Archive for February, 2011

Two for two!

Posted by jonesey on Sunday, 27 February 2011, 22:46

Julie and I won two (two!) awards at Chandra and Eric’s always highly anticipated and enjoyable Oscar party tonight.

I was the male winner of the award for best costume, with my interpretation of listless Oscar co-host James Franco’s interpretation of Aron Ralston, the guy who (spoiler alert!) cut off his arm after being trapped under a rock for a few days. And if you think that’s on the wrong side of tasteful, do I have to remind you of my Steve Irwin Halloween costume, donned just weeks after his unfortunate incident with the ray? Oy!

P.S. Don’t ask what’s in the Nalgene bottle.

Julie just missed with her spot-on Holly Golightly outfit (note Cat and cigarette holder), but she won the prize for most awards guessed correctly (14 out of 24). Cat is holding her trophy.

Aron and Holly

Aron Ralston and Holly Golightly at the Academy Awards, Feb 27, 2011

Neighborhood Fire Hydrants

Posted by julie on Monday, 21 February 2011, 22:36

For those of you who aren’t in Eugene, here’s a link to all of the South University Neighborhood Association’s painted fire hydrants. If you click on a photo, you might get a little more information about the artist.

Good News: CPR really can help

Posted by julie on Sunday, 20 February 2011, 23:20

The good news: The young woman who had a heart attack while we were at Bounce last week is alive and recovering. CPR really does perfuse bodily tissues with oxygen. When definitive care is close, it can buy you enough time. It bought her enough time.

More good news: A woman, a first grade teacher, retired after 30 years, told me the other day at the pool that she appreciated the way I was speaking to my children. I smiled and thanked her. “No, thank YOU,” she said. I have my naturopath, Dr. Bove, to thank for my newly discovered calm.

Even more good news: My goal for the 25K Hagg Lake mud run today was between 2:43-3 hours and to place within the top half of my age group and gender. My time? 2:42. I placed 8th of 32 women aged 35-39, and 117 of 267 overall. Can I tell you how much ankle-deep mud can slow a person down? I should have run in cleats. Or crampons. I only fell three times. The winner fell five. See, he was going for it more than I.

I didn't lose my shoes! Good gaiters.

And, finally, 1974. My love and I went to Rita Honka’s 50th! birthday party on Friday. We decided that 70s attire wasn’t optional.

Polyester Couple

Dear World: Can we please take a break from the life lessons for a while?

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 15 February 2011, 20:53

For the second time in a little over a week, death—or its proximity—has convinced me that I need to make some simple changes in my life. This morning, while toddlers and preschoolers bounced on trampolines, spilled water on themselves at the fountain, and twisted themselves up on the rings, a dad and the owner of this kids’ gym performed CPR on a mom nobody knew whose heart had stopped by the time she hit the ground. Her two-year-old son was carried away so he could try to focus on something other than his unresponsive mom with people pushing on her chest. Later, someone realized that the smiling 11-month-old baby in the carseat was his little sister.

(The lack of empathy that preschoolers and toddlers exhibit was perfect for this situation, by the way. They played, largely unaware of the drama unfolding before them. It wasn’t until the paramedics came that either of my children noticed something was wrong.)

After some deduction and asking the little boy where his shoes were in the hopes of finding his mom’s purse, the very responsible woman in charge found the patient’s phone and managed to call her husband. After the ambulance left, the rest of us moms and dads followed our children around, our eyes glazed and our minds on other things. The patient’s husband and mother or mother-in-law arrived, and, as with my realization that I had met the high school student who drowned in a rogue wave last week, I was taken by the smallness of this world. This shell-shocked young dad had been my respectful, questioning, adventurous student at the University a decade ago. I smiled at him and then took care of my daughter’s nosebleed–something I knew I could actually fix.

Other than hoping that the AED did more for this woman than CPR (which did help, a little; twice she came back and took big gulps of air before disappearing again), here’s what I was thinking:

  • My kids need to know how to dial 911. If something happens to me when I’m alone with them, they’ll have to be my heroes (but don’t tell them that they failed if they can’t be).
  • They also need to know their own names, my full name, Chris’s full name and where he works, and another emergency contact’s full name. Both kids had this when I quizzed them on the way home. I just heard Elena saying “Mama, Mama, Julie, Mama” as she fell asleep.
  • I need to amend my purse a little. It should have:
    • My small CPR mask (which easily fits in my pocket)
    • Emergency numbers in my wallet
    • Contacts in my iPod

I don’t want to be a downer, just a realist. But to end on a happier note, remember that my lesson for last week was that the single most important thing I can give my children is a childhood filled with laughter and love. Laughter and love: ultimately, nothing’s more important.

A Weekend’s Productivity

Posted by julie on Monday, 14 February 2011, 8:04

Apparently constitutionally incapable of buying Dora valentines at the drugstore, I helped Sylvan with his rockets (look how small he wrote his name; those are glitter gluesticks) and Elena with her collage valentines.

Sylvan's new "book"shelf. This took a painfully long time to paint. My husband is very patient with my endless in-process projects. He only mentions them every couple of weeks or so.

I felt productive this weekend. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Appreciating My Preschoolers

Posted by julie on Monday, 7 February 2011, 21:38

I wrote these first few paragraphs a week and a half ago, and I intended to follow them up with an account of our trip to the beach, farther below. My words seem prescient and bittersweet, given the sad events at the coast this weekend and my last blog entry.

27 January 2010

Dear Sylvan and Elena,

The truth is that I wish I realized, every single moment of every single day, how fleeting this is, how you’re going to grow up and be teenagers tomorrow. But I’ve never been patient, and I feel like parenting preschoolers is all about boundless patience.

But today I appreciated you both. And I have some joyous images in my mind that will remain with me when you’re 13. We headed up to Salem so I could pick up a craigslist find from a seller in Keizer. You guys and I went to A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village to make a day of it. What a super place! It consists of three old Victorian houses, painted brightly and filled to bursting with exciting, well-considered kid rooms.

Snapshots I’ll remember: Elena disappearing into the black void of the slide below me, completely fearless. Sylvan in a scarlet macaw costume two sizes too small, a costume you returned to when I said we had 15 more minutes before our drive home.

Tonight, when Sonya arrived to babysit, she said to you, Elena: “Are you my bug?” You replied,  “You my bud.” G’s are challenging.

The craigslist find, in place in our bathroom. Not a project, and under $100. And look at the bonus cutest cat in the world!

7 February

When the kids and I got into the car in Eugene last Thursday, it was 38°F and partly cloudy. An hour and a half later, at the beach, it was 55°F and sunny. We packed a backpack of sand toys, snacks, and warm clothes, and we set off for the boardwalk trail through the dunes. The highlight of the day for both kids was pooping in the dunes; I do what I can to provide authentic experiences. We spun, ran, skittered from the waves, threw wet sand at a tree stump, ate, played horseshoes, drew letters in the sand, turned cartwheels, got our clothes wet and sandy, patted nice dogs, walked pretty far (Sylvan on his own, with zero whining. Yay!), collected shells and driftwood, and even relaxed for 3½ minutes (Oh, that was just me.).

Then, the angels fell asleep in the backseat while I listened to a podcast on the way home (Have you ever noticed that every sleeping child is an angel?).

On the boardwalk trail. I love her look; I feel like she rarely looks to him for reassurance, but maybe she's just good at pretending.

Ah, dune running. I remember the first time I did it: on Cape Cod with Aunt Sheila and Mom.

I definitely wanted to take this home for our backyard. I considered rolling it. Far. I think it was the same age when it was cut down that I am now. Look at the little people footprints in the sand.

See ya, Mom. We're going in!

Run away, run away!

Okay, am I supposed to throw this wet sand in your eyes or call it poop?

Sand dance

See my sand?

Love and Laughter

Posted by julie on Monday, 7 February 2011, 0:06

Dear Sylvan and Elena,

Tonight, I found out that two South Eugene High School seniors drowned when a sneaker wave caught them off-guard while they were walking down the coast in Yachats. They weren’t doing anything particularly risky, just walking with their friends, who tried desperately to save them.

I walked into each of your rooms, replacing blankets that had been tossed off and studying your sleeping faces. I realized that I won’t be able to protect you from any possible harm. You will grow, and I can teach you to try to make good decisions. But there are some things I won’t be able to protect you from—some things that I shouldn’t protect you from, if you’re going to grow up to be independent and capable. I will do my best. And I will kiss you every day we’re together.

Sadly, then I recognized the last name of one of the boys. I’d met him with his Mom, a fellow dancer who will have tears I can’t even begin to comprehend. He was gracious and smiling, just like his mother; and I know that, even though his life was cut tragically short, it was a good life, filled with love and laughter.

Every day, I will try to remember that a life filled with love and laughter is what I want for you.