Law Abiding Citizen

Blah blah blah random. But look! A theme! Tying it together! Not a stretch at all!

Newton’s First Law of Motion (An object in motion tends to stay in motion) I received my new orthotics on Thursday. My feet have been pretty tired at the end of each day since, but I haven’t had any foot pain since. I’ve been doing a lot more walking. I find the more I walk, the easier it is to walk. If I walk to work (from my parking lot instead of taking the shuttle), I am much more likely to get my 10,000 steps in during the day. On Thursday and Friday, I even took the long route back to my car. After timing it, it turns out that the long route, while 1.3 miles further than the shorter route, actually only takes about 10 minutes longer. The shorter route involves relying on other methods of transportation for part of the trip, instead of just my own feet. My own feet are now much more reliable.

I’m feeling so good with my feet, in fact, that I think I’m going to start running again this week. I’m sure I have plenty of time to ramp up for the Portland marathon, right? I can go from zero to twenty-six point two in three weeks!

Portland City Code Chapter 14B.85: I am doing a new landscaping project that involves digging a large hole. Before starting to dig, I (a) did not call the “call before you dig” hotline to find out where my utility lines were buried and (b) outlined the boundaries of my hole with spray paint. And then I left the empty can next to my large, vaguely kidney-ish shaped outline overnight. Just as I was going to bed, I realized the can was still outside. In order to purchase one of those cans, you have to produce ID and swear an affadavit that you’re not going to go on a mad tagging spree (that last might be a slight exaggeration). I worried that it would look bad if I left it outside overnight, but it was empty and the house alarm was already on, so I went to bed. I then spent a few minutes worrying about whether or not you had to call before you dug every time, or if it was acceptable to just remember where the buried utility lines were. After all, it seems unlikely that NW Natural installed new gas lines without me knowing, right?

Saturday night I had a dream that I was out digging during Alvie’s nap (about the only time I can dig without having to drop my shovel every 10 seconds to determine the whereabouts of my surprisingly speedy kid) while the architect was on this bike ride. So far, so realistically boring. But then! The cops showed up to arrest me for graffiti-ing my yard. And leaving out the evidence with my finger prints all over it. (And presumably for not calling for the location of my buried utilities.) When I requested they not haul me off to the hoosegow because my child was inside sleeping, they slapped me with additional charges of child neglect, since I was outside and not close enough to take care of him. And then they took me to jail without allowing me to find someone to care for my child. Who then promptly died. (It was as bad as it was unlikely.)

Murphy’s Law: No matter what, I assume that this law is as immutable as Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation (which trips me up often). I assume that things are going to be difficult. That if there is the barest possibility of getting lost, that I will get lost. If there is a slight chance of being late, I will be late. If there is something over which I can trip, I will trip over it. My son may be turning out to be the equal victim of those pranksters Murphy and Gravity. He fell into a blackberry bramble last weekend and was scraped up. (He told me a story about the mean plants and they didn’t even say sorry!) He tripped on our patio and scraped his knee on a blueberry (or more likely, on the concrete next to the blueberry). And yesterday, he ran headlong into the measuring tape I had on my jeans, scraping his cheek. Then, he tripped into the sandbox, scraping his ankle and leg. Later, he and his friend were running laps around the house and he was barreling straight towards my foot-deep hole (the first part of my landscape project). “Look out!” I yelled, non-specifically. Alvie looked out, and leapt gracefully, like the gazelle which is my namesake, and cleared the hole. I was very impressed. He and his friend then devised a new game of jumping over the hole (a foot deep, but only about 4-5 inches across. Of course he almost immediately fell in. And then a bit later, he tripped and thunked his head on something else. I’m thinking a bubble wrap suit and a helmet might be under the tree this year. Apple didn’t fall far from the tree on that one. (PUN OVERLOAD! ARGGGHHHH!)

This doesn't look dangerous at all.

This doesn’t look dangerous at all.

Twenty-nine (29!) Months with Alvie Bean

Dear Bean,

You are now 29 months old! Whoa! It’s been another fabulous month full of fabulosity.

We’ve had so much fun! There were parks! And water! And camping! You’ve been hilarious and weird and creepy. In other words, nearly two and a half.


You love going to the park. And going for bike rides. And playing outside. And making giant messes. And making noise. I read once that little boys are noises with dirt on them, and that is the most accurate description for you right now. We’ve had to take you out of restaurants to get the screams out of you because there are just SO! MANY! NOISES! in there.


“Mummy, I cwazy!” You tell me several times a day.

Yeah, Bean. You are.

Everything is yours. “Dat’s mine,” you say. About your books, your toys, my iPad, my car keys, the battery to the cordless drill, the random stray piece of fluff you’ve found on the ground.

“‘yander do it, no hep,” is another.

Don't touch 'yander!

Don’t touch ‘yander!

You are becoming a pickier and pickier eater, which is great, what with your food allergies. I am thisclose to giving up completely and letting you subsist on a diet of chicken sausages, cheese sandwiches, and pizza (gluten-free, of course). I don’t know how you can find a spinach leaf that’s been finely chopped and hidden under a mound of melted mozzarella on your pizza, but you have a gift. Fortunately, you do like smoothies, so spinach does get into your belly on the regular. Back in the olde days, I swore I’d never hide vegetables from you, because you’d willingly eat everything we put in front of you. Now, I just can’t figure out what exactly is wrong with cheese-drenched cauliflower, and am googling new ways to hide carrots in food. I keep offering non pureed vegetables at every meal. I know that eventually, you’ll eat a delicious, buttery grilled zucchini stick.


You have amused me greatly with your imagination this month. You love to tell stories. You often go on excursions (usually to the grocery store for cheese sandwiches, because I am obviously not serving those up quite often enough, what with my focus on tomatoes [FRESH FROM THE GARDEN, YOU CRETINOUS INGRATE!]), call people silly names (like banana), and tell fantastical tales about spiders and ducks. However, sometimes your stories are less good. It’s hard to learn the difference about when it’s okay to use your imagination and when it’s not, isn’t it? It’s okay to tell someone you’re a cat and they’re a banana. It’s not okay to say that your friend at school pushed you when he didn’t. Life lessons, kid. Life lessons.


We hung glow-in-the-dark stars and planets in your room this month. It’s pretty awesome. You did most of them, which means that 99% of the stars are in one little clump above the head of the bed. You sang several rousing renditions of “Twinkle Twinkle” while sticking the stars up, which was awesome.

Every night when we go to bed, you recite all the planets that you can remember. Every few days, another planet gets added to your repertoire. I am so proud, Junior Astronomer. So proud. I don’t even feel a tiny bit ashamed that your solar system came with Pluto and that we hung it up and I haven’t made any editorial notes about it yet. (I also don’t feel ashamed that your Daddy and I giggle every time we talk about Uranus, even though the instructions clearly gave a pronunciation guide for that planet that would’ve eliminated all sophomoric jokes.)


It’s been hot, so we’ve indulged in the sprinkler a couple of times. You love it and would gladly run through it until you’re blue and shivering. I would gladly put it away until next summer in favor of cool, rainy weather. I bought you some new rain boots and would much rather see some puddle stomping in the near future.


You talk all the time. All. the. time. I love it. Most of the time.

You are not interested in really pursuing potty training. I’m not terribly worried. You go when you feel like it. You often inform me when pottying is happening in your pull up. You just don’t have time for that crap. (ha!)

You are a big boy. “I am two,” you say. You just added that verb in there. I was impressed.

You are beginning to get interested in things. Like Cars. You have your very own Lightning McQueen shirt. And Lightning McQueen race car. The other day, you saw a Tow Mater car in the check out line. “Mommy, need Tow Mater. Tow Mater is Lightning McQueen’s friend. Lightning McQueen is race car. Needs friend.”

I was impressed with your logic. I did not buy the car, but I was impressed.

You also love Spiderman. OMG, do you love Spiderman. You want to be Spiderman for Halloween. I was hoping that I would get to pick your costume for one more year, but I was so excited that you had an opinion, that I immediately purchased you a Spiderman costume. You’d better not change your mind!

I love it especially when you say to me, out of the blue, “Mommy, I love you much.”


I love you much, too.



Best Gorram Ship in the ‘Verse

I would like to introduce everyone to my new baby. I am pleased to introduce

Serenity Eleanor*


It was a fairly quick labor – about 4.5 hours – and the pushing didn’t seem as bad as I’d expected (although really? I need a clear bra to protect my baby from insects?).

She’s a 2013 RAV4, and she’s practically perfect in every way.

I'm not excited at all.

I’m not excited at all.

I’d driven my Hyundai Elantra (2002) for almost exactly 12 years. It was a decent car. It was paid off. But it’s been acting a leetle funny lately. I’d been having some trouble shifting lately and thought maybe there was a mild quirk developing in the transmission. After the architect drove it on our camping adventure, he told me the clutch was going out. Apparently that is a Bad Thing. So, timing and finances worked out that I was able to take the day off work and go car shopping.

Serenity is a pretty basic model (can you say loss leader?), but she’s still fancier than my 2002 Elantra. The only thing that makes me sad is that she is an automatic. I will miss my manual transmission. In 12 years when I replace Serenity, I’ll have to find a manual transmission, because no kid of mine is learning to drive on anything else. (waves cane, grumbles about hooligans on the lawn.)

Alvie Bean loves Serenity. “Drive Mommy’s new car now,” he requests about every other minute.

For now, I am fairly happy to comply.


*name credit to Steph M who came up with the brilliantsuggestion of Serenity. Eleanor was the name I’d picked out for Alvie had he been a girl child. She’ll only get the full treatment if she’s in trouble.

The Good, the Bad, and the Camp

The architect and I took Alvie Bean out for his second camping trip over the weekend. Bean had previously been camping on our epic road trip from PDX to the Black Hills and back, but he doesn’t remember much about that trip.

I made a rookie mistake Thursday and told Alvie that on Friday we were going to go camping and that We! Would! Sleep! In! A! Tent! I was trying to drum up excitement. That is actually a terrible idea for people with a warped sense of the passage of time. Thursday night bedtime was awful when he realized that there were no tents in his room, just his boring old bed. Hysterics ensued. Alvie cried, too.

Finally, it was Friday after daycare. I picked up Bean and then we went to the MAX station to pick up Daddy. This was pretty exciting, because we got to see so many MAX trains! Alvie told me, very seriously, “Mummy, I drive train.”

I was all, “Really? I think you’re kinda short. Also, let me explain to you about child labor laws.”

Alvie looked at me and said, “When big, mummy.” (Implied: Duh.)

Finally (!) Daddy got off the train and we were off on our big adventure. About 60 minutes into the 105 minute drive, Alvie said, “I no wanna camping! Go home, pease.”

Too bad, kid. You’re stuck now!

We got to our campsite about 7 pm and I set up the tent while the architect started a fire.

Alvie ate a cheese sandwich (he had no patience for this fire building thing) and helped me arrange the tent to his liking. At 8:30 (i.e. about 30 minutes after regular bedtime) he said, “I go to bed now. Sleep in tent.”

We did stories and a song, and he was out.

I got up early the next morning and after making me some coffee, I took a walk. I got back just in time for the architect and the Bean to wake up. After breakfast, we took our first mini-hike. The Bean was fascinated with the hiking poles and insisted that he have a “stick” at all times.


We did a half mile round trip walk to the nearby Clackamas Lake. And then (!) we scoped out the (most disgusting in the history of camping) restrooms, which fascinated our Bean. Oooh – and then we went to the Lake again. (There were stairs. The stairs were awesome.)

After the second trip to the lake, it was time for lunch. Cheese sandwiches for all! It was about this time that I realized my car keys – the only keys to the car we’d driven – were missing.

I looked everywhere. I retraced all my steps – twice. I even, at the architect’s suggestion – took a flashlight and checked the outhouse. That memory will be burned into my brain (and nostrils) for all stinking eternity.

I was not happy. (“Mommy sad.”) Just as we were about to take another walk retracing our steps, I decided to look by the trunk one last time. I remembered that one of the first things I’d done when returning from our last trip to the lake (and I knew I’d had the keys when we left, because I’d locked the car) was to get the sandwich fixin’s out of the trunk.

Uh, yeah. The keys were still in the lock. I was so relieved/pissed. I HAD LOOKED INTO AN OUTHOUSE FOR LONGER THAN ANYONE SHOULD, EVER!

There was great rejoicing, and so we hiked some more. And lo! The Bean was adorable, and we got many wonderful pictures.




That evening, we made dinner early enough for Bean to enjoy a cheeseburger and some corn on the cob (ha! like he ate corn; that is very vegetable-y).

He watched me cook.


And then practiced being big.


Another early night for Bean (and me, too!) and then it was Sunday.

We took one last hike to the lake and then it was time to go.


Alvie said, “No go home, mommy. Stay camping forever.”

But, since it was pretty chilly at night (brrrr….I apparently forgot how to pack for a camping trip; we were FREEZING!), the architect and I made an executive decision to not become forest folk and came home.

We won’t do any more camping until next summer, and that seems like an awfully long time to wait for more of this kind of fun.



Barely wonked

I went and got fitted for my fancy new shoe orthotics on Monday. These orthotics, which based on the cost and amount of time it will take for them to appear in my life (3.5 weeks) are being hand-woven from silken unicorn manes, are going to transform my feet into something magical.

Before we got down to brass tacks, the orthotics lady (I don’t know her official title: foot goddess?) asked for a brief description.

I may have described my feet as deformed and “seriously wonky.” When I removed my shoes and socks, she said, “your feet are barely wonked.” And that when I knew I loved her. (I have had a string of amazing luck with the professionals in my life lately. Not a lemon yet this summer.)

I beamed! My feet were barely wonked! And Foot Goddess would know! She probably looks at feet all day. (Gah, that would be a horrible job.)

And then she took a closer look. “Wait a minute,” she said. “What’s wrong with your little toes?”

Alarmed, I looked at my feet. They’d been fine that morning. Wait a minute, they still are fine. Aren’t they?

“Ummmm…nothing,” was my exceedingly clever reply.

“They’re really short. Practically non-existent. How do you walk without falling over?”

I knew the answer to this one. “Oh, that! I don’t much. I fall over quite frequently! I’m known for it in fact.” I managed to shut up before I told her about my online name and how I came by it. (Hint: I’m not the gazelle on crack because of my unmistakable grace.)


“I’m not surprised,” she said. “May I see you walk?”

So I walked about. Up and down the hall. “Are you walking normally?” she asked. At this point, I thought about throwing in something a little silly, but I did not. Not everyone uses humor when they’re uncomfortable.

“Yes,” I answered. I was considering demoting her from Goddess of Feet to simply Tsar of Feet.

“You have basically no stability due to the fact that your little toes are virtually non-functional.”

I suggested prosthetic toes, but that idea was quickly dismissed.

(Aren’t you glad you know that’s an actual thing?)

In the end, we decided that since there was nothing to do about my feet (and she never did rescind her diagnosis of ‘barely wonked’ so I’m sticking with that), we might as well just put them in the weird foam box to get fitted for the orthotics.

And so, I did.

That’s a rather anti-climatic ending, isn’t it? I feel like I should end with a joke.

What do you call a dinosaur with stinky feet?

My feet look slightly better than that. Win!