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Cliche thought of the moment: Everything changes so fast.

Seriously, though. You're going along, content to drop a complaint about boredom or fatigue every few days, whining here and there about the hum drum nature of your life, comfortable in your spoiled, western guilt over complaining about a life 90% of the world will never have the luxury of pretending to scoff at. And then all of a sudden, you look up and realize that all of those fake complaints are becoming null and void, sinking into oblivion under the weight of - what's this? - a lot of really good, exciting things happening all at once. It all happens so quickly and feels so unreal that you're completely in the thick of major life changes before you realize that your heart seems to be a lot more woodpecker-like than usual. You wonder, "Self, what is wrong? Everything is going right ALL AT THE SAME TIME!" You fight off paranoia and the temptation to seek out the inevitable tragedy sure to befall you as soon as the universe lulls you into a false sense of security regarding the recent and sudden set of unbelievably good and exciting things happening to you: "What will it be that finally ruins everything, self? A fire? A heart attack? A kidnapping? Cancer?" You talk to yourself like Annette Benning in American Beauty, but instead of "I will sell this house today" (which would be entirely appropriate), your mantra is, "I will not mentally sabotage myself with paranoia." But you can't help it. You've grown so accustomed to defending yourself against threatening changes, bad changes, changes requiring rapid response and slashing of resources, be they financial, emotional, logistical, that good changes don't compute. Your body and mind respond with the same fight-or-flight mechanism they've spent years perfecting.

Kid stories of the moment: Too numerous to recount, but I'll try.

Yesterday after Quinn's nap, he was incensed that John had dared to close the laptop and put away the mouse while tidying up in preparation for someone to look at our house. He remedied the situation by re-opening the laptop, finding the mouse, hooking it up to the laptop correctly, and resuming whatever game he had been playing on pbskids.org before being so rudely interrupted for a nap. I live with this not-quite-four-year-old kid, and yet I still find it patently unnatural that I'm telling a story about him 1.) playing an online game 2.) hooking everything back up correctly in his huffy, "the-world-burdens-me" frustration after his nap.

During dinner last night, Bryce informed me that the way he knew the grapes on his plate were clean was that he himself had washed them a day or two before: "They looked thilthy," he stated with his clear and simultaneously incorrect pronunciation of the word filthy, "so I decided to wash them." I beamed in pride at his attempt at maturity, and five minutes later when we told him to eat one single black-eyed pea, he gingerly, with his front teeth, bit off half of one, sloshed the nearby glass of water to his lips while his eyes filled with tears of disgust and near-nausea, choked dramatically, and then yelled, sputtering, with his arms flailing about his head in a final black-eyed pea-related decree, "I told you I do NOT like black-eyed peas. I will NEVER. Eat them! Again! They are disgusting and I might THROW UP."

Final thought of the day: Just a wafer thin mint.

John and I went to the Cheesecake Factory over the weekend to celebrate my birthday. Avocado eggrolls + cheesecake + wine = no more stress. In theory that sounds great, but it's really because your entire body's focus is on surviving the impending Monty Python explosion. Whatever works, though. Whatever works.

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