Saturday, December 5, 2009

overthinking it

I really hate the children's show Max and Ruby. It's awful and the characters are annoying and no matter what Nick Jr. tells me about it supporting "problem solving skills" and "how to be the most obnoxious you can," I'm not buying it. It's useless to me and I don't let Liam watch it very often. Usually if it's on, it's because I didn't change the channel fast enough or I turned the TV on and there it was, or Gabe put it on because he forgot about my No-Max-and-Ruby rule.

Here's the way I see it. I don't know how old Max is supposed to be but given how complicated and mature his noisy toys are, he's old enough to speak more than one word at a time and to follow Ruby's simple directions. The reason he is so ill-behaved is because he's being raised by his stupid bunny sister. Ruby is spread thin, between gardening and Bunny Scouts and band practice and school (I assume she goes to school but without parents around, who knows? She might spend some of days growing weed in the attic or playing violent video games or posting inappropriate pics of herself on the internet.)

OF COURSE Max doesn't listen to her. She's his sister, not his mom, and he knows that. OF COURSE Ruby is so particular and and impatient. Her little brother is a little brat and not only does she carry the burden of gardening and Bunny Scouts and band practice, she also has to cook for, bathe, discipline, educate and put her pesky little brother to bed. Those are not jobs for a sister, unless you're a Duggar. She should be allowed to be a child.

And why hasn't their grandmother called CPS yet??? Or taken them into her home- seriously?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thankful: Gabe and Liam

I am thankful for these two guys.

I am thankful to be married to a man with an open heart and an open mind, who still likes to cuddle on the couch and spoon while we're sleeping and who tells me he loves me several times a day. He happily plays and wrestles and builds towers and castles and highways with his son and he takes care of the bathtime and bedtime routines. He's helping to raise our son to love and understand and learn, to be strong and kind and funny. He makes me laugh and laughs at me even when I'm being a silly dork. He doesn't get mad when the movies I choose from Netflix are completely lame. He buys me Coke when my stomach hurts. He runs his hand down the length of my hair and tells me I'm beautiful, even when I don't feel like I am. His arms are perfect for hugging and his lips are perfect for kissing and he likes to exercise these skills.

He's pretty hot, too.

I am thankful for my son, who gives me unsolicited hugs and kisses and who asks me if I feel better when he knows I have a headache. He tells me he loves me and asks me to read to him and wants to know everything about the world around him. He likes to cuddle and will sometimes just rub my arm or my knee while we are sitting quietly on the couch. He likes Queen and David Bowie and loves to dance and sing. He uses his imagination and finds magic everywhere. He likes my drawings and tries to draw like me. He likes to watch Full House and he tells me what happened on Wonder Pets if I have to leave the room. He eats hummus and veggies and fruit and cheese happily, and asks for his juice to be watered down when it's too sweet. He enjoys being outdoors and gets excited to learn new things about nature. He smiles for me and enjoys my company and makes me a lucky mom.

And he's totally cute!

Thank you, Gabe and Liam.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the grossness of being young

Today, Liam picked a booger out of his nose and was so grossed out that he tried to put it back in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So, I know it happened over a week ago, but here's my Halloween post.

For a while, it was decided that Liam would dress for Halloween as Max from Where the Wild Things Are. It's one of his favorite books, he loves the Scholastic video version, and it thrilled him to watch trailers from the recent Spike Jonze feature. He was also in love with the Arcade Fire song from one of the trailers, "Wake Up," and often requested it for kitchen dance parties. While hiking, he once asked me to walk like a Wild Thing, so together we put up our claws and stomped through the forest, growling and saying, "I'll eat you up, I love you so!"

I planned on making the wolf suit myself, which would have made me pretty much the awesomest mom ever.

Then, Liam changed his mind. He still loves Where the Wild Things Are, but he decided he wanted to be a pumpkin for Halloween. This was fine, since I kept his pumpkin costume from last year and it's a one-size-fits-all-toddlers kind of design. I took it out early to get him used to it so that he might actually wear it this year, and everything worked out fine.

(He did start asking, a couple days before Halloween, if he could be Scooby-Doo. It was also his request that I dress as Shaggy and Gabe dress as Daphne, but luckily for Gabe, it was too late to change costumes.)

We practiced our Halloween greeting: "Trick-or-treat, dude!" (he'll repeat almost everything if we add 'dude' to the end- we watch Full House and he digs toddler Michelle Tanner) with a thumbs up.

I made myself some cat ears out of construction paper, wore black and we were SET.

Liam was so excited about my ears. He kept pointing at them and saying, "You're a kitty! You have kitty ears! What does a kitty cat say? Meow, meow."

We trick-or-treated at my sister's and at her neighbor's house; then my aunt and uncle and a few of their neighbors; at the local mall; and at my parents' house. Liam's new favorite thing is trick-or-treating, so it's unfortunate that it only comes once a year. He was thrilled by other kids' costumes, walking around at night, wearing a costume with me, but mostly that the phrase we practiced was MAGIC CODE for GIVE ME CANDY PLEASE and he came out with a lot of loot for a two-year old.

While we were at my parents' house, Liam spilled a cup of water on his shirt and jeans, so while his clothes were in the dryer, my dad put one of his own sweatshirts on Liam. This was also thrilling for Liam, getting to wear his Grandpop's clothes. My dad's 6'2" so his shirt was more like a blanket, but Liam loved the coziness of it and curled up on my lap like a cuddlebug.

It was like having two costumes for the night!

I still love the idea of making a wolf suit for Liam, so I think I'll make him the hood and crown for Christmas. I'll still score major Mom Points, I think.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

hold me close

I'm having a hard time right now- not ever feeling rested and having a testy two-year-old whose internal clock does not recognize daylight savings, and Maine voting against marriage equality, and we have money troubles, and I hate hate hate my crooked teeth and nose, and I am dealing with some major annoyances from people in my life and I want to tell them to SHUT! UP! and I'm feeling disconnected and today I cried when Punjab saved Annie from falling off the bridge and...

And can you tell that depression is rearing its stupid, ugly, overemotional head?

Because it is.

And I have plans to have it taken care of- FINALLY- but it still sucks right now.

But tonight. Tonight I went into the kitchen for a few hours, three rooms removed from my husband and son, to work on some handmade projects to get ready for the Christmas season. And when it was getting to be Liam's bedtime I could hear him fussing as I punched holes and threaded string and drank root beer- remember that thing about daylight savings? I'm not joking. Bedtime is serious around here.

Gabe walked into the kitchen. He was carrying Liam, whose eyes were bloodshot and his cheeks were flushed. I know that look. Overwhelming fatigue and fussiness. (I have it sometimes too.) "He wants a hug and a kiss from his Mama," Gabe told me.

So I took Liam in my arms. He's getting so tall and big. He wrapped his legs around my waist and draped his arms over my shoulders. We said goodnight and as I spoke softly to him, he pressed his hot cheek against mine, pushing, pushing, trying to be as close to me as possible. "Do you want me to sing you a song?" I asked. He tearfully said yes.

So I pressed my cheek into his and I rocked back and forth and softly sang a song I made up for him last year. When I was done, he just looked into my eyes and and blinked and pondered and then rested his head back on my shoulder.

In these days when I am flailing, not holding onto anything that feels real, I cry for no reason and I lack patience and I dislike myself. Simple things like washing dishes and putting laundry away and washing my hair are major triumphs.

But my son loves me very much and he needs me and finds comfort in my presence, so at least I know I am doing something right.

(And once I see a doctor about my depression, if things go as planned, I won't be overwhelmed by just waking up every day. And I'll be doing SO MANY THINGS right.)

(And Liam will still matter the most.)

Monday, November 9, 2009


This is a list of five careers I would pursue if life was long enough, I had the capacity to learn it all and I was 18 again.

1. art teacher
2. marine biologist
3. sex counselor
4. nutritionist
5. obstetrician/ gynecologist

Not that I want to be 18 again, gawd.

Are there any career fields you yearn for that are not your reality?

Friday, November 6, 2009


Five years ago today, Gabe proposed to me in our kitchen.

The room was empty after we'd packed up everything we owned into a trailer attached to the back of his Bronco. I was crying and he was holding me because I'd just said goodbye to my parents and my younger brother. Gabe and I were about to move to Texas, and even though it was mostly my idea, I was feeling really sad about leaving my family and our cute little apartment and our beautiful port city.

Then he was telling me how much I mean to him, that he was thankful I was leaving this place I love in order to experience living in the place he grew up, and how he always wanted to be with me and do I know how much he loves me?

Then he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. And I cried more and said yes and we squeezed each other and giddily took a bunch of self-portraits that no one else will ever see because we were totally sick with colds, exhausted from packing up, and I was not wearing makeup and we looked a little like death.

The important part is that I said yes.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maine: the way life should be! Unless you're gay.

As you've probably heard by now, civil rights were put on the ballot here in Maine for yesterday's election, and 53% of Mainers chose to repeal the law recognizing same-sex marriage that Governor Baldacci just signed in May.

a) The public should not be allowed to vote on civil rights. There is too much prejudice, and not enough education.

b) I have not heard a single argument against same-sex marriage that is logical. The campaign against marriage equality was won because of LIES, fear, religion, ignorance, homophobia and so-called "tradition."

c) I'm embarrassed and ashamed of 53% of my state right now. I know full well that Mainers are not generally seen as wordly, open-minded, educated people who accept and welcome diversity. Maine was set to shatter these stereotypes and make an example for other states to stop deciding what a family is in the eyes of the law. Today, we are still toothless lobster-cracking moose-hunting cousin-marrying banjo-pluckers. Ayuh!

d) This IS NOT OVER. Discrimination has to end, and it will end.

I have a lot more to say about this. I am disappointed, I am sad and I am on fire. So, right now I'm going to cool down and spend some time with my two-year-old son, who has more compassion and logic in the bottom half of his right leg than what a little more than half of the state has in their whole bodies.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I am SO CLOSE to having our bedroom all unpacked and properly organized and livable, which is pretty awesome since we've been living here for a year and a half already.

I know, I can't believe it either.

This is the biggest apartment we've ever had, but it's also set up funny, since it was sectioned into an apartment out of an old farmhouse. I love this place, but it (and my landlords) can drive me nuts. NUTS, I SAY! With such little storage space, clutter is inevitable and never ending.

Give me another couple weeks and some more clear plastic storage bins, and this whole place could be top notch. I'm so tired of feeling like we're still in transition, but I'm getting closer to having a place I can be very proud of, that feels and looks like home. I'm thinking CHRISTMAS PARTY.

Does anyone have any tips on how to place wall hangings (picture frames, etc) without putting holes in the walls? My walls are so big and bare.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reason #572 Why I Love My Husband

Today at work, Gabe was pushing a cart full of files down the hallway to pass on to the next department, and he had propped open a set of doors because he had to make a couple trips. The doors are in a section of the hallway with a corner, but he wasn't rounding the corner; he was going to pass straight through the doors.

He stopped when he heard people coming towards him up the hallway, so that his cart and the women would not collide. The women didn't know he was there, but saw the doors propped open and one of them snipped, "Geez, that's dangerous, those doors being open like that."

Then they rounded the corner and Gabe smiled and said, "What's that?"

The woman tried to play it off like, Oh, I wasn't just being bitchy about something as insignificant as doors, fake-chuckled and said, "Oh, just the open doors being dangerous."

Gabe asked, "What's dangerous about it?"

"Well, if I wasn't paying attention, I could walk right into them," she said, like duh.

Gabe told her, "The dangerous part would be you not paying attention."

I love my husband.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Suck it, pink eye. (That sounds gross.)

So, Liam's fever?

Pink eye.

Yes. Conjuncti-frickin'-vitis. Because he didn't JUST heal from surgery on both eyes and have to endure two weeks worth of eye drops and ointment.


He is inconsolably miserable. He still has a fever, can barely sleep, he has no appetite, he has a cough and runny nose, and he keeps telling me his eyes hurt. This is the sickest he's been so far in his life, and it sucks big time for all of us.

It's hard to watch your two-year-old child in so much pain and discomfort and know you can't do anything about it. I can help him wipe his nose, I can rub his back when he coughs, I can cuddle his when he's not burning up, and I can give him popsicles. I can administer Tylenol and his new prescription eye drops. I know that I'm doing what I can and that he knows it's not my fault or anything. But it's crap, not being able to DO anything, like wave a magic mommy-wand and make it all go away.

What I want to do is take it all away from him and deal with it myself. I'm an adult and I've been through that all before. I've had pink eye, scarlet fever, colds and flus, migraines, random and unexplained bouts of puking, sinus infections, pregnancy and childbirth and fourth-degree tearing, surgery, a urinary tract infection, strep throat, shingles. All of it and more. And maybe I'll get the pink eye again anyway because it's so contagious. I just want him to get over this NOW and we can move on because that sad, tired, helpless look in his bloodshot blue-gray eyes BREAKS MY HEART. And he keeps looking at me.

The worst is the eye drops. Do you know how you give eye drops to a strong and willful toddler who hates eye drops? You pin them down against all their strength and pry their eyes open, and they're crying and struggling the whole time, then they squint really hard as the medication spreads and stings across their eyeballs.

That's how. It's the worst.

Conjunctivitis can kiss my ass.



I was going to go back and do things right, and write up enough posts to fill in the big gaps and date them according to when I should have written them, but that's not going to happen.

It's 12:41 a.m. on a Monday, and Liam's been a little weird today (well, Sunday) and then sprung a fever and promptly went to sleep- and then woke up, blinked miserably on the couch for a couple hours, then got all goofy and hyper, and is now lying in bed with Gabe trying to fall back asleep.

That is what I can deal with right now, not months worth of blog posts.

Quick(ish) recap:
1. I got to Brooklyn and back safely even though the giant cargo van I was driving was incredibly difficult (needed an alignment) and intimidating. I didn't get to see a lot of New York, but I did see the Statue of Liberty in the distance as I was driving into the city and I shouted, "OH MY GOD THE STATUE OF LIBERTY!" even though I was driving alone.

2. Gabe's brother and his wife visited us from Texas for about a week in July, the week following my return from New York. Uncle Chase and Aunt Theresa are now high on the list of Liam's favorite people, and he still talks about them and their visit! We did have a great time and I loved having them here.

3. Another week or so after that, Gabe's mom Kay visited us for three weeks, and his sister Jules was here for two of those. Nana and Auntie Jules are also some of Liam's favorites and out of the blue he'll say things like, "Nana lives in Texas," and "Auntie Jules fly on plane."

4. Between those visits, we went to the beach a few times (ocean and lake), the New England Aquarium, the Maine Wildlife Park, a local farm, and the Old Port, and also dedicated Liam at the East End Beach in Portland.

5. During Kay and Jules' visit, Gabe and I celebrated our third year of marriage! We dressed up fancy, at sushi at Sapporo (which we also did on our honeymoon) and went to the Nickelodeon to see 500 Days of Summer. It was our best date ever.

6. After my in-laws had returned home, I started preparing madly for the Picnic Music and Arts Festival in Portland. The festival was on September 12 and it rained, but it was a great learning experience for me. I had never been a vendor at anything (except my own art shows, totally different) so it was scary and exciting but I met some really nice people and all kinds of strangers complimented me and actually bought my stuff!

7. I then spent several weeks recovering from all the stress and anxiety I piled upon myself throughout my busy busy summer.

8. Liam had eye surgery to correct his strabismus problem- it ended up being a surgery for both eyes, and I was so so scared about it, but Liam is an amazing person and it's true, so true, what they say. Stuff like this really is harder on the parents than it is on the kids. I can't express enough how strong and awesome he was. And his eyes are looking great now!

9. I've been on two Girls Night Out-type gatherings with some of my closest friends from high school, most of whom I haven't seen in years, and it was a lot of fun reconnecting with them.

Ok, I'm going to check on the guys.

I guess I'm blogging again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

*fart sound*

Oh my goodness. Hi. I'm still alive. I know, I suck at blogging. I'll get better soon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

the darndest things

This is a conversation that Gabe and Liam had recently, which I'm glad didn't happen in public but I'm blogging about it anyway because it's easier to explain in writing without stuttering and turning purpley-red.

You see, Liam comes with me nearly every time I go to the store, and if I put something in the shopping cart and he asks what it is, I'll always tell him. I have my period about every three weeks instead of four, so I buy a lot of feminine products.

They were watching a nature program on television.
LIAM: Look! A frog!
GABE: That's right, it's a frog.
LIAM: A frog in the water!
GABE: Yes, the frog is swimming in the water.
LIAM: The frog is swimming in the ocean.
GABE: That frog is not in the ocean- it's in a pond.
LIAM: Oh! Mama has a tampond!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What you don't know...

I frequently find myself unable to pull myself away from that TLC show, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. My own pregnancy symptoms were so immediate and glaring that there was no denying I was pregnant before the tests were even coming up positive. I can't imagine someone entering into their third trimester and then going into labor without ever knowing their body was a vessel for another human being- although, it's apparently possible. (Have you seen that show? IT FREAKS ME OUT!)

Lately I have been feeling pregnant. I'm not. Not even a little. But I feel all these pregnancy-ish symptoms that, if we were trying to conceive, would send me into a frenzy of peeing on sticks and waiting for double pink lines.

Even though I know I am not expecting, I have these brief moments of panic where I can hear the narrator telling TLC viewers my story: "Although Nora gained no weight and could still fit into her size four jeans, she was thirty-seven weeks pregnant and had no idea she was about to give birth to her second child on her kitchen floor."

There's a commercial break, then we return to the dark-haired actress portraying me, sweating heavily, gritting her teeth and writhing on the floor. Narrator: "Nora thought it was a problem with her cystic ovaries or another bout of gas."

My appetite has increased, I have cravings, I am uncontrollably exhausted sometimes to the point of near narcolepsy, I am moody, I am light headed, and I've been having more headaches. If I wasn't still having my period in a big way I'd totally be peeing on sticks EVERY DAY.

Monday, July 6, 2009

new things

This coming weekend, my big brother Scott is moving back home from Brooklyn. I'm excited for him to be around again, permanently (for now), because he's loving, helpful and funny, and he and Liam have a lot of fun together. Liam's changed a lot since Christmastime, when Scott was visiting last, so Scott will have a lot of fun watching his nephew's new tricks, and listening to him bust out all of his new words and sentences and babbled soliloquies.

On Saturday morning I'm picking up a cargo van from a rental place here in town, and driving to New York to pick Scott and his belongings up, then we're road-tripping it back to Maine. I'll be in New York City for one night.

All I can think is:

OMG what am I going to wear???


OMG how the hell do I drive in New York City???

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

a few things

1. My new dryer was delivered today! There's a laundry party commencing (quietly and efficiently!) in my kitchen right now, and the laundromat can SUCK IT.

2. I have experienced my first two cases of The Whys? today, thanks to my growing, smarty-pants toddler, and I am not sure I was prepared for it to start so soon. I mean, it's really easy so far but still. I need to be a quicker thinker.

ME: Liam, want to come help me with the laundry?
ME: *whips head around* ...Because...... I... need your... help...?

ME: Liam, don't stand right in front of the TV!
ME: *blank stare... blink blink*
LIAM: *funny dance he does when he thinks he's in trouble*
ME: Because you can see it from the couch.
LIAM: Ok, Mama.

3. Lately, in our living room dance parties he will only dance to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" or "Golden Years" by David Bowie. My kid is awesome.

4. He's getting a twin bed soon! Woo-hooooooo!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

a tribute

The dance scene in Thriller has always and will always get me. Seriously. It makes me just as giddy and choked up as when Johnny and Baby dance at the end of Dirty Dancing. It's perfect.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

roller rink

An actual conversation I had with my chiropractor in 2005 after she looked over my x-rays:

DR. PORTER: Were you a skater when you were younger? Ice skating or roller skating?
NORA: I used to ice skate every winter.
DR. PORTER: Have you ever broken your tailbone?
DR. PORTER: Well, you're showing some trauma to your tailbone that indicates more than one previous tailbone fractures.
NORA: That's weird.
DR. PORTER: It can be easy for some people to break their tailbone and never know it. Did you ever fall directly on your butt?
NORA: [laugh] Yes.
DR. PORTER: That's probably what did it. Like, two or three times.

So imagine the sweat that gathered on my forehead and in my armpits when my friend asked me to go roller skating with him.

I graduated from high school with Matt, but aside from running into him a few times in the past nine years, I hadn't spent much time with him since algebra class senior year. We've been friends on MySpace and Facebook for a few years now and our pretty regular "We should get together soon!" exchanges after I moved back to Maine last year finally got to the point where we were both meant business. But roller skating? Errr....

I hadn't roller skated since I was 12. It was January of 1994 and I was on a date with my sixth-grade boyfriend that a few of my girlfriends tagged along to. I remember it well, and I know I fell that night.

But I made myself do it, because it's been raining a lot and I was desperate for something new, and even though it was completely outside of my comfort zone I wanted to beat my anxieties into submission with a nail-studded stick. What better way than roller skating?

Dudes, I am SO GLAD I went! Yeah, I was scared and shaky at first, and roller skating is not as easy to me as ice skating, but I did it, and I loved it, and I'm going to start making it a regular thing. THANK GOODNESS Matt asked me to go!

I was really surprised and impressed by the other people skating- there were men and women in their 50s and up who glided so effortlessly on those little wheels, their bodies moving smoothly in the rink like they were weightless. It was beautiful, really.

It'll be nice to have something outside of the house that is not related to errands that I can do on my own, and judging by the ache in my legs for the two days following skating night, it seems to be a pretty good exercise.

Another bonus: with all the butt clenching I do on skates, I am hoping that within a few months time I'll have the firm and perky bum I've been half-heartedly attempting to sculpt at home.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Hangover + my mom-ness

Last weekend my sister kindly babysat for Liam so that Gabe and I could go out for a date! Woo, woo!

We went to see The Hangover, which had obviously been getting great reviews, and which seemed like the kind of movie where we could kind of check out from real life and laugh at the really absurd situations presented in this comedy.

And that's exactly what we did. We laughed a lot.

But you know me. I'm a mom. And there were a few things in the movie that I could not even muster a chuckle at, because I take things really literally and there are some things that I just don't think are funny.

I'm such a bummer.

If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about if you read on. If you haven't, don't worry because I'm not going to spoil anything for you.

Everything I thought was unfunny was directly related to the baby that is found in a closet when the guys wake up at a luxury hotel with their hangover.

1. One of the characters moves the baby's arm to mimic the motions of ma$turbat!on. I don't think that ma$turbat!on is dirty or wrong, but I think it's inappropriate to expect adults to find humor in that.

2. They put the baby in the backseat of a car with no car seat, with a regular seat belt on. OBVIOUSLY I know this is not real but it's the idea. I take car seat safety very seriously and some idiot out there might think this is ok. I already know how relaxed some parents can be in real life in regards to their child's automotive safety and I could not see the humor in this situation. And then in the movie they get into a series of minor collisions while the baby's back there, unrestrained!!! Oh my word, I almost passed out. Not funny.

3. They left the baby in the car in the Vegas heat while they went into a chapel to find some more clues about their inebriated night. This is also a serious real-life issue. Babies die in hot cars, just like animals do. In the past couple years I have read several articles about parents who forget their child is in the car seat and they leave the car unattended for hours, or they have ignorantly, stupidly, knowingly left their kids in a hot car because it's easier than getting them in or out.

4. When they reunite the baby with his mom, she sees he's hungry and whips out her boob to breastfeed him, leaving the male characters slack-jawed at the sight of her full breast (which was shown on-screen). Now, I happily breastfed, and I am a full supporter of breastfeeding in general and of the idea that it is natural and should not be concealed away from society. BUT I have a problem with sexualizing breastfeeding, which is one of the big problems that breastfeeding moms face in public when they want to discreetly feed their babies through nursing garments and cover-ups. You wouldn't believe the kinds of things I have heard about people actually saying to nursing moms. If we as a society continue to portray women's breasts solely as tools of sex, breastfeeding will continue to be misunderstood and discouraged in public.

I know this was a comedy, and that pretty much every situation in the movie was unrealistic, but as a mom those four things were too real for me. I found them so unfunny. Gabe and I were the only ones in the theater who seemed to find them distasteful, and I felt like a bit of an old fogy until I reminded myself that my parenting experience so far and research is something I value, and it won't change my opinion.

The rest of the movie was really funny to me and I needed those laughs. It was absurd and it was hilarious and if you think my points won't bother you too much, by all means, go see The Hangover!

Also? Ed Helms playing a different character than Andy Bernard? Tee-hee. He's kind of cute. It made me feel less weird about that bewildering dream I had a couple weeks ago in which Jim Halpert and Andy Bernard were fighting over me.


Friday, June 19, 2009

results: my hair

I had my hair trimmed tonight by Carmen at Karma Hair and Bodywork Salon on Sabattus Street in Lewiston.

Here are my before and after photos. Note the scraggles at the bottom of my hair in the before shot. Those were driving me bananas. In the after shot, my hair looks healthier with a cleaner cut with just a few snips.

The best part is my bangs, which Carmen cleaned up for me. I've been trimming them myself but I am afraid to make them too short so I kept them too long and they were always in my eyes.

Now I can see!
(Please note: that's not some weird chunk of hair on the other side of my face; that's the shadow my giganto nose is casting on the wall behind me.)

Liam loves running his hands through my hair, especially when it's wet. I think subconsciously that's another part of why I don't want to get rid of it all yet. Plus, I can still totally tickle him with the ends of my hair without even turning my face away from him.

My hair looks like it's about the same length now as it was in March of 2006 when I donated it last. I think I'll keep growing it at least through the fall before I cut it again- and now, thanks to Carmen, I'll have healthier hair to send off to someone who needs it more than I do.

A Brief History of My Hair... Riveting!

In March of 2006, I had really long hair. Long enough that ponytails hurt with their weight and I could have posed as Eve in a "forbidden fruit" photo shoot, complete with my hair modestly covering my nakedness.

I decided to go for a Big Chop, and donated over ten inches to Locks of Love. Donating my hair had been something I'd wanted to do for years, but never managed the patience to let it get long enough (to not end up in the end with a Jamie Lee Curtis spiky buzz cut). Finally, I had done it. I was inspired by my six-year-old cousin who started growing out her hair so she could be like Rapunzel, and ended up donating her hair.

I went to Sweet 200 in Dallas, where Kinome gave me a haircut that I LOVED. (If you're in Dallas, call and see if she's still there; she's awesome!)

From there, I grew it out for over a year until the last week or so of my pregnancy. It wasn't nearly as long but it was already getting too heavy and I knew that with a newborn I would be living in buns and ponytails. I really only have pregnancy photos from that time, but you can still see in this photo how long it had gotten. (That look in my eyes? Overwhelming pregnancy fatigue.)

I don't remember which salon I went to in Cedar Hill or the name of my stylist (Remember? Fifteen months pregnant) but she was great, and I was really happy with this cut as well:

This evening when Gabe gets home from work I am heading out to get my hair cut for the first time in over two years. I haven't had anything trimmed except for my bangs, which I do myself. I'm ridiculously excited about this trim- not because it's going to be another drastic cut but because I'm really just getting my hair healthy tonight. I want the wear and tear of two years gone so that I can enjoy these long locks.

About a month ago I was all ready for another Great Chop for Locks of Love, especially with summer coming (someday...) but I decided instead to just take care of my hair and make the most of having this much of it. There's something I'm really attached to about it- I don't know if it's because my hair is as old as Liam or because I have these silly, idealistic visions of being a long-haired lady in the garden with my son. (Ok, I admitted it.)

I'll post my before and afters later. I bet you can't wait.

Well, I know I can't.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


When I was little and my family still lived in Gardner, Massachusetts, my mum's aunt and uncle also still lived in that town. My mum grew up with them in a brick house at a quiet intersection and we'd go over for dinner every now and then.

I remember this one time, Tata made a pineapple upside-down cake for dessert and at that time it was the yummiest thing I had ever tasted (except maybe for strawberry ice cream) so she let me have seconds. I remember her cutting another slice for me and sliding it onto my plate, smiling warmly the whole time.

Tata passed away earlier today after her battle with cancer. Within the first weeks after her diagnosis, there was hope that she'd live another couple years. However, her body did not respond to chemo and radiation and what started out as breast cancer became her tiny body's battle against the tumors in her chest and on her back. For the last few weeks of her life, the only medication she was given were concoctions to keep her sleepy and painless.

My mum was there with her in Florida for the last few months, at the bedside of the woman who raised her. There's relief that there's no more pain but of course, the heartache at knowing that someone so vibrant and vital in my family is gone and that the woman who was essentially my mom's mom is no longer on this earth.

This is Tata in younger and healthier times, on her wedding day when she was twenty years old.

*Please note, those are not black stains on her dress, just scuffs on my photograph.

I'll remember that sweet face and her sweet accent- and the pineapple upside-down cake, and the warm brick house at that quiet intersection.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Our late spring weather has been feeling like early spring instead- chilly and rainy, we're still sleeping between flannel sheets. We've had some shorts and t-shirt weather, and then it switches back to jackets and umbrellas.

Make up your MIND, Maine.

My adventure in gardening is going well. My peas are tall and thriving in the rain but because of the cold nightly temperatures, I only just last week planted other seeds. I'll know in another week or so if his past week's weather allows them to sprout. I still have some seeds starting indoors that will go outside by the end of this month (I hope?)

I recently put in stakes and twine to help support the peas, and Liam had fun circling me, watching closely and asking, "Mama, what DO?" (Which means "Mama, what are you doing?")


I think he'll grow a garden someday, too. With his kids on his heels, asking, "Daddy, what DO?"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

two years

Happy Birthday, Liam.


My bumblebee.

My wiggleworm.

My love.

My danceypants.

My angelface.

Your dad and I adore you and have so much admiration for you. You are a ton of fun and you are so smart, and I feel so lucky and blessed to be your mom.


"Everything you want to be, I can't wait to see you be."

Love (love love love love) always-
Mama xoxo

Thursday, June 4, 2009

almost two years

Because it's been all that's on my mind lately, I'll direct you to this post, which is probably the most complete (but still mostly incomplete) birth story I have typed out so far.

Liam is going to be two years old in two days.

That sound you just heard was my head exploding.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

perils of the absent mind

The most inconvenient thing about accidentally running my husband's cell phone through the washing machine is the fact that he can no longer call my number when I lose my cell phone twice a day.

And the whole, you know, Gabe not having a phone thing. (We don't have/need a land line.)

(Unless you count situations like these.)

The replacement cannot arrive soon enough!

Just when I thought I wasn't into themes.

Have I mentioned yet that Liam's second birthday party is (loosely) themed?

'Cause it is. And I'm so excited.


I'm most excited about the chocolate banana Plex cake I'll be making.

Plex is the magic robot, of course, for those of you not familiar with Yo Gabba Gabba. He's a good dancer, and he's nice to his friends, and he can conjure celebrities like Elijah Wood, Melora Hardin and Tony Hawk out of thin air, using the antenna on top of his head.

So why WOULDN'T the cake be a Plex cake, right?

Liam's birthday party will be AWESOOOOOOOMMMMME! (When you read that you have to hear DJ Lance echoing in your head.)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Angel Amber

Yesterday my Mum and Dad celebrated thirty-three years of marriage. Dad flew down to my great-aunt's in Florida to spend the weekend with Mum. Happy Anniversary, guys! :)

Today is the day my little sister would have turned twenty-six years old. In about an hour I am going to make sure to look at the sky again, to keep up my accidental tradition of observing spectacular sunsets on her birthday every year.

It's been cold and raining for three days straight, and today dawned warm and sunny with bright, puffy clouds. As we were wrapping up our errands, heavy gray clouds rolled in and we had a ten-minute rainstorm, followed immediately by more sunshine. Porch weather, but we don't have a porch. Instead, the three of us hung out in the kitchen with the shades all pulled up while I cooked us a late lunch.

My great-aunt is not doing well. The cancer has spread and has become untreatable. Her tumors got bigger instead of smaller. She can barely eat or drink and right now she has round-the-clock hospice care to manage the pain. It's just a matter of when her body takes its final breath and gives in, sending her soul shooting to the clouds so she can be with her husband again, and her great-niece Amber and her brother (my grandfather) and her mom and dad.

Like last year, I did not dwell on Amber's absence like I have my whole life before that. In fact today I did not even think of it being her birthday at all until I had some quiet time to myself while Gabe bathed Liam and I noticed the angle of the sun. Then I remembered the clouds today, the sun, the short rainfall, and that rush of wind that preceded it as we walked from the car to our front door. I inhaled it especially deeply. I'm sure she was in that wind, and I'm sure my great-aunt Christine* will chase her soon.

They'll fly through trees and across fields and ruffle our hair. Free free free.

*real name used

Thursday, May 28, 2009

True Maine

On Facebook, you know there's an endless number of quizzes... "How BADASS are you?", "What kind of mother are you?", "Which earth element are you?", "Which house best fits your personality" and other useless things to help pass the time (although I will say that the "Which BADASS thing are you?" was awesome and hilarious and made me LOL). Then of course there's the regional quizzes... "How Ohioan are you?", "How Texan are you?" and "How well do you know Idaho??!"

I took the "How Well Do You Know Maine?" quiz today, which informed me that "You're a True Mainer!" Before you think I'm a Maine history and trivia scholar I'll let you know that I learned everything the quiz asked by the time I was ten. What percentage of Maine is forested? Which county is "The County"? What's the state capital? Ninety per cent, Aroostook, and Augusta- DUH.

I told politely asked Gabe to take the quiz to see how Maine he is. It turns out he's a True Mainer too, but only with my assistance.

GABE: How many counties are in Maine? Twenty-five? [An expected question from a Texan, where they have like a bajillion little counties in their giant state.]
ME: WHAT! No! Come on!
GABE: Sixteen?
GABE: Well how would I know that??
ME: It's in the SONG!
GABE: What song?
ME: The COUNTY song! [to the tune of Yankee Doodle] Sixteen counties in our state-
GABE: Oh God, shut up.
ME: Cumberland and Frankin, Piscataquis-
GABE: Shut up.
ME: and Somerset-
GABE: Shut up.
ME: Aroostook, Androscoggin. Sagahahoc-
GABE: Shut up.
ME: and Kennebec-
GABE: Shut up.
ME: Lincoln, Knox and Hancock.
GABE: Shut up.
ME: Waldo, Washington and York-
GABE: Shut up.
ME: Wait, I'm almost done! Oxford and Penobscot!
GABE: [a pause] Congratulations.
ME: Thank you. Man, that's a good song.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who's responsible for this?

I'm just wondering. Who was in charge of naming the Mirena IUD? How did they not take into consideration that there is a fairly common girls' name, MARINA, used with enough regularity in the United States that it's been on the charts since the 1920s, and even though it's spelled differently, it's pronounced almost the same?

That's like naming birth control Staysee, or developing an erect!le dysfunct!on medication and calling it Steev.

You just don't do it, out of respect for the Stacys and Steves in the world.

I'd be pissed if there was a new c0nd0m brand called Norruh.

*Certain words have been altered to avoid internet searches for those words landing on my blog for the wrong reasons. Some of the things I've seen in my stat counter are just creepy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

these mice are ninjas

A couple nights ago I was lying in bed, just drifting off to sleep when I heard a rattle of dishes in the kitchen. My first hazy thought: OH MY CRAP SOMEONE BROKE IN. The cobwebs cleared from my mind a bit and I assured myself that no, if I heard dishes clanking then I would have heard the front door open, and if someone WAS breaking in they wouldn't be stealing my dishes.

Next thought: OH MY CRAP THERE'S A GHOST IN MY KITCHEN. While a housekeeping ghost may not be entirely unwelcome, I then assured myself that if there was a ghost in my kitchen, again, they would not be playing with my dishes. They'd obviously be getting all Poltergeist on my ass and stacking chairs, leaving cabinet doors open and dragging Carol-Anne across the tiles.

Then I remembered. THE MICE. That we hadn't gotten around to poisoning yet. Clink clink, clank clank went the dishes and in my head I'm all Get out of my friggin' dishes, you stupid mice, I'm trying to sleep!

It would start and stop, and start and stop.

Finally I shook Gabe at the hip. "Babe, I'm sorry to wake you up but there's a mouse in the dishes." Clink clank, rattle rattle.

He's all, Huh, wha?, still mostly sleeping, and I had to say it again like four times. Then: "What do you want me to do about it?"

"Go catch it," I tell him, like duh.

"With what?"

"A plastic bag!" OBVIOUSLY.

"And then do what with it?"

"Throw it outside." Do I have to think of EVERYTHING?

There's a silence (in the bedroom at least; in the kitchen, there's still a party in my dishes) and I thought Gabe had fallen back asleep. He's like that. You know. Likes to sleep while he's sleeping.

Then: "No. I'm really tired."

"But what about the mice?" Rattle rattle. "Fine. I'll go take care of it."

I got out of bed and tip-toed to the kitchen, afraid of stepping in squishy mice the whole way. I creep into the kitchen, wincing in advance of seeing some little vermin in my sink or in the dish drainer. I go slowly, peek over the edge of the counter. There's dishes in the sink. I look up. Dishes in the drainer. But no mice. Just their little jimmies they like to leave behind, those little jerks. "Dance party on your dishes! Here are some little shits to remember us by!"

So yesterday morning I soaked all the dishes in bleachy water before washing them again, including all of the clean dishes from the drainer that Gabe had been so kind to wash for me on Saturday. I gave up on my poor little mice people stance and we decided to get some traps.

We cleared off the counter tops and Gabe set the glue traps out last night. He promised to go to the kitchen first in the morning so I wouldn't have to see them.

This morning, Liam and I waited in the living room after getting out of bed before getting our breakfast. Gabe was quiet in the kitchen for a while, and I finally went in there to see what was going on.

I paused in the doorway. "Any mice?" I asked before venturing further.

"No. But there's a trap missing."

I went in. Still three traps on the counter, but the one on the floor between the sink and the washing machine? Gone. Gabe had pulled the washer out and was looking behind it with a flashlight. He found many mouse turds, a cloth diaper and a crumpled up paper towel that had gone missing and forgotten, and- BREAKTHROUGH!- the huge gap in the floor where it meets the wall. Juuuuust big enough for mice to get through. So at least now we know where they're coming from.

But after searching the kitchen thoroughly for the missing trap and (hopefully) dead mouse, there's still the mystery of WHERE THE HELL DID THEY GO!??

Gabe thinks they're ninja mice but I have another theory.

Obviously what happened was, this little smartass mouse was creeping along the floor and came across the glue trap. He sniffed. "What's this?" he wondered. "Some joke from those human people, for sure." He calls to his friends in the wall. "Hey guys, get a load of this! Those people think they're smarter than us!" And a little army of mice comes over to check it out. The Eldest raises his monocle and clears his throat. "What we have here is some sort of trap," he says, and all the mice nod in understanding and agreement. The Eldest pinches the tip of his handlebar mustache. "Some sad, pathetic little lure. We shall take it back to the lab. Gentlemen?" So the mice all grab an edge and carry it back into their laboratory in the wall, where they studied it all night and learned all the chemistry and physics.

I am fairly certain that in a couple days, I'm going to walk into my kitchen some morning to get Liam's milk and breakfast, and I'm going to step directly into a giant glue trap. I'll look over to the gap between the sink and the washing machine and I'm going to see that little army of mice all standing on their hind legs and they will be crapping all over my floor because they are laughing so hard.


Sunday, May 24, 2009


^ Two years ago at this time.

Our baby's not a baby anymore, and we need to start thinking about the following:

* a toddler bed

* an upgrade in age-appropriate toys

* forward-facing in the car seat

* booster seat instead of high chair

* his 2nd birthday party


^ Last year at this time.

^ This year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Liam was sitting on my lap, facing me, and we were talking about why he was just in time-out (throwing stuff) when he tried his usual distractions from seriousness.

LIAM: Mama? [points to my chest] New shirt?
ME: Yes, I put a new shirt on.
LIAM: Circles?
ME: Yes, my shirt has circles!
LIAM: [points to my breasts] Booboos? [He means boobies.] [Yes, sometimes I call them boobies.]
ME: Those are called breasts.
LIAM: EEEWWWWWWWWW! [rolls off my lap and runs away]


Saturday, May 16, 2009

your favorite bloggers

I'm looking for new blogs to read.

At the end of the day, once Liam's asleep, I like to have some me-time and since pregnancy stole my ability to read books like a normal person (Oh my goodnes, WHERE is my attention span?? I haven't been pregnant for almost two years and it never came back! Help!) I do most of my reading online in the form of blogs, news articles and Facebook status updates.

I'm not sure how many of you five regular readers use my link list to the side there, where you can click on all the blogs I read pretty regularly, but I need to add to it. I would like to spice up my nightly blog-hopping.

I'm looking for:
~humor, but not needy or forced
~moms who don't just complain about how motherhood ruined their lives
~cute photos are a plus
~male bloggers, as I'm pretty sure I only read one or two
~frequent postings
~not the high-and-mighty type

I'm taking suggestions! Who should I start reading?

RANDOM NOTE: this morning Liam is being particularly sweet and funny, and he just came up to me with all seriousness and said, "Mama! The mighty jungle on a bicycle!" This might be the longest sentence he's ever said and while we're still not sure where it came from I'm all proud and charmed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dear Mice. Thank you for your contribution to... to what again?

I take a pretty humane approach to the animals and critters around me. I don't eat meat, I don't go hunting, I brake for squirrels, I carry spiders outside and set them free in the bushes, and when I'd accidentally cut worms in half when I was digging in my garden, I'd say a little prayer for them and thank them for their contribution to the soil. (I'm not joking.) (And I don't care if you think I'm lame.)

The only time I get lethal is when it's a matter of self-defense, health or safety. For instance, I have a severe mosquito/ black fly allergy. I kill those bitches. Ants also like to bite me (WTF, ants!!!) and they can get into your food. They don't stand a chance 'round these parts.

For the first time in my life I am facing a mouse problem in my home. Our apartment is in a very old building- it's an 1800s farmhouse that's been converted into a handful of units. We're surrounded by trees and a really big yard, so I am not surprised we have mice now. It comes with the territory.

But. Not only are mice a nuisance- they nibble books and scurry around and chew through clothes and don't pay rent- but they chew through cereal boxes, bags of flour, burrow into your boxes and die smelly deaths. Not only are they gross and intrusive but they shit on your counter tops too as an extra act of defiance.

For two mornings in a row now I have found mouse droppings in my kitchen. Yesterday it was just two tiny poop beans and I was in denial, but this morning there were more and I can't pretend it's toaster crumbs anymore. This is a health and safety issue, and those little effers have got to go.

I asked around a bit for some advice about how to get rid of them. I decided not to use the traps that slap shut because, as Audrey pointed out, "The mouse traps spatter blood everywhere and make more of a mess. You don't want to clean up a crime scene do you?" That's worse than mouse crap.

Nicole suggested I get a cat, which is a nice idea because I like cats, but Gabe is allergic and we can't afford an animal right now. Plus, I grew up in another, older farmhouse with pet cats and I am not really up for having dead mice dropped politely at my feet while I'm watching TV. Thanks anyway, Nicole! :)

Jer suggested the glue traps, but I'm not fond of that idea because of the prolonged suffering the mouse would experience before dying- the struggle, the desperation, the exhaustion. Even Gabe was concerned about that- Gabe, my awesome husband, who sometimes bites into a burger and says, "Mmmm, cow," to his vegetarian wife. So that's a no-go.

I know there are box traps that won't kill or injure the mice and you can just set them free outside. While this is obviously the most humane solution, aren't those little buggers just going to come back inside and take repeated craps on my counter? Or does, like... the pet store take mice from random people who catch them at home?

I think we'll be going with poison. Audrey lives on a farm and uses a poison that dries the mouse out so they won't stink up a storm after they die. I remember her post about watching a pregnant mouse in her house die from the poison, and at that time I thought "THANK GOODNESS we don't have mice." But now we do. And unless Petco is taking donations, I feel like I have to kill them. For the health and safety of my home. I understand that poisoning them also inflicts suffering but it wouldn't last as long as a mouse superglued to a piece of cardboard.


I hope.

Now PETA is going to get a hold of my blog and SHUT THIS MOFO DOWN!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dear son, SLEEP. Kthx. <3 U.

Dear Liam,

If you don't want to nap anymore, that's cool. If it's something your body doesn't need, I'm fine with that.

If you want to get up between six and seven every morning, that's cool too. It means we get to see Daddy a little before he leaves for work and I think that's great for all of us!


These two things COMBINED are not working for me, and I'm kind of your boss? So choose one, and run with it.

Because I can tell it's not really working for you either, considering your daily 3 p.m. meltdowns about the block stuck under the couch, or the banana you can't eat fast enough, or when the book just doesn't have any more pages. Sorry they didn't write more pages.

The days are long when you're awake so long, aren't they? Sleeping is nice, isn't it? Please work on doing a little more of it. Bed at 8 p.m. = awesome! Sleeping till 9 or 10 in the morning = perfect! DO IT. Then we can party all day long.

I love you, and I want your happiness and (mostly) daylong contentedness. Now please get some sleep.

Listen to your mother.

Love, Mama

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'd rather be sleeping.

I've been doing so much housework lately that I am wondering where the real Nora went.

Not that you'd necessarily walk into our apartment and see your reflection on my kitchen floor, and you definitely don't want to see the size of the dust bunnies monsters underneath my radiators- but I've been getting these spurts of energy where I MUST! wash every dirty dish in the house! I MUST! see the bottom of the hamper and actually put away all the clean clothes. The countertops MUST! sparkle!

That's everyday for some people, but not so much for me.

I've also resolved to de-clutter our home. I keep things. I save things. I'm way too attached to things that really aren't important in the long run. I call it being "sentimental" or "nostalgic" but really, I'm a pack rat. And it has to stop.

I read an article recently which advised that unless something is an actual keepsake or heirloom (wedding gown, photos, etc) and you haven't used or worn it in a year, then get rid of it. So I am on a mission.

Today I finally made an appointment with a consignment shop in Portland. In June I'll be bringing them four to five boxes of clothes and accessories plus a box of shoes. I packed up two boxes plus a suitcase full of donations for the Salvation Army. I already feel a weight off my shoulders.

I have a stack of some clothes I'd like to sell on my own on Craigslist or E-Bay. We'll be selling our Nintendo, record player, baby things (Snuggle Nest, Hotsling, swing, bouncer), and some other random things that are just taking up space.

I still have every stitch of Liam's clothes since he was a newborn. I'll be going through those to decide what I want for keepsakes (there's no way I am ever getting rid of the tiny shirt and hat he wore as a newborn in the hospital), what I can sell and what I'll donate to needy families.

We have a major lack of closet space in here and our bureau is pretty small, so every little bit is going to count.

I still have a lot of work ahead of me, and this weekend we'll pick up some storage bins so I can start a better system of packing away seasonal clothes and keeping our living space open and livable. It's going to be lookin' good in here. And when we have company I'll just spend some time straightening up, not HOURS cleaning in preparation.


Monday, May 11, 2009

a mother's work

I'm not the type to expect lavish gifts and pampering on days like Mother's Day- I don't wear/like a lot of jewelry, I don't think I'd like a spa day, I'm not into designer labels so a new purse or sunglasses would not break the bank. And anyways, I just replaced my $10 Walmart sunglasses Liam broke with another, almost identical $10 pair of Walmart sunglasses, and my new bag was on clearance at Target for like six bucks.

I don't need expensive things to prove my husband appreciates the things I do as a mother.

The first time I woke up on Mother's Day was to a roll of thunder and a splash of rain on the window. I rolled over, smiled, and went back to sleep. Happy Mother's Day to me!

The second time I woke up on Mother's Day was when Liam was calling to me in his sleep. As he slowly woke up, so did Gabe and they moved to the living room to let me spread out in bed. Happy Mother's Day to meee!

The third and final time I woke up on Mother's Day morning, Liam was screaming- the kind of sound where you know something actually happened. I got up and found Gabe trying to keep Liam still- trying to get the peanut out of his nose. I fetched the blunt tweezers from the baby first aid kit and while Gabe held Liam's head still, I probed the peanut back down the nostril from the outside and did a little tug with the tweezers. The peanut slid out and stuck to Liam's lip, and defeated, he whimpered, "Mama." Happy Mother's Day to meeeeeee!

Gabe made us French toast and soy sausage and I got a cute card with a sweet message from Gabe and some crayon scribbles from Liam. They gave me a tray of seed starting pellets so I can start my tomatoes and green peppers over after the first ones died in The Great Heating Struggle of 2009. It was a really nice Mother's Day.

I do have one complaint. It's not Gabe's fault or anything; I'll blame the Mother's Day Fairy. Because she forgot to come at all!

While I might not want fancy jewelry and clothes or a makeover, I am in need of some household things. All the articles you read that tell you not to give a woman a vacuum for Mother's Day? Don't give her an apron! they warn. Well, what the heck! Who makes those rules!

The Mother's Day Fairy forgot to bring the steam-vac that Santa didn't load onto his sleigh last year. My carpet is crying. The Mother's Day Fairy forgot to bring the Shark Steam Mop! My hardwoods and linoleum are also very, very sad. And seriously. Have you seen the front of my shirt after baking? Dear heavens, of course I need an apron!

Also, I'm the type of mom who, despite all the warnings not to, would LOVE to receive necessities for my child on Mother's Day. A wardrobe for Liam? Why, yes, please! The Mother's Day Fairy brought him a slide? How thoughful!

Gabe and Liam gave me a very pleasant and relaxing Mother's Day, and I'm thankful. I'm thankful that the reason I get to celebrate Mother's Day is because I'm Liam's mom. I'm thankful that my husband has never said, "But you're not MY mother" and pretended it was just another Sunday and asked me to make him a sandwich. That's all enough for me. That and the French toast.

But dude- Mother's Day Fairy? Where the heck were YOU!

I hope all you mamas out there had a relaxing day with your beautiful babies (even if your babies are old enough to have babies too).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

another reason I love Maine

I was literally just writing an email to my friends and family, asking them to contact our governor and urge him to sign LD 1020, which would grant marriage equality in Maine. Before I sent it, I opened a new browser to check Facebook where I could find the governor's email address to provide to my recipients. There, I found three brand new status updates declaring that GOVERNOR BALDACCI SIGNED IT!

Maine is now the fifth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, and I could not be more proud of our lawmakers and our governor right now- not to mention all of the Maine residents who supported this bill and spoke out for human rights. This is a really big day and I want to hug everyone that made it possible.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

America's Next Top WHO CARES!

Is it just me or as time passes, are Tyra Banks and Miss J looking more and more alike?

The Good-News Update on Liam's Hell-Rash

I was tempted, but I didn't take photos of Liam's rash at its worst. I decided it would serve no purpose, other than looking through my thousands of digital photos a few months from now and thinking about how awful it was. It's not the kind of cute toddler photo I can show off to his high-school girlfriend in fifteen years. As they're leaving for the prom: "And this was that time Liam got a swollen, bright red rash all over his body! Including his buttcrack! How cute is THAT!" No.

It's better today. This morning, he woke up from a full night of restful sleep with skin that wasn't so startlingly red and the bumps were not as raised. THANK GOODNESS. He's been on Benadryl for just over twenty-four hours so it looks like the allergy diagnosis was accurate. I hope we can figure out what caused it so we can avoid another similar episode. Because UGH.

This morning, since he was more like himself, we read books for a few hours straight, which we haven't done in a while. And it was nice. When we'd finish a book, he'd stack it nicely in front of the couch and fetch another. We only stopped reading because he realized it was more fun to knock the pile over and slip around on the books. Books + carpet = instant ice skates.

We've also watched significantly fewer episodes of Caillou today (whom I refer to unaffectionately [when Liam isn't around] as a whiny little bitch- did I mention I HATE CAILLOU! I may or may not have once made up an inappropriate version of his theme song once. Ok. I did. I also did that for Fifi and the Flowertots because I have never seen a more obnoxious and unnecessary kid's program.) and Liam doesn't seem to mind.



Monday, May 4, 2009


I confess that Liam's hand, foot and mouth disease is gone but now he's having an allergic reaction to something we haven't yet identified and his swollen, full-body rash makes me cringe. This kid's seriously awesome for dealing with it better than I do.

I confess that we've been using Caillou as a... shall I say, calming tool. It works. He's sick. What can we do.


I confess that after declaring this coming week a no-sugar week for the family I used my homemade ginger molasses cookies to absorb Liam's Benadryl because he won't drink it out of the little measuring cup. I'm going to try yogurt and applesauce later but the cookies were more convenient earlier.

I confess that for Gabe and I, the no-sugar week was to start as soon as those cookies were gone and for Liam it was to start immediately. There's always... later in the week.

I confess I may soon be visiting Florida for the first time in my life. Not for a vacation but to visit a dying relative, which is probably one of the worst reasons for a "vacation."

I confess I NEED a vacation but this is not what I had in mind.

I confess that the dying relative is my great aunt, who raised my mother when my mother's parents decided that their children were a burden after they divorced in the 1950s. This great aunt means a great deal to my family and I bent over, clutching the handle on the oven door, sobbing, the day I got the call about her inoperable breast cancer.

I confess I miss my mum, who's been in Florida with her aunt since March.

I confess that I am dorkfully excited about composting. It makes me so happy to empty my coffee cans full of apple cores, potato skins, egg shells and banana peels out by the garden.

I confess that with May here, my son is now one month away from turning two years old and I am painfully torn about having another child or not.

Come on, get something off your chest.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Neighbor, the Genius

So I have this neighbor. She lives in the apartment next to us, and I know her not because we are friendly and visit with each other but because she knocked on my door last spring and asked me to turn up the heat. (The thermostat for our section of the building is in our apartment.) And she liked to leave little notes on our door in the fall, when our landlord was once again breaking laws and not turning the heat on in mid-September. "Can you turn up the heat? It's only 65 in my apartment." When OBVIOUSLY, as the parents of a toddler, if we could control it, we would have. But having the thermostat in our apartment does no good when the furnace is not even ON. And we told her so. We got more, similar notes.

During the winter, whenever we were expecting a snow storm, she'd leave a note requesting that we crank the heat in case we lost power, so that we'd have residual heat. Because, you know, that never occurred to us. And we kept it cranked to a whopping 70 degrees all winter anyway- the highest setting our thermostat allows- because the windows are pitifully drafty and did I mention we have a toddler to keep warm?

Once again, our rat of a landlord turned the furnace off early this spring. In an odd stroke of generosity he gave us an extra ten days or so compared to last year but the fact remains that he turned off the furnace more than three weeks before state law allows. And we got another note on our door this week. "Can you turn up the heat? It's only 65 degrees in my apartment." Lady. It's like 50 in ours. Save your scrap paper.

So we've been having some really nice weather- but the nights are cold, anywhere from the 30s to 50s, so it gets really cold in here. Our apartment in particular has no chance at solar heat since only one of our windows faces south, and it's in the kitchen. It heats up a 2'x2' square on the kitchen floor. Helpful. It stays cold in here. There's that toddler to keep warm- the one who's woken up earlier than he should a few times because he was cold. And we co-sleep. It's that cold in here.

One shot we have at warmth is keeping the main door open. Logically, because the universe has its ways of making sense, if you keep the door open during the day, you let in the nice warm air. If you close it at night you keep out the cold air. Makes sense... right?

Not to my friendly note-writing neighbor. This morning, there were three instances of the front main door being slammed shut just a few moments after other tenants were in and out. It was her. Probably wrapped in a shawl. Or a cat. When we left for a walk shortly afterwards, she'd written a note on the outside of the door: "PLEASE KEEP DOORS CLOSED." On the inside, it read "KEEP DOORS CLOSED BECAUSE THE HEAT IS OFF."

It was almost 70 degrees outside today. That's 70 degrees we should be letting INTO our frigid building, not shutting out. YOU ONLY KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED AT NIGHT, CRAZY LADY.

I'm tempted to leave a note on her door asking her to keep the putrid cat piss stench to a minimum. Sometimes just walking past her door induces body-wracking gags. Sometimes we can smell it in our living room, which shares a wall with hers, and WE DON'T HAVE CATS.

"Can you steam clean and bleach your apartment, and cut back to one cat? It F**KING REEKS in here. And it's really cold."

Nora's movie months

Because we have Netflix, and because with Netflix you can choose to stream some of their movies on your computer or X-Box, we've been watching more movies than usual lately, once Liam is asleep.

Here are my brief reviews and recommendations (and sometimes more importantly, my NOT recommendations) in case you also want to watch a new movie almost every night like we were doing for a while.

: Duh. Paul Rudd is in it. Of course I'm more inclined to like it because he's so ridiculously adorable and I want to snuggle him and sing 80's sitcom theme songs with him in the rain. BUT? If that ten-year-old boy wasn't such a potty mouth, would it have been so inappropriately funny? Well. I do like laughing at LARPers.

YPF: The full title of this movie is Young People F**king. Yes, really. If you don't mind watching people (four couples and one trio, YES REALLY) progress from foreplay to the "afterglow" (with nudity) and you don't mind a mildly amusing movie being mostly pointless, go ahead and watch it instantly. But don't waste a DVD rental on it and don't watch it with your kids or parents around.

: YES. YES, watch this movie because I LOVED it and I haven't LOVED a movie fully in a loooong, loooooong time. This is a low-budget independent film that relies on dialogue instead of circumstance/stunts/boobs to drive it, and it was well-done, well-acted, realistic, and well worth your time. Please watch it and please love it.

QUIET CITY: I only chose this one for its name, because I am the original Quiet City and this movie keeps coming up in my Google alerts. UGH. I hated it. I'm sorry. I wanted to like it. This was another one that relied on somewhat improvised dialogue to drive it but NOTHING EVER HAPPENED. The dialogue didn't drive it anywhere and pretty skyline shots will only go so far.

WEDDING DAZE. I should have known. I should have known not to watch a movie starring Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher, but I did it. And OH MY BONES was it awful. Just awful. Just stupid and not funny and awful. I want to puke on it. Puke on it and set it on fire.

MY SUMMER OF LOVE: Eh. Whole lotta nothing going on here despite the attempt at portraying a spontaneous and passionate friendship between two high school girls. It could have been good, but it wasn't.

SMART PEOPLE: Oh, how I hated this movie. It was forced and I didn't believe a second of it.

TEETH: I honestly didn't know what to think of this movie while I was watching it and for most the the following day. I'm taking a deep breath here before I talk about it. And I'm going to censor some words so that searches for certain words won't land on my blog. Ready? It's about a high school student who's taken a vow of pre-marital celibacy and when she's sexu@lly violated she finds that her vag!na, which she knows NOTHING about, has teeth in it. And these teeth bite off the offender's wee-wee. And through the course of the movie she goes on to be violated by a male gynecologist (who loses fingers), a classmate and her step-brother. Sounds crazy, right? It was. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I guess this "feminist horror movie" has made a lot of waves- but I still can't find a guy that's seen it actually liked it. Wonder why...

THE BIG, BAD SWIM: Eh. Also pretty boring. It's the intertwining lives of the members and instructor of an adult swim class, and yawn.

CHOKE: I was really excited about this movie because I so adore the book by Chuck Palahniuk. And it was not a bad movie. It was a good movie. I can't help but compare the two, though, and I don't think the movie was good enough. I did, however, think the choices of Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston and Kelly MacDonald in the lead roles were perfect.

THE ILLUSIONIST: This was pretty good. Nothing special or pressing for me to say about it, but I do recommend it.

BAGHEAD: YES. Written and directed by the Duplass Brothers (responsible for The Puffy Chair), this was both very funny and pretty scary. Four friends take to the woods to write a film they can take on the festival curcuit, while a mysterious man who wears a bag over his head creeps through the trees around them... dun dun DUN! Watch it.

Some examples of what's waiting in our queue (instant and DVD) that I'm looking forward to:
Rachel Getting Married
Lars and the Real Girl
The Triplets of Belleville
Conversations with Other Women
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
One to Another

Monday, April 27, 2009

the sky on Sunday, and other spring things


I took this when we were spending yesterday afternoon with my dad. We ate lunch outside and Liam went wild in the big, big yard and even got grass stains on his bare knees.




You guys, it's spring! It's been so warm and it's getting green. I don't remember ever being so excited for spring.


Oh, also: I'm planting a vegetable garden! Liam's a good helper. He thinks worms are awesome. He finds them and says, "Oh, wum."


Saturday, April 25, 2009

the open, foam-padded road

With the pretty weather we've been having, we've seen lots of people dusting off their motorcycles and cruising around town.

Gabe really wants one, and I've always been against it for safety reasons. That doesn't stop him from talking about motorcycles ALL THE TIME.

GABE: If I have a motorcycle someday, would you let Liam ride with me?
NORA: Only once he's a teenager.
GABE: Yeah.
NORA: And in full body armor, or a space suit.
GABE: *laughs*
NORA: And only at like ten miles her hour. Barely enough to keep the bike upright.
GABE: Of course.
NORA: And I'll be in the car creeping along behind you.
GABE: And only out on abandoned dirt roads in the middle of nowhere?
NORA: Pretty much.

And I'm only kidding about the space suit.


Saturday, April 18, 2009


I didn't mean to write a post about the sleepless hole I fell into and then disappear dramatically for a week and a half.

But I got some rest and spring came and I was sucked outside into the sunshine and little sprouts on the ground and puffy summer-tinged clouds. I happened to have a crappy day today, but it's no one thing in particular and blahhhhh I don't want to dwell. It was 73 degrees yesterday!

I have another art show tomorrow, which I'm already freaking out about a little because WHAT WILL I WEAR? and this time I'm going by myself because Liam's getting... a little too, um, toddlery for art shows. A little too fussy and squirmy and all "LET ME TOUCH EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE SHARP METAL SCULPTURES!" I would love for him to be included but he doesn't enjoy it because he's only twenty-two months old! and I don't want to force him to grow up spontaneously and behave like a little man. He can BE twenty-two months old. He can BE all toddlery at home with Gabe where they can play and wrestle and chase and screech and cuddle and fall asleep together on the couch.

So yeah, everything's ok.

Now, I will leave you with this movie trailer which I DEMAND you watch because it's magical.

Did you get a little misty-eyed?

The correct answer is YES.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

not so good

Last night, Gabe and I stayed up late to watch a movie and although I was exhausted from the day I'd had with Liam, I was unable to really settle in to sleep until almost 1 a.m. (Thank goodness That '70s Show is on The N in the middle of the night.)

Just before 2 a.m. Liam began stirring again. Instead of just talking in his sleep (telling me about whales like the previous night) he was fussy and fitful. Woke up with a scared scream- bad dreams again. Into our bed he comes, where he played with my hands FOR HOURS and eventually asked to eat. I snuggled him into the crook of my arm and he drank a cup of milk in the dark. I thought he was asleep again so I tried too, but despite my aching tiredness I couldn't sleep. Then he started moving again, murmuring, playing with my hand. Sticking his elbow up under my shoulder blade and into my ribs. FOR AN ETERNITY. At 4:30 a.m. I decided to move to the couch but once my body left the bed he screamed for me again. Back into bed. He's sleeping now. Back to the couch. Eyes heavy. Maybe a couple hours of sleep before Gabe gets up for work, then...

"Maaamaaaaa," he cries in his sleep, heartbroken, reaching for me in the dark. I pull him onto the couch with me, where he settles onto my chest like a newborn, listening to my heartbeat. The calm should soothe me back to sleep too but I'm losing control of my ability to function, and I start crying. Less than an hour of sleep? my body asks. No way, lady, my mind taunts, and I start to hyperventilate.

I haven't hyperventilated since the 8th grade.

Gabe calmed me and I layed there with Liam still on my chest. Feeling like a bad mom for having a meltdown while I am holding my sleepy child. I ask for some water. In the dark, I look down and see the faint light from the kitchen reflecting off of Liam's tired eyes. I run my hand over his golden hair and kiss his little lamb locks.

"I'm sorry you're not sleeping well," I whisper to him. "I'm not either. I know how you feel."

He shifts a little, resting his hand on my wrist as I keep smoothing his hair.

"I love you, Liam. I love you and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."

More kisses.

"Did you dream of whales again?" I ask.

"No," he replies, and I'm glad he's listening.

"Did you dream of doggies? Of duckies? Of climbing mountains?"

Everyone who had children before me was always saying to me, Take in every moment. They grow up too fast.

Which is totally right, and I know that, but this 22-months-old thing isn't going so well so far. This phase is bringing broken sleep and OH MY GOUDA THE NAUGHTINESS. Our 22-month mark is making a cranky toddler and a hyperventilating mommy. I don't want time to fast-forward, I just want the kind of partnership between my son and I that leaves me feeling content and adequate. He seems to have forgotten about my little breathing episode and we had an easy day but I want him to only feel strength and comfort from me. Not panic and anxiety.

Those who've had babies before me say, You have no idea how bad it'll get, and I find no comfort at all in this normalcy.

Liam slept into the afternoon; a nice, long, misplaced nap. When Gabe got home from work we hopped into the car with him and swung by the grocery store. Liam sat in the little plastic car at the front of the shopping cart and steered around the aisles. While we were checking out, he started using his feet to steer and he stuck his little face through the window and shrieked, as if to say to me, "HOW AWESOME IS THIS???"

It is. It is awesome.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Today's Inventory

Didn't get enough sleep. Liam was moving around and talking in his sleep all night.

Leaky diaper false alarm before we were ready to get up; slapped my head repeatedly.

Three tantrums by Liam within 10 minutes of waking.

One pee puddle on the bathroom floor next to the potty, also by Liam, in this same 10-minute time frame.

Three time outs.

While in time out Liam discovered he could reach my CDs so time out was not effective.

Time out spot was moved three inches, out of reach from CDs.

Wrestling matches occurred during every. single. diaper change.

Liam knocked the X-Box off of the TV.

Lots of kicks and defiance.

One piece of paper stuck up Liam's nose for at least twenty minutes. Feared surgical removal would become necessary when I was losing sight of the paper up his nostril; almost called the doctor.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Danger Dad and the Flying Baby

Danger Dad and the Flying Baby, and other recent photos for a lazy, foggy Friday post.

This is the now-infamous Danger Dad Official Photo. The reason I wasn't as psychotically scared as I should have been was what a freakin' awesome photo this stunt happened to make.

Liam is a budding artist, specializing in crayon art.

As this photo shows, he's also showing an interest in composition and sculpture. This particular arrangement is called Still Life with Crooked Cow.

This is how he feels when I photograph his work without prior permission. (Actually this is just his funny screechy face.)

Liam and I clap and make beats on our knees when we hear "Another One Bites the Dust."

Here we are hanging out on the couch after the Queen dance party.

Last but not least, this is the wet sticker he blew out of his nose one day when I noticed the extra attention he was paying to his nostrils. Ahh, motherhood.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Hate April Fool's Day

Unless there's something I have successfully blocked out all these years, no one's ever pranked me in a big way on April 1. That didn't stop me, though, from April Fool's Anxiety. Starting in seventh grade, I used to fake sick every year the holiday rolled around so I wouldn't have to go to school.

I guess I was afraid someone I didn't even know would trip me in the hallway, or slip a whoopie cushion under my bum- something everyone would eventually forget. Everyone but ME.

Looking back, I know there are other issues in my life that I should have focused my energy on, but tell that to a thirteen year old. Life is already hard enough.

A scene from The Virgin Suicides comes to mind- when the youngest Lisbon, Cecilia, is sitting across from a therapist. He says, "What are you doing here, honey? You're not even old enough to know how bad life gets." Straight-faced, she replies, "Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a thirteen-year-old girl." That strikes me right through the heart.

For the record, I'd like to state that most of my other sick days until I graduated from high school were legitimate. The sinus infections, the flu, the cramps, the migraines, THE MONO... all very real.

Oh, and there was Senior Skip Day. My friends and I had a pancake breakfast, went to the mall, and then Pizza Hut. Oh, the life.

Have you ever been pranked in such a manner that you still cringe at loud noises or dread the ringing of the telephone on April Fool's Day?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why I Love My Husband, part 2

(See part one here.)

I was on the couch, and Gabe was on the floor. He yawned. We made eye contact.

GABE: What!
NORA: What?
GABE: Are you spying on me?
NORA: Spying on you?
GABE: I saw you staring at me!
NORA: I looked at you right as you looked at me.
GABE: Creep.