Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book review: The Well and the Mine

If you are looking for a fantastic read, I suggest, The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips. I can't recommend this book enough. I am so amazed that this is a first novel.
It takes place in a small town in Alabama during the Great Depression. It is written in a style that I don't think many authors could pull off. But this author is such a beautiful writer that it works.
The story focuses on the Moore family and switches off between their voices. They are a hardworking, loving family whose sense of generosity and community makes you want to be a better neighbor.
To me, the novel seems so timely. There is so much talk about recession and depression lately, but you can get a glimpse of what it must have been like for people in the early 1930's. It brings things back to what's important -- family and community.
I got my copy from the library, but you can also get it on Amazon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Movie review -- Bedtime Stories

Loved it! Yes, I did. After seeing so many kids movies that were good for the kids and O.K. for grownups, I found one that was good for my six year old and for me. My almost 4 year old wasn't into it, but if you have a little older child, this would definitely be a movie you could both enjoy together.
I've been "off" Adam Sandler for a while. Yes, I lost my shit while watching Happy Gilmore, but that's the last time I found an Adam Sandler film entertaining. This one brings him back in my good graces. I laughed out loud a few times, and so did my son. I wish I had had a sitter for my daughter, because she was just a tad too young.
Anyway, if you have time, see this, or rent it when it comes out on DVD.

We're home, struggling through this last week of winter break, as I'm sure many parents are. It's not that I don't love them, it's just that I have to work. I have the luxury of working from home, but my rugrats aren't the kind that I can park in front of the t.v. for a couple of hours while I get a bit of work done. I'm like a freakin magnet. I tell them, "go and play in the front yard." They don't listen. What is wrong with my kids!!!!???? I pull out a bunch of shit for them to play with, I roll out their scooters, grab a few balls and tell them to go have fun... the world is waiting for them to have an adventure. They would rather sit right next to my desk and ask when I'm going to be done with work. Am I that much fun??? What do you do? Are your kids as needy as mine? I'm a self starter and their inability to use their imaginations just really gets to me. It makes me so freakin grouchy. What did I do wrong???

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Party's over!

I survived it. 16 kids and 8 adults in my small abode. It didn't rain, so that is good, and all the work I did on the food turned out alright. My homemade lego cake was cool and even though my homemade lego pinata didn't look great, I don't think the kids noticed.
There were lots of cousins around and also a few buddies from Luc's school. It was weird, though... this was the first year where the non-relative parents just dropped off their kids. It was like.. hi, what time should I pick little Johnnie up? I had prepared a lot of food expecting everyone to stay because they always have in the past. I'm fine that they didn't stay, but it's like some sort of milestone. My son now has parties where the parents of his mates don't stay. Crazy!!!!! He'll be six on Tuesday and that blows my mind! I'm tired, so I'm going to go to bed now.
All I have left to do for Christmas is wrap presents and one more day of baking. I can go go bed without a lot of shit hanging over my head.
Good night!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Now I remember... I hate December!

Around mid-November I start to get excited for the holidays. I look forward to Thanksgiving and then shopping for gifts for the family for Christmas. We'll have a pretty tree and sing carols at the piano while we sip egg nog and laugh jovially. The presents will be prettily wrapped and the kids and I will enjoy decorating Christmas cookies that we'll deliver to the neighbors.
Around December 10 (that's today) I wake up from my dream and remember that December sucks. My anxiety is starting to kick in. Not only do I have Christmas to plan for, but my first born celebrates his birthday 2 days before Christmas. I always do a party for him and I have a huge freakin family. Now that he is in kindergarten, he also wants to invite a few buds from class -- and i know that also means that a few of their parents will be there as well. So, the count could get as high as 33 if everyone comes -- I'm sure that won't be the case.
My house is filled with lists. Lists of gifts I've purchased or need to purchase. Lists of things I need for the party. Lists of what I need to do to get my house in order for overnight guests (in-laws and bro-in-law will be here for a few nights at Christmas). Lists, lists, lists!!! But I don't seem to find much time to get anything crossed off my lists. In between work, xmas shopping, homework, and just giving my kids a bit of attention, there doesn't seem to be much time for the extras.
It's no wonder I usually end up with the flu or pneumonia right around Christmas. I can't wait until about mid-January (after Amanda's birthday). Just wake me up then.
If I suddenly found myself very wealthy, I would probably just book a vacation for 2 weeks for the family and get the heck out of town:)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tree is up!

We got our Christmas tree today and it is a nice one! It's the first time in a few years that everything has gone smoothly. We didn't pay an arm and a leg, the tree went in the stand beautifully and is fairly straight and there are no bald spots.. like on our sad tree last year. My husband didn't even curse once while helping me set it up. And Lucas was so into decorating this year. It's the first year he's really cared to hang more than one ornament. He did about 2/3 of the decorating after I got the lights on. We turned on the fireplace (doesn't that sound wrong) and had the Christmas tree lights on during dinner. It was a very nice evening.

We then headed out to Moorpark to view some crazy lights. They are in this wealthier part of town and just about every street in the neighborhood is jam packed with lights and displays that are so over the top. The kids loved it. It's like each neighbor is trying to outdo the next and we get to benefit from their competition. After we got home and pulled into our own driveway, our lights did look a little sad, but that's OK because I know my electric bill won't exceed what I spend on presents.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wait... what does PG mean?

Tonight was family movie night. The kids picked one of my favorite holiday movies, "Home Alone". I've owned the movie, like, forever -- I have loved it since I first saw it when I like 15 years old. One of my favorite lines from the movie has now come back to bite me in the ....

"Kevin, I wouldn't let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my ass!"
I always loved the way the kid delivered the line and the look on his face. It cracked me up, until I had kids. I was setting up the kids table in front of the t.v. -- cause we do that on Friday nights -- and I heard the line. I let out a little giggle and that was all that was needed. My kids laughed and they didn't even know what they were laughing at. "Mom, what does growing on my ass mean?" Lucas asked. "It means that is something you aren't allowed to say," I said.
Great response, mom! They laughed even harder and said ass like 10 times. But as the movie progressed I didn't hear it again, so I hope I don't have to talk to Luc about the "a-word" before school on Monday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Easiest dinner ever

My pantry was bare this morning as I contemplated what we'd have for dinner. I took a quick peek and decided to throw some things in the crockpot and see what happens.
I defrosted some chicken from the freezer, put that in the pot. Threw in some diced onions and some frozen corn. Then I topped it off with a container of Trader Joe's butternut squash soup. Put that on at about 10 a.m. (took all of about 10 minutes to do). At around 5ish, I heated some Trader Joe's frozen brown rice and threw that in the crockpot for about 30 minutes. We all sat down and everyone loved it -- even the kids! Awesome and easy and healthy!
The whole soup -- excluding the fruit we also had -- probably cost between $5.50 and $6.00 ($1.50 per person... awesome!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

washing dishes and why does the shit fall more heavily on some people than others

First I'll start with my dishes. I read that it is more environmentally friendly to wash your dishes with a machine rather than by hand. Fine by me. But it is better if you do not pre-rinse. Hmmm... I don't have that dishwasher where you can put a cake in it and the plate comes out clean, but I do have something that has been working. A dog. My dog has become the family pre-rinser. She is happy to oblige and she is a very hard worker. My only question is, do I have to pay her?

I have a woman who comes in to clean our house every two weeks. She has worked for my mom for years and is one of the nicest people I know. However, our finances have become tight lately and I've been meaning to tell her that I won't be able to have her come anymore but shit keeps happening to this poor woman. Today was the day I was going to do it, but she dropped a bomb and I couldn't. I can cut elsewhere. It's only $150/mo. Some women might get their hair and nails done, or buy gourmet coffee or shop at Whole Foods. Me, I only have to get down and dirty with my house myself twice a month instead of every week. The thing that gets me, though, is this woman has had a very difficult life since she was born. If it were me, I'd be headed for the looney bin, but not her... she picks herself up by her bootstraps and goes on with a smile. She is the oldest of 14 kids born to a poor family in Mexico. She basically had to raise her younger siblings from the time she was a small child. She didn't finish school. She was "taken" by an acquantaince of the family when she was 15 and held captive for 3 years. Her family didn't try to get her back because they were afraid. When she finally was returned at age 18, she was basically told to stuff her feelings. She came to the U.S. (she is legal) and helped her younger sisters. She's worked cleaning up after people since then. She has an alcoholic common-law husband, whom she has three children with. She finally got the nerve to kick him out only to have him back now, 5 years later, because he has heart failure and she is taking care of him while he dies. She doesn't love him, but as she tells me, "he is my children's father". Her beloved aunt died this year. One of her sons has had trouble with drugs and in school. The bomb today, her 18 year old daughter is pregnant. This young girl just started college. When she told me her daughter was starting college I was so happy. I was like, yes, you make her go to class and make sure she finishes. She's going to go on and do great things. Now the daughter is determined to keep the baby and finish college. I pray she does. Her mother has worked too fucking hard her entire life to have her child not do great things. Despite this, she owns her own home (in a scary neighborhood) and makes enough money to take care of herself and her kids. No handouts. She has medical insurance and car insurance.
The thing that absolutely kills me is that we had been talking lately about how she wanted to sell her home in January, when her daughter had been planning to move out, and she was going to get her own place. She was so excited that she would live by herself. Just take care of herself -- for the first time in her life. Now that dream is shattered because her daughter will most certainly need to live with her for some time. My heart aches, but still she has a smile and says a prayer and says that God will watch out for her. I wish I had a million dollars to give to her.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm confused....

I am totally confused. That may not be news to some of you... but this particular confusion is regarding setting up a playdate for my daughter with her bff. It shouldn't be a big deal, right? In an earlier post, I noted how we had been canceled on for a playdate two times. I decided to give up. The mom had arranged play dates and then cancelled at the last minute each time. Sucks for the kids, because each time I drop my daughter off at school, her bff says, why can't I play at Amanda's house, or why can't Amanda play at my house? I don't know, go ask your mom!
Anyway, the mom had been working part time at the beginning of the year. Then, about two weeks ago I noticed her daughter had switched to 5 days a week at school, like my daughter. I figured the mom was working full time again. Cool.
But then last week, there was a cute card in Amanda's cubby. It was decorated by the bff and a note was written by an adult. "Hi Amanda, I want you to come play at my house soon. Love, bff."
Shit... I lost the mom's phone number because I didn't figure I would need it. But I did have her email address from when i was a room parent last year. I emailed her. The response I got was confusing.
Something like, "Oh, the problem is I'm working full-time now. But maybe we'll see you at the park for the preschool get-together." What? Why would you send a note basically inviting my daughter over if that wasn't what you intended? You work full-time. That's so cool. I work as well and understand that. But I wouldn't have my child invite another child over while knowing that it wasn't possible for them to come over. Make sense??

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm out, the "f" word and great depression

I'm officially counting myself out for nanowrimo this year. I missed the first day and then got into it for a few days, but I completely flaked this weekend. This week has been busy, so I haven't done any writing for nano since last Friday. It sucks, because I've been planning that this is the November I will reach the goal. But I tend to let life get in the way. My husband will offer to take over the kid duties in the evening for an hour or two, but when I go into the office and hear the little voices saying, "where's mommy... I want to go visit her in the office," I break down and read some books to my kids instead. The shitty thing is that I know it's a cop-out to say that I'm too busy. If I really wanted to finish this task, I would just do it. I would open up my laptop at 9 every night and work until I met that day's goal. But the truth is, my sofa and a good book just seem so much more appealing right now. I'm so stressed out about life in general that I would rather lose myself in a book someone else sweated over, than create something of my own. Maybe next year....

My son said the f word the other night. No, not the really bad one. It's the one that's not so bad, but you don't want to be the parent that lets your kid get away with saying it at inappropriate times. He was running down the hall after his bath and he turned to his sister and said, "Amanda, I just farted!" Then they both fell on the floor giggling uncontrollably. I swallowed my own laugh and asked him where he had heard that word. He said, "Mommy, it's no big deal. It just means burping from your butt!" Again with the laughter. Apparently he heard it from his pal at school. This is the same pal he picked up "Oh my God!" from. It's Oh My God this and Oh My God that all the time. We haven't every really used "fart" around here. I admit that I feel it's a more masculine term. I don't like saying it and I don't like hearing my 5 year old saying it. I've always used the lame term "gas". I guess it doesn't matter. There is absolutely no way to convince a young boy (or even a grown man, for that matter) that farting isn't funny.
This is all coming from a woman who curses worse than a sailor as soon as the kids are tucked in bed.

The news these days is all about recession, recession, recession. It's enough to stop a girl from going to get a large latte a few times a week. OK... I stopped my coffee splurges about 9 months ago, and I've cut back almost every where I can. There are still a few splurges that we haven't cut out yet -- eating one meal out on weekends and buying the kids new socks when their old ones are too small. I haven't had my hair cut since April and I've been coloring it at home -- the results aren't great, but they aren't terrible. We made a trip the the La Brea tarpits a couple of weekends ago -- kids had an excellent time -- and we dropped about $60, not including gas. We don't do that too often anymore. I haven't shopped for clothes in I don't know how long -- if you know me, you know I used to be a clothes whore. I love new clothes... they make me feel so good. But it's been about 6 months since I even bought myself a t-shirt. I did go to payless a couple of weeks ago and picked up a pair of brown flats because the pair I had -- from before Amanda was born -- had had it. As I visited Phil at work the other day, one of his receptionists said, "cute shoes, I have the same ones." I said, "yeah, payless is awesome!" She made an awful face and said, "uh... no, mine weren't from payless." Whatever! Anyway, all this is to say that I'm sure lots and lots of people are a bit stressed out these days. But I officially entered the great depression today. My neighbor -- two doors up -- just put his house on the market for $440,000! Shit. I could kill Fernando!!!! We purchased our house for more than $250K more than that two years ago. Fernando, dude, you are killing me.
My husband and I have been playing around with the idea of selling our place. Yes, we would lose the 20% we put down, but we wouldn't be up all night, every night, worrying about bills. Instead, we could be worrying about whether or not we were screwing up our kids. That is what parents are supposed to worry about, right? But, in light of Fernando's move, we now see that we can't sell our house for even what we owe. Thus, the great depression.
FERNANDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Prop 8... prop 4

So, Prop 8 passed... I'm disgusted. Prop 4 was defeated... I'm equally disgusted. If these churches, which should be concerned with life, had put their money behind prop 4, instead of pumping millions of dollars into California to promote a bill that marginalizes a good percentage of our population, we'd maybe have some young girls protected.
Instead, I saw nothing regarding prop 4 from my church or any others in the area.
Whatever your stance on abortion, if you are a parent, don't you want to know if your 14 year old daughter is going make a life altering decision?
I thought Prop 8 would be defeated handily. Boy, was I wrong. There were rallies all around this town. The same folks voting for Obama, were trying to keep homosexuals from gaining the same rights as same sex couples.
I don't get it. I'm still stunned. Don't I live in California? Well, I thought California was a cut-above (yes, I'm a bit of a snob) but it turns out we're right inline with Arkansas. I know no-one from Arkansas reads this blog, so I can write that:) Really, I thought we were a progressive state. I guess not.
I knew prop 4 was a longshot... similar initiatives have been defeated in the past. But, perhaps if those church leaders had put their money where it really belonged, we'd be celebrating the fact that we can have the chance to talk with our daughters about important decisions. Instead, my neighbors are celebrating the fact that gays can't get married. Strange priorities these people have.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We're doing something right

We were sitting at dinner last night and the kids were talking about what they want to be when they grow up. Lucas said he wanted to build rocket-ships and be a scientist. We said, great, you should be a scientist if you are going to design rockets. The he said, "I'm also going to invent medicines to help people get better. And if some people don't have enough money to pay for the medicine, I'll give it to them for free."
The lump in my throat was as big as an apple.
Then Amanda chimed in... "I'm going to be a mad scientist and I'm going to make lots of toys and give them to all the kids for free!"
That will make you Santa Claus, I said:)

We talk a lot around here lately about sharing with those who have less than us. We talk a lot about not buying every toy we see -- we need to appreciate what we have because there are others out there who have much less than we do and we can be happy just being together.
But how that translated into providing free medicine to poor people, I don't know. Maybe that NPR that I play in the kids room while they sleep is doing the trick:)

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm being bombarded, and I'm a chicken

It's all around me... Yes on 8.
Help!
A neighbor from down the street just knocked on my door to give me some literature to vote yes on prop 8. Did I challenge her? No. I'm a chicken. I opened my mouth to say something, but she smiled and said she lived down the road and I held my tongue. I knew if I said something, it wouldn't change her mind. I just thanked her and took the papers, which will now go into the recycle bin.

Another run in with Yes on prop 8 happened the other night. Lucas has recently befriended a boy in another kindergarten class. I've met his mom at the park a few times and she seems nice. She is the children's librarian at our local library and is about my age. We went to a fundraiser for school at the local pizza place the other night and she was there with her son. We started talking and then I saw it... a huge pin with the "Yes on 8" logo. I glared at it for a second, but didn't say anything. What is wrong with people?!

Last weekend was the festival at the Catholic church up the road. The church stands on the corner of a main intersection in our city. One one side, there were about 20 or so young people with homemade signs saying No on 8. They were a colorful group. They had a horn and some weren't wearing shirts. On the opposite corner were about 30 or so people of all ages (young kids and old people) all wearing Yes on 8 shirts with signs that were professionally made. It was a Prop 8 duel. I honked to the No folks and gave a thumbs down to the Yes folks. It seems like the Yes people have a lot more money behind them... just by looking at the different signs and the people in the crowd.

Anyway, I'm not looking for comments, just venting that it feels crappy to be in the minority in my fair city.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scenario

There is a small tribe of people. More than half of the farmers lost their years crop to disease but a few farmer's crops seemed to survive. Those farmers do not want to share their crop with the other members of the tribe. Many families will starve in the winter if the farmer's do not share their bounty with the other members of the tribe.
Both sets of farmers worked hard all year long on their crop, but one set just had bad luck.

Should the tribe council force the lucky farmers to share their crop with the rest of the tribe?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

birth control and business owners

I saw a story today about a new pharmacy in Virginia that has opened and will not fill prescriptions for birth control pills
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081022/ap_on_re_us/no_contraceptives_pharmacy

My first reaction was, "whatever, I just wouldn't shop at that pharmacy. They are business owners and I guess that if they feel birth control is immoral, then I'll just quietly take my business elsewhere." I'm a practicing Catholic who wholeheartedly believes that the church has made a mistake in its stance on birth control and I'm not alone. I think that the reasons are probably pretty shady, just as their reasons for not allowing priests to marry or women to be ordained are based on things other than Jesus' teachings.
I have a very strong reaction when someone tries to tell me how I can control my reproductive system. I'm not talking abortion here -- I am opposed to abortion -- but I'm talking about my right to choose when I want to get pregnant or if I want to get a disease. I'm a fairly intelligent being and if I do a bit of research and take proper precautions, then chances are very good that I won't end up with a baby I didn't plan on. I think birth control should be easier to get, not harder. A young girl and go and get an abortion with no notice to her parents, but she needs a prescription to get the pill.
Get this, the pharmacy won't even sell condoms. Not that they have to -- I'm not trying to take that right away from them -- but that is just fucking stupid. Women need to protect themselves from pregnancy with the pill, but they also need condoms to protect themselves from potential diseases. The bad part of me -- we all have a bit of that -- has a split second where I wonder how this pharmacist would feel if his daughter ended up with herpes or something worse.

Anyway, I'm ranting because I just hate it when men try to keep women in their place, as has been happening since the dawn of time. Why am I so upset when I've just said that he is free to run his business as he chooses? Well, someone on another Web site brought up the point that in rural areas, if the local pharmacy decides not to sell contraceptives, there may not be another pharmacy for 25 or 30 miles. What's a young girl to do? What is a cash-strapped mom to do? It irks me, yet still, I have to concede that the pharmacist shouldn't be forced to sell contraception. I do think that the government should then make sure they provide some sort of service to make it available to women even in the most remote parts of the country. I know, one of you is cringing because I said "the government should provide...." But damnit, if you want to reduce abortions, you better make damn sure that women have easy access to contraception. If they can bail out unethical bankers to the tune of $700 billion, they can kick down some cabbage to make sure our women's reproductive rights are protected.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Broken playdates, broken hearts

There is one mom at my daughter's preschool who is, in my mind a 9.5. Even my husband concurs that she is extremely attractive. Of course, her daughter happens to be the flavor of the month for my daughter. They are buds and play at school. They ask me when they can have a playdate every time I pick my daughter up from school. I finally had Amanda make a card for her friend and we invited her for a playdate. The mom called and it was arranged for last Friday afternoon. My daughter was very excited as she headed off for school that day -- after she got home, her friend would come over to play. What fun! Except.... the mom called me early in the afternoon to cancel. Her son was sick. Totally understandable, but I still had to deal with a devastated 3 year old.

Last night we had a fundraiser at a local eatery. We met up with mom of daughter's new bff and we talked for quite a while. This woman is definitely out of my league:) Anyway, we rescheduled the playdate for this Friday. Kids were very excited. The mom called me this afternoon to cancel. Apparently she forgot about a previous engagement she had. She said something about next week, but nothing firm. O.K., now I'm feeling a little paranoid and self-conscious. My daughter doesn't know yet that her bff won't be coming over tomorrow. I'm hoping she'll forget, but I know she won't.
I feel like I'm in high school again and trying to get with the "in crowd" but I can't find my way in. Except, I don't care about being friends with this woman (remember, she's out of my league) but my daughter does want to hang with her kid. What's the deal?

More on prop 8

So, I was outside this afternoon and I ran into my neighbor. She asked me a strange question... would I like a Yes on Prop 8 sign for my yard? She had an extra one. Isn't that a strange way of trying to find out how I'm going to vote. I wouldn't dream of asking someone (besides joking with a family member) if they would like an Obama sticker for their car.
Anyway, we were talking and just didn't really agree. I'm glad that she seems to be like me, in that she won't stop being friendly because I don't agree with her views. I feel the same way and hope that we continue to know each other better.

One thing she said was that if Prop 8 passes, our children will be forced to learn that marriage between a couple of the same sex is the same as marriage between heterosexuals. But I don't really understand... don't they already teach tolerance in schools, and since when is learning about marriage something you learn in school?

Again, I don't see how gay marriage undermines religion. People can get married by non-religious organizations. So, if we are truly a country that separates God from the state, then I don't see the problem. There are plenty of atheists who get married. There are people who are infertile or don't desire to have children, there are older couples who will never have children together and they all get married. So the idea that marriage is only for procreation is not true.
Throughout the history of man, there have been many different kinds of marriages... We evolve.

As a married Catholic, with two children, I do not feel that my marriage is any less valid if same sex people can marry. I once thought that prop 8 was a longshot to pass, but the more I drive around my neighborhood, the more nervous I get. I'm going to have to get involved.
Look... I don't have any gay people in my life that I count as close friends. I have known gay people, but I'm not coming down on the side of gay marriage because my brother or cousin or best friend is gay. I'm coming down on the side of gay marriage because I think it is right and fair.

creepy

Driving home from errands today I passed by a house that, of course, has the yes on 8 sign. That wasn't the creepy part. What was creepy was that hanging in front of one of the windows was a handmade No on 8 sign that was obviously made by children. It was very colorful and full of glitter and stickers -- I would have thought it quite beautiful, if not for the message. Now we're enlisting our little ones to help us spread the message that we aren't all equal.

I guess I shouldn't talk, though, I was tempted to get an Obama shirt for my kids. But I didn't -- I didn't want to make them the sandwich boards for my beliefs. We do talk about politics around them, but I try to be a bit generic. They both know I'm most likely going to vote for Obama, only because they asked me and I wasn't going to lie. Of course, now they both want to vote for Obama. It just shows you that your very little kids will often want to do whatever you do. I try not to say anything negative about McCain/Palin -- just that I like Obama better. I don't know if this is the right thing to do or not.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Why all the hate?

I've come to accept the fact that I live in McCain land. There are yard signs up all over my neighborhood and they mostly consist of McCain/Palin signs. First of all, come on guys... you live in California and Obama is going to win here. I have seen one Obama sticker when I take Luc to school and in another neighborhood I saw, gasp, two Obama yard signs. I'm thinkin', maybe the Obama folks just don't want to flaunt it, or waste their money because they know he'll win in CA.

Anywho.... my neighbors just popped up a "Yes on 8" sign. For those of you not living in California, that eliminates the right to same sex marriage in our Golden State.
I just want to know, why the hate?
There are tons of "yes on 8" signs in my neighborhood and this disturbs me. What reason, beyond religion, is there to make a constitutional amendment banning same sex marraige? I want to know. We are supposed to have a separation of church and state here, so what other reason can you give me for banning it? Churches don't have to marry people of the same sex -- they can walk down to the city hall and take care of it. What's the deal?

I wholeheartedly oppose prop 8 and it saddens me to know that people I know and like support it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I'm not John McCain's Friend

I'm not John McCain's friend and I don't like it when he says "goodies".

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Church, my yard and other people's trees

We made it to church early this morning and we still didn't get a good seat! I live about 3 blocks from my church, but I still usually get there right as the priest is about to get started. I wish the "children's mass" wasn't at 9 a.m.! Anyway, this morning I had my shit together and we left the house at 9:45 and got to church at about 9:50. 10 minutes... 10 minutes early and still I had to sit in the back where the kids can't see what is going on. I think the church needs to invest in stadium seating. The kids were good and were able to enjoy a doughnut after mass. I've only been taking them to church with me for about 6 months and I still can't imagine how my mom handled 7 during the weekly service. I only have two (but I am flying solo) and they drive me bonkers. They don't want to go to Sunday school, so they usually stay with me and ask me how much longer, every 2 minutes. I tell them they should be grateful they are Catholic and only have to sacrifice 1 hour each week:)

After we had lunch I dug into some yardwork. After 5 hours in the yard -- well, on and off in the yard, playing with the kids, cleaning up mud they and the dogs tracked in and vaccuming up some spills throughout the day -- I am extremely depressed. I got to about 1/4 of my yardwork for the fall. I still have so much more and I don't know where I'm going to find another 15 hours to finish the rest. My lot isn't huge -- about 11k sq. ft. -- but it might as well be 10 acres. there is so much pruning, weeding, lawn to be cut, fountains to be cleaned out, and there is still the dead zone (about 200 sq. ft. of dirt) that I am constantly tinkering with. I have a list of projects that need to be done inside the house and garage and I think by the time I get to those it will be spring cleaning time. I spend an hour or two each week on regular maintenance, but that doesn't cut it. I still have to do major work each of the four seasons. The thing that kills me is that my yard doesn't look glorious for all of my hard work. I have a notorious black thumb and no creative mind for budget landscaping. I see lots of people in my middle-class neighborhood with really pretty yards and I just don't know how they do it. They haven't had to spend tons of money, but they just know what works and what doesn't. Oh well, I'll just keep pulling up weeds and sweeping up my mess.

You know the only thing worse than having a tree on your property that is messy? Having a neigbhor with about 5 olive trees that hang over your back wall and spit their messy fruit all summer and fall. It's all over my yard and has to be raked up before mowing. It sucks. Why don't people invest in non-fruiting olive trees for landscaping?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three dogs

Help! I'm in a zoo!
My mom recently lent me the book "Three Dog Life" -- a memoir. It was OK, but I had to lie a bit because my mom freakin loved the book and I was really ho-hum about it.

Anyway, tonight she dropped off her two dogs at my place. She's going to be parading around Ireland while I have to pick up extra poop.
Craziness is all around me. My mom's dogs are a 40 pound mutt and a 4 pound chihuahua. I have a 14 pound mutt. They are currently brawling at my feet. It is total chaos. There is going to be dog hair everywhere -- my dog just jumpd on my laptop and the 40 pounder just dropped a nasty chew toy on my leg. Tiki, the 4 pounder -- is currently shaking up on top of the couch, right above my shoulder.
It will be an interesting night. We drop the 40 pounder at my brother's house tomorrow and we'll get her back on Saturday. Then we give the 4 pounder to another person to watch and we get the 40 pounder back until early October. Musical dogs... fun!

I think my neighbor is trying to convert me

Let me preface this by saying that I really like my neighbors. I feel so lucky to live next door to them and that they are so friendly. They have 4 children, the youngest of whom is 4.5 -- right in between Lucas and Amanda. The kids are forever playing together and run between our two houses all the time. I love that... that's the kind of neighbor I've always wanted.

A couple of months ago, my neighbor asked if Amanda would be in a little talent show with her daughter at her church -- she is Mormon. She said her daughter was a bit nervous and would like it if Amanda could do the show with her. We agreed and it was very cute. There was no sales pitch, or anything like that. Then, last Saturday, she stopped by to say that her daughter was going to have a small part in something for her Sunday school and she would like us to be there. I thought, what the heck. My husband warned me that it would be a real service, but I said, no, she just said it was a little show or something. Well, Phil was right. It was a full service with communion and everything. Then the preaching about making sure Prop 8 passes here in California started and I clenched my fists. They were starting to preach about the wrongness of being gay. Anyway, our neighbor's child was very cute and everyone was friendly. I thought that was that.

Today the daughter was playing at our house and when my neighbor came to pick her up, she mentioned that she'd like to have us back at church with her and have the kids go to Sunday school with her daughter. She wants to take me to a few classes. I am Catholic and she knows this. I attend mass probably every other Sunday -- I skipped last Sunday to go to the Mormon service. I thought God would think this is OK -- I personally think if I'm hookin' up with other Christians and thanking God for all I have, he'll give me props.

Now the dilemma. I wouldn't mind going with her to her Church occasionally, I really would not, but I don't want to mislead her. I'm not going to ever convert -- and I'm especially not going to become a Mormon.
I'm a Catholic. I've tried other churches, but they aren't my peeps. It's too ingrained. I don't always agree with some of the teachings of the Pope -- eg. birth control and homosexuality -- but I believe in Christ and I want to live more like him.
What do I do? I don't want to dis my neighbor, but I don't want to lead her on, thinking I might someday convert.

The think about Mormonism -- and I don't intend to offend anyone out there -- is that, as I've read, they believe that you aren't truly baptized in Christ's church unless you are baptized by a Mormon priest. That doesn't make any sense to me. Joseph Smith came along, what in the 1800's. What happened to all those folks baptized for 1800+ years? They say Peter came to Joseph Smith, but Peter was the founder of the Catholic Church, so why would he defect like that?
I don't know.... I like the oldness of my religion. It is comfortable to me, like my favorite pair of jeans. It fits. I like that, at least in my local church, they don't tell me how to vote. I like my politics with my politics and my religion with my religion. I don't believe that Jesus is going to condemn anyone who has tried to lead a good life just because they weren't fortunate to have been baptized by a certain kind of priest. I don't believe you can be Christ-like when you are busy condemning other people. You need to first make sure you are living your own life in a good way and then try to lead people to that way. But don't throw stones at them or condemn them. Only God can do that.

That's all I have to say.
Do you have any advice on how to gingerly let my neighbor know that I won't be converting anytime soon?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New neighbors and fallout from political choices

New neighbors are moving into Mr. Frank's house. They have two kids -- and their youngest goes to Kindergarten with Luc. We are so happy that the cul-de-sac is filling up with some children for our kids to play with.

Speaking of the neighbors, the new neighbor mom works for a really good orthopedic surgeon in the area. My husband (a PT) speaks highly of him and is hoping that our close proximity will help some referrals come his way. But here is the thing... he said that he'd rather not claim his political leanings to the neighbors. Some of the people he treats have a real hatred for people who are on the other side of the political aisle from themselves. He's afraid that if someone spots my Obama08 car magnet, it might hurt him professionally. I disagree, but then I'm more of a "happy go lucky" type and I would not hold someone's politics against them.
I told him I would remove the magnet if he really wants me to, but he said it is my decision. He's my husband, so my initial reaction is to respect his feelings, but part of me cringes a bit because I don't want to be afraid to publicize my views.
What do you think?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Red meat

Dude, if I hear another journalist say "red meat" I'm going to freak out! Can't they come up with original ideas. If one journalist uses the term, does every single freakin' other journalist have to start with the same line?

Hate it... 2 more months... blah!!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

2nd tooth gone, bbq and politics

My baby boy now looks more like he did 5 years ago -- he is missing two of his bottom teeth. The second one came out today and now he is eagerly awaiting the tooth fairy's second visit.
At this rate, I won't be able to afford my mortgage this month....:)

We had a good first week of Kindergarten -- I think. Luc doesn't like to talk much about school. I think he is pretty tired after being there all day and he really doesn't want to rehash everything. But he seems happy. We are ready for week two after a nice Labor Day Weekend. We headed up to my big sis' place on Saturday for some bbq and fun. She has the most awesome backyard and I only saw Lucas for about 5 minutes the whole time -- he was very busy exploring and jumping off walls. Amanda was busy getting makeup applied by her older cousins, so Phil and I actually had a chance to chat with my siblings. It was nice.
Sunday was boring... some chores and errands. Today we hit the local farm for some produce and to get back in touch with nature:) The kids love feeding the animals and Amanda actually went on the pony ride today. She had been too afraid up until today.
We then headed over to our neighbor's house for another bbq. They just put in the most awesome pool, and again my kids were totally oblivious of me for about 3 hours. They went back and forth between the pool and the trampoline. Fun! It was OK for me. I believe all of my neighbors are conservative, so there was lots of political talk going on and it was clear which way they lean. I didn't even get involved because Phil cringes when I do. I just listened and nodded and bit my tongue. I wonder what they'll think when my Obama car magnet comes in the mail. I also got t-shirt. I stopped short of getting the yard sign -- I live on a cul-de-sac, so no one would see it anyway:)

Hope you had a good Labor Day holiday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let the education begin!

We started kindergarten today! I really can't believe we made it to this moment. Some days have seemed endless, but the time as a whole has gone by in the blink of an eye. The end of summer has been filled with so much change for Luc. He is really reading well, his math skills are great, he learned to swing by himself and he lost his first tooth yesterday. He talks on the phone to grandma with ease and enjoys talking about his day. He is teasing his sister a bit less and is a great helper when it is time to clean up.

This morning I was well prepared and there was no rushing -- I'm sure this will not be the norm. I must say that living within a 7 minute walk from school is awesome. I just popped Amanda in the stroller, loaded Luc with his backpack and lunchbox and off we went. No fighting for parking or picking up toys that fall from the car when the door is opened.

We met his teacher yesterday at a little kindergarten orientation and I really like her. She has taught many of the neighbors over her 30 years as a teacher and I have only heard good things.
There were no tears, but I was nervous for Luc. Would he pay attention, would he remember to use the bathroom, would he make any friends? He had a good time, but he said it was a long day.
I'm excited about this new phase in our lives. Things are changing fast and I hope I can keep up.

Oh... we got to see his teacher scoop ice-cream this evening. There was a fundraiser at Cold Stone Creamery and the teachers were working behind the counter. Luc thought it was so cool that his teacher prepared his cotton-candy flavored ice-cream with m&m's mixed in (ew!). Phil and I got a chance to speak with her for quite a while and that was very cool. I'm now stuffed with ice-cream and have lunches to make and a backpack to fill. C-ya!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama Veep

Well, I signed up to be notified of Obama's veep choice, but it appears that there is a leak and it looks like Biden may be the choice. I am a bit annoyed that there was so much hype about the whole text message/email thing and then this gets leaked, but perhaps it's just a bait and switch.

In any case, I am truly disappointed that my pal Hillary isn't the pick. That would make me feel a lot better about voting for the dems -- not that it matters here in Cali. I won't vote for McCain, but I haven't decided 100% about Obama. Again, it doesn't matter much here, so I guess I would feel comfortable writing in Mickey Mouse. I'm not blown away by Obama, unlike some folks I talk with. I don't know, perhaps the last 8 years have left me permanently cynical. I don't trust any of the bs that politicians spew. And Biden... Biden's been in the Senate since before I was born! He's a pro politician.

I'm truly depressed by the whole economic and social situation of this country. Hell, not just this country, but the whole world. And after tomorrow I won't even have my beloved Olympics to divert my attention. The Olympics have been like a pacifier to me this past two weeks. Phil and I have enjoyed spending the evenings watching amazing athletes. We watch sports we wouldn't normally watch and we talk about it all with our kids. It's been such a wonderful distraction. I wish it could go on forever. I've let all my normal nightly rituals slide, although I did finish Crime and Punishment. If you haven't read it, you really should. Talk about misery. That may be another reason why I haven't felt so depressed about my own state of affairs... I'm not penniless, dying of consumption, with 3 young children who may be cast out on the street, and that's just a side-story. But really, it's a good read.

So, now I need a new book recommendation. Anyone...? I seem to be stuck on classics lately, but I would love a really great contemporary novel. If you have a recommendation, bring it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The dogs are getting to me

The dog population in our house temporarily doubled last week when my mom left for Maryland and left us with her Daisy. Daisy is a sweet dog. She gets along well with Ruby -- they love to wrestle and play fetch. However, they love me more than I like. Yes, I feed them, clean up after them and give them a pat now and then, but I don't expect their devotion in return. Yet they give it to me... more than I want. The pair is constantly trailing behind me where ever I go. If I go to get a glass of water, there they are. If I am working at my desk, there they are, sitting too close for my comfort. They stand behind me when I wash the dishes, they scratch the door when I take a shower. They climb on the bed when I go to sleep (Daisy, because of her size, gets booted to the dog bed on the floor). I can take the extra fur all over my house, the poop, the roughhousing, but I just can't abide the unconditional canine love.

Only 1 week to go for now, but in September Mom is off to Ireland and we'll again be watching Daisy. I wish mom was not such a jet setter.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Moon

Right now my husband is trippin' out my non-mathematic, non-scientific mind. My brain is trying wrap it's feeble self around the fact that once a month the dark side of the moon sees a "full earth". When it's a full moon for the earth, it is a "new earth" for the dark side of the moon. When it is a new moon for us, it is a "full earth" for the dark side. The bright side of the moon, which we see, never actually sees the earth. Is that crazy? I can't quite grasp it, which is why, without modern thinkers, I'd just be some hairy man person jumping around every time I saw a shooting star thinking the world was going to end. The whole time that Phil was explaining this moon thing to me, my brain just kept on repeating, "on the dark side, oh yeah. On the dark side, oh yeah." You know you love it!

In other news, Phil took Luc to see the Clone Wars today. Luc loved it. Amanda and I did some girlie things. Phil and I mowed and edged and then tried to clean up the weeds on our side yard. This part of the house is the biggest thorn in our sides. It gets sun all day long and anything we try to grow there just gets cooked. If we had a few extra ducats around it would be the perfect place to build a deck and put our bbq. I'll have to post some pics so you can see the mess. We've spent money putting wood chips there (splinters for the kids) and then we tried grass seed to no avail. I've tried growing veggies, but everything just shrivels up. I wish it was easy to put down cement, because then I'd just pour a bunch down and be done with it. Anyway, we weedwhacked the weeds -- they were taller than my son.
If we do end up selling this place, we have to come up with some solution for this area. It's really such a waste of our large yard.

We're still on loose-tooth watch right now.

Oh, big news! Lucas can now swing by himself. This was a big deal. We've been working on it for a while, but it's one of those things that just needs to "click". Well, the other day it clicked and now Luc can swing all by himself... he doesn't even need a starting push. So, for the first day of Kindergarten, he will be able to tie his own shoes and swing by himself. We just have to work on riding the bike without training wheels and we'll be set! He is getting so freakin big!

Big news for Amanda isn't great. She's got a problem with her Achilles tendon -- it's too short. She cannot walk on her full foot, but instead walks like a ballerina. Our Ped. confirmed our suspicions and we have an appt. with an orthopod in 2 weeks and they will most likely fit her with braces to be worn for about 6 months. Phil is doing stretching with her, but it is a bummer.

What have you been up to?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Movie review and I'm just a grownup

Phil and I had spent a nice evening at the movies. We went to see The Dark Knight and it was great. The acting was better than the plot, something you don't expect from a comic book movie. All of the lead actors did a superb job and the movie was definitely worth the $20+ spent.
Wait, it wasn't 20, it was about $56, including the babysitter.

Babysitter.... this is the second time we've left the kids with a non-relative sitter and I think it went well. They were asleep when we came home, so we'll find out more in the morning. The sitter is our next-door neighbor. She is 13, sweet and her parents need to watch out because she is gorgeous. Anyway, the babysitter makes me feel really old. I can still remember being a babysitter, I can remember being that age (although I never looked like her!). I still feel young so I try to converse with the young like I am one of them. Except, I am not, and they make it very obvious by their one word responses to inquiries. My husband I and tried to talk with her about the movie and other pleasantries, but she didn't bite. The girl would not converse with us. She wanted to take the money and run from these oldies. Damn! I have turned into the parents that used to pay me when I would watch their little ones. I must say that I hate it. I just want to scream, "I'm cool, I really am!"

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Are we hanging on by a thread?

I went to the pharmacy today to pick up my crazy pills and I totally got freaked out. I was waiting for the pharmacy guy to find my medicine and I suddenly realized how much medicine is there. Then I turned around and saw the long line of poor souls waiting for their meds. There were bottles of all different colors and sizes. Bags and bags with names of my neighbors, just waiting to be picked up.
I mean, it was seriously frightening.
This is just one little pharmacy in my small city. While I was waiting in line, there were thousands and thousands of other people waiting all around the country for their medicine.
Sure, some folks are just there for their ambien, but there are others, like my husband, who need their medicine to live -- they would die within days without it.
It made me think that we are somewhat feeble.
I say this, as I take my crazy pill. Without it I might live, but what kind of life would it be?

Monday, August 04, 2008

The tooth is loose and I love Golden Spoon

The first loose tooth has been spotted in the Crouse Haus!!! The little man is almost as excited as I am. Well, I should say that he is totally jazzed while I have a lot of jazzy feelings mixed with bittersweet sentiments about my oldest passing this milestone.
How can he already be 5 1/2? How did the years pass in an absolute blink and I'm now getting ready to send him to kindergarten -- minus one tooth?
He told me the tooth was loose last week, but I couldn't feel it. Maybe I didn't want to. Tonight he said, "Mommy, my tooth is really loose now!" I took one look at his smile and could see that crooked tooth barely hanging on. I gave it a little wiggle and my stomach did flips.
He jumped up and down and said, "The tooth fairy is coming, the tooth fairy is coming!"
Then he got very serious and said, "Mommy, is there really, really a tooth fairy?" I paused for a half a second and then I lied to my dear son. "Yes, Lucas, there really is a tooth fairy."
I did have to break it to him that, no, the tooth fairy doesn't bring dollar bills, but she might be bringing quarters these days -- I got dimes.


If you happen to live near a nifty little yogurt shop called Golden Spoon, I highly recommend you stop in and pick up a cold treat. I just discovered this place over the weekend and all I can say is "yummy!" It brings me back to my teenage days when there was a yogurt store on every corner. They suddenly shut down when all the hype about carbs and cutting out sugar became the rage. Well, yogurt is back and it's not your grandma's yogurt. It is low fat or fat free and low carb. The mini -- plenty for most folks -- only contains 68 calories and 15 carbs! I had mine with tasty fresh raspberries. The other bonus... it costs quite a bit less than your high fat Cold Stone type ice creams. The ingredient list doesn't look too scary, so I think it must be that there is a lot of air or something in there, because man, it tastes great and on hot days -- as we are likely to have for the next 3 months -- it goes down smooth!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Get to me via maureen.me, can't believe I never posted this and some notes

You can now get to my site by typing in maureen.me. Simple dimple!

When we took our vacation last month we passed through the quiet little town of Spreckles, CA. Right as we were leaving the town, we saw this guy:



Does that picture look suggestive to you?
These weird giant wood people were everywhere. We also spotted quite a few in Monterey.

In other news, the sleep deprivation in the Crouse Haus continues. The kids are now nightly trying to join our bed in the wee hours. Amanda has had a few accidents lately and when Luc awakens and sees his sister isn't in the room, he ultimately finds us cramped in our bed. I usually end up walking Luc back to his room and then sleeping with him. It has gotten a bit out of hand and I can't seem to correct it. They go to sleep just fine, but they keep waking up and wandering into our room. We tried a sleep chart (stay in your room until 7 a.m.) and that worked the first time, but once the chart was done, the old sleep habits came back. Our second attempt at a sleep chart has failed.
I'm OK on 5 or 6 hours sleep -- not at my best, but not too bad. Phil, on the other hand, is a complete bear if he doesn't get at least 7 uninterrupted hours. The option of me just sleeping in the other room with the kids wouldn't work either (not that I'd want to do that) because he doesn't sleep well if I'm not there:)

Our dryer has decided to die for good. We are now looking at used dryers. It's been almost 3 weeks of drying clothes outside, but I can't keep it up. Sure, if I didn't have a job, maybe that would work, but I can only really get one load hung up and taken down per day because I have lots of other shit to do. I located a dryer on Craigslist advertised for $100. I was totally ready to pay the full amount (I almost never haggle, I don't know how) but when my husband went to look at it, the kind folks said they would only take $75. My wonderful sis-in-law is going to loan us our truck tomorrow so that we can pick it up.

Swim lessons are going well. Amanda still won't dunk her head, but we're making progress. Lucas is doing amazingly well. He is starting to get some real strokes in there between the dog paddling. The breathing thing is tough to get, but we still have 3 more weeks of lessons. Then I just have to hit the lottery so we can build a pool!

I have to warn you against a movie. If you haven't seen it yet, don't waste your time on Cloverfield. If I was in my early 20's I might have enjoyed it more, but at 34, it was a complete waste of my time. Phil and I just put our dvd player in our bedroom -- his brother gave him a ps3 for his b-day, so that works as a dvd player in the family room now. Last night I was dog tired so I suggested watching the movie in the back. After it was over -- and I still can't believe I let myself watch the whole thing -- I was left thinking, "I gave up writing my nightly 1000 words for this?" I've been trying to stick to a schedule of writing 1000 words every single night. Sometimes those words are meant for my book, other times they just end up being any random thing. But the point is for me to do it, to keep that muscle working and hopefully every so often a gem will pop out. I'm also reading Crime and Punishment for the first time. I have to say that I am surprised that I love it. The Russian names are a bear but I am thoroughly enjoying it and find myself trying to get through my nightly 1000 words so that I have time to read.
Where was I.... oh yes, don't rent Cloverfield. Instead, write 1000 words and then read Crime and Punishment.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'm dumb!!!

Maybe the rest of you knew it all along. I always thought I was just a regular person, not particularly smart, but not the biggest dummy on the planet. Well, I was proven wrong tonight.
I'll have to go back about a week....
Last Wednesday our dishwasher seemed to get sick out of the blue. I filled it up and pushed the button and nothing happened. The little light didn't go on. I pushed a bunch of buttons. Looked under the sink to make sure it was plugged in, checked the circuit breaker and even checked the little interrupter (I'm not sure if that's what it is called) that is on the outlet where the garbage disposal switch is. Nada. OK. It needs a repairman.
Cut to Thursday when my husband gets off work early. He was already pissed because the ultrasound machine and the heating system for his hot packs went out on him at work. Then he goes for a jog and jumps in the shower only to be met with ice-cold water. I check the water heater and the pilot is out. My hubby takes his cold shower and is even more annoyed. We relight the pilot and think that is the end of it.
I have to add here that my husband is about the least "handy" person you will ever meet. Every, and I mean every, household fix situation is met with multiple trips to the hardware store and much swearing. It almost never works out and either the project is just a half-assed job or we have to call in the pros.
Anyway, we thought the pilot was fixed. Friday morning (holiday) my husband jumps in the shower and it is ice-cold again. I had just washed the breakfast dishes (by hand because dishwasher still out) and I had warm water. Well, I guess it was just left over. I run to the back room when I hear my husband swearing and am met with an ugly hole in our bathroom door. Yes, he punched a hole in the door. My husband is a pacifist. WTF! I swear, house problems just send his blood pressure up more than anything.

Now my house is a total wreck. No hot water, no dishwasher, hole in the door....
We head to Home Depot because I look up online that the problem with the water heater could be the thermocouple. We look around the store and find one -- they only have one kind and it says universal. Well, it wasn't universal for our heater. Fuck! That wasn't me, that was my husband. After we took the thing apart, which was very difficult because the water heater was made for people with hands the size of elves, the thermocouple we bought wouldn't fit. We relight the pilot and miraculously it stays lit. I don't know why, and I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. It's been relit since the 4th of July. Happy day, one problem solved.

Dishwasher has still been out and I've been washing by hand -- it sucks, especially since I have bad eczema and the gloves don't always work well. Anyway, I've been too busy with work and kids to call a repairman and I just don't really have the money right now.
Today I went to use my blender to chop some veggies. I plugged it in to the outlet that is clear across the kitchen from the dishwasher. It wouldn't turn on. I pushed the little red button on the outlet and that did the trick. On a hunch, I walked across the room to the dishwasher and pushed the start button. The freakin light turned on!
God damn am I dumb. I should have tried all the outlets, but I thought that the one closest to the dishwasher would be the one it was connected to.
Anyway, I'm so glad I didn't have $60 to call the repairman, otherwise my dumbness would have been known by others.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last day and could a lightning bug live in L.A.?

Tomorrow I think I'll cry. My oldest (my baby boy) will go to his last day of preschool tomorrow. He's been at the school for 2.5 years now and it's been such a wonderful place for him. He's made some great buds and I love that the teachers have time to chat with me when I drop him off or pick him up. I know the other moms and dads and I also love that I can drop him off anywhere from 8:15 to 9 a.m.
I'll see all the teachers next year because my daughter will still attend the school, but I just know I'm going to lose it when I check his cubby and folder for the last time. Wahhhh!!! How did 5.5 years go by so fast. God, I can still remember the little cry-bag that Luc was when he was tiny. I remember when he called me his best friend for the first time and how he said, and still says, that he'd rather spend time with me than with anyone else in the world. I know that once he starts Kindergarten things will start to change. It's good, but I'm such nostalgic freak that it's also bad.
I'm also not looking forward to having to get miss sleepy-pants up and ready by 8:00 to walk her brother to school.

We'll go on a short vacation up to Big Sur and San Francisco next week and then Amanda will be back at school and Luc will start camp. He is so excited for camp. They have an awesome fort and they get to go swimming every day. He's going to love it.


Speaking of summer, we had our first June bug visit us last night. Some years we get tons and others we just see a few little dudes on our porch. Unfortunately, the first one was quickly eaten by the newest member of our family and I quickly scolded her. Ruby was very confused because I always cheer her one when she is gobbling down a moth or fly. But I love June bugs. Sure they don't seem like the smartest bugs on the planet -- they are always crash landing onto our patio -- but they mark the beginning of summer and I'm always a little sad when they have gone for the year.
The little "Junies", as I call them, made me think of lighting bugs. I've only seen them once -- when I went to visit a friend in Philly in early June back when I was a teenager. I loved them. I loved the whole idea of sitting on the front porch in the crazy humidity, eating some water (wooder) ice and watching the fireflies. I wish we could send away for a box of fireflies -- you know, like how you can by a little carton of ladybugs -- and let them loose for the kids. Now, there's a marketing idea! There's probably an issue with them being a non-native species and perhaps causing problems, but still, the kids would dig it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Green Stuff

I'm all for going green, but this is ridiculous!
When we first moved into this house and put my son in his room, he suddenly developed allergies that were pretty significant and disturbed his sleep. We put him on an allergy medicine and it only worked minimally. About a year or so after we moved in, my son started sleeping in his sister's room. They just liked sleeping together and his allergies seemed to subside. I thought maybe it was the time of year. I had pulled up a tiny piece of his carpet to see if there was any mold and I didn't see any. We recently decided to put both kids back in Luc's room because it was bigger. Not two nights after they were in the room, Luc's allergies were back. We moved them back to the smaller room and the allergies disappeared. I'm no scientist, but I figured there must be a relationship between the room (which is now my office) and his allergies.

I decided to pull up more of the carpet and when I did, I almost threw up.




Black, green and fuzzy mold. Gross. I'm working in this shit and my poor son was sleeping and playing in here.
We've only lived here 2 years and never had a leak that we know of, so this stuff must have been here for a while. My husband and I were going to wait until school is out and then pull the carpet up and install vinyl floors ourselves -- yes, it's cheesy, but it's cheap and waterproof.
But ever since I saw the stuff, I can't stop thinking about it. Every time I open the door to my office, I can smell it. I imagine all the spores filling my lungs.

What would you do? Would you wait or do it now? My husband is more of a waiter -- you know he hates to part with his money. Me... any excuse to get rid of carpet is good enough for me:)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kindergarten

Luc and I walked down to his future kindergarten today. They had a tour for new students. I hated it. I want him to go to the private school up the road, but apparently we didn't donate enough time or money to the church this year. There is another private school that he did get into, but the almost $8K price tag just doesn't work for us right now.
I toured both the private schools and loved them. The classrooms were beautiful, the teachers were very willing to talk and answer all sorts of questions and the overall academic program seemed just what I was looking for. The added bonus of some religion and uniforms made the schools even more attractive.
I didn't go to public elementary school, so I am biased. I feel they are yucky.... but I am crazy. My very smart husband is the product of a public K-college education.

The school is going to be very full this fall -- four kindergarten classes -- so the little ones will have to eat lunch and play in the big yard, with all of those giant 5th graders. I know Luc is going to come home saying "Fuck" on the first day.
The teachers didn't really impress me... but the school doesn't go out of its way to impress you because they know if you had the money to go elsewhere, you would.

The bathrooms are clean, the yard is nice and they have a new computer lab.
I don't know. I think this may all just be that I don't want Luc to grow up and so I don't want him to go to kindergarten at all.
I didn't relay any of my dislike of the school to Luc... I was all "oooh and ahhh and isn't that cool." I want him to love school as much as I did. I want to love his school, but I just have to get over my ideas of public schools not being as good as private.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

34

There, I typed it. I'm 34 today. I'm over it... not really.
I'm one of those annoying people who hates birthdays. I don't like thinking about them and about a week before the day each year, I start to get grumpy. At first it's like, "what is wrong with me? Why am I being such a biotch and why am I so depressed?" The day before the big day it dawns on me what the attitude has been all about. It's not about my self-absorbed children or my husband who has seemed "in the way" for the past week. It is my realization that I'm another year older and another year has gone by the same as the last.
OK, so I'm depressed. I feel like Ziggy walking around with a black cloud over my head right now. I will feel better in a few days, but right now it sucks.
We attempted the family dinner out tonight and it went well. We went to a Chinese place and the kids were only part chimp instead of their usual full chimp selves.
My husband got me an ipod -- something I've been desiring for the past few months and it will be cool to plug it in the car or hook it up to some portable device (not yet purchased) to bring outside this summer.
Now I'm enjoying a beer outside and figuring out how I'm going to pull off my Earth Day party tomorrow. There's so much left to do....

On a brighter note, this week I spent $1K. It was the best grand I've ever spent. I got a bunch of rooms in my house painted by pros -- no, not hookers.
I've never hired a painter. I have painted so many rooms I could cry. As I attempted to paint my family room/hallway/bathrooms a few months ago, I came down with pneumonia. I was pretty ill, and the walls remained primed and half painted for a couple of months. Then my wrist started acting up (old injury) and I realized that I just couldn't do it. My husband, who hates to part with money, was hesitant about dropping a large amount of cash on something we should be able to do ourselves. But I persisted and won and he is actually pleased with the results. The shit got done in one freakin day instead of 2 months! If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up a painter:)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The dinner party that should have never been

I could add a picture, but I won't. It is too grotesque.
The day started off fine and I had no expectations for dinner, except that it would have to be somewhat easy since I was going to be out of the house almost all day.
I started the day with a morning birthday party for a classmate of Amanda. We had a good time and the weather, although a bit warm, was perfect for a party in the park.
On the way home we had to stop at the market to pick up some things for t-ball because it was our week for snacks. When I passed the freezer section, I saw a large frozen lasagna that called my name. I don't know why. I'm not the frozen lasagna type of person, but I quickly thought, that would be good to pop in the oven after the game and I don't have to do much.
We got home -- full of sugar and excitement from bouncing around in a Dora bounce house -- and quickly had to head out the door for t-ball.
T-ball was hot and the team has improved. My mom stopped by to watch the game and I invited her to dinner -- even though my house was a wreck and I only had a giant frozen lasagna.
She decided to stop at the market for some garlic bread and chianti.

We get home. Lasagna says it takes 2 hours to cook. Holy shit! Two hours -- it was already 4:45. So I ditched that idea and opted for some tortellini (kids cheer) and a salad.
Fine. Husband decides to cook dinner -- even better.
We sit down to dinner when out of the corner of my eye I spy the dog throwing up on the living room carpet. Bon Appetite!
Clean up the mess. Enjoy a nice dinner.
Kids clear their plates and begin horsing around in the living room. My mom and I were chatting at the table -- with our 2nd glasses of chianti -- when something flew across the room and knocked a wine glass off the table.
Red wine splattered everywhere. My mom's initial reaction was, "Oh my God!". To which my daughter, the person who flung the dog bed across the room, responded by screaming hysterically.
I tried to calm her down before I looked at the damage.
I'm not the type of person who gets mad over spilled milk or things like that.
But when I went to the other side of the table and saw the disaster, my mouth just hung open. Dots of red wine were -- are -- everywhere.
I could have kicked myself for not buying the bottle of "wine away" when I was at Cost Plus yesterday. I saw the bottle and said to myself, "I rarely drink red wine and I've never spilled any, I don't think I'll need this."
I quickly got online to see what could be done. I sprinkled salt all over the stains to stop them from absorbing. Then I poured the other bottle of wine my mom brought (a white wine) all over the mess -- something about the white wine counteracting the red.
I don't think it's gonna work, folks. The carpet is a disaster. It looks like someone was shot at my dinner table.

After dinner we sat outside and were talking when my daughter started wailing (again). Apparently she walked with barefeet on some wood chips and she got a bunch of splinters. My husband had to hold her down while I extracted them.
Overall it was a nice night, but now I have an injured daughter and a ruined carpet and I didn't even get to eat any damned lasagna.

Friday, March 28, 2008

35 days without a car and newspapers

We did it, we went more than a month without owning a car. Yes, we did find it necessary to rent a car for about a total of 8 days out of that 35 -- couldn't shirk our duties as the parents of a t-ball player -- but we went the better part of a month without a vehicle. I should say, *I* went the better part of a month. My husband had his scooter for travel to and from work. But I did it. I hauled bags of groceries and two toddlers in a jogging stroller for miles. We walked to the library, the bank, the park, the mall, the movie theater and school.
We learned to go without things we didn't need because we didn't have a way to get them. We enjoyed spending more time at home and less time with the television. The dog got a lot of exercise and we got a lot of strange looks from our neighbors.

It's all come to an end. Our new Altima was delivered this morning. I'm hoping I've learned a few lessons from this month. In being forced to spend time walking with my kids instead of in the car, where the radio is turned on or the kids are looking at books or toys, I learned a lot about them. We had lots of talks about math, bugs, dinosaur bones and litterbugs. My kids have learned that life isn't always super easy and sometimes you have to carry shit yourself. Lucas has already seems to want to be a bit more self-reliant after a month spend helping me carry bags and things.
The new car is fine, it's generic and something I'll use to get places that are too far to walk, but I hope we can keep the slow pace and enjoy each other's company and enjoy the beautiful city we live in.

As I was preparing dinner tonight a young man came to the door. He was selling subscriptions to the L.A. Times. I've been meaning to restart my weekend subscription for some time, but haven't gotten around to it. It was so nice to talk to an intelligent 16 year old and he seemed very nice and articulate. Usually when I come across a teenager these days and I say something to them, they stare at me with bug eyes and do not respond. It is so weird. I don't remember ever not responding to an adult when I was a teen. But they seem so afraid these days. Maybe I'm just freakin old. Anyway, this kid was a breath of fresh air.
I used to deliver the newspaper -- it was my first job, when I was 12!! Yes, at 12 I was riding around on my bike delivering papers after school and going around by myself collecting money each month. Can you imagine? Now kids don't have that opportunity. There are no more evening papers and I'm sure there never will be again. It was so cool to have my own money at a young age. I used to babysit at 12 as well. These days there are few families that would entrust their kids to a 12 year old. How is a young person to earn money? I think it was a really good experience for me... to earn my own cash, and not by washing my mom's car. It was something separate from my family and it was only by my hard work that I could come by this money -- mostly used for movies and candy:)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter was good


All ready to head to Aunt Katie's


We had a very nice but tiring Easter. The kids were up way too early and there were way too many jelly beans floating around the house. I was stoked that Jelly Belly introduced some "natural" jelly beans, so that means no more meltdowns due to artificial colors. My son is extremely sensitive to food dyes, so we try to be careful but usually allow him to have a few things on holidays. Now I don't have to. Whole foods has gummi bears, jelly beans and even fake m&ms without artificial colors. Yeah!!!! I have found a place online that sells lollipops with no fake colors -- I keep those stashed in my purse to give after doc. appointments. If you saw my son about 20 minutes after he ingested artificial colors, you would be amazed.

After the morning watching the new videos the kids received from the bunny, we headed out for our holiday hike. It's become sort of a ritual to hike to the top of Tarantula hill (the kids call it a mountain) on every holiday. It's a nice way to burn off the excesses consumed during a holiday breakfast.

top of tarantula hill

Then it was off to Aunt Katie's for some extended family fun. My sis has an awesome house and yard and the 11 cousins were treated to a huge egg hunt. The eggs weren't huge, but there were a huge number of them. Everyone walked away with bulging bags of easter eggs. My kids were good enough to allow me to remove all the illegal candy. There was wine, ham, angel foodcake with strawberries and cream, and good coffee. The weather was gorgeous and I had a very relaxing time. It is so crazy that just a year ago I would not have even had a minute to sit down because I would have been chasing my kids everywhere. This year it was like, "Lucas, no, I don't know where he is." They are totally good to be on their own while at a party. It is nice and I don't know if I could start over again.


Amanda enjoying the spoils

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Crap! We are being invaded!

I went to pull up the blinds in my kids' room this morning and I looked up and out the window. What I saw truly horrified me -- wasps, many of them. I've written before about our spring battles with these suckers, but this year is going to be horrific considering it is only the 2nd day of spring.
There were 5 or 6 wasps in our eaves -- it's hard to describe, but there are little sections and in five sections a wasp was preparing a nest. Yes, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, 5 little nests being created right next to each other. My kids had a fun morning watching all the action. I was counting the hours until sunset when my husband could move in for the counter-attack.
What the hell is going on? When we lived a few miles away, I rarely saw a wasp cruising our yard. This house seems to put off some sort of wasp pheromone.
I'm scared shitless.
We usually eat lunch outside when the weather is nice, so today we had to bring our little picnic table out front to eat -- there was no way I was hanging out in the backyard with those predators.
My husband knocked down all the nests this evening, but I know they'll be back.
I was so looking forward to spring and summer, but now I only wish we could live in perpetual fall.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Never thought I'd say it and another reason I like my name

I never thought I'd say it, but here goes, satellite radio is freakin' cool. I always thought of it sort of like Tivo -- I don't have Tivo and I'm still totally high and mighty about that:)
I felt the same way about satellite radio until today. Why would I pay to listen to the radio? The only thing on the radio that I pay for is NPR and that is about the only thing I've been listening to lately -- aside from kid music.
Today I found it necessary to rent a car, so I hauled myself, two kids and two booster seats down to the rental place. They had a Hyundai Santa Fe (which, god help me, I love!). The car came equipped with satellite radio, which was programmed to an '80s station. Okay, I was diggin it. The songs weren't the ones you hear over and over on some local radio stations. This evening I was driving to the library to return some books and I turned on the "Heart" station. Holy shit, it was like Kost without the corny djs and letters from lonely hearts. First they played a Chicago tune that immediately transported me to 10th grade. Then I was treated to Barry Manilow's "Mandy", which has a new place in my heart because of my daughter's name. There were a couple more goodies and I found myself sitting in the library parking lot listening to many songs from my teens. Total goodness. On the drive home I flipped to the comedy channel and even that was pretty cool. I don't spend very much time in the car, so I don't think I could justify $12/mo. If I did drive more often, I would totally get this in my car.

Speaking of cars, we should have one sometime next week. I am torn about the whole thing. When I rented the car today and was driving around for errands I felt very free -- but I don't want to feel that way. It's like wanting to give away all of your material goods for the good of others, but still finding yourself coveting someone's pretty earrings or new sofa. It is so damn hard to be less materialistic, especially when you have kids and you want to see them dressed in cute little outfits. They don't give a shit, but I do. I can't resist. Is it important? No -- I know this deep down, but I've been programmed and I can't seem to delete that file from my brain.

Ah, yes, my name. I've always rather liked my name. It is a bit old-timey, and not at all "cute", but for some reason I've always been proud of it -- perhaps too proud.
When we named Amanda, I thought it was cool that she had a bunch of songs with her name in them. My son Lucas isn't quite as lucky -- there are a few songs out there, but some are a bit explicit. There are a bunch of songs with my husband's name, Phil, but they are mostly instrumental, blues or jazz, and he does not like Blues or Jazz (damn him, because I do).
My name, surprisingly, was flush with songs. I didn't even expect one. Eddie Money sang a song called Maureen, as did Sade (love her) and Fountains of Wayne. There are some others, but those are my favs. Cool.

So, who sang a song about you?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thick or thin

I felt a bit like I have been back in my senior year of high school this past week. We applied at a local private school for my son, who will start kindergarten in the fall. The school is beautiful, small and they have some wonderful programs. The uniforms are an added bonus. Anyway, letters of acceptance were to go out this month and I've been running to the mailbox every day hoping for a letter. Today we got one. I looked at the envelope and it was pretty skimpy -- the Web site said that the acceptance letters would also contain the registration agreements. But the envelope didn't look like it could contain much. I was shaking as I opened the letter... Congratulations, we'd love to have Lucas at our school for the 2008-2009 school year!
We got in! Now there is the little issue of tuition. It's about $7500/year. I'm paying more than that for preschool right now, but if we go to the local public school, I'll pay nothing.
I just get such a good vibe from this Episcopal school and feel that Lucas would really thrive there.
What to do....
I've got about 10 days to make a decision and then talk Phil into agreeing with me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

5 years

It's so hard to believe that some of the young people going over to serve in Iraq now were just becoming teenagers when this whole mess began.

Friday, March 14, 2008

no car days numbered

I've been walking my ass off this week and I've quite enjoyed it. Really.
But all the walking will come to an end in about 10 days -- we have a friend who works for a Nissan dealership, so we'll be leasing a vehicle from them. We did a short lease so that in 2 years we can revisit things and see if we can afford a hybrid. As it is, the altima will get better gas mileage than my van did and I'm hoping that I've developed some good habits in the past couple of weeks.

We walked to dinner tonight with the kids -- the Catholic church up the street (I'm a Catholic who goes to mass sometimes) was having a Fish Fry for lent. They do it every Friday and it was really cool. Lots of friendly people, entertainment, and, all you Catholics can appreciate, a 50/50 raffle. We didn't win the raffle, but the kids had a blast. It really reminded me about the sense of belonging you can feel in belonging to a church. It's the people -- you may not agree with everything the leadership of a church says, but the members of that church often have a lot in common with you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The credit game

FICO
Fucking Insolent Corrupt Organization

I hate the credit reporting agencies. Who are they to tell me I have average credit? I was checking our reports today and was shocked at our less than stellar number. The reasons astound me and seem so unfair. We have no bad debts. No collections on our accounts, not one single late payment. Yes, we have a high debt-ratio, but all bills have been paid on time year after year. So what's the problem? Simply that we have used our credit and hold high balances on our open accounts.
We've had a difficult year and had to use a lot of our personal credit for my husband's business. On top of that, my husband has taken out a loan for his business in his own name. So, on paper it looks like we are responsible for all the debt, when in fact, his business pays for much of them.
Aye!
In the past few days we've been able to pay off more than half of our personal debt -- by way of selling my car. And the rest should be knocked out at the end of the month. So, in theory our numbers should go up since we'll have no negatives on our account and also no balances on our credit accounts (will still have that nasty business loan). But it still chaps my hide. I'm a good citizen. I pay my taxes, I pay my bills and I bathe my children. Why does this number go around and tell people that I am less than trustworthy?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No car thing

We are still a family without a car and I'm feeling fine about it. I can walk the kids to school in about 12 minutes and then it's 12 minutes back. That is almost the same amount of time it takes me to load them into the car and drive to school, unload and then get back. I say my goodbye quicker now, so I can get to work sooner.
I am spending less money overall because I'm not spending any free time shopping -- I'm at home working, playing with the kids or cleaning the messes said kids create. I have the groceries delivered (I often find free delivery coupons online) and I spend less that way because there are no impulse buys.
Even our dog makes out because she gets to enjoy our company more often.

So, what's the problem, you say? It's the pressure, man. The pressure from the husband, the mom and all of the others who tsk, tsk when they hear we are a family of four without an automobile. I imagine people think I'm some weirdo and one step away from pushing a shopping cart while talking to myself. It's not that I care if people think I'm too poor to have a car. I don't really give a rat's ass about keeping up the the Jones' new BMW. But I do care if people think I'm a bad parent or a bit dim because I don't want a car.

If it weren't for the outside pressures, I could seriously see myself living without a car for quite a while. I was watching a program with Phil the other night and it really scared me. It was a global warming piece -- yes, I've seen An Inconvenient Truth. But this show caught me at just the right time. I heard the message loud and clear that one day soon there will come a point of no return. Got it? A point of no return. A point when we can't save the planet for our children and grandchildren. A point when we give them not hope, but despair. I saw it and said to myself that I've got to take some action. How can I expect everyone else to do so if I don't? I curse the Hummers driving up and down the road, but I still drive from point A to point B when I don't really have to. I spend on things that I don't need. I take a long shower with the water steaming hot. Something about the program made me feel like small changes aren't enough any longer. We all need to make drastic changes.
I already do the little things -- bring my bags to Trader Joes, use natural cleaners in my house, run the dishwasher when full, turn off lights and machines when not needed, bring bags on my walks so I can pick up trash. But what's the biggest problem right now? Our dependence on gas-guzzling cars. Even with the increasing price of gas, I see new large vehicles on the road every day.

In giving into my husband's pleas for me to find a vehicle, I started to browse the listings for hybrid or alternative fuel cars. There is one major problem with most of them -- they are cost-prohibitive. If we do buy a car, we want it to be safe. Any mid-sized car would do, but with a mid-sized hybrid, you are looking at about $25K. VW is coming out with a diesel suv wagon thingy that sounds really provocative, but it doesn't come to the US until September and my husband nearly died when I told him I'd like to wait that long.

If I do cave, we'll probably just go for a standard, fuel-efficient vehicle and try to drive as little as possible. The problem, of course, is that if you have it, you tend to use it. I don't miss it right now, but I don't know how tempting it will be to just hop in the car to grab a gallon of milk like I used to.

This post has gone on much longer than I intended. I'll just close by saying that I'm going to challenge myself to make some big changes in my daily life and I ask you to do the same. Our planet is depending on us to take care of her before it's too late.

They're baaaaaaack!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spring is finally here. But it's not March 20th, you say. Well, tell that to the wasps who have returned to keep me captive inside my house.
They show up every spring and build a nest in the same location -- right under where I take out the trash. I just popped outside to empty the garbage and saw two huge suckers flying up into the eaves. Damn them! Who are they to invade my peace and sanctuary?
My husband has knocked down 4 nests since we moved here and I'll have to send him out tonight to do another. I'm sure we'll have at least one, but probably two more nest attempts before the end of summer.
I had dreams of going to the side of the house to pull weeds after I'm done with work for the day, but I'll have to put it off for another day. If you read some of my posts from last spring you'll know that I have an extreme (ridiculously extreme) phobia of flying, stinging insects.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Late

Our local elementary school is about a 5 minute walk from our house. We pass it as we walk to preschool in the morning and most days I am hitting the elementary school right around the time that class should be starting. I've noticed something odd recently... a lot of kids are late for school every day. Parents are pulling up to school a good 3 minutes after the bell has rung. Kids run with backpacks and sweatshirts askew -- they run as the school attendants begin to lock all the gates.
OK... my kids are both in preschool and can show up anytime from 8:15 - 9 a.m., so I shouldn't really throw stones, but come on, people. I don't think I was ever late for elementary school. My parents had to manage 7 kids and we were always there on time. I know, I know, we've got a lot going on in our lives. Moms and Dads are both working, so they have to do a lot more to prepare in the morning. But don't we have an obligation to teach our kids how important school is and, equally, how important time is to other people -- the other kids who are in class, the teacher who has worked on the lesson plan....
When we show our kids that we don't have to be there on time, even though other people are, we are teaching them that other people aren't as important as we are. It's an easy way to show kids how to respect other people.

I detest tardiness. Yes, I have been guilty of it and so I try to forgive tardiness in others, but it's one thing to be late yourself and something else to make your child late.

We'll see what song I'm singing next year when Lucas starts kindergarten -- "we were up so late doing homework, I was out of cereal and my washer wasn't working." I know that I'll be tested, but I hope I can pass. I hope my kids won't be late.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Day three kicks my butt and tv

Day three is done. My 33 year old muscles are aching but I'm determined. Before I had my son, I was a workout freak. I was in excellent shape and hit the gym at least 4 times a week. Since I gave birth, I have become a bit of a slacker. Yes, I chase after the kids at the park, and throw the ball around with them, but I've not dedicated a specific amount of time to exercise every day. I guess that is why the muscles in my back are screaming at me to stop pushing around about 120 pounds for miles and miles -- that's two kids at about 88 pounds total and a jogging stroller that I'm guessing weighs at least 40 pounds.

Walking everywhere is fine and it really doesn't take too much more time than driving around locally -- when you count getting kids in and out of the car, hitting stop lights and finding parking.

We will have to have a hiatus tomorrow afternoon since we must rent a car. We have to attend my aunt's 85th birthday celebration and I'm just not up to walking 15 miles each way:)

As for television, I've started to restrict it. Lucas watched almost no television when he was a little tot. But with the addition of his sister and me starting to work from home, things changed. Somewhere along the line they got out of hand. The kids are early risers -- about 6 a.m. -- and that's not late enough for me to get up before them and get shit done. So while they much on rice krispies and watch some noggin or pbs, I shower, start coffee, pack lunches and check in with work. This started to become a routine of tv from 6:30 to 8. Then, mom has got to have peace while she makes dinner, so they get another 45 minutes or so in the evening. Add in 20 minutes here and there while I make important phone calls or wrap up billing stuff and you are up to a ridiculous amount of tv for a preschooler. The madness must stop. I was all high and mighty because the kids don't watch commercial tv -- Noggin does have some limited commercials, but absolutely no Nickolodeon or Network tv allowed for the kids. But they were watching too much. I started to just say no to tv during the day. At first I was met with much complaining, but the kids are learning to be creative at 7 a.m.
I still have the 30-45 minutes of tv allowed while I prepare dinner, and I don't see that going away any time soon.

I used to wonder how my mom did it -- we only watched limited tv in the evenings and on weekends. But now I remember that we could just walk to a friends house, wander around outside or do whatever the hell we wanted. If we were in the yard for hours, my mom didn't fret. In this day and age, parents have such a short leash on their kids, that no wonder kids watch so much tv. We don't let them ride their tricycles around the block alone, so they hover.
I don't see myself shooing the kids out the front door on their own for a couple of years, so I just have to make sure my paint and play-do cupboard is fully stocked.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gas

My kids are at an age where passing gas in front of others is funny. My daughter is very quick to say, "excuse me" before she falls over laughing. My son just thinks it is the funniest thing ever if he has gas while showing me his latest ninja moves.
I don't know at what age this changes, but apparently by the age of 9 or 10, it isn't cool to do this in front of the opposite sex.
We were at my son's karate class today and an older boy, waiting in the wings for the next class, was messing around with some karate moves. He was apparently trying to impress his classmate, a girl, who was standing next to him. Amanda and I were sitting next to them when we heard it... the unmistakable fart. The boy quickly moved to the opposite wall. The girl then went to stand next to him and said, "you stink." He was quick to reply that someone had farted, but it wasn't him. He went on and on about this for about 2 minutes... "someone farted, but it wasn't me."
I was very tempted to help him out and say, "Oh, sorry, I had Taco Bell for lunch," but I didn't. Instead I watched as the red-faced boy went outside to wait for his class to begin.