Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Don't get me wrong, I know he still got two feedings, but this way I felt more in control of it.

Count to 20

So, Jules has continued to night nurse all this time. It's down to two times a night, which I guess is way better than three times a night, but it's still rough on me. I can't sleep and nurse him, and sometimes it's hard to go back to sleep, and sometimes he wants to nurse for an hour.

Yesterday I was reading some of the forums over at La Leche League's website, and I read this tip: when baby wakes up to nurse, tell him that he can only do it until you count to ten, and then you have to go back to sleep.

He went to sleep last night around 8:45, and slept in his bed until around 10 o'clock, when he came into our bed, but then he went right back to sleep. He woke up around 12:30, and I let him nurse as usual. He didn't take very long and we both went back to sleep. But when he woke up at 2, I was ready to try it. I didn't think counting to ten was going to fly, so instead I counted to twenty.

Boob 1: I counted to twenty, and then told him it was time to switch. We switched.
Boob 2: I counted to twenty, could tell that he was not ready, and added another ten. Then we stopped.

He cried a little, but I rubbed his back and talked to him and after awhile, he cuddled up to his daddy. I kept rubbing his back and telling him it was OK, and then he came back over to me, which was sweet. We talked about how mama is tired and needs to go night night. He kind of held onto my arm for awhile. It took him some time to get comfortable, but eventually he did fall asleep.

I'm not sure if I did. My alarm went off at 4:45, but it's entirely possible that I was still awake. I got up and out of bed around 5:15, and he's still in there sleeping with Patrick.

Maybe we can get this night nursing down to once a night. I'd really love that. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A dream (updated)

Last night I dreamed that Joy Bloch was alive and living in her old house on Orville Street, alone. In my dream she had become one of those people who refuses to pay for any services or utilities, and in fact, had no water heater or functioning appliances. No electricity or anything. She explained her reasoning for doing this, in the same calm voice that taught me how to cook a steak, or make chocolate chip cookies. I don't remember exactly what it was she was doing but it all sounded vaguely political. She was sick, too, and had a wheelchair. I don't think I ever saw her in a wheelchair. The house was trashed.

She was basically camping in her own home.

It was weird to hear her voice and see her old cluttered house again, in a dream, but to be me now, and not me, then. The last time I saw her I was a skinny little girl. I tried to convince her to clean up and buy a water heater but she wouldn't do it.

I have no idea why my brain turned her into some kind of urban survivalist. She wasn't like that at all. She was funny and smart and creative, and spent a lot of time with me, which I have always appreciated.


I posted this when I woke up this morning, at about 5:15 a.m., using the Blogger text message feature. Now it's around 10:40, and I've had some time to think about it some more. Being able to update my blog via text is pretty cool. For some reason I can't really get Blogger to work right on my iPad or iPhone, but text messaging is really easy.

Anyway, I've been thinking about this dream all morning, and trying to remember more details.

I've probably written about Joy before. I hope I remember things from one time to another the same way? I mean, I hope I don't make details up, every time I write about her. I hope my imagination and my memory have things right. On the other hand, what does it matter?

Sometimes when I visit my mom and dad, and I take Jules to the park or for a walk in the stroller, I like to wander around on the streets in my old neighborhood. Orville is just a couple blocks down from my parents' house. The people who live in Joy's old house cleaned up the yard and painted, but otherwise, it pretty much looks (on the outside) the same way it did when she and her son Guy lived there. When was that? I think it must've been the late 80s. I can see her little two-door orange Honda Civic in the driveway, or the really old blue Buick convertible she had before they got the Civic. I remember helping her to pop the top on the convertible. I remember the Go Big Blue! Dodgers stickers that were on both cars.

I can see the living room in my mind, with the small dining room on the right, near the front door. All the rooms in their house were painted white. There were two windows in the living room. One looked to the front of the house, the other to the side of the neighbor's house. Their dining room table was round, and had an early Apple computer on it. They were definitely early computer users. She did a lot of work from home and I'm sure knew all sorts of things about the early days of computing. Remember the green text on the screens of those old computers? That's what I remember. And the noisy old printers. Dot matrix. I don't remember exactly what she did. She worked at Culver Park for awhile, the local high school for the kids who for one reason or another couldn't make it with the general population over at the main high school, but I think before she did that she was some kind of bookkeeper or something. I can't remember. She had professional stationery, I seem to remember.

We used to paint Christmas scenes on the living room windows with some kind of washable paint. Every year she'd do that, and let me help, and include all her dogs in the pictures. They always had more than one. When we first met her, they had Schnauzers. Later, it was those big English setters, I think.

From the dining room you could walk into the kitchen, where we spent a lot of our time. The sink was set in at an angle, and looked out into the back yard. I think the tile was pale yellow. She had a double oven, in the wall to the left of the doorway from the dining room. In my dream, the oven doors had come off and were being held up off the floor with belts. I'm not sure that's how someone would really do it. The back door to the yard was in a little utility room where the washer and dryer were. I think she also had a little bathroom there, with just a toilet and a sink. What's that kind of bathroom called? That's where the space for the water heater was, in the utility room, I think. In my dream, it was totally missing. It was just an empty space with marks on the wall and spiderwebs.

In real life, she had a bunch of magnets and things on her refrigerator. One was a drawing of a mouse clinging to some string. The caption read something like, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!" She showed me how to make cookies in that kitchen, and once, a chocolate cake that was so amazing and decadent. I don't remember why we were making the cake, but I remember the recipe called for sour cream and some sort of liqueur. We made ganache. We melted the chocolate in a double boiler. She was a messy Martha Stewart, Ina Garten.

Even though her house was always kind of a mess, full of dogs and cats and crafts projects all over the place, she had beautiful china plates. She often would let me stay for dinner. We'd sit on the couch and eat our medium rare steaks and creamed corn that she made from scratch on her pretty plates while sitting on the couch, using TV trays and watching the Dodger game or old Disney movies on VHS tapes. Dogs everywhere. Creamed corn is one of my favorite things in the whole world. And I was just thinking the other day that it's been a long time since I had a steak. Maybe I'll make one.

She's the one who taught me how to eat a steak, how to sew, how to bake, to appreciate real butter and real ingredients, to watch a baseball game, to play Monopoly, to not be a crybaby.

Every Christmas we would make huge quantities of chocolate chip cookies and English toffee and package them all in these adorable paper houses she would buy from somewhere and we assembled. I wish I had her English toffee recipe. I wish I had kept in touch with her better when she and her son moved away, before she died.

The bedrooms were all on the south side of the house. Guy's room faced the street and was a total disaster. I don't think I went in there very much. The middle bedroom was also full of stuff. It was just packed with boxes and things. I don't think I ever went in there. Joy's bedroom was at the back of the house, and usually full of light. We didn't go there often but I remember her showing me her record collection. She had a copy of Spike Jones doing "You Always Hurt the One You Love." She played it for me. It was the only room in the house not totally full of junk. They had a lot of stuff.

She was kind of heavy, and wore her super straight brown hair in a bob. Sometimes she'd pin it back behind her ear with a bobby pin. She was pretty. She wore polyester suits for work, or the big cotton muumuus she made for herself and my mom and their friends, at home.

I think the last time I saw her, before she and Guy moved away to Montana, I was probably around 12 or 13. My mother is 32 years older than me, and Joy was probably close in age to her... so when I was 13, they were both only 45. That seems so young to me now, yet was so old to me, then.

I'm kind of obsessed with real estate in my home town right now; maybe because I can't afford it. Her home, according to Zillow, sold in 1988 for $287k. The value listed now is about $596k. Zillow only lists one bathroom, so maybe I'm making the little powder room in the back up. I hope not. For some reason it feels important.

Monday, February 25, 2013

An exercise (sort of) in futility

Last week I took my section's Toyota Prius in for its annual service. It's about a quarter of a mile across campus to the warehouse where our fleet services people are. This is the same place we pick up a vehicle if you need to go somewhere and the Prius isn't available. The distance means nothing: it takes about 5 minutes to get there. No problem, except when it's a wasted trip.

This morning, I called them up to find out if the Prius was ready to pick up. It was, I was told.

So I walked on down there, in heels, and when I got to the counter, was told that they couldn't find my keys.


Then I was told that they had my keys, but that the Prius was blocked by three other vehicles... and they couldn't find those keys.

The woman behind the counter asked me if I wanted to sit down, but instead I asked if I could use their restroom. She gave me the keys, and I went upstairs.

County restrooms crack me up. They're always full of mismatched furnishings, and amusing homemade-looking signs. This one was no exception. Of course I took photos.

What was wrong with the paper towel dispenser on the left?
Seriously, this is a serious question.
Is this really an area where technology can make a difference?

Can something be both sticky AND slippery?

No. You may not have any sort of feminine hygiene product. Don't even try.
Actually, go ahead and try. That's right,
put your money in. I see how you are.

There's only one toilet in this stall, but still.
Flush them all please thank you!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Did I tell you what happened that the other day when Jules and I were running around the back yard, playing? I said to him, "Let's pretend to be wild animals! What WILD animal should mama be?"

And my beautiful little boy looked at me and said, "A cow!!!!!"

Now it's "I Just Called to Say I Love You." The key changes at the end drive me NUTS. Still. Who hasn't done that? Picked up the phone, dialed, wait for the hello… and then hit 'em with a big old I love you?

If you haven't, you should. Warm hearts.
What's worse, hearing people TALK about Maroon Five, or actually HEARING R.E.O. Speedwagon?
So the good news is, my hair must be growing, because it's different every day. The bad news is, it's different every day!

This affects no one but me. Hello?
Trying something new today… using the text message feature to post to my blog today. This means less FB today probably but more blogging. It's a give-and-take, people.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I like to think that I'm not the type of person who flies off the handle or goes off on a rant. In spite of what I like to think, yesterday I posted the following Facebook status, and I've been thinking about it and the reasons for writing it. I thought I'd share with you today the actual status and try to add some more background and/or more meaningless detail. Possibly some clarity, but I doubt it. Because that's what we do here at "Maturity is a disappointment."

Irene Casarez Palma, yesterday, at 8:35 AM

"Somebody told me once, a long time ago in high school, when I wondered why so-and-so didn't seem to like me very much, that some people thought I was a little snobby. I thought that was pretty funny (band geeks can't really afford to be snobs), so I denied it then.


Maybe I am [no italics in FB but added today so you can see how I heard this in my mind] a snob. I have high expectations.

Why am I thinking about this now? Because the people who spew their stupid opinions all over my office are driving me nuts. Read the paper! Read a BOOK! Educate yourself! Listen to some music! Question things, even your own long-held opinions! Drink a real cup of coffee! We do not know everything.

You. Do not. Know. Everything."
- By saying "we do not know everything," I wanted it to be clear that I include myself in this group of know-nothings. Remember that, because I think it's some pretty good insight into my personality.

I can't remember who the person who I thought didn't like me was. Nor who the "someone" I was talking to about it was. Dude, that was a long time ago! I think it was my friend Rachel, who never spared the truth or my feelings when discussing stuff like this with me. She would be fully comfortable informing me that some people might have mistaken my shyness for snobbery! And, I think that's a pretty standard mistake that people in high school make. The funny thing is, I'm sure I did the same thing, only the people I tended to think were snobby were the kids with more social credit than I ever had.

I really do think it's great that people want to share their opinions. I mean, I work in an open office (we have cubicles but you can literally hear the girl on the opposite side of the office blowing her nose), and the fact that everyone talks to each other could be construed as proof that we are a friendly place. On the other hand, some people are just loud.

Later, in a comment I made in response to something my friend Steve wrote in response to my status (follow that?), I said, "...just because some people are loud and gregarious, that doesn't make them more interesting or worth listening to. Package bullshit in a pretty package and you end up with Sarah Palin."

(One of the things happening that day was, this woman kept asking me to help her with her incredibly basic computer problems. Instead of letting me help her, she kept saying, "But it's not supposed to be that way." Look, I don't work for IT or for Microsoft. I'm not God. I can't make things work the way you think they should work; I lack the necessary computer science knowledge to change things to your specifications. I figured this shit out the same way you could figure it out: by doing it and not whining about it. Do your work and stop trying to manipulate things beyond your comprehension. After awhile, I just stopped helping her. I admitted defeat. I pretended not to know how to solve her problems. At first I felt bad about it: I really try to be helpful. And she even commented on it my lack of answers, which made me even less inclined to help her. At one point I actually said, "Nope, I don't know. I guess today I just suck." This person is the loudest person in my office. The squeaky wheel does not always get the worm.

Wait, what?) 

There are a couple of themes intertwined here, and I'm not a good enough critical thinker and/or writer to untangle them. Basically, I am frequently annoyed by the idiotic statements flying around my office. It wasn't just yesterday... there are many, many, many, many times when this type of thing occurs.

I just wish people (myself included) would think before they speak a little more. I wish that people with strong opinions would recognize that it is not necessary to steamroll the whole room.

And the bit about drinking a real cup of coffee? Okay, fine, that part I cop to. I am totally a coffee snob now. It crept up on me, yeah, and I know I have a lot to learn about it (and I look forward to drinking more coffee!), but you can keep your Keurig K-Cups and your non-dairy, vanilla flavored creamer. What's that stuff even made of? I'd rather drink motor oil. Anything that can be used as a cheap alternative to gasoline on low-budget film sets (for explosions) isn't something I'd like to ingest on a regular basis. Check that out on Wikipedia.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Birthday weekend

My birthday was yesterday. This might've been the nicest birthday weekend I've ever had.

On Saturday, I had a few friends over. My house is so small, however, that even the 14 or 15 of us were pretty much squished. Luckily it was a nice day, and the kids who came were able to play outside for awhile. It was so nice. It's been awhile since I had friends over, and it felt good to see them.

On Sunday, my actual birthday, I woke up to blueberry pancakes! Patrick made them. Then we played with Jules for awhile, and then we all took a nap in the big bed. 

After about an hour of napping, and a couple showers, we headed to Torrance, to Guitar Center. Patrick had seen a used cymbal on their website, an 80s era Zildjian Z crash, but when we got there, it turns out it had been mislabeled and was actually a ride cymbal, which he doesn't need. He has a bunch of Paiste Rude crashes but he wants to vary the sound. And, he cracked one of his cymbals a while back. Anyway, no cymbals for us. I was thinking (hoping!) that when we got there, Stewart Copeland might meet us... but no.

We had lunch with my family, and then presents and cupcakes at my parents' house, and then Patrick and I left Jules with them and my sister, and went to the movies. We haven't been out alone in awhile. We saw "Argo," with Ben Affleck. I know it's been out for months, but I wanted to see it. It was really good. Ben looked awesome in that 70s hair and beard. Can I just tell you? I guess I like beards. There were a few things about it that bothered me, but I thought it was a great movie. More disturbing was the preview for the new Halle Berry movie. It was incredibly violent and really scary. I was actually tense for about 20 minutes after watching it. Maybe I'm a total wimp? I don't know. The Bruce Willis "Die Hard" preview didn't freak me out, so I don't know. I won't be seeing either movie, though.

After the movies, we went on a quick trip to Amoeba, where Patrick bought some albums (Coltrane). I was thinking (hoping!) that when we got there, Stewart Copeland might meet us... but no. Well, a girl can dream?

It was truly a lovely weekend. I felt loved, which is always nice, no? The only bad thing that happened was, on Friday, I had to go to Lazy Acres to buy a few things for the party. I went at night, while Patrick gave Jules his bath. I got great stuff - their Bhutanese Red Rice Salad is delicious. I'm actually eating the leftovers today for breakfast. I got a few other things, including my favorite Salted Caramel ice cream, and then I left. In the parking lot, I was lazy about putting my cart away, and I just pushed it up to the line in the space to the right of my car. When I pulled out, I totally forgot it was there, and I hit it. Hard. That thing flipped. I'm really lucky no one was over there, or another car.

There are a few tiny scratches on my car, but I don't really care about that. I'm not fussy. However, the passenger side mirror is now all wonky. We were running a little late yesterday, and didn't want to take the time to take the car seat out of my car, so we took my car to Culver City. Patrick had to wedge the mirror in place with a piece of newspaper. It works but obviously this is not a suitable permanent solution.

Anyway, then, in response to a message I tweeted yesterday, this happened, this morning. I'm a happy girl today.
I'd like to collect that hug and kiss in person, please.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Word of Mouth by Jaco Pastorius

Last night on my drive home, Jaco Pastorius' version of "Blackbird" showed up on my iPod. I don't remember downloading this album, and it might be something I either got myself at Patrick's request (for him to listen to on a roadtrip, maybe?) or something I read about, downloaded because I thought it might be cool, and then never listened to. I honestly don't know. Or maybe Patrick owned this album on CD and when I imported our CD collection, I included it then? Whatever, there it is, unlistened to (until now) on my iPod.

I must've been in exactly the right mood for Jaco's "Blackbird"because I listened to it about 4 times. It's not a straight cover, and whatever that sound is (glass breaking at random moments?), it really captured my imagination. "Captured my imagination" is a cliche of the highest degree, but what can I tell you, it's what actually happened.

Anyway, it took me a while to figure out the instrumentation - Toots Thielmans on harmonica kind of blew my mind. At first I thought it was a saxophone, or even a flute. My ear was playing tricks on me. And he's an amazing player. Now I'm listening to the whole album, and there's definitely some flute going on (in "Liberty," track 2), even though Wikipedia doesn't list it in the personnel. One of the sax players is surely covering. Maybe Tom Scott; he's the only one Wikipedia lists as even playing the flute. I know Wikipedia doesn't have everything right, it's just the quickest resource sometimes. I don't know enough about these guys to comment further. Whoever it is has a nice clear tone and it sounds like a fun part. Anybody with information on the flutist, please leave a comment!

When I got home, I quizzed Patrick about it, and he knew all about the song and that album, but he didn't know how it got on my iPod either. We turned on Apple TV and played it through my iTunes on the TV (so cool, this crazy technology), and then listened to a little more of the album. Jules liked it, it's good breastfeeding music.

Anyway, I'm no jazz expert and I like what I like (Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner, a LITTLE Derek Bailey, Sun Ra in small doses...) and I don't like what I don't like without really being able to tell you why, but this grabbed me. Take a listen if you haven't already, maybe it'll grab you too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thinking about Important Topics, like my hair

In a couple weeks, I'm going to do a little photoshoot with a friend of mine from the theater. His name is Justin, and he's a photographer and actor (what are the odds he'd be anything else, given the facts in that first sentence?), and he's offering company members a nice rate on a sitting. Probably they're all going to use his photos for head shots. I have no need for head shots. On the other hand, I've never done any kind of photo thing before, and I thought it might be nice to get some with my flute, for my blog, for my scrap book. If they come out nicely, maybe he can get some more work from the real professional musicians I know. And, he's cool, his pictures are great, he's clearly creative (these won't be those boring "girl with flute" photos you see all the time, I'm sure): it'll be fun. He has a makeup person, which is fine. I think I know what I will wear, but the big question is, what the fuck do I do about my hair?

(For those of you who remember my adventures on stage at City Garage, Justin was in the play "The Bacchae" with me. He played Dionysus, and literally kissed every single female on that stage, except for me and the woman who played his mama, and believe me, I saw him looking at her.)

Seriously. My mop is growing out in the wildest way possible. I've been told and I know it's true, that I need to blow dry… I'm too lazy. I just wish it would grow. I'm in that same place I remember being in the 7th grade, after a disastrous short hairdo, that on me as a 13 year old skinny flat chested girl, made me look like a skinny 10 year old boy. Right now, as I was then, I am jealous of everyone's beautiful, seemingly trouble-free hair. I feel like a clown. Anyway, even if I blow it dry, that's no guarantee it won't look insane. I feel like I need a haircut but I know that defeats my wish of growing it out.

Well, I have a little time to figure it out. Or maybe the makeup person will also be a hair genius! I'll be sure to post a link to Justin's website after my sitting. Unless I choose to do some topless shots*. I mean, you never know what can happen, right?

*While it's true that one never knows what can happen (we learn this from watching shows like "The Real Housewives of New York," except, one always knows what's going to happen on those stupid shows, which is why I stopped watching), I am 100% sure that there will be no nudity. Even though the photo shoot is taking place at City Garage, a place that inspires nudity and celebrates the human body, my particular human body will not be celebrated in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I'm thinking about buying the biggest shapeless turtleneck I can find for my date with Justin and his camera. Big ol' turtleneck lady, that's me.

20 years ago

My birthday is in a couple days. I had the big 40 last year, but I also had a 12 month old, and I pretty much didn't care. I didn't really do anything or want anything, except some days off from work and a nap.

This year is a little different. Not that I want stuff, necessarily (well, OK, maybe I do: a massage, guilt-free practice time, a flatter tummy… not necessarily in that order, thank you) or because I feel bad about my age but because I'm thinking about the past in a different way.

For some reason I keep thinking about turning 21.

I was engaged to the Guy I Did Not Marry. He took me to McGinty's, an Irish pub in Santa Monica. Don't look for it, it closed years ago. Drinking with him was always fun because he had a bit of the Bad Boy in him, or he thought he did. Maybe I liked this more than I should have. He really was a sweet guy. Anyway, we went to McGinty's. I didn't drink much or well in those days, so a couple beers was enough. We sat on our barstools and talked and probably made out (we were very good at public displays of affection, and he was a very good kisser) and went home. It wasn't an exciting birthday celebration, but I'm a simple girl, and I do like one on one time with the man I love. I sure don't get enough of that now! Anyway, a while later (a week? a month? I have no idea) we went back there with a group of his friends. This time I didn't drink, so he could get wasted, and I could drive us home. His car was a stick shift, and these occasions were excellent practice for me. I was a terrible stick driver at first and I can't tell you how many times I stalled out making a left turn onto Wilshire or whatever. Sober, he loved his car so he was a nervous teacher: except when he was drunk, when he rode in the backseat and heckled people on the street.

For some reason, during our time at McGinty's, I ended up sitting on his friend's lap. I am a little shy, was raised kind of sheltered, and definitely was not a flirt, so how this happened, I could not say. This particular friend of his, too, was not one of the guys I have known since elementary school, and he was one of those types of people who tends to intimidate me (i.e., smart, sarcastic people). And he had a girlfriend. I mean, sitting on this guy's lap meant nothing. I'm sure he's forgotten it ever happened (probably forgot it happened that same day). Except the radio was playing Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" (what kind of Irish pub would it be if they weren't?), I happen to BE a brown eyed girl… I don't know. It was kind of a rare moment for me, where I felt attractive in a way I rarely ever do. How can I explain it? Sometimes I have thought that I look great, only to catch a glimpse in a mirror and find that reality is not so good. I weigh less than I have since I was 21 (and boy, I'm sure I was self-conscious about my weight then but I would kill to be that size again), but 85% of my weight is belly. My hair is growing out but literally OUT. It's got all these crazy waves and a mind of its own. Anyway, sitting on that guy's lap, being hugged by him, feeling like The Brown Eyed Girl, and looked at jealously by the Guy: I felt pretty good about myself.

I don't mention this because I'm delusional and think that other guy had feelings for me or anything. At the very most he was trying to bug the Guy, because that's what these guys did. Later, when we were leaving, he kept trying to get the Guy to give him a piggy back ride. He was about a foot taller than the Guy, so surely that wasn't a lot of fun. Anyway, no, I sure didn't have feelings for him. It was just fun, in a way I hadn't really experienced up to that point very much.

So yeah, I know it's dumb to need other people to validate feeling pretty, but that was one of those nights I never forget.

I'm older, more tired, busier, somebody's mama, possess the ability to drink a Guinness (or two) once in awhile… but once I sat on some smart, handsome, tall guy's lap. It means nothing, except that it happened.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Last Friday, we took Jules to Disneyland for the first time. I admit I was pretty apprehensive. For one thing, we're all sort of fighting colds. None of us has been knocked out but there's an awful lot of nose blowing going on at my house. There were a few days last week where I woke up with that "run over by a truck" feeling, and headaches have been frequent too. We considered canceling but because my friends Bo and Martha were generous and invited us to go with them, it seemed better to just suck it up and go. For another thing, I was worried that he's too young. I have friends who have taken younger kids but for some reason I worried that he would be frightened.

We left our house to pick Bo up around 12:45; I'm not sure exactly when we got to Disneyland, but it's not a very long trip on the 91. Maybe it was 1:30? Traffic was light. And, once there, Jules was of course amazed by everything: the elevator in the parking lot, the tram from the parking lot, the crowds, the light poles... We walked in and saw Minnie Mouse interacting by the firehouse with a little girl. Minnie and the little girl were walking on tiptoes, and of course Minnie was wearing those ridiculous yellow shoes. It was adorable. Jules couldn't take his eyes off of her. We didn't stop or wait in line to meet any characters - I didn't want to overwhelm him, but maybe he would've been okay. Nothing frightened him. He was wide-eyed and alert most of the time (except for the nap he took when we got in line for Pirates; we nixed that idea when he fell asleep, put him back in his stroller, and went off to find some ice cream).

We headed straight for Fantasyland, and I got in line with him for the carousel. The line was incredibly short - I think I waited all of 3 minutes. I was so nervous! I was afraid he would get scared, or fall off the horse, or freak out - but none of that happened. I put him on a horse that was on the inside, and luckily no one got on the horse that was to his left, because that's where I stood. My hands were literally shaking as I buckled him in, and you could tell he was excited, too. He was looking around at everything. Once the carousel started moving, he looked out, and then broke out into an enormous, huge, happiest smile ever. He absolutely loved it. As we went around, I kept pointing out Patrick to him, and he kept smiling. It was so awesome. Then, when it was over, he cried because it was over. I promised I'd take him on again, and we headed off for the Casey Jr. railroad.

We got seats in the monkey car, and again: he LOVED it. He waved at people on the Storyland boats, he looked at all the tiny villages and scenery, he bounced around to the song - he had so much fun.

After that, I was disappointed to find out that the teacups were closed, and so was "It's a Small World," two rides I was really looking forward to taking him on. So, we got in line for Dumbo. This line was a little longer, but we were behind a really nice man with his own son (he was maybe 3?), and Jules enjoyed even the line waiting process. He wanted to be held, and so we held him; I guess he wanted to see everything. We pointed out everything we saw, and he was clearly excited. Once we got on, again: he was thrilled.

After that, we walked around a bit and Bo decided to try to get on Space Mountain without us. We made plans to meet up at the Tiki Tiki Room, and the three of us took off. We walked around and looked at stuff, bought him a Mickey ears hat (with his name embroidered on the back, of course) and then decided to give the Pirates of the Carribbean a try... and realized that JP was falling asleep. We got out of line, put him in the stroller, and just at that moment, met up with Bo. We all went for ice cream instead. JP must've been very tired, because as we were eating our Gibson Girl ice cream (I had a strawberry sundae... huge, and delicious) a parade was going by on Main Street, and he didn't wake up. We hung out on Main Street, and then, when JP woke up, headed to the Tiki Tiki room. We lucked out - we didn't have to wait around very long for the next show. Jules, who wakes up slowly from naps (but not in the morning, especially not at 5:30 a.m., when he almost always wakes up laughing, practically), was fascinated by all the talking and clicking birds. The thunderstorm surprised all of us (it's been many years since I've been in there!), but he wasn't scared at all. Then we hit Pirates.

The line here was pretty fast, too. Either Disneyland was not that crowded, or we were just lucky, because we hardly ever stood in a long line. I think the Dumbo line was the worst, or maybe Roger Rabbit, which we went on after it got dark (Toon Town after dark was disappointing; something to remember for next time). I was concerned about getting in and out of the boat fast enough, and Patrick helped. Jules sat on the seat between me and Patrick, and Bo sat next to me. Man, that ride is dark. Jules held my hand the entire time, but didn't get scared, not even during the two big dips the ride takes right at the beginning. He looked at everything - and it might be the most violent thing he's seen, because we of course don't let him watch anything with guns or explosions. He liked the dog, and the mules. He didn't cry, of course, but he did hold my hand very tightly in the darkest parts. And we kept talking to him, and pointing things out, and singing the song, the whole time.

After that, Bo decided to go meet his wife, who works nearby. So Patrick, Jules and I stayed, and went to get some dinner. At this point we'd already been there about 2 hours longer than I thought we would be - I figured, since this trip was free for us, if he only made it a few hours, it wouldn't be a waste of money if we had to go home. Boy was I wrong. We ended up staying until 8:45. We went on Roger Rabbit, and Alice in Wonderland. Patrick wanted to go on Mr. Toad's, but my memory of that was that it's always scarier than you think. We considered Peter Pan (I love that one myself) but the line looked pretty crazy. We went on the carousel again, and while his smile wattage might've been flagging by this time, he was still pretty darn happy to be there.

Anyway, all in all, it was a pretty awesome day. He fell asleep on the way home, and once home, we didn't even try to get him out of his clothes. We just let him sleep.   
This photo doesn't do justice
to the amazing smile he had the whole time.