Tuesday, July 24, 2007


So, I changed my meez icon to reflect my new look. I got a haircut, and determined my old meez looked too young and sexy to reflect the "real me". The new one makes my face look fat, but hey, what am I gonna do - put a picture of the "real me"? Nah. Though I have a very incriminating one from the bachelorette weekend. Let's just say, watch what you do when drunk and around friends with cameras.

When I got home Sunday night, Hubby told me there was a change in Hutton's speech therapy. Due to issues with the insurance company, we would have to pay in advance, then be reimbursed for 80% of the costs, which is essentially what we do with the ABA therapy. The speech therapy was looking like it was going to add another $500 to our monthly budget that we don't have, though. We discussed it at dinner last night, and decided when Hutton starts first grade (yes, I'm almost certain we're going to go ahead and do the full day contained class first grade, rather than repeat Transition Kindergarten with the mean teacher) we would drop speech therapy.

Well, it ends up it isn't even an issue now, as I received a call from his therapist that the office is now officially closed! Apparently the insurance issues went deeper than we thought, and the therapists weren't making enough to cover costs. So, our summer is going to have some more free time, and no more early morning trips on Tuesday and Thursday, which is good, as I tend to get stressed out trying to get the boys ready on time. I feel bad for the therapists we worked with, however, as they're now out of jobs. Hopefully the demand for therapy will mean new jobs for them soon. And I hope Hutton will have enough therapy through ABA and school that we won't need to add more speech therapy in the fall, though I'm not holding my breath on that.

So, with no speech therapy today, we went and looked at cats at the Petco store that are up for adoption, and may go back tomorrow afternoon to adopt one or two. I don't know how well we'll do keeping them in the house with the boys and dogs going in and out, but I'm going to try. Hubby was asking tonight if I thought it was more humane for a cat to be euthanized, or to escape outside and be eaten by a coyote. I told him to define "humane", then pointed out that humane has the root word human, not cat, so cats could have a totally different idea of "cate". Hutton really liked one of the cats available for adoption, though, and the boys still ask when Tully is coming home. Sigh.

Tonight I had a soccer game, and received a phone call from my stepmother right before the game. She told me my stepsister had her baby last night, but there were complications during the birth necessitating an emergency C-section, and the baby is in the NICU and needs genetic testing. They had tested for Down Syndrome in utero, and my stepmother didn't really go into detail of what they were testing for, or what problems that baby has. I didn't really know what to say. I told her congratulations, and that I was glad Stepsis was doing OK after the c-section, but I'm not good at coming up with things to say in situations like this. I said something stupid about how she has a "real" grandchild now, as opposed to the step-grandchildren of my siblings and me. She said she considered our kids her grandchildren, too, and that my dad had cherished the time he got to spend with them, especially when the two of them had come up for a weekend to babysit Hutton when Hubby and I went to Hawaii for a wedding. That made me cry, of course, and I told her I was glad he got to spend time with Hutton, and that I hoped her grandson would be home from the hospital soon. I'm just sad for my stepsister having to go through this when a new baby should mean joy and happiness, not worry. I hope she and her husband are good support for each other and the baby will be OK.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bringing SexyBack With the College Friends

This past weekend I flew to San Francisco to celebrate a bachelorette weekend with my college friends/housemates. The seven of us all shared a house for two years in college (well, technically that's a brothel in the town of Durham, if three or more unrelated women live together, so let's just say we spent time there, but didn't really live there) and try to get together once a twice a year as a group.

Thursday morning, Hubby and the boys dropped me at the airport, and I flew in to San Jose, stopping at my stepsister's house to have lunch with her and my stepmother. Stepsis looked great. She's due with her first baby any day, and is a long-distance runner, so has the perfectly fit with beach ball sticking out in front look. Stepmom was fine, too, even though she seemed to gloss over that she has neglected to return any of my calls since the middle of January. She's either depressed or attempting to get on with her life since my dad's death three years ago September, but either way, if she thinks she can get me out of her life that easily, she's got another think coming!

After lunch, I drove my rented minivan up to San Fran to my friend Amy's lovely home, where four of us made cupcakes. Or rather, Amy made cupcakes, and the rest of us decorated them with "witty" pictures and statements. My first read "Sugar Tits", with an image in frosting and sprinkles of said breasteses. There was also a cupcake decorated with a frosting picture of a sex toy that the other three had bought at the local adult store earlier, a penis cupcake, etc. You get the idea. The red velvet cupcakes were very tasty, even with adult images. That evening, we picked up two more housemates, including the guest of honor, who is getting married in September, at the airport in "the cherry" as I dubbed the red Dodge Caravan, and shared more laughs, cupcakes, and drinks that night.

Friday, our seventh housemate arrived, and we headed to lunch, followed by a walk on the beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. We window shopped, we drank wine and discussed serious topics (the state of women at our college, as opposed to what it was 15 years ago, politics, jeans), we went back to Amy's and made a delicious dinner. (Well, again, I had nothing to do with the dinner making, which is why it was delicious.) We watched the DVD copy of two films Jen made in her college film class, in which most of us made our film debuts. They were hilarious. (though in a very artistic and well filmed manner, of course, Jen!) We finished off the night with a game of "Totally 80s!" Trivial Pursuit, which my team won, as I am the 80s trivia master. Well, my teammates did help, but I think I'm the only one who remembers the spin-off series, "AfterMASH". Really, even Jamie Farr has blocked that one out.

Saturday, we walked on the Golden Gate Bridge, then went hiking in the Muir Woods. It was hot and we were all svitzing and complaining as we hiked the first two miles up hill, but we still laughed and talked and enjoyed the shadier half of the hike as we went back down through the beautiful redwood trees.

When we returned to Amy's, we showered, then the real fun began: the opening of gifts. The adult themed gifts were fun and we all laughed and shared stories. There was "The Fiance Game" - a tradition we started at the bachelorette party before my wedding ten years ago. Similar to The Newlywed Game, but played before the wedding, one of the housemates calls the fiance of the bachelorette being feted to ask him questions, then the bachelorette is asked the same questions, and lots of, "Ahh! Isn't he sweet?!" and "Oh my God! I can't believe that!" ensue.

While the gifts and games were going on, we all were getting our drink on, in preparation for our dinner. We took two cabs to the destination: AsiaSF, a restaurant and club with lovely "ladies" as wait staff and entertainment. They really were pretty, though Kelly and I agreed one looked like Latoya or Michael Jackson from too much plastic surgery. I thought most of the ladies looked more feminine than I do, with larger boobs and smaller "guns" as we were joking about my giant muscular arms throughout the weekend. The table of drag queens sitting next to us made me feel better, though. They were all a bit more masculine, so I felt better, and I wasn't retouching my makeup throughout the meal as the lady next to me was.

After dinner, Bachelorette Dawn suddenly got very serious and starting polling/grilling the rest of us about our sex lives, which resulted in lots of laughs and true confessions. We finished up with a short visit to the dance club downstairs, where we posed on the stripper pole, but mostly felt old as we looked at the younger ladies in higher heels. We got cabs back to Amy's, where we all went to bed after downing much water, fearing the impact of the drinking. Sunday morning, Eva left at the crack of dawn, scrambling out to the airport shuttle after the alarm clock failed to go off. I'm impressed she made it so quickly. Julie and Kelly left later that morning, then Amy, Jen, Dawn and I went to lunch and walked around Golden Gate Park. Amy's husband returned from his weekend "Escape From the Crazy Women" - a smart thing to do when the seven of us are together, as Hubby will attest to. (Being awoken early in the morning to "The Sound of Music" blaring from the TV downstairs is a memory he has from my baby shower weekend in 2001.) I drove back to San Jose, where it was 20 degrees hotter, and made my way home to a smelly home -- what is that smell anyway? Does it always smell like this? -- and cranky Harrison, who was out of sorts from staying up too late picking me up at the airport and couldn't decide if he wanted a bath, didn't want a bath, wanted to use the potty, didn't want to use the potty, etc. Much tantrumming and screaming ensued, but eventually he was in bed and I was doing laundry and going through mail. Back to Reality.

Oh yes, the theme of our weekend ended up being "SexyBack", or rather _____Back, filling in the blank with whatever was going on at the time. Overheard this weekend:

I'm bringing:
Cupcakes Back
Frosting Back
Creepy Back (our visit to the "Cell Phone" lot by the SF airport Friday night)
80s Back
Windy Back (The Golden Gate Bridge and beach by the bridge)
Sweaty Back
Lazy Back
Ugly Back
Drinking Back

Seeing my girlfriends was wonderful, and I love that we've managed to stay in touch and have these reunions over the years, as we all live in different parts of the country (San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Philadelphia and New York City - or Brooklyn and Queens). Truly, we're bringing Friendship Back! OK, that was cheezy. I'm bringing CheezyBack.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Hutton, one morning, looking out at the rain: "Where does that light go? [This is a new routine he and Harrison have worked out for the car. At every traffic light, ask where it goes. Mommy (that's me!) replies, "To Redmond. To speech therapy. To Woodinville. To Hell." Well, not that last one, unless "Highway to Hell" happens to be on the radio. In which case, Mommy would change the station. Gotta stop referring to myself in the third person as Mommy!] That light goes to the rain! The rain needs to be all done! Rain be all finished!"

Harrison, in the car, on the way to speech therapy, "What's this song about?" We were listening to ELO's "Evil Woman" on the radio. I replied, "It's a song about an evil woman, like Mommy." Harrison said it was "his song" which means he likes it, and he started dancing in his car seat. Gotta love the Jack FM weird variety of songs.

A few days later, also in the car, also on the way to speech therapy, Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" came on. Man, I love that song, and even though I didn't really need my boys to learn new euphemisms for sex, I couldn't turn it off. Harrison, boogieing in his car seat in the back, announced it was his song. Hmm. Let's wait a few more years on that, little guy!

While watching an episode of "Curious George", in which George buries the only copy of a speech the Man with the Yellow Hat is writing, Hutton got very excited. "Curious George is going to speech therapy!" He was glad he and George had one more thing in common, I guess! He loves this show, and has tried many things he's seen, like building dams in the yard, using the garden hose to make rivers to dam.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tully is Still Gone

And I'm still sad. I've seen lots of missing cat fliers around the area, too, which doesn't bode well.

Last night I swear I heard cats meowing at two different times during the middle of the night, and thought both times, "It's Tully. Wait, no it's the ghost of Tully haunting me." We've had cats before, who "went off to the country." I didn't have the bond with Jaspurr or Purrcy I have with Tully, though. Sounds strange, talking about a bond with a cat, but really, she was a sweetheart and it's like the two of us girls shared the Mom bond. Yes, I'm a crazy cat lady grasping at straws, but that's just how it seems to me.

I miss the feeling of her lying on my feet on the bed at night. I miss sitting on the couch, watching TV, knitting, and looking up to see her on the back porch silently meowing at me to let her in. Last night I was sitting on the couch, knitting and watching TV, and kept looking up to the back door, but no Tully was there.

I discussed getting another cat with Hubby last night, saying if we got a cat who'd never been outside and made sure to keep it in, it might work, but Hubby insisted the cat would get out eventually with the kids and dogs going in and out so frequently. Sigh. I don't know. The Humane Society is having their fabulous 2 for 1 July Cat Sale, or whatever they call it. The influx of new kittens means they need to find homes for the adult cats, so let you adopt two cats for the price of one. When we got J & P as brother kittens years ago, they were in the kitten version of the sale. Guess the Humane Society figured it would help the adult cats more to be in homes, as kittens are easier to adopt than adult cats.

The cynical part of me thinks of it in these terms: Tully had the time living with us, which was more than she would have had if she'd been euthanized. Though as Hubby so nicely pointed out, euthanasia is painless, whereas being killed by another animal is not. Sigh. I miss you Tully.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tully, Tully, Sweetest Kitty

Tuesday evening, as I was preparing dinner, I looked out the window to see Tully running across the back yard with something gray and furry hanging from her mouth. It was large, so I was hoping it wasn't a rat she was bringing us. She's good at mole and mouse hunting, but tends to not leave those on the doorstep anymore, thank goodness.

It wasn't a rat. It was a bunny. Tully dropped it on the doorstep, and I pulled her inside. I looked out the window. The bunny appeared alive, but as if it were "playing possum". I decided to get a box to move it out to the woods, while Tully yowled to go outside again. By the time I got a box, the bunny had disappeared, so apparently it was well enough to hop off the porch on its own. I was relieved, as I don't like bunnies dying. I'm fine with the mole killing, as I guess I never read "The Wind in the Willows" as a child. I did read "Watership Down" though, and tend to sympathize with adorable little bunnies over their less cute rodent cousins (I know, rabbits aren't rodents. That's why I said cousins!). Strangely enough, I had rats as pets, and like them, but not in their wild or non-domesticated pet form.

Later that night, Tully figured out how to get out of the upstairs bedroom window where the screen is broken. As I was getting ready for bed, she appeared above me on the bathroom skylight, meowing at her predicament. I told her I couldn't help her, as the screen on the skylight doesn't open, but I wasn't worried as she's a good climber and I figured she'd find her way back in. I went to bed and Tully was inside at morning.

Wednesday night, she was up to her window antics again. I went to bed again. Thursday morning at dawn, I heard Tully coming in the window, followed by squeaking sounds. I hoped that it was the sound of a dog toy being squeezed, but had a feeling that wasn't the case. I got up, and say something gray on the floor. I didn't have my contacts in, so had to get closer to see that it was a bunny. A sweet little bunny with some clumps of fur missing. I sighed. It was still alive, but I knew it wouldn't be for long, and I couldn't bring myself to do it in. I got a tissue box and carried it outside, leaving it under a shrub. I hoped it would be able to find its way back to a nest and heal. I checked later, and it was still there, but not looking very live. Sigh. Sorry bunnies! You don't do well in our neck of the woods. See here.

Still, I couldn't really be mad at Tully. She's a cat. She likes to hunt. It's her nature. When we adopted her, the people who put her up for adoption had remarked on her intake form that she was a "good provider" for her kittens. Yes, I bet she was! Bringing me bunnies isn't necessary though. I've never eaten rabbit, and don't plan to start on tiny bunnies my cat has caught for me. No, I'm not a "butcher it yourself" kinda girl.


Thursday afternoon, I was painting a table in the dining room with the window open. Tully was lounging on the walkway outside, and I'd call to her and she'd look up with her beautiful green eyes. That was the last time I saw her. She didn't come in Thursday evening. We had been doing well keeping her in at night until she discovered the window screen trick. I thought she's pop in Thursday night, but she didn't. Early this morning, around 4 a.m., I thought I heard a distant meowing, and ran outside, expecting to find Tully. She didn't come. I kept hearing the noise, but I don't know if it was a cat, or another animal.

I had a dream later in the morning that she came back, bringing a dozen little kittens that looked exactly like her with her. In the dream, I remarked to Hubby that I guessed they hadn't spayed her at the Humane Society before we adopted her after all, but that was why she'd run off -- to have her kittens. I was so happy and relieved in my dream. Sigh. Off to do more neighborhood scouring with the boys.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Little (and Not-So-Little) Monsters

Saturday, my BFF took me and the boys and her daughter to see "Elmo Makes Music", a live show with giant Muppets (or maybe they were people dressed in Muppet costumes...no I'm sure they were real Muppets) from Sesame Street singing and dancing. The tickets were Harrison's birthday gift, and it was really a great show.

No, I'm not kidding. The boys both loved it, and Harrison danced around in my lap or in his seat the whole time, and anytime Elmo left the stage, Hutton asked, "Where's Elmo?" One time he said, "Elmo went to go potty." Haha. Who knows, but if it's a person under Muppet fur, it would be quite an ordeal to go potty. And those Muppets really can dance! Big Bird looked a bit odd in person, with shorter wings, and BFF pointed out how big The Count's schnoz was in person, but still, they were getting their grooves on, joined by a human, "Jenny" who was a music teacher new to Sesame Street.

The highlight of the show for me was the Muppets dancing to the Hustle while singing, "Making Music", which segued into Bert, dressed in a hot white disco tux, dancing to a song from Saturday Night Fever, with the lyrics changed. (It reminded me of the Sesame Street Fever days!) Yes, the show was definitely geared to the parents, too, with classic video footage, including the pinball number of the day thing. You remember that, right? "1 2 3 4 5, 6 7 8 9 10, 11 12! Doo da da doo da di doo da doo doo dada doo dooo....Aaahhh, eight!" Yeah, I know it's hard to do those lyrics. I bought the CD from the show, but it didn't have the lyrics printed. Here's the YouTube, but with number six.

We had a totally non-GFCF lunch pre-show, but Hutton seemed fine. And I further pressed my luck with cotton candy at the show (they sold it on these cool light-up plastic sticks, so you had a neat toy after you ate your cotton candy!). Again, he was fine. Until that evening, when he got into the leftover cotton candy and quickly started falling apart. Oh well. It was a one-time only thing, and up until five or six, he was doing great. When we got home, Hutton wanted to go outside, but I was tired and said no, since he had played outside for an hour at BFF's house after the show. Hubby didn't jump in to take him outside, even though he'd been free all day while we were gone. Oh well. Hutton decided to go outside anyway. I figured he would, and went downstairs, to find Hutton coming in the front door, saying, "Uh oh! The Elmo balloon is stuck!"

Huh. "Where is it stuck, Hutton?"
"In the tree!"

I looked up. The giant mylar Elmo balloon I'd spent $8 on (hey! It was fun! I couldn't resist!) was about 40 feet up in a maple tree. I got angry, as I had told Hutton we weren't going outside, and he'd gone outside and let go of the balloon. Hutton got sad and whiny, and soon afterwards the boys were going to bed, after neither wanted the delicious leftover "surprise" dinner I'd whipped up in the microwave. I actually attempted to scale the tree later, after the boys were in bed. I got about 20 feet up before I realized:

a) I'm 33. I haven't climbed a tree since I was about 12.
b) The ground under me is either shrubbery or the stone walkway. I don't want to fall on either. Risking my life, or even a broken limb for an $8 balloon is just plain stupid.
c) Man, my heart is racing. If I continue climbing, I may have a heart attack from fear.
d) That balloon is not anywhere near me. If I make it 20 more feet, I still have to go out on a limb, literally, to get it.

So, the cons won, and I carefully climbed back down. Yes, I've changed a lot since my daring college days, when I was into rock climbing and regularly helped out on the high ropes course, sitting on a tree platform for several hours on Saturday mornings. Then again, both of those involve harnesses and ropes, so if you fall, you're not going to land on a hard surface and break your neck. Well, you still run that risk, but if you've got a good belayer and are very safe, not as likely to fall as when free climbing a tree.

So, Elmo is still taunting me from the tree. "Wuss! Elmo knows you want Elmo! Some squirrel or bird will surely die from Elmo being here!" I may wait a while for the helium to evaporate, and tackle the climb with a ladder. Elmo balloon, you will be mine!

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