Diapers and Dragons

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How MTL Became My Fiance (Seriously, I Can't Stop Grinning)

Ah, the timing. MTL told me that he chuckled delightedly when he found out I was posting this last week about how we met and fell in love. What a perfect lead into what happened on our anniversary last night!

Last weekend we went to a dinner and comedy show, and I was under the impression that night was our combination Valentine's Day and anniversary celebration. After all, we were scheduled to have the kids this weekend, and I didn't think we'd get out. MTL, however, had other plans.

Apparently over a week ago he made sure DMB could watch the kids last night. And then he informed me yesterday that we would be recreating our first date--Thai food, glow-in-the-dark putt putt and all. I was instantly mush.

That man. He knows how to get to me, I tell you.

Anyhow, we ate a yummy dinner (although we didn't close out the restaurant this time, hehe) and headed over to play mini golf. I started off the game with an absolutely perfect Hole In One! MTL didn't fare quite so well, though once again that may have had something to do with some *ahem* distractions.

Then we got to hole 7, where there's the first little blind spot that had tempted us both on that first date, and he reeled me in for a very, um, thorough kiss.

My score on that hole dropped a bit.

By the time we got to hole 10, my game had returned. Once again there was a perfect dark corner, with nary a person around. This time I jumped him. When I backed away, laughing about getting distracted, he responded by saying, Well, maybe I can distract you a little more! and handed me a folded sheet of paper magicked from his jeans pocket.

I started opening it, thinking that perhaps he had gotten tickets to some musical or Cirque du Soleil or similar, since we had been talking recently about wanting to do that. Lo and behold, instead I saw a huge color print of this
Just. So. Perfect.
and heard him say, Will you marry me?

He told me later that the look on my face was priceless.

It occurred to me a few minutes later, as I thought that perhaps I needed to come up for air, that I hadn't actually said yes yet.

So I did. Multiple times, as I recall.

My game wasn't very good after that. But it sure was fun.

Then we went to the mall to get my ring finger sized--this was the reason I had a print-out of the ring rather than the real thing. Since it's a custom-made puzzle ring, the size needs to be right. Apparently all the dollar stores and Meijer stores in the area were fresh out of toy rings, too, so he hadn't been able to get me a substitute.

So after we stopped by one of the ten jewelry stores in the mall to tease them with a nonexistent potential purchase, we went to Claire's, where MTL found a mood ring exactly the right size with the word LOVE repeated all the way around.

Then we came home to tell the kids. DramaBoy, exactly as I predicted, immediately started jumping around in glee that The Padawan and KlutzGirl were going to be his real sister and brother, The Padawan had a grin from ear to ear, KlutzGirl started hopping around, and The Widget (who I think didn't quite understand what this means but figured it's a Good Thing) smiled vaguely and said Yay!

DMB got positively mushy, for him. I think he Approves.

Then MTL and I changed our Facebook statuses (because that makes it official these days) and I embarked on the long task of calling/texting/emailing/blogging the people who should know.

And that is how MTL became my fiance.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As of around eight o'clock tonight, in a dark corner by the tenth hole of the glow-in-the-dark putt-putt golf place where we went on our first date exactly one year ago:


In 2-3 weeks (OMG OMG OMG)

Friday, February 18, 2011

How MTL Became My True Love (Part II)

A few days ago I wrote about how I met MTL through an online dating site. Our early courtship, to use an ancient term, took us right through Valentine's Day, but didn't involve meeting face to face until our first official date. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of that date. Here's the rest of the story:

After a few days in Boston, I headed back to Michigan. MTL and I talked again on my trip home, and he asked me out on a real date--we agreed on Friday the 19th. That night we met at a Thai restaurant that is now just around the corner from where we live. He was not only on time, he was early. I was also early, but didn't want to come across too eager, so drove in circles until I could go in just a couple minutes after six, which is when we were to meet. Poor guy--he'd been waiting quite a while by then and (as he told me later) was becoming certain I had decided not to come! I walked in, he stood up, and apparently we both had private reactions along the lines of He/She is HOT! He had seen my pictures, but says I am far more gorgeous in real life.

*mushy sigh*

So we sat down to eat and started talking. And talking. And talking. We finally realized how long we'd been there when they started closing up the restaurant four hours later. Neither of us was ready to have the date end, so we headed over to a glow-in-the-dark miniature golf place nearby. He had been hesitant to suggest it, since it's a bit of a geeky thing, but it turns out I'm geeky enough to think it was a great idea. So we went and played mini-golf. I beat him soundly, though it was a bit unfair as he kept getting distracted every time I leaned over to line up my next shot.


I'll admit it: I kept sort of wanting him to pull me into one of the many many dark corners and kiss me soundly--and it turns out he very much wanted to as well--but he didn't push things. We finally finished the evening and hugged before climbing into our respective cars and heading to our respective homes. I didn't want to be a kiss-on-the-first-date kind of girl. But the chemistry? Oh yes. It was there.

It turned out later that we lived all of a mile and a half apart on the same road. We just took two different routes to get there, so we didn't realize we lived that close!

He asked me the very next day if I would go on another date, and I said yes. I had mentioned that there was a good comedy club that did comedic and partially improvised plays, linked with an Italian restaurant. So he called them up and ordered two dinner-and-show tickets for that next Wednesday.

Then on Monday (we had continued chatting and texting and emailing every day) I felt like seeing him again, so I dropped heavy and not very subtle hints about not having any plans that night and there being nothing much worth eating in the house (my boys were on a long trip down to Florida with their dad, so I had about two weeks with no kids during all this time). He picked up on the hints (I would have been worried about his intelligence if he hadn't) and invited me to meet him for dinner at his favorite Mexican restaurant.

We closed out the restaurant that night too. And there was some, um, lingering in the snowy parking lot before we got in our cars to drive home.

The date on Wednesday was excellent. Lots of laughter, lots of talking, and some more lingering in another snowy parking lot. After that I canceled a couple of dates that had been previously scheduled with a couple other men, because I realized that (1) I really wasn't up to dating multiple people at the same time, (2) if I wanted to continue to date MTL, I couldn't date multiple people, and (3) I only wanted to date MTL. I wasn't admitting it to myself, but I already knew that this was likely to become a serious thing.

We went on a couple more dates that weekend, including dinner and a movie on Friday and a full day of bowling and food and another movie on Saturday, and we never looked back.

It was only a matter of time before I finally admitted to myself (long after he'd already figured it out) that I was thoroughly and completely in love with him. Fortunately, he was in love with me too.

He's never been one to rush into things, but he knew before I did that This Was It. I wasn't expecting the love of my life to come along just then, much less through some dating site. But there he was. And who were we to argue, when so many details indicated we'd been brought together by something more than mere chance?

You see, he hadn't used his Yahoo! Personals account in quite a long time. In fact, he had forgotten he even had it. The account was linked with his spam email account, which he only checked every month or so. He happened to check it the day after I sent that icebreaker, and he saw the email notice. He signed in, checked out my profile, liked what he saw, and responded. If he hadn't checked just then, he wouldn't have seen the email because it would have been too far down on the list of "spam".

The reality was that he'd pretty much given up on the dating scene and was starting to think that he was going to be single for the rest of his life, and that was okay with him. He was fine with being alone. He was content.

Until I came along and he realized that I fit into this massive hole he didn't even know was there.

We've been together ever since. We've had a rough patch or two, mostly due to confronting and working through the baggage we brought with us into the relationship, but we work through it and are stronger for it. It's all very sappy and mushy, but I didn't really understand what love means until I met him.

So there's the story.

And if you're sitting there all disappointed because I've left out the more, um, salacious details--MY MOTHER READS THIS, PEOPLES!!!

(You can totally email me directly if you like. *Ahem*)

Happy Anniversary, my love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

How MTL Became My True Love (Part I)

Today is Valentine's Day, and because we're a holiday birthday family, it's also MTL's birthday. Happy birthday, oh love of my life!

(I got him a Kindle. Because we're soulmates like that.)

I have to admit I am generally cynical and snarky about Hallmark holidays. I think perhaps some of it has masked a quiet resolve not to care that I have not dated or been married to anyone who was much into romantic gestures. It's easier to just dismiss it all by saying it's all corporate broohaha and that romance should not be limited to a handful of days each year. Which is true, but that only really works if the person you love is romantic other times of the year.

Here's the mushy truth: romance isn't just in bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolate, and my life has become full of romance ever since I met MTL. I can't remember a day when he has not told me, with full sincerity rather than rote habit, that he loves me. I can't remember a day when he hasn't at least once held me close, looked at me with that special look, made me aware of just how sexy and amazing and wonderful he thinks I am.

There's been some chocolate, too.

HOWEVER. Hallmark holiday or no, having that wonderful man say Happy Valentine's Day, sweetheart! this morning as we climbed in our respective cars, and then discovering he'd beaten me to Facebook and posted on my Wall...

Yeah. Guess I'm just a big mushy-hearted sap after all.

ANYWAY. It occurs to me that I never did tell you, my bloggy readers, how MTL and I met.  So here you go. It's a long one, so grab a drink and get comfy:

Last year, a few weeks before Valentine's Day, I texted a few of my girlfriends about feeling like I could really use a compliment from some hot guy right then. You know, just for the ego boost. Shallow, yes, but honest. My friend Melissa suggested that I try out an online dating site just to do some casual dating, have some fun, get back out there. She suggested Yahoo! Personals, since her sister had tried that one.

So I decided what the heck and signed up--for free at first, just to check around. Then I did buy a brief membership, since I thought perhaps there was some potential. I created my profile and looked around at the profiles of men in my area who seemed interesting. On that site you can send little generic "icebreakers"--phrases like Your profile made me smile. I remember that one because it's the one I used when I saw MTL's profile. Anyhow, I got some responses from several men and we chatted a bit on that website. It was nice to be able to do that there, without all your super personal information on display (they know your first name and general location, plus photos and whatever you've written in your profile) and get a feel for someone before deciding even whether to exchange email addresses, much less phone numbers and whatnot.

At any rate, I connected with a few different men and went on some dates. I did the careful meeting in public, letting friends know where I was sort of thing. One guy, Scott, was very nice--but TOO nice, if you know what I mean. He just felt like a friend. He was rather into me, but I didn't feel the chemistry. But we went on a few dates. There were a few others with whom I only had one date. Nice, but not for me. And as much as I intended to keep things casual, I didn't feel right leading them on as if there was a future in the relationship. I also felt weird about juggling multiple dates, to be honest. Some women may enjoy that, and I'll admit that for a very brief time it was very flattering to have several men interested in me, but it's not for me.

So much for being a "playa". (Heh.)

I still didn't expect more than some confidence-boosting, companionable, casual dating. Little did I know that God had something else in mind.

MTL was one of the men I'd sent an icebreaker to. I thought he was cute and I very much liked what he said in his profile. He seemed to have a good sense of humor and be very "real", if that makes sense. He ended up responding a day or two later (more on that in Part II), we sent messages back and forth for a bit on the site, and then we exchanged email addresses. And we continued to communicate quite heavily. Lots of back-and-forth short messages. Our senses of humor clicked really well. We're both snarky and sarcastic, and we discovered that we "got" each other's humor even through email, which can be tricky.

Then we exchanged phone numbers, though we started out just texting. I found that he had a quick mind and sense of humor, and he wasn't so nicey-nice like Scott. How do I explain this? Scott was the kind of person where if I said something snarky about having a bad day or whatever, he'd be all super-comforting instead of being snarky back--which is what I want and need. MTL, on the other hand, gave back as good as I gave him. He was making me laugh, and I hadn't even talked to him directly yet.

I remember the first time I texted him, I was getting a mani-pedi. I wrote him that I was sitting in a massage chair getting my feet rubbed--so sad that he wasn't out of work yet. He retorted that some people have to actually work for a living.

And then we talked about science fiction.

(Fate, I'm telling you.)

The next day I started my solitary road trip to visit my dear friend DraftQueen and my sister in the Boston area. That night, February 12th, I had my first direct phone conversation with MTL. He even kicked his kids out of the house so he could have some privacy. Two days later, on Valentine's Day, I texted him Happy Birthday and he texted me with Not sure if this is inappropriate or not, but I don't care. Happy Valentine's Day!

I saved the text. I still have it.

(I told you. SAP.)

And five days later we went on our first official date.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I wrote this one after driving west into a sunset too beautiful for words. But I tried anyway. This is the last of the nature posts from that assignment. Maybe next time I'll try to get out in nature itself a little more. You know, like in spring.


The sky is orange tonight--such an insufficient word for that blazing color, "orange." So pedestrian and ugly, reminiscent of Halloween and pumpkins. This is no autumnal orange of squash and spice and spectral eyes. This is a blaze of color that sweeps across the west, vivid and breathtaking against the deep leaden grey of what is not touched by sun. It shades to a pink that once again surpasses the childishness of the word, and finally edges into a reddened purple that blazes one final moment. And then grey. All is grey and shades of grey, swirled across a sky that speaks of coming snow.

Gone in a moment, dipped too far below the edge of the world for light to reach the visible sky.

We speak of the sun dying on the horizon, traces of long-ago belief that the sun died each night, only to be reborn each dawn. Eaten by wolves, birthed by goddesses. Death in glory, birth in triumph.

Such beauty, this dying. The sun's death is painted by a Master hand, shapes and pigments no human agency could imitate. This is not the glory of violence, going down in a blaze of glory in some cliche rock n roll sense, but the blaze of a life well lived, beauty spread and love given and warmth shared, until the reflection of this life is as glorious as the one who lived.

I hear of such deaths. I think perhaps my aunt's was such a one, as hard and painful and horrific as it was from one point of view. But the reflection of her life--and even of her death, the going of it and her hope and faith amidst pain and knowledge that nothing more could be done, the leaving of her husband and young children--the reflection shone on all who knew her.

Painted by a Master's hand.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

ice maiden

Sometimes? It's just too damn cold.


i am
clenched hands
slow feet
chattering teeth
held together by strings of yarn
wrapped and wound in knots and knits
shuffling in mimeodance through
small scale
still drifts and drifted by wind
cutting cross cheeks and chin
dwarfed in immensity
stars icechips in frozen sky
moon a slice of lemon pie
did i rhyme
the chill must be affecting my brain
tears sting my lashes
if they freeze
will i become the ice maiden
crystallized in hoar frost white
bound to earth in winters grasp
and when they come searching
will the warmth of my beloveds arms
free me again
or will they chip me away
mount me on a pedestal
display me in climate controlled conditions
for all to see
and ooh
and aah
over ice made flesh
or was that flesh made ice
the one made the other
i cannot recall
or was that forecall

i am too close to nature tonight
for i cannot tell
where winter leaves off
and i begin

Monday, February 7, 2011

Well Played, Mr. Kindergarten Teacher. Well Played.

A few days ago I posted the following on Facebook:
OK. I seriously do NOT enjoy helping with kindergarten homework. I'm probably going to some parenting hell, but omg.
There were various snarky responses, including MTL's about those darn pesky teachers and their assignments, and Heidi's about it being a Judgment From On High. We all had a hearty laugh, DramaBoy's homework finally got done, and I moved on.

Today, when I retrieved the mail, there was an envelope from DramaBoy's school waiting for me. I opened it with some trepidation, as recent contact from his school has been along the lines of Your son is hitting other children and not listening and you must be a horrible parent with no control over him. Okay, fine, I added the last bit, but you get the point.

Imagine my shock when instead I found a Valentine letter from my five-year-old son, obviously composed (and spelled) all by his own self:
Der Mom

I hop you hav a grat day thak you for all the presis You r the best mom and you r the best mom in th hol intuir wrld

love [DramaBoy]

Dang it. Just when you're ready to toss in the towel, they go and do something cuter than hell.

Guess this means I better keep helping him with that homework.

Especially the spelling.

(Anyone else have a guess on what "presis" means? Presents perhaps??? Because I'm pretty sure he's not thanking me for a misspelled summary of an argument. Even if we've had a few recently.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


This is how I generally feel when I'm outside these days. I'm such a wimp.


snow frosts the branches in icing swirls
candy coating chocolate bark
my mouth waters
instantly freezing and i wince

i am weaker than i thought
thin skin and thinner blood
knives of air lancing my lungs
i shudder

my days of youth were spent in tropic sun
warm torrential rains or
my lungs sliced by dry heat instead
fifteen years ago and still

i find the gingerbread images before me
tastier to see than feel
struggling to find beauty in all my senses
defeated by the cold

i shrug and wonder
perhaps my lesson today
is my weakness in the icy face
of winter's austere strength

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowpocalypse No

Yesterday was a snow day, a snow day called the day before, something never done in the ten years I've taught in this district. (I think I may be growing fond of this new superintendent.) The weather portents were doom and gloom. Feet of snow. Sheets of ice. Plummeting temperatures. Winter storm to reach historic proportions! trumpeted every media outlet across the nation. Radar maps showed swirling masses of alarming reds and purples and blues.

So everything shut down.

The storm did not get truly underway until close to eleven Tuesday night, when MTL and I realized that what had been a delicate haze had turned into violent snow-delineated tempest. We snuggled more deeply under the blankets, chuckled evilly at the thought of our devil-cat banished to the garage for her crimes and misdemeanors, and fell asleep.

We woke to a world covered in white, but not nearly to the depth predicted. Sure, if we'd been facing the other direction, we would have had to shovel through three foot drifts against our door, but they had plowed. The children were still sound asleep, so we sneaked out to "test the roads" and get some breakfast at the new coney island up the street.

My Saturn Vue could make it out. MTL's car, not so much. Snowy? Definitely. Deep drifts? Oh yeah. Impassible roads? Not so much. The two snow days we had a month ago had far more treacherous surfaces than this one, with ice covering the roads and salt proving utterly useless. A snow day yesterday made sense purely because of all the back roads in the district. But snowpocalyse? Holofrost? Snowmageddon?

Not so much.

But I'm not complaining. The kids had fun lazing about (well, other than DramaBoy, who was grounded, but that's another story). A crockpot full of glorious beef stew tantalized our noses all day and filled our tummies that night. And as for me and MTL...

Well. There's a distinct advantage to having The Padawan and DorkMaster B in the house. MTL and I not only were able to get ourselves a delicious breakfast, we sneaked out again around noon to see a matinee of True Grit (which was excellent, by the way.) Because neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these theaters from the generous offerings of their appointed films. Then we went home and joined the kids in lazing about. I even crawled onto MTL's lap and napped for a while, head on his shoulder, his arms holding me tight, a blanket over both of us. Have I mentioned lately how much I love that man?

(No really. On his lap. Disgustingly mushy, isn't it? I know.)

We're back to work today. Reality has returned. I hear there's some big sports event on TV on Sunday, but I think we might be back at the movie theater, brood in tow, watching Tangled instead. We're awesome like that.

As for the storm--it may not have reached snowpocalyptic proportions, but I sure did love having the day off. Bring it on, Old Man Winter!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I get downright philosophical at times. Thoreau would be proud. Well, except he'd be actually out there in the snow, but whatever. He didn't live as simply as he liked to say he did, anyhow, the faker.


They come out of nowhere, tripping their nearly silent way from west to east across the frozen bracken, surefooted on the snow blanketing marshland ice. Three of them, one after another, delicate heads sloping from alerted ears, soft eyes flicking to where I stand, motionless, held in the magic of this moment.

I knew there were deer here: months ago we watched a doe nibble on the autumn foliage at the edge of this wetland pocketed between our house and those across the road. We watched her and marveled and thought perhaps a salt lick might lure more of them to the same place.

These doe are not here for salt, but they have wandered across backyards and through the trees and across the roads to wind up here, heads poised and alert to sense danger and trigger flight.

Ironic, really, that it is here in the midst of concrete and complexes where they face the dangers of engine-hearted monsters and sometimes poisoned ground that they also find safety. No hunting here, even when in season.

They have adapted, really, as have so many other creatures of wood and field. They have learned that even in the lands of human twisting there are places of refuge, safety, and food. The marshlands are such, protected by practicality as well as jurisprudence from the depredations of developers. No doubt they have learned that humans grow food in small plots as well as large. My friend Jim curses creatures such as these, nature's thieves who strip his garden despite fences.

I remember a nighttime walk a lifetime ago, it seems, when I was young and in angst and wandering the complex where I lived with--oh, I don't even remember which college roommate any longer, and I came across a fat raccoon raiding the garbage dump. They're the ones perhaps best adapted to this suburban life--well, other than the truly domesticated animals like dogs and cats, and the so-called vermin like mice and rats and cockroaches. We are less alone than we like to think, we high and mighty humans.

I sat upon the fence some fifteen feet away and watched him. He sat and watched me back, this furry bandit poised on corrugated metal, a piece of (to a raccoon) mouthwatering delicacy clutched in clever hands. After some time, he decided I wasn't planning on interfering with his feast, and he returned to rummaging and munching, sorting and tasting. He seemed almost human, working there, those amazing paws more like hands in their agility and sensitivity. A rotund little drifter, salvaging treasure from wealthier men's leavings.

We do that, you know. We humans. We cast the guise of humanity over all we see, seeing ourselves in the creatures inhabiting the world around us. What if it is more properly the reverse? We are outnumbered, after all. It makes more logical sense that we take on the attributes of those we see in nature, picking this and that, imitating family function and social construct and interpersonal (ah, but there is that word person there) relationship.

Or, perhaps, we all hold elements of each other in ourselves. We are born of one world, one earth, one all-encompassing macrocosm that contains all the millions and billions of microcosms like atoms and molecules and compounds summing up the whole of one being...

My nose is running slightly in the cold, and I sniff quietly. The largest doe's ears flicker again, and slowly all three move through the clearing, enter the brush on the far side, and vanish from my sight.
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