Sunday, December 30, 2007

She's a poet, dontcha know it...

Jane went to work with Jake on Friday, where she was honored with a guest bogging gig over at Todd's blog. If you read that, and are hungry for more, then check out her blog for some of the best 1st grade prose anywhere.

In Jane's early blogging efforts (she's about 9 months here), she was aided by her trusty amanuensis,  almost-three-year-old Ross.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I'm not cwying, I hab a code.

I hab a code. I took Zicam and held it off for almost a week, but it has finally caught up with me.

So I could blame all the sniffling in the movie last night on this curs-ed virus. I have no good explanation for the two hours of teary eyes, though.

Why am I such a sissy? I didn't used to be such a GIRL.

In college I never cried. My roommate Liz and I rented the entire Thornbirds miniseries with high hopes of tears, but to no avail. I'll wager I coulda slammed my hand in the car door without eliciting any tear duct activity. I was Elizabeth Bennet, I was Elinor Dashwood. I was a rock; an island. A rock feels no pain. An island never cries.

Then I got pregnant.
(Well, actually I met Jake and married him, then I got pregnant. Just to be clear).

Then, I was Jane Bennet, I was Marianne Dashwood. The ever-present, not-so-smart-and-witty Austen sister, ruled by her emotions, who makes the lesser match and is too dumb to notice she's settled for a second tier man (although he's usually still moderately rich and handsome). Ach! Who wants to be HER? It's a good thing my own match was made while I was still in my Elizabeth phase.

But the waterworks started almost immediately with the pregnancy hormones. That was almost ten years ago. I continue to this day as a public embarrassment.

I cry during Church hymns, I cry during public speaking (I think it is triggered by adrenaline), I even cry during James Blunt songs. Some of you borrow my books and wonder why the pages are all crinkly. Did I read them in the tub? Maybe; but more likely, I just cried on 'em. I apologize to whomever read the final Harry P. after me. I actually had to take a short reading sabbatical from that one, and give my full attention to inconsolable weeping, since my eyes had swollen shut.

So this movie, last night: P.S. I Love You. I heard it was based on a Nicholas Sparks book. Books of which I am not a fan. I realize I am likely only girl in America who is not. The movie was quite good, though. Quite good for girls. The theater was almost full and included about 10 men. Men whom Jen pronounced "very nice for coming along."

I started up crying right away. Before the opening credits were even over, before there was even anything to cry about. I knew what was coming, you see. It was like getting on a roller coaster and starting to scream from the anticipation, before the surly long-haired gender-neutral teen has even checked your safety restraint. I kept up a gentle drizzle through the whole show.

When I am pregnant, it gets worse. When I was big and round with with baby Ross, Jake and I saw Deep Impact. It was a mediocre movie about a meteor about to strike the earth and everyone totally freaking out about it. I cried so hard I started hiccoughing and wiping my nose on my coat sleeve. People around us noticed and stared; I mean, who weeps during Deep Impact? Armageddon came out around the same time, and I think many shed a tear over Bruce Willis' untimely, self-sacrificing demise (would have been heartless not to). But to carry on in such a manner as I did over Tea Leoni (B-list actress at best); well, it was quite gauche.

I just wanted to tell you all this as a sort of public service announcement. Sometimes, people aren't trying to make a scene. Sometimes, when you see someone crying and you feel like saying "for goodness sake, girl, pull yourself together!", well that's exactly what that girl is muttering to herself; it is exactly what she wishes she could do. But she can't.

Her freaky girly hormones have hijacked all her good sense. She is Marianne crying over her lost inner Elinor. Outside, she weeps; inside, she is ticked. She is grieving the treachery of her own sob-racked body.
Are there any other bawl-babies out there willing to confess?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morn: a Movie

I made this video of the kids in Imovie on my new iMac! Thanks, Santa!
The kids LOVE their very dangerous Christmas presents from Grandma Mareen and Grandpa Ross.

Only one pair of jeans were shredded.
Only one band-aid was employed.
I'm not sure Ross will ever earn a driver's license.
He drives like a total nutter.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Not the Baby Moses!

Tommy has spent most of his free time this season tearing up the Christmas tree. But last night he finally turned his attention away from the pagan symbols that have infected our Christmas celebrations and began to focus his destruction on the true meaning of Christmas. He climbed the piano and ravaged the nativity set, finally getting his sticky little fists on the piece de resistance: Baby Jesus.

Jake brought in the headless child last night to my bedroom where I was locked in quiet, kid-free, gift wrapping bliss and informed me: Tommy has decapitated Baby Moses. Oh. And his arm is gone, too.

Jake leaves the room to look for glue, and soon I hear: Five dollars to whoever can find Jesus' arm!

Apparently somebody is five bucks richer, because there it is in the photo.

Tommy was pretty upset about the whole incident. He is very, very sorry, as you can see here:

I am certain he will never do it again.

Nice booger bubble, Tom.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Buying thee-ate-uh tickets in a highbrow minefied

I'm in charge of buying theater tickets for the NYC trip next month. I don't know why my family keeps putting me in charge when I make occasionally terrible choices. I get sucked into reviews that say things like 'highbrow.' I have learned from hard experience that 'highbrow' can mean either 'delightful, rousing, intellectual feast' or it can mean 'so deadly boring even the cute elderly Jewish couples from New Jersey in front of you leave at intermission, but not until they have commented angrily at full volume through the first act.'

One such little play was called Democracy, starring John Boy Walton. It was about some sort of German political scandal in the 70s, all taking place over two hours on a stage made to look like an office with props from IKEA. Maybe it would have been better with Steve Carrell instead of John Boy. At the end, unseen hands dropped thousands of file folders for the big finish, but all I could think was: "What a mess. Who do you think will clean those up? Why didn't you do it an hour ago and put us out of our misery? Ach. Who cares. Let's go to Bloomingdale's."

In London this summer, I got us tickets to 39 Steps. It was a British farce, set in Scotland. The audience was full of authentic characters come to town for the evening, who had had enough time to slip on their only slightly gravy-stained cardies, but not enough time to brush their bushy hair. The colorful audience and Jake's coat pockets full of Cadbury treats were the highlights of the show. It had some moments, but not enough to keep Jen and Andrew's attention. They slipped out at half time, murmuring "no, no, we really like it, but we've gotta go. Meet ya at Mr. Chow's for a midnight snack."

Sometimes, though, I get it right. On the same trip as Democracy, we saw a great show called Bombay Dreams. Sort of a VERY loose Bollywood take on Les Miserables. Loved the music and the choreography. I even bought "Shakalaka Baby" on Itunes. And in London this summer we saw Evita, which was very good, even without Madonna and Antonia Banderas. Maybe especially without them.

Even if 'high brow' doesn't work out, I am fairly certain 'lowbrow' isn't the solution. I guess what I'm thinking is we will find most happiness in the 'middlebrow' range, and I will have to do my intellectual feasting on Masterpiece Theater or BBC America. Or read a book. I can't waste much more time looking for it on the stage. It's a highbrow minefield out there.

So I've been doing some research, and there are a few shows I'm leaning toward.

The first is Rock 'n' Roll. Tom Stoppard's Arcadia is my favorite play ever, and this is his newest. The name may be misleading, though. Apparently the rock music plays background to the story, which is about an aging Communist in Britain set around the time the Berlin Wall comes down. So you see, the play could really be called COMMUNISM, in which case it sounds too terribly close to DEMOCRACY. Is this play gold, or iron pyrite? It has generally good reviews (the line "hopeful heart behind the cerebral glitter" is just the sort of things that sucks me in, usually for ill), but Stoppard's last play was 12 hours long, so maybe this time the reviewers were just grateful to be let out of their seats in a timely manner. Is likely boring highbrow, not Arcadia Revisited; but can I afford NOT to see it?

The Farnsworth Invention stars Hank Azaria and follows the race between two men to invent the television. It got a few reviews that called it bo-ring, and some others probably written by Hank Azaria.

Legally Blonde could be okay, but I'm worried it is made for tween girls. I can watch Hannah Montana right here at home.

August: Osage County has glowing reviews, and a story that looks terribly depressing. But good/depressing better than bad/cheerful, probably.

Speech and Debate: Off Broadway, and good reviews. My sister Jen was Arizona State high school debate champion of 1994. She is all over this'un.

Mary Poppins
Mamma Mia. Just cause I've never seen it.
Les Miserables. Cause I'm a sucker for it. It is a new production, but how different can it be, really?

Already nixed:
Spring Awakening might be good if some of the songs didn't have the F word in the title.
Cyrano de Bergerac starring Claire Danes will be over.

Jen's the one I'm out to impress. I'm not so worried about my Mom liking the shows I pick. She isn't picky. She likes it all. Musical, Drama, Revival; heck, she even liked Democracy (though, to be fair, she actually lived in Germany during the Willy Brandt scandal). She won best actress at BYU two years in a row or something. I've seen the statues hiding in the laundry room closet, where she keeps them so no one will ask her to direct road shows at Church.

Have any of you seen any of these shows on Broadway or off? Please leave lengthy, brutally honest reviews. I'll be purchasing tickets to 3 or 4 shows this week!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Okay, I'll confess... some very bad parenting: Sunday night we went to the Temple to see Joe's group perform, and see the Christmas lights. MC-6 was quite good, unlike my kids, who were quite bad. So bad, in fact, that I had a tiny little nervous breakdown, and yelled at them on the way home and told them they weren't ever going back to the Temple. (Which of course isn't true. I will surely take them back when one of them needs to marry or go on a mission). It was definitely the low point of the Holiday Season. Knock on wood. some lack of self control: During the white elephant gift exchange at a Christmas party Saturday night (this is after gorging ourselves on piles of free sushi earlier in the evening at pre-opening night at Sushi RA. I recommend the lobster spring rolls and the Viva Las Vegas rolls), I stole a giant box of Pot of Gold Turtles, which also came with a handy toilet plunger. I know, I know. A forgivable moment of weakness, even for a girl with big dreams of tiny pants in NYC, only 4 weeks from now. So I should have been relieved when they were stolen from me. But no. First chance I got, I stole them back. Then, over the next 3 days, I ate them (and shared some, too). They were delicious. Somehow, due to a Christmas miracle, I've lost a pound this week on my Pot of Gold Diet. And Shireen told me yesterday that I look FABULOUS, which I totally do. Need to go get more turtles quite soon. both poor meal planning and contributing to the sugar induced coma of some minors (ie moderately bad parenting): The other night I really needed to eat cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and hot chocolate. So I made them for dinner.

Sometimes it is necessary to eat treats for dinner, because otherwise, how do you fit TWO giant cinnamon rolls in the relatively small belly space provided? Let's be straight: We all know it isn't going to happen if you first fill up on edamame. I think we know each other pretty well by now. I no longer need to beat about the bush, like I did in September. Back then, our blogging relationship was still new and uncertain, and I was afraid you might dump me for a more Molly Mormon Mommy Blog. These days, I feel no need for soy bean decoys and other pretense. I'm serving it up straight.

Anyway, after dinner/treats, we all watched The Empire Strikes Back together, our sugary bloated tummies stretched flat on the leather sofas. Twas a very nice holiday evening.

So I'll confess. I'm only sorry about the threats to children. I'm not sorry about all the treats. And if a nice neighbor brings me her delicious Holiday goodies made by the sweat of her brow, I will eat them. It's my neighborly duty. Pants be dammed!

P.S. I spelled that wrong to fool the Cybersitter. For even more low-down on our wild Saturday partying (plus a little bragging on me), read Jolene. For those of you dying for a longer list of what I ate at Sushi RA, Jane's got it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Post Traumatic Stress Shopping Denial Paralysis

Seriously, I have no time for this. I am officially an idiot just for sitting down at the computer. I just started Christmas shopping a few days ago. (Oh, except for your present. I've had that for months. I had to order it early so it could arrive from Europe in time for Christmas! And except for the kids. My Mom forced me out to Toys R Us one early December evening.) Anyway, I was in shopping denial. But now I've totally snapped out of it, and I'm in post traumatic stress shopping denial paralysis. That means I am no longer in denial, but still cannot shop because the anxiety created by waiting so long to shop, and potentially having to go to a mall, has left me paralyzed with fear and loathing. It is very serious. You should send me cards and presents. Or comments.

Plus, my house is a big wreck, even though Jake did dishes last night which was very, very nice. I don't want to say the house is a big wreck, then have him read that, and think I don't appreciate all the dishes he did.

Then he might go on strike like the dang-blasted TV writers. Am growing angry with money-grubbing TV people, who fight amongst themselves and victimize me! Do you think it would help if I started up a collection and sent it to writers of The Office? You can all send donations to my paypal account. I'll match any donations up to $5.00. Unless I have 300 crazy Office-watching lurkers. In which case I'll have to choose between matching your donations and buying Jake a Christmas present. And really, that's a no-brainer. Jake washes my dishes, and fathers my children, and all you lurkers do is read my blog without even leaving a comment. I totally love comments. But even if you left me comments, comments aren't as good as clean dishes. Lo siento, lurkers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Keeping up with the Martins'

So I saw my sister Jen's Christmas card yesterday, and in it, all her kids look like Guess models. To make matters worse, in the mail I'm getting cute Christmas cards from many of you and your beautiful offspring. So then I got sad and jealous because I didn't ruin a whole day getting everyone dressed up, then taking pictures where I look murderous. (I look that way because I because I actually become murderous, with evil tight-mouthed grin, and angry, smoldering eyes. Is very sexy, I know, but sexy is not desirable trait of family Christmas card pictures.) No children obey even smallest parental or photographer prodding. They make faces that look like they are defecating, or run about crazy, and Mom just scolds out the side of her snarling lip. After all this, I must mail them out on paper made from real-life trees, to everyone I know. So I was sad for a little while, but soon enough, I was happy again because in Digital Image Pro they had this template, so I plugged it with random shots (3 out of 4 of which were taken by talented SIL Jane at times when I was not at all cantankerous, much less homicidal. Thank you, Jane) and Wallah! (hick for Voila!): Beeson Christmas card 2007. I cyber-scrapped (I think I just made that word up. Someone tell me if that is a word) it for your viewing enjoyment. Yes, I know it isn't the same as stamped mail in your box. I know it looks a little homespun, but my kids are still the cutest ever. Even cuter than yours, and yours are darn cute, too. Please don't take me off your Christmas card lists. I promise to get a high fashion photographer or Annie Leibowitz next year (or maybe Aunt Jane can take some more pictures. Hers are likely better) and send you all head shots of my kids looking intense, brooding, and way awesome, like these kids:

Jack Zoolander on the left there is debuting a new look. Is it MAGNUM or BLUE STEEL?

Oh, and Jen: I put the apostrophe on the end of Martins' in post title to arouse your indignation. Strunk and White are turning in their graves, if, in fact, they are dead. Could very likely be alive, and Googling themselves. In which case they may read this and tsk tsk me. But they will not be shocked and horrified, because honestly, have you read the internet? Cybersitter doesn't block poor writing and grammar. Thing's are bad out their. Anyone highly sensitive to the difference between the possessive, the plural, and the contraction should stay off the world wide web or will likely need to be medicated.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Saturday Story

The Beginning:
I am still in bed reading The Book Thief. Jane is mother henning Tommy and for some reason he is loving it. She feeds him breakfast, showers him, tries to wrestle him into his clothes. Other Costa Rica golf widow, Jen, calls and proposes an outing for all the children. I am game. We finally decide on Sea Monsters 3D at the Arizona Mills Imax. I have a niggling fear that perhaps the mall is not the best place to be heading this fine and drizzly December day with 8 kids, 8 and under. But I find a parking space with little trouble, and I feed Tommy junk food at full speed for the full forty minutes of the film, in an effort to keep him seated. He is wild with sugar by the end. Claire and Charlie are equally unappreciative. It was cool movie, though. Kids and I loved the 3D action. Ross kept yelling out things like: Look! That's a pleistomegalostegatortadolisaurus! Did you see it, Mom?
Yeah. Course. I'm wearing the 3D glasses, aren't I?

We planned to eat in the food court, but the place was packed. So we stand and hover for a minute, until one of the kids spots a vending machine that spits out Pokemon crapola for the bargain price of 4 quarters. Let's do the math. I need 12-16 quarters, Jen needs 12. I have no quarters, and all my cash in in the car. (Yes, I know, good way to become a holiday crime statistic.) So I tell Sam the bad news, and he totally loses it. He is seriously heartbroken (and peevish, since he stayed up until 11 Friday night). So instead of getting the heck outta there, we stand around the Pokemon machine and talk about leaving. Sam gets worse. Other kids are plotting mutiny. Jane whips out her purse and buys her own Pokemon toy. Purseless, coinless boys whine at the unfairness of the world.

Sad Sam, hugging Pokemon machine.
Jane, gloating and riling up her male relatives.
Finally, some poke-love.

Jen finally goes into Gameworks and gets enough quarters for 4 toys. So everyone gets something except Claire (and Tommy, who doesn't really know what is going on). Claire isn't happy, isn't placated by small empty plastic dome courtesy of Sam.

Noise and mall crowds freaking me out. We walk out and Claire starts tantrumming in parking lot. Jack is pushing Charlie's stroller in dangerous-looking way, with evil smile on his face, and small 4-quarter Pokemon in his sweaty fist.
Charlie threw a fit, too. No, not really.

Finally everyone is 5-point-harnessed and belted into both Honda Odysseys, and we are on our way home. I drive through In-n-out, which as you know is always a bad idea.

Cardinal rule of In-n-Out: You must eat it fresh, whilst sitting inside building, or you must not eat it. Even walking to outside tables might expose burgers to terrible taste-ruining draft. There is magic in the burgers and fries, but the magic wears off the fries in 2 minutes, and the burgers get only 1 minute beyond that.

I had planned to eat my burger on the way home, but then I remembered I had touched the horrible and nasty floor at the Imax looking for Tommy's shoe, and I couldn't reach the baby wipes while driving. I began to picture myself running off the road and dying, leaving all the children for Jake to raise alone. I could hear in my mind the eulogy. "Kelly died doing what she loved, with her handi-wiped fingers full of hot fries." No, no, it isn't worth it!" I concluded. Then glanced with longing as the fries lost their savor around Val Vista, and the burgers were mushy by Greenfield. Why oh why did I order it animal style? Now is soggy mess.

All in all, quite a good outing. Things could have gone much worse.

Came home to clean the house so Jake won't see dirty underpants piles and want to fly back to Four Seasons to live in Costa Rican jungle with howler monkeys and sloths.

Finally, long lost husband arrives home (Yippee!) with Cadbury Hazelnut candy bars, a fakebaked looking tan (just way too dark for December, even in the desert.), and some T-shirts, and we all (except Sam, sent to bed for being crazy mean) watch Star Wars (the real one, not one of the boring, lame new ones with lots of effects but no heart), then everyone is in bed by 9:30.

The End. Almost.
This morning Sam dropped his tiny vended Pokemon toy into brand new gallon of whole milk. He is stopped as he is on his way outside to dump it in rocks. Now Pokemon is stuck. We have Poke-milk.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Nativity: Starring the Old Testament

December 2001. Ross was nearly 3 years old. As I unpacked the nativity set I quizzed him on the cast of characters. The side dishes-the camels, the wise men, and the Angel-he had cold. But he was having some trouble with the main course.

"So Ross, who is this?" I say as I hold up the Joseph figure.
"Jonah," Ross says evenly.
"Who is he?" I prodded further.
"He got stuck in a whale and he is this baby's daddy," he explains as he points to the tiny ceramic baby.

I held up the next figure, Mary. "Who is this?"
"Mary. The Mom." Ross looks bored, like I'm wasting his time with these easy-peasy questions. The animals were more interesting, because he got to invent camel sounds.

Well, were are at 50%, sorta. Much higher if we count the donkey. But he should get this one, no problem. Jesus is the star of the show.
"Who is this, Ross?" I ask as I hold up the wee babe in manger.
Ross' eyes rolled left, but he didn't turn his face away from the Teletubbies.
"Baby Moses."
What? Moses?
"What did he do?" I ask carefully.
Ross stood and gave me his full attention.
"His Mom put him in a basket, then left him in the river. Then someone else found him, and brought him to live here in this barn with the sheep."

So I began to wonder at this Old Testament interpretation of the creche. Might Ross be Jewish? So glad we got him circumcised. But wait. He gets Mary right 100% of the time. Maybe he's Catholic. Whatever his religious inclination, the names stuck. He couldn't be dissuaded. And we really didn't try that hard. Because it was super funny.

He didn't seem to have any trouble understanding Santa.
Big red guy who brings gifts.
Didn't bring animals two by two into the ark.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Martha and Erma, guest bloggers

My anonymous blog correspondent was googling Christmas letters to find just the right tone for her letter this year (should be mildly self-deprecating; includes lots of chuckly anecdotes), when she came across this, which I love a lot:

Martha Stewart's Christmas letter to Erma Bombeck:

Hi Erma, This perfectly delightful note is being sent on paper I made myself to tell you what I have been up to. Since it snowed last night, I got up early and made a sled with old barnwood and a glue gun. I hand painted it in gold leaf, got out my loom, and made a blanket in peaches and mauves. Then to make the sled complete, I made a white horse to pull it, from DNA that I had just sitting around in my craft room.By then, it was time to start making the place mats and napkins for my 20 breakfast guests. I'm serving the old standard Stewart twelve-course breakfast, but I'll let you in on a little secret: I didn't have time to make the tables and chairs this morning, so I used the ones I had on hand. Before I moved the table into the dining room, I decided to add just a touch of the holidays. So I repainted the room in pinks and stenciled gold stars on the ceiling. Then, while the homemade bread was rising, I took antique candle molds and made candles & then made the dishes (exactly the same shade of pink) to use for breakfast. These were made from Hungarian clay, which you can get at almost any Hungarian craft store. Well, I must run. I need to finish the buttonholes on the dress I'm wearing for breakfast. I'll get out the sled and drive this note to the post office as soon as the glue dries on the envelope I'll be making. Hope my breakfast guests don't stay too long, I have 40,000 cranberries to string with bay leaves, before my speaking engagement at noon. Love, Martha Stewart

PS When I made the ribbon for this typewriter, I used 1/8-inch gold gauze. I soaked the gauze in a mixture of white grapes and blackberries which I grew, picked, and crushed last week just for fun.

Response from Erma Bombeck:

Dear Martha, I'm writing this on the back of an old shopping list, pay no attention to the coffee and jelly stains. I'm 20 minutes late getting my daughter up for school, packing a lunch with one hand, on the phone with the dog pound, seems old Ruff needs bailing out, again. Burnt my arm on the curling iron when I was trying to make those cute curly fries, how DO they do that? Still can't find the scissors to cut out some snowflakes, tried using an old disposable razor. . .trashed the tablecloth. Tried that cranberry thing, frozen cranberries mushed up after I defrosted them in the microwave. Oh, and don't use Fruity Pebbles as a substitute in that Rice Krispie snowball recipe, unless you happen to like a disgusting shade that resembles puke! The smoke alarm is going off, talk to ya later. Love, Erma

Things I learned; Things I Thunk; and Brookie & Charlie

1. Don't leave Tommy's jeans off, even for a minute, even when he pulls them off himself, even when you are babysitting three extra kids, including 1 year old twins. He might pull off his diaper and take a dump next to the Christmas tree and even on one of the ornaments he pulled onto the floor earlier.
2. Canada is the middle child of America. It works hard to keep up with its louder, hyperactive, over-achieving sibling, the U.S., but is quieter and probably has a complex about being in the U.S.'s shadow. It seems generally well-behaved and rule-abiding, nothing like youngest children Central and South America, who won't seem to find some nice democratic governments and settle down, instead going for the dictator bad boys and each other and what not.

Yes, I do realize this is mostly the fault of the greedy oligarchies at work, and an inheritance from the Spanish colonial governments which raped the land, and that they were not lucky enough to have religious dissidents from England and France land on their shores and set up representative democracies like we did in North America, although things didn't go much better for the Native Americans, either way. Those of you who have lived there can set me straight. All I learned about Latin America was from a crazy guy (professor) at BYU who had been pelted about the head with rubber bullets and partially blinded by mustard gas in Panama (he could draw a crowd to lectures bigger than actual class enrollment, much like Susan Easton Black, but couldn't talk auctioneer fast like she can), and also from the musical Evita, which is muy bueno.

I'm not sure why Jake feels Central America has better golf than the good 'ol USofA, except maybe for the monkeys on the course. I think if he took Sammy with him in the gorilla mask and played Superstition Springs, it would be sorta the same, and wouldn't require 12 hours of travel one way. For all you Canadians, I don't mean no harm. I was born in Lansing, Michigan, so I'm almost a Canadian, right? And I didn't call you the red-headed stepchild of America. Hermanos, all!

3. Do all my laundry BEFORE I get out Christmas decor (and do it on December 23rd).

4. Whole Foods (Ray and the 101) is a very fun place to visit on the way home from the Cannery. Sort of a cross between AJs and Sprouts. Welcome to my life, Shrimp Bisque! Plus, BBQ Soy Crispettes, which sound gross, but are very "light and delicious, tasty soy snacks" as it says on the bag. (Update: could not eat the 19 crisps required for 120 calorie serving before began to feel sick. The good news: I think my appetite is ruined for whole morning.) Whole foods is still awesome.

5. Had a great time at Brookie's 10th birthday party last night. Jane's cake (chocolate sheet cake topped with marshmallows and then frosting) hit the spot. Janie took pictures at the Taylors and I can't figure how to get them off the Fisher-Price digital camera. Check out Aunt Jane's blog later to see if she posts photos. After that we went to Jen and Andrew's where they had baby Charlie's blessing. All kids in attendance were crazed lunatics. Lots of fighting with light sabers. Andrew's cookies (he is something of an expert) were very nice, and actually calmed kids down. What did you put in the cookies, Andrew?
Above: Man-of-hour, Charlie, with Jen and Andrew
Below: Grandma Mareen with Tommy

Above: Sam and Grandma Taylor
Below: Friends Hallie and Ellie, with Jane and cousin Claire

Above: Friends Shireen and Brett
Below: Tommy and Grandpa Ross