Thursday, August 31, 2006

Beachy Keen

About once a week this summer, we were lucky enough to spend a day at the beach with Finney's best buddy, Logan, and his mom, Gina. We built sandcastles, ate popsicles, saw leopard sharks (No kidding! Don't worry, they're harmless), and transferred about a metric ton of sand from the beach into my car, which has yet to be cleaned out.

Gina and I have enjoyed watching Shea grow from a wobbly toddler/new walker who threatens to fall down with every step across the uneven sand to a surefooted, brazen young waterlover. It's also been fun to watch the boys' water comfort levels increase noticably over the course of the season.

In June, Finn was afraid to get his hair wet and now, after many lessons from John in the pool and two weeks of swim school, jumps into the deep end of the pool and swims back to the edge on his own. Logan, meanwhile, can now hold his breath while swimming the entire length of his pool under water. Olympic competition is surely in their near future.

The biggest difference from the beginning of the summer to the end is that now both boys actually go into the water when we're at the beach instead of safely hovering just beyond its lapping reach. As was to be expected, the boys quickly discovered the fun of boogie boards; they've even managed to catch a few rides to shore already. Coincidentally, they ended up with the same style of rash guard after they ended up with similar rashes. Here are some of my favorite shots of double trouble, hamming it up with their newfound prowess.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006

Gal Pals

Look who's all grown up already and coming over for playdates...

It's baby Sofia!

Friday, August 25, 2006

99 Roads To Happiness

Thanks to those who played along with my end-of-summer captions contest. So many great entries! So many ways to interpret fish angst!

Choosing a winner was tough; to determine who would receive the esteemed title I carefully employed the most exacting instrument I possess in my critical-selection toolshed: I went with the one that made me laugh outloud.

But, first, I present to you the Honorable Mention winners.

The Buddhism Is Truly Everywhere Honorable Mention Award goes to M in O-Town. If anyone needs to reconcile the notion of Existence as Suffering it's a fish about to be brought home to a sizzling-hot frying pan. Quick! Find your happy place, grasshopper.

The Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit Honorable Mention Award goes to Carolynn (Top fish: "Pick Me." Bottom fish: "No, pick me."), who technically tied in word count--FIVE--with the unofficial entry submitted by her office pal, Jason (Bottom fish: "Get off me." Top fish: "Fuck you.") Who would have guessed that the lawyers would come up with the fewest words? (Just kidding, guys. Sort of.)

The Carpe Diem Honorable Mention Award goes to Jenna, who despite being a wife, mother of three, and President of the Indiana Association of Student Nurses, still managed to post her caption entry first.

Other stand-out scripting: Seuss references!
Phallic allusions! Fish as Internet trolls! Well done, folks.

And now, the news you've been waiting for all week, as I dodged my daily blogging duties and instead frolicked on the beach with the kids and went out for happy hour with my high-school girlfriends (which is true but sounds better than the remaining truth about changing diapers, fixing meals and doing laundry):

The Double Duty Diary Summer of 2006 Grand Prize goes to PAT, for her classic worm as fish nemesis double entendre. (Plus, it fit just perfectly in the speech bubbles.)

For her wry caption Pat will receive, whenever I can get my act together and to the post office, a 99 Ranch Starter Kit, complete with Mai Fun Rice Sticks (aka noodles), jasmine-infused green tea (delish!), a trio of soaps--sandalwood, jasmine, and ginseng--and sweet cookie balls. Congratulations!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Anyone Out There?!?

Um, KimKadeLolaJuliaBarbaraJanePeggyCJPatKarenOonaPaulKathySueNicoleJody?

I know you're out there (Hi!).

Aren't you gonna take a shot at the fishy caption thingy?

C'mon... Don't be shy....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Best Travel Deal Around

Not far from home exists a wonderful place called 99 Ranch Market. An enormous Asian marketplace, it's filled with groceries that, while including such universal homemaking staples as dishwashing soap, milk and toilet paper, focus mostly on an Asian clientele's palate.

As I've mentioned
here before, John and I really enjoy eating all kinds of Asian food; as such, Finn and Shea have been exposed in their few years to more exotic items than each of our mouths saw in our first 20. So we try to visit 99 Ranch every couple months or so, mostly to replace our supply of sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, and spring roll wrappers. (Yeah, compared to the traditional American dinner table--and judging by the scrunched up faces my mother makes when I show her some of our food choices--we eat some pretty funky dishes sometimes.)

For me, going to 99 Ranch (or
Mitsuwa, a marketplace with a more Japanese bent where John and I spent an entire afternoon one pre-children Valentine's Day), is like traveling. One of the things I love about traveling is the feeling of confusion and uncertainly it brings. That sounds slightly counterintuitive, I realize; after all, don't most people travel to escape the stresses of life? Yes, some do. Especially those who stay at their hotel pool or hotel bar for the entire duration of their stay in Hawaii or some other equally breathtaking locale. Ahem.

But the heightened awareness of one's surroundings that comes about from being in an unfamiliar place, smelling unfamiliar scents, tasting unfamiliar flavors, and negotiating unfamiliar terrain shrieks savagely in the face of the complacent normalcy that's often bred in the everydayness of life.

It feels more like living.

It's also humbling to be immersed in a place where not everything makes sense right away--Oh yeah, I'd forgotten, the world's much bigger than my little universe--as is having to work a bit to unravel the patternwork that's commonplace to everyone else. (Holly writes about this beautifully,
here, in a manner more concise than I'm able to articulate right now.)

Once, during my corporate employment days, a Chinese co-worker agreed to allow me to tag along with her through 99 Ranch as she did her weekly shopping. Because we had just filled our bellies at a company dim sum lunch at the restaurant next door on the last workday before the Christmas holiday, we were able to leisurely wind our way through the aisles without worrying about watching the clock. She kindly stopped to explain what many of the products were that filled her cart; most of the items she considered staples had never crossed my mind, let alone my lips.

Now, as a little gift of travel from me to you, I present our weekend trip to 99 Ranch--in pictures! Don't miss the special contest at the end, wherein one witty Double Duty Diary reader will be awarded a very special prize for their creative input.

Who ever said Tuesdays were boring?

Fish you can just reach out and touch,
if you're into that kinda thing

Tiny little bananas make tiny little babies happy

And this, folks, is just the bok choy section

Doctor Noodle is Mr. Noodle's macho half-brother

The charming language fumbles are too plentiful to count

I've tried shrimp heads and chicken feet in my time.
But this? This just blows my mind and goes from bad...

... to worse.


In the blog comments section, please leave your best/snarkiest/wittiest/fishiest captions for the photo below. Deadline for captions is this Friday morning, August 25th, by the time I drink my morning coffee. Fabulous prize, to be determined and distributed by me, will be awarded to lucky winner. Winning caption will be announced sometime on Friday, so don't delay!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This Should Fix Things Right Up

Steven Colbert put some issues "On Notice" on my behalf.
You know, in the interest of truthiness.

(Thanks, Sweetney, for the inspiration.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Drugstore Cowgirl

So, did you know you could get strep on your butt?

Hmmmm, me neither.

Turns out Shea's butt knew this, and managed to be first in line to sign up for a scorching case of
Perianal Streptococcal Dermatitis--or Strep-da-Booty, which we affectionately call it around the campfire--that her pediatrician quickly diagnosed after taking a look at her adorable but very angry little bottom.

He also said it's easy to catch--probably from one of her vector parents, both of whom suffered a case of
strep throat at least once this summer--and, fortunately, easy to cure.

Unfortunately, this marks the fourth case of the dreaded "strep" in the house this summer; despite our best efforts to scour the house of all germs and triple launder the linens, we just keep volleying the yuck back and forth.

I feel like we should paint a big AMOXICILLIN DISTRIBUTED LIBERALLY HERE warning on the front door--partly to warn visitors of our ongoing bacterial challenges, and partly to scare away any new strep bugs that are plotting their next attack.

I'm pretty sure the pharmacists at SavOn think I'm stalking them at this point.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm Lovin' It

While waiting for our quick lunch from the drive-thru line at McDonald's...

Finn: "So, what's the happy part?"

Karin: "The toy."

Finn: "And what's the meal part?"

Karin: "The food."

FINN: Laughs hysterically, as if all the jokes of the universe were instantly explained to him.



Finn (serious once again): "Mom, they take so long to get me happy."

Friday, August 11, 2006

In England They Call It Fringe

Shea's got some crazy hair. When she was born it was nearly jet black and super shiny, like a pretty little Japanese baby's. We thought it would probably fall out and in its place she'd grow hair closer to her brother's hair color. We were wrong.

After some time in the sun it has lightened up a bit, but it hasn't fallen out and has even begun to curl a bit on the ends. It even seems to have grown at a doubletime pace in the area in front of her eyes, which encourages John to call her his little sheepdog.

To help Shea see better, we usually pull her hair up into this funny fountain style, which keeps it out of her face for a few minutes--until she realizes that she has the power to pull the hair tie out herself, thus breaking free of her shackles of feminine oppression and letting her locks flow free like a '70s Wella Balsam advertisement.

So, in an impetuous moment using my blunt, everyday stationery scissors, I cut her some kickin' bangs. Adorable, blunt, little
Bettie Page bangs. And I'm loving them. She hasn't bumped into as much stuff as she used to, but she looks like a big girl now, and the messy little ragamuffin baby I was so used to has been suddenly replaced with a tidy little toddler.

Thursday, August 10, 2006