Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Lately, I've not been here much. I've been busy with other things. For starters, about a month ago I realized that I'd somehow acquired a nasty computer virus (Google Redirect). It took me a lot of time to figure out what I had to do to successfully remove that from my computer (it had messed with my registry files), but hallelujah, I finally succeeded, and when I did, I called Mike (who's always been my computer guru) and crowed about it. It seems like yesterday that I was hard put to figure out how to do anything on a computer.

Work has been...interesting. Why didn't I get my license and hang out a shingle? I wonder this at least once a week lately, as anyone and everyone, including my boss, seems to find their way to my cube to vent their frustrations. GENERAL PETRAEUS UPDATE: he asked her for $9800; she saw the light and turned him in to both Match.com and the FBI (or so she says).

But I digress. On the weekends, I've been doing my own usual spring therapy, meaning I've been hard at work mucking about in the rain (thank goodness for crocs!), working on the flower beds in the front of my house, which have needed a major overhaul. I've spent the past several weekends removing the old landscaping timbers (which I'm replacing with edging bricks); digging out tired, old plants and turning the Texas clay soil with a pitchfork, working in peat and sand and bedding soil. And after all that prep and redoing, I've planted cosmos and lobelia; Dahlberg and blackfoot daisies; bleeding hearts and angelonia and impatiens; and weekend evenings I've been listening to music and reading short stories by Salter and having a glass of wine and grilling steaks and artichokes for my dinner.

And all of that is good, but all of that pales beside the happy anticipation of a visit from Alex and baby Silas, who'll arrive in a few hours to stay for a little over a week, while Chris is off to Woods Hole for a conference. And so last night, when I got home from work, I drove to Target, where I bought fresh flowers for Alex and a Pack 'n Play for Silas that I spent some time assembling, so that he (and eventually, his younger sib(s) and cousins) will have a comfortable place to sleep. And tonight I'll have the pleasure of their company: everyone's coming here for dinner except Mike, who'll be sorely missed, but who's promised to come later in the summer. And I think of what an old beau once said to me: that coming to dinner at my house is like walking into the middle of a Woody Allen movie, right down to the dialogue. Yeah. I'm not sure he meant it as a compliment, but I took it as one. And as always, I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

photo from Google Images

Motherhood isn't for everyone. There are women who would love to be mothers, but for whom, somehow, that does not happen. There are women who have no strong feelings, one way or the other, about motherhood; somoe of them become mothers and some do not. There are women who have no desire to become mothers who end up having children anyway; some of them become mothers who resent their children, but some of them become mothers who fall madly, deeply, in love with their children. And then there are women like myself, who borrow kids before we have our own, just for the pleasure of their company; who always knew that no matter what else we did in this life, being a mother would be a big part of it. This year, both of my daughters are mothers too, and there is a sort of symmetry in that that makes me smile.

For Mother's Day this year I had dinner last night with my youngest son (by 2 minutes), Chris, at my favorite restaurant, Lola. The server, a woman my age, beamed and asked if we were there for a special occasion. Chris smiled and said yes, but before he could say anything else I gushed "Our third anniversary!" Chris burst out laughing, rolled his eyes and said, setting the record straight: "Actually, we're here to celebrate Mother's Day". The server laughed and said that's what she would have guessed, but that she's learned the hard way that it's always best to ask what people are celebrating, and never to assume.

As we ate our excellent meal and discussed a variety of topics, I found myself telling Chris about the time when he was eleven
months old and we were camping on top of the Colorado National Monument and he woke up needing to be changed in the middle of the night. We had a pop up camper, and everyone else was asleep, so I picked him up and took him outside. It was a beautiful, warm summer night, with a zillion stars overhead, the milky way cutting a wide and clearly visible swath across the night sky. The stars were so bright that I knew I'd be able to change his diaper by starlight, so I placed a blanket on a picnic table and laid Chris down on it. Then something amazing happened: as Chris lay there, looking up at the stars, he began gurgling and cooing...I swear he was trying to sing; that he was so taken with the beauty of the night sky that he had to try to express himself. It was one of those moments, when it comes to you that this is what matters, and not much else, really.

I don't know how long I stood there, smiling at Chris as he cooed and crooned at the stars. Eventually, I got him into a clean diaper and clean sleeper; then I picked him up and held him close and nursed him, for a long time, under that beautiful, starry night sky.

He laughed tonight when I told him the story. He's heard it before, but he clearly enjoyed hearing it again. He said that at 23, he's not ready to be a father yet (whew! good!), "but there are times, Mom, when you tell a story like this, that I think it must be so cool to have a moment like that..."

Yes, it is. VERY cool.

Coincidentally, this is my 500th post, and I'm glad (and think it's fitting) that it's a post about family.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday night cocktails...

Friday night cocktails at A's.

Tonight it was my personal favorite, champagne cocktails, and also Bellinis; pretzels with dipping sauces; crackers, brie, and chutney; strawberries dipped in chocolate (which I think are an overrated thing, but then a sweet tooth is not my weakness...bright narcissists are my weakness). A started this family cocktail thing 3 weeks ago, and it seems to be taking off. The formula (open to change, depending on plans, always) is that every 2 weeks or so we (the family, and whomever else anyone wants to invite) meets at one of our houses for Friday night cocktails (2 different types) and accompanying munchies and hors d'Ĺ“uvre. 3 weeks ago it was Martinis and Manhattans at A's; this Friday, the aforementioned champagne cocktails and Bellinis; in 2 weeks, Chris and Stephanie are hosting; the time after that it's my turn, and so on. Everyone has a couple of drinks, a little food, and a lot of conversation.

Friday night it was A, Francine (a family friend), Chris and Stephanie, Katharina and the X-man, and moi. The X-man, who's 6 going on 36, is tall for his age and gaining rapidly on my own towering 5'3". When he stood next to me I told him I'm pretty sure, judging by his height, that he must be at least 12 instead of 6. That produced a gap-toothed grin. He's lost his two front bottom teeth, and he proudly announced the two front top teeth are loose, too. The X-man had asked ahead of time if Uncle Chris and Uncle Mike would both be there, and what about Aunt Alex, Uncle Chris Too!, and baby Silas? We all wish! But Uncle Mike is in Tucson, busy studying for finals, so he couldn't make it. Uncle Chris Too!, Aunt Alex, and baby Silas live in Chicago, which is a little too far for us to have the pleasure of their company on a regular basis, but later this month, the X-man was assured, Aunt Alex and baby Silas are coming to Dallas for a visit.

As we downed our champagne cocktails and bellinis, the X-man had a chocolate shake, and then proved that the family tradition of being board game geeks continues, as he talked Uncle Chris into playing a rousing game of Trivia Adventure. If you're not a board game geek, this is a 1983 kids' version of Trivial Pursuit. There are 2 levels of questions but they are, of course, now almost 30 years old, which was a hoot in itself. The X-man is bright and reads very well, and the level 1 questions are geared towards kids, so he held his own, but all of us got into it. In response to the X-man asking Chris a level 2 question, "Who was the 6-million dollar man?" (Chris didn't have a clue), Francine and I shouted "Lee Majors!" "No!", the X-man said emphatically, "Steve Austin!" Uh-huh. Lee Majors, the actor, played Steve Austin, the character. That in itself struck me as funny, but I thought I was going to spray Bellini when the X-man read the next card, frowned, muttered, "Uh, this is sort of a weird one..." then asked Chris, "Where does the poop live?"

The answer? No, not the alimentary canal...the Vatican.

Nuff said.