Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Braces off!


Skipper had a birthday party. (You weren't invited. Sorry.) This year, she opted for a sleepover party. Duchess played host again, which was nice. Everybody had a lot of fun, and it was pretty much a rip-roaring success.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I owe you an account of Skipper's birthday

But not at the moment. For now, all you get is a few photos of our very brief trip this weekend to Bend, where Duchess played ultimate frisbee all day and Skipper fell deeply in love with a dog.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A few photos

Hi! Here are a few photos from March and April.

Duchess played flute at a recital run by her band teacher. She likes her teacher and she really likes playing flute, and Cook and I really like that she handles it all herself, with no nagging required of us.

This is how the girls and I live when Cook is out of town. (They're both wearing their kung fu uniforms; we do not dress like ninjas when Cook is out of town.)

This is what Skipper looks like when I pick her up from her after-school kung fu program:

This is what Skipper looks like when she does her homework:

Duchess and her friend Spruce presented a project at a National History Day event in Oregon.

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Hi! We're all healthyish. Things are feeling moderately springy around here, as we slog out of a very, very rainy winter. Here's a boring update:
1) I'm fine. Looking for a new job to replace the current one, which has a couple months left in it.
2) Cook's fine. Still not looking for a new job.
3) Skipper's fine. She walked herself home from school this week for the first time ever,* and felt very proud. 
4) Duchess is fine, but just middle-schooling up a storm. She is snarky and judgy and emotionally labile and just... exhausting. She did have a wonderful, wonderful spring break camp experience, at the same horse ranch/natural burial ground (seriously) where she went to summer camp last year. There were only two kids registered for the camp, so they just followed around the skeleton staff who was there anyway, and did stuff like feed the horses, feed the baby goats,** play with the puppy, wash the dishes, repair the electric fence, and clear brush. Duchess wept and wept when she came home because she missed everybody (especially the horses) SO MUCH. 

*It's only a few blocks, crossing only low-traffic streets. Don't worry. (Also, note that Skipper is competent as hell, as long as she doesn't have to talk to anybody or be seen by anybody.)  Cook's teleworking one day a week now (yay!), so he was home to receive her. He casually loitered on the porch as if he was just fetching in the mail.
**There are two males, and the ranch will keep one for breeding and eat the other one. Duchess has a strong preference for which one should get eaten, and cast her vote before she left.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My highlights of the latest bout of family illness

Skipper, turning to me in horrified misery after her 8th vomiting episode* in 6 hours to say "Oh my god, Mom!"

Skipper, after vomiting a slurry of ginger ale and saltines consumed during a brief period of optimism, saying in an appalled voice "It's still FIZZING!"

Calling Kaiser in the middle of the night because Cook and I were getting worried that Skipper was literally going to barf her guts out - the spasms seemed so intense, and her guts were actually rumbling as she vomited. Kaiser was pretty blase about it, and no intestines were ejected, so I guess they were right.

Lying on the bathroom floor for half an hour, afraid to move for fear of barfing. Cook put a little pillow under my head, and Duchess sat beside me and regaled me with stories of her spring break camp adventure.

Crawling to the living room at 1 AM because my whole body ached too much to stay in bed and Duchess was on the couch coughing anyway. I tried various floor-based horizontal stretching positions while she drank hot lemon-honey water (prepared by Cook, of course, because I refused to stand up) and told me a lot about camp and cried about how much she was missing all the people and animals there.

Kneeling on the floor of my bedroom weeping and eating saltines in the hopes of calming my stomach so I could take more ibuprofen for the evil headache without throwing up. Duchess peeked out of my bed where she was feverishly napping and said "Mom? Mom? Are you okay?"

Peering out of my ghastly, sweaty blankets to see Cook's hand holding a glass of ominous dark liquid. In my headache delirium, I could not understand why he was trying to kill me with poison, but when he said "drink it all, right away. My mom says so,"** I drank it. It was Coke, and I felt much better surprisingly quickly.

Cook, taking care of everyone and everything*** for days.

* In the end, I think she threw up 16 times. She was weirdly disappointed that she didn't break Skipper's record of 15 barfs in 24 hours.
**The splendid Mrs. Big Cook, who knew what to do about headaches and many other things both practical and whimsical, died recently. I'm not going to say any more about that.
*** Except French-braiding hair so that it stays out of the barf. That's my purview.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


I told Skipper, who was deep in an enormous pile of library books, that I was going to the basement to exercise. "I'll be down there for about an hour," I said. "Okay," she said.

Half an hour later, I heard her running footsteps overhead, and then thundering down the stairs. I assumed something had happened, like maybe a package was delivered, or an injured pedestrian at the door needing help. "Mom!" she said, "listen to this awesome tongue twister! Two witches watched two watches. Which watch did each witch watch?" and then she ran back upstairs.

There's a huge stack of books on the living room floor, not all of which have tongue twisters. I've been putting a lot of books on hold for the girls lately, many of them unsubtle attempts to encourage them to recognize a variety of life experience by taking advantage of their baked-in a) love of reading and b) strong desire to empathize. Thumbs up from both of them for Number the Stars, Esperanza Rising and What the Moon Saw. Duchess liked Jazz Day. (Skipper independently checked out of her school library the books George and Wonder, and liked them both very much.) I put a library hold on The Hate U Give for Duchess,* but of course if it's in the house Skipper will read it too. This is a very privileged-educated-white-person approach (one that would be decried by my social-justice-focused coworker, who likes to tell me that "white women cry, black men die"), but I guess it's a starting place.

*Duchess asked me last year "Mom, the kids have been talking about Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Which side should I be on?"