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4 kittens

Texied, Newmexicoed, Coloradied, Wyomied, Montanied.

Posted on 2017.07.30 at 22:33
On Tuesday, at karate, the kids had to spar each other. They used a lot of kicks and were evenly matched. Eventually Pokey won. (I did record the whole thing but I doubt it's fascinating if you're not their adoring parents.)

How is Pokey's anger going? Any improvement? The therapist asked me this, and I asked how one measures improvement. He said, "Any hitting?" I said, "Just adults? Or including siblings?"
The therapist said, "Including siblings," and I laughed. I can't imagine that level of cure. Are there siblings that refrain from hitting each other?

Later Jammies and I decided that things were better, because there's a certain level of outburst that we haven't seen in a few weeks. (There are three outbursts foremost in my mind, but I feel uncomfortable recounting the details, for Pokey's privacy. Note to self: Piano lesson, morning before camp, swimming lesson. And getting sent home from camp.)

This photo is darling except that he's showing off how he smushed gummy bears into his teeth.

Some of the most-praised books by our experienced friends are by Ross Greene. All of these books seem to open with a general description of a struggling kid. He is fond of saying, "If sticker charts worked with these kids, then they'd be cured by now. It's time to try something else."

The thing is: sticker charts do work extraordinarily well with Pokey. The strategies in the Greene books also work, but earning a Pokemon card a day is itself very effective.
Our lessons from this summer:
1. Pokey responds very well to carrots (but really poorly to sticks, especially from me).
2. Pokey may get hypoglycemic. All of those worst rages were, in hindsight, times when he'd already complained of being hungry. When he's edgy, shove a banana at him. Or two.
3. Strategizing known problems ahead of time works well (ie, the Ross Greene method).
4. Isn't Ross Greene the character from Friends?

Today he had an outburst - mostly swearing, nonviolent. What's notable is that afterwards he was acutely embarrassed. I think this is great! That's how you decide not to repeat something. I want to have a conversation with him about paying attention to your big feelings - in this case, embarrassment - and analyzing the context to determine how you want to handle the next similar situation. (Sometimes you do want to repeat the embarrassing thing. Sometimes it was the right thing to do. Other times, not so much.)


On Wednesday, we drove to Raton, New Mexico.  This is the trashcan for the car:

The lid used to always fall off, and so Jammies has devised a solution:

Art by Jammies. On Devising Solutions, in Gray

Here is another fine work of art, titled The Basket for the Third Row of the Minivan: Between Hawaii and Pokey

and a birdseye view:

Note the tiny green roll in the center of additional trash bags so that the children (existence implied by the artist) may dispose of full waste and replace the mini trash can with a clean liner.


Pokey threw up all his breakfast tacos about thirty minutes into the drive, which made us nervous, but he was solid after that.  For the first time, we had Kindles for each of the kids.  The big kids were amazingly self-sufficient and the squabbling decreased dramatically. Highly recommend.

The first morning we stopped in Snyder, Texas, an hour outside of Lubbock.

Snyder is a desolate hellhole, from what we could divine.  Sorry if that's your happy place.

We hit up our old favorite splash-pad/playground in Amarillo.

Around Amarillo, I begin to enjoy the drive. I like the mesas and arroyos.

If I could change one thing about the drive, it would be that goddamn hotel in Raton. I got a Priceline deal on it, two queen beds for $56. The walls could barely contain the beds. Rascal went bonkers in the tiny room and we all died a little.  (Especially Jammies, who was suffering a violently angry digestive system. He had a rough time.)

That tiny little red smudge is the word Raton. I couldn't get it in focus from the hotel.


Two conversations with Rascal:
1. Rascal has climbed into the driver's seat. I've asked him to get out. He tells me he is driving.
"You don't have a driver's license," I said.
"Yes I do!" he crowed.
"Show me," I said. He pointed to his shoulders, as though it was a pair of epaulettes. I laughed. He looked questioningly at me and pointed to his eyebrows, and then drifted to his ears, and then buzzed his hands all over the place in a giggly frenzy.
"Do you even know how to drive?" I accused him. We were killing time while Jammies was using the restroom. "What do you do at a red light?" I quizzed.
"You stop!" he said enthusiastically.
"What do you do at a green light?" I continued.
"GO!" Rascal squealed.
"What do you do at a Slippery When Wet sign?" I asked.
"You fall and hit your head!" he screamed in delight. I laughed and then it was time to drive again, so I really did kick him out for good.

2. "What's this cracker?" said Rascal, holding up a wheat thin.
"It's a wheat thin," I said, enunciating carefully.
"A muff fin?" he asked, with his head cocked and eyes screwed in confusion.
"A wheat thin!" I said, with more big pauses.
"A meat fin?" he asked.
Close enough!


On Thursday, we drove from Raton to Sheridan, Wyoming.  New Mexico is so pretty. Colorado is so pretty. Wyoming is so pretty. I always feel like we're ascending to new, magical places on the drive up. (On the drive home, I imagine we're descending the concentric rings of hell.)

This is the only photo I took in Colorado:

Surprisingly pleasing gas station bathroom art!  We flew through Colorado, to be honest.

We wyomied through Wyoming. Cheyenne is so pretty.

It just always feels so crisp and vivid when we get there. Cool in the shade. Colors pleasingly bright and happy.

Why am I always re-newly delighted by the pink roads?

That was actually not a panarama photo. I just cropped the car window out of the frame.

A big hail storm hit Sheridan shortly after we checked in to our hotel room.

The Geeblets channeled their post-drive hyperactivity to collecting hailstones and generally acting like they'd never witnessed weather before, to the delight of some elderly Harley Davidson riders who were enjoying a cigarette while watching the storm.

This was the only pleasing carpet in either of the hotels:

Wild Python Rattlesnake of the Southwest, it is surely called.

The last day we wyomied the last wee bit and then set off across Montana.

I'm very happy with this photo.

We finished the drive on Friday, and we were very glad to arrive.


Two conversations with Ace:
1. "Can I have more beef chicken?" she asked.
We laughed. "It's beef jerky!" we corrected. We thought that was cute.

Later, Pokey asked if we'd ever had squid jerky. We said no, he'd have to make some.
"What do I need to make squid jerky?" Pokey asked.
"Well," we said, "you'd need squid, and you'd need-"
"-TURKEY!" Ace finished triumphantly.

That's when we realized she'd been saying "beef turkey" and when she'd earlier said "beef chicken" it was because she'd swapped foul. Isn't that excellent?

2. "MOM. What do you call a zebra with five legs?"
Me: what?
Ace: No! I need to start over. What do you call a giraffe...? No. Ok. What do you call a zebra with really long legs?
Me: I don't know, what do you call a zebra with really long legs?
I laughed.

Saturday was Jammies' grandmother's 90th birthday party.

Wasn't she beautiful?

Here's how she looks while I've known her:

I love seeing the continuity of features in people's faces over the years; how their faces change and age. Here's her face at an intermediate age, maybe in her 50s:

I love her smile. (I especially love her house, which is mid-century-frozen. I've posted photos of it before.)

Here's their getaway car from their wedding:

Yes, it says "You'll be sorry" on the hood. And "Sucker".  This is even worse:

"She got me today, but I'll get her tonight!"  That's kind of creepy.


Hawaii made $12 fetching beers from the keg, during the party. She earned 25¢ per beer. Jammies' dad taught her how to hold the cup so that the draught ran down the side and didn't form a head.

She kept a sheet of paper with everyone's name next to their personal tally marks, and then folded the paper and kept it under her baseball cap. So amusingly, we also had a tally of how much everyone drank during the party. Jammies' dad settled up with her at the end of the night, and offered to give her $20, but we restrained him.


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2017-07-31 12:14 (UTC) (Link)


I love Wyoming. I've always wanted to move there, but every time a job opens up in the state, Dr. Skull threatens to divorce me if I apply for it.

Those are great photographs.

And Rascal the Baby Driver made me LOL.
Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2017-07-31 12:14 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wyoming!

Hey! No longer anonymous! Woo-hoo!
heebie_geebie at 2017-08-14 04:21 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wyoming!

I think I'm with Dr. Skull. I'd get agoraphobic from the isolation. It's beautiful but good lord is it vast and empty.
(Anonymous) at 2017-07-31 16:32 (UTC) (Link)

bonkers decorations

Your hotel carpet photo reminded me of my visit to the Epic campus in Madison. If haven't been and you go to Madison, definitely take a (self-directed) tour. Each building has a theme like Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter except not the copyrighted version, and they all have specially designed carpets. So like the Alice in Wonderland one is red, black, and white like playing cards (with red and white rose patterned office chairs). Also one of the bathrooms there had a giant black and white spiral on it which was super trippy. The giant auditorium is decorated like the eons on earth and it's just really amazing.

heebie_geebie at 2017-08-14 04:22 (UTC) (Link)

Re: bonkers decorations

My uncle always tells me about Epic whenever I'm there, but I'd never thought to actually go and check it out. I had no idea it was whimsical. That makes it sound a tad like The Circle, the super painful Eggers book that I don't know why I slogged through but I did, which I believe is now a movie. Still, I'd love to see the carpet.
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