Saturday, April 16, 2005


Really! I understand your need to pick at things while nursing? But must you pinch?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Lord Giveth

... And the tax man taketh away.

Actually we came out a couple grand ahead this year so we can't complain. Didn't bother to file til today though, out of sheer laziness. So I had to go to the store and get stamps (also something I didn't do earlier for no good reason) and then drive all the way to Portland to put the various forms (state and county, we e-filed the feds) into the mail at the main post office since I don't know where there is one here and didn't feel like driving around looking for it in the dark. Since we didn't get it done til after Survivor was over.

That Multnomah County tax really pisses me off though. At least we won't have to pay it next year since we don't live there anymore. Like federal and state taxes aren't enough already... Imagine funding your schools through extra taxes on top of the levies and crap they are constantly shoving through the ballot measures, rather than having a stable, adequate funding stream that does not waver and flicker according to the whims of the few voters who bother to show up... not to mention using lottery profits... how's that for ethical? Maybe there's some tobacco money involved too! And why not use some of the taxes they collect from alcohol! "Drink more booze! Class sizes are getting too big again! One more shot! Come on, do it for the kids! "

Okay, enough of that silliness. Just glad to be out of that particular crazy system. I'm sure there are plenty of idiosyncracies to be had right here in Vancouver. But not in relation to school funding. So I'm told.

Delia spent this evening attending her first t-ball game with us. Almost-5-year-old nephew Tommy's team, the Marlins, was playing their first game of the season. We shot a good 15 minutes of high-quality 100 % digital footage (can you still call it footage although no actual lengths of film are used? hmm) of him out on the field dancing, wriggling, jumping up and down, and grabbing himself. Yes sir, this young man has a future in baseball, once he learns how to spit anyway. That was when he got to play first base, his favorite position. When they put him in as shortstop the next inning he sort of sashayed out there, which sadly we did not get on video, but it would have made any decent drag queen squeal in envy. Other children spent their field time digging in the dirt and wandering around aimlessly or, occasionally, paying actual attention to the game. The game was four innings long and must have lasted four hours from the way things were going by the time we left. We had to go because Delia hadn't had dinner and was getting squirmy, but frankly I'd seen about all the 5-year-old baseball I needed to see of an evening, and then some. Not that it wasn't fun and I'll certainly do it again, because Tommy's a great little guy and it means a lot to him, but I don't know that I'll necessarily attend all the games or stay the whole time every time. We can always blame Delia...

After we got home and had dinner, Delia spent the remainder of her evening doing something I've seen her doing more the last couple of days, which is sitting by the doll cradle she got for Christmas and removing the doll and stuffed bears from it. Then she puts them back in. Then takes them out again. All the while huffing and puffing with monkey lips and/or babbling a variety of sounds. It's pretty hilarious. She's even figuring out that you can use a blanket to cover up the doll/bears. The doll is a soft doll with vinyl face, sort of a "baby's first dolly" kind of thing, and she enjoys picking it up by its butt (where the tag is, you see) and waving it around because it jingles (very exciting) or else trying to scratch its screen-printed eyes off with her fingernail. But then! (and this is very exciting! by parental standards, anyway) she appeared to hug the doll this evening! She only just started to hug us in the past month or so and even then it's only if she's tired or just woke up. But each day it seems she does it a little more and appears to enjoy it for its own sake and not just for comfort when she's fragile. Actual affection! Whoa!

She's so close to walking. Her balance is improving day by day and she sometimes stands up from all fours without touching anything around her -- she has taken a step or two toward something (usually a dog) but I wouldn't really call it walking. Soon, though... very soon...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Too Many Books?

Is there such a thing?

Went back to the library sale on Sunday when books were two dollars for a whole grocery sack full. Got many, some for Shannon but plenty for us too. If I had not had a wriggling young'un in an umbrella stroller (such a handy device for crowded venues!) I would have stayed longer, browsed more comprehensively, and perhaps come away with multiple bags. But as it was I had only one bag. And somebody from the sale still had to help me carry it up the stairs since I couldn't get both the books and the baby in one trip.

J's in Philadelphia right now at a conference about metering. Sounds too exciting. But she will get to spend the morning Friday cruising around getting Delia a Liberty Bell bank. We saw the bell and Independence Hall about five years ago when we got cheap tickets to Washington DC and spent a week there looking at Smithsonian museums, then in the middle of it all we hopped a train up to Philadelphia to see a Maxfield Parrish exhibit (which became the highlight of the trip for me). We hiked up the way to see the bell etc. which was cool despite the fact that my feet hurt so bad I could hardly see straight. We noticed one thing about Philly that lingers on in my memory: bad sewer-gas type smells constantly wafting up from the sidewalk grates. It was like Calcutta on a hot day. What's the deal?!

Anyway J is lonely in the hotel at night and wishes we'd just bought ticket for me and Delia and spent the dough on a few more nights at the hotel. The expense of it plus the lengthy flight held us back but now I wish I'd gone.

Looking forward to going to Phoenix in less than three weeks though! Plotting and scheming what to take etc. We'll go see Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, maybe hit the Native American museum there, etc. Then slouch around with Cindy for the weekend. Fun!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Library Sale, Dogfighting, the Usual

So the sale closed about ten minutes after I got there... But I power-browsed and came away with a vintage L.M.M. Montgomery, an Anne Lamott, Margaret Cho's I'm the One That I Want, and three children's books: Blitz, about a fire-station horse, a copy of which I had as a child, and two Pippi Longstocking titles. All for four dollars and fifty cents.

Tomorrow J's family descends upon us for post-Easter Eastering. Everyone was too sick/newly born/something to come on Easter, so we are having the whole shebang tomorrow. J's Mom has been threatening to either come stay the night at either our or Shannon's house, thereby creating drama by complaining about the accomodations and spreading her crap out all over the kitchen, or arriving at our house at 10am for a 2pm gathering so as to "help" get everything ready, i.e. create drama by being in the way, the aforementioned spreading out of the crap, perhaps bringing her nasty little barking dog with her, chain smoking on the back patio in the rain and complaining and telling us what we "oughta" do, such as get at least an umbrella if not cover the patio altogether (effectively eliminating all the delicious sunshine which is one of the family room's finest redeeming features).

She's insisted on bringing the ham (probably freezer-burned, and missing a chunk already as I understand it) as well as potato salad. How do you tell someone you don't want them to bring their nasty dried up ham? Without hurting their feelings, that is. I'm pretty well versed in how to do it the ugly way. But is there a tactful way?!

She likes to tell everyone what they "oughta" do, such as name one's children some other name more appealling to her than the one chosen which, she is sure to announce, she doesn't like. When confronted by one of J's sisters on this habit of telling people that she doesn't like the name they have lovingly hand-picked for their precious bundle of joy, she appeared truly confused and said that she had to tell them how she feels, doesn't she? As if she had no choice in the matter.

I'm sure that if this is the extent of my complaints about her, that she is loud and likes to create drama and is unhelpful and annoying, I have it pretty easy by many people's standards when it comes to their in-laws. She's accepted me into the family and treats our daughter no differently than any of the other grandkids, i.e. lavishes gifts on her at every turn and will no doubt teach her to beg for M&M's like the others as soon as she can walk over and open her mouth on command. So perhaps I "oughta" cut her a break... She's over 60 and not in the best of health. I don't want to regret saying bad things and being less than gracious... Although grace is frequently not one of my stronger features.

Well, I should run. J has gone to the store for the last-minute purchases vital to all family gatherings, plus Neosporin and that spongy elastic wrap for the dog. The dogs have lost their spectator privileges in the dining room by having a huge snarly snappy bitey fight as we were having dinner. The like to hang out under the highchair and wait for snippets of whatever Delia's eating. Liked, I should say. Hope has a pretty comprehensive bite on her front leg that will be looked at tomorrow by J's sister the vet, and Ollie has one on her ear that goes to the cartilage. From now on they will spend our mealtimes in their beds with the door shut. I worry what will happen one day when Delia is old enough to eat at the table in a regular chair. What if she gets down and is wandering around with food? I don't think the dogs would attack her, but they will attack each other and what if Delia got in the middle of it? It's too horrible to think about. I know we will be very careful but we are human, accidents happen, mistakes are made... I don't want Delia to pay for a little lapse of attention.

Clearly I worry a lot. Recently we discovered she has kind of a slight bulge, or bump, on the top of her head, right where the growth plates come together in the front, and I literally could not sleep until it was looked at. In the blacker parts of my imagination I practically had the kid in major reconstructive surgery and badly disfigured by a skull deformity -- My beautiful girl! My precious angel! -- in the two days that went by until the doctor's appointment. Of course the doctor said it didn't look like anything to be worried about and just to keep an eye, and now it seems less prominent than it did, and I'm just an overprotective first-time parent. But it ruled my life for a couple of days and I found myself getting all sobby and weird in the car on the way home from the pool the night before the appointment.

Parenthood is fraught with genuine reasons for worry. Perhaps I should work on not making them up as well.

Spring Madness

Julianna has begun the feverish accumulation of plants for the yard. Every day there's another parcel in the mail for her -- yesterday, fifty gladiolus bulbs and some freebie carrot and giant sunflower seeds. Today, two butterfly bush plants, some clematis, liatris, hosta, you name it. It's nuts. At least she's laying off the trees. The yard is only so big. We already have a new stick, er, tree in the back yard, a white birch that came as a stick about one foot long. Now it's a foot long stick with leaves on it, protected from the hounds with a tomato cage!

Most of the trees here have leaves, or at least poofy little leaf-beginnings, and some have passed through the flowering already. Our dinky little azalea is covered in lime-green new leaves and little flowerbuds, and the camellia is blooming. I don't actually like camellias all that much, the blooms get all brown so fast and drop to the ground and lay there decomposing, it's just not all that attractive in my opinion. Better to have a nice hydrangea.

Hee hee! Julianna just came to inform me that I must go to the public library book sale RIGHT NOW! It's a rough life...