P. Sunshine

P. Sunshine
My Flickr Fotos

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Christmas Marathon

Patti Sunshine is currently reading The Red Tent

I promise I will get some pictures on here soon. It's just been a bit nuts at our house lately.

This year I partook in what could be coined The Christmas Marathon!!! This is what happens when one has a super-extended family such as I do. Although I love to see people and have family gatherings, shoving five separate such occasions into one week turns out to be quite exhausting for a nine-months pregnant lady. Right now, I am left feeling like an old pillow with half the cotton pulled out. I'm so exhausted that I actually wore my glasses to work. (ew!) ok, I also didn't take a shower either, I'll admit, and it just so happens that I ate at an Indian restaurant last night so I have that lingering onion/curry odor about me (sorry to the doctor that will be checking me today). I tried to cover the scent up with perfume and Todd's super-duper strongman deodorant, but I merely managed to make myself smell like cinnamon-flowery curry instead. Ah, well. I have an excuse, right?

I'm quite jealous that three of the ladies I know who were due to have babies in January have already given birth. And here I am, left out in the cold, still not hatching and growing bigger and more uncomfortable by the minute. I'm listening with a jealous ear to the plans of my coworkers for New Year's Eve, and hoping that MY plans will include an early visit to the birthing room.

My other plans are to finish organizing tha baby's drawers ( I received loads of baby clothes this holiday, thanks to all for the help!) get the carpet installed in The Boy's "new" room (can you believe, Todd and I found a remnant that was EXACTLY the size of the room for 88 dollahs? SCORE!) put the dang crib together and donate a huuuuuge box of Son's toys to Goodwill. He was quite spoiled this year, seeing as we had FIVE different family gatherings. Did I mention that before? Just trying to make the point clear.

I'm glad that I was able to have Monday off so The Boy could relax and play with his toys. He is so happy when he doesn't have to take on adult responsibilities, as he does on the days when I work. Having those days off makes me feel all the more guilty that I have to work outside the home. We had a perfect day together, filled with laughs, games, singing, dancing, and stories. Not once did he ask to watch TV, either. What a joy!

So now, here I sit at my desk, the calmness that happens after the holiday rush is setting into my bones, and I am now looking forward to the next big adventure...having the baby. It's nice to have something to focus on after all the Christmas ruckus. I know that some people get severely depressed after the holiday letdown, so I am thanking my stars that I have this special goal in my sights. 2005 is going to be an adventurous year, indeed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The holiday season is a time to rejoice, reunite with loved ones, spend time with family and friends. A time for celebration and cheer. The expected happiness this time of year is what makes a death seem all the more tragic.

The saying goes that death comes in threes. I have been notified of three deaths of people I knew within this past week. (ok, one is a cat, but I'm counting it because I don't want to think about losing any more friends!). The odd thing about learning of someone's death for me is that when someone I know has died, it has always been a person that I haven't seen in a while. A situation like this tends to numb the feelings of grief, the reality of the actual death doesn't ever sink in. I feel guilty for not breaking down and crying, but the bubble of protection that distance provides leaves me feeling shocked and surprised rather than sad.

About a year ago, my mother wanted me to attend her colleague's mother's funeral, she says because she wanted me to get some "funeral experience". I told her I was willing to bet that I had been to three times as many funerals in my life at that point than she. It seems in my lifetime, I have seen more deaths of young people than I have of the elderly. I've almost come to expect that someone I know will pass away each year, it's just a matter of who, when and how - this is perhaps another factor that numbs the pain of a death.

I like to believe that when we die, we are reunited with those that we loved and lost in life. I imagine my friends from college hanging out in some heavenly mountainous area, enjoying the essence of nature. I see my Grandmother swimming, riding her bike, the beauty of her days as a model restored in her face. My mind is at ease if I focus on the fact that those whom we have lost are now free of the burdens of living life on Earth, in our clunky bodies, with our trite day-to-day problems. We don't know what happens when we die, but as a coping method, I try to focus on what the dead may be experiencing rather than those left behind on Earth. This is why I don't cry at funerals. I've actually been to a few services where the family of the deceased released balloons, had uplifting music playing, and the general mood was a celebration of a life lived, not a life lost.

Yes, it is painful when we lose someone we love, especially around Christmas time, and I can't imagine what my friend's family and my (half) sister are going through right now. All I can do is lend my support, be a listening ear, and thank God for letting me briefly know these beautiful people.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

car conversation #4?

3 1/2 year old son: " Mama, can I see your tummy just for a minute?"
Me: "sure"
Son: "Yep, you're like Fat Albert. I'll call you 'Mama Fat Albert' because your tummy is big and fat!"
Me: "That's not a nice thing to say to someone"
Son: "Sorry, but you are like Fat Albert in your tummy"

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

social hour

Last night, the gals from bookclub got together for a Christmas party/baby shower/social gathering at San Chez. At first, I was feeling tired and anti-social, but with this group, it's impossible to stay that way for long.

What I enjoy most about our group is the overall diversity and dynamics of the women. The Books & Cooks contain a devout Christian, A devout Non-Christian, and a couple of Catholics. Some are single women, some are married with children and some are married, no children. We are tall, short, dark-haired, light haired and come from different backgrounds. One thing that all the women have in common is that they are intelligent, educated people. The conversations at our meetings can involve anything from politics to hair color, and I love them for that.

A group with dynamics such as ours is hard to ignore, and last night we managed to quickly become the entertainment for the mezzanine section of the restaurant. It's a bookclub tradition to have some sort of minor catastrophe occur at a meeting. Whether it be dog/mineral spirit incidents, major dog flatulation or wine spilling on new furniture, we manage to produce a (later) laughable situation. This time the incident to speak of evolved when a certain napkin placed in a bread basket made friends with a nearby candle. For some reason, none of us reacted, we just noticed that the lights were brighter and there was a nice warmth emanating from the table. I think I casually pointed out the fire, and Stacey screamed while a waiter non-chalantly walked by and dumped a pitcher of water on said basket - as if he were working on an assembly line - it was so automatic. The waitress then explained that this was the third time they had performed such a fire-fighting duty that night.

Between the fire, the gift exchanges, and our general livelihood, we managed to draw the attention and even applause of the other patrons in the restuarant. In a good way. I swear.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

We need more Calgon!

I feel a storm a-brewin' and I'm not talking about the weather. Every once in a while, perhaps once a year or sometimes every two years, I tend to have what I call a mental breakdown. I can tell when one is coming because the muscles in my neck become tight and twitchy. The fact that it is winter and I'm boiling hot without a jacket is another indication of the inevitable eruption.

Lately, I've been losing sleep thinking about work, the new arrival and all the logistics and financial changes that will come hand in hand with it. I've been flipping around in my bed, formulating plan after plan, and nothing is putting my mind at ease. I end up running to the bathroom and bawling my eyes out so as not to disturb those in the house who can get shut-eye. Then, in the morning, after I manage to somehow fall asleep for maybe 2 hours, my 3 1/2 year-old son decides to be slow, stubborn and argumentative before we get in the car to go to school and work. This makes my blood boil and a strange monster mom growl develops in my throat. I can feel my heart squeezing, and I end up doing lamaze breathing just to keep it from exploding.

I would normally get a reprieve once I get to work, but because I am in the process of training my substitute, I enter a whole new world of stress. At the end of the workday, I leave to pick my son up from school and the pressure of entertaining my son, getting dinner on and cleaning the house and/or running errands takes over the stress I left at work. I know that I should be doing yoga and meditating, but I never get a significant chunk of time to be alone, with nothing to do. If my husband takes my son out for a few hours, I end up doing laundry, dishes, or cleaning. I know that with a baby, it's only going to get worse, and here comes that tightness in my neck. grrrrrrrrrrrr.

I know that being a stay-at-home mom is a stressful and difficult job, but just to be able to not have to deal with the morning defiance, to be able to say "yes, honey. you can go back to bed, you can leave your jammies on", to not have to dry my hair or wear wrinkle-free clothes right now sounds like life's equivalent to Calgon. If I stayed home, I could have time to hang out with or merely call my friends, right? right? Join one of those "play groups"? My stay-at home mom friends always seem so relaxed, but then again, they're always complaing about wanting to go out with adult friends and not having time or money for that. Every situation has its gold and its coal.

Tomorrow, I will be spending the day shopping for gifts that will be given at our Christmas party. Perhaps I could sneak in some car yoga or stow away in the mall bathroom for some quick meditation, Maybe what I need to do is find 5 minute spurts when I can perform relaxation techniques rather than doing hour-long sessions. I could start a new trend among busy women. Call it "power-meditation" (since the word "power-anything" is so trendy now). I can write a book about it, make a DVD, market it on that cable shopping channel. Yes, yes, I see it now, a whole Patti Sunshine mega-enterprize for the harried supermom set. It could happen. That is, if I had the time.....

Monday, December 06, 2004

Thursday, December 02, 2004

birthdays, birthdays and more birthdays

For me, this season is not only about holidays, but also it is the time for the big birthday rush. It seems that everyone I know has a birthday in these current 2 weeks. Todd's birthday falls right after Thanksgiving, so while everyone else is rushing to get the holiday shopping and baking done, I am focusing on his birthday. Last year, as he most likely will never forget, we also had just moved into our new house, so the little stress monster in me kinda sorta made a big fat appearance on his birthday and kinda sorta ruined his special day.

This year, I invited some old friends over to help celebrate, made him the cake he wanted (german chocolate with peanut butter frosting - I was afraid of this at first but it actually tasted great!), bought him gifts that he wanted, and made his favorite dinner .....ok, he actually made the dinner.

It was his special famous spaghetti that is quickly gaining popularity with our dinner guests. I don't know how he does it, but he cuts up a bunch of Roma tomatoes, other veggies, tofu and who knows what else, cooks it down and then we pile it on our noodles. The flavor of the sauce is so amazing that you could eat it solo as a meal. I soaked up the juices with loads of garlic bread - in your face, Atkins!

Now that Todd's big birthday celebration has passed, I can focus on the bazillion other engagements that I have marked on my calendar. This month I will.....
Get my hair dyed to its natural color (hopefully)
Christmas shopping (yikes!)
Get a real Christmas tree
Finish and mail the Holiday letter
Help with Gypsy Auditions at the theatre
Gather with the book club at San Chez (a Tapas Bistro)
Attend my son's Christmas concert
Try to remember to sell some things on ebay
See my former yoga instructor who moved to Hawaii
Go to Todd's mom's for Christmas
Have my birth mother and "special friend", Todd's dad and wife over for Christmas Eve's Eve
(the 23rd)
Go to my mom's for Christmas Day
Go to the Flaggert's annual party (we will meet their newest grandson, Jack)
Try to relax and get ready for a birth!
What are YOU doing?

Monday, November 29, 2004

We made a snowperson!! (now totally melted, nothing but celery and coal) Posted by Hello

I tried out the zoomlens for this - oops!!! I can see in the neighbor's house (teehee) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

fun action shot Posted by Hello
Ahh, the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching, and with it, the usual anxieties of squeezing in a last minute jaunt to the grocery store for missing ingredients, praying that the weather man is wrong in reporting 3-6 inches of snow, and my biggest fear, the after-Thanksgiving sales!!!!

I am so relieved that someone out there had the intelligence to think of Buy Nothing Day, so I now have an excuse when people ask me why, oh why, am I not going out and taking advantage of the oh-so faaaaabulous sales? I simply look at them blankly and say "It's Buy Nothing Day, so I will Buy nothing." As my mom pointed out last night while we were shopping for her birthday gift, the stores jack up the prices and then hold a 1/2 off sale, to trick the consumer into thinking they scored a deal, and then the consumer will think they are saving so much money, that - hey! they can buy MORE then they set out to. Then when they get to the cash register, and see the enormous bill they have accumulated, and the line is so freaking long, and people are impatient, and babies are crying,and mothers are yelling, the consumer gets sucked into actually paying for all the merchandise rather than holding up the line and therefore causing great distress within the store. I've seen it happen, I used to participate.

The problem with Buy Nothing Day is that every dang year SOMETHING happens so that I am forced to go out into the craziness. Either someone gets sick and needs some medicine, or we run out of milk, diapers, toilet paper, or what have you, and I end up caving, and of course, once I get to the store that has said necessary item, I get trapped into the claws of the evil advertisements and end up buying some really cute or seemingly marked-down gotta-have-it Christmas gift. It never fails.

This year, I will do a meditation to protect myself against the treacherous "Day After Thanksgiving Sales". I will repeat the mantra 'You will remain strong, you have willpower, you will stay inside, you have plenty of time to shop for gifts, not today, not today". I will repeat this over and over, and if lovely husband tries to interfere, I will only repeat it louder and with more vigor. I will play the System of a Down song all day, the one that goes:"Therapy, Therapy, advertising causes me therapy" I will stay away from all windows and doors, and not look at what large, beautiful packages the neighbors are carting into their homes. I will take a stand, and I will prevail!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The day after I took this shot, there was a huge storm that killed these guys off Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Talkin' Tofurkey

I'm going to take a moment to express my love for my son's preschool. Yesterday, my son made a cut out of a turkey that was glued in the center of some Thanksgiving songs. I'm happy to proclaim that these songs are quite liberal in nature and support both vegetarian and meat-eating Thanksgiving goers alike. Following is a sample:

"MR. TURKEY, BETTER WATCH OUT" (Sung to Yankee Doodle)
Mr. Turkey, better watch out, Thanksgiving Day is coming. If you're not careful, you'll end up in someone's hungry tummy! Mr. Turkey Run, run, run, Please run away and hii-ide. Mr Turkey, run, run, run, Don't wait around outside!

And here's one that "goes both ways":

"Tom, Tom Turkey" (sung to Frere Jacques)
Tom Tom Turkey, Tom Tom Turkey,
Run away, Run away.
Thanksgiving Day is coming, Thanksgiving Day is coming.
Yum Yum Yum, Run, run, run!!!

I'm no preacher, but...
I think it is so wonderful of that school to instill an open mind in our kids at such a young age, to weigh all the options before forming an opinion. It's a value that finally seems to be picking up momentum with young parents in our country. We all need to do what we can to speed it up and spread it around.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


I'll try to make this as coherent as possible, considering the computer screen is wavering in front of my face right now. I'm so stuffed up that it feels like I'm in an underground tube, but a clear one, since I can see everything going on, I'm just slightly detached from the world and my body.

On Saturday, I drove with my mom to Ann Arbor to see my cousin sing in the UofM Glee Club's 145th Anniversary Concert. It's a 2 1/2 hour drive from Grand Rapids, and of course, feeling the beginnings of this horrific cold, I was late meeting my mom which started a huge dominoe effect on the whole evening, as it turns out.

On the way, I learned that we were to pick up my niece Avery, since she decided to join us at the last minute. When we arrived at the meeting point to pick her up, her sister decided that she wanted to go also. My mom had planned on parking the car in Ann Arbor, then walking to a nice fancy restaurant for dinner before the show, but due to my lateness and the addition of 2 under-10-year-olds, that plan was nixed and we hightailed it to the nearest Big Boy for a quickie meal.

We made it to the general area where the concert was to take place with 15 minutes to spare before show time. These 15 minutes, however, came and went as we sat in the line for the parking garage. Beginning to panic, my mom had me take the two girls to the auditorium while she continued in the parking queue. She handed me $50.00 and told me that I needed to pick up the tickets she ordered as well as buy 2 more. After a freezing jaunt to the auditorium, the girls and I discovered that the line for the Will Call tickets was wrapped around the building. We had no idea where my mom wanted us to meet her, we just knew that it was about 8:10 at this point, but at least the concert was being delayed. We finally made it to the box office, only to find that the cost of the 4 tickets would be $56.00. (remember, my mom handed me $50.00) I did not have any cash on me as usual, and the girls didn't either. I really do have to commend myself for keeping control of my mouth at that point and managing to swear in German rather than English so the girls wouldn't know that I said a naughty word. After a few minutes of me huffing and looking around and cursing in German, the box office girl decided that she felt sorry for us, and let us go anyway (yea! gotta love those rebellious college students).

We went around to the front of the auditorium, thinking my mom would be there waiting for us, but no mom...anywhere...we were the only people in the lobby at that point, and the ushers were getting impatient with us since we were pacing in and out of the front doors. After 10 minutes that seemed more like half an hour, my mom poked her head out...from the SEATING AREA!!!! SHE HAD BEEN IN THERE THE WHOLE TIME!!!! Turns out the ushers felt sorry for her and gave her a fake ticket.

We ran down the aisle to our seats, and just as my bum hit the cushion, the concert began. I looked and looked and looked for my cousin, but could not find him. My uncle, who was seated next to me, could not find him. No one could find my cousin. That's because my cousin was not there - he was home, sick with the flu.

It was a beautiful concert, though. The men's voices filled the theatre with heavenly chords that mezmerized the deathly silent audience. During the second half of the concert, a smaller group called the Friars came out, and performed some fun songs. I guess they were sort of the comic relief of the show, and my 9-year old niece was happy for this factor until they polluted her ears with renditions of the U of M fight songs (she claims she is a State fan all the way and that she would have to go home and wash the UofM germs from her body-ah, what a fun age!). My uncle and I thoroughly enjoyed the jazz portion of the show, as we had both been in a Jazz band at one point in our lives, and were familiar with the tunes. The repertoir included Holy Alleluias, African rhythms, jazzy bits and ended with some fraternal alma mater-type songs. I remembered a time when I used to sing with the St. Cecelia choirs in Grand Rapids, and felt a bit of nostalgia creeping up on me. Man, do I miss making music with people!

Whenever my mother and I go out of town, we seem to end up in some sort of adventure. This weekend was no different, and because my nieces were along, I felt as if we had passed the torch on to the new generation. Actually, I can't wait for the next one. We all need a little "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" once in a while.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Holy #^&@@ It's Christmas?!

Patti Sunshine has given up on Fortune's Rocks and is now reading Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

Is my Calendar off? Did I fall asleep for 7 weeks and wake up at the tail end of December? If so, this sure is nice warm weather for Christmas time!

The reason for my confusion is that Todd and I went shopping last night to buy a toy for a little boy who was hurt in an accident. On our way to the (yikes) mall, we noticed that the houses were decorated with santas, reindeer and snowmen. While in the mall, we saw displays exhibiting similar themes and piping over the sound system was CHRISTMAS MUSIC! On November 11?!?! (Shouldn't they have been playing Veteran's Day music?)

The other day, I was trying to explain to my son that Thanksgiving was coming up, and it would be our next big holiday, but he argued that it was still Halloween. I can't blame him for that sentiment, seeing as his costume is still sitting in our living room and I haven't removed the broom-riding witch drawing from our front window. So in a sense, he is right, It is not Thanksgiving until Halloween has officially run its course. We still have a salad bowl full of candy, after all.

Why is it that people want Christmas to last longer than all the other holidays? The stores have just removed all of their Halloween decor and have totally skipped the Thanksgiving theme in favor of Christmas. I remember driving by people's houses last year in February, and seeing Christmas trees in the front windows. When we were kids, we wished for every day to be Christmas, but that was out of greed, wasn't it? We really were just in it for the toys. What makes adults cling to Christmas. Is it the religious factor? The colors? The commercialism?

In our lovely city we already have 2 radio stations that have started to play Christmas music, non-stop, 24 hours a day. When the time is right I will tune in, but for now I will plan for one of my favorite holidays, the holiday of food, family and fun, the 4th of July of Fall, the neglected little sister to Christmas, THANKSGIVING. Let us give thanks, and not forget what Thanksgiving can do for us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bedtime Conversation

Son:"Mama, where did your belly button go?"
Me: "IT stretches out as the baby gets bigger"
Son: " No, I think the doctor took it off. You need to get a new one......you can't have mine!"

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Oops. I did It Again

I was halfway to work this morning when I suddenly realized with a heart-stopping wrench of terror, that I had (gasp!!!!) forgotten to put on make-up!!!!

I am not, in any way shape or form, a girly-girl or a "make-up face". I usually go with just a light coat of mascara, eyeliner and blush, and, if feeling pasty, I'll draw on some lips too. But I never ever, never, leave the house without SOMETHING there.

There is a reason for this...it's what I call "the jinx". Every single time I have left the house without doing the face or hair or bathing ritual, or decided to just throw on whatever clothes happened to be crumpled in a pile on the floor (because after all, I was only going to "run" to the coffee shop or the theatre or the art library, and of course, why would anyone be at any of THOSE places with a CAMERA?!), I have ended up either in the newspaper, on TV or in someone's movie. With my lack of hygenic attention on display for the whole world, or at least whomever happened to be paying attention that day.

So here I am, at work, with no make-up on my face, wondering when it will hit, cowering at my desk like a cow when it senses a tornado, just waiting for someone to suddenly decide to do a documentary on battery watering systems, needing my naked-face input, of course. To add to the paranoia, I will be leaving the building in 5 minutes to go to a dentist appointment, raising the bar on my chances of running into a camera-wielding interviewer. My car also happens to be out of gas, and I am just willing to bet that today will be the day that the news does a story on the ever-fluctuating price of fuel. Perhaps one of you will see my in all my pale-face glory tonight on Fox. I'll be sure to wave.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


patti sunshine is currently reading Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve

It's November! This means 3 more months to go before the arrival of boy #2. The other night I had horrible cramping for about an hour, so I thought for sure that I was going into labor, but then after a huge glass of water, the pain went away (phew!). I went to the Dr. yesterday and she said it would be best if the baby waited until AFTER Thanksgiving to appear. I wouldn't mind if he arrived right after, since I am looking like a black & tan cow. (For some reason the maternity stores only seem to have black or tan clothes for the winter season!!!!)

Lately, I've been staying awake at night trying to plan the arrangement of furniture in the baby's room, struggling to come up with a name, stressing over the daycare situation, and then in the morning, I am dead tired, cranky and just plain sad.

I think I am in mourning because a new baby will mean a further loss of my personal freedom, loss of sleep, loss of flexibility in my schedule, loss of money in my pocket (har har). I know that babies are a blessing and there are a LOT of people in the world who really want a baby and can't produce one, but I can't avoid this feeling that I have, it's so different than when I was pregnant with my first child. Instead of feeling elation, excitement and anticipation,I am terrified!

Maybe my lack of excitement is due to the fact that I know the OTHER side of having a baby. On one hand there is the cuteness, cuddling and soft gurgly noises that make us want to have a baby, and then there is the reality - screaming, stinky diapers, lack of sleep. My first baby was colicky, so I heard a LOT of screaming...all night...he would scream until I got to the point where I would have to scream, and only then would he stop, and my wall of tears would burst open. Whenever someone came to visit, he would greet the guest with the widest, happiest smile you ever did see. His daycare lady proclaimed that she had never seen such a smiley baby in her 13 years of childcare providing - then I would get the boy home and the screaming would commence! He screamed when he was hungry, when it was bathtime, when it was bedtime, when he had to be in the carseat.....I had read and heard that a mother can tell what her baby's cries mean. HUH?!?! All I heard was screaming, I had no clue what his screams meant, to me they were just plain screeching screams!

Now that my son is older, he is fun! I enjoy every moment that we have together, even if he is cranky. I don't know if he's broken me in or if he's just gotten "better", but the starting over is why I am afraid of the upcoming baby. Hopefully the first 2 years will fly by and we can get to that happy 3 year-old point in a flash, or even better, maybe this one won't be a screamer (har har). Then again, if the years do fly by, I'll find that I have too quickly arrived at the (gasp) teen years! OH NO! THE HORROR! I guess I should just relax and let each day come as it may. Someday, the boys will be away at college (I hope) and I'm sure I will yearn to hear those charming baby screams.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

dang it!!!!

WHy why WHY do all of my pictures look fuzzy when they are transferred to the dang website? These pictures are all crystal clear on my computer, as they should be, since they were taken with a brand new non-cheapo camera!!!!!!!!!!!! Argh! IF only I had an extra $40.00 a month so I could have my own website. (SNORT!!)

Friday, October 29, 2004


My friend Cait said it best, "Nothing is sexier than seeing your husband treating your kids well".
My oh, so-talented-with-the-tools husband has created the most beautiful robot costume ever imagined for our little guy. He constructed it out of a box, and spray painted it silver. Most dads, I think would stop there, but, no, my husband worked diligently for hours and days, adding a metal fan thing in the front, weaving wires in and out, and connected colored LED lights around the top edge of the body. Then he added an actual switch so the lights can be turned on or off!

All of those elements would have been more than enough, but no, he went further, to create arms and legs out of that silver foil-looking coil stuff that people use on the back of their dryers ( I think it's called flexible duct, but what do I know?). Then he made a helmet that has bolts sticking out of the sides. It is the coolest retro-robot costume EVER, and I 'm married to the guy that made it! Isn't that sweet?

I'm a bit worried that this fabulous costume won't get much "air-time" seeing as most of our neighborhood, as it turns out, is Christian Reformed, and will not be participating. (even after the town moved the Trick r Treat day to Saturday) I don't get that - I mean, yes, the holiday was based on a pagan tradition, but do little kids even know or care about that anymore? I think they are more interested in the make-believe and the candy, and THAT is what Halloween is about. It's about pretending to be something you are not for one day and getting away with it. On any other day of the year, if someone was driving down the street, or working as a checkout person, or what have you, dressed as Superman or Goldilocks or a pregnant nun, they would be deemed insane! We need to take advantage of these "freebie" days when the insane are allowed to comingle with the sane, a sort of "camouflage" if you will.

Halloween is all about letting go of our inhibitions, expressing our deepest desires to be someone or something other than our every-day selves, it's just all in FUN! My husband says he is going to go knock on every door on our street, whether the porch light is on or not, and ask them to hand over the goods. Not every holiday has to have some deep-rooted religious or political meaning, and this is one of those cases. Halloween, Just DO IT!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bedtime Conversation

Son: "Mama, I just heard your toe crack"
Me: "Yes, it did"
Son: " It cracks because you're old?"
Me: "I am not old."
Son: "Yes, you are. You are ooooold. You married daddy and now you are old, old, old!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

camera dilemma

I'm getting quite annoyed with my little digital camera. It's this tiny thing that looks like a pack of Big Red gum, and it's made by Sony. I get tons of compliments and comments on its cuteness, but as far as the pictures are concerned, it gives me the results that I could get with a disposable.

I've heard so many raves about the Nikon D70, and being a Nikon freak myself, I thought I would jump on that bandwagon. After my husband and I did some research last night, we found that the Nikon D70 would cost as much as our leather sofa/recliner set, so I need to turn elsewhere.

I tend to make poor decisions when it comes to buying equipment, and will accept any recommendations for another digital camera of comparable quality to the D70 but priced for the middle class/hobby-only photographer. Ideas? Anyone? Much appreciated!

Monday, October 25, 2004

One of the main reasons Todd and I picked this neighborhood is the abundance of big old trees Posted by Hello

This reminded me of a Maxfield Parrish painting Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

A Tale of Two Bras

Patti Sunshine is currently reading Sea Glass, by Anita Shreve

So the day finally came in my pregnancy. The day that I had been dreading and avoiding and hoping to possibly ignore and sweep under the rug like a cheeto crumb on the kitchen floor. The day that I would have to go and buy (gasp) a bigger bra!

I had grown accostomed to my nice, medium-smallish, smallish-medium size, available in cute colors and limitless varieties of fabrics that I had aquired after my son deflated my chest with his 1-year-plus of breast-feeding. So it was with much aggravation and discontent that I dragged myself to the local Meijer's to purchase the new brassiere. Yes, Meijer's, the Supermaket/superstore - I am NOT going to drop $45.00 on a piece of fabric, which no one will see, that I will wear for a mere 4 months. I will NOT!

I was surprised to find that Meijer's actually had quite a decent selection of bras. Pretty ones, sporty ones, bras just for fun, all up to a size C. Now, anyone who has been or knows someone who has been pregnant will tell you that a size C will just not cut it. I had to go over to the OTHER side of the women's section, where the "big girl" bras are kept. (and by kept, I mean they actually HIDE them in a drawer rather than put these mammoth contraptions out on the floor where they may frighten small children) The big girl bras are not sporty or fun or pretty, they are plain. Plain as the plains in Kansas, they are so plain. Meijer's is no Lane Bryant, they do not provide fun fashions for everywoman, they carry large, plain undergarments. Grumbling and cursing while I rummaged through the drawers, I managed to find a bra in my new size, in black...there was ONE non-white or beige bra in the entire store in my size, mind you , just one! I snagged it and tried it on whilst fighting back tears of mourning for the cute little bras that would not come home with me that day, quickly grabbed another random bra in the same size, and speed-walked, sweating, to the check-out area. I was holding my purchases at arm's length, trying to avoid any connection between myself and the gargantuan bras.

I managed to reach the front of the store, out of breath and panting, finding that all the lines were full. Of men. Who will seeme and my giant bras. And then....just as I thought it couldn't get any worse, I heard a voice to my left, saying "Hey, watch where you're going!" I turned in my over-heated flushedness to see that the voice was speaking to me, and it was attached to the body of..... my sophomore prom date.....and his wife.....and I... Am carrying...two.Giant.Utilitybras.

wireless world

It's not such a great testimonial for your wireless company when your son thinks he has a new dad because he doesn't recognize his voice on the cell phone!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Car Conversation #2

son: "Mama, I just saw giant spiders on someone's gate"
me: "Really? Were they Halloween decorations?"
son: "Yeah, they don't poop."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Warning: rant on the way

It really irks me when people act shocked when I tell them that I am going back to work after I have the baby. People need to realize that not all of us have a choice in the matter. Some of us HAVE to go back to work so that we can have a house, a car, electricity, water and gas.

What maddens me even more is when they say that if I would just cut back on the extras, then I can make it happen. Well, here is a news flash - I ALREADY HAVE CUT BACK ON THE EXTRAS! My mommy still buys my clothes for me, even though I am 32! How sad is that?! I had hoped that by this age, I could be doing more for her than she does for me, but it just has not gone that way.

When people suggest that we move to a less expensive house, I can honestly say that the houses at a "cheaper" level are all in a state that, once we get them fixed so that they are live-in-able, our mortgage will be the same as it is now. So there! We know, we looked at over 100 houses before we moved.

I can blame it on the economy, I can blame it on me not "applying" myself right after college, I can blame it on my former crazy spending habits, but what does that solve? The fact of the matter is, I am a working mother. I work outside of the home. I always have, and most likely always will. If you see that as wrong, you may send massive monetary donations my way at anytime...I get home after 4.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Car Conversation

My Son: "Mama, why does that police car have its siren on?"
Me: "Someone probably did something really naughty"
Son: "Did someone write on a wall or somefin'?"

Monday, October 11, 2004

Sunday Stroll in Saugatuck

{It feels like it has been ages since my last post... we are renting out the room that our computer lives in, so I have to wait until I am at work to get online.}

What a fabulous weekend it was, weatherwise! The leaves on the trees are starting to turn into the amazing fiery colors that make me love the Fall season.

Yesterday, on a whim, our friend Rob G. called us up and invited us along on a color walk through Saugatuck/Douglas. Our initial plans to climb the 300 steps in Douglas and do a beachwalk were nixed due to a couple unexpected encounters, but in the end, we had a fabulous time. Rob and Todd had fun climbing the steps while I manned the van with the sleeping 3 1/2 year old,who ended up wetting the seat in his sleep, so we had to make a detour into the town of Saugatuck for emergency pants!

The emergency stop ended up being a wonderful experience. The town was bustling with people, and the sun was just beginning to set, casting a golden light upon the artfully decorated town. Todd asked around and found out about a kid's clothing store called Landshark's/Landshark kids. The kid's store was closed, but Todd told the manager his sob story and she opened up shop for him (only in Saugatuck, people!)**remember, this all took place on a SUNDAY evening** Todd purchased some sweatpants and Scooby-Doo underwear, which made the boy very excited, and we all jumped out of the van and took to the sidewalks.
Our tummies were letting us know that it was time to eat, so we searched for the perfect sandwich shop. I was amazed to see that every one of the bar/grill type stops were PACKED! ON A SUNDAY NIGHT! Rob informed us that even in the ultra-liberal towns in Germany, the stores all shut down on the Holy day. Too bad real estate is so high in Saugatuck, I wouldn't mind lving in this relaxed environment. We ate at a little diner called Monroe's, which boasted Marilyn memorabilia as well as other 1950's Hollywood cutouts. Our dinner was yummy, but the portions were slim, so we decided we had plenty o' room for ice cream.

There was a debate over which ice cream shoppe to visit, but Rob's choice won out, since it was getting near 8pm and everything else was closed(On our walk, Rob pointed out his favorite stores which included a wine store and an outdoor eatery - When I go to Saugatuck with my mom, she points out her favorite clothing boutiques, and when I go with my friend Laurel, she tends to notice the artist galleries. I decided that, in order for me to see everything Saugatuck has to offer, I will have to go with a different friend each time). We ended up at the uber-fancy Kilwin's, where a caramel apple will put a hefty dent of $7.50 in your wallet (zoinks!). I opted for my usual Blue Moon ice cream, and Todd bought some Choco-Peanut Butter Fudge. We feasted on our treats as we headed back to the car.

The walk to the van was heavenly, as the streets were decked out with twinkling white lights and orange, red and gold Harvest-style decor. The cool, crisp Autumn breeze blew as I marveled at the fact that I had never witnessed Saugatuck in all its evening glamour. It was a fine way to top off the tail end of a weekend, indeed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

My husband, the chef

I don't get it....he does it (well...almost!) every time. How my husband can throw together ingredients on a whim - no recipe, no measurements - and make a dish fit for a Queen and her court is beyond my culinary comprehension.
Last night, it was stuffed green peppers (vegetarian, of course), which I usually poopoo, but he made it just right so that the green pepper was still crunchy! (He knows I hate cooked & floppy veggies). Mr. Husband was even so thoughtful as to make extras for my lunch. I am savoring them now, and since the tomato, rice and soy meat flavors have had time to mingle, the tasty outcome is even greater.
I noticed that he also bought some squash from a local farm stand. I can't wait to see what he'll come up with tonight!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Autumn winds blow chilly and cold...

Fall is my favorite time of year. My niece is so lucky to have been named after this glorious season. (Her name is Autumn, not Fall...*ahem*)

Using My dad's visit from Oregon as an excuse, I took a paid vacation day and toured our city, on the verge of blossoming into the technicolor wonders of the season. The air was a bit more chilly than I had anticipated, so seeking out pools of direct sunlight was high on my list. Alternating incubation with observation,Dad,the boy and I were able to squeeze in several activities before dinner time.

Our first stop was the everpopular Robinette's Apple Orchard, where I consumed my traditional "Opening of Fall Pumpkin Spice cinnamon doughnut". Just as I imagined, the doughnut was warm - freshly baked - and so tasty, I didn't notice the empty calories. We had hoped to score some hot cider, but those crazy Red Hat Society ladies jumped in the cider bar line before us, and I opted to buy a cold pint from the country store instead. I was on a mission to get on with the tour, and I wasn't going to let those yippity Red Hats get in my way! The boy ran to the wagon/slide and took about 3 rides before he came shivering back to my dad and I, so we decided to continue our tour in a heated environment.

Our next destination was Pooh's Corner, a bookstore that I frequented as a child, and, although it is now quite out of my way, is the only place I will spend money on children's books. Riley played with the Brio trainset while I picked up a copy of a Fire engine book, Bread and Jam for Frances, and my dad bought a book about a lady with lots of cats. We spent quite some time here, as the extremely energetic boy needed to expend some of his jetfuel before getting in the van again.

My son had been begging me to take him to a new park that we pass on our way to preschool, so today seemed the best opportunity. Once again, after we hopped out of the Kia, I proceeded to find my little niche of UV rays as the boy shoved his new toy Corvette down the slides. There was a very curious stone path in the rear of the park that I was dying to explore, so we all took off on that excursion until the boy got the willies and decided the woods were too scary and dark to endure. (dang it!Although I have to admit, I had watched some real-life abduction/murder investigation stories the night before, and deep down, I felt his fear). So we merged back to the playground and watched some daring teens (why weren't they in school?)ride their bikes on the skate ramps until our goosebumps grew in-laws, and we had to call it quits.

Although I had dreamed of a day full of colored leaves, a long hike in the woods and piping hot cider, the hours we spent together were beneficial for the three of us. My dad and I talked more than we had in a year, and the little man had his own jolly good fun. All of this, and I was paid for it too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Swiping an idea from Marie , I will now list my plans for October, whether you care to read them or not!

This month I will:
Read Fistful of Sky
be a guest at 2 weddings
learn how to do that link thing here
have fun at bookclub
go on a color tour
ride my bike (while I still can)
organize the baby's room
start saving $$ for the holiday season
make more home-cooked meals!
Visit Robinette's Apple Orchard for a pumpkin cinnamon doughnut, cider and a hayride -Yeeehaw!
Help Todd make a robot costume for the boy
So, what are YOU going to do this October?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

seriously, now

Some of the blogs that I have read recently have mentioned topics that coincide with the thoughts that keep me awake at night.
I am concerned (ala Steve) about the "dumbing down" of America.
My parents were both teachers, so I grew up in a household where education was a prevalent force. My mom was one of those teachers that most students dreaded getting but later were thankful to have since she made her kids THINK. She later was given a promotion, and became the coordinator of the gifted and talented program at her school district. Not too shabby!

It terrifies me that such horrific things are happening all over the world right now, Russia, Iraq, even Florida, and the news stations and papers and magazines are reporting on....Britney's wedding???

A young girl I know( who shall remain nameless) who is very intelligent indeed, could tell you the name of any character on the Disney channel, what they wore, what their favorite music, color, restaurant, etc., is, but cannot name the major oceans. Her friends all seem to know the latest slang like "shizzle" and "bling bling" but look at me like a crazy woman if I greet them in a foreign language. They are learning their lingo from the big stars, which is scary, since many of the quotes that I have seen from Miss Britney and Xtina contain poor grammar.

Why is our country so obsessed with the rich and famous and their lives? Some say it is an escape from a depressed reality, but really, being Americans, do we have it that bad?
Yes, our economy is in a slump and it is hard to scrape together the cash to pay our bills-seeing as not just blue collar workers but top execs alike are losing their jobs-but what does it mean? We still have running water, even in the trailer parks. We can still wash our clothes indoors, in a washing machine. We can still afford to choose which type of Ramen Noodle to buy. Even at our worst, Americans don't have it that bad. We should count our blessings every day. Yes, even me. I admit, I am guilty of complaining that my wage is not enough, but if I was suddenly transferred to Uganda or even Mexico, I would be considered privileged in their economy.

I thought that 9/11 would bring America back to focusing on what really matters- Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, Family, friends - it seemed to go that way, but only for a few months, and then we all "got over it" and the media shifted back to where it had left off - which celebrity is dating which, who is cheating on whom and how much did their fabulous getaway vacation cost? I think those things are interesting to an extent, but I'd like to see the news get back to stories that are newsworthy. Let's try to educate America. We may have more "bling" than other countries, but the rest of the world is ahead of us in culture, attitude and work ethics. We seem to be the spoiled younger sibling country, and it's time for us to mature - our twenties are over. America needs to quit going to the bar and get to work.
(PS - I am a Liberal.)

The facade of my favorite jewelry store in Eastown, McKendree studios. Posted by Hello

Inside the legend itself...if you saw the Movie "American Pie", this is what Dog Years was modeled after. Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Couldn't you just swim in those? Posted by Hello

These drinks are also pleasing to the eye (the red one is my non-booze beverage) Posted by Hello

Friday, September 24, 2004

That Darned Cat!

I've had a few requests to write "The Bra Story" or "A Tale of Two Bras" here, but alas, I am way too tired, seeing as I was woken up at 3 AM by the sound of two cats procreating!
My mom-trained ears heard the alarming tune of a baby in distress, so I jerked into consciousness, thinking Riley had been sleep-walking and fell off the back porch, or some psychotic 3AM delusion of that sort, but no - it was 2 lame-o cats, DOING IT at 3 AM!!!!
I wanted to run to the front door and scream at the top of my lungs "Get that thing Neutered!" to anyone within the range of my irritated-woken-up-too-early-in-the-morning voice. But of course, my 3AM body was cemented to the bed, and rationale soon took over "Remember, Patti, you are the new neighbor, you don't want people to know how psycho you are when you are disturbed from your slumber...yet".
So, I apologize, oh growing fetus of mine, but I need to get some caffeine in our bloodstream. Hopefully it won't effect you too much in the long run. Just kick me some more in the bladder if you're offended!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Hot Diggity dog!

This weekend is the annual Eastown Streetfair, one of my favorite events to happen in our humble city. Unfortunately, it will be a bittersweet adventure this year, since this is the first time we will attend as non-residents. Every year I delighted to the sounds and sights of Streetfair, from my front seat perch in our yard. If it was a cold year, I could leave my kitchen window open, make dinner, and listen to the live bands. But, alas, this year, we will be tourists. I don't know if I can even get up the courage to walk by our old house. I know I will have to fight the urge to just barge in the front door (I wonder if I left a key somewhere under a rock?hmmm).
The most exciting part of Streetfair for me this year, however, will not be the killer local bands, the bohemian necklaces for sale or the alternative literature booths, oh, no, as soon as I get out of that minivan, I am heading right for YESTERDOG!
I have been dreaming, yearning for Yesterdog all month. I even tried to use a subsititute. I went to Cook's drive-in and ordered a company dog, which has the same toppings as a Yesterdog - chilisauce, mustard, ketchup and shredded pickles (yes - I skipped the onions - see last post) - ahhhh the shredded pickles, I can taste them now - But this Company dog was no Yesterdog, senator. For one, it had chunky - CHUNKY! Chili Sauce. Yesterdog's Chili Sauce is not really chili sauce, it is more like gravy or brown dressing, and that is why I like it. I hate ground up meat pieces in my sauce. I am a pure sauce girl - don't mess it up by adding unnecessary texture, just give me the sauce, plain and simple. Also, their hot dogs just aren't as "wolfable" as Yesterdog's. I can order 3 Yesters and swallow them practically whole, they are so smooth and easy. The Cook's dog took a while, I had to get past the chunkiness, of course, and the dog itself wasn't as tender as the Yester. Guh. I could go on and on, but you've probably stopped reading already. Can you understand that I am DYING for a Yesterdog? Ok? Good. Let's move on!
Ok, I can't move on, I have to have a Yesterdog. Maybe I can pretend this PB&J is a Yester.....uh, nope, didn't work, I guess I'll have to wait until Saturday. 60 more hours...they better not be closed for repairs. Fire up those steamers, Patti Sunshine is comin' through!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Olfactory Malfunction

I've been told by many that every pregnancy is different. My first pregnancy was pure joy - no vomiting, minimal weight gain, I was able to stay active in the theatre.... I am now in my 5th month of my 2nd (AND LAST!!!) pregnancy, and I am still throwing up, still tired, and I can't walk so much as a mile without having to stop and go straight to bed for the night. People don't believe me when I tell them that I am still barfing. They say "but that goes away after the first trimester" um, hi, I'm not making it up! Every time I smell french fries, garlic, or onions, that squeezy feeling creeps up my throat, and I start looking around for the nearest bush, bucket or trash can. The list does not end there. My "trigger" smells also include any grilled food, campfire, sweaty shoes, old carpeting and most forms of wood. To make matters worse, I had a sensitive schnozz BEFORE my pregnancy, and so now, I am able to walk up to any person and know what they have had for dinner for the last 3 weeks! Maybe it's because I have those large Armstrong nostrils, or maybe I grew up in an all-too-clean household in my youth. I dunno, but I can't WAIT to get this baby out so I can wake up and smell.......NOTHING!