Archive for December, 2006


Christmas went well. It was actually the least stressful holiday we’ve had in a long time. I think that’s because we had fewer parties to attend this year. I past years we’ve had upwards of five family parties to attend, but work obligations and family feuding whittled that down to three this year. Autumn was completely spoiled, especially by my parents. My mother had been telling me for weeks what she had bought so I knew what we were in for. Autumn now has more toys than she could possibly play with in one day and a closet full of clothes. She’s a very lucky girl.

Christmas wasn’t so lucky for me, however. Christmas night I started feeling run down and developed an upset stomach. I attributed how I was feeling to lack of sleep and overeating, but as the night wore on I became increasingly nauseous until I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I hadn’t been that sick since I developed food poisioning back in 1999. Of course I worried that was what was happening and wondered if any of the family who had brunch at our house were suffering as I was. Luckily they were all okay, except for Autumn who had a touch of diarrhea Tuesday.

So I spent all day Tuesday in my own little cocoon of misery, eating little and watching a lot of TV. TNT is my favorite network to watch when I want to do nothing more than watch TV all day. I figured if I was going to be miserable, I may as well be miserable while watching all my favorite shows. Since I watched TNT all day I had no idea that President Ford died. It wasn’t until I finally visited CNN’s website late yesterday afternoon that I read about it. The news of his death is huge, especially for Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas, which is where I live.

I visited the Gerald R. Ford Museum last night to take pictures and pay my respects. People had been visiting all day, placing signs and candles in front of the museum entrance. I parked a couple of blocks away because I wasn’t sure how many people would be there. There were fewer than I expected, though there were a ton of news vans lined up in the lot getting ready to broadcast their 11:00pm feed. Anyway, here are a few of the photos I took late last night:

As I left the museum to walk back to my car, I caught the scent of all these candles. It was strange to smell something like that outside in the middle of the city.


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Tuesday night I logged in here to see if I had any comments on my last post.  There were four and I immediately thought “spam” because whenever there’s more than two comments that’s exactly what it is.  Luckily I get to moderate all new comments before they come through to the blog so that nobody else has to read the advertisements for porn and casino sites.

Much to my surprise, three of the four comments were from my brother.  Two were a double post of basically the same comment and the third was a comment on his double post that included a disparaging remark about his ISP or browser or whatever caused the mistake.  Apparently Sean remembered “Free to Be…” as well.  He should, since we went to the same school and had the same spirited music teacher who made us square dance and taught us little gems like “The Tree Song” and another song about Indian names in Michigan that’s probably undergone some politically correct lyric adjustments since we sang it 25 years ago.

(Sean, you’re going to have to help me out with that music teacher’s name.  I can picture her face and how her mouth was open in every single yearbook photo but I can’t remember her name and it’s killing me!)

Anyway, I was very surprised by my brother’s comments and decided not to approve them because any comment with the word “commie” in it really doesn’t jive with the general tone of my writing.  Sometimes I get serious, but I really just like this to be a lighthearted, honest look at family and motherhood.  While Sean does have some fond memories of “Free to Be…” he has since formed the opinion it was created by “man hating feminists” who wanted to “diminish the hibernating manhood of male youth.” His words.

Yesterday he rang me up on chat and asked me who moderates my site.  I told him I do and he responded that I obviously didn’t like what he wrote.  I told him it wasn’t just that I didn’t like it but that I was sharing a fond childhood memory and he was perverting it for me.  What followed was a civilized conversation in which he espoused his political views and I told him he sounded like Archie Bunker and each of us reassured the other that there were no hard feelings.

This was kind of a milestone in our relationship because up until a few years ago we couldn’t stand the sight of one another.  Ever since puberty (his and mine) we’ve been at each other’s throats.  Most of the ’90s were spent hurling insults at each other for no other reason than we were siblings and the human emboodiment of oil and water.  Sometimes it amazes me that we sprung from the same womb, but I see huge differences between my parents and their brothers so finding out my brother and I are not on the same wavelength shouldn’t surprise me.

The comments did surprise me, but what surprised me more was how we were so civilized and adult about the whole thing.  It really wasn’t a big deal to begin with, but I distinctly remember getting so mad at him once that I lit fire to the contents of the trash can in his bedroom.  Now here we are getting along like two people who were once friends who drifted apart instead of siblings who not-so-long ago could have cared less if the other lived or died.  Maybe I’m exaggerating on that one.  After all, I am the drama queen of the family.

People used to tell me I’d get along with him some day.  I never thought I’d see it, but I really am enjoying it.  I hope he is too.

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Saturday morning my mother called and told me to set my DVR to record TV Land because at one ‘o clock in the morning the network was going to take a break from their “That Girl” marathon to show the feel-good, liberal hippie children’s special “Free to Be…You and Me.”  She told me this because I absolutely loved this feel-good, liberal hippie special when I was a kid and wore the LP out from continuous playing.  If you don’t know what I mean by “LP”, get your iPod carrying self over to Wikipedia and read this entry stat because I really don’t want to have to explain vinyl and feel all old and stuff.

“Free to Be…” was all about diversity, acceptance and, most importantly, breaking out of gender roles.  The record and corresponding TV special were produced in 1974 and were really big around here, at least in my elementary school. The record included songs and skits meant to help kids accept different ideas and was pretty much my generation’s introduction to feminist ideology.  There’s the boy baby (voiced by Mel Brooks) who insists he must be a girl because he wants to be a cocktail waitress when he grows up and is devastated when he finds out he’s bald.  There’s William, the boy who wants nothing more than a baby doll to play with and Rosie Grier singing “It’s all right to cry.”  Our school sang the songs and performed the skits and I drove my parents wacko playing the record over and over again.

I sat down with Autumn and watched the special yesterday.  Since she has the attention span of a fruit fly, she didn’t sit for long but I could tell she was enthralled with the songs. So was I. Would you believe I still knew the lyrics to many of them?  I can’t remember the last time I played that record.  I believe I still have it, but it’s been ages since I owned a turntable and by the time I was a teenager I had pledged my devotion to the ultra-portable cassette tape.  Can anyone say Walkman

Watching “Free to Be…” took me back 25 years and made me nostalgic for the old days.  Pretty much anything that takes me out of the present is welcome right now because Autumn is cutting her molars and has turned into a shrieking, irritable hell-child.  I’m probably exaggerating, but Nathan and I are planning a date night that we hope will happen soon because we both need to get out of the house for some alone time.

So, feeling nostalgic, I checked on iTunes and wouldn’t you know the “Free to Be..” album is there to buy in its entirety. I was tickled and added it to my mental music wish-list.  I received an iTunes gift card for my birthday but have already used it to download mostly Motown and Christmas tracks so I’ll have to wait to see if Santa’s going to give me more free music for Christmas.

Anyone exposed to children’s music for any period of time knows how hard it is to get that music out of your head and “Free to Be…” is no exception.  I went to bed last night with “William’s Doll” stuck in my head and had a hell of a time getting to sleep.  I woke up with the “Free to Be…” theme song and have had varying chords and melodies floating through my mind since.  It’s been driving me crazy, actually, and I’m starting to wonder if I want to download the album.  The thought of passing something I loved on to my daughter is part of the trill of being a parent though, even if it means jeopardizing my sanity to do so.

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Sleighbells ring

Ok, I know I said I was going to limit the picture posting of my little monkey, but I received the proofs of our most recent Target sitting and some of them are just begging for creative commentary.

Let me go on record by saying this was the most difficult shoot yet.  You’d think the child would be used to flash bulbs popping in her face.  She was only out of the womb a few minutes before the first picture was taken and has pretty much had a camera in her face since.

Anyway, let’s start with one of the more delightful poses:

I hate this dress and have no idea where this bell has been. Please take it away before bacteria eats away both of my hands

I swear I have no idea how that sippy cup wound up in the toilet

You’re full of shit

I can show you how to scrub the grout off your bathroom tile with this skirt as soon as someone turns the lights back on

Believe it or not we did get some good poses, but some were lost in the lab, apparently ruined by “film fog” or so we were told.  Two of the three family poses were ruined so that all we were left with was this:

Just call me Squinty McSquinter. I’m smiling wide because I want you to see my fang! Do you see my fang or are you preoccupied by the happy baby?

Did you notice how the ladies are looking at the photographer but the gentleman is looking at the camera?

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