Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Night Memory

We were driving the other day back from a waterpark and drove by a farm that had hardy mums for sale. That immediately brought me back to my elementary school days, when my dad was a teacher and a football coach and a wrestling coach. He was darn good at all three, too.

When my dad was a sophmore football coach, us kids got indoctrination into the world of high school homecoming. Not sure what Homecoming meant at that point, except it meant high school kids went crazy on our house. One year, I was leaving to go to school on what I would guess was the Friday morning of Homecoming, because I couldn't get out the front door. It was plastered with a huge poster that covered the whole door, something like, "Go J-Hawks" written across it. Probably in addition to that there was also painting on the sidewalk, I would guess. This would have been sometime between 1976 and 1983. I'm not sure of my age.

Not necessarily the same year, but the reason that I suddenly remembered mums, was that my mother has told me she loves mums. She told me this probably once a year when she got her coach's wife corsage. I always thought they were very nice. It was large white mum, with a blue pipecleaner U on it and a tiny gold football charm hanging out of the middle. It had blue, red, white and maybe gold ribbons behind it. We kids went with Mom to the football game, and I remember her wearing it on the outside of her jacket in the cold football weather. We did a lot of running up and down the bleachers and a lot less watching the actual football game. I may have seen the Homecoming courts, but they don't really stick into my head. If you haven't guessed, the school colors were blue and white with red as an accent.

The elementary schools got into the swing of things. One assignment for school before Homecoming week was to come up with a miniature float design and put it on a shoebox. Mine was a large J-Hawk (the mascot), holding a large wooden horse, with a little blue and red football player coming out of a door in the side of the horse. The title of the mini-float was "Beware of J-Hawks bearing gifts." Ah, a history geek even back then. I think I might have won a prize or something for it, but I can't be sure. Funny how some things fade from the memory.

And in case you don't get that quote, brush up on your ancient history here.

(If I can find a picture of the float, I'll scan it in and paste it here.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Complaining About Complaining

Just before school started back, I found that nearly every parent I talked to would say how much they were looking forward to sending the kids back to school. How they could not wait until school started. In fact, it is a general greeting among parents at the end of summer.

Now, we had a good summer this year; I had fun with my kids at the park and pool, etc. It is not that I am incredibly patient or particularly good at this whole mothering thing, but I enjoyed having the kids home. At the end of summer, I was sad it was over. Sure, it was time to get into the swing of things, the kids were eager to go to school, but I wasn't counting the days.

The thing that I find so strange is that if I didn't agree that I was dying to get rid of my children, people would get defensive. Think that somehow I was being a better parent than they were, or they were somehow lacking in parental love for their brood. Which is total crap. Sorry, but there is no other way to put it.

I have great days with my children, and horrific days, and many days somewhere in between. This is the case all year round; sun, rain or snow! I believe most people have the same. I do not think for one second that I do a better job than the majority of parents, or that I enjoy my children more, or that I want some time to myself less. So why do I need to say I can't wait to get them away from me? Which some days is true. Why is this standard protocol for the fall?

Somehow it is presently socially acceptable to complain about the beings in our lives that mean the most to us. In fact, if you don't complain you really make people edgy. Somehow small talk has moved from the weather and cute kid stories to disparaging remarks about ourselves, our children, and our husbands.

I am not guilt free in this at all. I love to tell "funny" stories about how useless I am, I complain plenty about my children who I adore. I even roll my eyes and comment on the multiple faults of my husband who is really my favorite adult in the world and the only person I would ever spend all the time I could with. I am not even sure why I feel the need, but it does seem to be socially acceptable small talk.

Oprah recently did a show about a similar topic. The Oprah Show was all about being happier by not complaining, or mentioning that other people are complaining. Apparently gossiping is fine. Now, I do not consider myself to be a complainer or a gossip, but maybe I am a little of both. However, I do not plan on stopping either completely. That is all too wholesome for me.

For now, I am going to challenge myself to not be so negative about my favorite people for a month. Aside from the venting that is required at the end of a stressful day. I think though no venting until after the kids' bedtime. I am not sure how long I'll make it; probably until breakfast tomorrow morning. I wonder if I will be lost for something to say, not a common predicament for me. Maybe I will talk about the weather a lot or start making up a whole alternate life just to fill the gap. Ok I can do it! Until October 26th and hopefully longer, no derogatory remarks.

Wish me luck!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Modern decadence

I'm admiring my toes. I love a good pedicure. I never can do something that great to my toes by myself. I am never that steady with the nail polish.

About 3 weeks ago I had my first pedicure in about 18 months. It's a bit of an indulgence on my part. But I love having my feet soak, reading the trashy gossip magazines like People, catching up on celebrities. I would not recommend having the pedicure right after shaving your legs in the morning, however. They might be sensitive to the lotion they use on your legs when they rub your calves down with lotion.

For those of you who haven't had one, you sit in a chair that often has different massage settings. You let your feet soak in a big tub at the base of the chair. One at a time the pedicure professional (they are professional, they do get paid), pulls each foot out, trims the toenails, trims the cuticles. Then he or she will pull out a foot and use something that I would describe like a small cheese slicer.

Ok, I hear you all going "Eew" in the background. They don't really cut that much off your corns and callouses. Yeah, ok, so it is kind of gross, but in the end, that gross stuff is no longer on your feet. If I could do that everyday, my feet would be so much softer, and that is a nice feeling.

The cheese slicer thing really doesn't hurt. It is actually more of a tickle sensitive zone. I try to hard not to giggle and squirm, because I want the professional to do a great job. I'm always amazed at how many shavings are in the towel below my feet.

Once all that is done, he applied a scrub with a pumice-like stone, probably to remove more rough areas. Again, very hard for the tickle area. There's always some comment about being ticklish. I try to endure as best I can.

Finally, a lotion is applied all over the feet and up and down the leg with a bit of a massage. Then the water is drained because the foot bath is not needed. This time I picked out a pretty dark maroon-colored nail polish. It made me feel like autumn, since I knew it was coming. The professional put on a colorless base coat, the color and then a top coat. I don't have the patience to put all that on. And he got it done in swift, confidently placed strokes. I would have smudges all over the skin surrounding my nail. They were very darkly maroon but with a great sheen. At this point very floppy flip flops are placed carefully on the feet, so I could walk over to a fan and let them dry. I did not smudge them up and they dried beautifully.

Unfortunately, I waited until the end of summer to get a pedicure. A bit silly, because my pedicure has been hidden in my shoes all this time. I've only been able to admire my toes at home before going to bed. Fortunately, I've had a couple of warm days of summery weather to wear sandals and show my toes off to the world. Pedicures last so much longer than manicures. I feel they are a much better value.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brilliant Pumpkin Waffles

Every now and then I manage to make something that my kids absolutely adore. Something that makes my life easier, makes everyone happy and changes grumpy faces to smiley faces, or at least less grumpy. Right now the recipe that promotes family peace in our house is Pumpkin Waffles. They are good, so good in fact I thought I would share and in orange print too.

Pumpkin Waffles

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup (4 floz) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 floz) milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon OR pumpkin spice
  • optional-pinch of salt

  1. Mix egg yolks, oil, pumpkin and milk in bowl. Set aside.
  2. Sieve flour,sugar, baking powder and cinnamon/pumpkin spice (salt if using it) into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk egg whites until stiff.
  4. Turn waffle iron onto medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Stir until big lumps are dissolved, little ones are fine.
  6. Fold in egg whites.
  7. Pour into preheated waffle iron and cook.
  8. Serve with syrup, jelly/jam, or like my kids eat them on their own.

Extra waffles can be frozen and defrosted in microwave and then toasted a little. They still taste pretty good this way.
The recipe makes about 8 waffles and they probable are about 250Calories each, in case you wanted to know.
But they do taste bloody brilliant.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday memory

I love alliterations. You will have to humor me with my Monday memory.

Apparently, one of my earliest memories happened when I was three, or maybe four. My mother thinks I was three. I don't remember how old I was. I remember where I was and what I was doing.

We lived in a house that was built in the 1950s and it had an addition on the back that made it larger than it used to be. In the 1970s, I didn't know it was built 20 years before. It was the first house I remember as a kid. It was the one I lived in during elementary school. It was my first home, the one where I fought with my littler brother and sister, played in the church playground behind our house and walked from to get to elementary school.

My grandmother was visiting; it was my mom's mom. I suppose that my grandpa was there too, but I just remember she and my mom were in the kitchen. The kitchen had flat blue carpet with a pattern of rectangles all over it in different blue colors. I think the kitchen's overall color was blue.

I wanted to be helpful. So I went out the kitchen door, down a few stairs to the landing by the door to the outside. Then I turned right and went down into the basement. The basement was a bit dark. It was where we kept our Pepsi, in bottles. Remember the six pack holders, a bit bigger than the six pack beer bottle holders we have today?

I grabbed two bottles and made it upstairs to the landing by the door to the outside. The door to the kitchen at the top of a short flight of stairs was closed. I remember thinking that it was going to be hard to get the door open while I was holding two 16 oz Pepsi bottles in my hands. At that very same moment, I tripped on the short flight of stairs and landed on my knees, breaking the bottles and getting pop everywhere.

I must have started crying, too, and I remember my mother coming out the door swiftly, with Grandma right behind. I don't remember much that happened after that. I must have been cut up, because I still have a small white scar on my left forearm from that accident. All I remember is being really disappointed because I messed up getting the pop bottles upstairs for mom and grandma to drink. No one had asked me, but I had wanted to be helpful. The trauma and the grave disappointment I had in myself are probably what makes this memory still vivid in my mind.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Half Cat


I think my daughter is half cat. Here are the characteristics I think may qualify her for the half cat status:
1. She seems to be mostly nocturnal.
2. She has a rough tongue.
3. She walks on all fours- crawling on hands and feet instead of knees.
4. She tries very hard to eat the cat food!
5. She has always been very hairy-well it is all on her head but at 10months old she has had 5 hair cuts.
6. She will bite and scratch you- but she has no teeth yet and her nails are kept short.

I think I'll wait until her first fall and see if she lands on her feet. That would pretty much seal the deal.
Well decide for yourselves if I should call the National Enquirer.
Surely that will get John Edwards off the front page. happyface

Friday, September 19, 2008

Children learn what they live

My husband and I must talk about politics quite a bit more than I thought, while the kids are around. However, our children do make up their own minds, though, strangely, their political ideas, in the end, resemble our own.

My dear daughter, when pressed about who she would vote for, says Barack Obama. Then her dear mommy asks her, "Is it because Mommy and Daddy like Obama?"

"No, it's not. It's cause, I kinda don't like that girl. She doesn't look so good, cause she's always in a red shirt. She should wear a purple shirt."

Out of the mouths of babes. Palin, take note, purple might be your color.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Basis Of Friendship

The previous blog got me thinking about friendships and why some of us just click and others do not. Wild pretty much summed up my initial attraction to her. Of course I was drawn to someone who arrived at my door, one week after my daughter was born, with food in one hand and a handful of Irish Barry's teabags in the other. How could I not like this person who not only appreciated tea the way I did, but also shared it? Not many people that live over here in the US really get tea. My heart instantly warmed to her. And from that good start we found that we have similar interests; we both love Jane Austen and Star Gate, scones, good food and the odd drink at the beer garden. The friendship was set in stone. Tea was indeed the beginning.

Not all friendships start with a mutual like, some even start with a mutual dislike. One of my very good friends and I love to discuss, but we never have to agree. In fact, I'm pretty sure we enjoy disagreeing more than agreeing. Disagreeing is not the basis of our friendship, but I think maybe a mutual respect for each others opinions is. There is nothing I love more than hearing her rant about a topic (that is why I wish she would join us and blog wink ).

Others friendships are from convenience of circumstances. Some people I feel grow all their friendships from convenience. And, for sure, I have some friends who I like a lot, but who I know I would never be friends with if we didn't live in the same town.

Some friendships take longer to get off the ground, others take off at high speed and then just pitter out or reach a plateau. I have one very good friend that for the first four, I repeat four, years of our acquaintance we did not like each other at all. When we did become friends, we looked back to find that we had not known each other at all during those four years. We had friends that had a mutual hate for each other. As a re
sult we never had really spoken. When we did, we found that we really got on well. So well, that despite changing circumstances, we are still very close and still see each other as often as we can.

Then there are the people who really I don't have a lot in common with. Who I wonder why we really became friends, but who I just love to spend time with. My neighbor is one of these. We don't have many common interests. Our circumstances are different, my kids are little, hers are college age. But I just think she is so cool to spend time with. We go to coffee and talk about our different lives and have fun doing so. But what exactly is the basis of our friendship, I am not sure.

Friendships are indeed complicated. With their intricacies, their flaws, their merits, and their total necessity. For my part my happiness really depends to quiet a degree on my friendships. Even my husband was a good friend long before he was anything else.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I like coffee and I like tea

Autumn is upon us. With it is the cool weather and I finally am breaking out my good, basic, no nonsense Tetley Tea. No not Tetley USA. Because for some reason, tea made for the US market is not as good as tea made for the UK and Irish markets. Having lived in Manchester, England for 9 months, I came away with an appreciation for the cuppa. It wasn't too hard, considering you would have it with breakfast, mid-morning, lunch time, mid-afternoon and for tea time (supper to us US folks), and even for supper (a late night snack). I like mine piping hot with some milk. I found it was even better on cold Iowa winter mornings, which is what I eventually returned to after having lived in England.

But the worst is not being able to find a tea in the US that tastes like my favorite cuppa over there. I tried Twinings English Breakfast here. NOT the same as over there. I found the above US Tetley. Neither the regular blend nor the British blend was quite right. Had I become a tea snob? When my family traveled overseas to the UK, the best present was getting a box of tea. My friend from the UK has been kind enough to send me boxes of tea when I beg. Fortunately for me, I met MS and she has UK and Irish connections and can get me decent Tetley. Tetley is not even top of the line over there. It's an ordinary everyday tea. I was so desperate, I even was willing to drink PG Tips. For most Americans, who are used to iced Lipton or Nestea, this is way beyond their understanding. Growing up, my parents made instant Nestea, I believe, from the glass jar with the screwtop cap, similar to this. Which is strange, considering my Grandma made iced green tea from bags. She'd pop the bags in a pot of water on the stove, bring it to a boil and then turn off the boil and let it sit. Then she'd put it in the pitcher with ice and water (minus the bags). It had a pale greenish yellow color, which had a strange resemblance to pee (and I am sure my cousins out there all know they were thinking it, but we weren't saying it). But that's what we had at Grandma's. I could never understand why my parents had black tea and Grandma had green.

Well, back to hot tea. So my experience before England was mostly with iced instant or with my grandma's iced green. Then, I discover HOT tea, with milk no less. I've had tea with lemon as well. But under NO circumstances will I EVER, EVER take sugar in my tea. Sugar in hot tea is not necessary and SWEET TEA is an abomination. I'm sorry to any Southerners out there, but I just cannot understand ruining good tea with more sugar than is humanly possible to stand. But my husband loves sweet tea and all the funky flavored ready to drink teas out there. Give me an electric kettle, my stainless steel teapot I got from my English friend for my wedding present and good old bags from Tetley. This thing is 13 years old, so a bit worse for the wear, but it does the job.

Strange thing is, during the hot weather of the summer, here in the midwest, I started brewing coffee. The night before. Then I'd refrigerate it and in the morning create an iced coffee drink with milk, ice cubes and Irish cream flavoring. Very refreshing, probably cheaper than the coffee shop, and the flavoring can also be used in Italian sodas we like to make. My husband always thinks when I use the bottle I'm putting a shot of "something" in my morning coffee.

Still, every once in a while I get a Starbucks craving. Having lived in the "big city" for 7 1/2 years with a Starbucks every few feet and in every grocery store, not hard to get hooked on it. I am a basic gal, I like a vanilla latte or a chai tea. If I'm feeling especially splurgy in the calorie category then a caramel frappacino can hit the spot, with whip and caramel swirled on top. I'm not as picky about my coffee as my tea, because I guess I do the equivalent of what the sweet tea-ers do, put so much damn sugar in it, you can't taste the coffee. However, I will say that coffee is meant to go with sugar, hence serving it with dessert, probably the only time I do not take sugar in my coffee, depending on its strength and bitterness. But I still always take cream or milk.

When it comes to tea, I am a snob. With coffee, I am a woman with simple tastes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

No Sense of Sensibility

I love Jane!

Just to let everyone know, I do love Jane. This is no shock to my husband, nor to any of my close friends. I have been out of the closet on this one for a long time. If I could go and live near Jane Austen, I would, in a heart beat. I love her so much I do not understand why or how anyone could not.

Of course, her books are really written for women and really "take the piss" out of men and why they are attracted to women. (I am not sure I have ever met a straight guy who likes to read Jane Austen.) Her humor, however, does not just tease men, but, truly she makes you cringe and laugh at everyone.

She was born 201 years before I was, in England. She was the seventh of eight children. The second of two daughters. Her father was a rector. Like her heroine Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey, no one would suppose this person was born to be a heroine. And yet she is!

I am always inspired by her courage and her modesty. She lived in a time when women were not allowed to own their own fortune. When women really had to hope for a good marriage to a man wealthy and honest enough to support them. There really were no second chances in this world. Yet she managed to live her life without marrying. She managed to write novels, and sell them and earn an income for herself and her sister. Almost unheard of in that time.

And, oh, what novels she wrote. True, they are romance stories, but woven throughout them is incredible wit, knowledge of human character, and irony. All done in a poetic style of writing and with a happy ending. What more could we want?

It constantly amazes me how much her world and ours are still alike. How I can still relate to her characters? How she can still make me laugh, although I've read all the books many times? But also how different our worlds are. Presently I am reading Sense and Sensibility. Our sense of sensibility is much different that it was then. Women are not ruined by "running off with a lover." However, people do still marry for all the wrong reasons, like Willoughby, the fallen hero in this book. People still love silently even though they feel there is no hope of being loved back, like Colonel Brandon. People are still as spiteful as Lucy Steele.

2oo years later, regardless of what is going on around us in the world, people still pursue each other in the quest for love! That is maybe what amazes me most.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Late Night Addictions

I should be spending my time reading. But the Fall Television Season is starting soon! And I have been living the past three years with a DVR and would never go back to an ordinary VCR. It's "set it and forget it." So, between our shows (husband and I), our kid's shows and shows that husband or I watch separately from each other, we have 48 in our timer listing (yeah, I checked). I like the fact that I don't have to see when the season premieres are coming up, because those shows are in the DVR memory and they will be ready to record when they pop up. Hmmmm.... what are some of those shows, you wonder?

Let's see: Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, Lost, Doctor Who, Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar, Supernatural, Chuck, Smallville, Grey's Anatomy, Numbers, Monk, Psych, The Dead Zone, Eureka, Kyle XY, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Dora the Explorer, Curious George, Go Diego Go, Ghost Whisperer, October Road, Burn Notice, Shawn the Sheep, Flash Gordon, The Batman, Private Practice, Bionic Woman, Journeyman, Reaper, The Big Bang, Super Why, Samantha Who, Sarah Conner Chronicles, New Amsterdam, Medium, The Sara Jane Chronicles, In Plain Sight, Swingtown, Dark Angel, History Detectives, Joan of Arcadia, Jeremiah, Woodwright Shop, The Saddle Club, The Cleaner.

Yup, that's everything in there. As you can see, a mix of soap opera dramedies, scifi and a penchant for USA network shows. A little history thrown in, plus the kiddos shows to make them happy (we try to keep it educational). And you may think I'm the only one that watches the Housewives and Grey's, but I got dear hubby hooked. (cue evil laugh) See if you can guess which ones we watch together and which ones only he watches and which only I watch.

I know, I know, some of those shows are not back this season. I'll do a clean out when I know for sure they've dropped some. NBC ran a number of scifi type shows and have dropped a few. Oh, well. I need to cut back. I hope they come up with some lame shows so I can cut out some and not add!

Man, I am so screwed in a couple of weeks, because I'll be behind on my show watching before the season even gets rolling. The guilt will get to me and I'll start staying up past midnight. Wait, I'm doing that right now, even without any new shows. Doh!

Well, we have 100 hours of record time available, I should be good for a few weeks. I guess I better finish Sense and Sensibility.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nothing New

It was an hour and 30 minutes until nap time. What to do? What to do? Oh, I know, why not take a nice walk to the ice cream stand? Sure that will be fun and a little exercise. We haven't had ice cream for 2 weeks and the stand will close in a month. This will be fun. So I make the proposition.

"Kids how about we walk up to the ice cream stand for a treat?"

Expected response of, "Yeah!"

But then number 1 child, who is 4, let's call him Steve, says "Mom can we drive?"

"No, sweetie, I will need you to ride your bike."

Number 2 child, who is 2, let's call her Sara, says "I ride bike, too, Mama."

"No, sweetie, you need to ride in the stroller."

Number 3 child, who is not yet 1, let's call her Sue, thankfully has no opinion...yet.

A little crying follows this. Then, although all I thought we needed to do was go potty, this is what happens. Both older kids apparently need knee and elbow pads, then only knee pads, then Sara abandons her pads altogether to the dismay of Steve. Then we need different shoes and pants, because when we go potty with knee pads on, our jeans do not come down far enough and we end up peeing on our pants. Then, we apparently need a snack and water. "To get enough energy Mama." Oh, and a helmet, and gloves, which are not readily visible, thanks to Dad putting them in a slightly different place. Let's get some tomatoes on our way out through the garden in case they have been eaten by the t
ime we get back. Who would eat them, I am not sure, but, okay, they are healthy so go ahead and eat.

Then we are ready. But 1 hour and 20 minutes has already passed. Darn, okay, well maybe we can drive. I mean it was not the plan, but if Sue doesn't get her nap on time, we will be up all night. Alright, I can go with the flow.

I am just putting Sue in her car seat when I feel something wet. A blow out. Great, now a complete change of clothes for Sue and change of top for me are needed.

It is 10 minutes past nap time, everyone is crying and I am frazzled and we still have no ice cream.

Just another day with my gorgeous children. Not that this is anything new, but
it still amazes me how long it can take us to leave the house - even for ice cream.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I can't brain today, I have the dumb

PASSWORDS! The bane of my existence. The bane of a computer hooked up, voicemail checking, email reading, inputting work hours existence. It doesn't help I'm pushing 40 because my brain has trouble keeping track of which password I used for what account. If I really think about it, I have log in for my utilities bill, a log in for my credit card bill, a log in for my work email (which, fortunately is the same as for the page I use to enter work hours), log in for my dsl account, log in for my two personal emails, log in for my email for this blog, which fortunately is the same as this blog, log in for my Facebook, log in for my class reunion website, log in for ebay, log in for Amazon, log in for PayPal, log in for the silly on-line game I play.

Whoa! That's a lot.

No wonder I can never remember which password for which site. I probably have some log in account somewhere that I have forgotten I signed up for it. (Oh yeah, I used to use LiveJournal, holy cow! And I just remembered five more sites I use a log in for.) And to top it off, work related passwords get rotated on a regular basis, so I have to make up a new password much more often than I'd prefer.

I try to have a system where I use family birthdates, family names and some random capitals, so I can change the password, but know the basic gist of it. Then I really only have to remember which family member I based the password on. But every account has an entirely different password, and, of course, work gets rotated so often. I tried to give the same idea to my husband, but he started to modify it using birth years instead of dates and so forth. And when I've forgotten a password so many times on account X and can't use a previous one, then I have to get creative. So I forget if it was year or date, or capitals in wrong places, or whatever. Too much stuff in my brain.

In addition to that, it seems it's my responsibility to keep our family calendar in my head, too. Never mind that we have a lovely Sandra Boyton Mom's Calendar on the fridge where I try very hard to input exactly what each member of the family is doing when. (OMG, I looove mine and can't wait for my 2009. It comes with the cutest stickers and is in a neat grid format) I'm not perfect at it, but I'm reasonably reliable. But somehow, my husband seems to think I should have it all committed to memory and I should just know. But I really don't think I have much room left in there. What with the activities and meetings at work, Parent Teacher Organization meetings that I have promised myself to go to, and all the kids school events, their activities, and even my husband's activities, it's just getting a little crowded in there. I have told him time and again it is his responsibility to handle any of the Cub Scout stuff, but somehow I end up being asked when is the next meeting (is it the 1st Thursday or 3rd Thursday?) and my son thinks he should be going every week. Argh.

I want just one thing I'm not responsible for and don't have to think about. Even when I tell my dear husband I can't remember (and this is every time, because I've made a special effort not to know), he still keeps thinking I know it. You'd think he'd get tired of me not knowing and start doing it himself.

So some days it feels like my head is leaking information. Why do we torture ourselves with cramming more and more into our heads? I wonder if I'm using a higher percentage of my brain, or if I'm just forgetting even more than I remember.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Do you ever feel completely out of touch with the English/American language that is spoken around you. Like you're listening to Shakespeare. You think these people are talking the same language as you, but you just don't get what they are saying. Not being from this country I often feel that way. Despite having lived here for quite a long time, I still come across words I do not understand. More often people feel that way about what I am saying. Fairly frequently someone will give me that blank look, smile and say some non-committal answer to a direct question. In fact I sometimes wonder when my good friends understand me all the time will they suddenly realize I am a completely different person to the one they thought I was.

But what I am talking about is more than an accent issue, it is the language that is developing around our kids and the teens of the world. We, the uneducated adults have no idea what they are talking about. Shakespeare makes much more sense. Or at least it can come with cliff notes. Well I just accidentally found the fountain of all knowledge with regards to street talk, in the form of .If you haven't checked this out let me enlighten you. It is really a dictionary of slang words and phrases and their meanings. Now some of them are lame and some are rude but here are some of my favorites.

Lets start with:-
gr7- just a little less than gr8 (great)-kind of how I feel right now. Of course a 5 letter word is so worth abbreviating.

Destinesia- when you arrive somewhere but have forgotten why you went there in the first place. - Why has it taken so long for me to discover this butchered English word that applies to me so often. I wonder if it is treatable with drugs or therapy.

Interneutering- when you loose your Internet connection. -This is my personal favorite. Maybe it is the latent feminist in me that just loves the word neuter used in any context.

Bus surfing- to ride the bus by standing in the middle of the aisle with out holding on to anything- like surfing. -Now this could be my sport. Here I come Olympics in 4 years :)

Thumb me- to encourage someone to send you a sms.- This shows how low tech I am. In fact I had to check that sms really did mean a text and not something way more rude.

Thumb lashing- to be told off via sms.- This shows how much our world has moved on from our youth when cell phones were brick sized.

Thumb war- Oh no wait, that is not in the dictionary. That is from our generation of good old thumb fights.

Last but not least:-
Bullshit Bingo- a game played in a meeting were the players write down management nonsense,
like "out-of-the-box-thinking", on a sheet of paper. Every time a word or phrase is said they cross it off and the first to get a row crossed off wins and shouts "bullshit".

Absolutely classic.

Well there are 190 pages of these definitions. So if you are in need of a giggle or are wondering what the teenager next door said to you, check out


Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome followers!

Ok, I get to be excited and welcome a new follower! We will be glad to pick up many more. And sorry if we offend anybody, but we expect to offend. Trust me, in real life, I am much more reserved about my political views and other opinions otherwise. I have to try to maneuver in a highly Republican town. Hey, I can definitely reach across the aisle in the community. I can listen to both sides and all I want is to come to the conclusion that we are all trying to do our best.

What a mess!

Oh, yay, the Federal Government is helping bail out more financial institutions. Which means that's OUR tax dollars helping with that. Along with our obligations in Iraq and Afghanistan, no wonder we keep going further into debt. Eight years ago our government had a surplus! Eight years ago, gasoline was $1.49/gallon. Eight years ago, a $50,000 paycheck went much farther than it does today. What is going on? And despite all this, 50% of Americans still think McCain/Palin is the way to go? Are you kidding me?

And in case you're wondering, the lovely CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still getting lovely salaries for running the business into the ground. Man, why can't I have their jobs? I'd be retired by now.

Here's what Sadie's Soapbox had to say:

"How much money could we really be talking about? Well I looked it up, of course.Fannie Mae's CEO, *earned* a salary of $13.4 million dollars. Freddie Mac's CEO is a real go getter, so he was paid $19.8 million last year. What did you get for that? And why are you now working your ass off and paying your taxes just to support these ass holes?"

Yes, indeedy, Sadie, because we are so afraid the Iranians are going to get us, and then maybe North Korea and Russia might take a jab at us. We need someone with "experience" to get us deeper in this mess. And knowing that Sarah Palin likes big swanky projects that cost tax payers a lot of money, guess this is right up her alley. She can keep on keeping on with all the "old boys."

What happened to the old Republicans? The ones that cut our taxes, but also cut their SPENDING and actually wanted to make government SMALLER, not bigger? Guess the neocons ran them out of town?

And I'm sorry, I'm willing to pay higher taxes, if it means I get universal health care, quality education for my children, university at affordable prices, less dependency on foreign sources of power for all our cars and gadgets, and diplomacy where we make friends with everyday citizens of other countries instead of giving them one more reason to hate the United States as an entity. But NOT if it means I fund wars, corporate giants, and contract companies meant to rebuild the places the United States government destroyed around the world.

I wonder, if we could specifically designate where we wanted our money to be spent, how much of our budget would really cover things like war and corporate bailouts? I'm guessing a lot less of it would go there and more of it would go where it might benefit a taxpayer personally. Hm. Never mind the Dems or Reps, we'd all be out for ourselves. But isn't that what we're all about as a country.

Boy, maybe we do need to get rid of the two party system. Personally, I think government couldn't get any worse if we tossed all voters' names in a hat and had a lottery for public office.

And, for the record, in the vein of disclosure, yes, I support the Obama/Biden ticket. I voted for Obama as the Senator of the great state of Illinois when I lived there 4 years ago. And I will vote for him again, because he really does try to take the high road, even if the others want to keep dragging him down in the mud. And I believe he is more than talk, though, his skill at talking isn't a bad one to have when negotiating with foreign powers and people across the aisle alike. At least he's not name calling and making fun of other people's professions. Like THAT is going to help anyone reach across the aisle. Would you want to work with people who called you names? Really?

As I said to my mother, as we were arguing between Obama and Clinton: It really doesn't matter who gets the nomination for November. What matters is that the Democrats get in the White House.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Feminine Mistake

Good Morning America did a brief interview with Geraldine Ferraro this morning.

I remember being impressed that a woman was in the second spot on a major party ticket. I think I was about 13 years old. Thank you, Ms. Ferraro for starting us down this road.

However, I was disappointed with her comments about how do working women do this job (in reference to Sarah Palin)? Or any job? She mentioned that depending on income levels, women have daycare, a housekeeper, and so forth. Even Robin Roberts said that it was putting focus on working women and their needs from the workplace. Never once did either woman say anything about what Governor Palin's husband might do for the family. Never once did they say WORKING PARENTS in reference to needs from the workplace.

Being the wife of a stay-at-home dad, I am so frustrated with our society not allowing men to freely choose this lifestyle. When the feminist revolution came about and made society change its mind about women working outside the home, where was the revolution that said men could work inside the home, caring for the children, keeping up the house with sweeping, mopping, dishes and laundry?


First, I want to thank all those women that worked hard to allow me the choice of working outside the home, or the choice to work inside the home with my children.

But, shame on you for not helping to change attitudes about men and their role in society!!!!

People will say, "Well, women are the nurturers." Well, some women aren't natural nuturers, and some men are! We need to change society so that men are comfortable being at home, in the drudgery of dealing with small children and cleaning stuff over and over again. Because a man chooses to stay at home, DOES NOT MEAN HE WAS BAD AT HIS PREVIOUS JOB! He was not fired, he was not bored with it, he was not at a midlife crisis, whatever you might think.

So, I am frustrated with Geraldine and I'm frustrated with the media. Who is Sarah's husband? How does he spend time with the kids? Do they split the duties? How do THEY raise the children? Are there working women that have husbands who do raise the children because that is the CHOICE for the couple at that moment in their lives?

Today's dad is spending more time with the kids and feeling that his participation is just as important as his wife's, whether one, or both of them work. But, there is still a double standard for men. If my husband chooses to continue to stay at home and not work, because he wants to be at home when the kids come back from school, people might raise their eyebrows. With our stay-at-home mom friends, if that is their choice, no one really thinks twice about it. Men should not have their worth tied into their job and money making ability, and women should not have their worth tied into the raising of their children. THAT is soooo 19th century!

In my mind two partners in a marriage are partners in raising the children and both should have opportunities in work and at home to choose to raise their children as they see fit to do so for their emotional, spiritual and financial needs.

My husband and I, having lived in the Chicago suburbs for 7 years, started to find that we didn't spend any time together much as a family, because he was working weekends, or I was working weekends. If he took time off in the week, I would be at work and the kids were in daycare. It was too fast paced for us. We both applied for jobs in areas where we thought we could live on one income. I got the first job offer and it was decent and liveable. He made the very BRAVE decision to stay at home. I am proud of him and we love our home life as it is. Now that both kids are in school, he is thinking about going back to work, but I am thinking about staying at home. So, we do feel one parent at home, no matter which one it is, is the best choice for us.

But, I wish the rest of society viewed his choice as normal. Not as a deficiency on his part. He did not lose a job, he was good at what he did and would continue to be good. However, I think organizations that might look at his background may not give him the benefit of the doubt that they might give a stay-at-home mom. That's a crying shame, because they will not find out how talented my husband is in his field. All for a stereotype or an assumption about what stay-at-home dads are like or why they end up stay-at-home.

Naked opinions. You asked for it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

There to Here 2

Well this will be a shorter introduction from There to Here. Why? Well lets face it, Wild Child, I'm younger! Now younger, at the beginning would make you think me more understanding of computers. Unfortunately not! Which is the other reason.

There to Here. Well since I was born in a country that was rather behind the US
(Ireland) in available technology at the time it was still my high school years when computers came into mild use. Most people thought they were just fancy typewriters that did not require typewriter white-out. Many people still bought typewriters when they should have been buying computers. I think the typewriter companies knew where to offload their goods. I even remember when my Mum heard of a Apple Macintosh, she thought it was a toffee coated fruit.

There to Here. I loved computers at that age, but a computer class with a teacher I did not care for and I rebelled refusing to have anything to do with the computer. BIG MISTAKE! Well everyone everywhere knows it was a big mistake.

There to Here. To follow that pivotal moment in the wrong direction I made my first really really GOOD decision. Though I doubt I really get credit for it. I fell in love with a great guy who is very computer savvy. Loves technology and even seems to understand it. He balances my incompatibility with anything that has an owner's manual.

There to Here. Then Wild Child said lets blog. Since I'm easily persuaded to do anything remotely fun that requires adult communication, I said YES.

For me this blog is a chance to say things that I can't always say in public. And to write in green, a color I usually avoid because I really am Irish.

Monday, September 1, 2008

How did I get from there to here?

Who knew blogging would take so much research even before I started? How did I end up in this foray into this interesting form of self-expression? After some coaxing from my mom (thanks, Mom) and some bugging of my friends ("Come on, it'll be fun"), I've decided to start a blog. I have varied interests and many opinions about how life forms around us. Some of those opinions, I do keep from those that know me in real life. So perhaps this is a way to express more than what I say to everyone around me. I don't really know. I guess I'll find out. I've tried to pull in a couple of my friends who also have interesting takes on life. We'll see what they think as we tackle this together.

There to here. I think back to high school. My mother made me take a semester typing class. I was so mad. I wanted to take French starting in 10th grade (my high school was only 10-12, you NEVER see that anymore), but, for some reason I cannot remember, I did follow my mom's advice and took the typing class. Darn good thing. One of the many good pieces of advice my mother was to give me. Fortunately, I was in high school at the cusp of the personal computer revolution. My dad, being an educator, well, we had an Apple IIe at home that I could write my history, English and government papers on. I don't even remember the word processing programs, but I do remember that I did not have to use a typewriter and worry about leaving space at the bottom for footnotes. The word processor did it all. Awesome!

There to here. In college, I tried using the Apple computer labs, but, much to my chagrin, the majority of the computer labs, and especially the ones open 24 hours, only used IBM clones and MSWord in DOS. I remember when I sheepishly walked into one of those labs and asked the student attendant how to work an IBM with MSWord--it opened up a whole new world. And my roommate still used a typewriter, though a fancy one where you could type an entire paper into its memory on a tiny little window and then print it out.

There to here. My first foray into the Internet included some listservs in my last year at college. I met people from Illinois, Australia, and around campus. Remember when "fleshmeets" were a big deal? Email was just moving beyond campuses. IRC was getting going. With a year overseas and the decision my boyfriend and I made to stick it out, email and IRC in "real time" were a big deal to us. Probably saved us a bit on the phone bills.

There to here. More internet exposure came with graduate school, when you could have internet hook up for free in married student housing. Basic html and basic world wide web pages were everywhere. I even worked on basic webpages, before they got all fancy with Flash and other fun applications. After leaving graduate school, my husband and I were hooked on email and internet surfing; we soon thereafter got our dial-up connection. There was hotmail and yahoo and then gmail. After dial up was DSL. There's work email, home email, personal email and email to keep my book writing emails separate from my blogging emails.

There to here. Then my mom, who still surfs on dial-up, and keeps track of all her virtual quilting friends through a quilting bulletin board (which I think is linked to blogs now, but I can't quite be sure) suggests that my husband, being the SAHD type, might be interested in blogging while the kids are at school. Or, maybe, I would be. So, my mother is really the blog addict. She follows some cool ones I enjoyed reading: I am Bossy, Metrodad, Waiter Rant, Sweet Juniper. I will never be that good, but she and they got me thinking. So, I tried to get my stay-at-home husband to give it a shot (nah, not his style). Then I thought about a couple of friends I know in this smallish Midwestern town that I live in. We often have definite opinions about lots of things from parenting, to nutrition for the family, to reducing our ecological footprint, to how the present politics affect us. Oh, there's been wine and Jane Austen involved as well. And we'd had discussions that would bring tears of laughter to our eyes. I thought, could we blog together?

Fast forward a few weeks later to my first post here. So there you have it. There to here.

Don't really know if we'll really strike a chord with any of you savvy bloggers in the blogosphere, or any of you savvy blog readers. But, we're crazy enough to put ourselves out there. This may last a while, or be hardly a drop in the bucket. Hopefully, we'll be mildly informative or entertaining. I'm just hoping for something not so deadly boring.