January 27, 2011

Things You Don't Want Your Instructions to Tell You and Other Adventures

Yesterday left me scratching my head. 

For reasons I can't altogether articulate, it just felt like few things went as expected today. But it turned out to be a really fun day, chaos and all. During Levi's morning nap, I made phone calls and researched for a few last-minute, time-sensitive freelance assignments. 

But before that, Levi and I had a bout of parent-child chaos. No details forthcoming, but it was a situation(s) where I thought to myself, "Do I call Lindon and tell him what just happened or wait until he comes home and tell him when I can watch the shock on his face?" I opted for the latter and was not disappointed. 

After his morning nap, Levi was entertaining himself with two of his favorite toys. The first is a musical school bus with lots of buttons and songs and noises. It was certainly invented by some well-meaning aunt somewhere who doesn't realize how annoying songs and and noises can get. Levi's other favorite toy at the moment is a stress ball shaped like the head of Dwight Schrute. How we got this thing and how it came into Levi's hands are not really important. What you need to know is Levi loves to put the disembodied head in the bus...   

using the hammer if necessary.

or just his hands. 

Watching him do this over and over reminded me of That Hideous Strength. 

(Also, see that dark spot by Levi's right hand where it looks like someone was scrubbing the carpet? Don't ask what happened there.)

In the afternoon a friend came over to watch Levi so that Lindon and I could get out of the house. We badly needed to get out (even before scrubbing the carpet), and just 90 minutes of running errands felt so refreshing! Thank you again, Courtney.

One of our errands was to pick up my new bike lock that I ordered and had shipped to REI. In my mind, this is the last thing I need before I can start traipsing around town on my bike. In reality, I also need the snow to melt, but that's irrelevant.

At any rate, I am excited about more effectively using my bike for transportation in addition to exercise. When I got home, I eagerly opened the lock instructions and began to read them. Isn't this what EVERYONE does with a new piece of equipment? 

As I pulled out said directions, I remembered my boss once informing me, "Directions are for dummies." Well, these were directions that made you feel like a dummy.

Below is the first sentence of the instructions:
Mounting a lock bracket on a bike is not an easy task.

Whoever wrote these instructions should be nominated for Helper of the Year. What I perceived written in between the lines was, "You're pretty much not smart enough to do this yourself, but at least you have instructions written by someone as brilliant as me, so you're better off than if you were going at this blind." Thanks. Jerk. 

In the end, the lock is too large for my bike and needs to be returned. Thankfully. I was not looking forward to enduring any instructions written in the tone of such an insufferable know-it-all.

The evening ended peacefully enough, though Levi was way more hyper than I anticipated. He seems to have discovered the joys of being tickled (to his father's delight), so periodically he will lie on the floor on his back in anticipation of being tickled. It's darling. 

He will also lie on his back if it gets him closer to his beloved pup. Nash tolerates the teeny master so well that he should get an award. Instead he gets to sit on the couch and let the baby snuggle with him.

As always, Levi was asleep within seconds of going to bed. He's fabulous that way. He's fabulous in most ways, really. And I spent the rest of the evening chuckling to myself at what a crazy, funny, hectic, good day it was. 

January 22, 2011

Adventures of Monkeysaur

I began this blog with a gripe about how people in every region believe that somehow their weather is more haphazard and unpredictable than any other place in the country. For the record, this belief is false, but my two-paragraph monologue was angrier than I intended. So I hit delete. 

Predictable or not, St. Louis did get dumped with 8-10 inches of snow on Wednesday and Thursday. It made getting to work a little complicated, but it also gave me hope that Monkeysaur might reappear. Reappear he did, but his tenure outdoors was limited by the setting sun and plummeting temps. He did, however, have a chance to swat at the piles of snow on the deck and to try his hand at walking in snow up to his knees.

January 20, 2011

Work Day Happiness

This morning Lindon sent me an email, and the subject line said, "What is Levi doing right now?"

When I opened it up, all it said was...


This photo was attached:

I love getting a glimpses of my kid throughout the day. Sweet little boy. And sweet husband, too.


January 15, 2011


What you see here, besides my cluttered basement, is my dear, beloved bike. My vintage (really, vintageish; it's from the 80's) Puch Pathfinder mixte. Friends, I am quite attached to this thing. The color doesn't photograph well, but it's a deep purple. The paint job is a little rough in places from years of good use, but the bike rides well and brings me lots of happiness. I LOVE the mixte frame. To me it looks long and willowy and graceful. There is no doubt in my mind that I do not look long, willowy, or graceful as I putz around town on this thing, but I do love it so. 

Today was my maiden voyage with my new bike computer. It was a rough maiden voyage, though that had little to do with the bike computer and more to do with slushy roads and sidewalks and me being dumb. I picked a route I had wanted to take for a while because it seemed scenic and fun. It was scenic. Fun it was not (because weenie I am). When I envisioned leaving my house and riding into Clayton, a route I take every day I go to work, it slipped my mind that this is a hilly trek (for St. Louis). Add to that the residual winter slush from 4 inches of snow on Tuesday, nasty salt, and temps hovering around freezing, and I was in a bad way. 

About halfway through my ride I encountered the most difficult hill, and upon reaching the top, I looked down at the bike computer in dismay. Only 2.87 miles? Really? It felt much longer than that. My legs were miffed, so I promised to look for an easier route home. I turned right to mosey through the interesting neighborhoods before heading back, and that is when I learned a really important lesson. I looked down to see what appeared to be a giant sheet of ice immediately in front of me. Before I could finish thinking, "I wonder how the bike will do on ice," bike was on top of me on the sidewalk. Guess that was my answer. Best I can tell, no one saw my crash, but it was a bummer nonetheless. I think I sprained my pride. And my tailbone hurts.  While the spill did not traumatize me, it did make me way more cautious, as I probably should have been at the outset. It also made me more sensitive to all the crap likely being slung on my sweet bike. Poor thing. So as of today I am a chastened rider. If it's snowy, I am not going to risk it on the slush. The bike and I will find other, maybe flatter, routes around St. Louis. 

January 12, 2011

You'll Never Guess What I Saw Today...

This afternoon I thought I would step out for a few minutes and get some fresh air. It was late afternoon when I saw a strange creature out and about. It took a minute for me to figure out what it was, since I had only heard about these things until today. But there was no denying what I saw.

It was a Monkeysaur! Part monkey, part dinosaur, this rare creature only comes out when his mother forces him to go outside and explore the snow and cannot find his winter jacket. He is not always sure footed, but he thinks falling over is simply hilarious. His squeals could be heard echoing through the neighborhood.

Despite his love of the snow, the monkeysaur has a low tolerance for cold weather. After a few minutes, he was ready to be done. So he came back in the house, pleased with his first adventure in the snow. 

January 11, 2011

If I Wasn't Such a Snot, Blogging Would be Easier

As I have mentioned before, I have strong opinions on the content I do NOT want on this little blog. No gratuitous whining. No bemoaning how quickly the kid is growing. No rearranging my life to make it look camera ready and picture perfect. These arbitrary rules come to mind nearly every time I go to post, and sometimes I am so obsessed with not having that kind of blog that I shy away from posting. 

And I want so badly to have a big post with exciting news about the next step in our lives, but we don't have anything yet. So sometimes that keeps me from posting. But I can say with confidence that we might be close to having a trajectory for the next step. Really. Life is still that uncertain. But, uncertainty or not, life is definitely going on. And life feels surprisingly rich and fun at the moment. Here are some of those little and big joys.

There is, of course, Hurricane Levi, who provides all of our amusement these days and also spurs us along toward godliness. He is ever the toddler - prone to silliness, curiosity, petulance, food-tossing, havoc wreaking, and sweetness. We love him so much, but at the end of the day when he's finally in bed, I am relieved. Then, two hours later, I want to go stare at him while he sleeps, and I sometimes toy with the idea of waking him just to hold him one more time. [Confession: once in a while I actually do scoop him up while he sleeps and try to get in a few snuggles without waking him. This ends in failure, a crying baby, and an annoyed husband. Don't be like me in this respect.]

Other life adventures at the moment include my growing love for riding my bike and continued willingness to do it despite the frigid temps. This is where I need to stress that I am still a riding wimp. 6.2ish miles is my max to date, and I used to think this was pretty awesome. One day I was positively beaming as I informed my mom I had ridden six whole miles, and her response was, "That's not bad." At first I thought to myself, "Not bad?! That's REALLY good!" Then I remembered that my mom has completed a sprint triathlon, so she could easily cycle double what I considered a major accomplishment. Having been duly humbled, I vowed to do everything possible to lengthen my rides. And now that I have a bike computer - Christmas gift that I am so excited to use - ride lengthening will be much easier. Next up, getting a neck gaiter. Also, the bike might need a name. Any suggestions?

And I write. On this blog and here. It can be stressful to manage deadlines on top of urgent cries to be held and fed. And then I have to tend to Levi, too [I jest! I jest!]. But I love to write. It's what I do. And when I do it - especially when I feel I am doing it well - it feels as though I am more fully myself. So it's hard to be too out of sorts when I have writing gigs.

These, and a fantastic group of friends and the best husband I could ever imagine and the truths of the Gospel, keep me anchored when life seems a boisterous sea of uncertainty.

January 3, 2011

The Buckeyes Taste Like Smoke and Other Adventures

I am back! After driving hundreds of miles, packing and unpacking seven times, enjoying two Christmases, eating way too much, enduring one miserable day with the flu and the pack'n'play breaking (yes, the same day) and spending lots of time with family, we are finally home. Never have I been so happy to be back in my own bed, but our time in PA with family was so encouraging and so fun.

The next few weeks will likely be hectic as I get back into the swing of things and work on several stories with looming deadlines. Yikes! But it's good stuff, even if it's a little frightening at the moment.

The 10 days we were gone have given me much to process, but in my initial reflections, the time away was very encouraging. We had meaningful and fun time with all of our family, and we got to see all of our brothers, sisters, in-laws, nieces, and nephews. There were times of bonding and times of frustration. But generally speaking, my ability to cope with difficult behavior has increased, and this excites me. I have returned from the holidays with a new perspective on some situations I used to find quite frustrating.  I also return with a toddler. Apparently, while we were in PA someone took my little baby and gave me a walking, babbling (loudly), willful boy. How could he have grown so much in such a short period of time? But he's so precious!