Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Who says romance is dead?

M left this morning for RI, and he was gone well before we were up. I vaguely remember him waking me up for a goodbye kiss. My alarm went off much later, and I got up and started getting ready for work. Zozer came in after awhile, and did her whole potty - hand washing - teeth brushing - getting dressed routine that has become a real blessing (although with mixed emotions...this independence thing is trying for a mother - as evidenced by her being finally tall enough to ride the carousel alone at the Zoo yesterday while I stood by the side and wept at her spinning round on the giant animaled wheel of doom).

When we got ready to leave, I instructed Zozer to head out to the family room to get her shoes on. "Mommy! Come look at this!"

This usually means, "One of the cats barfed. Again." or "There's a dead bug out here." or something else that she finds disgusting. I sighed and headed out, prepared to grab a few paper towels and the disinfectant that I should just wear in a holster like those cowboys in the old Westerns.

Instead, I found this:

How adorable is that?! Instead of bemoaning the fact that he had to drag his computer bag and luggage over the mound of shoes that inevitably piles up by the garage door, he instead created a wordless message of love. Zoe didn't want to disrupt the heart by taking her shoes required for the day, so I took a picture to capture it forever.

I love that, after 18 years of togetherness, he can still surprise me and make me laugh even while he's on his way to another state.

I also love that he tried to extend the life of his beloved Adidas sandals (located at the top there) by duct taping the one that fell apart a couple weeks ago. I made him order new ones last night, since the duct tape isn't as permanent a fix as he had hoped.

These things, my friends, these weensy little insignificant things, are what makes life fantastic. Well, that and a day filled with love, a proud five-year-old, donuts, the Zoo, Mexican food, brownies, carousels, train rides and a sea lion named Robbie that tosses frisbees to a birthday girl.

I will swoon all week over my shoe heart.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Five Dinner

By her request, Amigo's Cantina for dinner. Where she's ordered the most Mexican of meals: el chickano stripps with la mexi-fries. We tried offering a quesadilla or taco, but she was having none of that. Eh, it's her birthday!


Name of girl taking our food order at the Zoo. No kidding.

Five Train

Zoo train!

Five Zoo

Waiting for the Sea Lion Show to start.

Five Breakfast

We gave her the choice of breakfast locations. She picked Dunkin' Donuts, where she ordered two large donuts, hashbrowns, and chocolate milk. Then she ate some of our Munchkins and Daddy finished off her donuts while Mommy finished the hashbrowns.

Zozo is FIVE!

She was thrilled to get her big girl bike this morning.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Almost home

The sun sets behind the train. Warrenton.

Heading home

Great weekend, but glad to be heading back. Tired. That probably has to do with going to bed at 3 am.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is this dyslexia?

I know STL is sometimes called a cow town, but at least we know how to put signs on poles.


The verdict is in: gas station barbecue totally rocks. OMG I ate too much food.

Dinner in a gas station

This is where I am eating dinner tonight. Inside a Shamrock gas station in Kansas City. According to the June 09 issue of Men's Health magazine, and my rep G, this is one of 13 places to eat before you die. Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue. In a gas station. Must be good...we're in a line a mile long. I'll let you know later. I'm getting the beef brisket and the "house specialty" pulled pork. And G says the French fries are awesome. Gas station brisket...mmmmm.

My train

The station was full of screaming children. I was grateful I bumped to business class. Until two of the little banshees came into business class with their mom. One broke his tray table before we left the station. God help me.

Not my train

But possibly why my train is not here yet.

Waiting for the train

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trains, planes and bicycles

Busy week. No excuse for not blogging, but there it is.

I leave tomorrow morning on a train. Heading to Kansas City for a trade show. I am excited about the show as I get to meet some of my field reps whom I've only spoken to on the phone. These are great people who work hard and play hard, and the weekend promises to be fun. And I'm excited that I get to ride on a train. I know it's ridiculous, but I absolutely love taking trains. There's something old fashioned and nostalgic about it. And it's relaxing and peaceful. It's the way travel is supposed to be...the way travel used to be before the airlines figured out that they had run themselves into the ground and the only way to survive was to cram people like sardines into the most uncomfortable seats possible and treat them like shit in every other way possible.

This weekend begins my one-woman strike against the airline industry. Whenever possible, I will take a train instead of an airplane. I was given the choice on how I wanted to get myself to KC. The train takes a couple hours longer, is half the price, doesn't require security and restrictions and checking a bag, and my car parks for free. I have plugs for my laptop, and my phone works the entire time I'm traveling. Plus, I'm leaving out of the train station that's like two miles from my house. If you add in the airport security bullshit and the parking pains, the time difference is negligible. Oh, and the KC train station is one mile (I know this, I googled it) from the hotel and convention center. And because the train is so much less expensive, I upgraded to business class and still saved a boatload of money.

(OMG, I just checked out the hotel's Web site where I am staying - someone else made my reservations and I'm just now getting to it - and there's a Starbucks in the lobby! Insert joyful squeal here!)

So I leave tomorrow at 8:59 a.m. (they couldn't just say 9?) and return Sunday night, just in time for Zozo's birthday Monday.

We bought her a bike for her birthday. She's been asking for a bike, a big-girl bike, for months now. She was very explicit: "I want a princess bike with a basket on the front, and tassels on the handlebars, and the basket has to have a zipper so I can close it." We went to Target Saturday to look at bikes. There it was, one bike that met all the requirements. I think she had seen it, fell in love with it, and memorized the features so as to ensure she could tell us exactly what she wanted.

We looked at all the bikes at Target, and all the bikes at Wal-Mart, and only one had everything she requested. Damn. So that's what we bought, although it about killed us because we are so not into the princess shit. We stood in the aisle at Target and discussed it.

"Do we have to get her this one?"
"I think so. It's the one she wants."
"Yeah, but it's so...so...pink."
"I know." Sigh.
"Okay, let's get it then."

M has the unenviable task of putting the thing together, which makes me doubly grateful I will be out of town this weekend and won't be around to help. And by "help" I mean "listen to the curse words fly and get snapped at when something doesn't work."

She'll get her bike Monday, and I can't wait to see how excited she is. It's one of those growing-up milestones. I still remember getting my first big-girl bike, and how much I loved it. And when my Daddy taught me to ride it without training wheels. I will enjoy watching M do the same for his little girl. It's circle of life stuff, right there.

I'm also sad, because the fact that she indeed will have a big-girl bike means that she is indeed growing up. No more trikes for her. I feel like I'm going to blink and she'll be bugging me for the car keys.

Okay, time to wrap things up and get ready to leave. Time with Zozo tonight, and laundry, and maybe some more work getting the house ready for the party (I'm gone this weekend, then Monday is The Birthday, and then M leaves Tuesday for RI and doesn't return til Friday night, the night before The Birthday Party...yikes!).

I'll try to post pics from the weekend as I go, much like I did during the Bowling Green trip. Am loving the iPhone and the flexibility it offers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

M talks in his sleep

It typically starts with some weird question, as it did tonight. I just try to answer what I think he wants to hear, no matter how ridiculous. It keeps him calmer that way.

"Wait a minute! Where does he sit?"


"The professor! The coach! Where does he sit?"

"Up in the front of the classroom."

"Well, where do you sit?"

"Next to you."

"Wait, where does he sit?"

"In the front of the room."

"No no no. Where does he sit in this room. The bedroom."

"Oh. He sits over there, at the end of the bed."


I got up to type this in so I wouldn't forget. He'll tell me when he reads this, "I didn't say that. You're making it up!" And I will reply, as I always do, "No way, man. I can't make this shit up."

Diet update

This morning I got on the scale for my weekly torture. I was simultaneously disappointed and breathing a sigh of relief. No change.

I've lost about 6 pounds since I've started my little endeavor. My pants are loose and I'm seeing a change overall, but as far as the scale goes I've been stuck for two weeks now. Given that I've had some really great (read: not healthy) meals, plus some wine, I should be happy that I have not gained. Of course, I've also increased the morning workout to where the treadmill tells me I've burned 433 calories (which is reinforced by my sweating like a stuck pig by the end), so you'd think that would count for something.

One night last week M and I got into a little fight about food. The boy knows that I am not a fan of leftovers. I never have been. So when he makes a crapload of food for dinner, the remnants typically sit in the fridge until he heats 'em up for another dinner. The only thing I hate more than leftovers is having to actually cook, so I go with the leftovers when he makes them.

In an attempt to eat better, though, I have been taking the leftovers to work for lunch. Which meant that when he went into the fridge to get them for dinner late last week, there weren't any. He blew up because his carefully-laid dinner plans were kiboshed and he had to quickly think of something fast and healthy that he could make. We had planned a busy evening and were now running up against bath/bedtime deadlines for Zoe. I blew up back that he always gripes about leftovers going to waste and he should be glad I'm taking them and not eating out all the time.

In the middle of the argument, he said that I should buy some lunch-only food, like cold cuts and cheese. I replied back that I don't really have time to make a sandwich in the morning, he suggested we make it the night before, and I made some snotty comment about eating a mushy, old sandwich for lunch. The sandwich idea was dropped in the ensuing apologies. (Our storms blow in and out with equal rapidity, and grudges are not held. Keys to a solid marriage, I think. That, and poor aim.)

At the grocery store this weekend, though, in an attempt to appease others before myself (why do I do that? it's always disastrous when I try.) I bought turkey and swiss cheese. To make sandwiches. For lunch.

This morning, I made my sandwich which made me run even later than I already was (Zoe announcing she had to poop before we left didn't help matters), so I was already resentful of the sandwich before we even walked out the door. At work, a colleague invited everyone to eat the lasagna she brought in. I declined, knowing that if I told myself I'd eat the sandwich tomorrow that it would never happen because by the time tomorrow comes I'll have talked myself into believing the sandwich is old and soggy and funky and inedible. And besides, I'm pretty sure part of the reason I didn't lose weight last week was the three nights of pasta I had. And the four glasses of wine. And flash-fried spinach. And bread served with some butter that had addictive properties. And frozen custard at The Custard Station.

So I locked myself into my office and began to eat my resented sandwich, at least content with the self-righteous knowledge that I was back on the wagon and eating healthy again.

Which is when I remembered that I don't like lunchmeat sandwiches. Unless they have a bunch of really unhealthy meat (salami!) and other sundry goodies on it. Basically, I like a nice Jimmy John's Italian Nightclub or nothing. Well, peanut butter and jelly is good, heavy on the peanut butter.

So my lunch today served only to stop my stomach from rumbling, only it didn't do so well at that as I think the cheese may be wonky (it didn't taste quite right) and now it's gurgling. My stomach, not the cheese. Or, who knows, maybe both. Food poisoning = Mother Nature's little diet aid. I really don't feel like eating anything for about a week right now.

This is my public confession, made in the hopes that it will motivate me to eat better this week, and also to come clean to M that no, I will most likely not be eating the 3/4 pound of turkey and 1/2 pound of wonky swiss in the fridge. I realize this negates my eating of the aforementioned leftovers and therefore not throwing away that food, but so it goes. Maybe he can find a recipe to use the turkey (i.e. disguise the turkey so it no longer tastes like lunchmeat turkey), and we can take the funky cheese back to the store.

Here's to healthy eating this week!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just another reason I love M

He does cute things like make syrup smiley faces when we're having pancakes for dinner.

Are we Americans? Or aren't we?

Okay, I've debated whether or not to write about this. It's controversial and a bunch of people are fired up about it. But ultimately, I feel I must. Because what is happening in my country right now is scaring the living shit out of me.

I'm sure you've all heard, unless you live under a rock, that there are some people who own property in Manhattan and who would like to build a Islamic mosque there. On the property they own. Given that this is a free country with churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and various other places of worship dotted all around, this is not in and of itself controversial. It's apparently all about where it's located. Some Americans feel that it is too close to Ground Zero, where radicals attacked our country almost nine years ago.

The key word there, my friends, is radicals. Extremists. Terrorists. The people who want to build a peaceful place of worship are not any of those things simply because they are Muslim. It doesn't work that way. And thank God it doesn't, because if it did I, and my family, would have to be condemned for being Catholic and there are crazy extreme Catholics out there who have killed innocent people in the name of Jesus Christ. I most certainly do not want to be painted with that same, broad stroke, and I don't think the Muslims in New York deserve to be, either.

A lot of people don't know, or don't remember, what the United States did to Japanese-Americans during World War II. It's appalling, and embarrassing that our brilliant country could let raw emotions so rampantly overrun our better judgement and basic beliefs in freedom and liberty. Just Google "Manzanar" and read about it. Given the continuing strife over the evils of slavery that we still deal with to this day, I'm doubly ashamed that our country ever reached the point of incarcerating its own citizens simply because of their culture and genetic background after slavery. Have we learned nothing?

And yet, here we go again. Condemning people, a lot of people, based on the actions of a few extremists who most certainly do not share ideologies. If we start telling people where they can and cannot build their peaceful places of worship based on unfounded and unreasonable fear due to the actions of a select few, well, then we're simply setting up Manzanar all over again.

For goodness sake, they have the constitutional right to build a mosque there. That should be the end of the story. Some people suggest that perhaps they should consider a different location until Christian Americans "become more comfortable with Islam." Yes, let's do that. Let's corral these people and not grant them the most basic of American rights because we don't know them yet. Because putting them over there while we stay over here is a great way to learn about each other.

We are not this country, this country wrapped up in fear mongering and hate and discrimination. God help us if we become that in this day and age, especially given our history.

In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time, no one was left to speak up.
-Pastor Martin Niemoller

Complementary colors

Well, we're fully into exploring our fashion sense now.

I could hear her in her room this morning, rooting around in drawers. I laughed when I heard, "Oh! My tutu! My tutu!" That's what she calls that little purple skirt with ruffles thing.

Then she called in to me, "Mommy? Do I have to match?" Oh boy. I told her she's a big girl now and can choose whatever she wants. She skipped out of her room so happy after she got dressed that her smile made the outfit. I can't help but love it, too.

I said, "Wow, Zo. Purple and orange. You're so...bright!" She was quick to point out that there is bright yellow on her shirt, too.

I wonder if this is how Lady Gaga started.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Note to self

When encouraging your almost-five-year-old daughter to pick out her own clothes, remember to remove the one-size-too-small clothes from the drawer. If you don't, she will pick those items (naturally) and then refuse to change (of course). Then she, and you, end up looking ridiculous.

M is freaking out, mumbling something about too-short shorts (they're called Daisy Dukes, sweetie) and how they must be retired immediately.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thank you, M!

Getting flowers delivered to you at work is the BEST!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arch sweet Arch

I love coming home through the city.

Close to home

And stuck behind the slowest train ever.

On the way home

Uh oh! I have a drink in The Car. (He has one too.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My dream car

We got back to the museum after our lunch tour (where we ate awesome barbecue...and that's saying a lot since I don't typically like barbecue) to find a show featuring some vintage cars. They are staged in the main hall where new Corvette owners take delivery. Very cool.

I gave M a choice: he could buy me either a new Corvette (automatic tranny in gunmetal gray) or a Nomad. He shook his head and walked away. Methinks I'll be driving the Accord until it can be classified as vintage. Still won't be as cool as a Nomad though.


M's mission: Save the Wave

Friday, August 13, 2010

M eats a molcajete bigger than his head

No, he didn't finish it. We could have fed a small country with that thing.

Theater in downtown Bowling Green

Where the streets have no name

Giant City Lodge

We're on our way to Bowling Green, Ky, for an NCM event. Plugged "no major roads" into the nav system. We are in the Shawnee National Forest, and stopped here to eat lunch.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I ain't nobody's bitch

I'm what you'd call your average Cardinals fan. I like to go to games occasionally, preferring to watch them from the comfort of my couch and the affordability of my fridge. I know who the players are and what position they play, although the calculation of ERA still flummoxes me despite M's best attempts at Wifely Baseball Education. I have my favorite players, and sometimes they get traded and I have to pick new ones. I will probably forever mourn the loss of Rolen and Edmonds. I have fun figuring out what their at-bat songs are because I think they tell a lot about a player, and Fredbird never fails to crack me up even after all these years.

Yadier Molina has been a favorite for a long time. I take umbrage to those who make fun of how he runs...I'll take a slow Molina with a cannon for an arm over a speedy catcher who can't hit the mark any day. Besides, if he keeps hittin' homers, it don't matter how long it takes him to round the bases.

But last night. Last night Yadi was The Man. He stepped up. Twice. He got in the face of Red's house idiot Brandon Phillips, who took it upon himself to call our beloved Cardinals "little bitches" before the start of the series. I mean, really? You wanna give the other team incentive to whup your ass? 'Cause all you're doin' with that is gettin' people fired up. It's go-time once the trash talking starts.

So when Phillips came to the plate last night and provoked Molina, that was it. Yadi told him, "I'm not your bitch." Hooooooey! Saddle up! The brawl that followed was ridiculous and got out of hand, but wasn't entirely unexpected given Phillips' baiting from earlier in the series. Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto was a complete moron (do they have a general lack of brain matter up there in the Reds clubhouse?) by kicking everyone in sight when no one else was doing anything close that physical. Carpenter's back and LaRue's face have the marks to prove it.

Despite all that, and both managers being ejected, Yadi came up to bat in the second and knocked one out of the park. Talk about sweet revenge! Little bitches, my ass.

On another note, why is it an insult to call a man (or men) a female-derived expletive? Oh, jeez. My brain is on overload today so that analysis is gonna have to wait for another time. Sexism deserves it's own post anyway.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scooter and rainbow flare

One of the cardinal rules of photography is to not shoot into the sun. One of the other cardinal rules of photography is to ignore rules when it works.

Today, I heart flare.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Thank you for my shelter

I am amazed. I am in awe. I am humbled.

Mostly, though, I am comforted by the support and love that has poured out through phone calls, text messages and e-mails.

Although I have seen none of you in person, I feel tightly held. That is calming, and reassuring, and incredible. It gives me strength and courage to do things I might not otherwise do.

I sat at the hospital Saturday, listening to my father and my aunt make plans to help my other aunt, who sat there shell-shocked and dazed. I struggled to find a way to contribute. I struggled with those feelings of contribution: how much can I give? How much should I give? How involved should I become? What happens if I give, again, and get hurt, again.

I have worked hard to separate myself from all that. The dysfunction and pain and grief. The loss of family, of a mentor, of a planned future. The loss of trust. How do I open my arms and walk right back into that?

I wrote his obituary. It was all I could think to offer. Writing and photography are easy for me, easy to give. Since there is no need for image-making, all I can do is write. Writing here on the blog helps no one but me, but maybe writing the obit helps ease some of the burden for my family in a small way.

I'm becoming quite adept at writing obituaries. Which is unfortunate.

I figured out that this week is easy, relatively speaking. Other than dealing with the raw grief that comes when someone dies. It's what comes after this week that scares the hell out of me. Do we all go back to fighting and not talking to each other? It's the great unknown: what's next? How do we move forward? Or, a better question would be, can we move forward?

I feel like saying, "Hey, let's make a deal. You quit making up crap and saying stupid shit about me, and quit hurting people I love, and I'll stop resenting you and being pissed at you."

What is the etiquette in this situation? In days of old, women wore a black veil for a designated period of time after a loss. It was all tied up with a nice, neat bow. You are to grieve for X days, after which you can wear prints again. But what is the timeframe for calling someone on their shit? I really don't want to move forward wondering when the next bomb will go off, waiting for something to happen, only to lash out, again, and defend myself, again, and feel hurt and furious, again. I really don't want to move forward with people I love being hurt again and again, only this time it's cloaked in acceptability labeled "grief" and "loss."

We will see, I suppose. In the meantime, I will keep forging ahead knowing that my safety net is not only intact, it is gorgeous and loving and supports me so much that I don't need to work to support myself at all.

Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm
And I'll be my brother's keeper
So the whole world will know that we're not alone.
-Matt Maher

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Which way is up?

Death is never easy. Even when someone is sick and you know the end is near, it's not any easier than when someone is ripped tragically from your life. When it's a combination of the two (damn...I knew he was gonna go, but I didn't think he was gonna go that fast), another element of oddity and grief is added.

Stir in a maelstrom of family dysfunction and you've just got a shitpot of overwhelming feelings.

I like stability. I like knowing how I'm supposed to feel about things. Even if I don't agree with the generally accepted society view of how I'm supposed to feel, there's at least some degree of comfort in knowing how to act.

But when things are just so f*cked up to begin with, and then the grim reaper arrives and laughs maniacally while you spin around trying to figure out just which way is up...well, that's a whole new ballgame.

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Rest in peace, Mitch. And God, dear God, please grant peace to my shrapnel-ridden family.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Blue Stripes

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Finally, a thorough explanation

Everyone should read this phenomenal article on infertility. Everyone. And anyone who has ever said, "Just relax and it will happen" should have it printed and stapled to their forehead.

People have asked me why we didn't tell anyone we were struggling with infertility. This article clears that right up, and explains so much more. This is one of the few articles on infertility I've read that addresses the emotional upheaval that couples experience. The lengths they'll go through to hide the pain while trying to conceive.

My therapist during our two years' journey told me, after I learned I was finally pregnant, "It (the pain) will always be with you. You will carry it in your heart the rest of your life, and you will never forget it. And that's okay." I am so thankful she told me that, because then I was prepared for it, and I accept it. She was right. It is there, every single day and every single night. It is part of who I am today, and I find comfort in knowing that there are hundreds of thousands of women on paths parallel to mine. I send them love and support and hope.

I am one of the few volunteers who will speak out about this. And I understand perfectly why there are many more who won't/can't. It's so intensely personal, and it feels like such a personal failure. During those long two years, I felt like I was failing myself and my family and, worst of all, my husband. That's a pretty weighty guilt to carry around, along with the stress of medical appointments/tests/treatments and the almost-physical need I felt to have a child.

Our beautiful daughter's fifth birthday is coming up. I still can't believe I have a child, that I was one of the lucky ones. I thank God every day for the gift that is Zoe Grace. And my heart breaks for those who are still trying, and for those who have given up.

Double Rainbow

I love early mornings, just done with my 5:30 a.m. run. But this morning was extra spectacular.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Dear Child o' Mine: Please, please, can I have one night of uninterrupted sleep? One night where I fall asleep and my eyes don't open until the morning? One night where you get up and use the potty by yourself, or retrieve Hoot from the floor by yourself, or get a drink in the bathroom by yourself, or get a tissue from the box on your nightstand by yourself, or pull up your covers by yourself. Are you seeing the trend here? By yourself. Sans Mommy. I love you, daughter, with all my heart. But if I don't get some friggin' sleep Mommy is gonna get real crabby real soon.

Dear Darling Husband: I would like to know, have you been programmed since birth to be able to ignore the cry of the female human? Or is this a trait you've developed in adulthood, approximately five years ago? Do your ears simply not hear that particular frequency? You have two options for tonight: a.) you can sleep in her room so as to be sure to hear her call, or b.) we can duct-tape the baby monitor to your head, with the speaker positioned at your ear. Your choice.
I learned yesterday that right after work is not the time to go to the gym. Because that's when everyone goes to the gym. All treadmills were taken, and the only elliptical left was the wonky one where the "0" doesn't work on the touchpad (thereby making it impossible to type in 30 minutes as your desired time, which means you type in 31 or 32 or 33 and get a LED reprimand from the machine that 30 minutes is the limit, you elliptical hog. Once I got past that and finally started exercising I realized that this was the machine where the flat panel TV turns itself off
every six to eight minutes. Right in the middle of heated debates on CNN where Republicans think we should amend/abolish the 14th Amendment so that children born in the U.S. are not automatically granted citizenship and we should be a country of exclusion even though the Founding Fathers thought otherwise, and Democrats say, in rebuttal, "Shut up you big stupidhead." Gawd knows I don't want to miss that.
My giant canvas prints were delivered Monday. I ordered five for my office and one for home. They look absolutely fantastic. The one over the fireplace at home is a portrait of Zoe. It's huge. 30x40. It's awesome and I love it so much why don't I marry it. The ones for my office are two Yosemite vistas, a close-up of some rocks on Weston Beach, a portrait of Zoe sleeping, and a fish-eye shot of Zoe walking in front of the Arch from last year.

I'm trying really hard to not be offended when my colleagues come in and say, "Wow. You must have a really nice camera." I was trying to explain this to M last night and he said, "What's wrong with that?" I explained that would be like our guests telling him he must have professional lights when they see the house lit at Christmas. Some day I will have the cajones to say, "Yes, I leave the camera sitting out with an array of lenses around it overnight, and when I get up in the morning there are a variety of fantastic images from which to choose. It's great! You should buy a really good camera and try it." People wouldn't tell Picasso that he had great brushes or Rodin that he had awesome chisels. Why is photography different from any other medium? Because everyone has a camera? This is a long-held beef of mine. You'd think I'd be over it by now. You would be wrong.
My boss told me yesterday, "You're the best writer around here by far, so I need you to write the copy for the new corporate brochure we're doing." Great! I replied. That's right up my alley. Do you have an old brochure I can see? No. Do you have a competitor's brochure I can see? No. Do you have an idea of what you want, or how you want it to flow? No, and no. Awesome. I'll get started.
My boss's boss saw my prints the other day and said, "You're in the wrong profession." I think that's a compliment.
We sat down and chose the date for Zoe's birthday party last night. Am so excited to get started on her invites. I haven't had time to really do it right for the last two years and am thrilled that school is done and I get to do fun stuff now. We started this morning with a quickie photo shoot in the backyard. Save the date: her birthday will be celebrated Saturday, September 4. Invitations coming soon (I hope!).
Which reminds me. I received Emma's birth announcement in the mail last night and therefore it's out there in the public domain and I get to post it here.

She's a cutie-patootie!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The unknown horror

Alas, dear readers, I fear I must take time today to inform you of a cause du jour, a need for action, an unspeakable tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

Last night, on the way home from work, M and I wound up sitting next to each other at a stoplight. He in the Corvette, I in my Zoemobile. (I almost dared him to race, but thought that since traffic was heavy it probably wasn't in our best interests. He got off lucky this time.) I motioned to him that I'd meet him at home, pick him up and we'd go retrieve Zozer together. I let him go first, then fell in behind. As we drove, a yellow Corvette came the opposite way. I watched for the driver to wave to M, knowing with certainty that M would lift his hand in salute.

Later, both of us in the Zoemobile (with M whining that "it's not the same"), I asked him if he waved to the other Corvette. He replied that he had. Waving to other Vettes has been an honored tradition probably dating back to the first Corvettes in 1953. It's like being part of an exclusive club. Jeep drivers flash each other the "J" and Corvette drivers give a simple hand lift or even a sage nod towards each other (they're too cool to show excitement, after all). I don't know if other car owners have secret signs to each other...I just know these because I used to drive a Jeep and I grew up in a Corvette house.

(I do, however, know that Honda Accord drivers do not wave to or acknowledge each other in any form. Probably because there are a gajillion of us and we're all too busy dealing with kids in the backseat to pay any attention to anyone else. And, you know, it's not real cool to be tooling around in a four-door sedan. Or so people think. I happen to think it's incredibly awesome. You know what? That's why we don't wave to each other. We're just so super-cool and suave that we don't need to. Welcome to The Staid Club of Reliable Mediocrity for the Masses.)

When M told me he had waved to the passing Corvette, I said, "He didn't wave back." That's when M gravely told me of the campaign, the swelling underground movement, the burgeoning grassroots effort to...wait for it...Save the Wave. He explained that there were so many Corvettes on the road now, so many purchased by people who (gasp!) aren't Corvette Enthusiasts (bastards), that the Corvette wave is indeed endangered. He was so serious, and sounded so sad that the Corvette wave needs a movement to be saved, that I couldn't help but bust out laughing.

I think that's when he realized the ridiculousness of what he was saying, because he started laughing, too, and then beseeched me to not blog about it. Yeah. Fat chance, buddy. This is prime material, and you served it up on a silver platter.

Please, help M spread the word. If you know a Corvette owner, tell them to Save the Wave. Explain to them that extinction is not an option, that the world will suffer if the Corvette wave disappears. Give a brief demonstration if required (M is happy to provide instruction and, I'm sure, will be working on posting a YouTube video to help the general public).

In the meantime, I'm researching 501(c)(3) requirements, choosing a theme color (breast cancer has taken pink, and treehuggers have hijacked green...let's see...is chrome a color?), and getting small rubber wristbands created so everyone will see what we stand for when we wave to other Corvette owners. With all that's right in the world today, it's good to know some of us are focused on ways we can really make a difference.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Gifts in many forms

I received many gifts this weekend.
  • My baby's arm was miraculously healed by the divine waters of our local community center, where she's taking swim lessons.
  • We received affirmation from "the good priest" of our parish that we are not evil for owning an iPhone and a Corvette and a lovely house.
  • I got to see my adorable little niece.
  • I won a prize for seating myself in the right spot at a baby shower (that's where the actual, beautifully-wrapped gift above came from).
  • My little family laughed a lot.
  • I ate awesome grilled vegetables with people I love. I think they were so good because they were grilled with love.
  • I learned that people we adore are finally moving home.
  • I took a whole hour to work out at the gym (versus my normal 30 minutes).
  • Zozer and I made rice krispie treats for our family. She loves it because she gets to make a delicious goody to eat. I love it because I'm with her. I appreciate these little moments of togetherness, knowing that some day she'll grow up and leave and have her own full life.
Good stuff.
We took Zoe to her swim lessons Saturday morning and carefully unwrapped the arm, explaining that we had to remove the cast because it couldn't get wet. She asked if she could have it back right after her lesson and we said we'd see. Within five minutes of her lesson starting she stopped favoring her arm and was using it normally. She hung from the side of the pool with it (outside the water, supporting her entire body weight). She did her "big arms" strokes with her instructor. She splashed and waved and danced. Then, when she was finished, she asked for the cast again. "Nope! You're done!" She was fine with that verdict, and off we went, with nary a mention of it again.
We spent some time at Grammy and Papa's that day, where lunch wound up being $5 hot & ready pepperoni pizzas from Little Caesars. OMG they were so delicious, but a major derailment on my mission to eat healthy and lose weight. I was grouchy after we left, and finally figured out it was a full onslaught of self-induced pizza guilt. So I dragged myself to the gym and went to town for an hour. I kicked pizza's ass on the treadmill and the elliptical, and I felt tons better afterwards.
We ran to Target this weekend and somewhere in there Zoe found a small pink bead on the floor. We're desperately trying to break her of this habit of picking crap up off the floor/ground. She's been doing pretty well. When we were back in the car after shopping, she showed me the bead. We then had this conversation:

A: "Where did you get that bead?"
A: "Zo? Where did you get it? Is it from a school project or did you find it at Target?"
A: "Zozo! Where did you get that bead?" (I'm now turned around in the front seat to look at her.)
Z: "What will your answer be if I say 'Target?'"

With that my disciplinarian husband completely busted out laughing as he drove.
At mass yesterday, we had our pastor. The "good priest." The man who married us and baptized our daughter. I love this priest. His homily completely undid the damage caused by the associate pastor's missives two weeks before. Msgr. P's message was that we're not bad people for having possessions. He said it's what you do with those possessions that count. Don't hoard things, don't be selfish. Use the gifts you have to help others. Wealth in and of itself is not inherently bad. It all comes down to how you live your life. This resonates with me.

After mass, we visited for a few minutes with the woman who takes care of the priests and the rectory. This woman is amazing. She's faith-filled and totally hilarious - not two things that always go together. She greeted us with, "I know. I know. I'm working on it." She calls the new associate pastor "His Holiness" and agreed that he's way too ardent. We had a fun conversation and I was again relieved to learn that I am not the only person completely offended by this priest. And the icing on the cake is that, because she works in the rectory, she sees the mass schedule posted. My FIL claims he's going to call her every Saturday and find out who has which mass, so we can make every effort to avoid His Holiness and get the sermons we need.
I've been listening to an artist named Matt Maher a lot lately. Great stuff. He's got a fantastic song that has a refrain, "This is the first day...of the rest of your life..." What a phenomenal concept to think about. I listen to that and am inspired to move forward with purpose and love. Good things happening, all around. Good things. Dropped a couple pounds this past week, despite the pizza and some horrendously fat-filled food at the baby shower yesterday. Still, how can one live without cake?!