I’m moving! Well, my blog is moving. Not that it makes a whole lot of difference to any of you, but beginning tomorrow (Friday) morning, my blog will be undergoing a makeover and moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. The whole process is set to take about three days, so during that time, I won’t be posting. Come Monday morning, my new url will be lisamorguess.com – whooee! I will be the master of my very own domain! I’m really hoping not to lose any of my followers; you should be redirected to the new address when the transition is complete, but jot down that new address anyway, won’t you? Because the fact that you take the time to read my musings and ramblings really means a lot to me.
And I’d like to plug jellyfishweb.net – they’re the kind people who are handling the move for me.
Until we meet again!
Joey, our 10-year old, is in the midst of a fifth grade biography project for which he was instructed to choose a famous person, dead or alive, who has had a positive impact on society, research and prepare organized notes and give an oral presentation about that person, and create a 3-D model of that person. Joey chose Mark Twain (an awesome choice!), and he’s been working very hard reading about him and preparing notes. This weekend he and I headed to the craft store with no specific ideas in mind about what sort of 3-D model he might make, hoping for inspiration.
As we wandered the aisles of Michael’s, it hit me out of nowhere: a regular wooden kitchen spoon would be perfect as the body. And so was born Joey’s model of Mark Twain:
Materials used included:
Wooden kitchen spoon
Plastic disposable bowl
The photos are pretty self-explanatory; markers were used for the face and some of the details on the clothes, cotton balls for the hair and mustache, felt for the clothes, and beads for the buttons. Elmer’s glue was used for the hair (cotton balls), and hot glue was used to attach front and back clothing pieces at the edges. I used a sharp knife to cut an X in the center of an overturned plastic bowl and stuck the finished spoon figure through the hole (like you would a straw in a soft drink) to create the base. Voila! The possibilities are endless, really; I’m sure a wooden spoon could be used to create just about any person, and there’s no limit to the materials that could be used for clothing and details. The whole thing cost five or six bucks – you can’t beat that!
I made this puppy costume for Kevin when he was a wee tyke. Joey also wore it when he was little. This year was Finn’s turn. Have you ever seen a cuter pup? I think not.
This was the first year Finn actually went trick-or-treating. I think he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, but he was game.
The girls –
Annabelle was a black cat –
Daisy a daisy fairy –
Lilah a butterfly –
Joey was a nazgul. Um . . . yeah. Look it up.
Do you know how impossible it is to get a decent shot of this many kids where they’re all looking at the camera and nobody is crying or pinching or kicking someone else?
Kevin didn’t dress up this year. Or, he did, but just for school, and I didn’t get a picture. He was Spock. But with bleached blonde hair.
And now, I must sample the kids’ loot to make sure it’s all safe for consumption.
I don’t know how it’s possible, but today my baby girl – well, one of them – is six years old. I remember like it was yesterday trying to walk her out, but she stayed put until she was good and ready to make her entrance into the world nine days after her due date. Almost from the moment she was born, she had a certain twinkle in her eye, and Michael and I were convinced that she was trying to smile.
That twinkle has remained, and to this day, she is just a very sweet, good-natured little girl.
(I see so much of her in Scarlett!)
Ahhh, those curls were legendary! They’ve tamed now to just a wave.
The chubby cheeks have mostly disappeared, too. She is doted on by everyone older than her in our family, and she dotes on Finn and Scarlett. She’s lost a tooth, is in first grade and is learning to read. She’s growing up.
Happy birthday, sweet Lilah.
I went to the dentist this morning for my twice-yearly checkup and cleaning. I hate going to the dentist, I really hate it. I hate it so much that I usually reschedule my appointment numerous times before I suck it up and actually go in. It’s not that I have a lot of dental issues – I actually have a pretty clean, healthy mouth and a good set of chompers. I’ve had my share of cavities in my day, but nothing too traumatic like a root canal or anything. But still, I hate going to the dentist. Possibly more than I hate going to the . . . lady doctor. I don’t enjoy the poking and scraping (um, of my teeth, not my . . . oh, forget it, you know what I mean), but I guess that goes without saying. Who does enjoy that? Mainly I hate it because of the hygienist they always seem to stick me with. I’ve written about her before and refer to her as The Floss Nazi. On the surface, she’s nice enough, but she is one gabby lady. She talks the entire time she’s in there poking and scraping, she never fails to lecture me about flossing and how oral health affects overall health (this, despite the fact that she is seriously overweight – does she not know how that affects overall health?), and she never fails to segue into childrearing advice, despite the fact that she has no children of her own. I’m just going to say it: she annoys the hell out of me.
When I arrive for my appointment and park myself in the waiting room, it always feels like a lottery: which hygienist will I get this time? Ohhhhh, I hope it’s not her! Please don’t let it be her! Then she opens the door and calls me back. Fuck, I lost again.
I’m pretty sure I exuded at least a vague hostility as I sat in the exam chair while she put the bib on me, making me feel like a big, overgrown baby, giving her curt, one-word responses in order to discourage conversation. Just clean my teeth and be quiet, okay? Spare me the lectures, I’ve heard it all a hundred times before. I thought to myself, hoping that maybe my thoughts would transfer to her through the air.
To amuse myself while she cleaned my teeth and blabbered on, I played out an imaginary scene in my head wherein my gynecologist employed her as a gynecological hygienist. It went something like this:
Floss Nazi – er, I mean, Vag Nazi: “So, have you been cleaning regularly?”
Me: “Um, yes, of course.”
VN: “Every day, right? How many times a day?”
Me: “Um, well . . . gosh, that’s kind of personal . . . I shower every day, and you know, the vag is a self-cleaning organ . . .”
VN: “You can never be too careful about these things. I always tell people, vaginal cleanliness goes to overall health. What are you using to clean?”
Me: “Seriously? Uh, I really don’t want to have this conversation.”
VN: “I’m going to give you these products to take home. I want you to use them regularly. Now, I’ll know next time you come in if you’ve been using them. It’s very important.”
Me: “Look, I’ve had this vag for 45 years, I think I know how to take care of it.”
VN: “I went to school for this. I know what I’m talking about. I was just telling my neighbor the other day – she has a vag, too – I was just telling her, ‘You know, once you’ve had a few kids, your vag just isn’t going to be the same as it used to be.’ She really appreciated the advice.”
Me: “You know what? Can we just get this over with?”
VN: “I think we should schedule you for a deep cleaning while we’re at it. If you like, we can give you nitrous oxide for that procedure. But I can promise you this: you’ll feel like a new woman afterwards.”
Me: “Can we be done now? Where are my pants?”
Anyway, no cavities!
What is it about nighttime that makes all my worries, hurts, bad memories, and all of the issues left unresolved from the day, seem so much bigger and more ominous?
There are nights when sleep eludes me, for whatever reason: a restless baby, a snoring husband, my own inability to just shut off my brain. I try to lie still, waiting for that drifting feeling, hoping that sleep will float down onto me. Sometimes it does. Sometimes, though, a thought or feeling that may have seemed vague during the day suddenly looms large. I worry it and worry it, teasing it as if it’s an angry dog ready to spring – not out of any sense of amusement, but rather an inability to stop myself from doing so. And before I know it, what felt manageable in the daylight now seems nearly insurmountable. And the cycle is then in motion: my mind is racing with bad emotion, and so I can’t sleep, and the not sleeping, the lying awake in the dark, makes everything seem bigger and badder.
And there I am, a one-woman band, playing all the parts of the conversations I imagine having, or replaying the ones I did have, or acting out all the parts of a scenario in my head, looking for resolution, and usually finding none.
It’s at night, when the house is quiet, when I am alone with myself (for even a restless baby and a snoring husband are not really present), when all the motion and distractions of the daytime are stripped away – it’s always then that I can get to feeling truly overwhelmed, when everything seems magnified.
No wonder children are afraid of the dark.
Eventually, though, the sun rises again and all those big, bad thoughts recede, waiting for another night to taunt me.
So, a week or so ago, a mystery package arrived on my doorstep: a big, pink box. I love getting stuff in the mail (well, not bills, of course), and mystery packages are the best, aren’t they?
Inside was this family portrait from my friend Tricia, a cool chica with two kids (one with Ds) who writes at Unringing The Bell.
I am really so touched by this. This is one of the most thoughtful, unique gifts I’ve ever received. Check out the detail: Joey with a baseball glove, Michael with a guitar, me holding a book, Kevin holding Finn’s hand. I adore it, and will treasure it forever. This wonderful, one of a kind piece of artwork was hand drawn by Tricia’s cousin, Erin.
Which brings me to the point of this post: you have to check out Erin’s site: The E Is For Erin. She blogs about being a mom, among other things, and she has a whole page dedicated to offering up her unique artwork for sale. Very cool stuff. Check it out. I’m totally going to get some of those custom coloring books for my girls, whose birthdays are coming up.
I think I knew in my heart when I wrote this recently what was inevitable. It’s kind of like a bad relationship that you tolerate and try to make work, and portray to everyone as fine, until you finally get to the point where you’re ready to confess that it just isn’t working out. You know that once you confess the hard truth, you have to do something about it.
I think I had reached the point where I realized that we had made a mistake getting a dog like Twinkle. See, I’ve had dogs my whole life, but I’ve always had big dogs – whose temperaments generally seem to be quite different from Twinkle’s. I thought having a little dog would be fun, and easier than a big dog – everything would be on a smaller scale, right? Wrong. As it turns out, Twinkle has a pretty typical little dog temperament: high-strung, hyper, with a good dose of attitude. She ended up being very high-maintenance in more ways than one, and in the end, I don’t think she was any happier with us than we were with her. It just wasn’t a good match.
It happened pretty quickly: I started looking for rescue organizations early in the week, and found one in our area that specializes in small dogs, particularly Maltese and Yorkies. I called them, and they turned out to be a mom and pop operation – a retired couple registered as a non-profit organization, who take small dog breeds into their home until they can rehome them through a stringent screening process. They were willing to take Twinkle.
I told the kids, and honestly, they didn’t seem all that upset. None of them have ever really bonded with her except Finn. Kevin gave me attitude for about an hour, which really pissed me off because he really never even liked Twinkle much, but I think at his age he seems to have a need to find things to cop attitude about. Whatever. The other kids were like, “When can we get a new dog? A better dog!”
Today was the day. I took her to the vet on Friday and had her groomed and all her shots updated. After I fed her this morning, I began gathering all her things – toys, her bed, her food, bowls, etc. I kept thinking she must have suspected something was up. Finally it was time to go. Michael and I loaded her and her things into the truck, and off we went. We found ourselves in a beautiful, upscale, heavily treed neighborhood. The couple welcomed us into their home where we spent about a half hour chatting while Twinkle nervously trotted about trying to make sense of what was going on. We signed a paper relinquishing her, and that was that.
Saying goodbye made me a little teary. Suddenly she looked very sad, crouched low to the ground with her ears and tail down – forlorn and rejected. The woman asked us, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” we both said. And we left.
I feel like we did the right thing – I know we did. But it still feels shitty. I feel like we failed on some level.