25 June 2011

Playing pug/opossum

Quite the commotion last night around 11:00 at our house. Meenie Beens is staying the weekend with us and Macauley and I let Booker and her out through the screened porch for a bedtime bathroom break. Macauley heard something on the steps scatter and Booker of course shot out in pursuit while Meena followed at her usual adorable pace. I've been feeding birds this summer and have attracted a number of (greedy, I must say) squirrels and I wasn't sure if we had a raccoon back there or what at that time of night. Our backyard was pitch black so I sent Macauley for a flashlight. The halo of light landed on a petrified opossum curled up at the foot of the stairs with Booker inches from its face and Meena wiggling her way toward it. Fearing rabies or who knows what, I overreacted and shrieked for Macauley to "Get Dad!" Both dogs came back up the stairs with a "what's the big deal?" expression on their faces before Ryan made it to the rescue. From the safety of the screened porch we shined the light back to the spot and saw only a bloody splat where the opossum had been. Ryan googled it and found that opossums don't actually "play" dead on purpose but rather pass out from fear in stressful situations and often throw up or spit and "squirt" (they don't spray evidently) at the same time, making themselves as unappealing to predators as possible, so maybe the "blood" was something else. Gross nevertheless. I had to sponge off a streak of this horrific smelling opossum juice from Booker's side but haven't made it down for a closer look or clean up of the blob on the stepping stone at the bottom of the stairs yet.

I grew up in the country and have of course seen opossums many times, up close, far away, stiff on the side of the road, even climbing along the top of a neighbor's privacy fence. But having my sweet B and Lindsay's Meener within striking distance got me all riled up! And it gave Macauley bad dreams. He woke up at 4 am quite distraught and explained his "nightmare" to me as I walked him to the bathroom. In short, he dreamed that "a raccoon was making all these dishes." In my mind, I went straight to pottery, like a raccoon throwing plates on a potter's wheel, but he meant cooking, like a raccoon chef, and feeding the berry concoctions to me as Macauley watched. "And then I said, 'Mom? Mom!' and you just looked at me and said, 'I don't know who you are,' and you had a golden, glowing ring around your head for, like, 5 minutes, until you recognized me again." He went on to explain that the raccoon set out a "feast" of the memory-blocking berries buffet-style and that he had to swipe all the food off the table forcefully to keep me from eating it. Then I was on the internet trying to buy some of the raccoon's food and he had to hammer in the power button on my computer to keep me from it. Even awake in the bathroom he was very upset by this scenario and told me this morning he couldn't get it out of his head all night and didn't sleep well. None of us did, actually.

I was thinking we might settle in and watch the newer Alice in Wonderland tonight, but something tells me that particularly kooky adventure might trigger a recurrence of the dream about the raccoon peddling mind-erasing berries. This time it might be stuck in my head, though...

24 June 2011

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

Do you know your neighbors? Just enough to wave as you press the down button on your garage door? Enough to stop for a quick hello as you walk by with the dog? Or enough to ring the doorbell and pop in for a sit down visit on a whim? We advanced toward the latter one evening this week with a progressive dinner at the homes of our nearest neighbors, several of whom are new to the block. First stop was appetizers with Kelly and Travis, who built a beautiful new house on the site two doors down from us where Lance's home burned to the ground last July. They've got 2 baby girls, just 13 months apart! Sydney is 17 months and Garrett is 4 months. They're in the restaurant business and served drinks and apps from Macaroni Grill. Next stop was our house for salad.

After the best tomato soup ever at Chris and Laurie's across the street and diagonal from us (where we got to meet their sweet little 2-year-old Ethan), we had the main course, baked ziti and rolls, next door at Derek and Jennifer's. They've got 3 girls, which reminds me of my family growing up: Paige, Claire and Delaney.

And finally dessert just across the street at Wayne and Stacy's, where Macauley frequently plays with Rex, 4, and Rachel, 8. Everyone loved the huge USA map Stacy recently had decoupaged and painted on her living room wall, ala Restoration Hardware. Very cool.

Turns out we've got some great new friends just steps outside our front door. The moms: Stacy, me, Kelly, Jennifer and Laurie. So glad we made the effort to go beyond honk and wave status...

"They're the people that you meet, when you're walking down the street--they're the people that you meet each day..." (Sesame Street. Remember?)

23 June 2011

My busy day

In general, I fancy myself a fairly productive gal most days, but today was not one of them. The house was quiet and I allowed myself the luxury of nestling in to my puffy bed, under the ceiling fan, reading and watching TV while the hours just ticked away. I got up a handful of times--made some sweet tea, broke up a cat brawl on the back porch, took a bunch of random pictures of my kitchen--but kept ending up back in the comfy nest of clean sheets and double comforters.

Ellen. The OC. Two hours of 90210. Two hours of One Tree Hill. Reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan during commercials.

Payton is prego. Now Brooke has to redesign her wedding gown a third time.

My only nourishment for the day. Plus the sweet tea.

Now it's bedtime and Alice and I are wide awake.

20 June 2011

What $5 will buy you in Bolivar, Mo...

Pure bliss, that's what. A large peach sno cone plus a tip for the girl working in the little trailer. Courtesy of a folded bill from Grandma and Grandpa as we left their house and headed back home to Springfield last Thursday afternoon.

"Safety first, Mom. Really. Right?" ~Macauley Fraser

19 June 2011

{our} father

We celebrated Father's Day last night, with my parents in town from Arkansas and Lane in from KC. Sweet Papa took Macauley to our neighborhood pool and then we made a yummy dinner (well, mostly Lindsay made a yummy dinner--I boiled water and set the table) of grilled chicken, salad, cheesy potatoes, corn on the cob, watermelon and a chocolate cake to celebrate Lane's most recent promotion to Big Wig @ Francesa's, then chatted well into the evening. After a quick breakfast this morning, everyone has gone (Macauley went back to camp with my parents). The house is quiet.

Thank you, Ryan, for working so hard to take good care of us, being the Bad Cop to my Good, and for always making me feel like one hot mama. Thank you, Dad, for always showing us the way, not by pointing a finger or twisting an arm, but by walking the Right Way yourself and letting us follow.

"Gus has been asleep for the past two days. Not once does he open his eyes or speak. She wants so much to hear him call her "daughter" again. She's never heard anyone--not even her mother--call her this. It is such a nice word when she thinks about it. Daughter. Dot...her. Like a punctuation mark. It says, This one here, she's mine."

~Heather Gudenkauf (These Things Hidden)

17 June 2011

When you care enough to send the very best...

I suppose this in itself is a "vintage" post, since it was almost 4 months ago that we visited the Hallmark Visitors' Center at Crown Center in Kansas City during our spring break. The place isn't large, but it is charmingly packed with a history of the greeting card company, and since I love finding and reading vintage postcards at flea markets, I was taken in by the variety of antique and vintage cards, toys and mementos displayed chronologically beginning with the formation of the company in the early 1900s...

...and continuing to present day, featuring characters like Santa, Minnie Mouse (Disney and Hallmark have had a long-standing relationship), one of my all-time favorites--the adorable Miss Piggy, and the company's iconic, crabby Maxine. Another case featured postcards sent while traveling, by land and sea.

One hallway featured a series of Christmas trees decorated to honor company founder Joyce C. Hall, a tradition started in 1966. The 1972 tree reminded me of all the sparkly art I see in flea markets made from old costume jewelry and the framed tree made from jewels that belonged to Ryan's glamorous grandmother Jinx that hangs in Pop's living room, having never been taken down since she passed away just before Christmas in 1993. Another tree celebrated the year I was born, the Bicentennial, Nineteen and Seventy Six. The basket tree from the 80s brought to mind the aesthetic of all the Country Living magazines my mom collected during that decade. I asked her then, as a little girl, if I had to decorate my house "country" like her when I grew up. She said no. Turns out the apple doesn't fall far from the tree however...

Another display traced the history of Hall's department store...

An interactive section showed how some of the company's cards and other products are made and featured a modern printing press machine and a bow machine. The kids could run through the place with a "passport" to be stamped at 6 stations around the museum.

In a small living area, flat screens played trailers for many of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies we've all seen and looped many of the sentimental, lump-in-throat, tear-in-eye commercials from TV, many of them "vintage." Case in point: Ed's Required Reading. Bawl. Every. Time.

We really stumbled on the museum inadvertently and had made our way to Crown Center initially to visit the interactive children's art exhibit Kaliedoscope, where we had a lot of fun making our own crowns and cards, crafts and puzzles. Both were fun and both were free.

"I just don't like to sit around and wait for something to happen; it is more fun making it happen." ~J.C. Hall


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