Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Search for the Elusive Peacoat

Today we decided to buy peacoats. Girl-sized peacoats, that is. No big deal, right?


We went to the mall first. Sears, Penney's, and Dillards to be exact, with a quick stop off at Bath and Body Works to spend a gift card that needed to be used before December 24th.


We found black, girl-sized peacoats at Dillards. Exactly what we were looking for. Except that they were $80 each, meaning I'd have to spend $160 to buy them for my girls. Instead, at Dillards, we bought black hats, gloves, and scarves to match the coats we were determined to find.


Then we stopped at Target. They had adorable pink tweed coats and red coats, and on clearance for $24.98 each. But the girls wanted black. So we headed to Kohl's. On the way there, O reminded me how desperately she needed a hair extension so that she can more appropriately dress the part of Leia, Princess Leia, that is. So we took a quick spin past Beauty Express which was closed, and then we went to Kohl's.


No peacoats. Not a one.


Then on to Sally Beauty Supply (closed) and to Walgreens (where we successfully bought the hair extension, with O's own money of course), then off to Ross where there was also no peacoats.


Sigh.


Finally, back to Target where we all convinced ourselves that pink tweed and red peacoats were perfect and exactly what we were looking for.....



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Smelly Kid

Yesterday I'm watching a lovely dance recital performed by children at my daughters' school. O, my 2nd grader, sits on my lap and a friend of hers, another 2nd grader, sits in the seat next to me.


I comment that one of the children on the stage looks just like a child in their class. A boy in their class named C.


Friend: Ew. I hate C.


O: Me too.


Me: Why? (I'm thinking they are going to say that he threatens to kiss them behind the jungle gym at school or something.)


Friend: Because he smells.


O: His teeth are rotten.


Friend: He never brushes his teeth and his breath smells.


O: Yeah, his teeth are all yellow. You can tell he never brushes his teeth.


Me: (in perfect textbook fashion) That's not nice. Be nice. And be quiet. We're supposed to be watching.


Oh my stars! What to do with this information? I would be mortified beyond belief if my child were being called The Smelly Kid. Not that she ever would be, of course, because she's always perfectly well-groomed for school. Perfectly. Ahem.


Do you remember The Smelly Kid at school? Do you remember how the kids would all call him Pig Pen? Do you remember thinking, "Why doesn't his mother bathe him?"


Oh, this poor child. Oh, his poor mother. The poor, smelly, kid.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Etiquette

Let me just ask a question.

Say you've been invited to a friend's for dinner. A nice dinner. Let's say even something like Thanksgiving dinner. You offer to bring something. The hostess declines. So you put your thinking cap on and suggest you bring a centerpiece for the table. The hostess gladly accepts.

You show up with a basket cornucopia stuffed beautifully with flowers. The hostess loves it and tells you it is a beautiful addition to her table. She thanks you and you beam.

Later, you decide you want the cornucopia back so that you may use it to put together another floral arrangement for another dinner party you are attending. You call the hostess and ask for it back. She stammers politely. She's already packed it into a Rubbermaid tote in the garage with her other harvest decorations. But even though she has 850 things to do this week before Christmas and before leaving to go out of town for Christmas, she promises to scrounge through the garage to find it and will even deliver it to your home.

You accept.

Is this okay?

By the way, I'm the hostess.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Santa Lucia Day

My children are learning about St. Lucia in school this season.

Santa Lucia was a young, Italian girl who believed strongly in the Christian faith. At the time, Christianity was banned in her country. When her mother became ill, Lucia persuaded her to make a journey to a Christian holy place. Lucia's mother was miraculously cured, and in gratitude, Lucia decided to give away her wealth. Later, Lucia was put to death by her government when they realized she was a Christian. Centuries later, Lucia was declared a saint by the church. The name Lucia means "light" so she became the saint of vision and light.

The Saint of Vision and Light. I like that.

In Sweden, it is the tradition that on St. Lucia Day, the eldest daughter in the family wakes before everyone else and, wearing a white gown and wreath of lighted candles on her head, prepares and serves sweet cakes and coffee to each member of her family. It is said that she brings "good will and light to the long winter's night."

My eldest daughter O, of her own volition, decided to "practice" being St. Lucia. Each and every morning this week, she woke before the rest of us, while it was still dark, and poured the coffee and presented us with treats. After a couple of days of this, J joined her as her "maid."

So sweet.





Thursday, December 13, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

After writing the post Give One Get One, I started thinking about the things that make a smart philanthropy project.

I did a little research and believe that Heifer International has got it right. If we want to make a dent in the poverty or educational discrepancies in our global community, donating to this worthy organization seems like an excellent way to do it.

Go on over and give a little.

'Tis the season.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A.R.K.

We saw the movie Evan Almighty last night, and call me a sap, but I loved it. It has a wonderful message and some terrific dialogue.

Take this for example---

God: If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience or does he give them opportunities to be patient? If someone prays for courage, do you think God gives them courage or opportunities to be courageous? If you pray for your family to become closer, do you think God zaps you with warm fuzzies or does he give you opportunities to show your love for one another?

Heh? Good questions, yes?

If you haven't seen the movie, I don't want to spoil it for you. But let's just say that a Congressman wants to change the world. His campaign slogan is "Let's Change the World." God appears to him and asks him to build an ark.

An ARK?

Yes, says God. How do you change the world? One act of random kindness at a time.

One single Act of Random Kindness at a time. It's a good motto to live by. And it was a sweet movie.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Perinatal Delirium

My husband has a very interesting job. I love to hear the stories of the patients that he encounters. Some stories are sad. Some happy. Some are funny. Some are interesting or intriguing.


And some just really piss me off.


Like today. He's telling me this sad story about a woman who's baby has anencephaly. This baby will die when born. Or he or she will die shortly afterwards. It's a sad story. Definitely one of the sad stories.


But then he tells me that the mother is pregnant with baby number 9. NINE. Babies 1-8 are not with this mother but rather in various stages of CPS involvement. Some are in foster care. Some are with relatives. None of them are with the mother. Then he tells me that this mother just got out of prison and immediately got pregnant. Oh, the plot thickens.


Okay, this pisses me off. What is this woman doing having baby #9? Yes, this pisses me off. But just a little bit.


What really pisses me off is this---


I ask him something like this. "This might sound strange or whatever, but can you, as her doctor, recommend or at least ask if she's interested in sterilization? If she'd be interested in having a tubal while she's there delivering?"


DH: "Oh yeah we can. We do it all the time. We ask. We suggest. But she has to sign the consent within 30 days."


Me: What do you mean by 30 days?

DH: Well, she has to sign the consent for the tubal ligation within 30 days of her expected date of delivery. If she's closer to delivery than that, then apparently, she's not mentally stable or whatever, enough to sign the papers."

Me: WHAT????


DH: It's a federal law. She has to sign the consent papers within 30 days of expected delivery and within no more than 180 days. If she's closer than that, she cannot give consent for the procedure.


Me: ARE YOU FRIGGIN' KIDDING ME?


DH: No. Of course not. Apparently, there's a lot of litigation surrounding cases where a woman who's "too close" to delivery decides that she wants a tubal and then regrets it afterwards.


Me: Okay, I can understand regretting it afterwards, but why the 30 days?


DH: Because, I guess, your hormones are too out of whack or something and you're not considered mentally competent to make that decision.


Me: WHAT? You're not considered mentally competent to sign a legal medical document when you're perinatal?


DH: Don't yell at me. I didn't make the law. I'm just telling you what the law says and what standard medical practice is. You can't give a tubal if the patient asks for it within 30 days of the expected date of delivery.


Me: You've got to be friggin' kidding me! Could I legally sign for a mortgage at 36 weeks pregnant? Yes! Could I sign for a new credit card? Yes! Could I decide to divorce you? Yes! But I can't sign a medical consent form for a tubal ligation?


DH: No.


Do you see where I'm going with this? Do you see why I'm so pissed off? Oh my stars, this has soooooo many levels.


Don't even get me started.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Give One. Get One.

This is an interesting idea that just came my way. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but I wanted to share the information.

It's a philanthropy project titled "Give One. Get One." You buy a $399 laptop computer, and they donate one to a child in a 3rd world country. Actually, you donate a laptop to a child in a 3rd world country, and they'll give you another one for yourself for free. The deadline for purchase/donation is December 31st.


It's an interesting idea. Here's the link.

I am definitely intrigued by the concept. On the outset, it seems like a wonderful philanthropy project. The mission is an important one---"to empower the children of developing countries to learn"---but the method---"by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child" may or may not be flawed. I'm certainly not poo-pooing the idea, I just have some questions and I'm not yet finding the answers.

My most important concern is whether or not the method will actually achieve the goal. Will these laptops empower school-age children around the world? particularly children in impoverished countries where there's not even running water let alone electricity and batteries to operate laptops? Or are there better, more cost-efficient, more intelligent, and culturally-appropriate ways to achieve the same goal? And how does this method translate across the globe? Clearly a laptop donation will be viewed differently depending on where you live. Not all cultural groups are going to view the device, the technology, the gift, in the same way.

You might guess, and hope, that the wonderful people who put this project together have already thought about my question. It is a seriously impressive team of researchers, techies, academicians, and such, from respected institutions like MIT and Harvard. However, well-intentioned, intelligent, thoughtful people have made such mistakes before.

I remember a story told to me when I was a graduate student in anthropology. My advisor, let's call her LA, had done her PhD field research in anthropology in Zambia. In the small farming community where she did her research, an international development aid agency had decided to help local farmers increase their crop production. This aid agency was filled with intelligent, thoughtful, well-educated, do-gooders. They weren't stupid, and they had the alphabet soup after their names to prove it. And importantly, they were well-intentioned. They believed that if they helped this community improve their crop yield that less people would starve. Greater crop production equals more food and more money.

It was a good goal. But their method? Well, their method was a bit flawed.

What did they do?

They donated tractors. Large pieces of machinery designed to help farmers tend their fields.

What LA observed over the two years she lived there, was that these tractors were virtually never used in the fields. Instead, they were being used as taxicabs. Yep, big old, gas-guzzling, expensive tractors were being used to transport people from point A to point B. And the farmers/taxi drivers who were driving the tractors were charging their passengers a fare to do it. Apparently, the local people thought this was better use of the equipment than using the tractors in their fields. And I'm sure they believed this was a better income-generator, or at least knew that it was a more immediate income generator than waiting until harvest for some extra crops and cash.

My point is that we may be intelligent. We may be educated. We may believe we are doing a good thing. But sometimes our Western ideas do not translate well in other places.

This may be the case with the laptops. But it may not be. I'm hoping it's not.

In any case, these are some interesting laptops. Check them out here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Nutcracker

We survived Nutcracker week!


And that's saying something. Every night last week, school nights for my young girls, we had evening rehearsals for the Nutcracker ballet performance. This is the Nutcracker performance in our small town. The dancers pair with the local symphony orchestra and perform the Nutcracker ballet. It's a remarkably professional production with terrific dancers, direction, choreography, and music. It's really incredible.


But the rehearsals were late. Very late. They were from 7:00 to 9:30 each and every night last week. Normally, O and J are in bed by 8:00 at the latest. By Friday, performance night, they were both about to collapse. But instead, they were terrific! Absolutely beautiful in the performance, both remembering their parts completely, and smiling through the whole thing.


We weren't allowed to take pictures during the performance, but here's some before and after pics. Before costumes....




As a Marzipan Sheep and a Chinese Dancer.....




And afterwards with flowers and gifts from Mom and Dad....


It was wonderful!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I Made A Little Girl Cry

Yesterday, as I drove my girls to school, it was very foggy out. Rare for around here. As a rounded a curve in the road I saw three little kids playing on the parkway. That's the landscaped piece of land between the two sides of the road. These three children were wearing backpacks and were clearly supposed to be walking to school. As I approached, the two older boys ran across the other side of the road to the sidewalk. The younger girl remained on the parkway.

Being the stern mother that I am, and wielding my motherly power, I slowed, rolled down my window, and firmly said to the little girl, "You should get on the sidewalk. It's really foggy today and people will have difficulty seeing you." She stared at me like a deer in headlights for about 2 seconds and then ran across the other side of the street to the sidewalk.

As I drove off, I looked in the mirror and saw the poor little thing crying. Her sweet little freckled face was wet with tears.

Poor little thing. Mean, monster mommy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Am A Daisy

Katrina at Southern Suds and Lather provided a link to a website where you can take a quiz and determine what type of flower you are.

I am happy to report that I am a daisy! (I'm sure the quiz has very adequate test validity!)

Take the test for yourself and see what type of flower you are here.


The Office

There's nothing like guests in from out of town to make you finish a decorating project. We finally finished my hubby's office.

Here are the before pics.....(embarrassing, I know!)













And here are the after pics.....

























Now you want me to come over and decorate your office, don't you?

p.s. the Wrigley Field picture was not my idea.
p.p.s. Blogger hates me. I know it. I can't get these pics to set up the way I want them too. Arggg!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Photo Meme

Crystal over at My Family Gossip has tagged me for a Photo Meme. The original version is over at I Invented Motherhood. The rule is that you answer the questions using a photo from the first page of Google Images.
Here are my answers---
1. Age at next birthday









2. Place I'd like to travel












3. Favorite object







4. Favorite food







5. Favorite animal








6. Favorite color






7. First job







8. College major








9. Bad habit








10. My first name


Anyone else tempted to play around with images? and curse your blogger account at the same time? hmm...tempting....yes?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hillary for President

Last night my hubby and I were discussing the upcoming primary election. We were discussing the merits of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton--the only two candidates either of us have seriously considered.

And then it hit me.

Our girls could grow up in a world where a woman could become the president. The President of the United States.

I hadn't thought about it that way before. I plan to vote for Hillary because I believe she is the most able to "get the job done." She's the most able to pull it off in Washington. She's smarter than sin, tougher than tough, and has the political intelligence and savvy to make things happen. She's got my vote because she has what it takes.

I hadn't been thinking about the fact that she's a girl. A grown-up girl, now a woman. A girl that was told as a kid that she could do anything she wanted to do. That she could become anything she wanted to become.

When I was a girl, I was told that a girl who worked hard enough could do anything she wanted to do. Anything.

But it isn't true. You can graduate at the top of your class at Yale or Harvard. You can take the best internships, work your tail off, succeed at everything you'd ever done, and still, you'd make 70% of what a man in a similar position would make. That statistic is still true today.

And you certainly couldn't become the President. Not the President of the United States of America. Home of the brave, land of the free. Equality for all and all that B.S.

Let's face reality. Class and race matter. Gender matters. We don't like to believe it, but it does. How many people, underlying it all, don't plan to vote for Hillary because she's, as they claim, a b.i.t.c.h? Because she's assertive, intelligent, and achievement-oriented? Because she's not soft around the edges? Because she's not maternal? Give me a f---ing break. How many presidents have we had that were giving and maternal and soft? Like anyone can do anything of substance in this nation without being assertive, intelligent, and achievement-oriented?

But if we elect Hillary Clinton, our girls, my girls, all of the girls of this nation, can grow up in a country where a woman can be the President. The President. The President of the United States of America.

A woman.

That song and dance we were taught as little girls would be true. We could be anything we wanted to be. We could even be the President.

If that doesn't solidify my choice for President, I don't know what does.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Frantic Family

It's been a week since I've posted. The problem? Mary Alice describes it as Frantic Family Syndrome. I like the term very much and I've started sharing it with others as a way to describe what our family, and me in particular, is experiencing at the moment.

I was foolish to take on this nursing course that I'm taking. Foolish to add it when my hubby is still working as much as he is, my youngest is still only in school half-days, and when I'm as involved as I am in other things---my kids' school, our neighborhood, etc.

Next semester, I'm not taking any classes. I've recently decided that it just doesn't make sense, not when doing so makes our family in such a state of constant rushing craziness. We're always running late. The grocery shopping isn't getting done so we're eating a lot more convenience food and spending a lot more money. I'm skipping the gym in order to spend time studying. I'm chronically behind on the laundry which I cannot stand. I have no time to blog which I really can't stand, and well, I'm just wondering.....why?

If I were a single mom it might be a different story. But I have choices. I do not have to work. My husband makes enough money to comfortably support us and he's happy to have me holding down the fort if that's what I'm happy doing. I do not have to go back to school. If I was turning 41 next month (and I am!) and didn't yet have my bachelor's, I could see sort of frantically wanting to complete my schooling, but I already have a bachelors and a masters. I don't need to do this!

Unless, of course, I want to. If I'm passionate and motivated, then by all means, I should be following my dream. But right now, honestly, it's just not worth the hassle. And next year, I'm praying things will be calmer around here. First of all, my hubby will have hopefully landed that awesome job (or a similar one) which will allow him to be around more. Secondly, J will be in school full time---which (a) means I won't have to worry about childcare for her on the afternoons when I have class, and (b) means that I won't have to be commuting to their school three times each and every day. Not to mention the fact that this is my last semester to enjoy her in the afternoons. Sigh.

So there you have it. Convinced. Not taking classes next semester. Period. Glad we got that over with.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Danny's Song

Disclaimer: This post will remind you of those days, lounging on the floor in your family room, your body snuggled into that orange shag carpeting, pouring over the album lyrics to your favorite song, ooogling to your best girlfriend on the phone, about how the song lyrics so describe your teenage crush.


My husband and I have been together since the dawn of time. Literally since January of 1986. It all started so innocently. We had the world at our fingertips. We were young and in love. We got married in June of 1993.


"Now I smile and face the girl who shares my name. Now I'm through with the game. This boy will never be the same. And even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey, everything will bring a chain of love. And in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes and tell me, everything is gonna be alright."


In 1995, we made a decision that changed our lives. Since then, Dan's life has not really "been his own." That is to say, in order to follow his dream of becoming a doctor, he had to succumb, for 12 friggin' years, to the demands and requirements of someone else---teachers, preceptors, bosses. Those have been the years of medical school, residency, and now, a service obligation for a scholarship he received in medical school.


During these years, we had our babies.


"Now I see a family where there once was none. Now we've just begun. Yeah, we're gonna fly to the sun. And even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey, everything will bring a chain of love. And in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes and tell me, everything is gonna be alright."


An ongoing issue for us has been the amount of time this man works. He works a LOT. This week, for example, a typical week, he's putting in 90+ hours at work, not including his commute which is an hour each way. Some weeks are worse. Some are better, but not by much. He hasn't had a full weekend off since early August. And he won't have another one until late December.


The position he has now has been crazy. There is always a shortage of docs and there's always more work to be done. On Thursday, for example, my DH called me and told me he's been "asked" to be on three new committees. Three. At once. Additional work. Probably somewhere around 6 additional hours per month. Might not sound like a lot to some, but when you already work as much as he does, it's asking a lot. And he hates meetings. Despises them.


We argued. I insisted that he decline these lovely offers for additional work. He talked about how he really felt he had to accept and that really, it wouldn't be much additional work. I countered that he'd have less time for (a) family, (b) exercise, (c) sleep. The man gets no sleep! It was not a nice conversation.


We've argued about these same things many times. We've cried. We've yelled. We've loved. It's not been easy. But soon his service obligation will be over and he will be a "free agent." He'll be able to select a job on his own terms. There are a lot of decisions to be made. But the bottom line is always the same. We need more time together as a family. He needs to be home more. We want this badly. Very badly.

Later in the day after we had argued about his new committee responsibilities, he called me to tell me he was sorry we had argued and that he had some good news. He had a potential new job offer. He has to wait 8 months before he could take it, until the end of his service obligation, and I don't want to jinx it by talking about it, but let's just say it would let us stay put in this town we love, it'd be doing something he really loves, with the same benefits, more money, and for a guaranteed 7 shifts per month.

Seven shifts per month! That is still approximately 48 hours a week, but trust me, this is like never working compared to what he does right now. And for more money? And the same benefits? It's like a dream!

It was like he had called to tell me, "Everything is gonna be alright."

Afterwards, in the car (damn that satellite radio), I heard Danny's Song. At the time, I didn't know it was titled Danny's Song, which is pretty awesomely coincidental since my DH's name is Danny. And of course, I cried. What else is new?

"You bring a tear of joy to my eyes and tell me, everything is gonna be alright."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Catching Up

Sometimes I feel like the friend who calls you and says, "Oh man, I'm late for my period. I hope I'm not pregnant." And then you never get a chance to call her and say, "Well, did you get your period yet?"


That is, I tell you things about my life, and then we have no chance to follow-up later. So, I'm doing that here.


(1) I've temporarily given up my quest for places to live in Chicago. I'm not feeling very homesick at the moment. Plus, DH has a potential job offer right here, an awesome job offer. Keep your fingers crossed, pray for us, all that jazz, please! We're going to Chicago for Christmas though, so my thoughts on staying put may change. We'll see.


(2) I still believe my friend was having an affair. I have good sources who have confirmed that she was. I am confident it is no longer happening because the guy in question moved to another state. She still has not told me the truth and I'm still very uncomfortable around her.


(3) O is doing much better in school. We've met with absolutely everyone at her school---counselor, OT, special ed director, both teachers, etc., and have developed a reward system to shape her behavior at school. It totally works! She seems to be thriving. You can read about that here, here, and here.


(4) Things are still not any better with the person who let us down as told about in this post. I've decided to move on and am relying on others for the support our family needs. This is easier said than done for my DH for reasons I will not specify here so he is still having a tough time with it.


(5) The worst day of my husband's career is still an ongoing issue. The mother of the stillborn child has chosen to sue the hospital where my dh works. Apparently, she had gone in on the weekend between her prenatal visits with a fever. My DH saw her on two consecutive Thursdays and in between she went into the ER complaining of a fever and was seen by a different physician. That night, her baby had a heartbeat. That was the last time her baby was known to be alive. Was there something the hospital staff could have done? We do not know. Now it is time for the attorneys to decide. Fortunately, my DH is not named in the lawsuit.

(6) I have solidified my choice for president. It was really a pretty easy decision and the way I have been leaning all along. I choose Hillary. I believe she has the best chance of getting it done in Washington. Obama is a bit too inexperienced and not quite politically astute enough to get the job done were he to be elected. He'd make an excellent VP and I wonder if either of their egos would allow that to happen? hmm.


(7) My class is going well. So far I have received an A on every exam despite having to memorize things like this, and having to overcome some serious obstacles like this.


(8) We still haven't purchased an iPod, but I have reason to believe Santa might be generous this year. You can read about my desire to have one here, and here.


(9) We took J to the doctor because her Poopy Mondays had begun to extend into other days of the week. The pediatrician believes J is suffering from constipation and of course wanted to prescribe medication. Ugh. Doctors! Fortunately, my DH, also a doctor, quickly suggested to her that we start with some diet changes first. Duh. The pediatrician agreed and now we're adding flax seed oil to everything and eating a lot of beans!


(10) I still have not figured out the problem with my Dyson. I have considered taking Marie's advice and forwarding my post to Dyson with the hope that they would send me a new one. I have yet to do that. I tried cleaning it as Mrs G. suggested but with no better luck. I am still loving the Bissell however and have since scrubbed every stitch of carpet in this place. My carpets are gorgeous! but not thanks to my precious Dyson. Sigh.


I think that catches us up. Let me know if there are things you are wondering about that I haven't addressed.


p.s. In case you were wondering, I'm not pregnant!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ovarian Cancer

Another cop out from yours truly. But still. This is a very important message and I was moved to link to it here.

Please go over to Derfwad Manor and read Mrs. G's post on ovarian cancer. It could save your life. Or your sister's. Or your mom's. Or any other woman in your life.

Plus, I love her final comment---"Mrs. G. wants all her readers and their mothers, sisters, friends, to trust their intuitions, question their doctors, demand respect and, most of all, be well."

Well said, Mrs. G!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Garage Sale

My kids are pack rats. Ridiculous pack rats. They hate to get rid of anything. It can be 12 sizes too small. It can be torn to bits. It can be missing essential pieces. It can be something they haven't played with in years, and they do not want to get rid of it. O especially. She is terrible. I find what I would describe as bits of paper stuffed into the crannies of her room. She considers them treasures. It's hell on earth for a clean freak like myself, a person who regularly needs, needs, to purge.


I'm telling you. This is the longest we've ever lived in one place---2 years. Having moved every one to two years since I was 18 and am now 40, I am accustomed to cleaning out the closets very regularly. There's nary a dust bunny in hiding around here. I gave him away to Goodwill before he was even born.


So one day we decide, against my better judgement, to hold a garage sale. Stuff is piling up in the garage and instead of donating it all to Goodwill, my normal approach, we figure we'll try to get a little extra cash for it all because there's some good stuff in there---a baby jogger, baby backpack carriers, stuff like that, expensive stuff.


We decide to hold this garage sale early--very early in the morning before the kids wake up. We are blessed with children who sleep in when allowed to do so. We open up shop at 6:00am. We sell a host of stuff. The wooden highchair goes. Both baby backpack carriers go. The double jog stroller goes. Tons of baby clothes, cloth diapers, toys, it all goes. Some of the household crap goes too.


Then, around 8:00 am, the kids wake up. They charge outside and see what we're up to. Fortunately, most of the stuff has already gone. Unfortunately, only the crappy stuff remains--the stuffed animals, the Happy Meal toys, the stuff we really wanted to get rid of.


The girls freak. Literally freak out. They both start crying hysterically and grabbing their possessions and hauling it all back into the house. We mostly let them since we're still dealing with potential customers. But they are very upset. Very.


I pause for a moment to ponder what it must feel like to wake up and realize that someone is selling a bunch of your stuff without you knowing about it. Hmm. Probably wouldn't feel too nice.


The next day I realize the girls are playing a little too quietly and go to check on them. On their train table they have set out a bunch of stuff they hauled out of MY closet. My stuff. Out of my closet. My closet is off-limits without permission and they know it.


Me: "Girls! What are you doing?!"


Girls: "We're having a garage sale."


They're selling off my stuff.


I can't help but laugh.


Way to get back at mom!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Guilty....Once Again

Our new routine is that O's alarm clock goes off 10 minutes before she needs to get into the shower. We do this intentionally so that we can get 10 minutes of snuggle time in my bed before we need to get up.

As we snuggle in bed early this morning, O says the sweetest things to me.

As she says them, I alternate between....

saying to myself, "Remember this conversation so you can blog about it," and

saying to her, "Honey, please. Shhh. We only have a few more minutes to sleep."

And now, do I remember the conversation? No, I don't.

I only remember how I shushed her when I should have been enjoying her.

Enjoying her, dammit. It's going by so quickly. I should be enjoying her.

Why can't I remember that? I alternate between trying to remember so I can blog about it? and shushing her so I can sleep an extra 10 minutes? Are either of these good goals or intentions? No, they are not. Did I even acheive either of them anyway? No, I did not.

This is so pathetic I can't stand it.

Sigh.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Funniest Post

I am totally coping out here, but instead of writing my own post today, I'm sending you over to Bermuda Bluez.


This stuff is funny with a capital F.


I am seriously up at 2:43 am laughing so loud that I am going to wake up my family! I am crying all over my keyboard!


Check it out here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Disappointing Dyson

I can't even believe I'm saying this because I love my Dyson.

I love my Dyson.

But we had an accident today and I realized my baby, my precious Dyson, wasn't adequately doing it's job.

The accident is pretty sick to describe so let's just say that it involved a dog that stole too much Halloween candy combined with this same dog accidentally getting locked into J's bedroom.

Yes, that. Gross.

I've been wanting one for awhile, so this morning, I bought myself a Bissell rug shampooer. It set me back $300 and it took me 80 minutes to put the damn thing together, but oh man, it was worth it.

It works amazingly well. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Suck, suck, suck and the next thing I know, the carpet is smelling and looking gorgeously clean. But the water contained inside that machine, oh my stars, gag reflex starting, it was disgusting. And we're not just talking about the uhm, dog's contribution. We're talking that water was filthy. Solid black. Plus, it contained a ton of dog hair, carpet fuzz, and who knows what else.

Why wasn't my Dyson picking this stuff up? or at least most of it? I had just vacuumed yesterday. Yet this black stuff, this fuzz, and hair, this was all sitting in my carpets?

Dyson, sweet Dyson, why have you let me down like this?

Sigh.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

A former 2nd grader at our school has passed away.

Her name was Gema. She was in 2nd grade at our school last year and in April was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

This year, had she been well enough to attend school, she would have been in 3rd grade. She was a dear, sweet little girl with two older brothers who also attended our school. When she was diagnosed, the whole family moved to a larger city nearby so that she could receive better treatment for her cancer. She and her brothers were pulled from school. Our entire school prayed for her and her family.

Tuesday, she died.

She was 8 years old.

Not that it makes much difference, but today we donated to her family's account, The Gema Chavez Charitable Fund, so that her parents may better afford the funeral services.

Today, our principal said this when telling us about Gema's death---

"Life on earth with our family and friends is very precious. Please unconditionally love one another each and every moment, for we never know when we will no longer have the opportunity to be together."

I cannot think of a more important message.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

7 Random Things

Painted Maypole has tagged me for a 7 Random Things Meme. Even though it's Halloween today and Philanthropy Thursday tomorrow, I'm at a loss for what to write about. Sad, yes?

So here are 7 Random Things About Me:

1) I hate Crocs. I own two pairs and my kids and hubby own a dozen each, and they are so practical in their waterproofness and all that, but I just can't stand them. Have you ever seen anyone over the age of 10 and under the hotness of my hubby (and he only looks good in them when he's being a hotty doctor in his scrubs and all) that actually look good in them? I look like a fool in them and even though they are the most comfy shoes I've ever owned, I've never worn them in public.

2) I talk too much. People don't even bother pussy-footing around it anymore. The bottom line is I talk a LOT. More than most people. I'm overly enthusiastic too. Especially in public. Most people think I'm insane. Or ADHD. Really, they do.

3) I love to eat and drink. Sigh. It's sad, but true. I could eat and drink just about all day. If I didn't have kids to take care of. And if I didn't have places to drive to. And if I could talk with a terrific girlfriend at the same time? And if she loved to eat and drink too? And if it didn't make me gain 800 pounds? Sigh. I could eat and drink all day.

4) I love HBO. And I love when my hubby is in the mood to love it too. Sometimes, he's too tired to care. One of my favorite things in the world to do is to get the kids to bed, pop some popcorn, pour some wine, and settle in for some seriously awesome HBO. Almost anything will do---the Sopranos, Big Love, Six Feet Under, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex in the City, oh man and Deadwood. Those are my favorites.

5) I prefer to be bra-less. Granted, I rarely ever get the opportunity to actually go bra-less, but it is my preferred way to be. Usually, the first thing I do when I walk in the door is take off my bra. I'm usually just entering the house from the garage and have no where to set my bra but the top of the dryer, so there's where it sits. As if I just washed, dried, and folded it. One of the many things I absolutely despised about having my BIL live with us is feeling like I had to leave my bra on.


6) I regularly punch myself in the stomach. Really, I do. It's the only part of my physical self that I actually sort of like (so sad, but true), my abs, that is, and so I regularly sock it to myself just to convince either myself, my girls, or anyone else who gives a crap, that I have some seriously buff abs. I'm fond of socking myself in the abs while in front of the mirror in the girls' bathroom while I'm helping them brush their teeth and I'll say something stupid like, "When you do sit ups your tummy gets nice and strong like Mommy's." It's my lamo attempt at helping them to love themselves instead of despising their cellulite-covered thighs. Of course, they don't have any cellulite yet, but I do, and you know, they will someday. Oh bother. Not fond of the cellulite.


7) I only have to do four simple things to please my husband. Really. He's very easy to please. (1) I must make the coffee. Oh my stars this means the world to the man. If I just make the coffee, set the coffeemaker to go off before he wakes up, I am a goddess. (2) I must buy sun dried olives. It's very simple, other than the fact that they cost $14/jar and I can only get them at this fancy-schmancy cook shop. He loves him some olives. (3) I must cook meat. I must cook any kind of meat. Give him the choice between unbelievably gourmet awesomeness with no meat, or slow-cooked pork, and there's no contest. Sigh. (4) Well, you know the last one.

**********

On another note, thank you to everyone for commenting! We hit 14! (but we cheated, sort of). Thank you Mrs G!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Double Digits

Okay, I am so close to double digit comments, I can taste it.

Two posts---Well Received and Billy Don't Be a Hero---garnered me 9 comments. I'm relatively new to blogging so I guess I can't complain. But man, I'm so close to that elusive double digit ten.
Ah, to have 10 comments.

I'd love to steal Sue's statement on comments. She says,

"If You Choose Not to Comment...
...that's fine - just be aware that I may die. Really. Because every person who reads without commenting kills off another little piece of my SOUL. I just wanted you to know. So you can, you know, have a clear conscience at my funeral. Which might be soon. No pressure though."

And I second her sentiment when she wrote this.

But I won't steal her statement about comments. I'm not ready to guilt you into it (but I'll do that soon if this doesn't work).

Instead, I'll just ask nicely. Here goes....

If you read my blog, please comment. I'd love to hear from you!

How's that for nice?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Poopy Mondays

I have a friend who graciously babysits my youngest child for me every Monday so that I may attend my Adult Ballet class.

Every Monday.

Every single Monday.

Every Monday my daughter poops in her pants while she is over at my friend's house.

Every single Monday.

I am not even going to remind you how old this child is, but trust me, she is too old to poop in her pants.

Every Monday she gets to wear my friend's daughter's clothes home. Every Monday she gets to take a refreshing shower at my friend's home. Every Monday I get to go home with a bag full of poopy clothing.

Every single Monday.

In case you're wondering, yes, my friend does have a toilet. She has, I think, five of them. It's a big house, but no matter where you are in there, you're bound to hit a bathroom.

Anyone interested in babysitting for me next Monday?

Didn't think so.

Sigh.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Least Favorite Chore

What's your least favorite chore?

You would think mine would be something like cleaning toilets, or picking up dog poop, right? I hate both of those chores too, but I always manage to muster the strength to do them.

But when it comes to emptying the dishwasher, well, I just can't do it. I don't know what it is about it. I just hate it. Objectively, it's not that bad of a chore. The dishes are clean, for one thing, so it's not at all a nasty thing to do like some chores can be. And it should be nice, just like putting away clean laundry, that a task is completed. It's done. The dishes are clean.

But no. I can't stand it and I don't know why. Fortunately for me, my DH, on the mornings when he's home, puts them away first thing. I love him for it. I lie in bed and hear him clanging around putting away clean dishes. And even though it disturbs my last moments of sleep, I love him for it.

But days like today? When he's not here in the morning? Sigh. The clean dishes sit in the dishwasher all day. All day. I avoid the chore like the plague. I just hand washed two entire sinks full of dishes just so I wouldn't have to unload the dishwasher. What gives with that?

I've done 3 loads of laundry so far today---from start to finish---folding and putting them away included. I've cleaned all three toilets. Yes, three. I vacuumed up the mess O made when she "baked bread" in the kitchen this morning and the mess that J made cracking open almonds. I even walked around the house with my container of Clorox wipes wiping down stair rails, light switches, doorknobs, etc., because it's flu season y'know.

But have I managed to get around to emptying the dishwasher? Nope. We'll be lucky if I manage to do it before dinner. And if I don't? Well, that's okay. DH will be here in the morning.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Field Trip, Raffi, and Go Fish

I jently stand on the erth. The wind blows my hare and the trees. I here the birds and the srwerles.


A child in O's class wrote the above in her nature journal while on a field trip yesterday. How sweet is that? Below she drew a picture of the beautiful canyon we were in. It was a lovely field trip. Exhausting for the kids, but lovely.

After spending the day with a bunch of second-graders in a canyon, I came home once again to a husbandless home and a hypoglycemic child. After I fed the kids and did a few chores, I thought, "What a perfect night for a movie." Ah yes, let's sit and pop popcorn and who even cares what we watch? Let's watch Cars for the 80th time.

But no. It's TV Turn Off Week at our school and our girls are now old enough to remind me if I slip. Actually, we rarely turn on the TV during the week when the kids are awake. Who has time for all the TV that American kids watch? By the time we come home from school, it's 3:30 three days a week, and 4:45 on the two days a week that the girls have dance. We unload the car. The kids play outside. I do a few chores and make dinner. We eat together and the clean the kitchen together. We help the girls clean their rooms and clean up for bed, and then we read bedtime stories. There's just really no time for TV.

But on the weekends, we love to watch a couple of movies. Sigh. Not this weekend. Darn it.

Instead, I mustered up all my strength and courage (I know I'm sad and weak) and the three of us sat down to a few rounds of Go Fish. We also cranked up the stereo and played, who else? Mr Raffi himself.

It's going to be a long weekend.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Well Received

Our gifts yesterday were well received indeed.

It was simple. It went like this:

O: Mom, you ask her.

Me: Child 1, O would like you to have this lunchbox if you would like to have it.

Child 1: (eyes beaming bright) Oh yes. Thank you.

Child 1 took the lunchbox to her cubby. Simple. Done. Whew. O went into class.

Next scenario with J and Child 2:

J: Mom, you ask him.

Me: Child 2, J would like you to have this lunchbox. Would you like to have it?

Child 2: (drops what he's playing with in the sandbox, grabs lunchbox) Yes!

Child 2 took the lunchbox to the gathering spot for lunches. He sat there and hugged it. Then stared at it. I noticed his lunch was in a paper bag. Again.

It was amazing how such a simple little thing could be so delightful for these children!

Then I saw the Dad and felt I should talk to him.

Me: For some reason, O and J really wanted Child 1 and Child 2 to have these lunchboxes. I hope that's okay.

Dad: Sure, that's great. (pause) I gave up buying lunchboxes because they seem to always lose them. But this is great. Thank you.

Me: You're welcome. I hope they are useful.

He didn't seem at all offended. He graciously accepted the gifts.

The end.

As I walked off the playground, Child 2 was still hugging his new lunchbox.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

Finally, an idea from O and J.

It's a simple thing and may not even be appreciated, but since they came up with it on their own, we're going for it.

Last night at dinner, we got on the topic of a family at school that doesn't seem to have a lot of money. I'm not sure, but it seems like the parents are divorced, and the kids are always showing up to school all disheveled looking. The kids in this family always, always carry their lunches in grocery bags. Not the little paper bags that you buy intentionally for lunches, but the larger paper bags you get when you buy groceries. The dad does work for a grocery store (we have seen him there) and the way the lunches are thrown together (we've seen the contents on field trips and class parties), it really seems like he grabs whatever is dented or free to employees of the grocery store, throws them into a sack, and sends the kids off to school.


I have no idea how we got to discussing this family, but all of a sudden one of the girls says proudly, "I have an idea! We could give them our lunchboxes!" Both girls immediately thought it was the best idea since sliced bread and went on to discuss who would get what lunch box. They each have at least three each and the boxes they've decided to give away are practically brand new.

So today at school we'll give our gifts. Let's hope they are well-received and no one is offended.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Assaulted

(This post was originally written last Friday, but I've been afraid to post it.)

Yesterday I felt like I was assaulted.


I was driving to the grocery store, past the Planned Parenthood. I must never have driven this way before on a Thursday morning because I have never seen this before.


I rounded the bend and all of a sudden, totally unexpectedly, I saw a huge sign. I felt like it was almost thrust into my face. The man holding it seemed about average height so the billboard must have been almost 6 feet tall and approximately 4 feet wide.


Now here's where you should sign off if you don't want to feel assaulted too.


The picture he was holding was of a baby. Approximately of newborn age. The baby was covered in blood and attached to the baby's cheek were steel forceps. These forceps were pulling the baby forcibly so that her flesh was being removed from her cheekbones.


Superimposed over the top of the photo the sign read, "Choice. This is what you choose when you choose abortion."


I continued driving, slowly, and there were more protesters. Each with horribly graphic signs. But none as horrible as the first.



I was appalled. I was horrified. I could not believe how grotesque the photos were. I was sad. I was stunned that these individuals expected normal passersby to view these horrible depictions of abortion. I felt horrible for the women who were driving into this clinic about to have an abortion. Not only, of course, that they would be assaulted by the sames photos that I had seen, but more importantly because of what they were choosing to do that morning.


They were choosing abortion. Having never been in the position myself, I cannot even imagine how horrible of a choice that would be to make. To be in the position where you feel you have no alternative but to end your pregnancy. To end the life of the fetus growing inside you.


Thursday apparently is abortion clinic day at our Planned Parenthood. Eons ago (we've recently moved back to a city we lived in over 10 years ago), I did an internship at this same Planned Parenthood, though they were in a different location at the time. I even worked on "abortion clinic" days. At this clinic, they only perform abortions on women who are 7 to 12 weeks pregnant. If you are farther along than that in your pregnancy you must go to a larger city for the procedure.


So what also struck me about that huge photograph was it's inaccuracy. Not only have I done my homework---I know what fetal development looks like and the size and shape of a fetus at 12 weeks---but I have actually seen what clinicians prefer to call "the products of conception"---the POC.

And it looks nothing like that picture.



After an abortion, the clinicians need to view the POC to make sure that the doctor "got everything out." Also, they never, ever use forceps to remove the fetus. They use suction. It's kind of like sticking a vacuum up the vagina.

They do not pull the fetus out with forceps.



I hated seeing it back then. But thinking about it now is even worse, now that I have become a mother. It's horrible. It really is. I'm as pro-choice as they come and I still think it's horrible. You still have to admit that you are ending a life. A potential baby. Life in it's smallest and most beginning stages. Life.


But still, it looks nothing like that picture!


So, I'm wondering. Why is it okay to depict abortion in this way? Why is it okay to be so inaccurate in your description? Does the end justify the means? Why do the protesters believe it is okay to deceive the women going into this clinic? to pretend that they are killing full-term babies?


I'm just not okay with it. I'm not okay with any of it. And I don't know what to do about it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Billy Don't Be A Hero

So who's idea was this more music thing anyway?

Yesterday I heard a song I haven't heard in ages---"Billy Don't Be A Hero," Bo Donaldson's version.

"Billy, don't be a hero. Don't be a fool with your life. Billy, don't be a hero. Come back and make me your wife. And as he started to go, she said, Billy, keep your head low. Billy, don't be a hero. Come back to me."

The song goes on to describe how Billy volunteered for something courageous during battle and ends up getting killed. His fiance' receives a letter saying he died a hero and she should be proud he died that way. But she threw the letter away.

What a dang tearjerker! Although this song is apparently about the Vietnam War (it was released in 1974), I sat in my car crying and thinking about all of the Iraq war widows. About how their heroes have never come home.

I don't think I can take this music business anymore. I thought listening to the news was depressing. I must be listening to all the wrong stuff!

I need me some Motown. Some Dancing Queen. Some Saturday Night Fever.

My hubby is right. We need an iPod. Time to come out of the dark ages and listen to what we want, when we want!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Winchester Cathedral

"Winchester Cathedral...you're bringing me down. You stood there and watched as...my baby left town."

I heard this today listening to the 60's station on XM Radio in my car. I listened intently. Had I really ever heard this song before? That is, had I ever heard it sung by the person who actually sings it? No, I decided. I hadn't. The only time I had ever heard this song it was sung by my Dad. Way back when. Probably in the seventies.

I started to cry. Okay, chalk it up to PMS. Either that or I'm a sad, pathetic, nostalgic fool.

I realized at that moment (I know, I'm forty. It's taken me a long time to realize a lot of things) that I grew up listening to music. Lots and lots of music.

I watched myself today, rap-tappin' my thumb (thumb only) on the steering wheel, realizing that this is just what my Mom always did, realizing that there was always, always, music on in the car. And that we were always, always, singing along. I remembered that my Dad had like the most extensive album collection you could have. He had 100's and 100's of albums. Hundreds. My friends were always in awe. Complete awe. He had EVERYTHING. Everything cool, that is. He didn't have any of the sappy, stupid stuff. He didn't have anything that any of the other parents had. He had all the cool stuff. Stuff anyone who appreciates music is still listening to today. The classic rock of the 1960's and '70s. Sure, they had a bit of Buddy Holly too, who could blame them? But most of it was pure Rock n' Roll.

This music was always playing in our house. When we were younger, my parents played this music nonstop with their friends. We did a lot of dancing back then too. My Dad mostly hated dancing, but my Mom and my Aunt were always willing to hear a quick disco beat and danced with us until we were blue in the face. Then, when we were older, we were always "borrowing" my Dad's albums and playing them. Most of the time, this was a positive thing. One day, however, after my parents had enough of us playing Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" over and over, well, my Dad just walked down to our family room, across the orange shag carpeting, and took the album over his knee and broke it. Broke it in two!

It was his album!

My parents loved music. They played it all the time. I grew up with music. I grew up loving music. I still have so much fondness in my heart for the music of the '60s and '70s and love to sing along in the car. But somewhere along the way, it got lost. I spent much of my young adulthood either car-less or listening to NPR. All seriousness. I rarely listen to music anymore, although, thankfully, I purchased the XM Radio option with my new car about a year ago and now we do quite a bit of listening in the car. Since XM, I'm slightly off my NPR obsession, but I'm still musically challenged. I'm still musically deprived. And I found myself today, fearing that my children will be too.

So today, I vow to play more music. Even if it's outdated. I don't care. As long as it makes us sing. As long as it makes us dance. I'm playing more of it, dammit. I am.

What Will You Do ALL Day?

I'm so sick of this question. What SAHM isn't? Next year J will be in school ALL day. As if it's really ALL day. Hmm. My kids' school day goes from 8:30 to 3:00.

Anyone know of a full time job that starts after that and ends before? Preferably one with benefits and that pays really well?

Since I'm so sick of this question, I decided to start keeping a journal of all the c--- I do around here. All that stuff that fills ALL that time. The ludicrous amount of multitasking that goes on in my life.

By the way, this year J is still only in school until 11:30. By the time I get out of there, walking her into the classroom and everything, it's 9:00. Whoo hoo! A whopping 2 1/2 hours!

Besides, why do I have to know how I'm going to spend ALL that time next year when I don't even have that time yet? That's like spending the money before you make it. No one would praise me for charging up my credit cards before we earn the money---why would they praise me for filling all my time before I've even wallowed in the luxury of it? Wouldn't it be nice to actually have some time and then decide, "Hmm. I'm a bit bored. Maybe I should add some things to my life?" Wouldn't that be a better approach?

But no, people want to know how I'll fill ALL that time. Shit, people have been asking me for about 3 years now how I plan to fill ALL that time. Three years ago. When J was 2! I felt the pressure to start figuring that out. Hence the nursing classes. Sigh.

So I'm starting a journal today. Just to keep track of all my time. To keep track of the varied and crazy crap I do on a regular basis. It's nothing earth-shattering, and it's not saving any lives (my dh takes care of that department), but I can tell you this, it sure takes up a lot of time.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Dog Ate My Homework

Really, he did.

See....
Here are the exact chapters I was supposed to study for a quiz on Tuesday....


And the book only cost me about $85.
Nope, not likin' the dog.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What Is This Lady Thinking?

I don't mean to be a b.i.t.c.h. and I certainly don't mean to imply anything negative about the field of occupational therapy, but c'mon, what is this lady thinking?


Let's see...the OT at my kids' school wants my child to wear (a) a weighted vest, (b) a grin guard, (c) a weighted "snake" around her neck, (d) sit on a funny chair, (e) sit at a funny desk, (f) chew on plastic bracelets, and (g) slide around on some wheely thing.


Hmm. I wonder if any of the other kids would ever think she's a freak? Naw. Second and third grade girls are wonderful to each other. They're never mean. And they certainly never make fun of the kid who's different. Never.


Also, in the morning, before school, yes, before school, when we have so much ample time and I have so much patience (what? you don't believe me?), she wants her to jump on a trampoline, get a massage (from me, of course), take a shower, work with clay, bead a necklace or bracelet, and anything else I can think of that would allow my overly tactile child to use her hands and get some gross motor muscle stimulation.


Call in the dogs and put out the fire! We've got a FREAK SHOW on our hands!


If any child really needs these things, I don't mean to offend. But my kid is just a little anxious, a little introverted, a little scared about those first weeks of school. She's the type of kid who will make about one friend at a time (and she does have a BFF). She's the type of kid that needs a bit of down time after school to recharge her introverted batteries.


She does not need all this ridiculous intervention!


Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I'm one of those overly protective mothers who thinks my children are God's gift to the universe. And if you think that, you'd be wrong. I'm definitely not one of those parents! Really, I'm not.


I just think this woman has taken her interventions a little too far. She hasn't even done any of her own observations in the classroom this year. She observed my child in kindergarten, a full two years ago, and is generalizing not only from her observations back then, but from some label she's assigned my child. It scares the hell out of me. My young child, at this extremely small school (where there's only one class per grade and where all of the children move to the next grade together with the same teacher) does not need this labeling! She doesn't need the other kids in her class to single her out as some sort of oddball. And we all know how girls about this age can start to act. We all know! This is not what my child needs!


What's a mother to do?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

I know it isn't Thursday anymore. But yesterday, I really wanted to write about Maya.


I did donate to charity yesterday. Not exactly to a charity I would have chosen, but since the opportunity landed on my doorstep....


A woman came to our door. An attractive young woman. She was selling books. Books she claimed had funded her first year of college. Books she hoped would fund her second.


She planned to be a nurse. She chose her small, Christian college because she wanted to find out who she was and what she believed in before she dedicated her life to helping others. She wanted to do medical missionary work when she was finished. Her father didn't support her idea to attend this small Christian school and therefore didn't help her with her tuition.


My dh is a doctor. I'm currently pursing a degree in nursing. We both dream of doing medical missionary work, albeit not quite the kind she intends to do.


I appreciated her desire to follow her dreams. I appreciated her motivation to do so in the face of family objection. I appreciated her work ethic. So I gave her some money, bought one of her books, and wished her well. Honestly, I wish there were more young women in the world just like her.

Knock on my door. And if I'm in the right mood to appreciate your spirit, I just might give you some money.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stop for Maya, part 2

I decided to dedicate another post to Maya. I feel like my yesterday's post was more about blogging safely and not about the fragility of our children and our need to be cautious with their health and welfare.

Maya's story came to me when I was particularly vulnerable.

My Dad told me her story when we were visiting family in Chicago this summer. First of all, every time we go back to Chicago, I long to move back. You can read about this annual/biannual phenomenon here.

If we were to ever move back, and my husband and I have talked about this ad nauseum, we'd move downtown---to Lincoln Park, Lakeview, or somewhere close-by. It was in Lincoln Park where Maya died.

Also, my Dad told me this story about Maya the night before he planned to take my children to the Lincoln Park Zoo without me. I was attending a baby shower for a cousin the next day and while I was gone, he thought he'd take the kids to the zoo. It was after a day at Lincoln Park Zoo that Maya died. In Lincoln Park. On her way back to her mommy's car from the zoo.

The story is horrible. Maya, her mother and brother, were crossing the street right by the zoo. A man in a Lexus sped through a stop sign and hit Maya and her family. Maya's mother and brother were big enough that they were thrown over the roof of the car. Maya was not so lucky. She was dragged underneath the car. The driver dragged her for about a block before he sped away.

Even though the hospital (the hospital where I was born incidentally) was only a few blocks away and she was brought there within minutes, Maya died anyway. Her injuries were severe.

Maya was four years old.

My Dad, of course, ever the dramatist, told the story well. Too well. He also made a minor mistake. He said that Maya was seven. My daughter O, the one he planned to take to the same zoo the next day, was seven.

Oh, the impact of this story!

Please visit her family's website. And think about her whenever you make a FULL and COMPLETE stop at a stop sign.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stop For Maya

My two readers may have noticed that I have recently deleted my name, my children and husband's names, and our location from my blog. I did this because I am constantly in need of reminding myself to be more careful, more cautious. I have a tendency, as I hope most people do, to be trusting. To assume the world is a good and safe place and that the people in it want that too.

As we all know, this is not always the case.


This post will not be about blogging safely. Instead, it is about my need to continually remind myself to be more cautious. Especially when it comes to the safety of my children.

When we were in Chicago this summer, my Dad told me a horrible story about a colleague of his. This man's daughter got hit and killed by a hit and run driver who didn't stop for a stop sign. She died right in front of her mother and brother's eyes.


Her name was Maya. She was four years old. You can read about it here and here.

I pledge to myself, again, to be cautious with my children. To remember their fragility and to remember that my husband and I are their protectors.


Please remember to stop at all stop signs. Completely. Do it for your own children. Do it for all children.


Do it for Maya.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Select A Candidate

I went online and took this interesting quiz. You've probably seen ones like it before. You answer some questions about your positions on national issues and then they tell you which presidential candidate mostly closely shares your views.

Check it out----Select a Candidate
I was not surprised by my answer although there's no way in hell I'll vote for him.
Hmm. Wonder who I will vote for.....



Actually, I still haven't decided between her and him.....(I'm from Chicago after all)



Truthfully, my ideal ticket would include them both with Obama as the VP. Or maybe Hillary and this guy....

Hmm. I guess it's a good thing the primaries are still a few months away!
And just in case you happen to be in this category, please follow this link----



Okay, that's enough political activism for one day! (and enough links!)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Four Things

Jen M has tagged me for a Four Things meme. I'm new to this game so I'm not sure quite what this means. It seems I can blab endlessly about ANY four things I feel like.


How is this different than anything else I've blogged about?


Blogging means I get to subject you to whatever I feel like writing about---provided you're willing to read about it. Since I have only about 2 readers, I guess I can safely say that no one cares!!


Let's see. Four things.


Four Things I Think I Should Like But Don't (sorry, I've tried)--
(1) poetry (so sorry, I just can't do it)
(2) olives (ick! but I'm Italian! how can I hate olives?)
(3) gardening (I want it to look nice, but I don't want to do any of the work for it)
(4) knitting, sewing, quilting, any of those wonderful womanly arts (they require sitting still, yes?)


Four Things I Like But Probably Shouldn't---
(1) cursing
(2) drinking*
(3) driving fast*
(4) coffee

Four Jobs I'd Love But Will Probably Never Have---

(1) Philanthropist (I'd have to have money for this, right?)
(2) OB/Gyn (I'd have to go to medical school. What? I'm FORTY.)
(3) Mother to Four Children (read above, yep, FORTY.)
(4) Top level administrator or maybe senior researcher at the World Health Organization (would I have to move to Switzerland for that?)


Four Jobs I've Actually Had---
(1) Medical Anthropologist at a bioethics firm (sounds cool, doesn't it?)
(2) Researcher at Planned Parenthood (studied the impact of protester activity on patient care, again, sounds cool, doesn't it?)
(3) Waitress at Eden Alley, an unbelievably hip, mostly vegetarian restaurant in Kansas City. I hope that place is still in business. I could really go for the vodka marinara pasta right about now. Or those awesome black bean quesadillas. Mmm, dipped in sour cream. My absolute favorite restaurant without a wine list.
(4) Cleaning lady. Yes, really! I quit my lamo job at the Gap (where I made like $4.35/hr) to take this job. I think I made $10/hr and had weekends and evenings off. It was ideal. I loved it. Usually, the people were not home and I could crank the music, clean my head off, and then brag to my friends about the curious habits of "rich women." Ah, those were the days.

*I promise I have never done both of these at the same time!


Okay, so now I get to tag four people right? I tag Mary Alice, Sheri, Crystal, and Jenny.

Do It Yourself

I promised my husband that I would "re-do" his office as a birthday present. I ordered a new desk, bought lamps, a new desk chair, a couple of bookshelves, a comfy leather chair, and had planned to paint, hang his diplomas (finally), and actually decorate the room. Big plans.


A friend ageed to come over to help me paint while my hubby was at work. She later had to change her plans but said she could watch my kids for me while I painted.


My response? "Oh no, I wouldn't tackle something like that myself."


What?!?! I couldn't believe my own ears as the words were escaping my mouth. Had I gone soft? Didn't I just tell Mary Alice that military wives and medical wives were similar in our ability to "do it all?" Didn't I even say that I'd be pissed off if I came home and found my husband doing laundry? Didn't I say that if my husband said something like "we need to de-clutter" that I wouldn't even remotely find that sexy? rather, I'd be extremely irritated and feel like I wasn't effectively holding down the fort while he was gone?


I shocked myself that I had uttered those words. It's true that an extrovert, such as myself, finds strength in numbers, and that we literally find our energy in relationship to others, and that normally, all things being equal, I wouldn't tackle a project like that myself. I need another adult present so that I can muster the motivation to do it. But "single parenthood" has taught me a lot, and my self-reliance has been my strength, so I sucked it up and started painting the room myself.


It was boring for sure, but I did it anyway.


All by myself.


And dang it, it looks good!


And this morning, my girls greeted Daddy by saying we had a surprise for him. They even blindfolded him so that we could lead him to his "new" office. So that he could say, "Dang, this looks awesome! Thank you!"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

I gave blood today. I haven't donated blood in ages. I had a relatively recent bad experience that led me to avoid it for years. But today, I decided to suck it up and do it again. And even though I'm still a bit lightheaded from the experience, it felt good. According to the woman at the donation site, I am considered a universal donor since I have O negative blood type. Only 6% of the population can claim this.

I went home and googled it and of course, what she told me is not entirely true. O negatives used to be considered universal donors (we can donate to Os, As, Bs, and ABs, both positive and negative) but now there are more sophisticated methods of matching blood types so that a donor's and recipient's blood can be more closely matched for compatibility. But my husband says that if a trauma patient comes into the ER, they automatically give him O negative blood since there's really not time to "type" him.

So, it's still mostly true and it doesn't matter much to me anyway. It just felt good to finally donate again.

I've donated blood many times in my life. Most of the time, it has gone just fine. But I have had a few bad experiences with blood donation. One time, I fainted. I literally stood up, attempted to approach the cookies and juice table, swooned, and fell on my doofa. Not pretty. Another time, after waiting in line forever, I was turned away because I was under 110 pounds (I wish I had that problem now!). And the last time I tried before today, I was turned away because within whatever time frame I had lived in Europe and could have possibly been exposed to mad cow disease.

It was that last time that did me in for the next five years. This was in 2002 and they turned me away because I had lived in Europe in the 80's---yes, the 1980's.

Here's the story. J was a small baby, maybe 5 or 6 months old and still nursing furiously. O would have been just about 2. We lived in Tucson at the time where it was always extremely hot and we were new to the area and still adjusting to the heat. Also, and this makes for a much better story, I had a navy blue car with no air conditioning (it's true, I swear) and anyone who's ever been to Phoenix or Tucson knows a dark colored car, especially one with no a/c, is not a good idea.


Anyway, I was listening to the radio and heard that all of southern Arizona was suffering a horrible blood shortage. They also said that the most important donors were those with O negative blood type, and since I knew I had O negative blood, I decided I ought to do my civic duty and go out and donate.


So I loaded up the kids and headed out. Back then, loading up the kids was no easy task for me. Yeah, yeah, I was more overwhelmed with motherhood than some, I'm sure, but still. I don't remember every detail of the story---it wasn't that traumatizing. But I'm sure it went something like this---

I looked up the location of the nearest blood donation center in the phone book. Then I dressed both girls, changed both of their diapers (yes, two in diapers at the same time), and nursed J. And then probably changed J's diaper again, because that's just the way it works, right?


Then I went out into the scorching heat and loaded the double jogger into the back of my car. I squirted down both car seats with a water bottle, carried the kids into the car, and buckled them in. We drove about 20 minutes, without air conditioning, to the nearest blood donation site, located at the mall. I parked, covered my windshield with a sun reflector, unloaded the double stroller, loaded each child into the stroller, and then covered their car seats with white towels that I always kept in the car. Then I pushed them to the site only to find that they were located on the 2nd floor and there were only stairs available where we stood. I hiked through the mall to find an elevator, took it up, and walked back to the donation site. Then I waited in line. And my kids? Well, J probably nursed again, I'm sure, and I probably spent a lot of energy trying to keep O from contaminating all of the colorful, plastic, sterile, blood-collecting supplies.

When it was finally my turn, a woman asked me a million questions while my children waited patiently (ha ha) in their stroller. When we got to the question about my time in Europe, she said I had been "deferred"---meaning, you may not give blood today. Deflated and upset, I pushed the stroller back to the elevator and then out to my car. I took each of the two kids out of the stroller, removed the white towels, spritzed their car seats with water, and buckled them in. I folded the stroller and loaded it into my car. Then drove the 20 minutes back to my house, in the heat with no a/c, and unloaded the kids (one of whom was now screaming to nurse again) and stroller from the car. We went back into the house having not accomplished a damn thing.


Not a damn thing. Sigh. The story of my life as a stay-at-home mom to two small children.


So that's why it took me about 5 years to get up the nerve to try again. And today, I accomplished something. A small thing, yes, but something.

Monday, October 1, 2007

84 Days

It was just a typical day today. I got the girls up for school, we scooted out of the door with just a few minutes to spare, and I had everything in the car that we needed---kids' lunches and backpacks, rain jackets, my gym bag and yoga mat. Just a normal day.

After I drop off the kids, I head to the gym. Just like I always do. I walk up to the door just like any other day and scan my pass in front of the little scanner. The young, buff woman behind the counter looks up at me, looks back at the computer screen, and then back at me and says, "84 days."

"What's that?" I ask.

"It's been 84 days since you were last at the gym."

EIGHTY-FOUR DAYS?

Sigh.

I guess that's right. It's been about 84 days. I mean, approximately, if you want to be precise and all. I knew it had been awhile. Actually, I admit I didn't really go over the summer and it's been hard to get back into the groove since school has started again. But eighty-four days?

84 days. It sounds so much worse when you say it like that. Why'd she have to go and say it like that?

Oh well. Guess I'll be getting my butt to the gym again tomorrow. That way, maybe that ridiculously buff woman will say to me, "You were just here yesterday."