Sunday, February 24, 2008



That I survived this weekend makes me titanium woman. I'll try not to bore you with minute details, but I will dutifully cite the following: PTA carnival (encompassing an all day set-up, including hanging paper-cut snowflakes from yarn and safety pins from the ceiling...many, many, MANY snowflakes...and the ladder was tall and resulted in sore thighs and bruises that have lasted for days due to panicked leg-gripping of said ladder) , a 3-day Model UN conference and all the hither and yon transport of multiple middle school boys which that entails, Girl Scout Thinking Day with hundreds and HUNDREDS of girl scouts, lots and lots of wine, a few sleepovers and a playdate thrown in here and there with required transport duties, and regularly-scheduled mommy duty such as laundry and shopping. How pathetic is it to want to go to work in order to relax a bit?

This is what it's about though. Life. The only real change I'd ask for is more rainy days. And winning the lottery would be nice. Don't know that I'd quit working, but I'd definitely decide when to work and not to work (tomorrow, for instance, would be a "lay on the couch" day. But alas, I have not won the lottery).

Speaking of life, there's so much good out there. Why is it so easy to cover the good with Jerry-Springer negativity? Examples of good from this weekend:

My son...he is painfully shy. He is so shy that he would prefer not to order in restaurants because it means he must speak to a stranger. His Model UN sponsor (who is his Visions teacher too (G&T program)) told me that he came out of his committee meeting on Friday night in a daze. He came up to her and told her "Mrs. D!!!! For the *first* time in my life, I stood up in front of a bunch of people I didn't know and I made my point and I didn't stutter and it made sense!!!!" Mrs. D told me that she was missing her own daughter's swimming competition at U. Va. this weekend in order to take the kids to Model UN and that Q's telling her that and the look on his face made it WAY more than worth it to her. I managed not to dissolve into a puddle of jello when she told me the story. I am thrilled beyond belief that Q is growing, and very bittersweet that I am totally irrelevant to it. I had nothing to do with it. This was all him and Mrs. D (not to mention their dinner together with all the Model UN kids at the university Deli in which he confided some stuff to her that he's not even told ME!!!). And that's a good thing. *I* still get to weep with joy and I still get the hugs and kisses goodnight. (Plus, I get the comfort of having Mrs. D. at the school to look out for my boy. I could write pages on this but won't right now. PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS ROCK!!!!!! They sure can. And do. I hugged her multiple times.)

Our PTA carnival went very well, and we made more money on our first ever silent auction than we'd hoped and while I had very little to do with actually pulling it off, I helped encourage the people who wanted to do all this to pull it off. So good on me for believing in them but mostly good on them for doing it. It's really fun to manage when the people you're managing are competent and amazing. In those cases, being president rocks.

My daughter asked me to go with her to Thinking Day because she wanted me to be there. I'm hanging on to that while I can.

Barack Obama rocks. He does. I've said this for four years. Nastiness is flying around out there now, but he seems to be staying honest, what with "silly season" comments and all. BTW, Ralph Nader does NOT rock, which is a shame because I love his ideas. But I blame him and my blindly idealistic friends who voted for him rather than Kerry (or Gore) in the last few elections for the MESS we are in today. Ralph Nader, I used to respect you. I don't any more. I think you are selfish and arrogant. It's Barack Obama who rocks. Because sometimes you have to consider the good of the group before the good of yourself and your golden-gilded ideas. Reality is reality. Live in *that*. Because like it or not, we all have to put up with reality.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

someone's been busy this winter

Holy workout Baseball-batman!!

hummina hummina. He didn't look like that last year.

All done!!!

Well, pretty much done, at least. The painter is coming back to do another coat on the outside of the deck door and he has one more corner of a window on the other side to do (exterior). We also need to get a strip to go between the playroom carpet and the hardwood. Oh, and the electricians need to do the box for the hot tub. But that's it.

This is a chair from my bedroom that I put in there for now so it won't be completely empty. I now need to embark on furnishing this room. Help!!??

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

here we go again

I swear I try to come across as all intellectual and cultured and stuff, yet every year I find myself pouring multiple glasses of Cabernet for myself as I curl up on the couch with my little daughter to watch American Idol. And I enjoy it. And I'm not embarrassed by it. Yes I am. No I'm not. Yes, no. whatever. I watch it. Me and my 9 year old, we are in synch.

Thoughts from tonight:
Daughter E and I (since we ARE a team) rated the contestants on a "hell no" ("for goodness sake, no way" in her case) , a "check minus (OK but weak), a check (pretty good), and a check+ (you rock and you make me want to cry) scale. We both had 3 check pluses tonight , and we had the same three guys. (I do NOT bias her, and any of you who really know E know it is impossible to influence her in any shape or form. The fact that we had had the same 3 pluses makes me think we have the final 3 figured out in a lock. Place your bets now.)
Our three winners:
1. Little young guy David Archuleta (17 y.o. ) who sounds like Rick Astley but isn't so programmed and looks MUCH more normal. I want to pinch his little cheeks.
2. Jason Castro (20), the white guy with the dreadlocks. He's cute. I want to pat his head.
3. Michael Johns (29) the Australian dude who mom thinks is really hot. I'm not going to go any further with this. Mom thinks he's hot. E thinks he sings good. Hmm.

For the other guys, I went through a complicated rating system whereby I called in only if neither of us voted "hell no" (or in E's case, that sweet little innocent "no"). One vote for a "check", two votes for two checks, and three votes for the 3 big winners in our household. Only for my daughter would I swim through a bottle of Cabernet to figure out how many times to vote for who.(It's not all that easy to figure out the "I" "D" "O" "L" numbers on a phone in a semi-dark room.

For geez sake, I can't believe we enjoy this blatently marketed show so much. I am ashamed for my family.

Yes I know it's programmed. Yes, I'm turned off by the marketing already in place by so many of the Final 24 (Have you googled their names? LOL!!!! Websites! Merchandise!) . But mostly yes, I'm having a blast sharing this with my 9 year old. Mare, if you lived near me, you know we would LIVE at each other's house and my E would be your clone. Sigh. I miss you!!!!! Wanna move to Virginia? Didn't think so. :-(

I miss my Mare.

Monday, February 18, 2008

good friends rock...

...and they know exactly when you need a Starbucks Iced Mocha Frappuccino and to have their smiling face show up simply because they actually value spending time with you. Thanks JB - you have an uncanny way of knowing exactly what I need when I need it.

I've been having trouble coming up with topics to write about recently because the current "issue" in my life is not something I think I can write about here anymore. When our children are infants, our focus becomes so necessarily narrow that mommies find their topics of conversation have become embarrassingly devoted to diapers and other poop-related activities which then later evolves into nuances of breastfeeding and baby food and cry-it-out versus attachment parenting and microscopic analysis of every step, every milestone. Pre-children, I swore I would never fall to that level but you'd better believe that I did in the end (so sorry dear friends). I think it's both inevitable and annoying. I'm on an email list of moms who have children that were born around the same time as my son, and we've shared minute details of their daily lives for the past (nearly) 12 years on a very regular basis. We've discussed every physical ailment, every event, every clever joke and every touching or embarrassing moment. It's a very close, honest and unique community with the ultimate connection - our children. It's a safe place to show our mom colors. I've used this blog to share things in my children's life, albeit not as personal as I get with my "list moms."

At some point in time, though, I have to realize that my son, my pre-teen son, is a private individual. We've crossed the fuzzy line between some perceived ownership of "my child" to respect for this "independent person." I don't feel comfortable anymore writing publicly about things that are going on in his life. It's not fair to him, and is incredibly selfish of me. However, I'm *acutely* feeling the personal loss of that outlet. I still talk IRL to close friends about issues that I need help resolving, but I don't feel like it's something I can or should record publicly anymore. (And I do realize that it's not so much of general public interest either, despite my tendency to believe the universe revolves around my children). This is a big, big loss for me. I am much better at expressing things in writing than I am orally.

This is just another nuance along the path of watching my children grow up. So while this is hard for me it's the right thing for my son. He's evolving into this person - this amazing person - and he deserves the respect granted by privacy. Even from his mother. I will, however, always retain the right to kiss the top of his head (as long as I can reach it) and pinch his nose.

I *can* share that Q will be participating in Model UN this coming weekend, much to the delight of his Uncle JC down at Florida International University, who was a career Model UN participant. Q will be an ambassador for Sweden. He was originally slated for the "peaceful use of space" committee as a representative from Somalia, but his teacher learned that, well, since Somalia really doesn't have much of a space technology program at this point (duh) since there other more critical things for them to be concerned with right now, Q would be better off as a Swede on the World Health Organization committee. I'm not sure if I can slip into the conference to watch. DH and others have looked at me in horror when I've wondered aloud about this. What? I think it would be very interesting!!!

I swear that I am moving into a better place now and will be back to posting about interesting topics soon. Wait for that pendulum to's rocketing back, I swear.

for love of dreary

It's a great morning here. It's raining. I love dark, gray days with constant rain. I know that in some way holds a clue to my personality, but exactly what that is, I don't know. It rained gently all night last night, too. I had a full bed, and that's with DH on the couch. Both kids and the dog were cuddled up with me. After yesterday, there was no way E was going to sleep anywhere but pressed right up beside me. It was cozy and wonderful and I have a very small little girl who (usually) loves her mom very much. I'm taking it while I can.

Last night, after a dinner out at Outback, we all four settled down to watch dinosaur documentaries on the high def Discovery Channel. Once the kids went to bed, DH and I "watched" (i.e., punctuated by drifting in and out of sleep) pieces of Cast Away, which I'd never seen before. Can I say "Wow?" I'm going to watch it again without the drowsiness. From what I saw, it was a powerful comment on silence. The thread of life is there for all of us, somewhere in our silence, but it's easy to lose it in our own self-fashioned lives. May be that's the reason that I love dreary rainy days. When you are forced to be still for a moment and let the clutter and costuming fall away, you see that - you're still here. I've written and rewritten many comments about this this morning, but I've deleted them all because it just sounds so silly and cluttered. Best to leave it as it is - in stillness and silence.

In other news, we got our Fenway tickets in the mail this week!!! DH and I have been trying to decide the best cable sports package to buy to see as many games as possible, and have been dreaming of sitting out in the hot tub (which remains to be researched and bought) with the XM radio listening to games. Bring it on.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

sniff, my raw emotions are being ripped

Well @#)($@.

My sweet E has a Girl Scout event tonight - it's sleepover at a science museum about 40 miles from here. I helped her get all packed up and ready to go with her sleeping bag and spending money and toothbrush, all lovingly and neatly packed in a duffel bag (I *so* remember taking these kinds of girl scout trips myself.). I brushed her hair until it shone and put it up in a clip (she has gorgeous hair when it's brushed.) I made sure she had something to eat. She was silly and chatty as we drove up to the meeting place.
As I was signing the permission slip and chatting with the leader after she got into the car she'd be traveling up to the museum in, she slipped out of the car and ran back to me just sobbing. Yes. It ripped my heart out. To my credit, I didn't sob back. It's not like I've never seen her sob before. It's just that...I've been seeing her as so grown up lately. This was a big slap in the face to me that she's NOT. Yet. She's still my little one that still likes to sleep with me and still has that precious little-girl voice, she sings when she's sitting in the car, and loves when I play board games with her. She and needs me to listen to her and she counts on me more than anyone else in the world. For now.
I promised her that I would come and get her ANY TIME tonight if she needs me to, and I made sure that the leader had my phone number recorded in her cell phone. This has hit me harder than anything has in a while (sob). E usually seems mature and together and even-keeled. She's my sweet little rock. To suddenly realize that behind all that, she is really just a little girl that still needs her mommy is overwhelming to me. Because *I'm* that mommy and being a mommy is a scary big deal.
So I came home with a huge, gigantic lump in my throat and tears just behind my eyes...which wasn't helped much when I saw the big party going on next door at my friend's house...that we weren't invited to. (See, I think we don't so much fit in with the "fun" crowd. What EVER.) So I'm having a very sucky evening and feeling sorry for myself. I'm feeling hurt, and mostly, I miss my daughter terribly. TERRIBLY. Is it bad that I'm *hoping* to get a phone call from her??

Update: her leader called and said she's doing better now, though she was panicked when they got there. She'll call to tell us goodnight before she goes to sleep. I miss my E!!!! I swear, we're going to do nothing but cocoon the rest of this long weekend (President's Day weekend). Nothing but games and fires in the fireplace and homemade soup and walks in the park.

OK. Update 2: This is so WEIRD. DH and Q were watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel just now. DH called me in urgently. An ex beau of mine was on there, talking about giant bubbles in the ocean and methane gas and the sinking of ships in the Bermuda Triangle. How weird to see him on the Discovery Channel (in HD noless!!!). I explained to Q who he was and we listened to him talk for a while. He looks ever so much more "normal" now than he did back then with his sombrero hats and leather boots and hand-made ponchos. This is someone that I was friends with during my grad school years who was interesting and unique and fun. He was very interested in me as more than a friend, but I just couldn't go there. "I think I made the right choice," I said to Q. Q looked at me. "You love Daddy!" he said. "You didn't have a choice!" Indeed.

Update 3: (from Sunday morning) E called late, late last night in tears because she missed me. She said they were locking the building in 10 minutes and could I come get her? (again, this is about an hour away from home). I think I talked her through it. I was worried about this sleepover from the beginning, and with good reason. My instincts really aren't half-bad. Sigh.

still here

I'm still around, and still kicking, mostly. I'm coming off a week of a sinus headache and a thrown back so I've been feeling bad. There was a death of a child in Q's school this week, too - from the flu. There are always a handful of children each year that die from the flu or complications from the flu, and this was one of them. Q seems to be doing OK with it. He was on her team at school, but didn't know her personally. I'm taking it harder than he is. Her father is one of the contractors that has been working on our sunroom. Life sucks at times.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

in the words of Emily Litella, "never mind."

When I was in high school, my friend Bev (who was just a total cut-up) used to do this act where she'd run up to a ball to pick it up but "accidentally" kick it at the last minute, and then repeat it over and over. We'd all double over laughing because she played the part so well. Her face would light up with anticipation of picking up the ball and fall dramatically as it would bounce further away out of her reach.


Here's the gorgeous floor, poly'd up and shining in our room. This is the last big thing that needs to be done. After the floor is done, it's just minor touchups, trimwork, hanging the ceiling fan, etc.

And here is what the floor looks like next to our existing floor (which it is supposed to match).

Sigh. It looks even more off in real life than in the picture. It'll be fixed - I talked to our contractor this morning, and our contract clearly states that the floor is to match our existing floor. But fixing it will entail sanding off the new finish and restaining it and doing it all over again. So my ALMOST finished room remains ALMOST finished for yet another week.

Please note my loverly toes in the picture. I didn't know you could see them when I took the picture, but I left them in on purpose. I had a pedicure for the first time in about 2 decades last weekend and my toes have never looked so beautiful.

Monday, February 04, 2008

nothing of substance

I'm still not feeling very funny. At all. Nor am I feeling intelligent or thoughtful or accomplished or creative.

So just stop reading now if you're hoping to increase your knowledge base. I've also apparently lost my ability to write well. I'm tired of staring at a white box on my computer so I'm forging ahead anyway. Here are some random thoughts/snapshots of recent life, since I can't come up with a theme. I don't know what's wrong with my head...

In case you missed it, the Patriots lost. While I don't personally lose any sleep over that, my husband does.

With about 3 minutes left in the game last night, I found myself in the bedroom with my head under the blankets. (My dog was right there with me). For those who don't know DH, my husband rarely gets angry. Oh, except while watching sports. During the 2004 baseball playoffs, I ended up taking the kids and walking down the street to visit my neighbor. Downright scary.

Cox Cable sucks. Just so you know.

I finally learned the name of the wonderfully sweet, kind lady at the cafeteria that makes my "half veggie on wheat, no mayo and extra hot peppers" just Perfectly every single day. We've chatted every day for years, but by the time I realized we were friends (and that she didn't wear a name tag), it would have been humiliating to ask her what her name was. She knew mine because I'd call my order in every so often. So we talk about the Red Sox and the weather and vacations and such every day, and I continue to feel guilty every day because I don't even know her name. I walk up to the hot sandwich counter and simply smile at her and she'll say "Hi J!! I'll get your sandwich - you go ahead and pay up front!!!," and then I'll be out of there and back to my office with a perfectly-made sandwich every single day. Not too much vinegar, cheese that doesn't stick to the wrapper, and olives that don't fall off the bun. No one else does it right. I'm out of there in record time too. NO ONE gets through that hot sandwich line like I do. Finally, I went to get my sandwich last week and another employee ended up serving me. She apologized to me for not having my regular order memorized and said "I'll make it for you but I'm sure it won't be up to Lynn's standards." I was thrilled. It's Lynn who takes care of me. She's a sweetheart. And now I know her name. (I'm bringing her some presents back from Fenway.)

Cheez-its and red wine are comfort food. Seriously. I was at the store the other day with those two items on the belt and the lady in front of me started laughing. Seems those were her two favorite things, too. I acted like I didn't know what she was talking about because I was so embarrassed. Then I went home to enjoy my cheez-its and red wine. I'd be enjoying them now too, except that my kids ate all the cheez-its. Gah.

My children sure are sweet. They love me very much. If I hold my eyes funny or sigh, Q is next to me asking "Are you OK????" E is the most confident little girl I've ever known, but her favorite thing is to sleep next to me. She keeps my back warm. She's also very proud of me. I don't know that I've ever felt so good about myself as I have through the eyes of my children.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I am really feeling down lately. I think I'm lonely?

The time is looming that yet another incredibly important family in my life will be moving away from me, so that's bumming me out. The Jamies will be in Austria for a year, starting in early May. This time, I know they're coming back eventually, but that's not making it much easier for me. Jamie is a very stabilizing friend to me. Even though they are the busiest family I know - busy with very important things and very important people, busy with teaching classes and putting on concerts - she always makes me feel like a quiet evening or afternoon chatting with her in front of the fire is the most important thing in the world to her. I don't ever feel like I'm an afterthought or am being "fit in," which I imagine is hard to do! She is always has time for *me*, is always interested in what I have to say, and she listens. Those qualities, while sounding simple, are not that easy to find in people - not at all. So I'm really going to miss her. A lot.

I'm missing friend K up in Wisconsin an extra lot lately too. Don't know if you've been keeping up with this blog or not, K, but I'm thinking about you and all the *stuff* you're going through a lot. I wish I was up there to help out. That's another thing about having friends move away. You're really limited on what you can do for them, and I hate that. It's hard to find the give/take balance with someone when you're long distance. I need to feel like I can give to my friends, as much as I feel I take from them. It's like being cut off at the knees when you see a need and you aren't able to do anything of substance.

Speaking of long-distance friends, I'm also missing Mare, who's off hanging out with Barack Obama. I did put in a cell call to her right when I though she might be meeting him in an attempt to be there too. It didn't quite work, but almost did. We still laugh together a lot, but it's a little more fun when we're in the same room. Plus, virtual bitch-walks are not the same as real ones.

I'm indulging myself here, I know. I have very little to complain about. I'm just feeling very melancholy and am using my blog as my therapy. Good friends are hard to find and I've been hugely lucky in that department. My complaints that so many of them live further than a quick car-ride away is certainly not worth a whole blog post. But there you are.

Friday, February 01, 2008

i yam what I yam.

Wow. All you of my readers out there (what, are there two of you now??) have been missing out on some of the most awesome posts ever. I apologize profusely for that. I hope you don't feel too neglected.

I have written and rewritten and then deleted about how Thomas Jefferson and I are really a lot alike, or so I like to daydream. We were (are) idealists, dreamers, and were (are) both hypocritical to a very great extent - to an embarrassing extent. We blasted humans, we. Thomas Jefferson and his slaves have been and will continue to be the topic of great debate amongst those who study this man who wrote so eloquently about the equality of all men in our constitution. I have devoted my work life to studying the atmosphere and the changes we are are causing by our unfettered emissions of carbon I drive 35 miles to and from work each day in a minivan, on top of my husband's commute of the same distance - in a separate car. I am as unwilling to sacrifice my own lifestyle for that which I hold dear as Jefferson was. It's a very uncomfortable place to be, and is interesting for me to think about as I ponder the man Jefferson was. I think I would have loved to have had dinner and wine with him.

I have written and rewritten and then deleted posts about the parallels between todays public opposition to embracing the facts about global warming and the opposition to taking action, and the opposition to reacting to the dangers of lead back in the 1930s and 1940s. The parallels are striking. There are differences too, though. In the case of lead, the dangers were (while severe) mostly local, and had insignificant long-lasting impacts. For global warming, that's not the case, unfortunately. I even more firmly believe that this will be the issue that defines our generation.

I've written and rewritten and then deleted posts about the democratic candidates for this presidential election. (Like we are all SO lacking in coverage of this). Bleah. Enough said.

I've been extremely flightly lately. My mind has been flitting from subject to subject, unable to land and ponder anything for more than a few minutes. Maybe it's the time of year, or maybe it's my age catching up to me. Or maybe it just is what it is (DH's favorite saying and one that royally pisses me off unless I'm the one saying it).

DH is down in Georgia tonight because it is exactly two years since his brother died from pancreatic cancer. That's probably doing a number on me, too. Two years is a long and short time. Life is beautiful and devastating. It is what is it is (shut UP!!!).

Go Patriots!