Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Workin' It

This morning I noticed one of Donny's eyebrows looked very, well, dramatic. It was dark and shiny and cocked at a rather rakish angle. "Oh, that" Mike said, "That's the bananas."

You heard it here first, eco conscious fashionistas: Banana Eyebrow Lacquer. Very Joan Crawford. Very Isabella Blow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oddly, His Mother Hates Musicals...

Last night, Mike and I were ganging up on the boy, getting him undressed and ready for his bath in the sink. He was lecturing us with his usual, "Da da DA DA DA! Da." Then he said "Da da TA!" This was the first time either Mike or I had heard the T sound coming from the boy. The rest of the night was us trying to get him to say, "Ta Da!" I personally would consider a firm, "Ta Da!" said with conviction and verve, to be an acceptable first word.

My first word, apparently, was "Duck." I've always liked to think of a sort of WWI Trench Warfare scenario; "So I was shooting my tommy gun into all the jerrys when the baby yelled "Duck!" How did she know that grenade was coming over? That kid saved my life!"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stress: Not Just A Verb Anymore

Life has been very stressful lately. I hate using the word "stress." Its such a passive 1990s concept, like second hand smoke or caffeine. But I guess I'm allowed to claim stress really exists if it gives me hives and intermittently makes me cry in public. So, tho I'm unwilling to acknowlege the validity of either caffeine or secondhand smoke as theories, I'll suck it up and get in the line of people blaming their hives on "stress."

Having named the problem, I'm now on a campaign to eliminate it. This means alot of things. It means saying "no" to things I don't want to do. It means hunting down friends with lives of their own and forcing them to have fun with me. It means saying a novena even if doing so sort of makes me feel silly even as it calms me down. It also means trying not to let money issues weigh me down or spiral out of control.

That being said, I worry about the number of credit fix commercials Donovan hears. We have the radio on for him alot and those damn commercials--every 3rd commercial on the radio is one of those commercials. A couple of months ago there was a set of them that had me reaching for my non-existant gun. A woman with this ripe yet understanding voice asks you all these questions "Are you scared of the future? Do you feel like your'e drowning in debt? Do you pay your bills but never seem to get ahead?" OK--that's the set up we're all familiar with, but then she says, "Well, its not your fault!" Not my fault? THE HELL ITS NOT! It is most certainly my fault--I may be filled with self loathing but I'm not stupid. Oy. So I worry about the boy--I worry that his room smells like diapers and not like the lavendar and roman chamomile esssential oil I put in the aromatherapy diffuser. I worry that, between the pollution of poop smells and shit commercials he will grow up a stressed out mess like his hivey old mom.

I went to a memorial service for my friend Digby today. I can now tell you that you havent heard a medley of show tunes until you've heard them on the Heinz Chapel Pipe Organ.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Not Going to Carnival

Carnegie Mellon has a Carnival every year and every year I get all excited to go. 9 times out of 10 I end up not going. Mike and I went last year and, apart from the poorly made funnelcake served to us by the aggressively disenchanted student, it was fun. This year I was stoked to take Donny.

Mike worked today so it was just me, the boy and the Pittsburgh transit system. My initial thought was to start at the library and then walk the block and a half to the carnival. As I was trying to cram everything for the boy into a reasonably sized bag, however, I realized I needed a backpack. Well, that would work: take the bus downtown, get a backpack at Burlington, choose one of a gazillion buses going back into Oakland.

We had a fine time at the first bus stop, which is the Herron Avenue Station. Donovan was smart enough to bring a block with him and that kept him amused up until the bus came.
No backpacks at Burlington (which means the era of the backpack as purse is officially officially over.) We hopped a 71A back into Oakland, had lunch at the little park outside of the library and then went into the kids library. As far as experiments go, it was a good one. Donny is still too young to really understand what's going on there but he enjoyed the alphabet rug and the wooden box with the wires and beads. He started to get a little shrieky and, having grown up in the Quiet Library era, I decided it was time to make an escape. That left us with 40 minutes before the next 54C home: not enough time for carnival but way too much time to spend at the busstop.

So we went to the Frick Fine Arts Building.

I love this building--its got a great backstory and its such an oldschool didactic space built in the completely wrong era. I don't know the architectural term for it but the center of the main building has this wonderful square gallery that surrounds a little square garden.
The gallery is full of reproductions of famous paintings. I tried to take a photo of Donny in front of Botticelli's Birth of Venus but I couldn't quite get the angle right. He was all wound up so I let him crawl around the polished stone floor--I'm sure Pitt mops that space way more than we ever mop our kitchen.
We also went outside to look at the fountain and the pots of pansies.

By the time we got back on the bus the boy was fussy. He couldn't get comfortable so I finally sat him on my lap facing forward and just held him down. Within about a minute he was snoring.

We didn't go to Carnival but it was still a nice day.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Hot Dog of Dorian Grey

I’ve been able to get in some babyless socializing and its been very nice. It’s also been sort of a wake up call. Today, Sheryl and I decided to be naughty schoolgirls and get lunch at the hot dog cart here on campus. My naughty schoolgirl sojurn ended when the hotdog lady asked me if Sheryl was my daughter.

I’m 41. Sheryl’s 40.

I am so getting a haircut this weekend.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Deep Ocean, Vast Sea

I've been surprisingly good about not using my credit card. Not as good as I should be, perhaps, but pretty darn good.

I dusted that mofo off tonight and bought 2 tickets to the Peter Murphy show in Cleveland.

This is how I operate: "Peter Murphy show in June? Why, that gives me plenty of time to lose weight! That can be my goal! Yes, yes--the carrot on the end of the stick! Why, I think I'll go brush and floss and wash my face right now! I feel better already!" Phone rings. Husband asks if I want a Baconator before the Wendy's drivethru closes. I go with a Spicy Chicken sandwich instead.

I bet you think its all fun and glamour and hahaha all the time, being a Gemini. No, no--we have our burdens, alas.

Speaking of food, I managed to make the boy what amounted to a honest to god souffle tonight. It was so freakish I actually ran upstairs to get the camera to take a photo of it. In the 30 seconds that took, Donny started CRYING. I mean can't catch your breath tears streaming down your face crying. I had to console him, obviously, but that meant when I finally took the photos the souffle had fallen. The kid continued to cry thru eating his souffle (which he seemed to like, tho it was hard to tell) and also while I tried to give him a bottle. The mystery was solved when he fell dead asleep on my chest while we were on the couch in the front room: "Oh. He's exhausted. That's what was going on." I actually ended up putting him into his crib in full daywear regalia: overalls, stripey shirt, shoes and all. I figured rightly that he would wake up a couple hours later and then it would be pajama time. Considering everything, he went down pretty easy tonight. It was just me and him as Dad went to the New Pornographers show. Last night he went to see John Vanderslice. All this of course means that Mike will be babysitting while me and Peter Murphy spend a romantic postshow evening splitting a bottle of Boones Farm somewhere dark and picturesque in Lakeview Cemetery.

Bad food is seems to be the theme of the night, doesn't it? Maybe I'm homesick.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Worlds Collide! (In a Good Way)

Today was Donovan's first birthday party. Mike and I wanted to have a party for the boy but moreso for all the folks who have helped him (and us) through his first year. This is something I'd thought about for a long time--we have been, after all, the recipients of much love, help, free stuff, food, and good wishes. Where some people have grandiose plans for baby birthday parties involving pony rides and "balloon artists" my grandiose plan was to invite everyone who had been at my shower and the folks at Mike's store who always check on him and, and, and...

Who knew the kid's birthday would roll around at the. worst. possible. time?

It all worked out for the best on a number of levels, not the least of which was the folks who could and did show up were a great cross section of people who either had never met or never really get to see one another very much. And as much as I wish my Ohio family could have made it, Mike's Mom and Dad were there and I was very happy to show them off to everyone. Donny got some great stuff, got fussed over and had a whole room of people sing to him. There were a couple of fussy moments but, really, he was a good boy. So good in fact that, when it came time for him to put his hands in the cake, he wouldn't do it.
Not at first. I thought he would be shoving cake up his nose and in his ears again but I guess what happens at daycare stays at daycare. There were a couple times that I got rattled--once when I asked Mike to make a bottle and then almost immediately asked him to pass out cake. Pop Shanley ran interference on that one. Its no wonder that marriage is going 50 years strong.

There was a time when I would give parties so big that you could feel the floor heave. These were not keg parties either, my friends. These involved salmon stuffed deviled eggs, wonton cups with Thai curry chicken and lets not forget the champagne. I think we threw down a nice party today but, dang. I need insoles or something! I'm wiped out. Happy, but wiped out.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Year and a Day

Yesterday, as I mentioned was Donny's first birthday. His daycare had scheduled a birthday party the day before when he was out sick but they rescheduled it for yesterday. Not knowing this, I went all rebel and stayed up late the night before last making--from scratch, mind you--banana cupcakes with creme cheese frosting. '

With 2 other birthdays in the same class it turned out to be a cupcake extravaganza. Donny must have liked his--when I went to get him he had frosting in his hair and cake in his ears. That is how you celebrate a birthday!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

From Tiny Acorns

This is what the boy looked exactly a year ago today. Yep, its his first birthday and, to paraphrase an exfriend imitating the guy in hunter's orange who went to highschool with her 20 years earlier, "He turned out good."

Speaking of turning out good, last night was a late night but it was infinately better than the last 2 or 3 have been. No one got to bed before 1am but that was because the boy was too happy to sleep. This morning he kept shoving his pacifier in my mouth and laughing--I think we may be over the hump.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wherein I Lose It

Yesterday was the day that everything crested and spilled over like my own personal Johnstown flood. As I have mentioned before, I am up for review this year and I have been work, work, working on my dossier towards that end. Its due on April 15th and I had a meeting scheduled with the Dean of the Libraries to go over it: very, very nervous. The night before, Donny had been up teething. All those stories you hear about teething? I believe most of them now. Our sunny little boy was literally shrieking nonstop for hours. Hours, I tell you. Then yesterday at work I got a call from daycare that I needed to pick him up as he had a fever of 103. That meant having to cancel my important meeting, missing another committee meeting where I'm actually the chair of the committee, and possibly missing the day off I had scheduled for tomorrow to get house stuff in order. Also: I should mention, when I picked him up, I was told he could'nt come into daycare today because his fever had been too high. That meant me missing another day of work, one in which I had rescheduled all of the meetings I'd had to cancel. It also meant Donovan missing the daycare Birthday Party for him, Ryan and Layla.

When I picked the boy up he just looked exhausted. Mike got the ok to leave work to drive us home so we wouldn't have to take him on the bus. He got one good nap in and the rest of the day was whining with the night taken up by shrieking and drooling. I got him home at about 2:30 and, between 2:30 pm and 2:30 am I changed my shirt 5 times because of his drooling. At one point--I think it was at about 3am--I was holding him to try and get him to calm down and he smashed his head into my mouth. I was very sleepy but I remember more or less dropping him on the bed next to Mike, saying, "Your turn," and going down to cry in the bathroom. All the worries had been stacking up and getting a fatlip (and the 5th droolsoaked shirt) was just too much. Thank god I have a good husband--Mike more or less took over for the rest of the morning even tho he was the one who had to go to work the next day.

Today at home with the boy was a bit dicey. Between Donny being fussy and some big crisises at work I didn't get in the shower until 1pm. Donny was pretty good but the whining, oy, the whining kept on and on and on. I finally decided to take him to the damn playground. I bundled him up in his Snoopy sweater and beret, put him kicking and screaming into his umbrella stroller and off we went. Halfway there, he was asleep. Once we got there he woke up and he got to play on the swings (which he liked) and I helped him down the slide and thru a crawly tube. Right after this photo was taken he had his first tumble at the playground, falling headfirst out of the tube onto the rubber matting below. He was a trooper and cried it off pretty quick. I tried putting him on the metal horse on a spring but he slid right off. Still too little. He had a good time but you can see in the photos just how exhausted he was. I'll be curious to see how tonight goes.