Happy Oaks Day!

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If you like in or around Louisville, Kentucky, you know what Oaks Day is. The rest of the world doesn’t care. The Kentucky Derby has grown over the years from one day to two days, to a week, to the current two-week Festival it is now. If you live here you embrace it or endure it – there’s no in-between. Major streets are closed for multiple events, so you have to remember when the mini-Marathon (and full marathon) is run, which day is Parade Day, and don’t go near Churchill Downs unless that’s your final destination. Oh, and if you have to work on the morning of the balloon race go before dawn. Otherwise you just might end up in a traffic pile-up that lasts for hours. I did almost have a hot air balloon land on my car once. But we were chasing the balloons, so that was OK. Don’t make doctor’s appointments, schedule tests or surgeries, or even try to get prescriptions filled. Stock up at the grocery and hunker down to ride out the storm.

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 I’ll be spending Derby Weekend binge-watching Netflix and some TV episodes I’ve DVRd. I loved the first season of Scandal, but the second season is irritating me to no end. I didn’t take a single political science class in college, but even I know the First Lady can’t run for political office while her husband is President. Duh! Are the writers stupid, or do they just assume the viewing public is?

— 3 —

I got a haircut for the first time in about a year, and it feels so wonderful! She had to take off about two inches just to get rid of the damage. And then my wonderful husband bought me a wet brush, and de-tangling this curly mop of mine is a breeze. I have no idea what makes the brush special – it looks like an ordinary hairbrush. But I can de-tangle my hair after a shower in half the time. Seriously.

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I’m always way late to the party, so I have on my first sample of Jamberry nails. They are so stinkin’ cute! And they remind me not to nibble on my nails when stressed.

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At the State Foreign Language Festival last weekend the top three places in Japanese all went to Eastern High School students! John took second with his “film noir” – huge thank-yous to his friends who did all the acting! (Don’t know if this will actually show the film, but it’s the best I can do with John not home!)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rr7v9ht04v6gd9s/%E4%B8%8A%E6%B5%B7%E3%82%AB%E3%83%A9%E3%83%8E%E9%A6%AC%E3%83%93%E3%83%87%E3%82%AA.wmv?dl=0

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I thought I might be inspired to do a bit of re-decorating (or at least some cleaning) after watching a few episodes of a show from the DIY channel. Unfortunately, Holmes Inspection convinced me that we probably have mold, termites, asbestos, lead paint, and a faulty foundation in addition to our electrical and plumbing issues. So I’ll just leave everything as-is. The dirt’s probably what’s holding the whole thing up, anyhow!

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Lastly, I’d like to ask for prayers for a wonderful family who lost someone suddenly this week. She was a much-beloved daughter, sister, mother, and aunt who was taken long before her time. Please join me in praying for strength and peace for her family – I’d truly appreciate it.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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That Time I Babysat

I love babies. I love toddlers. I pretty much love all children unless they’re going through one of those sullen, mouthy stages. Both of my boys skipped that stage because they already knew they wanted to live to adulthood.  Well, I got an opportunity the other day to babysit for my friend’s grandson, little Anthony Davis. That’s not his real name, but that what my friend, a huge UK fan, wanted her daughter to name him, so we’ll go with that. Anthony Davis is at what I personally consider the perfect age. He can sit up, but not for long. And he can’t get around by himself. It’s a very brief, magical age, and I remember actually being able to take Aaron to the pool once during that stage. I think John skipped it entirely.

Anyway, Anthony Davis’s momma, who I also consider a good friend even though I’ve watched her grow up, had left me neatly written, precise instructions on what to do when as far as bottles and food and so forth. I must admit I was a bit relieved when she produced actual mushy baby food from the fridge. They were pears and peas, so she may well have mushed them herself, but that’s beside the point. I think this whole baby-lead weaning trend is fabulous, but not for a babysitter. I didn’t want to open the fridge and wonder what the little fella would like to try that evening. The closest I ever tried to baby-led weaning was when I was busy and cut up a banana and put it on Aaron’s highchair. He promptly put it all in his hair. I have a picture to prove it.

So we did great with the meal portion of the evening. There are some other aspects in which I may have fallen a bit short. This, for instance:
bottle warmer
This is a device into which you pour a measured amount of water, then pop in a refrigerated bottle of breast milk, and push a button. It heats the milk to the proper temperature. Kinda like when we used to put them in a big cup of hot tap water, only more alarming. Because it spews steam like a volcano about to erupt. And when I pulled it out it was really hot at the bottom, causing me to swear, the baby to cry, and the dog (have I mentioned the dog) to squeak his Aflack duck in disgust at my pitiful babysitting skills.
duck
I was later to find, however, that the dog (who absolutely loves little Anthony Davis and could probably babysit on his own if he had opposable thumbs) just really likes that toy. And wanted me to throw if for him while the bottle was heating. Lesson learned. I was excessively proud of myself when I got multiple burps up (there’s a secret Ballard family technique I’m not allowed to share) and when I realized that disposable diapers haven’t really changed at all. That was quite a relief!

Actually, the only real scare of the evening was when I thought the house was haunted and they hadn’t told me. We were all three lounging on the floor, having a great time, when a heard a sinister voice in my ear say, “I love you, Anthony Davis.” Holy hell! My first response was anger, because I truly would not mind babysitting in a haunted house, but be up front with me about it, m’kay? Then I found this green dog-bear sort of thing with symbols on its paws. They were not Satanic. In fact, I recognized one as the on/off button on my computer. One of his ears said Leap-something, and that’s when I knew it was one of those “learning toys” designed to drive parents bonkers. He sat in the corner the rest of the night.

I did have a frustrating few minutes trying to get the swing to work (the controls were hidden under a blankie and are more complicated than my car’s dashboard)
swing
But once I found them and got it set to slow-rock and play a medley of night sounds Anthony Davis was quite happy. I have to admit I was a little jealous. Yes, I have a Sleep Number bed, but it doesn’t rock me or play soothing night sounds. And about the time Anthony Davis went down the dog decided it was his turn for some attention. And me not responding promptly was not an option, as I soon found out when he decided my toes were chew toys. I’ll be prepared for that next time, so little Anthony Davis doesn’t learn any new vocabulary words! But let me tell you – any time you’re feeling stressed go borrow a baby. There is simply no substitute for that smell, that warm weight in your arms, those gorgeous rolls of fat and super-long eyelashes. It gets me every time.

And if you have a little one don’t hesitate to ask for help. If your kids are good people will stand in line to spend time with them. If they’re not . . . hang in there. I couldn’t get anyone to watch John, either, and he’s turned out wonderfully!

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The Statue of Liberty Isn’t That Big

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I didn’t do this last week, so you get a full two weeks’ worth today! John went on his band’s trip to New York (thanks to all those who helped financially – he’s still working on his notes and calls) and had a great time. But I have no pictures. Why? Because, as he put it, “Everything we saw you can look up on Google.” I admitted that yes, that was the case, but I wanted pictures of him and his friends at those places. “Then Photoshop us in,” he replied. He’s still alive . . . for now.

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 I did get to FaceTime with him once, from the base of the Statue of Liberty, which he said really wasn’t that big. Why both of my sons insist on Facetiming with me when I look like the wrath of God I don’t understand. A man invented FaceTime, I guarantee it.

— 3 —

The buses they took there and back had wifi, so all the teens wouldn’t get twitchy. One parent was complaining rather extravagantly about how bad it was to be on the “drumline bus”, how he was going to “add to his stick collection”, and so on. I let it go for a while, then I posted.

Angie Ballard I married a Waggener HS snare drummer; gave birth to a Ballard HS bass, snare, quad drummer and Morehead quad drummer, and my youngest is on that bus, tapping on something. Every surface in our house is tapped on regularly, including the dogs (they like tummy triplets). Drumming sounds like home to me, and I love it when the drumline comes over! If my spinal column could take the trip I would be THRILLED to take your place on the “drumline bus” Jim Daniel.

I got three Likes and he didn’t post any more complaints.

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It’s been raining here for two weeks straight. Roads are washed out, homes and businesses are flooded. But my neighbor is still mowing his grass every other day. He mowed one day through a downpour. He did go inside when it started to hail, though. It’s gonna be a long summer.

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I went out to dinner with friends the other day at KT’s. In case anyone else in Louisville didn’t know, they have been bought out and will be shutting down and turning into a steak place in early May. The menu has already changed, but it’s still good. Go while you can.

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I want to draw attention to my friend Kerri’s recent posts on Obstinate Hope. We’re supposed to be sharing blogging duties, but she’s obviously carrying me. Her Easter post is wonderful, but her Velveteen Rabbit post put into words things I’ve felt for a long time, but couldn’t pin down. She’s a marvelous writer – truly blessed!

— 7 —

Gotta go now – I get to go babysit!! I hate that it takes a friend of mine getting sick for me to get some baby snuggles, but I’ll take them whenever I can get them!!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!