Monday, November 29, 2010

Hi Ducks!

Today we took a walk in the park with Grandma. Penelope was so cute. She kept running up to the ducks, waving enthusiastically, "Hi! Hi! Oh hi!" It was so cute because she'd try to catch their eye, and then would be like, "Hi, ducks! Honk! Quack!" She kept trying animal noises at the various animals, but in this very conversant voice. She's such a sweetie.

Currently, she is begging me to read The Magic Grinder, her new favorite. It was my favorite, too, for a long time when I was little. Who doesn't like a story about a talking dragon, a magic grinder, and a wicked landlord who drowns in ice cream?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More Apple Pie Pix

More Apple Pie Delight

Making the Apple Pie: Part I

A Merry Ol' Time at Master Pancake

A Happy Thanksgiving

As Derrick noted, "Thanksgiving turned out much less stressful than I expected." Certainly, considering all my stress building up to the event, our actual festivities were surprisingly stress free and delightful. After we got home from Llano Wednesday night and made half the apple pie (I wanted to wait for Grayson to wake up to fill it)...

Penelope just ran up to me and said, "Cookies."

"I don't know if we have cookies," I answered.

"Grandma," she told me.

"Oh, you want one of those cookies Grandma brought?"


"What kind are they?"

"Yellow! Basset!" There are, indeed, Golden Oreos in the wicker basket Mom brought over on Friday. I suppose I will have to get her one, even though she has just dumped my drink all down her shirt. "Oh no! Shirt!"

Anyway, thanks to a late dinner including Dr. Pepper and the excitement of making the pie, and the eagerness for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday)...

I just asked her, "Should I get a cookie for Daddy, too?"

"No way!"

Anyway, as I was saying, Wednesday night, we didn't even get to bed until 2:00 (except Grayson, who'd been sleeping the entire time), and then I couldn't fall asleep until six. I slept until eight, when Penelope popped me in the eye, waking me up.

We still had to finish the pie and finish cleaning the kitchen. Everyone was supposed to come over here, but Derrick texted Mom to let her know I'd had a bad night, and she offered to host there instead. When I came downstairs, Derrick let me know about her offer. I still wanted to host, however, because I'd DVRed the parade, so I could watch it with Penelope....

("Nodder! Nodder cookie! Nodder! Pease! PEASE! PEEEEEASSSSE!!!!!!")

Anyway, Mom had already started making all the food at her house. So she would have had to transport all the food, plus bring an extra table and something to drink. That began to seem ridiculous, so we opted to go over there, then return to our house afterwards for apple pie and video games.

I woke Penelope about noon, and we dragged Grayson away from the video game to make the apple pie. He really enjoys cooking and takes his role in the process very seriously, probably because Adam is a chef and he sees it as a suitably masculine activity. After throwing the football around for a few minutes, Derrick, Grayson, and Penelope joined me in the kitchen where Daddy rolled out the dough, Penelope ate the blueberries, and Grayson and I added the sugar and spices to the apples. Then while we watched the parade in the background, Grayson and Penelope filled the pie, Grayson and I cut out some leaves, and Daddy and Grayson put the top crust on and did the edges with the fork.

About two o'clock, we headed over to Mom's house bearing corn, the cranberries I'd cooked, jelled cranberry sauce, and frozen rolls. She answered the door singing, "I'm a lady-boy! I'm a lady-boy!" and dancing around like a crazy person. I was a bit surprised by this greeting. "Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!" I said.
"We're watching RuPaul's Drag Race," my sister explained. Apparently, sensing Merry was a little blue, they'd decided to turn on one of "her" shows (even though she'd only seen it once before). In fairness to Mom, the lady-boy song was very catchy. Dad seemed completely bewildered by the entire show and fell asleep more than once.

Because she'd originally planned to come to our house, Mom was making the turkey in the crock pot and had no idea when the "I'm done" thing would pop. Unfortunately, no one had eaten and everyone was starving, Grayson and Merry very vocally so. Mom sliced a loaf of french bread and put it in the oven to broil, so we could eat it toasted with port wine cheese. Then her friend Melinda called, so she left Dad in charge of the bread. Sadly, however, Dad was in a RuPaul trance of horror (and also worried that Penelope would lose the Yahtzee dice), and the bread burned up completely. Dad and Merry went out for crackers.

When they returned, we decided to break with tradition and eat the pie first. Mom had made cherry and pecan (with chocolate chips), so we had that along with the port wine cheese and crackers. This gave us all the opportunity to marvel over the can of fat-free Redi Whip Mom had purchased by accident. It purported to be made with real cream, yet it was fat-free. Finally, at the very end of the ingredient list, it admitted, "Cream adds a trivial amount of fat." I'm going to start advertising all my meals that way. "This is fat free lasagna. The cheese and meat add a trivial amount of fat."

Grayson's hunger wasn't helped much because he didn't want any port wine cheese or pie, so he continued to suffer very woefully for several more hours but somehow managed to survive. After the pie, we watched a Thanksgiving episode of Buffy featuring a Shumash vengeance spirit. Then we finally had dinner--turkey breasts, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, cranberries, Knox blocks, stuffing, and other various delights.

After that, everyone was pretty full, so they all decided to come over on Friday for apple pie. We asked Aimee if we could keep Grayson (who was supposed to go to Llano with his Aunt Melissa Friday morning at 10:00) until the evening and then take him to Llano. Then on Friday, Mom brought over a bunch of Thanksgiving leftovers, and we all watched Monsters Vs. Aliens and then played video games and ate our apple pie. This blogpost is getting long, so I'll post another entry about our second visit to Llano and Merry's awesome birthday celebration at the Alamo.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Blind Side

I'm excited because we're going to see Master Pancake do The Blind Side at the Alamo Ritz for Merry's birthday.  I haven't seen one of these for so long.  Currently, Derrick and I are waiting in our parked car while Merry is picking up Alli and Courtney.  We're going to meet them there at 6:15.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Nellie had a really fun time playing with Grayson and Jackson last night at Aimee's parents' house in Llano.  Aimee asked if she wanted to come in to see the dogs, and since she'd woken up from her car nap just in time to see the Christmas lights in Llano, she was very excited about this delightful offer to pet "puppies." 

Grayson soon declared that he thought Jack had a crush on Nellie which soon became apparent.  He was very attentive to her and even wanted to get down his Pawpaw's guitar and play it for her after she expressed interest in it.

They also had lots of fun banging on the piano and watching Beauty and the Beast and running around with balloons.  Penelope (who jabbered excitedly during all of this) also made herself right at home, getting cozy in the chair in front of the TV and at one point eating almost an entire banana and some grapes.  She seemed to assume that we were staying forever and didn't want to go.  She kept running back in to stand on the cowskin rug and moo when I was trying to get her to leave.

Aimee's mom had told her it was a cow, but I don't think she exactly understood the logistics of that.  She seemed to think the burnt orangey brown spots on the white background were the cows and later claimed to see other "animals" including a "tuddy burr."  Of course, this was when I was trying to coax her out of there, so it could have been a stall tactic.

When Derrick put her in the car seat, she called expectantly, "Jack! Jack!"  When I explained Jack wasn't coming with us, she seemed really disappointed (but she perked up rather quickly once she was assured that Bubby and a balloon were coming).

On the way to the car, Grayson got into an argument with his Memaw about what he'd seen in the bedroom.  He thought it was a scorpion.  She kept insisting it had been a spider or a beetle.   "With a tail, Memaw?" he kept saying skeptically.

As we backed out, the car made that warning beep for no reason, constantly and non-stop.  Grayson suggested a scorpion was behind the car.  I thought maybe it was a giant scorpion on top of the car--and he was the one making that noise.

Moments later, we saw the low-hanging moon rise through spooky clouds.  It was the color of scorpion blood (or burnt orange--depending on if you're a fan of Longhorns or scorpions).  In our car poll, 50 percent went scorpion blood, 25 went longhorn, and 25 thought it was the moon and wanted out of their carseat and wanted some chocolate milk.

While Grayson and I discussed other scorpiony matters, such as whether or not I'm crazy (100 percent responding yes), Derrick saw another shooting star.

Later, after we got both children "a meal!!!!!!!" Grayson fell asleep in his nuggets, and Penelope complained noisily the entire way home, citing various grievances.

Cranberry Thanks--CHOKE!

Getting this pie made is...uhm...still going on.

Derrick suddenly realized as I was making the crust that he'd forgotten to buy sticks of butter. While he ran to the store, I got out the bag of cranberries and decided to go ahead and quickly boil the cranberry sauce in his absence.

I showed Nellie (who was sitting in her papasan watching Buffy with "Kissie") the bag of cranberries, and she was "cited," and yelled, "Open!" while clapping her hands. When I opened the bag, she immediately snatched one and popped it in her mouth.

Back in the kitchen, I fretted because I hadn't rinsed them yet. Then Penelope walked in and gasped dramatically, "CHOKE!" Her eyes were bugging out of her head, in an alarmingly bulging way.

"Are you choking?" I asked.

"Yeah!" she replied without much air behind her voice. And then suddenly before I could do anything, she puked all over the floor. As I assured her not to worry (and she listened attentively), she abruptly puked again.

As she calmed down, I asked, "Do you want some more milk?"

"No," she said. "Nother canberries! Want!"

"No more cranberries!" I said.

Many other things have happened, but I need to get back to the pie crust!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Make the Apple Pie, Corduroy!

We got home from Llano at about 10:30, but we set out to make an apple pie, and we're going to do it. Grayson is contributing by being asleep on the couch. Normally, he begs to stay up later and later, but this time, he fell asleep in the car on the way home. I was thinking we could make the pie in the morning or tomorrow night, but "Cordy" was really excited about it. The moon rose burnt orange tonight, but currently, Penelope is climbing up my back, trying to sit in the chair where I was perching temporarily to look at the recipe. I must go!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Penelope must think I am really slow.

My self-proclaimed "helper" was banging on the lowered dishwasher door saying, "Pee nose!"

"You got pee on your nose?" I asked.

She was like, Mommy. Please. Are you insane?

Patiently, she said, "Paah nose."

I did not know what she was talking about.

Finally, she was like, "Paah nose! Fingers! Boom! Boom! Boom! Tinkle! Tinkle! Play! Fingers! Paah nose!"

At last I realized, "Oh, pianos!"

I'm sure she thinks I'm an idiot. She played me a song on her "pianos" while I finished the dishes! We've been playing Thanksgiving in between dishes, putting all her little animals and people in a circle on the floor.

The Snoopy from the nativity Rashid and Stephanie got her is dressed up like a sheep. She keeps stealing his fluffy hat and running away saying, "Taking! Taking, Soopy! Chasing!!!!" Then I make angry Snoopy noises, and she giggles.

Eye on Thanksgiving

Yesterday, I saw the opthamologist. Nothing is wrong with my eye. He examined it, dilated me, checked very thoroughly. He suggested cluster headaches, which can cause reddening of the eye. We'd already done some research on clusters, and apparently, they are rare, and in order to have them, you must inherit a seratonin problem from both parents. That sounds like me.

In other news, looking at a screen seems to cause eye strain and pain in the inflamed eye, so I haven't been typing much.

Today, Penelope and I are working on getting the dishes done for Thanksgiving (as part of the cleaning effort). Tomorrow, we get to make the long awaited apple pie (our yearly tradition) after we pick up Grayson from Llano.

Derrick cleaned the carpet yesterday while we were at Grandma's house, and Penelope seemed delighted last night when we got home. He moved the coffee table out of the room, so there is lots of space to walk.

"Wow!" she kept saying. "Clean! Soft! Lots!" And she was walking and observing her footprints in the carpeting. She'd say, "Look, Mommy! Feet made!" I told her Daddy cleaned the carpet, and she said, "Fanks. Fankew," to Derrick. She is still talking about how clean it is today.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Eye Pain and Cute Nellie

As soon as we pulled away from Aimee's house, Penelope announced, "Dinners! Um mum!"

"What do you want for dinners?" I asked her.

"Eat," she answered. "Roni! Oh boy!" She was so excited that we got her some macaroni from KFC. She's eating it now with great relish.

I thought it was very sweet that she associates dropping off Grayson with picking up dinner on the way back. Meanwhile, my eye hurts with incredibly ferocious pain that I can't even describe. This sounds insane, but I'm pretty sure it hurts worse in the dark.

When we first walked out to the car, it hurt less than in the house, but when the sun went down, it hurt so much in the darkness. I thought things like this get progressively better but this hurts approximately 200000000000 times more today than yesterday. (I didn't put any commas because it's the computer age.)


Penelope is trying to pop bubbles. She's also playing with the Peanuts nativity that Rashid and Stephanie got her as a baptism anniversary present. "Brown" as she calls him has been swinging on her train and having lots of "fun."

I'm in a slightly better mood. I don't think my toe is broken. The nail may come off, though. Time will tell. Earlier in the day, Derrick found an eyelash in the top left inside corner of my eye. While trying to get it out, I accidentally got another one in there. It was horribly red after that, but it seems better now. It's still red, but less red. The pain, however, remains intense.

Penelope was so sweet when I hurt my foot last night. I woke her up with my hysterical crying. "Oh no. Mommy. Happened?" She was very concerned about my toe and actually made me feel lots better so that I was finally able to fall asleep after that. (The endorphin rush from injuring the foot helped, too.)

Earlier, Derrick and Grayson were wrestling on the couch, and Penelope got all upset. Turns out, she was worried because "Pink Too" was on the back of the couch, and she didn't want her blanket subjected to such violence.


We had a wonderful time celebrating Penelope's baptism last night with her godparents, my parents, and my sister.  I am feeling extremely demoralized, though, because my eye (which had hurt all day Friday) turned red yesterday afternoon about 3:30.  It hurt so much last night (even in total darkness) that the pain kept me awake for hours.  Then when I went into the bathroom, I got my toe caught in the door and think I may have broken it.  I'm feeling pretty demoralized.  The last time the pain came like this, he theorized that it might have been a virus that hides in the nerves and causes pain.  That lasted almost two weeks.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I guess I will take lots of pictures and try to remember it being happier than it was, my new strategy for life. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Chopper

Derrick is at the store for more lasagna ingredients, and I think I just bruised my hand from using the new vegetable chopper with a bit too much enthusiasm. It's kind of weird. The back of my hand is discolored, not the palm. Can you bruise your hand through the palm to the back? I've never heard of such a thing before, but the back of my hand is yellow now! Oh well!

Penelope was very excited about "Harry Potter," and said she was going to "watch Potter," many times this morning. She ended up watching the first movie at Grandma's while Derrick, Grayson, and I went to Tinsel Town. I waited in case there was a line, and Derrick went to pick up Grayson. At first there was no line, and I wasn't sure what to do, so I went into the auditorium. The earlier showing was still on. Harry was saying dazedly, "The hallows exist." I wandered back out into the lobby where nobody knew what was going on.

As it turns out a line did form (not organized by the theater, particularly, but a line nonetheless), so I felt less bad about buying tickets ahead. Of course, Derrick dropped Grayson's on his way to the school and had to hurry back to buy another one. Fortunately, the 3:35 showing hadn't sold out, and they arrived at 3:00 before the line went inside, so I didn't have to worry about saving seats.

When we got home, Grayson showed me his new library book about vampires, and then we checked out some of the links in the back and continued Googling vampires on my laptop for some time. That was fun but nerve wracking because I was searching with him sitting right there, and who knows what you will find. We found a very weird National Geographic special which purported to be about Real Life Vampires but should have been called Real Life Losers. Surely more interesting sanguinarians could have been found if the producers had looked a bit harder.

More has happened, but my hand is really sore.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Piggie Wig

Penelope spent most of the day at Grandma and Grandpa's house while Derrick and I worked on cleaning ours up for Thanksgiving. I really had a hard time parting with her. For one thing, about half an hour before Mom showed up, Derrick went up to take a shower, and Penelope did the cutest thing ever.

She found an unusual wooden ring my dad brought me from China Town (because they were out of Gremlins), and she was smushing it up against her nose, and sniffing noisily while she stood behind the cuddle chair.

"Why are you sniffing my ring?" I asked her. "Does it smell good?"

"Piggie!" Penelope answered happily.

Suddenly, I understood. "There in the wood, a piggie wig stood, with a ring at the end of his nose." (She loves "The Owl and the Pussycat.")

So I cried, "Oh! Are you the Piggie Wig? Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?"

Penelope snorted twice and then said, "Will!"

It was so cute. I nearly died of the cuteness. We then had to find her poetry book and read the whole poem multiple times. When Mom showed up a few minutes later, I was very sad to hand over my Piggie Wig, who, for her part, did not seem sad at all to be going away without me. (I'm not sure that she realized at first, though, that I wasn't coming, too.)

I cleaned up all the DVD cabinets today. That was the main thing I did. We've had DVDs stacked up everywhere, and hidden under things, and toodled around with by Penelope. I now have them all back in the four cabinets, which have been dusted and de-cluttered. We have the Classic, Foreign, and Specialty Cabinet, the Kids and Family Cabinet, the Blu-Ray and most desirable movies to show guests Cabinet, and the TV and Shakespeare Cabinet.

Penelope has been cute all week. Yesterday, we accompanied Grandma to Wal-Mart where I bought something special for Christmas. (I can't explain in more detail in case she reads this blog later.) I also bought three rolls of wrapping paper, and some tape. Penelope immediately wanted to hold the wrapping paper, particularly the roll featuring "Pooh," "Tiggah" and "Pigutt." She held it across the front of the cart, and used the rolls as big cannon-like guns, yelling, "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!" It made the cart very wide and hard to steer, but every time I tried to move the guns, she would shoot me.

Also, lately she has been wanting to take EVERYTHING to bed with her. The other night she insisted on having Pinkie and Yellow (as usual) and Pink Too (the blanket Laurel got her), and Grandma's blanket, and her two bath towels, and Dinah, and Kissie (as she calls Christy, my old Cabbage Patch Kid). I'm sure tonight, she'll want Mickey and Minnie and the dining room table cloth, too! Crazy kid!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Penelope woke up this morning, grabbed and wailed, "Neck! Why???????"

Now we're at Grandma's, and all she wants to do is play hide-and-seek, whether I look for her or not. Truly, though, there is nothing cuter in the world than Penelope thinking I'm gone and whispering to herself, "Mommy?" Then when I move, she crawls around the chair and says, "Peeka!" in the cutest little voice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Ducky Kind of Day

Grandma took us for the coolest walk today. The duck pond looked incredibly autumnal--so many vibrant colors. Penelope wanted to get out and play with the ducks. She was honking, quacking, yelling, "Hi!", running around. Most pictures of her turned out blurry because she wouldn't hold still for ten seconds.

The pond was full of ducks today, migrating ducks who weren't from around these parts and wanted nothing to do with human beings and bread. The usual ducks and geese were also around, but it was amazing how many were visiting.

I need to blog more. Penelope's been very cute, but I've been upset this evening (to say the least) because though I didn't notice reflux, I was having horrible face/neck pain and blamed tooth grinding. I finally took Tylenol, and after that, I got the worst reflux ever, and now my neck/throat is in excruciating pain, the worst it's been since we went to the zoo. I hope I can sleep. I'm exhausted, and the pain is so much worse than usual.

Sometimes I feel like this is a curse or punishment. It begins to seem like being trapped in Hell. Nothing causes the pain, but there it is. Taking an acid blocker but still have reflux every time I eat--or don't eat. It feels like impossible things are butting up against each other. Nothing is causing pain in my throat, but the pain won't go away. Logically, that scenario shouldn't happen. Like a nightmare. Too tired to write.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Oh Tooooodles!"

Penelope has obviously seen too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Earlier this evening, her balloon popped, and she told me, "Fix it!"

"I can't fix it, Best Friend," I said. "I don't have anything to fix it with."

Smiling, Penelope called, "Toodles!"


Penelope and I have been trying to clean out the dining room today, but we didn't get far before we ended up taking a long bath and making lots of Thanksgiving Duck Soup.

I always tell her that the dining room is haunted. (Originally the idea was to keep her out, but the prospect of the ghost seems to have the opposite effect.) Yesterday while Grayson and Derrick were upstairs playing computer games, Penelope tried to go in there, and I made ghost noises behind her back.

"Did you hear that?" I asked.

"Ghost!" she said seriously.

I thought I had fooled her, but then a few minutes later when I had lost interest in the game, she covered her mouth with her hand and made boo noises to try to entice me.

Rambling Again

I'm having a weird day today. I don't know why. It started out fine, and then I just kind of went totally berserk. I really don't understand how I can consistently have pain in a spot when nothing is there (other than a cyst that shouldn't hurt and is way too small to matter.) This probably has to do with teeth grinding. My sister told me yesterday that if you take a lot of a substance, it can stay in your fat cells long term, so that if you ever lose a lot of weight, it gets released back into your system. This is worrying me a lot.

Oh well. I always assumed that those who felt phantom pains really didn't feel pain on some level. I thought maybe some people just enjoyed the attention that came from complaining of pain. This is proving to be decidedly not the case.

We had a nice weekend, though (if you overlook the fact that I trusted the stupid fantasy advice thing and played Hines Ward over Mike Williams and lost the game for that reason alone). Also the Steelers lost, but since their entire division lost this week, I don't think that matters much.

Saturday, Derrick's parents came up to visit, and we drove them out to our favorite zany neighborhood over in the Brushy Creek area. Penelope warmed up more quickly than usual, but she was still kind of shy in terms of actually talking. Normally, she says about 600 words per minute, so I guess she was feeling reserved. She did seem happy to see everyone, though.

Grayson spent most of the weekend playing computer games, his new all-consuming passion.

Hmmm...obviously eating a cup of soup was the wrong decision. I was worried I hadn't eaten enough yet today, but it's already coming back up. And I only ate a cup of it ten minutes ago. That seems very strange.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Scaredy Cat

Tamme Time!

I don't regret starting Jacob Tamme as far as points go, but there is a downside. I need to learn to stop saying his name out loud. There's no children's show that can be mistaken for Vernon Davis's name.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grayson Explains the Weather

On the way home in the car, we saw lightning flash several times behind the clouds. The sky was gorgeous. On the way there, Penelope kept saying, "Shhh!" constantly, sure that the dragon was lurking around somewhere. She noticed that the sky was "pink." She fell asleep right before we got to Aimee's house, and she slept the whole way home, so we filled Grayson in on the dragon situation. When she woke up, we were almost at home.

Grayson asked if she'd seen the dragon, and told her we'd spotted him up in the clouds eating sprinkles. She was really excited. "Oh yeah!" she cried.

Commented on the clouds, Grayson said, "It looks like crying." He added, "Sometimes that happens. When a whole lot of people feel sad, and they all start to cry, then it starts to rain outside. But that doesn't happen all the time. Another thing that happens is that a lot of water gets up in the clouds."


We just finished eating our soup, and now we're all sitting on the couch watching The Princess Bride. Penelope was quite fascinated with the ROUSes, but she's now smiling at her brother, occasionally blocking his view of the TV, and trying to say, "Grayson." She says it like she's sneezing--really quickly and with urgency while throwing her head forward.

Mean Mommy and the Innocent Train Car

Penelope got mad at me last night because I made her stop washing her hands (after like ten minutes). She got so worked up that she threw up all over her blankies and her shirt. I got really upset then, and Derrick and I got mad at each other. I hate it when she throws up on her blankies. She doesn't do it that often, but it's a frustrating behavior because then she gets more upset because her nose smells stinky and she can't have her blankies (because I have to wash them).

It's frustrating because it's not as if she's throwing up in order to get her way. It's that she gets so worked up, she throws up, and then that makes her more hysterical. Last night I got hysterical, too, because I tried so hard to make her not throw up, and then she did, anyway. (You can't really stop someone from throwing up. I've tried being really mollifying and really stern, and neither works at all.) I've been very emotional for the past two days. When we finally all calmed down, Penelope left Daddy's lap and wanted to come sit on mine. My back has been mysteriously sore all week, so I sat down with her on the floor--but then I sat right on the up-and-downy-thing car of her Easter train. It hurt so much!

I was like, "Stupid train!" I was furious. I got it out from under my back/butt and threw it across the room (not into the wall or anything--just a few feet away).

Penelope was horrified.

I immediately felt awful. It had never occurred to me that I would hurt her feelings by being mean to her toy. I mean, it wasn't one of her animals or dolls, it was a piece of a train. But she clearly thought I had insulted it and possibly injured it. I felt terrible and apologized to her (and even gave the train--which was not a bit hurt or damaged in any way--a kissie).

Then we watched A Goofy Movie on my laptop while we waited for her blankies to be ready for bed. Penelope forgot anything negative had ever happened very quickly, but Derrick and I both felt bad for a long time.

It never occurred to me before that I would hurt Penelope's feelings by being upset at one of her toys.

At bedtime, I asked what story she wanted to read. She said, "Dumbo!"

"I don't think we have Dumbo," I told her.

But she meant the photobook from Disneyland. That is quickly becoming her favorite bedtime story, although she also really likes Just for You and There's No Such Thing as a Dragon.

An Ecstasy of Fumbling

"Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling"

Penelope has enjoyed helping me make soup today--mainly by staggering around munching on the fat end of a carrot and eating a bowl of little moons (which most people call celery). Derrick just went to get some fresh meat since it's been too long since we thawed ours. Meanwhile, my eyes are burning, and I feel like I'm going blind. The first onion did nothing. But the second I cut into the second onion, I felt like I was in the Wilfred Owen poem Dulce et Decorum Est (because I'm melodramatic like that).

This really burns. I went outside, and that helped, but there's still a lingering burniness. I asked Derrick, "Are my eyes red?" He was like (wince) "Um...a little." It's weird. I've had my eyes water before, but this time they actually burn and hurt. I cried for like ten minutes.

Then I went to the bathroom. As usual, Penelope followed me, and then worried that someone had shot me in the toodle butt.

"No," I kept telling her, "Mommy just bleeds sometimes. It doesn't hurt." But I was not terribly convincing because I kept sobbing and making contorted faces of pain. Penelope is now wary of the kitchen.

Derrick told me to stay out of the kitchen until he gets back with an onion chopper. The soup is done, anyway, except for the beef and onions. I started browning the beef we had, but it looked poisonous, and it's been thawed too long. We checked online. So he's getting some fresh.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Dragon Fire and Smoke That Nellie Saw

"Draaaaagon! Draaaaaagon!"

We finally went to see the dragon today. On the drive to the park, I told Penelope, "We might not be able to see him. Dragons are shy, and he might make himself invisible. But we might hear him, or smell him, or feel his breath. You'll have to shake your sprinkles and call him. Can you call him? Can you say, 'Dragon!'"

She didn't respond.

But as soon as we parked the car, she began calling, "Draaaaagon! Draaaagon!"

We went to Old Settler's Park in Round Rock, not far from our house (the one right next to the Dell Diamond). Normally when we go there, we walk around the little stream of creek, but this time, we parked over by the trail through the woods.

Because Derrick forgot the sprinkles and had to turn around, by the time he picked us up from Grandma's house, it was already almost dusk. That worked to our advantage, creating a very dragony atmosphere. Plus, just after we got out of the car, they started emptying a dumpster far away across the street out of sight.

"Listen!" I told Penelope. "Do you hear that?"

She clearly did. She stopped, held her finger up to her lips and said, "Shh! Noise." Then she held her hand up to her ear. "Listen!"

I told her it was the dragon walking. She started to whimper and say she was "fraid." But I told her we weren't going to see that dragon. We were going to see a little dragon. She liked that idea. For a moment, she got distracted and tried to wander over into somebody's soccer game, but we managed to redirect her over to the trail. "Draaagon! Draaaagon! Draaaaagon!"

Some distant porch lights were shining through the leaves. I told Penelope they were dragon eyes, and there were lots of dragons hiding in there. She believed that and was very impressed. We sprinkled some dragon bait in the leaves and tiptoed away from it, reasoning that the dragon might come when we were gone.

Then Penelope noticed the sun setting behind the trees straight across from us. "Ooh! Red!" she said. I told her it was fire since she already thought so. The clouds around it were dark and looked like smoke. We chased the fire until it began to fade (and the path ended at the street).

I told Penelope that the dragon had probably made that fire to lure us away from the sprinkles. Sure enough the sprinkles were gone! I pointed to a low branch in the woods and told Penelope that was probably the dragon's tail, that he'd eaten the sprinkles and was sleeping. She tried to take off running into the thick, scary trees, so I had to stop her.

"If we wake him up," I said, "he'll be grumpy."

She seemed to accept this, but after a while of her walking back toward the car and yelling, "Gumpy! Gumpy! Gumpy!" I realized she didn't know what Grumpy meant and probably thought it was the dragon's name and was still looking for him.

When Derrick unlocked the car and it beeped and lit up, Penelope suddenly realized we were heading back towards it and screamed, "NOOOOOO!" and took off running back towards the woods. Derrick finally had to pick her up. To try to make her want to go, I started making growly dragon noises in the dark. She couldn't see that it was me because I was on the other side of the car.

"Shh!" she said excitedly. "Noise! Dragon!" Unfortunately, it didn't scare her. The whole way home, we heard, "NOOOO! Back! Back! NOISE! NOISE! PRINKLES! GUMPY!" She still wanted to hunt the dragon.

Just now, she crawled up on my lap and said, "Shh! Noise!"

"Oh," I said. "Do you think that dragon might have followed us home?"

Her eyes lit up and she looked around crying, "Gumpy!"

Demons and Teeth

Early this morning, I had one of those sleep paralysis nightmares that a demon was attacking me. I kept trying to wake up, but then there were also parts that were like a normal dream. During one of those parts, I was eating very crunchy biscotti. Then I thought, How can that be? I'm in bed. I suddenly realized that I was grinding my teeth--even though I was breathing through my mouth. My jaw was jutted out in this very bizarre position. I tried to correct it as best I could, but I couldn't wake up. My face hurts a lot today on the right side, around the eye, but I'm going to assume it's from tooth grinding. I saw the ENT at about 12:30 today, and he said that my throat looks better. He didn't have to stick the tube through my nostril this time. He just stuck it straight down my throat--which was too bad because I was actually looking forward to the numbing agent since I'm having so much face pain today.

I don't know how to stop grinding my teeth. He says the redness has--retreated? I can't remember. He used wording like that. It's still red, but less area is red. So I need to take the Nexium every night for another 3-6 weeks.

I have no idea how to stop grinding my teeth.

On a weird, unrelated note, my dad woke up and heard the pumpkin bells ringing upstairs, and then he heard one of us (Mom, Merry, and I have similar voices) saying, "Help me!" He thought it was Mom, but it wasn't. She hadn't said anything. But at the same time as he heard the voice saying, "Help me!" I was having my sleep paralysis demon nightmare, and Merry was dreaming she was trapped in prison and no one would help her. (Apparently, her closet door was open when she woke up, and she thinks she was sleep walking and got trapped in the closet. She's quite the sleepwalker! The places I used to find the shampoo when Merry was stressed out about something! She was always sleepwalking in and rearranging the bathroom. It's interesting because teeth grinding, night terrors, sleep paralysis, and sleepwalking, are related disorders called parasomnias or something. I read up on all this last year.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Dragon

Tomorrow evening, we're going to find the dragon. I feel like this is an innocent lie that has snowballed out of control. Originally, I just wanted to make our walk more interesting, but now the dragon trip has been delayed so long that Penelope has built it up into something that will be amazing. Part of me feels bad, because everything I've promised to show her up to this point, I've actually shown her. She looks to me for information and proper reactions to things.

She's mentioned the dragon several times today, always mentioning the "prinkles," and saying, "cited, want, do do!" very enthusiastically if she hears anything about the dragon. I wish I knew where to find an actual dragon--but a nice one. I wish you could create life the way you can write fiction.

My H-E-Buddy

We just went with Grandma to H-E-B, and a certain someone got a red balloon tied to a green sucker. In the car, I was telling Mom, "Yes, we were going to go to the park with Derrick. I told Penelope we would find the dragon."

Penelope (who hadn't seemed interested in our conversation), suddenly dropped her milk and clapped her hands. "Boy oh boy!" she cried. "Dragon! Daddy! Cited!"

She also told Grandma that dragons eat "prinkles."

Now she's staggering around the house gnawing on an apple and smelling the flowers on the table!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dragon in the Sky (or Possibly a Deformed Roadrunner)

1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Penelope has been "counting" things all day, but she usually says, "1, 2, 3, 4, 6," which is odd because five is her favorite number. I'm not sure what's going on there. Maybe she thinks it's only an activity.

Bubble Up

Missing the Dragon

Penelope was so excited to see the dragon, but Derrick had to work until it was almost sunset. Meanwhile, she refused to nap. I told her that we'd need some bait for the dragon (since she was determined we would see it).

"What do dragons eat?" I asked her.

"Fries," she answered because the one in her book eats "witch with french fries" (which I'm sure is the much catchier "witch and chips" in the original British version).

"We don't have any fries," I told her.

"Bread?" she suggested. (That's what he eats in There's No Such Thing as a Dragon.)

Not wanting to waste our only loaf of bread on imaginary dragons, I found the Halloween sprinkles that Grandma bought us a long time ago in case we made brownies (which we never ended up doing).

"You can always lure a dragon with spooky sprinkles," I said.

Turns out, you can always lure Penelope that way, too. She ate quite a lot of sprinkles while running around making bat and ghost noises.

Later, I asked her (in front of Derrick) what dragons ate to see if she would say "fries" again, but she said, "Prinkles!"

On the way to the park, I fortunately had the brains to come up with the angle that dragons can turn themselves invisible. "So we might not see the dragon," I said, "but we might find some of his footprints or feel his breath."

(I'm suddenly remembering how I tried desperately to convince the other kids in my second grade GT class that the Cheshire cat was my pet.)

Penelope was all ready to hunt dragons (and it was a good night for hunting them), but on the way to the park, she fell asleep. Since she'd refused a nap this afternoon, we let her sleep in the car for a while while we drove around. We drove through the park, and I felt regretful that she was asleep since it was cloudy and misty and very dragony out.

When we got home and woke her up, she seemed okay, but then in the house when I put her shoes away, I think she remembered what wasn't happening and got very upset for a while.

While we ate dinner, we watched Flushed Away. Penelope was very delighted by the concept and kept laughing and running into the bathroom. Then after the movie, we all blew bubbles on the couch and chased them. That was actually extremely fun. She's so talkative when we blow bubbles. You hear lots of "reach" and "get it" and "got it" and "OH NO! POP!" She loves it when they pop on her nose or in her mouth.

My back got somehow messed up during the night, so that I woke up with lots of pain and stiffness in my lower back on the right. I took some Tylenol with dinner, and I got a headache out of nowhere twenty minutes after taking it, but I would guess that's a coincidence.

Hunting the Dragon

I was contemplating taking Penelope for a walk around the neighborhood. Our neighborhood is boring and has no trees or anything, so I said, "Do you want to go hunt for a dragon?" I thought we might go out in one of the fields by the new houses and make it more exciting for her.

Then Derrick said he'd take us to the park after work. Unfortunately (for me), Penelope has not forgotten about the dragon.

"Daddy is going to take us to the park!" I told her.

"Cited!" she cried. "See dragon! Boy oh boy! Daddy find dragon!"

Hopefully, we'll find something...She's still talking about it, and it's been fifteen minutes.

Winnie the Poopy

We are watching Winnie the Pooh. Someone is terribly excited. (I gather this from the fact that the whole time the opening credits were on, she walked back and forth in front of the TV, clapping her hands, saying, "Boy! Oh boy!" repeatedly, and turning at me and grinning in anticipation.) We were reading The Animals of Farmer Jones, and there's an old advertisement for Disney books from 1980 in the back. Pooh is in one of the pictures, and this reminded Penelope that we hadn't watched him in quite some time.

(Meanwhile, I think my viewing companion is Winnie the Poopy, but we will address this is a minute when I'm sure she's finished. I'm recalling now how I first wanted to name her Elowen Willow, largely so I could call her Elowenny the Pooh. I'm still confused about why everyone on my side of the family seemed to hate that name so much since it's a perfectly legitimate Cornish name meaning elm. Oh well.)

We had a most unusual morning this morning. I've been showering before Penelope wakes up, but the time change may be foiling my plans. I had just taken off all my clothes and let the shower warm up. I had opened the door to test the water and was about to step in when there was a loud knock on the bathroom door. Although I was pretty sure who was there, I opened the door anyway. As soon as I did, Penelope stared up at me and started crying. It was kind of funny. She was so formal and restrained about knocking on the door first and having it opened before she began her complaint. She looked very sleepy and disgruntled.

I thought she might agree to read her kitty book while I showered, but no. She wanted me to hold her. I guess my behavior had already roused her suspicions, and she wanted to make sure I didn't make a break for it. One time, Mom gave her a little shower after dinner, so I asked if she wanted to take a shower with me, but first I had to make sure there was a diaper upstairs. As I looked for it, she got hysterical and wailed, "No! NOOOOOO! Shower! Shower! Nellie shower!"

I found a 4 (which is probably now extremely full) and took her in the shower with me. As it turns out, however, Nellie didn't want to shower quite as much as her remarks suggested. She clung to me tightly and seemed horrified. So I washed my hair (which was the most important goal) and face (which was tricky since I was holding her), and then turned off the shower and ran us a very full bath (so she wouldn't be cold). She really needed a bath, anyway, because she hadn't had one since, I think, Friday! (It was so freezing this weekend!)

Once she felt the urge to murder me fading, she warmed up to the bath idea nicely, and we played duckie hide-and-seek for quite a long time, and made several big pots of soup made with "tuhkey, cabbage, rice, canberries," and, of course, "eggs." I am not sure why she always puts eggs in the soup. Maybe she's hinting that she wants to go out for Chinese food. After our highly amusing bath (which was mostly so funny because my duckie kept looking in her ear and up her nose for the hiding duckies), we came downstairs for milk, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, cheese crackers, cheerios, and peanut butter toast.

We read There's No Such Thing as a Dragon and The Animals of Farmer Jones, but that's as far as story time got because miss "Boy oh boy!" was so excited to watch Pooh.

She's so dramatic. Yesterday evening, I was walking her around Mom's neighborhood, waiting for Derrick, who was on his way to pick us up. We walked past a house that still had a red bulb glowing in its porch light (leftover from Halloween--unless it's recently become a brothel).

"Look at that red light!" I told her.

She turned her whole head, slapped her cheeks like Macaulay Culkin, and cried, "Oh my GOSH! RED! Wow!" She's so crazy!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Penelope just climbed up into her purple papasan chair, and it tipped over sideways. She was very surprised (and not pleasantly so). Meanwhile, while I was trying to figure out why the episode about Daisy's grasshopper didn't record, I watched a horrible segment about the flu. I'm never sure if I'm sick or not, so I haven't gotten a flu shot yet. Nellie's had her first shot, and she's getting the second one November 18th, so she should be good. The first one didn't affect her at all, so I'm not expecting any drama with the second.

Anyway, the lady kept going on and on about germs. Then I went to the bathroom. Nellie followed me and found her potty seat. I was horrified as she started giving Ernie's rubber ducky (pictured often on the seat) kisses! And when I finally convinced her to stop doing that, she stuck her entire face through the center of the seat and cried sweetly, while grinning at me, "Peeka!"

I'm very excited about the Steeler's game tonight. My entire Fantasy game is now in Mendenhall's hands.