Shari MacDonald Strong

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Afternoon Conversation

Me: I love Word Girl! I think it's my new favorite show.

Eugenia: What about SpongeBob?

Will: What about Plankton?

Me: Well, yeah. I'll always love SpongeBob. And Plankton makes me laugh more than just about anyone.

Will: Does that mean you're going to marry him?

Me: No. I already married the person I want to marry.

Macky: Mama, why did you marry Papa?

Me: Because he was sweet and funny and smart and handsome and he treated me really well, and he's my best friend in the world. And I liked being with him more than anybody.

(Dirty looks from all three kids.)

Me: That's before I met all of you. Now, I like being with all of you, more than anybody.

Macky: Do you like him more than meeeee?

Me: I already said: I like all of you.


Macky (sounding kind of disgusted): Just say "No."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Powell's on Hawthorne. Thursday 5/29. Be There.

Oh, yeah. I'm a proud mama. My newest baby is here: this one with pages instead of yummy little toes and fingers to nibble. Oh, but it is delicious! If you're in the Portland area, come on out to Powell's Books on Hawthorne (note: that's the Hawthorne location, not downtown) this Thursday night, May 29, to hear me -- and several of the book's brilliant contributors -- read from The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change. Mamas, unite!

UPDATE: I'm not terribly experienced at speaking to groups. But I don't feel nervous, because I know I will never be as bad as this:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Praying for Sheetrock

Stephanie found Chocobacon!

In other news, the remodel is a-happening, and we're in hell. If you ever consider working, going to school, remodeling your house (and moving out while the remodel happens), and parenting simultaneously . . . just . . . don't. Seriously. The good news is, the house is now getting bigger instead of smaller. Here's a link to the beauteousness that is our future home, complete with audio commentary by the three smallest crazy people in our family, courtesy my sexy photo/audio nerd/artist husband:

P.S. Praying for (meditating for? holding our breath for?) Sheetrock is what we're more or less doing (sheetrocking starts next week) but also the title of a book I haven't yet read, by a woman (Melissa Fay Greene) whose book about orphans and motherhood and Ethiopia (There Is No Me Without You) I am reading and loving (and crying over) right now. (Thank you, Jennifer!) Go out and buy it, immediately! I command thee! Okay, I don't really command anybody, anything. But I do highly recommend it!

P.P.S. Did I mention that Stephanie found Chocobacon!?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Must. Have. For. New. Master. Bathroom...

Many of you know that our family has embarked on a major remodel to our house. Five people in a two-bedroom bungalow just became far too stressful. I mean, how long can little boys sleep in toddler beds, anyway? At what point/age does that simply become child abuse? But there was no other way to get all three kids' beds in one room, and so here we are . . . The worst day came during the demolition phase, when we drove by our house one day and found that the back third of our house was . . . missing. Destroyed (not originally in the plans). Then there was the day when the tarp covering our whole house (practically our entire lot) began to act like a ship's sail, catching the wind and causing the enormous river rocks anchoring the tarp to fly 6 feet in the air, nearing beaning passers-by. A lawsuit narrowly avoided.

But now, things are looking up. The framing is done. The skeleton is there, and I can tell, as much anguish as we've gone (and still are going) through, that it's going to be beautiful. Makes living out of boxes and living in complete chaos for months at a time all worth it (she said through gritted teeth). Now, I just need to figure out how to get this little item (below) squeezed into the budget. Craig and I simply must have it in our new master bath, don't you agree?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hello, Internet. I'm Still Here (Barely) . . .

I'm trying to catch up after weeks of chaos: one move, a complicated remodel, lice (one of the kids), mice, sugar ants, various bouts of flu/vomiting (me AND the kids), a trip to Seattle, a sad breakup of dear friends, weeks of living out of boxes, and more miscellaneous everyday crises than I can count. My in-box has 870 emails. Is it time to declare email bankruptcy and start over? I think it just may be. More soon. In the meantime: Does anybody have my beloved, marked up copy of Sue Monk Kidd's The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which I loaned out to I-can't-remember-who?

And in the "I Have Been Put in My Place" Department: Last night, Macky and I were talking about where he would be going to school for kindergarten next year: his Montessori preschool, or the public school. He kept going back and forth -- choosing one, then the other -- before finally giving up.

Macky: Mama, you can think about it and decide.

Me: You don't want to decide?

Macky: No. YOU decide.

Me (nodding in understanding, sounding patient and wise): It's hard to decide things sometimes, isn't it? Because there are good things in both places. In Miss Stephanie's room, you have your friend Logan. And at Alameda, there's the bus, and your sister, and it's something new. And--

Macky: No, Mama. I said that YOU can think about it. (Pause.) In your head. (Pause.) WITHOUT TALKING.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New Zen: Sky of Blue and Sea of Green

New Zen and the Art of Child Maintenance, in which I revisit my childhood love for "The Yellow Submarine" and talk about my ongoing heartbreak for the orphans of eastern Europe.

BTW: I'm nearing the end of my Zen contract. Only a couple more columns to go! Catch it now, while you can!

This Week's Must-Watch Videos

All three: worth the time, I promise you.

I felt deeply moved by the Obama "Yes, We Can" video:

Then Maria Shriver's speech left me . . . well . . . speechless:

Makes me feel as inspired as if I was living in the 60s!

But this "if McCain gets elected" response to the "Yes, We Can" video utterly undid me:


The Admission of What I've Long Suspected

Last week, Eugenia asked, "What's a Drama Queen?"

Well, um. Yes. It took all my self control not to say, "YOU ARE!" Eugenia is seven-going-on-fourteen. I am, apparently, forty-going-on-three.

In any case, the other night I was trying to get the kids inside and ready for dinner, and she kept arguing with me about every little thing. Finally, in exasperation, I said, "Eugenia, come ON. I don't want to argue about this. Why do you have to make everything so hard?"

Eug glared at me. "I don't have to make everything so hard," she told me, sounding dumbfounded that I was idiotic enough to miss the obvious. "I choose to make everything so hard."

Ah, well. Just so we're clear.

(It took all my self-control not to die laughing.)

Is that kid awesome, or what?! Drives me a little crazy at times, but lordy, how I love her strength!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Why I Quit Being a Vegetarian

I shamelessly stole this from Dooce. (Thanks, Heather.) This perfectly sums up my feelings about bacon.