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w July 29, 2007

I Hear Tell There Are These Things Called Tellyfones, As Well

Hoffman trekitude has arrived at home after a 10 day stint on the East Coast, and lawd, people, can I just tell you how glad I am to be home? And we had a *great trip*. There is just nothing like your own life detritus, though, I tell you.
I confess to being way too knackered to go into elaborate detail at present, but in summary: we flew to Charlotte, NC, last Friday (July 20th), attended a sort-of retirement party for a high school teacher of Gene's, drove up to Charlottesville, VA on Sunday with a brief detour to Chapel Hill to see a friend from college, fetch up at our house trade. Yes indeedy, we did just like "that movie". I have no friggin' clue what "that" movie is, frankly, but everyone keeps getting the proverbial light bulb and saying "OH I GET IT NOW" when I mentioned we were doing a house swap with a family there in Virginia. Basically we have discovered that it's just way too much money for not enough room for a long haul in a hotel (though we lucked into a 2 bedroom suite for the few nights in Charlotte. Score!), so we either try to rent houses/apartments through a vacation rental site, or, in the most recent example, trade houses with a family willing to schlep to California. They are academics, so the scheduling worked out just fine, and they also have two small kids, so both houses were more than well equipped for the onslaught of toddler/preschool whirlwinds. It was awfully nice to have our own digs while still enjoying being with our extended family (on both sides, as my parents stopped through on their way home to Toronto---one stop family reunion shopping), but oh, it is nice to be back in my OWN digs. The kids did remarkably well on the flights, especially today's two legs (Reagan Nat'l to Phoenix, Phoenix to San Francisco)---Peabo only started totally losing her shit in the last 5 minutes of the flight to SFO and really, anyone can deal with that. She had spent the majority of the first leg using me as a jungle gym, and the second sleeping, at least until the cockpit blared on about where we were and how long until landing yadda yadda yadda. Then we were not Happy Cat. Bean was a total star on ALL flights, primarily because she now is more than content to chill out to music and have snacks. There really is a point to my title, I promise, and I am getting there exceedingly slowly. We were probably just inside California on the last flight, Peabo snoozing away on me, and I thought to myself, 'good lord, we were just on the bloody EAST COAST mere hours ago...how bizarre is this? This is a trip that took months in the 19th century, and at least a couple of days before mid-20th century'. Now, I recognize this makes me sound like one of those "GOL-LEE!" types, but it really strikes me every time I fly cross country, and to be honest, I'm not sure I really ever want to lose that funny little startle of knowledge.

And now I am going to attempt to stay awake long enough to pack Bean's lunch for tomorrow. I will rehash more later, I hope. If not, we had a great time. We are proven capable of traveling with two small children. We are happy to be home.

by Heather Hoffman at 6:04 PM

w July 19, 2007


I'm sure we've all had multiple occasions wherein this happens: something from our childhood or adolescence that still holds sway somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of our mind ends up losing a great deal of its lustre, and with it, a tiny bit of the aforementioned time in our lives. I have had a few of these recently, although arguably I have also had the opposite happen through various discoveries of my girls, but that's another post. And oh, gentle readers, you will get that post. Of course. I know you are all just dying to hear about Heather reliving childhood by playing Barbie or My Little Pony or Strawberry Shortcake, etc. Dying.

Anyway, I just saw this article today, and it was a bit much for only one cup of coffee. Easy-Bake Ovens a burn hazard? The toy that, throughout much of my admittedly eccentric childhood, I *craved*? It took me a while to realize that my mad desire for this toy (and, might I say, the consistent deprivation of said) has finally manifested itself in my love of the kitchen and food and cookbooks and all accompanying variations, which is nice. But...it's no Easy-Bake Oven. And now it looks like I just can't have one.

"For" the girls. For "them". That's what I mean.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:28 AM

w July 12, 2007

Boring, Or Soothing

I'm really hoping for the latter, but y'all can be the judge. The Bean is at an age where she is enjoying chapter books read to her at night, and I'm having a blast re-reading all my childhood favorites, as well as some new ones. Certainly I read some of these to her when she was quite tiny, but not even I think she "got" anything out them at that point. However, now? Now she really digs on them, and is showing remarkable empathy for the characters and appropriate grasp of humor. I know that sounds odd, but, for instance: we were reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and there was some passage about how desperately hungry Charlie was. She started to cry. We stopped, and said, sweetheart, what is the matter? Are you sad for Charlie? She snuffled. In passing, let me just assure you that a non-verbal child is a hell of a conundrum on a daily basis. Anyway, we told her, don't worry, it will get lots better for Charlie soon, she calmed down, and cheered right up as we went on. Sure, it's possible that the crying was somehow completely unrelated, but I choose to believe empathy, or at least a burgeoning sense therein.

At any rate, we have gone through, let's see, Harriet the Spy, Stuart Little, at least one Just-So Story, the first two in the Swallows and Amazons series (thank you Auntie Camille), Abel's Island, Mary Poppins, and as of tonight, Mary Poppins Comes Back (there are three altogether, with a fourth sort of "prequel" in the set we own). I'm sure there is something else in there, although I don't think we technically got all the way through Harry Potter, though I suppose I should revisit that now. Oh, Little House in the Big Woods, that's right---many more to go there, needless to say. I am even saving Anne of Green Gables until she gets a bit older, same with The Hobbit.

I had a point to this post, but what was it? Oh, right. So this has happened twice now, where she kind of thrashes around as I'm reading, playing with her stuffed animals, having a drink of water, getting comfortable, etc...and then falls asleep. While I'm reading. Usually she is still awake at the end of our chapter and we do the whole bedtime poem and song routine we've done since she was a baby, but twice now, she's just sacked out to my reading. Am I desperately boring, or, dare I hope, deeply soothing?

She may have just been really, really, really tired.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:18 PM

w July 11, 2007

The Horsey Set

Well, don't anyone panic, I haven't talked Gene into bankrupting ourselves with a stable or anything. Bean started her hippotherapy today (that's on horses, not hippos), and she *loved* it. Loved it. She started snuffling when she got off and I asked her if she wanted to get back on the horse. Huge grin and a giggle. This is one of those "alternative" therapies that I am firmly convinced is going to do wonders for her balance, strength, muscle tightness, etc, not to mention the emotional connection the patients seem to always develop with said horses. Bean rides a placid cream colored Fjord named Sebastian, who sports a zebra-striped Mohawk, and we had been talking about him the prior week to get her excited; she knew *exactly* what was going on when we arrived at the stable and I said, "oh, look, there is Sebastian all ready for you!". Wasn't able to snag a picture today, but I will try to get one up eventually. Just watching her straighten right up and hold onto the harness was enough to make me a little teary eyed, I admit it.

Don't you think we now need a pony?

by Heather Hoffman at 12:53 PM

w July 02, 2007

Words Fail Me

But I like to run my mouth, so let me try.

Go here and I defy you not to be simultaneously bewildered and hysterical with laughter. My particular favorite is Ukrainian entry. Click on the "Go To Mediacentre" link and it will pop up a list of the participating countries and their respective offerings.

I think the general intent is to be somewhat...campy...but then again, there are some fairly "straight" acts, so I really have no clue. Just promise me you'll watch Verka Serduchka from Ukraine. Please.

by Heather Hoffman at 5:14 PM