Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nothing to See Here

Except my new Obama shirt, which I got for free.

it sparkles

I'm not sure you can tell, but it sparkles. It was supposed to cost $5, but I had given away all my cash to kids who were fundraising, in crumply wads of two dollars each. I made a half-hearted attempt to find an ATM and then told the guy that he didn't need to hold it for me, that I wasn't going to be able to get any cash before the end of the party. He said, "Just take it. It's a gift." And was all, "SERIOUSLY? You don't want me to write you a check or something? Or call you later? Or...SOMEthing?!?!" But no, he wanted me to just take it. And he probably wanted me to get out of his personal space already. I think that, in my fit of grateful disbelief, I leaned in a little too close. So he got his personal space back and I got a new shirt. Brilliant!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Give Up. Or Give In. Or Whatever.

I'm a giver is what I'm saying. Today I gave a pillow that someone else will probably buy a free cleaning. Uh, after the baby I watch on Saturdays got a wee bit of sweet-potato-hued spit-up on it. But still! It was a gift!

I also gave something to you, and it's not spit-up related at all. Behold my my twitterness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I got up late this morning. I'm still sitting on the sofa, empty toast plate next to me, cup of coffee on the coffee table (as it should be, no?). I feel a little guilty. So many people have been up and working for hours and here I am, pajama-clad. I feel guilty like this a lot.

The thing is that it's not like I don't work both inside and outside our home. Right now I'm breezing along with twenty-five hours a week elsewhere and who knows how many here. At home I tend to get started shortly after noon and then it's a whirlwind, a little hurricane, a blizzard, or whatever other meteorologically inspired metaphor you'd like to place on it. Today I will most certainly harvest my onions and some of my carrots, water the potatoes, wipe down and repaint a dresser, finish the last loads of laundry left from yesterday, make dinner, file bills. I will put in a full day of work, just on a later schedule. But still I feel guilty that the rest of you did not get to sleep in a little bit today, that you couldn't sit on your sofa returning e-mails with two cats vying for the best spot on top of your feet.

I'm really, terribly sorry. I hope we can all feel better knowing that on Saturday I have to be to work at 6:20am.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Procrastination Station

I have been meaning to do this little thing I was tagged for for quite some time ago, but I always find a reason to put it off. It's a lot like my approach to ironing, really. Except that James tagged me and I don't think I've ever been tagged to iron. So here we go:

What I was doing ten years ago:
I was living in San Francisco, interning with Golden Gate Community, Inc., leading an experiential learning program for high school and college students called The Urban Plunge and doing various other tasks around the office, such as putting the dumpster out on the curb on Wednesday mornings. After nine months of having an entire four story Victorian house to myself once everyone had left the office for the day, I was suddenly sharing a room (and bunk beds!) with my polar opposite, who couldn't fall asleep without watching television, usually COPS.

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Chocolate chips right out of the bag
2. Grain-sweetened chocolate covered peanuts
3. Honeycomb cereal
4. Popcorn with M&M's mixed in
5. Seaside cheddar cheese with crackers and apple slices

Five things on my to do list today:
1. Read the instructions for our new alarm system.
2. Catch up on laundry.
3. Sprinkle black pepper on the garden to keep the bunnies from eating my plants.
4. Clean the bathroom.
5. Get my new passport photo taken.

Five favorite recipes:
(You'll have to ask me for these if they sound good; I'm happy to share.)
1. Thai Mango Chicken
2. Super Duper Hazelnut Brownies (no refined sugar, no artificial anything)
3. Pumpkin Carrot Muffins
4. Agave Dijon Salad Dressing
5. Blueberry Tart

Five jobs I have had:
1. IMAX usher
2. Funeral planner (for three whole days!)
3. Administrative Assistant at a personnel firm (answered thirteen lines, and I hate talking on the phone to strangers)
4. Children's Realm Coordinator for the local Renaissance Festival
5. Nanny (duh)

Five of my bad habits:
1. Talking too much when I really have nothing to say.
2. Skipping meals in favor of snacks because I can't be bothered to prepare anything substantial to eat.
3. Sleeping on wet hair.
4. Staying up too late when I have to get up early in the morning.
5. Leaving my contacts in for longer than a month.

All the places I have lived:
1. Odessa, Missouri
2. Olathe, Kansas
3. Kansas City, Missouri
4. San Francisco, California
5. Darien, Connecticut

Five random things:
1. I anthropomorphize pretty much everything.
2. I'm a sucker for a bargain.
3. I sometimes wish I were training for this year's Pikes Peak Marathon, but at the same time am relieved that I don't have to get up before the crack of dawn every weekend and endure all that chafing.
4. I am a supertaster.
5. I cannot read anything on the eye chart without corrective lenses, not even the top line, which is one letter long.

Folks I would like to know better:
How about all of you? If you're game, consider yourself tagged. Leave a comment to let everyone know you've participated so we can come check you out.

Let Me Tell You My Favorite Thing About Jack Right Now

Jack got his first filling today, but that's not my favorite thing. It's necessary to mention it only because it was so entertaining to watch him all day. First the drooling, then the chewing with his numb mouth half open, then the joy radiating from his whole face when he realized that his mouth wasn't numb anymore. He's still going back and forth between bragging that it did hurt even though everyone said it wouldn't be that bad and boasting that it actually didn't hurt because he's so brave and tough. I'll give him a few more days to evaluate the situation before he gives me his final assessment. He was a pretty good sport about it; I'll give him a big thumbs up for that.

Now on to my favorite thing: Jack is a very social kid, and he loves to talk to anyone and everyone. Sometimes his thoughts take awhile to catch up to his mouth, so he adds a lot of filler. While some kids might say um or well or some such one syllable muttering, Jack prefers to fill with, "I don't know why," after which he'll tell you why. For instance, today he was trying to explain the game Clue to Mary Liz in the car and getting nowhere with the explanation. He finally gave up, rounding out the discussion with, "I really like that revolver. I don't know why, but it's probably because it's a gun and they use guns in the army." Or another of my favorites, "Killer whales are the largest whale. I don't know why, but I think they just are." I will be very sad when he doesn't do this anymore. I hope he still does it when he's forty.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I've been a little light on the posting lately. I have all these Great Blog Thoughts throughout the day, but then I get home and I'm tired and I have eleventy kajillion things to do, so I just skip it. This week alone you've already been neglected in favor of The Quest for the Perfect(ish) Cheap Birdbath, doing laundry (but not necessarily folding it), scoring cheap light fixtures, making cookies, doing housekeeping triage (it's not clean, but it's better), and taking power naps. The sleep at night has been a little on the light side, so if I'm not in motion, you can bet I'm catching a little shuteye to get me through the next little while. What I'd really like would be a day at home with nothing scheduled, a day that I can shuffle around in my pajamas and have nothing to attend to that requires putting on shoes. What I'm getting for the next little while is nothing like that. I'd say I'm not complaining but I think we all know that I am.

On the upside, I had an excellent sandwich today at the pool, plus I had only one kid to look after, and it was the easy one. Mary Liz can certainly be difficult if she chooses, but for the most part we fall into an easy rhythm when it's just the two of us. Part of the simplicity is due to the fact that she needs very little direct attention to keep her happy, and is content to just sit by me or know that I am in the general vicinity, and the rest is due to the fact that she's very much like me, so it is easy to figure out what she is thinking. Today there was no one else in the pool but her for about two hours, and she didn't come out or complain that she was bored even once. She just floated around, did handstands, stuck her head under the faucet that refills the pool, and took full advantage of having the diving board all to herself. A couple of times she did something goofy and looked over to see if I'd noticed (I always do), but other than that she was pleased as punch to amuse herself quietly. Had it been Jack alone in the pool, I never would have heard the end of his pleas for me to play Marco Polo or find more pool toys or call each and every one of his friends until I found SOMEONE, ANYONE to relive his boredom. And if no one else would be available? He'd play it just like my Great Aunt Marge and tell me the same story twelve times. I love both kids dearly, and I certainly admire many of Jack's traits, but alone at a pool is about the last place I'd like to be with him in tow.

Well, except maybe alone at the DMV. I might fall over and expire if we had to endure that, and I'm sure he'd feel the same way.

I also might fall over and expire if I don't make some dinner, so here we go again...

Monday, July 14, 2008

It's Bastille Day

Wish we were there...

guess who forgot to pack their beach towels?

by the light of the gelaterie

place massena

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

It's Official

Josiah, you belong to these crazy people now. Not that you didn't before (I mean, who but your own people would put up with that much baby vomit if they weren't intent on keeping you and loving you forever?), but now it's legal.

being adopted is tiring

daddy's love

appearing in court is very serious business

They are your family. You are so lucky, little boy.

Congratulations, Josiah Lennon McGhee.

Monday, July 07, 2008

20,000 Words

I've got plenty to say, but not much time to say it. Instead, I will direct you to a photo set of my trip so that the photos can speak for me. I didn't take as many photos as I anticipated, but I figure if each is worth one thousand words, then I'm doing plenty of talking.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Everything Changes, Everything Stays the Same

When I lived here in Connecticut, I had system for traveling to and from Kansas City. Midwest direct flight in, cheap shuttle to Grand Central, train into town. Usually the trusty nanny minivan was waiting for me at the station. This time I flew through Atlanta, got stuck in the friendly skies in a holding pattern above DC when the weather forced LaGuardia to close (Isn't the weather always forcing LaGuardia to close?), had a brief touchdown in Philly when the plane got too low on fuel to stay in the holding pattern any longer, and finally landed at LaGuardia after six hours on a flight that was supposed to take two and a half. I still caught the cheap shuttle and the train, but there was no minivan waiting for me, only a cab whose driver was on his first day and forgot to turn on the meter. I have no idea how much cab prices have gone up in the past ten and a half months, so when he told me to "just pay what you normally pay," I had no idea what to do. I handed him a wad of bills and hoped it was enough.

The house was quiet when I came in, the family still driving back from the Jersey shore and the dogs boarded for the weekend. I didn't know where to put my bags, but I did know how to make a cup of tea. I settled in with my book until everyone got home. And then it was like old times, mostly, except for the height of the girl who got out of the back seat (F is gaining on me; I expect to be overtaken within a year) and the bulk of A, who had filled out nicely after being such a skinny little guy for so long. I was invited to stay in my old room, which was a relief. While the new guest room is beautiful, there is comfort in the familiar, even if my very own lamps no longer grace the side tables. (There is also comfort in the quiet; the nanny suite is removed from the other bedrooms by the space of a large family room and its own set of stairs.)

It has been a good visit so far, with all of the fun and very little of the responsibility that I had when I was nanny here. I get to be Fun Mary most of the time; if I have to ask someone to do something they do not want to do, I am just the messenger, not the taskmaster. I spoil the kids a little bit, too. A and I got enormous ice creams last night, after which I indulged him by participating in scooter races on the elaborate courses he set up in the driveway and garage. Once we were exhausted, we rounded out the evening by drinking lemonade and watching SpongeBob. I didn't make him go to bed, even though I figured he was supposed to, because this time around it's not my job. With Frank, all that was required was a Starbucks run and an open ear. I let her get a venti drink and an enormous sugar cookie, then listened to her tell stories about her travels and her friends and the Jonas Brothers. Last year A would have wanted to play wall ball as well, and F would have talked about Hannah Montana instead of the Jonas Brothers, but other than that, they are still the same in the most ways. A still resists reading and math time, F still manages to make everyone late to nearly everything by brushing her hair over and over and over, and both of them still show their affection for me in the same manner they always did. F gives frequent hugs and puts her arm around me, and A still ducks his head and smiles when I tell him how pleased I am to be hanging out with him. I am so very glad to be here as an old friend, not the nanny.

There have been other good things, too. I've seen a lot of people I know, even gotten a big hug and an, "Oh, we've been thinking about you so much, Cath and I, and hoping things were going really well for you" from one of my favorite people in town, hung out at a picnic table by the beach with an iced coffee, and slept hard every night on an excellent mattress. While I wasn't really thinking of this as a vacation, per se, it is turning out to be an excellent break from the norm.

Now if only I can figure out how to slip away for a pedicure, I'll really be all set.