Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Compost to Carrots

Let them eat dirt

It is the last day in May and the rain has saturated the ground and pushed the hot air south. The earth in the garden has been turned and the compost sifted and spread. Last night’s baseball game was cancelled after a few innings. Lightening was spotted and the boys were benched. Little pet, JB and the grandparents and I stood out in the rain under umbrellas watching Juji’s teammates slip around in the fog and mud. Little Pet was mellow in her back carrier tucked under my umbrella, content to play with my hair and occasionally grab at the rain.

JB will officially be finished with residency in a few weeks and is trying to unwind from the last three months of call. We marked his final overnight call a few weeks ago with a visit to the hospital and a cafeteria dinner, then a walk through the halls of the unit to visit with the nurses and other staff. It is great to think that the only call JB will have from now on out will be home call and the occasional late night visit to the ER.

Soon Juji’s summer vacation will start and all the summer picnics, birthdays and outdoor celebrations will begin, but for now it is chilly and wet. It is a good day to stay in and regroup, to think about shifting priorities and transitions. A day to catch up on myself and see where I am headed this summer.

The other day the two kids and I, along with the dog, hung out in the yard on a warm dewy morning. Little Pet sat on a blanket in the grass and chewed on dandelions while Juji helped me in the garden. We found an old coconut that someone threw in the compost a year ago thinking it might break down eventually (me) as well as other partially decomposed food particles (peanut and egg shells, avocado seeds) and a few laffy taffy wrappers, fruit stickers and random rubber and metal things. We sifted out the riff-raff and spread the dark compost on the newly dug garden.

Meanwhile, Stelladog had started attacking the coconut, barking and nudging it with her nose. She had managed to get it stuck in a little pothole in the grass and was working with all her might to get it out and rolling again. Little Pet laughed and kept digging around in the dirt for something to eat. We didn’t get to the planting yet, the seeds are still in their little white packages, but we did get outside in the mud and mess of the garden together.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Alice in Illustrator Land

last call

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Toys R Nuts

Ever sit in a parking lot of a Toys R Us store and count how many kids come out crying? Well I did and I counted 3 in 3 minutes, including my own. To tell the truth, I felt like crying too. It wasn’t just the overwhelming assault of plastic not found in nature colors that line the floor to ceiling shelves, or the deranged versions of lullabies that seem to be coming from the innards of everything from books to teddy bears. Really, I think it is the learning toys that call out to you from the shelves when you walk by in this electronically-forced cheerful voice that are the weirdest. It can be a totally surreal experience going to a huge toy store on only a few hours of broken sleep, but when the toys start talking to you, saying stuff like “Time to count!,” and “You’re my best friend” then surely something is amiss.

Even my favorite Fischer Price Little People aren’t little anymore - it looks like they have been super-sizing their freedom fries for too long, finally catching up with their obese neighbors, the Weebles.

And what is with the Pink Isle? Having a first-born son, I have never ventured near that particular part of the store. What exactly is down there and how do they find so many shades of pink?

Luckily, I didn’t have time to think about the Pink Isle for long because up ahead were the Baby Toys. The doctor's office recommended a busy box and stacking toys for babies six months and up and since Little Pet had just started sitting up on her own, I thought I’d check out the selection. Busy boxes my arse! Maybe we used to call them busy boxes back when all we needed to learn was how to push a button or turn a dial and out pops up a smiling mickey mouse. But now I think they are called ADHD consoles or manic boxes or holy shit I’m overstimulated contraptions. Even the stacking toys have bells and whistles.

So we left the store fussing and crying, with a plastic bag full of toys made of color and lights and music and went and breastfed in the car and watched the other kids come out with their heads spinning too.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Turn off the Brain Week

It is Tuesday and I am sitting in a computer lab on campus looking out the window at a lovely sunny May afternoon. I am finally starting to feel like a human again, after a few weeks of spring allergies, strep, sinus trouble and just plain battle fatigue.

JB finished up month 2 of 3 of the wards with 1 sometimes 2 overnights a week and we just enjoyed his one day off (Sunday) in 12 or so days. The spring semester is wrapping up in a few weeks, Jujimo has started his soccer and little league seasons and little miss Petunia is heading for her six month check up in one week. She is enthusiastically eating rice cereal, banging her hands on the table for more and grabbing the spoon to chew on. She has the snowman look these days, with arms outstretched and a big grin on her face, bundled up on the sidelines of Juji’s soccer games.

Juji has just finished up his “Turn off the TV” week and, except for a few moments of boredom and “what can I do’s,” he successfully avoided all screen time for one week. Friday night was tough, because we have a long-standing tradition of ordering pizza and watching a family movie. So after some moping and whining, Juji discovers that a day old helium balloon has the perfect loft for Stelladog to nudge in the air with her wet nose and a game is born. The dog noses the balloon up, barks until it comes down and taps it back up in the air and continues to bark. The baby screeches and laughs and Juji bops it back to Stella.

The apartment and I are very “lived in” these days as I can’t seem to find time to brush out my hair, return calls, fold the laundry and pick up the Easter grass that is spread around the carpet. There are times when I just have to turn off the non-stop multitasker in my brain and just sit with it, mess and all. Say screw the garbage by the back door, the dog poop in the yard, the dishes piling high in the sink and go take a long nap with the baby.