Saturday, May 26, 2007

Awesome/Not Awesome

I didn't get much sleep last night and feel rather grumpy and spacey as a result. All morning, as I attended Brendan's preschool end-of-year musical performance, I found myself rather bitchily thinking, "This is not awesome," much like the Geico Tiny House commercial. Not about the musical performance or the kids. No, that part was adorable. The only way I can sum up my day is with a list so, in no particular order, here are how the various experiences of my day stacked up:

Awesome: Everyone in my house eating, getting dressed, and out the door in under one hour.

Not Awesome: You (Whoever you are!) parking your fucking Honda Odyssey horizontally across three parking spaces in the preschool parking lot the morning of the spring musical and 4-year old graduation. Rude.

Awesome: My kid hamming it up on the front row, singing loudly and animatedly as he made up his own tap dance routine that none! of the other kids were doing!

Awesomer: Our friend Chris recording video of my kid the ham and promising to put it on a disc, just because he thought it was so funny.

Not Awesome: Only getting about two hours of sleep last night.

Not Awesome: Taking forever to pull your minivan straight into a parallel spot with no obstacles and making me wait, even though we're all going to be late.

Awesome: The angry little girl who stood on the front row with arms folded, scowling, through the entire musical performance. That's commitment.

Really Brilliantly Awesome: Sky Blue Sky. Either Way, Impossible Germany, and Hate It Here are instant favorites. Hate It Here is very Beatlesesque. I think Jeremy may have mentioned that, too.

Awesome: Making plans to hang out and grill at the neighborhood pool with two other couples and their kids on Saturday night.

Not Awesome: Wearing a bathing suit five months after having a baby. (Even though I have lost all but about 3 lbs. of the baby weight!)

Awesome, Baby!: Having a minute or two to read stories about good people doing good things.

Not Awesome: Teething.

Not Awesome: Temper tantrums.

Not Awesome: Being woken up 15 minutes into a perfectly lovely nap to clean up spilled milk (and wanting to cry about it).

Awesome: Scott's being booked to play at Swallow at the Hollow.

Also Awesome: Meeting new friends.

Really Not Awesome: A second night with less than three hours of sleep.

Awesome: Two sweet boys both starting the day with smiles on their faces.

Awesome: Feeling loved even when I think I'm unlovable.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Baby, I'm Amazed

Watching the love and friendship between Brendan and Beckett develop brings so much joy to my heart, it's hard to imagine that a year ago I was worried about how Brendan would relate to his new sibling and I wondered if I could love another child as much as I love Brendan.

It's such a cliché, but I do feel like my heart has grown (three sizes, even) since Beckett came into the world. My enhanced capacity to love, not only Beckett and his brother, but others as well, has genuinely taken me by surprise. I am so thankful.

What I really find amazing, however, is the ability of my sons to fall so easily and naturally into love.

When Brendan talks to Beckett or simply sits beside him, Beckett's whole face lights up. He laughs at his brother, much more than he laughs at either his dad or me. And, as I've mentioned before, when he's upset, often the thing that calms him is the presence of his big bro.

Brendan is equally taken with the baby. Yesterday, when he thought I was elsewhere in the house, I caught him having the sweetest conversation with his brother. When I went upstairs, Brendan was playing in his room. After taking a basket of laundry into my room to put away, I came out and found Brendan kneeling beside Beckett's bouncy seat, holding his hand. I stood back to see what was going on and I heard Brendan say, "Beckett, you're my brother and you're my friend and I love you very much. When you get bigger we're going to play together all the time."

I wanted to crumble on the spot, incapacitated by the sheer honesty and beauty of the moment.

And then, Brendan turned around and realized I was standing there. He gave me a huge smile and a hug and was then ready to go play.

I know there may come a day when the love doesn't flow as readily between the two brothers, but for now I'm just going to enjoy each tender moment as it comes and be thankful that I have had the privilege of giving my son someone to love.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We've Been Had

I thought that I had drunk ginger ale before Saturday night. I thought I knew what it tasted like. And for several years, I thought I loved it. Then, as with many before it, this obsession for the bubbly-golden beverage subsided. In times of desperation, it became what I sipped with soda crackers to keep la malaise du matin at bay.

Saturday night, not in the mood for beer or wine, I was left with two choices: tap water or ginger ale. After a couple of glasses of water, I decided I needed something more substantially flavored and opted to try the ginger ale, a brand I'd neither seen nor heard of before.

Whooooooooooooooooooo-hoooooooooooooo-ooooooooooooh!!!! Man alive! That stuff was the best fucking ginger ale I have ever tasted. Pardon my language, y'all. You know I don't cuss much, so if I am I must be serious.

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale is some serious stuff. Made in Birmingham, and apparently only sold in Alabama, it has a delightfully wicked kick that you just might not be expecting. When they say ginger, they mean it. It was actually spicy. In a very wonderful way. In kind of way.

Now I wonder what other little regional delights I'm missing out on as a fan of the carbonated beverage. I've had Sundrop and RC Cola from Tennessee; Cheerwine from North Carolina. I remember a drink called Ski from when I was a kid that I had only ever had in Kentucky.

So, does anyone else have a favorite flavor of coke (or soda as y'all friends from up north like to call it) that I should try if I'm ever in your neck of the woods?


I have a sad confession to offer up. I have an addiction. A very pathetic addiction.

I'm addicted to a child's game. Brendan got a new toy for his birthday called a Webkin. They're stuffed animals and there's a website where you register your adoption of your stuffed pet and it creates a virtual pet for you, as well. Naturally, you have to then do things to keep your pet alive. You have to visit it, feed it, buy it things, take it to the doctor. To paraphrase Harry Dean Stanton in Fire Walk with Me, it's just more crap I've got to do. But fun. Brendan enjoys holding his stuffed frog, who Scott named Jumbo, while we visit the virtual Jumbo online. It's cute. However, the way one acquires virtual money to buy virtual food and gifts for one's webkin is to play video games. Kid games. So, once both boys are in bed, I break out the laptop and start trying to earn Jumbo the big bucks. I am addicted to one specific game, though. It's called Cash Cow. And for some reason, I find it very relaxing. But once I start playing, I have a very hard time stopping. Thankfully, the Webkins site gets shut down every night at midnight, so I'm forced to stop.

Of course, that is if I've gotten to play. The real problem is that when I'm not playing, I'm thinking about playing. I just don't get to play all that much.

C'est la vie.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sweet Home Alabama

Despite what common folk wisdom might tell us, Scott proved on Saturday night that you can go home again. Not only can you go home, but you and your gifts can be received with joyful and open arms.

On Saturday, Scott played a house concert in Montgomery hosted by his cousin Val.

An amazingly talented artist herself, Valerie lives in a gem of a home, a tiny rustic cabin surrounded by rich and verdant life. Her backyard garden is magnificent and proved to be the ideal spot for a spring evening filled with music.

If beauty be truth as Keats once said (sort of), Saturday night might have been one of the most honest, real nights of my life. It was certainly one of the most beautiful.

About 25 folks or so came to hear Scott play under the stars. Valerie created an intimate and exquisite Southern gothic setting, a charming little Flannery O'Connor cafe with a few tables and antique wooden folding chairs spread about. Candlelight and arrangments of wildflowers surrounded a natural stage on a raised patio at the back of the garden while a colorful rug, handmade from recycled soda bottles added interest. An antebellum gunhouse anchored the background, blue-tailed skinks climbing its aging brick walls while Scott sang.

The audience was warm and open and receptive and appreciative. Made up mostly of Valerie's circle of young and vibrant artistic and activist friends, this was a group who fully enjoyed Scott's music. They especially seemed to enjoy the songs Sorry and Oil, as well as Seven Days and Never Should Have Sung That Song.

I think of the six shows Scott has played since February, this was the best. He seemed the most at ease and comfortable. His voice and guitar playing both sounded great. The audience was, hands down, the best audience yet. There were no cynical scensters. Everyone who was there was someone who came with the intention of hearing Scott play and they were all obviously people who enjoy music.

It was such a perfect, magical night. It continues to get better in my mind as I relive it.

Of course, it could never have happened without Valerie's willingness to offer up her home and artistic gifts. What a girl!

What a guy!

What a night!

I'm just delighted I have the opportunity to know them both and share in the magic.