Fall Ombre

Posted on 9/15/2014 10:39:00 PM

It's all the rage right now.  That's probably why my tomatoes are getting into it as well.

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Teach a Kid to Fish, She'll Show You Up in an Hour

Posted on 9/13/2014 08:11:00 AM
Last week, The KingofHearts decided The Shortlings needed valuable education in the art of feeding themselves in case of a Zombie Apocalypse, so he schemed with another guy friend we know to create a local fishing trip when they were off school on Labor Day.

The are some nice little fishing holes within thirty minutes or so of our house and while you can't necessarily bring in a ten pound bass there, it is a good place for little ones to learn.  Most of the fishing here, unless you have access to a boat and can get out in deeper water, is catch and release because the fish you can find are too small to keep.  But that was fine for our purposes that day in the gorgeous weather we got.


We brought our fishing gear, small poles for the kids, some lawn chairs, lunch and met the friend who said he "liked to fish" at the lake.  What I didn't realize is that his "like to fish" is different than most people's and he showed up with a giant tackle box, four fishing poles (for himself) and serious philosophies about fishing and how fish think.  And he'd only brought the bare minimum of his fishing gear for that day.  It turns out he takes fishing very. seriously. indeed.

We spent the first few minutes of the day showing the kids how to cast.  Eventually, they settled into their own rhythms and techniques.  The Caterpillar's preferred casting method was to lie the pole down on her chair, open the reel, then grab the end of the line and wade out thigh deep into the water.  Then she'd throw the bobber at the lake with all her might and walk back to the chair.  It's probably not a surprise that she didn't catch anything that day.

The Dormouse picked it up quickly - as she does most things.  Then she tired of it quickly - as she does most things.  So she walked over to our friend who "likes to fish," who had moved from casting to a large fly fishing rod and was working his magic with that.  She began asking him how that all worked.  

I looked over a minute later and realized he'd pulled out his second fly fishing reel and had given it to her.

"That's not gonna end well," I muttered to The KoH, and mentally prepared myself to smooth over his misjudgement and untangle line for the rest of the day as a good faith effort of friendship.

Now, I have wanted to learn to fly fish for decades.  I've spent a lot of days sitting by the lake in my lifetime and I feel like I know what I'm doing with a traditional fishing pole, even if I admittedly have a different philosophy about it that the KoH. (I dislike chasing the fish.  He wants to change locations every ten minutes he doesn't get a bite.  I want to sit on the bank and stare at the sky with a line in the water and maybe read a book or just think a lot, while I'm waiting for the fish to come to me.)  But in the matter of fly fishing, I've never been in a place where I both have someone to tell me how to do it and access to the equipment.  It's never ended well when I've experimented with it and I've never even tempted a fish to try to nibble on my bait in this fashion.  But that little snot pulled two fishes out of the water with that fly fishing reel ON HER FIRST DAY. 



On the one hand, I'm happy for her.  But on the other... come'on!

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Just a Perfect Blendship

Posted on 9/07/2014 08:34:00 PM
It's so great to have a best friend.  Not sure I really ever knew that feeling when I was her age.


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This One Shall Be the Death of Me

Posted on 9/05/2014 03:30:00 PM
We met some friends at the park a few days ago and the kids found this piece of playground equipment, which is basically an elevated, more dangerous version of a merry-go-round, that staple of our youth that caused us all to throw up at least once.  Kids hang from it, someone else spins it and their legs go flying out horizontally in a sort of half centrifugal force experiment, half stunt from the movie Jackass.

I didn't think you could actually make it more treacherous, but this piece of playground equipment hadn't yet met The Caterpillar, who immediately scaled the thing, turned herself upside down and hung by her toes while the other kids spun it around like their own personal Gravitron.  


I don't have an actual photo of it because just after this was taken she let go with her hands and went spinning...



...and a certain mom on the playground nearly dropped the camera when she began yelling at her to hold on with her hands and chanting DON'TFALLONYOURHEAD. DON'TFALLONYOURHEAD. DON'TFALLONYOURHEAD.

I'm not sayin' who it was, but I have three more gray hairs now.

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Gig Number 2

Posted on 9/04/2014 11:12:00 PM
We went to say goodbye to our Cuban friends before they headed back to their home country and it turned into The Dormouse's second public gig of the summer.  They were singing in a local Cuban restaurant (one in which I way spend more time than I'd like to admit) and we popped in for dinner because she had kind of missed saying goodbye on the last day of camp.  They pulled her up and gave her another opportunity to sing.  Crowded restaurant.  No microphone.  Loads of strangers.  She was more relaxed this time and way more comfortable, so she actually performed that song and had fun with it.   I suddenly had a vision of her at age 20, singing in seedy nightclubs to make rent and college tuition and given my own experience in college, I'd have to say, it sounds pretty great.



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The Inner Workings of Alice's Brain

Posted on 9/03/2014 04:13:00 PM
We got a new postage machine at work and while the technician was giving us the quick version of how to use the machine (Hint: you put the mail in one side and then hit the "start" button), my mind began wandering off and I started to wonder why there were Egyptian hieroglyphics on the sticker on front of the machine.  My brain allowed me to ponder this for an embarrassingly long period of time.  Fortunately, I had the presence of mind not to ask out loud because a short time later my brain smacked itself across its metaphorical cheek and said to itself, "No, dumass, that's not an Egyptian bird, that's a picture telling you not to put your fingers in the machine.  Geez!"  


The sticker as it appears.

The sticker as my brain chose to interpret it.

My brain did not, however, alert me to the fact that pointing this perception out to my coworkers later was probably ill-advised, so now the machine has a name.
 



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Clearly Not Canadian

Posted on 8/22/2014 07:20:00 PM
I think they might be hip to the fact that she's not one of them.  What do you think?




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Bye, Wallboy

Posted on 8/21/2014 10:15:00 PM


Completely aware that 98% of the people reading this won't get the reference (here's some context if you're interested), but I just learned of Bill Thompson's death last month and I couldn't let the moment go unnoticed by this Arizona girl. How many hours I spent with this man, I do not know.  How many days he accompanied me in getting ready for or coming home from school, I do not know.  How grateful I am to have known him as Wallace, well... that's something I can say: a lot.  

Thanks Wallace, say hello to Ladmo for me.

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All the Flowers Would Have Very Extra Special Powers

Posted on 8/21/2014 12:42:00 PM In:

I've driven past the sign for the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens hundreds of times and every time I think to myself I should go in there but I never stopped to check it out, so this week the kids and I, in a fit of see-what's-in-your-own-backyard-itis, decided to see what it was all about.

What it's about is feeling like you just wandered into Wonderland.


Seriously, there is no way to do it justice with the camera phone I happened to have, but some of these stalks were six feet tall with blooms bigger than my head.  The leaves would have made a chair suitable for The Caterpillar, as she pointed out, and I then discouraged her from attempting.  If I had known it would be as awesome as all that, I'd have packed my real camera out.

The gardens were created by Walter Shaw in the 1800s, who loved aquatic gardening (not sure I even knew that was a Thing before) so much that he bought a whole bunch of worthless swamp land, then dug it out to make it even more worthless and swamp-like, then planted the likes of these:


This bud was larger than my hand.


When Walter died, his daughter Helen took over the gardens and managed to get Congress to help support saving these wetlands from the industry along the Anacostia River that was destroying it.

We had a great time walking along the boardwalk and the pathways and checking out the wildlife.  We saw and eagle, and osprey, a great blue heron - animals I didn't even know lived in the D.C. area - and this guy who followed us around spied on us in between catching a few fish here and there.


And this guy, who tried to keep up on the boardwalk, but eventually tired and dropped off into the tall grasses.


Very cool place. Highly recommend.




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Good Morning, Baltimore

Posted on 8/20/2014 09:45:00 AM In:
I climbed up the non-steps side of Federal Hill (yes, that Federal Hill) with my kids yesterday because they thought "it would be fun" and because I hadn't done anything like that in some time so I guess it was high time I nearly broke an ankle.  Note to self: next time you decide to scale the wall of an embankment, three year old thongs are probably not the most appropriate of shoes. 

It was kind of worth it, though, because I managed to get this great panoramic shot on my phone.


click to embiggen
Word of the day: sacrifice.

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Ephesians 6:11

Posted on 8/17/2014 03:00:00 PM
You wish you'd had me to teach that Sunday School class you had to go to when you were a teenager, don't you?





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It's a Cat Carrier

Posted on 8/16/2014 08:16:00 AM
And all these years, I've been spending money on beds and mattresses and bed linens.




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Art Form

Posted on 8/15/2014 09:30:00 AM In:
Just something inside an abandoned building Monica and I happened past while on our way somewhere important, I don't know, like to find the best falafel food truck in the city or to get free pies from the Orange is the New Black Pie Truck or something like that. Next time you decide to go on about how graffiti vandals are a blight on society, just walk around New York for a bit.
 


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Graceful

Posted on 8/14/2014 07:23:00 AM
I work with a youth group of teenaged girls in my spare time (ha! spare time, ha ha ha!) and we try to have a big, combined activity once a month with the equivalent boys' group.  For this month's event, we purchased a large roll of contractors' plastic, tent stakes, several bottles of dish washing soap and went outside with a hose to a hill to set up a godzilla-sized slip 'n slide. Then we had to pretty much push most of the kids down it because as cool and fearless as they all think they are, when it comes to trying something new, they are WUSSIES.

The Dormouse happened to be there with me and was not a wussie.  She wanted desperately to go on the slide and had zero reservations about trying it.  But man, for a kid who does as many things as she does well, this was not her forte.  

Her basic modus operandi for approaching the slip 'n slide was to run, hell-bent for election, right up to the edge of the plastic, stop, jump straight up in the air and then land straight down on her belly, arms and legs spread eagle - basically the on-the-grass equivalent of a belly flop.  This gave her the momentum of a large jagged rock and she'd move about six inches down the slide, coming to a slow rest in the top one-eighth of the run. Over and over, she did this, despite the best coaching from some slip 'n sliders who'd managed to make it all the way down the hill and off the twenty feet or so of plastic we'd installed and at least one physicist's explanation of forward momentum. It was hilarious and I think I deserve a medal for making fun of her as little as I did.

Until now.



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Anyone Else Just Hear a Long Slow Whistle?

Posted on 8/13/2014 08:28:00 AM
In a bit of a one-two punch dealt by the universe, one of my childhood idols died yesterday.

I've loved Lauren Bacall ever since I saw her first film, To Have and Have Not.  I was, what, twelve or thirteen?  In the movies, she was beautiful, powerful, in control, and smart.  The ultimate ice queen.  She represented, for me, an era that I always thought I should have been born into and, to boot, she married my long-time crush, Humphrey Bogart.  And, yes, I'm aware of the fact that my teenage dreamboat-desire in the early 1980s was someone who died long before I was born... that's just a small glimpse into what a weird kid I was. Other pre-teen girls needed a teddy bear to decorate their bed.  I needed a Lauren Bearcall.  In fact, I still have it.

Incidentally, I also have the Humphrey Beargart.
There weren't a lot of opportunities, pre-Netflix-era, to order up a movie made forty years prior and watch it at will, so one of my hobbies back then was scouring the TV Guide (Ha! My kids don't even know what that is.) to find movies with either of those two and setting the VCR to record it, adding it to my collection of Bogie and Bacall movies on VHS tapes that I still probably have somewhere in my basement: Dark Passage, The Big Sleep, oh and let's not forget Key Largo. Oh, how I wish I'd lived New York City-adjacent when she was starring in shows on Broadway.  I would have loved to have been lucky enough to see her on the stage, which is where, I suspect, she really shined.

As I got a little older, I started to learn about Lauren Bacall - the person - and began to admire her for who she was, rather than the movies she made.  She had and valued an incredible work ethic.  She stood up for what she believed in and never backed down.  She wasn't afraid to speak out against injustice.  She taught me that being smart and having your own mind was a quality to aspire to, not to hide.  This is something that made my awkward teen years of not fitting in really anywhere much easier to withstand... and even appreciate.

Once after I'd moved to D.C., she was appearing at the Kennedy Center in a lecture series and I paid an arm and a leg to go see her, just to be in the same room with the woman who disliked being called a legend.  I was extremely poor then and couldn't afford it, but I never regretted spending the money.  She was brilliant, funny, and life-affirming. 

Like Robin Williams, I feel mostly for her children and family who will miss her.  But I also feel sad that she's not going to be in the world, adding to it, anymore.  The world is a little less classy today.  A little less opinionated.  A little less forthright. But in my mind, I imagine Hoagy Carmichael playing in the background and her wiggling across the dance floor into Bogie's arms and that makes me smile.



Some of my favorite Lauren Bacall quotes:

“Looking at yourself in a mirror isn’t exactly a study of life.”

“I am not a has-been. I am a will be.” 

“I find that through the sad times, work is what made my continuing, not breaking down, possible.”

“My life has had meaning, with the friendships full and valuable and essential to me. My children, Steve, Leslie, and Sam, are all different–all first-rate human beings with high standards–whom I completely and unequivocally adore–don’t always agree with–but always admire and respect. They all have wit and a sense of humor and, thank God, I have hung on to mine.”

“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”

"You don't always win your battles, but it's good to know you fought."

“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”



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SFX

Posted on 8/12/2014 06:51:00 PM
I almost forgot that when we were in Pennsylvania last month, we ran into a couple of special effects makeup artists and had a nice time chatting with them.  They offered to put some wounds on The Shortlings and they jumped at the chance.  Because who doesn't need a big gaping wound on their forearm right before they take a personalized tour of a museum not any time near Halloween? No one! That's who!






At least we were the most memorable museum patrons of the day.

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Oh Captain!

Posted on 8/12/2014 11:47:00 AM
A personal blog mostly about dumb things my kids tend to say is probably not the most appropriate place to do this, but I went to bed thinking about the loss of Robin Williams last night and I woke up with that profound sadness still in my head. 

This has actually been a blog post forming in my brain for some months that will now never be written in the same way, but earlier this year, my husband decided our children's comedic education must be Handled and he bought them the entire Mork & Mindy series on DVD.  We've watched scores of hours of Robin Williams in our house during the better part of the year and I've marveled over and over about lucky I was to watch this talent emerge from a one-off, guest spot on Happy Days that I watched on network TV sitting on the floor of my living room in 1978, into the Academy Award-caliber actor he turned out to be.  I imagine my grandmother felt something like this about the likes of Sid Caeser, whom we also just lost... just lucky to have seen it unfold.

I know it was a silly series and it got sillier as the seasons wore on, but I defend my love of Mork & Mindy and here's why: Robin Williams has helped me talk to my kids about the Klu Klux Klan, about homelessness, about valuing the elderly, about substance abuse and self-medication.... and about kindness, something I'm finding to be a rarer and rarer commodity these days.  The thing everyone who knew him personally seems to be saying today is how kind a person he was. I'm not sure I knew that before today, but it doesn't surprise me.

This morning, I sat my kids down and told them. 

We cried.  

Because as they've grown to love Mork, they've seen Williams' other movies and his series The Crazy Ones (The Caterpillar loved that one in particular for some reason - so disappointed when it was cancelled) on television this year, and they have also grown to love Robin -- something I wasn't even aware of until today that I had also done.

We talked about all the fun moments he gave us and I told them about how his best movies were movies I really cared about, but that I was waiting until they were bigger to understand: Dead Poets' Society, Awakenings, Seize the Day, The Fisher King, Good Will Hunting, What Dreams May Come, Good Morning Vietnam, August Rush, this amazingly quiet appearance on Louie...  

I talked to them about depression and how it lies. About how getting medical attention for depression is no different than getting medical attention for a broken arm.  I reminded them how important it is to talk to someone if you're feeling bad and I pleaded with them that if they ever feel like life isn't good and it might not be worth living, to talk to me, talk to dad, talk to a counselor or a teacher or a doctor, talk to anyone, I don't care, just get help because if you are sad and you don't feel like it is worth going on, that's because depression is lying to you.

Maybe that's the last thing he had to teach us.

I saw him once.  In a bookstore in Baltimore.  He was looking through some photography-type coffee table books and I was just wandering around; had ducked in from the Inner Harbor from whatever I was doing that day.  I wanted to talk to him, to tell him how much his work meant to me in the times in my life when I was deciding who I was going to be.  But in the end, I couldn't find the words and I didn't want to disturb his day.  It felt kinder to let him enjoy his privacy in that moment than to bother him for my own personal needs of having a story to tell later ("Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I met Robin Williams?!?").  It's the only celebrity sighting I've had where I wondered if that was the right thing.

I've loved everything Robin Williams has ever done, (with the possible exception of Popeye, which I still find to be just... well, weird), and every time I happen to catch a special about him on the biography channel or whatever, I can't help but watch to the end.  He was a hugely talented comedian, of that, there is no doubt. But his real impact for me were the (many) movies he made that made me think differently about life and helped me form my philosophy of it.  Most of the biographies I've seen recently have spent a significant percentage of time devoted to talking about "a certain kind" of movie he began making and criticizing him for choosing those feel-good movies -- as if Patch Adams wasn't something worthy of his comedic talents.  Yes, he was funny as all hell, but these "other" movies? These are the movies that I love and that matter to me.  These are the movies that he was nominated for Academy Awards for over and over (even though he didn't win one until years later, he deserved Awakenings and Fisher King; I still think he was robbed). These are the movies that reminded me during some pretty formative years that there is joy in life. He had his demons.  Even though he couldn't win the fight against his own demons this day, he did manage to win the fight for a whole lot of days. And he helped me in some way to keep fighting mine. I'll always be grateful to him for that.


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My Dream Hotel Room

Posted on 8/11/2014 06:39:00 PM

This is the headboard of the bed.  Of course, they don't come this way just because you reserve a night.  You have to know people. People who need to start updating their blogs again.

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How Many Clicks Does it Take?

Posted on 8/10/2014 06:34:00 PM
The Caterpillar put together a particularly preppy outfit the other day for camp and I asked her to pose for a photo.  The problem is she's turned into a bit of a ham lately. So it takes a few shots to get a decent, non-goofy photo of her these days.  How many shots, you ask?


























13 at least.  But I'm not certain that last one counts.

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Plucking the Feathers from the Lark

Posted on 8/05/2014 02:45:00 PM
Not to be outdone, The Caterpillar also had her own moment of glory this summer as well....

at her dance recital.

I hate that I didn't remember to bring my camera for this photo, but there's a very good reason for that.  Keep reading.


This one was particularly troubling because I had a board of directors' meeting to attend on the same day as the recital so I was ducking out of my meeting early to be there.  That's not the troubling part.  The troubling part is that this particular studio requires that there be two "Stage Moms" for each performance.  It's actually a good idea.  Since there are multiple ages and groups that all perform, the performance is about two hours long.  Which is fine if you're sitting in the audience; but if you're a group of a dozen six-year-olds dressed up in tu-tus, makeup and ballet buns, that stuff all needs to be kept in-tact by performance time and that's kind of a long period of sitting.  So what they do is they keep the kids back stage and only call them up when it's their time to dance. So far, so good.  The problem here is the instructors all teach multiple classes so they can't be back stage with the group.  Hence the need for Stage Moms.  

TL;DR: Basically the Stage Moms are two prison wardens who arrive early and keep the tiny inmates from escaping and beating each other to a pulp while they're locked in a room together and cabin fever sets in.  Then when it's their turn to dance, the stage moms supervise their Death March To The Stage, watch them perform like trained monkeys and then march them back to their cell until the evening is over and parents come to effect their respective paroles.

Oh, and also the Stage Moms volunteer to do this. They are there for the dress rehearsal and for the performance.

Last year, a lovely couple of moms agreed to do it.  We were told to put snacks, water, and something to do in a backpack for our kid and they'd bring a video or two.  It worked out great.  Everyone was happy.

This year no one could do it and it was an issue.  The dance teacher told us that if no one volunteered, they'd hire someone and we'd each have to chip in ten bucks or so to pay that person.  Knowing I had this board meeting and might not even be there for the beginning of the performance, I raised my hand and said, "Sign me up for THAT!"  All of the other moms threw a big, hairy fit about it because they didn't want to pay, but none of them was willing to volunteer either, so finally a couple moms said, Look, I can do it on the performance days but I cannot come to the dress rehearsal because I'm working, or I have boy children who are not allowed backstage or only my husband is available, or some other legitimate reason why springing this on the parents at the last minute and then just standing there waiting for someone to say, "I'll get it" (I really need a video of Cecil Turtle drawling those words over several seconds for the right effect here, but am unable to find what I want so let this suffice) is a bad idea on the studio's part.  

I said, "Well, I have the opposite problem; I'll be just barely making it here for the performance and in fact, might miss the first half if things go sideways at my meeting.  So what if I do the rehearsal (with another mom who had the same issue) and someone else does the performance?"  This was acceptable to all (least of all me, but I was willing to take my lumps because of the moms from last year) and we agreed to proceed.

Only some mother in the group who was not staying with the kids at all then decided to micro manage everything and spent the better part of an hour trying to assign different people different things.  Who will bring snacks?  What kinds of snacks are acceptable?  Who will bring videos? What videos are acceptable?  Who will bring DVD players? Who will bring water?  Who will bring crayons?  Who will bring paper? Who will bring tissues? Who will bring a fan? Who will bring a first aid kit? (yes, a FIRST AID KIT!)  Oh, it was painful.  At one point, I suggested the 'just put stuff in your kid's backpack for them to eat and do' method, but this was not nearly organized enough for her and WHAT IF SOMEONE BROUGHT PEANUTS AND A KID WAS ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS? 

Me: "Is anyone in this class allergic to peanuts?"

Her: "Well, no, but...."

So after the greatest minute details were considered and determined.  All agreed to have their child and their assigned task ready to drop off to me at the dress rehearsal at the appointed time.  

On the day of, I had a sneaking suspicion that I should be prepared for literally everyone to forget most everything.  So I brought some crayons, paper, a few snacks, and bottles of water in my car, just in case.  This turned out to be prescient because no one seemed to think that what they needed to bring for the two-hour performance on Saturday was also what they needed to bring for a four-hour dress rehearsal on Wednesday and I ended up with only the stuff I brought and a box of Vicks Vapo-rub scented tissues, brought by a dad who really didn't understand why he was handing them to me but was told to do so by his wife.  And because the dress rehearsal started around five o'clock in the evening, most of the moms didn't think to feed their kid beforehand. And because for some intelligent reason, they powers that be scheduled six-year-olds to perform in the last quarter of the performance schedule, they were stuck in a room with me, trying to keep them bloodless in their tu-tus and precious makeup for three hours before they even got the chance to move toward the stage. 

One mom came in, dropped off her kid and told me, "Oh by the way, she's a flight risk.  If you turn your head, she'll run out the door," then plopped her unceremoniously down on a chair amidst a dozen other kids and left.  Thus, I began obsessively counting kids for the next three hours because as it turns out, when you dress them up to look the same, they... you know... all look the same... and I couldn't even tell which kid was my kid, much less which one whose face I'd only seen for a minute or two once a week and was the known flight risk.  I just kept going over and over, "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12.  Wait, did I count that one twice?!? One more time: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11.  Wait, where's the other one? Oh, it's grabbing my skit. OK. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. Whew! OK! Who wants to color? 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12."

I had brought crayons and paper and coloring books, which was my saving grace.  But you know how kids tire of doing the same thing for more than oh... A MINUTE... and the natives grew restless.  I snatched one kid out of the air who was trying to do a swan dive off the table.  I stood guard at the door when they all tried to make a break for it thinking their numbers could overpower me. I tried to stop them from running full speed after each other in a circle and just settled for them doing it NOT in stalking feet.  I wiped noses. I reset hats. I found lost shoes. I readjusted bobby pins in hair buns.  I staged karaoke contests with my phone and I suggested quiet contests, which, let's be honest, never works.

About forty minutes in, one mom (who had her son in tow, which is why she couldn't be a Stage Mom - no boys allowed backstage) came in and said, "Where are the videos?"  I looked at her like a stroke victim, with wide eyes.

"No one brought them, huh?"

I shook my head, unable to form words.  

"I thought that might happen." So she went out to her car and brought in not one, but two portable DVD players that belonged to her and a bunch of videos and I'm not sure because it all happened so fast, but I think I kissed her hand.

This occupied them for awhile.


But only awhile.

One mom (one of the ones who never supplied a valid reason why she couldn't be a Stage Mom, but came to the dress rehearsal by herself and sat in the audience the entire time looking at her phone) came in at this point and saw her daughter squeezed in, watching between two other ballet-bunned heads and complained to me, "My daughter can't see the screen very well."

I was pretty much done by this point, "Well, I don't know what to tell you.  It's not a theater.  Those are the only DVD players we have and there are other activities at the other table.  So she can either squeeze in, which she seems fine with, or she can color over there.... or you can stay in here and play a game with some of them if they need something different to do."  She looked back at her daughter and left.

By about seven o'clock when we hadn't even been called to the stage yet, the four small bags of goldfish crackers I'd had in my purse had been consumed and everyone was complaining that they were hungry.  I called the KoH in desperation and he went to the store and delivered more snacks and the bottles of water I'd never had time to go back to my car and get.  (If I had never come up with a better reason for marrying him seventeen years ago, THIS would have been it, right here.)  He got way more than I needed, really, so I split the bevy with the group next door.  "Bless you," said my shell-shocked counterpart.

Finally, at hour three-and-a-half, we were called to the stage.  I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Minus the Post Part at this point and sat down in the audience next to the other Stage Mom while they all tip-toed on stage and performed Alouette, the dance they'd spent the last twenty or so weeks practicing. 

It lasted less than two minutes and was the most anti-climactic thing I'd experienced in my entire life... and that's saying something because I watched Dune in its theatrical release.

As they tip-toed off the stage and we got up to follow them, I turned to the other Stage Mom and said, perhaps a little too loudly and much too deadpan, "Well, that was TOTALLY worth it."

I got the biggest laugh of the evening.

The Caterpillar had a great time. She thinks she'd like to dance professionally one day.

Which is good because all the wages she'll earn can cover my therapy bills.



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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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