Archive for February, 2008

15 Minutes for Everyone Else

Posted by julie on Monday, 25 February 2008, 16:10

All of a sudden, I feel like many of my friends are famous. I started thinking about it when Chris had me listen to this podcast he’d heard while making dinner (you can read the text of the story, if you prefer). That’s Jenn, who I’ve known since third grade when her Mom was our Brownie troop leader. Now Jenn works for the FBI, doing super-cool forensics biochemistry. Of course, that means she has to work in D.C., so, while I’m envious of her work as a scientist . . .

Then there’s Melynda, with whom I went to grad school. We were very sorry when our outdoorsy (and adorable, Chris would remind me, if I’d given him the chance) friend moved to the drier snows and cloudless skies of Montana. Since then she’s managed to combine her outdoor experience with her desire to write. She wrote a book for which her research consisted of cross-country skiing in Montana, and she’s penned and sold a number of articles as well. She’s working on her next cross-country ski guide, I think — or at least she’s doing more “research.” Yeah, I’m just plain jealous — and impressed by her drive.

Then I was listening to a re-broadcast edition of This American Life via podcast and came across my college roommate, Robin, talking about a girls’ quiz show for which she used to write (Robin’s in Round III). Thank goodness for podcasts, or I’d know nothing about what my friends are up to. Robin has also written and published a novel, Shaking Her Assets, a number of magazine articles, and quite a few episodes of various sitcoms.

No discussion of famous friends would be complete without a nod to Sandra, who exercised her rich tenor (sometimes alto) in an a capella group in college, belting out Annie Lennox songs. I recommend the “Do you have a lover?” video.

And Chandra, who, along with her husband, Eric, invited us to their annual Oscar bash last night, made it into the New York Times last fall through her job for Oregon Wild, an organization that advocates for Wilderness and forests, among other honorable activities. You can find Chandra measuring a tree in the New York Times slideshow. She also recently wrote a column for the Eugene Weekly.

Emma, who was in Chris’s eating club at college, might be the most famous of all, spreading sex advice and information far and wide. Please watch em&lo’s reel of TV clips, if only so you can appreciate how charming it is listening to Emma’s British accent on Anal Airlines (NOT for the office and NOT for my Dad).

Go, girls.

Found objects for Grandma Diana’s birthday

Posted by jonesey on Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 15:17

¡Feliz cumpleaños, abuelita!

Una Rata (atrapada en el ático):


Dos lenguas (en dos de tus hombres favoritos):

boys with tongues

Happy Birthday: 29 Months

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 23:00

Dear Sylvan,

Last night, your Daddy sent me an e-mail: “If Sylvan is feeling creative tomorrow, he could make some little cards for everyone, and he and I could deliver them on Wednesday. . . I was thinking something pretty minimal, like a small red heart on which one of us writes ‘(heart), Sylvan’ and then Sylvan can decorate as he sees fit. Nothing too insane or time-consuming.” Despite the fact that he’s known me for fourteen years, your father apparently doesn’t know me at all, at least when it comes to art projects. First of all, cutting out 31 little red hearts would have given me agita. Second of all, “minimal?” Impossible. So you and I went shopping, spent too much money on a stamp pad, heart stamp, and stickers, and away we went. You were somewhat interested; let’s just say that it would have been fine if we’d only been making Valentines for the ten or so people in your classroom at any one time. You preferred putting your transparent little face stickers directly on top of the Chianti-red stamped hearts, giving you a disturbing disguise. Good thing you went to bed after stickering only eight cards.

Sylvan’s Valentines

You awoke in the middle of last night, saying, “I want to pee in the potty, Daddy!” This despite the fact that you were wearing a disposable diaper. Good job. Then, you said, “Daddy, you need to kiss me on my chin.” Daddy obliged. You need kisses when you hurt. And, although you don’t have a word for your throat yet, you had the same sore throat last night that your Daddy and I had. You wanted him to kiss your throat; your chin was pretty close, geographically.

Sylvan as sleeping bagThis whole potty training thing has amazed me, frankly. I mean, kids just learn stuff. Who knew? What seems most miraculous is that we just started dressing you in big boy underwear: sink or swim, baby. It took two weeks, but you realized you didn’t like the feeling of warm, wet socks. By three weeks, you pretty much had it down: “Daddy come in the baffwoom! Close the doors!” In fact, you made it all the way from the east side of the mountains in one pair of dry underwear on Sunday. I could have used some Depends.

Today, you told me you wanted to go out the gate, a euphemism for going for a walk to see the world. It was time for a snack and some more Valentine-making (soon, you’ll be able to tell me where to stick my craft projects). You said, “Do you hear my words? It’s time to go out the gate.” I did hear your words, but it didn’t seem like it, did it? This evening, at 7:52, you asked Daddy whether he could hear your words, which were saying it was not, in fact, time for bed.

You’ve also picked up one phrase that you rarely use correctly: “in case.” I can’t think of one of your improper examples, but you never have a dependent clause. The funnier one is “sorry,” which you use correctly. Almost. Last night, Daddy was going to take you to bed, which would have given me 45 minutes of uninterrupted Julie-time; but I didn’t tell you that, I swear. You said, “Sorry, you’re going to take me to bed, Mommy.”

Sylvan tries out his new skisWe spent the weekend on the sunny side of the mountains, staying in one of Lapine State Park’s “deluxe” cabins with Cole and his family, while your girlfriend, Josie, and her family rented another, and our littler friend Colton and his parents were in a third. On Saturday, we headed up to Foggy Bottom Sno-Park (a.k.a. Swampy Lakes), where we put on your brand-new cross-country skis in the parking lot. You didn’t take them off for another 45 minutes or so, and then only with a fight. After tracking through the parking lot to get used to the skis, we headed out on-trail, and you insisted on skiing for about a fifth of a mile. That won’t sound impressive when you’re eleven, but, let me tell you, you Sylvan skiing by himselfcurrently stand as tall as my hip socket. And you didn’t even have poles. Sure, you held one of our hands for most of the time, but, gosh, most adults aren’t nearly as good on skis their first time around. After your grumpy, sleepy breakdown, falling asleep in my arms as I sang “Froggy went a-courtin’,” a nap in a backpack, and lunch, you strapped the skis on again. You went downhill, bending your knees, as we suggested, so you wouldn’t fall. And you requested the hokey-pokey on skis, putting your “left foot in” with no problem. You even jumped on your skis, right off the ground, during the “that’s what it’s all about, WHOO!” section.

Sylvan demonstrating his impeccable crouch position

I don’t want to push you, but I’m going to tell you right now that I was so proud of you on those skis. You just loved it. I’m going to try to encourage you to enjoy backpacking, climbing, skiing, canoeing, and later, mountaineering, without driving you away from the pursuits I love so much. I won’t push. I hope. I asked your Dad the other day, “Do you know what I think about way too much?” And, after his de rigueur responses about body image, he conceded that it would be wise for him to stop guessing. I said, “At what age can I can take my kids mountaineering? Eleven?”

Sylvan throwing a snowball at Mom

The tree frogs are peeping tonight. And my garlic is growing. Spring in Eugene, and it’s only February. We had six inches of snow two weeks ago!

I love you, Sweet Boy,