Sunday, April 30, 2006

Further Vic-pics

Here's what you get when you combine two tired-from-walking of us with an Irish pub in VICTORIA. Yay.



Saturday, April 29, 2006

Victor victoria

We are anniversarying in gorgeous Victoria, BC. Yesterday we wandered about, took pictures of anything that remotely interested us (including J with the ferry mast growing out of his head and the flying fish roe I spilled at the Sushi restaurant we fell in love with last night).

Turning on the TV last night we found hockey and today it's men's figure skating. When in Rome, eh.

What does that move mean anyway, where a skaterix (oh excuse me, I mean athlete) holds his open hand up in front of his face and slowly moves it downward, anyway? While wearing turqoise tights with an infinity symbol made of sequins on the ass? My butt is everlasting? There is no end to my buns? Wierd. But yes, if that's what our son eventually wants to do, we'll be out there shopping at the sequined-tights shop with all the other desperately supportive yuppy parents. Do people even use the word Yup anymore? Hmmm.

I am a bit out of it with no little lump of Toblerone along for the trip. I keep acosting people with infants, forcing them to listen to me gush about our left-behindlet. They back away slowly, strategically placing themselves between us and the stroller, performing the old nod-and-smile. I have somehow refrained from grabbing their offspring to hug, rock and smell.

Right, then, tally-ho, cheerio. We're off to get some Starbucks- can you believe they have 2 in one block just like Salem? We'll save a seat for you, Dad.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Great Balls of Fire


My husband, the stud that he is, done won me a t-shirt. It's a purty one, too. You may be wondering, Did he shoot little metal duckies? Did he bounce a ping-pong ball with stunning accuracy into a goldfish bowl? No, fair reader, here I'll tell you the tale of what dragon he conquered just for me.

It was an entire quintuplet order of Great Balls of Fire at Salvador Molly's, that finest of Portlandian eateries. The restaurant is cute. The balls, not so much. They contain habaneros, and a little bit of cheese, but mostly habaneros made into fritters. I tried a small corner of one of my own (a full order is FIVE) but it wasn't fun to eat- it just hurt. Plus, why injest someting so dangerous to your parts that you have to wash up before touching your infant?

But my man, he finished, vanquished, prevailed. They took his picture for the Wall of Flame (I swear it ain't a gay bar) and I got a sweet hot-red tee with neato tattoo style design. Wore it today, in fact, at a barbeque celebrating my dragon-slayer's swearing in to the state Bar.

Slay on, J, Slay on.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Separation Anxiety


We have left our precious little cargo-let with complete strangers for the first time this week.

It was not even an ideal situation, but let me explain before any of the relations have coronaries.

We joined a gym, see. It's a super-posh gym. There's a guy who comes around offering water. There's the largest climbing wall in Oregon, which is a state nutty about climbing. The locker rooms smell nice. Not just inoffensive- actually nice.

The kidsworld part of the gym is really posh, too, with lots of young girls and sweet grandmother types who have been criminal background-checked and such.

The thing is, we walked in to leave him in the infant room and there were already two infants there. Both were screaming their little tiny heads off. I mean, they were crying in a way that Toby hasn't since way back in the day of the circumstrainor. There were two ladies caring gently for them, but still they shrieked, and what did we do?

We left Toby in a swing (another first) and went to work out.

At least, I worked out some, in between checking the video feed from the infant room and hyperventilating and wondering if they would maybe let me put my own monitor on him- you know, one of those helmet-cams like the bobsledders use.

And Toby's reaction? He presented them with a diaper to deal with and then fell asleep in the swing.

We're going back today.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

1946-2006


Today was my uncle Tommy's funeral here in Spokane. He was released- and it was a release for him- from this life on Thursday last week, just a few days after we visited.

It was rough in a good way watching the slide show of pictures from his life. One in particular stuck in my mind, though there were a bunch of great ones. In this pic, he's sitting at a kitchen table with an enormous pumpkin, his arm up to the elbow in it, and he's smiling as he nearly always was. Tom was "handsome in a boyish way"- maybe whoever invented that phrase had met him with his twinkly eyes and slightly rounded cheeks.

As he's working on the pumpkin, his son Bradley at about age 8 is hanging on his arm, looking rapturous into the depths of the gourd. It's such a sweet little moment, and I never saw Tom or Candy any other way with Brad. They would drive all day, arrive at our house tired, and still jump up when Brad wanted to go outside or play some ball. Tom would endlessly repeat inside jokes he had with Brad- and for the pleasure of everyone he knew, for that matter.

At the funeral today folks kept standing up to say what a funny, well-liked man my uncle was. Somebody mentioned that Brad needed a special dad to help him with his challenges. Too bad the word is over-used, but Uncle Tom was absolutely special- spectacular, actually. There was another pic of he and Candy with a baby Brad in one of those Olin Mills studio shots, and they are smiling with such unrehearsed joy. This would have been just a few weeks after being informed of Brad's physical and mental challenges, but there they are in relaxed grace.

John Moody came down to do the service, and was so very good. He kept talking about having the faith to entrust loved ones to God. It's hard. I know there's a God, but today I just kept praying, frantic really, that it's all True, and that Jesus has him and it will all make sense in the end. Funny to pray to some one in hopes they are who they say they are...

I'm grateful he is a patient and loving God, and I entrust Tommy and the people who loved him to Him tonight.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The purpose of Blife

My good friend, favorite author I know personally and the chick who brought me into this century by introducing me to blogs is quitting hers. You can read why here, at least for a few more days...

Like most blogfolk I've wondered why I write on this thing.

Usually it is, like Tiffany says, my own fascination with all things me. The motivation behind that self-fest is what varies. This year, moving away from my friends, school, work, church, and house has been one of the harder moves I've made. It lacked a little of that sense of adventure you have when you're headed to new career commitments, seeing as my only job now is spit-up collector and cry averter. "Only"- of course I have my Hallmark moments, and I won't bore you with the treacly reasons I love the kid just now. I'll just trust you know that part.

Even though every single thing I post about is some trifle I find related to my own life, I am compelled to look for angles or items I might not have noticed if I wasn't blogging them. I step out of myself, look up from the trail every once in a while. While I hold no delusions nor desires that I will be the next idol of the blogosphere, just knowing people could read me makes that little difference. Like cleaning up the living room floor when the plumber is on his way.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Yahtzee!

Just had to announce, internet. I have a coffee date. A chick from the mom's group last week and I are meeting at Lovely Corporation Bucks to hang out!!!!! (Exclamation point...)

Don't worry, I'll try not to smother, but at least this proves it's possible to find another human- a mother with youngins even- to be chatty with.

I just found an interesting link whilst looking for a fun image for this. Apparently several Starbucks have asked nursing moms to leave, cover up, or go into the bathroom. Luckily, Oregon has a law prohibiting messing with a nursing mom, but still. They also have these lovely huge handicapped accessible bathrooms that NEVER have changing tables. WHY, Mr. Bucks, WHY? You can get posh looking brushed-steel ones like PF Changs, you can get the in-the-wall kind if you're worried about infringing on the spaciousness. What the heck? You're all granola-y and human friendly, why not start branding children as young as possible?

Anyhoo, here's the link.

On a lighter note, here's Xena the Warrior Princess breastfeeding. Woo hoo.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Exclusive! Look upon it and...


...well, reactions may vary, especially depending on whether you are a parent to either one of us.

My husband is the proud sporter of a sweet tat. He sports it!

It's got a celtic cross with knotwork and there's a calf, phoenix, lion and man to represent different aspects of Christ.

It's big! It's bold! It's J's shoulder!

Respect and accolades are due to Ben the tattoo artist at Tigerlilly. www.benmatthewstattoooing.com

feast!





We tried and tried last night to get a shot of one of T's full-body smiles. He does this thing now where he smiles open-mouthed like an ingenue while writhing in joy, his arms shooting all about.

There's another expression he has that I've yet to really catch with a camera, where his mouth makes a tight little "o", eyes look down & open WIDE and head juts back in such a way that all 39 of his chins become visible. It looks like a face a comedian would take years to perfect. He's doing it less often now- maybe it had something to do with trying to focus on stuff.

We went to a reading by Don Miller last night at Powells, but arrived a few minutes late and couldn't see at all and only faintly hear. I did snake my way up to where he was visible (amazing what holding a baby will do for your ability to squeeze through a crowd) and he looks different than I had thought. I thought he'd look more... edgy. I don't know- it just seems that with notoriety and acclaim sometimes people attain a certain snotty air to them, but he hasn't. He looked friendly to me, and read well enough. His new book's about growing up dadless, and I had planned to skip it but now I'm intrigued. I had thought half our church would be there, and maybe they were, but there were lots of folks I'm pretty sure I've never seen. I love the scruffy comfiness of a Portland audience.

A chick walked past us last night following her toddler curly headed girl, who said Hi. Her mom apologized (?!) and said, pointing at Toby, "i miss those days". It just confirms that these are prime times for taking him with us everywhere. He's just starting to make those long yodeling sounds kids do for no reason, and for the most part he'll sit quietly on your lap if he's fed & dry.

I like the attitude that C had in her little-kid days: Look at it all as educating other people about life. If the kid cries, soothe it, but don't enter a hermitage for fear of inconveniencing.

The tough thing is that as a classical musician, you get used to this rigid silence from the listener. In our times, a concert is such a personal thing, between you and the performer. We listen in huge halls with so many others that the slightest noises are to be frowned upon to avoid cacophony. In order to maintain the (artificial?) intimate relationship between the music and the hearer, distractions are outlawed. I wonder what it would have been like to attend an actual chamber music concert in some grand home with Brahms making eyes at Clara Schubert. And Mozart- fuggetaboutit, there would have been extraneous performances of all sorts.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Franchise info coming soon...

I think some one would make a ton of money marketing classes on serious topics (philosophy, theology, history, art) that new parents can BRING their kids to. This morning proved to me that women (it was all ladies seeing as it's a "mom's community") can talk deep schtuff right on over their toddlers. And THEN, my brain cells wouldn't be abandoning ship and I wouldn't feel this urge to run out to Target or ANYwhere I can wheel the babe about in public with other people nearby.

I have realized I am actually quite comfy with the boy as he is just now. These toddlers- I wanted to say so many things to them. Watch out, Quieter, Don't push, Don't sit in Toby's carseat, Stop spitting, Don't put that up your nose. Oddly the moms were able to suppress their urges to say any of these things and continued the discussion unhindered. I, on the other hand, felt like I was watching a movie in another language while trying to read a technical manual and refinance my loans over the phone.

Maybe this is why they develop slowly. This way we have the time to adjust and build the specialized version of multi-tasking required to not go nuts.

Still, I think this would be a great venture. Lectures given by lecturers who don't mind a few screeches and the scent of graham cracker gently wafting from the audience would be wildly popular...with me, anyway.

Kid-friendly Smarts, Lenient Lecturers, Mama's No Dummy. There's got to be a name in there somewhere.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Homesickness

We have returned home. It's not really home yet, actually. It doesn't count until you have unpacked your books, painted the walls and can sit on the carpet without feeling unclean.

I don't know what it is I want. More contact with adult humans, more energy, more practice time. It has been a long time since I felt this kind of uncertainty about my own architecture.

Quicksand and molasses seemed to flow around me each time I went to do something today. The bookshelves were too heavy to move, the kid woke just as I neared my viola, the lawn mower needed both gas AND oil when I had only brought home the gas.

My son is glorious, my husband a joy, my dog a creampuff. I, however, am not exactly sure how I'd like myself to fit in all this yet. Tonight I was trying to explain to J and my jaw just felt tighter and tighter and before I knew it my lip was quivering and the waterworks leaking all about.

I wonder- when I've met the humans, gathered the energy and practiced up, will I feel satisfied?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Travelin' stories

It has been one of those trips you remember and talk about for years already. Seeing Tom was... impossible to describe. I found myself looking at him as an interesting medical dilemna, as The Disease, not my uncle anymore. And in a lot of ways, that's true now. But then he would respond sometimes in such a way that you recognized him.

We've been told now that his diagnosis is not just Alzheimers or might not be that at all, but is instead something called Lewy Body Type Dementia. Lewy Bodies are apparently lesions on the brain where lots of electrical signals get crossed, bunched up and jumbled. The victim has hallucinations, slower movements similar to early Parkinsons and dementia/deterioration like Alzheimers. Apparently diagnosis is rare and involves a lengthy process of elimination. Rico the night nurse seemed sort of jazzed that he was seeing a relatively rare situation.

I would post pictures of Tom with the Elmo toy his son sent for him to have, but at this point, that wouldn't really be a picture of Tom. So I'll find some of those pictures of him and dad when they were rowdy young things (Tom used to say 'Young airmen' in a funny voice when somebody was handsome). He also used to belch My mom and dad, to which his mother would say, "Yes, dear?" This is funnier when you know that they were a fairly fancy Catholic family.

The best part of the past few days (besides the hospitality of S & J) was taking Tom's wife out for Mexican food, beer and margaritas. Dad rewired a light for her while Mom and I got to talk about all sorts of things. I feel like I'm just getting to know her, and she would be a great friend to have even without any family ties. Admiration isn't a thick enough word- can you imagine the strength required to do this? To care for her son, her own health, her husband? She's a pillar.

This morning we woke up in Missoula, ready to see more doting relatives. Mom was so excited to see her family that she and dad both woke up at the butt crack of dawn. I was cranky at first but I'm working on my martyr attitude. Aren't I a joy?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Pics to travel by...



As much as I try to avoid living the stereotype, DANG does this child need a pile of materialism to make it through a day. More even than a gay man on Halloween in SoHo.

I can't help but pack thirty thousand pounds in fourteen cubic yards of stuff for him. Good thing mom 'n dad are bringing the Jeep.

I have to brag on the spawn for a sec. He made it through an entire movie (IN A THEATRE) tonight without any offensive noises, meltdowns or oozing floods. What a schmooshie chunk of a stud.

Here's a preview glance at the coloration nation. I feel so free, so punk; look upon my Edge and fear. (Am I letting my nerd show again? Dangit...)

On the Road Again

I drove a round-trip total of 90 miles today to walk around Wal-Mart in my impractical new heels and blue hair. There is no almighty Super Wal-Mart with all you need to survive every stage of your life within Portland's city limits. And yet, Portlanders love theirselves some huge Fred Meyers, Targets, and at least 4 enormous malls. Wal-Mart must just be too gauche.

On the spur of the moment, I'm heading to Montana and Washington to visit relations. Lots of 'em are old, and might otherwise kick it before meeting the newest, brightest star in the constellation. I am officially chopped liver now that there is a Toby.

That's part of the truth, anyway. Really, I'm up for a challenge, some spice, a bit of a change of scenery. I would consider a tour with a crappy orchestra if I thought it would get me a hall pass field trip vibe.

Part of our trip will be visiting my uncle Tommy's wife. He is in the end stage of early onset Alzheimers. That is one dirty dark alley of a disease, and I can't believe he is going through it. More than that, I can't believe his wife is going through it. She has MS. Their son is profoundly retarded and has physical problems. And then this?

Tom was my favorite uncle as a kid. He was fun, sweet, boisterous, quick to laugh and slightly baudy. He could belch the entire alphabet- this, in my clan, brought him a certain status. His hugs were some serious loveliness. In my teenage years I thought he was Cool- he drank a little more, swore more and had more mainstream "life-problems" than my parents.

Tom and his wife used to be a volatile couple, and you never knew what to expect when heading out into public with them. They would argue passionately, they would send food back for being the wrong temperature and send secret messages to the waitstaff through their tips. His wife once called me a "little asshole" when she thought a cousin and I had been too noisy. Then, sometime in the late nineties, everything about them seems to have changed.

They softened, smiled tolerantly at crappy restaurants, they mellowed.

Today Tommy is in a hospital bed drinking his meals. Do you understand? This absolutely makes my shortlist of questions on my own personal d-day. I get that there's a fallen world, that we're all doomed. But so much tough stuff in one little family?

Anyway, I know, I know- I'll reread some Yancy and The Problem of Pain, the book of Job. I'm not being completely dark. It's just sucking right now.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Flavorites

In the last weeks I have discovered some lovely things.

One, you can correct (say "correct" with the r rolled like the butler does in The Shining) haircolor that bleeds all over your hair and makes it green instead of supercool deepest blue. Dye, ho, Dye!

Secondly, the funnest place to shop on the internet is Etsy.com. Where else can you commission stuff from folks that high on the hip scale?

Third, punkymoms.com has a couple of good writers, groovy images and interesting links. Just don't buy the essay on autism & vaccinations.

Last and coolest, I can get Toby to smile even when he's crying. It's funny, actually. We laugh at him alot when he's crying- either at his faces or the sounds that come from his widdle soul.