hopefully, no golden egg.

Buckle up for a long ride!

Just a little heron:

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Basically we’re going to do a big photo dump.

I watched that little guy for like five minutes as he wrestled this crawdad:

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It’s hard to see, but basically things weren’t going well. The crawdad was still alive. The heron either couldn’t eat him, or couldn’t subdue him enough to fly off with him.

I love this outfit:

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Rascal, after having an accident:

Me: Where are your pants?

Rascal, pointing to them: Over there. They got pee on them. I’m going to miss those cutie little guys.

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Years ago, I pledged that I would never force myself to write anything that bored me.  I feared that if this blog turned into a slog, I would cease to write. So in the name of blog fatigue prevention, I vowed never to obligate myself to recount life events.

Then I had kids and the blog evolved into its current weekly-diary format. To what extent am I honoring that pledge of tedium-avoidance? Who can say. Not this week!

(But, it’s been an unusually busy week, see.)

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Farm monster doodz, blocking all your cars.

This is just the kind of corporate name I love:

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Utilatub, I-tilatub, we-all-tilatub for Utilatub.

Ace got one hell of a goose-egg:

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Look at the curve of that lump, below the bandaid! It was one hell of a grapefruit.

She also scraped her knees, elbows, and side of her belly, all pretty significantly. She’d been running and stepped on her shoelaces and ate it.  They were even tied!

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Hawaii worked very hard on this. It does not mean she’ll grow up to listen to pop country music.

See my paws:

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They’re my daintiest.

We celebrated Hawaii’s 10th birthday early.

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“This is a drum set. I hope you enjoy it. Please flip it over.”

One of Ace’s many presents for Hawaii.  Ace put the drum set in a box, and taped the note on it:

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And then when you flip it over:

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(Ace explained that she didn’t know how to spell Hawaii’s name.)

Present time!

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This was Thursday, even though Hawaii’s birthday was Friday.

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Geebie Family Day fell on Hawaii’s birthday this year. So she opened presents on Thursday, before we left to go camping.

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“Doesn’t this ribbon make me look like Matilda?”

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She’s not wrong!

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Look who is on our porch!!

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Four sweet baby kittens. I feel you, mama. (They were gone when we got back from camping.)

In the past, we’ve always rented a house for Geebie Family Day Weekend.

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But in my mind, it was always temporary.  Since we’re on one salary right now, it seemed like a good moment to end that tradition and switch to camping.

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Palmetto State Park is just a little southeast of us.

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They’re known for their lack of Ws in the cabinet of letters:

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but they manage to improvise.

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I don’t even know what caused this moment of bliss, but let’s savor it:

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Four Geebies swinging!

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Tick tock, tick tock.

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Creepy little fuzzy dude:

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The internet tells me this will be a white-marked tussock moth.

Thursday night: magic word were said, cheerios were planted.

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we grew our breakfast.

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and harvested it on Friday morning.

Then we went out for ice cream, since it was Hawaii’s actual birthday,

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in the nearby town of Luling. It is impossible to say “Luling” without sounding like you’re making fun of dumb hicks.  It’s just the most yokel name possible for a town.

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We all got a little chilly, from the ice cream.

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especially this little extra terrestrial.

I did take a moment to feel a swell of pride. Ten years ago, we’d been sitting around twiddling our thumbs, wonder if our baby would ever make her appearance.  There were contractions. Our doula made us stay home far longer than we expected. She made us walk around the neighborhood, as the sun rose. I had to pause in front of our neighbor’s house, and wait out some contractions.

Around 9 or 10 am, we headed to the hospital, and Hawaii was born around 2 that afternoon.

And now she’s a big, competent ten year old, and we’re big competent parents. What on earth.

“Now that I’m double digits, I’m a TWEEN,” she said to the other kids, tossing it out grandly like she’d said queen.  Qween indeed.

We were at this same campground about three years ago. Back then, this was a low-water crossing:

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It was a side-walk with some clear water gently running maybe an inch deep. On either side of the sidewalk was a perfect wading area for small children.

(Times have changed. They said it was erosion due to flooding, plus recent rains.)

Storing nuts for the winter:

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When we were here before, a girl got bit by a water moccasin. It was awful. Our friend’s kids were right next to her when it happened.

The girl was camping with her dad, and after the snake bite, the dad got in a big fight on the phone with the girl’s mom, and was totally ignoring the girl.  When the ambulance came, one of our friends ended up riding to the hospital with the girl, so she wouldn’t be alone, because the dad was being such a dick.

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People do swim in the water – there’s a dock and a second floating dock to swim to. Other kids were swimming all weekend long. But there are definitely a lot of snakes in those waters, and we were too spooked, and we nixed it for our kids.

Our friends all came out for the day on Friday.

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Cupcakes for all!

This state park feels a lot like the Gulf swamp ecology, like Gainesville.

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Home sweet muck.

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See:

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They’re not kidding.

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Here is a flyer:

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see, plenty of swimming in those infested waters.

Also note the large, cartoon breast, which displays camp dates.

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Old timey, hydro-powered non-electrical water tower.

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These little guys were swarming everywhere:

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The internet tells me they turn into Tiger Moths.

On Saturday we took the kids here:

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It’s a very tiny amusement park.

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Airborne Hawaii!

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Airborne Pokey!

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There’s really only three traditional carnival rides, some go-karts, a few water slides, and those indoor attractions.

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But it was perfect.

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We got the kids wristbands,. All the arcade games are free if you’re wearing a wristband. So when the kids are hot and tired from the rides, they can self-regulate and go play video games in the air conditioning, and not feel like they’re missing out. I think that is so, so important. It still feels special, but calmer and solo.

Also not really any lines.

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It used to be an old grain station.

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These silos have a climbing wall on the outside of them.

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The kids played their hearts out.

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and we returned to camp.

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Hawaii said to me, “We did so much fun stuff today. But I can’t help but look around the campsite and think we wasted the day.”  MMMHMMM.

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And then today was Easter:

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(And Passover, but we’re punting on that until next weekend.)

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Jammies put some eggs out around the campsite.

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…and we packed it up, packed it in, and drove back home.

But WAIT. There’s MORE!

After we bathed the children and decompressed, we headed to a friend’s Easter thing:

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Maybe I really am just documenting for the sheer tedium of it at this point.

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But it was beautiful out, and the treadmill of life felt distant.

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Before the Easter Egg hunt, Pokey said to me, “I hope there’s no Golden Egg with some really big special thing inside it.”

“Because then you get focused on that, and it’s not as fun?” I asked.

“Yeah,” said Pokey, “it’s more fun if we’re all just looking for little things.”

I thought that was so insightful of him, and so interesting, for him to recognize how tense and anxious he gets when the stakes of the competition are raised.

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This little guy just laughed and laughed so hard, when he opened an egg and found that orange little guy.

 

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Isn’t this building a pretty shade of green?

THAT’S ALL.

Almost.

Tomorrow is Ace’s 6th birthday!

(I am so goddamn excited to sleep in our beautiful enchanted bed tonight.)

Salamangreat, Salamangreater

Which sidewalk has two thumbs and a lotta pollen?

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This one.

There was another pollen photo I really wanted to take: an oak tree, with a nook where the trunk split into two main branches, and the nook had several inches of pollen. But I was walking with a student who drives me a touch crazy, and I didn’t feel like inviting a conversation about it.

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River cairn. Turn downstream here.

Hiya hawk.

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I remember reading that bird populations are a fraction of what they used to be.  I sometimes look at the big sky and fret that there ought to be more birds, that we’ve poisoned the canaries and we’re raising kids in this coal mine. Aren’t I a joy?

(There must have been so much grackle shit everywhere. Small mercies.)

…..

Rascal is definitely right-handed:

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So you just colored all over yourself, eh?

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What do you have to say about that, or about Arctic life?

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I am really fascinated by the details in these pictures. Look at the tusks on the walrus up top! The orca, swimming!  The puffin guy is really, really great, in a dancing Humpty Dumpty way.  (It is his chance to do the hump.)

Hawaii really shined as a stylist this week:

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Starting with slicking down Rascal’s hair.

Rascal has gotten really into writing lately. He’s constantly asking us how to spell things:

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Honestly, I didn’t even know he knew his letters – that’s how much of a fourth child he is. We haven’t made any effort to teach him sounds, or show him words, or anything. So we  were astonished (and maybe smug) to see this happen. Look how even and in-scale his writing is!

I need Jammies to help me write up his Tales From the Schools. They’re so funny and surreal: “One kid had a puppy in class. He might have stolen it – one girl said he had, he denied it. It was really cute and tiny, but what the fuck? How do you think this day is going to go with a puppy in your classes? He had a little water bowl with him…”

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and “I got to the classroom. There were no students. I went out into the hallway, and the assistant principal said, ‘Oh great! I was looking for you! The students are all in Room 410!’ So I went up and over to Room 410. Empty.  So I really didn’t know what to do. Then the teacher next door stuck her head in and said, ‘Oh, I took them all down to room 217!’ which was the room I’d just been in. So we’d crossed like ships in the night. She went and got them for me…”

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and, “Basically the first ten minutes of every class is wasted. You can say whatever you want, but they are going to spend the first ten minutes catching up with their friends, showing them this dumb thing on their phone, etc.”  (I was sympathetic with both the teacher and the kids. I, too, would want to catch up with my friends.)

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and, “This one room has its own bathroom, and the class is all boys because it’s Shop, so they are just the worst. Every time someone’s in the bathroom, everyone else can’t stop jeering about the guy taking a crap and taking too long. Or they pile up all the chairs outside the bathroom door. Guys. GUYS. Why. Put the chairs back.”

I told Jammies that it was a good thing he’s doing all this subbing, or else he would have begun teaching in his own classroom with a perfectionist mentality.  “Can you imagine being a new teacher, if you’d lost your freaking class, and not known the kind of dumb shit that happens every day? Someone brings a puppy to class? Someone pours out all the glue on their desk? You’ll be so much more relaxed now!”

It sounds like such a zoo.  Yes, learning is well and good and admirable, but also, let’s keep the glue in the glue bottles, and our pants on, and all the chairs on the floor. Fundamentals first.

Duck head:

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He kept resurfacing, just the head, again and again, in between diving underwater. Breakfast, I presume.

Also eating breakfast:

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Cheesy breakfast spinach, mmm-urgh, what?

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Why not.

Rascal: “When am I ever going to be able to see my back? my own back?”

(We got out the handheld mirror, and lined up the mirrors so that he could realize his dream.)

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Pigtails.

I feel like I spend a third of my life in this bathroom:

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Might as well document it:

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Rascal combed his hair like he wasn’t clear on how it worked, just sort of nudging his hair around with choppy motions.  It was funny.

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Pom-poms!

…..

It was in the 90s this week. The hottest days of the year are the first couple hot days. They’re miserable and you’re not yet used to it.

This thing is getting built on my way to school:

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Or maybe deconstructed? Maybe it’s been there for years and now they’re taking it apart?

It’s also there on my way home from school:

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From this angle, doesn’t it look rusty and not brand-new?  Stay tuned – I’ll keep you posted on whether they’re constructing or deconstructing.

Caterpillar!

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I told you he was writing a lot!

Fucking Texas, man. What is this shit:

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Do you all know that there’s a Texas Pledge, and all the school children recite it after the regular pledge?  Do you know it’s a total knock off of the real pledge?

Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.

In 2003, they passed a law that requires kids to recite the Texas Pledge every morning, alongside the real pledge, which – besides being inherently weird – leads to the situation where none of the middle-aged adults know the Texas Pledge, and if they don’t have kids, they have no idea this ritual exists institutionally.

This is a kind of antidote, though:

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Tejas: Todo es bonito. La bandera es bonita con rojo y azul y una estrella.

“How do you spell Egg Salad?”

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What about FISH?

(Q: what do you call a fish missing an eye?

A: fsssshhhhhh. )

Hawaii is crafty:

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It’s so cute!

Seasonal egg:

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Hinged with a tack:

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Springtime cuteness!

Pokey keeps drawing:

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I’m really not totally sure what’s going on here.

You buy decks of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and it’s supposed to form your hand for your battle. Different decks have different strategies. This is from the Salamangreat Heatleo pack:

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What’s that paragraph say at the top? Oh, not much:

“The main strategy of this Deck is to deploy Salamangreat Heatleo along with a supporting cast of FIRE Attribute “Salamangreat” monsters, then employ the “Reincarnation Link Summon” strategy to Summon a powered-up version of Heatleo. Here’s how it works. [Ed: oh good] First, Link Summon Salamangreat Heatleo, by using “Salamangreat” monsters that can be Special Summoned from your hand or Graveyard. After that, use the effect of the field spell, Salamangreat Sanctuary to use your first Heatleo as the only Link Material to Summon your second Heatleo with its extra effect active! Your Extra Deck contains a special Link Monster that adds Salamangreat Sanctuary to your hand to help you set up your “Reincarnation Link Summon.” Once your army is in place, use the powerful effects of “Salamangreat” Spells and Traps that work while you have a “Salmangreat” monter you’ve Summoned by “Reincarnation Link Summon” to ensure victory!”

It’s unintelligible turtles all the way down. Salamangreat turtles.  This is just the tippy tip of one turtle.

Ace painted this:

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It’s the front of a card for Hawaii’s birthday. I totally love it.

Also:

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There is one letter per page, but it’s faint. “I love you mom [and I can’t remember the last four words, alas]”.

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Work is going really, really well lately. I love my classes this semester. I am excited about several projects. I am getting help with the things I detest.  I’m only teaching three classes, because they’re 4-credit instead of 3-credit courses, and I love it. It feels like a bit of a break. The first half of the semester was a bit of a hectic mess, but now it feels more or less like summer vacation is nearly here. I’m trying to savor it.

(We’re losing our secretary, who I adore, to the state university math department. That’s the only fly in the ointment of all this.)

On the fridge:

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That’d be a good profile photo. Maybe I should try Twitter.

There’s been a lot of dressing up:

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The third sister being Ace’s Belle doll.

Then Hawaii gave them make-overs:

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All three of them:

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Fancy kiddos!

We’ve bought these yogurt tubes for years:

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How did I never try to read this outloud before? Can you really put an l right after a q?  Can it really by pronounced skwlerp? Is that two syllables or one?

there’s just this one thing

We haven’t done one of these in a while:

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which is to say, dousing a kid with olive oil and sectioning off their hair, and thoroughly combing them out for lice and nits.

Because for the most part, our lice game is tight. Every week, we breezily nit-comb out the kids, in the bath, on Sundays. If we see any indication of lice, they’ve only just barely begun. A couple comb-outs, and we’re done.

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With Rascal, we skipped two weeks in a row, what with Spring Break, and he must have gotten exposed right after the check three weeks ago. So he had quite a few nits.

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The biology of the louse life cycle was gorgeously on display, however. In the initial comb out, we found exactly two giant, elderly lice, and a bunch of nits. In the subsequent comb outs through out the week, we found three tiny nymphs, which would have been too tiny too get caught in the teeth of the comb, during the initial comb out. And no lice in between those two sizes. Fascinating.

On Monday, my colleague and I went to the Texas State Capitol with two students.

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What’s written on that door hinge?

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Fancy!

Our students were presenting their research from last summer, at a poster fest.

The elevators were observant of the state theme.

 

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We poked our head in the State Senate, where they were discussing a child welfare bill, at that table down the middle.

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We poked our head in the State House of Representatives. They were on recess but a woman was reading out some very long, dry list of recognitions that everyone was ignoring.

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But you can’t ignore these light fixtures!

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Or the ceilings!

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Or the gift shop!

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“Peacemaker”, har har.

Would you like a candy jar in the shape of the state capitol?

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Or would you like a magnet?

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What are those tiny things, anyway?

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Those smeary faces are ghoulish. What is going on here.

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Oh, the surrender of Santa Anna. Frightening times. Non-ghoulish-faced version.

Congresscritters get dramatic doors:

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All in a row.

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Rotunda being rotund:

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In the early 90s, they added three underground floors, called the Annex, beneath the existing basement. They created such a grand scale, however, with soaring skylights, that you really don’t feel like you’re underground. It’s impressive.

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Those hedges to the left are lining a giant skylight into the annex, to discourage people from walking right up to it.

I love this dragon – with his YAY hat – so hard.

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You can tell that Pokey has been working hard at making things 3D – the arms and feet, the belly.

Pokey makes more Pokemon cards of his own:

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or maybe Yu-gi-oh cards

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or maybe cards from a game he has made up himself,

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but definitely something very, very detailed.

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On Thursday evening, I flew to Madison. We never had a family memorial, but my uncle’s department was holding a thing, and my mom and I attended, along with my cousins and aunt.

I was pretty overwhelmed when I first arrived at my aunt’s house. It felt so deeply wrong for Rick to be absent. My aunt said, “There really are so many good things going on.” She told me how there’s going to be a lecture series named after him, another group is starting a scholarship fund, a room was named for him, and how they found a publisher for the blog he kept while dying.

She joked, “We keep saying, ‘So many good things! If it weren’t for this one thing…’ ”  My aunt talks slowly and deliberately.  Often slow talkers drive me nuts, but she chooses her words so carefully and usefully, that it’s always worth paying attention and listening closely. Like she’s conveying more depth and content than a fast talker, through judicious word choice.

There’s one photo I really regret not taking. I was sitting in my uncle’s study, while my cousin looked through photos, trying to decide on a last few to display during the memorial.  It was so still and quiet, the light through the window so pretty.  So many mementos and books and stray papers, crammed all over the place. Children’s art, books, photos.  I felt so calm and sad.

Both of these cousins have small children, younger than Rascal. Throughout the day, I felt hyperaware and attune to all emotions and nuances. (It’s easier when it’s not your own kids, siblings, parents.)  Everyone was alternately running hot and then relaxed, being interesting and sweet and thoughtful and then snapping at each other. I felt like I could read subtitles naming all their emotions. (Because it wasn’t my own mess.)

I felt so calm, and sad, and understanding of layers. Then a high school friend of my cousin’s came over, and everyone started chattering away quickly, and it was a bit jarring.  Like I was on quaaludes and could only view the conversation telescopically, unable to access my upbeat, chatty side.

The event wasn’t until 5 pm on Friday.  This is the only photo I took:

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the metal mid-century grill on the outside of the building.

The speakers were all eloquent and said beautiful things, alternately hilarious and then poignant, capturing his essence. I wept throughout. I have no control over my face when it comes to crying.

(The department chair was offensively rude to my cousin, not realizing that she was one of the daughters, because she is adopted and not white.)

My mom spent the event snapping photos of each speaker, nudging the person next to her for help with speaker names, and then during the reception, she photographed hugs and talked about how she’ll put all these photos together into a book for my aunt.

That evening, I heard my mom on the phone with my dad, and she said, “I was probably doing it to distance myself, but that’s all right. This way we’ll have a nice book.” Of course, that had been my thought as well, but it’s nice that my mom is self-aware about these things. As the sister of the deceased, she has total freedom to manage her emotions however she wants, and channeling them through a photo album is exceedingly in character for her. (This apple does not blog far from the photo album.)

I was exhausted from the intense, prolonged sadness all evening, and then I woke up at 5 am to fly home. My eyes were all puffy and I just felt spent.  It’s just shitty to not have my uncle here, anymore. (There were so many good things about the trip, but there’s just this one thing…)

I just miss him so much.

I could have used a recombobulation area in the airport, but that’s the Milwaukee airport, not the Madison airport.   The Madison airport, instead, has these:

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Skeletons of pay phones past.  Clearly I was recovering my itchy photo finger.

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This is my secret about the DFW airport: everybody takes the Skylink (the train), and nobody takes the Skybridge between terminals.

It’s completely abandoned. If you’re the kind of person who likes finding isolation in busy public places, you’re going to love the Skybridge.

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It’s a little hard to find – it’s on the maps, but there’s no signs pointing you towards it.  But it’s there.

The San Antonio airport, being all cute:

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I do like granos de elote, thank you.

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La Morena jalapenos. Jumex Tomate.

And then I was home again.

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Out of my sad quaalude self and back in the rambunctious world of Geeblets.

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Laundry to fold, tostadas for dinner.

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Back in our bed, which is the best night’s sleep anywhere.

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Between last week’s math conference, then the day trip to the capitol, and then this quick trip to Wisconsin, I am all travelled out. I am not used to traveling this much, and life at home is too complicated, and I just need to be here.

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I’m very glad not to be leaving for a while.

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On Saturday night, there was a giant hail storm.

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I know it’s terrible for cars and roofs, but I do still sort of like dramatic weather. It was so noisy and calamitous.

Needing all those wheels attached

Me and my first born:

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Ol’ carp face Hawaii:

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I’m always fond of kid art:

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Pokey’s teacher texted me that he’s been rushing through his work, and sent the following photos:

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That’s the assignment above; to copy and fill in the blanks.

Pokey’s choices:

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In other words,  his mad libs answers yield:

Some important community helpers are  police, mayor, P&Z, teacher.  A  P&Z  helps the community by plans & zones stuff.

Snerk.

Rascal traded his entire perpetual candy bag to Pokey for this one chocolate animal:

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Rascal then ate it over a few nights, and has saved the wrapper to love and keep forever.

Speaking of the friendly local commission that plans and zones stuff:

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A developer gave a presentation, and ended on that photo of the Golden Girls at the end. So then it stayed up during the entire public comment period, and for quite a while those four watched over us, enchanted. It was a little surreal.

I was torn on whether to allow the developer to rezone a house in order to subdivide it. It’s historic, but it’s also on a busy intersection, next to a liquor store.  They’ve rented to college kids for years. I said I just couldn’t see a family ever moving in.

One of the other commission members asked me, “What if it was something besides a liquor store?  What if it was…a chuch?”

and I said, “Or, it could even be something wholesome and family friendly!”

(The commissioners laughed but I immediately regretted it and felt bad. You just don’t know who is in the audience and who is sensitive about their morally corrupt religion.)

Rascal, being wascally:

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Hawaii, giving her proof that Donald Trump equals James Charles. (I don’t know who James Charles is – something to do with make up and a tagline involving sisters.)

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The kids of course don’t realize how unfunny Trump is to the rest of us. They know he’s awful, but he’s a cartoony kind of awful, not a nauseating enraging awful.  It’s jarring sometimes.

Anyway, if you can get past that, it’s a neat little free association proof that Trump equals James Charles. (I can’t remember the gimmick that Trump = 7. The next line is the 6 members of our house. The rest is self-explanatory, I think.)

Then I went to a conference, and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express with questionable design choices:

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The town is the quintessential Friday Night Lights town.  I don’t know what this business sells:

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The night before I left was an utter disaster. I stayed at work late without realizing I was supposed to pick up Hawaii, so she was stuck at aerial silks for an extra hour before I realized it. (She ended up going home with a friend.) I felt awful.

Pokey’d had baseball practice, and the little kids had played at the fields.  (Rascal took off his shorts and underwear, and was dancing around, Porky Pig style, until one of the other moms stopped and helped him regroup. We found this out a few days later.)

Anyway, when we all got home at roughly 8 pm, all the kids were starving and overtired and four individual crises unfolded. They were all such wrecks.

Ace was tragically, exhaustedly upset that I was going out of town, and so this happened:

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She had me take her special blanket with me on the trip, and promise to snuggle it.  Of course I will.  (Of course I was terrified I’d somehow lose it.)

The carpet in my room:

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..had the weird property of looking blurry and out of focus, even when it was in focus.

I took a second photo just to convince myself:

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In focus, yet not.

Hallway carpet:

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Checkerboard stencil with alternating mottle. I’m on board with it.

I like proofs without words:

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…but I can also supply the words, if you’d prefer.  This is a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem.

Both diagrams have the same area, (a+b)2.  Both contain four right triangles, with base b and height a. If you remove those four triangles, then the left diagram has a single square remaining, with area c2. The right diagram has two squares remaining, with area a2 and b2. Therefore a2 + b2 = c2.

Isn’t that nice? There are hundreds of proofs of the pythagorean theorem. (This was from a talk for math undergraduates.)

After the conference banquet on Friday, when we were all returning to the hotel and the roads were poorly lit, I had opportunity to joke, “For a place that’s straight out of Friday Night Lights, they could sure use some extra Friday night lights.”  Everyone humored me.

While I was at the conference, Jammies started sending me photos like this:

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of ants swimming in water.

Entire anthills, seemingly:

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Behind our washing machine, which was leaking.

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Jammies fixed both problems. Who knows if they were connected, but the ants were coming in from behind the washing machine, which had developed a big hold in the seal of the door.

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Train.

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Needing all those wheels attached. Fortunately, my in-laws were here while I was gone, to patiently attach all those wheels with Rascal.

I returned Saturday evening.

Breakfast of champions:

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That is Ace’s breakfast: three ketchup tacos and a bowl of Cheetos.  Would you like me to make you some?

Jammies has to do a lot of classroom observations, as part of his teaching certification.  Lately the class is preparing for the STAAR exam.  Jammies says that the teacher is mostly good, but has made some practical decisions about which topics to explain, and which topics to skip.

On the latter, they reviewed a problem where she literally kept saying, “Remember! Menu 4-1-3! Menu 4-1-3!” That means that when you see this kind of problem, you should take your calculator and you type in “Menu”, then options 4, then 1, then 3 to get the answer. If this makes your head hurt, you’re reading this correctly.

Tis the season:

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Dashing through the pollen drifts.

Robot love:

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When my parents were in town a few weeks ago, my mom was disturbed at the holes in my grandmother’s chair:

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The cats love sleeping on the chair and they’ve worn holes in the fabric.

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So my mom proposed a patch:

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and made the chair happy again:

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The cats are very happy with it, as well:

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and:

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Fluffy, ever dignified:

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Butt-licker.

I traveled these past few days, and I have to travel next weekend as well.

My family never had a funeral or memorial for my uncle. It’s weird and kind of jarring and there was no explanation.  I figured that his death was such a grand affair – everyone said their goodbyes, so many tears were shed – that maybe the closure had happened while he was here.

His department is having a memorial, however, and I decided to fly up to attend it. Just on the premise that it’s better to show up and be with family, in case more people die unexpectedly.

I don’t like traveling so much. I like my routine. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately. It feels like it’s been a hard spring.

Shrimp Cookies

We have a lot of ants.

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About three weeks ago, when we just had a few ants, Pokey had a full-fledged anxiety attack one night about them. He was overtired, and overhungry, and really lost his shit, freaking out that ants would take over our house and consume us.

He eventually went to sleep and woke up feeling better, but his scenario has kind of come true and now it’s freaking me out.

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I compulsively pick up the ants and drop them in the utility sink (pictured above).  Thank god they’re not fire ants, but they still leave a smell on my fingers that gives me, well, the heebie-geebies.

Ace:

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“These are the best eyes I’ve ever drawn!”

Pokey:

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“I really want to learn how to draw 3D. Like 3D muscles.”

Hawaii:

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Ace, later on:

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Walking home:

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Grandma Collie and I donated our coats to Hawaii and Rascal because it was kinda our fault they were in short sleeves.

why not:

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This is harder than it looks, Mom:

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Guys. Guys. You’re going super slow. We can’t wait for you to finish this whole wall.

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This whole post is largely a photo dump. This particular patch is mostly photos I from two weeks ago, which I would have posted last week had I the wherewithal:

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my parents take photos that include me.

Jammies got home from Brazil on Monday, and I was so relieved to see him. Then he reminded me that he has a class on Monday evening, and so would be turning right around, and I nearly cried.

(Then Tuesday came, and I went back to work, and it was so peaceful and organized and calm.)

Ace, whatcha sitting on?

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Rascal, whatcha laying under?

Grandma Collie and Ace made a tooth pillow:

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in anticipation of some far off day, when Ace may be so lucky as to lose a tooth. Both Hawaii and Pokey were 6 when they lost their first teeth: our kids are late in all things tooth.

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Pokey and his bros.

….

For Spring Break, Hawaii and Ace invented and undertook The Sister Challenge:

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wear matching outfits five days in a row.

Monday:

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They were terribly cute about the whole thing.

Tuesday:

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Also Tuesday:

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“I’m drawing a unicorn on Ace’s back!”

Narration voiceover: But she was not drawing a unicorn on Ace’s back:

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Ace thought it was funny, though, so Hawaii kept going:

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I put on my poker face and strict voice, and put an end to this. But I took this photo first, because it’s hilarious.

Also Hawaii, on a different occasion:

In the kitchen with me, aggrieved: “Mom, I hate it when you do a ‘personification of food’ voice.”

Me: Guilty!

Hawaii: I’ve always hated it.

Back to the Sister Challenge:

Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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(Jammies and I crossed wires on Friday and failed to take a photo.  They wore matching yellow dresses.)

This fucking kid:

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That photo was taken at 7 pm, on Monday after dinner.  He was down for the night.

Then he woke up at 2 am, and bing! He was up until morning. He came and got in bed with us.  Throughout the night, I dozed fitfully – waking up and seeing that Pokey was still awake. At one point, I played a little mindfulness vignette for him, which involved counting backwards from one thousand.  Pokey took as a challenge.  At one point, I woke up when he was working backwards in the mid-200s. He did fall asleep, for maybe 30-60 minutes around 5 am, but then he got out of bed for good at 6.

It happened again on Friday: he fell asleep immediately after dinner, and then was mostly up for the day around 2 am.  What the hell.

You know I love a good bird montage:

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Hello egret.

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Lift off!

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zoom, zomg.

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This here’s my favorite branch.

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I can balance just fine. Shut up.

Rascal by a purple tree:

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This banana made a run for it:

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but did not go very far.

Speaking of:

While getting ready to brush teeth in the bathroom, I told Ace to throw her trash in the trash can.

Ace sweetly, in a sing-song:  I’m waiting for you to say a wo-ord…It starts with a b.
Me: You mean p. It starts with a p.
Ace: Panana?
Me: what?
Ace: I thought banana started with a b?
Me: I thought you wanted me to say please.
Ace: Banana.
Me: what are we even talking about.

A poster, by Ace:

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Not clear why that foot has seven toes.

A hawk, by me:

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Hello sweetie.

Also irresistible:

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photo installments in my series, “All The Geeblets Are Watching TV Together”.

….

This is not the first time I’ve posted this exact dog head log:

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but so what.

What’s the most useless book in your home library?

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Is it less useful than “Understanding and Servicing CD players?”

Heebieville is small enough that the kids semi-regularly make it into the newspaper:

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That was at Spring Break Camp, where we parked the three big kids, since their Spring Break did not align with Jammies’ and mine.

Note: Ace’s real name is not Willard.

“Mama! I made us cookies!”

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I love shrimp cookies!

I should upload the video that Jammies sent me, of Rascal inching down this path as slowly as possible. “I want to go faster, I just can’t. I’m sooo tired.”

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thunk.

G’bye for another week!

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G’bye! Bye now!

Spring broken

Jammies has a night class every Monday this semester. While he’s there, while I’m single-parenting, I become minorly obsessed with how I would cope if something happened to him and I became a single parent.

What I’ve come up with is this: I would take a three month leave of absence from work, and the kids would have to quit all extracurricular activities, just for three months. During that time, I’d learn how to stay on top of dishes, laundry, and their most basic school needs. No baseball, no dance, no piano. Just mastering our simplest possible life. (Aside from therapy. I assume we’re all in therapy from whatever traumatic thing happened to Jammies.)

At the end of the three months, I should know the difference between what I can do and what I need help with, and try to figure out how to get the help I need on the parts I can’t manage. Then I’d add in going back to work, for three more months. Finally, after six months, I’d let the kids each add in one activity. We’d never go back to piano practice, I know that for sure.

My spring break ends today. Jammies is on his way home from Brazil right now. He’s been there since Wednesday, for his brother’s wedding. Various texts I’ve received from him:

[I was planning on inserting his text messages and also some Brazilian photos.]

(The word “Brazilian” always reminds me of a cartoon I saw once that hinged on President W. Bush confusing “Brazilian troops” with “bazillion troops”.)

My parents are in town, to help run this circus. They’re being really great and helpful, actually. They keep getting better at grandparenting. My mom is sewing Willa’s tooth pillow with her.

Apparently: whenever my dad is tasked with buying hors d’oeuvres, like at a grocery store, he comes home with Goldfish crackers. He just thinks they’re great, and thinks all adults actually love them.

(I actually hate them. I think they’re always faintly damp and stale, slightly like an actual fish. Cheeze Its 4 me.)

Rascal: Dad, how come you wanted to be a grown up?
Jammies: Well you don’t choose to be a grown up, everyone just turns into a grown up.
Rascal: I thought you could choose to be whatever you wanted to be?
Jammies: Oh. Well, yeah, you can, but you’re still a grown up. Everyone turns into a grown up.
Rascal: That doesn’t make any sense to me.
Jammies: Well, being a grown up is just about your age. You’re a kid, and each birthday you get a little older, and when you’re 20-25, you’ll be a grown up. It’s not who you are or what you do..
Rascal: Oh ok, that makes sense. So I can still be a ninja, I’ll just be a grown up ninja.

Jammies gets home on Monday and I go back to work, and the kids are on Spring Break. We parked the older three in the city-run Spring Break camp.

It’s late Sunday night. Normally I’d add photos and sprinkle in commentary at this point. But I’m fucking beat and a little demoralized, and really can’t wait until Jammies gets home.

My parents have been amazing, and I couldn’t be more grateful that they came out to help run the show. But I’m still just worn down.

Fiddler Lizard and Dog Rocket

There’s Theo, quacking away:

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“Hey Cleo!”

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“C’mere!”

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“On my way!”

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“Wait up!”

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“We’re free!”

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“Let’s stop here.”

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“Far enough.”

Our friends are all going to Big Bend again for Spring Break. We are not.  The two main reasons are:

  1. My spring break does not line up with everyone else’s. This coming week is mine; Heebieville’s is the week after.
  2. Jammies’ brother is getting married in Brazil in one week, and Jammies is going to Brazil for five days. I’m very jealous. I’m staying here with the kids, and my parents are coming to visit.

On the group text threads, our friends keep exulting things like, “I cannot WAIT to be there already.”

I am relieved to be staying here. It would be fun to go camping with all these families! But so much work. I am in a place right now where I’m trying to conserve energy.  That’s kind of a depressing commentary on this stage of parenting – these are supposed to be the easy years. Everyone can dress themselves and brush their teeth, and no one is a teenager yet.  But it has not yet turned a corner for us.

“MAMA! Please! I need to show you my world. I made a world.”

Sure, Rascal, what’s up?

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This is the savannah!

Neat!

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This is the jungle!

Makes sense!

It’s in the middle shelf. The shelf above is the Artic, and the floor is the Antartic.

Got it.

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Over here, this is a tree. These guys all live in the tree top.

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At the bottom of the tree, those are hippos, in the mud.

This is very involved, Rascal!

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Here’s our house! See, the food’s in the kitchen. Under our house is our wagon. And the garden is out front of our house.

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Here’s the activity center! It used to have soccer, but now it has basketball.

(Accurate.)

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This is a mountain! These guys live on a mountain.

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And this is the ice skating rink. The end!

(There was also Mimi’s house, in another area, but there was no card to photograph.)

Here’s me, goofing around. Pro-tip! Just stick your fake boobies in the pockets of your pearl-snap shirt!

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I posted it to Instagram, which I recently joined.  Clearly I take a ton of photos, so it seems like a good fit.

I have the urge to post something to Instagram several times a day, but I rarely actually follow through. It always seems contrived. Even though I’d post the same joke with the same photo here on the blog.

“This is a present for Daddy!”

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“That sprig of rosemary in your hand?”

“Yes! I’m saving it for his birthday! Can you put it in your purse so it doesn’t get lost?”

“Sure thing, sweetie.”

Jammies’ birthday is six months away, and my purse is a shithole, but I think it will work out just fine.

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I just thing this shirt is the cutest, with its little apple buttons. Rascal is very fond of the hood. (Ace is jealous of the kangaroo pocket.)

“Hey Ace!”

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“Were you playing with your make up?”

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“Why do you ask, mom?”

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Nice cheek fill, Rascal.

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Pokey spends an insane amount of time sorting and re-sorting these Yu-gi-oh cards.

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Hawaii reading.

My daddy, heading into cataract surgery:

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and right back out again:

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Apparently now his one eye has much better vision than his other eye.  Hooray for Daddy!

Rascal: That cloud looks like a getar.
Me: A what?
Rascal: A getar.
Me: A what?
Rascal: You know instruments? We have a piano and drums…
Me: OH! A guitar!!

I was pleased with his free association to get me there.

This is Rascal’s lion blanket.

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Rawr.  I think it’s a lion blanket because it has a crown?

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Bye now!

How’s Heebieville?

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AM NOT. (This is one I did end up posting to Instagram, with “AM NOT” as a caption. I only have a very few number of followers, so why do I feel so uncomfortable?)

Back to Heebieville happenings.

This is the venue where we had our wedding reception:

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At the time of our wedding, it was called The River Inn.  It was in sorry shape then, but it was very close to the River headwaters where we had our ceremony, and it had a small event space that was very cheap.   That was 9 1/2 years ago.

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I wonder how many generations of cat fit between our wedding and today.  What’s OJ and Fluffy’s lineage over the course of our marriage? Three to five generations?

Pokey seems to be more intensely focused on drawing than he used to be:

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Let’s look at these guys one at a time:

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Bee King!  I like his little raccoon face.

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Dog Rocket!

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Spider King! I like his sneer, and the depth to his legs. I also wonder about his little army below.

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Dangerous Dreaded Dragon! With a ghost friend?

Looks like the gang’s all here!

(And then, on a different day, this unnamed guy:

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I am not sure Pokey drew this one. It seems like an older hand.)

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I just liked this guy’s feathery branches and barren vines.

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Look at all this spring happening.

Rascal: Dad, I actually do want to play basketball.
Jammies: Well, next season we’ll sign you up!
And I want to play baseball, too!
Okay.
And football!
We don’t play football.
Okay. I just want to do all the sports I can play.
Great! You can play soccer, basketball, baseball, try karate sometime, and when you get older, try things like tennis.
Can I also race?
Oh yeah, when you get older there’s track and field.
But can I race cars? When I’m older, of course.
We’ll talk about that.
Can I trim bushes?
What?
Can I trim bushes?
Can you trim bushes?
Yeah!
Of course.
When I’m older.
Sure. We don’t have any bushes around the house. We’ll have to plant some.

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Not our bush. Cute little bush flowers, though.

To celebrate Spring Break, I stopped at an estate sale on my way to work on Friday:

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I definitely snapped these photos with the intent to post them to Instagram.

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I liked this poncho.

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There was a lot of more conventional 70s owl paraphenalia, but this fiber optic guy was really especial.

Here’s what I bought:

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These little hummingbirds on a mobile.

But then I didn’t end up posting any of this on Instagram. It just felt too conspicuous and humble-bragging, despite how silly that seems.

At Heebie U, I snapped this photo, also with the intention to post it to Instagram.

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“The Eames tulip tables and Eames chairs and benches are gone, but this little yellow fellow hangs on in the library basement bathroom,” I would have written.  But again, I did not actually upload it and follow through. What is wrong with me?

A similar thing happened to me with Facebook: I posted personal statuses a few times, and disliked the process of overthinking it, and didn’t enjoy the conversation that was spawned.

(I feel much free-er over here in blogland. Let’s chat!)

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This box is by our door and I misread it as “Shroom Froot” at a glance.

The school district held a UIL competition at the elementary level for the first time this year.

Pokey competed in Spanish Story-telling: they listen to a story in Spanish, and then had to re-tell it to the judges in Spanish. They were supposed to be very emotive as they told it.

Hawaii competed in Oral Reading, where she read a prepared poem, again with the emoting, and Number Sense, a mental math competition. In the waiting room for Oral Reading, she fell and busted her lip, and it was quite swollen for the rest of the day. (She would not let me take a photo.)

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After his event, Pokey worked on this puzzle for over two hours without looking up.

I have mixed feelings about his medication.  He is more subdued and he concentrates for very long stretches now.  He seems to be tolerating the side effects – drowsiness – better than before.  It seems great. I don’t know why I have misgivings.

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The UIL day dragged on and on.  Eventually, they announced the winners. Hawaii got 3rd place in Oral Reading and 4th place in Numbersense. Congratulations, Hawaii!

Pokey got 3rd place in 2nd grade Spanish Story-telling. Congratulations, Pokey!  (Apparently there were only three kids competing in his event, so he was a bit disappointed. But I’m still very proud.)

“Mom! Mom! Look what I made!”

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“That’s great, Rascal! What is it?”

“It’s the same thing Ace did! See, here’s hers!”

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Okay, let’s take a look:

Ok, yes. I see the rainbow down the left. The same numbers next to each color. Three columns. Some letters.

What’s this chart mean, Rascal?

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See? One red, two orange, two yellow, four green, eight blues but I’m missing some, four purples, two pinks, and twenty four whites!

Pokey isn’t that subdued:

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Coming and going.

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Why Ace, how posh you look.

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“When I lose my first tooth, I’m not going to put it in my tooth pillow. I’m going to save all my baby teeth.  Then, when I’ve got all my baby teeth in a big pile and all my grown up teeth have come in, I’ll put them all under my pillow at once, and I’ll get so much stuff from the Tooth Fairy!!”

It is hard to snap photos of Hawaii. She shuts it down QUICK.

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Hey Rascal, what’s up with that glove?

“You can tell I’m a fiddler crab because I have one big claw and one little.”

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“I can also be a Fiddler Lizard!”

Apparently some of the rocks on the side of the river here were deemed structurally unsound, and so they’re doing some fancy engineering in advance of the summer.

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You can’t drain a river, though, in order to perform dentistry on its molars. It seems enormously complicated, engineering-wise, to shore up the side of a river to recreational standards of safety.  It seems very surgical, the way you would have to work with all that water gushing around.