Thursday, December 25, 2008

Still Trying to Blog This....

It's been a while since I've had a chance to blog. But don't feel bad, wide world of Internet friends... I haven't had a chance to read a book or to cook a nice meal or to teach Wendy how to play the violin or anything.

In fact, I've been trying to get past those few sentences and on to a real entry for four days.

Teaching is hard, you guys. All right...not so much hard-(if you are into that sort of thing it's actually really fun)-as time consuming and stressful. And I also have that Wendy person at home....


I've been joking a lot lately about how I wish there was a pill for this. The stress, I mean. The stress of making a million decisions all day about where kids should sit and how they should pass papers around and whether or not they should go to the bathroom and which words to use so I don't crush egos/receive emails from parents. And then there is the paperwork. And trying to appear smart and professional in front of co-workers. And portfolio reviews.

Did I tell you guys the story about how I cried in front of my direct supervisor?

It's a great story. It has everything you want in a blog entry: Anticipation and angst over potential failure, humiliation and emotional seepage in place of the blindingly impressive intellect that one planned on displaying, eventual relief when one realizes that not only is one not going to die, but that there is actual approval and understanding in the universe...

I'll tell you that story sometime....

Right now, I should tell you the story about our kitchen.
Once upon a time, Mo had off from work for a non-denominational two-week "Winter break." Carl was there too. I don't know why. Holiday togetherness. That sounds good.

Anyway, all it took was a few days of dewy-eyed, loving togetherness before we started ripping the paper off the walls. Literally. Ripping paper off the kitchen walls and painting them orange. Why orange? BECAUSE. That's why.

Good story, huh?

Here's a picture of Wendy wanting nothing to do with Santa:

He didn't take it personally. She still got some good loot for Christmas. :-P

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mixed Messages

At a Monthly New Teacher Meeting

Administrator #1: Keep in mind that you must help inforce school rules.
Administrator #2: Like our policy against IPods.
A1: and cell phones.
A2: and food in class.
A1: and having hoods up.
A2: and hall passes at all times.
A1: But make sure you are having fun. Is everyone having fun teaching your first year?? Because to me, that is the most important thing. To have fun. And Don't sweat the small stuff, really.

A2: ...but also, keep in mind that your class is not your private kingdom. When you close the door, you are not really in charge. School policy is.

A1: Did anyone have trouble posting grades? ...or getting your lesson plans in? ....or with the printing center? Keep in mind; there are a lot of things that just won't work right every time. It's not a perfect world, and you guys know that. Sometimes you have to learn to roll with the punches. It's part of the fun of being a teacher, right?

A2: ...and think about this: GM is about to fold, and thousands of people will be out of a job. But you are still getting paid every two weeks, right? You have a job! And as long as people keep having kids, we'll all still have work to go to!

(keep it in mind)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Job Satisfaction

Realizing that, even though first-quarter grades are due tomorrow and you still have thirty-five projects to grade and you share a workspace with three other people who like to chat,

.....not to mention the lunch room for the entire Department, which happens to be standing behind you yelling things like WHY DID THE SCHOOL BUY THIS GRADEBOOK SOFTWARE? and WHAT DO YOU MEAN, CATCHER IN THE RYE IS OFF THE CURRICULUM???

......and you also have to type out and turn in all of your lesson plans from the past two weeks tomorrow too, and you only have a third of them done, but apparantly MAKE SURE YOU COME SEE MY BAND PLAY ON FRIDAY is very important to talk about right now...

.....and kids are coming to dump more work in your lap because they suddenly realized that maybe a 30% isn't the grade they want to show their Moms, and maybe their English teacher wants to read this fist-full of crumpled homework from four weeks ago....

....even though really bad school pizza was for lunch today... least I'm not getting a talking-to for folding pizza boxes too fast and making the other box people look bad. At least my work related problems do not involve pulling globs of pork fat out of a sink drain.

This is the life.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


*so. happy.*

I actually saw the whole thing the other night; Carl couldn't handle the idea of just turning off the TV and going to sleep????

So we watched. And had a hell of a day yesterday. But it was worth it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Those of you who have ever flown somewhere and had the thought cross your mind that the plane's engines were definitely going to explode, plunging you 40,000 feet to your fiery, depressurized doom; I have a question for you. Were you seated over a wing?

And while watching that metal blade slice through the clouds and the heat of it's passage distort the displaced air, were you ever seized with the absolute certainty that if you took your eyes off that wing for even a millisecond, the wing would surely snap off?

I have flown many times. I have flown ten times the number of elections in which I have voted. Tell me, frequent voters. If you take your eyes off the TV; fiery doom? I didn't think so four years ago...but then...

...and now, I am very sleepy, and after all, we don't vote by Neilson ratings...

Are you aware that most airplane parts are not bolted, nailed, stapled or screwed together, but glued?

Dear America,
I'm going to count to ten. When I open my eyes-you know what I want to see.
I have faith.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


It's been a busy October for us. We've all been working hard and squeezing as much family time as possible into the weekends. We've managed to do some cool Autumn harvesty type things, like drink cider and hug pumpkins,

...and Carl and I even mustered all of our collective creative energy to get a costume together for Wendy. Behold! The butterfly costume from Old Navy!

I didn't say our creative juices amounted to much. Hey, we had to choose between the butterfly, the kitty cat, and the poodle. You try to make that decision before lunch, surrounded by swarms of snarky moms and cranky kids, all rabid for spectacular Old Navy Halloween deals!

Wendy did love the Trick-or-Treating, though. As soon as she realized that she would get TREETS! LOOK DADDY! I GOT TREETS! just by knocking on doors, she was all about it. Her favorite Halloween treat is candy corn. Weird kid.

She got a good haul for someone so short. We came home with that black bucket filled to the top. We-I mean she made out pretty good!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I find myself in a conundrum.

Day in and day out, I experience countless situations that I would normally blog about in a heartbeat. There are the caricatures I could draw of the other teachers in my department. There are the endless moments of absurd bureaucracy that rival and often outshine any Office Space moments I ever had back at H & R Crock. (For example, the observation that an administrator scheduled for tomorrow, and then canceled after I spent all weekend preparing for it.) And the students. Oh. Oh the humanity. I would normally be blogging all of them til my fingers bled, there are so many gorgeous, mockable moments.

But I can't. Because talking about that sort of thing online...isn't that the sort of thing that can get you canned faster than a dolphin in a tuna net?

OMG, my people. I actually have a job that I don't want to get fired from.

I'll loosen up soon. I'm sure. I'll stop looking over my shoulder, expecting it to all be taken away and to wake up delivering pizza again.

I can tell you about how I am a "floater-" a designation just as awesome as it sounds. For those of you not in the know, being a "floater" means that I am one of the teachers without a room of her own, who travels from class to borrowed class, pushing all of her materials around on a cart. Only I don't even get a cart, because my rooms are downstairs and my "office" is upstairs, and although pushing a cart full of homework and office supplies down the stairs would be get the gist.

I put "office" in quotes there, because my "office" is actually a space shared with two other floaters, and also the department lunch room/lounge. Hells yeah. I'm movin on up.

Really, though, all of that is so low on my give-a-shit-o-meter. First-year teachers with classrooms, first-year teachers with a carts, and me? We all get paid the same. It doesn't really matter. I would probably find the cart kind of humiliating anyway. Eff em.

I goes where I please. (provided that it's 4th or 7th period. those are my drinking coffee and eating donuts periods.)

I'll tell you a good story as soon as I can think of one appropriate enough. I promise.

Monday, September 29, 2008

In Complete Contrast...

Dear internets,

When last we spoke I was feeling very disheartened. Sad. Desperate. Yes, even bitter. But that was two weeks ago, and I feel much better now due to recent developments that I haven't had very much time to sit and write about. I haven't had time to sit still for long at all. Because of my new job.

My new job at a school.

Where I now teach.

*does jig of joy*

I would like to sit and type all about it right now, but as you know, teachers (like me) get up early. And when teachers (like me) also have babies who still wake up at night, teachers (like me) are very very tired and want to go to bed at nine thirty. Which was twelve minutes ago.

I love you internets. I am not edgy or witty or interesting tonight, mostly because right now, I am too busy being happy.


Monday, September 15, 2008

More Adventures of the UnEmployable

My job search involves one of those catch-22 situations.

They all want to hire someone with more experience, which I can't get unless someone hires me. I thought that some of my other interviews went well. No drippy squirrels or wardrobe malfunctions. I thought that some of them were actually pretty good.

I know it's egotistical to watch TV and see the stock market crashing and big banks going out of business and the unbelievable polls showing McCain ahead 6% and feel that of course all of these things would happen. What else would happen on a Monday when I was positive that one of my interviews would call me back, but no one did. What other kind of day could there be in a world that lets me think that I can use my many thousands of dollars worth of college education to provide for my family so that maybe we can pay the oil bills and pay off some debt and buy this house and not be so consumed by angst every single day; but then sees to it that no one calls me?


I'm sorry, internets.
Mo is bitter today.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wherin I Prove Myself Classy.

Things to do at an interview to impress people (or possibly show that you are a tacky and horrible person):
  1. When asked why you want to teach, reply "for the money." (Funny, right? I thought so.)
  2. Wear only suit Monday. Go in to unexpected second interview on Tuesday morning wearing gray pants and button down blue shirt, looking like a Circuit City employee.
  3. Arrive soaking wet because you forgot your umbrella, had to park in the back of the building, and just ran across two parking lots through drenching rain. Talk to lots of suits about your "love of literature" looking like a frizzy, drippy squirrel.
  4. Realize that zipper is down and stealthily adjust the issue when principal in suit turns his back. Realize that secretary mostly likely saw you do that. (silently vow to burn these pants)
  5. Ask blunt question about the school's system of rigorous testing using the phrase "chafe under restrictions."

Interviews suck.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Mall. It's Like, TOO Much Fun.

Us: We are not buying you seventy dollar sneakers.
Her: But I need shoes.
Us: Not for seventy dollars you don't. Maybe forty or fifty. We can look somewhere else.
Her: *huff* Well, I'm. Like. NOT. Getting shoes. From...Payless. *huff*
Us: Cool. I guess we can go home then.

And we did.

We did not, however, spend that fifty dollars on bottles of wine and crab legs, like we were seriously tempted to do. Because we are good parental units and not yet driven to spiting a teenager, no matter how temporarily gratifying that might be.

Monday, September 01, 2008

You Have to Respect the Argument.

I am continually amazed at how sophisticated kid's opinions can be concerning complex topics. I really think people underestimate a child's ability to navigate the subtleties of social and political points of view and come up with their own substantial and often well articulated arguments.

For example, we took Wendy to the playground today for a Labor Day picnic, and I overheard this conversation between two boys who looked to be about ten:

"Who are you voting for?"
"Easy. Obama's got big ears, but Palin is totally hot. I'm a rebumlican now."

And this, my friends, is why I want to teach. Constant intellectual conversation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nostalgic for War Already

Every year, as Pennsic looms closer, my nerves get the best of me. I get this apprehensive flutter starting in my guts around June, and it doesn't really quit until about halfway through War week. This apprehension is so bad that usually, the week before Pennsic, I am seriously convinced that I don't even want to go.

I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the chaos factor of Pennsic. You know that something is going to happen, but you don't know what, when, who will be involved, or whether it's going to be totally awesome or totally apocalyptic. I mean, I met Carl at Pennsic 31, and we are (thankfully) still feeling the shock waves of that cataclysm. :-) The control freak in me quakes before the inevitable mayhem machine that is my two weeks at Pennsic.

I forget until I actually set foot on site how priceless that mayhem actually is, and how much I value all of those moments that don't seem to take place anywhere else.

Like listening to the rain on the tent while curled up under the covers with Carl and Wendy, or visiting with Mollie late at night like little girls at a sleepover (who talk about explicit sex acts), or meeting Luna Lovegood on speed, or doing drunken diaper delivery with Wrenne, Frannie and Bree, or waking up and having cups of tea under the canopy of trees with whoever is conscious...

It's why so many people go back again and again, I suppose. Because we miss those people and that feeling that we belong somewhere special. Even if that place only exists once a year.

Of course, if I could just move all of my friends into my town, it would save me the anxiety attack every summer...and the two-day packing extravaganza...and we would get to smell each other under normal, non-camping circumstances, which would be novel*. I'll be sure to put that at the top of the list when I send out the brochure.

*except for the smelling of Wrenne. she always smells luscious. always.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"At last! My manhood has been avenged and redeemed! By my fourteen year old daughter!!!"

~Carl, after he was foiled by the ever-popular hammer-and-bell attraction on the boardwalk six times, and Erin sauntered up and cracked the midsized one twice in a row. She won a nubbly beach ball. We were very proud. (and avenged.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pennsic 08 pics.
(or, Wendy goes to War, and wins.)

I will also throw some shore pics up soon. Cause, you know. Baby on a beach. Always good to see.

This Week

This week was a long week.

We had Monday to regroup from Pennsic and pack stuff up. This is still going on, but the bulk of it took place on Monday. Tuesday, we decided to join my sister, nephew, Mom, and Carmine down the shore, so after securing Carl's Mom for dog-sitting, we packed up and drove to Wildwood.

It was nice. I think we all were due a beach fix, which we got within a half-hour of arriving at the tiny little house where they were all staying. Wendy put her feet in the ocean for the first time, and promptly decided that she is owning at least six beach-front properties by the time she is ten. I am voting for at least one New Zealand bungalow.

We did some other stuff while we were down there. We rode roller coasters and pink elephants and Jaimie bought me ice cream and Carl caught the biggest fish. We had a great time, though I am having a hard time writing about any of that. I guess the reason that I want to write about the beach at all is because I don't really know how to write about the other events of this week.
Wednesday we went to the beach again, and I spent a significant stretch of time reclined in a chair, holding my sleeping baby and looking out at the water. Holding my baby and thinking about Avery, Chris' daughter, who was four when she died last Friday. Holding my baby and thinking about the abundance of life in the biological soup of ocean at my feet and the breath of my own child against my skin, and about how quickly our life and breath can go from us. Thinking about how I would be happy to stay there with my baby and watch her splash and laugh and play, for all of eternity.
The ocean is seriously restorative, even if it is only for two days, even if it is Jersey. I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pennsic 08

Damn. There are so many things that made this Pennsic a different kind of Pennsic for us. This year, we were both miraculously freed up from our usual responsibilities. That, combined with an amazing new camping location and the company of a few great friends, and POOF! Pennsic was actually a vacation.

There are too many good pictures. Most of them will end up on Flickr, as soon as I can get a minute to upload them. Until then, here are a few of my favorites that only barely touch on how gorgeous was our site:

Morning View

The Bridge over Shower Waters

And a few taken on the slope that leads down into the little Fern Gully where we lived for two weeks:

Ahh...this was one to remember.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hippies West!

West to all the way accross the state!

Off to Pennsic 37 (I think), Wendy's second War, my 9th, and sixteenth? I'm not sure. We are bringing Marc and his stuff out with us and our stuff, so it should be a fun ride.

Wish us all good weather. Good pics sure to follow.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I am so. blogging. this.

Steph left today. She was camped out at my house for a week or so, and it was awesome. I am so glad to have Steph back in PA, that I didn't even mind accompanying her to the Colonial Chicken Barbecue at her parent's church this past Sunday. Church. That's how starved I am for adult human interaction. Also, I love her mom and dad, even if they have run away and joined a religious group. And I kind of like checking in with the Christly types now and then. You know, to compare notes. See where we're all at.

I checked Wendy into the provided childcare so that I could enjoy the service uninterrupted by demands for me to take out my boobs. (I know, why did I pass up that opportunity???) The registration process for some reason involved divulging my address and home phone number to a very sincere and endearingly wholesome looking guy with gorgeous hair and stunning eyes. I was attempting to subdue the tide of unwholesome thoughts rising up from unwholesome places, in effort to preserve this good man's virtue (proximal sullying was sure to take place), and I suddenly realized that I was giving these people my real address. The address where I live. The address where they could send literature and psalms on postcards and thinking-of-you notes.

I jerked out of the hypnotizing blue voodoo of his gaze just in time to give him the name of a town three towns over from mine. HA! I've foiled you! Now to just ramble off a few random numbers for a zip code, and I will escape your attempts to recruit me by mail-

"Wow! I used to live up there!" says Blue.

"Oh yeah? Small world, huh?....I, uh....forget the zip code. We just moved there, actually."

Luckily, he knew it. What a helpful dude.

And that is the story of how I lied in the house of God. Not when Steph's mom glanced sidelong over at me when she heard me singing to ask "Are you mocking?" and I said "No." That was not a lie. I like singing in church. It feels good. But that fraudulent address tucked away in Pastor Kenny's filing cabinet? That is probably already on my permanent record with Jesus.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Ways to make Mommy Scream #345

Stand in a puddle of water that you just splashed from the dog dish while yanking on the vacuum cord and prying the entire socket fixture from the wall with your fingers while her back is turned for the six seconds it takes to pick up the magnet letters from under the lip of the counter.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Return of Dr. Jack Hole

Dr. Jack Hole: So what is bothering you today?

Erin: This ear has been bothering me. It's fuzzy like I can't hear really good out of it.

Me: Yeah, she says her hearing is kind of out in that ear, but it doesn't hurt.

Dr. Hole: *not looking up from his chart* And what's your relation?

Me: Stepmom. *(commonlaw. If we lived in Canada.)*

Dr. Hole: And how long has this been going on?

Me: *(since I moved in?)*

Erin: Since September.

Me: *(oh.)*

Dr. Hole: ....And. Why. If this has been bothering you for nine months. Have you just come in. Now.

Me: *smiling the pleasant smile of go-ahead-kid-now's-your-chance-explain-how-we-are bad-people-who-only-buy-you-three-pairs-of-size-one-jeans-and-not-four-and-never-buy-you-toaster-strudels-and-also-hide-the-good-cereal-from-you. This guy really wants to hear it. I can tell. I'm not explaining it. I'm just the stepmom. (commonlaw. If we lived in Canada, eh?)*

Erin: bothered me in September and then I just forgot about it or got used to it or something and now it bothers me again.

Dr. Hole: Any fever or diarhea?
Erin: No.
Dr. Hole: Headaches or sore throat?
Erin: No.
Dr. Hole: Let's take a look. *looks* Okay, it looks fine. No water or blockage or inflammation or anything. Lets get you a hearing test. *leaves abruptly, Erin trailing behind*

Dr. Hole: (upon return, still no eye contact) So it seems as though you have perfect hearing. And since there is nothing like an infection going on, the only thing I could suggest is that you're inner ear muscles may have been strained by loud music or other trauma. Do you listen to an IPod?

Me: *smiling the smile of quiet vindication*

Erin: um...yes.

Dr. Hole: Okay, here's the deal. Your inner ear is comprised of three tiny bones and the muscles that hold them in place. When you put inordinate strain on your ears by listening to an IPod, you cause the muscles to get tired and pull away from the bones....blah, blah, blah, lecture lecture lecture.

Erin: um...okay.

Dr. Hole: That's it. Lay off the IPod and it'll be fine. You can go now. *already halfway down the hall, texting someone or playing tetris on his Blackberry*

Erin: Well, that's one way to kill time on a Summer day.
Me: Your Dad is gonna laugh. And possibly say "I told you so."
Erin: I know. I was kind of hoping for a giant shot or something.
Me: Yeah, that would have been more dramatic.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Difficulty with Discipline...


Wendy: *pushes buttons harder and faster*

Carl: NO! Go sit in time out! No buttons! NO!

Wendy: *runs to her time-out spot; sits as if it was her idea*

Carl: That's right.

Wendy:....*sticks hand out toward us* hi-five??


Carl: Stop laughing. You gotta be stern. It's not funny.

Me: I CAN'T HELP IT. *smushing my face into pillow*

Wendy: Funny! NO BUTTONS!! HI-FIVE!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Advice from a Y Chromosome

What I really don't get is why he shoots at the starlings. I mean, I understand the groundhogs, as they eat our garden. I don't know that they deserve to die for it, but the starlings definitely don't deserve to die just because they are not an indigenous species and he doesn't like them. It's not their fault they were relocated here.

Marc: There is a certain amount of impotent rage circulating in the male psyche that requires purging through such acts.


I'm the stay-at-home mother of a smart and devious eighteen-month old. I am living in a state of impotent rage for about ninety percent of my day, and I don't shoot things for fun.

Marc: Maybe you should try it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hot Time; Summer in the Burbs

Me: I'm gonna try really hard not to be a total asshole this Summer.
Carl: ...What are you anticipating for the Summer that makes you say that?
Me: My complete and utter frustration and bordom now that school is over and I've got nowhere to be but home. I'm not saying I'll succeed at not being a royal bee-otch, but-
Carl: no, no. I understand. And I really, really appreciate your efforts. I'm going to try to be the best me that I can be too. The very, very best.
Me: You're mocking me.
Carl: No. I'm not. The very best me.

BTW, it's hot here in the East. I don't envy the people who work outside for a living. Or, you know, the ones who are walking through Georgia.

I hope they all have cold beverages on hand.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Okay. First time camping with a baby that walks. A baby who also runs, plays in dirt, schemes wild escape plots, makes friends with other babies and finds funny hats to wear:

Yeah. I'd say it was a successful Memorial Day weekend. Aside from my going way overboard Friday night, having way too much fun (read: bad tequilla) and then laying there in our tent insisting that it is my tent too and I would puke in it if I wanted to, (and gosh, am I so proud of winning that argument), it was a great time.

How could I not have a great time with all of this going on? There was rum-fueled Maypole spectating (complete with complicated cross-ribbon rum-passing moves), and ferrets ("mouse," according to Wendy), and time to hang with my favorite people, and Meetza (giant hamburger patty + pita+cheese+ketchup=Meetza) and steak-y breakfast burritos, and tampanade and strawberries and cuddling together wrapped in warm sleeping bags and breathing the cool night air, and laying around in the grass, just talking and being under some trees by a stream.

What else could one ever, ever ask for?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May Flowers

Spring is great with a one-and-a-half year old. I am so lucky to live where I live and have the opportunity to show her such wonderful things.
There are flowers to be decimated, birdies to watch endlessly, rocks to turn over and bugs to poke at, grass to rip up by the handful and shove into the mouth of the waiting pony... every little thing is a great new discovery. (Or in the case of the pony, a great new manic obsession.)

Like, today, we all went out to the damp garden to plant some seeds. Wendy's version of this involves throwing handfuls of seeds onto the mud while desperately trying to climb out of my arms and into the puddle. We were out there for about ten minutes when the wind kicked up, the clouds began racing in our direction, and we could hear the rain spattering across the field and heading directly for us.
Drenched in seconds. Running for the house, baby clenched to hip, soaking wet. Wendy thought this was the greatest thing to happen to us, like, ever. I showed her our reflection in the foyer mirror as we darted inside. Delighted by the sight of her hair plastered to her face and the rainwater coursing down into her mouth, she looked up, eyes shining, and spluttered one of her favorite words,
Wendy Skye, Adventure Baby.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A New Career is Born

Texting out of the basement of High School drivers ed class on a rainy afternoon:

Me: My voice leaves my mouth and takes a left turn into the vacuum of space. Their flat eyes tell me that it's Friday; That I don't really exist.

Carl: I can hear you crying into the void.
Me: Thanks, babe.

Mike: You teachers are all the same.

Bethany: Obviously you are subbing at Orwell High today.
Me: It could be Soylent Green High and they would still show up religiously to do nothing but lodge their complaints about the service. I think I'm over this subbing thing.
Bethany: I always thought you'd be a good lion tamer.
Me: Or an alpaca stylist. Or maybe I could bead-dazzle things for a living.
Bethany: I think you could change the world by bringing the Flowbee into the world of alpaca styling. And I'm not just saying that.

I'll totally turn the whole farm show scene on it's ear. You'll see.

Monday, May 12, 2008

On Mother's Day, A Love Letter

Dear Wendy,

You are so brilliant. You know so many words. When you don't know them, you make good guesses, like calling aardvarks "elfants" and various bugs "bees and butt-flys." You can "opwen" water bottles and juice cups and your jewelry box by yourself. (You love putting bracelets and necklaces on and saying "pretty pretty!" with this little princess headshake/hair-flip)

You have a great sense of humor. You dive into the freshly turned garden dirt, sitting right down in it and tossing handfuls onto yourself, yelling "bath! Baaathhh!" You like to play "sleep." You gather "plows" and "bank/nite-nites" (pillows and blankies) and collapse into them, sighing dramatically with contentment and squeezing your eyes shut. You fake a throaty little snore, pull the blankies over your head, then peek out at me with one eye and a conspiratorial smile at the corners of your mouth to let me know that you are not really asleep, but man are you good at pretending. You came up with this Quidditch/Cowgirl thing all on your own:

You are so bad. Your favorite thing that you are not allowed to do is put your feet in the dog's water dish. Daddy and I are getting good at noticing the sly look that crosses your face when you get the idea to do this. You stop in your tracks, a mischievous dimple appearing in your cheek as your eyes slide in our direction. Your whole body goes still, limbs paralyzed by the sudden need to place yourself in the water. Your feet are your biggest tell. When you are just about to do something naughty, they break into this little shuffle that we have dubbed your "bad feet." You make these quick little short steps toward the object of your temptation- the TV buttons, the tissues, the tall glass of ice water-all the while looking toward us (but not at us) from beneath your coyly lowered lashes. If we do not reach you in time, your bad feet dance takes you directly into the dog water, both feet and your butt too, if you can manage it. I'm not sure if your favorite part is the way the water splooshes into your shoes, or the slapping of your socks when you jump out and go soggily smacking down the hall, whooping in obvious glee at what you have gotten away with. In either, case, you delight in being bad.

You are very independent. You want to feed yourself, hold your own cup, rock your own chair, and decide on your own when you need help, thank you very much. (You say "hands?" when you need a hand, reaching out your own with the full expectation that your personal valets will always be immediately available to assist. Which we are.)

You are also a good sharer. When you have noodles, you want Mommy and Duke to have noodles. You see puppies in your books, and point to their big woeful eyes, and say "Duke; eyes. Cookie! Mmmmmm!" You sympathize with these dogs. You know your dog, and how much he likes his cookies. You thing every dog should have cookies. You love them all that much.

You are concerned for the welfare of others. You exclaim "stuck! stuck!" when you see cartoon squirrels shoved in glass jars, or kitties sleeping half-covered by blankies, or Mommy's butt sticking out from behind the entertainment center.

You have such a big heart. You love your Aunt "Mimi" and Pop-pop and Gramma and Duke and kitties (Flip-up and Punking), whom you kiss and chase and squeeze every chance you get. You gaze adoringly at Erin when she comes home from school, reaching up with your little arms that she cannot resist no matter how stressed out or difficult her day has been. You talk about Daddy when he's at work, and melt his heart when you lay your head on his shoulder and pat his back with your tiny hands. You banish all of my worldly concerns when you wrap your arms around my neck, resting your cheek against mine while gathering my hair up in your gentle fingers.

You are happiest when all four of us are together, and so are we.

You are so many glorious things. Every day, every moment, I love you. I cannot fill my eyes enough with the sight of you. Even when you are whiney, cranky, stubborn and cantankerous (and you are), my whole being is filled with knowing every amazing piece of you. More amazing is how you sense this helpless welling emotion that leaks and overflows from my previously well-governed reservoirs. You see my adoration, and you give it back. You know that you are loved. You have incredible love to give. You are only seventeen months and eight days old and you are already a wonderful person.

We love you so much.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Thing 1 and Thing 2

No. This is not how I am now addressing Carl and Marc. Marc is visiting for a few days and camped out in my sewing room. This is cool both because Marc is cool and we loves him (Wendy says "hey, Mahk!" in this almost Bostonian accent every time she sees him) and because it's great for Carl to hang out with his guy friends. Normally it's just him in the house with all of his womens. The dog and our retarded cats don't exactly make up for the sea of estrogen he swims in daily.


Thing 1: GLORY GLORY HAL-LY-LU-YA!! Wendy is now sleeping in her own room. Carl and I are now sleeping in our own room. All of us are sleeping All. Night. Long! (allnight....allnight!) all night looong! Of course, this all night long thing is actually theoretical, as Mommy still wakes up at least twice as a matter of habit, but I'm sure she will stop doing that eventually. Just like she will stop referring to herself in the third.

I have not talked much about the sleeping arrangement drama that has been going on around here, so as to remove the temptation for everyone to have an opinion about it, just like everyone seems to have an opinion about breastfeeding and TV watching and partially hydrogenated corn syrup and everything else having to do with other people's kids. Not that I don't value all of your opinions. I like you guys. It's just all of them. You know who they are. Suffice it to say, Mommy is neurotic about leaving Baby alone to sleep and she knows it and now she is getting better and learning that Baby is perfectly capable of sleeping without her. Crap. There she goes again. I mean, there I go...never mind.

Thing 2: Steph and Ryan are leaving for their Appalachian Trail trip today. They are getting on a train to Georgia and then walking back to PA. Walking back. Crazies.

They have officially moved back from Seattle, and were only here for a few weeks before setting out again, so it's really like my best friend hasn't moved back at all. It's more like she came for a visit and is moving back in the Fall. Just in time to register to vote.

I admire the way they are just checking out of the everyday grind like this. Very freeing. Best of luck, guys. I hope your thighs don't chafe you too much and your packets of dried fruit and salmon taste like adventure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Me and Carl

"So it seems they are short on subs this week and all of the teachers have had to cover other classes during their planning periods and ohmygod they are complaining about it. All I heard all day today was 'I have another coverage today. That makes three this month, and I don't think Schmitt has had one yet this year! I feel like a frickin substitute teacher!!' wah wah wah. They are totally being little bitches about it."

"Yeah. You should tell them that they won't really feel like a substitute teacher until they do all of that and make the forty whole dollars that comes with it."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Post Post Post.

I am motivated. I paid the the babysitter for four days this week in advance. I called up the sub service to let them know that I was available all week. I waited by the phone every night this week, and how many days have I worked so far?

None. No days. No days worked.

Actually, they called me last night to schedule me for Friday. I don't have the babysitter for Friday. I called in my mom. She'll work for free, so at least I won't be that far in the hole this week.

But it's okay. I'm motivated. I took Wendy to the babysitter anyway, and this week, I've cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen, done six loads of laundry, made seven gwazee coats, applied for three teaching jobs, signed up for Twitter, vaccumed every room in the house, painted more of Wendy's room, gone grocery shopping, baked brownies, wrote out bills, ordered pictures, and been generally more productive in four days than I've been in four months.

Four days in a row of not working makes my buggy. But I wouldn't be sad if I had one of these days every week. They are delicious.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mommy of the Year Moments

1. Thinking, she likes the slides at the other park, and then pushing the one-year old down the dark tube slide by herself. Yeah, Jaimie was waiting at the bottom, but the sounds of wailing and limbs flailing and bumping all the way down indicate that this is generally not a great idea.

2. Letting the one-year-old feed the exotic chickens at Linvilla Orchards herself. Corn kernals offered up through the fence to sharp pecking crazy beaks. With her own tiny fingers. Duh.

Friday, March 28, 2008


(All moms must blog in lag-time.)

So, we all gathered on Sunday to eat chickens and fertilize bunnies in the name of our saviour. Or to eat ham and the lasagna customarily contributed by my mom's Italian S.O. at every holiday. (Christmas? I'll make a lasagna! Memorial Day? I'll bring the 'zagna! Rosh Hoshanna? LA. SA. GNA!!) I actually ate two Easter feasts, and Wendy received two Easter baskets, because we went to both Carl's and my mom's houses. Yay jelly beans and chocolate!

They had plastic eggs hidden around the back yard of my mom's for Wendy to find. By "hidden," I mean literally just tossed into the grass from the porch. Which works out, because, you know. She's one. When we released her into the yard, she went ape-shiest running around picking them up, yelling "BALL! BALL! BALLLLL!" Yes. My kid likes to yell about Balls.

Jaimie and Eddie are in town, which rocks. Wendy has spent a lot of time cozying up to her Aunt "Mimi," telling her secrets and talking about Barbies, or something. (Erin recently presented her little sister with some of her own leftover Barbies. Wendy promptly began a desperate, undying love affair with Barbie as I watched all of my visions of her future as a drummer in a punk/metal band float out the window.)

On Thursday, I took the kids to the park so Jaimie could deal with some of the homework she has to do over her break. I like this park. The wide open lawns combined with the extreme shortness of my baby's legs make for good odds that I will catch her when she takes off. Which she does often. I was looking forward to bringing Eddie here, because of the pirate-ship themed playground. He was very excited about it, until he found this pile of leaves, where he spent about forty-five minutes "burying himself up" and putting leaves on Wendy's head. Hey, whatever. I like leaves.
Happy Almost-Spring, everybodies!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Covet Thy Contract.

There is something vaguely humiliating about being a substitute teacher.

It's somewhere in the way teachers lock their desk drawers to protect their bags of lifesavers and granola bars from you. It's in the over-friendly, high-pitched voices of the faculty when they unexpectedly pop in on you to see if you need anything, when you really know that they're making sure you're not on the classroom computer. It's in the girl's bathroom stalls, where you have to pee because only real teachers have keys to the grown-up bathroom or even know where it is. So there you are, perched on the kids' toilet, butt cheeks hovering only a fraction of an inch above the stall divider, which is the only thing between you and Taylor/Tori/McKenzi's loud proclamations of "OH MY GOD SHE JUST SUCKS AT TEACHING AND SHOULD JUST GET LAID ALREADY," and you are so glad you spent five years in college for this.

It's a slight, invisible wave of smug that comes when barely-interested teachers ask what your "Cert" is in, and then sadly inform you that their school is not hireing, their school has all the teachers they need. Or this momentary pause when you interject something into the conversation around the desks pushed together in some classroom where you were invited for lunch. This pause during which the other teachers remember that you are there, and try unsuccessfully to humor whatever insignificant thing you said.

Maybe I'm being paranoid, because now is the first time since I graduated that I even want to be a "real" teacher. I want the delicious comittment of a contract and the marvelous medical benefits and the keys to their snooty "lounge," which, far from being a magical place of candy and beer, really only contains ugly couches, a greasy microwave, and forty thousand copies of Where the Red Fern Grows. Maybe that's why I suddenly feel like a poser. I want my own horrible spawn to teach!

Oh, for the days of breezing in, doodling stick figure flip-books into their post-it note pads, and breezing out, thinking, "HA! These suckers have to do this every day."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dukus Jerk-Assus

Because he ate our dinner last Thursday night.

Not just one delicious herb-roasted pork loin, but two. Two delicious herb-roasted pork loins, minus the four medalion-sized slices that I had just carved away. Four slices that I was carrying on a plate, along with the baby, the baby's dinner, the baby's juice and my bottle of beer. Probably waited and slunk in just after I passed by, nudging the gate aside and horking them down his doggy throat while I was distracted. TWO!! TWO PORK LOINS!!!

And. Carl had worked extra late that night, and was extra hungry and deserving of a delicious porky feast. He came home to discover this travesty approximately four minutes after it occured.

Oh, the humanity.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Today I was in the teacher's lounge, sitting around the lunch table with a gaggle of teachers, enjoying the comeraderie of talking teachery stuff. My mind started wandering once they started discussing some tax issue having to do with the conflict between the contract year and the fiscal year blarg blahdeee blah. The mental trip to Walmart that I was taking and the list of all the things I planned to purchase there was interrupted as a few phrases trickled in:

Turtleneck Teacher: They just aren't renewing his contract.
Big Hair Teacher: Because he's eighty-one.
Turtleneck Teacher: Yup. Hopefully they'll convince him to retire gracefully before they have to just phase him out.
Bright Yellow Tie Teacher: Yeah, the guy deserves some dignity. Eighty-one.
Me: What does he teach?
Teachers: ......
Big Hair Teacher: Oh. No. We're talking about this pro baseball coach.
Me: Oh.
Teachers: *snicker*
Over-Axe-Body-Sprayed Teacher: It's okay.
Me: Yeah. Not that I'm desperate for a job or anything.

....or meant to let it show.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Three things.

1. Beer is good. I haven't had any in a while, but Carl brought me some today because he loves me. Also because if he couldn't bring a scantilly clad brunette with a fetish for housework back from the booby bar, he'd better bring me something.

2. Rejection sucks. Especially if I am rejected by way of being not called. I just would have assumed someone would have called to say, "I know we just put you through three interview/auditions, but we've decided to go in a different direction. Thanks." The whole not calling thing is way worse than that might have been.

3. My baby is very cute, which makes a lot of sucky things better, and I love her very much:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I'm not that competative by nature. Not that I don't want to be the best; I just reject the notion that I really have to prove it. I don't need you to feel like you are second so I can feel first. I don't need makeup or sexy jeans to know that I'm sexy. I don't have the irrepressable urge to tell you everything I know about the fijords of New Zealand just so you know that I know it. I already know that I'm smart, I don't care if you know it or not. If you don't already know that you should watch out for me, I'm not going to clue you in. I pity you if you don't already see that I have won.

I reject the idea of having to prove anything to anyone.

Which may have been my problem. I don't think I sold myself hard enough. I don't think I looked like I wanted it enough. I am going with this, because even though I have stated otherwise, I find it impossible to believe that someone else was better suited for this job than me. That's just stupid.

In case you are wondering (if you don't already know), yes. I am this full of myself.

It's just a job. I will get another job. It's just...well, I've never actually applied for a job that I didn't get. I've never walked into an interview where they didn't automatically see that I was the one they were waiting for. Really, my people. I don't think I should have to endure this outrage.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday Evening Together

...wherein we talk about our day, discuss our plans for the week, flirt playfully, and relax in each other's arms, just glad to be sharing the moment, beacuse we love each other so much.

Or, this:

Carl: Hey, Mo! Look at this movie I found on TV! It's about these four girls, and they all like these pants, and they seem to be best of friends! Isn't that the girl from Ugly Betty?

Mo: Oooh! Sisterhood of the Traveling-

Carl: *already upstairs playing World of Warcraft*

Mo: balls.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wicked Stepmommy

Erin: You guys have so many coats, and I only have one.
Me: Erin. You have other coats. You just don't like them. Do you think we like all of our coats?
Erin: But you have cool coats, and I only have one that I even like.
Me: That's because you are poor and we don't like you.

Did anyone else see the lunar eclipse the other night? It was amazing. It was cold as balls out, though.

Erin: [parphrased] OMG I can't believe I slept in till ten minutes before I gotta get on the bus and don't even have time to brush my hair or have breakfast OMG!!
Me: Here, have a poptart.
Erin: We have poptarts? Where did you get this???
Me: The secret house where we keep all of the good stuff.

Like Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. And Tastycakes. And poptarts. All for us.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I love this moment.

This is the moment that comes after I've interviewed for the job, and after I've done a great 20 minute "lesson" audition for the class, but before I find out whether or not they will hire me. Because once I find out....well. I'll either be very disappointed and left wondering why I'm not good enough, or be faced with the prospect of actually teaching. Classes. In a school. By myself. Away from Wendy every day.

But right now, I am content. Celabratory, even. With glasses of wine and chocolatey treats, all patting myself on the back for wowing them with my astonishing wit and humor and natural report with the kids and inate hireablility. (Except for the part where I said "It was good ta meetchy'all" to the interview panel. That was stupid.)

It is a maternity leave fill-in kind of job. It would only be for the next couple of months, but it would be a great experience and maybe get my foot in the door with the district. AND it would be a lot more money than regular subing. Like, I'd be forking over a fifth of my paycheck to the babysitter lady instead of half. That's right. I'm desparately trying to break into teaching for the money.

That's really what it's been about all along. So y'all send hire-Mo vibes out there for me, k? Mama wants a new pair of Sketchers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Note I found that was written while I was gone, regarding our econo-sized spout-style laundry soap:

Asked me how to operate the laundry soap cup- U seem to not understand Gravity? or Soap?

This illustrates how much easier things are for everyone when I'm around. Or it brings to light vast gaps in her practical experience with laundry. Probably both.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Sads, as well.

Wendy is a good travel buddy. A personal, pocket-sized, private travel buddy who is cool with whatever sites you want to see and whatever wierd local food you want to eat. She slept on the plane for most of the flights, coming and going. That is, she collapsed in an exhausted heap after spending the first hour of each flight trying to escape under the seats, squeezing the arm fat of the woman in front of us, and ripping/ eating the pages of the SkyMall magazine.

My favorite part was the arm fat. No. I take that back. My favorite part was when she woke up as we were decending into Philadelphia, pressed her nose to the window, and described (in her best stage holler) the lights carpeting the land below us as "PRIDDY! PRIDDY! PRIIIIDDDDYYYY!!!!"

It takes me a while to get my head screwed on straight after I get home, or after Jaimie's been here. I know it's the same for her. It's more complex than when we were kids, because we now both have progeny of our own, and we are both going through grown-up real-life stuff that complicates our lives and we both wish we could help the other with. And we still do and will help each other, in the capacity that one can over the phone...

And here's where I take out the violin and talk about how sad I am about the people I love living far away. And how I miss all of them. And how I wish my sister and dad and best friend could be more a part of all the things going on with me right now. Can you hear it? It's very violin-y.

It's good that I have the finding of a suitable day care and going back to work soon to keep me busy. And by "good," I of course mean "Doom, doom, doom. Doomy doomy doomdoom doomdoom doom, God I wish I was back in Colorado right now eating sushi and drinking a white chocolate mocha latte, doom doom."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wendy and Mo go to CO

Hark! I have brought my firstborn unto the land of my origin, the land of my pater familias, so that they of this mountainous region might gaze upon her and proclaim her charm and perfection across the countryside.

Here is also where my sister resides, besieged on all sides by the testosterone-infused grumpa lumpas: our father, her son and her husband, each in turn known as Ed, and thus she lives in the House of Three Eds.

I bring unto this House an infusion of estrogen much needed by my sisterly one. I also bring many baby cuddles, and much talk of our mutual hatred of Tyra Banks.

Traveling with a one-year old is scary, but it is worth it. We don't even really want to go and do stuff; just be together and talk and play with each other's kids.

We miss this. So let it be written, so let it be known.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


"I dunno...if someone told me that there are people who are like me and on medication because of it, I'd be kinda pissed."