October 14, 2010


I guess a cup is only useful/ For the hollow of its shape
The brokenness in me/ Is the need that holds your grace  
         --"Standing in His Place", c. 2000, Five Foot Six and a Half Music

This lyric from a Justin McRoberts song has often crossed my mind; the images it calls up are ones to ponder. Too often I'm impatient that God isn't using me or having me do what I want to do, only to find out that all of me must be emptied first.

For various reasons, this has been a season of emptying. God scrapes away parts of me I consider essential, I reach a raw state of surrender, then find that all he removed was actually dead weight and not part of his creation. I've added bits here and there over the years... time-tested ideas about myself and about life that are actually lies when I examine them directly.

I begin to see that complete emptying has to happen before a vessel can be filled to serve its true purpose. There is no room for any volume of good if it happens to get mixed with the mud of my pride here, controlling over there, etc.

Emptying the pot is only the first step. Once emptied, the pot must be examined for cracks that I've repaired with wax -- injuries and hurts I tried to mend myself so that my life would appear to be whole. When heat comes, those clumsy repairs will quickly dissolve and reveal the underlying brokenness. Only the potter can mend a shattered vessel, because only he builds with truth. His mending is visible; shattering turns into scars -- but the pot is at least useful again. Once the pot is sincere (from the Latin sin cera, or "without wax"), it can be filled to the brim and put through incredible heat without being damaged or even marred.

I dislike the emptying. I loathe the heat that reveals my waxy mends. It isn't fun to find that patches you put in years ago are actually worthless. I'm beginning to see, though, that it isn't a matter of me liking the painful process, but wanting -- truly wanting -- to be filled at some point and serve my purpose.

October 12, 2010

One Body, Many Moms

I have become that which I swore I would not (younger readers, take note: be very careful of saying you will never -- God takes pretty good notes!). I drive a minivan, I don't get a shower in as often as I would like to, I don't have a wardrobe that majors in purchases from Talbot's, and the people I see most often outside family are the clerks at the grocery store and Wal-Mart. Seriously. I'm on a first-name basis with the clerks.

Another "not me!" item was that I didn't see myself attending MOPS. MOPS made me think of, well, mops. Women managing to take an hour off drudgery, so desperate to get out of the house that they would pay people to take their kids, yet still be wearing knit drawstring pants and no make-up. Now that I'm a mom, I understand paying people to take your kids for a little while, and as I type I'm wearing knit drawstring pants and no make-up. Budgeting money is important, but not as important to a mom as budgeting her time and energy. If I know a day's schedule is hectic, then I want a few other things (like make-up and photo-ready outfits) off my to-do list.

SO... at the MOPS meeting I attended today our speaker compared lives to apples: if there is rot at the core, it impacts the seeds that are planted later. In order to plant healthy seeds, I need to identify areas of decay or rot in my defaults and behaviors. This idea, though new in form, was not a new concept for me. The side note that falls into what Mac would call a "beam-knocker" (like when you whack your head resoundingly against an overhead beam) was this: if there's a girl friend I admire (and even resent a bit) for doing something well, I could ask for her help or suggestions instead of comparing myself to her and feeling depressed about my assumed failures.

I've thought of this where the church (as in, body of believers, not just one building) is concerned, and I'm comfortable knowing that hospitality is not something that comes naturally to me. I'd never thought of if where being a mom or wife was concerned. Case in point? I have a girlfriend whose house always seems to be freshly decorated and neat as a pin. There are many things I do well, but housecleaning is not my forte. Our house is presentable, but it's very obvious someone lives here -- lives here with a large, black dog, as a matter of fact. Rather than mentally smacking myself because I haven't vacuumed in over a week or only just got around to changing bed sheets (sheets taken from the basket of laundry that's been sitting in the living room for a week) -- I am better off recognizing that there are probably things my girl friend wishes she did better, even (dare I say it?) that she did as well as I do.

This morning had a relieving measure of grace added to my shoulders. Because of it, it's OK with me that the laundry is still sitting in the living room. --All right, it's almost OK with me, but I'm working on it!

May 13, 2010

Language as Portmanteau

In the midst of several gray, rainy days, I've been reading more than usual. My tastes have been more sober of late: back issues of American Heritage, a bit of Seamus Heaney poetry, listening to an interview with Columm McCann -- all material that places a high value on language.

Portmanteau words are those that combine more than one word to encompass a new meaning. 'Brunch', 'smog', and even 'Tanzania' are portmanteau words that exist because someone somewhere decided to combine words and capture both meanings in one (smoke + fog = smog, for instance). How is it that all language itself is not considered a cultural portmanteau? It truly is a marvel that a concept can move from one mind to another through nothing more than a selection of sounds. I admire those who are able to use language correctly, but my deepest respect is for those who see language as a creative medium of its own.

Madeleine L'Engle, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Emma Lazarus, Francis Thompson, and scores of others know how to stow emotion and evoke memory with the words they choose. They do not write: they paint for the ear and the thought. In Wilder's play, "Our Town," the narrator tells Emily that sometimes the poets and great artists are aware of the greatness of life as they're living it. Columm McCann and even Brett Butler (which might surprise you) carry a flavor and rhythm in their words that strikes me internally and makes something within ring, like the resonance of a great bell that you feel as well as hear. I carry the notes of their phrases long after I've turned the page. Time, for that moment, slows and I am lost in savoring. "I fled him down the labyrinthine years... and shot precipitated adown titanic glooms of chasmed fears" -- don't just see these words, HEAR them in your head, the staccato and rubato of syllables that play their own sort of music.

If walking through a Barnes & Noble is any indication, almost anyone with any degree (or lack) of ability can be published. Far fewer of those published can paint with words. I am convinced that any writer worth their salt can list off a ream of writers they themselves read, savor and are inspired by. Writers are interesting for what they write, but more interesting for what they read. For those authors you admire, find out who THEY admire--see some of their story source for yourself. In seeing what inspired a favorite book, you can marvel anew at how uniquely someone was inspired by the vulnerable act of committing passion to the page.

In trying to find your own list of syllabic artists, here are some I treasure: Maya Angelou, Davis Bunn, Josephine Tey, Jasper Fforde, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rudyard Kipling, Frances Mayes and Emmuska Orczy

April 28, 2010

The Power of the Internet

When television came on the scene, there were many who decried the time it would take from family and other such negatives. Fred Rogers was one of those who saw its potential. He spoke passionately about the possibilities for using television to reach many and educate them.

Society has a love/hate relationship with the media. We resent its intrusive, gossip-mongering aspects but rely on the information we get from it. The internet in particular has begun to impact daily life. Never before could people on opposite sides of the globe receive information seconds after it happened. This possibility (like television) is a two-sided sword. We all have seen negative aspects: misleading information and rumor that (in Chesterton's memorable phrase) goes 'round the world before the truth puts on its boots. It's harder to see the phenomenal possibilities of the internet bear fruit.

Then I read an article with a beautiful example.

Two male fans started a web site last January in hopes of getting a hug from Taylor Swift. She learned about it in March, and she issued some challenges to the two guys. Rather than ask for displays of slavish affection, she asked them to do good deeds (helping a little old lady across the street as the first one). The two collegiates responded with a video montage of them (and many others from around the world) helping people across the street as a result of Taylor's request. She challenged them to do some creative deeds involving the number thirteen (her lucky number). They responded on April 13 with a video of deeds like giving 13 roses to the woman they helped across the street, submitting 13 items each to a food pantry, picking up trash on 13th street, paying for $13 of gas for a stranger, and helping a small boy meet his favorite Auburn baseball player (who wears jersey #13). Two days ago Taylor Swift showed up at a karaoke session the guys were having in an auditorium on Auburn's campus to give each of the guys a hug--and gave each a kiss on the cheek plus a front-row ticket to one of her concerts. She capped it off by giving a short impromptu concert with the help of her band, who had come along with her.

Although I appreciate the kindness, integrity and positive character shown, what riveted me was the seized positive impact the internet had. Two friends had a wish, and out of that wish a number of people (many of them strangers to each other, since the guys requested viewers to submit videos of their own) were inspired to impact the world in many positive ways, without any expectation of reward or reimbursement other than a hug.

I marvel at the difference in generations, and the mobilization potential of the millennial generation (those born in early 1980s to early 2000s). They are not fazed by odds against outstanding success, and they intuitively grasp the power inherent in large groups of people. If only there were a consistent method of motivating the masses to such heights on a regular basis!

April 20, 2010


There are parts of being a mom that are delightful. I love hearing the random questions: "Mommy, do you like street hustling?" I love seeing the new lessons they learn about the world around them: books will not stick to the wall like magnets do to the fridge. I love experiencing the language development and translating their attempts: bah-bah means "bottle", a hand waggled side to side means "ball", etc. I love the hugs, the unself-conscious dancing to music, the unapologetic perspectives, and the full-bore enjoyment of living.

It's all of the repetitive tasks that drain me. Getting breakfast once (or even twice) is fun. Making it every morning for three people is not. By the time supper rolls around, I loathe the prospect of making any more decisions: what will we eat? What nutrients have we been lacking lately? Who will eat or can eat what I have in the house? Do I have time to make X or should I go with Y? Will it make enough for leftovers? Do I start before nap time ends, or do I wait and hope they'll play and keep each other occupied? Do I need to make a run to the store before supper (please, please, please let this be "no")? Do I aim for the family to eat all together, or do I plan on the kids eating before their dad gets home so they have time to play before bedtime?

Children do not add difficulty and confusion to daily tasks; they multiply it, and multiply it on an exponential scale. Doing laundry with a toddler's "help" adds physical obstacles, interrupting questions, instruction for how they might help, un-doing of incorrectly-done "help", increased restraint in the midst of rising frustration and impatience, and a greater supply of determination to see the task through to the end. My creativity gives out after finding five different ways to say, "Please bring the toy to me." My ears are tired after hearing some rendition of, "Mommy, is that a ____?" for the twelfth time. My patience gives out after a boundary is drawn and reinforced four times in as many minutes.

Motherhood often means needing space away from your kids, but being worried about what havoc they might create in your absence. Sometimes the child can be isolated (stuck in a crib, closeted in their room with toys and a closed door) and sometimes the mom needs to be isolated (locking herself in the bathroom or out in the car, for instance). Days immediately after a vacation or a visit from grandparents or a sleepover w/ a friend will always be more draining.

The number of times you will be interrupted are proportional to the importance of the task and inversely proportional to the available timeline. --And speaking of timelines, I should peel my child away from the computer and get him some lunch (more decision-making!). It's already 2 o'clock.

April 05, 2010

On Writing

I've kept a journal since grade school. If ever I want to know who I was then, I can dip back into words that the 13-yr-old wrote and be her and my present self in the same moment. Words can be a time machine.

My memories are strongly rooted in physical sensations: sight, sound, smell, feel and taste. When I record the sensations, the memories spring up of their own accord. Just the words 'Jovan musk' conjure up a hug from my grandmother. Words can recreate experience and make the dead live again.

Find the right word can be a struggle. "The difference between the right word and its second cousin," said Mark Twain, "is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug." It can physically hurt to find that right word. Sometimes a word is used to hold the place until you find the right word, but any writer can tell you which words fit their vision exactly and which ones still bother them. Words can be as finicky as finding the exact shade of oil for a portrait.

Words and language are a gift. No other method in our world allows one person to describe an idea, no matter how esoteric and ephemeral, to a person centuries later. The writer will never know the reader; the reader will never see the writer. Only the words exist -- and in all likelihood, the writer will never know that those particular words are what changed the reader's life for all time.

The realization of these things could effectively stifle any perfectionist from ever putting text to page. Who can live up to that sort of burden and expectation? Writers can write for the market, to sell copy and make money. Writers can write for the public, to stroke pleasurable spots and affirm people where they are. Writers can also write for the most difficult audience of all: their own muse, their passions.

I write to fill an ache, a question inside me that seeks an answer. When I see a lack in my life or lives around me, I try to meet some of that need with words. To solve a problem, any good diagnostician knows that correct identification of the problem is necessary.

For now, life is busy. Chores must be done and meals must be made. Parenting requires a lot of hands-on discipline and damage control. Sometimes words simmer inside until they escape in a rush, inarticulate in their need to be said or written. Sometimes I procrastinate because I don't have anything to say that feels necessary. As my mom used to say, "If you can't say something in seven words, for heaven's sake don't say it in fifteen." Obfuscation and wordiness are not writing.

In words of one syllable: I have not been good at word craft as a job. I am not -- I must go. The word smith must give way to the mom. Once more.

March 09, 2010


Moms often get through a day, look at the list of things they intended to do (perhaps were even looking forward to doing, though cleaning my floors just doesn't do it for me), and wonder how on earth they could be so tired. Today? Today I already know why I'm tired.

1-Woke up and left bed ~7:50 a.m., almost an hour later than usual
2-Changed diaper and got milk for the 16 mo. old, who is teething (and not happy about it)
3-Got kids (and self) dressed, which necessitated digging through some laundry baskets & the dryer
4-Got breakfast for kids and self, the fed 16 mo. old and self
5-Let dog outside
6-Assemble needed paraphanalia for MOPS meeting this morning
7-Load kids into the car
8-Let the dog back inside, then closed him in the laundry room (thanks to his muddy paws)
9-Load tub of items into the back of the van
10-Drive to the next town for the meeting
11-Drop kids off at their respective places for childcare during the meeting
12-Return to van and retrieve my books and materials (in the rain)
13-Race to meeting room
14-Return to the rain outside to get tub of cloth diapers from another mom, then place the tub in our van
15-Meeting time (eat, watch video, dismiss for discussion time)
16-Lead/facilitate discussion
17-Hear familiar crying across the hall, and go to investigate--yes, it's my child.
18-Realize it's close to time to leave, so change child's diaper, pack up 16 mo. old's things, and return to meeting room
19-Explain that I need to leave early and arrange for my materials to be gathered together so I can get them some other time
20-Pick up second child from care site
21-Load children into the van
22-Running late, race home in ~10 minutes to pick up the dog
23-Load the dog into the van
24-Take the dog to his grooming appointment, 10 minutes late (just a bath, but most necessary!)
25-Return home to pick up parents' tool that we borrowed
26-Go to parents' house to return tool
27-Drive to store to pick up groceries
28-Return home to unload groceries
[aside from coming into the store itself, yes, the kids have been in the van since #21]
29-Return to groomer's to retrieve dog
30-Return home to unload dog, children, and various things from the morning
31-Put away groceries, feed kids lunch, unload dishwasher, put away dishes and reload dishwasher
32-Sit down and (gasp!) eat lunch myself

I may not have gotten things done on my mental list (fold laundry, put away clean clothes, organize/file paperwork, clean the floors, clean up toys, shower, work on afghan, put tub of scrap-booking supplies away), but I'll extend grace.

Today, I know why I'm tired and my to-do list is undone.

March 03, 2010

Writer's Blockheadedness

I love language, and somewhere around freshman year I had a teacher ask to submit a writing piece to a lit magazine. I took a lit course as an extracurricular in college and got reamed for my writing style; such is the result of getting reamed earlier in college for being 'too literary' on engineering lab reports, I suppose.

What I'm trying to say is that I don't ever remember dreaming of being an author. It's only as I've been writing and submitting a piece here and there that I look back over my shoulder and see earlier things scattered along the path that led me here: the book I wrote that took me to a Young Authors convention; the poems I wrote for sports seasons, family birthdays, and just because. The persistent (though sporadic) journal entries. I think I have writings/journal entries for every year going back 20+ years.

In spite of writing being a long-standing way in which I express myself, I often dread it. Sitting at a keyboard means facing down internal daemons.

"Just look at how long it's been since you wrote anything of importance."
"Why do you keep putting this off when others have told you this is a gift?"
"What kind of a writer are you, that you can't even sit down for 10 minutes a day to write about your kids and keep regular updates in a file for them?"

When I do sit down, I can type in stream-of-consciousness (like now), and it feels like a release of pressure. Whether I write a publishable piece or not, framing my thoughts/struggles on the page has always helped me. When it comes to making words say what I want them to, though, they become unwieldy and my lexicon is suddenly insufficient.

Communication has the possibility of telling someone what you're thinking, but also how you feel about what you're thinking and perhaps a shade of how others have felt about your thoughts. I'm all for denotation (the technical definition of a word), but it's connotation (the social perception and mood surrounding a particular word) that drives me. 'Dark' and 'inky' could be interchangeable, but the latter sounds and feels more image-oriented and poetic. A person can lecture or berate someone about a poor choice, but a berating implies more scorn and contempt. It is possible to paint with words; their colors just aren't visual.

I think most, if not all, writers have a vision of what a finished piece could say; most, if not all, will feel deflated after finishing something because it falls short of that vision. Sometimes by rewriting, sometimes by editing, that vision is reached, but rarely.

I promised God several years ago that if I got a solicitation for a written piece, I would submit at least one writing to it. I have not succeeded in keeping that promise, since I didn't write or submit a piece for this last request. Now I have another request from the same individual; the deadline is May, but the earlier I submit, the better. I think I know of something I could write, but words cannot express how I dread facing a blank page to start writing it out. Once written, I'll have to leave it alone for at least a week or two before I attempt editing. I rarely like anything I've written right after I write it. It seems to take somewhere around 2 years before I can read a writing and not feel like I dropped the ball somewhere.

So... I'm off to spend some time with my journal, then hopefully to shower. The writing piece will hang over my head for a while longer, I think.

February 10, 2010


Any time I sit down to write anything (particularly if I know it will be seen by others), I rack my brain for thought-provoking, witty, or hilarious things to write or ways to write uninteresting topics. I'm a ham. Have been my whole life.
    Tonight, all I can think of is how mundane my life suddenly seems. --Not bad, you understand, just mundane. The topics that come easily to mind concern my kids, complaints about something in society, or my latest addiction (whatever that is).
    Tonight I don't feel like I'm capable of being entertaining or thought-provoking. Writing a blog, by its very nature, is self-centered. It assumes that 1-I'm worth writing about regularly, and 2-Others want to read that writing.
    I'm usually an open book. I don't cringe away from telling much about myself; getting married has meant re-evaluating that for DH's sake. Some things should remain private, after all! I'm now hampered with the voice in my head that recites a continual litany of how ineffective I am in anything I do (I'm pretty sure other people have these voices, too, but if you don't just smile and nod along) and the lack of anything meaningful to write about. [Note: One of my great-grandfathers would have a problem with the preposition end to that sentence, but I'll leave it--it's in recognition of my inescapable imperfection and brokenness. The poor man would probably die of a stroke -- if he wasn't already dead -- if he saw the deteriorated forms of grammar used for texting.]
    For now... I'll head downstairs and play some more video games. If it's Little Big Planet, I get to make a sack person jump over electrified rods (or onto them, if I'm suicidal); if it's Burnout, I get prizes for running other cars off the road. Right now either sounds kind of fun. : )

February 05, 2010

Attn: Snow Plow Driver

To the driver of the municipal snow plow that drove past our house this morning:

I understand you have a job to do. When my 4-yr-old and I went out to shovel snow off the driveway, I was already dreading the pile of snow and ice chunks that had accumulated at the end of the driveway from your prior visits. 20 minutes into the job (and after being hit by snow wildly thrown by the 4-yr-old and said 4-yr-old's shovel), you drove past--and deposited the first round of snow under my nose.

My shoulders slumped and I gazed in frustration after you, but I tried to cheer myself with the thought that it could have been so much worse, and after all, you had a job to do, too. You didn't know I have no snow blower, my husband's out of town, or that I have only 2-3 times in a day I even have the possibility of shoveling: morning nap, afternoon naps, or after offspring bedtime. I can't get to the grocery store until I shovel without risking getting stranded in our own driveway. I tried to apply grace.

When you passed the 2nd time--closer to our driveway, of course--and deposited another 6" of ice clods at my feet, the only thing that kept me from making obscene gestures or yelling profane things your direction was the presence of that 4-yr-old.

An hour after all this, and I'm still wondering if I could contact the city and reason with them.
"Dear City of _________:
   "While I appreciate your efforts to keep our town streets clear of winter precipitation, I view my resulting increased workload with increasing displeasure. Please know that you are capable of rendering single parents housebound because of your actions.
"Sincerely, An Irked Citizen"


February 04, 2010

Big Numbers

Big numbers seem to be popping up a lot lately. One million, billion, trillion, even quadrillion. A lot of the words just sound like the childish term 'bajillion'. I don't have any more concept of a quadrillion than I do a jillion or a bajillion.

The one thing that has helped was a time comparison.

One million seconds ago? That's 12 days ago.
One billion seconds? More than 31 years ago.
One trillion seconds? More than 32,000 years ago. Uh-huh. That's 30,000 B.C. or earlier.
One quadrillion seconds? 32.8 million years ago.

I can't casually read articles about the national debt ceiling being raised by another 1.9 trillion. I keep seeing it as 32,000 years' worth of seconds.

Please excuse me while I go contemplate the fewer than 1.122 billion seconds I've been alive. At a penny a second, I'd already be a multi-millionaire. Oy.

February 01, 2010

In the last 24 hours I've:
-- cleaned offal from the bathroom floor (the 4yo didn't get on the toilet fast enough)
-- said good-bye to my DH, who will be gone until Saturday or Sunday
-- located sundry screws and nuts for a toy construction set before the 14mo could think to swallow them
-- thought of, procured and prepared nine meals
-- fed two kids a sit-down supper, bathed them, and got them to bed in an hour and a half
--finally completed the castle level on the islands in Little Big Planet

None of it was easy, all of it involved some effort, but (sadly enough) the last one took the most time and caused the most frustration!

Maybe I should play more video games so parenting seems easier.

January 29, 2010

Little Big Problem

I'm ready to sack out. It's been a draining day, and there's an annoyingly repetitive song that's stuck in my head. I can't even blame my kids. It's really DH's fault. If he didn't have a certain person as a friend, we never would have thought of purchasing his older PS3 around Christmas-time. No PS3, no Little Big Planet. No Little Big Planet, no problem.

There are sack people you control in this video game to run through various worlds, collecting bubbles (I'm suddenly struck by the irony of collecting bubbles while I seclude myself in a video game bubble world) and prizes. A TV character once remarked that she never knew hell would be catered. Well, I never thought it would have a soundtrack.

It does.

The song is what plays during the Metropolis world on the Construction Site level. And I, silly shmuck that I am, find it difficult to walk away from something and leave it unfinished. -I'm fine with turning off the game while there are levels and worlds still to conquer; but if I took some aspect of a level personally and keep getting killed at one particular point, you better believe I'll play it until I figure out how to pass the obstacle.


Don't mind me. I'm just the one secluded in the cave of the basement until I get just one... last... bubble!


I died.

Guess I'll have to give it another try.

January 28, 2010

Parenting Insider Knowledge

Every new endeavor has its own batch of unknowns, "gotcha" bits of information that only the group members know. Parenting, it seems, has a whole host of these things.

All these have become part of my compendium of parenting insider knowledge:

- If pregnant and ill, expect suggestions of ginger root, B vitamins, peppermint tea, prescription drugs, and perfected diet plans. If they work for you, great, but focus on finding what works for you--I would recommend standing over the sink instead of the toilet: less kneeling/rising and potential use of the garbage disposal to boot!
- If nursing, you will not regret purchasing a breast pump. Period.
- With each kid you will be paranoid you'll screw this one up and They will revoke your parenting license. Every child takes time to know, and as the parent, you'll know them best the soonest. Give yourself grace and time to get to know them. Having a person inside your body for 9 months does not (unfortunately) give you immediate and complete knowledge.
- Buy multiples of the kid's special blanket/toy/security item. If you only have one, it will quickly become filthy (you'll never get it away long enough to wash it) and losing it is a catastrophe in the making.
- Even if the child is no longer napping, having them spend 30-60 minutes in "alone time" (not punishment; play time by themselves) during the day can be a sanity-saver for you and teach them the valuable skill of being able to amuse themselves.
- Potty training happens when it happens. If the kid is 18 mo and ready, great; if (s)he is 4 and only just starting to be interested, push off the perceived disapproval and go with the kid's timetable. After upwards of five attempts over the course of a year and a half that didn't work (with a LOT of accompanying frustration), it finally happened.
- Used clothing places are great places to find clothing items for kids, who always outgrow things quickly. I highly recommend using Resale Shopping as a starting point.
- Caveat to the above: it is unlikely in the extreme that you will find used clothing (pants in particular) for preschool and elementary school-age boys. They're hard enough on their clothing that it doesn't survive more than one kid. Either make it yourself (and make it to last) or buy several cheap items that you know will wear out.
- Teaching your kids that next developmental step is a two-edged sword. If they know how to walk before 12 months, you'll be chasing them a lot longer. If they know how to read, it's that much earlier you have to be sneaky about what you're reading/writing/consuming in hopes they won't recognize the label.

January 27, 2010


Wow. Getting on to a year and half, and I'm writing a new post.


-In my defense, we only just (as in this morning) got internet connectivity at home. Yes, we've chosen the dark side until now. They had cookies. I like cookies.

Anyway, I've wasted almost no time in reconnecting via blog.

Life now is... chaotic. DH was on the road M-F for October, November, much of December and half of January. He's been at home (at night; he does still work during the day) the last two weeks. Until he came home, it was all I could do to survive the solo parenting of a 4yo and a 14mo. The 4yo is very talkative (and tech-inclined, meaning he likes buttons) and the 14mo is my doppelganger [sidenote: how is one supposed to put in umlauts on a blog?]. The 14mo scares me. I haven't finished a book since she started walking--I kid you not. Before then, I could still read 3-5 books a week. A week.

I'm also up to my ears in genealogy shtuff. Geeked out on Ancestry.com and delving into Ontario censuses from 1871 and such. Great fun, very time-consuming and prone to activate my addictive proclivities. "Yes, yes, I know the kids haven't eaten today and it's 5:30 p.m., but I just found a 12th cousin!"

Speaking of kids, it's approaching lunchtime. I should make sure we're actually dressed to meet the day--or what's left of it. I'm sure I'll be back later (and sooner than my last 'later').