Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quw'utsun "Cultural" Centre

Woopee! When we were in Duncan, B.C., we stopped at the Quw'utsun (cow-it-son) "Cultural" Centre. I was really looking forward to seeing how the Native people in B.C. lived, worked and how their experience with European settlement differed from that of Native Americans in the U.S.

As most of you know, I'm a member of the Cherokee Nation. While I don't remember a great deal of the trip I took to Tahlequah, OK, I know some about the Cherokee people.

The "Cultural" Centre cost $13 per person and consisted of 6 buildings and a dozen or so totems. The "movie" we were shown was a 20 minute powerpoint presentation about a few of the tribes' stories (i.e., the creation story, the flood story, and the thunderbird story). It skipped over the entire European settlement period with a statement that was something like "And then the white man came. He brought some bad things ... and some good things. For example, the white man taught us to knit!" The end. Seriously?

Ok, so the movie was lame, but I was sure that the tour and exhibits would make up for it. Not so much. The tour guide said "now" every third word or so and essentially walked us around to the totems and read us the plaques. I could've done that myself. The only exhibit on the property was a pictorial about how the tribe weaved and knitted. The lesson? Buy our sweaters! There was nothing about the tribe's culture, history, lifestyle, experience with Europeans ... nada. Thirteen bucks for totems and knitting. I was sincerely saddened to see a people reduced to totems and knitting.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Home in NJ

(A little song created while waiting to get off the plane. Sung to the tune of Home on the Range.)

Home, home in NJ.
Where a kitty named Chief likes to play.
Where seldom is heard, a Midwestern word,
And the folks, they all hurry all day.

B.C. Wrap Up

We went to a little petting zoo in Beacon Hill Park. Tucker took a dive into the duck pond just prior to this picture. You can't tell in this shot, but his entire leg and most of his hat were soaked. The petting zoo did the "running of the goats" where they let the goats out of the barn and into the daytime pen. Seriously, there were dozens of goats. It was a quirky little place.
When my Mom and Greg got into town, we went to Butchart Gardens. Butchart was a limestone quarry that Jennie Butchart decided to turn into the garden around 1900. The results are stunning and include a sunken garden, Japanese garden and rose garden. T had to stop and smell almost every flower.
He also runs full steam for any pond, fountain or puddle. He's splashing in this fountain and having a grand time.
The next day, we went into the Inner Harbor in Victoria and Fisherman's Wharf. There are over 30 float homes at the wharf, but far more interesting to us was this harbor seal who was hanging out by the dock. I don't know if he usually gets fed, but he spent a good 15-20 minutes working the crowd.
These little green ferries are known as Harbor Pickles. They take you all throughout the harbor and took us from the Inner Harbor to Fisherman's Wharf.
Jo and Mike grow a lot of their own food. It was interesting trying to keep T from picking random fruits and vegetables from their yard. This is a peach he plucked from their tree. He made it through half before he got to the pit and didn't know what to do next.
Ok, this was just funny.
Our final day in Victoria, we went over to the University of Victoria, which is where Mike works. Apparently some years ago people let their pet rabbits loose on the campus. The result is hundreds of bunnies in residence all over the property. T had a blast chasing them, although he never quite caught them.

Now, of course, we're back in NJ and already missing our family. See you soon everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

B.C. So Far

We left for Victoria Saturday morning at O Dark Hundred. T was remarkably good on the plane and only had two short meltdowns (coincidentally right before his two naps). Jo met us at the airport and we bussed over to the ferry, that took us from Vancouver to Victoria. T is sitting on the ledge of the ferry. He was entertaining the people sitting behind us. It is really beautiful here and I'm glad I finally get to enjoy it without barfing 3+ times a day. We got him to stay up until 7 pm PST (2 hours past his EST bedtime), so the jet lag hasn't been bothering him too badly.
Jo and Mike have a duck pond near the house, so early the next morning, we got up and went to see the ducks. There was much throwing of rocks and little interest in the ducks.
The goats at the petting zoo in the afternoon were another story. T spent a good 30 - 45 minutes in the goat pen. At one point he had one licking his cheek while another munched on his shirt. We had a tough time convincing him that what looks like a rock isn't always a rock.
Here are Jo and Mike on the train at the same farm as the petting zoo. It was ... lame. We suspect the engine began life as a riding lawnmower. Top speed was probably a good 2 - 3 mph. Also, the "sites" were kitschy exibits made up of pirate ships, ugly people and mechanized animals that reminded me of nothing as much as the original King Kong. Nevertheless, T enjoyed the trip and we got a good laugh out of the life like "salmon" (who looked suspiciously like 2x4s painted silver).
Yesterday, Ry and I went away for our first night away from T since he was born. Jo and Mike agreed to watch him for us (we're nominating them for sainthood when we return home). It was really nice to worry about nothing but ourselves for the first time in 16 months. This is our room in the little B&B where we stayed. We went hiking, saw some beautiful scenery, visited a vineyard, and finally arrive in Cowichan Bay, B.C., where we stayed the night.
The guy at the vineyard recommended the Rock Cod Cafe for dinner. It ... was ... delicious. I even ate fish ... and enjoyed it! Today we went into Duncan and visited the Cultural Arts Center for the First Nations here (First Nations are what Canada calls Native Americans). We were pretty disappointed, but that's a post for another time. We had a great lunch, did some shopping and stopped at a cidery on the way back to Motek Manor. T didn't even know we were gone. We got out of the car and he looked up to see us, then went back to throwing rocks on the driveway. At least we know where we stand.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A First Adventure

Posting will probably be light over the next 10 days, since we'll be in Victoria, BC visiting Ry's mom for 10 days or so. It will be the first for a lot of things:

1. First time T is out of the country (and uses his passport). Passports for babies are silly. We got it in May and it already doesn't look like him.
2. First time using our friendly neighborhood kid to cat (and garden) sit.
3. First time my mom has been to BC.
4. First time we've taken a 6 hour flight with a squirmy, short-attention-span toddler.
5. First time we'll leave T overnight with someone else (and thank you, Jo, we need the break!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Watermelon smells really bad when left out overnight.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hopelessly Self Deluded

Having just finished several books and biographies of England's Henry XIII I have concluded that many depictions of him have become a caricature of his life. That being said, he still died a vain, bloated, hopelessly self-deluded tyrant. This is a man who ushered England's protestant reformation because he was miffed that the pope wouldn't annul his first marriage. This was a man who beheaded 2 wives on trumped up charges of adultery (and began treason hearings on his final wife). His ministers and servants were so scared of becoming a victim of "treason" that he annulled his marriage (because by then he was the English pope) to the only woman who didn't swoon in delight at his arrival after 6 months (his 3rd wife, Anne of Cleves) to marry a 15 year old girl. He killed hundreds of people for treason and burned as many for protestantism and catholicism. Yet, he went to his grave, (self) assured that he was England's bonny prince, beloved by all and second only to God. Do you think he's in heaven?

I suppose you could blame this particular case on that fact that he was the King, and the second much-coddled son of his parents. Unfortunately, I see this kind of delusion all over. There are idiots all over reality teevee who think that they really are the most talented/special person in the room. I had students who thought that their As in high school earned them an A in my class. And all over are the people who think the rules don't apply to them because they're in a hurry/very important/total jackasses. I'm sure there are some things I've deluded myself about, but I truly hope that I'm not one of the hopeless.

Clean that Poo!

I had a dream last night that I was a contestant on a game show called "Clean that Poo!" It was like name that tune, only instead of songs, you had to say how many wipes it would take you to clean a particular poopy diaper. I need to get out more.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summit for Someone

My stepdad has been mountain climbing in a a serious way for the past several years. A good portion of his climbing has been to help support Big City Mountaineers, an organization that sends urban kids to enjoy nature. He was recently featured in an article in the Memphis paper, The Commercial Appeal. Hooray Greg!


Today one of the administrative assistants from our dentist's office called to remind Ry of a visit on Thursday morning. She asked if he was home and I told her that he was at work, but I could take a message. She gave me the reminder and then asked "Are you his mother?" OK, given the same situation, who do you assume the woman on the other end of the phone is?

I flushed them down the toilet!

T has been taking very short naps this week. One of the consequences of short naps is that I don't get my shower in until after he wakes up. Usually when he's in the bathroom when I shower, he's throwing things in the shower, flushing the toilet, saying "uh, oh", and generally wreaking havoc. Today he was being really, really quiet. That is never a good thing. I peaked around the shower curtain to see T swirling my underwear around the toilet bowl with one hand, with his other hand poised to flush. "No, no!" I cried. Then, I ducked back behind the shower curtain to hide my laughter.

The whole incident reminded me of when my sister proudly pranced out of the bathroom when she was just a little older than T and announced that her panties weren't wet anymore because she flushed them down the toilet. At least she didn't blame that one on me. When she was about the same age, she wet her bed. When my dad asked who pee-peed in her panties, she said "JuJu did it." Maybe he would have blamed it on me if he had the words to do so. There's something to be said for a kid who doesn't say much yet. Good times.

Monday, July 14, 2008


T is forever getting really bad diaper rash. I know most of the triggers (citrus, tomatoes, teething), but he also gets random diaper rash. Something in his poo blisters his poor little butt and it seemed like nothing took care of the problem. Until ... Resinol! When we were in Annapolis for Andy's graduation, Audrey told me about this wonderlube. She used it on Abby when she was a baby and continues to use it for sunburn, bug bites, and anything that itches or burns. A thick coating on his bum at bedtime, and he wakes with pink, baby smooth skin. Seriously, it's a wonderlube.

Baby and the Beach

We took T to the Jersey shore for the first time this season on Saturday. He thought it was AWESOME. He spent a good portion of the time getting sand into every conceivable crevice he possessed. The waves were really big (actually, 3 people died the day we went to the beach), and T stood for the better part of an hour watching.

I enjoy the beach for a couple of hours. Then I'm done. I'm tired of sand rubbing my skin raw. Babies have no such consideration. T thought sand was the best. He would eat it, throw it in the air, roll around in in and climb into sand holes other beach-goers dug. I'm quite sure he would have stayed there all day if the adults hadn't been over it. It could have been the novelty, but I think T likes the beach.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Toothbrush. Toilet. Flush.

More Sesame Fun

T and I went to Sesame Place again yesterday with my friend C and her daughter, Q. We were supposed to meet up with some other folks from our mom's group, but didn't end up finding them until we were leaving.

They had a blast! As we were leaving, we saw a daycare group of probably twenty 3 or 4 year olds leaving. I am so grateful to be able to share these experiences with my son, instead of hearing about them afterward. My life is truly blessed.

Ovals Only

T has one of these Tupperware shape sorters. It's one of his favorite toys. Whenever we play shapes, he always grabs the oval first. Always. Next is generally the X/+ shape you see in the picture. What's up with that?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Independence Day Drama

We went to a friend's house for a July 4th barbecue Saturday afternoon. Quite a few of our friends were there, along with some of Ry's colleagues who might be most accurately described as folks who end up at the same parties we do. We had a great time, especially since our hosts have a baby of their own and were able to offer up a pack 'n play for T. We actually didn't leave the party until 11 pm or so. I digress ...

Two of the people there were one of Ry's colleagues and his brother. They and their dates got beyond wasted. Watching the spectacle was entertaining, especcially when one of the dates in question completely missed her chair and swan-dived on the deck. Then brother and his girlfriend got into an argument (a frequent occurence from what I understand). Then the dial was turned to drama. They went outside to discuss and came inside only when brother broke the window of the van with a golf club.

Now, as the beer cart girl at a country club for a summer, I saw my share of golf club tirades. They mostly consisted of thrown clubs and divots in the ground where said clubs were used as hammers. Of course, they also had to do with ... golf. Everyone gets angry. I get it. Gotta tell you, if my significant other used a golf club to bash in a car window during an argument, that would be the last moment the other was significant. The poor girl came inside and asked for a garbage bag so she could go clean up the mess. Seriously? She needs to run as fast as her legs can carry her before she gets entangled in a more permanent way. Here's the kicker. The brothers are sons of a pastor.

All in all, the evening made me 1.) Very thankful for my husband 2.) Very glad I'm not dating anymore and 3.) Very glad that my life makes me only a spectator in this kind of drama.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cute Things He's Doing This Week

1. Meowing at the cat
2. Pushing me up and down by my shirt when I'm sitting on the floor
3. Investigating our water glasses and saying "brrr" when he touches them
4. Dancing. To Everything. Even things that aren't music. Like the stupid Leapfrog Lily that my sister bought him. That he loves. (I have a long memory.)
5. Making a beeline for the baby pool every time we go outside. Even when we're just walking to the car and he's got his leather sandals on. Luckily they dry out pretty well.
6. Running around the crib after his nap trying to keep from getting caught. Then he stands in the corner and laughs.
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