Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Misdameana

I have been blessed in my life with incredible friends. I'm not sure how it happened. One of these friends is coming to visit me tomorrow, and I couldn't be more excited. We met in a Literature for the Young Adult course while I was in graduate school. She was working in a small group next to mine, and I whipped my head her way when I heard her quoting my favorite Southpark episode. That sealed the deal.

I think of her every time I eat feta cheese because she taught me that "feta feta feta, makes it betta betta betta." She watched all of Twin Peaks with me, sometimes providing the pie. She once gave me a pile of great hand-me-downs when she lost a bunch of weight (yep, I guess that made me the "fat friend" but oh well. I'll never turn down free clothes). She nicknamed me "Weena" after a hot-dog chasing contest. I once, as a joke, gave her a can of pork and beans. Several months later, when I'd gone to visit her, I found this can displayed proudly on her dresser. I showed up at her house another day, distraught over an unexpected letter from a guy, and she took me in and said, "Lori, boys will always make us cry."

Another time, she and another friend drove me to a beach in Florida when I was depressed about missing a U2 concert. We just sat there most of the night. That one 18 hour trip cleared my head like nothing else could and gave me the courage to launch out again into the world, openly and fearlessly.

The next year, she came to visit me on the other side of the world, bringing with her a five-pound package of grits. She carried the grits in her carry-on. When I met her at the airport in Budapest, one of the first things I heard her say was, "These grits are so heavy!" How I ever managed to find a friend selfless and funny enough to cart a ridiculously huge amount of my favorite Southern staple halfway across the globe for me, I have no idea. I am not worthy of such devotion.

I have heard this friend sing "Dancing Queen" to a Slovak taxi driver in the middle of the night. I have shared one tiny duffel bag with her on a weeklong excursion to Croatia. I have whistled the army marching song as we got lost with our English pal, the "man with a map betwixt you two." I have sat with her on a stone step outside our room in Hvar and cried with her. I watched her fall in love with a solid, silly man who seems to have risen from the Arkansas clay just to woo, wed, and love my friend. I have stood with her at her wedding as she stood with me at mine.

And tomorrow, they come to Portland to spend a whole week with me! I am blessed beyond measure.

The week after they leave, my tickets are booked to visit another dear friend, and again, I find myself shaking my head, wondering how, oh how. What a lucky girl I am.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cookie-Makin' Man

Thanks for the shirts, Aunt Carrie and Uncle Rusty. They're very kewl.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day '09

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. ~Johann Schiller

Yesterday during our block's yard sale, I overheard one of the kids on our street telling a shopper about Ted. She said, "Yeah, I live in that house down there, and he lives right here. And oh my gosh, he is so cool!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fear Not the Twos.

My mom is a pediatric specialist, so I call/email her with all of my questions about Abe's health. We've been emailing this week about "cookie" issues (Abe calls #2 "cookies," as in, "Mom! I made a cookie!" as he peers into the toilet).

Going to the potty takes up a lot of our time these days. We make a lot of mad dashes.

Here is the end of a recent email to my mom, making me realize again what a wonderful age 2 is.

Two stories:

This morning when I went upstairs to get Abe up, he looked at me from his bed and said, "Hi, mom." Pause... "I'm two." In case I'd forgotten, I guess.

Second thing: "pine-cone" and "five" are the answers to many questions these days.

"Abe, what do you want to be when you grow up?"


Then later on tonight, he was opening up Tara's birthday gift to him, and as he looked in the box, we said, "What is it, Abe?"

Very excitedly, he looked at the Mr. Potato Head and yelled, "Pine-cone!"

This is the best age.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Favorite Birthday Shots

I have been somehow blessed to be friends with several amazingly talented photographers. Many of these photos were taken by them. I have given credit where it's due.

I think Keith Sager had the camera at this point. This picture says "pure joy" to me.

by Erin Sager

by me

Abe was ready to get the party started. This was the most dressed he was all day. It lasted ten minutes. Photo by me.

Our friend Jim saved the day by refilling the propane tank when we realized the hot dogs weren't cooking. Thanks, Jim!

Abe telling you that he is 2. Photo by Autumn Lapour.

Photo by Autumn Lapour. A mistake-shot but my favorite of the day.

Photo by Autumn Lapour.

Photo by Erin Sager.

Photo by Erin Sager.

Photo by Erin Sager. My new favorite photo of Abe.

Photo by Erin Sager.

Photo by Erin Sager. Sweet Mezzie goodness. I adore that girl.

Photo by Erin Sager. Abe is telling you he's 2 again.

End of the day with Daddy, playing with bubbles again. Photo by me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2nd Birthday Party

This is what a two-year-old looks like:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Baby...Toddler... BOY!

At dinner tonight, as Abe was slurping up long strands of pasta with his own fork, I looked at Ted and said, "When did he become a boy?" Abe is full-fledged, not even no longer a baby, but completely a boy.

As of a couple of weeks ago, we're in that stage when I need to start up a file on the computer where I can record all the things Abe says day by day. It all started a while back with the "I want some lotion" sentence. It's not only his speech though: his imagination and spark is shining through.

A few examples, off the top of my head, from the last couple of days:

Yesterday in the car on our way to the park to meet friends, this conversation happened:

"Mom? Daddy go?" (which translates to "Where did Daddy go?")

"You tell me, Abe. Where is Daddy?"

"At home, working with Obama."

"Really? He's working with Obama? What are they doing?"

"Obama painting. Daddy work backyard."

dreaming of mowing the lawn with the president

Later on, after playing with Rhett, Autumn, and Mezmur at the park, we're driving home and Abe, out of the blue, says, "Mom, I nee moe Aw-Aw" (translation: I need more Autumn).

Another "boy" trait is that he's taken to really reading the comics every day. He's been interested in the Sunday comics for a while now, but now he's a lot more focused on them and can tell you what's going on in the pictures. He also wants you to read them to him, and at the end of each one, he lets out a loud fake-laugh.
Dumping out the entire bottle of bubbles is hilarious!

Another "boy" trait: Abe has learned how to stall for time when he's thinking. When you ask Abe a question, about 50% of the time, he prefaces his answers with "um..." while wrinkling up one side of his face and squinting an eye. It's seriously adorable.

"Abe, what are you doing?" (after a suspiciously long stretch of quiet from the other room).

"Um...doing no-no."

At night-time, we say our prayers, which is mainly saying "Thank you, God, for..." and then he fills in the blank with every person he knows and loves or has talked to recently.

He has learned the mesmerizing cause-effect of running after the cats. We're not happy about this one.

One fascinating development is how he's now reading along with me the books that I've been reading to him since he was a little baby. It's interesting to me that he knows, remembers, and can read along with books that I may not have read to him for months and months. If you ever wonder about the merit of reading books to infants, here's proof. They get it. They truly are sponges. Abe is articulating through speech knowledge he's had stored in his brain for weeks and months. Absolutely fascinating.

Lastly, and at huge risk of being "that mom" who brags too much (so ignore this part if it may be irritating), we think he's pretty much potty-trained. I'm not completely sure how it happened but it started about a month ago when he went #1 after his bath. Of course, there are still accidents if we don't remind him to go, but we use only 1-2 diapers a day, just for when he's sleeping. And for the last two days, he's stayed dry during his nap even. It's blowing my mind.

For some reason, he's been calling #2 "cookies." He's extremely interested, of course, in watching his cookies get sucked away by the plumbing. My best guess for why he calls them cookies must have something to do with his mother's baking ability. Poor kid, he's got the mom on the block who bakes cookies that look like poo.

I know I've said it before, but this may be my favorite age so far. It's simply so entertaining to see his imagination blossom, and Abe is actually maybe more affectionate and cuddly than ever before. I love how he nestles into my chest when we say night-time prayers and asks me, "Come, Mom! Sit on my yap!" so that I can go pretend to sit on his lap. When I do, he hugs me and pats both my arms. Best age so far.

going down the big-boy, scary slide.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Love-affair with Craigslist

I wear shoes until they've got holes and are coming apart at the seams. In the summer, I wear teva flipflops every single day. My friend Angela gave me my first pair of these four years ago as a bridesmaid gift the summer she got married. They were black. I wore them for two solid years, until I got holes in the soles. I loved the way they molded to my feet, accommodating my high arches. So I went out and bought a new pair two years ago, green that time.

Two years later, these are getting holes too, and while I still want a new pair, I got the idea a few days ago that what I really want for this summer (and hopefully many summers to come) is a pair of Chacos. I'd never owned a pair, had never even tried a pair on, but I love the feminine look to them, the way my friends will wear them not just with shorts but with dresses. I like how sturdy they are, how you can wear them hiking or river-walking or with a skirt to an Oregon wedding.

I decided that I needed them so badly that I was willing to pay full price to make a pair my own. I, the thrifter of thrifters, the Goodwill Princess, was going to shell out $90+ for a pair of shoes. I stopped my days of hand-wringing over the price when Ted announced yesterday that he'd ordered a home-soda-maker online. If we need that much fizzy water in the house, then I need a pair of Chacos, dadgummit.

Today, I sat down at the computer and typed into google the simple search of "Chacos" plus our zip code. The second search result to appear was a Craigslist ad, so of course I had to look at it.

It was a pair of red Chacos (exactly the color I wanted) in my size. My size! And get this: the posting had only been up for twenty minutes when I found it. I called the number listed in the ad and told her I'd be by in the afternoon.

I put her address into google-maps and discovered that it's in a funky little neighborhood not far from our house. I drove the seven minutes it takes to get there, parked, and rang the doorbell. Then I knocked very lightly. After a few seconds, a very tall blond woman with the cutest haircut this side of the Rockies appeared, telling me that the doorbell was broken but that she'd heard my rustling outside. I explained that I knocked, but very lightly, as I have a toddler and want to choke to death people who knock loudly on my door during naptime. She laughed and showed me the shoes.

They were perfect, all I ever dreamed of. The perfect pair of Chacos, hardly worn and offered to me for half of what she paid for them (she was getting rid of them because they didn't fit her right). I sat down on the couch to try them on as she introduced me to her husband who was in the dining room surrounded by book and notebooks. She explained that they are both graduate students in the midst of finals. I immediately thought fondly of my grad school days seven years ago (oh my god, was I really finishing up graduate school seven years ago?) and feel all reminiscent and wanting to ask a bunch of questions. But I hold back, thinking, "I'm just here for the shoes."

As I fumble around with them (as surely all first-time handlers of Chacos must), I notice the music playing and ask, "Is this that Alison Kraus and Robert Plant album?"

Why yes it is.

"Oh, I got to hear her three years ago at Merlefest."

From the dining room, husband's head pops up, "Isn't that that awesome bluegrass festival in Tennessee?"

"No, it's in North Carolina."

"Oh, yeah, right! I've heard of it."

And then we talked a little about music and the festival as I fumbled with the shoe. Chaco-owner saw my struggle and sat next to me on the couch and suddenly was adjusting them for me, with the shoe on my foot. A total stranger was fiddling with my feet, something I felt uncomfortable about, thinking, crap, I came here wearing Keens...do my feet smell? Isn't she grossed out by my Keen-shod feet?

But no, she just talked about how Chacos make her feet smelly and then told me to take them for a spin outside if I want, which I do. They feel awesome, despite needing further adjustment.

I came back inside, realizing as I was walking outside that I'd left my purse with my wallet and phone in the condo of Craigslist strangers, and we somehow ended up talking about our families, about being married to older men, about hikes on Catalina Island and our thoughts on what the white horse means in Twin Peaks mythology. Okay, not the last one, but I think we could have gotten there had we had enough time.

I bought the sandals and felt like hugging the Craigslist Chaco-seller before I left after inviting them to Abe's birthday party next weekend. Instead, I just wished them luck on their finals, and they wished me luck with the toddler, and I drove off happy with Chacos and imagining life with my new best friend in Portland, the sandal-seller from Craigslist.

Lest you allow this tale to prove to you that all wheelers and dealers on Craigslist are total nutjobs who immediately imagine long friendships with the other nutjobs they meet there, let's fast forward a couple of hours. This evening, I got an email from my Chaco-friend saying, "It was interesting meeting you today. It seems like we have many things in common. Same shoe size, older husbands, same age, similar taste in music. And we learned all that in the five minutes that we spent together."

See? I'm not completely crazy. I'll email her back and I bet she's going to tell me she and her husband are just starting an adoption and how irritating it is when people ask if they ever want to have "their own" kids. And then we'll laugh and laugh and open up a bottle of reisling and Ted and her newly graduated husband will start up a theater company in Central Oregon, and before we know it, all my best blogger buddies will move out to join us, and I'll publish my first book, a memoir about life on our commune, which will make us all rich, so rich that we build enough wells in Eastern Africa to change millions and millions of lives.

And we'll all be able to say that it started with a pair of Chacos on Craigslist. Just you wait.