Showing posts from January, 2009

Concrete Reflections

I heard on the news the other day that 80% of the population of the United States lives in cities, or in suburbs of cities, in the uninterrupted sprawl extending outward in ripples from our metropolitan centers. This statistic surprised me. It made me realize, perhaps late in the game, just how much the country has changed in the last few generations. My husband and I both grew up in small towns, and those towns have left their imprint upon us. I grew up where tidy blocks of homes mostly built in the early 1900's were interspersed with fields and creeks; from most of those tidy homes, one can see the rolling hills cradling the town. My walk to grammar school included a stretch of earthen alley alongside Nathanson Creek. I took a different way home, one that took me by an undeveloped town block, covered by a field of grasses and wildflowers. Slightly off-center, a lovely old oak tree held court, a perfect fort for school children looking to stretch out the afternoon by linge

These are the Days that Memories are Made Of

Today is our school's Open House, a chance for our kids to show off their work and for us to size up the teachers (kidding) and socialize with other parents. The school always holds Open House on a Sunday, so that the event follows the 9am Mass, which we usually attend. Mass is always especially crowded on Open House Sunday, with all of the families that don't normally attend. We have all been pretty sick these past few days, with scattered fevers, runny noses, and LOTS of coughing. Last night, coughing kept at least four of us up way past our bedtimes. When the time came to get everyone up and ready for Mass this morning, I made the executive decision to let everyone sleep, rather than take a coughing, sneezing, snotty brood into a crowded church where they were sure to breathe all over the Family of God. We planned instead to get up an hour later and bring everyone to the Open House, where we knew we really needed to ooo and aah over a painting of Jackie Robinson (4th g

Thrift Store Valuables

When we got married, one of Rick's oldest and dearest friends gave us two beautiful, delicate glasses, perfect for drinking specialty drinks like Grand Marnier and the like. These lovely glasses, artfully hand-painted, were tiny, and very breakable. One did in fact break several years ago. Well, these were really designed for two. They are the kind you use for special just-the-two-of-you dinners, for the dessert drink. For toasting a noisy life in a quiet space. For savoring together the life and kids you are taking a break from. But you just can't do that with one beautiful glass. In fact, just the other day, I was putting dishes away ( I actually do that sometimes ) and moved it aside to make room for some other wine glasses, and wondered to myself if that glass would ever be used again. The other day, Lola answered that question. A friend of ours was babysitting Lola and gave her some milk in the special glass for fun, which by the way, I can totally see myself

O'Bama is My People!

I'm Irish. Sort of. I mean, somewhere back in the fogs of time, people were born in Ireland, who gave birth to other people, who gave birth to other people, and so and so forth, and some of those people finally ended up here in America, and then two of those people gave birth to my mom and dad. (Technically, not to my dad, as his father gave him his Irish heritage and she-who-gave-him-birth gave him his Croatian blood, but you get the idea.) My folks are a wee bit Ireland-obsessed, and I was raised to love fiddle music, get misty-eyed at green fields, and of course, enjoy my pint of Guinness. Mom and Dad owned and operated a fantastic Irish Pub in Sonoma for 14 (or so) years, which is still going strong under new ownership. Rick and I honeymooned in Ireland, because while he is Mexican and Italian (I know! Lucky me!), he really wishes he came from the same sod that brought forth James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, and Irish Stout. So I can't say thank you enough to my dear f

It Will Only Take Me 10 Minutes to Strangle You

A friend of mine with four small children told me about a conversation she had once with her mother-in-law. MIL was trying to "encourage" her to add some small task to her daily routine. I can't remember what the task was, but it was some kind of chore that MIL thought would improve my friend's overall attitude about her house and her chaotic life with little 'uns. In an attempt to convince her just how simple it would be to add this "to-do item" to her day, MIL said: "It'll take you 10 minutes; that's it!" When she told me about it, I had the same sinking feeling she did upon receiving this advice: If you only knew just how many 10 minute jobs I have in a given day, you would choke yourself on those words before speaking them in my presence. It's the kind of advice that makes me want to throttle the person giving it, the kind that makes me want to say: "You don't have a freakin' clue what you are talking about

Headphones, Anyone?

Elizabeth and I were standing on the front porch, watching my mom park her Prius on our street. She was arriving to pick up Elizabeth and take her home for a two-night sleep-over. Ellie was ready: Elmo suitcase packed, blanket under her arm, big fat smile on her face. As my mom parked, I remarked: "Wow, that car is really quiet." Not missing a beat, Elizabeth responded: "Not when I'm in it!" I don't think there's any sound proofing in the world strong enough for her. ***

Cracked Up

"Mommy, when you have an egg in your tummy, and the baby gets born, does the egg break inside of you, does it crack on the floor, or in your hand?"

Soccer + Girl = Awesome

Gotta love the look:

No Dance, Mommy Mia

My 2 year old confuses many words. Today I learned that she confuses the words "dance" and "sing." Here's how I figured this out. I love to sing along to my favorite music, to the radio or to whatever CD is playing. I don't have a particularly great voice, but singing brings me great joy. My kids have gotten used to me wailing away while cooking dinner or washing dishes or driving around town. Many times, they have to wait until the end of a particularly poignant lyric to get an answer to a pressing question like "Can I have a cookie?" They are all very patient with me and not one of them has ever asked me to stop singing. Until today. On the way to school this morning, we were listening to Paul Simon's Graceland . Great tunes, right?? Especially Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes -- I love that one. There I am singing away, and from the middle row of the minivan, the screaming starts: " NO DANCE, MOMMY MIA, NO DANCE! "

A Special Kind of Hell

Whoever invented organized "Youth Sports" should be taken out to the back woods and shot summarily. At which time, they should be escorted -- roughly -- to a special rung of hell reserved just for them. Signed, -- a frustrated parent

Zipperhead Returns...and other happenings

Last Valentine's Day, Tallulah, Elizabeth, and I spent about four hours at an ER getting Tallulah's forehead stitched up. We called her zipperhead for a few weeks. The boys especially enjoyed this nickname. But there's a new zipperhead in town: Vincenzo suffered a head wound in the course of trying to beat his brother to the ball while playing soccer at school. The school called and told us, and from what they described, I didn't expect to be alarmed by the look of it. But when I got home last night and saw for myself, well, let's just say I was not going to put myself in the position of hearing a doctor say to me, for the second time in my life, "You should have brought him in yesterday to have this stitched up." (This happened when a metal basketball hoop fell on Sam's head last summer and I didn't take him to the doctor until the next day. The only reason I took him at all was that his sister already had an appointment, so I included hi