Tuesday, January 27, 2009

He works hard for the money

Chase helped Daddy shovel the sidewalk this afternoon. Poor little urchin had no snowsuit and mismatched mittens. Woefully unprepared were we for the appearance of the white flaky stuff. Little guy suffered through it though to carry out his snow duties with finesse.

Then after his job was complete, he was too tired to walk. So, Daddy had to give him a lift.

Amaya was not too sure about the wet, white stuff. She didn't have to work at all and she had a snowsuit, so she really has no validation for her complaints. Next year will be a different story.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Let the beat control your bunny...

Here's Ms. Sally Nouguat.

Here's Ms. Sally's new cage in the mudroom. This is a great location because we're in and out of this room all day. She's on the bench where we put all of our belongings, so there is no way we can miss saying hello to her everyday.Do you notice anything a little odd about her cage? No? Let's get a little closer then.

Do you see it? No your eyes are not deceiving you. Those are ear phones hanging next to her water bottle. Chase keeps tucking them into her cage so she can listen to some bunny tunes while we're away. Apparently, he is taking his job as bunny comforter very seriously. Any one have any suggestions for Bunny Mix '09?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Side Planks are next on the list...

Little Amaya has been sitting up on her own for a good two weeks now. However, it isn't good enough for Amaya to just have someone put her in a sitting position. Oh no, this one thinks that she needs to constantly try to pull herself up to sit straight and tall. Today, I had her in her little pink loungy chair, but she was not content to just lie back and relax while watching Mickey and friends. Nope, she had to crunch herself up until she was sitting at a perfect 90 degree angle. And then she stayed like that--for 40 minutes. Her ab muscles must be as solid as a slab of marble. Next, she will be showing mama how much better she can do the side plank exercises. To which I'll tell her the same thing I tell Jeanne when she's trying to get me to hold it ten seconds longer: Once you've had your abdominal muscles sliced open not once, but twice--you can talk to me about the weakness of my core strength. Now hand me a cookie.

I just want to point out her cute little bunny tail...

Amaya thinks it's pretty darn cute, too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Who are you calling a witch, witch?

I got a surprise today. I love surprises in general, but this one really made me chuckle. My cousin Mandy sent me this lovely lady:

No, she wasn't making a sly reference to my personality--though it wouldn't be at all unreasonable to confuse me with a witch on certain days of the month. This is a Kitchen Witch which folk lore assures me is sent to guard my kitchen from evil spirits and burnt frozen french fries. When I was little, my mom had one in her kitchen--I think that one of my Aunt Sisser's friends made it for her. I also think that Aunt Ozzie had one too--but my memory is a little cloudy on that point. I do remember though that when Mandy and her brother Shelby would be at my house for a meal, we would always raise our forks full of food up to the Kitchen Witch and ask that she make it taste good. Picture three little dirty rug rats raising up a spoon full of tomato soup and asking the good witch to make it taste like a Hershey Bar. There was much giggling from us, and I am sure from the adults who were probably just happy that we were eating our lunch at all. I have not a clue what happened to the original Kitchen Witch, but her memory lives on--now reincarnated in a new version hanging in my own kitchen. Thanks for the laugh and the memories Manders.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Probably not a big surprise, but

I like President Bush. I am a little sad to see his term coming to an end. But I am able to separate my dislike for some of his actions from his value as a human being. I get irritated when people question his intelligence simply because he mispronounces words. I do this ALL THE TIME, and while I'll never profess to being at a genius level, I do possess intelligence enough that should exclude me from being called an idiot as many have chosen to label our former president. Further, if speech delivery were the true barometer of intelligence, then actors and actresses would be filling up science labs, college departments and courtrooms instead of Hollywood. Those who are truly educated should know that intelligence can present itself in a myriad of ways.

No, I don't agree with all of the decisions that Bush made, nor do I support all of his political views. However, the man did what he said he would do. He remained steadfast in his promise to the American people--the same promise that he made during his 2004 campaign, the promise that the majority of the American people supported enough to re-elect him. I find it very disagreeable that he is continually lambasted by the American media for simply following through on his very clear stand on the Iraq war--a war that was voted on and approved by Congress. How many other Presidents have been heckled for failing to maintain the course set forth in his campaign? Bush Senior for one endured much backlash after raising taxes after spewing repeatedly in his campaign that there would be "No new taxes". Yet, when his son maintains his position--let me just reiterate that this position was made clear and was voted in by the American majority--he gets thrown to the wolves and all memory of his leadership during 9-11 is forgotten amidst the call for his removal from office. I have no doubt that Bush was doing what he believed in his own heart to be what the American majority wanted and what would most secure the safety of the homeland. Do I necessarily agree with that decision given the changes that occurred in the four years of his final term? No. But I also voted for Kerry, so it was never my agenda that he was following. Democracy means that sometimes you get what you want, but sometimes the other guy does too.

In November, I voted for Barack Obama. This wasn't a cut and dry decision for me. There are a number of things that I question about our new President: his limited experience being the main issue. However, I agree with the majority of the things that he espouses and feel that he will make a difference even if he manages to see only a fraction of his ideas to fruition. The truth is, America needs a change--a fresh perspective. Watching the inauguration today, it was clear to see the hope that he brings for so many. To inspire so many lives is a wondrous thing, and the President seems determined to move from words and speeches to action. I am not naive enough to think that the new President will usher America into an immediate utopia of peace and unparalleled prosperity. But, he might just be the one to set us on the correct path. At the very least, he has proven that a native born American of any background, of any race, of any religion can aspire to the greatest job in the world. And that, my friends, was well worth bubbling in the oval next to his name on my ballot. God Bless President Obama and God Bless America.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rage against the Machine

The powers that be refused to acknowledge my resignation and instead chose to add to my list of duties as punishment for trying to leave. They have decided that I am now in charge of the execution of all the children's art projects. I find this treatment to be absurd and believe that I will have to find a union representative. I am feeling over-worked and under-appreciated. Any reasonable person would agree that my demands for 2 hour work days and 275 paid vacation days are fair and just. Therefore, I am sure that a Mellon victory is nigh. In the meantime, Chase seems to be enjoying the benefits of my added duties. I am sure this pleases The Man to no end.

These are pieces that I am sure any art curator would like to have hanging in her gallery.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

That's it, I quit!

As you know, Andy's on the west coast under the guise of having business meetings, but we both know he's really just lounging by a pool drinking fruity drinks. I'm a little more forgiving of this since he arranged to fly Grandma here to help me while he is gone. She is a sanity savior during the day since we tag team the children and share the daily chores. Unfortunately, Grandma doesn't do nights. I've had to get up with dear Amaya 3-4 times per night. She only needs to be fed one of those times, the rest of it is just her crying in her sleep. Which wakes me up because the monitor is by my head, and then I can't get back to sleep even though she stops after 5-10 minutes. Little turkey.

Anyway, last night I had a sudden inspiration: turn off the stupid monitor. And what do you know, it worked. I didn't hear her crying until she really meant it when she wanted a bottle at 4. I was congratulating myself on the depth of my own genius as I walked to Chase's room to get him up this morning. That gloating feeling left as soon as I opened the door and smelled an all too familiar smell. His entire bed was covered with pink, cheese-dotted puke. Ugg. And he's warm and coughing and hacking and all around cranky again. And today is a school day, damn it! He's supposed to go to school, and I am supposed to get a break by having only one kid to deal with today. I didn't sign up for any of this, so you can take this as my official resignation. I quit, effective immediately. Someone should probably tell Grandma.

PS--The pictures are just random ones from the last couple of weeks. I know I can't get away with having a picture-less post. I did consider taking a picture of Chase's bed this morning for you, but decided against it. You can thank me later. But you'll have to wait until I come back from my own vacation where I will be drinking mimosas by a shiny, turquoise ocean...of course this will just be a mental vacation, but still.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Bun's Life

Yesterday, I had to take my bunny Sebastian to be put to sleep. He had glaucoma in his right eye, and it was causing him pain. He was nine years old, and I wanted to spare him from all of those getting old pains that animals have. I stayed with him, rubbed his head and listened as the doctor spoke to him in a soothing voice while the drug began to shut down his system. It was hard.

Miss Sally Nouguat was Sebastian's bonded mate for the last eight years. She will miss him very much. We've brought her upstairs to live in the mud room, so she won't be alone down in the basement all day. The vet told me to expect a period of mourning where she won't want to eat or drink, so we'll need to keep an eye on her. Chase has already taken it upon himself to visit "Missus Sally" every hour.

I got Sebastian when I was a senior at WVU. Given how old I am now, that feels like forever ago. I remember he used to scare the crap out of me at night when he would climb up my pajama pants like he was burrowing into his personal little rabbit hole. I think I still have a few scars from his nails scratching my leg as he tried to dig deeper into my skin.

He was a well traveled little lop-earred bun bun. He got to see the sights of Ohio State when he followed me there for Vet school, then back to Morgantown, lived with my mom for a few months, and finally came to Virginia where he moved with us from the apartment to the town house to the Ladybank house to the new house and finally to our current house. That's a lot of packing for a little lagomorph.

He was a grumpy ball of the softest black fur you've ever felt. He'd stand on his hind legs and growl at Iverson. But, sometimes when he was really happy he'd do a little hop & twist bunny dance thing with his legs flying into the air. It looked so cute considering he was a fat rabbit who spent most of his days stretched out on his belly. One of my fondest memories of him comes from a summer day at the town house when my mom and I had taken Sebastian and Sally outside to enjoy the fresh air. He was hopping around the pond when suddenly he decided to jump straight onto a lily pad thinking it could hold his chubby self up. Of course it didn't, and thus into the water he fell. Did you know rabbits can dog paddle? Hi-lar-i-ous. What's even funnier is that he did the exact same thing the following summer. Daredevil bunny.

Here's a picture from when Sebastian was just a baby bunny. Well, it's a picture of a picture because I'm too lazy to go scan it into the computer and it was taken before I owned a digital camera.

I'm sure you're wondering about the hair--well it was my last dead week as an undergraduate at WVU. I was a little crazy from all of the late nights of cramming for tests in classes that I hadn't bothered to attend. So in a moment of sheer insanity, I had Carla dye it blond for me. Not a flattering look, so I changed it back soon after. Anyway, in case you need it, here's a reason why you shouldn't drastically change your looks the week before finals. You see, we had assigned testing seats for Biochemistry that were the same for every test we had that term. When I went to take my Biochemistry final, the professor kept staring at me. It was a little creepy and nerve wracking. When I turned in my test, he really studied my student ID before he told me that he thought that I had paid someone to take my final because I looked so different with my blond hair. I guess when the guy only saw me 4 times to take the tests, it would be hard to notice much besides my hair color. So there you have it--your lesson of the day: don't go having a major makeover before finals. Or I guess you could attend class on a regular basis. That would probably work too. Either or.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It was easier with 30 kids...

I have always had fond memories of the Baltimore Aquarium. When I was teaching, that was always where we went on a Friday afternoon in early March for our big field trip of the year. This was an awesome gig for us teachers because we always made sure to have enough parent chaperones present to ensure that none of us actually had any students to watch in the exhibit. All we did was walk around chatting up the parents and students as if we were circulating a party, and then we high-tailed it to the food court to enjoy a leisurely lunch while the kids drove their parents crazy in the gift shop. I did this for four years in a row.

Funny how in all of those four years, I never noticed that there weren't any strollers in the aquarium halls. Had I noticed this small detail, we might have had a more enjoyable family trip last Friday. As it were though, upon our arrival at the aquarium, we were herded into a tiny little room to check our strollers and gather our belongings along with fifty other flustered parental types. All of that commotion caused Mr. Chase to become frazzled and cranky and forget all about how excited he was to find Tulley the Turtle. He eventually calmed down enough to stop his ear splitting screaming, but the excursion never became overly enjoyable for anyone but Amaya who was quite content to ride along in the aquarium provided baby carrier. Now, if you ask Chase about the trip today, he'll gleefully tell you all about the turtle, the divers and the owl completely leaving out the temper tantrums and refusal to walk parts. Only you and I will know the truth: Given the choice between escorting 30 third graders or one irritated two year old to the aquarium--I'll take the bus full of eight year olds. As long as those third graders come with 10 able-bodied adults that is.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009? Really?

How'd that happen? Wasn't it just Y2K? Now here we are entering the last of the middle double zero years the likes of which we'll not see again for 900 years or so. Yes, I do plan on living that long, don't you? As for my list of resolutions, well I'm still working on it. I may have it done about this time next year. However, just like every other year, the following goals will be included in the final list:

A: I resolve to attempt to keep the clutter on my night table to a minimum. Minimum is defined as no more than three items hitting the floor when I reach over to look at the clock.

B: I resolve to eat one vegetable for every six desserts. Lofty goal, I know. But if you're going to go at all, you might as well go all the way, right?

C: I resolve to keep the unread and/or unanswered emails in my inbox to a manageable number i.e. somewhere between 0 & 125. Similarly, I will attempt to answer emails within a reasonable time frame--reasonable being within a month. (or two)

and finally

D: I resolve to update the blog frequently enough that I keep my loyal readers (that means you mom) happy. Or if not happy, at least content enough that I don't get prank calls and strongly worded emails regarding my lack of new content.

I am sure that I will be as successful with these four items as I have been in years past. I can hear you all snickering from here--but practice has to make perfect eventually. And now, on to the Hanukkah pictures.

Lighting the Menorah. Chase seemed confused when he heard everyone reciting the entire prayer since at our house we aren't so good at remembering all of the words--by we I of course mean me. Anyway, he does have the "shel Hanukkah" part down pat.

Looking at all of the characters on Aunt Jenn's menorah.

A robot of his very own--much better than a little sister any day!

Listening to the tunes his sister composes.

Laughing at PopPop. He's so funny!

As usual, we left with far more presents than we came with. The entire family was loaded down with loot. My favorite gift would have to be the CD of pictures that David took in 2008 including the much begged for Thanksgiving/Birthday pictures. See, all you have to do is publicly whine and threaten bodily harm, and then people give you what you want. Maybe that should also be one of my resolutions: I resolve to continue my griping, bellyaching ways until all of my demands are met. Or until someone shoots me, whichever comes first.