Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Monthly Mushy Mommy Post

I had to go on a trip to Austin, Texas last week. Yeah, Austin in mid-July. I should have just reclined on my gas grill out back and saved the airplane time. It wasn't bad though, and I can really get behind a city that sells T-shirts emblazoned with "Keep Austin Weird!"

The plane rides were fun. Yeah, that was plural. We had to go to Atlanta first, then to Austin. The first leg of the trip was ok. I was next to a 9-year old boy that, for the most part, slept and ignored me. The second leg was the most fun I've had in about 18 months.

There was the cutest little baby in the bank of seats next to me. I was on the aisle - not my favorite spot - I prefer the window. The aisle is a far more sociable place, however, as you get a better view of your fellow passengers. You also get to interact with them, which in this case, was a lot of fun.

This baby is about 14 months old - I know, I asked - and just as cute as a bug's ear with her tawny skin, chubby cheeks, and mysterious Eastern eyes. She's a delight to watch, too, flirting with us all. She plays peek-a-boo and blows kisses with adorable precocity. A musical stream of high-pitched baby babble fills the cabin now, taking me back to when my own sweet Peanut was a curious toddler. The smallest details are winging by - the way she'd rub my arm with her tiny starfish hand while she nursed, the splashy baths in the kitchen sink, the nonsensical jabber whenever we traveled by car.

I recorded a lot of Peanut's cute moments and "firsts" in her baby scrapbook. Some will always be with me, surfacing when in the presence of a thoroughly adorable toddler. Apples, for instance, were "Bapples." Dogs were "Uff uffs." Cows said "Meuh" and Ducks said "Kak kak." Ordinary things were extraordinary in Peanut's eyes. I remember her expression when she learned how to turn on her electronic music cube. The lightbulb went on, and she was soon experimenting with all the buttons on the cube.

The princess in the next row is playing with some stickers that I had in my purse. I have all kinds of stuff in there, just by being a mom. I had lollipops for the 9-year old on the last flight. So I passed the stickers over when the baby began getting restless. Instantly transfixed by the adhesive, she quieted right down with amazement all over her baby face.

This thing is sticking to my finger and I'm not even trying to hold it. Wait, now it's sticking to my other hand. Hey! It can stick on the bottom of my foot! Can it stick on Daddy's shirt? Or his nose? How about my nose? Get it off!! GET IT OFF!!

As I headed toward 4 days of stultifying boredom in Austin, I vowed to try to hold on to that innocent fascination in new things.

Guess what? Nothing new at my conference. I guess I'm too old for innocence.


The duckie was found with hours to spare. I wound up driving to Great Big Stuff, in Middletown, Delaware, to purchase a huge duckie for Peanut.

She sleeps with it. She takes it in the tub with her. It's even accompanied her to school once.

It was worth the drive.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hey, Elmer, can I borrow your bazooka?

Shhhh! I'm wooking for a wubber duckie!

Miss Peanut wants one thing, and one thing only for her birthday - a giant rubber duckie. So today, I hunted duckies. Bed, Bath, and Beyond did not have the duckie. Bath and Body Works were sold out of the giant duckie, too. Nowhere could I find the duckie. Duck, duck, duck I muttered all day, sounding like Rainman Mommy. Soon, I was muttering a word that rhymes with duck as I couldn't find a damn Giant Rubber freaking Duckie!!!

In desperation, I turned to my friend the Internet, and have come to the following conclusion:

Rubber duckies are the next big thing. Move over Martha, Miss Peanut is the next maven of home decor.

Seriously! Have you ever seen a Mr. T rubber duckie? I have, my friends. I have. And it is not a pretty sight. I pity da fool that floats the Mr. T duckie.

There are Dead Ducks, Devil Ducks, Big Ducks, Celebriducks... you name it, they have the duck for it.

Get this - there's even a vibrator that looks just like an innocent rubber duckie. That puts a new spin on my old pal Ernie's bathtime tune. Yeah, rubber duckie, I'm awfully fond of you, too!

There is even a rubber duckie convention. I kid you not, people. Crazy! Who wants to donate air miles so I can fly to Duckfest 2005, in Irvine, California with my new adult rubber duckie?

You gotta fight (dun dun) for your right (dun dun)...

This last Sunday was Miss Peanut's 4th birthday party.

It was an exercise in controlled chaos.

Since this year seemed to be the Year of the Huge Birthday Party, I caved to the peer pressure and had her party at the local Gymboree. Hey - I didn't have to clean the house. I think that's worth the $200 Gymboree fee... Yeah, I'm that lazy. Picking up after one 4-year old is hard enough - could you imagine the mess generated by 10 of them???

Peanut and I made her birthday cupcakes the night before, generating much criticism from the WCM, as we used a boxed mix. See, I've always been anti-box when it comes to my baking. It's a point of personal pride that everything that comes out of my kitchen is made from scratch. I figured, though, that when dealing with the unrefined 4-year old palate, boxed mix and canned frosting with mountains of sugar sprinkles were going to be just the thing. And they totally were, the WCM's misgivings aside.

The kids were adorable. The WCM hadn't wanted to come, but I made him come. The look on his face when he saw those kids running around, maniacally bouncing from one climber to the next like supercharged pinballs, was priceless. "It's bedlam," he breathed. "Total and utter bedlam!" The grin stole slowly over his face as he reached for the camera. I got some great shots from him.

The presents were all girly - two sets of fairy princess wings, wands, and tutus! - and right up Peanut's alley. A really with-it parent bought her a mini-Eiffel Tower dollhouse made by the Madeline people. Great gift for a French teacher's daughter. I thought the party went great.

As we were walking out to the car, I asked Peanut if it was a good party.

"No," she said "nobody gived me a big duckie."

Ahhhh, childhood.

Guess what I'm doing tomorrow?

Duckie hunting.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London calling...

... or in this case, screaming.

As it always happens in moments like this, I am completely numb with shock. The human capacity for hatred and destruction never ceases to astonish me. Four bombs, 400+ injuries, 40+ fatalities. I am left, like Nancy Kerrigan, screaming "Why?! Why?! WHY?!"

No one has called to take responsibility for this. I can't even imagine what I'd see as justice done for this attack. Thankfully, I'm not in the position to mete out that justice. I think it would be rather like the brainwashing performed in "A Clockwork Orange." Perhaps the brainwiping performed on criminals, as portrayed in Babylon 5 would be appropriate.

For me, there is no method of justice that would serve as a reparation for this. No action undertaken by a government could fix this for me, were that my baby on the bus or subway. No fine, imprisonment, or death sentence would bring back my loved one. The grief would be too profound and paralyzing for men to fix. It is just that that numbs me now - the immense sadness of every parent that had a child die in London today. It is all I can think about.

Anyone from the UK who may stumble upon this tiny blog, please know that you have my sympathies.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Final days of together time

Our final 2 days of together time were really a collection of snippets and observations, as I let the WCM hunt for fossils while I read books. We left Ohio and went to Central Maryland via Western Pennsylvania.

The patchwork hills of Western Pennsylvania were dotted with rounded hay bales and picturesque farms, just begging to be painted in heavy oils.

My wonderful husband's choice of music on the drive was eclectic, to say the least, ranging from Roger Waters moaning about being "Comfortably Numb" to Jimmy Buffett wooing his latest partner with the classic line "Why don't we get drunk and screw?"

What is it about the Ladies Room at Cracker Barrel restaurants that brings out the inner chanteuse in some women? I swear, in every Cracker Barrel we ate in (Breakfast, almost every day, because their breakfast f***ing rocks! Chocolate chip pancakes!), there was some dizzy broad in the next stall singing along to Patsy Cline. WTF? Lady, you're in there to, ahem, do your business, not belt out "Crazy."

I credit the peaceful roadtrip of over 1300 miles to my MP3 player. I could tune in, turn off, and chill out. Neither of us picked at the other, there were no petty fights, no resentments, and a lot of nice together time. I guess after 15 years, we've managed to get it together.

It was a nice vacation.

Scrapbook Mecca

In Columbus, Ohio, there's a store called Archivers, which is Scrapbooking Mecca. I spent the whole day there, from 9:30 am to 10:30 pm. I managed to complete 3 layouts. Yes, I'm the world's slowest scrapbooker. I'm a perfectionist, and very detail-oriented, when it comes to my layouts. If I get some quality Photoshop time, I'll scan them and post them.

This store is amazing. It's completely stocked with every tool and embellishment a scrapper would need. They have every line of paper, stickers, and rub-ons ever made. I'm SO excited to have had the time there. I spent a whole lot of money there and I don't regret a cent of it.

The WCM, meanwhile, was touring the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. He enjoyed it. On the way back to get me, he went fossil hunting on the side of the road and found some neat chunks of rock with fossilized seashells in it. This is his newest passion - fossils. This bodes well for our growing old together.

Blow Out?

So I'm watching the second season of Blow Out. I know that Jonathan Antin is the most self-absorbed diva in the hairstyling universe, but I can't look away.

Right now they're trying to arrange a hair-styling show where Jonathan is the center of attention. I can't tell whether the tech/AV guy is my hero for taking the piss, or if he's just an uber-geek and is totally serious about the outlandish stuff he's suggesting. Hairstyling in a harness suspended above the stage? Not on my head, bub.

So, I'm currently seeking a new stylist - my old one was a major flake, who just happened to be a cutting genius. I haven't had a haircut I've liked in about 2 years. I can't see paying $500 for a haircut, though. Even if cut by a famous narcissist.

Roller coasters galore!

Cedar Point amusement park is INCREDIBLE. I did all the coasters and had a blast. Wear good walking shoes, because you'll be walking around all day.

First, the Top Thrill Dragster is not to be missed. It'll take your breath away, literally, as it goes from 0 to 120 in 4 seconds and climbs to over 400 feet in the air. Of course, the whole ride is over in 20 seconds, but it's well worth the wait.

Mantis is the first coaster of its kind - you actually stand when you ride it. It's a little hard on the crotch, as you've got a bicycle seat-type-thing at your bottom and a shoulder harness to keep you squeezed in. Going upside down six times while you're standing up is a real kick.

The Mean Streak is a HUGE wooden coaster that is well worth riding. It shakes you up some, but if you don't mind the bruises, go for it.

The Raptor is a suspended coaster, which leaves your feet free to swing in the breeze. These kinds of coasters are fun, but not thrillsville for me. I went on the very front this time, though, which makes all the difference. It's a much better ride without the other seats in front of you.

The water rides were great, as it was ridiculously hot all day. The WCM and I got totally drenched. It was all good, though, because the skies opened up and it started raining. We spent a day and a half there. It was worth it.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll, Baby!!

Due to the lack of internet access on my vacation, I'll be posting a bunch of stuff today.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was sooooo worth it, if only for the wall of Duran Duran memorabilia. The only thing that was less than stellar was the photography ban - no photos allowed. Bastards...

I got to see a ton of memorabilia: the aforementioned Duran Duran wall - the suits that John & Nick wore in the "Save a Prayer" video, some other clothes, buttons, hand-written lyrics, posters... I was a 13-year old girl again, if only for 5 minutes, and it felt wonderful. I'd still put out for Duran Duran, assuming any of them were chubby chasers...

I was amazed by the Rolling Stones clothes - Ron Woods has the skinniest pins in history. How he could walk on those things is beyond belief. And Jagger - who dresses him?! And who'd have thought that Keith Richards has actually improved with age?!

As I've never been a fan of Jimi Hendrix, I was pleasantly suprised by his stuff - a lot of the lyrics that were handwritten were great. Jimi had awesome penmanship, too. Yeah, of all the things I could say about Rock God Jimi Hendrix, I commented on his penmanship. You can take the teacher out of the classroom... His clothing was AWESOME. I think Prince is Jimi reincarnated, though, as the outfits on display would not have looked out of place in his Royal Purpleness's closet.

There was a special exhibit dedicated to Ray Charles, which featured an organ, some costumes, and some early recordings on reel-to-reel tape, among other things. The most unusual artifact in that collection was Ray's Braille Playboy magazine, though... I guess some things could be better in Braille.

There was a special exhibit dedicated to the Who's Tommy. As someone who had Mr. Uhligh for music class in middle and high school, I was intimately acquainted with the Who. The pictures and costumes were great, but what really blew me away was the score itself. See, a looooong time ago, I was a pretty good pianist. I took classes in theory and musicianship and everything, so I know how to read and write music. This was real music. Plus, I always had a kind of crush on Roger Daltrey, his appearance in several Highlander episodes notwithstanding.

I was suprised at just how little Beatles memorabilia they had, though, as the Beatles are considered by most people to be the GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL BAND IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. I shout this in caps because it was drummed into my head by my teachers and contemporaries alike (I admit to having a fondness for early Beatles stuff, but for the most part, I don't care for them). Also, had my sister-in-law had her way when the WCM was born, his name would have been Ringo. He was the last of 5, so they let the older kids put names in a hat. Thank God someone noticed that Priscilla stuffed the hat with Ringos.

I had a great time grooving to AC/DC at the HOF jukebox on the 5th floor. They had the entire catalogues of every HOF inductee in the jukeboxes (with earphones), and I enjoyed unleashing my inner metalhead for a while. I browsed the other stuff, too, but who can resist "Big Balls" by AC/DC?! Not me.

Anyway, 4 out of 5 chocolate kisses for the Rock & Roll HOF. It would be a complete 5 stars if they had let me take pictures.