September 29, 2010

Waiting for the worms.

Yes, I have decided to go with Pink Floyd song titles for awhile.  For no reason other than I have been in a Floyd mood for awhile and I am bored with this blog.  If I want to get goofy on you, as is my wont, there is no one to stop me..  One of the many joys of not having an editor, I suppose.

I have a few posts about children's books coming up but I wanted to mention this one, in particular - an adorable book The Other Kelli recommended:

Official Description: 
"Do Witches Make Fishes?" is the moral tale of a young boy who favors candy over his mother's outlandish but healthy dishes. When faced with an ultimatum from his mother, the boy has to make a difficult choice. What ensues is a series of extraordinary and fantastical events that will take the reader on a magical journey through the imagination of a child.

The Other Kelli mentioned "Do Witches Make Fishes?" by Jason Mayo and the fact the author is donating all profits to charity. It appears to be self-published for which I am a sucker (Dude, I totally heart the self-published.) Furthermore, I am always on the hunt for unusual children's books and as such, I willingly forked over my credit card info.  Did I mention the "for charity" part?  The book arrived just a few days later, we ripped it open and I proceeded to read it 3x in a row.  Gentle Reader, there would have been a 4th run-through, but I called "Uncle".  In short, Team Chaos LOVES this book.

The story is in verse and is quite catchy - gummy worms, chocolate yarn, ahoy!  I perform the witch's voice as well, which tickles Team Chaos.  I am not a huge fan of the illustration or color palette but no matter, this book is so much fun to read.  And that?  Is my  #1 criterion for whether a children's book gets to live in permanent residence in our house.  If I loathe reading a book?  It becomes something we get from the library.  This is not really a Halloween book (I have a post planned on that topic for next week!) but why not splurge on a witch-themed book anyway? 

The other book on my top shelf these days?

"Room" by Emma Donoghue!

Official Description: 
In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma. But Jack is different in a big way--he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick. For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son. When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary. Despite its profoundly disturbing premise, Emma Donoghue's Room is rife with moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate circumstances. A stunning and original novel of survival in captivity, readers who enter Room will leave staggered, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time.

Many, many thanks to Jennifer from The Mind of ~fer for alerting me to this book!  I picked this up yesterday and was immediately sucked in.  I am now anxiously awaiting my brief 1.5 hour window in the school schedule today where I hunker down at Starbucks with my iced green tea lemonade.  Jennifer Weiner has also written about this book and has a nice Q&A with the author (speaking of Weiner, she also has a nice piece about "professional" disdain for popular fiction, as well.)

What you are reading these days that is totally knocking your socks off??

September 28, 2010

Empy Spaces.

I did not intend to take a break from my virtual life but I have been feeling out of sorts with social media as of late.  And I had to question whether I was spending too much time talking about life, rather than actually participating in it.

It did not help that last week, a friend mentioned something funny that I had quoted from the ever venerable Anjali.  What hurt, is that I could not remember the quote.  Something adorable my kid had said was planted in that virtual ephemera known as Twitter - to be lost forever in the Blue Nowhere.  So, now I am plugging through my old pages on Twitter and writing some things from it into the journal I have for the kids. With a pen!  On paper! No,  I am not knocking Twitter, it is so very convenient to just grab my phone and jab my thumbs frantically then, Boom! Moment is shared.  I realize that I need to be more conscientious in recording that stuff here for Team Chaos. Yes, I do see this blog as something I hope my kids can read someday.  Me with all my flaws and filthy mouth, yes.

And I hope the fact that they have made my every dream come true shines resolute over all my ranting.


We are still easing into this new routine of two different school schedules.  I really, really enjoy having some alone time with each kid individually - it is completely worth the complete lack of free time.  And yes, I am just as shocked as you are to be typing that sentence with heartfelt sincerity.  I was truly worried about losing those few free hours from the days of yore when they were in school at the same time.  However, I see now how I was not only viewing them as a unit, but also I see how into each other they are.  When they are together, they often are into their routines, games, even vernacular (seriously, sometimes I have NO CLUE what they are giggling over.) Now, without Anjali around, Arun notices me and talks to me.  Vice versa.  Hey, there's MAMA.  Whoa.

When we pick Arun up at school, Anjali rushes into the room and they both exclaim "Arun! Anju!" and then rush to hug each other.  Four weeks into this and they are still doing it.  All they need is a meadow with fluttering butterflies, folks.   Soon enough, Arun will discover that hugging one's sister in public is not a smooth move from a future cool kindergartner, so I cherish these fleeting displays of public affection while I can.

In other news, we are doing a full-on Halloween party.  Which means that our cave currently disguised as a "finished basement" must be decorated.  Also, Arun still wants to be Bowser for Halloween.  No, not Bowser from Grease, but rather, King Bowser Koopa from Super Mario Brothers.  And Anjali wants to be a scary, one-armed Princess Peach.

I cannot sew, folks.  So, off to Hobby Lobby for glue sticks we shall go.

The original Rainbow Shirt.
Why, yes, I expose my kids to my favorite band of all time (today's subject title was inspired by them, as well). Indoctrination into Pink Floyd must begin early for it to take an effective hold on a child's eternal soul and to provide full protection from the likes of Glenn Bleck and his magic scepter (cleverly disguised as a a grimy stick of chalk.)

Pink Floyd, Libertarians in disguise.

September 19, 2010

If your name is "Caroline", this post is for you.
Otherwise, you may want to go elsewhere.

Anjali:  "Mama, I can only do one thing at a time.  I have only three hands.  THREE hands, Mama."

Updated: I did not include any HBO shows since I know that Caroline does not do HBO. However, in our house, we pretty much give anything HBO offers a try.  Even the worst HBO show is often better than what is going on network TV.  That said, I am beyond excited for Boardwalk Empire!

Updated Yet Again: There is NO way I was keeping all of these shows on my DVR -  I went ahead and updated with the folks who got deleted.  Updates are in Blue, which is how the effing networks should feel after this incredibly lame fall season.  Also, to answer the question "How in the hell do you watch so much TV, Kelli?", the estimable Miss Zoot wrote a post that sums it up.  In short, I don't watch things live, EVER.  And I forward through things that bore me - such as the live action gun fight scenes with Hawaii-5-0 or the silly recaps in shows like House Hunters International.

In the past, I have sometimes written posts about the new shows airing in the fall.  This stemmed from a long tradition whereby I color-code and highlight and tickmark and footnote a TV schedule each August as I prepare my TV viewing schedule.  This came from a time when I had only one VCR and a hectic work schedule.  It then got complicated by a 2nd VCR, then later by a VCR/Tivo combination coupled with a crazy travel situation and eventually it settled into a sweet situation with a quad-tuner DVR.

TV is important, folks.

No?  Whatever, I still have fun doing it. 

A few weeks ago, my friend Caroline requested that I write a post for this fall and who am I to deny Caroline?

I read the reviews from Zap2It, Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg (both of HitFix, my favorite site for TV recaps), Mo Ryan,  and TV Guide in coming to my decisions.  When I say something gets a "3 Week Shot", it means it will get my 3 episode minimum before I make a decision, otherwise I will just check out the pilot before setting up a season pass.  You see, pilots often generally suck, 2nd episodes usually recap to catch up the audience and the 3rd episode is when the show usually "begins" for real and gets into a groove.

Obviously, I am no sort of professional reviewer and certainly, I have not seen any screeners of these pilots.  I base my little chart from the other reviews and try to garner a consensus.  I am also anal-retentive with slight OCD overtures to my personality.  You think?

Overall, this year's new shows really seemed mediocre - nothing stood out as anyone's favorite and no one seemed excited about anything in particular, except for FX's Terriers and FOX's Lone Star.  I should also note that probably half of these shows will be cut by 3rd week.  There is no way I can keep up with all of these new shows, in addition to our regular line-up.

Anyway - Caroline, this post is for you.  Literally.

  • Lonestar (FOX) Hands down, this got good reviews and was listed by Alan as one of his two favorite new shows. Definitely gets a 3 Week Shot. Updated:  Eek!  I really liked this show, but it is already getting rumors of cancellation.  I am going to cheat, let it build up on the DVR before watching any longer.  God, I HATE watching a show, getting 5 episodes in only to have it get axed.
  • The Event (NBC) Blair Underwood, Jason Ritter?  I am there.  This show got mixed reviews and did not have a strong pilot.  However, I am still bitter about the cancellations of Dirty Sexy Money and Joan of Arcadia - as such, faithful to Underwood and Ritter, I shall remain. It gets a 3 Week Shot. Updated:  I really like this show.  I am not quite confident that the writers are going to pull this all together and I fear we will all be disappointed.  However, this show is compelling and has a GREAT cast.  I am probably in for the long-haul.
  • Mike & Molly (CBS) An unconventional sitcom, the main characters are overweight.  Light comedy that nearly all the reviewers said had potential if the writers quit relying on the typical fat jokes.  I am going to check out the pilot first. Updated:  I like the scenes with Mike and Molly.  I like the scenes with Molly and her family.  I HATE the scenes with Mike and his cop partner.  I will keep watching for awhile, the gal who plays Molly is actually quite funny.  Hopefully, the writers will get a little more clever with their 2-bit jokes, though.
  • Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)  My grandpa worked on the original series, I just HAVE to watch the remake (which Grandpa would have definitely grumbled about.)  It sounds like a cheesecake show, but a fun one so I will check out the pilot first. Updated:  Beautiful scenery - good casting - poor dialogue - silly plots - great action sequences - big budget.  I am pretty torn on this show - it is really weak in terms of storylines, but I like the cast.  I will stick with it for a little while longer.

  • Raising Hope (FOX) I am a Martha Plimpton fan - however, this show is getting mixed reviews.  Will try one episode but I am not hopeful. Updated:  What a surprise!  I actually liked this show and laughed throughout.  It stays. If you like low-brow humor, this show is for you.  Martha Plimpton makes this show for me.
  • Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC) Again, mixed reviews, but I am a HUGE Michael Imperioli fan, so this will get a 3 Week Shot. Updated:  I really wanted to like this show and feebly defended it to my husband as we watched.  However, it just didn't deliver.
  • No Ordinary Family (ABC)  A family that acquires superhero powers.  It is getting mixed reviews, but seems to have potential.  I'll give this a 3 Week Shot. Casting the likes of Michael Chiklis is a plus. Updated: This show really fell flat for me and was simply not compelling.

  • Terriers (FX) Two episodes have already aired, and  OMG OMG O!M!G!, I freaking LOVE this show. This was the other show that Sepinwall listed as one of his two favorites. Folks,  IT IS NOT ABOUT DOGS - it is about a duo of wayward private investigators, one of whom was a former cop and yes, oh yes, some of the formula is the same, but the parts that are NOT typical make this show worth it.  It is NOT too late to jump on the bandwagon.  Seriously, watch this show!  True Blood fans get a bonus casting of Michael Raymond-James, the guy who played Rene. Updated:  OH MY GOD.  I love this show - hands down my 2nd favorite new show (the 1st being Boardwalk Empire)
  • The Whole Truth (ABC) I love Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow.  Will give this a 3 Week Shot, even though the reviews are mixed. Updated: I quickly grew tired of new TV and after all of the bummer reviews this got, I jumped ship before viewing.

  • Nikita (CW) Another show that has already aired two episodes.  This show did not get bad reviews, but everyone said they were weary of the Nikita "formula".  Well, guess what?  I did not see the original movie, nor the TV show Nikita, nor Alias nor Dollhouse.  So, this show works for me and I like it.  Again, it is not too late to jump on the wagon for this show - it is only 2 episodes in. Updated:  I am still loving this show.  Great casting, fun sets.  The writing is not superb or overly clever, but it is a fun, cheesecake show.

  • Blue Bloods (CBS)  Good casting with Tom Selleck, Bridgit Moynahan and Donnie Wahlberg (who was in the awesomely incredible Boomtown which got effing CANCELED which still makes me sad and yes, I harbor odd loyalties). Also, this show got solid (if not stellar) reviews.  It will get a 3 Week Shot. Updated:

In short, the shows that I am most excited about are Terriors (duh!), Nikita, Hawaii Five-O, Lone Star, Detroit 1-8-7 and The Event

What do you folks think?  What are you most excited about this fall?  And don't tell me that TV is not important.  I might have to cut you.  Or block your IP.   Your choice.

September 14, 2010

'Tis a flesh wound. No, really!

I am faithful about doctor and dentist appointments.  I do my checkups when they are supposed to be done and I do not put them off.  Ever.  Where I fail spectacularly is when I actually feel terrible.  I am not going to link to all of my past episodes of Medical D'oh!, but you can rest assured they are documented well.

This last round began just around Labor Day - it involves chest pains and shortness of breath.  Since I am still able to exercise and can even run a mile non-stop, I was fairly certain that I was not going to have a heart attack.  And since I am typing these very words, it seems I am still kicking (and screaming.)

I am 39 and am at the age where nearly every week involves some new ache or pain.  If I ran to the doctor at every sign of impending physical doom, I would be there at least monthly.  So, when I feel terrible, I put off the appointment as long as possible in suspended belief that I will just magically get better.

Damn it, am I the only one who plays Medical Martyr on this crap?  Am I the only one who puts off the doctor when they are sick?

Anyway, I finally broke down and called uncle -- I had my appointment today and my EKG came out okay (See!  I was right.)  We still do not know what is wrong, it still feels as if a rock is on my chest,  I am still short of breath.  But my ticker works fine, apparently.  And I am now the proud owner of a bottle of Alleve, which seems as useful as chomping down a bottle of Tic Tacs.  Something does not feel right, but I have to go through the motions and hope for the best.   This will probably be the last I mention of this and in the case of my demise, my friend Celeste has been named as my virtual next-of-kin, so you would hearing from her anyway.  Either way, you can breathe easy that you will not be subjected to any more of my adventures in real and imagined hypochondria.

In the meantime, I am going to throw out some snappage to lighten things up. At this point, I am tired of myself.

1st Day of School
I drop Anjali off at 10am, then go back to drop Arun off at 12:30pm, then go back to pick up Anjali at 2:00pm, then go back to pick Arun at 3:00pm.  I need a nap just after typing that hot mess of a schedule.

The Hazards of Co-Sleeping.
I fear one of those Kai-lan dolls is going to strangle me in my sleep.  Ni-hao, indeed.

Marching Band in Front of the House, yo.
A nearby junior high marches on my street every year to practice for the Old Settler's parade.  This is the 6th year for us in this house and I still never tire of it. 

It is not an Old Settler's parade in Kansas without a motorcycle-drawn hearse.

Or, a toilet on top of a truck.

Or, a human hamster-ball thingie.

Or, a church group totally rocking out to Jesus.
After all, Jesus was the Original Hippie.

Or, a Candy Catastrophe
The bottom dropped out of their bag and all hell broke looseI was too busy laughing and lunging for my camera to help because I bear the title of Mommyblogger WITH PRIDE.

September 8, 2010

I think I have this "review blog" thing down wrong.
Or, the one where I endorse things for free.

FTC Disclosure: I paid for these things, Gentle Reader.  Oh yes, I paid for these on the Internet, then waited anxiously by my mailbox (in rain and snow!), then dragged them into the house like the grunting cavegirl I am, then mixed them up with things we already owned so that my husband would never suspect that our dwindling bank account is due to my secret shopping addiction.  He thinks they showed up for free.  But I will show him, Gentle Reader.  Now won't I?

Last year, I purchased a really nice coffee pot. Specifically, the Cuisinart DCC-1200 12-Cup Brew Central Coffeemaker. I love this coffee pot, I want to marry it, but since that is illegal (legislation pending!), we must live in sin, making sweet, caffeinated love on my kitchen counter (only morning sex, folks - otherwise I cannot sleep at night.)  The thing about this coffee pot is that I see it everywhere on TV - on the set of Two and Half Men, various sitcoms, home design shows and just yesterday while I was at the gym, I spied it on the set of Days of Our Lives.  So, in short, those bastards at Cuisinart have given this really nice coffee pot to everyone else except me.

For the past few months, we have really enjoyed BBC Planet Earth and when I saw the Life set, I snuck that into the house.  Specifically,  I ordered the one narrated by David Attenborough because while Oprah may be the Girlfriend of All of Us, I did not care to hear her narrate the rutting of sea dragons.  Yes, yes.  There is much animal sex in this thing.  Beware or your own Precious Snowflake will be exposed to the horror that is "reproduction" and I am not talking storks.  So yes, we have gotten Manoj's our money's worth out of this.  I smile fondly as my children re-enact their favorite scenes - flopping like mudflippers, jumping around like sail fish and their favorite - the fight between the fringe-head fish and an octopus (they always argue over the parts played because they both want to be the fringe-head fish.  Ah, those little rascals.)  But the best part of this series is the dramatic musical score.  Even for the episode regarding plants.  Yes, Gentle Reader, grab your box of tissues and watch the brave little water lily push, push, push its way out of the water all set to a a swelling soundtrack that will totally screw up your pacemaker.  And brace yourself!  Will the wee orphaned stalk of wheat survive in harsh conditions after its parents were ruthlessly mowed down by a roving gang of livestock?  The drama, folks.  It needed a soundtrack.

Last week, the lovely anathematized pariah known as "Anna Viehle" linked to the A+R Dinobox and commanded that Ye Shall Go Forth and Consume.  So, I blindly meandered over to the A+R site and bought the damned thing.  Hey, what can I say?  I am zombie sheep, hear me bleat and moan.  Yes, this doodad is a little pricey, but I can report that we have already gotten hours of entertainment from it.  And in this house, Entertainment for Kids = House Hunters International for Mama.  Sold!  Besides, I love watching my kids channel their inner Charles Darwin while they let loose creating new species.  I also bought the Robobox for extra speculative evolutionary fun.  And I would be a lying liar who lies while lying if I did not confess that I perhaps, maybe, might have had been having a little fun with it myself.  No jury would convict me.

September 7, 2010


A few weeks ago,  I called a moratorium on Life and pulled in the reins.  When I do this, I try to clear out our schedule as much possible - we do a few planned activities such as our usual Friday playdate and seeing family, but that is about it.  I focus on exercising, spending time with the kids, catching up on my books and cooking meals from scratch.  I love having free days that only need to be filled at our whim.  Today is our last such day for awhile.

Tomorrow, Team Chaos heads back to school and the schedule this time around is disjointed.  Essentially, Anjali will go to pre-school in the mornings on Mondays and Wednesdays, whereas Arun will go to pre-K in the afternoons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The overlap is just a scant hour and a half which will leave pretty much no free time now.  Previously, their schedules matched, so this will be an adjustment. Overall, I am okay with a bit of running around, we live close to the school and when you have two kids of differing ages, this is simply how it works.  I am a little curious to see how they react to being separated like this - previously, their classes interacted and they even played together at recess.  Now?  Two days a week, they will go the entire day without seeing each other.


We have had a few good weeks, sans the death of Sofia (and the sea monkeys.  Dude.  I flushed them down the toilet which was a mistake because oh my god, do not kill your vat of sea monkeys the same week your tarantula dies because three year old girls do not like it.  I repeat, three year old girls do not like it.)

So the past few weeks have been busy as we attempted to cram as much fun as possible before the drone of Everyday Life drowns out all of the whimsy and swoops down on us like Dementors.

What have we done these past few weeks??

We have nurtured our babies -- "Water" the pink elephant, "Charlie" the black cat and "Liberty-Labor Day" the white polar bear.  Yes, that is the polar bear's name.  Do not try to talk her out of it, either.  Trust me, Gentle Reader.  Yes, she has a cast of thousands in baby dolls collecting dust in her room.  No, she does not play with them and prefers her animals.
Human babies are for weaklings, yo.

We went "hiking" at the Ernie Miller Nature Center.
I played Sherpa to their roles as Sir Edmund Hillary.

Later, we went digging for moles.
I doubt the moles were amused.

Taking a breather.  It is hard work supervising one's Sherpa. 

We went to our neighborhood park and made new friends.  Even Lucy, in the form of a puppy named Sophie.  A 4 month old Labrador puppy who was already twice the size of Lucy.  These new friends told us how awesome the Heritage Park Dog Park was, so a few evenings later we checked it out.  And just happened to run into our new friends there as well.  Bonus! We had never been to a dog park and I have to say it was a complete riot - like a Mommy and Me Playdate except all of the children are allowed, nay, encouraged to bite and sniff each others' butts. 

We went to the Deanna Rose Children's Farm.  We caught fish and this is where I should point out that not only was I hooking worms, I was sawing them in half with rocks. And then, the pièce de résistance of "recreational" fishing?  Pulling the hook out of the fish's mouth, then tossing it back into the water.  To be caught again. Gentle Reader, do I not deserve a medal of honor??  Or at least a margarita?
The best part of the day?  Arun made a new little friend and as they were happily playing together, Arun said "Hey, do you want to come over and meet my mama?"   The little boy agreed and Arun introduced me to his friend.  As in, Arun was PROUD to show me off.  

I may have gotten teary-eyed, but I'll cut you into ribbons if you tell anyone.


We went to an ice cream party where seriously, there were 10 different kinds of homemade ice cream - the hosts spent weeks making ice cream for this shindig.  I am not crazy about ice cream and I have to confess that I did not try any of it.  However, from the looks of folks using their spoons to make sweet, passionate love to their bowls  while Barry White blared in the background, I suspect that ice cream was pretty damned good.  It was a great party, one where the kids ran crazy together and the adults sat and had actual conversations because the kids were too busy entertaining each other.  It reminded me of the parties from my childhood, where the kids were not supervised much and still  managed to figure it out for themselves.  

One thing I noticed, though.  I was adamant with Manoj that we had to take something to this party - a side dish of some sort and a bottle of wine.  As such, we took a tray of fresh fruit and a bottle of wine despite Manoj's insistence that we need not bring anything.  It turned out, we were the only guests who brought anything.  Huh. This is a new social group to me, so I was just following my usual norms.  My group usually brings a little something to a party and it never occurred to me that other social groups do not. Is this just me and my social group?   Just curious, that is all - I merely thought it was interesting.

Anyway - that is it, folks.  Back to the grind of Life.

September 2, 2010

Jesus is totally the Don Draper of Death.

Sofia, our avicularia avicularia  (Common Pink Toe tarantula) died last week.  Yes, Gentle Reader, she skittered over the rainbow bridge and off to the great Pinned, Styrofoam Sheet in the sky.

About two months ago, I looked in her cage and my heart sank when I realized that she had molted, but had not shed her abdomen - normally, tarantulas shed their entire exoskeleton, fangs, mouth parts, sexual organs, stomach lining and book lungs.  The fact that she had not shed her abdomen was a bad, bad sign.  But still, I had hope - after all, Madison, our avicularia versicolor (Anitlles Pink Toe) spiderling has skipped shedding her abdomen, although I suspect the fact that Madison was just a tiny "sling" helped her survival.  Anyway! I had kept a close eye on Sofia since her molting, filling her bowl with water, offering her crickets.  I knew it was bad when she refused crickets.  I knew it was really bad when she went into a death curl.  When spiders die, they do not flip on to their backs (actually, they tend to do that when they are molting.)  Rather, spiders will hunker down low with their legs curled under their bodies.  And there Sofia was.  Hunkered down, legs curled.

And.  That was it.

Arun and Anjali were fairly dismayed.  In particular, Anju was very concerned that "Madison will miss her mama".  And as you would expect, they have been asking the usual questions about death - Arun went as far as to purport that "humans don't die, Mama."  And this, this, is where I give religion credit where it is due -- as the title of this post suggests,  Jesus is the Advertisement King when it comes to mortality.  Surely, nobody can sell Death like the Christians.

There are no slow-motion videos of Sofia and us frolicking in our yard with Kenny Rogers warbling "Through The Years" in the background.  There are no snaps of Sofia snuggled in bed with the kids.  There are no memories of laughter, wrestling or playing fetch.  But she was still a pet, of sorts, to us and we miss her.

I have always said that Sofia was like Cheech to the A. Avic set.  She was so very laid back - ALL of the other A Avics I have seen are very jumpy, nervous sorts.  Sofia?  Not so much.  When I would fill her water dish (an old milk jug cap), she would meander over to get a drink, but otherwise, she just hung out (huffing glue or smoking a bong, I swear). 

She would even allow us to pet her rump with little hesitation.

I think what surprised me the most is how often I looked to her cage to check in on her.  I was even caught off-guard at how teary-eyed I got when I pulled her from the cage and put her in the Ziploc bag.  And I certainly did not expect to be torn about giving her to a friend for her daughter's 3rd grade science project.

But it was the right decision - to put her out there, to show others how fascinating up close an animal that nobody loves can be.  Because of Sofia, I got over my squeamish stomach and tingling spine.  I became more open, more accepting of creepy crawlies, lizards, snakes - all of the animals that my son desperately adores. 

And now, I am just as captivated.