Lua’i

It was a normal day.

Heading to our niece’s birthday party, we were ALMOST there when the toddler started throwing up. Our eight year old was sitting next to her and gagged and puffed out her cheeks and turned towards her older sister. Monty Python came instantly to mind.

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Accurate Squash Recreation

Screeching halt. Older children pile out of the car. Clean up is spotty and Mcguyvered from a Target bag, napkins of various origin, and an old water bottle from under the drivers seat. How long it’d been there I have no idea, but maybe the leached out phthalates would have a disinfecting property. I have my doubts, but beggars and choosers and all.

Once we’re at the party the toddler gets a bath because of Puke Hair and we chalk it up to a long car ride after a lunch of raspberries and cheese cubes.

It wasn’t the car ride.

After having to borrow not one but two teeshirts for myself from my sister in law, no extra clothes remaining for the toddler, and the other brother and sister in law vowing to take the older girls home later- my husband and I set off for home, over an hour away. Me in the back seat (puked on again at this point, but I’m not asking for shoes this time for Christ’s sake) holding a towel around the baby, and we’re trying to navigate by memory through the neighborhood.

And that’s when this happens.

“Did we take a left on Kaanapali Ln. or was it Kipahulu Dr.?”

“No, no, left on Manawianui Dr., right on Moku Manu Dr., and then another right on Heleakalaka Dr.”

“Man, I don’t recognize Keanahululu Ln., I think we went to far.”

“Does Lamaloa Ln. run into Nuuanu Dr., you think?”

“Crap! There’s Keanahululu Ln. again!”

That’s right, on top of everything else we were now lost in Tahitian Village in Bastrop, where all the streets have Hawaiian names! LONG and difficult and inexplicable Hawaiian names- none of which is “Aloha.” (Someone tell the developer Tahiti isn’t Hawaii)

THIS SHIT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN MY LIFE.

(We made it out of the neighborhood and the toddler was fine the next day, but it was a confusing and puke filled commute. Commpuke? Maybe. And if you think for a MINUTE that I didn’t google map the neighborhood so I could use accurate street names you don’t know me very well.)

A Vow of Cake

We had our middle daughter’s 8th birthday party yesterday at noon. And so when 10:17am rolled around and my husband and I were in bed and instead of getting up he pulled the covers over his head I was so, so proud of him. And I then enthusiastically joined him under the covers. It’s like a fort of delayed obligations… I recommend it. (Yes we still have a baby around. We got up at 6:30am with her and then crawled back in bed at 9:30am when she went down for a nap.)

Now, the house had been cleaned, food bought, and the cake baked the night before- we’re not total monsters over here. But what were the first 2 things I did upon finally getting up and getting ready at 10:30am? Winged eyeliner (HEY I’VE NEVER TRIED THIS BEFORE SURE SEEMS LIKE A GOOD TIME FOR IT) and painting my toenails. THIS is what happens when I don’t make a list, for god’s sake.

We got everything done by 11:54am though, so it all worked out.

And I think we can all agree that cake is the worst. Not mine, I make decent cake- I just mean in general.  Icing is gross. And even the best cake is just nuthin’ special. I don’t tie up a lot of pride in my baking- but I made a promise, many many years ago that I would make every one of my children’s birthday cakes. And they get to pick whatever kind of cake they want. Shark cake? plastic sharks on top. Giraffe cake? Plastic giraffes on top. Dolphin cake? You see where I’m going with this, I think. And I have made each and every one and did it with the hand mixer I bought at a Big Lots at 18 before I left for college and that has somehow made it through about a MILLION moves and that I actually don’t think I used, ever, until I started making my kid’s birthday cakes.

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Image by C. Glass… half full? Half empty? if I was that photographer I’d go by my full first name, honestly.

It’s a weird promise to have made, and I made it only to myself- but it absolutely stands in as a symbol of the mom I want to be. It stands in as a succinct version of all of this- rolled up in my head.

  • I promise to be the mom that can make you dinner.
  • and make you laugh and to also make sure your sense of humor is top tier.
  •  to mend your clothes and sew on buttons and who can make curtains if I have to and gives you a clean house to live in.
  • I promise to call you outside to see possums and hawks and birds and snakes. And point out the biggest earthworm I’ve ever seen in my life holy hell that thing is HUGE!
  • I promise to impart upon you a concept of self that is more than to be decorative.
  • But also to let you see that being a feminist badass doesn’t mean having to deny one iota of the nurturing that goes into home cooked dinners or mending or you know. Cake baking.
  • I promise to give you a chore each and every time you say “I’m bored” and that you’ll get to a point where you’ll open your eyes wide in horror after you say it and say “NEVERMIND, NEVERMIND!” and run off to your room to do something creative.
  • I promise to make you play on at least one team in your life.
  • But I also promise to not overbook you because free time is important to kids, and also your father and I like sleeping in on Saturdays.
  • I promise you’ll love reading.
  • And hell no you can’t get a phone!
  • And I promise to sing you a song at night as often as I can and you know what? You’re 10 and 8. I really should just do it EVERY night still, because how much longer will you even let me? But the baby still gets the Silent Night treatment every night.
  • I promise to have National Geographic in the bathroom and that it’s totally cool if you drop them in the bath, I’m just glad you’re reading them. (hasn’t happened yet, but they’re in there for y’all. Ready for whenever you pick one up.)
  • And while I’ll bake your birthday cake, I promise to never get tied up in the Pinterest-y competition between moms and do all the stupid other crap that isn’t for the kid who’s birthday it is, but to show off for the other moms. I’m looking at you, mom who prints labels saying “Caitlin’s Birthday!” for the goddamn water bottles.
  • Also? No goodie bags, ever. Though we did give out whoopee cushions that one memorable time. That was awesome.

And so, I will continue to make birthday cake, every year, three times a year and neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night will stay this faithful courier from the swift completion of her appointed rounds.

And the only other promise I’ve made myself that I have never ever once wavered on? No more tequila. Super committed to both. Make kids’ birthday cakes and no more tequila.

Words to live by.

Of Lice and Zen

Crap.

So yesterday our oldest put her pet mice (named Almond and Honey) on her shoulder and I cracked a joke about “Oh no! You have head-mice!” She laughed. I didn’t- because holy hell. When was the last time I checked your head for actual lice?!

She didn’t have any. Her sister did though. F*****CK!

So it’s laborious nit picking around here. It’s dousing a small little head in burning lice shampoo made out of flowers. Think I’m making that up? The main ingredient in Rid is pyrethrum, made from chrysanthemum blossoms.

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Flowers of louse-y death. 

“A Chrysanthemum by any other name would also totally reek.” These aren’t roses, but it’s not the very worst smell out there.

And so there will be much laundry and bagging up of stuffed animals, and weeks of staying on top of it… hours a night on nit checks. But, it’s an opportunity to sit and talk for uninterrupted time with my child. And besides, all I want is for her to feel better and to take care of this for her- it’s never had me angry or frazzled or super stressed out about whenever we’ve had to deal with lice. There is nothing to be done except slow waaaaaay down and invest the time to fix it. And that isn’t a bad thing, actually- the brakes getting thrown on life sometimes. So, I know it makes for a zippy title, but it is true, I do get quite zen about it.

And so I’ll go through the next few weeks with hands that smell faintly of flowers of death, which makes me feel like a minor Hindu deity in the Indian pantheon. And that isn’t a bad thing either, actually.

I will try to grab those silver linings as they race by, whenever I can…

Of Possums and Raspberries

I called the girls out the other night to see a possum that ran across the street and hid under my husbands 4Runner while I was taking the recycling out. They loved it. Crouched down, shining a flashlight under the car while they talked about all they had learned about possums from the Wild Kratts episode. (good PBS show about animals. 10/10)

Here is what they decided about the possum:

  1. Her name is Nosey.
  2. She is the cutest possum they’ve ever seeeeeeen! (Beauty. Eye. Beholder.)
  3. They gave her raspberries for Valentine’s Day gifts.
  4. They are planning on naming the next possum “Feet.” (…? Man, don’t ask me.)

 

Boy I tell you what… I love these lovely children.

 

All Better. Kinda.

So- the flu has finally passed- I’m through sickness and into health again, and just about normal.

I guess.

Here’s the thing. Maybe I learned something about myself through this flu.

Maybe I don’t necessarily like it.

Because the thing is… I sucked, sick. I was bitchy and short and pissy and multiple more none too flattering adjectives. And that sucks. Because if you’re a kind person only in normal situations, what does that make you?

What does that make me?

It’s been a weird relationship, me and my concept of self. Vestiges of social anxiety make me feel nigh on unforgivable for even the slightest of normal human failings. A streak of perfectionism leads to concepts of failing unless I’m overachieving. I cobble together self esteem through a variety of patches and props. So no, I don’t think I have a realistic view on myself. But see, I know that, so I often try to look at it from all angles- like a strange shell picked up from a beach. What lives in here, I wonder? What are the stripes for, camouflage or decoration? Are the spikes for defense or offense? And if you aren’t familiar with that particular kind of shell- how do you know if the one you hold in your hand is a good one?

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And I’ve often wondered- is wanting to be a better person enough? Where do I cut myself some damn slack, ever, and where do I need to work harder? The answer is I never have known.

I want to be kind. But that’s different than being kind.

Lord. I don’t go gentle into… anything. I fight and claw and drag myself towards grace, and if it’s the journey that’s important then I’ll continue the journey. Just like I’ve always done. Just like I’ll always do.

Flu Addled Brain Pissed Off Book Reviews

Ah flu misery can sure turn me into a heartless bitch. And considering the only thing I’m “hopped up on” to cope is Theraflu I really have no outside agency to blame. I’m sweaty. And shivery. And HATED, with a passion, The Little Book of Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga, because, sure?)

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And I thought I’d like it- it got a good review in Real Simple magazine. I’m a cultural anthropologist and dig learning about other cultures. I liked Marie Kondo’s book on organizing… I thought I’d like this in a similar fashion. Did I?

It’s god damn insufferable is what it is. How self congratulatory can you f-ing get, Danes? Hygge is the concept of coziness (roughly) and something about expensive lighting? And how they go to crap restaurants because the lighting is good? And why schools have candles and they think that’s a great idea? WTH.

The writing sucked, and I’ll give a little of that to possible translation issues, but it read like the Japanese commercials on the Simpsons:

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Which- I will give all the license to in the world to the author there- translations hitting the right cadence and structure on the head are really hard (whispers: but Marie Kondo did it just fine). This one didn’t get it right. I’d forgive that. It just added a really stilted delivery of the “We so adorable! You be adorable tooooooo! Maybe add a scarf to that outfit?”

And so much… common sense? Maybe some of this was new information to folks but I got nothing new out of it. Have a fireplace if you can! Newsflash: eat food you like! Camping helps shake off city living malaise! Decorate your house with stuff you actually like! Wear comfortable clothes! Be friends… with your friends! Maybe overhead florescent lights are a bad idea! Christmas is the best! Who doesn’t know this stuff already?!

And again- so self celebratory. Look. It’s great that you think woven paper hearts are cool at Christmas. Awesome, Danes. But it isn’t necessary for enjoying the season, you know? That’s stupidly specific. Just like the 3 recommendations for lamps.

Sometimes I wonder- did I get that Cultural Anthropology degree for any other reason than to be able to tack on “But it’s okay, I’m an Anthropologist” to taking the mickey out of another culture? Dude I might have.

A poem:

Oh book of Hygge (hoo-ga)

I really hated you-a

Even if I didn’t have the flu-a

I still would think you blew-a

On Flu Shots and Stuff

Ah my last flu shot- I remember it like it was yesterday… I was at my doctor’s office getting some blood work done for yet another thyroid check, and therefore had blood drawn from one arm and a flu shot in the opposite shoulder. Never one to miss the opportunity for this sort of thing, I waxed poetic about the unfairness of it all to my husband; my arm hurts, it feels like someone punched me in the shoulder, and here I am super pregnant and miserable already. *Needle scratch* Hold up. The baby’s now 1… so that means what? It means that I have the god damn flu right now because I THOUGHT I got the flu shot this year when in fact I got it LAST year.

Get your flu shots, folks. This shit ain’t fun.

On the plus side (Desperately Seeking Silver Lining) I have plenty of time to blog or write my local paper (already checked that one off the list, actually. I make such a good shut-in!) and letters to my aunt and uncle.

Let’s see, what else?

The baby had 4 teeth come in at once, but one of her front teeth is coming in MUCH faster than the others… I’ve started calling her Fang. Still not walking, but my grandmother is of the opinion she could if she wanted to. She’s awfully close though. It’ll be any day, methinks.

The new windows are in and this is the first time we’ve set the thermostat to 72 and actually had it be 72 when we wake up in the morning They look sharp too.

My house is trashed but I can’t muster the energy to put the Cheerios box away, so I’m taking the opportunity to fight any occasional OCD tendencies. I do like a clean house though, even if I don’t often mop the floors.

There is a woodpecker that comes to the bird feeder multiple times a day (hour, really) for (I think) the shelled peanuts in the mix we use. I have the perfect vantage point on him from the couch.

I see that my master plan to use this time to write extensively will be foiled by the fact that I have no energy to keep moving my fingers over keys… bummer.

Until next time.

GET YOUR FLU SHOTS! GAH