Wednesday, January 23, 2008

3 .. 2.. 1.. Contact!

It took almost seven months, but it finally happened. Miss M was all up in Mr. Baby's grill (as usual), being loud and aggressively "lovey" (as usual), and he was just sitting there placidly in his high chair (as usual), trying to digest a single grain of brown rice. Miss M translated "stop yelling at your brother" to mean "try making another really loud noise near your brother," and so she began singing.



No, that wasn't the sound of Miss M's head exploding from its own vibrations. It was Mr. Baby, wielding his ducky spoon and taking perfect aim at Miss M's cheekbone. Yes, the little man finally fought back. And he knew it, too. As Miss M sat screaming and crying tears of befuddlement, he just looked at her, raised his barely visible eyebrows and grinned his biggest gummy grin. And as the responsible, peace-loving parents, we waited until Miss M stomped off to her room to give him a high-five.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

And I Still Miss Someone

I was at the post office the other day and saw two people greet each other across the parking lot with a half-wave and surprised smile of recognition. It made me realize that there's something I miss by living so far from where I grew up, beyond the closeness to family and friends. I miss those unexpected encounters with the past.

My history in Memphis begins eight and a half years ago. I was, at that point, pretty much a fully formed adult - married, employed, on the brink of home ownership. Aligning myself with the Memphis music scene proved that my youthful foolishness wasn't completely expired, but for the most part, the only differences between 1999-SAM and 2007-SAM are a mortgage and stretch marks.

When we were in Minnesota over the holidays, the first person I saw when we walked into church (the church where I took first communion and was confirmed, where I taught Sunday School and worked for the Youth Director) was Heather. Or as I considered her during high school, my romantic doppelganger. It seemed we were always interested in, or were being shown interest by, the same boys throughout our adolescence. From the felon to the missionary to the moody, introspective Lutheran, our dating lives kept jumping across each others' (with her generally showing greater success). I hadn't seen her in years, and then there she was, sporting a mom-bob very much like my own, chasing her toddler around the fellowship hall. We said happy hellos and made family introductions, then politely made our way into the sanctuary. Where I managed to sit for about ten minutes before Mr. Baby started making his Pagan leanings known. As we were bouncing around the narthex (yes, I'm going to use as many church architectural terms as possible in one post; kiss my flying buttress), Heather's husband came out with their daughter. It was sweetly pleasing to see that the girl who had dated some of the hottest yet surliest boys at WHS was married to a man who looked and acted like a kindly chemistry teacher.

I miss seeing those changes, seeing how the people who formed the earliest part of my life have turned out. And I miss being around people who knew me when I was in those formative years, people who saw every little triumph and ridiculous failure that made me who I am. Heather probably read the desperate letter I wrote to Moody Lutheran, and therefore knows a little bit about me that no one in Shelby County ever will. Those little bits of me are all over the Great Lakes states. Some days this blog is an excuse to pull a few of them together and hold them out in my hands to my current friends and say, "See? This is why." But as much as I miss those bursts from the past, I am nothing but grateful that they got me where I am right now.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Taking Care Of Business

Mr. Baby reached an exciting milestone yesterday: his first neighborhood business association meeting! We did our best to maintain a homey, crackled veneer of professionalism as he grabbed at the crab legs and baked brie during the pre-meeting social and I nursed him during the association officer election. He was an amusing prop during the member introductions ("I'm from Mothersville ... obviously."). But then it all went downhill when the grown-ups tried to have conversations that didn't involve him. The board president began explaining what the association had accomplished over the last year. "Mamamamama!" The festival chair detailed the highlights of the last event. "Mamamamamaaaaaaa!" Our city councilperson outlined the plans for our district. "MAMAMAMAMAMAAAAA! (pbbbbbbllllltt!)" His dwindling consciousness and increasing bowel activity were our cues to exit, so we slipped out as unobtrusively as possible, only braining three local business owners with my giant Mary Poppins diaper/laptop/saddle bag on our way.

Isn't it darling when they first grasp parliamentary procedure?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My True North

Alright, people, the time is nigh. The urge to do permanent, non-sun-related damage to my skin has become overwhelming. Plans are in the works for a Girls' Tattoo Night Out and I need to be prepared. The picture below is the closest I've found to the idea I have for my art, but after my unfortunate experience in Minnesota, I want to go in with my exact image in hand. So once again, our inspiration is The North Star. L'etoile du Nord, as it were. I like the organic, fluid elements of this star image, and the incorporation of the compass rose arms to clarify the directional element, but I would ideally like either a 9-point star or a 5-point with the 4 directional arms. So go to it, artsy types. Time's running out for you to make your mark on SAM.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

For It Was Written In Numbers

Per request/demand, I've made some updates to my 100 Things. I'm resisting the urge to expand the list, not because I haven't been thinking of lots of fascinating new things about me, but because the minute I get in front of a keyboard, I forget all of them.

Monday, January 07, 2008

WW3 Is A Giant Ice Cream Cone

There are very few things I remember from my Intro to Psychology class - and, frankly, college in general, despite my teetotaling teenage lifestyle. I remember that my professor had two dachsunds, which he featured frequently in his pioneering use of PowerPoint. And one of the only Psychology-related facts I recall is from an experiment conducted using popcorn. While telling the subjects they were testing something else, they gave them popcorn buckets of various sizes. What they learned was that, the more popcorn someone was given, the more they ate. Even among those reporting the same starting level of hunger, the people who were given bigger buckets ended up eating greater amounts.

This experiment popped into my frontal lobe as we were breaking in the new Costco card this past weekend. As we piled four gallons of orange juice and two infant-sized bottles of syrup into the cart, it occurred to me that we were falling directly into the giant popcorn bucket. We tried to restrain ourselves and only buy the items we go through frequently, but there's no getting around the fact that, once you have a really large amount of something, you can't help but consume it more quickly. I'm using a giant glob of shampoo at a time, mostly because the 2-lb. bottle is so unwieldy I can barely hold it in one hand. We're doing laundry around the clock just to get the VW Beetle of a Tide box out of our traffic pattern. We seem to be putting Mexican cheese on everything we cook, just because the Wisconsin-sized bag is in the way of all other food in the fridge.

So even though I know we'll go through fourteen pounds of bacon, I'm plagued by the knowledge that we'll go through it even faster when it's just sitting there in front of us, flaunting its abundance of smoky porcine goodness. It just can't be helped. It's science. All I can hope to do is confine myself to the products we really need. Like that 40-gallon barrel of popcorn.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hats Off To Thee

Reasons that, despite all the preceding, I'm not moving back to Minnesota:
1. slush
2. scraping ice off car windows
3. January-March
4. having to send my children to stand at a school bus stop in the dark among head-high snowdrifts and older boys who whitewash them with ice-packed snowballs
5. self-righteous tattoo artists who won't work on a nursing mother