Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Perfect Match

There are some encounters I'd really like to see. I remember being told that Dr. Seuss died on the same day as some famous horrible nazi killer (which now that I've extensively googled AND wikipedia'd the subject I have to say is unsubstantiated. Pity) and I thought dang, I rather hope there's a pearly gate and a St Peter (with keys) because man would I like to be in line right behind those two guys when the Reckoning comes!

Sadly, given the apparent lack of historical accuracy to the story, the belief that if there is a pearly gate the waiting period isn't quite this long, and the possibility that given such a scenario I would probably be doing a lot of grubby and hasty soul-searching myself (as in - soul? I have a soul?? dangit... whodathunkit) I don't think I'll have that opportunity. Life (or afterlife) is full of these tragic disappointments.

I've never gone in for those great sports confrontations - you know, like when two divas of professional wrestling clash in an enormous struggle of spandex and humorous footwear. I don't really care about football ('Merkin style) and I find baseball incredibly tedious. The only sport I really enjoy watching is football (the entire world except the 'Merkins style) and as we don't have cable sadly I can't follow the triumphs and tragedies of Arsenal or Man U. It's terrible the way fate intervenes in my perfectly virtuous desire for vicarious conflict.

However a week or so ago I discovered a much more interesting possibility. I want to be around when the owners of the two cars who consistently park close together near my work finally come face to face. Bumper sticker on car a: "In case of rapture this vehicle will become unmanned." Bumper sticker on car b: "If you don't pray in my school, I won't think in your church."

Now I need a giant foam hand and a hot dog.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Alan Johnston - Q&A

Alan Johnston answered a few questions from BBC viewers, including his opinions on the political and military situation in the Gaza Strip and on Hamas's efforts to free him. As a reporter who spent years in the area and who has numerous personal ties his insights are fascinating and, I feel, important. Definitely worth a read, particularly if you live in a country that tries to influence the situation.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Alan Johnston: My Kidnap Ordeal

Anyone who followed the Alan Johnston story will be interested in this article where he tells the full story: moving, beautifully written.

If you don't read any other section, read through this one - it is extremely powerful.

"I felt that I would not be able to pick up a book again about the Holocaust without feeling a sense of shame, if I were somehow to break down mentally under the very, very, very much easier circumstances of my captivity.

I thought too that, unfortunately, every day around the world, people are being told that they have cancer, and that they only have a year or two to live. But the vast majority of them find the strength to face the end of their lives with dignity and courage.

I, on the other hand, was just waiting for my life to begin again, and I told myself that it would be shameful if I could not conduct myself with some grace in the face of my much lesser challenge. "

It's something I have thought since the first day I heard Kirk was missing. Yes, this is terrible, but other people have faced this and worse, and they have faced it with strength. I can't do less than that. I don't think I have ever come up to that ideal. I have fallen short in dozens of ways but I have to keep working towards it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Target Pixies

My local Target is transmogrifying into a Super Target (which I want to write as SSSSSSOOOOpah Target because that's how it sounds in my head). Originally it just meant that half the store was closed off and it was hard to find a place to park, but then something happened and I'm pretty sure the store is infested with pixies. Really, really energetic little Target pixies.

First they took everything in the store and rotated it one place clockwise (Clean plate! Clean plate! Move down...) which was disconcerting, and a little irritating as half of the stuff I wanted to get to was now farther away and I had to waaaaaaalk. Apparently that wasn't good enough though, because about a month ago they began arbitrarily picking up entire sections and shuffling them mysteriously so one day dog food would be cozying up to the potato chips and then whoop! Swap! it's seven aisles down next to the Barbie pink area. I'm pretty sure it was pixies because it all happened over night and the employees themselves knew nothing about it - the poor checkout people started looking hunted and trained themselves out of the habit of asking cheerily, "so! Did you find everything okay today?"

I think the store manager might have forgotten to leave a bowl of milk out overnight or something (or is that for brownies? I forget...) because the pixies clearly got their little mythical knickers in a twist and they began simply vanishing things away leaving sad little empty squares of floor all roped off to show where the crime took place.

It made shopping there a bit of a gamble as a. you weren't ever sure whether there would even be a laundry detergent aisle today and b. even if it was there it was very likely you wouldn't be able to find it.

However two weeks ago there was a whole day where the store smelled strongly of rubber cement* - except by the new coffee counter where it smelled of pinon-flavored espresso rubber cement, last week burly men with overstretched t-shirts began standing around in large groups and watching one guy muscle freezer cases into place and yesterday we got a nice mailing telling us we could now buy milk and cheese and frozen peas along with our chic and cheap bathroom rug.

I admit it'll be nice to have easy access to not-Costco-sized slabs of lunch meat. But I'm gonna miss those pixies.

*did anyone else love rubber cement as a kid? It was so cool! It was goopy, and it smelled horrible, and if you used only one layer it made a sort of post-it note out of anything you wanted and if you slapped it on both layers it acted like really really good glue but it didn't warp your construction paper. Plus, if you painted it on something really thick (and it was excellent fun watching it dry, wasn't it? Dang I was a sad kid...) and then rubbed it off it made beautifully convincing looking boogers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Change in the Weather

Fall is here (hooray!) and winter is breathing down its neck. Unfortunately it arrived on Sunday, a definite cold front blown in on the wind, and we hadn't yet gotten the swamp cooler put to bed and the heater switched on. I like chill and I had been enjoying being able to use a duvet again and wear a sweater around the house so I hadn't really bothered the landlord about it. 54 degrees on Monday morning, however, was a leeetle much, even for me. Our charming landlord-husband spent an hour or so on the roof, flipped levers and switches and things in the Mystery Closet of Furnacedom and voila there was heat.

It was, therefore, slightly easier to lever the Children out of bed this morning what with the lack of icicles on their little noses and everything.

But only slightly.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Brain Hurts

One of the Children has a test today in Algebra II (Now! With Calculus!). All three had a day off yesterday to allow the one grade we don't represent to take an exam, so in theory Child had plenty of time to do a little studying. Theories are so nice, aren't they? After Child returned from soccer in the afternoon I asked it how much actual real algebra it had done and it wailed: "Augh! I was hoping I could have SOME fun today!" Since this was after spending a happy day sleeping in, playing video games, reading books, playing soccer and inhaling large numbers of waffles (yes, all day as far as I can tell) I wasn't entirely sympathetic.

However, I am a Good Mom so I agreed to help it go over its math.

Ooooh boy was that fun! Two hours where we flung cos and tan around with wild abandon, where the asymptote was approached but never really reached and csc was firmly put into its place (once we peeked at the back of the book to see how the heck they got D out of A and B).


Which meant that very early this morning I looked at the clock and spent a good five minutes trying to work out 3 a.m. in radians.

Do me a favor Child, next time could you please have a nice gentle crisis with Jane Austen?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

But Everyone Knows About...

When we lived in Alaska I did a favor for a client and represented his dealership at the state fair*. Nearly every person who stopped by (after asking if we had any trucks - that was the first thing everyone said) would eventually get around to asking if I had gone to see the cabbages yet. It wasn't are you going to see the cabbages, no it was just assumed that there was really only one good reason to come to the fair and that was to see the cabbages.

I can't describe the shock and bemusement when I told them I had never heard anything special about cabbages. Never? Never heard of the cabbages? Never ever? But... but! They are Alaskan! Cabbages! I eventually wandered over to the fruit and veg building and figured out what they were so excited about. I must admit, those were some pretty darn impressive cabbages.

It turns out there's a whole cabbage growing community - elite and utterly ruthless. They hoard secrets about seeds, planting mix and cabbage-primping techniques (having to do with hair dryers apparently) all for the mind-boggling glory of showing a winning cabbage at the fair. I heard dark stories of sabotage, accusations of shady practices and very rude comments about leaf shape and head construction. The judges were solemn and apparently impervious to the roiling emotions around them as they peered and hefted and weighed.

What was interesting though is that these cabbages, enormous and impressive as they are, were the one thing that Alaskans blithely assumed the rest of the world was aware of. Grizzly bears? Nope. Salmon runs? Nah. Hardy gold-hunters with bad teeth and questionable hygiene? All in the past. But the cabbages, now that's Alaska.

Where I live now people feel the same way about our chile. It's not just any chile, it's Hatch Green Chile - different varieties boasting more or less fire but all huge, gorgeous green pods with an inimitable flavor. My sister has grown chile for several years on her land in Indiana but although the plants get enormous and bear hundreds of beautiful chiles the taste just isn't the same. It must be something in the soil - like needing just the right land to grow a fine wine grape.

Green chile shows up everywhere. Cheese and chile bagels are common as is the green chile cheeseburger (even McD's has a version although I can't recommend it). There's chile jelly and chile candy; I've seen chile centered chocolates and spiked relishes. I know someone who adds it to pesto (!! I know.) and any number who throw it into pasta, salads, breads and soups with varying results. Anyone can tell you how good green chile is for colds or how best to avoid having your hands burn when you're skinning and seeding them (some swear by gloves, some prescribe a milk bath afterwards, the hardy announce they never feel the burn at all - personally I would simply suggest you make very sure never to rub your eyes!). You can tell whether a waiter has pegged you for an out-of-stater by how much water is brought to your plate before you even start on your chile rellenos.

Right now the chile roasters are out - big metal barrels turned over an open flame - and sections of the city are smokily fragrant. It's best to get them this way, nice and fresh and just roasted so they're still piping hot. You can slip the skin off and freeze them to use for the rest of the year.

A friend of mine emailed to see if this was a good time of year to visit the area. The aspen trees are almost finished in a lot of places, I said, and it's getting colder up north, but you're still in time for the chile. Chile? She wrote, bewildered, What do you mean chile?

But... everyone knows about Hatch Green Chile!

*NB I was not necessarily the best person to choose for this being as I knew absolutely nothing about cars at the time. I quickly learned the patter though, always saving the most important thing for last. "And," I would, opening the door and gesturing for the customer to climb inside, "it has heated seats!" To the Anchorageites it was definitely 'nuff said.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Personality Test

Me: Hey! It's reeeeaaaally quiet out there. What are you guys doing?

Child 1: Reading.

Child 2: Plotting!

Child 3: ... .... ... eh? what?

And that pretty much sums them up.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fine Feathers

The Homecoming Children needed dressing. Sadly neither of them was going for my "formal jeans" suggestion - no vision those kids. The Male Child did dig out his father's suits and give them a try but as it weighs about... I'm guesstimating here... 120 pounds (and it is around 5'10") that wasn't going to fly.

Now, I do get the need for dressing up. Where I grew up dressing up for girls started young and with a vengeance. There was First Holy Communion which necessitated an enormous amount of white tulle, a pair of pristine gloves, and some white patent leather slippers. A few years later there was quinzenera which meant even more tulle - usually blue or pink this time and sometimes augmented with a full hoop skirt - another pair of gloves (elbow) and tippy high heeled shoes.

Unfortunately I was culturally debarred from either of these and when we walked through Sears on our way to buy this year's pair of tennis shoes (blue or red - I got to pick! sometimes!) I would lust secretly after the racks of meringue fluff displayed temptingly all down the aisle. It was terribly frustrating.

So, as I said I do understand the need for dressing up, and I'm very supportive of it in theory but unfortunately in practice in meant I had to go shopping. Which, I must confess, I do not love. Buying I'm okay with, I do get the need to go a'buying now and then - but shopping? Voluntarily going to a mall full of hordes of teenagers and mall walking super granmas and just browsing in the hopes of finding something? Ugh.

But I love my Children. I do. So the female Child and I girded loins and stiffened lips and ventured in. Luckily it has the same approach to shopping for formal dresses as I do viz:

1. spend half an hour finding the ugliest dresses in the store (look! It's yellow! And shiny! HA HA!)

2. find three dresses that are bearable

3. look at the price tags and put your head between your knees for some deep breathing

4. find the crowded rack stuffed with off sizes and lip-stick stained satin that is marked "Clearance!" and spend another 20 minutes sliding the hangers back and forth

5. Whine (oh wait, that was just me...)

6. go back to the full-price area and find The Dress

7. go try on The Dress and realize it is more than just The Dress, it is THE DRESS.

8. remember that it is also THE DRE$$ and get very, very sad

9. Head to the next department store for another round

Fortunately we found THE DRESS again at the third store and not only was it marked less on the regular price, it was also ON SALE! which pretty much says the gods have spoken.

This was all about a month before the dance because the female Child is on top of these things. The male Child waited until two days before the dance to mention (just as we were heading to bed) that it had nothing at all to wear. Thanks Child. Fortunately it is indeed male so we managed to find it a shirt that had long enough sleeves (the male Child has a 6'2" wingspan. I know.) and was only twice as large around as necessary, a pair of trousers (on sale! at the discount store!), a belt (necessitated by the slightly-too-big-around issue with the discount trousers), and a tie, the afternoon before the dance. Total time in the discount store? 10 minutes.

And I have to admit.

They looked darn good.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Big Weekend

Two of the Children have volunteered for a fund raiser that involves them getting up at 2:00 in the morning on Saturday and Sunday, organizing themselves and hopefully a fair amount of layered warm clothing and standing in the cold and dark for six hours helpfully shoving people in various directions.

These same two Children are also going to homecoming* which is Saturday night. Good planning, don't you think?

Since after careful questioning I discovered that I do not have to get up at 2:00 myself OR drive anyone anywhere I smiled lovingly at them and said, "have fun guys!" I'm a great mom.

*For the foreign set: homecoming is this thing see, where the football team plays a game. It's not the final game, heck it's not even the first game - it's just a game**. For weeks before the game the entire school is whipped into a frenzy (theoretically) over who will be the homecoming "queen" and "king" - decided by a popularity vote***. As far as I can tell the queen doesn't actually participate in the game at all, but just wanders onto the field at half time and waves aimlessly for a while. Then there's a big dance where everyone wears bridesmaids dresses and wobbly high heels. Well, except most of the guys who wear tuxes (some) or suits. Watery punch is served, several people have fights, several more are kicked out of the dance for various reasons, and a reasonable number of the girls end up crying in the hall. This is a rite of passage essential for producing the fine selection of mental scars that make Americans what we are today.

** My school had the dubious honor of being the school everyone else wanted to play for homecoming. We were famous for our defensive strategy. It was called The Hole.

*** Normally this is the pretty type, but we did things a little differently 'round my neck of the woods. One of our queens was a fantastic girl, weighed about 250 pounds, wore a white sheath gown for the "walk 'o candidates" and had a leopard skin flung over one shoulder. She became a riveter when she graduated. Another one came up to me in the hall one day, clouted me on the shoulder and said, "you know what? I like you. Is there anyone you want me to beat up for you?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Obviously transitions aren't my strong point. Trouble is, this is a blog and while one day is all geetocks and rubber policemen the next is... well it just is.

So it was a tough day yesterday. I invented a word for it a while ago, a word just Child 2 and I use: gronky. I was gronky most of yesterday. It's sort of a combination of grumpy and cranky but there's a side-note of self-awareness that lets you laugh a little. Just a little.

Child 2 countered with the version "grunky" but that sounds like grimy and gunky portmanteau'd together and I definitely don't want to be that.

The one good thing about those gronky days is they don't last forever - they just feel like they will. So.

This morning I got a request to send copies of some designs I had done for a major event we had recently. I was particularly pleased with these designs - I liked the whole thing, the composition, the palette - all of it. Often I'll do something and then I have to stare at it for the next six months and by the end of it I hate the darn thing, but this one... well I'm still happy with it.

Someone's going to be writing the event up for a small newsletter and they want to enliven the whole thing with some graphics; it's all good publicity for a program that still needs support so I'm happy to oblige and I send over a couple of files. An email comes flying back asking if there is a graphic artist credit they can use - this is an extremely unusual request around here where most of the work goes whizzing by without much attention paid to who did it or what it took to get it done. I give her my name and throw in a laughing comment on the jack-of-all-trades stuff I do lately. She sends this back:

"Wow - those were fantastic! I bought t-shirts for my husband and son, both because [it] was a great event, and because the graphics were so striking!"

I have to smile at the screen.

Today's not going to be such a gronky day.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007



I've written about seven posts in my head, none of which will hit the screen and I'll be darned if I have figured out even yet what to write.

Yes, four years ago today Kirk went missing from a road in Iraq. You can read the story here. A little over a year ago the investigating agency told us they believe that Kirk was killed that day. You can read a very brief description of how we found that out here.

So how do we, the Children and I, deal with today? One Child was invited to a meeting this evening, and looked at me in concern. "But mom, it's the 9th..." I know, and I told Child what I still believe - that loving Kirk means not turning the 9th into a day of mourning, that missing him doesn't mean shutting everything down and turning out the lights because we have to be Very Very Sad today. We are, of course we are, but Kirk would hate to think of us spending the day that way. Child should go to its meeting and enjoy itself.

It does sit there though, the day. I've been exceptionally aware of it this year although I don't know why, and all morning its been waiting at the edge of my mind, waiting to see what I'm going to do about it.

So I guess this is what I'm doing - just acknowledging that it's today and that this year, this day, that's about as much as I can do.

Friday, October 05, 2007

You Say Tomayto, I Say Geetock

I was IMing with a friend yesterday and we hit one of those amazing Instant Message Speedbumps that brings the entire conversation to a crashing halt. I was describing the detritus that seeps out of the Children's rooms and onto the living room floor on a daily basis: backpacks, school books, non-school books (MORE non-school books, thank you Book Child...), papers, pencils, several dirty socks and, even though it's October, flip-flops.

Only I didn't say flip-flops or even thongs (which is unfortunately all too easy to confuse with another item of clothing altogether), I used the name I was taught as a child - Geetocks. I don't even know how to spell the thing, I just know how it sounded. Every summer my sister and I would be bought a pair of plastic, foam soled geetocks. No one else used that term and I have no idea where it came from but yesterday it bubbled up out of my subconscious and typed itself into the message.

Needless to say it turned the conversation a little bit.

Friend: erm... what?

Me: Geetocks, you know, geetocks. GEEEEEE-tocks.

Friend: Which are... no, it sounds like some kind of food. Something green and a little slimy but with stringy bits as well.

Me: Like okra?

Friend: Yeah! Only it's plural isn't it... maybe it's an illness.

Me: Oooh - with phlegm, because there's something about geetocks that just implies phlegm. Plus it's fun to type together... hey, gotta tissue? 'cause I got the geetocks and I'm all full of phlegm...

Friend: Nah, I think it's like an infestation of something, some sort of horrible little animal that scuttles.

Me: I HAVE to call the exterminator. This place is simply crawling with geetocks.

Friend: So... what are they anyway?

She was terribly disappointed when I told her.

Wait until she finds out what I mean when I ask for a rubber policeman.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I was raised in a book house rather than a television house. (I know, I've written about it before, about being a culturally deprived child - what can I say, it marked me). What's more, my book house was strongly anglo-centric and had a definite high-water mark at around 1950. I read very few books that were written after that time, and those that were often had an earlier setting or were (I feel) strongly pre-war in philosophy and voice.

Kids at my school, those who read (and that was a small few) were reading Judy Bloom while I was following the adventures of the St. Clair twins in their English boarding school. It meant that I was well grounded in "classic" children's literature, but had absolutely nothing to say to anyone my own age.

And that was a problem you see, because half of the joy of a book is finding someone who is just as excited about it as you are. You need to be able to read out the funny bits and have someone else get all lit up and excited because they loved that part - and what about...??

There were a few books when I was little that became "my" books, the books I read over and over and incorporated into my private world: The Chronicles of Narnia, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, and L.M. Montogomery's Anne books (we didn't have Emily on our shelves so I only met her much later on). For several years I fantasized that I would, at around age 11, crawl through a wardrobe to find emerge in Prince Edward Island transmogrified into a powerful red-haired wizard. Or something like that.

When I had Children I happily introduced them to many of my favorites by the simple method of reading out loud to them when they were essentially captive and helpless (lunch is good because they're eating and their little mouths are full). We started with Seuss and Milne and worked our way through most of the Short List of Children's Literature to varying reactions. Generally they liked what they heard, and there was a rush at the end of the book to be first to claim it for the re-read (it's not really your book until you've read it yourself.).

Now, one of the children is the Book Child. They all read, but this is the one who inhales - the one who is not complete unless it has at least one book at its elbow, preferably two so there isn't an agonizing gap of time between reading the last page and standing up to get another book. This Book Child has discovered books of its own (Heidi was one - Child read Heidi every day for MONTHS when it was about 6) but I was slightly sad that none of them was "My Book."

Until this week. Child ran out of books - and when I say that it should be understood that this is calamitous in the extreme, that there is a profound sadness in the air because Child Has Nothing To Read. This Child has for years now been a fantasy snob who gobbles down reams of fairly light and fluffy stuff (sorry Child, but Tamora Pierce IS light and fluffy). If it has a fairy/unicorn/dragon/wizard - or recently darkly misunderstood vampire - in it Child will read it. In this crisis though I tentatively suggested Child give L.M. Montgomery a try, and dug out Emily of New Moon for it. There was a certain amount of resistance, but given the alternative (no book - and possibly having to do homework or chores to entertain itself) Child sighed and gave the book a try.

It took a bit to get used to the language, but when I pointed out this was part of the charm Child was willing to make the effort. Chapter 1 was read with quiet boredom. Chapter 2 went down with a few grudging chuckles; by chapter 3 Child was racing along at its usual breakneck pace and was demanding the second Emily at once. Unfortunately we don't own the third in the series, but Child was now willing to branch out, so I proffered Anne instead. It instantly decided that Matthew was its favorite character (it had to read aloud almost the entirety of the chapter where Matthew goes off to buy Anne a pretty dress) and by bed-time it had read its way nearly to the end.

Which is why just as I was drifting off to sleep I was jerked awake by an indignant howl from Child's room, and I remembered how bitterly I sobbed at that particular chapter whenever I read it. And I had to smile just a little because it was Our Book now.

It's good, you know, to have a Book Child.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Arthropodal Visions

Where I work we have a Bug Man. He's a locally famous Bug Man who has his own Bug Man column in the paper and everything so the theory is he is highly qualified.

I have read his column, and every week it goes something like this:

Q1: Dear Bug Man. I have sent you a sample of unknown Bug for you to identify. Please tell me what it is, whether it is dangerous, and how I can get rid of it?

Ans: Dear Reader. Please do not send me bug samples in envelopes. It is very difficult to identify bugs when they are smashed into little bitty bug crumbs. Here as always is my instruction list for Sending Bugs Safely Through the Mail. Sincerely, Bug Man.

Q2: Dear Bug Man. I have an infestation of [heinous bug] and I want to get rid of them at once! Please advise.

Ans: Dear Reader. Isn't [heinous bug] a fascinating species? Here is a large amount of information on their history and personal habits so you can better appreciate your multi-legged guest. They are harmless and perfectly charming and will eat any number of things leaving behind only their small, buggy carcasses and a large amount of bug poop. What could be nicer? DO NOT USE CHEMICALS. Chemicals are vile, and will do the following disgusting things to you, your pets, and probably the ozone. If you absolutely must rid yourself of your delightful bug infestation you should use these non-invasive, non-effective methods.

It's not terribly surprising then that Bug Man's philosophies and methods have produced a large, thriving population of cockroaches around here. I can honestly say I have never seen such enormous, healthy specimens in my life. They know they have it made too because they don't bother to scuttle - they stroll calmly down the halls and barely flick an antenna when someone walks past.

There are many things I can face well. I look on spiders with appreciation and even mild interest (although our local black widows are best admired from a distance imho); I actually like snakes and lizards and other critters of the "creepy crawly" variety. Cockroaches though, cockroaches are where I draw the line.

I do have a method for dealing with them. First I jump back several feet because they are liable to leap at one, going for the eyes I think. Then I move forward again because it's necessary to ascertain that it is indeed a cockroach and not an unfortunately hairy piece of lint or something. Then I do my best imitation of cat-stepping-in-water combined with the yakking-a-hairball noise for a while. At that point it's necessary to find someone else to deal with the disgusting creature because me, I can't even step on 'em (they CRUNCH and OOZE and... sorry, I have to go shudder in the corner for a while).

Which is why I'm having just a bit of difficulty concentrating this morning since the first thing that greeted me on arrival was a particularly fat and juicy roach crawling happily down the hall toward my office.

There are two people around here who are willing to help out in the crisis. One will gather the cockroach up on a bed of tissue, carefully take it downstairs and outside and gently tuck it away somewhere safe with little murmurs of reassurance and affection. I'm all for loving all living creatures and that, but this to me seems a leetle excessive. Plus it makes me feel guilty for my bloodthirstiness. The other insists on a lot of eye rolling and for-heaven's-saking before she's willing to do the grisly deed. However, she does kill the insect dead which is, in my opinion, very important since it will not then crawl back somehow and seek its buggy revenge on me.

I think I'll go ask for her help. Just as soon as I climb back down off my desk.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oh Dear

The Siblings gave Child 3 a particular game it had asked for and I (being a generous and kind mother) lifted the electronics ban so the game could be tried at once.

As far as I can tell the premise is that you have a car. This car is very, very fast, and also is indestructible. This is very important because you are supposed to drive at top speed through various city streets and little things like light posts and other vehicles often get in the way. Child 3 is very, very good at this game. It spent a happy hour zipping its pixelated vehicle up and down the road with a sturdy disregard for obstacles that was truly impressive to watch. In fact, I found I couldn't watch so after five minutes I left the Children to it and retired with a nice Dorothy Sayers for company. I could hear a muffled series of whoops and giggles punctuated by loud tire screeching and frequent crashes coming from the front room.

The game was turned off with some reluctance at the end of the night and Child 3 came to my door with a slightly manic gleam in its eyes.

"Mom, let's go out to the mall parking lot right now and you can start teaching me to drive!"

Child 3 couldn't understand my reluctance at all.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Child 3

Today is Child 3's birthday and, with no bias, I can honestly say Child 3 is the finest 15-year-old I know. It has spent the last year stretching alarmingly until it seems to be all legs and arms and fiendish blue eyes. It has always had a tremendous sense of humor and a deeply loving heart but it has added a new ambition, a belief in itself, and an acceptance of responsibility that makes me stop and stare sometimes in amazement at its sudden maturity.

This evening we will have chocolate cake with chocolate icing (and probably bits of extra chocolate stuck in here and there where it seems appropriate). We will almost certainly get gyros from the Turkish deli down the street as a particular treat, and Child 3 might even be allowed to break the usual week-day electronics ban. It will unwrap its gifts (rectangular for the most part; one square) and at some point call its grandfather so they may congratulate each other on their excellent taste in birth dates.

And I will watch this tall, funny, intelligent, generous being and wonder again at really, how lucky I am.