Friday, August 29, 2008

Rosie Kindergartener

Rosie Kindergartner
Originally uploaded by nylonthread
Yesterday we went to the open house at Rosie's new school to learn the important stuff like, which classroom she's in, which teacher she has, what's the bus route number, and if she knows any classmates.

We'd signed her up with a preference for the "multi-age" classroom, but since only 16+ kids were likely to get in (out of 100? there were a lot of kids there), she was placed into a "straight" Kindergarten class. There was a main teacher, Ms. M, and an assistant, Mrs. B. Ms. M's creds: BS, Psychology, VCU; MT, Early Childhood Education, VCU.

Some of the kids there were already crying with fear at this transition, but Rosie, a classroom veteran since infancy, took charge and checked out all the amenities—like, "look Mommy, a small room with a potty" in the back, nothing else, just a commode. While comforting a weeping classmate, Mrs. B remarked that Rosie was ready for Monkeyrotica and I to be on our way! Not till next Tuesday, little girl.

Her bus picks up about a block away, just around the corner. Grandma S. will be taking her to the bus stop (thanks, mom!) and picking her up. Rosie is really, really looking forward to spending time with her beloved Grandma. I'm psyched because Grandma S., recently retired, has a teaching degree and can help Rosie with her reading.

Rosie's friend Katie has an assigned seat at the same table in their classroom! She's known Katie since we moved to the neighborhood and they were both one-year-olds. Katie lives very close to the bus stop and they'll be riding the bus together. I hope they'll help each other adjust.

Having a pal with you when you're adjusting to a new situation makes it much easier; am I right, my friends?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I like my country music angry.

Moving in stereo
Originally uploaded by Rune T
Today's run on the couch-to-5K was a 25-minute straight jog. And I forgot my iPod at home. The TVs in the office gym were playing "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," which has that great whistling tune, but sadly, wouldn't be enough to get me through 25 minutes. Eh, Blondie?

I mentioned my dilemma to the gym's trainer, whereupon she showed me her stash of abandoned music players, in various states of disrepair or power loss. The one I settled on was an MP3 player.

Quick discovery: the previous owner liked him/her some country ballads. The more lonesome and acoustic, the better. I spent pretty much the entire 25 minutes listening to the first 15 seconds of each song. Harmonicas? No. Lilting guitar? No. Soft piano? No. Banjo? Um, maybe...wait...No. I did listen to a tune about "California Girls" by Gretchen Wilson that had some angst. If I had it to do over, I would have stuck with Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" on repeat. That one had some serious attitude. Or it did at least compared to "Red Watermelon Wine" or "Stop Shaking Your Finger at Me, Woman." Aaaiiieeee, so very not my music of choice. No, wait, if I had it to do over, I would have had my own music. PLEASE GIVE ME MY PIXIES AND JANE'S ADDICTION BACK!!!!!

However, the distraction of being pissed off at all the stanky tunes, and clicking through them, may have helped. I did the 25 minutes straight, without really thinking about how hard it was. Yay me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No More Nuks

Originally uploaded by nylonthread
Those of you following my Twitters already know what went down last night at the Strings' rez. Dash had a dentist appointment yesterday morning and per our dentist's strongest recommendation, little Dash, our happily addicted Nuk (Gerber Brand) user, was denied his fix. Permanently.

Over his lifetime, we've scaled back his nuk use from 100%, to only in the car and bed, and then to only his crib. Here's a clue to we can tell he's an addict: he actively goes to his crib upon coming home, just for "a little lie-down," then nuks away for a while until he gets bored, dinner's ready, or Rosie distracts him. I've been planning to cut the nuk out entirely for a while now, but for various reasons, eh, keeping the status quo, it wasn't a priority. I guess I'm just an enabler.

The dentist, however, could tell he was a user straight from her visual exam. The nuk's affecting his bite. I decided to embrace her advice and follow through with nuk-eradication immediately. It's a good enough time for it—he's also transitioning to the pre-school program at daycare, and I'm planning to convert his crib to a toddler bed imminently. No more nuk, no more crib! What a big boy! (Except for the withdrawal caterwauling.)

Funny stories about the nuk:
Dash has a toy duck, called Happy Duck, that always seemed to be right next to his favorite pink-nuk (pictured) whenever it was misplaced. So Happy Duck wanted the nuk! I would have Happy Duck chase Dash all around trying to steal his nuk away (much giggling!). After that became a fun game, I started placing the nuk on the beak or arm of different toys, so when the nuk went missing, Jojo the Bunny took it! or Robert the Turkey swiped it! (giggles galore!!)

Ah, good times.

Well, until further notice, I expect the wailing of grief to continue. Last night Dash told us while wet-faced with tears and hoarse with lamenting, "my lips and tongue miss my nuk-friend!" He'll get over it soon enough. Didn't we all? How did you all get your kids off their pacis?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ever seen a dog chase its tail?

It's probably nothing like this, but it'll make you laugh just as hard.

Running on vacation and beyond

Originally uploaded by stradamitchell
I brought my running shoes with me to the beach and mentioned to my dad en route that I might be interested in a run while there, to keep up with my couch-to-5K training. We arrived Saturday, had dinner, checked out some sights, and turned in.

The next morning, Dad was all ready to go, in gear straight out of his bedroom. So we ran on Sunday morning, which worked out very well because while it was beautiful and sunny when we left, after I got out of the shower it was thunderstorming. We biked in the afternoon, got caught in another prolonged rainshower, and then stayed in to recover from the wetting with our first (of many) viewing of My Neighbor Totoro, as well as some Olympics once the kids were in bed.

And again on Monday and Tuesday, my dad was all set to go running first thing in the morning! I hadn't really planned to run every day but since Auntie M was available to keep an eye on the kids (as well as watch endless repetitions of Totoro), we were good to go as long as we were back in 30 minutes. It's pretty motivating just to have somebody right there, saying "let's go!" The weather was beautiful, and we alternated routes daily from the neighborhoods to the boardwalk, to the shoreline on wet sand.

One thing that was really annoying while running on the beach was all the dogs. Especially because there are signs everywhere along the boardwalk that say in large letters, "DOGS PROHIBITED ON THE BEACH AT ALL TIMES." There were dozens of them! Running in front of me, leaving poop everywhere, chasing tennis balls into the surf, chasing birds, and hardly any of them leashed. I think I almost twisted my knee jumping out of a dog's way. Once the lifeguards arrive at 10 a.m. and enforce the prohibition, all the dog owners skedaddle.

Thankfully, when the kids were actively on the beach playing in the sand and waves, the only (scary) creatures around were the (oh so malevolent) seagulls and sandpipers. Rosie only jumped out in the street to avoid a leashed dog once while we were on the trip. That is so frightening for me, to have her running into traffic! Cars are much more dangerous than dogs, but her fear is so intense that she can't resist the flee-response.

We went for a long bike ride on Wednesday with the Dash in the bike trailer and Rosie in the trail-a-bike, no running. But back to running on Thursday and Friday! We were so active, with the running, biking and walking everywhere, that I allowed myself to eat some foods that I have been mostly avoiding, like fried things and in larger portions. My favorite meal of the trip was at The Cultured Pearl, with its fabulous new location and interiors. There were birds in cages, koi ponds everywhere (inside and out), waterfalls, which just inspired a relaxed meal with lots for the kids to explore. Monkeyrotica and I shared a sushi & sashimi platter, Dash enjoyed a "kobe" hotdog with star-shaped french fries, and Rosie ate edamame and steamed rice. Auntie M let her sample her teritaki chicken bento, while my dad had some crab soup and shu mai.

Rosie and Dash are already looking forward to going back next year!!

Yesterday, Rosie told me she wanted to run to our local park, so we put on our sneakers and took off. I recalled that a new neighborhood boy, Ben, told me that he was on his 3rd grade track team, so we swung by his place to bring him along. His mom, who also has a one-year-old, was happy enough to let me take him. Rosie and he were fairly well-matched with the running, despite her height and lack of training. He was very proud of his sprinting abilities and liked to ask us to run ahead while he hung back to charge past after a minute or two. We were out for about 45 minutes, then dropped off Ben to head home for dinner. If he's interested again, I'll be glad to grab him more often. Maybe Rosie and he can be on the track team together!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Straight from the beach...

...To a birthday party. Happy 3rd, Adam T.!

On our way home

Don't worry, I am blogging while driving, but traffic is very slow over
the Bay Bridge. See y'all soon!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sneaking up on the Atlantic

Dash has been content to make sand castles and
keep his distance from the crashing waves here
at the beach. All my entreaties have met with his
stubborn refusals to go near the water. Until I
thought of the technique Monkeyrotica used to get
Dash to go to his classroom at preschool. They'd
"sneak up" on his teachers and yell "BOO!", then
he'd be ready to start his day.

I grabbed Dash's hand, crouched down, and
whispered, "Dash! Let's sneak up on the waves!"

He hissed back, "Okay!" And we stealthily goose-
stepped up to the Atlantic shoreline and stomped
on the shallow waves lapping up around our ankles.
Then Dash would yell, "Here comes a bigger one!!"
And run, shrieking, back up to the dry sand; repeat
until exhausted. Dash was waist high in the surf
after a while and didn't seem to care.

The next day, I found Dash & Mr. Monkey with
shovels in the wet sand. Dash was shoveling sand
and tossing it into the ocean. I asked, "What're you
up to, Dash?"

"I'm feeding my wave-friends!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kids playing at Rehoboth playpark

I set the resolution higher; howz this, monkey?

Rehoboth's sunsets are pink

From Monday night.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dash ate a footlong

Hotdogga. All by himself.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Staring at clouds, a dying dream?

While we were driving to the beach in Delaware, there were the most gorgeous fluffy clouds in the blue, blue sky. I was doing my best to just drive and stay in my lane on Rt 50, but the clouds kept coming up in the chatter from the backseat. Rosie kept finding shapes in them, like a snail or a camel, and I was intrigued by the cottony tendrils that the wind made with their edges.

If we weren't on a schedule, I'd like to think we could have found a grassy meadow and a blanket, and stared up at them from our backs to find as many shapes as our hearts desired. But really, it's pretty darned unlikely that I would have considered that. There are always so many things to do and places to go and schedules to follow that imagining myself spending a few hours or an afternoon staring up at clouds just wouldn't ever get worked in.

Doesn't everyone have memories of doing this as a child? Wouldn't it be sad if today's kids are so overscheduled that they never spend an afternoon under the sky, picnicking in a field apart from retail and sprawl? It's a little depressing to me to think that our lives are so full of commitments that I couldn't even be spontaneous enough to pull over and stare up and enjoy the awesomeness and sublimity of nature, letting my mind relax and absorb for a while.

Nope, not this time. I snapped the pic on my phone while driving. Eyes back on the road.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Dash gets a pirate hat

Dash tried to swipe a napkin at a restaurant we were at for his hat; our
waiter substituted a lobster bib for the napkin, as Dash was getting sad
when the napkin was denied. The paper lobster bib was adorable, but
short-lived. We stopped in a gift shop and found s whole assortment of
pirate-paraphernalia. Dash picked this bandanna, a gun and a rubber

Arrrrrr. Avast, mateys!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Ready for the Storm

I loaded my iPod shuffle with music to get me pumped up for my couch-to-5K training. The playlists are full of high BPM tunes by Public Enemy, Jane's Addiction, Breeders, Pixies, and others to keep me moving while running.

While I was setting up the library, on a whim I added "Ready for the Storm" by Dougie MacLean, thinking it might be good for cooldowns. In practice? It's exactly the opposite. The beauty and stark emotion in this acoustic guitar piece by the Scottish songwriter gets my adrenaline running even higher than JA's "Ocean Size." Seriously, just listen! And turn the volume up to feel it build. (and excuse the crappy video production.)

Almost by coincidence, I have seen Dougie perform "Ready for the Storm" live three times. I'm probably remembering the live experience, which is energizing and participatory, while I listen. He is famous for not leaving Scotland, so it's practically a miracle as I've never been there. Ach, enjoy his wee little tune already.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Let me tell you about 25.

Day 25, 365
Originally uploaded by asparagus_hunter
Another blog that I read, The Journey, sent a request out that her readers tell her about how our 25th year passed. I don't think I could possibly remember the birthday itself as it was, ahem, a little while ago, but I can to broad strokes. She wants our stories! And her 25th? Well, it kinda sukkd.

When I turned 25, Monkeyrotica and I had been cohabiting for a year and a half, and were about to move from Capitol Hill to Mount Pleasant in DC. Our friend Mat had just bought a large house and needed roommates, so we went in on the deal to help defray his mortgage. I'd been working for about one year as a graphic designer for the same company I work for now (so, unnamed). I'd met Mat at the office, although he had just quit when we moved in with him. Monkey was working for some small 8A firm in Rockville, MD and was hating it, but still took metro to a bus and back every day. We bought our first car together in the latter part of this year.

While in Mount Pleasant, we used to walk to the Woodley Park Metro together every day and count the morning cats, out sunning themselves or peering from windows. We had a mythology that the number of cats we saw was an indication of how complicated our coming day would be. Aiiiieee, a five-cat day!

Our six-year-old pet lovebird, Kita, lived in the sunroom right next to our bedroom; he adored Monkey above everyone else. Kita especially loved a stinky old rucksack of his and would get hilariously territorial if you put him inside it. Whenever we forgot to get Kita's wings clipped, he'd swoop from one end of the house to another and get cocky with power while we were trying to put him back in his cage.

Anyway, our move happened on the hottest day in July and Mat was responsible for reserving the moving truck. This is when I learned that "reservations" with truck rental agencies are ethereal. Our reservation was made, but there were no trucks available. Not one. I wrangled everyone I knew that had a car that morning and mobilized. It was hellish. I borrowed an ancient Chevy Suburban from a neighbor, Frank, and my friend Andrea J. and I drove it the 5.5 miles on vinyl seats with no air conditioning; it refused to move to make the trip back once parked. Somehow, we were moved by the very end of the day.

That's the same year that Andrea J.'s mom died of brain cancer. I flew to Las Vegas to help her deal with the funeral arrangements. Las Vegas was pretty blah when you weren't there to party. We did see the movie Babe in the theater while there, to get her mind off. Monkey and I saw Dead Man in the theater, a premiere, when they were handing out free Neil Young soundtrack CDs and we also saw Blue in the Face and Unzipped together. I'm pretty sure I saw Sense and Sensibility in the theater, but not with Monkey.

Music, I'm not sure. I think our ears were bleeding from the endless repetitions of Macarena. Knowing us, we probably saw Dead Can Dance on tour with "Toward the Within" that year.

With my family, my dad, sister and I would spend at least a long weekend every year in Vermont on a cycling tour, so I'm sure we did that. I was also working at the Torpedo Factory Art Center on Sundays and cycled to Alexandria from DC (20 miles round trip) every week to stay in good form. I was also really, really getting into and enjoying the intense step aerobics classes at my gym.

Well, that was 25. Busy, carefree, out there moving around and doing stuff that hit my fancy! Staying out late, going to Adams Morgan, the Lucky Bar, Big Hunt, or Metro Cafe for fun and drinks with friends. Occasionally working overnight or long hours to finish projects at the office. Monkey and I were engaged (rings and all) but there was no pressure and no date set. We were just enjoying our time together.

Next Season: MODERN

Alvin Ailey Dancer
Originally uploaded by Omega418
After the June dance recital was over, what to do? There was a 4-week summer session for dance and I had a choice to continue with Jazz, or dip my toes in something new. Over the past year, I had seen some of the choreography from the modern dance class and made a few notes. The moves are more athletic and flowing, and seem to require more strength and flexibility than jazz. The dancers in the modern class are more mature than the jazz classes (from 20s to 60s). And most importantly, they danced to better music; some of it borders on strange, but I'll take that over HSM2.

Two of the most experienced dancers from the modern class (which has been a small group anyway) moved out of state after the recital, and that left a large opening. Another way I've been thinking about it is that the much smaller class will give me a chance to get more focused instruction. Mrs. H., who tends not to be big on feedback (even when dancers are blatantly doing their moves wrong), told me that I had an affinity for modern and asked how much modern dance instruction I'd had. My answer? None. Good feedback!! And all I'll get, probably. One drawback to the modern so far: my feet have been cramping up even more than they were in the jazz class. I'll need to figure out how to solve that one.

The Fall session starts in September and I'll be continuing with the modern practice. It's a 90-minute class that meets on Thursday nights, so please note, my friends, that all my Thursday evenings for the next year are taken. Don't hold out any hopes that I'll ever look like the dancer in the picture, however. I'm just trying to have fun and enjoy making my body move.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Playground at the Mall

Dash made it about 10 feet into the indoor playground. It took him 30 minutes to get that far. I did my best to just be patient and let him ease into it at his own pace, especially since parents aren't allowed in the park. Maybe he'll do better next time.

Update: Once Rosie joined him (she wanted to ride the carousel first), they both disappeared into the upper levels of the playspace. I was worried when I didn't see either of them for several minutes. Then, I saw Dash's smiling face! Wait, no, that's a grimace of fear. Dash got stuck on a platform, abandoned by Rosie and couldn't figured out how to get down. We sent his play-pal, Matthew, up to get him, but he was very much done for the day.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Worst gifts ever file

eggplant and brick
Originally uploaded by lynnsterj
XUP wrote about her "worst gifts ever" today and encouraged her readers to contribute. As I got into the third comment I was about to leave at her blog, I realized I had a lot to say about the topic and decided to rant right here at home.

My worst gift (or set of gifts) ever was from my delightfully creative, energetic, spontaneous, usually-hopped-up-on-No-Doz college boyfriend. We'd only been dating for a few months around Xmas of 1990, and I have no recollection of what I'd gifted him that year, but here's what I received:

a plastic eggplant, 4 inches long
a large marcasite pin, shaped like a preettee liiteell bow
a wooden paintbrush, 2 inches wide
a tub of artifically flavored chocolate body butter (to be painted on with item above)
an original abstract acrylic painting, on the unusual canvas of the exterior of a Bausch & Lomb saline solution box.

What's wrong with that abundance, you may ask? You might think there may have been inside jokes involved, but no. I grew up in the Midwest & don't think I'd ever encountered an eggplant for food or otherwise, much less had any opinion about them at all. Regarding the pin, at the time I was a fine arts student, quite Goth and wore primarily black clothing with spider jewelry; bows were like, too prom-queen, dude. Bodybutter? Ew. And it smelled like it would quickly end anything with amorous intentions. The painting? I guess the product package made it kind of pop-art? Eeh. I had nothing against the paintbrush and still have it in a drawer somewhere to this day.

Overall impression? Speed-infused bf waited until the night before, ran through a quirky store to grab things, then packed it with a painting he had lying around.

On our last Xmas as a couple, I hinted around that I wanted some prints from his photography class (I was his model). He finally gifted me a set of abstract-y photographs that he had developed in our art school's darkroom. They were …interesting… He made sure to let me know several times that they were all his outtakes (i.e., not printed at my request but saved from the trash).

He was an entertaining guy and very spontaneous. Thoughtful? Not so much.

What were your worst gifts?!? PLEEZE, I WANT TO KNOW, tell me in the comments section.
Who links to me?

blogger templates | Make Money Online