Wednesday, August 30, 2006


a summer night I can enjoy outside. As I write this I'm sitting on my front porch, in my genuine Cracker Barrel rocking chair, listening to the crickets and actually appreciating nature. I literally cannot recall the last time I have done this. I realize there is nothing old-fashioned about typing on a laptop, but rocking and writing under the porch light feels almost quaint. The windows are open to let in the fresh air, and I can see (and hear) Andy in the living room.

Nighttime brings with it a whole new perspective. Just the occasional car passes by, the lights are off in the surrounding houses - probably due to the fact that the inhabitants have real jobs, and the retired ones are just cute and need their sleep. This applies to the babies on the street, too. It's trash day tomorrow, so all of our matching "Keep Nashville Clean" brown cans are neatly placed so that the garbage truck can extend it's arm-like lever-contraption and dump the contents in the morning.

The train yard half-a-mile away never sleeps - the night is when it comes alive. Or maybe it's just that the sound travels better. The brakes are squealing, which sound not unlike aliens talking to each other across the galaxy (the aliens I've encountered, at least) and the boxcars accentuate the conversations with a resounding bump. And tonight, I'm not even bothered by it. In fact, Matthew Perryman Jones' song "Beneath the Silver Moon" is quite happily lodged in my head - the perfect soundtrack to this evening.

There is a definite calm that descends, mmmm, about the second Ella goes to bed. Not that it's better than when she's awake - just quieter. I welcome the change, live an "adult life" for a few hours, and then am ready for her smiling face by morning. We have good times together, she and I. I literally laugh out loud at her crazy ways. The way she says "hi" is about the sweetest thing I could imagine (it's very high, soft and drawn out) and her growing fascination with dogs is quite endearing. Good thing there are lots of them on our street to keep her entertained.

Today we went to a playground right down the street from where Andy's working this week. We played on the swings, went down the slide, and I kept looking around for signs of Nicole Kidman (she's doing voice-over work for a movie at a studio in the neighborhood, and all I wanted was for her to drive by, see a cute baby playing, stop and talk to that baby's mother. Is this too much to hope for?).

Afterwards we went to say hello to Andy and the others at the studio. Ella's milk had been outside for a while, so it was time to refrigerate. You know your daddy doesn't work at a typical office when your sippy cup is chilling in this environment...

Monday, August 21, 2006


Every night before I go to sleep, I go in and check on Ella. Sometimes it backfires, and she wakes up (not that I mind rocking her back to sleep). But most of the time I just look at her, smile at whatever crazy position she's in (if it's especially cute I go get Andy to join the fun), pray over her, re-tuck her blanket, and just enjoy seeing her so relaxed and delicious.

Often I'm reminded of snippets from a passage in "Peter Pan." Last night I figured I should look up the actual quote, and I believe it's going to stay with me through many a night looking in on my children...

"It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during that day.

"If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight.

"When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on." -J.M. Barrie

Sunday, August 20, 2006

grapes and teens

So I've started reading "Grapes of Wrath." I'm only a fourth of the way through, but I'm definitely intrigued. I haven't read Steinbeck in a couple of years - he's brilliant and has a way of exhausting all emotion. It's good to work my brain again. I just finished an absolute mindless book about a young twenty-something tutoring spoiled NY's Upper East-Siders for their SATs. I know. Don't look for it. Not worth it.

A few minutes ago, I flipped on the "Teen Choice Awards." Whoa. I thought I was pretty in touch with what's going on in pop-culture. But when I don't even recognize some of the nominees? It's then I feel all 7 years that's it's been since I've been a teen. I also don't like feeling like a fuddy-duddy, but when "Promiscuous Girl," by Nelly Fur(stupid)tado won in some category, I admit feeling disheartened. In her acceptance speech, she encouraged kids to use protection during their little escapades. Timbaland (who performed with her) leaned in and said, "Don't be promiscuous." Andy and I laughed. Good ole T.

I guess we'll keep watching while we're waiting for our pizza to arrive. There Are some drama moments to anticipate. Will Nick and Jessica cross paths? Will K-Fed suck (wait. I believe I already know the answer to that)? Oh, the "Choice Grill" award (yes, that means gold/diamond/platinum teeth just went to Brooke Hogan. I personally think it should have gone to Flavor Flav. oh good, pizza's here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

a legacy and the ivories

My parents are in town this week. They brought with them an assortment of things - including a very little and red rocking chair for Ella. First of all, Ella is currently Obsessed with chairs. Particularly ones that are her own size. During a recent trip to Pottery Barn Kids, for instance, she found every single chair in the store and gave it a sit. The children's section at the library is an overwhelmingly wonderful place because not only does it have little tables and chairs her size, it also boasts a reading area filled with little couches and easy-chairs. She tests as many out as possible - as quickly as possible.

So her very own Ella-sized chair in her very own house? And it rocks? Too good to be true. She doesn't go five minutes without giving it a quick sit and rock. What she will come to appreciate one day is that her great-great-grandfather gave this very chair to her Nana (i.e. my mom) when she was just Ella's age. The chair is in incredible condition (probably due to the fact that none of us remember my generation ever sitting in it) - and today I tried to capture some moments.

alas, she doesn't stay very long...

and decides the camera is far more exciting.

Next we go down to the studio, where another of Ella's favorite things resides. The big, powder-blue piano.

The sweetest hands I know

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It was a dark and stormy night...

and I am a contented girl. Because this rain means a drop in temperature of at least 10 degrees. I've been imposing house arrest upon myself and Ella while the sun is hanging high - it's just been that dang hot. But upper 80s? I can deal with that. We might even go outside.

But tonight I am cozily inside. The baby's sleeping - that is, the one with a crib. I just had the most perfect Baja salad, and my tiny resident is quite excited about it. My husband just left to go see "Talladega Nights..." for the second time (I was happily with him the first time) and I'm going to spend the evening with my dear ole friend Goudge.

Ella and I (and Andy the last couple of times) have been going to the downtown library every week for story hour. It's a great program (although I bet only a fifth of the kids there actually get what's going on), and afterwards we roam the library. Actually, you kind of have to pick an area to roam, it's that big. A couple of days ago we visited an exhibit of original illustrations by several African-American author/illustrators. One book was actually featured in story hour recently - "Tar Beach" by Faith Ringgold. It's about a little girl growing up in Harlem, and the pictures are really amazing (especially seeing the originals in person).

Last week we hit the fiction room, and after walking around for a couple minutes, I headed over to find the Goudge books. There are a lot of them at the main library - and I was excited not to have to request one and wait for it to be sent to a closer location. Anyway, I was looking through, trying to find one that I had not read (thankfully there are still some) and I picked two that didn't look familiar. The one I started with is called "White Witch," and come to find out, it's historical fiction. The problem, dear reader, is that I don't really know a lot about 17th century British history.

I'm about halfway through, and really enjoying it, but keep seeing names that I know I should know, but am too tired to get out of bed and look them up. So tonight I looked up Oliver Cromwell, and I feel a bit better about things. Of course, reading the bio gave some parts of the book away (i.e. I know which side is going to win the battle of which I'm currently in the midst) but I bet a lot of people smarter than I - and certainly Goudge's original intended audience - knew.

I was a little sad that we didn't have a set of encyclopedias so that I could look up ole Cromwell, and then I got a little more sad that our kids might not have a set when they're older. I fully understand that the internet has gobs more information than any one set of encyclopedias, but there's just something about looking something up in a book. And I loved to pull out our World Books when I was little, and look through all the pictures, and happen upon information on something that I wouldn't have thought about researching. Then again, if there wasn't such handy technology, it would have been harder to show you all the man of the hour...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

and the winner is...

At least every other day, Andy looks over at me and says, "So you're twenty-seven, huh?" I guess it's time to put a little something else down here. It isn't for lack of internet time. It's because I've been Largely occupied by something else. Something new and exciting. E-bay.

"E-bay?" you might say. "That's been around forever!" Yes, but I have just discovered the wonders, the intrigue, the breathless last moment before an item goes, hoping you are still the highest bidder...OK, so that's only happened twice. One time I won, and one time I lost. Mostly I just watch items and see how much they go for. Sounds psychotically boring, but I think it's good times.

I'm learning the little "tricks" of E-bay along the way. Like, say, reading the entire description of an item before bidding. My one item I've won was my first foray, and I was eager. I saw a very hot item (the entire Baby Einstein DVD collection) going for a ridiculously low price. I bid. I won! I looked at the picture a little more closely, and realized that all the writing was in CHINESE.

aaaaggggghhhh! I freaked out. "What are we going to with a Chinese Baby Einstein???" Andy calmly stated that That is why you read the blurb Thoroughly. He also assured me that if it was totally unusable to us, we could just sell it again. It Was new and in it's package.

It arrived. Every single word on the box and booklet is Chinese. Only a select few DVDs have English titles on the front as well. But, Thank Goodness, there is at least an English option on every DVD (so far). So, in my opinion, it's totally worth having Chinese characters all over the (actually authentic) Baby Einstein set for so Darn cheap.

I'm confident that with my next purchase there will be no surprises.