Please don’t invite me to your baby shower.

For someone whose youngest child is fourteen, I get invited to a lot of baby parties: showers, baptisms, first birthdays, etc.  Although I love babies, and I’m genuinely excited and happy for moms-to-be, the shower is my least favorite party of all.

I am attending one this evening.  I always want to decline the invitations, but I never do.  I go hoping it will be different than every other shower I’ve ever attended.

Why are baby showers designed exactly like a birthday party for a five year old?  Is it to give the mom a template for the next decade of children’s parties?

This is a celebration for an adult woman, becoming a mom or already a mom.  Place some flowers on the table and save the crepe paper and cartoons for later.  We all know how she got pregnant; the stork decorations will not fool us.

Adults do not need to be tempted to eat with cute food.  Appetizing, yes; adorable, no.  Does anybody really want to bite into something decorated to look like a baby?  In this case, “Too cute to eat,” means I’m not comfortable eating something that looks like your child.

Then, games.

For the record, I don’t eat baby food blindfolded.  Or not blindfolded.  Or feed it to another adult.  I don’t even like to watch.

Guessing the circumference of a pregnant belly is not fun for anyone.  I’ve noticed most women try to underestimate, because nobody wants to suggest the mom is bigger than she is.  This game is just awkward for everyone.

Prizes!  I have lost count of the number of scented candles or soaps I’ve been awarded because I can remember nursery rhymes and sitcoms better than my own phone number.

Who does not love presents?  I like buying or making baby gifts.  I would give my friends a gift even if they did not invite me to the shower.  Actually, I’d prefer that, especially when keeping the baby’s sex a surprise.  However, I do not want to sit in a circle and watch anyone open 30 gifts.

At this point, I will happily wander off to another room to enjoy a conversation with anyone similarly inclined.  Escape, however, is not always possible; I was called out once at a baby shower for whispering in the kitchen during the gift opening.  It’s not that I was loud.  The hostess wanted everyone to be present for the unwrapping of gifts.

Then, before we can leave, the hostess gives out goodie bags.  I thought it was an anomaly the first time I was given a goodie bag as an adult, but it seems standard now.  I’ve tried to sneak out without them, but have been chased down in driveways, so now I accept graciously and give them to my daughter when I get home.

No wonder preschoolers leave parties exhausted.


The Sound of Silence

I love quiet.

My idea of background noise is birds and crickets and children laughing.  I like to read in silence, write in silence, daydream in silence.  I like to talk to my friends with nary a sound in the background.

If I feel like listening to music, I turn on the radio, but usually I don’t.  Not even in the car.

My husband always wants the radio or tv on, no matter what he is doing.  He likes a background of words, spoken or sung, even though he says he tunes it out and doesn’t hear the words.

I don’t know how he does it.  The words invade my own thoughts.  I find myself distracted by lyrics even when I don’t like them, especially when I don’t like them.

(One day he had the radio on while we were working on a project, and after about half an hour I asked, “Is every song this DJ plays about drugs?”  He had not noticed, but sure enough, several songs later, he concurred that, yes, it seemed to be a show entirely devoted to singing about drug usage.  He changed the station for me.)

In the car, I’ll be looking out the window, enjoying a feeling of quiet companionship, and he’ll turn on talk radio to fill the silence.

For me, talk radio is as pleasant as being seated next to a screaming baby on an airplane.  He remembers this after a moment and switches to a music station.

Most of the time, I’m able to tolerate background noise, which is what it is to me, noise.  I know to him, it is not noise.  It is soothing in a way I don’t experience, but I understand that it is to others.

If I find his selection abrasive, I’ll request that he change the radio station.  Sometimes I do sigh irritably and scowl as yet another youtube video invades my auditory space.  Sometimes I just leave the room and find a quiet spot.   Mostly, I try to ignore it.

The only time I find myself feeling indignant is if he walks into the room where I am reading and turns on the radio or tv.  I would not walk into a room where other people were listening to the radio and turn it off.  That would be startlingly rude, wouldn’t it?  But somehow, doing the opposite is accepted as normal.


I don’t believe his love of background sound gives him greater rights.  I don’t think my love of silence is more virtuous.  They are just different.

My husband and I have accepted that my preference for quiet is no more likely to change than his preference for life with a soundrack.  He’s willing to change stations or lower the volume.  Lately, he often asks if I have a preference in spotify stations; he gets the sound he craves, but I can make sure it is something that won’t grate on my nerves.

It’s a good compromise.  When he is away, I even find myself occasionally thinking that the house is too quiet without him.

How do you feel about tv or radio in the background?  Music or talk radio?

Intuitive reasoning at Walmart, or Is He a Basset Hound?

Picking up my dog’s prescription at the Walmart pharmacy the other day, the pharmacy clerk asked name and birthdate, which I gave.  “Is he a basset hound?” she asked.

“No, he’s a beagle-mix.  Close, though.  What made you think basset hound?”

“His name, Jebediah, it reminds me of a basset hound, like in Smokey and the Bandit and the sheriff in Dukes of Hazard….what was his name?”

I thought for a moment, “Rosco P. Coltrane.”

“Yes,” she said, “That’s right.  He had a basset hound, too.”

“And his name was Jebediah?”

“I don’t remember his name, but Jebediah made me think of him.”

I looked it up when I got home.  Roscoe’s dog was named Flash.   The dog in Smokey and the Bandit was Fred.

How she leapt from those to Jebediah I do not know, but it worked.  Almost.  Close enough.  I was impressed anyway.

I think she should get a bonus for being the best conversationalist at her store.

Sunday Funnies, vol. 9

What happened to the pictures?

I met a friend at Ikea this week and helped her shop for a living room set.

I love going to Ikea, and looking at furniture and home design in general.

I think it is even more fun when it’s not for my own home.

Or maybe it’s just that I only get to choose furniture for myself every decade or so, and my rooms don’t really allow for much rearranging.

Travel Anxiety: Carry On or Not?

Today I am packing for my Thanksgiving holiday.  Well, I will be packing, later, after I’ve done laundry.  And goofed around a bit.  Okay, I’ll be packing my one carry-on ten minutes before I go to bed tonight.

I always leave packing until the last possible moment.   Why?

1.  If I packed days ahead of time, I’d have nothing to wear in the interim.
2.  It keeps me from overthinking what to pack.
3.  My dogs start panicking when they see the luggage come out of the closet.
4. I’m a procrastinator.

I think if I traveled with more, or to someplace that did not have a washer/dryer, I’d have to plan ahead a bit, but I’m a light traveler.  I have one suitcase that was sold as being carry-on size.  That is almost true.  It is just slightly bigger than regulation for carry-ons.

Every time I fly (which is not often), I worry that the flight crew will tell me to try to fit it in that little metal carry-on sizing device and then reject it because it doesn’t fit.

As I stand in the boarding queue, I eye the sizer, picturing myself shoving it in there as hard as I can, and then it getting stuck and not being able to get it back out while the rest of the travelers stare, either disgusted by my rule breaking or relieved that the jammed sizer will not be able to detect their own slightly big carry-ons.

My daughter would be mortified.

This trip, I’m flying Frontier, which charges for each checked bag, so I am especially concerned about that possibility.  My husband assures me that we could afford the $25, but if I am going to be charged for a bag, I want it to be huge, not a paltry inch too big.

If I knew I’d have to pay for a bag, I’d do my Christmas shopping this morning and take it all with me.  I’d pack small appliances that I rarely use and give them to my son.  (He was the only one who ever used the George Forman grill anyway, and I still have the ice shaver I bought him when he was 8? to make snow cones.)

Have you ever been forced to check a bag you’d hoped to carry-on?

If you have, warn me now.

Pseudonyms and Syncing Up (and a Poll)

I’ve used pseudonyms online for well over a decade, probably over fifteen years.  Back then, my reason was simpler:  I was hanging out on homeschooling bulletin boards, back in the day when they were totally public, no registration required.  My given name is so common that there were always several other women posting under it.

So I decided to use my grandmother’s name, Kay.  I consistently used Kay on every board, even when they went over to registered user accounts.  If they required more than three letters, I added “in CO.”

I never used it anywhere else, though.  So I have accounts various places – Pinterest, Ravelry, Goodreads – that use old email addresses, my real name, etc.  I wish I’d used Kay on all of them, to be consistent, but planning ahead is not my strong suit.

Back on Vegsource, Sonlight, the Homeschool Library, and various other now defunct sites (does anyone remember the one that was associated with a rubber stamping company?), I creatively referred to my children as Boy 1, Boy 2, and The Girl.  I know, I’m clever.

It would feel natural for me to do that here, too, but does that sound weird?  Alienating?

I’ve been thinking I should use names for my family members, and toying with linking up to the other places I am online, but, well, I just don’t know.  So I am asking you.  What do you think?  Do you even care?

I’m slipping off the low end of the learning curve.

I am neither high tech nor low tech.  I am slow tech.

Gone are the days when my parents sent me to the neighbors so I could install their Betamax VCRs and teach them how to use them.  That might have been my tech savvy high, actually.

Now I work my way slowly through the process of learning new devices never quite mastering them before they become obsolete.

My laptop is falling apart, so I am afraid to take it in my one allotted carry-on for my Thanksgiving holiday.  I decided, finally, that I should keep the iPad I won, and learn how to use it before departing.

Do not be surprised if my blog is silent next week.  I should have given myself a month to figure this thing out.

It took me an hour just to enter all the passwords and personal information Apple requires to configure the device.  I am pretty sure the people at Apple now know more about my past than my BFF.

How does aLyons type ona these things?

That sentence was typed with more than two fingers.  This device was not designed for those of us old enough to remember touch typing classes in the days before White-Out.  It is for those who were held computer technology in their hands before they lost all their baby teeth.

WordPress and iPad seem incompatible.  Editing the many typos is a Herculean task.  Inserting images is headache inducing. I can’t insert links because I can’t figure out how to cut and paste.  I’m giving up for the day and using the laptop to complete this post after hours of frustration.  I am leaving that one sentence for you to see my raw iPad capabilities.

Is there an App for age induced incompetence?  Hints, anyone?

Sunday Funnies, vol. 8

Why are the images gone?

Gluten free – this is so Colorado.

Every one of us gets more interesting with age.

Extreme knitting.  It actually exists.


Have you heard of World Book Night?  It’s an adult literacy campaign,
in which you can volunteer to distribute free books!
Check it out here.