Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Meet Lisa (Simpson) Milton

After several days of lying about and relaxing, I should have something meaningful to say today. Profound even. But I came home from one of my favorite parks, to my faithful laptop and a pickled brain. Which is sad considering I was driving home, looking forward to writing this afternoon - a treat between a playdate and swimming lessons. Still nothing.

I was visiting with Greg last night while I was making dinner, which looks a lot like me rattling on while he gazes at the forementioned laptop, when he suddenly started laughing. I paused because I wasn't saying something especially witty - it's hard to find funny in the middle east - when I realized he wasn't really *listening* but whatever. It happens.

Turns out he was thinking of me all along, a quieter me, making me into a 'Simpsons' character because you can totally do that on this here internet.

We Miltons sure know how to use our time effectively.
I give you Lisa Simpson Milton.

I think I heard something about what's good for the goose is good for the gander or something like that. Here's Greg.

Long to be yellow? Jaundice-free fun, right this way. (Don't be alarmed by the freaky BK dude. He's a sponsor. I'm sorry.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Put the beast down

Don't worry. No living creatures were injured in the writing of this post. Though I have been rightly accused, to my face, of being a MEAN Mom, I wouldn't go taking my aggressions out on the Milton Zoo inhabitants.

I was aiming for the blasted TV.

I let the kids cozy up to the thing for an afternoon, and I have been paying for it ever since this lapse in judgement. They want to marry it. They want to live in sin with it. They want to hug and kiss and fondle it. Or in a pinch, the remote. They want to raise a litter of remote controls.

I told them to dream on. And go find a book.

It worked. I may just unplug the thing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

For this we get a sticker

As the great world of women bloggers gets all gussied up for Blogher, I spent 2 hours and $15 to unravel the mystery of the boy child's on-again, off-again affair with a high evening fever. Conclusion: must be a tough virus. Dumb ass. (I swear he thought it.)

Wow. Really?

I mean, why do I even read the guidelines for when to call the doctor? Yes, he did do a chest X-ray and yes, he agreed that the lymph nodes are visibly swollen in his neck. He said if the fever keeps coming back at night, we need to do some blood work. And that he seems fine right now, the very thing I told the nurse when we arrived. He seems fine until he curls up in a little ball with 20 blankets, sleeping and sweating and needing mamalove.

Enter the moaning.

I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

Back to Blogher. (No segue in sight, just directly back to the place my wandering mind takes us. Wee. It's a roller coaster.) Many of the talented bloggers that I love from a distance, like a good stalker should, are headed for Chicago right about now. I am jealous, and a bit relieved. Jealous because, sweet juniper, it sounds like a splendid time, equal parts classroom and cavorting - a few of my favorite things. But y'all sound so fancy with your shiny, newly colored hair and pretty tootsies. I am not a complete troll, but another year to plan my fabulous debut may be in order.

(Bad Mom and I are in 'next year' talks. Beware.)

So for now, I am pouring myself a cup of tea and headed to the park before swimming lessons begin. Or Zack melts into a puddle. I imagine I have but a few good hours left in the day - I think I will take them in the sun, with a book in hand.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Get your pom-poms; or when the wee ones complain

Me, all sing-songy and very annoying: When you say BORE-DOM, I say HOUSE-WORK.



If that doesn't work, I jump up and down and say:

Let's sweep, let's sweep, let's really sweep. Let's dust, let's dust, let's really dust. Let's scrub, let's scrub, let's really scrub. Let's sweep, Let's dust, Let's scrub.

(They scatter, afraid - much like you. It works like a charm. I'll maintain what's left of my summer sanity or have a clean house. Either way, it's a V-I-C-T-O-R-Y for me.)

four parts coastline

July is coming to a close, but the Oregon coast is stuck in January. We walk along the rocky beach, the Pacific spits at us. We discover starfish and little crabs in the tide pools. The drizzle gives way to rain and we climb the stairs back to our car.

The kids don't complain.

We make our way through the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Lexi and Zack are anxious to get to the jellyfish exhibit. The urgency puzzles me until I think about good ol' Mr. Spongepants. He colors our world.

Lexi can't sleep in the hotel. It is 1 am and she is pounding her pillow, grunting tween grunts. I think she is sleepwalking, and try to reassure her. But she is awake, and crabby. The Idaho-Oregon Buddhist school is whooping it up down the hall, and she can't sleep. She stands over me, fiery words falling from her mouth. I tell her to deal with it. She finally melts into a puddle and passes out.

I can't believe Zack sleeps through her hissy fit. That boy can sleep through anything. Maybe he meditates.

I sleep a few more hours and wake up with the dawn, with the kids. I stumble around with my coffee and consider tying the kids down to the bedpost. To keep them quiet.

Then I decide to let them be.

Call it 'karma'.

Greg passes cars along Highway 101; the road winds. We get stuck behind campers for miles at a stretch. It feels longer. We race around them when we get to a passing lane. I gently pump my imaginary brake. He is lawful, but I am a wuss. We pass Widow's creek.

It feels like an omen.

We arrive safely. I am relieved.

Saturday night we go swimming in the hotel pool. The kids and I get there first. I give my limited pointers, the ones they have heard all summer. They spin and jump in, I float on my back.

Greg shows up and the party begins. He swims underwater, and pops up to surprise them. They fight for his attention. "Watch me, Daddy." They hold their breath under water, try to imitate him. He coaches them. I stand aside - this is not my forte. He does a handstand in the water. He is the champion.

Swimming with Daddy wins first prize. They jabber about it on the way home.

Zack falls asleep in the car, a smile on his lips.

We had a great weekend. Check it out.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I don't *heart* Harry. I'm sorry.

Ms. Rowling:

I went to a bookstore this week and witnessed, first hand, the 'calm' before the storm of HP parties tonight. The booksellers were bartering for Xanax, and maybe, just maybe, exchanging the addresses of reliable medical marijuana distributors, open late for this occasion. Sure, some were drooling over the final installment, but most had a distant look in their eyes that spoke volumes. Something like 'let's get it over with already and kill the dude off''.

And I admit, that's terrible. Your books have inspired children and adults alike to read. I can't dismiss that.

But by the time I read the first book, it was spoiled. I felt saturated with Harry and his Harryness and the Spiritual Meaning and the folks that think he From the Devil. It was just too much.

Imagine, for months leading up to a release date, muggles would swarm the information desk, in a Harry Potter frenzy, recounting their favorite scenes and forecasting their predictions. Some would come in to protest Harry because he doesn't love Jesus. Some would come in every other day, saying Ijustcan'twaitforthenewbookIloveHarry,don'tyou*little squeal*rememberthetime...

(Sorta like me. With Buffy and Joss Whedon. You wouldn't understand.)

So, I'm sorry JK, for being such a loser and not loving the little wizard like a good book geek should. It's not you, it's me.

(Not like it matters; your nation rises and swells. Can you feel it?)

Best wishes,

Former bookseller

PS: We are headed to the coast. I am not staying up late with the hopped up sugar fiends in glasses and capes. *little squeal*

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bad Mom Rising

It appears I have met both summer and Greg's absence (Mr. Traveling Man) with manic flair. There hasn't been lounging about - we have been busy. Swimming, hiking, seeing friends we miss throughout the winter. Holding babies. Seeing movies.

I don't want to miss anything. The blue skies and a flexible schedule bring out the crazy in me. My self-diagnosed case of ADD takes off. And by mid-July I start worrying if I can fit it all in; by mid-July I start to sputter and beg for some down time.

My cup is full and I am ready to watch some mindless TV, stick my nose in a book. Catch up on my favorite blogs.

It is raining.

I think it's a sign to stay inside and slow down, take a breather.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Big wishes Caden


The baby in the family is officially two. Caden is such a sweet soul, when he isn't practicing saying 'no' or 'mine'. (He has to fend for himself, after all.)

Happy birthday, Caden! We love you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

not sure if it's the thrill of victory, or that other thing about agony

I knew I was in trouble when I walked into the room, and no one said 'hello'. There were some glances over the shoulder, but no warmth imparted, despite the high temperatures. So, I did what I usually do when faced with an awkward social setting - I scanned the walls for something to read. I don't know how many times I reread the fitness schedule before I heard a particularly buff woman make some off-handed comment about what kind of woman works in a bar, because, sure it is fine for men, blah, blah, blah. And I would have went over and volunteered that I am just that kind of woman except she scared me. I could snap her with my mighty sitting on her move, being a big bar kind of woman, but did I mention the muscles? She was spared, this once, my Free to Be Me speech.

I'm an equal opportunity kind of gal.

The free commentary was the least of my worries. I have been working out with my good friend, Jen, over the past few weeks and while she is off in the wilderness, I decided that I should try one of the group exercise classes. I need lots of incentives to exercise. Like a friend. Like walking far, far away from my house. I figure unless I am hit by a car or picked up by Shrek, I have to make my way home again.

Or group exercise.

If you haven't been following along, I have an autoimmune disease that took me out of the sweaty gym arena for a time. I like to think of this as my triumphant return.

(It looks a lot like whimpering.)

We were instructed to put several steps into rows and to grab a band and two sets of weights. I grew nervous at the mention of 'steps' because I hate step aerobics and the pain they inflict on my knees. But I stayed. Out of shame.

Soon we are running and doing jumping jacks and I take a gander over at Ms. Buff Misogyny, who is chewing gum and wait - did she just blow a bubble mid-workout? Holy crap, she isn't even sweating. I knew I didn't pick a fight with her for a reason. She's a fembot. And I'm a peaceful sissy.

I survived the class, even with the running and lunges, fearful that another 'bot might run me down. (Fembots travel in packs.) I only glanced at the clock every 5 minutes and considered leaving mid knee lift slash curl. But I made it.

Now if only I could get up these stairs and go to bed. Where's my hubby when I need him?

Maybe I'll just lay here and practice my moaning...

edited to add: Much to My Sjogren has been updated too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

57, 104

My Dad on his day
The heatwave arrived just in time for my Dad's birthday. We Pacific Northwest folks honestly don't know what to do with ourselves with the temperature hits triple digits. We're prepared for drizzle, not roasting.

Lucky for us, my parents bought a pool, and we put it to good use. Forget the last post; I gladly hopped in the water. No fear or grimacing and certainly no cameras this time.

Papa and his fan club

My Dad is Mr. Steady; the one folks can rely on. Whether it's helping my Grandma around her place, or working on my car - he's always there. He reminds us to drive carefully, chides us to be safe. I'm stubborn and don't always take to advice, but I know my Dad has my back.

And he's got the kids' hearts. Holy cow, they adore him. He is the man.

That's it, he's the man.

Happy birthday, Dad.

More birthday pictures here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

to the pool

Papa Bill and Grandma Jean; my Mom, Donna, and me, 1972. I did not like the pool. Or perhaps it was the freezing well water. It's hard to say.

We, the Milton parental unit, have decided that this is the summer of swimming. Swimsapalooza. All hail the pool. Greg loves the water, swimming beneath the surface, surprising me as I hang out on the side.
I'm not a big fan. I don't like my head underwater. Never have.

I remember climbing up the tall diving board, against my will, during swimming lessons. The instructor promised to let me hold on to the long copper colored stick, but I knew she was lying. The minute I hit the water, terrified, she yanked the only thing that made this jump remotely okay with me.

Big jerk.

So, I encourage the kids to grow flippers. They take after their Dad, after all. I will be there, cheering their brave souls on. And asking them to kindly STOP SPLASHING ME.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Double Bind and tears

I've been weepy since Thursday. Last Thursday. Not depressed, heavens no. I just keep getting choked up, when I least expect it.

It started with The Bridge to Terabithia. (Curse you well-made tale I love.) I think I handled the ending better when I was the demographic it was intended for/banned on my behalf.

I was sad when I heard Joel Siegel died.

I could continue, but what's the point? We all have those times when life is feels unbearably precious, moving.

Onward to my July book recommendation! (You didn't know there would be recommendations, did you? Better than gushy talk.)

I stayed up late last night, careening to the end. I can't tell you much about The Double Bind; it may ruin it for you. But I haven't been wowed in a while.
Tomorrow: Coherent sentences and my favorite bikini. Woohoo.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Chopper and the endless asking

Zack follows me through the house with a common refrain: 'What? What mommy?' Which has led to me some conclusions...

a)He has suffered hearing loss, pre-concert years, and needs a hearing aid
b)He is distracted/ignoring me.
c)He loves the sound of his mother's (increasingly impatient) voice.
d)He has water in his ears.
e) All of the above.

So I do my chores, repeating myself more than I should. Just when I think I'm losing my mind, he says he misses Daddy so much that he 'thinks his heart is going to crack'. I try to remember that Greg's travel schedule is hard on everyone. I sit down and we read Captain Underpants together. He laughs and he listens and I am sure he is fine.


We put the swimming lessons to work last night. Lexi took off with her friend, floating away. I can't see her in the pool. She has taken Independence Day to heart.

Zack obeys the sign that reads: Children under 7 must be within arm's reach of a parent. He dives down and holds his breath, playing with his girlfriend, part-mermaid. He shows me his back float. He whips onto his chest and propels his arms through the water, attempting to crawl. He swims with a fury, and goes very little. I laugh until he pops up; afraid he'll misunderstand and grow discouraged. He swims and I laugh. I laugh at this boy making his way, slowly, with gusto.

My heart is full.

Thursday, July 05, 2007



I love this picture of Caden, my nephew.

We are recovering from a raucous Independence Day...anyone in for a nap today?

(There are more pictures of the 4th here.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th (where's my maxalt?)

Happy Independence Day! Woohoo.
We are headed to my parents' house for food, fun and frolicking. There's a rumor going around that dear Ammy and Papa have a pool now too. We may never leave. The weather is cooperating too. We've spent many a soggy holiday here in the Northwest.

I'm a bit of a party pooper; the fireworks (the smoke) give me a ragin' headache that can go on for days. Couple that with the sleepless nights leading up to the big day (my neighbors have been doing it up EVERY NIGHT) and it's super fun. I loaded up on migraine meds last week, so I should be prepared. Or I'll be in the house, like a bubble girl, waiting for the smoke to clear.

May you and yours have a spectacular and safe day! Be careful. (It's the mama in me.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Coming up short

While the kids play zookeeper and a rousing game of Sorry, I turn to my computer and read blogs that make me feel so inadequate, I am tempted to shut down both my sites and find another hobby. Or clean my house.

(Notice I haven't moved from my chair. You're stuck with me.)

So along comes Jan Carson, throwing her hat into the ring. She hasn't embraced blogging, but she was searching for a way to publish her short stories and be read and heard and gave in to the dark side.

I read this story yesterday and I was bowled over. I couldn't help but feel a wee bit jealous, all this talent rolled up into one girl. Oh and did I mention her Irish accent? Yes, I am Ms. Envy-pants but will pray about it because she also teaches my kids at church and Jesus is against the whole coveting thing. I can't risk smite from above right yet. Greg is still on a trip.

So while I bow my head, make sure you head to I am your special friend. Visit often. 'She is not terrific, but she is competent.'

Monday, July 02, 2007

A veritable zoo

Saturday morning, Zack called from my parents' house.

He had caught a snake. (I have a feeling my Dad was an accomplice.)

"Can I bring Jimmy home?"

The harmless garter snake had been given a name by the high elders.

"Let me talk to Daddy."

The husband went to get Cricket-a-Roni, the Jimmy Allen Milton treat.

Lexi cried over the bugs.

That night, over dinner, the conversation took a turn for the worst.

"Papa used to catch tarantulas. He kept them as pets." Zack is captivated - never have more exciting words been spoken. I look at Greg, who adds, "So did I..."

I can't recount what he said, word for word. Something about them being fairly safe, but hard to catch. Because of the fangs.

I then made a proclamation heard round the block: THERE WILL BE NO PET SPIDERS IN THIS HOUSE. NO BIG, FURRY SPIDERS.

I circulated fliers, I drew up contracts. I made them pinky-swear, and take the needle-in-the-eye oath.

I have my limits. The line has been made...

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