Thursday, April 12, 2007


Farewell, Billy Pilgrim. We'll miss you in the Monkey House.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A sign we should be contributing to the spring pledge drive

Fiona authored her first book recently and it's all about flowers. The title is "Flawr Book" and it's three chapters long. She did all her own illustrations and research. Here's a quotation from her literary debut: "Wif a grat del uf blosuming flawrs omost blosum evre yer." Translated, "With a great deal of blossoming, flowers almost blossom every year."

Her chosen pen name? Steve Inskeep.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentimes Day!

I've never been a particularly Valentinesy person. Before Andre and I became a couple there were very, very few Valentines Days when I was actually dating someone, so I was always the bitter girl who got kicked out of her dorm room so her roommate who actually had a date could get lucky. One year my friend and I papered our dorm with homemade posters that said things like, "Happy VD! Cupid and his stupid arrow remind me of the time I punctured my hand on something sharp and it got infected and filled with pus." I know. What can I say? We were angry, angry women and it was the Deep Thoughts era.

Andre and I don't really do anything particularly romantic for Valentine's Day because it's a made up holiday. And when I typed that just now I felt the burning embers of resentment from high school and college flare up a little bit. Stupid Valentine's Day!

This year though, two things have put me in the Valentine's spirit. Fiona has been soooo excited about Valentine's day and made all of her cards by hand. She laboriously glued red construction paper hearts to doilies, decorated them with stickers, wrote all the names on by herself, taped mini packages of M&Ms to the back, and then added an extra horse sticker for the people she really liked. Her class party is today and she's been planning for days what to wear. How cute is that? I hope she doesn't grow up to hate Valentine's Day and paper her dorm with posters equating Cupid to pus. But I also hope she doesn't date anyone until she's 25, so I guess those two hopes are mutually exclusive.

The second thing that made me happy was a Valentine's themed craft exchange I did with a group of my online friends. We had a limit of $10 and the only stipulation was that it had to be related somehow to Valentines day. This was the most fun idea ever! I loved seeing what everyone got and I loved my present too. My friend Ginny knit me a gorgeous red scarf, shown here as modeled by Amelia:

I hope you all have a happy, happy day. Even if it is Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pig Farm

I never thought I'd be grateful for the memory of dead piglets.

Back in the 80s, my sister and I stayed with my grandparents for a week or so each summer. I'm not sure how old we were on this particular visit, probably 7 and 10 or a little older. My grandparents had a funeral to attend one afternoon, so they asked some family friends (we'll call them the Smiths) if we could come spend an afternoon on their farm while they went to the church and reception. My great-grandparents had sold the farm to the Smiths when they retired, so my grandparents had known them for years. What better place to leave the grandkids for an afternoon, the old family farm with a family they trusted.

Despite growing up in a rural town, I'm pretty sure we came off as city folk to the Smith's kids. The oldest daughter decided to take us around the farm that day so we could see what her chores were like. As the oldest kid on a pig farm, her main chore was to check on the piglets. That entailed going from sow to sow to see if any of them had accidently rolled over their babies and crushed them to death. Pigs may be smart animals, but they certainly have a high infant mortality rate. There were dead piglets in many of the litters. Some had been there a little too long and had already started to attract flies and maggots. The oldest Smith daughter nonchalantly grabbed each dead piglet, maggots and all, and flung it into a wheelbarrow.

After an afternoon spent with the piglets, we sat down with the family for supper. I don't remember the meal very well, but I'm pretty sure it included pork. I'm also pretty sure I didn't have much of an appetite. My grandparents picked us up shortly afterward and we went back home, none the worse for wear except for a newfound disgust for farm life.

I'd pretty much forgotten that day on the pig farm until my mom called me yesterday. She gave me the rundown on the family gossip and then slipped in that Mr. Smith was just arrested on six counts of child molestation dating back to 1983 and with girls as young as 8. I had one of those shuddering "there but for the grace of God go I" moments when I realized that both my sister and I had been placed in the care of a child molester for a day. Thank heaven that our memories are of dead piglets and not something much more horrifying.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Fiona came home from school today with a couple of questions that had obviously been bothering her for awhile. "Mommy? Is the rain really God's tears? Is he crying because we're bad?" she asked.

"No buddy, the rain is not God's tears," I said. "Rain is just water coming out of the clouds."

"Oh." She thought for a minute. "If we tell a lie do we burn forever and we never get to see our families again?"

"No sweetie, that's not true either. Who told you this stuff?"

"Laurie. She said it was true. She said we'd burn forever and we'd never get to see our families again if we tell lies."

I have no idea what church Laurie goes to, if any, or if she's picking it up from some other kid. This is a hard thing for me to explain to Fiona. I don't want to dismiss other people's faiths and have Fiona go back to school and tell Laurie that her church is totally twisted, but I also don't want my kid thinking she's going to burn in hell for all eternity if she tells a fib.

I told Fiona that some people believed something like that, but that it wasn't true. The reason we don't tell lies is because our conscience tells us to do right things and nice things, not mean things and naughty things. I was going to go into a whole spiel about having a moral compass and trying to be a good person, but she was already over the whole conversation and wanted to make valentines instead.

I need to work on an age appropriate philosophy of morality. It would certainly be easier to just tell her that she has to be good or she'll go to hell.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Fiona is totally into telling jokes right now. They don't really make that much sense yet, but she's quite convinced that she's hilarious. Her jokes tend to go something like this:

Why did the rock star cross the road?
To get to the other side of his rock band!

That joke actually combines two of her favorite things, jokes and rock bands. She's going to be a rock star when she grows up, she's informed us. Awesome.

Amelia loves to do anything that Fiona does, so she's telling lots of jokes too. This is how Amelia's jokes go:

Amelia: Knock knock!
Me: Whos's there?
Amelia: Knock knock!
Me: Who's there?
Amelia: Knock knock!
Me: Who's there?
Amelia: Giggles

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Amelia has the stomach thing that's going around and is having a hard time shaking it. Just when I think she's finally all better, she barfs again. Usually on herself, the floor, or me. Sigh...