Isn't she lovely

I realized that I forgot to put up pictures from Kate's fake wedding when she told me that she would be spending New Year's here, with her fake husband. WELL.

The story is pretty simple, really - I got a new flash unit and I wanted to practice with it. A bride-to-be had called me about doing her wedding, and I wanted to show her some kickass pictures with the new equipment... however, I had no bride to shoot. Enter my sister, whose only modeling request was that I find her a single "spouse" instead of making Rob do it.* Next, enter Matt, the grad-student uncle of the little boy I watch during the day.

* Kate refused to have her fake wedding with Rob because she's still rankled over her fake prom date with Rob. His friend from school was supposed to be her date for her senior prom, and the day before the big show he called and canceled. Rob, who was visiting with me at the time, went directly to the only formal store in town (which also just happens to be a tire dealer - for those days when you need a frock and a Firestone!) rented a badly-fitting tux, and took my sister to the prom. And now you may say either "Awww" or "Ewww," depending on how incesty you actually think that was.

ANYWAY. So I got Matt to put on a suit and tie, and strapped Katie into my dress (which fit her like it was made for her, that beast) and we went up to Duke Chapel and played with the camera. Apparently, somewhere between the flashes, Kate and Matt decided that being fake-married was actually kind of fun, and now they're sort of dating, or at least as much as two people 700 miles apart can be dating. HOW CUTE IS THAT.

I'm feeling a little less crotchety about the Box of Suck. I've decided to just keep my trap shut - which includes not sending a thank you note, good manners be damned - and pretend it never happened. If she calls and asks Rob about it, I've instructed him to say we did, and that we liked the clothes for Norah. And to say nothing else, because although my mother clearly dropped the ball on my religious assignation, she really hammered home that "if you can't say something nice" thing.

This helped my mood today: while getting out of the car at the super-preppy outfitter's today, I straightened up and whacked my head on the car (and by "whacked" I mean "very nearly split it open like the rotten and squashy pumpkin that only just left our porch"). I held on to my pain, though, and managed to squeeze out a clenched-teeth "Ooooohergggh" so that Norah wouldn't hear me cut loose with some sailorisms... and with perfect intonation, in her tiny little bell voice, the princess said, "Shit, mama. MAMA SHIT."

Moral dilemma: open the floodgates and stand back.

I'm not a bad person, or at least I like to think I'm not. I try to be kind to everyone, even the jerks who cut in front of me (and my two wiggling kids, thankyouverymuch) at the post office. I give freely to charity, and buy books for the children's hospital drive at Barnes & Noble, and always ALWAYS hand a dollar to the panhandler who hangs out on exit 274.

I don't believe in organized religion, though. And this is the sticking point for my mother-in-law, who has up to now remained relatively silent about that. I've been involved with her son for eight-plus years now, and we've managed to dance neatly around the fact that she's a devout Roman Catholic and I'm... well, I like to sleep in on Sunday mornings, and I feel like God understands.

Yesterday a box arrived on our porch. It wasn't too big, which I understood - we're going to the in-laws' house in January, so we're just having a belated Christmas then. I brought it in, set it down, opened it up, and found several presents. WOOHOO! I thought, because I am an optimist and things wrapped in shiny paper make me instantly happier.

The top presents were labeled Norah, and they were tucked in with an envelope with my name on it, which I set aside for later. Norah and I gleefully had at the paper on her presents; the first one was an entire wardrobe of holiday apparel, which we will be sewing together into slightly larger apparel next year because there is NO WAY she'll be able to wear it all this year. The other one was a Veggie Tales CD with her name programmed into it - while I don't want to bash the Veggie Tales outright, because I'm sure their brand of music is well-loved by some people, I just have to admit right now that IF I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THAT AGAIN, I WILL DRILL HOLES IN MY FOREHEAD TO LET THE SOUND OF THOSE VOICES OUT.

The other presents were for Rob, who was working. I gritted my teeth and didn't open them, even though I was itching to see what he'd scored... and then he called! And said I could open everything! And things got freaky. His first present was a double picture frame, with a photo of him and Norah on one side, and a poem on the other side. Fine. Okay. Maybe it wasn't our style, but whatever.

The other thing was a book called "Will You Bless Me?" and it's basically a manual on teaching your child about God and what blessing means, and raising your kid properly in God's image and stuff, I went numb after the first few pages. In case you don't know how to be good to your kid and you need a badly-drawn children's book to help you, jump on over to its website, where you too can feel inadequate, pathetic, and offended. Also, it's a book about a child and her daddy, with no appearances made by her mother.

Oh, and my envelope? It held a prayer card. Granted, it was something about having Christmas with Jesus, and I'm sure it was supposed to refer to my grandparents, but it was still a prayer card.

My dilemma is this, guys: am I wrong to feel hurt by this? I have two reasons: one, it's clearly a box designed for Her Son and His Daughter, and Oh Yeah Annie Too I Guess. Two, the whole religious thing... what is up with this? She knows, she has known for YEARS that we don't plan to raise the kid Catholic, or in any specific faith for that matter. Is this her ever-so-subtle way of telling us that it's no longer cute or funny, and we'd better get it together and come to Jesus? I'm confused, I'm hurt, and I'm irritated by her refusal to allow us to be non-sectarian, and I feel like this is a bad thing. Am I being a bad person?

My holiday spirit has excused itself to go throw up and hide in the linen closet.

Take THAT, Blogger Beta!

So this might look normal in your browser and it might look like a mess. I don't know. I've been fiddling with the darn thing for hours, and frankly my dears, I am SO done giving a you-know-what. I hope it's as bad-ass as I want it to be.

Anyway! Hi! Was just talking to the luscious Adrienne, who said that my lack of posting didn't jive with my completely ridiculous template fiddling. Ergo, I will do better, and update you all on my scintillating life.


Because I'm tired, and I've eaten about 30 pounds of cookie dough. Ahh, the holidays: the season for consuming massive quantities of raw eggs and then lying to yourself about it. ("No self, that was NOT your third cup of 'nog! It was totally your SECOND! What kind of hoss do you think you ARE? And here, have a spoon for that dough, or it'll stick under your fingernails.") Happy holiday prep, all.


Yes, template ADHD strikes again... and the big question is, what am I doing fiddling around with the blog when there are 84,000 holiday-related jobs to be done? This template is supposed to do some bad-ass Javascript thing when you click on images, but I can't figure it out. Note to self: hire full-time webmaster to make my whims into reality.

Somehow I've destroyed my link list, so if you would be so kind as to comment with your blog name and address, I would really appreciate it. I must keep you all - I want to keep you in my magical circle of blog-love. Thanks, y'all... for now, must go wrap Rob's mega-secret present. Norah picked it out, of course, because she has impeccable taste. Just look at her fabulous hairstyle.

Holiday activity sucks young mother's brain: film at 11

Got the ornaments done, went to Savannah (Jeff was wonderful, and not at all a celeb type - seeing him wrestling with the little cousins while one of them hiked his t-shirt over his head and beat on his skull was cute as could be, and is probably going into some storage area of his brain for Jackass Junior, or something). Dog is essentially healed, save a little stiffness when she gets up in the morning. House is a disaster from various holiday related projects, including the ornaments (which came out all right, but were NOTHING compared to this or this or this), rearranging the storage space under the stairs to accomodate all my photo crap, knitting (and I hate to knit! damn you, holiday spirit!) various hats for the various babies who are shortly to infest my friends' lives, and trying to raise two kids in the middle of a PLETHORA of photo shoots. Yeehaw and pass the cranberry garland, man.

My biggest project is taking over our bedroom, since that's where the desktop and the scanner live. When we cleaned out my grandparents' house in October, somehow the photographs and memorabilia ended up in my car, and from there in my closet. My mother has a bunch of these, but my uncle has almost none, so I'm making two copies of everything and putting them in order in archival boxes. I'm having a pretty good time with it - either I'm awwwwing at the cuteness of my "old folks" as children (this child is my two-greats-grandmother) or sighing with relief that my parents didn't go for the reuse-ancient-family-names thing (in this case, Beulah.)

Must get back to it - just wanted you to know that I ain't dead yet, and say that I hope you all had some kick-ass turkey. Because that family togetherness thing? SO OVERRATED WITHOUT SOME GOOD EATIN'.

PS - congratulations to MB, who has recently outed herself with news that I got to know a while back. Supamama, do you know how hard it's been to keep my mouth shut?? When we're up there in January, can I come over and pat your belly like an old woman in the grocery store? Because I will totally not leave your porch until you let me.