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.


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


(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're bringing me down. You stood there and watched 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.

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."



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."