The longest five minutes of my life

Today my church hosted a mommy and me Harvest Party for the moms that are part of the MOPS program. Of course Judah and I went - I had bought him the cutest skeleton costume. I hate the big deal that Halloween has become, but I love that there's one day a year that kids can dress up and be whatever they want to be. Or in this case, whatever I want Judah to be. He looked so cute! The program was fun. We were all together in the church nursery with the kids playing and running around and the moms chatting. Our leader explained the craft for the morning and we all moved off for our tables.

The craft involved making leaf and fruit prints on canvas, along with words and whatever else we wanted to make a Thanksgiving door hanger. Since Judah's so little, I didn't involve him in the leaf-printing part, knowing that he'd just make a huge mess all over both of us and anyone sitting near us. But then I wanted to put his hand prints on my canvas. So I got up to go get him. And he wasn't there.

I checked the room down the hall. Not there. I asked the other moms if they'd seen him. No one had. I looked toward the end of the hall, and there was the door, standing wide open to the outside, to the courtyard which is only a hundred feet or so from a busy boulevard.

Panic. I never knew what it felt like until right then. I got dizzy, and I couldn't breathe right, and I was fighting to hold it together so I could look for Judah. By that time our children's director was looking too, and within a couple minutes the church office staff was searching for him. I've never known such terror or helplessness, knowing he could be anywhere: inside one of the other buildings, crossing the boulevard on his own - a tiny black figure in the path of huge trucks, falling off one of the balconies, riding to Barstow in the back of a crazy person's car. He moves fast. How would I ever find him with so many places for him to be? And the worst part was knowing it was all my fault, that I'd been in the room and not paying attention to him. I realized then exactly how much this tiny person means to me, how if anything happened to him I would want to stop living because the pain would be unbearable.

I searched the courtyard, the front of the church, the back parking lot, the inside stairwell, the street. I tried calling him, but my voice was so unsteady that I stopped, not wanting to scare him if he could hear me. Just as I was beginning to wonder who I should call first (Nathan or the police?), my friend Shayleen yelled at me from the front of the nursery that they'd found him. He'd managed to open the door between the nursery and the play yard, and then gotten stuck out there. Fortunately, the play yard is completely enclosed, so he was relatively safe. I managed not to break down completely (just broke down a little) and went to get Judah. He had big tears in his eyes. He was only missing for about five minutes, I think. But it felt like a hundred million years.


I would've gone for "longest time spent in a luxury hotel"

We spent some time camping with our Sunday School class this weekend. It was such a blast. We had a really good time hanging out in camp, walking down to the beach, and playing games. Last night, when we were sitting around the fire, we started coming up with questions for all of us to answer. One of the stranger ones was, Would you rather kick a dog or make a baby cry? There's no good answer to that. And then someone asked, If you could hold any record in the Guinness Book of World Records, what would it be? Everyone started throwing out answers, like, longest fingernails, man with the most money, woman with the smallest waist.
Nathan's answer? Fattest twin on a motorcycle.



It seems like everyone's in kind of a blogging slump recently. I know I am... I haven't felt at all inspired to write. But I wanted to put something up to prove my continuing existence, so here are some random updates on things going on around here.

It's been an okay day. I participated in a little retail therapy this morning, and that was nice. Got myself some shirts (by the way, since when is a size 8 considered large?) and Judah some cute new go-get-ems (shoes). And talked to Ashlee at the same time, who had some good news: their insurance nightmare (never EVER, under any circumstances, move to Arizona while you're pregnant) may be clearing up. Yay!

We're going camping yet again this weekend. This time to Point Mugu with our Sunday School class, which is cool because it's close enough to come home quickly if things get bad. But Judah did great in Pismo a month ago, so it should be just fine. And there will be lots of other kids there for him to play with.

Lately we've been enjoying many battles of the ongoing Judah/Payasa war. Judah has grown to the point where he and the cat are equal strength, and once in a while he's able to catch her by the tail, and then there's a battle. It's always interesting to see which one is going to pull the other one over. Payasa whines (in frustration, not pain) and Judah laughs, and eventually she gets away and turns around and takes a swipe at him (no claws, so this part's always funny too). The cat loves it, the proof of that being that she never ever runs away from him. She enjoys the attention, I think.

Judah now has something over 50 words to his vocabulary. Some of them are very clear: "Stuck!" is his new favorite. And some of them aren't: only a few people get it when he tries to say "Where'd it go?" And then there's the word "apples," which you might think would be the red shiny fruit traditionally found on teachers' desks. But no. It can be used for any object at all: fish, bubbles, light switches, whatever.

That's the news for now. I'll try to have something more interesting for next time, or at least more focused.


A Jonah day

As Anne would have called it. Yesterday I had an angry day. Everything just kept going wrong and wronger until I wound up being mad at everyone and everything, myself most of all. Judah woke up too early yesterday morning. First strike. At nine we left to go for our usual 2 mile Wednesday walk with Aimee and Caleb. For some reason, Judah decided to whine through most of the walk, something he never does. He usually loves walking. In the car after the walk he kept on whining, and I finally turned around and yelled at him, which made him cry harder and made me feel like the worst mother in the world. Talk about guilt. Lunch went okay and Judah actually took a decent nap, but then my usual Wednesday babysitting got messed up and I thought I wasn't going to be able to get to choir on time. It worked out, but then my dinner plans cancelled, leaving me on my own. No big deal, but I felt a little lonely. So I stopped to get some Chinese food, and decided to take it to La Mirada Regional to eat, which I thought would make me feel better. But on the way some idiot girl made a left turn right in front of me, which forced me to slam on my breaks, which sent my Chinese food flying to the floor, where it landed upside down. Of course. At the park I walked to my favorite spot, where I was once again confronted with the ugly, bulldozed blank space where the swings used to be. The grass was wet, so I couldn't sit on it to eat. When I got to choir (late) we spent most of the time working on songs I hate. I totally should have skipped it. And to top it all off, the Impala's CD player refused to play the CD I'd just made, the one that might've made it all better.

So there's an end to my whining. Today's been a much better day. Nathan let me sleep in, and then we went to Ruby's for lunch and the weather is gorgeous. And I'm going to burn the CD again. Here it is, the perfect soundtrack for an autumn sunset.

Ride - The Cary Brothers
Wild Horses - The Sundays
Some Girls are Bigger than Others - The Smiths
Perfect - Smashing Pumpkins
The Ghost in You - Siouxsie and the Banshees
Forever - Siouxsie and the Banshees
King's Cross - Pet Shop Boys
I Want to Wake Up - Pet Shop Boys
In the Morning, Before Work - Owen
Slide - The Ocean Blue
Ruined in a Day - New Order
Over - Ivy
Back in Our Town - Ivy
Mouth the Mouth - The Glove
Cry - The Sundays
When We Recovered - Toad the Wet Sprocket


No street cred whatsoever

You got 1 out of 10 correct on your first attempt.
Poser alert! Better fill up your Netflix queue with recommended selections from their independent section and beg your local record shop clerk to clue you in on need-to-know bands and albums.

I just failed the Indie Scene quiz on CNN. I'm totally horrified. But not really. I failed because I refused to agree that The Clash is the only band that ever mattered, and because my ideal vacation doesn't involve being at the South by Southwest Festival, though that would be cool.

I'm so sick of the idea of "indie street cred." Because it seems like the only people who talk about it are teenagers who happen to like Death Cab for Cutie (hardly indie, I might point out) and snobby 20-somethings who drop the names of obscure bands not to rave about their love for them, but to make other people feel stupid and uncool. Here's the statement I hate: "I was listening to The Pork Chops the other day and....oh, you've never heard them? Oh." Here's the one I love: "Hey, check out this great band I heard. They're called The Pork Chops. Here's their latest. Where's your CD player?" Love the music because you love it. Share it with your friends. Don't love it because you think it makes you unusual and cool. I read this on someone's blog: "I'm listening to the new Maroon 5 (yeah, I just totally blew my indie street cred)." Who cares? What's wrong with liking Maroon 5?

At the risk of sounding like Dave Eggers (yes Barbara, I know you're going to jump on this), what it comes down to is this: Most bands were indie AT SOME POINT. And they were either good or bad at that point. And then they signed on to a major label. Does that make them no longer good? Do people with true indie street cred stop liking a certain band as soon as they sign? Because that's ridiculous. It's not selling out unless you start writing to please the label. Being a slave to the "indie street cred" identity is just as bad as being a slave to pop culture, isn't it?

I guess CNN was right. Because I love Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me." And that totally RUINS my street cred. Even though I love Owen's "The Ghost of What Should've Been" more.


Worst song ever?

I was reminded today that some magazine or other (or some group, we'll call them "they") decided, back in 2004, that Starship's "We Built This City" is the worst rock song ever. Huh? Yes, I admit that the song bugs me. But honestly, can't you think of dozens, if not hundreds, of songs that are worse than that? Right off the top of my head, what about: Britney Spears "Oops I Did it Again" (or anything else she's ever sung), Hanson's "Mmmm Bop," Crash Test Dummies' "Mmm Mmm Mmm," Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You," Amy Grant's "Baby Baby," the Spin Doctors' "Two Princes," or Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On?" Horrible songs, all of them, and almost impossible to get out of my head.

So, do you guys agree with their choice? What would you say is the worst song ever?


Eleven times a bridesmaid....

....only once a bride. Okay, I've only been a bridesmaid eight times. Here's the current score card regarding weddings:

1. Toni Lynn and ??? Toni is my cousin, and I can't remember her first husband's name. I was flower girl, in a white dress with a purple satin sash that I adored.

2. Jolene and Bryce. I was 8 or 9, and passed out programs along with my friend Gretchen. We wore cream colored dresses with teal sashes (it was the mid-80s, so of course the wedding was "peach and teal"). The dresses flared out wonderfully when we spun. Gretchen is now in my MOPS group with me. We STILL talk about those dresses.

3. Becky and Dave. My first experience as a bridesmaid! I was 17. Horrible teal dresses with wide white satin ribbon straps and a huge bow on the back. All of us bridesmaids had the exact same shoes and hairstyle.

4. Arla and Steve. Beautiful midnight blue velvet sheath dress, made by Arla's mom. I felt so grown up and sophisticated. I was 18. We (the bridal party, minus Steve and Arla) all went to Denny's in Sierra Vista after the reception.

5. Jenna and John. Tea length forest green dresses that we had made for us. I was 20, and Jenna was the first of my friends to get married. Nathan was a groomsman in the wedding, and mad because I had brought another boy as a date.

6. Miriam and Martin. Spring green floor length dress that I loved to death. Jenna and I drove up to the wedding city together on my 22nd birthday. Miriam was the most nervous bride I've ever seen. But partly that was Konrad's fault for telling her (minutes before the ceremony) that Martin was still hung over from the night before...

7. Amy and Kris. Another wedding, another green dress. Very pretty, very comfortable. Too bad the mint green clashed with my fiery red hair. The pictures look awful.

8. Joy and Brian. Finally, a bridesmaid outfit I'll actually wear again! Blue jeans and a white button up shirt, brown boots. Joy's the only bride I've ever seen wear a denim wedding dress. And it was the only reception I've ever been to where there was a mechanical bull involved.

9. Jen and Matt. Otherwise known as THE WEDDING WHERE I WORE PINK. And I didn't once complain about it.

10. Christi and Dean. My first Greek wedding! Our dresses were beautiful: navy blue, floor length with a tiny train. And since I was the matron of honor, I got to carry Christi's train while she and Dean walked three times around the alter. It was so cool.

11. Stacy and Ronnie. I don't know these people. I have never known them. I was there to observe the wedding coordinator (more on that later), and after the grandparents had been seated she realized that she'd forgotten to light the large candelabras on the stage. So she sent me in with the lighter, and TA-DA!! My eleventh wedding. I became the official candle lighter. And I didn't even have to buy a special outfit!


Camping, take two

We got back yesterday afternoon from the Cowell Family annual camping trip to Pismo Beach. Our group was a little smaller than usual this year, John and Jenna and Rachel and Naomi having decided not to go, but it was a fun group. Ken and Elly slept in their motor home, and the rest of us built ourselves a little Hooverville of tents and roughed it, Bri and Ash and Eszter in their huge tent (the Taj Mahal), us in our slightly less huge tent (the Hermitage), Heather in the Armadillo tent, and Jeff in the unnamed but much loved little tent that Nathan and I abandoned when Judah came along.

It was a very fun weekend. The weather in Pismo was almost perfect, not too cold but not hot, just a little hazier than we would have liked. We spent lots of time sitting around the camp fire, walking down to play on the beach, and eating really good food. Two mornings we had sugar-coma-inducing, perfectly-cream-cheese-frosted, unbelievably delicious Old West cinnamon rolls. On Thursday night Nathan, Judah, Ken, Elly and I went to town for dinner, discovering Mo's, home of the best shredded pork sandwich I've ever had, and corn muffins to die for. And, of course, Nathan and I had to sneak in for the (second) best chowder on earth in toasted bread bowls at Splash Cafe.

On Saturday afternoon most of us (except for Brian, to whom we are eternally grateful for babysitting Judah) went to the melodrama in Oceano for a pretty funny performance of "Drac in the Saddle Again" and a vaudeville review. So much fun! It's one of our favorite parts of the trip every year.

Other than that, we just hung around camp a lot, chasing the kids, playing dominoes, making s'mores. Judah did alright at night, waking up a few times the first night, and doing better the other two nights. Naps got thrown out completely. We have another camping trip (Oi!) coming up at the end of this month, this one with a few other couples from our Sunday School group. There are other small children involved, so it should be fun.

A few quotes stick out from this weekend. One from Eszter: "I can't get the ball. You get it, grown ups!" and one from Jeff: "If that was my dog I'd name it Casserole" and one from Elly after I commented that I wished the sun would come out: "Yeah, and get the fog out of here!" Say it out loud. It'll be funny.