Wednesday, April 28, 2010

End of the School-Brick Road

Today was Piper's last day of preschool.

After all the trouble we went through to find a place for her, we are pulling her out after only four months. I feel sort of ridiculous, but it's not working out. It's just not.

She likes it okay, but doesn't love it. It has been great for her sense of routine and her sleep schedule, but she went from loving it when we enrolled her at the end of December to sobbing every time the word school was mentioned at the beginning of February.  School staff, the grandmothers, our friends, and strangers on the street all dispensed the helpful advice that "she's just adjusting" and "she'll get used to it." But all through February and into March, we had to get her ready those two mornings a week without so much as a whisper about where we were going when we got in the car. To do otherwise, to even let her see that you were putting her school backpack in the car, was to trigger a meltdown of epic proportions. "I don't want to go to school today! No no no!" she would wail, thrashing and bucking as we tried to strap her into her car seat. Drop-off was worse. She would start to cry as soon as we turned into the parking lot; she would wail and cling to us as we tried to leave her classroom. It broke my heart to turn away from her as she cried, to ignore the huge teardrops sliding down her face.

Eventually, the massive crying fits became more subdued, but we still couldn't mention school at all or she would cry. On the mornings she didn't go to school, she would wake up and say "Probably not going to school today...?" cautiously, then repeat it with satisfaction when we anwered "Nope, it's not a school day. Today we're staying home." Sometimes she still cried when we turned into the parking lot or when we dropped her off. Many times, she was crying when I picked her up. Her teachers told me she'd been fine until she saw me in the hallway, or until it was close to pick-up time. Again, there were all reassurances that this was very normal.

Until a couple of weeks ago, when I picked her up and she was bawling. The rest of the class has naptime for the last 45-60 minutes she's there (annoying, since we're paying for her to sit at a table and play with plastic frogs while everybody else sleeps) and I came in and she got up from her table and she was sobbing, really upset, not just like the "when is my mom going to GET HERE?" tears that I was by now used to seeing. The teacher - a sub, her normal (very awesome, sweet and kind) teacher was out that day - said "She's been fine all morning, and she just got upset and started crying after lunch" before I even asked her what was going on. Piper was upset all the way out the door and started to perk up when we got outside. On the way to the car I tried to ask her what happened and why she was so upset, but all she would say was "I was crying at school." Finally, after I got her buckled in, she said "I was crying because [something something garbled] say mean things to me."

"What did you say, Kiddo? Who said mean things to you?"
"Miss Sarah say mean things to me."
"Miss Sarah said mean things to you?"
"Yep, she did."
"Why were you crying?"
"Because Miss Sarah say mean things to Piper. She said mean things to me."

I tried quzzing her more, but I couldn't get out of her exactly what "mean things" meant. We repeated the performance later for Ryan, but he couldn't get what "mean things" were said either. And, granted, she's two, so "mean things" could mean something entirely different to her. But still. She's started to cry and freak out whenever we enter situations with a group of other kids present; she won't go to story time at the library, she completely lost it when I tried to drop her off in the nursery at church. Maybe it's just her age - a friend told me her daughter got really clingy around this age, too - and maybe it's not. I just don't want to sour her on group situations and the idea of school altogether.

And it's costing a frigging arm and a leg. The place is more like a day-care, most of the kids go full time or at least half-time, and although she's only there 8 hours a week, we are paying 55% of what they charge for their full-time, five-day-a-week kids. There's always a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) pressure to enroll her for more days or go up to full-time, and I resent that. Not to mention that part of that arm and leg we are handing over is paying for her to sit at a table for an hour and color or play with rubber insects while the rest of her class naps.

There are other things, like her sudden fascination with princess stuff (we don't use the p-word at our house, so there's only one other place she could've learned it), the food they give the kids being of the industrial not-so-healthy chicken nuggets/pizza/canned fruit in syrup/French toast sticks variety, and the computers at the "technology center" in her classroom where the kids play cartoon-character games. We enrolled her in this place because we liked that they had lesson plans and a set curriculum, but she doesn't seem to be getting much out of it. They studied planets and transportation, which I thought was kind of cool, but they also did an entire unit on fairy tales, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't any sort of "tall tales from around the world"-type of thing, either. She seems to be learning more when I work with her on academics at home.

There were a lot of really good things about this school, too. The day-care like atmosphere means she could go year-round if we wanted. The staff are all really nice, and Piper's teacher is terrific. She really cares about the kids (she's working on her Master's in Early Childhood Ed) and she's great with them. Everybody in the building knows my little girl, from the infant teachers to the cook, and they all love her. I loved dropping her off and hearing all the other kids call out "Hi, Piper! Hi, Piper!" in the morning. It cracked me up that the kids would all say "Hi Mommy! Hi Daddy!" when we walked in (or ask "Where's Mommy? Where's Daddy?" if only one of us was doing drop-off). Their playground is really cool and creative. The schedule they keep to worked out well for us and having that structure got my kid sleeping in five-to-eight-hour-chunks for the first time in her 2.5 years. And boy howdy did I love having those eight hours a week to myself. If Ryan was going into work later, we'd drop Piper off and go grab coffee together. Those few hours of adult conversation were precious and very much enjoyed. I could go home and clean without a small person un-doing all my hard work. I could write, I could go to the grocery store kid-free. But we weighed everything, and the things we liked weren't quite enough to make up for the 15-minute-plus drive each way two days a week (times two if I went home and came back), the cost, and Piper's unhappiness. So we decided to withdraw her for now, and keep looking for a new school.

And of course she had a great day on Monday. Her teacher showed me pictures she took of the kids doing music time, and there was Piper, marching in place banging drumsticks together. I started to feel guilty. There were some tears when I dropped her off today, but she was happily sitting at her table with her bucket of plastic frogs like normal when I picked her up. Her teacher hugged her and said good-bye, genuinely sorry to see Piper go. She gave me a giant good-bye card the class had made for Piper. I felt another pang of guilt. All our way through the hall and out the door, other teachers poked their heads out of classrooms and asked for hugs and told me how much they would miss my daughter. The Assistant Director was at the front desk when we got to the door and asked for a hug, too.

We walked through the parking lot for the last time, and I felt like I could, with very little effort, tear up. This was the first place we had ever left our baby, the first time she'd ever been entrusted to the care of anyone but us or her grandparents, the first time she went to school. I felt more guilt, not a pang but a stab this time, because I was ending something she liked, at least part of the time. For all her tears, she had been happy here too, and I wondered if we were doing the right thing. I still don't know. As parents, can we ever really be sure?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Smell of Oranges

Every year about this time I get nostalgic for California. More than usual, anyway. Spring really is the loveliest time out there. The days are warm but not summer's holy crap, I'm living on the face of the sun heat; the rains turn the hills and deserts green, the winds buffet the smog back once in a while; and best of all, the orange trees bloom.

We lived in an area very close to major orange groves and for a week or two every spring, the whole world would seem clean and dewy and smell like a feshly-cut orange. It was amazing. The winds would kick up a swirl of fragrant white petals, and to drive past the orange groves made me feel like I was cruising by trees topped with orange-scented snow.

While looking for pictures to go with this post, I stumbled upon the excellent themed collections at The UC system's Calisphere site. I experienced Internet-Induced Missing Time Syndrome and somehow lost an entire naptime while browsing those photos.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Conversations With Piper: Magic Words in the Neighborhood

Anything you put over your head (particularly those thing she sticks over her or your face, like baby blankets) is a "neighborhood." As in, "Mommy, you want to have the neighborhood? I'm going to put the neighborhood on." And she yanks a blanket off her bed and puts it over my face.

P: Magic words! Time to say the magic words!
R: What magic words? Hocus pocus!
P: Yeah, magic words! (lets out a really loud fart and giggles) Magic words!

At bedtime, as I'm walking out the door:

Me: Goodnight, kiddo. I love you.
P: Love you. (pause) I can make a really loud beep.
Me: (pauses in doorway) Oh, yeah?
P: Yeah.
Me: Are you going to make the beep?
P: Yeah. (pause, then whispers) Beep. (whispers) Beep. (cracks up)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Snapshots: Mid-April 2010

My mom made Piper these magnetic fabric letters. Piper, in true Piper fashion, refuses to leave them stuck to the fridge or dishwasher and instead packs them into little bags or boxes and carries them around, or lines them up in rows on the floor, or stuffs them into odd places (like various kitchen cabinets). Turns out those little magnets are fairly strong, and will stick to the bottom of a stock pot. The letters are also small enough that you might not notice. On a related note: fabric letters will smoke a great deal when placed directly on an electric stove-burner. While they disintegrate, they don't actually burst into flames. And now we need a new C and P.

For some reason, our yard has been overtaken with...things that are not grass. I don't know how it happened. We worked diligently last year to spread grass seed and keep it watered. We babied and nurtured the tender young shoots that arose to cover the bare spots in our yard. We yanked out large weeds and put the yard toys over the little ones. When the recent rain + warm weather caused our brown yard to turn green overnight, I went out to inspect the new recruits. Much to my horror, I discovered that all our hard work was for nothing. The front yard is entirely clover - every bit of green visible is not grass but stomping grounds for wayward leprechauns.

I had both Piper and a friend's 19-month-old little boy for a couple days last week. The little guy is charming and sweet, but Ye Gods I had forgotten how difficult that age can be. He's still mostly in the "screech and point" phase when he wants something, so I spent a lot of time asking him to use his words and say please. Piper alternated between wanting very much to help take care of him (fetching diapers and wipes, finding his misplaced sippy cup, reading him a story - which melted me into puddles, by the way) and howling because he had the thing she wanted most in the world at that moment. They did that a lot. Whatever one of them had was suddenly the other's object of burning desire. They also cracked each other up making silly noises, begged me to chase them and dump water on their heads, and licked markers during art time. Luckily, my friend is the sort to just laugh when I texted her and warned her that her son was coming home with blue teeth.

It was kind of fun, and also taxed my reserves of patience and stamina. I think I was pretty short with Ryan by the time he got home both nights. For Pete's sake, man, I have spent all day smeared with banana and listening to full-volume screeches, wails, whines, and howls. There is applesauce in my hair and every time I open my mouth my lips form the word "NO" out of habit. Find your own damned socks.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Milo no. 3

As mentioned in a previous post, I made a third Milo. Cotton yarn this go-round, as a summertime experiment. A friend of mine is about to spend a week at the beach with her family, and I thought this blue/white/cream stuff (an entire 1-lb cone of Peaches n' Creme worsted that somebody gave me, so hurrah for free yarn) looked so beachy, I made this for her 19-month-old. I made it a little longer so he could get more wear out of it. I got him into it for a brief moment just to check the fit, but I was not fast enough to get a picture, so this is currently the only evidence I have of its existence, since I sent it to its new home without getting any other photos.

Ravlery details here

Working on : A project I have dubbed "The Hat That Wouldn't Die," scheming for sewing projects, a gauge swatch for a Little Bubbles Sweater which I am hoping will still fit Piper when I'm done, and a knitted polka-dot dress that may never get off the ground. Also much wishing that I had gotten it in gear for Spring Top Week 2010, but that is filed under "Not Gonna Happen, Lady."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Washing the Car

Hey, it was her idea. I can't help it if our vehicle was in desperate need a of a bath.

Pukus Maximus

I'll warn you right now: this post is not for the faint of gut. If you have a weak stomach at all, you probably just want to skip this one.

I got puked on yesterday. Hardcore.

My daughter has only thrown up one other time in her life. Sure there was plenty of spit-up during the infant days, but the only other incident involving actual barf was a couple of months ago, when a wicked cold caused her to cough so hard she upchucked on our freshly-shampooed carpet. Other than that, our house has been pretty much a puke-free zone.

Yesterday, we went out to dinner with another couple, some friends of ours who love Piper but have no kids of their own. We were at some Southwest-themed bar & grill, eating burgers with jalapenos and hot sauce slathered on top. Piper seemed to be happily munching on her fries, kid-size burger (minus the jalapenos and hot sauce, of course), and chocolate milk. Her appetite had been a little off for a couple of days, but she'd already sucked down most of her chocolate milk and was plowing through her fries, so I figured it was nothing. She said she had to go potty, so I took her to the bathroom. We came back, and her eating slowed down. She asked to sit on my lap, so I took her out of the booster seat and settled her on my leg. She snuggled into me like she was cold, so I took off my gauze scarf and draped it around her. I held onto her and continued eating one-handed.

She turned to the table and seemed to be looking for something. I gave her my phone, which she'd been using earlier to play a spelling game. I asked her if she wanted another drink of her milk and she whispered, "Yeah." So she took a sip, put the cup on the table, gave a funny little cough, and hurled down the front of my shirt.

We are talking gallons of chocolate-milk and french-fry puke here, people. Right in the boobs. She heaved again, with a loud belch, and unleashed another torrent of vomit onto me. She immediately started to cry and ask to go home and change her clothes. I grabbed my one paper napkin and dabbed pathetically at the mess. Dimly I heard my husband going "Phone! Phone! Phone!" and I realized that I was still clutching my iPhone, which had taken a direct hit and was dripping with puke. I handed it off, grabbed some more napkins, and gave an emphatic yes to whoever asked if we needed some real towels. One of our friends was looking a bit green and scooting out of the booth really fast; she's a nanny for two four-year-olds, so she has seen her share of messes, but she'd just taken a bite of chicken wing when the eruption occurred and very nearly gave the old heave-ho herself. Our other friend was asking the waitress for towels.

I stripped Piper out of her dress and left her wearing just the tank top and leggings beneath; it didn't help much, because it was all covered. She was crying and I was trying to reassure her. I worked quickly and calmly, trying to clean up her, the booth, and the table. I ignored the fact that my jeans were soaked through and there was vomit dripping down my shirt. The blonde-early-20's-college-student waitress, who had been remarkably absent for most of our meal, suddenly appeared and asked for the towels even though I was clearly not done with them.

"I'm sorry, could you just put that towel on this plate?" I guess I couldn't blame her, I wouldn't want to touch some kid's puke either.
"Yeah," I said, "just a sec." I worked even faster to wipe down the booth, the table, and everything else within reach. I gave up the dirty towel and reached for a second, which was soggy with the remnants of someone else's table-dirt.
"If you could just put the towel right there on that plate, that would be great," she said again, watching me as I scrubbed at the vinyl seat-back.
"Um, okay, yeah," I answered again, giving up the only wet towel I had. I reached for the dry one and had no sooner dabbed at my shirt than she asked for it. I relenquished it, which left me with only a pile of puke-soaked paper napkins. The waitress disappeared through some secret doorway, and was not seen again. Ten bucks says she doesn't let her birth-control prescription run out for a good, long while.

Luckily my friend appeared with a pile of wet paper towels from the women's restroom, which I used to clean up Piper. Ryan came back with my cleaned-off phone in one hand, and his undershirt in the other. He offered it to me, but instead I stripped Piper out of her wet tank top and pants, and put it on her. It was enormous, but she stopped crying. Our wonderful, dear friend took her to look at the pinball machines while I continued to wipe down the booth and table. I was finally able to asses the damage to myself and quickly concluded that nothing short of a long, hot shower was going to fix this. I gingerly took off my t-shirt (getting that thing over my head without dumping chunks in my hair was quite the feat) and sweater, leaving me with barf-soaked jeans and a barfy tank top for the ride home.

I was sort of laughing as I worked, because really, what else could I do? It was like a scene from a sitcom or something. Less than five minutes earlier, our friend had complimented us on how cool we were. "You guys are parents, and good parents - your kid is awesome. Piper is an awesome kid who's fun to be with," he said. "But you also still seem like yourselves, just with a few extra responsibilities. And that's cool. You guys are very cool."

Three minutes later, my "awesome kid" covered me in a river of partially-digested french fries and corn-syrup-laden dairy products. Real cool.

I was apologizing like crazy to our friends, who seemed a little shell-shocked but mostly surprised at how well I handled it.

"You're just...just taking it all in stride," he said. "That's amazing."

I had wiped down the entire seat and gotten pretty much all of the mess up, and without towels there was nothing more I could do. I balled up the sodden clothes and wrapped them in my sweater, tied the whole thing shut with the sweater arms, dabbed at my pants once more, and scooted out of the booth. Piper was giggling in our friend's arms, proudly holding two rubber bouncy balls wrestled from the clutches of the $0.25 prize machines in the video-game room. As we walked to the car, I realized that not only were my jeans soaked, so were my underwear. And I stank. Ye Gods, I stank.

When we reached our vehicle, my husband asked, "Uhh, do we even have plastic bags in the car?"

"Yup, we certainly do," I said. "Because your wife is awesome." I opened the door, retrieved the pile of plastic grocery bags I'd stashed in the car, and tossed the ball of puke-clothing into one, then tied it shut. I spread more bags on my seat and put one on my lap so the seat belt wouldn't get vomit on it. We rode home with the windows open, until Piper started howling "I'm COLLLLDDDD! I'm cold cold cold!" from the back. Then we had to shut the windows and I was left to ride in a cloud of my own stink, holding the seatbelt away from my vomit-covered chest.

As soon as we got through the door I hit the shower with Piper in tow. I stripped off my sodden tank top to find that not only had the vomit soaked through my bra, there were chunks of my daughter's dinner in my cleavage.

Yeah, I thought as I herded my daughter into the shower and started scrubbing her off, real cool.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea and Cookies

She had a crappy day at school (crappy enough that it cleared up any debate on our decision to pull her after only four months, even after all the work to find a preschool) on Wednesday. It was a cold, crappy day outside. I had a tea set stashed in the closet, which was supposed to be an Easter gift, but one look at her overflowing basket and we decided to hold it back. The theory was that I could whip it out on just such an occasion, when we both needed something new and she needed cheering up. so we made some M&M cookies together and I brewed some of the Tangerine-Orange Zinger tea she had picked out a few days earlier at the grocery store. Everything was a big hit. She dumped as much as she poured, but I put plenty of double-folded bath towels tablecloths down, so it was okay. She had a great time and that's what extra-large capacity washers were invented for, right?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yeah, Mom, Turn Around

It was really hot last week so I set a bucket of water in the front yard, gave her some measuring cups and toy boats, and let her have at it. Except she has this thing about drinking water from places she shouldn't (mud puddles, the swimming pool, bathwater, the toilet that one time - that we know of, dishwater) so I had to tell her over and over to STOP DRINKING THE WATER YOU JUST DUNKED YOUR SHOES IN. NO IT'S NOT OKAY, NOT EVEN IF YOU PUT IT IN A CUP FIRST.

Me: Piper, if you drink any more of that water, we are going inside.
Piper: You're not supposed to drink the water, it's just pretend.
Me: No, not even pretend. Not this time. You clearly cannot handle even pretend-drinking this water, even though it's got dead bugs and grass clippings in it.
Piper: This water is gross. Don't drink it.
Me: That's right.
Piper: Hey Mom, turn around!
Me (thinking we are playing some fun new game and desperate to distract from the water-drinking): Okay! I'm turned around!

(slurping sound behind my back)

Me (turning back around): Piper, did you drink that water?!
Piper (giggling): Hey Mom, turn around again!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"I like this sushi. It is very tasty."

Downer Days

The past seven or ten days turned into one of those crappy periods where I just can't seem to get it together and my guilt over (and frustration at) not being employed outside the house seems to dominate my thoughts and I really just phone it in most of the time.

I served the same not-so-great "leftover stew" (i.e., pull out all those Tupperware containers lingering in the fridge, throw it in a pot, add some stock + spices, then tell my family "oh, you'll EAT it and you'll LIKE it, Buster) three days in a row last week. I tried to be sneaky and mix it up as lunches and dinners, throw a little grated Parm on top, even made fresh, hot cheddar-garlic biscuits one night to go with it...but it was still the same pot of sucky leftovers that still suck when they are stirred together and simmered for 20 minutes.

I keep knitting the same thing over and over, because it's easy. I tried making something else, and after knitting it to near-completion and ripping it out four times, I gave up and made another Milo (#3 in about as many months, but out of cotton this time). I haven't touched that sewing machine, even though my head is stuffed full of projects I want to work on. My "project box" full of almost-done decorating stuff sits getting dusty in the corner. My camera stays in its protective bag most days. I wander around the house repeating out loud lines that I should be typing, in hopes that I'll remember them. I was doing great with the writing stuff for a while, self-imposed deadlines and mandatory page counts and all that, but not lately. There has been so little time for the real, honest work of writing that I'm not even sure I can do it any more. 

A neighbor asked me to take some photos of his kids, which I did, and now he's asked me to photograph an event at his church. I desperately want to do right by him, because he's a good man and he's counting on me. I also desperately want to be a better photographer and I can't figure out how. Nothing I read in books seems to stick; we don't have the money (or with R's crazy work schedule, the time) for a class; I don't know any other photographers. I feel envious when I see great photos by other people. Envious, and a little angry, because I can't do what they do. I'd love to be able to tweak the controls on my DSLR and get what I want out of it, to have long conversations with other camera nuts about f-stops and Photoshop actions. So far? I can't even change the shutter speed. Oy. The user's manual makes me go cross-eyed trying to digest it all, and though it came with DVD's, somehow I have not, in nearly two years, managed to find a spare hour or two to watch them. Again I say: oy.

To tell you the truth, I have been in an ever-increasing funk since Alex Chilton died. I can't say for sure that this caused it, but that seems to have been the tipping point. I would just like to tip back soon.

Edited to add: Oh, look. Now, because I am so off my game and not paying attention, I managed to post three posts in one day instead of saving the drafts for later this week like I intended. Niiiiice.

Egg Hunting

We took her to a Parks and Rec egg hunt the Saturday before Easter. She had a blast.

"Egg hunt" has been the new favorite game at our house ever since.

It works out pretty well for me, because all I have to do is sit on the sidewalk and throw empty plastic eggs into the front yard.

She giggles and chatters as she picks them all up and brings the full basket back to me so I can toss them out again.

We do this for hours.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sewing machine, what a dream

I got a new sewing machine.

Well, sort of. You see, when my mother came to visit last month, I asked if she had a spare sewing machine she could bring to either help me make curtains while she was here, or to leave for a while so I could make them. The blinds in the playroom are shot - they fall down on my head every time I touch them, and I'm tired of it. Rather than replace them with another set of cheap-ass, plastic, hard-to-clean blinds, I thought I'd make something cuter and more washable.

Fortunately for me, she had just purchased a new sewing machine, to replace one of her basic sew-it-all models (she has about 6 machines, all for different things). She didn't like it. What she did like were the extra feet and accessories that came with it. There was a lot of cool extra stuff included with this machine, which will fit on a couple of the ones she already owned. So now I have the machine on long-term loan, she gets to keep the stuff and go get the machine she wanted in the first place.

Good deal for everyone, right?

Now I just have to use it. Without sewing over my fingers or anything. I have some very basic skills, between years assisting my mom and sister with their sewing and a long-ago Home Ec class, but I'm pretty rusty. I'm good with design, figuring out how things should go together, or how to make something look like a picture I saw, but I usually skive off when it comes to the actual sewing phase.  But I have grand plans, my friends, grand plans. Plans which begin with curtains made out of this Ikea fabric. I love it so. The mountains, the goats on the bridge, the lovely blues...while I was at Ikea one day, I actually saw a lady wearing a coat made out of this fabric. It was a smart, stylish, well-done trench coat, belt and all. I almost chased her down and asked her if I could take her picture.

Next time I see her, I totally will chase her down.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bird quilt

This is the most awesome quilt I've ever seen.  I WANT ONE IMMEDIATELY.

Via Sew, Mama, Sew! 

Rae Gun Ramblings Giveaway: Chandelier Tutu Skirt

Marissa is giving away this cute skirt.  I like it a lot, because it's without the nauseating pink over-embellished froofy-ness that can accompany these kinds of garments. Clicky clicky clicky to enter.

GIVEAWAY: Chandelier Tutu Skirt

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Snapshots: Early April 2010

Ryan and I watched the news after Castle on Monday night.  As we viewed a story about the school district pretty much looking down its nose at parent efforts to prevent another round of teacher layoffs, we exchanged grim looks. Between the way the district handled last year's cuts (board member Kaye McGarry said they were “unprofessional, sloppy and unfair,” which I heartily agree with), the way they're handling it this year, and the way they're treating angry parents, it's pretty clear our daughter would be better off getting her education elsewhere. Although the where part of that equation is a big fat question mark for us.

12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon: my almost-three-year-old daughter roams the house tossing empty plastic Easter eggs in her wake, and for some reason she is not wearing any pants.

We've started watching Battlestar Galactica. I watched the original series as a kid, and adored it in all its cheesy glory.  Since we are HUGE Firefly fans (Piper came thisclose to being named Inara), BSG pushes all the right buttons for us. It's so, so good.  I think I can say that you might like it even if you're "not a sci-fi kind of person." It's not really about that; the focus is on the huge upheaval of a civilization re-making itself as a species fights for survival. Of course, there are some kick-ass space battles in there too. 

We got a new neighbor across the street. The truck mysteriously appeared in the driveway Sunday morning, and I spent the next several days running to the windows at the front of the house whenever I heard a noise outside. I got a little obsessed, if you want to know the truth. I was anxious to see who was going to move in; the former occupants were nice, if occasionally a bit crazy. I was sad to see them go, but I understood their reasons. They just couldn't take the neighborhood any more. We were fervently hoping somebody more like us would take their place, instead of another troop like we have next door, where the kids pretty much run wild (and LOUD) at all hours, there's a revolving parade of shady-looking dudes passing through, rap music blares at all hours, and the mother never seems to be around. We crossed our fingers and we watched. My husband managed only one glimpse of somebody going into the house, in two days of avid watching, and I didn't see anybody. Cars and moving trucks would appear and disappear like magic, with no apparent people piloting them. Last night I was getting ready to take our trash to the curb when my husband came into the kitchen and said, "Hey, she's out there, if you hurry and grab the trash you can meet her." I threw on some flip-flops, grabbed our two-wheeled trash container and our recycling bin, and dashed for the front yard. My haste was rewarded, and I talked to our new neighbor for a couple of minutes. She's about our age, I think, and said she works in the school system, which is a promising start. I'm hoping that we can be friends, because I would really like a neighbor-friend. I'm sick of all the closed doors and half-hearted waves in our neighborhood.

On a lighter note, I will leave you with this photo of our cat Ellie, who has some sort of allergy issue and has to wear the Cone of Shame so she will stop pulling her hair out:

She is not pleased.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Another Outfit

Temps here shot up into the high 80's at the end of last week, and I had to venture into our attic storage space (man, it was HOT up there) and drag down the crate of Piper's summer/too-big/off-season clothes.  She immediately started rummaging around in the stuff and pulled out the Halloween skirts her grandma made for her last fall. She wore them a lot right around Halloween, and then, because she has 317847857854 other skirts in her closet, I put them away for next year. Now she's wearing them again, usually in combination with a lot of other items.  In this photo, she is wearing:
Yellow & green polka-dot shoes, one size too big
Pink socks
Green pants
Hello Kitty Halloween skirt
Blue long-sleeved shirt

That's a pretty typical outfit these days. Since it just keeps getting hotter around here (two days of 90+ temps so far this week!), I keep trying to explain to her that fewer layers are the ticket right now.  It's not going well.