Thursday, May 10, 2018


I've been young most of my life. That's strange to say, I know, but it's true. In my immediate family I am the youngest, and the youngest by a decade with siblings almost 20 years older. In my cousins I am the youngest, though only by a year and a month, but my closest in age cousin was a lot more worldly than I was, having grown up across the border in Chicago and being deep into the punk scene in the late 80s, taking buses to The Alley and the free bus to Golf Mill while I was riding my bike two blocks away to play in the South Park parking lot or go to 7-11. And on the other side of the family I am the youngest of the cousins by more than a decade, and again I have cousins on that side more than 20 years older than me. My parents and aunts and uncles grew up in the 30s and 40s. I was like an entire two generations younger. So I had a weird perspective of being really young and also knowing that old people weren't really that old, and realizing classmates who thought our grade school teachers in their 20s and 30s were old were just wrong  A lot of those teachers were younger than my brothers and sisters. I would marvel at friends who came to my house and asked how to turn on the piano as if it were a Casio keyboard, or couldn't bear to watch a classic movie because it wasn't in color, or didn't want to watch the presidential debate on tv because they thought it was boring.

I'm pretty sure this directly ties in with Einstein's major theories, right? I knew a lot about growing up in the pre and post WWII era because my parents did that and talked about it. Ration books and ice trucks for ice boxes and baseball games in empty lots and winning a jar of peanut butter or a bicycle at the movie theatre where you'd go all day to sit in the rare air conditioning and watch Westerns trailored by newsreels, and taking the streetcars and pre-Vatican 2 Mass and dressing up for everything and the newness of airplane travel and giant television sets with tiny screens powered by tubes and all of that felt familiar to me, even as I longed for, and occasionally got, faux paint spattered sweatshirts with one giant button, enormous hot pink and neon blue Swatch watches with pop out faces, rock star Barbie dolls, a super long teal earring paired with a small diamond stud, oversized sweaters paired with cuffed up jeans and jellies... The 80s were really far from the 50s. Blondie was really far from The Andrews Sisters. I liked them all and felt safe being young but knowing about those older things, having firsthand knowledge of full service gas stations (one of my brother's worked at Ollie's, before it became Amaco or Standard or something) and whole milk and drinking pop out of glass bottles and then returning it to the store for a deposit. I felt, weirdly, nostalgic for a past I never lived in but remembered fondly. And I felt nostalgic for it's counter-culture rival, the 1960s, too. I just desperately wanted to preserve all those times and the people who lived in them and keep them as part of my present as well.

And now, now for the first time in my life I am legitimately getting old. And now I feel old too, maybe a lot older, because I do intimately know those WWII and Hippy eras even though I really wasn't alive in them. And people who were alive then are disappearing fast and that says something about me and my place in this hierarchy of age. Now, for the first time in my life, I'm really not young, and I wish I knew a little more about the 80s than about the 50s, and I do appreciate the future. It certainly is strange to get older.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


We had two weekends of weddings in a row, which meant two Ellen flower girl experiences. That was pretty awesome. Ellen is so sweet and soft. She got a new level of smart recently, and I am afraid I never did take enough movies of her being a baby and all the cute baby stuff. So before I forget I have to record some of what she still says. Things like,
" You've got that, same as I have." 
"wiff" = with
"Well actually", to punctuate many parts of her stories
This morning I said, "Bye Ellen, I love you so much" and she said, "I love you so much also, Donna."
She loves to break out the Donna every so often. I haven't had time to figure out every nook and cranny of her personality, like I did with the older boys. And I forget what is age appropriate. Sometimes she seems so incredibly young, but maybe that's because she is. I don't know. I think you'd have to have like 10 or 15 kids before you could really be able to take it all in stride and really "get" it. No two kids are the same, which is obvious and yet it still amazes me how different they can be.

I really liked Robin Sloan's book Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, and now I am reading his new book Sourdough. And I'm reading it really slowly, for two reasons. One is that in the middle of last year I went from having some consistently amazing eyesight for all of my life, save a random pair of glasses here and there like during grad school, to one day waking up to blurriness and no longer being able to read print without tromboning. I of course suspected the worst, but I went to the eye doctor and he proclaimed it, "middle age." Ouch. So poof, just like that I have cheaters everywhere and feel vulnerable and lost without my super vision powers. And it has slowed my reading, which previously was really speedy, but maybe not as speedy as Brendan who can inhale a full-length adult size chapter book in about an hour and change. Liam too is a speed reader. I am a formerly was. :/
The other reason I'm reading it slowly is that I was really liking the book, and it's a very meandering book so you can read it slowly to savor it and that's fine. But then I ready some other books in between and I waited too long to go back to it and it had to be returned the library and when I started reading it again a little of the magic was gone. Or maybe that's just a weakness of the author and his ability to do endings, because I think Penumbra was like that as well. I checked it out again at the library but I couldn't get the regular type and so the fates gifted me with the only available copy - large type. I'm also just starting Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. Good so far but I'm only on Chapter 3. Hey, what podcasts do you listen to?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Weekend in the Life

Yesterday, it was a Friday. I most likely woke up with a start, as is my way now, always with the feeling that my alarm didn't go off and I'm late for everything. I guess that's anxiety? It's sort of weird because especially after my dad died I had that problem falling asleep, wracked with nerves and anxiety about everything. That morphed into the 2am wakeups and hours to fall back asleep. So honestly this waking up at 6 something in a bit of a panic, well I'd call it an improvement.
Anyway, Eric and I get up about 6ish. I usually get the uniforms and makes the lunches, Eric makes the breakfast. The kids brush teeth, feed the pets, get the water bottles, get the vitamins and ostensibly get themselves ready, but often that requires a lot of cat herding prodding from me and Eric.

(I'm taking over from where I left off when I started this draft. And actually yesterday WAS a Tuesday!)
About 3 monrings a week Liam has before school band. This is another post entirely, but let's just sum it up by saying he is not a morning person, nor am I. And after two years of this now Brendan is in band, and A. He adds another early morning band practice to the schedule and B. Told us that they're supposed to get there at 6:45, not 7, which is what we'd been doing the last two years and Liam never said anything. BUT ANYWAY... In some ways it is easier to get one kid out of the house and only have the three. We usually make a pre-ready breakfast. Is that a word? So for instance Crock Pot oatmeal (cinnamon, brown sugar, apples, chia, flax, add almonds and raisins, delish!) or Trader Joe's dark chocolate croissants (about 85 grams of fat no joke but mmm) and those are nice because you put them in the oven before bed, they proof, and the oven turns on and bakes them WHILE YOU SLEEP! I'm looking for other of those types of dishes if you have any suggestions.
Well that helps with the mornings so that is good. But what is bad is that Eric and I don't got to bed until 11 - 1 (usually I am the midnight or 1 goer to beder) so it's frankly just not enough sleep. And just like I have spent the last four years waiting for things to calm back down to normal, I have been waiting for many months to get enough sleep. Still waiting.
Well that's about all the ramblings I have in me for now. Soooo sleepy. And still have two hours left at work.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

And also, It Was a Tuesday

I'm back. I'm back? Yes, I do believe I am.  Boy a lot has happened these last couple years. I have missed this blog. I'm sad for Ellen's 4 year old sake that I do not have a great record of her last few years, and for 7 year old Aidan's and 9 year old Brendan's and jeepers jolly gee willaker's 11 year old Liam's sake too. They have a lot of great times, these kids, while we were gone.  Eric and I have too. And I look forward to recording some of our next adventures here.

So, let's see.  This summer has been a wild ride. Let's take today, for instance. I woke up at 6 something (allow me to borrow a line from my cousin's FB post - Anxiety is my alarm clock.  It is.  I don't know why but I assume it's hormonal.) At least that sounds right and I do sleep in too late. I'm fighting a cold as is the rest of the house so I slowly dragged myself downstairs, we had breakfast, and Liam hopped on his bike over to summer band. He plays the clarinet these days. Oh!  And we moved!  We are in a house that's just a perfect fir for us. Very nice place to have some mini Great Gatsby parties at as well. So it's a little further from school but Liam and Brendan are able to traverse the paths and get there, and to most of their friends' homes as well. While Liam and his friends were at band, some of the friends' little brothers came over to play. And after band a couple of Liam's friends came over too. And that is how we had 8 kids here for most of the day. In the afternoon Brendan and a couple of the boys went to a local kid-run sports camp, and a couple of Aidan's friends came over. And through it all I have been packing and planning for our upcoming trip to DC. Didn't get asmuch done as I would have liked, but that's pretty much par for the course these days. In three weeks I'll be working quasi full time (37 hours) between two libraries. We shall see, as I have not done this since I was just a wee bit pregnant with Liam. Oh!  I have to go pick Brendan up from a local basketball clinic and that means I have to wake up a sleeping Ellen (Eric is with Aidan at Liam's basketball game.)
But I'll talk to y'all soon, ok?

Monday, May 9, 2016


Brendan and Liam want to get back to their blogs so I'm gonna too.  I want to create a dictionary of Ellen, because I already can't remember so much of Liam and Brendan when they were little.

ice cone cream - any ice cream creation
Biam - Liam
Nenny - Nellie (herself)
baba - bottle
fonzy dress, fonzy shoes - fancy clothes
my tumny hurts, I sick
all dum -all done, just like Liam used to say
you aw bedder, a widdle bit bedder?
shooshe - sushi
I know - I don't know
You mean
I baby
Go Cubbies - when she wants people to notice how cute she is
I lub you
I lub you, Nessa (pider, bug, pencil)
echo - gecko
Echo Walker - Liam's gecko Skywalker
I die - when she plays with her brothers
funder - thunder

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cleanup in Aisle 5

Have you ever seen the commercial with a little man standing on top of a boardroom table yelling, "There are three ways we can do this.  My way, my way, or my way.  Do I make myself clear?"  My kids love this, and the absolute funniest thing is the world is Aidan's impersonation with his little voice shouting, "My way, my way, or my way.  Do I get myself done?!?!"
Swanky the chop.
And now he says, "Do you get myself clear?!!?!"

Also, that person in the store today who dropped two small bottles of apple juice, one of which burst opened and spilled (spilt?) everywhere, that was me.  I'd like to place the blame on whoever put those juices in the way of what I was getting.  I'm pretty sure I overheard some employee in the refrigerator complaining about me, but it totes wasn't my fault and for the record I put the one that didn't burst open back on the shelf.  What more could I do?  I highly doubt the woman working the cheese section cared and/or had the resources to clean it up.

Who wants to hear about how much I want to work out, but haven't been, or my experience buying this shoe when the salesman explained that because of the different way you have to run you want to start slowly "like just start off with a half mile" and Eric burst out laughing or the fact that I still want to move to Colorado but I don't want to leave the people here?  Or how very, very, very, very tired I am?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Oh wait, how about this small crack in the skin by my thumb that just won't heal? 
I'm sorry to do this to you, but some second graders find this hysterical.  Well, I apologized.

Last chance - does anyone want to hear about the woman who came to my work to sharpen 50 pencils?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Unsung Heroes

Yo, you awesome women, you go ladies!