Thursday, April 30, 2009

on the last day

On the last day of national poetry month you're hearing from me. There are poets I wanted to introduce to you, poems I wanted to send out into the ether so that you too might taste their words on your tongue. They are delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I'll post them another time, in May or June or July. When spring has settled deeper into my bones. I'm fine. The funk has marinated a while and is soon to pass. Nothing to worry about. These are days when I think, and it's a good deep thinking way of being. I don't mind.

One of those poets I want to share is Stephen Dunn. He is amazing and lovely. He writes poetry that is the color of bruises.

But for now:

Thinking About Stephen Dunn

and tattered
mute angels no one has called upon in years
-Stephen Dunn, Landscape at the End of the Century

He writes about a landscape
at the end of the century
a place not barren enough for the likes of us
and yet too empty to hold an angel.
No foothold for the heavenly host.

I'm standing on grass and melancholy
a post post-modern world
that is beyond the imagination of a poet

I was born in the last quarter of the last century
and if anything holds true it will be this:
I will live to see my daughter married
a girl grown older and then old
and then sometime in the middle of this
the twenty-first
I'll die

But not without begging the questions
of where I belong
of which era was mine
of why such a thing would ever seem to matter
much anyway

The angels aren't as patient.
They've moved on to another time
knowing that there will be room for them

(c) amy lynn romero, april 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

the man in the paper mask

The last couple of days, I've been in a weird and low sort of mood. It isn't anything major, I just feel funky. In response to The Funk, I am giving myself permission to post whatever I want. And I'll get to the Other Stuff eventually. Or not at all. You know, whatever works.

And the swine flu? I am having a hard time contemplating bad news like that. It has me wondering if the wearing of surgical masks in public is finally going to cross over from a suggested-thing-to-do-in-hospitals-and-doctor's-offices-but-no-one-ever-does-it-because-they-feel-ridiculous thing to a yes-we-are-people-who-wear-surgical-masks-in-public-and-it's-absolutely-normal thing. Reminds me of a flight I took last summer to Utah. Alice and I were flying alone, and there was a guy across the aisle who was doing his level best to entertain Alice with his immensely furry eyebrows. He was wearing a surgical mask. At one point, a lady walked down the aisle past us. The guys pulls down his mask and looks at me, "Did you see that lady?" he asked. I told him yes, of course. And he goes, "That's my wife. She doesn't want to sit next to me when I'm wearing a mask. Says I look ridiculous. I told her I didn't care, I just didn't want to get sick again." Every time I see surgical masks I think of that guy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Why the second post? Because I just had to say this: Me = BIG MOUTH. This is what I get for talking to you yesterday about all the Big Ideas I had to share. I tried to start on something last night and I just... sat there. Stared at screen. Tapped keyboard. And what came to me? A big fat ZERO. I went to sleep and hoped for inspiration. In place of inspiration, I had the dream. It was lovely. Far more lovely than I was able to explain in my post. Want to know why? Because at the time of writing it, Alice was doing these fly-by visits where she'd toddle by, try to bean my keyboard with a toy or random bit of food, then she'd rush off to some other part of the room. Toward the end of the post, Alice decided to get more insistent with her visits and started to reach into the keyboard and push buttons. She wiped out the entire entry more than once. Let's just say by the end of writing it (AGAIN), it was hard to feel warm and fuzzy about Beanhead.

I'm hoping tomorrow will find me in a more writerly mood. Not that I'm making any promises. We know what happens when I do that.

last night

In the dream I was holding dozens of small glass tiles. The colors of the most brilliant jewels: saphire, ruby, emerald, amber. I was sitting in a large yellow room, the sun streaming through a window to warm my face and hands. I tried to piece the tiles together, searching for a way to connect them. The sun glinted off the glass as I tried to find a meaning, as I tried to see what would bring the pattern into focus. My hands weren't strong enough to hold all of the pieces and I looked to someone for help. Alice sat across from me at the table, her soft face reflecting the colors before me. She pointed to blue, gold, crimson. She smiled for the joy of it. As we worked together I understood that I had everything I needed to make sense of the work before me. It was our combined effort that created a beautiful mosaic and as I woke, the sun streamed warm through the glass - bathing the room in a rainbow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

finding bliss in the canola oil

I stared at my computer screen for over twenty minutes last night, composing and recomposing a blog post. I didn't ever get anything down, not for lack of trying. It's not a big deal why--- I was so tired, I'm not sure if anything I was writing was making sense at all. In the end, I scrapped the whole ting, closed the laptop, and went to sleep--- Chip had already jumped ahead of me in that department, snoring away.

I like writing when I'm sitting in bed. It's a comfortable place. I'm at peace there. The bedroom is quiet around me, and the cats are usually somewhere within petting distance.

There are some posts that are rattling around in my brain for this week. A few of them about POETRY, seeing as how April is roaring to a close this week, and with in another national poetry month. I like the fact that we have a national poetry month, even if most people don't know about it. It makes us seem civilized. It makes us seem like we are sensitive enough to take the time to appreciate something small, something gentle. My life needs to take the time to appreciate poetry. I need the soft focus that reading it lends to a day. I dare say that our country needs to take time to appreciate poetry. More on this later.

Blog bleurgh

My theory of good blog writing goes something like this: find a balance between inner and outer thoughts. This is essential. Writing about those daily things that give context to the inner workings of a mind--and then writing also about those. To wit: coming back from our time in North Carolina, I kept thinking about Big Topics I wanted to write about, and I'm going to get to those. But not without first posting this dandy rambling entry, where I tell you about coming home, where I tell you about some stuff that could be VERY boring. My theory of good blog writing is born out of those blogs that I really like to read. I can get into them because these bloggers will talk about deep things and shallow things. They will ramble about the meaning of motherhood one day and the contents of their kitchen sink the next. There are blogs out there that only focus on Big Thoughts, and the writing is just fine. But without the context of daily things, I quickly lose interest. I need to care about a writer. And I need to know about some pretty mundane things to do that. On the other hand, there are blogs that only talk about daily life, the Small Stuff. And in just the same way that an Exclusively Big Thinker bores me to tears, so does the one who only talks about what they ate for breakfast (me: toast and some bits of leftover banana from Alice). So. That leaves me here, writing an entry today that few of you will ever get all the way through.

Being home

It's good to be here. Good to feel the house around me again. Good to check on the status of the now-dry-previously-flooded-hallway (all is well, thankfully). Good to spend time with some fuzzy kitty bellies (LOVE THE FLUV). Good to just be able to do dishes and mop the floor and make the bed and do the laundry. I may complain about it some time, but I like my life. Speaking of mopping the floor, Alice dumped half a bottle of canola oil on the kitchen floor last night. We'd been hanging out in the kitchen, she and I. I was talking to my mom on the phone, Alice was investigating the contents of a cupboard. Usually I move the canola oil onto the counter before she gets curious, but Alice was too quick for me. Just a moment before, she'd been carrying a can of Pam around, chewing on the lid (mmmm oily). Next thing I know, she's got the canola oil and she just chucks it to her left. The lid must've been screwed on pretty badly because as the bottle struck the floor, BAM--- oil chugging out onto the wood. In that moment of me moving Alice out of the stream of spreading liquid and simultaneously throwing a towel over the worst of it, I realized that I am suffering from a type of post-traumatic-stress-disorder associated with FLOODING, and specifically, associated with liquid on my floor, because I FREAKED OUT. I mean, any sane person would have just been like, Oh gee this is gross, but at least it's sort of slow moving, you know? I was all RED ALERT RED ALERT BEEP BEEP BEEP WHAT THE HECK DO I DO AND IS THIS GOING TO CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE RED ALERT RED ALERT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAK OUT. In the end, I picked up the nasty towel (WHO THE HECK PUTS A KITCHEN TOWEL ON AN OIL SPILL?!?!), and used a hefty number of paper towels (so much better), stripped Alice down to her diaper, and then cleaned up the greasy mess with a healthy wad of Clorox wipes (Oh Clorox Wipes where have you BEEN all my life?). After I got Alice to bed, I mopped the kitchen floor, but not before I got another nice little blip of the PTSD RED ALERT when Alice peed on the bathroom floor in the 3 seconds she was diaperless prior to getting into the tub. I'm traumatized, people. TRAUMATIZED. Chip was taking a shower on Saturday night and we have a cloth shower curtain which usually does a fairly decent job. Chip had been in there a while, and had turned the shower head in a way that made the water hit the curtain more than usual. The outer curtain started sticking to the inner one, and the end result was a sizable puddle of water on the floor. What did I do? RED ALERT RED ALERT RED ALERT BEEP BEEP BEEP FREEEEEEEEEAK OUT. I swear there was even a red light flashing in the room. I threw a towel on the puddle, wiped it up, then poked Chip through the curtain and told him in a terrible hissing voice, YOU'RE SOOOOOO FIRED. Again, WHO DOES THAT? I do.

North Carolina and nary a southern accent to be heard

The trip was fantastic. It was so great to visit with M, the artist formerly known as The Wife and if you want to know why she changed her handle, go here and read a breath-taking post about identity. Her little boy is perfect and delectable. If one was to sample his scrumptious belly he would taste very much like honey bunnies because BOY did he and Alice have a hay day with thouse or WHAT? We had some really wonderful talks. We worked on a project for our dearest friend SS, who is all knocked up and stuff and we couldn't be happier about that. We ate vanilla pudding with Nilla wafers. We vexed M's husband Chris when we insisted on eating pizza my last night there (forgoing a trip to eat tried-and-true southern food, reason: we really wanted to sit on the floor and keep talking, so he brought pizza in and we did sit on the floor and it was AWESOME). There are some blog posts that are going to come out of our trip. But that's going to be later.

Is anyone still reading this rambling mess?

The good guys

You all are very sweet. Thank you for being so awesome about the terrible-no-good-green-shirted man at the Phoenix Airport. The most irritating part about that sotry is all the things I thought about saying to the dude after the fact. But I know why I didn't do anything at the time: I was scared. I felt exposed and alone, even in an airport packed with people. And in the end, I knew that my biggest responsibility was to Alice, and keeping her safe. I hated that she came so close to being hurt. I hated that it was her out there in front of me (in her stroller). And I hated that someone felt it was perfectly appropriate to actually OD A LITTLE TURN-IN-A-CIRCLE DANCE to show he had more power than me, and if he didn't want to move, he wasn't going to. I am in awe of both of the women who came to my rescue. That shows some guts, people.

The week ahead

We're heading out of town again this week. Because I am INSANE. But also because I can't bear to say goodbye to Chip so soon. It's a bummer to be leaving again, but at least in a hotel room Alice won't be able to find any Costco-sized bottles of canola oil to dump on the floor. Or, if anything along those lines does happen, I can at least share the clean-up duty with housekeeping.

Now. How are YOU?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

whimsy and the man in the green shirt: a story

See Whimsy. Whimsy is at the Phoenix Airport on Wednesday afternoon. Whimsy and Alice are waiting for a plane. See them wait. Wait, Whimsy, wait. Whimsy is hungry. Look! There is a WENDY'S down the lane. Whimsy would like to eat a hamburger. Whimsy and Alice walk to WENDY'S. See Whimsy push Alice in her stroller. Look! There is a line at WENDY'S. Whimsy and Alice wait in line. Wait, Whimsy, wait.

See Whimsy order a hamburger from register number two. See Whimsy get her receipt and her number. Number 49, Whimsy, number 49. See the man in the green-shirt. He is standing at register number one. Green-shirt man finishes his order at the same time as Whimsy. See green-shirt man turn in front of Whimsy and swing his extremely over-sized laptop bag in front of Alice's stroller. See Whimsy pull the stroller back just enough so that the ridiculously heavy laptop bag does not bean Alice in the head. See Whimsy gasp. Gasp, Whimsy, gasp.

See Whimsy catch the eye of green-shirt man and say in her most polite tone, "Excuse me."
Green-shirt man says, "What?"
See Whimsy respond. "You almost hit my baby in the head with your bag."
See green-shirt man get irritated. See green-shirt man raise his voice to say, "I DIDN'T HIT YOUR BABY. IT'S YOUR FAULT. WHY WERE YOU PUTTING YOUR STROLLER SO CLOSE TO ME?!"
See Whimsy stutter. Stutter, Whimsy, stutter. "I know you didn't hit her, I said excuse me because you almost hit her. I wasn't putting my stroller too close to you, I was just waiting for you to go so we could get out of line."
See green-shirt man get even more irritated. See green-shirt man raise his voice even more. "YOU WERE FOLLOWING ME TOO CLOSE!!!"
See Whimsy start to lose her composure with all this public yelling. Whimsy tries to smile and calm the man down. Whimsy says, "I just want to be able to get passed you, please. I'm just trying to get out of the way."
See the irate green-shirt man. See the green-shirt man stand right in front of Whimsy so she cannot pass him. See green-shirt yell, "WELL YOU'RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT LONGER, AREN'T YOU." See green-shirt man make terrible mocking smile back at Whimsy. Mock, green-shirt man, mock.

See Whimsy wait for green-shirt man. Wait, Whimsy, wait. See green-shirt man blocking the line for no purpose whatsoever other than to humiliate Whimsy. See green-shirt man stand and turn around in a little circle, all so Whimsy cannot go anywhere.

Look! Whimsy's face is red! See Whimsy continue to wait for green-shirt man to move. Finally, see green-shirt man move. See Whimsy try to push herself into a corner to wait for her number to be called. Look! White tanktop lady comes over to Whimsy. See tanktop lady say to Whimsy, "I saw what happened. Are you okay?" Whimsy is speechless. Whimsy cannot say anything. See Whimsy nod and whisper, "I'm okay. Thank you." Look! This act of kindness has totally undone Whimsy. See Whimsy cry. Cry, Whimsy, cry.

Look! Whimsy is furiously wiping tears from her face. Whimsy feels ridiculous and scared and stupid and is already thinking things that she should have said to green-shirt man. Look! Green-shirt man is sitting just right there, with a lady. Feel sorry for the lady. Poor, poor lady.

"Number 49!" Listen! The WENDY'S worker has called Whimsy's number. Whimsy is overjoyed to get her hamburger and escape. See Whimsy grab her sad WENDY'S bag. See Whimsy turn to head back to her gate. See white tanktop lady and a blue-shirt lady come over to Whimsy. Look! They are very sympathetic. They both feel very horrible for Whimsy. See them ask Whimsy if she is okay. See Whimsy nod and cry. Nod, Whimsy, nod. Cry, Whimsy, cry. Whimsy says that she just wants to get out of there. See Whimsy walk away.

Look! White tanktop lady and blue-shirt lady are standing by green-shirt man's table. See them yell at green-shirt man. "LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID!", says white tanktop lady. "ARE YOU PROUD OF YOURSELF? YOU MADE HER CRY!", says blue-shirt lady.

Whimsy is out of earshot before she hears green-shirt's response. Look! Whimsy is at her gate. She sits down to be with Alice. Whimsy kisses Alice's head and tells her everything is okay. See Whimsy sit at the gate, shaking. Shake, Whimsy, shake. Listen! Whimsy's phone is ringing. See Whimsy answer her phone. It is Chip. Chip is calling to say that he's in Phoenix. He is waiting on his plane coming back from a business trip to Albequerque, New Mexico. See Whimsy get excited as Chip explains that he is on flight 950 to Seattle. Whimsy says that SHE'S on flight 950 to Seattle! Look! Whimsy is crying! Cry, Whimsy, cry.

See Whimsy's happy smile as she sits next to Chip on the final plane ride home. Smile, Whimsy, smile.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

3:43 or 12:43 depending how you look at it

In phoenix. Have great story to tell tomorrow about the man that made me cry in the wendy's line... And the two women who came to my rescue and yelled at him.
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In the air. Alice asleep in lap. Scored extra seat between us and guy in window seat. So far so good. Biggest challenge is keeping alice's head in my lap, and when that's my biggest problem, I don't have problems.
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On plane. All is well.
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Waiting for plane. Avoided bookstore siren song a 3rd time. Am quite proud of self.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

plain white box: move quickly

In my vacation nonchalance, I haven't been very up to speed on the blogs. Which means that I almost missed the fact that Spuddy Buddy received the Plain White Box and is now doing a giveaway. The contest ends tomorrow, so you need to act quickly if you're interested. Go here.

We're heading home tomorrow morning... winging our way back across the country with our new found knowledge of air travel. I'll do my best to update here. When I'm back and feeling normal again (HA!), and if you're lucky, I'll tell you the story of the woman who got kicked off the plane in Seattle.

Til then.

Monday, April 20, 2009

sleep like a baby

We are having a great time. We are laughing and crying and eating honey bunnies to our heart's content. I think that Alice has a crush on The Boy. The Wife is doing her best to vie for Alice's affections with food and laughter and much much kindness to Whimsy. These are all good things. But tonight I want to talk about sleep.

Sleep is a treacherous and wily topic. Particularly now, in the trenches of motherhood. There are a lot of opinions out there. I don't want to talk about the opinions. I don't even want to talk about the issues of sleep, be it in animal (my child), mineral (the sleep that's gathering in my own eyes), or vegetable (the thing I'm going to turn into if I don't get some good sleep soon).

Alice had some trouble of the sleeping variety on Sunday night. I went in to the room we're sharing (The Boy having so gallantly given up his room to us, what a southern gentleman)--- each time to comfort her, to soothe her, to lay her back down. Her eyes would close and her body would go limp as only a wee one's can. I would lay her back down and leave the room. Within twenty minutes or so she'd be up again. It was getting late anyway, and The Wife and I were wrapping things up so I joined Alice in the bedroom. After putting her back in the crib a third time and having her pop right back up, I decided to just bring her into bed with me.

And that's when I started to think about these moments. There aren't that many of them, even when it might seem like there are. Even when it might seem like my arm is going to fall off from the sheer weight of her, even when I can't be brought to explain (for the bajillionth time) that really, I can't be in two places at once and sometimes I just need a minute of quiet time to myself. Even then. In the scope of a life, there aren't that many moments when a mother can soothe her child and hold her in her arms and nestle close to her sleeping body.

She smells like peaches and sweet pea. She breathes softly on my cheek. She moves her body until it is up against mine - even the tiniest bit to just touch me and know that I'm next to her. She wants me close, right now, all the time. And who am I to begrudge her of that? Before too long, she isn't going to want any of it. She is going to want to explore the world in ever-widening circles and again, who am I to begrudge her of that?

I am doing everything I can to enjoy these moments while they last. I don't always do that very fully or very well. But I'm trying.

It was a good night of sleep for both of us.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Am safely at home in Burnstopia. Alice is asleep and I am soon to join her in dreamland.

But first : a couple highlights... The Wife as sherpa lugging the ginormous car seat and suitcase through the raleigh durham airport. And yours truly attempting to install the car seat in the car. Round 2. And three respectively.

So glad we're here.
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Arrived in nc!

Taxiing to gate. Alice laid waste to 2nd box of kleenex during diaper change.

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Leaving soon. Allowed alice to entertain herself during diaper change by emptying plane's box of kleenex.
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Stopped alice from eating what appeared to be a petrified trisquit she found under the seat.

Also:mom cannot survive on cheerios and raisins alone.
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Landed in chicago. Full flight. Window seat. Woman next to us has a mustache and snored for the whole flight. Also : bad breath.
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In kansas city. Will board soon. I have stories to tell.

Lesson: letting alice nap prior to flight may lead to excessive energy and passenger disruption in form of pelting fellow passengers with raisins and plastic cups.
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11ish am

Someone is getting kicked off the plane. We are leaving soon.
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It occurred to me that these frequent posts are wreaking havoc with rss feeds. Sorry.
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Shamed. SEAT HOG and his companion into moving their bags. He is now standing entirely too close to me. This one has no concept of personal space.
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Plane delayed. Waiting. No place to sit except next to SEAT HOG with his bags nicely blocking any room for my feet. Nice.
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A bit out of synch with our timeline... We ran into Chip's brother who was flying in from LA. We are connected like that yo.
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Resisted bookstore siren song for 2nd time. Have rescued blankie from touching dirty airport floor 57 times and counting.
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Through security. MIL is not a terrorist. Have resisted the siren song of the airport bookstore. Now in search of airport breakfast.
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Nibley= the bits of partially chewed food that either escape bean's mouth or are forcibly ejected.

Still in van.
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You can't tell but she is covered in apple niblies.
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In mother in law's van. Have wrestled with carseat install #1. Quite sweaty. Am thinking that I miss the old carrier.
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How is it that today is the day that alice wants to sleep in?
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Friday, April 17, 2009

milk mustasche

Alice has been getting pretty tricksy and lackadaisical with her beverage consumption. Case in point:

This is an example of the Last Homely House's motto, SAFETY FIRST. As you can plainly see Miss Alice brandishing a red pen (sharp!) in her hand. She's also swigging that milk for all its worth, yo. You'd think I starve this child (I don't). Also: HEY LOOK, IT'S A UTAH STATE T-SHIRT (a family alma mater, you might say).

I have nothing more to say about my child's dangerous pen-wielding. But I DO want to warn you that I have something very special planned for The Creamery tomorrow. Yes, I know it's Saturday, but with Alice and I flying, I figured that it could be some excellent entertainment for y'all. So here's what I did: I signed myself up to allow blog posts to go through my email. My email that I can access on my Crackberry. The end result is that you will be able to read my slow progress toward one Wife and Boy and Husband in North Carolina. Complete with fun-filled bits about security checks, plane travel, and Alice's adventures in public places.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the rain in spain falls mainly on the PLANE

Alice and I will be winging our way to North Carolina in a mere two days. TWO DAYS, PEOPLE. I would be All Excitement, All the Time if I wasn't facing a rather heinous plane trek on Saturday. I don't mind the travel for myself... I mean, I actually kinda like flying. It's just the whole flying-with-toddler thing that has me sweating.

The facts:

- Alice is walking, but not exclusively walking. Which means that she likes to hunker down on hands-and-knees just about where ever I'd rather she didn't. Case in point: the floor of the Richland Hampton Inn dining room/breakfast area. Not pretty. And she's ALL ABOUT eating stuff she finds down there.
Consideration: I can't carry her all the time, and while we're waiting during our layover in Kansas City (I think it's Kansas City) she's going to need to have some run around time. So if you need me on Saturday afternoon, you can find me pulling all kinds of nastiness out of my child's mouth (nastiness that she has dredged from the floor of the Kansas City Airport).

- The security checkpoint. When I went through it the first time I flew with Alice to Salt Lake, I actually burst into TEARS due to the sheer stress of trying to unload everything, take off my shoes, fit the carseat in the tiny little x-ray door, and hold my child. I ended up bonking Alice's head on the carseat when I bent over. Nice mothering there, Whimsy.
Consideration: My mother-in-law is coming with me to the airport here in Seattle, and can get a special pass to help us through the checkpoint. This is the one thought I'm clinging to to avoid any tears. That, and the hope that my dearest friend The Wife will come through security with me on the way back... (that was a hint, duder).

- The ginormous, larger-than-a-compact car convertible carseat. Ugh. Just ugh.
Consideration: I have considered going back to Babies R Us and buying the special wheelie cart that will fit a convertible carseat, but then I think of my husband's face at the expense of that little item and I change my mind. I am just not so looking forward to getting that monstrosity to the plane for gate check, and getting it OFF the plane? Oh boy. I am praying for some very kind strangers, that's what.

Now that I have bored you to tears with this madness, let's just put this whole topic out to pasture. In the end, we'll get there to NC. We will have a fabulous time. We will get to love on my dearest friend and her darling husband and her sweet child. We will eat Nilla Wafers (it's a thing). We will laugh until our tears run dry. It's going to be great.

Also: totally off topic, but am I the only one who has ever, maybe, in VERY RARE CIRCUMSTANCES ever put a perfectly clean dish back into the dishwasher because she just couldn't face putting the thing away? Just me? Okay then.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

special math

Introducing our first edition of a new game I'm calling Special Math. Or, THIS plus THIS equals THIS.

As follows from yesterday:


And this:


And this:


And this:


And this:


There is also this:


And finally:


Your turn.
I got fancy and used pictures, but you can tell me your special equations.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

probably doesn't do much for your breath either

Why hello there.

Desitin diaper cream tastes exactly like it smells. It's midnight. I have been tired lately. Very tired. I had been blaming a recent bout of frequent Alice night-wakings. But it could just as easily be stress. I'm good at holding stress in, letting it work its way inside my body-- letting it do damage. I've been looking forward to this upcoming trip to see The Wife in North Carolina for this purpose. She has a knack for making me laugh until I cry, for encouraging my voice to pick up volume and intensity.

I am so excited to see her, to see her darling little boy, to visit with her charming husband. We will drive them all mad with our joy, I am sure of it.

But until then, I'm going to get through this week. Things to do. Places to go. Teeth to brush. Which is when the Desitin enters the picture. I was brushing my teeth tonight when I looked over inside my overnight kit. The overnight kit that I was using because I'd spent the night at Nana's on Sunday. I spied the large tube of Alice's Desitin and thought to myself, "Wow, good thing I didn't accidentally grab that instead of toothpaste." Which was when I realized that a particularly flowery odor was coming from the vicinity of my mouth. And my tongue didn't feel very minty. I WAS BRUSHING MY TEETH WITH DESITIN. AND I HADN'T NOTICED FOR AT LEAST 30 SECONDS.

Yes, tired. I'm headed to sleep now. Freshly re-brushed WITH EXTRA MINTY TOOTHPASTE GOODNESS. Bleck, I'm going to be tasting Desitin for days.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you may be wondering why there is a picture of Wandering Nana using a shopvac on my upstairs carpet. Though, I'm sure you're not asking yourself that exact question. Because how are you to know that that's my upstairs carpet (it is) and how are you to know that that's our favorite Wandering Nana (it is)? So. To answer your question: there was something of a flood in the vicinity of my washing machine this afternoon (yes, I was doing laundry on Easter - it is because my husband is out of town on business and really, when you're a girl and a little girl left alone in the house with the husband out of town on business on Easter, what better things are there to do than to do laundry for an upcoming trip to see The Wife in North Carolina). More info on this particular flood: I used every towel in my house to sop up the water. Wandering Nana and her Mister brought a whole bagful of beach towels that we went through rather quickly. We also used the following: two bath mats, a very absorbent throw rug, a half-dozen hand towels, and my pants. The pants were the original liquid-sopping implement because I was wearing them. And I was on my hands and knees trying to stop the flood. The flood that also cascaded in little streams from the upstairs laundry closet through the air vent to the downstairs dining room and kitchen. The ever-Johnny-on-the-spot friend Nathan was also present at this particular manifestation of Lake Whimsy and was doing his best to investigate the air vent situation.

What would I do without good friends like Nathan and Wandering Nana and the Mister? We would float away on a rising tide of wash water (a little sudsy). We would not think of things like using the shopvac to extract as much liquid from the very soppy carpet as possible. We would not set up fans at either end of the hall to dry the carpet. And we would not (now, tonight, as of this writing) be sleeping at the homestead of one Wandering Nana and the Mister. I think they felt that Alice and I were sad and forlorn and sudsy and wet and could use a nice change of scenery (yes, true, all of it). The Nana and the Mister have now fed us (Alice ate a lovely concoction of cheerios, graham crackers, apples, and raisins - I had homemade salsa, chips, and a roast beef sandwich); they are washing and drying the aforementioned copious household towels. And soon I'm off to sleep in their guest room bed, Alice snoring nearby in the pack n play. True friends, absolutely. (Also, note to possibly concerned family members - Hey mom, this is why I didn't call you and dad tonight to wish you a happy Easter. And really, don't worry, I have been assured that it's not so bad - and that we reacted quickly - and that it should all be okay. Deep breath.)

Now that I have entertained you with MY especial Easter story, I'd love to hear yours. And before you go, I'll tell you the winner of the Whimsy Extravaganza Poetry Package Giveaway, and I'm not kidding, I have a witness (Wandering Nana): the winner is none other than... #7 commenter: Chip. Seriously. My husband won. You may stone him later. He will be saving me on the postage (thanks honey, you're awfully thoughtful, aren't you?) - and will get a nice box of fun stuff including cookies from yours truly.

Whimsy out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

why I have nothing to complain about

This has been a good week. Despite multiple trips down to the public bathroom at night (Alice sleeping soundly in our bathroom), despite the one time I had to wear Chip's shoes down to the aforementioned bathroom (my shoes were handily stowed in the hall closet right next to Alice's sound sleeping body - and let me tell you, your husband might say -quoting Shawshank Redemption- "No one ever notices your shoes", but really they DO notice your shoes when you are doing your business in a public restroom and all that the other ladies can SEE is a pair of SIZE 12 MEN'S LOAFERS peeping out from under the bathroom stall), despite Alice's wonky sleeping to begin with, despite a long car ride to get here (and a long car ride back). I have nothing, nothing at all to complain about.

It's been wonderful.

This was the view from our room.

We were on the edge of the Columbia River.

Alice took her first ride on a real live outdoor swing set.

We spent time together as a family (that's Chip's elbow).

Alice caught a ginormous fake fish. (Chip tells me it's a LIFESIZE replica of a sturgeon, which: EW.)

Alice and I spent some time at the riverfront park that was right next to the hotel.

It was sunny.

It was warm.

It was perfect.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Yesterday's daily email from the Academy of American Poets seems to be written just for this poetry week at The Creamery. In it, they shared Pamela Spiro Wagner's piece, How to Read a Poem. It's lovely.

How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don't even notice,
close this manual.

I want to tell you how much poetry means to me - how it holds a line directly to my soul, can speak to me when nothing else can. I want to tell you how I consume poetry like chocolate chip cookies or vitamins or tall glasses of water. I want to tell you that poetry is misunderstood. That it is deeper and easier than anyone supposes. I want to tell you that poetry can calm and quiet and excite and please and anger and irritate----

I want to tell you about poetry. But to do so without poetry wouldn't be right. I will offer Ms. Wagner's line instead:
To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.

Comments are still open for your own poetic efforts here. You might just want to visit to read the offerings already there. They are FANTASTIC. The random winner will be picked end-of-day Sunday to receive a care package (chocolate? jelly beans? a batch of my chocolate chip cookies? alice's favorite honey bunny grahams? a little bit of each?) from one Whimsy. Happy poem-writing!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

more weirdness from the road

If you haven't done so already, and you're even the slightest bit interested in winning a CARE PACKAGE from one Whimsy, go here and offer your best Ode to anything. I'll use the random number generator to pick a random generated winner - a winner who will receive a care package from ME. I'm taking comments until Sunday.

So this picture has nothing to do with this post. But it's
so irresistibly cute - with the Alice eating a cracker and all...
Really, who can blame me?

Alice snores. I know she snores because at least one week out of the month, we sleep in the same room with her, when Alice and I tag along on one of Chip's business trips. The snoring isn't that big of a deal, as it mostly happens when Alice is face-down into her mattress. The biggest deal of sharing a hotel room with a 13-month-old is the fact that her sleep can be somewhat, um, WONKY. Normally when she wakes up, she doesn't see her parents casually sitting FIVE FEET AWAY, soundlessly perusing the Internet on their laptops and/or watching a movie wearing those tiny little earbud earphones (am I the only one whose ears sort of HURT after wearing those things?). So while normally she wakes, she stirs, perhaps she stands up and wails for one of us to come into her room and place her little body back down onto the mattress (with Blankie helpfully covering her face)--- in a hotel room, Alice wakes, she stirs, she stands up, AND LO AND BEHOLD SHE SPIES HER PARENTS A MERE FEW FEET FROM HER AWAITING ARMS. And so begins a long night of me repeatedly laying Alice back into her crib and then walking back to my laptop. And husband.

It's not always so hard, of course. When things work out geographically and whatnot, we can stay at the Embassy Suites which is such a SCORE with the two rooms and all. This trip we are staying in southeast Washington (tri-cities area), and we're at the Hampton Inn. The room is largish, which is nice, but it's just the one room... which means that I broke out into a leeeetle bit of a rash when I started contemplating the upcoming three nights of sleep. Chip attempted to create a helpful SCREEN utilizing a tall lamp, a large green blanket we brought from home, and the wee loveseat. It's adorable but totally ineffective.

For tonight, we're actually considering putting Alice's crib up in the bathroom. I KNOW - CRAZY, RIGHT? But seriously, I think it might be worth the Crazy if it means we can peruse the Internet in peace AND watch Lost. Our contingency bathroom plan, once baby is slumbering peacefully, is to actually go downstairs and use the public restroom. Chip's comment: it should make for a funny story later. I don't know about you, but whenever my solutions involve the phrase "funny story later", I get a little nervous.

So tell me: What are your travel nightmares? What are your best travel solutions (baby-related or otherwise)?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

bringing out the best in creamery readers

Well it would appear that you're not a lyrical bunch. But I have my doubts. I've read your comments - your lovely lovely beautifully written and also so very funny comments. So I know you can write an Ode to a Breakfast Food, an Ode you could write in your SLEEP. I am thinking that I need to make this a COMPETITION, which would then entice you to write an Ode of Your Own. Hmm. Henceforth, I am declaring it POETRY WEEK at The Creamery.

Here's the deal: you write a ditty, a po-em, a bit, a tiny piece of your heart, something funny, something sweet, something DRAMATIC, something that tells me how you simply CANNOT write worth a darn, something that's none of these things at all. Just write in on this post and you will be entered to win a little SOMETHING from me. I am thinking along the lines of Easter package/perhaps something from my upcoming trip to North Carolina.

Dear Alice and Angela Lois are already entered, as you can see (and seriously - LOVED both dedications to food). Now it's YOUR turn. The giveaway will run until 8pm PST Sunday, and I'll use the much-lauded Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Go!

Monday, April 6, 2009

ode to a waffle

It was wonderfully sunny on Sunday - we celebrated with a walk
and time spent on the driveway, naturally.

April is National Poetry Month. Did you know that? I know it because I get emails from the Academy of American Poets (yes, there is such a thing). Their emails are lovely, filled with poetry bits that make me smile or make me ponder or make me feel like a real live thinking and emoting human being. You know, the good stuff.

In April their monthly emails ramp up to daily emails. A poem a day. I look forward to them. They make me feel floofy, because I'm a poetry junkie.

I am hoping to engender this same love of the flowery word to Alice. We are starting small. With Friday morning's Ode to a Waffle. It went something like this:

Oh sweet and delectable waffle
You fill me with unspeakable deliciousness
And your bumpy waffle holes
Make my tastebuds sing with joy

So, no great Robert Frost here, but still. Give me your best ode to a breakfast food. Go on, do it. What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month?

Friday, April 3, 2009

(last night) the house

The house is tired. There are raisins on the floor. My workout shoes sit (unused and) forlornly on Alice's mat, surrounded by her books. There are three empty Hershey's Nugget papers scrunched on the kitchen table. Along with the stack of unpaid bills that are awaiting my attention. There is a Chip sitting in the den trying to get his weekly expenses done. The Chip is eating chips. I hear the crunching.

The house is sighing. In the humming of the refrigerator. In the quiet shhhhhhh of Bean's room monitor. In the whisper of my laptop's fan. In the click of Fergus' nails on the hardwood floor.

The house is full. Full of thought. Full of work. Full of food smells. Full of lists. Full of the too much that is sifting through my thoughts. Full of the rebounding laughter from our pre-bedtime game of throw-the-stuffed-sheep-at-Bean's-head.

The house is settling. There are a handful of tasks left to complete before --- before sitting down, before brushing teeth, before putting on soft socks, before letting a cat curl into my lap, before pulling my book out to read a few comfortable pages.

The house is waiting. Waiting for stillness. Waiting for quiet. Waiting for rest. Waiting for murmured goodnights. Waiting for kitty purrs. Waiting for the last light to be turned off. Waiting for sleep.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

cat therapy

I would like to talk to you today about the healing power of cat spit. It's been a long while since I've talked about either of them, but they're here at The Last Homely House every day--- watching me, watching Alice, doing their best to fit into the fabric of our life. These days, Phoebe fits best into the fabric by letting Alice pull her fur, kiss her face, and sit on her. Repeatedly throughout the day. She is a very hairy angel.

Fergus fits into the fabric of our life by maintaining a careful distance from the Alice. He isn't quite so excited about letting her sit on him. But every once in a while he gets very lonely. And he comes calling.

Yesterday was such a day.

He must've known I needed the attention.

And the extra cat spit.

It was glorious.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Burnstopia Travel Rewards Program

Well, I hope you’re all having a JOLLY April Fools Day! This is the Wife from Burnstopia—if you’re looking for the Magnificent Whimsy she’s staging a coup d’├ętat over at Burnstopia for the day.

I had originally thought of sending this as an email to my best friend Whimsy—a sly, backdoor approach to playfully mocking her Chip—but once she staged the coup d’├ętat I thought that the only proportional response would be to playfully mock her Chip from her blog!

See, you should all know that the Whimsy is coming to stay with me! ME! In North Carolina! In 17 DAYS!!! I’m more excited than a feeble exclamation mark can convey! And as part of her stay there will be some travel rewards, rewards which will make her Chip drooly with envy.

As part of the Burnstopia Travel Rewards Program, the Magnificent Whimsy will receive the following during her stay with us:

Seven (7) complementary snacks, as part of the Feed Guests Well Program here at Burnstopia. Their salty nature will be left to the choice of our guest. Naturally, complementary snacks for the return flight will be provided, as we at Burnstopia provide better service than your standard airline industry.

Four (4) dinners, their nutritional content may be subject to argument as vegetables are not always included free of charge. However, while some may protest the absence of vegetation at the dinner itself, dessert is always complementary and made from scratch by our talented and tasteful pastry chef.

Four (4) Breakfasts, which vary from the continental to full Southern breakfast of biscuits, eggs and sausage gravy. Knowing our guests’ taste is a point of pride here at Burnstopia, so naturally the Whimsy’s favorite Vanilla Almond granola will be served in addition to strawberry and vanilla yogurts.

Three (3) lunches, the locations of which are left to the choices of our guests. Burnstopia is located (for the time being) in a perfectly ordinary town in central North Carolina. While here, Whimsy will have access to the standard restaurant chains Red Robin™, Chick-fil-A™, and PF Changs™; in addition to this predictable fare, she will have access to Burnstopia favorites like Twisted Noodles, Mediterranean Deli, Bombay Grille, and Maple View Farms Diary and Ice Creamery.

We take your nutritional needs seriously here at Burnstopia. As part of our Travel Rewards Program, we offer you the option of forwarding a shopping list of specific food requests for you or your child. If said list is received within forty-eight (48) hours of your arrival, those items will be provided for the duration of your stay with us.

Naturally, here at Burnstopia, we wish to make your stay with us as comfortable as possible. While here you will be sleeping in our guest accommodation and wee Alice will have access to our best crib. All efforts have been made to childproof the remaining apartment, as we at Burnstopia take the comfort and safety of our guests seriously. And since we take the comfort of our guests seriously, complementary use of our on-site laundry facilities will be provided in addition to personal transportation.

Your enjoyment is our top priority and so we offer the following activities as part of our Travel Rewards Program:


Two (2) Targets will be made accessible for your perusal and enjoyment. There are distinct differences between the two as they each cater to a very different clientele. Those differences will be made apparent upon perusal.

Two (2) Malls. Southpoint and University malls are located with in easy driving distance. They offer a wide variety of shops and are eager for your educated and enlightened critique.

One (1) Less than Savory Jo Ann’s fabric store. The plan at Burnstopia is to take you there so that you can enjoy the delights of mocking it as much as we do.


Located conveniently 20 minutes away are the campuses of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as Duke University. While each university system offers up their own version of craptacular bureaucracy, they also offer up an excellent array of activities.

North Campus is noted for its 19th century architecture as well as the Old Well and beautiful quads filled with old trees and open green spaces. North Campus is ideal for picnics and for those 12 month olds who like to run and play.

Duke University’s greatest contribution to the area is Duke Gardens. Beautiful and varied they offer up open spaces for playful children as well as ducks and geese ideal for taunting. By in large, we here at Burnstopia subscribe to the aphorism (ideal for all occasions) of “Duke SUCKS.” But our one (1) exception to that is Duke Gardens, a favorite at Burnstopia since 2003.


Burnstopia hosts an extensive and varied library which will be made available for the use and enjoyment of our honored guest. A somewhat less extensive library of DVD materials will also be made available for your enjoyment.


Not that any one visiting with us at Burnstopia is interested in this, but there are a wide range of historical attractions in the area. In short, stuff happened here.

As our guest you will enjoy unlimited time and attention from your hostess. There will be much talking, laughing (at unholy volumes) and in all likelihood tears will be shed at some point, because that’s just how we are. Sunday services are at 11:00am and there are many worthy women whom your hostess desires you to meet. The Boy will do his best not to poop in the bath tub. The Husband will very probably be hiding on campus most of the time. He finds the combination of our personalities a bit overwhelming. As he should.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments please don’t hesitate to contact us at the phone number and email address provided in your reservation. We look forward to your stay and hope that it will be the first of many such occasions.


The Management at Burnstopia Inns and Sweets