Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I can see clearly now

Oh happy, happy day!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rise and shine

the lights were too bright for Annie this morning.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What not to give your son for his fourth birthday

Family Music Festival





























Life among the Savages








They clean up real nice.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Where are we?

Grappling with growing pains and transitions. Change is hard and our family mobile has been spinning wildly with the unexpected gusts. We're hanging tough but by a thread.

I believed that Kindergarten would be the magical marker when everything would get easier. Instead, we've been weathering the storm that is my daughter (and us by default) as she gets acclimated to her new stomping grounds. Ever brave, my girl bounds in but then blows when she gets home exhausted and overwrought. By bedtime and after some fierce tantrums, she breaks in tears and eventually reveals the seeds of her torment. Last night the issue was being part of the Red Team that lost in PE which has par for course in her litany of slights. We've had to stifle a few laughs too. Annie was absolutely inflamed when a boy chanted "Boys got to college to get more knowledge/ Girls got to Jupiter to get more stupider." But to her everything is a real, immediate heart ache. For the past month I've played therapist as she's effectively sobbed herself to sleep. Even worse, she's started anxiously apologizing over nothing- that is when she's not barking full tilt.

To complicate already complicated matters, we've been patching together the after-school arrangements to the great dismay of my family. I wish I had the where-with-all to be waiting with milk and cookies at 2:45pm but it ain't going to happen- at least at this point. So we scrambled at the last minute to find something to fill the gaps and found "My Friend's House" at a nearby church thanks to neighbor. Initially, it seemed like a good fit but the truth was it was they had a spot open a week before classes start. We had lost our coveted spot at Benshaws so we had to make do. When Annie started singing "Jesus is neato, neato, neato/ He puts cheese on my burrito, burrito, burrito!" I knew it was time to start looking for a more secular friend elsewhere. So we broke up- on Annie's suggestion actually- when we secured a spot in the school's excellent (and more affordable) program. That should keep those pesky chapel questions at bay for the time being or at least until she can read. I welcome the discussion, I'm just not paying for her conversion.

And still we pay- to the PTA, tuition increases, gift wrap sales, etc. etc.- excluding the birthday/charity bleedings, we are only gaining less than $200 a month from AO entering a public school. 2 more years to go until I can really put those property taxes to work when my Fall baby joins his big sis and we head to Vegas. Until then, I'm trying to scratch, scrimp and save (or so to hell with it and use the credit card-again) for my super fabulous forty year spa birthday in Mexico with 12 freaking treatments spread out over 5 days with 4 nights rocking the "decent-sized boat made to look like a New Orleans paddle" I have been assured by their website: http://www.spa.villabejar.com.mx/eng/actualizacion/frall.htm that "It is a blast". After Chicago last year, we all agreed that sun and spas where in order for this round.

So bright things are on the horizon and those butterflies are still fluttering everywhere I go in San Antonio, which is often these days. Deadline has done got me again but it's a sad, sad time to be selling advertising- maybe after the election I can hit my goal? Dispatching from the scratchy sheets at the Quality Inn in Hell-freakin'-otes (where I have trade=free) I'm ready to be back in the ever lovin' arms of Austin but SA has really been getting under my skin with her many charms and drool inducing real-estate market. Like we could ever get a loan or have anyone buy our house. At least we can always have a mobile home to call our very own which we will be returning to this weekend to celebrate Oliver's birthday. Celebrations the following weekend- this trip is strictly for chilling after we pay our respects to the Texpatriate and Co. on Friday.

And then next Wednesday this mellow little fellow will be turning four!

Oliver wants to get him (another) a drum set. I want quiet but now that I have it, I actually miss the noise- just a little.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"No one like me"

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Many Moods of the Malcontette Kindergartener

I spent this Summer trying to recreate this photo. That's me Fall of 1972 headed to pre-school with my School Bus Lunch Box which was iconic enough that my amazing sister found a replica for Annie on her 5th birthday and not 2 weeks after she had given birth to my new niece Merritt.

By the eve before the first day I had gathered what I could to complete the look. The dress and red keds were a find from the Patch. I tied it all together last night when I read "Oh my baby, little one" and snuck 4 heart shaped photos in the heart pocket and then eventually a very secret space in her backpack. The morning of the big day, I tried to get her to pose but her nerves got the best of her.

By 2:45pm she was a bit shell shocked- surprisingly closed lip about the day she had. As the evening progressed, she volunteered more as it was processed. It was a good day, all in all, although she didn't like learning about all the rules and found it slow and boring. Hopefully today will be more to her liking.

As you can see, this little apple didn't fall far from my tree.














Until her moods improve, all modeling will be on hold.

My baby is a big girl now






sigh.
sniff.
sigh.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Delta Funeral

The eagle landed just over the Texas/Louisiana border on HWY 79 near Panola. A half-mile ahead of this spectacular casino/cafe/truckstop was a drug checkpoint warning sign which made for some mom-and-dad chuckles as we did the potty tour. By the time we left, 8 unmarked cars, an ambulance and some cuffs across the road indicated the sign worked--they snag the folks turning around. Try explaining all that to pre-schoolers.

By the 8th hour on the road things were getting tense. We wasted about an hour searching for a non-existent Luby's in West Monroe LA to no avail. Barnhill's was recommended at the Walgreens (another potty stop) and we crossed the Ouachita to more familiar turf, aka regular Monroe LA, home of some of the Barham clan.

Still lost, we decided to drive thru for some directions and a little inspiration at a turqoise oasis off the interstate...

Annie's expression (despite the exposure) really captured the mood

Daddy O. drove the whole dang 1000 plus miles while I tuned out on the Ipod.

Anderson was generally cheerful until he decided to amp up the sass and attitude. He even ordered Daddy to "CHILL OUT!" Not cool. Funny, but ... um... OK, yeah, funny. Cool, sure. Whatever. After 8 hours in a booster seat, almost anything goes.

I was torn between the Dirty Mother or Smurf Piss but settled on a Medium styrofoamed frozen margarita for $5 to settle my jangled nerves. At the window we asked for directions to the Mohawk Seafood Tavern (est. 1952). Turns out our "bartender's" cousin was the GM and gave us his cred in case there was a wait.

The Mohawk, where gentile Monroe meets to eat, since 1952. Imagine wood panelling with a coat of grease, men's room outside, black gentlemen waiters in white tuxes. No windows. A few deer and pheasant haphazardly mounted to the wall. A dusty old fishing net sagging in the corner where the roof and wall meet. Neon. Awesome. There wasn't a wait for a table but a bit for the food. But well worth it for the atmosphere and seafood- even with the multiple visits to the parking lot to climb over the mountain of bleached oyster shells while waiting for our share of the delicious fruit de mer.


Next stop, Lake Village Arkansas. Yes, we made the whole 500-plus miles in one day with two kids under 6 and two long stops--one for lunch and one for dinner. (Lunch was at Johnny Reb's Dixie Restaurant in Hearne, Texas. BIG props for the 'nanner pudddin.)
Lake Village is beautiful, and best of all, right across the mighty Mississipp' from Greenville, home of Doe's Eat Place. In Greenville's prodigious crack alley, Doe's is a throwback and a celebrity, kind of a Kreuz's before it moved from the downtown location. Delta tamales and monster T-Bones. I don't think they even offer anything else except for fries and taters. Also yummy shrimp. Of course.

To Doe's (est. 1941) we go the evening after the funeral to feed our grief. Think the original Hoffbrau with the kitchen planted in the center of the restaurant with ram shackle additions radiating from each direction.


If that ketchup bottle would fall it would roll to end to end.

By the way, Doe's was honored by the James Beard Foundation in 2007 for all my foodies.


See the grin? I'm grabbing the last bottle from the sack. FYI it's BYOB. Note a common decorating theme? Only the finest restaurants have greasy wall panelling. That's cousin Laurie with me.



At the end the evening, we found a giggle of well dressed co-eds and their handsome Beaus--all in pressed khaki and white, khaki blazers and dark ties--waiting for a table on our way out.