Flat Stanley’s Visit

Dear Brandt,

I had a super visit in Tennessee. It’s different in a lot of ways from Washington, but I think both states are very nice. The town I went to was a really small one. It has fewer than 450 people!

Here is a picture of me by the town sign, next to the railroad tracks.

They even have an old-timey red caboose that kids can climb on!

I went to the downtown square. They have shops with old furniture and other weird old things, handmade jewelry and artwork, a restaurant, and an ice cream store. The town is getting ready for Daffodil Day, so they had a lot of yellow ribbons everywhere. This town has lots of special events like a Wheelchair Basketball tournament, RC/Moon Pie day, a Quilt Show, a big Art and Craft Festival, and an Old Fashioned Christmas.

Lots of people in town don’t even have mailboxes. They like to go to the town Post Office to get their mail because they get to say hello to Mr. Bill and Miss Bonnie. They also like to see the newest information from their neighbors on the town bulletin board.

I saw some cool old houses with some colorful and fun artwork in the yards. This one was my favorite. It belongs to a famous poet named Maggi Vaughn. She is the Poet Laureate of Tennessee, which means that she is very loved and admired here for her poetry books. Can you guess what her favorite colors are?

Next I visited the town park and playground. Here I am in front of a statue of Ward, your cousin. Cool statue, huh?

I had a really fun time playing at the playground, too. Playgrounds are the best! You have some fun ones near your house, too.

Thanks for sending me to Tennessee. I’m on my way home to you now. I’ll see you soon!



lovely photos

This sort of reminds me of Anne Geddes’s stuff, except it’s more tender, I guess because of the sleeping baby. And I absolutely love the crafty, home-madeness of the tableaux. It’s just incredibly sweet and so well done.

Check out While the Baby Sleeps…

we’ve got big balls

Ball preparation has been a wild flurry of activity for the last few days. It takes A LOT of work from the committee to put this thing on. Money, food, alcohol, the band, auction donations, correspondence, decorations… But, oh, goodness, the ballroom in indeed gorgeous. It’s a confection of pink and black, and yes, the feather boas are used to great effect. Feathers on the tables, lit balloon bouquets are going in place today around the room.

Feather Sparkle Barbie and Pink Tie Ken tonight = Awesome.

One of the ladies commented that Yes, indeed, that’s one girly bar, but that the men will get over it because they can still get their drinks from it just fine.

Part of my job is writing up the bid sheets, so I’ve been putting in some major computer time to get those done. We put baskets together on Tuesday, and some of the ladies started decorating on Thursday. Friday was decorating day #2; I had to take all the boys and let the big boys chase Rainbow around.


Then left to put him down and work at home, while many ladies remained to work and work throughout the afternoon. We’re meeting again this morning, and should, at that point, be ready.

I gave up on getting my dress altered. I know. It makes me sad. But the neighborhood lady who normally alters for me (who comes to my house to pin me) has been sick, and I have been so dang busy that it’s just incomprehensible to work out babysitting to drive somewhere to get my dress altered. And taking Rainbow along on a fancy dress altering excursion is just totally out of the question.

But! My friend and committee co-chair J came through. I’m borrowing an amazing dress from her. It’s chocolatey-caramelly-brown, with sequins and beads and an open back. Yes, it won’t match our pink and black theme, but whatever. It’s fun to wear something new and beautiful, and I love it.

(Added bonus: wearing “shaping garments” underneath just can’t happen due to the open back, so I’ll be all comfy all night long. And it magically de-empasizes my tummy, so that’s okay. Sweet!)

Today’s To-Do List:

1. meet the ladies with my last batch of bid sheets and revisions from last night and work for a bit on the auction items and whatever else needs doing

2. color my grays

3. indulge in one more tanning

4. get my nails done. A French manicure, maybe? Two of my friends did a “gel” manicure and it looked lovely.

5. meditate/nap for half an hour or so this afternoon

6. get all prettied up

7. remember to drink water in between glasses of white wine

8. remember to eat something

9. dance to Mustang Sally and Brick House with a tuxedoed Daddy J


No matter what the calendar says,

I’m calling it Early Spring. Largely because I am sick to death of bitterly cold weather that makes it miserable to go on walks or play outside.

Which means it’s time for a new mantel display! I love decorating the mantel. I had some pitiful remnants of the Christmas mantel up until now (a champagne lame’ scarf and red votive holders were all that was left after all the CHRISTMAS!! stuff was removed) and just now busted a move.

Birdy! Mossy! Might-Bloom-Dogwood Twiggy! With some gold and peachy tints thrown in.

I got inspired because we’re having our yearly Superbowl party this evening and wanted it to look nice, not like the mantel of a home where people, like, leave up their Christmas decorations til February.

Which I suppose also means that it’s time to take down the Christmas cards.

I’m sort of procrastinating that one until after I eat lunch and do a little work this afternoon, and won’t really be that heartbroken if they end up staying up. If not my very favorite thing, having Christmas cards up on display is totally in my top five Things I Love About Christmas. I know it’s time to pack them away, but I do love them so.


I totally had a scare with the spider bite thing a couple of days ago. It had gotten maybe 95% better, but then IT GOT WORSE AGAIN. The blisters all went away and there was a scab, and then that went away, so I was all relieved. But then more blisters showed up – itchy, big blisters in a wider area than the original spot. Daddy J went back on Spider Bite Observation Duty on Saturday. I’d whimper up to him that I wanted him to look because the bite was feeling hot and painful:

was it WORSE…?

At one point I sort of ha-haaaa-ed that I sure hoped it wasn’t Flesh Eating Bacteria, because that sure would be lousy. Like, if my rear end was being eaten away. HA HAAAA!! And then totally had to look up the symptoms of Flesh Eating Bacteria attacks. NO, I wasn’t dumb enough to google it this time, but I was dismayed that Wikipedia had a horrifying image right up there on the top of its entry. Don’t they know they need to be more sensitive to hypochondriacs???

Anyway, I’m pretty sure it’s not Flesh Eating Bacteria, because it’s pretty much better now. Damn spiders. (Or scorpions, huh, Suzanne? Wish I’d seen the little booger.)

I’m kind of chasing my tail lately, what with the ball planning and the novel writing and the article submissions and test passage writing. Kinda crazy-busy when I’m not doing my momming duties. I did take Rainbow to class at the children’s museum today, and we did have to leave and hang out in the foyer for the last half of class. Apparently it’s impossible for him to sit through class just knowing that the fun stuff in the museum is right outside the door. We had fun after, though, and friend B brought her little man there (he was another Kindermusik hopeful a couple of weeks ago) so that was good.

We’re trying time-outs (Mac inspired me) and Rainbow doesn’t really get it yet. At all. It just baffles him. He’s all, Twucks? Twucks, pweeze? Down? Down, PWEEZE? But we’re trying… I am thinking that once he learns what a time-out is, and I have something to threaten him with, I’ll make some real headway with discipline around here.

Another piece that I wrote just went live on Like Totally 80’s. It’s about my experience with aerobics at a health club when I was a teenager.

And Rainbow has a new favorite song:

(In other youtube news, apparently my video of Rockinrolla singing a Superbowl commercial (the Boost Mobile Shuffle) constituted copyright infringement and my youtube account has been frozen. AAAAAHHHHH!!! None of my videos will play! And I’ve deleted them from the Flip camera! I keep hoping that it’s some sort of temporary punishment and that my account will just start working again, but I guess I will have to contact youtube and apologize for besmirching the name of Boost Mobile and their commercial with my talented and funny teenager’s reenactment.)


two wrongs

Yesterday was kind of a stir-crazy day for Rainbow and me. I thought staying inside on a cold, wet day would be cozy, but it was actually kind of claustrophobic. Rainbow got punchy by the end of the day, and I resolved to get out of the stinkin’ house today and do something.

Aha! I’ll take Rainbow to the playzone in the mall! He LOVES that!

AND, while I’m at it, I’ll swing by TJ Maxx and get some dress shoes and a backless bra for the ball! It’ll be GREAT!

And, yeah. No. It wasn’t.

TJ Maxx was reasonably successful. I did find some dress shoes that fit and I bought them. They’re pretty cute. A little more practical than I was hoping for, but the only sassy ones they had were platform stilettos, and I thought that was ill-advised for a dancing event. And I don’t have any cute black dressy pumps, so these will be nice to have.

TJ’s didn’t have any backless bras (!!) and I should have just called it a day, but decided to breeze into Dillard’s with Rainbow (who had been fairly content at TJ’s) and check there.

It went poorly.

I put him in the umbrella stroller and would have none of it. He just wouldn’t sit down or stop crying, and kept begging to get out. He was happy to get out, but wanted to run all over the store. Didn’t want to hold hands, and then had a total meltdown when I carried him. It was a bad scene. Like, almost funny, sort of. In a very dark way. Lots of me standing over him with hands on hips and just watching him writhe on the floor. Trying to reason with him – what is the problem here? do you understand you’re not making either of us feel good by screaming? – which was really dumb.

Since we were already there (dammit!!) I carried him under one arm and went to the lingerie department*. I’d put him down briefly and he’d sort of stay with me, then get a stinker-grin and make a break for it. A cycle of pick-up and carry, cry piteously, be released, then run off with a sniffly little smile. I had the lady show me her favorite backless bra and paid for it without trying it on.


Of course it doesn’t fit. Either the sizes have changed since the last time I bought a backless bra, in college, or I’m not the same size I was when I was twenty. Obviously, they are sizing backless bras differently now.

The lady did say I could return it, so good. Also, I noted on the way to the toddler playzone that there’s a Victoria’s Secret in the mall that I’d totally forgotten about.


Which surely will have the undergarment I need. Which I will definitely purchase without a quickly bored, tantrum prone, nap-resistant little man in tow.

* You would be surprised how hard it’s been to find a backless bra in my neck of the woods. This was literally the fourth store I’d tried (Walmart, Peebles, and TJ’s being the first three) and it’s hard for me to get out and shop, so I was determined to leave with my quarry.

The Spiderbite Chronicles


More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About My Rear End

(The main title is a totally lame allusion unless, like me, you had a child who was NUTS!! about the book series. The movie, not so much, but the books; dang, one of the big boys was all into the world of Spiderwick. )

(Full disclosure: I loved them too. O, yes. Love me some young adult fantasy lit, any day of the week.)


Back to the seat of the problem: a bad, nasty, evil spider of some variety bit me on my rear end. It was very scary, especially when I googled “brown recluse spider bite photos.” I don’t recommend it for anyone, especially if it’s close to mealtime. I just wanted to see if I’d been bitten by one, not what the worst case horror movie scenario was. I would put in a link, but can’t even bear to look at those images again. Trust me: Bad.

I was just happily plucking my eyebrows before I showered, late morning on Saturday. I didn’t feel anything while I was sitting down in front of my mirror, but as I walked into my shower I felt a sting. I reached back and there was an immediate patch of rough, raised skin that hurt. I was in a hurry and kind of ignored it, figuring it was a scratch or sting of some sort, but no big deal. Saturday was the Patrons’ Party for the ball, so I had a full afternoon making little mini cupcakes and then getting ready for the party. I was kind of aware of the bite, but too busy to think about it.

However, by the time we got home that night it was an issue. That mo-fo hurt. It had gotten raised and hard and blistered, with a big patch of red skin around it. By the next morning I was seriously worried; it was really hot to the touch and it was painful to sit down. A little interweb poking around seemed to indicate that there wasn’t much a doctor could do except prescribe antibiotics if it got infected, give a Tetanus shot if I needed one, and remove dead tissue if it developed. (uhhhhh…)

So Daddy J was the designated Bite Checker on Sunday. I tend to a bit of health paranoia, and after seeing those horrific pictures, I was all kinds of freaked out. SO GLAD that it never progressed to the Infection or Dead Tissue stages of the game. Today, it’s all better, at least compared to what it was. Barely sore, scabbed over, and mostly back to normal skin tone around it.

Damn spiders.

We found a spider fogger from a pack that we’d used in the shed some time back, but it’s major overkill for the spider threat zone in our bathroom, i.e. the access area under the jetted tub. We’ve seen them (and sprayed for them) there before when we had some work done a year or so ago, so I guess they like it there. Daddy J’s going to get some spray for the area.

It still seems weird that there are spiders there, because our bathroom gets thoroughly cleaned once a week and, you know, used a lot. My best theory is that a spider crawled from under the tub to my robe, hanging up on the wall next to it. I put on my robe when I was getting ready to shower and it got me. But, yeah, all crawlies under the tub are targeted for extermination. Way scarier than me, like, losing a bum cheek, is little Rainbow getting bitten and having a wound like in one of those nightmare google photos.

Damn spiders.

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