Tuesday, September 24, 2013

pedernales and other stuff

We went to Pedernales State Park. The river was not as weirdly green as it appears in these pictures. The kids swam. Ben vacillates between finding fish in the water either exciting or completely terrifying, depending as far as we can tell on cloud formations or solar flares. That day it was a mix of both.  I can safely say the Rodens are definitely no longer aquarium people, for the foreseeable future at least. 

We found our favorite tree - Bear immediately pooped in front of it. At first this was disappointing, but later on in the afternoon it allowed us to observe a female dung beetle up close and personal. UPSIDE!

Jane picked up some litter.

Bear remembered he could swim. Which is sort of the bare minimum on the "being a water dog" scale, but whatever. We were proud of him anyway. I've found that setting the bar low is the key to happy pet ownership. 

Also Ben started nursery school. This is a picture of Jane walking him into class on the first day. He likes it approximately 99% of the time; the 1% being 3 minutes every morning when the teachers are peeling him off my legs. 

And I started my job.  It's going okay. Why do we need so MANY laws though? Could people just stop making them all the damn time maybe? The law library is running out of space. 

ALSO we bought $40 of bricks on Craigslist and straight up just made this pathway in like 3 hours. If you come to my house I will drag out outside to view this path. You have to admire it, out loud, repeatedly, before I free you to discuss or look at other things. Ain't no party like a pathway party cause a pathway party is MANDATORY. 

So that's what blogging is now, apparently. Just a random assemblage of iphone pics I've probably already instagrammed, with additional cursory notes. If you want real blogging... that harkens back to the beautiful marbled text blocks and lovingly carved nibs of a gentler journaling age, please look no further than http://laaazlo.blogspot.com/  where Chase claims he is going to start blogging again although I have my doubts. Because right now we are both VERY VERY tired. What is up with this? WHY are we so tired? We don't have newborns/demanding careers/jetlag. GEEZ get off our backs TIREDNESS. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

first fall day

I would be calling him this morning. talking about the cool weather, and where to buy a cord of wood for the fireplace. I would hear about what birds he was seeing in the yard- whether the woodpecker was back in the pecan this year. 
Or maybe I’d call and the reception would be choppy— I’d know he was in the woods somewhere. Or on a sandbar, with his deck shoes pushed up next to the campfire, frying bacon and boiling water for another cup of coffee. His reach for the phone would have startled the dogs awake - only dogs exhausted by the excitements of camping can sleep in the presence of bacon. 
He would say “Hello Hello!” and I would ask if he’d caught anything. 
Or he would be standing at the sink, looking into the backyard, telling Shawn he knew they should cut back the jasmine by the kitchen window, but he just couldn’t bear to yet — it smelled so sweet in the mornings. 
Or he would say “I just can’t hear you right now Anne! Let me call you when we’re back in the slip!” and I would hear the roar and know he was out on lake sabine, tacking back and forth into the wind, terrifying whoever he’d convinced to go out with him on a too-windy-for-sailing day. I would hang up and wonder if he’d just called me by the wrong name (50/50 chance of that) or if he was actually going to call Anne back later and surprise her. Or if he’d lose his phone to spray again and I’d get a call from Shawn’s cell the next day. 
Or I would be asking what he was planting, asking when I should start the collard green seeds he gave me. I would already have looked it up on the internet, but I would ask him anyway. I would tell him about a new recipe for dilly beans I’d seen, and he would tell me about the all mayhaws they’d gotten out of Bird’s Eye Lake this year. I would hang up and open the last jar of mayhaw preserves from 2012, knowing I’d get a shelf full of new jars for Christmas. 
He would say, so un-pressingly, “Are you guys thinking about coming down for a visit sometime soon? I sure would love to take Ben on a walk in the woods.” 
And I would say “Well i don’t know Dad. school just started and we’ve got a lot going on — tumbling classes and dinner groups and girl scouts… I just started my new job!  And it seems like everyone’s getting a runny nose. maybe it’s the first fall cold… it might be a while before we can get away. But we sure would love to see you guys. We'll be down there next month for sure.” 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Curious George and Oh the Humanity

The Man with the Yellow Hat (TMWTYH as he's known in our house) says, "No George, a 'collection' isn't just a bunch of trash you find on the street... it's something special -- like a stamp collection, or this collection of piggy banks..."

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO" screams Jane, running from the room as the children begin to "recycle" George's "collection."

Which should give everyone a good idea of the state of her room. We have feather collections (so many feathers), rock collections, empty yogurt containers holding eggshells collections, pencil shaving collections, collections that are just scraps of paper from the creation of the display and exhibit apparatus of other collections... 

Sorry, TMWTYH, but you're wrong on this one. Collections can absolutely be just a bunch of trash you find on the street. And God help you if you throw that water bottle full of mineral oil and perler beads away. MOM! IT WAS IN MY COLLECTION! (followed by inconsolable weeping, etc)

Maybe she'll be an archivist when she grows up.

In other librarianship news, I like my new job. I'm in my second week and it's going okay. Dressing for it is definitely the most confusing part. I feel like I know my way around the ILS alright, and so yes maybe I did get lost in the closed stacks basement cage for a while there on Monday, but overall things are going pretty well.

I just have no clothes that say "employable grown up, circa 2013." All my employable grownup clothes were bought for me at the gap by my mom in 2001 when I graduated from UT :(

The fact that it's taken me over a decade to get a job where pencil skirts and heels are not absurdly laughable is kind of heartbreaking, but whatevs. I'm here now, and the clothes I wear generally say something different... more in the conversational vein of "So are you Jane's nanny?".. or possibly "Isn't it convenient that Savers is so close to your kid's elementary school?"

So every morning Chase has gotten up, chosen one of his indistinguishable pairs of pants, one of his button down shirts, and is a showered, coffee making, homework signing, kid shoe finding machine, while I'm still staring wide eyed and hopeless at a line of clothes like someone watching the Hindenburg go down (blimpy comparisons implied).

I don't even know where to look for the right kind of clothes. I mean assuming I had money. If Millie were here, she'd have already dragged me to some bizarre boutique probably owned by the daughter  or niece of one of her sorority sisters from Millsaps and/or Ole Miss. I would be standing, pantsless, in a pink wallpapered dressing room saying haltingly "I don't really know... but I don't think that's...?" while being efficiently steamrolled into trying on a barrage of legally blonde-esque lady lawyer clothes. I am not even kidding. That 100% absolutely would be happening if Millie were here today.

I'm picturing this like one of those terrible dead grandparent Family Circus cartoons (tm), where Millie's looking down from a cloud in heaven right now yelling "OH MY GOD JUST GO TO ANN TAYLOR LOFT DID I TEACH YOU NOTHING?" followed by "And please tell Chase he looks handsome in that shirt but it would look better tucked in."

Anyway... that's the current state of things. Trying to look like I didn't just pick a random assemblage from the "least holes" category of the closet for my interview.  Also now I have my OWN key to the cage in the basement. So, watch out? I guess?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

dance dance revolution

I am looking for a dance class for Wren. When asked what class she wanted to take this year, she said Ballet.

So fine. That's doable.

Jane's taking Tae Kwon Do (of course she is) but that only lasts 3 months and then we might be putting her in whatever program we find for Wren.

So that's a slight complication, but still totally workable.

One would think.

However I have probably put about 8 hours of computer/phone time into this quagmire/land war and see no sign of a happy solution. Here are things that are wrong with every possible dance program we could do in Austin, in no particular order:

- the class descriptor uses the words pole and/or break.

- the class takes place at an absurd time, such as 7:30 on a weeknight. Or classes for my 2 children, separated by 2 years, take place at the same time on different campuses.

- the class costs a billion dollars OR only accepts a lump sum payment at the beginning of the semester (of a billion dollars). No prorating available, obvs.

- which you only find out by calling, waiting, chit chatting about pointe shoes, and then finally, like you're pulling fucking teeth, they will tell you how much it costs. WHICH IS ABSURD, and a waste of everyone's time, because chances are it costs too damn much for me to afford. Whatever lady, thanks for taking the time to tell me on the phone. It's so much more personal. I'm glad you so carefully guarded that secret about how much your business charges for its one product.

- the class requires prerequisite classes, from the age of 4.

- the company has the word Austin in the title but in fact takes place in Circle C, Round Rock, Manor, Lakeway or Elgin. Or downtown Austin at 5:30 which is just as absurd.

- yelp reviews mention that creepy dudes hang out in the parking lot to watch dancers exit.

- It has the word Vaganova Technique on its curriculum (I don't know what that is but I don't want anyone teaching my daughters about it until college, AT LEAST)

- the dance company has animation or music on its website that you can't turn off. I refuse to do business with anyone that would do that and I certainly won't trust the wellbeing of my child to them.

We've done classes at the JCC before and that works okay except Rosh Hashanah is really early this year, like starts today? I think? And that means we've got Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah to get through in just the fall semester, not to mention Chanukah, all days when the J is closed for classes obviously, and that's a whole lot of missed ballet classes, you know?


I'm concentrating on this right now so I don't have to think about the looming deadline of next Monday when I start work, and Ben starts.... what exactly? Hanging out at our house for 5 hours solo? I think 'scrambling' is probably the best verb for what we're doing right now. We refer to our small gathering of childcare options by their most depressing qualifiers -- "Well Broccoli Cottage was closest to work, but they were eating greasy lettuce leaves about 2 feet away from the open door where that one kid was pooping..."


"St. Waythefuckfaraway has such a nice playground! It'd be cool if the tuition was only slightly more than HALF my paycheck and not like 90% of it."

BUT WHATEVER. Good problems to have, right? GOOD PROBLEMS. Looking for a dance class for my healthy, strong children with the requisite number of dancing legs among them, all functioning more or less to spec.  Looking for childcare because I got a JOB! WOOO! Too blessed to be depressed. That's us. All the damn time.