Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spring has come to Florida!


67 degrees, sunny now with thunderstorms in the forecast for this afternoon! I kicked the kids outside before 8:30 and got in the shower to get my legs ready for their yearly debut. It quickly became obvious that I didn't have the proper hair-removal tool. The Venus razor was good for cutting down the foliage. The Gillette did pretty well with the stalks and stems. And finally, the good old pink plastic bic finished off the stubborn stubble. What I needed was a bush hog.

Time out for humor that non-southerners may not get. My mom was a doctor in Mississippi. She was working in the ER when a new director from Michigan came on board. On his first day, a nurse came running in saying that they were all needed in trauma. As they all rushed down the hall the nurse told them the patient was a man who had been run down by a bush hog. When the director saw the patient's injuries, he said, "What the hell kind of animal is this?"

My freshly shucked legs are sporting new capris from the end of the season sale last year and my shirt only has one small hole in it! My springtime uniform!

Ahhh . . . I love the smell of bug repellant in the morning!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fire!


Yes, we did. We kissed in a Children's Museum in Alabama. Alabama! They had a heat-sensing camera, for the love of God! We couldn't resist.

Dawn - Part II: This all happened in a 24 hour period.


Yesterday, we loaded up the kids who were out of school again for no good reason (something about the teachers going to New Orleans for a conference (Mardi Gras)). We were on the way to Mobile on I-10 when Dawn very calmly said, “That was a Wild Boar.”
“A what?” I said
“A wild boar. It was in the median.” Let me say now for those of you not from the South, that a wild boar sighting is VERY rare. I’ve lived here my whole life and never seen one. I still haven’t - I missed it. Dawn went on to say that she has a certain affinity for wild boar because it was part of the best meal she’s ever eaten.
“You ate wild boar? Where?”
“In Brasil.” This is the answer I was hoping for. I LOVE hearing about the year she spent there. She’s so modest that I kind of have to trick her into telling me about it or wait patiently for moments like this.
“We were at my host family’s farm. We had gone out on the river in the boat. We saw a boar cross the river, but when it got to the other side it couldn’t climb up. The bank was too steep. It was going to drown anyway, so my host dad whacked it on the head with an oar.” No shit. That’s what she said. Back off, girls. I saw her first.
As she got more and more carried away with her love for Brasil, stories spilled out. Fresh milk with brand new chocolate, pizza with mangos, trees filled with toucans, and a spiritual gathering that her host family wouldn’t take her to because the group still practiced sacrifice and Dawn being a blond virgin might not be safe. She says all of this with a light in her eyes and a melodic laugh.

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, Dawn was tending to the birds and chatting and I was checking the email one last time. I wish I could remember what she was talking about. It was something funny and charming. When I shut the computer down and turned around, she was sitting on our bed all aglow with tiny white down feathers all in her hair. She was, as is her way, totally unaware of her beauty. My angel!

This morning, she was working at the computer downstairs and had turned on Pandora.com. (If you don’t know about this miracle of modern life, go now. My feelings won’t even be hurt if you stop reading and proceed immediately.) She had it on the musicals channel. When “My Favorite Things” started up she called Faith in to hear it. Dawn has managed to infect Faith with her abiding love of “The Sound of Music.” They sang and danced together. When Faith ran off to get dressed so she could watch the movie, Dawn told me about the special trip she took to Austria just to go the place featured in the opening scene. “Did you spin around and sing?” I asked.
“All day. All day.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Funny Morning

About every 2 weeks, we have a morning where everything comes together (or falls apart) to reveal the hilarious nature of our kids. Today is one of those blessed days.
Storm, age 8, sleepily walked down the hallway in mismatched jams. “Why did you change pajama bottoms?” I asked. He stared at me.
“Did you pee in your bed?” Blank stare. “Storm. Hi. I’m talking to you. Did you pee in your bed?” He shook his head a couple of times and then pulled the diagonal nod and gradually worked it into a full nod. “Does that mean yes, Baby?”
Blank stare then, “No.”
“So you didn’t pee in your bed?”
“Yes.” Now we’re both staring at each other.
“Storm, angel, did you pee in your bed?”
“Yes.” OK. He wrapped a blanket around his body and trudged to the table.

William, from the bathroom, yells, “Mom!” I went. He was sitting on the potty, so low that his butt must have been touching the water. His cheek was squished in his little hand attached to the elbow that was propped on the toilet seat. He calmly asked, “What that smell?”
“Poop.” I said.
“No, I not fink so.”
“Are you pooping?”
“Yeah.” he said with a little sigh.
“Well, then I think it’s your poop.”
“No, I fink it be Way.” Ray - the baby brother who is no where in sight or smell range.

Faith and Ray were at the computer, which is to say that Faith was sitting in the desk chair and Ray was sitting in the little kid chair next to the desk chair. Faith said, “I don’t want to play Nick Jr. today. I want the one with the big circle on it.”
“PBSkids.org?” I asked.
“Yes, that one.” She looked at the keyboard, frowned a little and asked, “How do you spell PBS?”
Ray, meanwhile, still had on his pajamas and still had his puppy lovey and his paci which he holds in the corner of his mouth like a cigar. He also though, was wearing sunglasses, red sunglasses, which were on his face a little bit askew because they were only over one ear. The other ear was smooshed under the arm. He was staring expressionless at the screen.

Storm, finally dressed with lunchbox and homework folder in hand, was waiting at the door for Dawn to drive him to school. He started to squirm. He stuck out his butt, pinned his knees together and shimmied. When that obviously had not fixed his problem, he stuck the folder under his arm and pinched repeatedly at his nether region. Mimi, my aunt who lives with us, said, “Storm, you all right?”
“Yeah,” he said, “it’s just my pants.” The shimmy continued with bursts of twists that would make Chubby Checker proud.
“What’s wrong with your pants?”
“Well, it might be my underwear.”
“Maybe you should put your things down so you can attend to it. You don’t want to be walking around like that all day.” He put down the lunchbox and folder, undid his pants and began to dig. And dig and twist up his face and look very pensive at times. Mimi was turning purple from the effort to stifle a giggle. When his arm finally came free and he re-snapped and re-zipped, Mimi asked, “So what was the problem?”
“It was twisted or something.” We resisted the urge to inquire as to what exactly was twisted.

Faith, meanwhile had decided that she wasn’t going to school and so did not need to get dressed. She and Ray were standing on her bed going through her jewelry/random-crap-that-she-won’t-part-with box. Ray had on a purple headband.

William, still from the bathroom, yells, “Mom! I fink I got dirrea!” This is a pretty good pronunciation for him. He says “diarrhea” differently every time. I went in there to find him still hunched precariously over/in the bowl. “I gonna need your help, Mom.”
“OK, baby. Mommy is always going to help you. What do you want me to do for you?”
“I want you get one of Way’s frozen wipes for my bootsie.” Translation - Get one of the baby wipes which is startlingly cold and wipe my butt. I did.

Mimi had by then miraculously coaxed Faith into some school clothes. She was standing in the kitchen, pink lunchbox in hand. Her wild mane was protesting the cherry print headband that she had worked over it. Her bottom lip was poked out far enough to warrant, “You could walk to Memphis on that lip!” She was totally silent on the way to school. Very unusual. When we got there she stomped into the classroom. I yelled after her, “I love you, Faith!” I was hoping to embarrass her into a reaction. She stopped walking and slowly turned around. She lowered her chin, furrowed her little brow and doing her best not to smile said through clenched teeth, “I love you, too.”

Saturday, February 21, 2009

We LOVE Florida Senator Eleanor Sobel and her Gigantic Balls


Behold Florida State Senator Eleanor Sobel! (I hope I can figure out how to paste her portrait right here!) Isn’t she beautiful?! (She reminds me a little of Jill from Desperate Housewives of New York. Maybe it’s that she actually is a Jewish New Yorker. Regardless, I’m so glad to call her a Floridian today! Are any Floridians actually from Florida anyway? I’m a Mississippian by birth. Don’t choke! It’s OK. I escaped.)

She has introduced Florida Senate Bill 1642, a Domestic Partnership Bill to ensure that we Gay, Lesbian, Bi and so forths can visit each other in the hospital and legally do such basic things as blink in each other’s presence. I am eternally gratefully to her for having the courage and conviction (balls) to suggest to the old Baptist white guys who keep her company in the Florida Legislature that the queers are, in fact real people who vote and pay taxes and raise kids who will grow up to vote and pay taxes, and who might actually account for 15% of the state’s population (Gasp! Cough! Choke!) and so should probably be guaranteed the full set of Floridian human rights instead of the 3/5 set currently offered. (Yikes! You read right! I did just go there. I figure I can get away with it since I have bi-racial children. My friend Carol who is married to an Indian man refers to it as getting the “bigot pass.”)

Senator Sobel, forgive my digressions. This should be about you. We love you. We thank you. We pray to the Kennedys for you. (Read my past blogs. It’s a big deal - I promise.) We think of you when we register our children in schools that don’t recognize them as siblings. We think of you when one of us goes to a doctor to get meds for the other who isn’t covered under the health policy provided by the employer of the first. (I didn’t mention, did I ?, that the employer is the good old U.S. of A.) We think of you, Senator Sobel. We think of you; and we thank everything benevolent for you.

Senator Sobel, please be in touch if we can do anything for you.

No Bubbles

Dawn told me she was going to take a shower. Several minutes later, I walked past the bathroom and didn't hear the water running. I went on about getting kids ready for bed. When I still hadn't seen her several more minutes later, I knocked on the locked door. She answered that she was in the bathtub.

I went to the fridge, got her a beer and unlocked the door with a nickel. She was lying in the tub with her glasses on and her hair piled up on her head. She was reading a 4 inch thick hardcover book.
I'm not sure I've ever seen anything as beautiful or erotic in my whole life.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dawn - Part I

She’s given me the afternoon to write, which is to say that she is entertaining the kids, isn’t yelling at me about drinking wine before 5, and is resisting the urge to come in here every quarter hour on the quarter hour. She’s doing a really good job with all except the last. She’s just told me that she may can stay away if I will regularly check my email so she chat with me from the other computer in the den. Our friend Spencer finds this disgusting. I’m pretty sure it’s because her husband (yuck!) is yucky.

I’ve spent the last little bit reading some other lesbian blogs. After reading all the love stories out there, it occurred to me that I haven’t written much about Dawn that doesn’t involve our kids. So here’s an installment of True-as-Far-as-I-Know-It Dawn Lore.

It seems logical to start at her childhood home. She grew up in North Dakota, for the love of God. North Dakota! Before I met her I wasn’t totally convinced that North Dakota even existed. I could have been persuaded that it was simply a joke amongst cartographers. On her tongue, North Dakota is a Wonderland, a frozen tundra with only 25 different species of tree and endless adventure opportunities. She paints it as Norman Rockwell would. She loves the small town. She loves telling about her mother taping 42 cents to a letter and her postman buying the stamp for her. She loves that when her mother accidentally called the dentist’s office to warn them that Dawn’s father had had a stroke and she was bringing him in, the dentist called the ER and said, “Something’s happened to Ed! Maggie’s bringing him in! Meet them out front, will you?” She was a really big fish in a very small pond, but remembers splashing contentedly and regrets not getting her kids there more often.

Dawn went to South America as an exchange student in High School. She didn’t speak a word of Portuguese or Spanish when she applied or when she arrived in Sao Paolo. She had never seen the ocean, either. I think that heaven will be a time-machine. I will, at will zip through time and space witnessing historical events, big and small. At the very top of my list, will be a statuesque fingertip appointment in Washington in August and a Grassy Knoll in Dallas in November, both in 1963. I’ll see my own birth and my own firsts. But before I go anywhere else, I will take a moonlit trip to Brasil to see her see the sea.

Her soul picked her body up from the drowning pool of blood her attackers created and left her in. Her soul, perfect and remarkably still aglow, carried her broken exterior to doctors good enough to just keep her alive. She forgave them years ago, and helps me forgive them now. Stronger and Better than even she was then, she now is near unstoppable in spirit and body. Damn inspiring is what she is! Amazing and beautiful and her own and still Mine! Mine! I’m not getting over this miracle any time soon.

More Dawn Lore to follow. Stay tuned.

Royalty

We live in Pensacola, FL. The King and Queen of Spain were scheduled to make an appearance as part of the 450th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of Pensacola. Faith is nutsy coo-coo about Queens and Princesses and Fairies and any other women realistic or not, who dress in “sparkles.” We had to go.

It was, however, a typical morning at our house. Wake up too late. No clean socks. Not enough milk for everyone to have cereal. “What do you mean you didn’t finish your homework?” Shoes everywhere except on the shoe rack. “I don’t want to go to school!”

Dawn withdrew to the potty just as Faith and I were reaching breaking point over, “Can you please get dressed while your bagel toasts? (Unintelligible whining) No, we don’t have time for you to sit huddled in your chair waiting for the bagel to pop-up. (General grumpiness and stalling) Faith, you chose to stay in bed instead of getting up. Now you have to get dressed quickly to have enough time to eat breakfast. (Stomping and screaming on her way back to the bedroom) Stop crying! Just get dressed!”

I later found out that she stopped off in the bathroom. The same bathroom where Dawn was doing a big job. As Dawn tells it, Faith with eyes brimming with resentful tears, opened the door, closed it and leaned against it with her defeated 30 lb. body. “Why do I have to get dressed?”
Dawn, still on the potty, said, “450 years ago, a man named Tristan de Luna from Spain stepped foot on our beach. He was the first man from Europe to do so. To celebrate his long journey and our city today, the Queen of Spain is coming to see us. I’d like to take you. I don’t think you should wear your pajamas.”

Faith said, “Will you help me choose a dress?” I am constantly amazed at Dawn’s capacity for patience and sympathy, especially while pooping.

As it turned out, we took our three youngest kids and our 2 teenaged neighbors. We staked out a good spot under a Live Oak and waited. And waited. And waited. Every now and again, a gooby white guy would come out on the balcony and lead the crowd in a round of HOLA!s It was totally embarrassing. He may have been drunk.

At long last, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia emerged from the T.T. Wentworth Museum. (I’ve never been, but I’m told it’s an insane collection that rivals Ripley’s in scope and oddity. I thought it a strange place for a head of state to make an appearance.) The crowd cheered and waved Spanish flags. One guy had a poster that read in stenciled letters, “King Juan Carlos I, Thank You For Telling That Bufon Hugo Chavez, ‘Why Don’t You Just Shut Up!’” To which I said, “OK, but that’s not how you spell buffoon.” To which Dawn said, “It is in Spanish.” I hate being dumb.

Dawn has a brilliant theory that our children are probably too young to remember the events to which we take them as we will, so it is our job to make them memorable in a kid way. For example, she recognizes that there is no way that the little ones will remember that they saw the King and Queen and that they were here for the 450th Anniversary of blah blah blah. They can remember, however, something big and bright. In this case, Dawn chose the huge plastic (because we spare no expense) Spanish flags on either side of the buildings fa├žade.

Faith and William took turns climbing up Dawn to wave to the King and Queen. Both have told everyone since that the Spanish flag is red and yellow. Also, Faith immediately points out that the Queen wasn’t wearing sparkles, but is forgiven because her suit was such a lovely shade of green. Dawn says her favorite part of the day was when William, while waving to the King, asked, “When he going to throw candy?”

Pilot, Postal, Pragmatic

My 8 year-old was asked at school what his parents do. As it was related to me, he said something close to, “Well, my dad flies an Apache in the Army. It’s an attack helicopter and is the most technologically advanced flying machine in the world. My mom delivers mail for the Post Office. And Becca, well she drives around in our van and goes through people’s trash and dumpsters and stuff. She gets out all the good stuff and sells it.” I’ve been outed as a junker.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

I had the best Valentine's Day of my whole life. It didn't involve chocolate or roses or jewelry or lingerie. I had a most unconventional perfect day. A good friend of Dawn's Hannah flew in from Milwaukee ro spend a few days with us. I teased her that she just wanted to see us smootch and figured that Valentine's Day was a sure bet for that. Late in the afternoon we started making plans for the night - solidifying babysitting, checking reservation rolls around town, etc. My ex-brother-in-law Will stopped by on his way home from work to see the kids. He stuck around long enough to decide that our plans or lack thereof sounded pretty good, so he volunteered to be the DD. The 3 of us let go a "Yee -Haw!" We hastily set up dinner and a movie for the kids, gave Mimi a big kiss and piled into Will's Honda Civic.

We proceeded downtown to Atlas Oyster House. The wait was 2 hours, but they had a band and a heated tent so we settled in. Great People-Watching! The band was playing good sing-alongs, Brown-Eyed Girl and such. My favorite lady was a nearing 60, dyed brunette wearing a black cocktail dress with a red sparkly stole. She had had 2 too many champagnes and was singing and dancing her festive ass off. I hope I'm that cool when I'm that cool.

Time-Out for dynamics. Dawn and I have been together for about 3 years. I was married to Will's brother for the 5 years prior to that. He is 6 years younger than I am. Hannah and Dawn were in the Army together a decade ago and have remained close ever since. Hannah is 6 years older than Dawn and so 14 years older than Will. I hate to be an ageist or sexist, but in this case the differences made for interesting conversation, especially on the topics of love and sex.

The 4 of us recounted stories of loves lost, families broken into 1000 hilarious pieces, current relationship blunders and struggles and doomed realtionships that mercifully ended. We talked about everything from jailstays to virginal fumblings to farm-raised eel to fake boobs to the unlikely nature of our group and its' testiment to love. The food was good, the drinks plenty and the conversation surprisingly and endearingly seamless. Will did an amazing job keeping up with the female banter, and we resisted the temptation to tell him what an adorable idiot he is.

Dawn finally corraled us back into the car. Will gave us a brief tour of downtown while Hannah told us about an old near-boyfriend with a "hidden penis." (If you're prone to queasiness, don't Google Image it. Otherwise, it might be worth a look-see.) There was a lot of laughing, a little singing and more than the regular amount of "I had SUCH a good time! This was SO fun!"

Dawn and I said our good-byes and good-nights and then fell into a perfect snuggle. The last thing I heard her say was, "This was the best Valentine's Day of my whole life."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

To Shave or Not to Shave

Dawn and I have an unspoken agreement not to shave our legs in the Wintertime. When asked by friends what my favorite part of my newfound lesbianism is, I very often cite this agreement. Not shaving is awesome. Shaving sucks.

Dawn just came in here and pulled up the ankle of her jeans to reveal a smooth leg. I am betrayed. As I hastily pushed my own jeans down to cover my Yeti-ness, I asked her why, WHY! had she shaved her legs. She said she had to, that her leg hair was like roots growing into the floor and holding her down.

I love her.

Play-Doh

My 4 year-old recently had a birthday. A friend called me from the ToysRUs to get approval for what her kids had picked out for him. (What a good friend, right?) I quickly exnayed their selection and suggested some Play-Doh. It’s cheap and readily available and he LOVES it. Dawn made a terrible kidney-stone flair up kind of groan when she overheard me. She admitted an intense hatred of Play-Doh and its stickiness and messiness and all-around pointlessness. I was shocked, but dismissed her as a oddity. Then I saw Kate of Jon and Kate Plus 8 hatin’ on Play-Doh, and I got to wondering if I was the oddity. So now I am conducting an informal survey. A simple question - Play-Doh? Fabulous activity with endless creative opportunity OR Bane of every self-respecting Mother in America?

Here’s my only beef with Play-Doh. The containers aren’t recyclable. Boo-Hiss! My plan is to take a picture of my kids playing with the God-sent goo and then send the picture and a nice letter to Mr. Play-Doh thanking him for his long and continuing legacy. I will go on to suggest (beg) that his company rethink its packaging to include only recyclable containers. Who will join me?

I just took a short break to look on the Hasbro website for an address to include here so that all of you who exuberantly exclaimed, “I will!” would have the necessary information. Would you believe that they don’t have an address posted? Only e-mail to a customer service rep and a hotline. (I can’t say or hear the word hotline without thinking about President Bartlet calling the Butterball hotline at Thanksgiving. Hilarious!) Dawn points out that I can’t be disappointed about the end of the dream of my letter-writing campaign considering that the campaign is about conservation and e-mailing conserves paper. So, Fine. For just a second, I hate it when she’s so sensible.

I just took another break to send my email. This is what I wrote.

Dear Mr. Play-Doh (as you are affectionately called by my children),
Please reconsider the packaging of Play-Doh. The small plastic containers are not recyclable. My kids are very disappointed about this. They even suggested that we make our own Play-Doh at home instead of buying more evil little containers. Please save me from that. Thank you -

When I clicked on “submit email” I was lead through prompts to supply my vital info. Begrudgingly, I did. Then I took a little survey. Then I gave a DNA sample (surprisingly painless). Then I was promised that there was only one more page to go until my email would actually be submitted. Then I was shown a suggested FAQ that may answer my email. This is what it said.

Play-Doh is loved by consumers around the world and all the manufacturing comes from the same place. Recycling requirements vary by country and it would be next to impossible to control the markings without confusing consumers.
Play-Doh cans use 3 different kinds of resin. The can itself is PP (Polypropylene), or number 5, and the lids are EITHER a blend of LDPE (Low density Polyethylene), which is #4, and HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), which is #2, OR just HDPE (2).
We suggest you check with your municipality to see if the cans should be recycled in your area.

Awesome.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Amazing Faith

My five-year old Faith is the best sick kid in the world. She insists on helping clean up any “grossness,” never cries or whines and is a champ about taking medicine. So if someone had asked me which kid I wanted to get sick on the way home from a 1000 mile trip to help my partner’s ex-husband’s family move (I’m not even kidding. It’s a blog for another day.), I would have said, “Faith” without skipping a beat. But no one asked me that. If someone had I would have been better prepared and I wouldn’t have promised the crew a stop at the Georgia Aquarium.

When Faith screamed from the back seat of the van that she had to throw up, our family jumped into action. Dawn got us to the shoulder of the road and jumped out while Storm unbuckled Faith while William cleared a path for her to walk through while Ray picked up his feet so she could get past. I opened the door for her and found the paper towels. She puked up dinner and breakfast. Her twin, William hung out the door and cheered her on, “You’re doing great Faithy. Good girl. You’re OK, Faith. I’m right here.” The boys switched seats so she could sit by the door. She very matter-of-factly told us when she was done, wiped her mouth and asked if we were still going to the aquarium.

Back on the road with less than 50 miles to Atlanta, Faith threw up again, this time in a Tupperware. I turned around in my seat, held the bowl for her and wiped her face. This time she smiled, assured us that was the end of it and reminded us that she was totally fine to go to the aquarium. The moment of truth came and Dawn took the Aquarium exit. I dumped out a bag and repacked it with paper towels, extra clothes and a contraband sippy cup of Gatorade. While everyone found their shoes, Dawn and I worked out a game plan.

As soon as we got there, Dawn took the boys to the nearest round of exhibits, and Faith and I scoped out a snuggly place in front of the massive glass wall housing the whale sharks. I could write and cry and sing about the whale sharks for days, but this story is about Faith. She dry-heaved in paper towels while I rubbed her hair and counted out the names of the fish that I knew and made up funny ones for the ones I didn’t. The rays cooperated by flying in unison in time to the music. Dawn and the boys looped through, gave us the stroller and pointed us to the next still and quiet place. We moved to the Coral Reef exhibit and watched Nemo and Dorie play in the surf. Dawn looped back through, told us the next spot and so on.

We were parked in front of the Belugas when Faith, my hero said, “I want to be all done now.” She made it just over an hour and through 4 throw-ups. Storm, William and Ray easily rounded up and did a world-record spree through the gift shop. On the hike back to the van, Dawn said, “I had a great time. Is that weird?” I looked at Storm and William holding hands, Ray perched on Dawn’s shoulders and playing with her hair and then Faith sleepily rubbing the Mommy and Baby Beluga Whales that she had rightfully earned and said, “No, it’s just right.”

So score one for the family with 2 Mommies who orchestrated the quickest tour on record through the biggest aquarium in the world, 1 very brave little girl who now feels much better and 3 boys who loved their sister enough to skip the touch pool.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Facebook's Epidemic: The 25 Interesting Things List

I finally joined the masses on Facebook. I know, it's been a big week for me. Within 15 minutes of being officially registered, I was "poked," "tagged," and in other sexual sounding words prompted to make the 25 Interesting Things About Myself list. I will admit that it took me a LONG time. By #13, I was pretty well out of ideas. I could think of loads of interesting things about other people that I tried to claim. For example, "#14. Dawn speaks fluent Portuguese and passable Spanish." No, delete. That's not about me. "#14. My mom had 2 sets of wisdom teeth." Not only is that not about me, but I already had a dental entry and thought better of making this about my mouth. I battled through it. I'll admit that by the time I got to #24, I could taste the end of the project and hastily added #25 as my abhorrence of raisins. I don't think that is very interesting. Later I thought that I should have said that I drool in my sleep. A lot. And it smells exactly like my 2 year-old's drool. But here is the list in near-original form.

1. My favorite song is "Me and Bobby McGee." I prefer Willie Nelson's rendition to Janis Joplin's. I'm also up for a Willie Nelson fan club meeting anytime anyone wants to sit around and sing off key with me.

2. I have a tattoo of the rising sun on my back. I got it 7 years before I met Dawn.

3. I dabble in writing poetry and children's stories.

4. I tended bar for a LONG time. I was pretty great at it.

5. Between me and Dawn we've been to every continent except Africa and Antarctica; and Dawn hasn't given up hope. I'm sure we'll get to Africa, but Antarctica seems a long shot to me.

6. We make Windchimes and Suncatchers but only randomly keep up the website. You may be able to see some on chiminglively.etsy.com. We'll be doing the local festivals this spring.

7. I had a fall down a flight of stairs when I was in high school. I tore all of the muscles in my back. I'm pretty much a mess now. So don't call me when you need help moving.

8. My great-grandmother was a Choctaw. I look it, right? The only people that ever guess are dentists, because I have an extra cusp on my back teeth. It's a Native American trait.

9. I'm a vegetarian. I've flirted with vegetarianism for years and finally took the plunge after I saw a documentary on illegal fishing practices. The slaughter of sharks, turtles and whales is abominable.

10. I'm as much an expert on sharks as one who doesn't have a degree in Marine Biology can be.

11. I got sent home from work the day that Johnny Cash died because I cussed out my assistant for going on and on about John Ritter who died the same day.

12. I love junking - garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, rich people's garbage. If
you live in East Hill, you may have seen me rummaging. Your neighborhood has GREAT trash!

13. I'm NOT superstitious, at all.

14. I've gotten exponentially more liberal. In 2000, I voted for Bush. In 2004, for Kerry. In 2008, for Edwards and even he was a little too right for me.

15. I'm 3 years into a complete boycott of Wal-Mart.

16. I don't eat at Chik-Fil-A because their Kids Meals are sponsored by Focus on the Family. Ironically, I think that the Rev. Lou Dobson may be the Anti-Christ.

17. Only 2 times in about 4 years have I worn a pair of shoes that wasn't Crocs - my sons' Christenings.

18. I'm an eBay addict.

19. I have a signed copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, my favorite book.

20. I'm pretty sure I still know all the words to the movies Grease and Father of the Bride.

21. I didn't learn to ride a bike until 2 weeks before my 30th birthday.

22. My first car was a Full-Size Ford Bronco. It saved my life twice. At the time, it cost $40 to fill it up with Premium. When I had to sell it, I sat in the driveway with my head in my hands and sobbed as the new owner drove away.

23. To say that Yellow is my favorite color is an understatement. I am passionate about Yellow. It's not just that I prefer it, it's that I'm sure it's actually superior to other colors.

24. I finally quit smoking. It wasn't the pictures of crispy lungs or the pleadings of Dawn that got me. It was a report on NPR about the poison from cigarette butts getting into the ground water.

25. Other than the afore-mentioned dietary restrictions, I'll eat anything except raisins. I am vehemently opposed to raisins.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Baseball Try-Outs, Bleh!

Our oldest son, Storm is beginning the Spring Little League Season soon. Today he had to go and be assessed (inspected like cattle) by the coaching staff. He was a little nervous, so we loaded the whole fam up in the Old Slow Coach (our Town & Country van) so that we would all be there for ego-boosting. After making the final decision which seemed to take on the import of Sophie's Choice, about which glove to use, we all trekked up to the field and watched as a very bubbly wife taped a number to his back. He and Dawn played catch while I sat with the twins who had packed their essentials and were happily coloring together. I checked out the competition.

8 is such a strange age. There were really little, scrawny kids and too-tall-makes-you-think-someone-should-check-their-birth-certificates-and-who-the-hell-cares-about-Little-League-enough-to-cheat-anyway kids, kids with obnoxious yelling parents, kids who knew they were the strongest and fastest and probably needed a good kick in the pants, and a few who seemed genuinely thrilled with the fact that they had on their favorite hat and their favorite glove and were playing their favorite game. Their parents were strangely quiet.

The largest coach called the boys over and lined them up. On the first base line, the boys were led in some stretching and basic drills. All went well. That seems like a given, I'm sure. It's not. Storm is the kid that got hurt at school during a session of Brain Yoga. It's not that he's uncoordinated. He's just easily distracted and maybe a little clumsy.

The boys were herded to the third base line and readied for pop-flys. All of the parents had, of course, also shifted to the third base side of the field. They couldn't miss a second. Their genetics were being weighed and judged and bid on. A slightly less-large coach saw this audience form and puffed up his chest. "OK, Coaches. Listen up! First up, first up is Will The Drill Campbeeeeeeeell!" The parents gave a polite if not nervous laugh. Bless his heart. The Drill stood no more than 3 ft. 8in. and couldn't have weighed more than 45 lbs. soaking wet. Newly monikered, he trudged out of line and teetered under a modest pop-fly until it blessedly came to rest just in front of him. Storm, eyes wide, turned to us. We calmly waved and smiled (and I'm sure Dawn didn't resist giving a thumbs-up) while the twins exuberantly cheered him on as if he was on deck in the World Series.

With a name like Storm, you don't really need a nickname. Slightly Less-Large upon seeing Storm's name on the page in front of him, hesitated just a moment before reading out "Jacksoooooon Storm!" He, like many others before him had refused to believe that the child's name is Storm Jackson as opposed to the much trendier, Jackson Storm. For his part and quite used to the mistake and probably relieved to have been saved "Hurricane The Storm Jacksoooooooooooon!" Storm jogged onto the field and made 3 slightly shaky catches and 3 timid but accurate throws to 2nd. The twins took a break from rolling down a dirt pile to go wild.

After finishing sprints and grounders with no missteps, he proceeded to the dugout. Poor Storm. He's been blessed and cursed with disorganized mothers. Today, he was annoyed by this. We had not brought his very own bat. He would be forced to borrow someone else's which is apparently, totally humiliating. When he came up, we held our breath and let go a little prayer. No line drives, no home-runs and no strikes. Thank you, Johnny Cash. (Doesn't he seem a good spirit to channel when you need a little boost towards something too trivial to bother the Kennedys with?)

He was done. It was over. He had declared himself happily average; and we couldn't be more pleased. He was beaming when he rushed us. "I can't believe I hit every ball!" Dawn pushed him to the grass, tickled him and mussed his hair. I think I'm the only one who saw her wipe away a tear.