msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
- Adrienne Rich



These are some of the most recent photos from my photostream on Flickr. Click one of them!
the portable baby


recent posts
Test results from this morning

Take this and do with it what you will

More diaper-free media coverage

This is what a feminist looks like

Rape? Incest? Health risk? South Dakota shoots you the finger.

Zero. sense. of. humor.


Posers on the beach



At the River's Edge

Sky light

Julian in the hammock with his cousin Justin

Driftwood fort on the beach

On Becoming the Mother of a Two Year Old

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« January 2006 | Main | March 2006 »

February 28, 2006

Test results from this morning

Here we go again!

February 27, 2006

Take this and do with it what you will

I finished reading Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls:True Stories of Castaways and Other Survivors by Sterling Seagrave. A truly fascinating book for those of you who like harrowing stories of survival against impossible odds and mind-bogglingly gruesome conditions.

If you liked Endurance, or Alive or even Robinson Crusoe, this is the book for you. Except that it's not just one incredible true story, it's a compilation of them, so just when you've picked up your jaw off the floor after reading one account of a Desperate Journey, then there comes an even *more *incredible tale of an Abandoned Soul that blows your mind completely. And so on. I could not put it down, and it's a thick book.

Anyway, I've been on an island theme in my reading material for some time now. I'd link to the Jack London post I wrote some time back, except I just realized while looking for it that it's one of the *many* posts that I haven't yet transferred over into the new blog. SIgh, I only have about a quarter of my entries available here, the rest need to be copied and pasted by hand, one by one, into the Moveable Type blog interface. Yeah....a real project. Argh.

Suffice it to say that I've been reading island-themed books for several months now, and I've got quite a list going. The above is just one in the series:

  • An Island to Oneself: Six Years on a Desert Island
  • Castaway in Paradise: The Incredible Adventures of True-Life Robinson Crusoes
  • Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls : True Stories of Castaways and Other Survivors
  • Life of Pi
  • Rain and Other South Sea Stories
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Searching for Paradise : A Grand Tour of the World's Unspoiled Islands...
  • Shoal of Time a History of the Hawaiian Islands
  • South Sea Tales
  • Tales of the South Seas: Island Landfalls, the Ebb-Tide, the Wrecker
  • The Cruise of the Snark: Jack London's South Sea Adventure
  • The Devil's Teeth : A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks
  • The Log of the Snark
  • The Sex Lives of Cannibals : Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

and that's just some of them.

In my reading of numerous shipwreck survivor accounts, I've noticed something curious. In the "Desperate Journeys" book, for example, there's a story of a guy whose ship goes down, and after nearly dying of thirst and hunger at sea, he washes up on a tiny scrap of reef with barely any dry land, no vegetation, and no respite from the burning equatorial sun. He somehow barely survives for over 2 years on crabs and algae and occasional fish before being rescued, always on the verge of death from starvation and thirst. I forget how he managed to get any water.

One of the biggest problems is no shade. He is burnt to a crisp without any shade all day long, day after day.

When he is finally picked up and rescued, he has grown a thick layer of hair over his skin that helps protect him from the sun's burning rays, and the cold at night as well. The rescuers describe him as looking like a wild animal, his hair is almost like fur.

This same phenomenon is described in several other castaway stories as well. The castaways are usually very *hairy* when found, not just bearded, but actually posessing a coat of hair over their bodies that is thicker than normal. This only seems to happen for those castaways that were shipwrecked without clothing, or whose clothes have rotted off and haven't found anything else to protect them from the sun.

So my question is: is there something in intense UV exposure that triggers protective hair growth? I know that anorexic girls often grow an unusually thick coat of hair on their bodies under starvation conditions. It replaces the insulating body fat that normally protects them from variations in temperature. So under conditions of starvation AND intense UV exposure, it does make sense that some pathway for protective body hair growth would be switched on.

And if we could find that pathway trigger, we might be able to switch body hair growth on or off. Without starving or being burnt to a crisp by the sun, of course.

Considering that hair removal is a zillion-dollar industry, and hair *growth* (for men) is booming as well, this could be very lucrative research. Rather than shaving and lasering and moving hair around from one part of your head to another, wouldn't it be great to just be able to turn your hair growth on or off?

Well, if I ever win the lottery and become a venture capitalist, that will be something to look into. After I solve world hunger and establish peace on earth, of course.

February 26, 2006

More diaper-free media coverage

Nice news piece on diaper-free babies

The media coverage seems to slowly be shifting from
"FREAKS! They want to put babies on potties!" to
"Hmmm, this might be an interesting and worthwhile idea after all..."

February 24, 2006

This is what a feminist looks like

Get this T-shirt here. I want one!

Rape? Incest? Health risk? South Dakota shoots you the finger.


From the Washington Post: S. Dakota approves bill to restrict abortions

All abortions are hereby banned in South Dakota.
An exception for rape ws voted down.
An exception for incest was voted down.
An exception for the health of the mother was voted down.

The only condition under which you can now get an abortion is if you are at immediate risk of DEATH. If pregnancy or carrying to term will simply result in permanent incapacitation, infertilty, mental illness, or risk of physical abuse...too bad.

Another step backwards for our benighted country and human evolution in general.

Here we won't stop here.

Zero. sense. of. humor.

Oh for cryin' out loud.

So I sell these wraps on my Portable Baby website:

I've only gotten positive comments on the wraps so far, and on the page in general. The wraps are really taking off, and rightly so, because they are really fabulous.

Anyway, in the last two days I've suddenly had emails flaming me for
1) my dissing of other wraps
2) the "offensive profanity" I use

Number one... the other wraps do kind of suck, for the reasons I mention. They're not all bad, but they could be better. I have a right not to like certain features of those wraps, and I'm not alone in my preference. But apparently as a "mommy business" I'm supposed to never, ever say anything bad about anything, and especially not about products that other mommies might use and/or sell. I'm supposed to be nice, nice, nice, and sweet and positive all the time. Mommies are always nice and sweet and supportive and never ever sarcastic or critical.

Well, that's one of my problems with "momness". Moms need to stand up and speak out more often and not always be so darned doormattish, invisible, and inoffensive to absolutely everyone and everything! In fact, that's one of the problems I have with the perception of how women in general should behave. And not just about baby products, but about the current state of the world. There are plenty of issues that moms *should* be getting mad about. Like health care and education and environmental devastation. These moms, for example are keepin' it REAL.

If I were a man with a website about baby products (which hardly exist, with one commendable and entertaining exception) this would be an entirely different story. I could say that a product is not so great, especially when compared to my own fabulous creation. That's business, right? Competition.....oooooohhhh, a scary word for moms. Moms are not supposed to be businesswomen and compete against others in the arena.

But listen, if I *didn't* point out the differences between products, that wouldn't be very useful now, would it? When I go to a website or to a store, I WANT to know how products stack up, and I don't want to hear "You know, they're ALL wonderful in their own way, and I really support them all."

Well why should I buy yours then, when there are ten others that seem the same to me? GIve me the lowdown, dammit. That's the kind of info that I appreciate as a consumer. That's the kind of info I give. Yes, it's my personal opinion. No, you don't have to agree with me. Take what I say with a grain of salt, do the research, and form your own conclusion. But don't get on my case for speaking out about what I think is good and bad, what I like and don't like, and why.

And SECOND of all, since when are "crazy-ass" and "crappy" and "sucks" considered profanity? Where are these people living? Are these the same people that consider the word "butt" profanity? FYI, those words are slang, and I enjoy using slang. So there. I'm very highly educated and I can speak perfect non-slang Queen's English when I choose to, but it's the real me on my website, and I write as I speak. I purposely chose NOT to use a bland "We the corporation" voice in my business, but to be mom speaking her mind and telling you about the products she likes and uses. So suck it.

Personally, I reserve the definition of profanity for words that deserve it. Like "fuck" or "shit". Now if I had said "This shitty motherfucking wrap sucks ass!", I can maybe see people getting upset, but "crappy"? Give me a break, people.

OK, venting over. Aaaargh, freakin' uptight crazy-ass people.

Sesame Street is on and Gloria Estefan is dancing around with the monsters/muppets to a jammin' salsa tune. But she's wearing denim overalls! DENIM OVERALLS! The least flattering clothing item on the planet. No one looks good in denim overalls, and yet there she is, bopping around to a salsa tune in them.

Gloria, the denim overalls aren't you. You're a sexy Latin songstress. I've seen what you usually wear, and it's not denim overalls. What gives? Did someone say to you "It's Sesame Street, look as ugly as possible"?

You know, Maria and Dr. Gina and even Gabby wear stylish clothing on the show. It's not revealing or outlandish or inappropriate, but they wear nice-looking casual outfits. Dr. Gina had a shirt on that I positively coveted in one episode. It was a sort of faux-wraparound neckline, and very chic. So really, you don't have to dress like a dork around kids. I don't ever want to see you in Mom Jeans, OK? Being on Sesame Street is no reason to look homely. Just be yourself next time.

Over and out.

February 23, 2006


plongeoir_aj_brad, originally uploaded by mslaura.

This photo of AJ and Brad cracks me up. Taken at Le Plongeoir Restaurant in St. Martin, during our wedding visit.

Posers on the beach

Posers on the beach, originally uploaded by mslaura.


After, originally uploaded by mslaura.


Before, originally uploaded by mslaura.

At the River's Edge

At the River's Edge, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Beach rivers in the sand are very, very cool.

Sky light

Sky light, originally uploaded by mslaura.

My favorite local beach.

Julian in the hammock with his cousin Justin

This was Super Bowl Sunday. Julian had an absolute blast playing with his two cousins all afternoon.

Julian had on the ugliest outfit possible. He had on his fire red Gay Captain sweater (actually a girl's sweater from the Gap) and then some outgrown blue velour pajama bottoms. With bear moccasins. Poor kid.

Driftwood fort on the beach

Driftwood fort on the beach, originally uploaded by mslaura.

I love California beaches in winter. Not much for swimming, but wow are they ever scenic.

On Becoming the Mother of a Two Year Old

Wow little boy! You're two years old already. It seems like nothing, and it seems like forever.

You're no little baby anymore, that's for sure. You're a real boy now. You walk, you full sentences even! You say "please" and "thank you" and even "sorry" from time to time. The best is when Daddy or I say "thank you" and you respond with "There you go!", which I guess is your version of "You're welcome". We never got around to learning the sign language for "You're welcome", so it's very creative of you to come up with that response on your own. I mean, it's no sillier than "Don't mention it" or "No problem" or other things people say in response to a thank you.

You are a real pleasure to be with most of the time, I have to say. I wasn't ever a real fan of 2-year-old boys, but you've convinced me that 2-year-old boys can be quite charming indeed. You're utterly adorable physically...I can't stop kissing you all day long. You are very sweet and loving to your mama too. You get such enjoyment out of life..the list of Things Julian Loves is endless. Trains, planes, animals, other kids and babies, your Daddy and Doggie, playing on the playground, riding your bike, playing music, dancing, helping me cook...well, helping me do ANYTHING really. You are quite the helper, and I'm really shocked sometimes at what you are capable of doing. You're very careful and meticulous with putting scraps of paper in the trash, or letting me know when your hands are dirty and need washing.

You're very much a do-it-yourself kind of boy. We were having problems with going potty recently, until I figured out that you didn't want me to take you, thank you very much, you wanted to sit on your potty all by yourself, and be in control of your own pooping and peeing, on your own schedule. So I put a little potty out by your play area, and another one in your room, and you've been stellar at using them. Bravo, my boy. Sorry it took me so long to figure that out.

And by the on earth did you learn to operate the CD player already? I showed you "Power On/Off" and "Play", but you've already figured out how to program a song to endlessly repeat. I'm sorry, but that's just too crazy. It's the smallest button on the entire device (which is FULL of buttons, since it's a radio and a cassette player too) and it doesn't even say "Repeat", it says "Program", so just in case you can secretly read already, there's still no way you could have known. I'm trying to figure that one out. You know all about the volume controls too. Sometimes I think you know too damn much. But of course I'm proud.

We seem to have the same taste in music. Every time I think a song has a really good beat and feel like dancing, I see you already breaking it down. I bought the new Thievery Corporation CD and put it on. Daddy and I were starting to get our groove on and shake our booties, but you blew us away by going over by the speaker and launching into all-out rapturous lost-in-the-music trance dancing for the next half hour. I don't even think you knew we were there. It's so funny, because it's not even like baby dancing. You've got some serious moves! You work your arms and your legs and your head, and you keep the beat, and bop and prance and boogie down. There's a sort of a gallop-in-place move that you do that is so great. We're really proud of you. It's obvious you come from dancing parents! Daddy and I aren't so great at partner dancing with pre-defined moves, but we've definitely got rhythm, and apparently you've got it too. Right on.

I love to take you places. You have a very clear sense of adventure, and you love to see and experience new things. Whether it's the beach, the pool, a playground, a museum, or just going for a walk outside, you take it all in and enjoy every minute. I try to point things out to you, and you eagerly absorb any info I dish out. We were supposed to take the train up to San Francisco to go to the SFMOMA today, but you have a cold and were feeling too crappy to nap, and it didn't quite work out. We'll go another time, I promise. I think riding a real train would be a dream come true for you, so I won't wait too long. Get well soon. And try not to pass that cold to me or Daddy this time either, OK?

Daddy and I are going to try for a little brother or sister this spring. Like you're not enough already, I know. But given how much you adore babies, I know you'd be a great big brother, and you probably wouldn't forgive us if we left you as an only child.

I think of something my Aunt Polly said to me, "It was so overwhelming at the time having two young kids, we decided to stop there. But really, that period of intense 24/7 caregiving was so short, and the enjoyment of our children just keeps getting better every year. Now I wish that we had had FIVE kids!"

That sounds crazy, and yet when I hear people talking about preschool I can't imagine sending you away on a regular basis. Well, on bad days it sounds blissful. On good days it makes me sad to imagine you growing up and going away to school already. We might delay that preschool thing a while. We'll see.

Happy birthday, sweetest boy.


February 22, 2006

Nutrasweet turns out to be bad for you after all

Well, after hearing for years that aspartame is fine and doesn't cause health problems and breaks down into simple amino turns out that it's a potential carcinogen after all.

New York Times: The Lowdown on Sweet?

I operate under the theory that you should eat food that is as simple and unprocessed as possible. People have been eating eggs and dairy and coconut oil and so on so on for tens of thousands of years. There's no mystery there about those foods. Hydrogenated fats and oils are chemically new, as are most other food additives. Artificial sweeteners too. Modern additives just haven't been around long enough to know what effect they will have, and what we DO know about them isn't *ever* good news. Even the supposedly safe products usually turn out to have some dangerous effect later down the road. Like Teflon, for example. And margarine, and now Nutrasweet.

So I stick with organic eggs and milk and meat and veggies, and try to fuss with them as little as possible when cooking them. I do prefer Sweet-n-Low in my iced tea when I'm a restaurant, because sugar doesn't dissolve fast enough. But yeah, I should really skip it and deal with stirring a minute longer. Oh, the effort! ;-)

Anyway, if you stick to unprocessed foods as much as possible, you can't go wrong. Rther than worry about keeping up on the latest research on this and that product, just try to eat foods that humans have already been eating for a long, long time. You can't really go wrong. It's the easiest and safest way to go.

February 16, 2006

Vacationing close to home...a novel idea

I hate winter, specifically January.

December is fine, it's not usually *that* cold, and there are all the Christmas lights, music, decorations and eggnog. Mmmm, eggnog. But everything after New Year's Day just sucks.

It's cold, it's dark, it's dreary, and I have to wear a lot of clothing (and dress my child in a lot of clothing, which is a real chore). My thighs get little bumps and ingrown hairs on them from wearing pants all the time. I'm constantly in a cold sweat, and my muscles clench up against the cold. The only time I'm truly relaxed and happy is when I'm in a hot bath, or parked in front of a hot fire, or under a big down comforter. Other than that I'm just killing time the best I can, waiting for Spring to arrive and hurry UP with it already.

February is better, because the signs of Spring start to appear. Subtly at stays light until 6:00pm, a few leaf buds appear on trees, green grass unfurls from barren dirt. But these few signs bring joy and hope to my life and bring me out of the Crab Station that is January. Even if February is still cold and rainy, just the days being longer is enough to snap me out of my January funk-a-thon.

Anyway, it happened to me this January too, just like I knew it would. Plus Dan was gone every week on business, which didn't help. Julian got a nasty cold, then I got it, and we were both miserably sick, like January wasn't enough on its own.

So Dan finally came home and, taking in the sad state of affairs on the home front, he offered to take us somewhere for a little break. Cabo? Hawaii? Ick, no desire at all to get on a plane. A total waste of an entire day. Rush to the airport, hurry up and wait, stand in line, be inspected by strangers, desperately try to enterain rambunctious toddler for hours on end so he doesn't annoy strangers packed in like sardines next to us, endure hours of discomfort and inability to relax for even one second, and spend the next few days deep breathing just trying to unwind from the whole experience before turning around and doing it all over again. The return trip. Ugh

Seriously, RVing is looking good these days.

But anyway, we ended up going to Carmel for five days and it was wonderful. Less than two hours away by car, and a scenic drive to boot. Julian is very happy in the car these days, as long as it's moving and he has a snack. In fact, if we *don't* go anywhere on any given day, he starts bugging me to "Go go go. Mommy and Baby and Truck. Go go go." It doesn't matter where we go go go, he just likes to get out and see things.

We stayed at the Carmel Valley Ranch, which was luxurious (if a wee bit run down). There was a big lodge with a roaring fire, and Kobe beef burgers with blue cheese and good french fries, which made Dan happy. Our room had a big deck with a private hot tub. Even though it broke down twice, it was still great. Julian wanted to use the "outside bath" constantly, which was fine by me until it broke down and got cold, then we took an inside bath.

The weather couldn't have been better...upper 70's during the day, a veritable heat wave. Very unseasonable too, normally it's raining in Carmel at this time of year. But for us, it was warm and lovely and sunny every single day.

We saw flocks of wild turkeys and deer every day at the Ranch, which made up for the smoky fireplace and complete lack of hiking trails on 30 or 400 or 1200 acres of Ranch property (the number was different in every source).

We went to the beach (spectacular), we ate all gourmet meals, all the time (Jeffrey's Grill in Carmel Valley is highly recommended, as are Village Corner and Porta Bella in Carmel Village). We ate at Jeffrey's on 3 days out of 5. It's a breakfast/lunch place in the local shopping center, but has outdoor tables, fantastically delicious food, and very reasonable prices. I had the Oriental Chicken Salad 3 times in a row. It was that good.

Dan took me to the Pacific's Edge restaurant on our last night there. The food was incredible of course, and the views spectacular. I wasn't able to fully concentrate, since Julian was with us (childcare fell through, thanks to ill-informed concierge back at the Ranch) and of course that was the ONE dining occasion all week that he chose to act up, squirm around, fuss and cry, etc. Our suave waiter Mario was smooth as silk our private butler for the evening.

So let's see, what else? We lounged, we ate, we bathed. We went to the beach. I had big plans for getting a massage and horseback riding and all kinds of other things that didn't materialize, but that's OK. We relaxed and enjoyed ourselves, that's what's important.

Julian loved the trip. Every day was full of new and exciting things to see and do, he got to take a bath in a BIG tub outside with Mom and Dad, and drive his cars around on a lot of new surfaces. He enjoyed the good food and the restaurants, and behaved exceptionally well everywhere but Pacfifc's Edge. He adored the beaches and the wild turkeys and the deer. It was all fun, fun, fun.

I was trying to relax of course, so I wasn't really on the ball as far as organizing our time in Carmel. The two days that I chilled on being Planner we ended up sitting in the hotel room longer than we wanted to, and Julian missed his nap and ended up sleeping in the car while we drove around. The day that I stayed on top of planning and organizing we had a great time all day long, Julian took a long nap, and everything fell into place activity-wise.

I noticed that Moms don't *really* get a break on vacation. You still need to be on top of everything...make sure that regular meals happen, everyone gets adequate sleep according to schedule, the activities take place when they should, you get to places on time, etc. But you don't have to cook, you don't have to clean (except for tidying up the room a little before the maids come in), and there is no household to-do list staring you in the face during your downtime. That in itself is golden.

It's definitely not the total freedom of pre-baby vacationing. But taking your child to new places and seeing them enjoy all the sights and sounds...that's priceless. You don't get to do nearly as much, but what you do, you completely enjoy...not just through your own experience, but through that of your child.

Oh, we were there while the big Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament was ramping up, so there was lots of excitement. Didn't see any celebrities or anything, but we did have a big group of Yahoo! employees arrive at the Ranch for their annual company trip to the tournament. Y! employees get heavily discounted rates on lodging and admission. It was weird to be there and watch the Yahoo! limo pull up, and all the happy Y! employees walking around with their branded fleece jackets and caps and stuff. Oh well. No corporate life for me anymore. That's fine. It's not all trips to Carmel, that's for sure.

Then it came time to go home. Like clockwork the fog started to roll in, a chill breeze started blowing, and we skeddadled out of there. After a final brunch at Jeffrey's, we hit the road and Julian passed out for a perfectly-timed nap in the car. Score!

As always, it was good to be home, but especially so when it was painless leaving and arriving. I think we're on to something.

Photos to come. Still figuring out the new camera and how to get the pics OFF it.

February 04, 2006

The fam on New Year's Eve

The fam on New Year's Eve, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Just liked this photo of us and wanted to post it.

February 03, 2006

Mommy and a Bird and a Truck and a Oh No!

Yesterday I had to go up to San Francisco for a dermatology appointment, so Julian was going to visit with Grandma Ida for the morning.

We were almost there when suddenly several birds flew right across the car's path and were smacked by our windshield.

"What DAT?!" piped up Julian from the back seat.

I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a mourning dove fluttering up from the road. Hopefully I only stunned it...ugh.

"Oh honey, Mama hit a bird with the truck. Mama is very sorry. Poor bird."
(No, I don't really have a truck, it's a Honda Civic Hybrid, the least truck-like car ever. But that's what Julian calls it, so be it.)

"Oooooohh! Mommy and a bird and a truck and a ....oh no!"

"I know baby. It's very sad. Mommy hurt the bird with the truck. The bird was in the street and the truck came by and BOOM, the bird was hurt."

I figured I would try to at least make a lesson out of the tragedy.
"That's why you have to stay out of the street. The street is very dangerous. A bird or a baby or a doggie can be in the street and then a car comes and BOOM! OUCH!"

"Ouch," repeated Julian. "Bird and a truck and a OH NO! HURT!"

This tragedy was the subject of discussion for the rest of the day. We would be playing or doing something else, and then suddenly Julian would proclaim with wide eyes, "Mommy and a baby and a bird and a truck and a OH NO!"

He hasn't mentioned it yet today. I have to go drop off a check for swimming lessons after Julian wakes up from his nap. Maybe being in the car will bring up the subject again. Dang Mommy and her Truck of Destruction. Bird HURT! Oh NO!

February 01, 2006

This is not my beautiful life!

Julian came to get me at 6:something a.m. and I went to sleep with him in his bed. While I was sleeping, I had a short bad dream.

I was 18 again, or some young age thereabouts. I was living in a small, shabby apartment with Charlie Brown, but I didn't really interact with him in my dream, it was just his place, and I was living there. Some windows were broken out, and the single room was full of unknown dream people, all chain-smoking.

What the hell? Why was I in this nasty place? Why was I with Charlie Brown, of all people? Why was everyone SMOKING, for crying out loud? Where was Dan, and Julian, and Bugs?

This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful life! I was wracked with despair, and then Julian woke me up to tell me that the sun is now up, so time for milk.

It took me a moment to realize that I was in my son's room in our beloved house, with Dan and Bugs snoozing nearby, but when I did I was overjoyed. I've never been so thankful to be here in the present and not anywhere in the past, thank you very much. Even a weird not-so-accurate dream past.

I'd like to have the skin of an 18 year old, but that's about it. Everything else is so much better NOW.

I told Dan about my dream, and about the phrase that had come into my head while I was looking around in my dream and despairing. He teased me about paraphrasing from the Talking Heads song, because he knows David Byrne's voice grates on my nerves. The guy is talented and everything, but his voice is awful.

We were having a shitty time a few weeks ago, what with illness and teething and exhaustion and all. Non-stop tantrumming, rainy weather, PMS, pooping in pants. Sooooooo not fun.

But now the teething has abated, the colds are over, PMS has passed, smiles and laughs and funny moments are plentiful and abundant, leaves are budding out on the trees, and Julian pooped in his potty all by himself FOUR times today. I think he pooped twice as much as usual just to show off. And he even dumped it in the toilet by himself too. Astounding. Business is good too.

I'm just enjoying it while it lasts, because these moments of health and happiness and luck and pleasure are fleeting. They pass in the blink of an eye. Life is pain for so many. So let me write that I so dearly appreciate what I have. I love my family most of all. I love my home. I love my work. I love my friends. I love the Internet. It's great to be alive... right here, right now.

These are the good old days.

Having a ball at Scott Creek Beach

Having a ball at Scott Creek Beach, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Thanks to my friend Laura Knapp, who always takes such great photos, and who is game for spur-of-the-moment outings to wild, beautiful places with toddlers, even when they are cranky.

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