Thursday, March 31, 2011

Remiss-ness Rectified

In a terrible TERRIBLE parenting fail, we realized mid-vaka that my son has NEVER been on a boat before.  The girl hasn't either, but she's only been living in dire neglect for a couple years, not almost 6 like her woebegone older brother.  Poor children, living in a plastic bubble devoid of color or Life Experience the Midwest.  How could this have happened?  Where did we go wrong?  Cone.Of.Shame.   

So we took the ferry across the San Francisco Bay, passed a Famous Landmark, walked around, drank hot cocoa, and took the ferry back.  *Phew*   All is right with the world again. 

Dancing Queen!

 Famous Landmark:
The infamous San Quentin prison - note the PRIME real estate!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

8 airports, 6 planes, 4 states, and 1 small set of islands in the North Atlantic

Well…. We’re home!  I know everyone was waiting with bated breath, huh?  Mixed reviews on the vacation.  Seeing the family was great & long overdue.  The traveling part?  Not so much.  Am also regretting the 10 days of uninhibited eating a bit this morning – especially our unplanned but much loved extra 4 days at Gigi’s.  Who regaled us with lemon cream pie and rack of lamb, amongst other delicacies.  Mmmmm.

Lest I singlehandedly depress the US travel market with my tale of horror, please note we were victims of a perfect conflux of bad timing, bad luck, and no experience.  Better known as the Bermuda Triangle (hence the post title).  Traveling ticketless during spring break?  Bad.  Traveling ticketless on any day but Tuesday or Wednesday?  Bad.  Traveling in a pack of 3?  Bad.  Trying to pick up a connection in Chicago?  Bad.  Trying to fly the one plane in the entire fleet that needed a new thingamabob, resulting in a 6 hour mechanical delay?  Bad.  Trying to fly the day after an unnamed airline’s computer system crashed, cancelling 150-odd flights?  BAD.  [We were on a different airline but there was apparently Spillover.]

Anyway, we learned many Important Standby Travel Tips, saw all my CA peeps, got lots (and lots. and LOTS) of people watching in, burned an extra 2 days of vacation I had no use for, and, as a bonus, I did NOT abandon my children in the terminal (temptation aside).

Nor did I smother my husband after he flew in to join us for two days, and shared that not only did he get to sit in the emergency row aisle with acres of leg room (on his direct flight), he also got a warm inflight cookie.  Really

First highlight from the trip:
On our way west, random woman walks by, glances at us, stops dead in her tracks, spins around, & starts gushing over my girl.  My two random moms-of-kids-with-DS encounters up till now have been awkward (well, one was the awkward and the other, which should have been my first, was incomplete & eventually abandoned.  Because I suck).  But this was natural, beautiful, and easy.  I don’t really like people.  I was slow to embrace the “members of the club” concept because I’m not a joiner, don’t like cliques, and I don’t like people.  But I knew immediately why she stopped, what we had in common, and we chatted like old friends.  Tragically [for us - assuredly not for her, since this was early in our 16 hr ordeal], she was soon off to Disneyworld with her daughter who is in 1st or 2nd grade (oops! forgot), reading at grade level, inclusive setting, etc.  Guess this is why people go to those DS playgroups & conferences (& blog?!).  Community -  Understanding - Acceptance.  Genius!  

More later, since I only got 4 hours of sleep last night & must toddle off, but in the meantime will smoothly start working in the vaka shots:
Tima & the boy at Steinhart Aquarium/Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park
Brilliantly executed action shot of.... a fin?  A wing?  A partial penguin.
No son, we didn't fly THAT far.  Travel time notwithstanding.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Over the Hills and Thru Security, to Gigi's House we (now) go

If I ever ever ever mention the possibility of boarding a plane again, y'all have my permission to mock, scold, and/or refer me back to this particularly over-wrought, fraught, excessively dramatic little vacation of mine.  Though it might be like childbirth - the memory of the pain subsides and you're left with the cute baby vacation photos.   

Reaching home base has been abandoned.  We've now hit hour eight of trying to reach Gigi's, so we don't have to sleep in random airport.  She was more excited about the idea when we were going to arrive at 10:40am, not 4:30pm.  My son is stretched out on the terminal floor using my pretty scarf as a blanket - and he's insisting his nasty Sketchers be covered up too.  I don't care enough to argue with him about either the shoes or the floor.  The girl is on viewing 113 of Signing Time and I've spent well over $20 at Starbucks, plus $16 on two hamburgers.  The bag of chocolate easter eggs also seems to have been decimated by person or persons unknown.

Matt assures me that as soon as we find my daughter's birth certificate tend to some administrative issues we'll have much better options (read:  direct flights) but I'm going to circle back 'round to paragraph #1. 

I also remember thinking that the boy's spring break was exceptionally early but, as it turns out, it coincides with Peak Travel Time.  So in the unlikely event of an actual re-emergencyt (see what I did there?  No?  *sigh* am probably not at my most coherent right now)  ...So in the unlikely event of renewed wanderlust, I'll just pull him out of school, wunder-mother that I am.

Anyway, yes, massive sinkhole of self pity right now.  It'll pass.  As Cate's sign says, Keep Calm and Carry On.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


C Chocolate bunnies in airplanes, brought special to the kids all the way from Switzerland by the ever awesome Auntie M.

A  Adventures, attempted alone.

L  Looking glass, for dancing.

Interest in a new game, thanks to Papa.

F  Family, of course.
The only photo approved for publication.

O Outside, at the park, being adorable.
Check out the park - Pretty AND fenced. Not that my children would ever try to bolt. Nooooo.

R  Rainclouds, naturally, the one week we're here.

N  Nincompoop, who packed at 4am and brought two things of hair gel for herself, but not the girl's antibiotics, nor an extra pair of pants for the boy. 
[Ha!  No photos here ... not a chance!]

I  Into the rabbit hole, sort of.

A  Amazing acrobatic feats.

Monday, March 21, 2011

16th Circle of Hell

[No, not really.  But that's what I would've said as we were getting off the last plane]

We’re heeeeerrre!  Beautiful, beautiful California.  Oh, how I miss thee.

Marin Headlands
We.traveled for.sixteen.hours.  SIXTEEN HOURS.  Just in case it’s not clear, we live in the Midwest, not Asia.  Five airports*, three planes, SIXTEEN HOURS.  This might qualify as a my-tiara-is-too-heavy story, as we didn’t pay for our tickets and I know that flying standby is part the deal but…wow.  Flying standby on a direct flight would have been a better plan.

*We switched destinations at the last second so we landed in SFO; our luggage was happily (!) waiting for us in OAK.

Shockingly, my children were reasonably well behaved.  They needed attention, especially the one who didn’t have a fully charged DVD player (mom fail) and is not yet old enough for the Nintendo, but neither one of them collapsed into a sobbing puddle on the floor in the middle of the terminal.  Not that that either has ever happened before.  I think there was only once a couple times I ended up hissing-with-clenched-teeth, “just stop doing that RIGHT NOW”.  And only one random crazy person scolded us (for having the stroller on the moving sidewalk - wtf?) so win-win for me.

Also, the Southwest staff could not have been nicer, plus the random college guy, who all took pity on our bedraggled selves and hauled the car seat up various aisles.  And all the passengers' shoulders I bumped along the way with my maximum-sized three carry-ons, who didn’t grumble at me.  Or at least not within earshot.

More later but I wanted to say hi.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NOT a movie review.

Serendipitously, given Saturday's post, NPR did a bit last night about the "Black Swan" theory.  In effect, the "one off", the worst case scenario.  In a tiny way, this is sort of what I do (risk mngt/claims). What's our best day in court?  What's our worst?  We don't reserve for the one off, the runaway jury, but certain venues do have a higher "x-factor" (read:  likeliness of whackitude).  In Fight Club, Edward Norton investigated freak accidents, evaluated the risk of it happening again, the cost of settling those claims, and compared that number to the cost of recalling an entire fleet of cars.  This represented his life as Soulless Bureaucrat*.
    *It's also on my listed of recommended cinema for newbies.  Am I Edward, before the bruises & without Brad Pitt?  Horror!  

But that is how the world works. In the course of my career, one expert joked that it IS possible to design a perfectly safe car. But it would be so expensive no one could afford to drive it. No one would die in car crashes because everyone would be walking.  [They'd perish instead by slipping on the the ice, succumbing to heat stroke, or getting thrown off their horse.]

My sister, doctoral candidate extraordinaire, when prodded into commenting on recent events since earthquakes are her thing, said that buildings simply aren't made to withstand a 30' wall of water.  I suggested a guest post but she's busy contemplating dessert, oops, her dissertation, or some such.  I asked my brother to weigh in too since he's in (a different corner of) the same field.  The stronger you build a building, the further afield you go in designing for the multitude of potential one offs, the more expensive it gets (also,  apparently, the fewer windows).  Those are not abstract numbers.  Those are dollars coming out of the builder's bottom line which, in theory, limits Christmas bonuses, cost-of-living-adjustments, & employer contributions to health care.... Is there a sweet spot spot in the middle?  My brother made a case for building codes, professional certification, etc... e.g. government regulation (Something also applicable to Edward Norton's job, above.  Also something the grumpy people on the east coast might keep in mind as they rail against big brother.)

Speaking of abstract figures, I just saw the number of missing or (presumed?) dead in Japan is now 16,000.
Sixteen thousand people.
I cannot get my head around that number.  I know the numbers from the Indonesian tsunami were ~15 times that but those don't make any more or less sense. 

In the lead in to the NPR piece, Robert Siegel said that we all know [such things] can happen, "but we don't plan our daily lives around that possibility.  So how do we incorporate the possibility of events that could be as disastrous as they are unlikely?"

You don't. 

Right?  You just don't.  You LIVE your life. 

Maya's comment on Saturday was that despite (or because of?) the tough stuff, she's actually more optimistic now.  I don't think anyone would ever describe me as a ray of sunshine ...(sorry, break for hysterical laughter)... but I couldn't agree more.  I don't really do the unicorns & rainbows here but, because of the one offs - past and future - you appreciate the days that whatever gods may be give you and try to make the most of them. 

So you go and visit Gigi for a day.
[Lookit that smooooothhh transition!]

And you play with Daddy's hat while he's gone

Love, personified...and literally (the sign thereof!)

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

I was working last night on a piece of genius trying to shove random thoughts into a paragraph they didn't belong but it got late and the amount of available sleeping time had shrunk past busy-mom-extra-cuppa-coffee into you'll-be-incapable-of-answering-the-phone-tomorrow. 

Plus, it wasn't seasonally appropriate. 

So, with that, I will direct the family [& everyone else, but especially Alison, since she just wrote about inclusion] to Dave Hingsburger's St Patrick's Day post

Also, because I love a good line:
Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.  ~~Alex Levine  (?)

And one more, because of all days, today's the day to have one more.  And because I'm feeling sentimental:
Health and a long life to you.
Land without rent to you.
A child every year to you.
And if you can't go to heaven,
May you at least die in Ireland.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On a lighter note

(This had to be a separate post)

The boys are having a fantastic time in SoCal:  80 degrees, the beach, a Gigi-funded trip to ToysRus, and Rubios for lunch.  One of Gigi's awe-inspiring delectable dinners is reportedly in the works.  A perfect day. 

Yes, I know I'm posting pictures of my son on the beach right after writing about a tsunami.  It's awkward.  But Matt has the camera and turns out my girl has strep, which wouldn't be any fun to photograph.
No shorts at the beach?  TOURISTS!
"I miss Mommy THIS much!"
My lemon tree.  Abandoned in our move east.

A single death

I realize it is poor form to quote a genocidal dictator, but I'm going to go out on a limb in public on the interwebs and admit there is a teensy bit of truth in this:  A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.  Imagining the context in which it must have been said makes this... abhorable.  Yes, I know. 

I used to be quite the news hound.  I was in Germany the year the wall came down (though sadly not in Berlin) - that, um, made an impact.  Everything changed.  I used to watch the Sunday shows, read the papers... There was a time when I could name foreign leaders.  And I watched more than one hurricane drinking with friends and laughing at Anderson trying to stand upright in the wind.  But then I watched Katrina while sitting on the couch with my recently arrived son and I could not comprehend the incompetence.  As he got older, we got busier and less likely to turn on the news when he was around to hear about IEDs and fatality counts.  [Also, they had fired Aaron Brown]

I could go on about the whys and wherefores of why I wasn't engaged - in what I'm sure would be a yummy self-justifying defensive tone - but whatever the process I was starting to get sucked back in by the mid-east coverage.  The world was shifting - again.  And that's how I ended up watching the mother in Japan sobbing that her daughter was ripped out of her arms by the tsunami. 

The numbers will be horrific.  The video of the damage is surreal.  There were will be other horrors caught on tape.  That mom - - -

Words can't cover that.

Monday, March 14, 2011


My two boys are en route to see Gigi tonight - a quick 48 hour daddy-boy trip courtesy of Matt's new flight bennies.  And my girl went to bed early because the cold is lingering.*  There are domestic things to tend to, including finding the mysteriously missing new shoes which generated upwards of FIVE phone calls as they were leaving (Different shoes!  Just have him wear different shoes!), but I'm going to pour a glass of wine, make popcorn, paint my toes, and turn off the news.  Seeking a moment of serenity, despite the devastation and the horrific new video on cnn. 

*I was originally going to write about her cold that improves for 12 hrs, only to return in the wee hours with a fever, and the weather, which improves ONLY TO SNOW AGAIN TODAY, but I have tired of both topics and need to make Important Decisions.... about my feet.  Red?  Maroon?  Burgundy?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wise for his size

We send my son to Catholic school. 

[THERE.  I said it]

I have oceans of conflicting emotions about this but in the end, it's a good school for him.  I'm (obviously) not Catholic, Matt is, and even if we wanted to explore other options, there aren't too many within car pool range.  I desperately wanted both kids to go to the same school for a while but the numbers eventually sunk in - they are 3 years apart and any overlapping attendance would be minimal.  [...I'm nobly going to restrain myself from expressing how I feel about the C.Church's position on special ed.] 

Anyway, that by way of explaining why my son announced he's giving up soda for Lent. 

WHAAA?  He's had maybe two sodas since Christmas. Even Matt, connoisseur of all that can be secured from the comfort of his own vehicle, gets him milk with his Happy Meal.  I pointed this out but he shrugged and, in perfect 5.5 5.75 year old logic, basically said that yes, well, that'll make it easier to give up. 

At least he knows how to work the system.

He's also grown TWO sizes in the last 6 months.  Evidenced here by what I just noticed are now his "skinny jeans".  And you can see his knees hitting the handlebars in the background of photo#2.  His birthday is coming up - if we get him an adult-sized bike, he apparently should be able to ride it by September.  
Picnic.  Training wheels coming off shortly!  Yes, we are slacker parents

Picture of health.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

On being prepared.

So my girl really IS sick after all, making us the those parents that took their little viral vector back to day care yesterday to share with others.  Though in our defense, she did.not.stop.moving Thursday while she was home "sick".  To wit:

Matt said her nose was a little runny at drop off but she was still happy & energetic.  She'd been put in daycare time out for, um, GI reasons, not snotty-nose reasons - unrelated, right?  Apparently not.  We got a call at 4:45 yesterday, as I was already in the car heading home, that she was on the floor crying inconsolably.  Nothing like being an hour away from sad-baby to bring on the mommy guilt.  By the time I got her home she just looked miserable and had a slight fever - also, oddly, her eyes were crossing more dramatically than even before her first eye surgery.  From fatigue maybe? 

For some reason, even if this turns out to be nothing, it's left me overwrought and jumpy.  Watching the news of the earthquake and flooding in Japan emphasized how very fragile and tenuous our spot on this planet is.  The earth can literally fall away from under your feet.  Or you can get a cold and land in a hospital with pneumonia (ok, it was RSV, but still...).

There was a line in Alexa Stevenson's book about Minnesota commuters driving home fretting about their job, their marriage, & their shopping lists - right before the I35 bridge collapsed underneath them.  She said that of all the things they were worried about, the bridge probably wasn't one of them.  [Unlikely I got that exactly right, I gave my copy to Mom - apologies to the author].

That line had stayed with me.  No need for Freud or Frasier here - we've had our world fall away more than once.  Brennan was kicking away one night and the next morning at the OB's office he was gone.  Less than three weeks before his due date.  Less than a week before the 'give or take two week' window bracketing that date.  When pregnant with my girl we had a negative quad-screen and not one, not two, but THREE clear ultrasounds - three clear high risk Level II ultrasounds (they were looking for other things).  Not a single soft marker to be found.  I was finally starting to relax (about the pregnancy in general; DS had already been ruled out - ha!) till the extra long fourth ultrasound when they noticed the massive gaping hole in her heart.  Surprise!  And then, most recently, 48 hours of sniffles landed her in the hospital.  So as much as I try to roll with the punches, they keep coming from darkened corners.  I expect to be caught unawares so spend my commute wondering what I haven't thought of yet.  Because if I can put it on the list of horrors considered, then fate's less likely to send that one my way.  Because fate likes to be a sneaky little b----. 

Ironically, I don't consider myself to be either anxious or superstitious.  Or crazy.  As nutty as that last paragraph makes me sound.  Hmmm... How about preemptively & proactively prepared for trauma drama? 

And just so we don't end up on a down note (ha!  Will that ever stop being funny?), here is gratuitous shot of mommy love:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cog in the Machine

I was home today because our otherwise fabulous day care provider believed our little princess to be harboring new pathogen and put her in a 24 hour time out.  And the downside to having a month of vacation time and a husband with a new job without any, is that you get to handle Sick Days.  Even if you were already scheduled to handle the pre-op eye visit and the phlebotomist party next week AND you are suppose to be taking a week off the week after that. 

Let's just say I believe their assumptions were, while possibly well-intentioned, entirely without basis in fact.  Defendant's evidence to be supplemented at later date (because the photo uploader is taking too long and it's 1am).  As I noted to someone in a brief email, too sick for them, not sick enough to nap the day away and let mommy work from home.  Which means the only rest I will be securing on Sunday is rest from my maternal duties because I WILL BE AT THE OFFICE.  Grr. 

But the day started off with a quick meeting at the school district to go over their notes from the Transitional Meeting and, as far as I could tell, just set testing dates.  The quiet voice in my head wondered if this were maybe not the most efficient use of time ever, but there were forms to sign and, as a neophyte to the mysterious IEP, I'm all about face time.  Which -genius- is probably why they do this. 

I still find the fact that Down Syndrome is not an automatic qualifier in our great state to be mind-boggling (though, weirdly, good?  Is anything automatic?  I should look into this), but I'm a cog in a bureaucratic machine myself so get that there are (occasionally) Reasons For Things. 

Also, I finally reached the nice lady who hit on my husband who works at my girl's daycare.  LOVE HER.  I didn't ask if I could post her family's life story on my blog, even if no one reads it, so will reluctantly opt for discretion, but before her daughter entered school in our town, they did NOT mainstream our kids.  Guaranteed education, yes, inclusion no.  She changed that.  She was also funny and practical and LOVED HER.  But we were also on the phone a long time and the local savages were up waaayyy past their bedtime so I ended up getting off the phone in a hurry.  I want to call back and ask if she'll be my new BFF but I'm not 13 anymore -

And yes, contrary to yesterday's post, I realize that it did not take me long to warm up to her but anyone who tells you they took all their kid's teachers to inclusion conferences and can discuss the finer points of adaptive lessons has already earned a gold stamp.  But, because my life is dripping with irony, the only two outcomes here will be we'll have a string of successful coffee dates only to discover I really don't  like her after all because she hates dogs or something, or she was just being nice and this was her standard advocate-mom call for other moms of special kids and even though I'm all smushy for her, she's going to think I'm crazy-stalker lady when I ask her out on mom-date #4.  Being a grown up is hard.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Irony, writ large.

I resisted the urge this morning to tweak last night's post to add even MORE things I've reversed myself on and/or am a complete raging hypocrite about but I didn't get a chance at work (because of the, y'know, WORK) and then thought if I did one big round up post I would A/get it all out and hopefully be done with it, and B/ it would be a great excuse to post a picture of my FABULOUS NEW SHOES.  Because when I pick up the kids from their various minders on days both Matt & I work they are grubby, grumpy beasts not fit for permanently posted pixelation, so I might as well photograph my shoes instead.

~~~Family dinners.  Yes, critically important for family bonding, maintaining communication with your child, teaching them not to eat with their feet, ecetera.  Except we don't.  Cereal, eggs, & quesadillas are the norm.  I give myself high marks if I make veggies but then still end up on the computer while they eat.

~~~TV.  I've no doubt every new parent agrees TV is the devil's toy, till their kids get a little older and you aren't sure when an hour of educational Sesame Street morphed into "two" hours of SpongeBob.  "Two hours" should, of course, be read liberally -  i.e. 2 hrs 59minutes. 

~~~Wine.  I rarely drank in college and if I did it was hard alcohol mixed with bubbles & high fructose corn syrup.  Now?  Necessity.  Stuff of Life.  I could go on, but would start to sound like I had a problem. 

~~~Also, coffee.  I drank tea in college.  Earl Grey. Hot.  [Still no Trekkies?]  Now I get a caffeine headache if I don't dose up with at least three cups.

~~~The kids.  I really did not think I was going to have children.  The world is over populated, blah, blah.  Now I want a herd.  Or maybe a litter.  A small litter?  Though adoption is a serious post for another day.

~~~The suburbs.  *sigh*  For the record, we don't own a minivan...yet.  Also filing under this category:  getting married (in general, not specifically not to Matt), the working mom/SAHM debate, and flying with small screaming children.

~~~The shoes.  That's what you were waiting for, right?  Though I told a friend I was going to post a picture of my shoes and she mentioned she had "4 inch gold sparkle platform cork heels", so these suddenly seem dull in comparison, except she doesn't have a blog or a photo of said shoes so, ha-ha, I win. 

Did'ya know I spent my first 2 years of school in Paris?  I did.  Making my eventual transition to the mid-western suburbs that much more dramatic.  After running out of money, I finished up at an ag school in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by tomato fields.  (Yes, I did get culture whiplash).  And, yes, I do realize that the fact I was there for TWO YEARS without appropriately reveling in and partaking of the fermented grape is a tragedy.  I also never learned how to speak French. 

Worse, and possibly criminal - in the fashion capital of the world, I wore a lot of shoes that looked like this:
Small photo.  Just so you don't choke on your breakfast.
In my defense, there was a LOT of walking around.  Though the pretty French ladies seem to manage just fine.  Must've been all the wine they were drinking. 

Now?  I buy these:
Matt thinks they are ridiculous.  But he already married me so he doesn't get a vote.  Massive bow?  With pinstripes?  They are ridiculous - Ridiculously AWESOME.  Also?  $26 at DSW. 

Though it naturally rained the first day I wore them, which might not be the textbook definition of irony, but that one song made it OK.

Days later:  Am adding blogging to this list.  I'm not on FB, linkedin, myspace, second life, the message boards or any other online option.  I LIKE(d) my online anonymous browsing - there are crazy people out there.  And Employers.  I didn't like high school the first time around, no need for random people to google you, to remind you about second period history.  But here I am...

~~~Also, wearing Pink.  Because the girl looks ADORABLE in it. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Always last to the party

It is a fact I am not proud of, but I am usually the last one to hop on the trend train.  Hence my whoo-hoo super-hip 2010 blogging debut.  I was the last person in America to get a phone with a camera, a whooping 3 years ago (it goes without saying I don't have an iphone yet), and I don't own an ipod (*gasp!*) - because how will you ever hear the new stuff if you're always listening to the songs you already know?  Back in the day when oil was still $10 a barrel, I scorned the yuppy-ness that was Starb**ks.... till I actually bought a cup and spiraled down like a heroin addict in an evidence locker.  In 2001 I was driving a 15 year old Volvo with over 250k on the odometer because I thought it was quirky and cool to drive something with character.  Till my darling husband cut off my mechanic after the entire exhaust system died (damn CA environmentalists) and I drove a brand new version at the dealer.  Oh!  That brand new car smell!  And leather seats!  Without the oozing stuffing! Bliss. 

Also, some of my very very favorite people in the world I was meh about when I first met them.  [Not YOU, of course.  I adored you from the start].  But this is a known character flaw and at this stage of the game I realize I take a while to warm up so try to withold judgment.  For at least a couple days.  Though this still leaves me 5+ years behind the techie people.  (And I'll spare you my thoughts on Twitter - because evidently I'll reverse myself in 2013).

Anywhoodle, I was feeling a little self-conscious about my favorites bar because I do usually check it in the morning at work and it was getting a little crazy as I tried to catch up on the blogosphere - then my computer crashed and the IT guys started poking around and "what were you doing when it crashed?"....  NOTHING.  Nothing you need to worry about.  Can't you just fix the thing-a-ma-jiggle?

So Google has this thing called a Reader....  Amazing!  Convenient!  User friendly! 

You may commence mocking....NOW.

[I have to wonder though - I have a bad habit of editing the next morning.  Do you get two copies?  Does it automatically update?  Technology is such a mystery.]

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mirrored Lines

My girl has a funny habit of peering down our shirts.  I have assumed she was noticing the, um, differences between mommy and daddy.  Except over the weekend after a bath I plopped her on the counter to torture her with the Qtips.  She kept pointing at the scar on her chest, looking at her herself in the mirror and running her index finger up and down that line. 

Then she tried to look down my shirt. 

I don't think I can adequately explain that moment.  I froze.  Horror.  And joy.  Horror that they had to crack her chest open in the first place.  Joy that they were able to fix her heart.  Glee, that she noticed the difference, noticed my missing scar.  Sadness, that she'll always bear that mark.  I hope it's a source of pride for her.

I tried to google open heart pediatric surgery to see when it was they started (successfully) operating on babies but, of course, there's no one breakthrough date.  According to Wiki, the first open heart surgery on a child was in 1956 - on a four year old.  It might be pure fantasy, but I imagine it was about the same time they stopped recommending girls like mine be sent away from their families.  Sent away to die alone.  About the same time girls like mine were guaranteed an education.  A year after I was born.  Thirty-some odd years ago and a universe apart.  Good God but we are fortunate. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A New Beginning

Yes, I know spring hasn't officially arrived.  Nor would the weather give me any grounds for self-disillusionment.  But I have unilaterally decided to Make It So.  (Trekkies?  Anyone?  Crickets? *sigh*)
 Not New Shoes. 
Despite the obvious lack of wear. 
First run this morning in... never you mind. 
Yes my feet really are that big.  Shush!

Basil sprouts.

Fresh berry smoothies

Spring Dresses

Thursday, March 3, 2011


~~~My post yesterday sounded angry.  At least a teensy bit angrier than I meant it to be.  I was also being contrary because the whole "end the word" campaign is so very very nice.  "Please don't use that word around me" is seriously low key.  I want my objection to be understood on the cellular level.  I want it to have impact.  Be paradigm-shifting.  Yet I've said the very same thing myself - "Please don't..."  And implying [various critical people in my life] are asses with my snazzy pre-planned comeback might not be the best long term familial/social/employment plan.  So I will ratchet it down a bit.  Tone/context/speaker, right?

~~~I've received several reminders that in addition to the wedding dress and the forgetting-the-ring fiasco, lo these many years ago, there were Random Hook Ups, inappropriate late night knocking on hotel doors, etc.  The usual party-with-open-bar shenanigans.  But I cannot believe I left off the grand finale - we had an EARTHQUAKE.  7.1 at 2:46am (I just looked it up).  This thoroughly impressed all of our mid-western guests.  Especially since they were mostly staying at the specially retrofitted hotel on springs.  And the mileage Matt has gotten out of this is ridiculous - let's just say the "rock my world" jokes are well-worn (*cough*).   [Except we were both sound asleep by then so didn't notice.  Romantic, huh?]

~~~I could not WAIT for winter to be over.  My soul was tired of chapped hands and blue toes and no time at the park.  It's finally no longer freezing... but the dogs are doing what animals are wont to due come spring.  Clouds of it surround them as they walk, like Pigpen from Charlie Brown. Tumbleweeds roll down the hall, moments after I vacuum.  And I lost the dog brush over the weekend.  But it doesn't matter because I can gather fistfuls of fur in seconds simply by petting them.  So, yes, apparently I can always find something to complain about. 

~~~Also the mud -  The big dog has worn a trench along the fence where he races to and fro in a fury anytime one of the Small Neighbor Dogs ventures outside.  When it rains, or the snow melts, the trench collects water.  Did I mention we are living on a massive clay quarry?  It's my retirement plan - to dig up the backyard and start throwing bowls.  Of course the hose is still off because it's occasionally dipping back below freezing and wouldn't-that-be-a-kicker, to have some pipes burst on the edge of spring because we had to hose off a muddy pup?  Needless to say they're all spending a lot of time outside right now. 

~~~Speaking of emails, the day after our mirabile dictum of emails discussing kerfuffled lamarkism, there was a flurry of family missives as to whether or not "kerfuffle" had another 'L' in it.  [Answer: went both ways; blogger spell check vetoed the extra L].  Only my family could be so passionate about an L.  Love them.  Then they branched off into a discussion of "shibboleth" and the ultra-techy shibboleet", or the uber-geeky "shibbol33t".  Gold star for you if you followed along because I was suddenly busy with, ya know, work stuff.  I can barely use blogger.

~~~And speaking of words (again. because I can't let it go.):  I'm clearly not an academic.  I know there is much more that could be said on history and sociology and power of language.  There have been many interesting articles about how the republican party's success has been due, in part, to their ability to effectively manipulate use language ("death panel" anyone?).  And, to put it simply, --anything-- said with a sneer is insulting.  Don't be such a girl.  In that moment the speaker co-opts the noun (or adjective), owns it, and deems it unworthy.  Even if briefly.  There are, of course, examples of groups taking back certain words and making them their own - which I am obviously & intentionally being vague about.  No one wants to be the humorless word police but, even after circling the issue, in my heart I end up in the same place - not THAT word, not MY daughter.

But I do want to take back "Mama-bear" from what's-her-name.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lest the Family is Confused on How I Feel about This

I didn't realize it but today was

I thought the best discussion was over here.  Where I commented:

....the R word did start off as a medical definition - meaning the same thing learning disabilities or learning delays does now. The "delay" being key. Someone (can't recall who right now) posted about a piano lesson with the musical term "ritardando" - to slow down. The word's --origins-- were not malicious.  My kid will take longer to learn things.  Simple, right?

But... language DOES evolve and when the playground adopted the words, because they define something deviating from the norm, and kids turned them into slingshots [well, grown ups too] - when it morphed from medical term into insult, it became our responsibility as adults to keep ahead of the crush.

I think the most effective campaign out there is the poster with "you are such a R___, said the N___ to the F___".  The latter two options used to be used in "polite" society too.  Times change.  [Ok, didn't get the quote right again.  Grr!]

Eventually "learning disabilities" might fade from use too.  Though it's a lot harder to spit 7 syllables out with a sneer.

In the meantime, I have a line at the ready:  Actually it's "developmental delays". And my daughter IS delayed...but at least she's not an A**___.

[Too much?  Little too angry?  Probably.  Haven't pulled it out yet...]

Weekend Pix

What?  It's only Wednesday!  Love love love the gardens.  It was supposed to be in the 60s, think it stayed in the 50s, but anything not in the 20s was solid grounds for celebration.  I wore flip flops! [That my toes were cold is irrelevant - that they didn't turn blue and fall off is what matters].
Where should we go next? 


Don't they look like teenagers here? Strolling along, chatting about their geometry class & prom.

But that's MY stroller!
I think we managed to tucker 'em out.
Someone might have a teensy little crush.