Photos: June 2009 Archives

Good fences make good neighbors. Or something like that.

I took this photo a few weeks ago before all the stuff in our garden went insane. It has nothing to do with this post. My head is literally floating up to the ceiling out of its neck socket, I'm so tired and out of it today.

This is what I feel like about Michael Jackson. As Chris said, genius musician, sucked at being a human.  

I'm exhausted. I had my second radio appearance yesterday, which went AWESOME, and a lot of listeners came out to support, thank you. I filled in for Jamie again this morning for what will be the last time for a while; he's back from vacation on Monday. Sorry it's been light for the past week-and-a-half while I upped my work load for that. 

My children want to see Transformers and go swimming and enjoy summer and I'm going to enjoy some down time with them. I'll be back in full force on Monday.

Happy weekending.  

Mother, interrupted


This was the centerpiece for the Father's Day/Chris's birthday meal I hosted on Saturday. Normally I'm not a fan of pink but the swamp-like humidity of summer in St. Louis does something to me. The white hydrangea is my favorite flower on earth because it's so versatile and feminine-looking. I've a hardy hydrangea bush growing in our backyard that thrives in the naturally acidic soil. It's the only plant that Ewan has not hit with his Little Tykes bat because he senses sincerity in my threats, I think. I told him that if he hits my stuff with a bat then I'll hit his stuff with a bat and since that's the currency to which my preschooler responds, I'm rolling with it.

I've been a little light this week as I've taken over morning show hosting duties for Jamie while he's on vacation. Doing a daily show, albeit every other day, isn't easy, unless you're used to dipping into your RSS feeds and monitoring the news to prep. Also, the boys came home completely sunburned after a lake trip with their grandparents, and when I say "burnt," I mean Ewan-had-blisters-the-size-of-quarters-on-his-arm burnt. Normally I'm fascinated by such weirdness but upon removing his shirt in preperation for his baking soda and oatmeal bath, my eyes nearly fell out of my head. In addition to tea compressess, vinegar rub-downs, coating them with aloe, I've had to keep them indoors for the past couple of days so their skin can heal and I've run out of both inside activites and the motivation to do them. It's like trying to keep water in your hands, this job of trying to keep two boys entertained indoors on bright summer days. As Ewan points out, "there's no worms in here to play with."

So this week is a bit slow; however the site overhaul is coming along and will melt your face soon enough. And OMG Ewan just brought some FREAKY looking bug in here.

Growing up Elvis

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My cousins surprised my Great Aunt Able with a birthday party on Saturday night. It was held in an American Legion hall, one of those delightful little faux-wood paneled rooms that remind me of my childhood growing up in the 80s with remnant 70s decor. The 70s have such a Kubrick glow.



I wanted to take a photo of every single person at the bar. They all look like they had such stories to tell. One man said that he saw me on television and I can only imagine that I had a bullhorn in my hand so I ducked my head and slipped past him on my way to the bathroom.


We all converged in a back room; table after table of family members, even one whom I've chosen to estrange myself after some drama-familia episodes. It's inconsequential considering that this was a celebration for the closest thing we have to a matriarch in our family ever since the death of my grandmother four years ago.


My Aunt Able has fire-engine red hair and is one of the most straight-forward people I know. She could have been Popeye in another life. Her husband nicknamed her "Red" early on, both for her hair color and her temper. When my mother left the country for the big city, she stayed with Great Aunt Able in her small south city home and caught the bus to the five-and-dime where she worked as a cashier. She soon got an apartment of her own but she never very far from Great Aunt Able, with whom she and the rest of my aunts and uncles have regarded as a backup parent. I've always admired how what you saw is what you got with my grandma, Aunt Able's oldest sister, and Aunt Able herself. The pair were close and made frequent pilgrimages to their own little Mecca, Graceland, as lifelong Elvis devotees, and took pictures of the same things every visit. I know those photo albums by heart: 70s-yellow Polaroids and snapshots of them standing in front of the gates with my younger aunts; Able and Grandma in front of Elvis's grave; Able and Grandma at the museum, in Elvis's living room, with various Elvis impersonators. Aunt Able shared my Grandma's obsession with Elvis, though I don't think it went to the extent where the Elvis photos in her home outnumbered the photos of her grandkids, as they did in Grandma's house. Still, when grandma died, Able inherited the bulk of Grandma's Elvis memorabilia, including the gigantic velvet Elvis painting which Grandma hung so it could be seen from the toilet with the door open.

Um, ok, are you seriously still taking photos?

An Elvis impersonator surprised her; he was fantastic and performed all the hits and I shocked myself when I did some impromptu background vocals with my mom on "In the Ghetto."


Aunt Able hasn't had the easiest life; she lost her husband and her sister irelatively close together. I remember all of my cousins and I circled around her as they lowered Grandma into the ground. She was crying and we told her that she didn't have time to cry; she just inherited 30-some-odd grandchildren. She laughed.

I love her expression

It's weird. When I was young the only thing I wanted to do was go out with my friends and turn 21 so I could get into the clubs and get my own car and every other way to get away from my family but now all I want to do is be with my family. Even the ones who did me wrong; they still look like me and they still have known me since I had pigtails down to my calves and wore little cowboy boots with all my skirts.


So we celebrated Aunt Able's birthday. These events with the old guard are few and far between anymore and I was glad that we went.

Aunt Able

Some shots I love (click to enlarge):

The pictorial representation of their relationship Elvis8

My granny would be proud Disbelief

Full photo set here.

Weird things kids draw

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Weird things kids draw

This particular piece owes its beauty to Ewan, who took to the dry erase board while his brother played a math game on the computer. I love the way a child's skill translates what they see in their mind - or the way their young mind interprets what they see. It always comes out looking like it was processed through some Mad Hatter filter and I enjoy watching it; it's one of my favorite things about parenthood.

But seriously, I have no idea what this is supposed to be. A dog? Zero from "Nightmare Before Christmas?" A ghost? Montauk Monster? I like it, whatever it is.

*Ewan finally told me (after laughing and saying nothing) that is was a crocodile. Makes sense. 

Lesson in the dirt

Ewan is at the age where I can still trick him into thinking that helping me with chores around the house is an awesome, big kid thing. He's eager to help, to prove himself. Liam, meanwhile, has reached the age where my elementary parlor tricks no longer work on him.

The other day I combined yard work with a science lesson - plus the bonus of the boys preparing the seeds for some inpatients and pansies that their grandmother had given them.

Cracking the top

While Ewan chipped away at the ceramic eggs in order to get to the seed mixture, Liam wisely eyed the ten bags of mulch I had lined up beside the garden beds.

"I'm tired of helping."

Whereas Liam looked at weeding and mulching as work, Ewan saw an opportunity to terrorize ants and push around dirt.

Watering with a fast food cup. FTW.

They also learned about soil, photosynthesis, and we made Ewan say "photosynthesis" a few million times because it sounded adorable.

I love their gardening gloves

They later dug their gloves into the dirt and we studied an ant colony. Which was gross, but they enjoyed it.

Ewan's "mean smile"

Fleurs in eggs

Now that the seeds are planted, let's see what germinates. Much like education.

Life and death

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I was mulching the garden over the weekend and right before I emptied a bag of Black Forest mulch on the ground I happened to notice what looked like a piece of mold on the ground. As I looked closer I saw the mold move.

It was a baby bird.


It's little face was buried in the ground and it was moving its flimsy little pink wing nubs in a lame effort to right itself. Its eyes were nothing more than swollen purple lumps beneath a flimsy slip of skin. What I thought was mold was actually its feathers. In all reality, it looked like a giant wart with a beak.

Minutes earlier I had heard birds squawking and I found a broken nest on the ground just feet away from where I found the baby bird but at the time I thought nothing of it. 

Baby things get me because I see my children in every other child or baby critter and it's just, well, disturbing.

bird2.jpgI told you. Disturbing.

I scooped the little dude up into my gardening glove and showed the boys before calling wildlife rescue - who weren't open and accepting animals until 9 a.m. the next day, so the boys and I made it a priority to keep the baby alive until then. Chris shook his head sadly as we gathered leaves to fix the broken nest and caught and mushed up earthworms with which to feed it. I ascertained that the bird had fallen three stories to the ground as I'd seen birds going to a nest on the top of our house earlier. The bird's neck was all weird so I wasn't sure that he was going to make it anyway, but I couldn't leave the bird there to just die on the ground.

We told both boys that the bird may not make it, so do not be surprised if, when they go to check on it in the morning, the bird is dead.

"Well, at least we tried and I think God would be happy about that," Liam said, doing his best Benjamin Button impersonation.

We tried to feed the bird the mashed up worm concoction to no avail. I gently laid it in its nest and set it back in the spot where I found it originally, hoping that the mama bird would come back, else I was going to call DFS on her. I went to check on it once and I thought I saw a swallow on a fence across the street. Not wanting to impede a reunion, I left the bird alone.

I checked back on it around midnight and it was dead and already covered with jerk ants. Sometimes I wish nature had a bit more courtesy or I a bit more balls, but whatever.

We told the boys later on that morning and they took it in stride. Things die, things happen. A message easy to understand with a baby bird, but whether it will translate to a building block for trials later in their lives, who knows.

In search of a nap

My gentlemen

The boys have been with Chris's parents for the past two days because of the charity event that Chris helped plan and because I spoke yesterday about netroots to a roomful of politicians and politicos. A man with whom I had slightly disagreed in the past by way of a third party was in the audience and it's always fun when two people who know that they don't particularly care for the other lock horns, albeit mildly, in a public setting. I was disappointed that he didn't stick around to chat.

It's been a long week and I've missed my boys. The house feels weird when they're not whooping and hollering through the halls and throwing stuffed animals down the stairs. Since they've outgrown the toddler tent I got them a few years back, they've asked me to construct them a new one in the backyard because they have "planning to do." It sounds ominous. So I'm off to the backyard with blankets and string and, if I get my way, they'll let me take a nap in the middle of it.
California Do-Nut
Unrelated photo of a closed donut shop.

Tonight my friends (and Chris, who is on the board) are hosting the St. Louis Epilepsy Foundation's Bowl-a-Rama, a charity event in conjunction with a horde of St. Louis Rams players. You actually get to be teammates with a Rams player, which is pretty cool, yet intimidating because football players are the size of Redwoods.

I am one of the worst bowlers known to mankind. What I do to a bowling is a crime against the sport. I'm not going to shock you with my average, just know that it is the lower two-digits. It's so bad that last year, one of the Rams players laughed at me and asked me what on earth was wrong with my arm. I keep my arm straight, but maybe my forearm is curved, heck, I don't know, because whenever I throw the ball it juts wickedly to the left and makes for the gutter. Every. Single. Time.

Also, I entertained the idea that maybe the Rams players wouldn't be all that great at bowling, either. I mean, they're professional athletes, but maybe they spend all their time on football, or maybe God looked down and was all "OK, YES, I gave these guys an inordinate amount of talent to play football, sigh, fine, they can suck at other sports." Oh no. They practically bowled perfect games and I think one of them wasn't even looking at the lane, I think he was talking to someone and just threw the ball behind him. SO NOT FAIR.

So in advance, I would like to apologize to bowling, the entire sport of it. If you attend tonight (info here, my radio show has its own lane, FTW!) please ignore the curly-headed brunette lying in the gutter because she couldn't get her hand out of the ball in time when she threw it.

I sang some Tom Jones

On Friday night we went to a little neighborhood bar for some karaoke. I did not karaoke until I married into Chris's family, people who pull a trailer filled with professional karaoke gear across two states for a family reunion and will make you sing regardless whether or not you want to or have the ability. I sing, but mainly in church or after a glass of adult nectar when suddenly, standing up in front of people and a husband who produces music for a living (and is also pitch-perfect) doesn't seem like a complete nightmare.


It was an enjoyable evening despite the bartender not having any pants. And here I thought I'd seen everything. Afterwards we went to play shuffleboard at a different establishment and later saw some dude roughhousing his girlfriend and drama ensued.

I wasn't going to say anything about this until a guy (who sat nearby with friends and surveyed the scene) told us afterwards that hey, we didn't know the circumstances, who knows, maybe the woman did something to provoke the guy, and it was all I could do to stop myself from saying "maybe this is why you are middle aged, still single, and still scoping out chicks in bars. Just sayin." But he apparently took a hit while helping the girl and it was nice that he assisted her, so I can't be too harsh on him.

There is no excuse for a man to EVER physically handle a woman in such a way, unless perhaps when acting in defense of his life or if recreating an epic scene between Ike and Tina from "What's Love Got to Do with It." This whole BS notion that female abuse is no one's business, especially if it happens in public, is the exact reason why for so many years no one helped my mother.

It amuses me that anyone, especially a man, would use the whole "maybe the woman provoked him" line because it presupposes that the man is a giant blockhead who is not yet evolved enough to control his emotions or body. Whereas sexism usually condemns a man, in this case, it's used to exonerate him. Of course, it's sexist against the woman, too, being that it underscores the "nag" stereotype. A universally sexist defense! I feel like I'm one step closer to having seen everything.

So! There was that.

Tomorrow I'll share how Wehrenberg Theaters made my kids cry.

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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"