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!

Who Needs Sleep?

I do! I do! For once, this won’t be about my periodic insomnia. I’ve actually been doing pretty well lately – logging 6-7 hours most nights. I feel good about that.

This, instead, is a story that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you wish you had mad skillz like mine. (You can tell I’m serious, because I spelled ‘skills’ with a ‘z.’)


Alvie Bean’s bedroom is on the southwestish corner of our house. It does not cool down quickly in that room. Also, that kid runs hot anyway. Other hot things? Your mom*. And this summer in Portland.  So, we bought a window AC unit for Bean this summer. It’s lovely.

Our bedroom is on the east side of the house. In the evening, we just put a large box fan in the window and by bedtime, our bedroom is a cool paradise.

Last night, I went to bed (as I do) and found that the fan had not been properly placed in our window. Our room was hot. I tried to go to sleep anyway, but I was all sweaty and gross.

I had a bright idea! I would go sleep in Bean’s room. He has a full-sized bed and he is only 28 months old. There is plenty of room in that bed for a toddler and his short mama, right?

Following is a professionally illustrated series on how that went.

Time: 10:50 pm.

When I went into Bean's room, this was the situation. Plenty of room for me.

When I went into Bean’s room, this was the situation. Plenty of room for me.


Here I am, all comfy in the bed. I'm not sure why I'm bald. Lack of drawing skills, possibly.

Here I am, all comfy in the bed. I’m not sure why I’m bald. Lack of drawing skills, possibly.


Within two minutes, Bean had migrated downwards and put his stinky feet on me.

Within two minutes, Bean had migrated downwards and put his stinky feet on me.


I moved up. Much more comfy now, anyway. I can stretch out. Room for all!

I moved up. Much more comfy now, anyway. I can stretch out. Room for all!


Turns out that I'm a pillow. Also, Alvie's head weights eleventy million pounds. He actually gave me two black eyes Monday night with an unfortunately placed head-butt.

Turns out that I’m a pillow. Also, Alvie’s head weights eleventy million pounds. He actually gave me two black eyes Monday night with an unfortunately placed head-butt.


I'll just scootch over here. Now the sweaty, heavy head isn't touching me.

I’ll just scootch over here. Now the sweaty, heavy head isn’t touching me.


Ha, ha! You thought stinky feet on your legs was nasty. I've got something even better! Smell these suckers! (Or is it, "smell these, sucker"?)

Ha, ha! You thought stinky feet on your legs was nasty. I’ve got something even better! Smell these suckers! (Or is it, “smell these, sucker”?)

I gave up and went back to my slightly-less-stifling room.

Time: 11:25 pm.

This morning when I went in to wake up Mr. Bean for school, this is how I found him.

Well-played, Bean. You win this round.

Well-played, Bean. You win this round.


*apologies for the ineptitude of my ‘your mom’ joke. My strengths are in the visual arts. Obviously.

Nose Meet Grindstone

Ha! Just kidding. I mean, I work hard when I’m at work, but today I am only working a half day. I like to eeeeease back into things. Also, I have to go get fitted for my custom old-lady orthotics. (No offense to all the non-ladies and non-olds who also wear orthotics.)

I would like to report on how I did with my vacation goals.

  1. A decent number of workouts – WOW. fail.Embarrassingly so. I worked out only on weekends. I am hanging my head in shame right now.
  2. A cleaning out of the closet. Everything that does not fit and/or has not been worn in the past year must go! Also, most high heels must go. *sob* – Again with the failing.  Oops!
  3. The results of said cleaning out must go out of the house. – Failing at #2 meant an automatic fail at #3.
  4. I will replace that damn kitchen light fixture that has been broken for eleventy years so that I can see when I do dishes after sunset. – I took the light fixture down, studied it in great detail, put it back up, and then forgot about it. Holy failing, Batman! (Hee – I typed Bathman, which I have decided is a much better superhero.)
  5. I will read some books – FINALLY! A SUCCESS! I read some books. I have book reviews coming up.
  6. I will only do the bare minimum amount of work/email checking that is necessary to meet some external deadlines. – I went to work for a half day on Wednesday. I could have done less, but I did need to go.
  7. I will have a good time – SUCCESS! I had a pretty good time. I went to OMSI with the sister, got lost, had lunch with the architect, happy hour with some friends, had a GREAT Thursday, and spent Friday with Bean. Fun times.
  8. I will make significant headway on the editing of the mss – success. Not an all caps success, but success all the same. I spent ALL DAY Thursday editing. And I was alternately happy with and despairing of the words. Poor Cat had to bear the brunt of my self-doubt and whining.

I probably should have also tried to take my new, excessively long pants to get hemmed, but instead they’re just folded neatly on a shelf in my closet and have become a cat bed. (As opposed to a Cat bed, which would just be weird.)

And now, my first day in the office is coming to a close as it’s time to head out for my old lady orthotics.

Later ‘gators!