Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Marfly

Margaret hates this picture of herself.

That is too bad because I have it printed out on a 8-1/2 x 11" piece of card stock and it's affixed to the door of our refrigerator.

I love it. I love her little wrinkled forehead and the smear of frosting on her cheek and the angle of the wings. Plus her expression ... just too much.

I snapped this picture Saturday. You can read about it here.

Oh and yes, she's a butterfly and so am I. Yes folks, RiveterGirl dressed up for Halloween and I'm dressed up like a 6 year old. Oh the things I'll do for my kiddo.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Run, run, run, have fun?

Fun but hectic ... that pretty much sums up my weekend. And I'm oh-so-happy the time changed. I've never needed that extra hour before.

Saturday night Bill's band had their Halloween extravaganza at the Spotlight Lounge downtown. They put on a good show and I was amazed at the number of people who dressed up and the amazing variety of costumes. Crazy I tell ya.

It was a fun night of some good music.

But, I'll admit it, I was tired. I slogged my way through the week, going to bed too late and then having to contend with the Halloween-induced night fears from which Mar has been suffering. Yeah, I spent more than one night flopping around Mar's twin bed hugging her giant pink rabbit, Lola (who, by the way, got her first spin in the washing machine and everyone is better for it).

Saturday afternoon, Margaret marched downtown with some of the neighborhood kids while Jenn and I followed behind commenting on how equally cute and silly they all are. Our downtown sponsored an afternoon of trick-or-treating where the stores opened their doors to the manical pack of dressed up sugar fiends and gave out copious amounts of candy.
After all the walking, the kids started to get tired, but being the good moms that we are, we forced them to eat some candy and cookies they decorated themselves and hoped the sugar would kick in.

20 minutes later, the kids were amped up and chasing each other down the street.

Ah that magic drug ... sugar.

Friday, October 27, 2006

This just in!

The white pumpkins are back to normal.

'the hell?
Thing number 4 that I've learned about white pumpkins: They change colors and inspire ramdom and pointless blog entries.

Number 5: They should avoided by those with weak constitutions and embraced by those with a doctor's note verifying their heartiness.

Now, I'm afraid

So yesterday, I suggested that Jesus had donned his Halloween garb a little early and posed in the picture with our snow-covered jack-o-lanterns.

Well, it looks like in return for my blasphemy, God smote our white pumpkins just a little bit.
(Just ignore the weird guy posing in his pajamas next to the pumpkins ... I have no good excuse for him.)

The tops of the pumpkins have turned color. One is green and one is orange. I don't know if it's because they froze last night or what, but it's weird.

So, this is what I've learned about white pumpkins:

1. White pumpkins cost more than orange pumpkins.

2. They are waaaaay harder to carve than orange pumpkins.

3. God will smite white pumpkins if you are a blasphemer.

Just in case, I'm going to start keeping a bunch of white pumpkins available for God to smite as he deems necessary.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Snow already?

Yes, we had snow this morning ... right here in the Grand Valley.

While it's not completely unheard of for us to get snow, getting it in October is pretty rare.
I snapped this picture of our pumpkins getting goose-pimples this morning. When I uploaded it, I noticed that white blotch between the green pumpkin and the white one on the end.

What is that?

My Catholic co-worker decided it was Jesus dressed up for Halloween as a ghost. Who am I to argue?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mar's fall program or why I love YouTube

Last night was Margaret's first-grade music program.

Before I had kids, I would have never guessed that given a choice to see any musical act in the world, I would chose a rowdy bunch of 6-year-olds singing loudly and off key.

I love to see their carefree spirit. There's something about their enthusiasm coupled with an utter lack of self-awareness that lifts my spirits.

And being the dweeby, tech mom that I am, I had Margaret's whole program downloaded on to our iMac, edited in iMovie and uploaded to YouTube before I went to bed last night where I slept with the smug smile of satisifaction plastered on my happy mom face.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Just like when they were kids

Bill was a little tired so Davy offered to give him a ride on his handlebars.

Gah, what a bunch of goofballs we are.

Saturday night we went out to an adult dinner for a neighbor's birthday. During the three block walk to the jazz club from the restaurant, it was decided that we (by "we" I mean "everyone else" while I took picutres — my mama din't raise no fool) should pose with the Art on the Corner sculptures.

Look how happy they are. *Cue: "Raindrop keeping fall on my head."


Lookit! We carved punkins!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Little miss lovely

Ah, Friday. My dear husband will be home tonight and balance will once again be regained in our house.

But this week was very different than the times I've spent single-parenting it in the past. Well, in some ways it was different.

It was still way too hectic for me and I never did cook a proper meal ... but I did cook — assuming that you count heating up canned soup and making macaroni and cheese as cooking. I never got organized enough to get meals and work and lessons and band practice properly scheduled, so I always felt like I was just barely making it.

But we did make it. And the best part was that I didn't scream at Margaret in the morning nearly as much as I usually do when I'm the one solely responsible for getting her out the door.

I was even able to keep my standing date with Tracee-Trace for our weekly Survivor night.

We are total dorks when it comes to Survivor — really, we've even started our own little game where we try to guess which tribe will win challenges, who gets voted off and what color Jeff Probst's shirt will be. The winner gets to keep the home-made immunity idol for the week. So far Tracee is kicking my ass but good ... and I thought I was a good guesser — yeah, not so much.

But the best part of last night's Survivor night was getting to hang with Tracee's uber-adorable, 1-1/2-year-old nephew, Carter.

Margaret read him books until he was distracted by our goofy, skinny dog.
Then they horsed around with some of Mar's toys, plastic cups and a pasta strainer ... just another crazy night at the McCracken house.

(Oh, I had to resort to taking this picture with my cell phone. I can't believe how many times I missed my camera this week ... oh and my husband, too, of course.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oh fall! How we barely knew ye

Remember all that talk about the change of seasons, from summer to fall?

Well, there might still be some leaves on the trees but fall is in the process of running out on the dinner bill.

Last night I slipped into bed wearing sweatpants and a yoga tank.I snuggled into my flannel sheets and fell asleep. Around 1 a.m., I was rudely roused from my slumber by the clinking of ice cubes that had formed on my feet. I was freezing.

After laying there trying to convince myself that I didn't need to actually get out of bed, I jumped up and threw on some socks and a long sleeved t-shirt. I even turned up the heat. Gasp!

Normally on cold nights I never have to bundle up because I usually sleep next to my human furnace. But Bill flew off to the nation's captial on Tuesday and with him went my camera.

And I miss it ... er, I mean, him. I miss him (and I do, really. Everytime Mar and I are left alone, I'm reminded of how much he brings to our life everyday and we're counting the minutes until he returns) and I miss my camera.

I carry my little Nikon around in my bag with me everywhere. So yesterday when I drove past a backhoe that had split an old, two-story house downtown in half, I immediately thought, "Ew, cool. I'm gonna stop and take a picture." Followed quickly by, "Damn, Bill had better come home with some great photos."

He comes home tomorrow. I can't wait.


And that's not all, if you click here you can read about my kid's first bout with addiction. Today it's children's Motrin, tomorrow she'll be on the street trying to score generic ibuprofen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lesson learned

There I stood, in the alley behind the only gay bar in town and waited.

I was waiting for the guy that I thought booked the bands. He was busy — busy stomping a broken chair into bits.

When I was fairly certain that he had completed his stompfest, I approached him, hand extended and introduced myself.

He was taken aback. He looked at me like I was about to spoil his good, boot-stomping fun.

Perhaps I was too polite or articulate. He was afterall a bartender who worked in the most notorious dive-bar in town.

Eventually he caught on that I was trying to book a show for my band.

"Oh yeah, I already talked to your drummer about that show."

Ah, good. We wanted to play the Wednesday before Thanksgiving — just as we did last year. This year's show would mark the one-year anniversary of KP joining our band and leading us fearlessly through the best year the band has yet had.

I gave the bar dude a slip of paper with La La's number and the date we wanted to play scribbled on it.

As we continued to talk, I quickly surmised that something was amiss. All of a sudden he was talking about his band and how long they were going to be playing and whatnot.

It was midnight on Friday. I was tired and crampy and had just witnessed a full-grown man massacre a helpless chair soley because it was weak. And now, I was confused.

Had I just agreed to play a show with this guy and his band? Who is this band?

Frustrated, I extracated myself from the conversation and went in search of Bill who I'd left at the bar.

When I found him, he asked, "Where were you? I got the name of the lady who does that band booking here."

Huh? Now I felt even worse. I had just spent a half-hour of my life with a chair stomper, agreed to a show with a band that we didn't know and then learned that he wasn't even the right person to whom I should've been speaking in the first place.


Fortunately, I gave the chair-stomping dude La La's number and he called her. It turns out they are scheduled to play the Saturday before Thanksgiving. La La called the booking gal and got us scheduled for that Wednesday.

There is a reason that La La does our booking.

Creepy or not? You decide

My co-conspirator and fellow Haute Mama, Richie, says she's gonna make some of these creepy fake hands ... yes, having a baby that isn't inclined to sleep through the night will inspire you to make prosthetics out of work gloves and fluff from all those stuffed animals that are given as gifts.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Always getting in the way

The following is the e-mail I just sent to Professor La La as I'm sure that she's missed my obsessive e-mails today as I wasn't at work:

Hey L-

I've been home all day. Mar developed a high fever really fast last night. We took her to the ER. With her stomach the way it is, I'm always worried about appendicitis, but they didn't find anything. Her throat looked suspect but the rapid strep test came back negative.

I thought she'd be fine for school tomorrow but her fever is starting to rise again.

Damn, sick kids.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I realized as I was driving back to work this afternoon that I didn't even say goodbye.

When I get home from work this evening, it will be gone. I won't miss it, but it still makes me sad.

In May of 1999, I was going through my divorce and I bought myself a 1984 Jeep CJ-7.

I took the top off immediately and proceeded to roast slowly in the sun until I bought a bikini top for it to shade my very, very white skin from the evil orb that is the western Colorado sun.

I loved driving my Jeep around. I love cars in general, but this Jeep was special. It was open and free ... just like I was at that point.

I drove my Jeep to my first date with Bill.

Then it started getting cold out and I got pregnant.

I told Bill that I was too old to be pregnant and hauling my fat self around in a bumpy old Jeep — how could he argue? So my beloved Jeep became Bill's daily driver.

Over the years, it was a reliable second car for our family despite the fact that we did little to no work on it whatsoever.

Last fall I had to drive the Jeep to work on a rainy day and it started to spit and sputter and generally object to being forced to operate under such dreadful conditions.

That night in a fit, I told Bill that I never wanted to drive that Jeep again. Because he had suffered though several winters driving the drafty, old beast, he agreed that a different car would better serve our needs (he recounted the numerous times he drove Margaret to pre-school with her teeth chattering and her lips turning blue).

Once we'd purchased a newer used car, we parked my once-beloved, but now-discarded Jeep at our friend's house. Recently, our friend moved and the Jeep ended up once again at our house ... where it sat for a number of weeks until I suggested that Bill get the "thing" ready to sell, so I didn't have to look at it anymore.

And he did. Sunday he took care of the minor issues that it required and then printed up a "for sale" sign and taped it into the window.

Monday at work, I placed a classified ad that started running today. Bill called me at 10 am — my Jeep had been sold.

I wasn't really prepared for this.

I spent 45 minutes of my lunch hour searching in vain for the title to my fallen beauty while the buyer waited patiently upstairs with a stack of 100-dollar bills. I never found it, but the buyer still gave us the money and we both signed a bill of sale.

We'd get a new copy of the title tomorrow and he was going to come back this afternoon and drive the Jeep away.

I won't miss it, but it still makes me sad.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Postcard from the edge

Upon returning from our Saturday errands, I gathered the mail from the mailbox.

Margaret asked, "Who's the mail for?"

I glanced through the pile, knowing that there was little chance of her recieving anything.

I was wrong. Stuck in between a bill and an advertisement was a postcard with an aligator basking in the Florida Everglades on the front, addressed to Midge.

I excitedly waved the card at Mar and said, "Look who got a postcard. Let's read it."

Margaret greedily snatched the card from my hand and sat on the sofa next to me.

She began to read the card:
Dear Midge-
How's life? I am still as disorganized as ever, and not entirely sure I like my job.
I had a bad experience today. I wanted to impress a rabbi w/my knowledge of Jewish words & said putz. I just looked it up & it means penis. No wonder he looked so surprised. I miss u!
Love, Emily
Margaret found the whole thing to be absolutely delightful and laughed about reading the word "penis" for a good long time.

Not many adults will write such a marginally inappropriate postcard to a 6-year-old, but that is precisely why we love Emily so much and also why we miss her so much.

The great thing about having a great friend move to Florida is that now we have a great visit to her there.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I hate to brag ...

My kid is smart.
Yeah, I know that I've said that kind of stuff before on this blog and on this one, too. But now it's not just me saying so.

The gifted and talented teacher at Margaret's school also works part-time here at the paper for which I work. She told me today that she has begun working with Margaret in one of the first-grade groups of kids that have been flagged as potentially gifted.

They did a bunch of testing at the beginning of the year and she was found to be advanced, especially with her reading (she's at about a third-grade level). Margaret and two other boys are in the top group with another three kids in a secondary group — yep, six kids total out of all the first-graders.

We've always known that she's a bright kid, but this is just confirmation that our punk-rock lifestyle hasn't completely hosed her up ... yet.

She won't be formally categorized as gifted until second grade. There's more testing and stuff to be done, but I'm very hopeful — not because having a smart kid is better than having an average kid, but she goes to a school that is always at or near the bottom in the rankings based on the state-standarized testing scores.

There are a lot of non-English speaking children, migrant children and sadly, kids who come from homes with ... let's see what euphemism I can come up with for "tweaker parents" ... I'll just say, not the most attentive parental units. So, it's nice to know that she has the potential to get the extra-attention she needs to achieve to her fullest potential.

I considered writing about this on the Haute Mamas blog for tomorrow's entry, but I actually don't like to be all "my kid's smarter than yours" in a forum dedicated to parenting. It just seems crass ... yeah, but I'll totally do it here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Going to the bathroom is one of those things best left done alone.

That is not a possibility when you work in a large office with one primary bathroom.

That ladies room at my office has four stalls.

Basic bathroom etiquette (that most people are able to figure out for themselves) states that when you are the first one in the bathroom, you select one of the stalls on the end. Then if someone else comes along, then they can easily select a stall that allows for at least a one-stall buffer.

That buffer is essential to maintaining the charade that you are still alone even though someone else is in the bathroom with you.

For the most part, the women in my office get this and all is well.

Today, however, I witnessed a breach of etiquette that I had never encountered before.

I walked into the bathroom to find that someone was already in stall number two. I followed the aforementioned etiquette and entered stall four.

Moments later, I heard the unmistakable sound of a cell phone ringing.

Then I heard the occupant of stall two answer the phone, mumble a few sentences then ask, "Can I call you back?"

'the hell?

This person answered her cell phone while still sitting on the can.

How can anyone in good conscience do such a thing?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The smell of burning flesh

For those that have never seen or just don't like the TV show The Office, this post is going to be of no interest to you, so go ahead and scroll down to the picture of my kid and click the link.

Bye-bye, people who don't watch The Office.

K. Now, remember the episode where Michael cooks his foot with his George Forman grill?

Yeah, the one where Dwight wrecks his car.

That episode is on disc 2 of season 2 and is Margaret's favorite. I don't know what about that particular show would delight a 6-year-old as it does, but she likes it and asked to watch it numerous times over the weekend.

That was fine with me because Sunday (after the whopping 2-1/2 hours of sleep I got) I was ready to lie listlessly around the living room and watch the same half-hour comedy over and over again.

At one point, Margaret dragged out her coloring supplies and created this gem:
Do you see what it is? It's Michael burning his foot on a grill.

I think it's genius, of course.

I made her go back and add a caption. She wrote, "Micl brd his fut."

Translated into English, "Michael burned his foot."

The red word to the right of his head says, "Aw" and was part of the original drawing. Because I'm sure that is exactly what Michael said when he burned his foot on his George Foreman grill and ruined his morning bacon treat.


What is that on my kid's earlobe?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another crazy WI show

Saturday night, the Wrong Impressions headlined a local rock show downtown.

I was tired and knew it was going to be a late night, so I drove down with our friend, Elissa, in my own car so I could go home if I got tired.

Well, the best laid plans ....

I ended up drinking — which is such a rare things these days, but was fueled by an encounter that I wasn't expecting.

As far as I could tell, the Wrong Impressions put on a kick-ass set. Here are some photos: Johnny G.

Bill Halen


As the night progressed, I proved to many a folk that I have quite a talent.

Take a look at these photos:
Yeah, I took them all. You can't really tell, but my arm is all streched out and holding my little camera just perfectly for a nice close-in headshot.

People would ask if I wanted them to take the picture of me with whatever poor soul who happened to be standing/sitting near me when I got the desire to snap away, but those pictures never come out as well as the ones I take myself.

Yes, it's a strange narcissistic talent but it so fits with my need to control the camera yet still have pictures of myself (and with my narcissism in general).