, I'm ready to go home.

On our final turn through the third floor, Adam spies a group of women with babies. "Do you think that's them?" he asks me. I walk over for a closer look and spot the group leader, whom I've never met in person, but have seen in photos. I introduce myself, pick up a homebirth button and name tag, and ask what's happening now. We step onto the house floor and she points out the desks of our district representatives. Neither are on the floor at this time. Adam decides to take our daughter off for a visit to the McDonald's and we agree to meet back up at a few minutes before 1:00, when we're invited to observe the democratic caucus.

11:00 AM

Not having found anybody to talk to, I've gathered with the rest of our group in the hallway outside the house floor. The doors close to the public at 11:00, so we have done what we can and sit to chat, get to know one another a bit, and pass babies back and forth. I feel a little left out that I'm the only one who doesn't seem to be wearing a small child in a sling or carrier, but a new friend lets me borrow her baby several times while she takes care of other matters.

12:00 PM

Trying to avoid the rush, a few of us (three moms and three kids) have decided to grab some lunch at the congressional cafe. As with so many places catering to a captive audience, the food is pricey, but the taste only so-so. Each of the moms enjoy a caffeinated beverage in preparation for staying awake the rest of the afternoon.

12:30 PM

Lunch ends with a well-executed trip for six to the restroom. Stepping back into the hallway, we meet Adam and our daughter who have been looking for me. The group of 8 now heads back to the third-floor hallway to sit on the squishy benches once again with the rest of the supporters.

12:45 PM

Adam suggests heading over to the caucus a bit early to make sure we are able to find seats by the door. We do. The rest of the group, along with the democratic representatives, aides, and a few other visitors follow shortly.

1:00 PM

We listen to discussion of a bunch of bills that, for the most part, do not concern us. When they get to the homebirth bill, ears perk up (at least mine do). My daughter chooses this moment to desperately want my attention. I insist that she talk to her father. Several representatives speak out against the bill, but one leans over to ask us how many states have passed similar resolutions. He offers the final comment that 24 states have already done this and there haven't been any problems, so they should at least vote to hear the debate.

2:00 PM

We're sitting in the fourth-floor gallery, facing the representatives, but not able to see the front. Roll call is a mad dash of the clerk calling out names as fast as she can and a random cacophony of here, Here, HERE from around the room. Our bill is first on the agenda, so it only takes a few minutes of "old business" before it's go time. Several people offer comments on the vote, including one creative speech focusing on the word "not" (the official vote is to strike the word "not" from the committee's recommendation that the bill not be debated on the floor).

The comments end and the vote is called and we all sit forward in our seats. Those along the edges and across from us can see the digital tally boards, but we can not. I whisper to Adam that I'm going to walk around the side so I can see. Just as I stand up, the clerk announces that all the representatives have voted. The final score is 33-32. I'm shocked that we have lost without even a debate. I tell Adam, "Let's go" and we quietly walk out.

2:30 PM

We drive away from the capitol in a much more somber mood than we'd arrived in the morning. We stop to get gas on the way out of town. We talk a little bit about the day. Both Adam and I agree we are glad we came.

3:45 PM

We stop for a caffeine refill and our daughter insists she is starving and must have a gas-station hot dog. Trying not to think too much about what might be in--or on--the dog, I get one for her. As we drive away, she takes her last bite and tells us we need to stop again because she's still hungry. I suggest she let her tummy settle and we'll get dinner later. With Adam's blessing, I settle in for another car nap.

4:45 PM

I wake up as we stop in a parking area attached to a vacant lot. I ask Adam what's going on. He tells me he needs a quick power nap, unless I am prepared to drive home. I shake my head and we settle in to nap. Our daughter reiterates her need for food, a bathroom, and to get out of her seat and walk around. I sigh and tell Adam I'll drive. We head down the road to another gas station, where she promptly decides she doesn't need to go. I get out for another bottle of caffeine and some chips for us all to share.

5:00 PM

Now she's thirsty. I won't let her have the caffeinated soda, but I see a sign for another rest area. Adam agrees to fill up her McDonald's cup with water. As he leaves the car, I suggest she get out and run around for a minute while she has the opportunity. She gets out to run back and forth along the grass, then meets her dad as he exits the building with her water. They walk back to the car together and she announces that she needs to pee now. I tell Adam I'll take her. We race through the grass, use the facilities, and race back.

6:30 PM

We make it back to our exit off the interstate. I am so ready to be home. We stop for a bite to eat because neither Adam nor I can imagine mustering the energy to cook. "After dinner," we announce, "it's straight to bed."

8:00 PM

Lights out. We all drift quickly off to sleep ensconced in blankets and dreams of the backs of our eyelids. Maybe next year we can carpool.

Wednesday, February 18


I'm exhausted. The whole family drove to the state capitol yesterday, seven hours round trip. I'll share more tomorrow, but today, I just need to rest!

Monday, February 16


Yup. It's that time again. My little girl is getting bigger by the minute. In fact, she grew an entire inch in just the last month! No wonder she's been so hungry.

Today she turns four years old. Sigh. Where is her childhood going?

This morning she got special birthday cinnamon bread. We have collected some treats for her birthday outing, which will happen sometime next week. She'll have two tokens to spend on video games at her favorite burger joint and quarters enough for two or three rides at the mall. She'll also be getting a gift card in the mail from her grandparents, so we're going to take her shopping and she can pick out some new clothes and toys and pay all by herself.

I was hoping that we would have had a chance to make some friends for her by now, but we're still looking for a church and we haven't found any kids community groups to join yet. She's requested a purple hippopotamus party, so maybe we can do that in the summer after we're a bit more involved and have connected with some new friends.

Saturday, February 14

Help, My Daughter's Lost in Cyberspace!

Well, that's not quite true. She's not lost, exactly, more like being held hostage in my phone. You see, when we got these new phones, Adam was all excited about the camera feature. We've never had camera phones before, and, frankly, I didn't really see the point, since we have a perfectly good digital camera that does a fine job of taking pictures. But the phones were free, so I shrugged and said, "Why not?"

Apparently, I should have stuck to my guns, because now I can't seem to figure out how to get the pictures OFF the phone and onto my computer. I looked up directions on the Motorola website, but their instructions only covered how to send myself a picture message. That option is moot because we had the service blocked to keep little fingers from ... ahem ... accidentally sending such messages. The FAQ recommended the optional program "Motorola Phone Tools" to download (upload? I really need to figure out which is which!) with a USB cable. The software is $35.00 from the Motorola store. Oh, and our cell phone model (VU204) isn't on the list of supported hardware. Grrrrr.

We've got about half a dozen pictures trapped in our phones that we can't get out! Anybody have another idea? Or is she just stuck forever in the handsets?

How's Your Heart?

When I was in college, I had a friend who used to hate Valentine's Day, with all the attendant emphasis on being part of a couple. He referred to the occasion as "Single Awareness Day" or S.A.D. I have had a year or two (or twelve) in my life when S.A.D. was all I could manage, but for the most part, I'm much more interested in being a part of things, even if it's not in the conventional way.

So, today, I'd like to share with all my single, married, engaged, divorced, separated, and involved readers some ways to make this holiday that focuses on love meaningful for whomever is special in your life. Some of the ideas below may be more appropriate for a significant other. Others might be just right for a parent, child, sibling, or friend. Take your pick and make a fun day of it. Or, hey, choose several and celebrate all year!
  • Buy a package of note cards and write to your loved one (LO) every day or few until the cards run out
  • Do (or arrange for someone else to do) LO's least-liked chores for a few days or weeks
  • Get tickets to a series of LO's favorite movies, ballgames, symphonies, gallery openings, rodeos or whatever he or she is into, and attend together
  • Write out a bunch of quotes and simple thoughts about love, marriage or encouragement on strips of paper, then roll up the strips inside empty capsule casings (like these) and put them in a recycled medicine bottle
  • Decorate LO's car, room, or office with a banner (I used index cards strung on twine) declaring your love
  • Print and frame a favorite or meaningful poem
  • Buy a book of short stories or poetry and set a time every day or every week to read aloud to each other
  • Arrange for a special, deluxe spa treatment, such as a massage, manicure or pedicure
  • Write short love stories starring you and your special someone
  • Have a good photo taken of yourself with LO and frame it or put it up as the wallpaper on his or her computer
  • Start a private (or public) blog and write about different ways LO is wonderful
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13

Remember That Doll?

You may recall I had that contest and the winner wanted a crocheted doll for her daughter. I mentioned that I would keep everyone updated on the progress of said doll. My bad.

I finished her about a month ago. I think she turned out pretty cute.

The doll's body and dress are based on patterns I found on Ravelry (here and here, respectively). I used the same shell stitch for the slippers that is in the skirt, but otherwise didn't follow any particular pattern for those. The hood and mitts I made up as I went along (and forgot to keep notes again, sorry).

All it all it was a lot of fun. I'd made a few stuffed animals before, but never a doll. I really dislike tying ends in and sewing pieces together, so I've been thinking about how I might be able to cut down on the number of seams required by the pattern above. I especially liked making the doll's clothes and accessories. There is just something wonderful about small projects that can be completed in one sitting; it does wonders for my instant gratification cravings.

Thursday, February 12

A Strange Division

I miss my mom. Today marks the dividing point of having lived one half of my life with her and one half without.

Since her death, I've graduated high school and college; bought my first car, and my second car, and my third car; dropped out of grad school; had my first date; moved 15 times; gotten married; had a baby; mourned two miscarriages; lived 6,076 days.

Because she died while I was still in high school, I never really got to know her very much as a person, a friend. I often wish I could talk to her now about parenting, life choices, how to get tomato stains out of white shirts. I wish she could have come over after my daughter was born so I could show her off. She would have made a great grandma. She never met any of her grandkids here on earth; she died a month before the oldest was born.

My senior year of high school, I had a part in the school play, Thornton Wilder's Our Town. In the final act, Emily (the main character) has died and is allowed to choose a day in her life to relive. After a brief revisiting of her family at the breakfast table, she asks to be returned to her grave. Life moves too fast, she complains, and people don't take the time to realize what they're missing until it's too late.

I'll leave you with the chorus from one of my favorite songs by Chris Rice, "Life Means so Much" (on his album Smell the Color 9). Click here for a sample of the music.

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
Somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much

Wednesday, February 11

Thoughts Worth Thinking

steeping.. from abirumania offers a thought about why God may be harder to hear.
Metronome from At A Hen's Pace explains why losing weight (spiritually) isn't such a good idea.
As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God from The Times (London) gives an interesting perspective on Christian missionary work.
From Tears to Joy, an oldie from Today's Christian Woman is the story of one woman's ministry to truly make a change in the hearts and lives of women considering abortion. Check out the ministry website at well at

Tuesday, February 10

I'm Sad Today

Since Adam and I first considered moving to South Dakota, I've been somewhat involved with a group that is working to pass legislation through the SD state congress which would permit homebirth with direct-entry midwives (those who are trained to attend births, but may not be an RN or have a graduate degree). This morning the bill was debated in the SD House Health and Human Services Committee. I was not able to attend the hearing in Pierre, but when all was said and done, the committee voted 10-3 against the bill, citing the fatuous grounds that licensing Certified Professional Midwives would lower the standards of care within the state. One of the committee members, a physician, is quoted in an article about the vote as saying, "We must keep in mind the fate of the newborn or unborn child."

I am sad to see that these individuals we as taxpayers have entrusted to speak on our behalf cannot take a moment to read any of the hundreds of peer-reviewed studies showing the safety of homebirth with a trained attendant. One of the group members who did attend the hearing commented that every single speaker for the bills opposition was a paid lobbyist or staff member of a medical organization--the very people who stand to lose (money) if this legislation is enacted.

If you don't take a chance to look at the article, I did want to share this one quote with you, because it just seems to exemplify the absurd lack of logic followed by those voting the bill down.

South Dakota had more than 12,000 live births in 2007, and only 26 of those babies were born at home, said Doneen Hollingsworth, state Health Department secretary. Only 19 of those were intended to be home births, which indicates home births are not supported by most South Dakotans, she said.

Monday, February 9

That Must Have Been One Awful Shelving Blunder

Okay, I'm weird, but I thought this was really funny. We'll start with the back story as that probably makes it funnier.

I'm working on the computer ... well, mostly just goofing off at this point ... and my daughter is flipping through the channels on the TV (she loves playing with buttons and making stuff happen). I notice as she goes by a couple of networks that President Obama is on. Since it's not a news hour, I surf to Google News and find out he's holding a press conference about the stimulus plan. I click on the CNN coverage. The page I go to has a list of the most popular news stories on the sidebar. The top one reads Liberians facing mass deportation, which isn't funny at all, except that I read it to say Librarians were being deported!

I just couldn't imagine what the librarians could have done to elicit that sort of response from the government.

Sunday, February 8

Saturday, February 7

Happy Holidays to Me

Well, okay, so it's not like a real-live officially-sanctioned holy day. But, today, I get a whole big chunk of alone time.


See ya'll later.

Friday, February 6

Reading List: Now with Even More Books

I've updated my 2009 Reading List post with a new review as well as a collection of books I've started but discontinued reading.

Check it out.

(No pun intended)

(Well, maybe a little bit)

Thursday, February 5

One or the Other

I came across the following quote today from Penny Culliford in her book Theodora's Diary. It made me laugh. Theo is responding to her boyfriend's claim that he doesn't attend church because of the singing, especially the children's songs complete with hand motions.

    I hadn't thought about it before, but, when you consider it, it is an extremely strange thing to expect people to do. In fact, the whole procedure of a church service is quite bizarre. A group of people from different backgrounds and of different ages, with very little in common, gathers once or twice a week in a draughty stone building. They talk, not to each other, but to someone who died 2,000 years ago. They sing about gathering at the river, putting on armour, washing in the fountain and the blood of the lamb. They sit and listen while a man in a long dress tells them how to behave. They read from a book no bigger than a James Clavell novel, the same book people have been using for hundreds and hundreds of years, sometimes in an obsolete version of English. Occasionally they queue up to sip a tiny drop of wine and eat a crumb of bread, given to them by the man in a dress. The only part that really seems to make sense is the coffee at the end. Thinking about it like that, it's a wonder that Christianity as a whole and the Church of England in particular have survived as long as they have.

    I suppose it shows it must be true.

    Either that, or all Christians are two quiches short of a bring-and-share.

Tuesday, February 3

Monday Syndrome

I really can't believe I forgot about Monday Syndrome. It's vitally important to the rhythm of our week. How could I have forgotten about it? What was I thinking?

Oh, you aren't familiar with Monday Syndrome? Let me explain. I identified Monday Syndrome a few years back. The symptoms include irritability, whining, excessive frustration, and general havoc wreaking. My daughter is a master of Monday Syndrome.

It took me a few months, back then, to figure out why my Mondays were always so crummy. I finally realized it was really just a reaction to the weekend. For a brief period when my daughter was about 18 to 24 months, we had a really good well-scheduled day going. Meals, naps, playtimes, all were part of the everyday rhythm of life--at least on weekdays. Then we'd hit Saturday and Sunday. Daddy was home from work, we had errands to run, shopping to do, church to attend. The schedule went out the window.

Then came Monday. Back to our regularly scheduled routine. Only Daddy was gone at work now and she'd spent the last two days getting herself all out of whack. Rather than simply settling into the comfort of the weekday rhythm, my determined little one fought the constraints.

Sometime in the last 18 months, I'd forgotten what life was like when Adam went off to work every day. Now that we're starting to settle back into a regular life rhythm, I'm discovering Monday Syndrome has returned as well. It hit with a vengeance yesterday. In fact, Monday Syndrome was so bad, it's even spilled over a bit into Tuesday. By tomorrow everything should be back to normal. I hope.

You know, learning the lessons of parenting is hard work. There should really be some sort of entrance exam for this sort of higher education.

Monday, February 2

I Think She's Just About Got It

My daughter and I were watching the movie Look Who's Talking today. At one point after the birth scene she looks at me and asks, "Do babies come out people's vulvas?" I say they do.

"Not all babies come out vulvas."

"No? Where do those babies come from?"

"Some babies come out of tummies."

"And how does that happen?"

She thinks for a moment, then responds "They have a doctor."

I ask, "The baby comes out of your tummy if you have a doctor?"

Vigorous nodding, "Yes."

Laughing, "And if you have a midwife, the baby comes from your vulva?"


Sunday, February 1

It's a Lot More Fun ...

... to go to a Superbowl party when you don't spend the majority of your time chasing an almost-four year old.

This afternoon and evening my brother's church hosted a potluck and showed the game on the big screen in the sanctuary. They had a bingo game planned for the kids, but the concept was unfamiliar and a bit too advanced for my daughter. She played for about six minutes at the start and another five minutes later on, but overall, the activity which seemed most appealing to her was running in circles or up and down the rows of chairs. I seemed to spend most of my night settling on the floor to watch another 30 seconds of the game just to clamber back up to make sure she wasn't getting herself (or anybody else) into trouble. Sitting on the floor, and getting off the floor, is a lot more difficult at my age than it is at hers.

We left in the middle of the third quarter. I'm glad we did. Watching the back-and-forth touchdown-for-touchdown ending to the game was much more enjoyable alone on my couch, knowing that, even if my daughter wasn't in my line of sight, she couldn't be too far away. There are a lot fewer options for causing trouble and a lot less stuff she can break here than they have at the church.

"Congrats" to all the Pittsburg fans. "Good game" to all the Cardinals fans. And for all the rest of us ... here's to a short off-season!

Go Bears!

But They're Happy Tears

She's off the vent. She's been breathing on her own for a full day. I can't say it any better than Rhys has. Go read here.