There's one thing I can't stand coming out of the Obama campaign: his slogan HOPE. It's on signs and in his speeches, commercials. I keep remembering the what Anderson Cooper said after Mayor Ray Nagin failed to clean up New Orleans yet hoped people would return. Cooper said, "Hope is not a plan." I wish Obama's campaign committee had taken the nuance of this word into account. Every time I hear it it makes me cringe a little. Hope is a good word for things that can't be directly controlled like hoping Elliot walks by his first birthday or hoping Joshua doesn't get the flu between now and when he gets his flu shot next month. And saying "hope for our country" doesn't mean anything. What exactly is someone hoping for when they say that? But hey, in less than a week it will be over one way or another.


Joshua


Elliot


My boys sharing a window view.

You can see more recent pics at www.ringofsaturn.com/photo

We have started two new phases with Josh: monsters exist and everything should be questioned with a "why?"

Monsters are everywhere! He's never been afraid of monsters at night but lately he's worried there's a monster in his room at night or pre-sunrise. Rusty put in a blue night-light and told him it's a special light that keeps the monsters away. Josh only kinda buys this. He's a smart kid. Tonight he told me he was scared of monsters even with the light. I reassured him that Puppy would protect him.
"Puppy can't save me."
"But Puppy loves you very very very much and he'll stay with you all night long to help you feel safe and loved."
"Will you stay in my room with me?"
"No sweetie but I'll be right outside your door reading. Stay in your bed, try to sleep. If you want to, you can sing a song like-" and I started a few of his favorites like London Bridge, Row Row Your Boat, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

After a kiss and another round of good nights, I heard him singing songs. Five minutes later we didn't hear another peep.

This weekend is the first of "why". Right now it's more in response to why does something have to be a certain way, like why is Elliot taking a nap or why does he have to go to the bathroom when I say so. He's not creating conversation using why. Why is the grass green, why do girls have long hair- those types of questions. I'm sure those types of why's are on their way. I'll be prepared for either straight up answers (because it has chlorophyll which reflects green light) or I'll give bogus answers to stuff I really don't know the answer to (because spaghetti doesn't come from trees). It will be a new annoyance on some occasions but a sure sign he's sponging in his world from new angles.

Everyone in the house is asleep but me. And it's not even ten o'clock.

:D

I'm not sure what I'll do with myself! Watch a scary movie, pamper my feet, web design, read more than a chapter... the list is endless!

Elliot broke a lamp today. It was the tall elegant one in our front room by the piano. Ya know, the only lamp in the house that could shatter glass into a million tiny pieces! That one. I think he was trying to pull up to standing with it. I was in plain sight in the kitchen sort of watching him while filling cups of water to take to the park. Josh was sitting in the bathroom doing #2. Luckily Elliot didn't get hurt and no one got any glass cuts. It took my over 30 minutes to sweep and hand-mop the room. I blame myself for not securing the lamp to the wall. I had thought to do so saying to myself, "I need to do that but I'm sure it's fine for now- I'll do it later."

I voted yesterday morning. The polling place was a mile away so I put Elliot in the jogging stroller and made the journey by foot. It was very pleasant in the morning. But that wasn't my motivation. It's because my car's battery died. Anyway, I was expecting to beat some of the crowd being that this was a weekday and not during a rush-hour time. I got there around 9:45, waited in line for AN HOUR, cast my ballot in less than 2 minutes then walked home. That's right. Just over an hour waiting in line. I was fortunate that Elliot was in good spirits and that I had the company of two older ladies who ogled at Elliot while we waited. Turns out the people in front of us weren't the hold up, it was the nice old lady looking up everyone's voter registrations on the computer. They really should come up with a better system or have an extra computer or two.

But I'm glad I voted early. I imagine election day will be nuts! I'm encouraging everyone I know (and you) to go vote now! Or the next chance you have. There are no excuses in the DFW area since early voting is a full two weeks.

Tonight is our first chilly night. It's supposed to be a brisk 40-something degrees. I think my relatives in Colorado would love to have some non-freezing-chilly weather. They have very lovely Spring and Fall weather but brutal winters that last way longer than I care for. I have Texas in my veins that can't stand the cold but can tolerate summer's savage heat. I'm going to take advantage of the mid-70's highs by strolling Elliot or pulling the wagon in the afternoons.

Tomorrow I'll buy our Halloween candy. I expect we'll need gobs of it to last for four hours of trick or treaters. Last year they started as early as 6pm then we ran out by 9pm. And this year- only stuff I don't mind getting stuck with.

We made a Monster House soundtrack today. It's ten minutes of various crashes, door slams, hammering, thuds, whispers, and other creepy noises. We're going to play this from two huge speakers at the front of our house on Halloween night. Some of the sounds are surprisingly non-sinister like the shoe rubbing, projector, and a recording of Mt. St. Helen erupting from a distance circa 1980. Josh has enthusiastically helped us find some good sounds (he especially likes the crashes) and weed through the stuff that doesn't work for this project. We expect a few of the younger kids to be maybe a little spooked and the older kids intrigued.
http://www.ringofsaturn.com/halloween.mp3

Elliot has learned how to make a kissing sound. Except his does his by pulling in his bottom lip then popping it out. It's still very adorable. :-)

Three-year-olds offer us a fresh perspective on how the world works. In one example today, I was enthusiastically saying "touch down" every time Elliot raised his arms over his head. Josh corrected me by raising his arms and saying "touch up!" Joshua also says he likes "Siouxsie and The Banshees". He especially likes "Kiss Them For Me" which Rusty played on his phone at dinner.

Josh is still asking tons of questions he kinda knows the answer to, except today he asked, "Can I be a mommy when I grow up?"
"No sweetie, you can't be a mommy but you can be a daddy."
"Can I be a baby when I grow up?"
"You can't be a baby and you can't be a mommy, but you can be whatever else you want to be."
"I want to be a monster!"

Our new thing in the evenings is a wagon ride through the neighborhood. Elliot LOVES to have wagon rides. Almost as much as baths. Josh likes wagon rides now that he has a brother to sit with him. It's way less stressful than chasing after Josh and we can actually get in a conversation while pulling the boys.

Tomorrow we'll put the teeth on our house for Halloween. This year we're adding red eyes to the house. Those will go up next week some time. It's going to look wicked! Rusty has the idea to play "creaky old house" sounds. I doubt we'll get our act together in time so maybe next year.

Oh yeah- I picked up a new website design project. yay! It's for a custom carpet company that sells to high-end customers like hotels and people with too much money. The parent company has a website but the American based division has to do their own. My neighbor across the street referred me to her boss. As she put it, "he's Denny's cheap". Lucky for him so am I. But my rate may go up next year.

Although she doesn't know for certain, Elliot's pediatrician thinks he may have Roseloa. He's been running high fevers since yesterday evening with a temp as high as 104.4 this morning. Tylenol gives him some relief but the fever comes back when that wears off. The pedi said she's seeing a rash of cases (pun intended).

I added a Facebook tag at the footer of my blog. It's in Javascript and may conflict with some Firefox browsers- like mine.

Elliot was sick this evening. He began with a low fever after we got home from grocery shopping. He took a long nap then woke up super-cranky and hotter. I gave him Tylenol which only served to make him throw up everything. He snoozed on my lap for a bit and after the fever went down he was still delicate and temperamental but not feverish and not sluggish. Surprisingly, he went to bed on time. I'm a little worried he'll wake up early in the morning so I'm not staying up late tonight. I have no idea what caused his tummy to turn. Hopefully it's just something he ate and will be 100% tomorrow.

I spoke to my dad briefly this evening. He didn't mention anything about passing out or going to the hospital for detox. I didn't bring it up thinking he would be embarrassed.

I hear Josh coughing up a storm in his sleep. I'm going to give him his rescue inhaler.

Daddy Drama Strikes Again!

My dad's current wife, Nel, called me this evening for emotional support. She said the bar called her this afternoon after my dad passed out on the concrete outside of the bar he was drinking at. The bartender freaked out then called Nel using his cell phone. Nel went to the bar and told the bartender to call an ambulance. He's in detox now and the staff hasn't told her how long he'll be there or how he's doing yet. She was crying when I spoke to her. She's never had to deal with this before and I think it scared her. I have seen my dad passed out in public before so that doesn't scare me. In fact, very little about his excessive drinking would surprise me or scare me. What does surprise me is how long his liver has lasted! Anyway, she needed someone to commiserate with, someone who's familiar with what my dad is doing to himself. She was hoping he would choose her over the booze and bless her, she's tried nearly every trick to get him to sober up a little and connect with her outside of his drinking. I told her to think of his alcoholism like a heroin addiction, that he's not going to wake up one day and just quit. That he will need professional help and until then he will always always choose the booze. He has said mean things to her (the officer asked why does he drink this much and he told him "you'd drink too if you were married to her") and I tell her he's not speaking with a clear mind. In less than 24 hours he'll regret what he's said and what he's done. Then he'll go do it again because he's addicted to how alcohol makes him feel. Nel seemed to feel a little more grounded and a little more sure of herself as our call wrapped up. She repeated that she wasn't going to give up- that she loves him very much and she's going to make this work. But she also feels miserable. She gets verbal abuse when he's drunk, she's stressed all the time and she feels lost about how to deal with his shenanigans. I keep a calm voice and tell her she's strong and patient and that only a strong person can handle my dad and that she's doing all the right things and that my dad is out of control and needs someone like her who cares to be around.

But personally I'm still amazed that she has lasted this long. I'm glad she has. I'm also very glad that my dad ended up not moving here to the Dallas area. The burden of caring for his drunken ass would fall on my shoulders and I'm petty sure I would be less tolerant and less forgiving than Nel has been.

Yesterday morning was rough:

* Elliot was screeching a lot
* Josh wasted half of his breakfast
* Josh spilled milk in the refrigerator...
* which attracted Elliot to the spill like a magnet...
* so my breakfast was luke warm by the time I finished cleaning up
* While drinking tea I had to cough which caused tea to go up my nose

The last one is actually a bit funny now but I wasn't laughing when it happened. The day got better after Elliot took his nap. I made up for being cranky towards Josh by giving him some chocolate milk and playing with him for a bit.

Joshua got another haircut this afternoon. The stylist didn't take enough off the back so I may try to buzz some off tomorrow morning. Maybe.

I've discovered that watching the debates yesterday while reading Twitter comments is the best way to follow a debate. I expected a little more umph and a fewer more faux pas. Although the hockey-mom did make a few memorable sound bites:

doggonit
don't cha know
say it ain't so Joe
darnit

I thought she did a very good job of not answering a few key questions and Joe did a good job of speaking passively.

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