Monday, July 31, 2006

consider my world rocked

I was told yesterday that there's been a change in Oliver's preschool program. It's a federal Title I program and apparently changes have been "handed down." Last year he went two days a week for 2-1/2 hours.

But now, not only is his preschool across the street in the same building where Pheobe & Mo go to school...not only is it completely free...but now it is FIVE DAYS A WEEK!!

That means that from noon to three everyday Monday through Friday I will be CHILD-FREE.

This is a completely revolutionary thing for me. I'm freaking out with excitement. Fifteen hours a week!

I could work out on a regular basis. I could clean my house. I could watch Days of Our Lives everyday. I could crochet until my fingers bleed. I could record music in a QUIET house. I could mow the lawn before it reaches knee-high. I could go get coffee. I could take a nap. I could go quickly to the grocery store. I could walk slowly through antique stores. I could sew. I could alphabetize my cds. I could build stuff--like a headboard! I could actually read the books for my two book groups. I could make phone calls without being interrupted. I could go to the doctor or dentist WITHOUT having to hire a babysitter. OH! OH! Monday is Paul's day off so we'll have every Monday afternoon TOGETHER! We could go to lunch! (Please keep checking back, this is list is constantly growing as I think of more possibilities).

I've been a stay-at-home mom for 7 years. We regurlarly get babysitters in the evening to go out and Paul is wonderful about giving me time to go do stuff I enjoy. I'm very lucky. I know this. But even on our vacation I had fleeting thoughts of, "we're on vacation but I'm still taking care of the kids, making three meals a day plus snacks, I'm still doing dishes and laundry." So the thought of having my afternoons to MYSELF....!?!?!?!

It's like being told you only have to work four days week. It's like being told there is now an extra month between November and December so you can get your Christmas shopping done! It's like being told there will now be 8 days in a week so you can have two Sundays (Saturdays, if you're a pastor). (Please keep checking back, this list is constantly growing as I think of more similies).

I can hardly believe it. I'm so psyched.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Crafty Wedding Shower Gift

I made this lovely faux wedding cake from the set of towels on my sister-in-law Jean's registry for her bridal shower this afternoon. The bottom tier of the cake is two bath sheets folded lengthwise twice. The middle tier is two hand towels folded into thirds. The top tier is two wash clothes folded in half.

They are wrapped around a cardboard tube that came inside a dorm-sized area rug which I cut to length ( I cut the tube, not the rug). Each tier is secured only by the ribbon (the kind with wire in it). I bought the bride and groom (who are not ethnically correct, darnit. They only had pastey white people) at Walmart (whattaya expect?). If I'd thought to look sooner I probably could have thrifted a bride and groom--too bad I'm completely incapable of planning ahead. I used a hot glue gun to stick the bride & groom to the cardboard tube--trying desparately to not get glue on the towels. The towels still have all their tags and everything, they are just tucked in.

I wish I'd thought to suggest to my mother in law that she get Jean a cakestand. I don't think Jean and Gus would ever have occasion to use a cakestand but that would have been a SWEET combination--great presentation at the shower. Although the cake alone was pretty great.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

fernando can hear the drums whenever he'd like on his ipod

I’m contemplating buying an mp3 player. The thing that has pushed me over the edge toward purchasing one is the stacks and stacks of cds lying around the house. We’re talking a mound of broken jewel cases and case-less cds cluttering up precious kitchen counter real estate. We have a six foot bookcase in the living room filled with cds in no particular order so it takes a half an hour to find what I’m looking for--or to discover that it’s not on the shelf but in the kitchen stack.

I love the idea of all that plastic being converted into invisible digital code and fitting in the palm of my hand. Ahhhh…that would be revolutionary. Theoretically, I could pack up those discs and have a clutter-free house!

But, you all probably have ipods already, so why am I carrying on?

Because I think there are drawbacks to owning an mp3 player.

Last summer we packed up and went to meet my family for a week in Breckinridge, CO. Our minivan doesn’t even have a cd player so we do the old discman plugged into the lighter with a cassette tape adapter. It’s so jimmy-rigged. We’d do just as well listening to each other sing through a tin can on a string, but that’s not my point here.

My point here is that for the trip I made a mix cd to listen to. My kids love “Holla Back Girl” and “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani. We’d been listening to a Stephen Foster Tribute Album and there’s a song called “The Shanghai” that we all like. Paul and I had just discovered Dave Carter and Tracy Grammar so there are a few tunes by them and various other new songs/artists we’d been listening to in the weeks leading up to the trip.

We listened to that cd a LOT on that trip--to, from and during. Now when I hear Hollaback Girl, I think of driving through the mountains. When I hear “Shanghai” I picture Phoebe, Mo & Ollie in the back of the van launching into the chorus in unison, “oh----the Shanghai! Don’t be money on the Shanghai!!”

If I’d had access to every song in my musical catalog with me in the van, what would I have listened to? It seems like if I’d had an ipod shuffle going I’d hear 1000 songs once over the week and they’d totally loose all context and meaning--cease to be a musical scrapbook of the vacation. If you asked what we listening to on the trip I’d probably say, “the ipod.”

It’ll be convenient to not have to choose which ONE cd to bring with me on a walk. But it is a very fun challenge to pick a cd that is full of songs good for walking -- not with a bunch of slow clunkers in the middle--but all good up songs. My choice: De La Soul “Three Feet High and Rising”, The Beastie Boys, “Paul’s Boutique” and The Dance Hall Crashers “Greatest Hits 1989-1992.” It took a lot of thought and trial and error to come up with that list. Abba Gold seems like a natural choice, but you gotta remember, they’ve got Fernando, Chicitita and One of Us is Crying on there--that’ll throw a wrench in your pace.

It’s like my Blueberry Morning Coffee from Green Mountain Coffee. It used to be their summer specialty bean. We’d wait for June when we could order it. That was the taste of summer--a cup of blueberry coffee with half-n-half and sugar out on the front porch. Well, now it’s NOT their summer specialty (raspberry is, also very good, but it’s no Blueberry Morning). Blueberry Morning is available year round. I don’t want it year round! I’m not buying it year round! I only want it in June, July and August. It marks the seasons for me.

What’s next? Gin and tonics on Christmas Eve? That Chipmunks Hula hoop song in April? Any song I want to listen to anytime I want it?

I’m really not a technophobe, although I realize this is my second post slamming modern technology. I just think it’s important to take a look at what we loose as well as what we gain.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gettin' My Craft On

I had a lot of things I needed to get done today, but I chucked the to-do list and got my craft on instead. Today's projects: felt applique shirts, felt applique onesie with matching crochet hat. The felt applique is addictive. I don't know if I can stop. I might have to start going to craft fairs and selling this stuff. My kids will only wear so much.

I put the boy robots on thrifted short sleave button down shirts. How can you complain about getting dressed for church when there's a robot on your shirt? Paul came up with "Mobot" and the rest followed

Pheobe's is on a thrifted blue v-neck.

Some friends from church are in the process of adopting a baby, who should be born any day now. I made the ice cream cone onesie and matching hat for baby Zoey. (I don't know if that's how they'll spell it--Zoe?) I hope she has a really big head, because while the hat and onsie are meant to coordinate, it looks like when the onsie fits the hat will be ginormous. I guess I didn't check my gauge when crocheting. Her mom said, "What, no Zobot?" Darnit! I can't believe I din't think of that! Now, I have another project to do....

Monday, July 24, 2006

is nothing sacred?

why? why? why in the world would you mess with a good thing?

the 1992 vesion starring moira kelly and db sweeney:

the 2006 version starring who-gives-a-rip dizzy-ingly described as "both a sequel and a remake" (gag, cough, roll the eyes):

am i going to rent it? faster than you can say "toe-pick."

Monday, July 17, 2006

And Now, A Word From My Friend Ben

Celery Chaw
By Benjamin Squires, Guest contributor

Do parents worry about their Major League Baseball playing sons choking on their smokeless tobacco?

Let me explain why I’m wondering. My son, Samuel, is two-years old, and we were outside the other day learning the handle of the bat from the head, trying to hit a foam ball off the tee. Meanwhile, I realized that Samuel had some chaw between his cheek and gum.

Of course, in his case, the chaw was celery. Before coming out to the backyard ballyard, Samuel had gotten very excited about eating small pieces of celery that his Mama was cutting up for a pasta salad. He was jumping up and down, asking for more, as if she was handing out Teddy Grahams.
After telling Samuel that he could only have "one more piece" (I know, you’re thinking what a strange conversation where you have to tell your toddler that he can only have one more bite of celery), we headed outside to play baseball.
That’s when I noticed the chaw. I worried right there that Samuel might choke as I tried to tell him to choke up on the bat. I flashed forward 18 years and imagined Squires coming out of the dugout, headed for his position as shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, a stalk of celery disappearing into his mouth as he runs. When the first pitch is thrown, all the crowd can see is that telltale lump in the cheek, a common enough sight on the diamond.
However, I’ll know that Samuel’s got a cheek of chewed up celery and has no need to spit. Then I’ll worry about him choking as he dives for a bouncer between second and third.
Benjamin lives in Manitowoc, WI, listening to the Cubs on WGN AM-720 while giving Samuel his evening bath. He writes the music review site called Music Spectrum (

Slipping Through The Cracks

I'm in a perpetual state of wondering what I'm going to do with my life. After graduating college I had a major freak-out which was quelled by a marriage proposal and a job in the PR industry. Once I figured out that an office job was never going to make me happy I suffered through a bout of the "what-nows" which lead me to play the young-and-care/debt-free card. I waitressed (for about two weeks), worked at Library Limited and then started temping so Paul and I could go on our many travels. Through all that time I knew the other shoe would drop. I would have to find something with a little more meaning and direction, not to mention pay, not just because that it what you do as you get older, but for my own sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Enter Phoebe...and 17 months later Moses...and 18 months later Oliver. I've had a pretty clear vision of what my job is--and enjoyed it thoroughly (most days) for the past seven years.

This fall I'll have two kids in school full-time and one in preschool two days a week.

I feel a major freak-out coming on.

I've been trying to think of be-my-own-boss scenarios that would allow me the flexibilty I'll still want (7:00-8:30 am and 3:15-6:00 pm are still important times). I came up with the very part time...I'll call it a supplemental income...idea of hosting day camps...maybe through the YWCA. I could do it during the summer. I could do it over school breaks so that kids have something to do for a couple hours in the morning over Christmas & Spring break. I have a name for it...are you ready? Crafter School Special. I'm so proud of that! We could reconstruct t-shirts and stencil and do all kinds of hip-crafts. I love that stuff. I love teaching. It just might work.

I was talking all this over with my mother on a recent visit and her first response was, "Crafts? You should do a dance camp." And I looked at her with confusion for probably three seconds before it clicked. The thought that ran through my mind was this: I FORGOT I CAN DANCE.

How in the world is that possible? I forgot I can dance? I never really took dance lessons growing up--maybe a year of ballet and tap--but I pretty much danced constantly. For three years of highschool I was in the swing choir (an hour of school devoted to dancing, singing & performing) and on the pom-pon squad (go pommies!). I did a lot of choreography and teaching with both those groups--not to mention the high school musicals (not High School Musical--nothing so hip as that--just high school musicals, generic and lowercase). I taught umpteen dance classes at camp, which included choreography and teaching dozens of girls at a time between the ages of seven and 14 routines to the latest Christian Pop hits (It's a big, big house with lots and lots of room). Even after Paul and I were married I got paid to choreograph for the Kirkwood Swing Choir. When we moved to Idaho I did all the choreography and ran the dance rehersals for the Alleluia Children's Theater. All theese things I loved doing. I always found dancing and choreography especially to be an exciting creative outlet. When we first moved to Nebraska I thought about starting a Christian children's theater because the my experience in Idaho was so fantastic.

Then I apparently forgot.

It totally slipped my mind...floated off into the past as if it never was.

Maybe songwriting has taken over all my creative thinking. Maybe playing guitar has crowded all other artforms involving music out of my brain. It would be far more tragic if I didn't have any creative outlet....if I was sitting around doing subtraction all day (I know, I know...I saw A Beautiful Mind...and I learned the valuable lesson that math can be a creative and innovative as any artform...but still...yuck). But it seems really sad to me, not just that I've basically given up on something that was a huge part of my life and that I enjoyed so much....but that I didn't even NOTICE. I didn't even see it was gone or MISS IT.

It begs the question then, that if I don't miss it and didn't notice, does it matter? But it must, right? To let a thing like that dissappear from my life? I don't necessarily need to jumpstart my old passions, but it seems important to acknowledge them, give them a place in my memory.

I wonder what else has slipped through the cracks. What else can I do? What else did I love? WHO else have I forgotten?

I'll turn the question to you: what are your forgotten passions? what have you forgotten you can do?

I'm going to the beach Ha HA! I probably won't be able to post. But I do have a substitute blogger. Tune in and see.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

7, 5, 4, 3 & 9 months

This week my posts have been few and a little dodgey. The reason being I have five children at home this week instead of the usual three. My nephews came for a stay. It's very easy to joke and complain and recount the mishaps of dealing with a seven-, five-, four- and three-year old plus an infant, but really the week has been great. Tiring, but great. The cousins love each other and that makes me very happy. I am, however, feeling very secure in our decision to have three kids.

Here is picture of what we did with a box the recycling guy wouldn't pick up. It's now displayed on the basement wall, where it looks much bigger than it did outside.

And here's the wee babe:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Soul Asylum vs. Moses Dunbar

I used to like Soul Asylum back in the day. Runaway Train. White guy dreadlocks. I didn' t think they were around anymore until I saw them on Leno the other night. Without the white guy dreadlocks, the lead singer looks a lot like Kevin Bacon. And 10 or 12 years later the music seems to have suffered.

The song they played sounded like something I wrote in my sixth grade diary: "Stand up and be strong,--it won't take long--you can't go wrong--stand up and be strong." It's a long way from "you were there like a slow torch burning--I was a key that could use a little turning." What's next? "Without you I'm so blue. I will be true. I promise to?"

I'm a songwriter, how good of a songwriter is up for debate but I think I do all right. (Click here: to judge for yourself, but don't blog about how my songwriting is like something out of your sixth grade diary--that would be petty and rude.

It looks like Mo is going to take after both his parents. He wrote his first song. It's about birds. He wrote the lyrics and melody and I came up with a guitar part. We'll record it someday so you can hear.

Migration by Moses Dunbar 7/06

Migration--say bye to all those birds

Migration--say bye to all those birds

You don't need to give them a car

You don't need to give them a train

They can fly the whole way

(repeat all day long)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Between The Moon & New York City

Do you remember the Friend’s episode where Monica asks Phoebe to cut her hair like Demi Moore in Ghost? Phoebe starts cutting and is almost through when Monica says, “Phoebe, are you sure you know what Demi Moore’s hair looks like?” And Phoebe responds (to Monica‘s screams of horror), “Yes, yes….I loved him in Arthur.”

That’s kind of how I felt at the salon last week. I brought a photo in of a cute short haircut. It was a bold move, but what do I care, right? I’m a short hair sort of girl at heart. It’s only been in the past five years that my hair even touched my shoulders for the first time. So, going in and getting it hacked off should be no big deal for me. But it didn’t really turn out like the picture.
I found out that if you scowl and breath hard and point out how in the photo there are some “long bits” but on your head there are none, they don’t charge you very much for the haircut….and they let you buy styling products with the employee discount.

I did go back a week later, after I’d lived with it and styled it myself, and told my stylist that I did indeed like it. I told her that I seemed displeased, because I was displeased but that it was just panic induced. It wasn’t a great haircut. It was an average haircut at best, but I can work with it. It didn't deserve the scowling and hard-breathing, but I'll keep the discount, thankyouverymuch.

The thing that forced my hand on the haircut was a Nebraska Huskers t-shirt. We’ve been here five years and I still don’t give a rip about Nebraska football. It’s the biggest freakin’ deal in the world to Nebraskans and I just don’t care. I did however buy a Husker’s shirt at Goodwill.

I’ve been working on resizing t-shirts (buy a shirt, rip it apart and sew it back together so it fits you--sounds ridiculous, I’m sure. But if some of your parts…ahem, ahem…are slightly out of proportion to the rest of your parts, it’s hard to find a nice fitting shirt) and this red Husker’s shirt was in the bin--faded a bit, the screen print crackling a little. It had a nice worn feel to it so I bought it. I resized the sleeves (body of the shirt fit pretty well, but I could fit my thigh through the arm holes and sleeves were like sails flapping in the wind and nearly reached my elbows) and now it fits great.

Then I looked in the mirror: dirty blonde hair--straight, shoulder length, bangs; Husker’s t-shirt.

I looked like every other jerk in Nebraska.

So I ran off to the salon.

Now I look like Dudley Moore in a tailored Huskers shirt….nice.

I do like it. You don't have to post about how cute I am, really,'t do that...that's not why I blogged about it. Seriously. I am without need of validation. I'm okay with the haircut. You don't need to tell me that I really don't look like Dudley Moore...really.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Firecracker, Firecracker, ring-ring-ring!

I worked at a fireworks stand over the weekend. Hastings is pretty much a free for all when it comes to what you can shoot off. There are fireworks tents in every parking lot. The youth group hosts one as fundraiser every summer. So there I was from 6-10 on Saturday night with another adult and four high school kids, selling fireworks.

The craziest thing about the night -- and there were various things that struck me as a little crazy -- but the CRAZIEST thing was the cell phones.

The kids' phones rang incessantly. And of course they don't go "brrrr-ring brrrr-ring." Every caller has a different ringtone. And by ringtone, I mean obnoxious top 40 song. And one of the girls' phones played the Lone Ranger theme everytime someone texted her (da-da-dum, da-da-dum, da-da-dum-Dum-DUM...etc). She was constantly being texted. She had asked her boyfriend to drive-through and bring her some dinner. They went back and forth and back and forth texting and talking. And, as she was sitting right next to us, we heard all about it. The block by block update of his location. The change he received at the McDonalds window. How he put her on hold to take another call. How he just drove past her friend and honked.

This went on and on all night. I almost lost my mind.

I thought about myself in highschool. I remember summer nights sitting in my room, all alone, wishing, wishing, wishing someone would call or come by. I remember looking out my window, wondering if all my friends were all together except for me; wondering where they were, what they were doing, what they were wearing and what boys were there. It was summer. I had basically the freedom to do whatever I wanted--no school to get up for, no plans. But I was stuck at home.

There was a crucial time of day for social planning, which started around dinner time. The phone calls would start going around. Who wanted to go out? Where did we want to go? Who had permission to drive? Who had a car big enough or did we need two cars? Who was going to pick up whom and in what order? We had to work out a veritable phone tree & diagram to figure the logistics so seven girls (Emily, Alison, Jennifer, Jennifer, Erin, Lori & myself) could go sit at Taco Bell all night.

Ocassionally, I would miss the planning stage. Maybe I went out to dinner with my family. Maybe I was shopping. Worst of all, someone else might have been using the phone and my friends couldn't get through. And once the last girl was picked up from her house--that was it. Poof! They were gone. The girls were incomunicado until morning. What were they supposed to do -- stop driving past upperclassman parties they could never get into and find a payphone to call me? Plus, you simply did not call someone's house after nine-thirty, anyway. That was rude.

So, I would hang out in my pink & green Laura Ashley bedroom running through pom-pon routines, singing along with my radio, interviewing myself for talkshows and waiting for the phone to ring until about 9:45, afterwhich I knew there was no way I'd receive a call. Then I would hold out hope for my last chance and the best thing ever--a knock on the window.

If you couldn't call after 9:30, you certainly didn't knock! Having friends tap on the window sounds like we were being very secretive, but looking back on it, it was really more courtesy. We didn't want to disturb our parents, or get our friends in trouble for disturbing their parents. My Mom & Dad didn't care if friends came over to the house at 10:00 at night, but if they happened to be in bed, they didn't want the phone or doorbell ringing. It just wasn't done.

Fairly often, I would get the knock. Sometimes I would hear a car stop outside the house --it was not a through street, so that was a good sign-- and I would hold my breath and wait for it. If it came, it was a pulse pounding, face flushing, moment of giddy excitement. Who was it? The hope was always that it was the boyfriend or crush, but it was just exciting to have it be the girls. I'd go out on the front porch and talk for awhile...maybe ask my parents if I could have them in, maybe ask my parents if I could go out for a while.

Mostly, I was just relived to be reconnected with the world.

The highschool kids I know now are never disconnected from the world. They are IMing and texting and talking ALL the time. They will never wonder if the boy they liked called their house while they were gone, because they'll simply scroll through the caller ID. Question anwered-- just like that. They'll never miss a phone call--there's voicemail, call waiting, texting and if the caller knows who their with, they'll just call the other person's phone. There is simply no way to get left at home for the night, unless it's by malicious design. They talk to each other any hour of the day or night because a cell phone on vibrate won't wake up their parents.

By the time my kids are in highschool, they'll probably all have GPS devices imbedded in their skulls so they'll have concrete digital proof that McKenzie was at Austin's house last night even though he's supposed to be hanging out with McKayla. Gah!

No mystery. No intrigue. No longing for someone to break the silence of your bedroom. No knocks on the window. Just beeps and blips and a constant barrage of imformation. Boo.

Maybe I'm old crochety. Maybe, if I'm so worked up about it, I should throw my cell phone out the window and write this post by hand and mail it to you....uh...hmmmm....maybe not.

Monday, July 03, 2006

stupid but funny...but stupid

Paul heard this song on Dr. Demento in the middle of the night while driving to Wyoming to see a Mountain Plover. Don't ask.

The best part? A special shout-out to Arrested Development fans.

Fresh Air

Darrell Scott and his father Wayne are scheduled to be on NPR's Fresh Air today for anyone who is interested. Darrell's new album, Invisible Man, just came out and it rocks. I will be very interested to hear what he has to say.

When I opened for him at the Listening Room (I could say that ALL DAY LONG), he didn't say much. He told me about his new coffee maker that he bought somewhere between Omaha and Hastings. Then he busted it out of the box and made us a cup of coffee. And then after my set (which I agonized over--who am I playing to? my songwriting HERO who may or may not be standing in the back of the room depending on what his pre-show ritual is or the audience? And what if I suck and DARRELL SCOTT is listening?!) he said, "That was really good."

After the show I tried to explain to him how much his music and his songwriting mean to me; how he has inspired me in my own songwriting and has given me a level of excellence to strive for; how his unique style has encouraged me to think outside of the box. I got a little choked up. I mean, I LOVE this man's music. He said, 'Hey...thanks, Emily."

I don't mean to paint him in an unkind light. He is a very nice man--just a man of few words. I respect that. I don't think he said ANYTHING during his second set. It was actually like a giant medley with one amazing song with unbelievable guitar work flowing directly into the next.

So to hear him sit down with Terry Gross and talk about music for any length of time... sweet!

Check it out!

PS. I took the photos below that the Folk Alliance conference in Austin last February. I saw Darrell play everyday we were there (I think we were starting to creep him out). These shots are of a joint set with Buddy Mondlock. It was superb. And it was in a hotel suite-- not a concert hall or a hotel ballroom...a double sized hotel room If they are a little blurry, it's because we were all up in their business.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I Wish Somebody Would Post Some Comments

We are trying really hard to teach our children to be direct. I abhor passive aggressivenessy (what? I started with "agressivity" but spellcheck didn't recgonize it as a word. I tried to change it to "aggressiveness" but I wound up with "aggressivenessy"-- I'm keeping it! I like the look of it.) If you are mad at me, tell me. If you'd like me to do something for you, ask me. Please don't wait for me to read your mind or guess what it is you are sighing about. I try to be sensitive to those around me, but sometimes I miss the subtle clues. Actually, the kids are anything but subtle -- what they are getting at is so obvious it is ridiculous. They may as well come out and say it.

Oliver uses the "somebody" way of beating around the bush. "Somebody should take us to the pool." "Is somebody going to make lunch?" "I want somebody to play Candyland with me." He makes these statements looking me directly in the eye.

Moses says "I wish." "I wish I could play a computer game." "I wish we could have Kool-Aid at dinner." "I wish I could have Derek over to play." As if those requests were so far out of the realm of reason that he dare not ask...only cross his fingers and hope fate lands them in his lap.

Last night Phoebe demonstrated beautifully my failure so far at teaching directness. They were all in their rooms for the night and Paul and I were heading downstairs to watch Letterman and eat pistachios from a giant bag my parents bought at Sam's Club. Phoebe heard noise in the kitchen and came to investigate. Eyeing the big bag she said, "I sure am hungry for popcorn." Paul said, "It's not popcorn," and continued his rummaging around the kitchen. "I sure am hungry for chips," she said without missing a beat. "It's not chips," he replied. "I sure am hungry for cereal." "Not cereal." And finally, "I sure am hungry for crackers." "It's not crackers," he called over his shoulder, rounding the corner for the stairs leaving her alone to wonder if she would be having a snack, if only she'd guessed right.

When I sat down at the computer to start this post, I knew what I was going to write about what I'm never exactly sure how it's going to play out. This time Phoebe was in here. For a while I was excited that she can read like a fourth grader. Then I realized she can read my stuff. Privacy suddenly takes some doing. She was reading over my shoulder and asked what "direct" means, as in "We are trying really hard to teach our children to be direct." I explained using the story above. I then asked if she would please excuse me for a few minutes while I finished writing. She said, "Yes, but I'm only in here because I want to be with you."

That was very direct.

Maybe I'm not failing after all.

And if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play dominoes with my daughter.

Have a great holiday weekend.