Archive for November, 2013

One of the common pregnancy signs that proved to be extremely true early on was a heightened sense of smell. I was picking up soap scents just from being in the same room as someone who had bathed in the past 24 hours. I could identify what the neighbors were cooking from down the hall. Perfumes, exhaust, and that odor that occurs when the metro puts on the brakes were all especially pungent.

But nothing was (and still is) as big an offender as cigarette smoke. And nowhere was (is) it as bad as on the bus.

I don’t love the smell of smoke – stale or otherwise – in the first place. But I’ve always been able to tolerate it. Until now.

The difference now is that I don’t just smell the smoke while someone is smoking or right after they put it out. It lingers. And I can smell it on someone probably hours after they’ve smoked. (I don’t know this for a fact. I’ve never asked a stranger how long it’s been since his or her last cigarette.) I do know that I’ve seen people at the bus stop who were NOT smoking, but who I could smell smoke on once we were crushed together on a packed bus.

At times, it made me nauseous, but it also led to this exchange (when we were still living in the city):


I laughed out loud and then realized that this might be one time when an animal comparison is not only allowed, but completely valid.

As fun as it is to currently have a nose comparable to Manny’s, I’m just thankful that this heightened sense of smell is temporary.

It is temporary, right?

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Even before we bought the house, we knew that, eventually, we wanted to be a dog family. Husband had a dog in college, and I grew up with a beautiful (huge) husky/shepherd mix.


And we figured that once we had the house, we’d take our time, settle in, and then visit shelters to search for our dog.

The best laid plans, and all that.

We’re mostly settled, but we haven’t visited a single shelter. The search essentially came to us.

As it turned out, a few months ago the cousin of a friend rescued two puppies…and then realized that he couldn’t care for them. So instead of letting her cousin send them to a kill shelter, our friend offered to find them homes. She knew that we’d been thinking about getting a dog, and let us know when the pups would be in town if we wanted to meet them.

We are, of course, suckers, and fell in love as soon as she brought our newest addition by the house for a meet-and-greet.

We ended up taking him permanently the next day.


Meet Manaslu – Manny for short.

Look at that face. Look how sweet he is.


He’s also a stellar guard dog, as you can see. No one’s going to sneak up on Husband while he’s napping (except, of course, me with the camera, because Manny is also a ham).

So here we are in the deep end of suburbia, with our house, dog, and baby on the way.

And I’m loving every minute of it.

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That’s a little what I felt like last night, while filling trick-or-treat bags with handfuls of candy. Back in my day…

Now, I’m not some grumpy curmudgeon. One of the things I was looking forward to about the suburbs was getting trick-or-treaters. Not only do I have an excuse to buy tons of candy (and hope for leftovers), but I also love seeing the kids’ costumes, and just how excited they are.

So last night, we filled our candy bowl, turned on the front porch light, positioned the pumpkin I convinced Husband we needed, and waited for the doorbell to ring (or at least to hear a knock).


But it happened a little differently.

The kids came, in groups of varying size, but nobody rang the doorbell. Very few even knocked. In fact, if our family room weren’t positioned so closely to the front door, we might not have heard them at all, as they came to the door and just stood silently.

Oh, they talked with each other on the way up the walk, so sometimes we had a clue that they were on their way. But more often than not I would glance over at the front door and there would be a small child or children standing just outside of it, holding out their bags of candy, waiting to be noticed.

And when we DID come over with the candy bowl, there was no, “Trick-or-treat!” There was very little excitement about what I remember being one of the most fun holidays as a kid.

Instead, there were quiet, costumed (some more than others) children begging silently for candy and then running off without a peep after their bags were filled.

The mission of Halloween has clearly become less costume-based, and far more about the candy. I used to think it was at least 50/50.

But the kicker of the night really came toward the end, when the older kids started trick-or-treating. Once again, we heard voices and scuffling, no knocking, and I got up to hand out candy. There were three boys outside (none really dressed up), but only two were facing me.

The third one seemed to have decided to save time by standing with his back toward me, so I could toss the candy directly into his open backpack. No muss, no fuss, no interaction.

And I could tell I wasn’t doing it fast enough because he kept glancing over his shoulder to see what the holdup was.

(The holdup was that I was laughing to myself at his audacity.)

Don’t get me wrong. I still had a blast giving out candy. The costumes were great, the kids were excited (before and after they got to the door), and it was a great way to feel like a part of the neighborhood.

But it also made me promise myself that our kids will learn to say “trick-or-treat” when they go out begging, and they will be dressed up.

Even if I have to get my mom to make their costumes.


Little Ladybug, circa 1989

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