Thursday, June 25, 2009

Birthday Reflections

I was musing on my birthday and how I wanted to celebrate it. Looking back to my youth, I remember birthdays were exciting affairs. Anticipation and build up to the event culminated in a party, or cake and presents with candles blown out and lots of joy.

I've been asked by friends and husband what I wanted for my birthday. Not a whole lot, I decided. I took the day off from work, got a nice pedicure, had Chinese food for lunch (my favorite), and just lounged around. Finished listening to my book on CD. This year I don't even care to have my husband take me to a fancy restaurant. Maybe I'll have a beer with dinner, or maybe a drink at book club. I guess once you've had many birthdays, counting another one gets to be a bit anti-climatic.

I don't even care to have a cake with candles, though I wouldn't refuse it if I got it. I didn't let my kids and husband off the hook for a card, but they came through with a fun Hoops and Yoyo card (I love those little guys, they are hilarious). I am looking forward to the next milestone birthday, but that is a couple years off.

As it is, I have my class reunion this weekend, which is going to be enough party in itself. So, we'll go back to my hometown and enjoy that, then get ready for the 4th and for our trip to Hawaii.

At the very least, I marked my birthday with a post. Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Garden Club

See Feet off the Table! for this meme:

My garden is small. We hate store bought tomatoes, tasteless cardboard imitations that they are. We've been saying for at least 4 years we need to get planters and plant our own plants. So, here is our small plot of garden pots with a tomato plant in each.

Yes, those are small green tomatoes you are seeing.

The variety is called Early Girl. I had a plan. I wanted to get juicy tomatoes as early as possible, and I bought the plants, not seeds, so I didn't have to start them either.

I am already salivating at the thought of ripe juicy tomatoes. I hope the bugs don't get to them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Mother's Day seems to get more play than Father's Day. I don't know why. My children's father is a huge part of their lives. I'm very glad he gets the opportunity to be with them so much. It wasn't always that way for families in the more recent past. Further in the past, fathers probably originally had a larger role in their children's lives.

When fathers worked on the farm, alongside their wives and children, the family dynamic was close, for better or worse. I am sure fathers had a greater impact on their sons and daughters as they grew up. Then factories and businesses moved out of the family home and vicinity and fathers left the household for several hours, spending much less time with their family. Eventually, we ended up with something similar to the generalization of the 1950s, with dads coming home from work, greeted by kids and wife, eating dinner, then going somewhere to do "dad" things while the mother put the children to bed.

Occasionally, one hears stories about how people wish their dads had been more involved in their lives. The way society has evolved made dads spending a lot of time with children much less the norm. I am hoping that my generation and beyond, the guys growing up will want to spend more time with their kids. I am hoping my children have a great example with their own dad and can pass that on to their children. That my son will not be afraid to take a break from his career to stay home with the kids. Or that both my children can work at their home with their spouses. A return to the families of the early United States, where everyone worked together in the home.

But this post was to be a tribute to my husband. I am so proud of him and everything he does for our home and family. I don't think I say it enough. He puts up with conversations with people nearly 30 years younger every day and shows genuine interest. He plans and cooks meals that we sit down together for and enjoy. The laundry is endless, yet I really don't hear him complain about it. I think he likes doing laundry. Often when I come home, the kids are outside and he's entertaining our son with throwing a football or playing basketball, because our son doesn't have any neighbors his own age. He sweeps the floor nearly every day, and is tinkering, doing random landscaping, or mowing. I know the household would not run quite as smoothly if I were doing all this.

He is a good man: solid, practical, charming, sweet, playful, funny. I have friends who have husbands who maybe aren't quite so neat and tidy or maybe don't help as much as he does around the house. I find myself very glad that I snagged him. Even before we were one income, he did a lot of the house work anyway. We were friends before we started dating. His genuine concern for me as a friend grew into so much more. He is a good father to our children, enjoying the things they enjoy, teasing and playing, giving hugs and cuddles. It is great to see his face light up when our daughter wants him for hugs and kisses. He is the solid rock that I come home to every night. When I am stressed about work, the refuge of my home is one of the ways I can de-stress and become calm again. It is something I deeply appreciate and love to come home to everyday.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Need a post to move that other post on

Random me. Looking at the HUGE but nifty video I embedded in my blog a couple of weeks ago. I hate to get rid of it, because I like the story and the photo and the video, but it covers the right side of my blog with all the essential blogs I need to catch up on.

More random. Sent the book out to friends to read. So it's getting its first read through. All the way through, all 16 chapters of it. Wish us luck.

Continuing random. Facebook is weird, fun, stupid, and exciting all at once. Today I saw posts from people I knew in college that I had lost track of. I wonder if I'm strange in that there are some people that I never kept up with by phone or letter, or even email, yet, 15-20 years later, I am curious about how they're doing. Like to see that they have families, or interesting things to do. Ordinary or extraordinary careers, fun home lives. Why am I so incredibly curious and then genuinely interested? It's all just very strange to me that I would care enough to spend an hour clicking around in there. I really don't do the games unless I'm really bored and want my brain to debug after a long day. I "found" links to former elementary school friends. Whom I may have last seen in 1982. But it was neat to find them. One of them had a really cute older brother from what I remember. Today he had a commented on one of her Facebook quizzes. So I clicked on his link to see his profile picture closer up. Ok, who said these people are allowed to age?! OMG! I just about died, I said to myself, wow, he's getting old. Except, see, I think he was only a couple years older than us. So, ouch! What's that mean for me?

More random. My babies are back home. Mr. Wild took them to his hometown for 3 days, 2 nights. He's got a potential working gig there, a little extra cash to help pay for extras, like braces for #1. He went to examine the project and make a bid on it. They got some Grandma and Grandpa time. And what did I get? Two late nights because I hate sleeping alone in a house. So tonight, I should go to bed early. Mr. Wild left for a little poker tonight. It's okay, because I'm going to watch the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with the kiddos. Boy, do I miss having a family. I can't imagine going back to being single and without children. It really kinda sucks.

More random. Why is it when I lose a pair of sunglasses, then go buy another pair, I find the sunglasses again? I said so to my friend on Wednesday, when we were out buying stuff (some accessories for my 20th class reunion) "Look I'll buy these and then find my missing ones." The ones I got were nice and $6 each. Then, yup, you guessed it, today I found the ones I had lost. Then....lost the new ones I had taken to work today. Doh! And I like the new ones better than the old ones. I was so mad at the end of the day. Just at myself.

Final randomness. I missed Wardrobe Wednesday. But I think that Aliceson will appreciate my Wild Child's fashion sense.You're seeing correctly, flowers in the butterfly, stripes on the skirt, and the addition of polka-dotted stretch pants. At least the socks match the pants, sort of.

Happy Father's Day weekend everyone. Shhhhh! Don't tell Mr. Wild, we're taking him to UP as part of our festivities!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Twenty three days

Twenty three days to Hawaii.

It's cool to get to go to Hawaii. It was my mom's idea for her and dad's 40th anniversary. They have been very generous in an attempt to get us all together as a family. Hawaii is a very neat setting, but the part I like the most is getting together with family. My kids are very excited about Hawaii, maybe mostly because I am, but it is fun to talk with them about it and have them ask lots of questions.

The older I get, the more I appreciate what little time I get to spend with my former nuclear family, my mom and dad and brother and sister. These are the people I have known the longest in my life. When we were younger, my parents were really good at taking us on road trips in the summer. Dad was a teacher when I was in elementary school, and we always took road trips.

Mom and Dad have lots of pictures of these. We went to Colorado 3 or 4 times, to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins. We could stay at their place, and then go do day trips into the surrounding mountains. My parents had friends with a cabin on a lake in Minnesota. We went up there 3-4 times as well. Saw the Mississippi headwaters, many other lakes and enjoyed swimming and fishing in rustic settings. My parents also sorted out a trip to the Big Apple when I was in between 10th and 11th grade, I think. Again, we stayed with friends of theirs, saw the Bronx Zoo, West Point, South Street Seaport, Broadway and Wall street, Radio City Music Hall, took the train in and back, caught a rainy Mets game, that they lost.

Sometimes the getting there was just as fun as the being there. Since my mom was not a morning person, we kids would come up with a plan for early mornings in the car as we rode off to our destination. One elaborate scheme was scheduled out, hour by hour, with arts project activities, assigned time for quiet reading, games and general controlled mayhem. It ususally worked out pretty well. My brother and sister were good enough to let me dictate some of the activities. I don't know how I convinced them to let me make them special ancient Egyptian paper dolls one trip, but they let me patiently create a boy, a woman and a priest. I don't know that we got to roll playing with them. I seem to remember a lot of time spent on creating historically accurate outfits for each character, and making sure the man and boy were bald. I think the woman was too for that matter, and then they all had wigs they wore.

I haven't taken my family on any summer road trips, because my job requires the most of my attention during the summer. We could take winter trips, but with the kids in school, that makes it a little more tricky getting time off. Now I wish I was a teacher.

So, I'm looking forward to this big family gathering. We're not all going together, but we'll be there together, and I hope it feels a little like the family trips we used to take. We're much more extended, with spouses and significant others, and a few more little kids. With my brother in Iowa and my sister in Arizona, it is difficult for us to all be in the same place at the same time on any regular basis.

Happy vacationing to anyone with trips planned.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Life afirming and aspiring

Quite a while back, earlier this winter, I read this article on-line at

40 Years Worth of Thanks

The tagline read:

"In 1968, a white firefighter saved a black baby girl, touching the heart of a divided city. The two did not meet again. Until yesterday.

And watch this:

Please go there and read it. Despite racial hatred in the late 1960s, despite many years of adversity for the baby girl, these two exemplify the staying power and honor of the human spirit.

I loved it so much I had to share it. I'm finally getting around to it and am glad I can do so.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Top Ten Reasons for posting less regularly...

10. Training staff and opening of the season at work

9. Soccer season started (every Friday and Saturday) with two kids in soccer

8. Sweet WC#2 turned six: party, party, party

7. Dance recital (rehearsal and the real day)

6. Keeping up with book club and joined another women's intellectually stimulating group

5. Husband did the census briefly and briefly we were a two income family and juggling all

4. Visited my 90 year old Grandma over the Memorial Day holiday weekend to see lots and lots of cousins (mine and my kids')

3. Keeping track of end of the year stuff and school stuff and scout stuff and just keeping track

2. Too much addiction to Facebook, with finding so many old high school friends due to the upcoming high school reunion and the fact that people my age are actually finding out about FB

And the number one reason why I have not been posting....

1. I have been (seriously) writing a book with a friend and we finished the first draft and are doing serious edits of the second draft (and 3rd and 4th and so on) and actually intend to send it out to agents at the end of the summer.

So, teacher, do I have a good excuse for not getting my work done?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Can we have a balanced Supreme Court?

Sometimes when listening to the pundits on TV, I wish I could pull them out of there, or call up the people who are quoted on television or in news articles, or sit down in a room and have a chat.

Today was one of those days. Now, Good Morning America made it seem to me that opponents to Sonia Sotomayor in the Senate (which I refer to as Republicans) are bashing her because she thinks sometimes that women make better judges. So the gender card is out. And, according to the following study, women rule for the victim of sexual harrassment cases 10% more of the time. (Boyd, Martin, and Epstein, 2008), but really there is no difference otherwise.

What I want to say to Republicans, or anyone who thinks the gender issue will make her less effective as a judge, is "get off it." I think the Supreme Court needs the variety. Heck, we need a few more Latinos, maybe someone of Asian descent, certainly more women (50% would be ideal to me) and I don't know if the African American contingent is enough to represent that population. No matter how empathetic we are to other's situations, we can't really know everything unless we've lived it. A Supreme court that has more variety will get a wider variety of life experiences and opinions. They can learn from each other, and, I think, getting a better balanced judgement in the end. Nine justices doesn't allow for a lot of variety, but it does allow for some.

I also don't care if the Republicans decide to make a stink about the gender issue. More power to them, because that means they can drive their female base away. Anything they can continue to do to weaken their own party is fine by me. I just don't know how they can justify their opinions anymore. They have put down so many groups, there's not that many left for them to say they aren't wanted, not in so many words, but in their actions. They are becoming a joke. Too bad they didn't listen to Colin Powell. He could have been their saving grace, but instead the "party leaders" that be made fun of him. I don't know what they have left to tout, because they blew their fiscal responsibility card with me when they spent billions on a war that cannot be justified, no matter how they try to spin it. And they complain that Obama is spending way too much? Come on, what if the money spent on the war had instead been there when this economic crisis hit? How many things at home, in the US, could we have fixed using that money? In some ways, this is where a case of isolationism might have done us some good.

But, I digress. Go Sonia, let's get another woman or two on there, and let's move on. I am so glad for better balance on the court.