I'm in the middle of a rather tense SVU, so my writing skills aren't so hot. In lieu of actual content, here are some adventures with Norah, including...

Our super-hot, awesomely rockin' Christmas photo, complete with overdressed baby and totally adorable Santa/Mrs. Claus dynamic duo, who have been married for 51 years. How cute is that? Our mall hires some quality talent.

Baby Standsalot, who now wails like a fire truck if I don't hold her upright for at least 22 hours a day.

And a big ol' piece of ham. Oh, babycakes, you are so lovely.

Survival of the drunkest: the long story

Time, she does fly. I can't imagine that it's been 12 days since I updated this, but I guess when you're enjoying quality family activities like baking cookies or getting utterly hammered on old people cocktails, you lose your grip on reality.

So Thanksgiving went well (in spite of, or perhaps because of, the three - three! - bottles of gin we went through in four days) and I'm in recovery, a period that's been largely improved by the ongoing presence of pie. We made three for the Big Eat, and yet somehow when those ran out, there were still more pies on the counter. Our pies defied all laws of biology and inanimate object reproduction and totally mated, and I have the thighs to prove it.

The house is in one piece, definitely in spite of the best efforts of six canine crusaders, led by Astrid the wonderpuppy and Gracie, my mom's clinically insane scottish terrier. We had the expected family dogs: Max, Kate's airedale, and Dexter, my uncle's something-or-other. And we also had the orphans, two fuzzy black puppies that we found at the dog park on Saturday. Our neighborhood has a terrific dog park, with very high fences and a lot of woodsy grounds great for endless running. We decided to take said family dogs for a frolic, in hopes that they would chase each other around, eventually die of exhaustion, and thus keep the hell away from the pie. Astrid has her special park tag, but obviously none of the others have it, so we went slinking in, hoping to avoid getting busted until at least one of them passed out.

And of course, when we walked in, a rather good-looking cop beelined right at us. Bumping along at his heels were the puppies, so to cause a distraction and let my mom get the untagged ones into the gate, I immediately began howling and screeching "MAWWWM, look at the little FUZZIES, Mawwwwm, aren't they PRECIOUS!" As hoped, the cop stopped to talk to me, probably because he thought I was completely off my rocker and I was going to go ahead and consume the puppies in one rabid bite.

We learned that they had been abandoned that morning, and that they would be turned over to animal control that evening if no one had claimed them. And I ask you, Internet people, would you have allowed that to happen to something that looked like THIS?

Fortunately, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, Madam Fuzzybritches here and her baby sister have moved in with some very good families, although not before pissing all over our carpet, eating one of the baby's shoes (and I mean chewing and swallowing) and driving poor old Astrid totally up the wall. But we loved them, and they loved us, and I loved having fifty-'leven people and dogs and pounds of leftovers hanging around the house. It was a big ego boost, as everyone kept saying how nice the house looked, and how they were so impressed with the fact that we seem to have our shit together quite well. (And underneath my "oh, THANK you" face, my brain said, "Suckers.")

Princess Norah behaved herself very well, charming the living hell out of the relatives and managing to eat approximately 21 times per day, thanks to my grandmother's obsessive need to feed babies and dogs until they look like little sacks of concrete with eyes. We've discovered that she can stand up while just holding on to our fingers, a nifty little trick that never fails to blow my mind. How can she stand up? When did she grow legs that work? The miracle and wonder of it all! She even managed to be sweet and sunny during the day-long trip to the outlet mall on Sunday. That screaming fussing baby? SHE TOTALLY ATE HER.

Those were the high points, m'dears, and I'll spare you the rest. Gin, puppies, and a baby that can perform like a circus poodle - ain't no party like an our-house party. Wish you were here.

Stay-at-home-mom doesn't actually mean I stay at home all that much.

SO. Someone who shall remain nameless (but who knows who she is) recently wrote about the fact that many of her internet contacts are sick. This person, who is a grad student, also questioned how stay-at-home moms, including me, managed to get sick when we "not actively teaching or in classes and actually interact with a very few people on a day to day basis."

Are you JOKING, you person out there who has obviously taken far, far too much cold medicine and is not thinking clearly? I might not be standing in front of a room full of hung-over undergrads, but I'm also not exactly a hermit down here. Believe it or not - and I know this is hard to imagine - I have developed a life, one that includes actually leaving the house and coming into contact with assorted germ-laden individuals every single day. Just because I'm not a full-time grad student doesn't mean I've permanently locked myself in the house with Ellen, Oprah, and a half-gallon of chocolate overload (as enticing as that sounds).


Anyway. I'm done.

Countdown to Thanksgiving arrivals: Kate - three days, everyone else except my dad - one week, my dad - eight days. I'm moving along fairly well, I suppose. I'm declutterizing the downstairs to prep for the new kitchen cabinets (we have to take everything out for a few days, so we better have someplace to put it all) and trying to figure out exactly where my bundt pan went so I can practice my cakery. That damned thing is never in the same place twice - while I tend to put it on the shelf with the rest of the baking-related crap, Rob prefers to hide it in this dark and remarkably inconvenient corner cabinet. Over the last few months, he's also managed to stash a cookie sheet, one of our cereal bowls, and the food processor down there. It's like we're fighting for dominance with kitchen items, and I just don't know how healthy that really is.

Must go get the Christmas cards off the dining room table - I'm almost done (!!!) but Mr. Salty McCrankyface would probably prefer to eat at an actual table tonight, instead of off his knees like we've been doing. What can I say - there's ribbon involved, I needs me some space.


In a nutshell:

I had a ripper of a sore throat all weekend, which led me to stay inside and gripe to the baby for several days. She was somewhat less than sympathetic, and recommended getting off my dead ass and feeding her piglet self 1250 times a day (I think she's in a growth spurt or something). For some reason I always thought that "feed a cold" thing applied to the sick person; apparently, I was confused.

Thanksgiving plans continue, as we realized we have less than two weeks to prep the house for 10 people. Don't get me wrong, it's going to be awesome having everyone here, but I simply cannot imagine where I'm going to find enough tonic for the insane amounts of g & t's my family puts down. Super Target, beware!

Can you tell I still feel a little schmucky? I hope the kids are good today.

Ooo, by the way - at the doctor on Friday, we learned that Miss Thing now weighs 14 pounds and is 25 inches long, and has a huge giant melon of a head. That's my girl...

MWF seeks internet mystery man for utter devotion and worshipfulness

Dear Craig,

Your list rocks my entire universe.

A few days ago, I got a job as a nanny for a family in Chapel Hill. Aside from the facts that their house is gorgeous, they let me drive their car so that I don't have to use my gas, they asked me if I liked anything special to eat (because they would rush right out and buy it!), and they are paying me ridiculous amounts of money, their girls are cherubs beyond compare. Having Norah with me is wonderful enough; having Norah around them is going to be fabulous, particularly when she starts to talk and uses all three languages that the girls know. I shit you not.

And today, after completing a Harvard study that sister Kate found on your Boston list, I received an email that said I was selected from the survey response pool to receive $80 in Amazon money. Despite the fact that the abovementioned family is paying me the abovementioned ridiculous amounts of money, $80 at Amazon is SO DAMN HOT. At first I thought it was a scam, but Kate cashed in her $10 and it worked, and why would you scam me? YOU WOULDN'T, BECAUSE YOU ROCK LIKE THAT.

For those reasons, and because I am absolutely positive that additional incredibly awesome stuff is just waiting in the wings, I hereby renounce Dr. Rob and select you as my partner for all eternity. You and me, baby. You and me and your super-wonderful-life-affirming list.

Your new spouse

(Can you tell that it's been an ass-kicking few days? God, what a life.)


Good lord, what a week. Things were not exactly pretty at our house on Monday, when we discovered that we were in fact poor (no, for serious - we had to empty the car change thingie to buy beer). So in my state of panic, I applied for several jobs at UNC and Duke, doing much the same stuff I was doing at my previous jobs.

Every little mouseclick was like a shot with a taser. Thinking about leaving the baby at daycare was killing me - not because I think daycare is bad, as I've worked at one and it was really terrific for socialization and collaborative learning and so on - but because we still don't really know a lot about that sort of thing in this area, and I just knew we'd put her at the one center where they make the kids eat grasshoppers and stand in closets when they're bad. She can't even keep her head on straight, so standing in a closet would just be horrible.

So to battle the overwhelming guilt, I put a babysitting ad on craigslist, offering to take kids at our house. And damn if I didn't get an email two nights ago, asking if I'd be willing to go to someone else's house, where they would just LOVE to see the baby, and they'd LOVE for their kids to spend time with a baby, and they LOVE everything about me, and blah blah blah love blah.

Squeals of joy! Joy joy joy!

We are now back to everyday-glee mode, mostly because of the absolution of the daycare guilt, but also because they are going to pay me fabulous amounts of money to spend three days a week with their angelically beautiful little girls.

I'm becoming more spiritual, I think. Lately, when shit happens, I just keep chanting in my head, "Do something good and earn the right to have something good happen." So I make pie for the neighbors, or I clean out the closet, or I donate some stuff to Goodwill, and life gets better. I dunno, maybe it's just a way to take the shit off my mind while things rearrange themselves into something better, but I really think it might be my karma. Earl would be proud.