I stepped out of my home office to check on my four-year-old and Stiles playing in the living room. He was playing the role of a stuffed owl, and she was playing the role of Spongebob, I think. I’m not sure what the imaginary situation was but it involved several books displayed on the couch. Maybe some sort of museum? When they were talking in their characters, it sounded like they were in a different realm. I had to ask: “Are y’all in the spirit world?”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Our 4 year-old brought home a library book called I Love My Dad and, anticipating my reaction, promptly says to me, “I’m sorry, I can only bring home one book a week.”

(Next week if I Love My Mom doesn’t come home on library day I’m just going to play it cool, I tell myself.)

Tags: ,

We have a male cat named Cheese, one of two remaining cats in the family. Typically at the vet you register your pets with their given names and their humans’ last names. For example, our beagle was Saidee Hu. But instead of registering Cheese as “Cheese Hu-Stiles,” my husband Matty insisted registering him as “The Cheese.” This resulted in Cheese’s official file listing the cat as “CHEESE, THE.” That’s the only way you’ll find his records folder.

Tags: , , , , ,

Coming Fall 2012: Baby Hu-Stiles, A Wasian

The saying is "bun in the oven," but SkyMall offers this great hot dog bun TOASTER!

Yep. I’m slowly wrapping my brain around this situation.

The Chinese think it is highly auspicious to have a “dragon baby” — a child born in the Year of the Dragon. (Women in China are rushing to get fertility treatments because a dragon baby is apparently too lucky to be left to chance. Crazy, right?) The Wall Street Journal reports:

Being aligned with cosmic forces is important in Chinese culture. The year of the dragon is supposed to be particularly fortunate for babies, marriages and businesses. Those born as dragons are “the strongest, smartest and the luckiest—supposedly,” says Yibing Huang, a professor of Chinese literature and culture at Connecticut College.


Chinese often schedule important life events to take advantage of the luckiest times. A recent lunar year that spanned two springs spurred a spike in weddings. And even though births are trickier to plan, in 2000, the most recent year of the dragon, 202,000 more babies were born in Taiwan than a year earlier, according to the Taipei Times citing government statistics.

I was personally way less interested in a dragon baby due to my own zodiac sign: the dog. It is the sign that’s least compatible with the dragon, and I already have one dragon to contend with — my husband. Now, barring unforeseen events, I’ll have two dragons to go up against. Grrrrreat.

Observation: My going vodka-free has created cascading problems. But the fetus has been awesome to me. Wouldn’t have been able to enjoy Costa Rica, assorted work travel and/or all the SXSW magic — Jay Z, Radiohead, etc — while sick. Fetus is always game to party. “Of course it is,” Fiscus said. “It is YOUR baby. Even if it looks like Matty.”

Fave Reactions:

ME: My eggo is preggo.
REEVE: Holy shit.

ME: I’m pregnant.

ME: I’m knocked up dude.
JAY: Dude, you are going to be so huge.

ME: Yeah, so I’m pregnant.
MCKENNEY: That baby is going to come out with a vodka tonic in one hand and a hot dog in the other.

Tags: , , , , ,

Is There an ER for Mango Trees?

Healthy mango tree, circa summer 2010.

Three years ago, when my parents were still living in St. Louis and not The Hague, my dad ate a grocery store mango and planted the seed in the ground to see what would happen. Being the excellent stewards of life he is, of course my Dad’s seed sprouted a tiny tree.

In 2009, after my dad retired and moved across the Atlantic with Mom, he forced this tree upon Matty and me. We drove it in the backseat of Matty’s car, from St. Louis to Austin. Dad kept telling us to plant it in the backyard, but I’d grown so attached to Mango Tree and his story that I didn’t want to plant him for fear we’d have to leave Austin someday.

Matty has cared for and talked to Mango Tree nearly every day for the past two years, as it’s sprouted more branches and inched taller and taller. If the temperature ever dropped below unbearably hot, Matty brought him inside. Then, when we made the difficult decision to move to Washington, Mango Tree rode in a backseat again, all the way from the 512 to the 202.

Dad came to visit last month. He was stunned and amused to see mango tree had grown to be a good three feet tall, especially since he actually remembers it as a seed.

Sick mango tree, tonight.

The mango tree that could — a sapling that came to symbolize a fruitful life for Matty and me and whose health gave us some confidence that we could successfully care for a living thing — is now quite ill.

His leaves have turned yellow and spotty, his branches are turning a powdery white. We think it’s a fungal disease. Dad said we needed to get him to a nursery to diagnose the issue. Matty, who’s out of town tonight, wants me to find some sort of spray to fight the illness yesterday. If you have suggestions for what else we oughta do, let me know.

I know it’s sort of ridiculous to feel so frantic about a plant. But as it is with pets, Mango Tree’s part of our family now. If there were an overpriced emergency nursery as there are emergency animal clinics, I’d be rushing the little guy there right now.

Tags: , , , ,