Friday, July 18, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do

CKM's post about old photos couldn't have come at a better time.

In preparation for Grandpa Arlo's 90th Birthday Bash next weekend, my mom has been industriously collecting, scanning, sharing, and printing out old photos from my family's distant past. Here's one she e-mailed to me this morning, a group shot of my Grandpa's elementary-school class, circa 1929 or so:

My grandpa, James Arlo McKinstry, is the handsome fellow in the sailor suit seated in the front row, at the far left of the photo (his right). My mom pointed out (and she's totally right) that Little Grandpa Arlo has an expression in this photo that we often see glimpses of in the modern-day Little Arlo. My son did not get Grandpa's ears (thankfully--no offense to Grandpa) but it looks like he might have inherited the impish grin.

And here are the boys together. I think this photo was taken last summer, around Arlo's third birthday. The sailor suit worn by Little Arlo here is one that Big Arlo wore when he was little, though not the same sailor suit as the one in the class photo above. I'll have to ask Mom to e-mail me the photo she has of Little Grandpa in this very same sailor suit.

Is it any wonder that James Arlo eventually joined the Navy, hmmm?

I think we let Arlo try on the antique sailor suit just long enough to snap a few pictures, before he spilled anything on it or ripped out a seam. Then it was gingerly folded up and stored away again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some things you learn only from experience.

You know that classic seventies movie footage of the hot chick riding a motorcycle--when she pulls up to fill up her gas tank, or maybe just because she's soooooo hot and needs a break from the road? And how she's still straddling her hawg when she tilts her head back, takes off her helmet, and shakes out her gorgeous mane of long hair in slow motion--usually while some drooling guys watch from across the parking lot and Barry White music plays on the soundtrack?

Yep. That happens to me every day, now that I have my scooter back from the shop.

Here's why. Honest to gosh, it's not an affectation--it's practical! Tilting your head back and shaking your head is the best way to get your helmet off without all your hair ending up in your face. I'm always self-conscious doing it, because I picture that same seventies film footage and it feels so cliche. And sometimes guys do watch me--not because I'm all that, but because they've been programmed to watch, on account of the movies. You follow?

Unfortunately, though, in real life there is no slo-mo or Barry White. That part only happens in my head.

P.S. A fabulous prize will go to the reader who can find an example of the aforementioned seventies movie footage that I can post here. This is close:

Friday, July 11, 2008

shortcut confession

A few weeks ago, I discovered the Oven Ready Turkey Breast from Jennie-O, and I have to confess that I'm smitten.

Usually I buy meat, poultry, and fish exclusively from the Co-op... I'm usually a bit of a meat snob... but in a moment of weakness, and because of a great sale price, I picked one up one of these puppies when I popped in to my neighborhood Hy-Vee for another errand.

The oven-ready breast truly goes from freezer to oven with no prep outside of unwrapping it and putting it in a roasting pan. It's not fast, exactly--it does take at least an hour and a half to cook--but it requires almost no hands-on time.

In the package you will also find a packet of gravy, ready to be heated on the stove, and recipes for using the leftovers. I have used the Turkey Pot Pie recipe a couple of times now, and everyone in the family loves it, including the baby.

It may not be local, organic, free-range turkey (oh Lord, if only it was) but it does make a couple of wholesome, simple meals that the whole family can enjoy. If you try it out, let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Art Installation, Phase 1

The old tattoo I am covering

First, Kris outlined her own pencil sketch on transfer paper, then used that to apply a carbon copy to my skin, to show where the design would fall on the contours of my arm.

Outline inked:
Here's the finished outline, and as far as we got in the first session. In the next session, she'll add color, and after that it will be shaded.

Kris Evans:
The artist herself. Not only a talented artist, but also a damn fine conversationalist and one smart lady. I was amazed by the depth and breadth of her knowledge--and thoughtful insight--on a huge range of topics including American history, international banking, commerce, God, culture, linguistics, and oh yeah, RAGBRAI.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Endorphinden, and I am thrilled with the results. I am so anxious to continue to project--but I need to let the work from the first session heal before we can proceed. So in the meantime, you will have to visualize the vivid shades of green, red, brown, orange, etc... I know it will be a stunning work of art when it's finished, and I love it already, even though it's only an outline.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Holiday weekend: bad start, amazing finish

Well, the first thing that happened to me after leaving work on Thursday was that my scooter broke down on the way home. Yes, this is the scooter that I had been driving for two days after finally getting it "repaired." It's back at the shop today after spending the holiday weeekend parked in a ramp downtown. Hmmmph.

Friday the 4th, Ted took Arlo to Iowa City's fireworks display, which, due to flooding, took place on the Pentacrest instead of City Park. Though we objected to the late start (10:00 or so, after the last JazzFest performance wrapped), it looks like it was a gorgeous setting for the event, and Arlo was a good sport about the late bedtime. In fact, he laid down on the blanket at the show and went to sleep! Ted was astounded at the Boy's ability to snooze right through the Grand Finale--"depth charge" percussion fireworks and all! We had a good chuckle about that, and I continue to pine away for the next time the whole family will be able to go and enjoy the fireworks. I'm thinking that'll probably be 2010. We'll see.

The high point of the weekend was when Mara called last night to report that her new daughter Nora Jane was born, at 8:18 p.m.. I went to see the happy family over lunch today, and I am still sighing over the wonder and joy of it all. Nora is a gorgeous baby, and will join Macy and Arlo at Tata's daycare ina couple of months. We are quite certain that Macy and Nora will BFFs--or at least forced to hang out together for the rest of their lives by virtue of their moms being so tight. Congratulations, Mara and Rock!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Be nice to me. I gave blood today...

...and I am entering my arm in the Fourth of July Parade this weekend.

The tech who bandaged my arm after my blood donation either:

a) really takes pride in her handiwork, or

b) is incredibly bored with her job.

Who knew that giving away your bodily fluids could be so much fun? (Okay, I know, but just don't go there. This is a family show.)

At least I'm not actually bald.


Can't blame it on the baby this time--she slept better last night than she has in weeks, staying asleep from 9 until about 2:30. Mama should have had the opportunity to catch up on a few hours' sleep--but nooooooooooo.

In the middle of what should have been my good 5-hour stretch of sleep (unheard of!), I was awakened by a searing pain along the side of my lower leg. My calf was cramped up and rock hard--and massaging it in bed was not doing the trick.

I actually had to move to the floor to experiment with leg positions and rubbing, all the while enduring this agonizing muscle spasm... and then it started up in the other leg too, GAHHHH!

It took so long to get the cramps to subside that I was afraid to move again--and for that reason I fell asleep on the floor for a while, with my head resting on a stack of clean laundry waiting to be put away. The cramping didn't return, but even this morning I still feel a little wobbly and tentative--as if the muscle could seize up again at any moment.

At this point, I am honestly not sure if it warrants a trip to the doc or not. More often than not when I follow Ms. Mayhem's advice "When in doubt, have the Dr. check it out," (as is my natural tendency) the phantom medical issue disappears when any medical personnel enter the room. Maybe I'll wait and see if it happens again over the weekend.

To top it off, when I wasn't writhing around my bedroom floor, clutching at my legs in agony, I was having strange dreams. The most memorable was that I had to shave my head to get my tattoo--as if it was a serious surgery and all hair had to be absent for the sterile field to be maintained. I consented in a heartbeat (does that surprise you?) but then worried the entire time that Ted was going to find me hideous when I came home bald and tattooed.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Reunited, and it feels so goooood


That is all.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How Ted nearly got murdered last week...

One night last week, I was giving the baby a bath while Ted was hanging out with Arlo and watching T.V.. After a while, Ted came into the bathroom, where I was kneeling next to the tub, leaning over to wash Mae's hair.

As he opened the door, Ted started singing, "I like big butts, and I cannot lie..." and I looked over my shoulder with a look that would have stopped a train. I could not believe that he would be such an ASS--especially considering that I have finally gotten back down to the weight I was IN COLLEGE. I could have died.

As it turns out, he had just been watching this episode of Friends, and his rendition of "Baby Got Back" was NOT inspired by the view he encountered upon entering the bathroom and seeing me bent over the tub.

It was worth a very hearty laugh... AFTER I got over my initial desire to murder him. And for the record, he did apologize.

Don't hate her because of her supermodel proportions.

Yesterday was Mae's 9-month "well baby" check. She's hitting all the right developmental milestones and is in excellent health. And she's built like a supermodel: 25th percentile for weight (17.4 lbs.) and 90th percentile for height (29 inches). Given the fact that she is crawling, standing, and cruising, and has her eyes on the prize of Walking By Ten Months Like Her Big Brother, I don't think we're going to see those ratios change anytime soon.

The other major topic of discussion was Mae's continued refusal to sleep through the night. She is still waking up at least twice a night--often three times--to nurse, and we need to undertake some steps to amend the situation. I blogged before about our resolve to engage in serious "sleep training" with the wee girl, but I confess that our ambitions fizzled. That was a few months ago, and I guess in the end I felt that she was just too little to be refusing her the breast. Now that she is older, and eating plenty of solid food and milk during the day, I think we're going to try again.

Nothing says "Happy Independence Day!" like refusing to breastfeed in the wee hours of morning. This should be a blast.

On Dr. T's recommendation, I am going to continue to nurse Mae at bedtime (of course), then wake her to nurse when I got to bed (10ish). Then when she wakes again (notice I did not say "if"), it will be Ted's turn to go to her. He'll do his best to reassure her and comfort her, but we have agreed that he definitely will NOT be breastfeeding her.

I expect at least three nights' worth of sobbing and shrieking, and I am steeling myself for it. I think I am being optimistic with the 3-night estimate--but I need optimism right now. This is not going to be easy.