Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On Friday I'm piling with friends into a gold Odyssey headed for a yarn shop. We are going to knit hats. On our way, one friend's not sure about schools and kindergarten. She is like all of us, thinking about the next step we will all be facing, thinking about change.

My mom has cancer and I should be talking about it, should be filling the Odyssey's walls with what's on my mind, but I sit silent in the back seat.

My mom is strong, wearing a parachute and sailing more determined through the experience. She sends e-mails that say, "Let's get this party started." The party she is referring to is her lumpectomy, scheduled next week. She wears her mom's fur coat to work, and the scarf I made her. She says she thinks people will figure she's gone mad. I say wear that coat in surgery if you are able. Whatever you need to do to keep that strength pumping through your veins. Whatever armor you need to fight this battle set before you.

It is Saturday. The weather is terrible. My husband goes running. When he sees me at the window cautious steps turn into Olympic style skating strides. We were supposed to visit my mom but we can't. I would have been a wreck in the passenger's seat with the ice. snowed fat snowflakes and she walked in them alone.

Sunday I'm grouchy and weepy. I searched for my armor in minivans but was afraid to ask. While my husband gave me hugs, true and strong, and my children handed me tissues, I feel like I'm getting closer.

It's Monday, again. There is no preschool. I am glad to be home without an agenda. The kids dance to their Music Together CD, jumping on the bed and getting sweaty. I get sweaty cleaning the house from top to bottom, putting the bath toys through the dishwasher for their second time in existence, and running on the treadmill.

On Tuesday she has her lumpectomy. It snows. I go about my day, pray as I drive, asking for the things I can't ask for from friends. A trip to the library turns ugly when one child darts and the other hits but we try it again and it goes okay, new books a welcome distraction. I call my brother to see if he knows anything. He knows that my mom's co-workers decorated the entry way to the house with hearts, fifty hearts, he thinks, and words to live by. This makes me whimper my words. People can be so kind. Later at Mind Your Manners Julia learns how to answer the phone. She loves the class because it always ends with chocolate cookies that frame her mouth. Her small sister perches on a stool and colors in her color wonder book. The table totters while I share conversation with a fellow preschool mom. We were both born on the same day in the same year. She put her kids in the manners class, too. She can't imagine anything bad happening to her mom, either. She nearly wells up imagining the feeling of waiting to hear the news about a lumpectomy.

Finally, finally, I talk to my mom, who has been through major surgery, whose boob hurts, but who is suddenly cancer free. It was only the tiny half a grain of rice sized tumor, she says. Only one duct had IT. I don't cry. My kids sing content in the backseat. Praise the lord for Music Together and surgeons who take away the ugly stuff so that no armor is needed after all, for now.

It's Tuesday, and I breathe normally again. I take my kids from the car patiently, feed them, spend some extra time reading before I tuck them in snugly.

She is going to be okay.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Two Kids, House, Honda, Mom

In my younger years, I was known to play a game of MASH from time to time. I am glad to see it's still around, though in a computerized form. Voila!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quiltin' It Up

I had been wanting to try making a lap quilt for awhile now, having been very inspired by the one featured in Bend the Rules Sewing. After the craziness of Christmas passed I had a craft lull, where I saved up my strength to tackle my first quilt.

As with any major project, it was done in phases. First came the cutting of the strips. (I wanted to get a rotary cutter/mat but ended up doing a paper pattern and cutting them pretty precisely). It seemed to take no time to sew the patches all together. I really like how Amy has you attach the top to the batting (so there's no inner batting travel going on in between the top and bottom layers) and then came attaching the bottom flannel piece. Finally I "quilted" it by machine,very minimally, and did the bias tape around the edges by machine, something Amy doesn't advise, and I can see why. I won't point out the flaws or the ways I wish it were different. For now it's what I'm capable of and I'm pretty pleased with the overall effect.

I might add that it's going to be a 60th birthday present for my most favorite person, my mother. I told her about it when I was making it and when she was at our house last weekend she saw it in the garage all bundled up and wanted to look but I wasn't done or ready to reveal it. Now I am, so it's a little bit of an early Happy B-Day loookie see for her. May it warm your lap every time you snuggle up under it, mother.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


When Jooge was a baby she got a small stuffed elephant with a rattle inside that became her favorite toy. We called it "Buddy." Unfortunately he got lost sometime around her third year of life, and we never found it again. I think it must be stuffed in some neighborhood kid's toybox, and many times I wish I would have put up some sort of "LOST" sign on our mailboxes just in case.....

Over the holidays I was on Ebay searching for another Buddy, (the company, AMELA, is no longer) when much to my delight there he was! The picture proved it-same grey body, same floppy nose. I promptly paid 20 bucks to reclaim our favorite toy.

When Buddy arrived in the mail a week later, the package looked really big. I took one look and thought, "That can't be Buddy!" I opened it up and was quite surprised to find that it WAS our Buddy, but in a bigger size. Little did I know that our Buddy came in different sizes. Upon closer inspection I realized the receipt even said, "GIANT."

We told Jooge he was back from vacation in Alabama and had grown, just like her. She didn't bat an eye, and has considered renaming "him" Katie.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Keeping it Real Mondays

When you have a blog, you naturally gravitate towards sharing the shiny stuff of your life. Welcome to a new feature of mine: Keeping it Real Mondays, where I will feature a photo from my life to express the dull side.

Today's picture is of the hallway upstairs. Each laundry basket contains clean laundry, waiting to be folded or put away. It just sits there blocking traffic, IGNORED, uttering an occasional, "Your husband gonna get some clean britches this week?" I just keep walking past. Well, except for today, when I took a picture.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Jermaine and Bret Rule!

"These aren't tears of sadness because you're leaving me
I've just been cutting onions
I'm making a lasagna
For one"
-"Crying" by Flight of the Conchords

With the writer's strike showing no promise of ending and The Office episodes all reruns, I was in desperate need of a show with, well, my kind of humor. What else will I do until Lost rears its measley eight episodes come January 31st?

Voila! The universe provided exactly what I needed. Out of the dust came Flight of the Conchords. My brother told me about it some time ago. When I finally pulled my head out of my nether region and we watched an episode, we laughed very very hard, rewinded parts to watch again, even slapped our thighs because we got such a kick out of it. My husband aspires to start talking like a New Zealander. And me, I aspire to break into wicked awesome songs whilst living my life.

They say, "Be more constructive with your feedback please." I can't. It's just plain good. Now check it out.