Pushing Pause

Last week, I shared some pictures of two subspecies of tortoise with an unusual requirement. When the eggs are first laid, they are in diapause, a complete suspension of embryonic development. The eggs are laid, but nothing happens. The only way to break the diapause and jump-start the embryos’  development is to cool the eggs for several weeks. Without this period of enforced inactivity, the embryos never quite develop.

My children and my husband have this entire week off. And I am going into diapause. I am unplugging for a week to be with my family. I’m pressing pause so that my spirit will be refreshed and can grow and develop in whole new ways.

I’ve been working on  posts for the last couple of weeks, so they’ll magically appear in your inbox including a tortoise-baby post. I love my blog, and I committed myself to writing five days a week, so I’m not wiggling out of that deal. I’ll be slower to respond to comments than usual, but next week I will respond to all of the comments that are from real people who aren’t trying to sell me Viagra or computer software.

So if you’ll pardon me, this egg is chillin’.

Without a pause, some of life’s great treasures would be lost.

Because I Aim To Please

I know it’s no longer Valentine’s day. I also remember that I already wrote a post on search terms.  Bear with me. This post is especially for my new pal. Well, not so much pal as person who wound up here after searching “What to expect for Valentine’s day from my passive aggressive husband.” Now you understand why I am compelled to write this.

A box of fat-free chocolates – because, well, you know.

A gym membership – though you have never once mentioned wanting to join a gym. See above.

Racy underwear – in the wrong size. From Wal-mart.

A Valentine’s card with someone else’s name on it 

A lovely flower arrangement -containing poison ivy and  a sprig of hemlock

A candlelit dinner – from Paco’s All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Stand

A bottle of wine – the best that Boone’s Farm has to offer

A charm bracelet – from a vending machine

A bag of candy – containing the nuts you’re deathly allergic to

A vacuum  cleaner – because the one you have obviously isn’t working very well

A box of tiny chocolates – with the words “Ex-lax” stamped on the top of each candy

A new cordless drill – Just like he’s you’ve been hoping for

I didn’t post this on Valentine’s day because all of your lovely surprises might have been ruined. You’re welcome.


I Love You Because

I admire your sense of style. 

Technically, it was a Halloween costume. But this is the kid that asked for owl vomit for Christmas

You let me dress you funny.

He will hate me one day. But for now, plays along.

You love  me even though I wouldn’t know a Geonosian from a Clone Trooper. 

The kid loves Star Wars more than life.

You haven’t killed each other yet.

This is an old picture, so you'll have to take my word for it. They're all still alive.

You appreciate the value of naps. 

You can caption this one yourself. I go with "Awwww! But I'm still not having another one."

You lead me to amazing places.

Following my dreams

Happy Valentine’s day!

True Confession

I don’t love my husband’s car. I feel guilty saying so because he loves it so much, but there are just so many reasons to hate it.

It is nondescript –  Even his Volvo, that turd-on-wheels money pit that didn’t start on cold/warm/rainy/dry/non-apocalyptic mornings at least had some personality. My daughter assigned our cars names. Over the years, we have had Baby-car, Brother Car, Bessie. This one is just called Car. It is so generic that it took me a year to remember what color it actually is. It’s blue. I think. It might be green, though.  And it looks so much like every other sedan that on more than one occasion, I attempted to get into someone else’s Car of an entirely different make and model.  It’s a little embarrassing when the vehicle’s owner is still sitting in the driver’s seat.

The radio is awful – Or maybe it’s so great and so fancy that it is just beyond the likes of me to appreciate it’s awesomeness. But if I hit the wrong button, the entire face plate comes off. Special. And it eats CDs. More than once, he’s been stuck listening to Josh Groban because I can’t get it to cough the disc back up. Just desserts. For both of them.

My husband has somehow managed to preset some stations, which is great. But if I forget that I am driving Car and channel surf,  I find myself with four channels to choose from. Country and conservative talk radio. Kill. Me. Now.

The power issue– Trying to accelerate enough to merge into freeway traffic is like barrel racing on a bumblebee. There’s a lot of buzzing, but not much ground gets covered.

It is low to the ground – When I am behind the wheel, I feel like I am dragging my bum-bum on the road.

It is small – There are five of us. It’s like driving a clown car.

All the controls are in the wrong place – I know that no two vehicles are exactly the same on the inside. But Car has some super mind-control power. When I borrow it even a short trip, the layout of my own dashboard is wiped cleanly out of my head. I can’t turn on my lights without kicking the windshield wipers into gear.

It hates me, too– My husband could drive the thing to Jupiter and back and never have to stop for gas. I can drive it out of our neighborhood, and the gauge drops from half-full to push-it-to-the-gas-station empty. And I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure it has tried to kill me a time or two. And the seat-belt is on the “strangle” setting.

If you don’t hear from me for a day or two, please come and look for me. My husband just might be just driving Christine.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


To Sleep, Perchance…

What are you looking at? Boppies aren't just for babies.


I lie very still trying not to move. I don’t want to break the illusion that I am sound asleep. I feel eyes boring into me, watching the rhythm of my breathing, waiting for the sign that I am awake. It’s not the kids. Their sense of self preservation tells them not to rouse their napping mother. There’s only one with the intestinal fortitude to poke a sleeping dragon. It’s the cat, curled tightly beside me, hopeful.

I open one eye, and she greets me with a little chirp that is half-purr, half-meow, all hopeful. I close my eye  and remain very still. She is onto me, however. After a moment or two, I can’t take the pressure and open my eyes. Again the friendly little greeting, but she doesn’t yet leave her post. I make eye contact. That’s all the invitation she needs. She is in my face in the blink of a sleepy eye. I feel her Friskies-breath as she bumps my chin. Impatiently she curls her head under my hand. “Pet me!” she says clearly. “Pet me NOW!” How can I resist?

She’s an ancient animal, a relic from the beginning of our marriage, our first baby. The little bag of bones, all eyeballs and distended belly, that followed us out of the woods, crying hopefully “Please don’t leave me!” The  waif who bit me in her haste to get to the proffered food and sent us into rabies quarantine. She was my only company that first long year when my husband worked residential shifts two hours away, returning home every 3 days if we were lucky. What adventures we have had!

Adore me

The old girl senses my weakness and begins the purr and pace routine that ensures that every one of her  itchy spots receive attention. If I flag, she’s more than willing to nudge my hand, to remind me what I was put here for.

I think of all the water that has passed under my bridge in the years since this cat found us. 7 moves in 2 different states, college graduation, three kids, two other cats (for which she has never forgiven us completely), reptiles too numerous to count, several dogs, all of whom learned their place within the first 24 hours. She has forever been my nap-buddy, quick to curl up on my chest as a kitten, or beside me when she grew too big. I can’t bear to think about the day when I wake up without her. She has always been there. I wish she always could be.

Here's to many more years together, precious one

Achieving Peace and Harmony

My sister-in-law is fantastic. She’s funny and smart, and she gives the most wonderful gifts. Her choices are thoughtful and carefully considered, always appreciated. She tries to find the perfect gift for each person.

Best present EVER! I love it! It's mine, right? I don't have to share it? Because I love it, and it's MINE! Hands off!


Unfortunately, we’re at the phase where all gifts simply must be identical, and I don’t have the heart to tell her. She bought something truly awesome this time around, and my life is no longer worth living. Every single day, it’s the same routine:

“It’s MINE!”

“No, it’s mine! ”

“It is not! Kris got it for ME!”

“Well, I’m just using it! I’m not going to hurt it! You’re supposed to share!”

“You never share with me!”

“You like the other one, anyway.”

“I do NOT! I want THAT one! It’s MINE!”

And on, and on, and on, and on.  Every single day. I am at my wit’s end. If this pattern continues, I will have to take matters into my own hands and buy my husband his own Contigo coffee cup so he will leave mine alone. It. Is. MINE.

It is dark, sleek, easy to hold, and you have to push its buttons to get anything out of it. I call it The Jacob.

Edward is a little jealous.

I will quit naming things after Twilight characters when people quit rolling their eyes when I do. Don’t reinforce irritating behavior. I am incorrigible. Don’t incorrige me.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Passive Aggression, Volume II

For those who didn’t get enough ideas the first time around :

Turn off the coffee pot about ten minutes before you expect them to refresh their cup. The coffee will be barely warm enough to melt the sugar. Not enough to drink.

Put their rain jacket in your trunk on the rainy day you leave for work early. Husband swears it’s an accident. We know better, don’t we?

Serve meals you know they don’t enjoy. As a preemptive strike for those with passive-aggressive partners, it’s important to lay some false trails as to what you really like.  Eat that fried liver with gusto if you never want to see it again.

If your significant other gets up before you do, set the clock ahead. Fifteen minutes or two hours, it’s up to you.

Begin the morning by saying “Are you really going to wear — never mind. You look great!” Cock your head and stare at them whenever they are sure to notice.

Mismatch their socks. This is particularly effective if they dress in the dark. They will never realize that they are sporting one black, and one navy blue until their boss points it out in the middle of a business meeting.

Repeatedly flush the toilet while they are in the shower. Only considered passive-aggressive in homes whose plumbing dates to this century. The goal is to monkey with the water pressure, not leave second-degree burns.

Give the toddler a long nap and a Mountain Dew when you’ve got plans for a night out with your friends.  Use this tip with caution, as it sometimes takes a caffeinated toddler two to three days to come down from their high. Best used when going away overnight. And if your plans fall through, go anyway. I cannot emphasize this last part enough.

Write a series of blog posts on passive-aggression that you would never have the heart to actually follow through on.  And leave them to wonder.

Find their secret stash of hidden goodies  And move it. No, don’t eat it!!! Are you crazy? Sorry. You know I don’t share, right? You don’t even have to move it to an entirely new location, although that can be fun. Just slide it over far enough that they know their security has been breached. Maybe even rearrange the remaining Russel Stover dark chocolates that are hidden in the dresser drawer. I may have just said too much. I, um. I gotta go…

Sorry 'bout the cake, Daddy. Mommy goin' bye-bye.

Lost In Translation: Family Edition

"We're going on a hike." Because you've been bad.

“Hurry! We’re late!” : We’ve joined the Slow movement. Take all the time you need.


“Get down from there!” Preferably by flying.


“I was eating that!” Help yourself.


“That was my seat.” I was just warming it for you. Here. Have my blanket, too.


“It’s time to leave for church.” Please remove your shoes and socks, change into torn pants, and style your hair with my hand-mixer.


“Are those pants clean?” Did you wear them for less than five day in a row? To play in the mud.


“The kids are playing together so nicely!”  I wish they’d start another round of “Mom, He’s Looking At Me!”


“It’s school picture day.” (see “It’s time to leave for church.”)


“Eat it. It’s good for you.” It will make your ears fall off.


“Give Grandma a kiss.”  Please lick her face and poke your finger in her eye.


“Don’t pick your nose!” Unless you plan to share.


“It snowed last night!” Please strip down to your underwear before going outside. Barefoot.


“When you’re finished with that, put it back.”  Under the couch.


The Game We Play

I love games. We got to play my favorite one recently, and it’s a long game. Our longest round lasted four weeks. It’s challenging and entertaining. For most of us. This game is called “How Long Will It Take Daddy To Realize We Have A New Snake?”  Best. Game. Ever.

Notice that it is not called “Hide the Snake.” For a couple of reasons. First, I don’t want those kinds of search hits on my blog. Secondly, there’s no challenge in simply hiding it. There are dozens of places to hide creatures in this house where my husband wouldn’t find them for months. Where’s the fun in that? It’s far more exciting to set up the new pet exactly where it’s going to live for the rest of its life and see what happens. I’m never disappointed.

It’s not that my husband is unobservant. It’s just that he has been surrounded by scales for the last ten years, and he forgets what we already have. Reptiles just don’t register on his radar. Kids do, though, so I have been unsuccessful sneaking tiny people into the house without him noticing.

Before you ask, I have my limits. I get asked to adopt reptiles often, and most of the time, I say no. I am not interested in cricket-eaters, anything that requires ultraviolet light, is costly to feed, or gets large enough to consume one of the mammals. A girl’s gotta have her standards.

For this round, one of my snake-breeding friends offered me his surplus male rosy boa.  I enjoy this species, and it was one of the contenders when I was snake shopping back in October. It stays under three feet, costs around $100 a year to keep, and it’s my daughter’s dream snake. I said yes.

I met my friend in the parking lot of a large grocery store for pick up. For those of you not familiar with transporting snakes, they are usually transported in cloth bags or pillow cases that are tied off at the top


Given the size of my tiny snake and the fact that my friend sped off in such a hurry (he was late for his lab at the university, I swear!) , I am pretty sure that all of my neighbors passing by thought I was doing some kind of crazy drug deal. No matter. I took my new pet home.

He is beautiful. I call him Jasper. Yes, after that Jasper. Because he is pale, he is pretty, and we’re teaching him to quit trying to eat people. Seems fitting.

This round lasted only nine days, a bit of a disappointment over the last one. I think we can do better next time. Who’s in?

And here he is. Pretty, yes?



Update: I just heard from my husband. He read the blog and replied “I thought it was an empty cage. The game could have gone on forever.” You know what this means, right? I need to put empty cages in other rooms. Just to mess with him.

Photo credit: http://www.news.bbc.co.uk

Moving On

If it doesn't come with a mouse, I am no longer sure how to use it.

I got an e-reader for my birthday. Being able to curl up in bed, electric mattress cover set to high, is about as close to heaven as it gets in this life.

Last night I was sitting in my living room reading. No matter how hard I tapped, the page stubbornly refused to change. I was ready to bang the thing on the ground when my husband spoke up.

“Babe, you sent the reader back. That’s an actual book.”

I stared at him, puzzled. He rolled his eyes and explained. Apparently, I have to turn the page manually, and he showed me how. Grip page between fingers, move to left. Every single time I finish a page. Really? What are we? Cave people? I feel my carpal tunnel kicking in.

I was super-annoyed when the book didn’t save my progress, either. Apparently, I have to slide a thin, flat object such as my library card or a twenty-dollar bill between the pages and hold the spot myself.  Confusing, but I will learn. You can teach this new dog old tricks.

I found a CD that I wanted, but no matter where I clicked on it, or how hard,  I couldn’t add it to my shopping cart.  The sales clerk gave me a dirty look and finally put it in my hands. People are so weird. And as I was checking out, I had the hardest time with the shipping options.

“You just take it with you,” said the lady behind the counter. An actual counter. Seriously low-tech.

“Or?” I asked. But apparently, that was the only option. That is unfortunate. I love getting mail. But then again, I don’t have to wait two business days to receive it. I suppose it’s a trade-off.

It’s a difficult adjustment, but it’s not all bad. I went into my family room and discovered that if I am looking for something to read, there are literally hundreds of those weird paper versions to choose from. That’s kind of cool. I never did find instructions on how to get my collection onto the reader to begin with. Waving it around in front of the shelves never worked, and the USB port seemed kind of a small target to shove them in. I might actually be low-tech at heart.

I think I’ll be okay.