Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monopoly is SCARY.

Pablo and I have moved on to MONOPOLY, and for all my rage against the man, capitalism sux kind of attitude, I love to play Monopoly. Of course, no grown-ups will play. They want to play grown-up games. So you can imagine my delight when Pablo agreed to play with me.

We set up the game, I explained the rules, and off we went. Until someone went to jail. Then it got progressively less fun. "Why do people go to jail?" "Why do people do things wrong?" "Why do I have to go to jail just for getting 3 sets of doubles? Is that wrong?" "Is it scary in jail?"

I answered as best I could, and only talked about it from the perspective of the game unless directly asked about REAL LIFE. Then I was as gentle as I know how to be.

And yet, in the hour and a half we played, he went from thinking Monopoly was his new favorite game to a quivering wreck of a 5 year old, petrified that he would have to go to jail. At one point, having rolled 2 sets of doubles, he handed me the dice, asked me to roll for him, and ran from the room.

Finally, in spite of having twice as much money as me, hotels and houses on the only 2 monopolies on the board, and the makings of a booty whipping for mama, he asked to quit. Jail was just too stressful.

I was so sad. I had great compassion for his fear, but I was seriously bummed at losing a Monopoly partner. I thought and thought and thought about what to do. Finally, I asked Pablo if Monopoly lost a jail and gained a PARK (with rules about how you get in and how you get out that are suspiciously like going to jail...), would he feel more comfortable playing the game?

The answer was a resounding YES! much to my joy and delight. So today we played again. For another hour and a half (ie until Beebz was too pissed of at being largely ignored) we played. We went to the park, we bought properties. We had FUN. The game is on pause now, due to a pressing need to play playmobile Mamma Mia (where they are playing Chutes and Ladders right now. Confused yet?). But I bet we pick up tomorrow right where we left off (by the by, I am doing way better this time. He will have to work to kick my booty).

One of the best parts of having kids is having someone to be a kid with. Thanks Pablo!!

PS Holy crap. He has the Chutes and Ladders board memorized and is wanting me to play by memory. No, wait. He says in this game, everything is doubled. So the board repeats itself, along with all the chutes and ladders. Jiminy cricket. And the spinner now goes up to 12. Thank goodness he will be keeping track of all this....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Anyone Lesbian and TTC?

Hey guys, my partner and I are officially bearing no more children. (I am not yet giving up on adopting!!!) We are cleaning out and realized that we have a TTC kit (speculum, syringes, catheters, collection cups for the swimmers, etc) that we would like to pass on to a good home. (None of it has been used. Ewww.) Some friends gave it to us. All we took from the kit was one catheter. It appears to be worth about $90 bucks, from the receipt in the bag. Does anyone need these supplies? We aren't looking to make any money, just to pay it forward. Hopefully we can ship you our luck, too (3 tries and 1 try, respectively)!! Email me if you are interested.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How to Play Non-violent Clue with a 5 year old.

Don't let the child read the instructions or the gig is up.

There is no Mr Body. There are 6 friends who want to play... hide and seek. We get to help find them.

They want to hide with... objects. They think it will be more fun that way. Say, "No, I have no idea why they are called weapons." Gloss over that as quickly as possible.

Continue as per the rules.

How long do you think that could last? In my house, about 5 minutes. Pablo asked my why anyone would hurt someone else. Phooey those instructions.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I wasn't offering a nursing show, lady. That's weekdays only.

I am an unabashed lactivist. It wouldn't occur to me in a million years to hide away from people in order to nurse, unless of course whatever was going on was distracting the baby. Which it was today, at a birthday party. Beebz was tired and grumpy and kept unlatching to cry at me, so I went into a bedroom to nurse her to sleep. A little while later another mom came in with her toddler, and jumped as if she had caught me pole dancing while wearing only pasties. (avoid the visual. please.)

"Oh, I am so sorry! I didn't know you were nursing! I was just looking for somewhere to change a diaper," she said as she started to leave the room.

I replied, "Oh, it's OK. You can stay. I don't mind."

Now here is the part where I need your help, dear readers.

She said, "No... I will just use the bathroom. My husband is here." Then she walked out, closing the (previously open) door behind her.

Huh? What? Understand, I was totally covered up. There wasn't going to be a show, with or without her husband present.

So I am just a bit disappointed that I didn't get a chance to nurse publicly, just to see what would have happened!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Amazing 2 Week Blanket!!

I complained a while back about the amazing blanket I was making and then had to rip out TONS of yarn. Despite the delay, it is finished in about two weeks. This is by far the prettiest pattern I have ever done. It was fun, challenging, and exciting to do. This is impressive since most blanket patterns get boring very quickly. Needless to say, I am darned pleased with it.

Now quick, someone have a baby so I can make another one!!

ILLNESS UPDATE: Now the boyo is sick and the baby is well. They are both napping right now. The fact that Pablo is asleep during the day shows that he is feeling REALLY lousy. I have a sore throat that hurts too much to let me sleep, so I am goofing off and drinking hot tea. And enjoying the quiet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Negotiating 101

Me: Hey dude, don't forget to put away the silverware, please.

Him: I don't want to. You do it.

Me: OK, it sounds like you want to trade chores. If I put away the silverware, which of my chores are you going to do? I need to clean the bathrooms. You want to do that instead?

Him: ... OK. I will put up the silverware. Unless there is a whole lot. Then YOU have to do it and I will clean a bathroom. By myself. (Perish the thought of a bathroom cleaned all by himself. All he likes to do is spray the vinegar/water mixture all over the place and leave. No wipe down at all.)

Me: A whole bathroom by yourself? Wow. OK. That is a deal, dude.

Him: Let me see if there is a lot of silverware!

--He runs out of the room toward the kitchen. He comes back laughing.--

Him: Mama, I already put up the silverware!

Me, laughing: You did? I guess we both forgot! How silly.

Him: ... Can I help you clean the bathroom now?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Our new favorite game

A friend suggested this website a couple of weeks ago, chock full of fun physics games. They are awesome, and show physics concepts really well. (Especially since physics only works in theory since in the real world you can't really eliminate all the variables that are out of your control. Don't get me started.)

But boy did I get addicted to fantastic contraptions. Check it out!

Gotta get back to the kids now... the baby is sick and pretty grumpy, although she seems to be on the mend. I don't like 103 temps in the middle of the night. I am glad it is back down to a reasonable 100 or so....

And I am coasting today on about 4 hours sleep. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sleepless nights

We have a rule in our family bed. You must be still and quiet. If you start goofing off, you go to your bed. (Pablo sleeps in a twin bed next to our king. Sometime in the night, he crawls into our bed for snuggles, which I am generally happy to give.) If you keep goofing off, you go to your room. Alone. So that people who want to sleep can sleep. It isn't a threat. It is just a need that we have. Sleep is precious. Especially now that certain people stay up half the night. ahem.

Both Beebz and Pablo have gotten into a new fun habit of being restless and awake between about 1:30 and 4:30 in the morning. They don't want to play. They just don't sleep well. This is both the blessing and the curse of co-sleeping. I know when they are awake.

Some nights I am pretty grouchy about being woken up. Other nights I don't mind at all. So the tone of me saying, "Pablo, this is a still and quiet room. Settle down." varies depending on how unconscious I was before the interruption and how long the hijinks have been going on. Sometimes one reminder is enough, and other times he is sent out of the bed.

Last night I was feeling all snuggly and Pablo was being relatively quiet with his sleeplessness, so I was in a pretty mellow mood. Then he started flipping and flopping. And giggling. After a few minutes of this, I sweetly said my standard, "This is a still and quiet space. If you can't be still and quiet, you need to go back to your bed."

I thought I said it really nicely.

He immediately got really still. I mentally congratulatd myself on being clear yet peaceful with my tone at 3AM. I put an arm around him a minute or two later and realised his arms were glued to his sides. He was rigid with the effort to be still.

Then he whispered, "Mama? Can you scratch my nose?"

I wonder how I sounded to him?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Success and ... delayed success!

A few weeks ago, when we went to visit my parents, my mom retaught me how to knit. I knew how, but had figured it out in one of my few awkward fits of left-handed, no one can show me how to do it right, kind of way. (Most things that I didn't have someone to show me, I do right handed. Like crochet. And golf. Not that I play golf.)

So my mom showed me how to knit right handed. And I got it. Suddenly, it all made sense. I can now tell knits from purls with confidence. I can feel it in my hands. They now know, without my brain having to constantly monitor them, what they are doing. It was exhilarating. I love the feeling of really getting something. So I got all kinds of crazy and tried a pattern. And not an easy one. But why not? I felt invincible. Here it is. Nothing useful, just a swatch. But it represents my new foray into the world of fearless knitting. I wish the pictures showed better detail!

In sadder crafting news, I am working on this blanket for a dear friend's baby due in May. This is by far the most complicated (and FUN) blanket I have ever done. It has flown. I was 33 rows into the circular pattern in 4 days. That is 33 out of 38. Home stretch.

Then the problems started. There is an error in the pattern. I found the fix online.

It didn't work.

Then I saw that at row 30, I had made a mistake. A big one. grumble grumble. I ripped out 3 rows.

Then as I was fixing that error, I found another one. A little one. A pivotal one. On row 26. Sigh. I ripped out.

I have gotten back to row 30.

Oh well. Gotta love a pattern where every row changes 3 times and there are no repeats!!

No, really.

I do.

That wasn't sarcasm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

hide and sit

My thoughts aren't racing. They never do. Nothing about me goes that fast.

No, my thoughts are playing hide and seek. They peek out just enough for me to get a glance, then dance away. Sad thoughts. Scared thoughts.

I could chase them, but we all know how that goes. I would get wrapped up in them, see them as reality rather than the shadows they are.

I just want to sit with them, seeing the truths and lies within. They know they will lose potency, power, from this. They want to be strong, even if that means hiding. They know that my sitting with them will transform them. They know they are only shadows, and they don't want to fade away.

I have compassion for their fear, for it is my own. So I smile as they frolic away.

Today I go about my life, a player in this game of hide and seek. Except that I am not seeking. I will wait for them to come to me. And we will both transform.

Monday, March 9, 2009


As you may or may not remember, I started making Christmas presents for people I loved last June. 2008. For Christmas, 2008. This weekend, the last present was FINALLY delivered.

It was the only one that was late. This had something to do with me creating my own pattern and getting seriously STUCK for about a month. I could barely look at the damn thing for a while, but once I had the light bulb moment, I loved it again. Let's just sum it up and say that reducing granny squares is not easy. Turns out the trick is triangles.

The cute story attached to this sweater is that when I asked my friend if she wanted me to make her anything for Christmas, her eyes lit up, and she said, "Oh, you have that awesome shrug you made. Will you make me one like that?"

I of course said yes, and asked her to try it on to check size. She then started adorably requesting the alterations: Could you make the torso more filled in (My shrug is basically arms and back and nothing else)? Could you make it longer? You know how I love long sleeves that bell out. Could you do that? Maybe in black. How about wool? Could you do that?

I thought, "Well yes, I can, but then it won't be this shrug...." But that was fine since I didn't remember how I had made it anyway. (My shrug, in my opinion, was a failed experiment. I never wear it.)

I don't know if she even remembers this conversation, but it was pretty darned cute.

So this is the end product. She loves crosses, so I made Greek cross granny squares. See them? I came up with a cool and lacy way to connect the kabillion granny squares and made sleeves out of granny squares (and a blessed triangle!) and Bob's your uncle, it was DONE. Merry Christmas, 2008. Now for 2009....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why I love Byron Katie

Many, many years ago, I was given a little book, more of a pamphlet, really, by Byron Katie. I read through it briefly, thought it looked cool, and put it on my book shelf. After that, I am not sure what happened to it. Maybe I loaned it to someone. In short, I forgot all about it.

Until I was at my office a few weeks ago and saw Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. I was thrilled. I borrowed it and devoured it in a few days. I fell in love with the simplicity of this life changing method of inquiry. Her philosophy fits right in to my Buddhist groove. She is so loving, so joyous, so peaceful. She lays it all out in this book, so anyone can do the work.

I found the website.

I got another book, A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are. This one is Katie's reflections on the Tao. Simply beautiful.

Now I am working to integrate the four questions into my life.

Some things that bothered me don't anymore. The things that do bother me make me laugh, because I know I am not yet ready to let go of that irritation.

Well, OK.

Some of the time.

I find myself slowing down. I want my down time to be quiet.

I notice more quickly when my brain starts to tell me an upsetting story. I find myself being more kind in my thoughts. More forgiving.

Well, OK.

Some of the time. :)