Saturday, December 25, 2010

TRAAAAINNNS!!!! (trains trains OMG trains)

It's been a very trainful Christmas so far.

Rick got to be the Daddy Staying Up Late To Assemble Awesome Christmas Gift From Santa, which was a train table with Thomas the Train set on it.

Then there were some additional trains from a more realistic-looking set, but still compatible with the Thomas train line.

Then Daddy got Empire Builder, the classic German board game. AwesomeCloud picked that one out. I was originally going to choose a different board game, but Cloud kept shouting, "Deen! Deen! DEEEEN!" and pointing to a box further along the shelf. Daddy was thrilled when he opened it. Good choice, Cloud.

I haven't gotten any trains. I will probably continue to not get any trains. :)

The cats got gifts, too. They got a new laser pointer. Melody and Riley love it.

This is Melody chasing the laser dot. She obsesses over getting the dot back when I stop playing with her. It's like having two small children in the house. One clamoring over Thomas the Train, and the other clamoring over the red dot.

Riley eventually got overstimulated and had to go out. Here she is getting some quiet time, while perhaps a bit ruefully looking back at the noise and fun. Poor cat got kicked out of Christmas.

Ban Lu, oddly enough, isn't interested in the laser pointer. He just wanted to rub his cheek against my hand when I offered him the dot to chase. (He's tall enough to do that.) He barely even looked down. Strange cat. I thought no cat could resist the dot. It's like World of Warcraft for cats.

We did Rick's family last night, and today we'll do my family. Gotta leave soon, so I'll wrap this up. (Ha ha, wrap this up!)

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My guy knows it gets better

My husband is in this video. I don't know where; I can't find them! But he said he was in there, so he must be in there.

I spotted AwesomeCloud's onetime babysitter. (We've only needed a babysitter three times, and two of those times his aunty did it.) I spotted one of our actual gay Unitarian friends (but not his husband, who usually works on Sundays).

If anybody (who knows what he looks like) sees him, let me know, okay? This is bugging me. How can I not see him?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

In memoriam, etc.

Today is gravesite visitation day. We will be going to Rhode Island to see the graves of our relatives on my husband's side of the family. Then we will party hardy at AwesomeCloud's cousins' house at the Annual Mega Christmas Party.

In other news, I miss my Prius something awful. I don't think I'll ever warm up to the Chevy Malibu, plus all these visits to the rental agency to renew our rental agreement are wearing on me. At least the rental agent is nice. He seems to crave intellectual conversation, and fortunately for him, I'm able to rise to the occasion. I know how it feels. I crave conversation, too. AwesomeCloud's conversation is mostly comprised of one word exhortations, most of them being "Da!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm not a winter person

I am a New England person. If my winter doesn't have snow and cold then I feel like I'm in the wrong place.

(I've only been in a wrong place a few times. North Carolina was a wrong place to be in the winter, although all in all I had a wonderful experience there in spite of my boyfriend. New Jersey was a wrong place, not because there wasn't snow and cold, because there was, but because the locals whined and moaned and were completely unable to cope, and they did it again and again every year. You'd think they'd all just immigrated from Puerto Rico or Somalia, but no, only a few of them had. Most of them had lived there for thirty, fifty, seventy years or more.)

(Arizona was not a wrong place, because we'd had the foresight to vacation in Holbrook, which is very wintry in the winter. The Grand Canyon had snow. I'd rather die having seen the Grand Canyon with snow than having ridden down it on a burro, and now I can. Die, that is. After having seen it with snow.)

(Not immediately, though, please.)

In spite of this, I don't actually like going out in the cold. I don't like turning up the heat. I don't like the reduced hours of sunlight per day. I do like endless cups of tea, but I don't like having to drop everything and make myself more tea when I'm busy or comfortable or I have a kid climbing all over me. I don't like shoving a struggling, unwilling kid into a winter coat and trying to squeeze both kid and coat into the car seat. I don't like Riley being in the house all the time, meowing for food all day and night and pooping up a storm. Ew.

I don't like the mall at Christmas shopping season. Have I mentioned the mall lately? AwesomeCloud and I are really becoming part of the crowd there. The other mallwalkers stop and talk to us, and sometimes they walk alongside us. It's usually nice and quiet and the lighting is dim and we only have to share the mall with the custodians. At 10:00 AM, when the stores open, most of us have already cleared out.

Starting yesterday, our mall now opens at 7:30 AM. What the hell. Blaring music and blinking lights and noise noise noise. For what? Even now, nobody's there but us mallwalkers... and all the store clerks who clog up the line at Dunkin' Donuts before they open for business.

Then they sit at their cash registers and crank the individual store musics even louder because, without customers, there's nothing else to do.

Winter doesn't even really start until Solstice, the 21st or so, and then Christmas shopping season will end soon after. I only have like a week and a half left to avoid the mall. Maybe I'll go back to taking the kid outside in the morning. Because, 20 degrees or no, it's still autumn. It is. That's a fact.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You'd think all of our music was obscene

Our poor EI teacher. She's a wonderful, sweet woman who loves AwesomeCloud and is so good with him. She thinks up very creative games to play with him, many of them involving jumping around. (She's working on his gross motor skills.) She was trying to do everything just right, and she came very close.

What thwarted her? Our music collection.

Now, in our defense, we have a very eclectic music collection. Much of it is kid-friendly and has no bad words or objectionable concepts at all. Some of it, like classical, has no words. There's warm and fuzzy folk, rockin' classic rock, Italian crooners, big band and jazz, block rocking techno beats, and front and center is lots and lots of Christmas music.

It is a mere fluke that she chose the CDs she chose, and ended up with the songs she and my son were attempting to dance to.

I was upstairs with the door open, putting the finishing touches on some documents for my job, when i heard the strains of a song called "The St. Stephen's Day Murders." It's about two sisters whose name was Christmas - one was named Mary and the other named Eve. I guess they had reason to disdain the season, for they murdered all their relatives in ways gleefully and graphically described in the lyrics.

Now, we're not planning to censor our music collection from Cloud too much. We grin at the idea of him singing "Come out you black and tans, come out and fight me like a man" someday when he can string sentences together. We'll explain euphemisms to him when he's ready, and meanwhile let him innocently enjoy songs that aren't very innocent. Come on; we all grew up that way, right? He can, too.

And i like "The St. Stephen's Day Murders." I try to hear it at least once every holiday season.

(Well, now I've heard it.)

Apparently, Cloud and his teacher got a good dancing game going, and when it was over, they perused the CD rack for another danceable song. I heard the teacher say, "What else can we dance to? Oh! World Dance Party! Let's try that."

World Dance Party, by The Fools. First song on the CD? "I Love Your Tits."

(Apparently, though, they had a good dancing game going.)

(I resisted the urge to poke my head downstairs and say, 'Umm...' a second time. But it was hard.)

Friday, December 3, 2010


AwesomeCloud is really, really good at having new experiences. Astonishingly good. He must be every first-time parent's dream - he's almost more of a companion than a kid. A companion who laughs all the time but can barely talk, who wrenches your fingers out of their sockets with his tiny hands, who needs diaper changes and asks to be carried frequently, and who strews the contents of the kitchen cupboards all over the house. But a companion nonetheless.

When I feel like hanging out with a friend over coffee and laughing about the absurdity of life, I can do that with him. The absurdities tend to be funny faces and sound effects rather than wry observations. And one of the coffees is replaced by milk in a sippy cup. Otherwise, it's the same.

He eats my cooking. That's huge. Whether it's something frozen i threw together quickly, or something elaborate that took me an hour, he loves it.

If I want to enjoy a few moments on the beach with a friend, I can do that with him. He loves to look out at the water as much as I do. In fact it's not much different from strolling on the beach with an adult, except that my fingers get wrenched.

I wanted to volunteer at the church, so I took him, and it went beautifully. I joined the White Elephant crew and set old yard sale items out on tables. Cloud touched everything, broke nothing, got in hardly anyone's way, and then he spilled soup on himself and munched on a ginger snap.

I love that he likes ginger snaps. And baked goods in general. And anything made out of sugar. He and I are kindred spirits that way.

I can garden with him. It's not ideal yet; when I'm alone I can lose myself in my gardening for a couple of hours at a time. With Cloud, I'm always multitasking. But i can do it.

He still won't let me work in peace yet. That can be a problem, because sometimes my boss needs something RIGHT NOW and the best I can do is 'sometime during naptime'. But work is a solitary endeavor, so my inability to do it with Cloud around doesn't detract from his worth as a companion.

Tonight we're going to the town Christmas Stroll. It's in a different town than the one we usually go to, so I don't know what it'll be like yet. But wandering amid all the stores and lights, carolers and free snacks, is the kind of thing Cloud is bound to have a blast at.

Also, today, I pulled out the djembes and we drummed together for a few minutes. I think the kid has potential. It's hard to judge whether a two-year-old will develop a particular interest or talent in any given activity, but drumming is one of those things that requires not much more than practice to get good at. And it might be fun to drum with Mum.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day, when we remember the victims of an epidemic to which our modern society has had a shamefully poor and spectacularly inadequate response. There's no excuse in this day and age for the outright neglect we've shown this disease's victims. They are desperately poor, socially marginalized, sexually promiscuous and/or drug addicts, and therefore deemed not worth the time and expense of treating.

HIV is eminently easy to control. Its contagion mechanism is terrible. Its true strength is in its near-impossibility to cure once it infects its victim. So if we could just prevent its spread, we'd be golden.

HIV should not still be a problem. We could have kicked it in the 1960's. We SHOULD have obliterated it in the 1980's. And yet here we are: millions upon millions dead, millions infected, new super-resistant strains evolving, and a day to reflect on our miserable failure as a society, thirty years ago and today, to eradicate a retrovirus that our species easily has the ability to outsmart... if only we'd try.

Kudos to Thailand, who so far has been the only community to get it right.

Boo to the Roman Catholic Church, the church of my heritage, which continues to be boneheaded to an astonishing degree all the way up and down its ranks.

And today we may pause in remembrance of those who didn't know the danger they were putting themselves into, those who weren't behaving dangerously but got infected anyway, those who sought help that was unavailable, those who sought help just to be met with more harm and rejection, those who were too afraid to speak up and died alone in agony, those who were forced to die alone in agony because of their social stigmas, and those who sought help at the right time in the right way but were just plain out of luck.

And we may acknowledge that HIV is not yet dead. It's experiencing a slow resurgence. A resurgence we hardly ever hear about.

Oh yes, and, happy first day of Hanukkah.