Saturday, March 31, 2007


So: yes. I am still here. Roaming around, writing a little, just not quite enough to post. But whilst roaming 'round, I stumbled across the following and thought: it's fun. It's easy! I'll share.

It is a nifty little word game called Meegle. ('Cause Google + Me = Meegle. Get it? As one of the founding members of TrAmy, I couldn't even begin to pass this up.)

So here's how it works. You take the phrase in bold that begins each statement below and substitute your name for mine. Then put the phrase in quotes, sic Google on it and read the results.

Select your favorite phrase from the first page and assemble your list thusly. You may be amused and surprised to find, as I did, that the final product bears striking similarities to your very own person.

As I remind my children daily: it's nice to share. So I encourage you to post your personalized Meegle on your own blog, if you're so inclined, or share it in my comments section. (Obviously this doesn't work too well if you're one of those smart, security-minded types who uses a bloggy pseudonym.)

But enough about you. Here's, for better or worse, Meegle:

Amy was born on 23/09/83 and has been at Monkey World since the park opened in 1987.

Amy grew up in Anchor Point, Alaska until she was 8 years old.

Amy likes to take pictures of the moon.

Amy hates to go out into the world “without her face on,” but for her that could mean warts, a prosthetic hump, and a set of false teeth.

Amy spends most of her time building Lego creations and playing with friends at the park.

Amy eats leftover pancake batter.

Amy wonders how the little scumbag figured it out, and Ronna asks whether it's true.

Amy favorite food is Nestle Turtles.

Amy’s hair is shorter than mine, with a few blonde highlights (“from the sun” she says -- yeah, right).

Amy likes to wear the Late Late Show t-shirt she got in the green room when she exercises.

Amy has traveled to the West Indies and American Samoa to conduct research for PCCS on these important humpback breeding ground areas.

Amy works with clay… and Amy makes a man.

Amy has decided to resume speaking in third person for the antepenultimate, penultimate, and final bullet points.

Amy cries before adding that “Nobody knows, and nobody cares that I die on the inside!”

Amy is happy as she is, but no one knows what to do with such an unprincesslike princess, least of all the princes of neighboring kingdoms who come looking for a bride.

The end. Now: Yoogle.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Watch your back, Dr. Seuss.

There's a new cat in town.

Long before I had ankle-biters of my very own, I pored over the works of Henkes, Boynton and Steig and nursed a secret fantasy: that I might someday write a highly successful children's book. As the years have passed, I've often wondered: when will inspiration strike?

Now, at last, I have an original idea for a book, hatched from my personal experience as a mother. Right off the bat, you know you're in for big fun, because the title is catchy and features an explanation point. Explanation points = excitement!

The working title is "HEY, YOU!" And it's all about a little boy whose mother constantly calls him by the wrong name.

Sometimes, she calls him by the first syllables, combined, of his two siblings' names: SpeKay! Occasionally, she reverses the order, as in KSpe, which is almost like a stutter. (As evidenced in illustrations: she tends to stutter and stammer and turn red in the face. A lot.)

Sometimes, oddly, she calls the little boy by his father's name, even though his father is at work and, as far as she knows, had nothing to do with the fact that every item in the boy's wardrobe has been unceremoniously stripped off its hanger and dumped in the middle of his room.

And sometimes, when her face is very red, his mother calls the little boy by the dog's name. That's especially weird, because as they discussed ad nauseum for nights on end last summer, the dog is now in Doggie Heaven. This causes the little boy to question his mother's sanity.

Oh, fine: I realize that so far, my children's tale isn't side-splitting funny in the conventional sense. However, I'm hard at work on the hilarious and adorable ending. It's gonna sell a million copies! I just know it. And it's a good thing, because the proceeds are already earmarked for Carter's future therapy sessions.

P.S. This one's for Ellie. Love you!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Lucky break

Oh, my sweet bloggy circle of friends, near and far, known and unknown... please don't give up on me just yet.

It's true that I've been a perfectly horrible correspondent lately: friendly and funny e-mails have gone unanswered, wonderfully witty and wise blog posts have gone uncommented (not a word? well, it should be) and this blog has gathered dust and grown weeds even as my backyard has erupted in blossoms and buds of every conceivable color.

Tender red photinia leaves, shocking fuschia redbuds, snowy white pear trees and tiny verdant shoots of new grass: my black-and-white computer screen can't possibly compete.

Then, of course, there's the matter of the boy. At this point in our life, how can spring break cause such a disruption in our weekly schedule? He's just one kid, going to preschool three days a week. Yet, errands that I might have run with two in tow will have to wait: no way am I wrangling all three of my offspring into a store unless it's an absolute emergency. Like, we're out of milk. Or vodka. You other mothers know what I'm talking about.

Also: the naps that used to power me through the first half of the week? Not happening right now. What I hoped in vain might be a fleeting nap strike is, I am stubbornly forced to admit, the reasonable and appropriate recognition that a four-year-old doesn't actually NEED a ninety-minute nap anymore. Sigh. There went a block of free computer time, followed by a brief but restorative snooze on the couch.

Despite these petty grievances, we've actually had a marvelous spring break. We've had playdates every day: the Galleria, the park, a neighbor's house and two here at home. We've explored every inch of the backyard, dumped and scooped buckets and buckets of sand (and, in the process, schlepped at least a million grains of the stuff into every room of the house) and conducted multiple experiments with homemade mud.
And now, it's time for a little break of my own. Our own, to be precise: just Mr. F5 and me. Amazingly enough, thirteen years have passed since that spring afternoon when we looked each other in the eyes and said, "I do" before a small gathering of friends and family.

One of those who was present, my brother John, wasn't even three years old at the time: younger than Carter, a little older than the twins. Now he's going to serve as babysitting assistant to our mom, who's agreed to spend twenty-four uninterrupted hours with the kids while Trey and I make ourselves scarce.

So the blogging once again takes a backseat. Which is probably as it should be. But I'll be back soon, I promise. Enjoy the break. I know I will.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Tonight, a few random observations of parenthood. Join me, won't you?

1. It can't possibly have been all that far away and long ago, but I'm unable to recall the last time an entire week passed without Trey jetting off to some fabulous destination. (He may split hairs on this, but I define "fabulous destination" as any structure, from a pup tent to a five-star hotel, without a diaper pail.)

Needless to say, this has been a nice change of pace for everyone. I'm more relaxed when he's home at the end of every day, the muppers are outright elated and, since the sun is hanging out a little longer these days, we've been able to enjoy a few early-evening strolls to the park, en famille. Life, it's good.

In fact, my only extraordinarily petty quibble about having Trey home every night is that I have to share the television with him. In sharp contrast to our pre-parenthood life, we watch very little TV these days. But with rare exceptions (perennial favorite The Daily Show and newcomer 30 Rock), we don't enjoy the same programs anymore.

Examples? I'll happily sit through just about anything featuring characters named Carrie Bradshaw or Phoebe Buffay. Also: Suzanne Sugarbaker and Oprah Winfrey. And talking. I like lots and lots of talking.

Trey, he's not especially interested in dialogue. He prefers noises, like WHIRRRRR and BANG! and SCREEECH. This can include, but is not limited to, Formula One racing, "V for Vendetta" and anything whatsoever to do with manufacturing. Just tonight, I noticed that he has recorded a documentary about cans.

Yes, cans. I couldn't believe it myself, until I read the description: "The tin can is spotlighted in this examination of its history and development."

How we missed that one at the movie theater, I'm sure I'll never know. Pass the popcorn.

2. There's another father in town tonight: mine. Opa and YaYa, as my dad and Betty are called when they're at our house, have made the trek west from Georgia this weekend.

The kids are thrilled to have a brand-new audience: Opa is teaching Carter how to cast a fishing line (first lesson: try not to aim for roofs, or your brother's head), YaYa and Katie instantly bonded over hairbows and Spencer got to play with Opa's digital camera after dinner, which basically made his entire week.

3. Watching them all have an absolute ball together moves me more than words can say. So if you'd like to read a truly gorgeous and thoroughly coherent post about babies and daddies and blessings beyond measure, I urge you to high-tail it to Big Mama. Personally, I've found it best to keep a box of kleenex nearby whenever I visit her blog: she either makes me cry big snotty tears, or laugh so hard that my eyes start leaking. You have now been warned.

4. With that in mind, hang onto that tissue just a little longer while you watch this brief yet meaningful video at Jen's blog. And I'm not trying to tell you how to live your life, honestly, but you should take me at my word when I beg you not to click this link with a full bladder or a mouthful of any beverage at all.

That's enough out of this mom for one night. Enjoy your weekends, one and all...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vandering mind

Call it naivete: I convinced myself I'd be one of the lucky ones. Look at Tracey R! I thought. She's done it, twice, and emerged apparently unscathed.

Of course I read every scrap of research I could find, pondered it endlessly with friends and strangers alike, even voiced my concerns with the salesman in the final seconds before signing on the dotted line. But he quickly and easily smooth-talked his way past my feeble objections. "Oh, every once in a great while, that might happen," he murmured, "but trust me: if it does, you won't even care."

And of course, he's absolutely right. I don't care. I'm happy, much happier than I ever imagined I'd be. But like Algernon, I have fleeting memories of my old life, flashing like lightning through my tiny, mouse-sized brain.

I have been lobotomized by my new minivan.

My. Minivan. The words look oxymoronic on the computer screen.

How could I possibly have a minivan? Aren't I a carefree 19-year-old babysitting these three adorable children and waiting for their mother to return with a hastily written check and a hearty thank-you for doing such an awesome job feeding and caring for them in her absence? And then I'll take my big check, hop into my zippy Jetta, punch in my favorite cassette tape and crank up the volume as I dash to The Limited so I have something cute to wear to Sixth Street tonight.

And yet, there in the driveway stands all evidence to the contrary. It's my minivan. Shiny black outside. Tan leather inside. Every conceivable bell and whistle. Parked next to my old love, my silver Volvo, which looks slightly humble now.

We had such good times together, my wagon and I. It was a stalwart of safety when I needed it most, living in a neighborhood that was slightly more than sketchy, with a traveling husband, a cranky old dog and a three-month-old baby. We navigated the streets of Dallas, the cities of Texas, even an ill-advised summer trip to Alabama with mi familia loca.

Ever loyal, it rolled with me to a better neighborhood. It magically expanded to hold a trio of car seats, wedged tightly together, on its middle bench. It forgave me a few minor scrapes, and I forgave it when it decided to blow hot air instead of cool in the middle of July for no apparent reason when we were three hours away from home.

But just today, my heart skipped a beat when I mashed a pea-sized button and watched two sleek black doors slide quietly open. Poor, sweet Volvo. How can you possibly compete with that?

My mind may be shot. I may never form a coherent sentence again. But if you see me scooting around town with three kids who are thrilled to have their own elbow room and more cupholders than they could ever want, you might detect a flash of something unexpected behind the tinted windows.

It's a big sappy smile. Me and my minivan.

Friday, March 02, 2007


C'est moi.

Well, not really. But j'adore le song, which has been in heavy rotation on Hear Music, and je find le video tres fascinating.

Merci beaucoup to Tracey R. for inspiring me to post a YouTube video here; check her blog today for a clip that should be required viewing for all Texans. Or anyone married to a Texan. Or anyone who's heard of Texas.

C'est ca, y'all.