Monday, December 29, 2008

oh, hi

So, I guess I took an unofficial Christmas vacation from my blog. It was mostly unintentional and there's also the fact that I haven't had a lot to say.

I do hope you've all been safe and healthy and warm, and happy and comfortable. I hope you all ring in the New Year safely, with fun and love, and that 2009 brings you amazingness. (Yeah, it's a word. Kind of. If you understand its meaning, it counts, right?)

This year, for the first time ever, I am making a list of resolutions that I intend to keep. It will involve making changes to be the kind of person, mom and wife I would love to be, as well as taking myself seriously as an artist and businessperson.

I have all kinds of goals and dreams for Quiet City and I fully intend to make this THE YEAR to make things happen. Lists and goals and resolutions are outside of my comfort zone. I am more accustomed to shrugging and letting things happen to me (good and bad) rather than working hard for my dreams and making things happen. I know that sounds awful (and it is) but it's the curse of middle child/ depressed/ absent-minded.

2009 will be different for me.

Do you make resolutions?

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I had the kind of day today that I should have more often.

I'm not saying it was flawless, or that Liam was a perfect angel the whole time. But it was good. He was as good as an 18-month-old should be and I felt today like a really good mom. (I am not trying to start a pity party but all moms and dads know these ups and downs. Some days, you just know you could be better.)

Gabe came home early for lunch so we could switch possession of the car. I drove him back to work and I went straight to Joker's so Liam could let out some of his toddler energy. He went straight to the rocking horse he loves so much, played a bit in the Little Tikes car, and tried to climb up the slide several times, slipping around in his socks. While there, some big kid bully tried having a mean staring contest with him, which I'll describe in another post so I don't soil this one, but Liam got over it way faster than I did and soon had the whole toddler corner all to himself.

When we left Joker's it was lunchtime so we went to Sam's for some pizza. Liam LOVES pizza. He got a little antsy while we were waiting so I took him out of the high chair (I forgot to bring a snack to keep him busy while our food cooked) and he had fun watching himself good around in the mirror. Once our mushroom pizza was ready he happily ate with little mess and waved at some other patrons nearby. He was tired and rubbing his eyes so when we got back to the car I considered going home for a nap or continuing our outing, and decided to finish the errands so we could pick Gabe up on time from work.

In the five minutes it took to drive from Sam's to Walmart, Liam was fast asleep so I sat in the car with the radio running until he woke up. We did our groceries- it was CHAOS in there so it took us almost an hour and I felt the same as Liam acted, but we munched on a few Goldfish crackers to distract us.

From there we went to the post office and Liam danced in line, amusing the ladies in front of us. When we were done there we got to Gabe's work just in time to pick him up.

Perfection, in timing of the day's activities and in that we got out of the house for a really good chunk of the day. Perfection, in that I felt like a good mom, getting time for Liam and myself to do the things we needed to do- together. Perfection, in that I felt like if he had the words, he would have told me, "Mom, I had a really fun time today." And that's just what I need.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

snow day

I woke up to the ground already covered in snow and it kept up slowly and steadily all day. So what did I do? I dressed Liam up in more layers than he could walk in, and we went outside.




It's really December now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Things I have laughed at lately

Passive-Aggressive Notes: flow charts we can all relate to

Go Fug Yourself: the Jessica Simpson post I am unable to link directly to

Photo Shop Disasters
: the Jolie-Pitts have infinite children

I've also laughed at this guy:

Friday, December 12, 2008


Dear Sleet & Snow,

Please stop. You are totally cramping my style.

Nora McCourtney-Wolf

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Liam's Half-Birthday **updated**

Our day dawned earlier than usual, and warmer. It was five degrees two night ago and today it's nearly sixty. This may be why I am magically not pissy today.

I'll update this post later with more about Liam but here are his 18-month Christmas pictures from Saturday, December 6. Happy Half-Birthday, my love.







**The update**
Liam's vocabulary: book, dog, woof, ball, duck, wack (as in, "What does a duck say?" - "Wack!"), Daddy, Mama, no, bug, onk (as in, "What does a pig say?" - "Onk!"), sshhhh (his way of saying shoes and cheese), walk, hi, bock (as in, What does a chicken say? - "Bock! Bock!"), block, whoa! and door. He also knows how to say balloon and bottle, but hasn't lately because he hasn't seen any. He's currently learning how to say bird. He's able to identify an endless amount of things he can't say by pointing.

He'll squeal, "No, no, no, no!" in glee sometimes when he's playing with Gabe, but he'll also chant it sadly when something doesn't go his way.

He knows how to get into trouble, and thinks he knows how to get out of it. Lately, he'll turn his chin into his left shoulder, purse his lips, and scowl. That's his "But, I didn't mean to," face. Or if he's poking at the DVD player or something else he knows he's not allowed to touch, and he gets caught, he'll look away really quick and pretend he was playing with something else, like lint in the rug.

He's officially off the bottle for good and on sippy cups full time. It was an easier transition than I anticipated and I would have done it a lot sooner had I known. Over the summer he self-weaned from his pacifier during the day, using it only for sleeping. When he got sick in September I gave it to him for comfort and he's been using it during the day still, even though he's been fine for three months. This time he seems to want and need it more when he didn't before, so I've begun a long, slow process of providing less access to it, and he seems ok with that.

When he sits next to me on the couch, he'll sit as close as possible. He'll reach over, take my hand and hold it in his lap. Sometimes he leans his head on my shoulder. When we get up in the morning we are both feeling a bit sluggish. We come to the living room and lay on the couch together, watching kid's shows until breakfast. This is such sweetness.

Liam loves, LOVES playing with Gabe because Gabe's the daddy and will play in ways I don't- more swinging, more upside-down, more tickling. They are the best of buddies. He comes to me more for the cuddling and reading and calmness, although he does show that softness and vulnerability with Gabe from time to time, and it's really beautiful to watch.

If we say the word monkey he makes his version of a monkey sound ("Ha! Ha! Ha!") and waves his hands above his head. When asked what an elephant says, he sticks one arm up like a trunk and if we're lucky he trumpets his lips a little. He knows what bears, lions, tigers, dinosaurs, and most other big animals say: "Rawwwwr..." he growls deep in his throat.

His hair is getting thicker and longer and required his first haircut in the middle of November. I just cut his hair that was getting in his eyes, but I have to trim the sides and back now that they're catching up.

Liam's favorite books are Good Night Moon and The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, and The Rooster Struts by Richard Scarry. Most things with animals will get his attention. Also on the top of his hobby list: dancing. He dances to any music, and sometimes even the swish-swish of me brushing my teeth and the chug-chug of the washing machine.

Friday, December 5, 2008

ice cream surprise

Tonight I got home from my sister's just in time to sit down and watch The Office. Liam was sleeping, and I knew I'd be able to hear every single clever word and not have to divert my eyes from the screen.

Hey, when you only ask for thirty minutes of television a week, you are allowed to want and expect complete and total concentration on the awesomeness that is The Office.

At the first commercial break I already had a goofy grin and I got up to get some ice cream because I figured, if I am watching The Office in complete and total glee, why not add all natural mint chocolate chip to the mix?

As I got up I said, "This is going to be like the best thirty minutes of my week!" Meaning, of course, aside from the minutes I spend actually interacting with people who love me.

When Gabe saw me heading to the door he asked me to get him some ice cream.

I twirled around, flashing my smile, and said, "But of course! That's exactly where I am going right now!" I leaned down and gave him one of those kisses usually reserved for more special occasions than eating ice cream together (unless that's what the kids are calling it these days).

"Mmmm," he hummed as I once again headed for the door. "Where did YOU come from?"

I pointed to my corner of the couch. "Right there!" I guess I was still smiling really big or something because then he said:

"Oh my God, Jim Halpert turns you on, doesn't he??"


In other news:
1. In case any of you Twilight fans were offended by my last post, don't worry, I was totally kidding. I liked that movie more than I should. High five, Stephanie Meyer.
2. My art show is now in eight days. EIGHT DAYS. I have a lot to prepare for and yet I am completely distracted by what to wear to it. I am considering a post with photos of all of my options and have you guys vote. That's how much I am worrying about it.
3. Also distracted by writing my own bio and providing a photo of myself for the press release. What do I say?? Should my photo be fun or serious??? Too many decisions!
4. I haven't been sick lately but I have not been feeling good. It sucks. A lot. Today I felt like my body was not even mine.
5. This is a big month for me: art show, my birthday, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.
6. Liam turns 18 months tomorrow. Really? Already?
7. It's almost 2 am now. Liam is awake. This is what I get for my thirty minutes of silence earlier in the evening.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear Woman Who Stole My Ideas.

Dear Stephanie Meyer,

I have returned home from the movie theater, where I went with my brother, sister, and her husband to see Twilight, which is based on your novel.

I will say these general things first:
1. The actor chosen to play Edward was really hot, sure, but good heavens, we get it, he's intense. Please send a memo for him to lay off all that jaw clenching and eye squinting in the next movies. It needs to be turned down a notch. Otherwise he was nearly a joy to watch. *ahem*
2. I liked the story but sometimes I wasn't sure if the dialogue was supposed to be funny or not. I get the whole teenage thing, because I am only 26 years old and remember all too tenderly those years, but at times when we laughed we were the only ones laughing because we were the oldest ones in the theater. Were those jabs at teens? Or an attempt to connect to them?
3. The scenery was beautiful. If I could go back to being 14 and 15 I might move the setting of my vampire novels to Washington state but I don't want to copy you.

Which brings me to the less general...


Really, Mrs. Meyer, I was pretty stunned by the similarities between my vampire novels of my days of yore, and your Twilight-etc, storyline. I actually WAS a teenager when I was writing those stories about Lydia, Jeremiah, and Lucas and their struggle between humanity and vampirism, so I never made fun of teenagers, so there. And my vampires didn't sparkle in the sun (seriously, whaaaaa?) and go to the prom.

BUT my vampires didn't kill humans (except in self defense- Jeremiah once saved Lydia this way) and they lived in a large, beautiful, secluded home where they could live their quiet, gentle vampire lives without nosy neighbors asking them to come to the barbeque which they could never be able to go to because of the sun! Also when they live out in the woods, it's easier to hide the carcasses of the animals they've sucked dry instead of people.

My lead vampire man loved his lead human lady fiercely and was irresistibly drawn to her sweet scent, her mystery, her beauty. He had been waiting "forever" for her. He was also torn on the decision to make her a vampire. "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb," you wrote. That was good. But I'm still mad.

Because even though I am working on other stories I was aiming to return to my vampire novels someday and finish them. Because I am no longer 14 or 15 years old I was thinking about making my vampires older too, but still, after all this Twilight craze people will be bored with vampire stories just like after the Interview With a Vampire movie came out in like 1994, there were no other major moves in literature or film to recapture that same fascination with the immortal and undead.

It's been fourteen years and now you're here, after you found my spiral bound notebooks in the landfill or something that had my handwritten stories and put your own twist on them, and what, am I supposed to wait another fourteen years for your hype to die down? Until I can put the market ablaze with what used to be my original ideas? I mean, by then I'll have to make my vampires forty years old because when I am forty I won't want to write about twenty-something vampires. And then Jeremiah's struggle with stealing Lydia's human youth and being responsible for her life of blood-sucking animal carcasses in the woods (I mean, she was vegetarian for Pete's sake!) will have less pull on my audience. Not that I think forty is old, but it is when your whole story exists because of the sweet, vibrant teen/young adult blood of your main female character.

Despite all this, I mostly forgive you and enjoyed watching Twilight and I will try to read ahead in the series before the next movies come out. Because I'm curious to see how my series would have evolved. wink.

It's ok, Stephanie Meyer. I'm just messing with you. I don't imagine there being an actual giant chasm between all teen vampire story ideas. I mean of course the girl is sweet and young and pure and doesn't mind giving up her summer tan and mortality for the man she loves. Of course the leading man is handsome and mysterious and yearning and drawn to her. Of course there's a struggle over mortality, immortality, eternity, damnation, blood, blah blah blah.

But is it ok that since I am at least eight years older than your target audience, I thought Bella's dad was hot? Yet another eternal question...

xoxo, Nora McCourtney-Wolf

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

recent and random

...Just when I said Liam runs warm anyway, he's come down with a fever and has been alternating between being a little crankypants, a sillypants, and a cuddlypants as a result.

...I've drank (drunk? dranken? drinked?) two quarts of peach iced tea in 24 hours. I am showing no signs of slowing down.

...My brother's coming in tomorrow for Thanksgiving and staying here, woo!

...I am still freaking out a little about Thanksgiving being here this year.

...matt pond PA released a free EP for download and I am listening to it right now. Beauty abounds. Find it here: freeep at the new website

...I am doing an art show in December.

...I found Everything Pretzels, which are like Everything Bagels but pretzels. Goodness abounds.

...I haven't read the Twilight books, but judging by the movie trailers I have seen on TV, this Stephanie Meyer lady found my old handwritten transcripts of the vampire novels I was writing and abandoned when I was fourteen and fifteen. The only difference I can see is, my story didn't only take place in a dusky, gloomy wood. This all means I can probably never finish my old vampire stories because they'll be lost in the flood of vampire books that will be published to keep up with the vampire mania, kind of like all those forgotten Harry Potter-y and Lemony Snicket-y books that have flooded the market in recent years. No one ever reads them. And dang you, Stephanie Meyer, for like digging in my trash or reading my mind or something.

...I FOUND MY OWL NECKLACE, which I have probably never mentioned here before so you're probably like, So? What? This owl necklace from BoyGirlParty was a birthday gift from Gabe last year, and it went missing all spring and summer and most of fall up until yesterday. Which means since my birthday last December, it spent more time lost than on my neck. I was so sad and embarrassed for losing it. I found it yesterday in my coat pocket. Which I have already worn several times this year and several times last spring. Oh, Nora. OH, NECKLACE! I now have my eye on this octopus one, and if I ever get it I promise not to lose it.

...Seriously. This EP is good.

xoxo Nora

Monday, November 24, 2008

celebrity blahhhh

We are sitting here watching E! because we like The Soup, then we zoned out on our laptops during the show about the Playboy bunnies, and then E News came on and I looked up.

Seems Heidi and Spencer have tied the knot in a secret wedding, and, surprised, I wondered, "What!" out loud. Then I forgot about it and looked at my laptop again.

Gabe tsked. "I can't believe you just cared. That's sad, Nora."

For the record: the only part of The Hills I've ever seen are when they make fun of it on The Soup, and I happen to think that Heidi and Spencer are pretty useless, even as forms of entertainment. To borrow a phrase from Joel McHale, I am disturbed by Spencer's "flesh-colored beard" and Heidi... put some clothes on.

In other celebrity news that has no effect on my life, Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz named their son Bronx Mowgli. There better be a good reason for that.

I am all for unusual names but I wonder what it is that comes over celebrities when they are naming their offspring. These aren't pets who get to pull off cool names. They're human children. And because their parents are famous, not only can an entire classroom or school bus make fun of these kids with wacky names, but the entire world can have a good chuckle about it too. And BLOG ABOUT IT.

I like to think that these kids who've been announced into the world as Pilot Inspekter, Banjo, Kal-el, Poet, Audio Science, Bluebell, Poppy Honey, and Daisy Boo actually are named things like John, Elizabeth, Jacob, Sarah, Sam, and Iris but their parents are just playin' with us. Because they should not be playin' with their kids like that.

I purposefully left Apple off the list above because I actually think that's a cute idea. Apple. Aww. I said I was all for unusual names.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Mother Nature, where the EFF did you come from??

So, the last week of October was pretty cold. In a good way. Crisp air, clear sky, sparkly stars overhead at night. And then the first two weeks of November were warm and wet. I don't think the sun peeked out for more than a hour during that stretch. It was either raining, or threatening to rain, with lighter-than-air water droplets suspended in the air, sticking to my eyelashes, making my hair think it's supposed to be curly.

(It's not.)

And now. Holy moly! It's suddenly below freezing and we've had some fleeting, forgettable flurries. (I still won the snow bet with Gabe, though, since we didn't have any snow that stuck before November 10. He owes me a new shirt.)

It's been nice, really. Remember that this kind of weather was my life until I was almost 23 years old, and I've only just come back from the southern sauna this year. I like it. I am not complaining. I do have to dig out hats, mittens and scarves for Gabe and myself, but we did Liam's winter shopping at the end of September before our landlords turned on the heat and we were in a popsicle-ass frenzy over how bone-chilling it was in our apartment. Liam is properly equipped with a puffy hooded winter jacket, hat and mittens, plenty of long sleeve shirts and hoodies, and of course his own internal furnace which seems to be set to near-fever without actually making him sick. We do need to pick up some boots for him, but the actual real snow seems a little further off still.

It's time to clean this place top-to-bottom in preparation for the first Thanksgiving we'll ever be hosting in our home, and stock up on some hot chocolate, and bake with apples and cranberries. I'm going to try my very first anadama bread, which I am both nervous and excited about.

My favorite part of this time of year- the smell in the air, and the clarity of the sky at night. Oh, those stars! They are so much clearer from now until spring than they are in the haze of summer. I love the bare trees against the blue-green dusk, the spattering of puffy clouds, the early stars just shining, shining.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

For the love of God, Frankenstein!!!

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

While I am sure that your cinderblock boots are fashionable in your circle, please refrain from doing the effing LOCOMOTION on my ceiling while you're wearing them.

Thank you!

Nora C. McCourtney-Wolf

The Golden Office

Gabe was laid off from the production/warehouse job he'd been at since June, and a staffing agency placed him in an office full of women who are ages 50+.

Just in case you don't know, Gabe is 25 years old, and he still has holes in his ears from his old gauged piercings, and one of his arms is fully tattooed. So at work now, he's not exactly in his element. Not to mention the cloud of perfume is bad for his allergies.

As an Office fan I have been secretly (because I am not sure he'd think it's funny) thinking of him as Gabe the Temp, like Ryan the Temp.

Gabe has other popular culture references in mind, however. He just texted me on his 15-minute break and told me, "I feel like I'm stuck in an episode of The Golden Girls."

Only my other most favorite show. I replied: "I want your job."

A few moments later I could feel the sadness in his electronic communication. "It's not a funny episode."

No such thing!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

mind yer beeswax

As evidenced by my recent posts, you know I am happy about the outcome of the presidential election.

What makes me severely UNhappy about this past Tuesday is the number of states that voted to ban marriage between two people of the same sex, and the ones that are barring unmarried couples from adopting children. My head explodes with anger and sadness and I have a lot of very bad words to say about the people who think that's ok.

Until I can sort out my thoughts and feelings and say something that actually means something, I'll direct you to AndreAnna's blog, which will direct you to a lot of others who agree with us.

A non-political post will come soon. I know you're all puking on political stuff and I understand. Soon I will tell you how excited I am to be hosting my family's Thanksgiving Day celebration. Because I have been dreaming about hosting it for like sixteen years now.

I know. Maybe I wasn't your average ten-year-old.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

seventeen and four

Today, Liam is seventeen months old.

Also: on this day four years ago, Gabe proposed to me in our empty apartment on the eve of our move to Texas.

Liam and Gabe, I love you more than everything.

This is a big day, hm?

xoxo Nora

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I was lying on the couch at 11 pm, my insides vibrating with anxiety and anticipation. The map on TV was equally blue and red but the electoral votes were tipped in Obama's favor- I wanted to celebrate but I was just afraid of a repeat of the complete and utter disappointment I felt four years ago when Bush was re-elected.

It's still too early, the newspeople were saying. It's too early to call.

Suddenly the TV screen flickered and I saw live footage from Chicago. It was the same live footage they'd been cutting to all night, but this time the vibrating I felt inside of me was all over that crowd and I knew something had happened.

Then I noticed this at the bottom corner of the screen:

And I just laid there thinking, "Already?" How can they know already? Are they sure?"

It took a few moments but I got it: it was real. And I was so, so relieved, and unbelievably happy.

I moved to the floor, eyes wide, hands over my nose and mouth. It was real. President Obama.

I cried. I cried and laughed and wiped my eyes and said, "Oh, thank God."

Liam, concerned over my tears and gasping breaths, came and sat in my lap. He rested his back against my belly and held my hands. He turned to look up at me and smiled reassuringly.

Once he realized mama was crying happy tears he got into the spirit and was pretty happy himself:


I can't even put into words my relief now. I am so glad enough of us were fed up with the direction this country was taking and are so ready for someone new, someone who will make a real difference. I believe he can. Barack Obama, I am so proud to have you as our new president.

In general, I have a lot of faith. I may not go to church but I find God in the sky, in trees, in the ocean, in love, and in goodness. I find him in nature.

Unfortunately my faith in people has been waning sadly as I get older and as I come across less love and goodness. Since becoming a mother, my heart has been waxing and I have just been hoping for more reason- outside of my home and my family- to begin believing again in people's ability to touch others' lives in a generous, warm, and open way.

Today my heart feels closer to full and I happily hold an "O" over it. O for Obama and everything he represents.

There's a lot of goodness coming, I can feel it. And I cannot wait until January.

Thank you.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In these last hours before the election results I am chewing the insides of my mouth and furrowing my brows in anxiety.

As my son sleeps I know he must dream of things he likes, such as whales, elephants, bananas, water, Sesame Street, blocks, dancing, and laughing.
I also know he dreams of things like compassion, communication, fairness and equality, because those are some of the things he knows about life; that is what Gabe and I teach him. I know of his dreams because I can see the person he's becoming, and he's wonderful.

Liam came with us today when we voted.
He was in his dad's arms as Gabe cast his vote. He smiled at me when I was done, and we walked outside into the warm, golden November afternoon. He doesn't know it yet but he was involved of this day, part of Gabe and I doing our part to make our change. He won't remember it, but I'll remember running into one of my oldest friends, and Liam sitting in the grass with his son, the two little boys smiling shyly together and sharing handfuls of grass because that's what they know: sweetness, kindness, fairness. Openness.

He found a leaf today that was almost as big as he is. To him, that leaf was the world until he had lunch.

I can't believe today is already today, Election Day. Things are about to change, and I hope it's for the better, because I know Liam isn't the only one: There are so many other kids out there who deserve better than the future we're heading toward.

The past eight years have done little good, and I hope tonight sets into motion the next eight years of everything getting better.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Won't you be my neighbor?

This post serves no other purpose than getting this issue off my chest because I am confident there is nothing I can actually do in real life but get over it.

There's this new lady who moved in upstairs. I remember the day she moved in because she took advantage of that day to also have a family reunion in our hallway as everyone she ever gave birth to and all of their kin were yammering and yelling and stomping and running everywhere. I didn't think much of it though; my thought process was more along the lines of "It's nice that her whole family would come and help her," because I didn't yet know I should have been thinking, "They are probably too scared or beaten down to do any differently."

Every Friday since then, it's the same thing. All of her relatives come over and they run and stomp up and down the stairs repeatedly, and they hold conversations with one person right outside my door and the other person all the way up the stairs- two flights up. I know it's Fridays because that's the day Liam spends with my parents every week, and every Friday I think, "Those effers are lucky my son is not napping right now because SMACKDOWN."

Also, she's always yelling to her dog in the stairway, loudly/ obnoxiously/ unnecessarily. You live in an apartment with a dog, you keep them on a leash in all public areas. Common sense: you don't let them wander, and if they do, stop screaming your head off, you crazy old bat. Just go get your animal.

But, whatever. You know. On with life.

A few days ago, we returned home from the pet store where we'd brought Liam to see the birds and fish, and we parked right in front since we were only home to eat dinner and we planned on going out again as soon as we were done eating. The rules of my building are, you park in the back parking lot unless you are unloading stuff or parked short-term. (Two tenants think this doesn't apply to them and park there all the time and block the way, but again, on with life. Whatever.)

This crotchety lady from upstairs happens to come out to let her dog pee just as we're pulling up. As I exit the car the dog trots over to me and I smile. I am not big on petting dogs I don't know so I just say, "Hey, sweetie," and wait by the car talking to Gabe as he removes Liam from the car seat. As the dog is checking me out, the loon upstairs is calling her and the dog's ignoring her. (I can't blame her.) Her voice is getting increasingly loud, and she's obviously incredibly pissed at this point. Finally she just SCREAMS her dog's name at the top of her raspy smoker lungs- instead of just coming over, taking her dog gently by the collar and guiding her inside.

So Gabe looks up, startled, and kind of shakes his head, because let's all agree here: this lady is just annoying and she doesn't need to be all screamy around people she's never formally met.

The lady sees Gabe's subtle reaction and says this, all in one breath: "What, she's goin' deaf, SORRY," and starts swearing and bitching to whoever's unlucky enough to be on the other end of her cell phone. As she pushes- yes, pushes- her dog inside she passive-aggressively adds, "And don't pahk ya cah out front, neithah,"* and slams the door and swears some more.

We go inside and as I am unlocking our door she is entering her own apartment, out of range of our sight, and she slams her door. Twice, for emphasis of how badly she needs attention and/or a muscle relaxer.

Today I was in the kitchen making a tree ornament when the front door of the building opens and I can hear grocery bags bumping dramatically against the screen door and feet stomping. Before I even hear the obscenities I know who it is. Then the yelling starts, "Eff this, eff that, don't pahk out front, eff eff eff, I can't even unload, eff, eff, etc. Am I right?" Some younger voice responds unenthusiastically.

I look out the front window and the driveway is wide open. There's plenty of room for parking and unloading your four bags of groceries. And holy cow! Stop yelling and swearing RIGHT OUTSIDE MY DOOR because I am tired of your stupid bitter voice and your complaining and I wasn't even parked out there and I am obviously the only one who can hear you right now! Even if the men who park in front could hear you, you aren't winning any sympathy from them with your bitching and moaning and stringy hair.

I just HATE that mentality of "If I complain loud enough I will bitch everyone into submission and the world will be mine!" Get over yourself! Really. Trying to sound literate never hurt, either.

Ok, I am over it now.

*In Maine accent this means, "And don't park your car out front, neither," which still isn't proper grammar but, you know... whatever.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Liam wants to wish you a Happy Halloween.
Because he's the CUTEST. PUMPKIN. EVER.

Also, big news: I did it. The bangs AND the boots.
I am loving both decisions.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

all the different ways to see what's right

Four years ago around this time I was confident and happy about the upcoming election. I thought, There is no way he will be re-elected. Just months earlier I had joked to Gabe that if Bush was re-elected, we were moving to Canada.

The week that Bush was, in fact, re-elected, we made our planned move to Texas and all I could think was Uuugghhhhhhhh. Not that I would have stayed put had I had the choice at that point, but it just felt really weird. We mourned that week, really. I cried. Really.

This time, while I am hopeful, I am trying not to feel as confident, I think as a way to detach myself from more crushing heartbreak should the election not swing in Democratic favor. I can't imagine that people have approved of the last eight years enough that we'll have another President who will be much like the last, and a Vice President who I don't think really has a grip. There, I said it.

But polls are showing the gap getting narrower. Less than a week to go, and I am gritting my teeth. My head hurts and my jaw aches. My heart is stretching in all these ways I am not used to.

Four years ago it was just me and Gabe. We had jobs, we lived in a city we loved, and we were moving halfway across the country kind of just 'cause we felt like it. It was just me and Gabe. We weren't married yet but he proposed the night before our drive to Texas began... Just us.

This time we have Liam. The brightest, best and sweetest thing in our lives. He is small still but growing so fast and becoming so much more aware of the world around him. Maybe not old enough to pay attention to this election, but old enough that it scares stuff right out of my pants about the future of this country and the places Gabe will live as he grows and his eyes get bigger and he understands the world better. It scares me that people are trying to keep things the same.

I don't think a McCain/Palin presidency is a good idea. The biggest issue/argument I hear is money, and Republicans keeping theirs. This isn't just about money.

This is about freedom and human rights and compassion and hope and thinking progressively. It's about making things better because, really. We need things to get better.

I don't want that heavy feeling of dread sitting on my chest next week- that heavy dread I felt four years ago.

I want to breathe a sigh of relief and know things will get better.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

more overwhelming mommyness

Tonight when it was bedtime for Liam, our upstairs neighbor was partaking in one or more of the following:
- rearranging furniture
- playing with his giant bouncy ball collection
- Irish step dancing
- bowling
All of which are more fun to listen to than falling asleep, I assure you. So, rocking and humming and sweetness ensued, and also a little pissiness because Liam wasn't really feeling the whole sleeping thing at first.

There was a point in which I was cradling him- something we don't do a lot anymore because he's gotten so tall and he's not as comfortable that way as he used to be when he fit so perfectly in the crook of our arms- and his eyelids were growing heavy and he was only fighting sleep a little bit. His arm closest to me found its way around my waist and his other hand held onto mine.

Something came over me (big surprise, right?) and I thought about the fact that someday this boy is going to be a man, and he's going to get married, and I am going to dance with him at his wedding. With an arm around my waist and his other hand holding mine.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Cruelty to Animals

I am not really doing anything for Halloween this year. Gabe and I will maybe be taking Liam around to the houses of three or so relatives for some pictures and that's about it. I am crossing my fingers and hoping some trick-or-treaters come to our door.

But as you know I want to dress up anyway and since I pretty much need to wear a costume I can build from things I have on-hand I thought I'd dress as a cat. Black shoes, black tights, black skirt, black shirt, eyeliner, and black nose and whiskers- I am sure I can dig up the cat ears I wore to work last year.

I did a Google image search for "cat halloween costumes" because I thought I should entertain ways to be creative about cats without going to the default Slutty Cat (never done that by the way but I've been near college campuses for Halloween and I've seen movies) and found these images, unfortunately. So wrong.






I want to set those cats free.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

toddler kisses: the hidden sweetness

Because sometimes when he doesn't actually kiss me when I ask for a kiss and I just kiss his sweet soft kissable face anyway, Liam has taken to offering me his cheek when I ask for kisses now. Sometimes he'll close his eyes and lean in and stay to snuggle, or he'll come at me for a second before darting off to do something way cooler, like stack blocks or spin in circles or poke at lint on the carpet.

The other day he surprised me by actually kissing me when I asked him for one. We were sitting on the edge of the couch and I was assaulting him with an overbearing mom-hug, and he turned his face right to me and licked my cheek. I laughed a lot, and he made a face like my cheek tastes bad. Whatever. I still thought it was sweet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Just like last year at this time I'm making a regular past time of scouring the Craigslist ads for Maine apartments. We still haven't decided if we'll stay in this place for a year and the decision will ultimately be made after Gabe secures a new job.

I found this ad today and of course it looks amazing and perfect but. I want to know what's wrong with the place. Because $750? For a house? With a washer and dryer included? I am not too familiar with Augusta but these are my theories so far:

1. It's morbidly haunted.
2. It was the scene of a horrific murder(s). See also: number 1.
3. There's a bug problem. A big one. Like, Arachnophobia big.
4. It's in a bad neighborhood where gunfire, knife fights, arson and break-ins are a regular occurence.
5. The Kennebec River floods it twice a year.

Monday, October 20, 2008

boots, again, and a hallelujah

I mentioned a few entries back that I was aching over a pair of boots that was outside of my price range by about a bajillion dollars.

My heart broke some more when I took into consideration this little tidbit I usually forget to check on right away: most boots, including the ones I loved, are made of leather, and I am vegetarian. Enter me crying a little here.

Now, yes. Some vegetarians wear leather. Some vegetarians even eat gelatin. To some, there are gray areas about the vegetarian lifestyle, and that's fine for them because it's their life- but to me it's black and white. I don't wear or eat animals. Even if it's a beautiful pair of boots. Because ew, you know?


I'd rather that leather stays in the pasture, on the body it belongs to. Not mine. And isn't that a gorgeous cow? Look at that sweet cow face.

So, even though I never would have bought those boots because I don't have a bajillion dollars, I hung my head and continued The Great Boot Hunt of 2008. Which I just thought up the name for, just right now, so uncrinkle your nose. Our financial outlook is bleak, but I figure as I create more items for my shop, I might come up with some boot money- somehow, somewhere.

I saw some nice boots newly listed on the Target website for a very reasonable $35.00:


And by nice, I mean I had a fashion orgasm. Then I read further: LEATHER. Ack. Heartbroken. Fashion orgasm reversed- which is an unpleasant sensation, I assure you. And that was all that interested me from Target.

Next, I looked over a few websites I know of that carry animal-friendly footwear. But their prices were not reasonable (for me at least) and I pouted as I Googled "vegan boots" with very little hope and more than a little bitterness.

Then the heavenly light shone upon me and I heard angels singing as my eyes fell upon these beauts:


*Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh* (That's the angels.)

These boots cost $55. Which is a lot of money for me- a LOT- but very reasonable considering their leather or popular-brand counterparts. I want them. I want them so bad., I think KNOW I love you. Please don't sell out of size 9's.

Please buy my postcards? Operation Boot Fund is now in action. One, two, three, GO!

You remind me of the babe.

I recently became a genius when I thought of what my family could dress as for Halloween this year.

is one of my favorite movies and has been since I first saw it when I was five years old. I want Liam to be Toby on Halloween.

And I, of course, would be Sarah.

Which means only one thing, and it's brilliant: Gabe would be Jareth the Goblin King.

Despite my deep love for Labyrinth and excitement at the idea of creating and wearing these costumes, my husband has declined to make my Halloween dreams come true. I keep asking though, and he keeps saying no.

Recently I thought to ask him why. His response required no contemplation: "Nora? Maybe it's the spandex?"


Tonight, although defeated, I brought it up again. This time he said, "Not to get your hopes up or anything, but where would we even wear these costumes?"

"It doesn't matter, as long as there are pictures," I told him.

Maybe some other year...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

an A-HA! moment

It's been driving me nuts, every time I see it- who does the voice of Brother in the Berenstain Bears animated series? I see it a few times a week, as Liam and I cuddle on the couch, blindly watching the Sunny Side Up Show on Sprout as we re-learn how to keep our eyes open and he drinks his milk. Every time it comes on I think, "Note to self: look up who does Brother Bear," because the voice is so familiar. And I always forget because the note gets lost in my mind as I try not to fall back asleep.

I can't trace back my steps as to which websites I visited and what lead me to Michael Cera's Wikipedia page, but I found it quite accidentally and it all makes sense now. MICHAEL CERA DOES BROTHER BEAR. (!!!)

This is of no general importance to anything, but it was definitely an A-HA! moment for me, complete with a pointer finger aimed skyward, because of course Michael Cera does the voice for Brother Bear! Who else's gentle, boyish voice could that have been? (Now, please erase any trace of creepiness about that sentence. It's also accidental. I know he's 20. I know I am 26 and married. I am just a fan of his work, and I am charmed by his demeanor.)

Brother Bear says, "Soccer is how I get my kicks!"
photo courtesy

And Michael Cera is all, "Hi, I am ridiculously charming and I should be five to ten years older."
photo courtesy of Radar magazine

Here's an another kind of A-HA! (finger pointed) moment for all of you as well:

You can thank me in the comment section because didn't it make you smile???

And if you haven't already (because who hasn't??) watch Superbad and Juno. I will probably say the same of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist after I see it. And find Arrested Development on DVD because it's amazing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

two years ago today

Two years ago today, my dreams came true.

Gabe and I had been married for two months, and I had been telling him for a couple weeks that I was pregnant. I just knew it, basically the moment it happened. I just knew. It was hard to explain myself and my instincts and the subtle changes my body was already experiencing so he told me he'd believe it when he saw it.

I took the early response tests. THREE TIMES. I took them defiantly, pissing with pride, only to be slapped in the face with a single pink line when I was so sure I'd be able to show Gabe and say, "See? I knew it! Now, what do you want to name our baby?"

I was feeling dizzy, light headed, inexplicable hungry, uncontrollably tired, a little nauseous, and a little bloated. I went to work as usual, I went to classes as usual, and waited for the entire week to pass when my period was due to arrive. I was determined to wait until the end to take another test because then for sure it would validate me.

I didn't know it until this long, long week, but I was taking the pregnancy tests at the wrong time of day. I had taken them in the evenings when I should have been peeing on the stick first thing in the morning when the pregnancy hormones are most present.

And, like with my driving test, fourth time was a charm.

My alarm went off early on the morning of October 14, 2006. It was a Saturday and I was due to open at work. Gabe had the day off. I moved more swiftly to the bathroom than I do most mornings, and Gabe followed. Our eyes were barely open, but I sat down and held on real tight while I unwrapped the pregnancy test. Gabe sat on the edge of the tub, his tired head in his hands. I aimed and peed. I waited, having promised myself not to look until the time was up. I peeked a little early and there it was.

Yes, I know that's the same photo two times, but I am posting it again to stress to you how elated I was. Not only was there the simple, "I was right, neener neener neener!" but there was the huge, ground-shaking, life-changing, HOLYSHITWHATDOWEDONOW excitement of being pregnant for the first time.

I looked at Gabe. He may have fallen back asleep, right there on his perch on the edge of the tub. "I'm pregnant," I whispered.

And he smiled, and we hugged, and danced around the bathroom, and hugged and kissed, and cried a little. We hadn't been trying to get pregnant but we'd left it up to our bodies to decide for us. I didn't think it would happen right away because I only have one ovary and I'd convinced myself that would matter. But apparently by right ovary is pretty kick-ass.

I didn't want to go to work. I wanted to call in sick and stay home with Gabe, and talk about baby names and birth plans and where to live and breastfeeding and midwives and how beautiful our baby was going to be. But I pulled myself away from him somehow and arrived at work bright and early and smiled like a fool all day.

A pregnant fool.

I was so excited that I started taking belly pictures really early.
This is the first one, taken two and a half weeks later. I know, I don't look pregnant at first sight. But I was unable to suck in that little bump and whenever someone said to me, "What belly?" I pointed at it and said, "But I can't suck it in! It won't move!" This was also right around the time of my first ultrasound, when our baby was still a little bean. His heartbeat was audible, and we were amazed.

A month and a half after that, I was still working on the belly. It just looked like I had eaten a big meal but still, that belly wasn't going anywhere and I was really excited about not being able to suck it in.
That's the time when you can be happy about something like that.

Ok, I've meandered- something that's all too common for me. But today, I celebrate my pregnancy and my body and my breathtaking son. It's been two pretty sweet years.

That's an understatement.

xoxo Nora

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bangs and Serious Boots

I'm not always so sage and wise and quiet like Buddha. (What?) I mean, I'm not always so thoughtfully dissecting the relationships of 20-person families, or the tao of (baby) poo, or the complexities of my celebrity crushes.

**Before I go on, worry not: I don't actually think that highly of myself and my ramblings. It's late, I am overtired and I just ate a few pieces of chocolate. I'm a little on the loopy side.**

Sometimes I think for long stretches of time about my hair, my lack of shoes, and worry over how my boobs and butt look in different bra/shirt combinations and in my favorite jeans.

That's right, I am normal.

So first, let's talk about my hair. More specifically, my bangs. They're getting long. I haven't cut them since the beginning of summer, and they're reaching my lips. I had full intentions of letting them grow longer. The rest of my hair is really long, as I haven't had it cut since the week I gave birth to Liam. It's down to the middle of my back, and I'll be growing it for a few more months before I cut it for Locks of Love. I've been getting The Itch, though, The Itch I always get when I am growing out my bangs. I go back and forth about their future and I thought I had mostly decided to stick with the growing. But watching the series premiere of NBC's Kath & Kim I was insanely bored and not laughing, not even a little inspired by Selma Blair's beautiful bangs. Then my friend Rachel from Texas cut her bangs and posted the pictures of it on MySpace and that was it. She likened one of her photos to me with bangs, and I was convinced.

Hello Bangs, I am coming home.

(January 2008)

(April 2008)

Secondly I am struggling through a serious lack of suitable footwear. All I wore this summer was my black flip flops, and sometimes my white or black flats. But you know how flats get in the summer when you don't wear socks, ever. Stin-Kee! I can't just wear my flip flops all fall and winter. I found a pair of shoes a couple weeks ago at Target that I love, and I bought them for the fall, which brings me up to one pair of shoes aside from my flip flops and still leaves me at a loss for winter. They are cute but I don't think these are a good idea in the snow:


I have a pair of boots I bought second-hand when I first moved to Portland. Let me tell you, they really are something. As my former assistant manager once told me, "Those are some serious boots you have there, Nora." The problem is, since they're so serious and all, they're not good for just throwing on and running errands. They're special boots. They have a thick black wedge sole and they come up to my knees, with a little bit of fuzzy lining peeking out of the top. They are best with long skirts and tights.

I fell in love with a pair of boots recently after reading one of my favorite blogs. You can read about the blogger, Bossy, and see the boots here. The problem is, they are out of my price range. By about $150-170. Yes, really. But I can't stop thinking about them, and their perfection, and how I could wear them for three seasons, which is two more than my Serious Boots. With our current financial situation, there's no way I can justify buying these boots no matter how much my feet need them. My feetsies need to stay warm, yes? Don't those boots look so cozy? I'll have to find something else at Target or wherever.

But I look for boots on and get all googly-eyed over rain boots, which I would love to wear in the springtime.



I am not going to talk about my breasts and my butt 'cause that's personal! (Plus, um, haven't I already talked about my butt a little? And had the ladylike grace to make reference to "Baby Got Back" in the title of that post?) But I will still think of those things.

...and of my bangs, and of those beautiful, beautiful boots.

......and philosophy and science and mathematics and ancient Greek poetry.

Um, could really drink a root beer right now. I will think of that also.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's not my business at all, not even a little bit...

and yet here I am blogging about it.

So, I like watching the TV shows about big families on TLC. I like Jon & Kate Plus 8, who had a set of twins and a set of sextuplets by chance because of fertility treatments, and I am in awe of the families where the parents have chosen to have thirteen or more children.

The family I have seen the most of is The Duggars, where parents Jim Bob (yes, really) and Michelle have seventeen children and are expecting another. All on purpose. Yes, really. Their oldest is 20 and the youngest is an infant.

Obviously this is their choice and none of my business but I can't help but make judgmental exclamations about them every time I see them on TV. It's mostly because I feel bad for Michelle. I just don't think the human body was meant to create and give birth to that many children. She happens to have done it, yes, but have you seen the look in her eyes? She's been having babies for twenty years straight and she has not healed! She's always wide-eyed and smiling and talking about how happy she is with a squeal. She is obviously lacking the vitamins and nutrients that she's given to her forty-seven children, and maybe her brain has shrunken a little too. I am not saying that to be snarky!, as I have had just one child and seem to have been afflicted. Yes, really. It's genuine concern, one regular mom to a turbo baby machine.

And things I don't know enough about to judge, but I do anyway out of sheer fascination:
... How do each of those seventeen children feel special, unique and independent?
... How do each of those homeschooled children learn age and grade appropriate material every day?
... Why, when they designed and built their new home, did they only build three bedrooms?

The most recent episode I have seen dealt with the engagement of the oldest Duggar, Joshua (I think?). He is twenty years old and proposed to his girlfriend, Anna, who he met two years ago at a homeschooling convention. Now, the Duggars don't date. They court. They don't have sex KISS before marriage.


Throughout the whole episode, the parents, family and couple were talking about how special that first kiss is, and how wonderful it is that Joshua and Anna are saving it for their wedding day.

Ok. I kind of exploded.

I agree: a first kiss is special. I KNOW THIS more than most, because my first kiss, at age fourteen, was terrible and horrible and emotionally scarring. I am serious. I was so afraid of kissing after that, that I didn't have another kiss until I was 18. I became unshy to kissing after that, and without kissing and telling, let me say this: first kisses should always be special, whether it's the first kiss of your life, or your first kiss with a particular person. I have had sweet, breathtaking, awkward, hesitant, pushy, and unexpected first kisses. I wish they had all been perfect- some of them were, some weren't. That's life. But I am SO GLAD I did not wait until my wedding day for my first kiss, because that would have been twenty-four years of way too much sexual tension, mostly with myself.

My first kiss with my husband was perfect. In all seriousness. It happened three and a half years before we got married and it was the best first kiss in the history of the world. Our first kiss as husband and wife was also really great, for the record.

There's also this: because the first time you kiss someone, ever in your life, you might not be sure what to do. Where does your nose go? Which way do you tilt your head? What if your nose whistles? What if your lips are too tight? Too soft? What if EVERYTHING? Do you really want that to happen on your wedding day, in front of everyone? Or are the Duggars waiting until they are alone? What the frick?

I am glad I kissed Gabe before we were married. I am glad I kissed people before I met Gabe. You learn through kissing. Sure, sometimes there's lessons you don't need. Kissing can be sweet and intimate, though, and can accompany many a romantic moment where intercourse doesn't even happen.

Plus. Dude, it's really fun. And there's nothing wrong with premarital kissing, as long as it's not leading to other premarital things that your family, religion, or own set of morals frown down upon. It's not a gateway drug. It's lips. Soft and beautiful. Or firm and fun. What-have-you.

The choice to wait until marriage to make love is a noble and beautiful. But if you're waiting until you are married to kiss someone, do you also make love for the first time that night? Or do you wait longer, because WHOA you have to get used to this kissing thing first? Do you wait until your first anniversary?

I am just filled with all these questions.

I just think, the purity of kissing lies in your intentions, and if you have pure intentions with it, I don't see the harm.

Oh, also: Joshua flew from his home in Arkansas to Anna's hometown in Florida to propose to her. On their drive back to Arkansas, Anna's sisters tagged along as chaperones to ensure that Joshua and Anna didn't get out of hand with their intense hand-holding. It concerns me that these two have had a long-distance relationship for two years, and from now until their wedding they will spend no time alone.

Then, in Arkansas, when they went out to dinner, names were drawn out of a hat to choose their chaperones out to dinner. Because I guess that from now until they are married, little Duggars will be everywhere, making sure they don't spoil that first kiss by doing it out of wedlock.

As one of Joshua's teenage sisters pointed out, "Being alone can lead to bad things."

They do know kissing doesn't make babies, right? Or is that why Jim Bob and Michelle have seventeen children?


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It gets ugly. It gets explicit. I warned you.

I doggone done it, I really jinxed us.

Liam's cold that started three weeks ago went away a little, then came back in the form of Snotgate '08. There were two days there, where there was so much stuff coming out of his nose that I was afraid he'd dehydrate or something. And this time, he figured out he could touch it. Do you know what a sixteen-month-old boy does when he discovers that he can touch his runny boogers? He smears them. He touches his little fingertips to his nostrils, and wipes. Boogers on the cheeks. Boogers on the top of the nose. Boogers on the chin. Boogers in the mouth.

And as it turns out, sixteen-month-old boys do not like to see their loving mother coming at them with yet another tissue or washcloth or any available and expendable piece of cloth, like the sock that was already destined for the hamper or dad's bandanna that's always laying around, because he knows it means I will hold the back of his head and wipewipewipe until his face is no longer glistening in goo.

And in case you think it's gross for me to wipe my son's nose with a dirty sock, know this: it's one of his own socks, and he has sweet baby feet so it's not so bad, plus I only wipe with the top of the sock. And then it goes straight into the hamper, where it belonged in the first place.


I came down with it Sunday night. I lay on the couch with a piece of toilet paper lodged in my nostril to stop the leak. I had to change it frequently. My head was pounding and I couldn't stop sneezing. My throat hurt. When I went to bed I started crying because I CAN'T GET SICK. Who will do the dishes? Who will vacuum the living room? Who will organize the recycling? Gabe comforted me, saying, "Until I go back to work on Wednesday, you won't have to lift a finger. Don't worry about it. Just get some rest." He brought me a cup of water and some nighttime decongestant, and I was out like a light until 10:30 am. Well apparently he had a conversation with me when he came to bed but I don't remember it.

Then later on Monday Gabe came down with it, but less dripping and more congestion. And do you know what it's like to have two sick parents with a sick kid? SUCKS.

Liam's nose is still a little runny and he has volcanic sneezes. Yesterday he had diarrhea all day. Fortunately he has no fever and is not acting sick. This morning, after my nighttime decongestant induced coma good night's rest, Gabe and I switched places and he went back to bed.

And then the Poopsplosion of the Century happened. Liam had been running around, playing peek-a-boo from behind his pack & play with me when I smelled it. I didn't think anything of it, as yesterday's diarrhea was accompanied by a hilarious symphony of fart sounds and this time I heard nothing. I figured maybe his poop was back to normal. I got him, laid him down on his back, and was taking his jammie pants off when I felt it. The wetness. At the bottom of his pant leg. At first I thought he'd spilled Pedialyte from his cup. Then I saw it. The trail. All the way back up his leg. I called Gabe out of bed to come help me contain the mess. Poopsplosions are not a one-person job. It was EVERYWHERE inside his diaper and pants.

By some wonderful luck he didn't even grab at it. You know how babies do that? Awesome.

After it was cleaned up, Liam got a nice warm bath and then some more daddy time as I looked up the doctor we took him to three weeks ago. He goes in later this afternoon. I try not to freak out but I think diarrhea was one of the things the doctor had told us to watch for.

Liam's napping now, and I keep having flashbacks of the Poopsplosion and wondering what I would have done if it had happened while Gabe was at work. Oh the horror!

I don't know what to say in closing now, after all that poo and booger talk. So, um. Have a nice day.

xoxo Nora

Sunday, October 5, 2008

train of thought

First: I'd like to point out that my last post, my post about John Krasinski, was my 100th post. What a celebration.

Second: As per my friend Nicole's suggestion I watched Leatherheads on my laptop. My laptop didn't like it at first, and then it started playing- not without a lot of whirring and grinding- and then there was the time when I readjusted the computer on my lap and ejected the disc by accident and had to sit through the previews again. The verdict? Good thing John Krasinski was in it!

No just kidding. It wasn't bad. I just. I don't know. I can't watch Renee Zellweger. I am sure she's a very nice person. But why does it always look like she's chewing on something? And why can I actually see her efforts to become her character? Why can't she just be them?

John Krasinski was his handsome, convincing, good good self, and it was ok that I had to stay up till one to watch it because I forgot about the media player on my laptop until almost eleven.

Oh and then Liam woke up at 3:30. In the morning. Because he went to bed early and decided he'd had enough. I managed to keep him in bed with me, snuggling sleepily for a little over an hour, then we came out to watch Sprout. I sent a text message to Gabe: "Ok gonna need that coffee and stuff." So I got coffee and a blueberry muffin when he came home at 6:30. Then I went to bed. Then Gabe and Liam followed shortly and we slept until 10:30. Well Gabe slept until 1:30 because of the whole 12-hour overnight shifts thing.

And guess what. My ceiling is leaking again. And we got a letter from the demon spawn landlords that our rent is going up $100 to "cover rising costs." Rising costs? Of not turning our heat on? Of not fixing our shit?

Well dang!

We're moving soon.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dear John Krasinski. I tried.

All I wanted to do tonight was watch Leatherheads. I've been looking forward to it for a few days now, especially since I watched the debate on Thursday instead of The Office. I knew I would return the movie we rented earlier in the week today and rent Leatherheads in its place, and sit on my couch watching it alone in a John Krasinski-induced haze while Gabe is working and Liam is sleeping.

Yeah, I said it. I may have said it before. I will say it again. I have a big silly celebrity crush on John Krasinski.


No really. I only want to see Leatherheads because he's in it. George Clooney? Yeah, he's all right. He's not my cup of tea. Renee Zellweger? I only barely like her as Gina the Turbo Slut in Empire Records, simply because I have a big silly inexplicable crush on that movie. She just happens to be in it.

Ok ok and it looks funny too. But John Krasinski is in it.

I think this is ok as long as I can admit it. I only wanted to see License to Wed because John Krasinski was in it. I didn't though; Gabe wouldn't let me rent it. Not because of my big silly crush but because, something about Mandy Moore. Whatever.

So I rented Leatherheads. Liam went to sleep obediently and early tonight. I put the DVD in the player.



My DVD player does not like Leatherheads, it seems. The screen said LOADING for like five minutes straight. Yeah, five minutes. Or maybe one or two. I wasn't counting. I was staring at the screen as my DVD player failed to recognize the one movie in the whole world I need to watch right now to save me from another long night of staring at the internet.

Yeah whatever I could dig into my wall art again.

Yeah whatever I could write more of my novel.

Yeah whatever I could catch up on some housework.

Yeah whatever I could go to bed early!

But OhForTheLoveOfJohnKrasinski! I don't wanna.

I want to watch a movie starring John Krasinski so I can smile at his wit and timing and handsomeness. Did you know he's from Massachusetts? So am I, originally. We grew up less than an hour from each other until I was nearly six years old, and then when he was in college in Providence I happened to be a frequent visitor of the city. It's meant to be.

Just not tonight.

Oh, hi Gabe!

*photo from Men's Health magazine, not Nora McCourtney-Wolf

Friday, October 3, 2008

blond hair everywhere

I just wanted to show you all the serious bed-head that Liam had going on this morning.


Kid meant business.


If you thought the last election was important...

I saw this on my friend Bridget's blog and had to post it here.

When Laura Linney mentioned the voter regsitration deadline, I panicked a little because I was afraid I missed mine. I moved back to Maine this year and have not yet renewed my license, which automatically registers you to vote. Seriously, I almost cried a little. Then I checked, and I still have a couple weeks but I will do it ASAP to make sure it doesn't slip by as the past six months have.

"You can literally register to vote while you're pooping, if you have a laptop."

It's that easy.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Briefly, a few things that have been making me uncomfortable lately:

-- The commercials promoting the consumption of high fructose corn syrup

-- The return of my migraines and other severe aches in my head

-- My compulsion to check my email to see if anyone else ordered something from my Etsy shop

-- Sarah Palin

-- My lower back


-- The fiery-colored foliage may be gone soon

xoxo Nora

p.s. Happy October!

Friday, September 26, 2008

vitamin C

We are caught in this in-between, where it's not warm like summer anymore or colder yet like fall. It's nearly each at different times of day, and it's hard to decide how to dress, or dress my child. His new, poofy winter coat is waiting, and for now we're in short sleeves under hoodies.

I like this in-between.

Liam's cold is finally leaving. We- well, he- has really been lucky, as he's never really been sick sick. For full disclosure, this is what we've dealt with since his birth almost sixteen months ago:
* the bruising on his head from the vacuum that helped set him free from my vagina (that sounds way more crude than I want it to but that's just what happened), making breastfeeding difficult for a while
* gas pain as a newborn that warranted medication
* an umbilical hernia that looked CRAZY for a while, then suddenly healed up on its own, well before the deadline by a couple years where you have to start worrying about it
* a brief eye infection that was cleared up quickly with antibiotics
* a couple fevers that disappeared by morning
* an overnight bout of not being able to keep anything down, when he was still on just breastmilk
* that night he projectile-vomited three times after eating macaroni and cheese for the first time (that sound and smell is burned into my memory)
* strabismus

So when he got a cold last week, it was rough. He handled it well, though. Nights were hard for a few days, as the rattle in his nose made it hard for him to get, stay and return to sleep. His nose was constantly dripping and every sneeze was messy. He was a little loopy and goofy and cuddly and generally good-natured. He handled it better than I did, because did you see that list up there? My kid has an immune system of steel. (Almost. I mean, he did just have a cold.)

It's just hard to watch him struggle, and it's hard to hold him down to suck junk out of his nose with a nasal aspirator. Although there were times when he just stood there, ever so patiently, and tipped his face up so I could spray saline up his nose and then suck everything out with a rubber bulb. Oh, bless that child's heart.

He's on the up and up though, enough so that we were able to take a walk again last night, and enough that he was able to spend the afternoon out with my parents. He's going to be completely ok soon, and strangely, it seems I am too even though my face was sneezed on at least three times and I was unable to avoid a lot of other ways of spreading germs. I'm his mom. There's only so much disinfecting I can do on myself while making sure everything else was running smoothly.

I do realize I have probably just jinxed myself.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

be still, my heart

The film adaptation of one of my favorite books is hitting theaters tomorrow, the 26th.

Chuck Palahniuk's writing makes my heart beat a little faster and this is one pages-to-screen transformation I am really looking forward to, since he is involved with writing the screenplay. Like Fight Club, it should be a fair and reasonable representation.

I have not seen the movie version of one of my other favorite books, Tuck Everlasting, because Alexis Bledel from The Gilmore Girls plays Winnie. I don't think I can handle that, because I love the story wayyyyy too much to see Rory Gilmore playing a twelve-year-old in it. ON the other hand, The Virgin Suicides is a beautiful book AND movie.

I may have to wait a week or two or more to get to the theater to see Choke but I am (will be) SO THERE.

absent minded

I am completely mad at myself for missing Mates of State on Yo! Gabba Gabba on Tuesday. Dang it! I was looking forward to it for over a month! It's too recent to be on YouTube yet.

Dear Nora,
Please don't forget the season premiere of The Office tonight. OR ELSE. I'll be mad at you forever. Thank you.
xoxo, yourself

Monday, September 22, 2008

self promotion

I have a contest right now on my art blog for a free set of postcards that I designed. Please check it out and don't forget to enter. My Etsy shop will be opening this week and there will be more random postcard giveaways coming, so one visit will not be enough. Click often!

Back to Nora-ness soon, ok?


Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh, I still have a blog...?

Hey guys! Remember me? It's Nora. Your buddy, That Nora Girl. I'm still here!

Liam is sick for real for the first time ever and my lovely landlords- you know who!- are at it again and still have not turned the heat on in our building even though by law they were required to on Monday, and it's been in the 30s and 40s at night. Oh, the joys of renting.

Also, I want Bridget, Jenny and Sara to know that I do indeed know I have been recognized with awards and tags and have full intentions of addressing those in the coming days or maybe weeks. I know, I am a lame award/tag receiver. Please forgive me that I have not gotten to it yet! Busy, busy.

Can you handle all those links?

I forgot what I came on here originally to say, other than a couple notes and disclaimers. So, a few more:
* more photos from Kay's visit soon!
* so excited that fall is here!
* so excited about the anadama bread on my kitchen counter!
* am missing Bethel an awful lot right now!
* my cousin's daughter's first birthday party is coming up soon and I am also really excited about that!
* apparently really into exclamation marks tonight!
* Liam's been making really funny faces lately that remind me of Andy Samberg's photo shoot in Interview magazine!
* I am really effing cold right now!
* also really hungry?

xoxo Nora

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Photos: Week One of Nana's Visit, 8/31/08-9/7/08

At the airport, this was the first time my mother-in-law held her only grandchild in five months.
(He cared too, and then he saw someone walking a dog.)

On the Maine State Pier in Portland that day, three generations breathed salty air.
(I vote she moves here.)

The next day we went to Old Orchard Beach, where I swam for the first time (gasp!) all summer.
(The way that felt warrants a blog post all it's own.)

Kay enjoyed the freshness of Maine and the sea.
(She left a hot and humid Dallas behind.)

Liam enjoyed a peach on the beach.
(He enjoys peaches everywhere.)

On Grandparents Day, Liam had three of his four grandparents in the same room at the same time.
(First time since last summer.)

Dinner that day looked like this:
(I made rotini with garlic butter, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, green peppers, green beans, broccoli and black beans, plus Parmesan. My mum made naan. Mmmm.)

Dessert looked like this:
(Banana-zucchini bread wins hearts again.)

After dinner, Liam soaked up the attention of six adoring adults. That's my sister Karsten playing on the floor with him.
(Isn't she the most beautiful lady you've ever seen? Sorry guys, she's married.)

Next time (or so), the following week in photos: apple picking! apple crisp! rice bowls! duck feeding! cuteness overload!