Monday, March 31, 2008

I wish...

We had birthdays every month.

Children stayed children forever.

Cats didn't shed.

Self-doubt didn't exist.

We didn't live in such a corporate, mean world.

Saturdays were twice as long.

Ice cream wouldn't make us fat.

Bad skin really did clear up in our 20s.

More people read my blog.

I didn't care quite so much.

My best friend didn't live so far away.

I had a running partner.

Sons and daughters weren't dying overseas for nothing.

Everybody -- and everything -- had a home.

Michael Landon wasn't dead. Greg the yellow Wiggle wasn't sick. Michael J. Fox didn't have Parkinson's Disease.

I could change the world.

For another quiet, happy year.

Happy (belated) birthday, Dane.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

When is the maid coming?

So I've realized lately that the house is in a bit of disarray. Toys -- including a train table -- fill the kitchen. And they have trickled into other parts of the house.

I find myself kicking aside tiny soldiers, cars and plastic Easter eggs from the middle of the dining room. A Geotrax train driver -- we call him "Ghost Train guy" -- hid behind the bathroom door in a bed of cat hair for about three days earlier this week.

A couple days ago after dinner, Dane bent down and picked up something hard and oval-shaped from the floor near the dining room table. I'm pretty sure it had some jagged edges.

"I don't even know what this once was," he said, inspecting it.

I sort of laughed.

The next day, he said: "Do we have a mop?"

I didn't know the answer.

"No," I said but then remembered something hanging in the garage. What was that? A full-blown mop, or merely a crappy Swiffer?

I suggested there might be something in the garage.

I used to clean more, before I had a baby. I used to actually use the Swiffer to clean the floors. It was the kind that came with giant, dripping baby wipes you attached to the rectangular end. I used to push so hard, I bent the metal handle.

Since we've been in Omaha, I've begun just using a dishrag -- on my hands and knees -- to clean the floors. It just seems easier.

The last two months, though, cleaning has been relatively pointless. We are having the basement refinished, and no matter how hard I try, drywall dust finds its way onto everything. Even the cats.

So I've more or less given up.


My mom has a crafty sign in her dining room that says something like, "My house was clean yesterday. Sorry you missed it."

I'm pretty sure she also has some sort of sign that says, "My floors may be dirty, but my kids are happy."

I like both of those.

So here's to never spending another Saturday morning sweeping, vacuuming and dusting! Here's to drinking coffee and playing on the floor with toy soldiers and castles and pirate ships with my 2-year-old in our jammies instead!

At least until the basement's done.

Or at least until I can't stand it anymore.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Let's call it Oakview (way) west

I am almost afraid to write about this.

It's that good of a secret.

Let me tell you what I got at this store recently:

A pair of Nike capri running pants, $3.99

A pair of pink North Face sweat pants, $3.59

An Ann Taylor skirt, $3.59

An Express work-appropriate shirt, $.99

A Kelty DOUBLE jogging stroller, $24.99.

This was at Goodwill, people!

The Goodwill in way west Omaha (so far west, you might as well be in Gretna really) has really nice stuff.

I don't go there very often, but when I do I always wind up with an armful of clothes to try on. And I always spend at least an hour there, despite my intentions beforehand to just "stop in real quick."

Not only do they have a lot of clothes, they have a lot of name-brand clothes. Many of the pieces still have a lot of wear in them, too. I credit the way-richer-than-I'll-ever-be west Omahans for this thrift store gold mine. Thank you, doctors, lawyers and Internet technologists of suburbia! Now, I have a closetful of secondhand name-brand clothes and a stroller too big to fit in my garage.

Seriously, though, this is good stuff that should not have been discarded yet. And I'm more than happy to carry its circle of life on -- and save money while doing it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #1

Thirteen Things about VERONICA

1. I would eat ice cream every day if I could. Plain, simple vanilla.

2. Having a baby didn't make me feel like a grown-up. But declawing my cats and buying a new couch did.

3. I was a lifeguard for six years and really, really liked it. Once, I "adopted' a 9-year-old who walked to the pool every day barefoot and told stories about how they didn't have spoons at home and so had to eat cereal with forks.

4. Driving past the newspaper building where I had my first "real world" job a week after I quit, I flipped it off. The building. I hated the job that much.

5. I care really a lot about things. OK, the word for this, really, is "obsessive." I just can't help it. But I still maintain: It's better to be passionate than uninterested.

6. Like my friend Jenny says about herself, I'm fiercely loyal. I'm a great listener, a good friend and a trusted secret keeper.

7. I'm not very good at doing nothing. I like to feel productive.

8. I'm restless. This might be why we move at least every 2.5 years. In general, I don't like to do the same thing over and over. I need new running routes, new responsibilities, new things to look forward to.

9. Like Horton, I mean what I say, and I say what I mean (sometimes, when I shouldn't). I'm fallibly honest.

10. If I could start college over again, I would do things differently. I'd live in the honors dorm. I'd study to be a veterinarian. I'd make more friends.

11. Someday, I want to write a novel.

12. Much of me is afraid of underachieving. Much of me is afraid of not having enough fun. They're not very compatible.

13. Being a mom teaches me more than I ever expected. It's my favorite thing of all, having him.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

You know that Jack Johnson song

the one called "Do You Remember?" where he talks about the first time he met a girl?

Jack tells us they met in early September when he locked his bike to hers.

It wasn't hard to find, he said, because she had painted flowers on it.

I like this song a lot. It's a new favorite, in fact.

And today, I had one of those moments where you sort of go, "Is that real? Wait, what is that?"

It was a bike with flowers painted on it, parked outside a downtown building I happened to be walking into. The bike's frame was white, but the tires had thick rims like back in the 70s. The rims were lime green and covered with intricately painted flowers.

It was cool.

Listen to the song here, courtesy of YouTube user WARES3, if you haven't heard it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


In bed, Rye was restless.

As usual, I was laying, my legs bent and my neck wrenched so I could halfway fit in the toddler-sized VW car bed, next to him for "a little bit," which usually amounts to about 10 minutes.

Sometimes, he's quiet almost right away. Other times, he remembers bits of his day or pretends the toy he just had to take to bed with him is driving up my arm or stabbing me in the face (he's on a Star Wars kick, remember?).

Last night, he softly but firmly planted his hands on my face and turned my head toward his. His eyes were big. "Remember 'Beauty and the Beast'?" he said.

Yes, I do, I answered. I picked it up at a thrift store recently, and we watched it tonight.

A few minutes later, he said, "Is this a thumb?"

I opened my eyes and saw him pointing to his right index finger.

No, I said. This is your thumb, and I showed him on each hand.

Then, of course, he wanted to know the name for what he had originally thought was his thumb. Pointer finger, I said, and we went down the row. Middle finger. Ring finger. Pinkies! (For some reason, pinkies get an exclamation point.)

Rye giggled at his pinkies and then asked me to show him mine.

I did.

And then I watched quietly as he looked at his fingers, moving them. I knew he was silently repeating the words that described them, the terms he'd just learned.

And then I kissed him, pulled the covers up a little higher and said goodnight.

This was one of those simple, beautiful moments that are too often easily forgotten.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Darth Tater

So I am home sick today and have been watching "A Baby Story" on TLC and at least one of the bastardized versions of the show called "The First 36 Hours" or something like that. It's all about how truly awful it is to have an infant. Because it really is.

So I've been watching these women, who are huge, get epidurals and eat ice chips and look sweaty and gross really, push these tiny things out of their bodies (whose idea was THAT anyway!?) and at least once it's made me feel like I was going to cry.

The next show -- the 36-hour one -- showed the tired, tired parents wiping poop over and over again. From the baby's brand-new bottom, from the pink blanket with tiny flowers and bunnies and chicks, from their HANDS.

It showed the still-tired looking woman breastfeeding. And, of course (because this just must be the way you have to do it), a slew of relatives and friends (and neighbors, for crissakes), stood around with odd smiles on their faces. Just watching.

I am not sure why I am watching these shows.

Perhaps, it's that masochistic nature in all of us that makes us want to relive fairly painful, awful times in our lives? Is that the same reason people videotape their baby's birth, the actual coming out of the canal shot? Is that why we sign up to run MORE marathons?

Or maybe it's because, despite all of the aforementioned awfulness, I want to have another baby.

Rye recently discovered Star Wars, thanks to YouTube. Being in love with good and evil anyway, he is now obsessed. When he pooped in the potty for the first time ever at home on Friday, we rushed immediately to Target where he could have a toy of his choosing (less than $9.99, but I didn't tell him that). He chose a small, black, rather scary Darth Vader action figure. He fell asleep that night with it clutched in his right hand. Yesterday, the Easter bunny brought him a light saber ("Take that, Darth Tater! Cha!"). Ah, ecstasy.

This is just one anecdote of my beautiful, lovable, don't-know-what-I-would-do without little boy.

Sometimes, he'll put his face close to mine and say, "Mom?"

Me: "Yeah, Rye?"

Rye: "I love you."

So, I realize, it's worth it. Growing huge, looking awful, waddling instead of running, the OMFG pain and the endless tiredness. It's all worth it.

Now, if I can just talk my husband into that again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Grand Junction begins before you actually get there.

The rough ridge of the Bookcliffs appear on the north side of I-70 at least 40 miles outside the valley. You follow them through the canyon, past the vineyards of Palisade and you close your eyes as you pass Clifton and then you go on into town.

Even though you've been gone two and a half years, Mt. Garfield still stands tall, on guard, and it still inspires awe as you round its bend, staring back at it as you know you're finally there.

We went back last weekend to the place where we belong. To "Lost" watchers, Grand Junction is our island and I am Jack screaming, "We have to go back."

We go straight to work, and I want to go in the back way, but we don't know the door code. Instead, we tell a receptionist we are there to see Katie. Or Josh, I add. And then they come up and it's like we never left.

We eat pizza at the downtown place we love and the guy behind the counter says, "Are you back?"

We go to the landform to the south now, the majestic red rocks of the Colorado National Monument. The best part of the valley. Where runners and bikers and hikers all do their thing, alone under the sun but very much in good company.

Rye finds sticks that are swords, logs that are sharks and rocks that are turtles. He digs holes and stops mid-step to explore something. He runs and runs, up a long hill until he is 30 feet away from Mom and Dad. But we are all safe there, in the Grand Junction desert.

We eat soup and nachos and sopapillas and drink chai and beer and happiness and friendship. We relax. We inhale deeply. We smile and laugh. And remember.

This is what it was like. And this is what maybe someday it will be like again.

So we keep looking, hoping, thinking for a way to get back to the island in the middle of the desert on the Western Slope of Colorado.