Thursday, August 28, 2008

laborious weekend

It isn't officially Labor Day weekend, but never you mind. Tomorrow we leave for the coast to hang out with my family for Cousin Lovefest, 2008, an epic tale of tide pools and raincoats and indoor swimming pools.

(Welcome to Oregon!)

I played around with a few posts today, my last afternoon poolside this summer. Lexi brought a friend along and Zack was busy pestering the would-be synchronized swimmers. They didn't seem to mind much. I didn't feel much like writing, not today anyway.

I studied my resident changelings, knowing the next time we pass around the sunscreen, they will be only that much taller, older.

(These long days can feel rather short.)

After the pool, it was time for open house at the school. My daughter showered and picked out the remaining skirt in her closet - it's rare to see her in anything but jeans these days - and put on some lip gloss while I put some white gel in Zack's hair, aging him before his time.

They were nervous in the car about the questions - um, didn't you move away? - and those questions came.

But we were overwhelmed by the teachers and faculty that greeted us, families welcoming us back.

I think we are off to a great start.

{Before I ramble any further, let me end by saying I will be away for the next few days. Have a safe and memorable Labor day weekend; see you soon. ox}

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


When the sun rises tomorrow morning, I will have clocked 2,700 pages with my pal Roland Deschain and his ka-tet, finishing the fifth of seven books in the Dark Tower Series.

While in Bermuda, I swallowed Jincy Willett's new novel, The Writing Class whole. (Well, I nibbled on the beach and on planes and in airports, but I managed to finish it on vacation.) Have you read Jenny & the Jaws of Life? There seemed a time when nearly every author interview I read referred to the then out of print collection of short stories. Her writing style is delicious.

Twilight might be a book written just for little ol' me, bereft years after Buffy left the airwaves and I nearly passed it up, turned off by the buzz. (See also: Harry P.) I figured I better buy it now, before my saturation nerve gets twitchy.

And I picked up this gem from the library last weekend. I. can. hardly. wait.

So much reading, so little time...

Monday, August 25, 2008

40 looks good on you

Stephanie celebrated her 40th birthday last Saturday. I was properly post-flu, sinus infection medicated and ready to take on Portland, after she made a wish.

birthday wishes
We met up at one of those signless, swanky bars that this suburban mom is hardly privy to anymore.
i love the mirrors
That's Stephanie's sister, Michelle and our friend Sam, from PTA. She's a hoot and a half.
swanky bar, weird shot
I brought my new itty bitty camera, but I haven't mastered the settings, making every shot look a little under the influence.
sam & stephanie
We then strolled over to the Darcelle XV Showplace for their 10:30 show. My picture does not do the show justice.
moulin rouge
And if Saturday night was any indicator, 20 x 2 is looking good on you, Bad Mom.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

up from my bed, crossing the floor

I got up to survey the damage.

Greg went back to work this week, and I went back to bed with a fever, and the kids went a little nuts, foraging for themselves.

Armed with Bisquick and the History Channel's MonsterQuest, they managed to get along just fine without me.

Lexi cleaned out the fridge and left me cryptic notes about science experiments and Zack pulled another of his baby teeth, startling me awake when he foisted a bloody dishtowel up to my eye for approval.

They had put off any real sibling battles until I was at least upright, so I rose from my absentee motherly ashes today and treated them to a trip to a Bagel shop they have loved since they were preschoolers.

The place was crawling, the gray skies making coffee sound perfectly reasonable on a late August morning. Toddlers crawled over newly purchased IKEA tables - Lexi would know; she studies her catalog with a fervor usually reserved for porn - while retired couples settled into each other, whispering and pointing at the preschoolers playing in the pretend kitchen.

I found myself studying a group of women, each entering the twilight of their days. Silver hair and sensible shoes and books - serious novels close at hand - drinking coffee and discussing their pick of the month. Time passed and one of the women started for the door.

The espresso maker whined through several paces and Zack finished off his maple bar before the woman had covered ten feet.

She smiled my direction, her red lipstick on straight, dignity intact and then she said goodbye to her friends, promising to see them next week before turning and making her lengthy, elegant exit.

I'd spent the morning feeling a bit adrift, fighting a sinus infection and preparing to re-enroll our kids back at our elementary school just down the road. Filling out tedious registration paperwork, again, so they go right back from where they came, with no move in sight. At least for now.

The coming days feel free and empty and daunting.

(I'm sure being sick this week and rain rain rain has contributed to this sharp change in mood.)

But wherever the next couple decades take me, I've decided I want to end up like that woman making her way to the door. Moving. Going forward. Living each day. Reading and debating and laughing with my friends.

I don't know if I ever met anyone fairer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

bermuda, shorts

We arrived in Bermuda, tired from a red-eye and overwhelmed by the humidity but thrilled to be there.

(By the way, cankles are the new black. Just saying.)

Bermuda did not disappoint.

We traipsed around the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, in a heavy rain much like many of my excursions to the Oregon Zoo, except it was a bajillion degrees.

Some of us were forced against our will to try traditions that make us a little queasy. (Greg might choose a new guest next time out for unveiling this knee sock shot.)

We took in natural wonders.

We withstood unrivaled humidity and went on a fascinating historical tour of the Royal Naval Dockyard in Sandys Parish.

We had amazing food: Bermuda Fish Chowder, seafood by the bucketful and English Pub fare. Not to mention my new favorite cocktail of choice, a Dark & Stormy, equal parts rum and ginger beer.

(I've been known to startle a PTA member or two, when I arrive with a Reed's Ginger beer. I love the stuff; it's like ginger ale, only spicier. Why I had never thought to cut it with booze escapes me. I made up for this lack of ingenuity last week.)

I had an amazing time.

And as much as I enjoyed the food, the sites, the history, the resort, the parties, the beaches, the scary taxi rides, the best part of the trip was also the only thing I had worried about: Taking a trip with a large group strangers, well, at least a group unknown to me.

From the time we met up with some couples from Greg's office until we landed again, nearly everyone I met was generous and kind.

Courteous. Funny.

Willing to dive past comparing gas prices, headlong into politics, and religion.

I remember walking through the foyer one night, during cocktails, the walls reverberating with conversation in every language imaginable. The swell of good will was overwhelming, and I can't lie; I got choked up.

It really is an awesome world.

{You can find more pictures from my trip here.}

Monday, August 18, 2008

you give me fever

I was poised to post my Bermuda pictures - now with more rum - today, but I have a raging fever instead. I guess it's flu season somewhere, right?

So my joints, down to my itty bitty fingers ache and I've taken to my bed.

But when I feel a bit better, I'll be back.

(Preview: Bermuda was fabulous!)

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm leaving, on a jet plane

The Miltons are making their way home today. Yippee. Stay tuned for beach pictures. I'm bound to have stories...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ass project '08, the beach edition

Mama Milton may be in Bermuda, but she hasn't forgotten her pledge. There may not be *jazz hands* on this vacation, but there will be long walks on pink beaches. They have to account for something.

Still need some inspiration? Turn to Kelly at Fitness Fixation. She is feisty and just the kick I need, when my will power is fading. (And a little foul mouthed. Which I like when it comes to sweat.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

they are in good hands

While away with her husband in Bermuda - *sigh* what joy! - Mama Milton is running some reruns. My sister took these pictures at my Mom and Dad's house last summer. Knowing they are there makes being away all too easy.


High School Musical 3?

disney, eat your heart out

Looks like fun to me...thanks Mom for the great pictures. (I'll post more of them on Flickr tomorrow.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

turning to genius

Mama Milton is lazy. On a beach most likely this week. While she is away, she wanted to turn your attention to some posts she has adored this summer. With no further ado, I give you three links for you to love:

Halushki's Eggplant Recipe. No, really. You should go RIGHT NOW. I need her to write a cookbook.

Bad Mom's For the Love of... It's one of her first posts. It's when she took my application for BFF status. She and Jen decided to let me in the circle.

Tracy's Tantrums of the Grown Up Type I love her honesty. And despite her tantrums, she is kind. She even sent my girl a rockin' math book. See why I love bloggers?

Stacy's Will the real Godzilla please step forward? If this isn't life with little boys, I don't know what is. The road to peace IS bumpy.

Need more? Check out my blogroll. There's gotta be something there to pique your interest...

Monday, August 11, 2008

of yoga and pledge

While on vacation with her husband in Bermuda - let's just appreciate that for a moment *sigh* - Mama Milton will be running some scheduled posts. Some are repeats. I wrote this one in November of 2007. Ta ta. ox

The wind has been whipping through the gorge, knocking branches down and squelching my plans to go for a long walk today. I could brave the gym, but my workout partner is packing for Disneyland, and going alone just stinks. Without distractions, I am bound to stare at the clock the entire time, suffering a slow death.

Today is a perfect day for yoga.

[I brought along some fine actors, to aid in the reenactment.]
pink barbie
(Pink-haired Barbie was a total diva; she was fired. I'm sure I'll be hearing from her union.)

I pulled out my mat. Put on a DVD and....
(I don't recall smiling.)

whoa, whoa, aaaaagggghhhhh

corpse pose
fell to the ground.


Zack + Dusting with Pledge = Treacherous Yoga Studio

I have a new strategy for tomorrow:

my kind of exercise

I think stretching my fingers over the remote has got to count for something.


Saturday, August 09, 2008


He couldn't be coaxed or bribed into doing it any sooner. Like Lexi before him, he was afraid of falling.

And I can appreciate that.

But today he took off like it was nothing. Just like I knew he could.

Here's to courage. I know I could use a little more in my life.

(Way to go, Zack!)

(Tomorrow we will be flying to Bermuda. I am excited and nervous about the plane ride - I've had a cluster headache in flight before and it wasn't pretty. Say a little a prayer for me, won't you please? And I will be around your way again, sometime next weekend. ox)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Seattle's Best BeanPaste

The key to curing Short Fuse Syndrome might be hitting the road, and getting out of town.

I came back to canoodling lovebirds, eager to pass the time snuggling bedside with me, watching Jack Ritter immortalized in the form of a fictional big red dog.

Bad Mom and I cleared our calendars and drove up to Seattle yesterday to meet our blogging neighbors up north. Originally Mrs. G. had planned to host a BBQ in Melanie's honor while she was the Needle's shadow, visiting her aunt. But the Lady of the Manor fell ill - please do send her your best as she is scheduled to leave for New York tomorrow - so we came up with Plan B, which included steep parking rates and a lovely view of Puget Sound.

We ate lunch with Melanie, and then dinner later with some fine bloggers, eating our way through town.

(I'm kicking myself for not snapping a group picture before we dashed out the door. I will do better next time.)

I used to long to meet other writers, readers, people who like to fiddle with words, my own private Paris of like minds. I've struck gold twice: first as a bookseller, next as an unlikely blogger, a word I still don't wear well.

As we pulled away from the city, our bellies full of truffle oiled popcorn and bacon dates, my life felt very full indeed.

(It was a pleasure, ladies. Let's do it again sometime.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

a longer fuse

The trouble with staging, this striving to make our home feel like a hotel, is eventually you succeed, and this living in a hotel leads to the kids looking at me with eyes that plead: What now?

Boredom leads to bickering over who swims The Best, debated within what Jennifer Grey would agree is my personal space, their words bouncing off our empty walls.

(The fact that they both swim better than me, the weak link in the swimming gene pool, escapes them. It always makes me chuckle.)

In a few short days, I will be whisked away to Bermuda for the week and soon after, school starts again. I strive to live in the here and now, but this looking ahead helps me let out my fuse and hold my tongue.

Summer has but a short shelf life.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

diy waxing (buyer beware)

We all have gifts. Our friend Frida lived a spicy life, and had talent to spare but it did not save her from the Brow.

Some of us are burdened with an excess of eyebrow. It's just a fact of life that requires tough skin to withstand all the plucking and taunting of small children. (I am looking at you, Laurel of the preschool, making Lexi cry when you told the class she had 'callapitters' on her forehead. For shame.)

So. I pluck and I deal and occasionally I wax the suckers myself when Mad Men calls my name and I'm done with all this necessary grooming.

And until Saturday, I have been smug in my DIY efforts. That is until I used a new bigger strip of wax and broke one of the golden rules of the art of eyebrow maintenance: Thou shall not wax the same area twice in any one waxing period, you dope, or suffer you shall.

The swelling is down, but Zack still backed away from me in the morning, avoiding the scourge.

Greg was far kinder as I iced my wound, claiming that he could barely make out where I had manually extracted a pound of flesh from my eyelid, proving once again why he's just the guy for me.

Frida courtesy of Google; my eye courtesy of Zack.

Monday, August 04, 2008


I sat on the lawn while the kids swam and carefully plotted ideas for posts for the next two weeks, trying that clever approach on for size.

Today I was supposed to post a saucy and downright hilarious piece with props and pictures. But I just couldn't muster any funny yesterday.

(Cue Debbie Downer.)

I was restless. I missed church. I drove out way yonder to pick up Greg - he was having some work done on his car in no man's land - and missed my turn. I had relied on my new GPS system and it steered me wrong.

I ended up at some Lutheran church, perched in a pasture, with no cell phone coverage and a mouth full of cuss.

But I found him out by a donkey patch and narrowly escaped being hit by a passing car, coming straight at us.

I tripped over things. I'd fiddle with a project, pick up a book and then lose interest. It was just that day.

Evening came and I hobbled through a Jazzercise set, my mood improving, worn out and ready for bed, the only good cure when the day has been too long.

Friday, August 01, 2008

blogger is giving me grief

Or is it Internet Explorer? I don't know. Stu gave me the heads up and I am fiddling with it, as you can see.

Please stand by while I try to do the impossible and solve computer hiccups. It might include prayer, candles and a weird jig.

let there be *jazz hands*

So I am in. I figure if Mrs. G can bare her bum in polka dot panties in an effort to make me healthier and such, the least I can do is play along. Lord knows I will take any opportunity to ramble on about the joys of the eight count and dancing.

It completes me.

Greg took this picture last summer, at the coast. I was on about 80 mg of Prednisone at the time and sporting chipmunk cheeks ala steroids.
Rock climbing, coastline style

I was on a heavy dose until I tapered off just a few months ago. Doctors tell me the equation goes like this:

Months spent on Puffy, Weight increasing drugs is = Months taking off said Puffy jumpsuit.

Like pregnancy. *sigh*

I guess I am on track, and with a little help from my friends, and a swift kick to my ample padding, I hope to improve my health and impress my rheumatologist when he returns from Spain this fall.

(He's a stickler for effort and hard work.)

So, are you in?
Post-glisten, just this morning. Yes, it is raining.

I feel better than I look. Really.