Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cirque de Grudge-Hubby

My husband is, at this moment, trying to ride his new unicycle in the kitchen.

One of Simon's most favorite presents is his new stilts. He took them down to Louisville with him yesterday. He also kicks bootie on his balance board.

Charlotte climbs the ladder to the boys' bunk beds and tries to walk down stairs like the big people. At the Kentucky Derby Museum, she was knocking over the barrell shaped seats in the 360 degree movie theater and rolling on them like some kind of lumberjack log roller.

Ethan and I sit and read, and shake our heads.

Andy's genes are Romanian-Circus-People genes, apparently.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

This just in

My husband got me (us) Salsa lessons for Christmas!!!


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Joyeux Noel

I will take this moment after the house has been tidied, the kids have gone to bed, the brunch food is prepared and waiting in the fridge to be baked/roasted tomorrow, Santa's cookies are on his plate, and before the marathon of present wrapping has begun to wish one and all happy holidays, free from the family dysfunction and stress that can sometimes accompany this joyous time of year.

Best moments of Christmas Eve 2005:

Charlotte has learned how to dance. Granted, it's kind of similar to hillbilly clogging, but it's also accompanied by spinning and head bobbing, which is ultra cute.

If you bend waaaay waaaay down to the floor, and ask Charlotte for kisses, she will come running with the sweetest smile on her face, and put her cool little lips to your cheek and make kissy noises, unless you're Daddy, in which case she lets out a fiendish giggle and runs away. Heh.

Simon checks NORAD for Santa's progress, and when asked to take off his clothes, strips naked in front of the fire and stretches out like a cat.

Ethan cannot contain his glee, and vibrates with anticipation, willingly taking off to bed with the loveliest of hugs.

Making my first pie ever as a Christmas present for my dad, who has everything and is impossible to buy for. All he has wanted for the better part of a year is a "French Apple Pie" like he used to get at White Castle, with apples and raisins in it, and a frosty glaze on the top crust. So I researched it online and found a recipe and made it and it is beautiful, and I delivered it to my parents house while they were out to dinner, and left it on the counter with a simple note, and he is sooooo happy. YAY!!!!!

Stretching out with my exhausted co-Santa after we've done absolutely everything there is to do, for our 3 hours of sleep before the kids bound out of bed.

I like being Santa.

Merry Christmas folks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tiny Attention Stealer

Monday night Ethan, Simon, and I went to see "A Christmas Carol" with my mom. She likes to do this for us every year.

Every year, I sort of cringe anew. Why?

Because of Tiny Tim's freaking overlooked siblings, that's why. I mean, come on! It just bugs.

Maybe it's me, but don't they ever feel a teensy bit resentful that their adorable, perfect, crippled baby brother gets all the love and attention? The favoritism is blatantly obvious. It makes me feel squicky.

I would like to write a short story from the point of view of, like, Peter, Tiny Tim's older brother. And he might be annoyed, is all I'm saying.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Angels Sing

I know it's a terrible picture. I know. My camera sucks.

But, you might be able to get just a teensy idea of how many kids sang in the Indianapolis Children's Choir's "Angels Sing" concert tonight. Trust me, there are kids waaaaaay up there into the dark area at the top, that you can't even see.

It's breathtaking! The most beautiful Christmas music you can imagine, with these pure, lovely children's voices. Ethan's among them. I may not be religious anymore, but I honestly feel in the presence of something holy listening to Christmas music like that. It lifts my soul.

I'm so PROUD of him!!!!!

I get tears of queerness every year. This year, my mom & dad, my brother, sister-in-law, and their 2 kids, Andy's mom and her big gay husband, and Ethan's dad's mom & her husband went. So we had quite the little contingent going. And Ethan was in the first row, up in the minister's lectern area an the right. It was great! Simon and I totally waved like loons during one of the rounds of applause, and Ethan saw us, and started cracking up, and almost missed a bow. Heh. I like being a proud loon.

Finally, something Christmasey has happened up in here! Andy and the kids got the tree today (while I got my copious grey roots touched up) and now it smells all piney. Mmmmm... Tomorrow, I brave the mall.

My boy rules. He's beautiful, and kind, and sings like an angel. I LOVE this choir program. He gets so much out of it. And, best of all, he's proud of himself.

Just look at him.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bear with me

The farking freelance client wanted the entire course restructured before Friday. I'm working my ass off every night into the wee hours. It's also Ethan's last week at school, so there's the Christmas Program, and a half-day to deal with. I'm also working at Beef & Boards Tues. matinee, Fri matinee, and Sun. eve. Then, the Indianapolis Children's Choir has their giagantastic Christmas "Angels Sing" 1000 children singing beautiful Christmas music , which entails a dress rehearsal last night, call at 5:30 (which meant dinner at 4:30), a TV taping tonight, call at 5:15 (which means dinner at 4:15-HA! He gets home from school at 4), and performances Friday and Saturday.

We don't even have a tree, or a single decoration yet. It looks like the Grinch lives here.

Tonight is the last night of it, as I'll be at the Beef all day on Friday, and won't be able to work on it during the day. I was up way late last night, and will have to be tonight, as I'm driving the choir carpool this evening, and won't be able to get started until the kids are in bed.

Last night I went to Ethan's school for the first 5th grade exchange meeting. We found out that they will be going to Normandy, in the Northwest of France. My niece did her exchange there in 8th grade last year. It is an absolutely charming, traditional French village, where everyone walks everywhere. I'm so thrilled for him! It'll be in early March, and he'll be living with a family and going to school with their child, and having lots of field trips (the WWII history around there is unbelievable) with his American counterparts as a group. They also get to see a bit of Paris.

THIS is why I'm so sleepless my eyes feel like they're floating in soup. THIS is why I'm doing it. And you know? Telling myself that DOES help me get through it. It actually does.

Wow. Weird. This is what it feels like to be an unselfish person. I'm a nice person, I'm even a really generous person, but it's not often you have the chance to sacrifice your own basic needs (sleep, food, showers) for someone else directly. You do that when you have infants, but once they're older, you don't need to so much. This feels new somehow, though, and I'm not sure why. I'm too tired to think it through.

I just need to make it through tomorrow without falling asleep at the wheel. Then I can start my Christmas shopping! Whee!

Sorry I haven't been more attentive to this blog. See above.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I ask you. Could there be anything sweeter in the whole wide world?

I mean, come on.

I can't even stand the cuteness. I am helpless before it.

Oh. Wait a second. Mischief girl strikes again! She wriggles into tight spaces! She tinkers with electrical cords! She pushes buttons on the keyboard from inside the armoire and makes things I've never seen before appear on the screen! She shuts off the computer processor with a single blow! In the middle of my posts!

This, my friends, is the dichotomy that is Charlotte, peanut of destruction, and cuteness fairy.

Have the tornados blown their minds?

Dear Kansas,

You bite.

Concerned Citizen Against Nutbars

Friday, December 09, 2005

There is no unifying theme here. Mostly grouchiness. A thousand apologies.

It's been a long week. I haven't blogged.

There was a snowstorm. It took me three hours to get the carpool home from school yesterday. What is normally a 25 minute trip. Upset baby. Low on gas. Boiling hot in the van, because I had to keep the defroster on high just to see out of the window because of all our breathing. Sweating, hungry, cranky children and stupid drivers. Whee!!!!!

Also, the freaking freelance client decided they wanted a restructure of the course, and I've had to work my kiester off getting it to them. I was up until 2:15 last night working on it. And then, today, they had the nerve to ask us in this annoyed way to present them the files in the format we FIRST used, way back when, that they subsequently asked to be changed. And now they have the nerve to pretend they never told us that, and act as if we were slightly retarded for not doing it correctly.

And today, both boys had school canceled, but I still had to go work at the dinner theatre matinee of "A Christmas Carol," which I was certain would be canceled because it was composed almost entirely of school field trips! But NO, they tried to run the show anyway, and sure enough, by the time I got the children to the two different babysitting situations I had to throw together last minute, and arrived at work late because my van had trouble navigating the unplowed neighborhood streets, all but 2 of the school groups had canceled, and then after we opened the house, one of the remaining 2 called in, and we ended up with 65 people in the house. Where it had originally been 470 or so! It actually cost the theatre money to put on that show today, and pay the actors and the servers and the kitchen staff and the tech staff, etc.

They should have canceled, and it was extremely irritating to spend all that freaking time distributing my children amongst far-flung helpful childminders and driving to work, for 65 intrepid souls.


On a lighter note, in my copious free time (read: every time I take a second to breathe, when I really should be working on something, or cleaning, or sleeping), I've been unable to put down a little birthday present I bought myself, Ian McEwan's _Atonement_. (How does one make this damn thing underline stuff?) It is astonishing, and the engulfing thoughtfulness of it is what inspired me, along with the quiet of a late snowy night, to write my reverie. I absolutely could NOT put it down. It's been a long time since a novel swept me into its world so completely, and made me positively obsessive about it. I'm sorry it's over, and now I want to read everything he has written. I love the Brits. I do! LOVE! You know how some British singers lose their accent when they sing, but with others you can still hear it? And how that's so cool? Well it's the same with the writers. And I super-dig the really English-y ones. I highly recommend this book. It's unbelievable. I can't stop thinking about it.

You know what made me a little sad tonight? Well, we live in rather a poor neighborhood. It's either little old widow ladies, or redneck Nascar people. Oh, and us. Heh. But the poorer neighborhoods are always, I notice anew every year, COVERED in Christmas lights. Granted, they're usually sort of garish and tacky, but festive, you know? And usually it makes me happy that those who aren't so well off are so merry. But driving through my neighborhood after some me-time at the grocery store, I noticed that this year, many of the lights are half-out, and hanging haphazardly, and the overall effect is less merry and more, well, depressing. Sad looking.

I'm cranky and need sleep. Maybe that's it.

Fa la la.

p.s. Okay. My weather pixie has a Christmas tree. That just made me feel a tiny bit better. Cute!

Monday, December 05, 2005


I stepped out into the silent chill, and froze. The world was winter still, and breathless. I listened to the rustling of the ice-covered branches, and I thought I might never move. Winter, at night, brings me to myself. I felt this as I moved slowly to my car, and when I turned on the radio, there was something fragile and delicate and lovely and unutterably sad, with harp and piano and strings and flute, and as I drove in my cocoon across the empty highways, I thought how my bones felt in my skin, and how I am not enough to fill them. Or am I too much? And the music on the radio is like the music my soul makes as it whispers to my bones, like the ice on the branches. This winter soul is my solitude, the part of me only I know. The girls I never was. Or, was, and might have been, but am not. Is my life like I thought it would be? More. And less. The ballerina. The pianist. The singer. The child who tiptoed through my grandparents' house, talking to my dead grandfather, fingering his books, his jackets, eyeing his spirit, present in the mirror. The mermaid. The writer. The witch. And the music on the radio tells me of the poignancy of ice and bone, soul and branch, and my heart cannot bear it. My sleeping neighborhood, those sleeping ladies in the sleeping little houses, my sleeping soul. The black branches against the dove grey sky. So lovely, so rare, so dangerous, always and forever coming back to remind me, like winter, of me.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Pants on Fire

ANDY: I am such a great liar. It is soooo easy for me to lie all the time. I bet I could pass a lie detector test easily.

ME: You're putting your shirt on backwards, there, Master Manipulator.

ANDY: (puppy-dog eyed) I love you so much......

(with fervent emotion, recalling our wedding day) I DO

ME: (aghast) That was just evil.

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Rankin & Bass Christmas Tragedy


This thing is on TV tonight and consider yourself forewarned. It made my brothers and me so hysterical when it first came out in the 70s that we couldn't stop crying, and had nightmares for weeks, and for years afterwards, every time we saw a donkey, real or no, we would have severe sorrow flashbacks. My mother just called to warn me, so that I wouldn't accidentally run across it while cycling the channels.

Why? Because Nestor's freaking mother curls around him in a snowstorm and FREEZES TO DEATH, but he stays alive because she kept him warm, and in the morning she's this tragic little snow mound and he crawls out and tries to nose her awake and gradually realizes, and calls plaintively to her... and... and...

I can't go on. But I think people/other creatures are mean to him too, for his long ears! In a Christmas movie!!!

It's absolutely the most agonizing dead-mother-animal scene in any children's movie, bar none. View at your own risk. Keep away from children. Seriously.

Put 'em up!

I learned some interesting tidbits of family history from Aunt Bev on our trip. For instance, I was happy to hear that Andy's grandmother dated Al Capone when she was 14, and that Andy's grandfather was a small-time Indiana gangster. That's right. Simon and Charlotte's grandmother was a gangster's moll. At a shockingly early age! Awesome!

There was a bit of an old-school gangster presence around these parts, particularly in the West Baden Springs area, so I guess that's how Grandma Sutton hooked up with Al, and later, Grandpa Sutton.

Andy's mom doesn't talk about it, because she's embarrassed of her origins. Personally, though, I'm excited. Andy's family is sure bringing the fun! On my dad's side, I've got humorless, Grapes-of-Wrath-esque farm people; and on my mom's, bored and bourbon-soaked Louisville aristocracy. Well, to be fair, there are some good stories about them, but Andy's got the peppy bootstraps Irish maidservants and butlers; the dashing, wild-eyed Northern-Italian cowboy (honest-to-goodness!); and now gangsters! Sweet!

Come to think of it, this whole gangster heritage explains so much about Charlotte, like her charisma, thievery, and wanton destruction. Oh, and the rum running.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


The long drive home. Who sleeps like that?!

Okay, so it wasn't all barfing in South Carolina, as you can see if you click on my Flickr badge. The following are highlights:

#1 most awesomest thing evah - After our date night at the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, Andy and I went to one of those participatory, dueling piano bars. Cute. Liked it a lot. Very talented piano-singer performers. Weird crowd, though, composed of 20-somethings, yet also the more swinging and drunken members of the senior set. When I took a bathroom break (which is a whole story unto itself), Andy was approached by some late 40s-ish woman, who basically asked him to sell her some pot. HA! Andy was dressed like a respectable citizen, totally normal and all, yet she must have sensed the hippy boy of yore just underneath the surface. He told her she was about 10 years too late.

This makes me unreasonably happy for some reason.

Highlight #2 - Aunt Bev and Uncle Joe, in lieu of the family they left behind in Indiana, have fashioned a family of sorts out of their geriatric neighbors. They all came over for Thanksgiving, which was very sweet. I fell completely in love with Dick, their striking older gentleman neighbor, who had an air of bygone romance about him, and something regal. Also, he was terribly good with the boys. And quite clearly was pining in silence for his deceased wife. In addition, he was HOTT, in that elegant old man sort of way. LOVE!

Sadly, pretty much immediately following the tasty supper, I made the mistake of sitting on the sofa, and promptly fell asleep sitting up, in the middle of a room full of old folks who I would normally very much enjoy charming. Old folks are my speciality. So that was a mildly embarrassing gaffe.

Highlight #3 - Hanging out at the chilly, yet picturesque and largely tourist-free beach, letting the kids dip their toes in the Atlantic, and watching Charlotte run around in utter joy.

Highlight #4 - Charlotte was in a crib in our room, while the boys shared a sofa bed in another. In the mornings, the boys would wake up and go hang out with Aunt Bev. When Charlotte woke up, we'd just open the door to our room, set her in the hallway, and allow her to toddle her way into the front room, where Aunt Bev would welcome her happily. Then, we would shut the door, and GO BACK TO SLEEP!!!! HEAVEN!

Highlight #5 - The Dixie Stampede, of course!


Well, Simon LOVED it, but Andy and I were underwhelmed. Maybe it was the whole eating-without-utensils thing, or maybe it was the ridiculous quantities of meat they shoved at us (whole chickens! 4 chunks of barbecued pork!), or maybe it was just the sheer cheese-tastic-ness of the "show," but we sort of couldn't believe how much money people pay for this. Simon got to drink Pepsi (he NEVER gets soft drinks, EVER) out of a mason jar. He was sold.

Highlight #6 - Eating Aunt Bev's famous, patented, colored pancakes, prepared by the hostess with Simon's help. Food-coloring-licious!

Highlight #7 - Aunt Bev gave me a fabulous vintage black velvet cape WITH A MARABOU-LINED HOOD. Holy samoley. My vintage coat fetish was gratified in the most extravagant way. Oh, and also she gave me one of those cute cigar-box purses. Stuff! For me!

Highlight #8 - My triple-layer chocolate pumpkin pie, which is really more like a cheesecake, and is SOOOOO delicious. And I loathe pumpkin pie. And it worked, and looked really impressive, and so I appeared to all the senior citizens like some kind of domestic goddess person, all cooking pies early on Thanksgiving morning. Until I fell asleep, that is.

Highlight #9 - I knew Aunt Bev would lose it when we left. She misses us so terribly, and she's such a sweet lady, and all week long she just kept thanking me profusely for coming to visit, and letting her spend time getting to know us better, and on and on... So when we were all fastened into the van, about to drive away, and Aunt Bev was blowing kisses in the van door at the kids, Simon, my sweet boy, blew one at her and said, "This one is for your pocket, Aunt Bev, so you won't get lonely."

Dear lord.

I expected her heart to surf into our van on a wave of tears, and wave a cheerful farewell to the shell of her body remaining on the driveway.
It was very very touching and I just have to say, Simon has a way with the words and the timing. It's like he's learning tenderness from his older brother, and combining it with his own innate flair for showmanship, and it's quite something. I've never heard this before, and I didn't coach him, I swear. I'm not being cynical, either. He's like some precociously loving, winsome Dickens character. That story will go down in the annals of history. At this moment, in fact, part-time substitute teacher ladies all over Myrtle Beach are passing this tale of exquisite cuteness amongst themselves.

Highlight #10 - Finally getting home after the 14 hour drive back, having only stopped for lunch and dinner. And there was no barfing and Charlotte only cried once.

I'm glad we went, but it's always nice to come home. Poor Spooky missed us so much!

I've been remiss in my blogging this week, but I'm still recovering. My Uncle Bert story is cooking up a storm there on my back burner, and it's about to boil over. I've sort of been avoiding it, because I know it will cause me to experience some rather vivid emotions, and I haven't been quite ready yet. But it's coming...